Archives For Sermons

Continuing the series Meat & Potato (MP) Sermons is a foundational, yet greatly misunderstood part of the Christian faith. The importance of understanding Grace in the context of God’s Love is mind-blowing and life-changing to say the least.

Grace is defined as unmerited favor and it is a gift from God. Gifts are valued by what they cost and I think the lack of understanding of what Grace cost God is the root of the issue for why most people don’t “get it”. In order to process the immeasurable value of Grace, you really have to go back to the garden of Gethsemane and see Jesus wrestling with His destiny of being separated from His Father for three days.

Jesus spent hours asking one question in the garden – are you sure there isn’t some other way – all the while committing that the Father’s will be the leading factor in the entire decision. Think about that for just a minute. Here is the Son of God wrapped in human flesh – the only man to have perfect communion with God 24/7 – wrestling with God over having that communion broken for 72 hours.

If you’re a parent, you can probably remember the first time you left your child with someone else overnight. There was probably multiple phone calls and very little time not wondering how they were doing. That bond is insignificant compared to the bond that Jesus has with His Father.

Grace is a gift that is given at a very high cost and it was Love that propelled both God the Father and Jesus toward being able to present that gift to mankind. Grace is what allows us to respond to God’s call when He wants to save our eternal soul. Grace separates unrighteousness from the person God wants to use for His purposes. Grace is the ultimate expression of God’s Love and is the only way God and His creation can be in relationship with one another.

Understanding the Grace that God gave us should also have a dramatic effect on the way we relate to others.

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. ~ Col. 3:12 – 14

You see, we have been forgiven everything and been loved into eternity with God. That Love dictates that we extend that same kind of forgiveness and love to others. May we allow that very Love to compel us to place the highest of value on each and every person we face and consequently strive toward relational harmony always.

Bitterness, strife and hatred are signs that God’s Grace isn’t understood. Likewise, legalism (the strict adherence to rules at the sake of relational intimacy) is a sign that we place a higher value on being right than being close and indicates spiritual immaturity.

We need more teaching on Grace and Love – first to better understand what God gave us and then applying that same gift to the people all around us.

Lord, may you continue to extend my understanding of your precious gift and grant me the wisdom and courage to act accordingly toward those people you place in my life. Thank you for saving me and expressing your wondrous Love via Grace.

I’m starting a series of posts that will talk about sermons topics I wish would be taught on a regular basis – every year or perhaps even every quarter. These are the key truths that seem to be the linchpin to unlocking vast treasures of understanding – at least the way I see it (it is my blog after all).

The first one will be no surprise to those that know me: MARGIN.

Margin, by definition, is extra space allocated for a particular reason. We see it in books, roads and even in how the chairs are arranged at church. Have you ever seen a book where the words ran right up to the edge of the paper? It’s maddening to try to read – your eye has an extremely hard time transitioning from one line to the next. Or been driving in a construction zone where the road narrows and there just isn’t much room between you and oncoming traffic? Or sat down to someone and felt like you were too close?

Principle One: The lack of margin requires that you pay extra attention to the edges.

I don’t desire to have our pastors teach on proper book formatting or how to properly space the chairs in the worship center, but the concept of margin exists in some very key areas of life:

  • Time
  • Finance
  • Morality
  • Energy (physical)

Margin in our schedule is probably the one that we just hear and shake our heads at and say, “Yep – I know, but I’m simply too busy.” We know that we are running too hard and are missing life as we hurry along. Strategies and principles of how to create margin in one’s schedule is needed.

Financial margin is another place where we know the good of it, but don’t have any idea how to achieve it. Unless you have a money tree that you haven’t planted, obtaining financial margin will require some very hard lifestyle choices that hurt on the front end, but bring freedom in the end.

Moral margin is not talked about much, but it is simply staying far away from situations that pull you into the deep weeds. We live in a world that is ruled by one who would love nothing more than to see you and I be pulled into something that takes us out of the game. Thinking strategically about this area is what we need help with.

Finally, margin with our physical energy is something that is tied to all other areas. We are either too busy or too stressed to do what is right for our physical bodies. Physiologically, our bodies need rest. When we sleep soundly, our body goes to work repairing all of the crap we do to it when we’re awake. If we either don’t get enough sleep or aren’t able to sleep deeply, that regenerative process can’t accomplish its goal. The results are numerous and affect our lifestyles greatly.

Margin isn’t just a concept to be admired from afar and it’s not a fairy tale either. It is a choice. A personal choice. A personal choice between life and death – literally in some cases and we need our spiritual leadership to lead by word and example to embrace the importance of margin.

Margin is simply putting space in one’s life that is left for God to fill as He sees fit. The margin-filled life is the key to experiencing God’s spontaneous nature and associated blessings..as we go.