Sign-up for a weekly sermon preparation email

John 13:18-30
Sunday, April, 2017
Leonardo da Vinci, when painting "The Last Supper," went looking for models to sit for the various disciples and for Jesus. He found a handsome and innocent looking man in a choir in one of the churches in Italy. He painted him as Jesus in the great painting. The man's name was Pietro Bandinelli.

Years passed as da Vinci continued to work on the painting. He left the face of Judas Iscariot till the last. Leonardo went out into the streets of Rome and looked for the most forlorn person he could find.

At last he saw the man whom he wanted for the disciple that betrayed Christ. His face was drawn and villainous. He hired the man and brought him in to sit for the face of Judas. When he had completed the work, he was about to dismiss the man when he asked, "By the way, sir, what is your name?" The poor gentleman said, "Don't you know me? I am Pietro Bandinelli. I also sat as your model for the face of Jesus."

I am not sure if that is what happened to Judas as well. Perhaps he began his journey wanting to serve His God, but we know in the end he abandoned all righteousness and committed one of the greatest crimes in human history - betraying the perfect Son of God. As we continue our journey to Easter, examining the great love of our Savior, we come to a story of betrayal. However in the midst of this betrayal, Jesus never rejects Judas, but continues to reach out to him in love. Even after Judas had received payment for the betrayal, Jesus still washes his feet and reaches out in love - only to have Judas reject Him and follow the wishes of Satan himself.

As you prepare for tomorrow's service would you take a few minutes and re-read the story in John 13:18-30 and prayerfully consider how you would respond if a close friend was about to betray you.
Our Outline for Sunday will be:

1. Betrayal Predicted
2. Betrayer Announced
3. Betrayal Explained
4. Betrayal Applied
    a. Miracles and great teaching do not guarantee salvation  
    b. Determining who is a true believer is not easy
    c. Jesus displayed patience and so should we

Full Extent of His Love
John 13:1-17
Sunday, March 26, 2017
A Sunday School Teacher had her straight hair permed in to a curly style.The next Sunday as she was teaching she noticed that 4 yr. old Jack, who was usually cheerful, looked sad and bewildered. "Is something wrong, Jack?" Jenny asked him.

"Your hair," he mumbled. "You noticed!" said Jenny. "I just had a permanent and I love it!" "You do?" whispered Jack. "Have you seen it?"

As we finished up our study in 2 Thessalonians, and before we move to 2 Peter we are going to take a few weeks and remember the incredible sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross. In John's account the trip to the cross begins with one of the greatest demonstrations of humility. Jesus does the unthinkable, he stoops to wash the smelly feet of the disciples. As we contemplate the humility of Jesus, we will ask where do we need to humble ourselves before Jesus.

As you prepare for tomorrow's service would you take a few minutes and re-read the story in John 13:1-17

Our Outline for Sunday will be:

1. John's Introduction
    a. Jesus knew His Time had come
    b. Jesus Showed His love
2. Jesus' Humility
    a. It is unannounced
    b. It is need focused
    c. It is extended to everyone
    d. It admits personal need and accepts help

The Lord of Peace
2 Thessalonians 3:16-18
Sunday, March 19, 2017
A four-year-old and a six-year-old presented their mom with a houseplant.They had used their own money to buy it and she was thrilled.

The older of them said with a sad face, "There was a bouquet at the flower shop that we wanted to give you. It was real pretty but it was too expensive. It had a ribbon on it that said ‘Rest In Peace,’ and we thought it would be just perfect since you are always asking for a little peace so that you can rest.

Peace is one of the most elusive qualities - we all want it, we all need it, but often we seem unable to find it. As Paul brings to a conclusion, his second letter to the Thessalonians, he prays a prayer of benediction. This benediction is filled with a desire for the Thessalonians to experience true peace. Not peace that is found when circumstances are good and you are free from problems, but peace that is present no matter the circumstances. This true peace is found in only one place or I should say only one person - the Lord of peace - Jesus Christ.

Paul closes,  as he began the book, praying for the Thessalonians. He has prayed that they would be endowed with power to face persecution. He has prayed that God would fill them with comfort as they consider the Antichrist. God would enable them to endure continued persecution and finally now, for peace as they are dealing with unrepentant and recalcitrant members who refuse to work.  As you prepare for Sunday's service, would you please take a few minutes to read, 2 Thessalonians 3:16-18

Our Outline for Sunday will be:
1. Enjoy the LORD's Peace
    a. where - Jesus Himself
    b. when - at all times 
    c. how much - in every way
2. Experience the Presence of Jesus
3. Understand the Truth of Jesus
4. Remember the Grace of Jesus

Work Hard!
2 Thessalonians 3:6-15
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Do you remember the last time you filled out a job application? Here are some actual statements from job applications.
  • I served as an assistant sore manager.
  • Education: I went to school on a fool scholarship.
  • I am very detale oriented.
  • I am a rabid typist.
  • I was involved in ruining an entire Midwest division.
  • Reason for leaving previous job: Pushed aside so Vice-President's girl friend could steal my job.
  • On a Federal Government job application, there was a question: "Do you favor the overthrow of the United States government by force, subversion, or violence?" Apparently, the applicant thought it was a multiple choice question so they wrote: "Violence."

Work is a huge part of our lives, but how do we view work? Paul will dedicate a major portion of his second letter to the Thessalonians talking about the importance, not just of working, but of working hard. Unfortunately not all those in Thessalonica were working hard, some were not working at all and this required them to live off the generosity of others.

