Bob Dylan once famously sang, “The times they are a-changin'.” The experiences of the last year may have left you feeling empty. These past few months remind us that sin is ugly. It wreaks havoc in our lives. There is only one answer, only one Savior who can provide meaning and hope to the seeming hopelessness of life. That’s Jesus—who walked out of his own grave on Resurrection Sunday, the victor over sin and death. Jesus is the answer to our struggle and the solution to the emptiness we feel.
How can a floating pulpit, a Rabbi, a miraculous fishing experience, and a terrified fisherman provide some answers for our emptiness?
Empty Sermon Series - Week 1 of 4 - 3.21.21
Jesus is called a ‘friend of sinners,’ by the Pharisees which was intended to be an insult, but nothing could be further from the truth. In many ways, the Bible is a story of friendship. There is friendship within the Godhead between Father, Son, and Spirit. God befriends Adam and Eve in the garden, but sin broke the friendship. As God’s revelation continues, people stay distant, and friendship with God repeatedly fails because of sin. Jesus came to restore our friendship with God.
What kind of a friend is Jesus? On the night when betrayal would be exposed, and those closest to him would abandon him, he called them friends. During the most intense suffering and pain, when Jesus had every right to lash out, he suffered for them. Jesus would demonstrate the greatest love for others as he laid down his life on the cross for his friends.
Is it possible to have a friend who knows you better than anyone, even better than you know yourself? A friend knowing everything about you, still loving you, and even liking you? Could you have a friend who would transform you to become a better friend to others? Yes. His name is Jesus. He is a friend of sinners. It seems complicated, but Jesus changes everything.
It's Complicated Sermon Series - Week 4 of 5 - 3.07.21
“To the Ancients, friendship seemed the happiest and most fully human of all loves; the crown of life and the school of virtue. The modern world, in comparison, ignores it.” – C. S. Lewis
Is this true? Are we ignoring friendship? Have we forgotten what friendship is all together? One study shows that in 1985 the average American had about three friends, defined as people whom we can confide in, people with whom we share the most important things in life. But by 2004, just nineteen years later, the average American only had two close friends, and one in four had no one this close at all. What efforts need to be made to recover friendship?
We are made for friendships, but It’s Complicated. Sin has corrupted our friendships. To be a sinner means living with the regular possibility that our friendships will suffer from our (and others’) selfishness, inattention, busyness, anger, pride, self-righteousness, fear, and laziness. Sin may do real and regular damage to our friendships, but our love for Christ and each other means we continually seek repair.
Only when we’re made whole in Christ can we enjoy genuinely healthy friendships with others because only then will we desire to give love as much as we want to receive it since we’ve already been satisfied by the God who created love. It’s Complicated, but Jesus changes everything.
It's Complicated Sermon Series - Week 3 - Friendships - 2.28.21
When a baby is born, the world stops and changes. Schedules are altered. Focus is redirected. Sleep is forfeited. God's kindness is on display. Children are a blessing from the Lord. Learning to eat, crawl, talk, and go potty seems to be the order of the day. Kids change so quickly. Preschool arrives as the world gets bigger and is filled with wonder. The question, "Why?" seems to repeat like a one-hit-wonder. The elementary years change everything as the world gets scheduled, and now our little ones have obligations and homework. However, about the time we decide we have things figured out, middle school hits, and our children realize that the world is broken and every day become s a new battle. Friends begin to have more influence, and we start to wonder what happened to our kids. Faith is changing, and questions begin to arise, and by the time high school arrives, these adults in training want control over everything as they prepare to leave the nest.
In God's kindness, he has made the home a sanctifying community as our sin is exposed by the closeness we share. We battle our hearts and fight with each other. We learn about grace and see how time flies. The gospel's truth is transferred through relationships, and the home is intended to be a place of teaching and instruction. Relationships between parents and kids are complicated, but Jesus makes them better.
It's Complicated Sermon Series - Week 2 - 2.21.21
We are made for relationships, but It’s Complicated, and after a year like 2020, our relationships are showing wear. Sin has corrupted our relationships. To be a sinner means living with the regular possibility that our relationships will suffer from our (and others’) selfishness, inattention, busyness, anger, pride, self-righteousness, fear, and laziness. It’s not simply that our relationships break: it’s that we routinely do the breaking. This may not be the world we want, but it’s the world we have.
The reality that relationships are complicated does not mean resigning ourselves or giving up. Jesus told his disciples just hours before his betrayal and arrest that he was building a new community identified by their love for one another (John 13:35). Sin may do real and regular damage to our relationships, but our love for Christ and each other means we keep working. Only when we’re made whole in Christ can we enjoy genuinely healthy relationships with others because only then will we desire to give love as much as we want to receive it since we’ve already been satisfied by the God who created love. Yes, It’s Complicated, but Jesus changes everything.
It's Complicated Sermon Series - Week 1 - 2.14.21
What's Next has been a series that is a parable of the Christian life. Jesus comes to save us from the slavery of sin, and as his grace transforms us, we are very different from the person we were in the wilderness. In obedience, we pass through the waters of baptism to obey God and declare our love and trust in him to the world. We daily work to fix our eyes and Jesus as we rest in our Passover lamb and share his life by the Spirit. However, when the battle seems impossible, we must remember that nothing and no one can stand before the Commander of the heavenly host. The victory is his and ours! Keep trusting. Keep worshipping. Keep obeying. Keep the faith. Step Out in confidence.
What's Next Sermon Series: Step Out - February 7, 2021
Waiting. Patience may be a virtue, but it feels more like a pain. It seems that the world has been on hold because of COVID. People talk about getting back to normal while words like postponed, canceled, and everyday activities are unrecognizable. Joshua and the children of Israel have just spent forty years in the wilderness wandering. The land promised to Abraham must have felt more like a vanishing dream than a divine covenant soon to be fulfilled. What are you supposed to do when the river is at flood stage, and there’s no way to cross? What’s the way forward? What’s Next? Step In.
What's Next Sermon Series - Week 2 of 4 - January 24, 2021
On May 19, 2014, US Navy Admiral, William H. McRaven, gave a commencement speech at the University of Texas, often referred to as the “Make Your Bed” speech. He said, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” This decorated officer has seen a lot, but he knows the importance of doing the little things like making your bed before changing the world for generations to come.
Uncertainty. Loneliness. Perhaps fear. Joshua has been commanded to be courageous, but he knows that he is too small for his given task. The test of faith has come to Joshua. God will test us for our good, but the enemy tempts us for our destruction. Joshua has received God’s word. God had given Joshua his promise to be with him to take the land, and he could approach it with confidence, but how God would accomplish the task were not to be presumed and would be given along the way. What should he do? Joshua believed God and began his planning.
The decision to send spies was the standard operating procedure. Details about Jericho would help plan a battle strategy and attack. Joshua does not yet know that God is preparing to act on behalf of his people miraculously. God works typically through ’natural’ means, but he may do the miraculous. Joshua does not yet understand what God has been doing and what he is about to do. Joshua believed God and began planning and praying, and although the plan didn’t work perfectly, it confirmed that he was working to keep his promise.
