UNShakable: Facing Death (sermon)

4-19-2015 sermon


UNShakable: Facing Illness (H White sermon)

5-24-15 sermon

Went over 5 names of God from the Old Testement.  For example, Jehovah Raah (Shepherd).

(For more (16) names see https://www.blueletterbible.org/study/misc/name_god.cfm )


Privileged Species

Excellent video showing discoveries of the 20th Century that show the universe is designed for human life. We are not accidents.

Features scientist Michael Denton


Believe, Belong, Become: Choice and Growth as a Christian

Believe, Belong, Become: Choice and Growth as a Christian

Presentation made for Wesley UMC Confirmation Class.  May 3, 2015. Macomb IL



John Calvin’s 4 Rules of Prayer

from http://www.ligonier.org/blog/john-calvins-rules-prayer/

John Calvin’s 4 Rules of Prayer

For John Calvin, prayer cannot be accomplished without discipline. He writes, “Unless we fix certain hours in the day for prayer, it easily slips from our memory.” He goes on to prescribe several rules to guide believers in offering effectual, fervent prayer.

1. The first rule is a heartfelt sense of reverence.

In prayer, we must be “disposed in mind and heart as befits those who enter conversation with God.” Our prayers should arise from “the bottom of our heart.” Calvin calls for a disciplined mind and heart, asserting that “the only persons who duly and properly gird themselves to pray are those who are so moved by God’s majesty that, freed from earthly cares and affections, they come to it.”

2. The second rule is a heartfelt sense of need and repentance.

We must “pray from a sincere sense of want and with penitence,” maintaining “the disposition of a beggar.” Calvin does not mean that believers should pray for every whim that arises in their hearts, but that they must pray penitently in accord with God’s will, keeping His glory in focus, yearning for every request “with sincere affection of heart, and at the same time desiring to obtain it from him.”

3. The third rule is a heartfelt sense of humility and trust in God.

True prayer requires that “we yield all confidence in ourselves and humbly plead for pardon,” trusting in God’s mercy alone for blessings both spiritual and temporal, always remembering that the smallest drop of faith is more powerful than unbelief. Any other approach to God will only promote pride, which will be lethal: “If we claim for ourselves anything, even the least bit,” we will be in grave danger of destroying ourselves in God’s presence.

4. The final rule is to have a heartfelt sense of confident hope.

The confidence that our prayers will be answered does not arise from ourselves, but through the Holy Spirit working in us. In believers’ lives, faith and hope conquer fear so that we are able to “ask in faith, nothing wavering” (James 1:6, KJV). This means that true prayer is confident of success, owing to Christ and the covenant, “for the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ seals the pact which God has concluded with us.” Believers thus approach God boldly and cheerfully because such “confidence is necessary in true invocation… which becomes the key that opens to us the gate of the kingdom of heaven.”

Overwhelming? Unattainable?

These rules may seem overwhelming—even unattainable—in the face of a holy, omniscient God. Calvin acknowledges that our prayers are fraught with weakness and failure. “No one has ever carried this out with the uprightness that was due,” he writes. But God tolerates “even our stammering and pardons our ignorance,” allowing us to gain familiarity with Him in prayer, though it be in “a babbling manner.” In short, we will never feel like worthy petitioners. Our checkered prayer life is often attacked by doubts, but such struggles show us our ongoing need for prayer itself as a “lifting up of the spirit” and continually drive us to Jesus Christ, who alone will “change the throne of dreadful glory into the throne of grace.” Calvin concludes that “Christ is the only way, and the one access, by which it is granted us to come to God.”

An excerpt from Joel Beeke’s contribution in John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, and Doxology.


It is no accident that this is reflected strongly in the Lord’s Prayer.

The Power of “Now”

5 great ideas from Tim Price. The first one I hope I can use: Replace the word “but” with now.

E.g., “You made a good effort on this, now let’s see if we can add fractions with the common denominator.”

This emphasizes the growth mindset (as apposed to the fixed mindset)



“Now” is a simple word.  But it can have so much power in our lives.  Here are five ways to allow this word to help you live stronger:


When you are helping a child grow in skill and experience, replace the word “but” with now.  Here’s an example:

Coach / Parent to a child: “You did a great job, but…[you didn’t do this or you need to do this or fill in the blank”

At the moment you insert “but” the child has forgotten everything you have said that was positive.  Try replacing “but” with “now.”

Coach / Parent to a child:  “You did a great job, now…[try this, add this, let’s see if you can, fill in the blank]”

You have just invited the child to accept the praise as you are adding in the helpful critique.  You’re helping to raise the child to a new level, a new bar.  You are critiquing and challenging at the same time.

This process works with adults as well.

“You are doing great work on this project, now I want to take a minute to show you the next step.”

It’s a wonderful word to bring about a positive change in people.


“Now” is very important in relationships.  When you are in the present, the here and now, you are fully engaged. As the old saying goes, “the past is history, tomorrow’s a mystery, but today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.”  A little trite, but so true.  One of the best gifts you can give in your relationships in “now.”  It will transform the way you interact with your team, your family, your coworkers, your spouse and in every aspect of life.   Trust is the foundation of a great relationship and when those closest to you can trust you to act now, then you will keep building on it.


Do you have a desire for something?  Is there something you’ve always wanted to do?  “Now” can help you transform your dream and vision into a reality.   Do something – today – that will move you closer to your dream.  Take a step right now – this very moment.  Make a decision.  Read something about where your dream might take you. Call and set up lessons or tutoring. Take a risk.  Exercise.  Eat better right now.  No matter how big your dream is, you can take one small step right now.  Acting on it now is powerful.


Personal growth and discipline doesn’t always come natural for us.  We typically have to be pretty determined to exercise, read, develop our gifts and stick with it.  Procrastination creeps up on us so slowly, at times we don’t realize it.  Want to grow in discipline – now is the time.  Thinking about sending a note, calling a person, cleaning your desk?  Do it now.  If you have time to think about it, you probably have time to start it.


The key to living a content life can be found in Philippians 4:12.  Paul writes that he has learned to be content in plenty and in want, rich or poor, hungry or well fed.  The summary: Paul is totally fine with the here and now no matter what it brings.  We must be grateful for what we have now and this brings us true contentment.   This isn’t always easy, which is why he writes verse 13 – but I can do this through Christ who gives me strength.

Now is a a very powerful little word. Utilize it.





4. POSE THE QUESTION (Pray – dialog)


Click to access the_5_p__s_of_bible_study.pdf

Good Conscience and Sincere Faith in Timothy

1 Timothy 1:5 Now the goal of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.

1 Timothy 1:18-19 18 Timothy, my son, I am giving you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies previously made about you, so that by them you may strongly engage in battle, 19 having faith and a good conscience.

1 Timothy 3:8-9 Deacons, likewise, should be worthy of respect, not hypocritical, not drinking a lot of wine, not greedy for money, 9 holding the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.

Within a week of each other – 50 Shades of Grey

Within a week of each other, in February 2015, the movie 50 Shades of Grey came out in theaters and 21 Christians we’re headed by terrorists.

It’s official*: All’s fair in love and war.  And people are choosing to do whatever they wish, including inhumanity acts.

(*We knew this already, but now we are really sure.)

People are exercising their God-given choice to have free will.

Larry Moore in SS said Christians need to do a better job of bringing people into the faith.

Carolyn Grove in the Learn-Grow-Serve meeting said Christians are too complacent.

Sadly, but accurately, the title, 50 Shades of Grey, describes how people see the world.  There is no black and white. No right and wrong. Everything is a shade of grey subject to situation ethics.