sermons about faith

My Father was a Wandering Aramean

My Father was a Wandering Aramean

First Fruits Sunday

The Bible

The Bible

Guest Speaker Shane Willard.

Faith, Miracles, Healing

Faith, Miracles, Healing

In this sermon, we look at the challenging question of "is it God's will to heal everyone?" and why our view on that matters when operating in the gifts of the Spirit.

Faith that Can't Sit Still

Faith that Can't Sit Still

Pastor Kevin, lead pastor of Mount Hope Church in Lansing, MI, gives a powerful message about faith. 

one: courage

one: courage

Courage goes to the places that nobody else wants to go, and works to create places that everybody wants to be.  Courage loves the one who nobody else wants to love… 

Where is the Space?

series: Rachab

title: Where is the Space?

teacher: Jacob Bender

date: September 3, 2017

scriptures: Genesis 26:12-25, Psalm 31:15

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Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. The Lord blessed him, and the man became rich, and gained more and more until he became very wealthy. He had possessions of flocks and herds and many servants, so that the Philistines envied him. (Now the Philistines had stopped and filled with earth all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father.) And Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we.” 
So Isaac departed from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar and settled there. And Isaac dug again the wells of water that had been dug in the days of Abraham his father, which the Philistines had stopped after the death of Abraham. And he gave them the names that his father had given them. But when Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and found there a well of spring water, the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac’s herdsmen, saying, “The water is ours.” So he called the name of the well Esek, because they contended with him. Then they dug another well, and they quarreled over that also, so he called its name Sitnah. And he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he called its name Rehoboth, saying, “For now the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.” 
From there he went up to Beersheba. And the Lord appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of Abraham your father. Fear not, for I am with you and will bless you and multiply your offspring for my servant Abraham’s sake.” So he built an altar there and called upon the name of the Lord and pitched his tent there. And there Isaac’s servants dug a well.

Sometimes, we find ourselves lost in a sea of things that the world throws at us, and we get so distracted with all of the things that WE THINK THAT WE HAVE TO DO... that we never do the THINGS THAT WE ACTUALLY SHOULD DO. 

and time gets sucked away, leaving us feeling like there is no space for us to actually create the things that we believe we are supposed to make out of this life. 

But just like Isaac, I believe that the Lord has made room for you, here and now. He has made room for your dreams, he has made room for your gifts... 

But sometimes we can't see the things that are right in front of us... So lets ask ourselves a question... 

What is it for me? What is it for you?

What is it that is keeping you from your calling? What is keeping you living life as if you don’t actually have any.… What is keeping you living like you are already dead? 

What is taking up the space in your mind?

In your heart?

In your life? 

What is filling the space? 

What needs to be laid on the altar to create space in your life for what Jesus wants to do? 

What has you bound and maybe you don’t even know it?

Perhaps the best way to answer that, is to answer this question: 

What is taking your time? 

Psalm 31:15 says "my times are in your hand;" 

We need to be like David, and place our times into the hands of Jesus. Time is a most valuable asset, and we will waste it if we remain distracted and never create space for the spirit to move in our lives. 

 

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#4 Grace, Faith, and Poems

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series: Love Incorruptible

title: Grace, Faith, and Poems

teacher: Jacob Bender

date: May 14, 2017 (Mother’s Day)

scriptures: Ephesians 2:1-10, Exodus 25:8

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#5 They gave out of uncertainty

series: Cultivate the Romance

title: They gave our of uncertainty

teacher: Jacob Bender

date: January 31, 2016

scriptures: Luke 24:13-32, Nehemiah 10:35, Acts 20, James 4:17, Romans 11:16, Numbers 15:17-20, 1 Kings 17, Deuteronomy 26:1-11, Leviticus 23:11, 1 Corinthians 15:20-21, John 12:32, Luke 23:46, Psalm 31:5, Matthew 27:28, 

The Root

Paul says, “if the root is holy, so are the branches.”

The principle of the first fruit originated with the Hebrew wordBikkurim. When you read in Nehemiah when he says “we obligate ourselves to bring the first fruit…”  or anywhere in the old testament when it says “bring the first fruit,” the word is bikkirum.

Bring the bikkirum.

The bikkurim is the part of the harvest that ripened and came forth before the rest of the harvest did.

The part that ripened and came forth first… God said, that part is mine! and this is an absolutely fascinating fact about Jewish history.

What they would do in those days, is the farmer would notice that a branch would have the bikkurim on it, and he already knew the principle of the first fruit, he already knew “this part is for God” so what would happen is he would take a little scarlet ribbon and he would walk up to the branch that had the fruit on it, and he would tie this scarlet ribbon on the branch as to say “THIS IS FOR THE LORD.”

He was marking it. He was setting it apart. He was saying, “God we give you the first.” He was asking the Lord to bless it. That is why we gave you the little red ribbons this week when you walked in… You can keep it as a token to remember, or you can take it and wrap your offering or offering envelope in it if you are giving a physical offering.

But the bikkirum was the first. It wasn’t just any piece of fruit… a good batch or a bad batch. It was was came first.

it had to be the first! It was the part that came before the harvest…

The farmer didn’t know whether the harvest was going to be large or if much of the fruit would not survive. All he knew for sure was that he the bikkurim. The only certainty was the bikkurim.