Joshua does not know that God is about to deliver Jericho into the hands of his people in a miraculous way, but he knows that prayer and provisions are both needed. What about us? The world seems crazy right now. What will happen during the inauguration later this week? What about the vaccine? Yes, these things have massive implications and could change the course of history, but what about the small things? What about the ordinary means of grace and the simple things we know to do? What about standard operating procedures for Christians? When we face times of uncertainty and change, we need to remember God’s promises and rely on his presence. Nothing is impossible for God, but his primary focus is his glory, not our comfort. What should you do when you are faced with uncertainty, anxiety, or fear? What’s Next? Just One Step… Faith.
James 4:13-17 says: Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
Join us as Co-Pastor Sam Shaw walks us through three mistakes to avoid when planning for an uncertain future.
December 27, 2020
For many of us, this is not exactly what we expected for Christmas Eve. Being forced to gather online in our homes is not how many of us would have planned it. But as Luke, Chapter 2 shows us, sometimes plans can change. Join us for a Christmas Eve Message from Pastor John about how God often breaks through when plans change and in unexpected ways.
Christmas Eve. 2020
Peace? What is peace? It usually depends on who you ask… To those at war, it is a ceasefire. To those with hectic lives, it is calm and still. For those with anxiety or depression, it is inner tranquility. To the parent of small children, it is a moment of quiet. To those in complicated relationships, it is a lack of conflict, whether internal or external. A lack of peace affects individuals, families, communities, and nations. People can try to manufacture peace or fake peace by pretending not to care or that everything is fine, not realizing that any peace we produce is fragile.
Jesus came on a peace mission to save sinners, so He entered the conflict as a baby. The first Christmas was not a peaceful experience. Mary and Joseph's lives were turned upside down. The shepherds' night was interrupted by a terrifying experience. Born probably in a cave, our Lord Himself would spend His early days as a refugee from the bloodthirsty and vindictive madman. Advent is about the Prince of Peace and his peace mission.
Advent 2020: Peace Sermon Series - 12.20.20
he peace we are looking at is not subjective, inner calm in one’s spirit, those who never engage in disagreement, or a compromising spirit. The biblical concept of peace is different. It is not merely the lack of conflict, hostility, or Wherever Jesus goes, he brings peace. He is the Prince of Peace. When he was born and came to earth, the angels cried, “Peace on earth.” Peace was the farewell gift he left to his disciples. The greatest “peace” Jesus achieved for us is that He took away the enmity between us and God by His death on the cross.
Charlie Chaplin said, “I am at peace with God. My conflict is with man.”
The world seems to grow more hostile everyday. We live in an age of individual, ethnic, political and national aggression. Anger and frustration harness enormous energy and they want results fast. We live in a broken world marred by sin, but the command to live peaceably is meant, not for an ideal environment, but for this sinful world, a world inhabited by people like us.
As Christians, we can have peace with God because of Jesus and then actively work to bring about peace and reconciliation where there is hatred and enmity. Peacemakers are not primarily concerned with themselves, their rights, or what others think. Peacemakers are recognized as members of God’s family. How can we pursue peace in a world gone mad?
Advent 2020: Peace Sermon Series - 12.13.20
“The first great and primary business . . . every day was to have my soul happy in the Lord.” –George Mueller
Is it possible to be at peace with yourself? Our hearts and minds are under siege with a global pandemic, quarantines, closures, lost jobs, financial hardships, social unrest, and general uncertainty. Everyone seems to be struggling with something heavy right now. Mentally and emotionally we are a powder keg just waiting for the spark and, as the fuse burns, we could explode at any moment.
Peace is a spiritual issue, but there are accompanying physical signs when it comes to anxiety as well: unusual mood swings, irritability, anger, sweating, rapid heartbeat, chest pain, exhaustion, nervous twitching, decreased concentration and memory, nausea, shortness of breath, hair loss, weight gain or loss, panic, indecisiveness, canker sores, muscle tension, insomnia, and high blood pressure to name a few. The struggle is real.
What should we do about anxiety? God gifts us with a guardian and an antidote for anxiety.
Advent 2020: Peace Sermon Series - 12.06.20
Peace? What is peace? It usually depends on who you ask… To those at war, it is a ceasefire. To those with hectic lives, it is calm and still. For those with anxiety or depression, it is inner tranquility. To the parent of small children, it is a moment of quiet. To those in complicated relationships, it is a lack of conflict, whether internal or external. For some, it can be a greeting or signoff, but few things are more fragile than peace.
A lack of peace affects individuals, families, communities, and nations. Marriages fill with strife. Parents and children argue. We may lack peace within ourselves. We may be unsettled, uncertain, conflicted. One moment we are angry. The next, we are sad. Then all of a sudden, we are happy—without understanding why we felt those things. People can try to manufacture peace or fake peace by pretending not to care or that everything is fine, not realizing that any peace we produce is fragile. False peace can be destroyed instantly by failure, doubt, fear, difficulty, guilt, shame, distress, regret, sorrow, or anxiety about the future, relationships, and possessions.
The biblical concept of peace is different. It is not merely the lack of conflict, hostility, or Wherever Jesus goes, he brings peace. He is the Prince of Peace. When he was born and came to earth, the angels cried, “Peace on earth.” Peace was the farewell gift he left to his disciples. The greatest “peace” Jesus achieved for us is that He took away the enmity between us and God by His death on the cross.
Advent 2020: Peace - 11.29.20
The cross, is the most recognized symbol in the world. It is roughly analogous to an electric chair. How strange is it that a cross became the symbol of Christianity? Join us as Co-Pastor Sam Shaw walks us through Mark 15:1-32, and sheds light on the King and His cross.
The Gospel According to Mark - The Servant King - 11.15.20
Co-Pastor Sam Shaw makes a passionate plea to avoid the dangers of a wasted life, calling us to do what we can, to do all we can, and to do it while we can for Jesus.
The Gospel According to Mark - The Servant King - 11.08.20
There is nothing quite like a closely contested game at the end, and if one of your favorite teams is involved, it can be exhausting. The running joke in our house includes the effects of the game on hearing, and no one can even begin to fathom how long a game will last with less than two minutes on the clock. We obsess over the details, strategizing around personnel, the clock, and game management. Our voices get louder, and everything takes on more weight in the hopes that our team will be victorious. Some days we experience the thrill of victory, and other days, the agony of defeat.
The clock is ticking as the most significant event in human history nears. Jesus is hours away from giving his life and rising from the dead. The disciples seem to be utterly oblivious to what is taking place around them. Coming out of the seemingly endless conflict in the temple complex, one of the disciples takes a moment to wonder at what for them was the height of human achievement, the religious center of Israel, and the great symbol of what it meant to be Jewish. They had no idea that one comment about the temple complex's beauty would release an unsettling and unthinkable reality. Jesus provides a prophetic glimpse of things to come, which raises more questions and devastates the disciples. The Gospel According to Mark - The Servant King - 11.01.20
Jesus answers the questions from the intellectual and religious elite publicly while the crowds look on and listen with great delight. The Chief Priests, scribes, Pharisees, Herodians, and Sadducees have all asked their questions and have been publicly humiliated. Jesus is on their turf answering questions at the religious center of Israel. This thirty-something-year-old itinerate rabbi who didn't attend the right schools is schooling the Jewish leaders.
A scribe who seems impressed has one more question, but his approach is very different from the previous attempts to publicly humiliate Jesus. It has been a day for questions, but Jesus is about to turn the tables and ask the question of the day. The question Jesus asks will raise the stakes and then He will follow it with a full-scale verbal assault against the current religious authorities. The conflict continues to escalate. The cross is three days away and a moment of truth has arrived. Religion can’t save you, the Messiah is not what you expect, and the heart is the most important thing when it comes to following Jesus.
