What Is Breaking YOUR Heart in the World?

I believe Jesus has given each of His children a portion of His compassion. There is something in each of us that causes us pain in our gut when we think about it. A situation. A person. A group of people. Circumstances. Something that is wrong in the world that we long (hurt) to fix in Jesus’ name. All of us must answer the question, “What is breaking MY heart in the world?” Not your friend’s heart. Not your momma’s. Not your Sunday School teacher’s. Not the latest buzz on Facebook. Yours. What is breaking YOUR heart in the world?...

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A Great Sermon is in the Eye of the Beholder

Margaret Wolfe Hungerford famously said, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” We all know what that means. One person may think a piece of art is horrendous, while another may be completely taken away by it in awe and wonder. Another way of saying it is, “One person’s trash in another person’s treasure.” I say this to myself every time I have a garage sale. It is amazing to me what some people will buy! They see it as a treasure. I see it as trash. As much as it pains me to admit it, the same is true...

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Sermon Illustration: Making Disciples (Football Edition)

If you’re a dad of young children (particularly boys), you are making disciples. Trust me. Making a disciple happens, period. Dads (and moms, but for the sake of this illustration bear with me) make disciples all the time. Next Saturday, notice what shirt or hat your son is wearing. Or, notice the questions he asks you. He’s probably wearing something that represents “your team.” He’s probably asking what time the game starts, or if the team is going to be any good this year, or who “we’re” playing. He probably already knows that your day is scheduled around watching the...

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Ox Over Easy?

Where there are no oxen, the feeding trough is empty, but an abundant harvest comes through the strength of an ox.  Proverbs 14:4 It’s easier not to do the hard work. It’s easier to blame the conditions. It’s easier to blame the hard soil. It’s easier to say you couldn’t get good help. It’s cleaner if you get the ones that don’t get messy. But ease usually leads to lean. It leads to clean and tidy and empty. Empty results. Empty soul. Empty purpose. Empty hopes. Empty pockets. Empty accounts. Empty pews. Empty baptistery. Empty rooms. Empty building. The hard thing is...

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Sermon Illustration: All Inclusive

Recently, my wife and I had an incredible opportunity to get away for a week at an all-inclusive resort in Cancun, Mexico. We had never been able to do this before, so we were excited, but cautious. People told us how wonderful it was, but in the back our minds said to ourselves, “that sounds too good to be true.” Well let me tell you – everything we heard was TRUE. All-inclusive means – ALL INCLUSIVE! All access – all the time – to the beach. All access – all the time – to the pool. All access – all...

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Mary and the Good Samaritan

Have you ever noticed the connection between the story of the Good Samaritan and Mary listening to Jesus (while her sister frantically rushed around the house)? Luke, led along by the Holy Spirit, put these stories right next to each other (Luke 10:25-42). In one instance, the religious guys were too busy to give any attention to an obvious ministry need right in front of them. In the other instance, the religious sister was too busy to notice the “one thing that mattered” under her own roof. In one instance, a Samaritan took time – much time – to make sure an injured...

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A Prayer for My Kids on the First Day of School

Father, As you well know, my children start school today. New year. New school. New friends. New teachers. New lunch room. New hallways. New grade. There’s a big part of me that is glad and thankful for all of this. There’s another big part of me that is anxious and scared. I am grateful for the summer we have had. I am grateful for the incredible school system. I am grateful for the teachers. I am grateful for the brand new facility. I am grateful for a few familiar faces. I am grateful for the education they are receiving. I...

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Pay Attention to Your Reaction

At the end chapter 9, Luke records four different reactions by potential Jesus followers. First, James and John want to call down fire from heaven when they see that they, nor Jesus, are welcomed by Samaritans. They were being rejected. The Sons of Thunder reacted by wanting to live up to their name and bring destruction from the sky (see Luke 9:51-56). Second, a very zealous man was told by Jesus to think twice before following Him. Being with Jesus wasn’t about comfort and ease and “the good life” (see Luke 9:57-58). Third, a man’s reaction to Jesus’ invitation to...

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Sermon Illustration: What if You Stopped Believing in God?

I recently read this article from Relevant magazine about the Christian music group Gungor. A comment Lisa Gungor made about her husband, Michael, stopped me in my tracks. In the article, Lisa talks about how her husband stopped believing in God. She proceeded to share how surprised he was about how his life didn’t change after he made his “atheist” declaration. Here’s the quote: “He didn’t become a different person,” Lisa recalls. “I think there was this idea in my head that once you don’t believe in God, now he’s gonna cheat on me and murder people. What [is he]...

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Why Do You Follow Jesus?

“Jesus answered, ‘Truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate the loaves and were filled.'” John 6:26 Take a few moments and evaluate your prayer life over the past 6 months or so. Evaluate the content of your prayers. Whether you prayed once in 6 months, or 3 times a day. What do you pray? When you communicate with God, what do you talk with Him about? Now. If someone were to ask you, “Why do you follow Jesus?” what would you say? Seriously. Consider it. Why do YOU...

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