Church: Body

As I sat with our church’s youth group Wednesday evening, I was incredibly grateful to hear them (both the leaders and the students) talk about how the church is a family that builds one another up, not a building in which we gather. The church is a people, not a property. The church is a body of believers, not a building of bricks. Praise the Lord!

This truth is so important because we all need community. God created us to flourish in community, surrounded by family that will sharpen and strengthen us to be who God created us to be and to do what God created us to do. Thus, we regularly say, “Our church is our family.” We need one another, depend on one another, and grow best when we are faithfully serving one another.

On Sunday morning, Lord willing, I will be preaching through Hebrews 10:19-25 on how “The Church Is a Gift and a Necessity.” The message should be available HERE by Sunday evening. In the message, though, I hope to challenge my hearers to make sure their gospel response includes a corporate mindset. Indeed, the church is a gift and a necessity, and so our proper response to God and His Word includes a desire and commitment to be faithful to His church.

The church is the body of Christ – believers who covenant together to walk with Him and help others walk with Him. Jesus is the Head of the body, and we all serve and work together under His authority, seeking to honor and worship Him. If a church does not have a building, that church does not cease to be a body, just like a family without a home does not cease to be a family.

The health of a family is not based on the house in which they dwell, but rather on the bond of love in which they live. Likewise, the health of a church is not based on the building in which they gather (or the tree under which they gather) but rather on the Lord for whom they gather. As a church, if we truly seek to honor and serve Jesus, then we will love one another, serve one another, and seek to help others experience the incredible love of the gospel.

Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He ([Jesus]) who promised is faithful. And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:23-25).

I could spend hours talking and typing about this amazing passage of Scripture, as there are so many truths to ponder and applications for our lives. Please consider your relationship with your local church, though. Do you love Jesus? If so, you love His church and will set your priorities accordingly. If you do not love and prioritize your involvement in a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching, and Bible-following church, please examine your heart to see if you have truly surrendered your life to Jesus. He alone will give you that growing love and commitment, and you will never regret serving Him and His church. To God be the glory!

Before you can truly be committed to a local body of believers, you must be in a right relationship with the Head of the body. Learn more by checking out The Story.

In the Same Pool

Our family has been blessed by my mom’s generosity to get a pool a couple years ago and let us swim in it whenever we want. Since we only live 10 minutes from my mom’s house, our kids regularly request trips to Grandma Jo’s this time of year. The past few weeks have been – for me – that awkward time of year when swimming is appealing, but the water temperature is not quite up to my preferable temperature. The kids do not seem to mind, but I sure do. In fact, the kids were swimming a few weeks ago when the air temperature and pool temperature were both 66 degrees. That is not my idea of fun!

When the water is a little chilly, some of my kids just jump in, while some of them prefer the slower method of adaptation. Eventually, though, everyone is swimming and having a great time. Did the enjoyment for some of them start sooner? Sure. All of them ended up in the same place, though, as long as they all got in the same pool.

Is this not how it is for us in the Christian life, too? We might have our different struggles and hesitations, but as long as we are heading in the same direction to the same place (and get there), then we are part of the same family – the family of Jesus Christ.

For this reason, I really like confessions of faith like the Apostles’ Creed. To be a follower of Jesus, there are certain things you must believe. There are certain responses necessary to the truth of God’s Word (faith in Jesus Christ and repentance from your sins). Sure, you might get there slower than some and faster than others, but what matters is that you get there. When you do, you are no less part of the body of Christ than anyone else, regardless of the journey.

The kid who slowly got used to the water is no less in the water and used to the water than the kid who jumped in quicker and got used to it quicker.

Praise God for His grace! Apart from His Spirit working in our hearts and revealing the Truth to us, we would never “get in the pool.” When we do get in, though, by surrendering our lives to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, then we are in. We are in for good. He will never let us go.

On Sunday morning, Lord willing, I will be preaching from 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 on the important doctrine that “God Is Triune,” taking some time, too, to consider the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Hopefully, the message will be available HERE by Sunday evening.