The Gospel According to Mark - The Servant King - 10.25.20
Jesus stuns the Pharisees and Herodians with his answer to the questions about politics and taxes, but the parade of opponents continues as the Sadducees confront him. The Sadducees were the wealthy aristocracy associated with the priesthood, and they wielded significant political and temple influence. They dominated the Sanhedrin (Acts 5:17) and were sympathetic to Hellenism, the Herods, and Rome. Politically, they were very liberal and were happy to cooperate with the Roman occupation authorities to preserve their favored position. Theologically, they only considered the books of Moses as authoritative, did not believe in angels and demons (Acts 23:8), and that at death, the soul perished along with the body. For the Sadducees, there was no resurrection, so there were no future rewards or punishments.
Undeterred by what had just taken place, they take their shot at this upstart rabbi from Nazareth. The fuse is lit on a theological conundrum as they toss it to Jesus in the hopes that he will be embarrassed and publicly humiliated. These Sadducees present an absurd scenario meant to show the foolishness of believing in a future resurrection, and just when they think they have Jesus cornered...
The Gospel According to Mark Sermon Series - The Servant King - 10.18.20
Martin Luther once said, “If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at the moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved. And to be steady on all the battle fields besides is merely flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”
At The Orchard Church, we believe that faith is profoundly personal, but not private. To follow Jesus means he will shape every area of our lives. And every passage of scripture can have deep political, social, and personal ramifications. So we do not want to flinch or shy away from one of the most divisive and disruptive topics of our time: politics.
Co-Pastor Sam Shaw walks us through Mark 12:13-17 and details what Jesus says about politics.
The Gospel According to Mark - The Servant King Sermon Series - 10.11.20
The church seems to have fallen on hard times. According to a recent Barna report, one in five churches will close over the next eighteen months. To some professing Christians, the church appears to be unnecessary and unimportant. Is the church moving toward obsolescence?
1 Timothy 3:14-16 reminds us that the church matters to God. God has given His people the privilege and responsibility of living in such a way that people can see the gospel at work while upholding its truth.
The Dearest Place on Earth Sermon Series - Week 5 of 5 - 9.27.20
Pastor Sam walks us through Acts 20:28-31 and 1 Peter 5:1-7, showing us that God’s word refers to the church as a flock of sheep and leaders in the church as Shepherds.
The Dearest Place on Earth Sermon Series - Week 4 of 5 - 9.20.20
Give yourself to the church. You that are members of the church have not found it perfect, and I hope that you feel almost glad that you have not. If I had never joined a church till I had found one that was perfect, I should never have joined one at all; and the moment I did join it, if I had found one, I should have spoiled it, for it would not have been a perfect church after I had become a member of it. Still, imperfect as it is, it is the dearest place on earth to us.
The church is not an institution for perfect people; but a sanctuary for sinners saved by grace, who, though they are saved, are sinners still, and need all the help they can derive from the sympathy and guidance of their fellow believers. The church is the nursery for God’s weak children, where they are nourished and grow strong. It is the fold for Christ’s sheep; the home for Christ’s family. –C.H. Spurgeon
God designed us for community and everyone is looking for a place to belong. We label ourselves using sports, political parties, movements, ethnicities, economics, jobs, and even our beliefs about COVID and schools. However, there is something special about being family that remains. Sports teams, fraternities, sororities, the military, and civil servants all refer to one another calling them brothers and sisters. In Christ, we find a different kind of community. For the church, our identity is not based on race, class, gender, or life situation. Our identity is found in Christ. We belong to Jesus above every other affiliation.
Pastor Sam introduces a new 5-week series on the church called: The Dearest Place on Earth. As imperfect as it is, the church is the dearest place on earth to us.
The Dearest Place on Earth - Week 1 - August 30, 2020
We’ve been walking through the Gospel of Mark and we’ve reached a turning point and now we have entered the week of passion. As Pastor Sam told us last week, Jesus has made his triumphant entry. Messianic hopes are at a fever pitch. This is a buzz that is so much bigger than any election. This is hope that the Jewish people might be rescued from Roman tyranny. This is the idea that there is a messianic King in the line of David, which is why they would say, 'Hosanna', and that 'He would come on the throne of our father David. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'
People are beginning to wonder. Could this rabbi from Nazareth- Is it possible for him to be the Messiah? Is it possible that this is gonna change everything? They wanted a king but they were looking for a different kind of king.
The Gospel According to Mark Sermon Series - The Misunderstood King - August 23, 2020
In Mark 11:1-19 we see Jesus as Prophet, Priest, & King. As a Prophet, he is a truth-teller. We are called to listen to him. As a Priest, he opens the way to God for us. We are called to trust him. As a King, he loves us and intends to rule over us.
The Gospel According to Mark Sermon Series - The Misunderstood King - August 16, 2020
We use faith in many ways, and it can be confusing. We say.“just have faith,” or “have faith in your leaders,” What do we mean?
We speak of faith-based programs or faith-based projects. We may even give the impression that every religion has an equal claim on the truth - if people just have faith. When we turn to the Bible, we discover faith - the faith that saves and heals - is trusting a particular person.
The story of Jesus healing a blind beggar’s eyes gives us a clear picture of what faith looks like, and what it does.
The Gospel According to Mark Sermon Series - The Misunderstood King - August 09, 2020
In 1987, the band U2 released an album called The Joshua Tree. One of the songs is "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For." Bono calls it, "a gospel song with a restless spirit." The lyrics speak of trying to find satisfaction and salvation in all kinds of different experiences, but the conclusion is that the search continues because something is still missing. People are looking to find peace for the restless soul. Augustine wisely states that our hearts are restless until they find rest in God through Jesus. The search usually includes religion, relationships, or release, but the search can only reveal that we still haven't found what we're looking for.
Jesus is confronted by a wealthy man of influence who seems to have the same question asked by U2, "How do I know if I have eternal life?" This encounter reveals the desperation and the realization that being a disciple of Jesus Christ means finding life also means losing everything. Most people are looking to feel better with no cost, and the primary aim seems to be comfort. We may find some temporary relief for our souls through wealth, power, popularity, or religion, but unless we surrender to Jesus, the song remains, "but I still haven't found what I'm looking for..."
The Gospel According to Mark - The Misunderstood King Sermon Series - August 02, 2020
In Mark 10:13-16, Jesus shows us that the Kingdom of God is for the weak, the broken, and the unimportant. If true compassion equals action, then it begs us all to ask the question, "What will I do to help bring others to Jesus?".
The Gospel According to Mark Sermon Series - The Misunderstood King - July 26, 2020
As a Christian, the Gospel changes how we think about everything in life. In Mark 10:1-12, Jesus warns about the hardened heart. A hardened heart can keep us from seeing and living out the true gospel of Jesus, ultimately leading to grief, anger, bitterness, pain, and sometimes even divorce.
The Gospel of Mark Sermon Series - The Misunderstood King - July 19, 2020
Have you ever been in a place where someone said something so shocking that the whole room went silent and people couldn’t decide how to feel? Not just an awkward silence, but a stunned hush. Words so strong and offensive that it was difficult to wrap your head around what was said and there was no way to take the sting out of it. Direct, uncomfortable, and in your face.
