Sunday Preview

February 24, 2012

I have been very interested in mental health ever since I spent four months in a mental institution in 1969. I have discovered over the years that psychiatry is an inexact science. I have also counseled many people who are struggling with mental health issues, just as I have struggled myself.

There is a compelling story about a king going insane in Daniel 4, which is the basis of my sermon this Sunday called, “The Roots of Insanity.” In this chapter, Daniel tells the story of King Nebuchadnezzar losing his sanity and being driven from his kingdom. He had been warned by God and counseled by Daniel to humble himself, but he didn’t listen. Nebuchadnezzar had become deluded by pride. He thought the reason he was the king of the most powerful nation on earth was because he was such a great man. He was driven out of Babylon, his mind became like an animal, and his hair and nails grew long. It took seven years before he was humbled enough to turn his heart to the Lord.

I want each of us to recognize the roots of insanity so we can help others who are struggling with the unsound behavior that can destroy their lives. God does not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). God’s gifts to every believer can include deliverance from evil and good mental health.

Sunday Preview

February 17, 2012

My sermon this Sunday is called, “The Fiery Furnace” from Daniel 3. This is the story about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego being thrown into the fiery furnace when they refused to bow and worship the ninety-foot golden statue of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon. We will look at this story from both a historical and metaphorical perspective.

Sooner or later each of us goes through a fiery furnace when we refuse to bow to the intimidating people and idols in our culture. The idea that obeying God brings us into danger is throughout Scripture. David fought Goliath, Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den, Moses was chased by Pharaoh’s army, and the apostles were persecuted for preaching the gospel.

The focus of this message will be the benefits of the fiery furnace. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are famous because the Lord showed up in the furnace and delivered them. However, the words they spoke before getting tossed into the flames reflect the faith that we all need. “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
My hope is that we will be people who worship God alone, without compromising with the idols of our culture. If we face the fiery furnaces of life without giving in to fear, we too will embrace the glory of God.

Sunday Preview

February 9, 2012

My message this Sunday is called “How Great Stress Can Bring Great Blessings” from Daniel 2. No one likes to go through times of great stress or trials, yet those seasons of life come to us all sooner or later. Great stress does not have to have a bad outcome. It can actually lead to unexpected blessings.
In this message we will see how a death threat against Daniel and his friends led to great blessings. Daniel and his friends pleaded with God for mercy and God revealed mysteries to Daniel. That revelation not only saved their lives, the Lord gave them insight into how history would unfold and the ultimate triumph of God’s kingdom. They ended up being promoted by the King and the testimony of God’s wisdom was made known throughout the most powerful nation on earth.
Ronald Reagan told a story about a young boy shoveling a large pile of manure in a barn yard. When he was asked what he was doing, the boy replied with a smile, “I know there must be a pony in here somewhere!” The boy dug through the manure with an attitude of faith.
As I look back on my life, I can see how many major trials have led to blessings I never anticipated. Sometimes blessings come quickly, other times it takes years before they are recognized. My hope and prayer is that our hearts will be prepared so we will face the challenges of life with an attitude of faith, so we will gain the full benefit of blessings from every trial we face.

Sunday Preview

February 2, 2012

The first week of February is always one of my favorite weeks of the year. I enjoy the convergence of the world’s biggest golf tournament at the TPC and the Super Bowl on the same week. Even if I don’t go to the tournament, or have a favorite team in the Super Bowl, watching the best football teams and the best golfers in the world compete is special.
My sermon this Sunday is called, “The Power that Overcomes Satan.” Revelation 12 describes a war in heaven with Michael and his angels battling Satan and his angels. This mother of all wars ends with Satan and his angels being cast down to earth. Full of fury, and knowing his time is short, Satan attacks the people of God.
In this chapter, the Lord gives us insights into how believers are able to overcome Satan. I’m looking forward to sharing these vital truths with you this week. The only way we can really enjoy the blessings God gives us or the simple pleasures of life, is if we are equipped to win the biggest battles of life.