Are you in the pool of Christian faith? If not, I want to invite you to jump in and experience the amazing mercy and grace of God through Jesus Christ and the fellowship of His Holy Spirit. Even if you are not ready to jump in, I would love to help you as you take your time to consider your response to the Word of God. Maybe you have some questions. Maybe you are struggling and need prayer. Either way, please let us know.

Just as my kids do not regret getting in the pool once they experience the family fun, no one regrets getting in the pool of the Christian life because they experience a relationship with Jesus and fellowship with His church. Praise the Lord!

If you want to learn more about what it means to know and follow Jesus, check out The Story.

Are You Ready for the Judge?

When I was a kid, I remember coming home from school and having a chore list on the kitchen counter. The chores included mostly simple things like sweeping out the garage, trimming the grass (with clippers), taking laundry off the clothes’ line, putting my clean clothes away, feeding and watering the dog, emptying the dishwasher, etc.

Typically, my dad was the one who wrote the chore list for my sisters and me, and usually, I did the chores I was asked to do. Why do you suppose that was so? Well, I did the chores for three primary reasons…

  1. I knew my dad would be coming home.
  2. I wanted to please my dad.
  3. I did not want to face the consequences of not having my chores done.

If the chores were ever done inadequately, you can believe I was told to do them again. Looking back, I realize such chores were good for me, but I never enjoyed seeing those chore lists. Still, I also never wanted my dad to come home before my chores were finished. I knew he was coming home, and I wanted to be prepared. And, the only way to be prepared was to do what I was told.

Likely, there are things in your life for which you prioritize being prepared. I would like to challenge you, though, to prioritize being prepared for the return of King Jesus as your greatest priority.

After Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead to win the victory over sin and death for all who call upon His name, He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. This is made clear in Luke 24:50-53 and Acts 1:1-11, along with the truth that He will come again to judge the living and the dead (see also 2 Timothy 4:1-2).

I wanted to be ready for the return of my dad by having my chores done. How much more do I want to be ready for the return of Jesus Christ our Lord, the Judge of the universe?! When it comes to being prepared for the Judge’s return, though, there is bad news, and there is good news.


The bad news is that we cannot possibly finish our chore list before Jesus returns (or before our life on this earth is finished). In other words, we cannot do enough to satisfy our perfect Lord and earn right standing with Him. Our sin (our failure to perfectly obey God’s Word and “finish our chore list”) makes us deserving of eternal death. Thus, we are simply unable to be adequately prepared for the Judge’s return. This is bad news for all of us!


Praise God, though, that there is good news. While we cannot possibly earn favor with God nor make ourselves prepared for the return of the Judge, we can be declared right with God and made prepared by trusting in Jesus’ sacrificial death and victorious resurrection. Do you realize how amazing it is that we can be declared righteous by the Only One who is righteous, and that declaration will never end?! Yes, that is the reality for all who surrender their lives to Jesus Christ.

Do not try to work your way to God and think you can “finish your chore list.” Jesus already did the work, and when you trust in Him, He will change your heart and life forever. Yes, the evidence will be a growing desire to obey His Word and work on those “chores,” but that desire will be because of what you have received not because of what you can earn.

On Sunday morning, Lord willing, I will be preaching through Luke 24:50-53 and challenging those who hear to really be changed by the truth about Jesus. The reason we are to respond rightly to Him is because of who He is, and the urgency of that response is because of what He is certain to do. The sermon will likely be available HERE by Sunday evening.

Will you trust Jesus to change you? Will you understand the urgency of that change not just for you but for everyone? Let us trust and follow Jesus and help others to trust and follow Jesus!

Learn more about the Good News by checking out The Story.

Comeback Stories Excite Us

Why do people tend to rally around comeback stories with such excitement? We celebrate victories over cancer and other diseases. Awards for “comeback player of the year” and “most improved player” exist. Records for comeback victories are praised. Athletes who overcome seemingly impossible odds to return to greatness are celebrated. We thank God and rejoice when people come back from a devastating accident.

Comeback stories excite us, and they should.

Life is full of ups and downs, so we can all relate (in some way or another) to a good comeback story. We all need comebacks at various points in our lives. In fact, I would argue that God made us for comebacks.