Jesus is a Misunderstood King. Even today we find many who will speak positively about Jesus, but they don’t want to hear talk of sin and hell. Following Jesus is sometimes reduced to good intentions, religious activity, and just being nice.These ideas are out of step with Jesus and his gospel. If anyone wants to followJesus, they must be willing to die to themselves daily and practice self-denial.Nothing is better than entering eternal life and the kingdom of God, but nothing could be worse than choosing sin and self over following Jesus. Sin is so serious that Jesus is about to say some things that will oppose the very idea of comfortable Christianity because souls are in danger. The Gospel According to Mark - The Misunderstood King - July 12, 2020
There are all kinds of people in the world. We're all different. We all have different interests. But there's one interest that we all have in common. In fact, everyone struggles with it... Call it self-interest, but it's the "me-first" mindset. This is the mindset that forces every action and every decision to ask one question: "What will this do for me?" Join us today as Pastor Sam Shaw looks at four different passages and shows how the Son of God himself confronted and dealt with the "me-first" mindset.
The Gospel According to Mark - The Misunderstood King - July 05, 2020
The struggle is real. The world around us seems to be devolving into absolute chaos and on the brink of consuming itself in disease, violence, and pain. Many are facing mental, emotional, physical, relational, and financial difficulties. The brave front you show others has been overrun by the horde of despair and unbelief. For some, the pain inside is so intense that surviving another day raises dark questions that we dare not admit. Have you ever been to the edge or reached the bottom? Are you there now? Does your life feel like you have been underwater too long with lungs ready to burst or give up if you don’t get some relief?
This text reminds us that life is not always a mountaintop experience. The valleys are always waiting with difficulty, confusion, arguing, and doubt. Jesus explained his purpose, but it was not well received. He explained that following this Misunderstood King means taking up a cross. However, the disciples, like most of us, begin to doubt when life is hard. They are joined by a despondent dad who is losing what little hope he had in light of over-confident disciples and a suffering child.
The Gospel of Mark Sermon Series - The Misunderstood King - June 28, 2020
The disciples had a problem, and it might be the same type of problem many of us have: They underestimated who Jesus was. And because of that, it shaped the way they thought, the way they acted, and the way they lived. Jesus chose twelve men, and he trained them to pick up the work of the Kingdom, and he did it in two ways. He exposed them to situations that were beyond their strength or wisdom or courage and would require more resources than they had. Then he would display his glory and resolve the situation, to teach them that he was enough. But they never seemed to grasp it.
When they should have had peace, they had fear. When they should have had faith, they had doubts. Or to put it a different way, they had a glory problem. Other glories had captured their hearts. And those glories can never quite fill us. They underestimated the glory of Jesus. So, he is going to create a situation where his glory is going to be revealed and their lives will never quite be the same after this experience. The Gospel of
Mark Sermon Series - The Misunderstood King - June 21, 2020 - Happy Father's Day!
Today we are going to look at a condition or occupational hazard, as Pastor Sam calls it, that every Christian faces. It doesn’t matter your age, your ethnicity, whether your a man or a woman, a young Christian, or mature Christian, you will face this occupational hazard. It goes by many names, but it is the root cause of things like fear, bitterness, worry, lust, greed, selfishness, and hatred. This root springs forth many nocuous weeds. Jesus addresses it. He names it. He warns against it. And he tells what to do about it in Mark Chapter 8.
The Gospel According to Mark - The Misunderstood King Sermon Series - June 7, 2020
Jesus was misunderstood by his disciples, and after a heated episode with the Pharisees over what makes one ceremonially clean, he withdraws to an unexpected place. The region of Phoenicia was gentile and pagan, so going into the area of Tyre and Sidon was an attempt to go somewhere a little less conspicuous while providing some privacy. However, Mark tells us that he could not be hidden, and the crowds keep coming. Jesus travels through Sidon, and the crowds keep coming as Jesus engages these unclean people. The text today reveals an encounter Jesus had with a man who could not hear and was incapable of verbal communication. Contrary to the religious and social norms of Jewish leaders, no one is too unclean for Jesus, and it’s astonishing. This Misunderstood King does all things well.
The Gospel According to Mark - The Misunderstood King - Week 7 - 05.31.20
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a list of disinfectants to protect against the coronavirus spread. According to the EPA, products on the list have "qualified for use against COVID-19" through the agency's Emerging Viral Pathogen program where manufacturers provide the EPA with data that "shows their products are effective against harder-to-kill viruses."
Our text today helps us understand how to be made clean before God. Many struggle with the sense that they will never be able to do enough to be clean before God, and that is a legitimate fear. Religion and legalism only frustrate; they can never save. Do you struggle with feeling like you will never be good enough for God? Is it really possible to be loved and accepted by Jesus? Even after all our struggles and failures? Jesus is A Misunderstood King, and as we will see today, His Gospel is often misunderstood as well.
The Gospel According to Mark Sermon Series - The Misunderstood King - Week 6 - 05.24.20
Messianic hopes are reaching fever pitch. Jesus, the compassionate shepherd, has miraculously satisfied thousands with food, and the people are beginning to think about this Rabbi from Nazareth in terms of politics and power. This text will be familiar to many, but if we are not careful, we may miss something beyond the miracle of walking on water. This text reveals so much more than just a miracle, and Mark directs us to a self-conscious theophany by Jesus himself. There are many truths contained in this rich passage, as well as pain points and struggles we all face. Glory is revealed. Compassion continues. But confusion still surrounds the Misunderstood King. Could it be that we still misunderstand Jesus today?
The Gospel According to Mark Sermon Series - The Misunderstood King - Week 5 - 5.17.20
There are only two times recorded in the New Testament where Jesus is impressed by faith. One is a Roman centurion who trusted Jesus to heal his servant without coming to the house, and the other is the miracle recorded in Mark, Chapter 7:24:30, where a Gentile woman begged Jesus to heal her daughter. Everything in the story of the woman seemed like it was against her. The disciples were against her. Satan was against her. It seemed Jesus was against her. She was not of the chosen race. Her gender was against her. Her ethnicity was against her. She knows, according to the standards of the day, she is unclean, and disqualified to approach Jesus.
The one thing she had going for her, was her faith. Jesus said to her, "woman, your faith is great" because she persisted in asking and trusting when everything seemed to be against her.
The Gospel According to Mark Sermon Series - The Misunderstood King - Week 4 - 05.10.20
What in your life appears impossible? What keeps you awake at night?
Why did Jesus ask his disciples to feed five thousand men, with wives and kids, with just the food for a little boy? This sounds impossible, but nothing about this is unusual with Jesus. Jesus regularly calls people to tackle impossible tasks with incredibly limited resources. Throughout the gospels, Jesus did not hesitate to tell people to do what they could not do: He told a crippled man to stand up and walk. He told a girl who was dead to wake up. Yet, a crippled man stands and the dead come to life. Miracles happen.
Following Jesus is a life of impossible commands. hopeless situations, and God doing what seems impossible. What miracle do you need in your life today? Ask God. He is waiting to hear from you.
The Gospel According to Mark Sermon Series - 05.03.20
This text from the Gospel of Mark contains everything needed to write a script for an over the top melodrama. Political intrigue, family scandal, marital infidelity, malice, opulence, wrongful imprisonment, outrageous behavior, and murder. You name it, and it seems to be there. However, if we are not careful, we may miss what this teaches us about Jesus by getting caught up in the salacious and gruesome details of the story. There are only two accounts in Mark’s gospel that are not about Jesus, and this is one of them. The other can be found at the very beginning, and both of these accounts are about John the Baptist. Misunderstanding when it comes to Jesus places the eternity of the soul in jeopardy. Ignoring conviction and conscience is deadly serious. Following Jesus is not about one’s comfort; it is about the understanding of the cost.
