Sunday Preview

April 27, 2012

My message this Sunday from Revelation 2 is called “Overcoming the Fear of Suffering and Death.”

In 85 AD the church in Smyrna was facing extreme persecution from Roman emperor-worshipers and pagan idolaters. They had to make a difficult stand for their faith in the face of impending imprisonment. John had been put in boiling oil and then sent into exile himself. He understood what it meant to suffer for his faith.

Sometimes the Lord miraculously delivers people from suffering. Most of the time he strengthens, comforts and stands with us through times of suffering. Sane people do not like suffering. We try to avoid it when possible. However, we all make sacrifices and suffer to a certain extent for those we love and for the things we want to accomplish.

The Lord wants us free from the fear of death and suffering. Jesus stayed faithful in the face of suffering and death. He triumphed over these intimidating forces. We too can triumph when we see the Lord’s glory and trust in his grace. I’m hoping and praying that this message will help us to grow in wisdom and boldness as we see a fresh revelation of our Lord Jesus.

Sunday Preview

April 19, 2012

We are continuing our series on Revelation at Living Streams this weekend. My sermon Sunday is called, “Renewing our First Love” from Revelation 2.

Jesus appeared to the apostle John on the island of Patmos in great glory. He gave him specific messages for each of the seven churches in Asia. The Church in Ephesus was the first church to be addressed by the Lord. They were doing many things well, but they had one big problem: they were working really hard, but they had lost the love they had at the beginning.

Many married couples get so caught up in the work of shopping, cooking, cleaning, and providing for their children, that they lose the intimacy and the love that drew them together in the first place. The same thing can happen to believers and to churches as the years go on. This message from the Lord to the church in Ephesus is as relevant for us today as it was for them 2,000 years ago. Our lives get filled with a lot of things we feel are important, and we can easily forget about what is most important.

Jesus wants all believers to restore the love we have for God and each other. Serving him is not a matter of keeping rules and fulfilling responsibilities. The core of our relationship with the Lord is the love we share. He gives us permission and encouragement to focus on the things that allow love to blossom in our relationships. I hope this message will remove burdens and bring blessings to everyone who has ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.

We are starting a series on the book of Revelation this weekend at all of our weekend services, as well as for the youth group at Living Streams. Revelation is one of the most challenging and interesting books in the Bible. My sermon this Sunday is called, “Obedient to a Revelation,” from Revelation 1. I hope you will read ahead in Revelation as we teach through this book in the coming weeks. We won’t be “naming the Anti-Christ” in this series, but we will give you insights into how this Revelation applies in our lives today.

The Apostle John received this Revelation of Jesus Christ while he was in exile on the island of Patmos. He was imprisoned and suffering for his faithfulness to Jesus when the Lord appeared to him in an unexpected way. John was told by the Lord to write down the revelation he was about to receive and distribute it to the seven churches in Asia. John had no way to guarantee that the messages he wrote would even reach his intended audience. He was simply obedient to do what the Lord directed him to do. Over two thousand years later, believers all over the world are still being blessed because John was obedient to record and distribute what the Lord showed him.

Great things can happen in all of our lives if we are obedient to do what the Lord directs us to do. I’m hoping this series will prepare you to prosper in the ministry the Lord created you to fulfill.