Paul will condemn those who refuse to work and even goes as far to command, that if you are not willing to work, you should not eat.This week we will be examining work, not from our perspective, but from God's.  As you prepare for Sunday's service, would you please take a few minutes to read, 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15

Our Outline for Sunday will be:
1. Don't be disorderly
    a. Follow Paul's instructoin
    b. Follow Paul's example
    c. Follow Paul's command
2. Don't be weary
3. Don't approve or enable those who are doing wrong
    a. Remember them are brothers
    b. Warn them to restore them.

So What:
1. Where are you lazy?
2. Who are you encouraging to follow your example?
3. What cultural norms do you need to push back against?

Pray for Us!
2 Thessalonians 3:1-5
Sunday, March 05, 2017
The story is told of a pastor who tried coaxed a the kitty out of a tree. The tree was not sturdy enough to climb, so the pastor decided that if he tied a rope to his car and drove away so that the tree bent down, he could then reach up and get the kitten. The plan was going well until the rope broke, the tree went "bong!" and the kitten instantly sailed through the air out of sight. The pastor felt terrible. He walked all over the neighborhood asking people if they'd seen a little kitten. but nobody had seen a stray kitten.

A few days later he was at the grocery store, and met one of his church members. He happened to look into her shopping cart and was amazed to see cat food. This woman was a cat hater and everyone knew it, so he asked her, "Why are you buying cat food when you hate cats so much?"

She replied, "You won't believe this," and then told him how her little girl had been begging her for a cat, but she kept refusing. Then a few days before, the child had begged again, so the Mom finally told her little girl, "Well, if God gives you a cat, I'll let you keep it." She continued, "I watched my child go out into the back yard, get down on her knees to pray, and, really, Pastor, if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, a kitten suddenly came flying out of the clear blue sky and landed right in front of her!"

God does answer prayer - sometimes in the most unexpected of ways. It is because Paul believes in God's power to answer prayer, that he pleads with the Thessalonians, not just to pray in general, but to pray for him specifically. The great apostle realized that he needed God to work in him and then through him, and he understood that power is released through the practice of prayer.

This week we will be looking at Paul's request of the Thessalonians to pray for him. Not so much to make his life easier or more enjoyable, but that God would make the Gospel fruitful and speed around the world. As you prepare for Sunday's service, would you please take a few minutes to read, 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5.

This week's outline:

1. Double Request
a. The Gospel would spread
1) Rapidly
2) Received Properly
b. Paul would be delivered from evil men
2. Double Confidence
a. God is Faithful
b. The Thessalonians were faithful
3. Double Blessing
a. the Love of God
b. the Endurance of Christ

2 Thessalonians 2:16, 17
Sunday, February 26, 2017
A children's pastor shared about a recent meeting He asked for any prayer requests. One girl asked that we pray for her because school would soon start and she was going to a new school this year. Another that we pray for her family's health needs. A boy requested prayer for a friend, etc.

Then one girl asked that we pray for her family because they recently suffered the loss of an extended family member and also of a close friend of the family. She mentioned how she had already been to one funeral with her grandmother and was going to go to another the next day.

When I asked for a volunteer to pray the same girl that had the requests for her bereaved family raised her hand. As she began she said, "God, thank you for all these blessings...," then she hesitated before continuing..."and all these not-so blessings."

Praying for God to bless others is an important part of the Christian walk. It was something Paul did often. As we come to the close of the discussion of end times, Paul pauses and prays a blessing upon the Thessalonians. This Sunday we will examine the prayer of benediction or blessing.
As you prepare for Sunday's service, would you please take a few minutes to read, 2 Thessalonians 2.

This week's outline:

1. The Source of the Benediction
2. The Basis of the Benediction
a. He loved
b. He gave
1) Eternal Encouragement
2) Good Hope
2. The Substance of the Benediction
a. Encourage your Heart
b. Strengthen you to Action

Standing Firm in God's Grace
2 Thessalonians 2:13-15
Sunday, February 19, 2017
A large passenger train was crossing the country. After they had gone some distance, one of the two engines broke down. "No problem," the engineer thought and carried on at half power. Farther on down the line, the other engine broke down and the train came to a standstill.

The engineer decided he should inform the passengers about why the train had stopped, and made the following announcement, "Ladies and gentlemen, I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that both engines have failed, and we will be stuck here for some time. The good news is that you’re not in an airplane."

All of us have received good news and bad news tied together. Or maybe good news, which should have remained as good news, but the more we thought about, the more we heard, it developed into bad news. I believe that is what the Thessalonians were experiencing in 2 Thessalonians 2. Someone had come to tell the Thessalonians that they had missed the return of Jesus, and because of their missing Jesus return they had entered the Day of the Lord. This horrifying day of judgment was upon them, or so they had come to believe. But Paul writes and tells them that it had not come, and it would not come until three things take place - 1. The great rebellion; 2. The man of lawlessness. 3. The Restrainer of evil removed. And once the Restrainer was removed, those who were left would be given a great delusion.

This should have been good news, but the Thessalonians may have been very tempted to focus on the delusion, wondering "Have I been deceived?" Before they can give way to wonder, worry and discouragement, Paul launches into an incredible encouragement and explanation of the very special place all believers in Christ. This position is not because of what they have earned or deserved, but a position completely found in God's grace. This position should encourage us, but it should also impact our practice. As you prepare for Sunday's service, would you please take a few minutes to read, 2 Thessalonians 2.

This week's outline:

1. Rejoice in our position in God
a. God loved us
b. God choose us
c. God saved us
1) The Holy Spirit draws us
2) We must believe
d. God saved us
1) How: through the Gospel
2) What: to the glory of God
2. Respond to the Grace of God
a. Stand Firm
b. Hold Fast