The Gospel According to Mark - 4.26.20
Mark 6 provides a glimpse into a tragic and painful experience in the life of Jesus as he faces personal rejection. The text picks up after a beautiful event in which a twelve-year-old girl is given life again by Jesus. Jesus and his disciples make their way back to Jesus’ hometown which one would think would be a joyous occasion where the people he grew up with would welcome him back and ask him about all the miracles he had performed. However, after Jesus teaches in the synagogue on a sabbath, the people acknowledge that his teaching and wisdom are extraordinary but instead of celebrating Jesus, his own community ridicules and rejects him. Jesus was a Misunderstood King.
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The Gospel According to Mark Sermon Series - 4.19.20
In the decades before and after Jesus, there were dozens of messianic movements in Israel. The would-be "Messiahs" arise and gather followers, then the same thing would always happen: the leader would be killed, usually at hands of the Romans by crucifixion. When the leader died, the movement would collapse and everyone would move on. Except for this one movement: The Jesus movement. The only true Messiah. Upon His death, the movement exploded. In 300 years, it had taken over the Roman Empire. And today, almost 2 billion people are celebrating Easter. What made following Jesus so different? Why didn’t His following collapse like all the others? This movement thrived because of what happened after the leader was killed. He came back from the dead - physically, literally, and appeared to his followers. That’s why the movement didn't die but thrived. That is why Christianity has spread all over world. That is why Jesus changes everything.
The whole world right now yearns to be healed. The world is not the way it was supposed to be. God’s original creation was very, very good. God created our world to be sin-free. God designed us to be holy, happy, and healthy. But sin entered the picture, and ever since then, sin has sickened all of God’s creation. This is why we all yearn to be healed. In the New Testament, there are two instances where Jesus calls himself the Great Physician. Today, watch Jesus heal two people. Learn how He heals, when He heals, who He heals and why.
The Powerful King - Week 4 - 4.05.20
The previous section left the disciples in fear and asking the question, “Who is this?” Jesus dealt with the storm on the water and now he would deal with the storm inside. The question is immediately met with another demonstration of power that leaves people in fear and asking questions.
The Powerful King Sermon Series - Week 2 - 3.29.20
As Corona Virus spreads, it's shaking the faith of many; tempting us to live in fear of headlines, predictions, and others. Anxiety is the new normal for most. People are hoarding, locking themselves in their homes, and looking to the news for guidance.
We've been walking through the Gospel of Mark and today we land on Mark 4:35-41, the story of how Jesus calms the storm. This story reminds us that we live by faith, not fear. In the worst of times, Christians can and should be at their best. We are people of the Word; people of faith. We believe the world belongs to our sovereign Lord. His rule extends over everything - even microbes, and viruses. He has the whole world in His hands.
It is our prayer that God uses this message to calm the storm in our hearts and minds.
You matter to God. You matter to us. We want to hear from our church family. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Powerful King - Week 1 - 03.22.20
Jesus is a master storyteller. During his earthly ministry, he would use stories filled with common objects and experiences that people could relate to and understand. Jesus used these stories to tease, tantalize, and test those who were listening. These were not just simple stories. These parables are both works of art and weapons of warfare used to divide people into insiders and outsiders. Jesus continues to use these parables and then privately he would explain them to his disciples. These three parables are telling a bigger story about Jesus and his kingdom. God’s kingdom will grow. It may prove to be mysterious and it may begin small, but God will bring it to fruition. The kingdom of God is the present and future realm in which Jesus Christ exercises full authority, and through which he triumphs over all opposition. This is the biggest story, the cosmic story into which all of creation plays a part for God’s glory.
The Story-Telling King - Week 2 - 03.15.20
We’re in a series walking through the book of Mark, rediscovering Jesus. In Mark, Chapter 4, we come to the parable of the sower. Jesus tells this parable to explain how different heart conditions respond differently to the gospel, to help people test what kind of soil they are, and ultimately whether or not they are truly in the Kingdom of God.
The Storytelling King - Week 1 of -- 03.08.20
A psychologist once told Billy Graham that half of his patients that were institutionalized could leave in a week if they knew they were forgiven. Is there a sin that God will not forgive? Can a Christian commit the unpardonable sin? Jesus addresses these two questions in Mark 3:20-35.
Jesus ushered in his kingdom with 12 ordinary men. Even now, Jesus is calling ordinary men and women to be His disciples. Will you be with Jesus? Will you be shaped by Jesus? Will you be sent out by Jesus?
What made Jesus so controversial that people wanted to kill him? The What makes Jesus different from every other religious leader in the entire world? What made him angry. What grieved mim? What made him sad?
The Controversial King - Week 2 of 4 - 2.16.20
Jesus began his ministry and experienced a meteoric rise in popularity that had gotten to the point that he could no longer openly enter a town ( Mark 1:45). Capernaum was still experiencing the effect of the healings and exorcisms Jesus had performed days earlier, so when word spread that Jesus had returned home, people came from everywhere. The “whole city” had gathered at the door the last time Jesus was at the House of Simon and Andrew, so this time the crowd was over capacity. Mark tells us that a group of scribes has also joined the masses to see for themselves what all the fuss is about. When the crowds mentioned the scribes earlier (Mark 1:22), they were comparing the way Jesus taught with authority versus the way scribes would teach citing other sources and rabbis. Luke’s account of this event provides some additional details about the composition of the crowd. This throng included a group known as the Pharisees as well as teachers of the law in addition to the scribes. Presumably, these groups had come to investigate the news spreading like wildfire about this rabbi named Jesus and the phenomenal signs and wonders that were a part of his ministry–things never before seen. However, one should not be naive, this kind of popularity brings the masses, but it also brings the haters and the critics. If perception is reality, then The Servant King will soon be seen as a Controversial King at odds with the religious and political leaders of the day.
The Gospel of Mark Sermon Series - Week 4 - 02.09.20
We are walking through the biography of Jesus. In the gospel according to Mark we see that Jesus presents himself as an authoritative, compassionate, powerful savior. The man with evil spirits knew it. The people he healed knew it. The people listening to his teaching knew it. His disciples knew it. The leper knew it.
The Servant King Sermon Series - Week 3 of 4 - 02.02.20
Once upon a time, our first parents lived in a garden where God was the King. This was no ordinary garden. This was the place where relationships were whole physically, socially, and psychologically. There was no loneliness, fear, or shame. The King would dance with his creatures face to face. But one day, Adam and Eve encountered a dragon who whispered, “God cannot be trusted. He is not a good King. He doesn’t love you; he doesn’t even understand you. He is afraid of you because he knows that you should be the king. Rebel against him, and you will be truly whole and free.”
Surely Adam and Eve would not fall prey to this liar... but they did, and everything changed. Creation fell apart physically, socially, spiritually, and psychologically. Humanity plunged into the dark tower of death where groaning and locked away; they struggled with all their might, but could not rescue themselves. The results were catastrophic as violence, murder, family breakdowns, self-centered relationships, wars, and suffering became the norm. The ancient dragon just knew that he had won until the King announced the good news or the gospel of God–He would rescue his people.