He desires that we come back to Him any time we sin and turn from His perfect plan for our lives. While His original design and perfection at creation did not require a comeback, the fall of humanity as recorded in Genesis 3 set the script for all of us and our need to be restored in our relationship with God. We all need a comeback. God put in us a desire for comebacks. His Holy Spirit calls sinners to the ultimate comeback in and through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

On Sunday morning, Lord willing, I will be preaching through Luke 24:1-12 on the greatest comeback of all, the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. While we all need comebacks in our earthly lives, there is no comeback we need more than Jesus coming back from death to life. Considering His resurrection, though, do you stop at simply recognizing the historical event, or do you respond in repentance, faith, and obedience to the Word of God?

My message “Jesus Lives” should be available Sunday evening HERE, but I want to challenge you to think deeply about the resurrection of Jesus and what it means for your life. How are you responding to what He did for you and what He accomplished for you?

Comeback stories excite us, and none should excite us more than the greatest comeback ever. Are you amazed and excited? Are you celebrating? Do your commitments and priorities prove your professed belief and excitement?

To God be the glory!

To embrace and experience the greatest comeback ever, please check out The Story and turn to Jesus today.

Never Enough

The cleaning never ends in our home. Likewise, the cleaning never ends in your home, right? There will always be messes to clean up, dust to wipe away, floors to mop, carpets to vacuum, dishes to wash, and disorder to organize. The work never ends.

I believe our kids are actually cleaner than most, and I would like to think that I am cleaner than the average man. Yet, it seems like Marsha is always cleaning. Of course, she is very clean and thorough (and I am grateful to God for her), but the cleaning never ends. Her efforts are never enough. She can dust the furniture on Tuesday, but new dust has appeared by Thursday. She can mop the floors on Thursday, but the kids leave their tracks on Friday.

Truly, house cleaning is merely a band-aid to cover the mess that is sure to return.

Similar, but with far greater consequences and devastation, are our attempts to clean up our lives. Our efforts will never suffice. Our sacrifices will never be enough. We can try and try (and even make things look good for a while), but the cursed stain of sin and resulting death have control over us – that is, unless they are taken away forever.

Praise God for His Son Jesus Christ – the Only One who can take away sin and death forever. He defeated sin and death when He died on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead for our justification. Do you believe? Have you trusted in His life, death, and resurrection for your salvation, surrendering your life to Him? Only then can the cursed stain of sin and resulting death be removed from your record for eternity.

Yes, we are all still sinners and continually in need of God’s grace, help, mercy, and forgiveness, but when you turn from your sins and trust Jesus alone to save you, your status is changed. Your eternity is secure. Your adoption as a child of God is official. Your life is made new.

On Sunday morning, Lord willing, I will be preaching through Hebrews 10:1-18 on the incredibly important truth that “Jesus Died for Our Sins.” The message will hopefully be available HERE on Sunday afternoon. The crucifixion of Jesus Christ is essential for our salvation, so we will explore this truth Sunday morning.

Do not trust in yourself for a clean heart and a clean life. Jesus alone makes us clean, and He alone enables us to endure to the end. Have you trusted in Him? Are you continually trusting in Him? If so, you will indeed work hard in the faith as if you needed to but not because you need to. Rather, because you have been made new. Praise be to God!

To understand and embrace the saving message of the gospel – the only message of salvation – please check out The Story and turn to Jesus.


Micah’s eighth birthday was April 3, and in typical family fashion, we just spent the day together as a family. Micah opened some gifts, we ate lunch at McDonald’s (per his request), we “shopped” around a little at Ozarkland, we flew a kite (one of Micah’s gifts), we worked together on another one of Micah’s gifts (a puzzle), and we had a great day together. I am grateful to the Lord for my family and the blessing of days like this!

Rock or Regret

Living in central Missouri, I hear a lot about foundation repair for local homes. Perhaps such repairs were common where I grew up in northern Iowa and southern Minnesota, but I do not recall hearing about them. Now, I hear people talk about such repairs often because foundation repair is a lucrative business here due to the combination of lots of clay and bedrock that is deeper than some homeowners are willing to go.