He didn’t give out of poverty or out of lack, he gave out of not knowing what it would be,

he gave it out of uncertainty. 

He gave the only thing that was certain, out of uncertainty. 

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#1 Why are we afraid?

series: Cultivate the Romance

title: Why are we afraid?

date: January 3, 2016

teacher: Jacob Bender

scriptures: 1 John 4:18-19, Psalm 2:7-8, Psalm 27:1, Philippians 2:3-4, Luke 1:28, Isaiah 9:2

Fear is an incredibly motivating factor in our world right now, and I have watched over the last several months especially, how fear has actually dictated the way that people treat one another. The way that they accept one another and welcome one another.

The bible has a lot to say about fear, because the reality is, nothing can possibly keep you from being what you are supposed to be in Christ, and nothing can possibly keep you from loving people the way you are supposed to love them in Christ, and nothing can possibly keep you from doing the thing which God has put on your heart to accomplish, more than fear. It has infected my brain in the deepest ways, has already caused some of my vision to flutter, it has gotten in the way of my love.

And if there is one thing that I am determined to do differently as your Pastor here at Courage Church this year, it is this, I am not going to let fear have a voice at the table. I am not going to let fear stop me from trying anything. I would rather strike out swinging, than by watching a home run pitch fly by me while I stand idle, knowing that was the one that had the potential to go over the fence. That had the potential to be the home run.

And I would encourage you to join me this year as you set your goals and you pray about your dreams and the God sized vision for your life,  to believe that in Christ, we can do anything.


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#8 Faithfulness

Series: The Fruit of the Spirit
Title: Faithfulness
Teacher: Jacob Bender
Date: August 23, 2015

scriptures: 2 Timothy 2:13, Genesis 15:6, Exodus 17, Romans 4:3, Galatians 3:6, James 2:26, 2 Corinthians 8:1-7, John 13, 1 Peter 2:2-5, Mark 14:32-42, Luke 22:44, John 12:27, Galatians 5, John 18, Hebrews 13:8

Faithfulness, as Paul uses it in Galatians 5 when listing the Fruit of the Spirit, is the Greek word pistis and it means “The character of one who can be relied on.”

The hack on the “Ashley Madison” website that was released this week was a pile of evidence (30 million users of evidence) as to how much our society does not value faithfulness. How much we lack pistis.  The thing that bothered me so so much, and still does, about this website and the fact that it had so many users, is this: we have grown so incredibly numb to what a covenant even means in our society, that we have millions of people literally getting on a website and strategically looking for ways to break their promise to the person who is supposed to be their closest and most valued friend in all the world, and that is literally beyond my comprehension. The fact that this sight even existed, much less gained that much traction, is absolutely devastating to me.

But one thing that we have to remember in this extreme example of where we are as a society, is that we, as Christians, are citizens of a different kingdom… and we have been trusted with the gospel… the joy news that the war is over, that a new kingdom has been established, and that everyone is invited.

What that means for the Ashley Madison hack is this: There are a LOT of hurting people right now, who need the church to be FAITHFUL to them. The reality is, that sin has a cost, and the reality is, that what is done in darkness ALWAYS eventually comes to the light… and that day has come for everyone who was a registered user of that website.

But it is crucial, now, that the church responds by demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit toward the individuals caught in the act of adultery.

We talked during the “Goodness” message, about the woman caught in the act of adultery… and how Jesus petitioned on behalf of those who were guilty. I really believe that the Holy Spirit dropped that little thought on me last week (maybe to prepare my heart for how to respond this week to this news) about what Jesus was writing in the sand. That if he wanted us to know what he was writing…. If Jesus wanted us to know what the Pharisees had to see to cause them to walk away, he would have made sure it was written in the account.

But what if the reason he left it open, was so that we could apply it to our lives? What would you need to see written in the sand, that would make you lay down your stones and walk away… that would make you realize, “I am just as guilty?”

The Ashley Madison website is a reminder to how much our society does not value faithfulness. And the hack release is all the more evidence that what we do in secret will always be brought to the light sooner or later.

But it also needs to be a reminder to the Christian community that in a world that lacks faithfulness, it needs some people who still have it. Peoples marriages are in trouble because of this (obviously, they were in trouble before they got caught) but there is something different that is happening now. Their darkest decisions are now completely in the light.

People who made big mistakes are going to need people who will stand by them, not because what they did was okay, because it is not… But because at the end of the day, we are all just as guilty.

Remember, Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane was Faithful to his friends even though they were not faithful to him. Even though they couldn’t stay awake for one hour, even though he knew that Peter would deny him three times the following day… When the guards came for Jesus, he said (John 18:8) “If you seek me, let these men go.” – He said to the guards, “You can’t take my friends… do what you will with me.” Even in his darkest hour, Jesus’ faithfulness shined so bright. He drank the whole cup of wrath for the price of our sin. All the dregs and seeds and backwash. All the adultery and failed marriages and abortions and lies. All the unfaithfulness. All the works of the flesh that we are all guilty of, sometimes on a daily basis.

Let today be an opportunity for us to be more faithful than we ever have been before.