The world waited and waited and waited to see the King. Hope gave way to impatience, which gave way to despair because it seemed that God had forgotten His promise or that He had changed His mind. Time kept passing, but when it finally filled up, something historic happened... The Servant King appeared, and He began his ministry by proclaiming the good news.
The Servant King - Week 2 of 4 - 1.26.20
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”” (Mark 10:45, ESV)
Mark does not read like dull history. It is a fast-paced narrative that will startle you by how abrupt it can be and leave you out of breath while you try to keep up with the narrative. Jesus entered into this broken world to be The Servant King and this startling reality changed everything forever. Mark presents Jesus' life and ministry in two acts (chapters 1-8 and 9-16), exploding right out of the gate with words that would be unmistakable for a Jewish audience. He provides specific events in rapid-fire succession to show that Jesus is the Servant King who served, suffered, died and rose again conquering sin and death. He alone saves those who will repent and believe. Jesus is not some historical figure, he is a living person who rescues people who will reorient their lives around his Gospel and it is clear that an immediate response to Jesus is required. So let's start at the beginning...
The Gospel According to Mark: The Servant King - Week 1 of 4 - 1.19.20
Do you long to know God's calling on your life? Do you believe that God can still call people today? Join us as Pastor Sam Shaw walks us through the three different ways that Scripture defines the call and gives us seven questions that help in discovering God's specific call on our lives.
Prayer & Fasting / The Call - Week2 of 2 - 1.12.20
Could it be that one of the reasons we don’t talk about prayer and fasting in churches is that we have grown content with the way things are right now? We have grown content with the absence of our king. We have good lives. We have nice homes and nice cars and we have good jobs. We enjoy the things of this world and we’re okay with the idea of Jesus not coming back quickly. Prayer and fasting says to God I am serious about you and your cause, and there is nothing I want more in my life than Jesus.
Prayer & Fasting - Week 1 of 1 - 01.05.20
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” – Psalms 19:1 ESV
An astrological phenomenon will occur over the next year as Jupiter and Saturn appear to almost merge. The conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn takes place at roughly 20-year intervals. The last time these two planets aligned was May 21, 2000. However, a conjunction this close has not been seen since July 1623. In fact, on December 21, 2020, Jupiter and Saturn will come to within 6 arc minutes, or 0.1 degrees, of each other and then will not be seen again until November 5, 2040.
The night sky reminds us of just how small we are as we peer into a dark expanse that we cannot fathom. Billions of stars and galaxies overwhelm us with their magnitude. Astronomy is the oldest of the sciences, and navigating by the stars seems to be as old as humanity. Matthew 2:1-12 reminds us that heavens both declared and directed the wise men to Jesus. These foreign dignitaries gave themselves entirely to finding this King, and they were led by a star.
What guides someone to King Jesus? What does it take to find King Jesus? How will we be changed when we worship King Jesus? Will Great Joy be the result?
Joy Sermon Series - Week 5 of 5 - 12.29.19
The writer of Hebrews wants us to know that Jesus speaks to us. “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” (Hebrews 1:1–2, ESV)
Today, we listen to what Jesus said to the Father while moving through the heavens to humanity. The incredible journey from the glorious brightness of heaven to the darkness of a young woman’s womb. What did the creator say as he became like the creature? What words accompanied the transition from the purity of heaven to unsanitary conditions of a stable? A quote from a Psalm of David prophetically describes part of Jesus’ mission as he goes from the highest heaven to a lowly estate. Scripture tells us in Hebrews 10, so let’s eavesdrop as the Son’s joy can be overheard.
Joy Sermon Series - Week 4 of 5 - 12.22.19
People who believe the Bible know that behind this visible, physical world there is another world that is real, unseen, and highly populated by supernatural beings.
The Bible is filled with references to angels. When God led Israel out of Egypt in the Exodus there was an angel that led them. When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness in the very beginning of His ministry, he needed strength to recuperate and the Bible says that an angel came to Him and strengthened Him. There are at least 300 places in the Bible where angels are mentioned.
However, much of what we think about angels has more to do with Hollywood or Hallmark cards than Biblical truth. So today, Pastor Sam Shaw focuses on what the Bible says about angels.
Joy Sermon Series - Week 3 of 4 - 12.15.19
Today we are looking at the earthly, adopted Father of Jesus, whose name was Joseph. Joseph has been called the forgotten man of Christmas. We don’t really know a lot about him. He never says a word in the Christmas story. And yet, God’s plan of redemption hangs one man’s willingness to raise a child that is not his own.
No one reading this is ever going to be called to play the role of Joseph. No man is ever going to marry a virgin who is with child and raise that child of your own. But every dad and mom, every grandparent, every step-father and step-mother, every aunt and uncle is called by God to raise children for God, and to model a picture of God’s mercy and God’s love to our children. If you are a parent or have children in a family, you are called to help children to learn what it means to be a child of God. This simple man Joseph helps us a great deal. Because if there is one word we could use to describe this man, it's obedience.
Joy Sermon Series - Week 2 of 4 - 12.08.19
Dr. J.I. Packer said, “Christianity isn’t a Joy ride, but a Joy Road.” Mary had every reason to feel anxious about Gabriel’s announcement. Her pregnancy placed her on a path of family shame and community scorn, and it certainly put her life in danger. When we understand what was at stake for Mary, her surrender to God’s will and complete trust show us that there is joy in surrender. Mary must have found great comfort in seeing Elizabeth pregnant and hearing the incredible prophecy about Jesus. There is joy in sharing with others. Mary sings from her heart, declaring her praise and thankfulness to God for His provision and the amazing privilege of bearing the Christ. There is joy in singing. The joy road is a road of surrender, sharing, and singing.
Joy Sermon Series - Week 1 of 5 - 12.01.19
How bad would the circumstances in your life have to be for you to turn away and walk away from God? When faced with unimaginable circumstances, Habakkuk doesn't whine or worry, but instead he choses to worship, trusting the God who is bigger than it all.
Join us as Lead Pastor Sam Shaw reminds us that we can trust God even when we don’t understand.
Habakkuk Sermon Series - Week 4 of 4 - 11.24.19
Trust is something that does not come easy for many of us. You don’t have to live very long before you begin to develop trust issues. So, what do you do if you believe in God, but you have a hard time trusting Him?
What do you do when you pray, and it just seems to get worse everyday? What do you do when something is happening around you that just does not fit with how you understand God to be? What do you do when your faith is shaken, and you just don’t understand what God is doing? These are questions we all deal with at some point in our faith.
Habakkuk in the Hebrew means "embrace". It's as if Habakkuk grabs a hold of God, like a wrestler, refusing to let go until God answers. Lead Pastor Sam Shaw gives us three steps to take when we face difficult questions, knowing that God is good, but our life doesn't show it.
Habakkuk Sermon Series - Week 2 of 4 - 11.10.19
Have you ever gone through a season in your life where things are falling a part all around you, and there’s nothing better on the horizon? Have you ever been confused about what God is doing, not only in your life, but in the world around you? Sometimes it’s easy to say, “God, are you even there?”
Over the next couple weeks Lead Pastor Sam Shaw will be walking us through the book of Habakkuk. We'll be looking at many of the tough questions that Habakkuk asked of God; Questions that so many of us have pondered such as: "God, where are you?", "How am I going to make it through this season?“, "Why do you let things happen as you do?", and "God, how is this fair?".