Of course, if home builders are willing and able to make sure they have a firm and solid foundation, they are much less likely to deal with the issues that so many homeowners face. Simply put, you either have a rock foundation, or you have regret, if not now, eventually.

This has always been the reality, and Jesus used this truth to teach an important life lesson in Luke 6:46-49. Building a house without a solid foundation is foolish and will result in structural devastation for the house. More importantly, living without the Solid Foundation – Jesus Christ our Lord – will result in eternal devastation for the individual.

Rock or regret. Jesus or destruction. Salvation or condemnation. Eternal life or eternal death. There is no middle ground and no third option. You either follow Jesus as Lord, or you have eternal destruction in your future.

On Sunday morning, Lord willing, I will be preaching through this important passage of Scripture and talking about how “Jesus Is the Foundation.” The sermon should be available Sunday afternoon HERE.

Jesus is Lord, but do you surrender to His authority and follow Him accordingly? Are you trusting in the Rock, or are you settling for eventual regret?

Also, are you helping others experience how great it is to have the solid foundation? Part of following Jesus is helping others follow Jesus. As He said in demanding our commitment and devotion, “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and don’t do the things I say?” (Luke 6:46).

Your words and actions will prove if your faith is sincere and if you have the solid rock foundation that will endure to the end. To God be the glory!

To know and experience the Solid Rock Foundation that will never let you down, check out The Story and turn to Jesus today.

Personal Application from Creation

The first part of the Apostles’ Creed says, “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.” Similarly, the first verse of the Bible says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

What is the personal application of this truth for your life, though? Why is what you believe about creation so important? Well, what you believe about creation says a lot about what you believe about the Creator – God, the Father Almighty. If you believe in the God of the Bible, then you believe in God the Creator. This, of course, is incredibly applicable and personal for you because of a few obvious reasons.


You did not simply come to be by chance. You were created. Yes, a father and mother were instrumental in that happening, but from where did they (and all those before them) come? The Bible is very clear (in Genesis 1 and 2 and beyond) that you and I come from Adam and Eve, the first people created by God and the pinnacle of God’s creation.

Furthermore, God continues to be the One in control of creation. David knew this well when, inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, he wrote in Psalm 139, “For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well” (verses 13-14). We can and should all pray such a prayer to the Lord Almighty, our Creator.

Because you are a created being by our Creator, creation and the Creator are personally applicable to you, no matter what you think or believe.

On Sunday morning, Lord willing, I will be preaching through John 1:1-18 and Genesis 1:1 on the incredible truth that “God Made Everything from Nothing.” The sermon will hopefully be available online HERE by Sunday evening. This amazing Creator made you, though, and that is personal. In fact, He desires a personal relationship with you.


I love how John 1 and Genesis 1 are so similar, and how John 1 really takes the creation account to the next level by applying it to our lives now and what we must do in response. You see, God loves you. He made you for His glory, and because of His love for you, He made a way for you to know Him personally. Do you? If you do not (or are unsure), please call on His name now.

The amazing application of creation for your life and the love God has for you is seen in and through His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. God sent Him to this world because of His love for you. There is no greater example of love than Jesus. Unfortunately (and then fortunately), though, “He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him. But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:11-12).

Praise God! He loves you so much that you can be counted as one of His children if you simply trust in His Son. You can have eternal life if you believe in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for your salvation.

You were created, and you are loved. God proved it through Jesus.


Because of God’s incredible love for you in Christ Jesus, you have purpose. Above all else, your purpose is to know your Creator and help others to know the Creator. He is, after all, the One who knows you best and knows best what you need. Apart from knowing and walking with Him, you will never be fulfilled. The better you know and walk with Him, though, the more joy and fulfillment you will have.

God created you and loves you, and you have purpose.

I want to challenge and encourage you, then, to seek Him with all your heart by studying His Word – the Bible – each day, crying out to Him in prayer, and asking for His help to live according to His Word. By His grace and the power of His Spirit, He will enable you to do so, and no one who does ever lives to regret it. To God be the glory!