Habakkuk Sermon Series - Week 1 of 4 - 11.03.19
The letter begins with what may have been a startling announcement for many. Jude writes as a concerned pastor warning of the dangerous reality facing the church. False teachers have crept into the church unnoticed. They reject God, his law, and deny the necessity of holiness. These were not small disagreements over theological minutia, these leaders were dangerous, greedy, fruitless, waves of chaos set on leading the church astray and into apostasy.
Having described these scoffers who are divisive and devoid of the Spirit, Jude instructs God’s people to remember who they are in Christ and the truth that is found in God’s word. The pastoral exhortation is unmistakable. Build your faith, pray, keep yourself in the love of God, actively anticipate Christ’s return, and run to the fire filled with mercy and fear that some might be snatched from the flames unto salvation.
However, now as we come the end of this short letter, the song of Jude soars and the contending for the faith once for all delivered to the saints becomes a cantata of praise. The object of this faith that we are to contend for is more glorious than we can begin to conceive.
Jude Sermon Series - Week 4 of 4 - 10.27.19
In a 1948 speech to the House of Commons, Winston Churchill said, “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”
Jude wants the church to learn from history, so he has provided a historical survey to demonstrate how remembering history may provide examples and patterns for identifying these false teachers who crept in unnoticed. Pastorally, he has explained the necessity of contending for the faith, and now he is ready to tell how his readers should respond to this threat. How do you keep yourself in the love of God? How can you keep yourself and God keep you at the same time?
Jude Sermon Series - Week 3 of 4 - 10.20.19
When it comes to our world and where we live, there are an increasing number of people who believe that the truth-claims of scripture need a bit of help. They need a bit of modernization, and maybe we need to redefine and reclassify a few things differently as we approach what the Bible has to say.
Jude, the half brother of Jesus, wrote this short, but powerful letter with pastoral concern and care for people who were being mislead. Jude wasn’t writing this letter to stir up an argument in the church or force controversy, he was writing this letter as a direct response to the assault on this faith once for all delivered to the saints.
Join us as Teaching & Staff Pastor John Nix walks us through Jude 1:5-16, detailing with boldness that truth matters; doctrine matters.
Jude Sermon Series - Week 2 of 4 - 10.13.19
Jude was written at a time when Christianity was under severe political attack and aggressive spiritual infiltration. This small, but powerful book was written to believers as a call to fight for the faith as truth is under attack.
Join us Families Pastor Jason Holmes walks us through Jude 1:1-4, showing us how this timely message is just as relevant today as it was in Jude's time, and how we can rest in God's promise amongst intense spiritual warfare that we are called, beloved, and kept once and for all.
Jude Sermon Series - Week 1 of 4 - 10.06.19
We’re in a series called Life Together. We are looking at how Jesus brought the church into existence; a whole are generation of people impacted by these three events: the death of Jesus, the resurrection of Jesus, and the coming of the Holy Spirit.
The gospel and what is taught and lived amongst the church is meant to impact how we see people, the way we experience life, the way we think about life, and the way we live out our lives everyday.
Join us today as Lead Pastor Sam Shaw talks about how people will decide what they think about Jesus in this generation by how we live, what we are, and what we do.
Life Together Sermon Series - Week 4 of 4 - 9.29.19
We’re in a series called Life Together. We’re learning what it means to be brothers and sisters in the family of God. We have been studying how God is a triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - three persons in relationship with one another - one God. Having made us in His image, God made us to have relationships. The problem is there is a lot of drama in our relationships.
It’s a real challenge to develop deep friendships. Even in our families there’s lots of drama and areas of conflict, all due to a three letter word that we all are afflicted with: sin.
Join us today as Lead Pastor Sam Shaw talks about how sin is not only personal, it's social, and answers the question: How do Christians deal with situations that divide us?
Life Together Sermon Series - Week 3 of 4 - 9.22.19
There are two ways to read the Bible and understand the story of your own life. You can either see the Bible and your life as primarily about you, and God has a part in it. Or you can see the Bible and your own life as primarily a story about God and you have a part in it. We all start out in that first category. We all have a tendency to read the Bible and think God might have a part, either big or small, but the story really is about us.
What God really wants to do is change the way we read the Bible. He wants to change the way we see our own lives. God wants to reorient our mind to a new way of thinking. Join us as Lead Pastor Sam Shaw walks us through Hebrews 3:12-14 and Hebrews 10:23-25, detailing how God uses people and circumstances to shape the way that we think and the way we live our lives.
Life Together Sermon Series - Week 2 of 4 - 09.15.19
Why are relationships so essential to people flourishing? Why do we all long for community?
NASA found they couldn't send a man into space alone for any length of time without severe risk to their health. The army trains instructors to never have just one person alone in a foxhole, but to always have two. Because they understood that people enlist because of love for country, but they will fight and die for their brother. Why is that? Why is solitary confinement one of the worst punishment you could put somebody in? And why is it that when we feel isolated it’s like torture?
Join us as we embark on a series called “Life Together,” where we will be be talking about the fact that God uses other people in our lives to shape us. He uses other people to make us into who we deeply desire to be and what he wants us to be.
Life Together Sermon Series - Week 1 of 4 - 09.08.19
Do you remember anything from the 2002 Winter Olympics? In the last lap of the 1000 Meter Small Track Speed Skate event something very unusual happened that became one of the greatest moments in Olympic sports history.
Entering the final lap of the race, Australian racer Stephen Bradbury trailed far off the pace in last place. On the final turn, the Chinese racer slipped, knocking the American racer down. The Korean racer fell, tripping the Canadian racer. Steven Bradbury skates across the finish line untouched, winning the Winter Olympic gold medal for the first time in Australia’s history. He won the gold simply because he finished the race. It seems that many of us today are so eager to quit. It's easier to check out. We give up on our marriages. We are willing to give up on our jobs. We give up on our families… on our commitments. Join us as Lead Pastor Sam Shaw walks us through the last chapter of Paul's last letter. Paul's last words ring with resolute determination that by God's strength we would not fall away, but instead finish the race well.
Labor Day Weekend - 09.01.19
During the Stalin era in Russia, the Marxist government derided the Bible as a book full of legends, myths, and old wives’ tales. It even established an anti-Bible museum in Moscow to convince the Russian people. The authorities seemed afraid that people would read it and believe it, so they put them in prison and in labor camps for reading the scripture. Why? Perhaps they feared that this unique book had the power to change people’s lives. Part of being a disciple of Jesus Christ is immersing our lives in his word. Sadly, most Christians neglect giving themselves to the very sacred scripture which is able to make one wise for salvation through faith in Jesus. God speaks and communicates with us through His word so we must continue to pursue Christ in love through His word.
Table Talk - Week 4 of 4 - 08.25.19
Christian fellowship is a means of grace and it is a necessary context for sanctification. Pursuing Christ together means seeing our partnership in the gospel as we fulfill our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ. The gospel creates community and when our fellowship is true; it is the apologetic for belonging to Jesus (John 13:35). Christians should not gather on Sunday only to fulfill some weekly observance of cultural norms or to check a box. Christians should know each other, get close, and stay close as a family who gathers, interacts, encourages, exhorts, and inspires one another to love and good deeds. The Orchard is not a group of acquaintances, this is a loving family, formed by Jesus to worship together as a happy family pursuing Christ together.