To understand the amazing love God has for you and how you must respond, check out The Story.

Good because We’re Bad

Today is Good Friday because we are bad, and our bad is covered by the Only One who is truly good. For everyone who trusts in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection for salvation, his or her sins are forgiven. Thus, the Friday that involved the most horrific thing that has ever happened is remembered and celebrated as good. The day the perfect Son of God died a shameful, despicable, horrifying, excruciating, and humiliating death on a slave-criminal’s cross is the day we remember as Good Friday.

And, praise God because it was indeed a good day, a great day. This is true because of God’s glory and our good. God planned this event before the foundation of the world (see Acts 4:23-30; Ephesians 1:3-14; 1 Peter 1:20-21), and He gets the credit and the glory. He planned it, of course, for our good, too. “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). That salvation is only possible because of the death of Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins and His resurrection from the dead for our eternal victory (if you trust in Jesus alone). Praise the Lord!

On Resurrection Sunday morning, Lord willing, I will be starting a new sermon series on The Creed: What We Believe. For the first message, I will preach through 2 Timothy 3:10-17 on the reality that “The Creed Comes from the Bible.” Hopefully, it will be available HERE by Sunday evening.

Thinking about Good Friday and Easter Sunday, though, why do we believe what we believe? Ultimately, we believe what we believe because we trust the source – God’s Word. Similarly, we believe because of the affirmation of that source that has stood the test of time. That affirmation comes, in part, from confessions like the Apostles’ Creed, which is likely the oldest confession of faith in Christendom. For centuries, Christians have held to this creed as the basics of the Christian faith. It has been, for many across Bible-believing denominations, the answer to the question, “What must one believe in order to be a Christian?”


I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church*,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

*meaning the universal Christian church—all believers in Jesus Christ

Good Friday is good because we are bad and needed a good, perfect Savior to suffer and die for our sins. Good Friday is good, too, because things did not end on that day, but rather victory was won on the third day – the day Jesus rose from the dead.

On Resurrection Sunday morning, I hope to challenge my hearers to commit to know and grow in the foundational truths of God’s Word. Are you seeking to know and follow God according to His Word? Have you embraced the truth of the gospel, which is clear in the Bible and declared in the Apostles’ Creed? Let us prioritize our relationship with God in such a way that we point others to Him through our actions and words. To God be the glory!

To understand the gospel message and respond as God calls, please check out The Story.

When Miracles Happen (and When They Don’t)

If you read through the book of Acts (and through the rest of the Bible), you will see that sometimes miracles happened and sometimes they did not. If you look at the world today, you will see that sometimes miracles happen, and sometimes they do not.

Why are the miracles we long for sometimes a reality, while at other times they are not? The quick and easy answer to that question is that God has a plan and a purpose that is far beyond what we can comprehend in this life. He is in control and at work in a way that is sometimes clear and sometimes not as clear.

What do we do in response to miracles, then? What do we do in response to a lack of miracles? In both cases, I believe we are to follow Jesus and help others to follow Jesus. Miracles are to point people to Him. Difficulty is also to point people to Him (to help us see our need to depend on Him).

If we only follow Jesus when all is well, then where can we turn when the hard times come, which they have and/or will for all of us in this life? If we only turn to Jesus when times are difficult, then who gets the credit when things are good?

On Sunday morning, Lord willing, I will be preaching through Acts 8:4-25 on “Miracles for Purpose” (the message should be available HERE Sunday afternoon). In this message, I hope to challenge my hearers to embrace the purpose of God’s miraculous provision and respond rightly when miracles happen and when miracles do not happen.

Responding rightly is trusting God in faith and walking with Him in obedience to His Word. Responding rightly is following Jesus and helping others to follow Jesus, in the good times and in the difficult times.

The greatest of all miracles is one we can all experience – a changed heart and a changed life (restored by, with, and for God) for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord. Only then will you find the purpose and meaning you were created to have. Only then will you embrace the purpose of God’s miraculous provision. To God be the glory!

To experience the greatest of miracles and embrace God’s plan and purpose for your life, check out The Story and follow Jesus today.