Table Talk Sermon Series - Week 3 - 08.18.19
Change is a part of life. Seasons, weather, time, and even we change. Sometimes these changes seem dramatic and we feel as if they happened overnight. Other times it seems as if time stands still. People in different stages of life view time differently but eventually we all conclude that time stands still for no one and it moves too fast. How can we keep up as time moves faster? How do we keep dancing when the rhythm changes? As the first chapter of 2 Timothy came to a close, Paul refers to the widespread flight among Christians in the Roman province of Asia (1:15). Onesiphorus was the only one commended for his faithfulness so Paul exhorts Timothy that he needs the strength of God’s grace to endure. Each season of life has its own unique set of challenges so we need to recognize our “Rhythms” and embrace the changes for the sake of the gospel and making disciples.
Table Talk Sermon Series - Week 2 - 08.11.19
Some of the best conversations happen around the table and this series has been designed to help us think wisely as disciple makers. The table is a great place to tell stories, share ideas, and grow together. So join us around the table for some Table Talk that we pray will be helpful as we make disciples together. In the book of 2 Timothy, Paul addresses his beloved child in the faith named Timothy. It seems that Timothy's father was an unbelieving Greek, but his grandmother and mother were Jews who demonstrated a "sincere faith." They were the genuine article and they possessed the type of faith which had come to characterize Timothy as well. Paul invites us to ponder the powerful impact that mothers and grandmothers can have on children. Even though the work of parenting can seem mundane and thankless, the boy these women raised has become the man that the apostle Paul relies on and thinks of in his most desperate hour.
Table Talk Sermon Series - Week 1 of 4 - 08.04.19
The departure of Elijah from this world was even more striking than his entrance as a prophetic lightning rod. He was a force to be reckoned with by ungodly kings with an uncomfortable message for an idolatrous people. Miracles attended him wherever he went and a final miracle would secure his departure from this world. He was a man on fire. He called for fire on top of Mount Carmel and it fell. He called down fire on those who sought to take his life. Now fire would bring Elijah’s earthly ministry to a close even though he would not pass through the portal of death.
The Prophet Elijah Sermon Series - Week 4 of 4 - 7.28.19
When looking at the Bible we often make the mistake of thinking it’s a collection of people who are sinless paragons. They are the ones who have it all together. They’ve figured out how to check off their to-do lists. They’ve figured out how to manage their budget and their time. They figured out how to make their way in this world. They figured out something that I haven’t figured out, and they’re the ones that I need to be like. But that’s not the story of scripture. The story of scripture is that Jesus rescues broken, weak, and needy people, and he accomplishes his good purpose through them in spite of themselves. And today when we look at this story, we see the flight of Elijah. We see Elijah running because of fear, anxiety, and depression. But we also see the flight of God pursuing him. When Elijah struggled; when he wasn’t looking so much like the prophet of God. God was merciful and kind, and he met him in his depression, anxiety, and fear. He met him in the darkness of despair where he was. And our hope is that by God’s grace you will see in his flight, there is another who is flying after him still.
The Prophet Elijah Sermon Series - Week 3 of 4 - 07.21.19
Elijah was one of the only two people in all of history that never died. He is one of the only two people who appeared with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. Moses was there representing the law, and Elijah was there representing the prophets. And Elijah is mentioned more in the New Testament than any other Old Testament prophet. Yet, James 5:17 says that "Elijah was a man with a nature like ours..." He was just a man like us, so what was the secret of Elijah's boldness? Lead Pastor Sam Shaw walks us through 1 Kings 16:30-33 and 1 Kings 17:1-7 as we examine what made Elijah such a remarkable character, and how we respond when our faith is tested.
Elijah Sermon Series - Week 2 of 4 - 07.14.19
The prophet Elijah felt like he was the last prophet of God left among 450 prophets of Baal. To show that the Lord was the one true God, Elijah set up an incredible showdown with the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel. They would set each set up an altar but not light it on fire. The prophets of Baal would call on their god and Elijah would call on the Lord. The one who answered that prayer by fire would be God! Elijah looked like a huge underdog in this showdown – except for one thing – God is always greater. Just like the Israelites, we “No longer need to waver between two opinions.” We need to hold fast to the hope that God is always faithful to His promises.
Peter has written this letter to encourage believers and testify to God’s grace. God’s grace is all that God has done for his children in Christ. Living Excellent Lives is the result of God’s work in Christ. Peter’s summons to stand in the grace of God summarizes the entire message of this letter to people who are out of place and suffering. God’s grace is how one can endure suffering. God’s grace is how one can love others even when they mistreated. God himself has saved you and called you to his eternal glory in Christ as you are guarded through faith for salvation.
1 Peter Sermon Series - Week 20 of 20. 06.30.19. For more sermons, please visit www.theorchardchurch.com/watch.
Anxiety, pride, trust, and care. Peter knew well the power and danger of pride. He corrected the Christ he proclaimed. He declared he would never deny the Christ only to find himself fleeing a courtyard in shame. He was publicly rebuked by the Apostle Paul because of his pride. Humility should be the first obligation of God’s creatures, but pride is the poison our first parents drank, exposing the insidious desire to be God. In heaven and on earth, pride and self-exaltation go before a fall that could very well lead to hell itself. How can we clothe ourselves with humility and be exalted by God himself? How can we face our anxiety and what are we to do with it? Every Christian seeking to obey the command to humble themselves will make a painful discovery of two things: the depth of their pride, and the powerlessness of all their efforts to destroy it.
Last year 6,000 churches in this country closed their doors for the last time. Everyday 3,500 people leave church in America. Many of the reasons why those churches have closed those doors and those people have left has to do with local church leadership. And it's not only in church, it's in the home as well. When parents lead well, unbelievable things happen in a family. And conversely, if the in the home parental leadership is not done well, unbelievable, awful things tend to happen. So, it is just critical we get leadership right. Join us as Lead Pastor Sam Shaw walks us through 1 Peter 5:1-4; Peter's strongly worded message to local church leaders.
If suffering is normal for a Christian, why do I struggle? We spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to avoid suffering at all costs. If you find yourself in a season when you are walking through “the valley of the shadow of death,” Christian platitudes offer very little comfort, but they can also pile a lot of guilt on us. Peter does not address any specifics about what types of suffering will be faced, instead, he wants you to know that your suffering should not come as a surprise and you should not think that as a Christian this is something strange or unusual.
How would you finish this sentence, "Christians are people who...?" What would you say is the distinguishing characteristic of Christians as a whole? Join Lead Pastor Sam Shaw as he walks us through 1 Peter 4:7-11; a passage that gives great detail to the question of who followers of Christ are called to be.
First Peter is a handbook for Christian Living and it provides the necessary foundations for Living Excellent Lives. This letter was written to people scattered across modern-day Turkey who were facing uncertainty and suffering. These sojourners were confronted daily by the harsh reality that this world was not their home. Peter writes to encourage their faith, assures them of the reliability of God’s word, and explains how Living Excellent Lives in God’s grace is possible even during difficult and desperate times.
As we consider 1 Peter 4:7-9, the words “Above All” serve to remind us that love is first in the order of importance and it is the prerequisite for all proper expressions of Christian responsibility. The love that Peter is speaks of is not some overly sentimental concept, but divine love that is only possible because God first loved us and the Holy Spirit is transforming us. This is the kind of love that marks us as a disciple of Jesus Christ and demonstrates His power to save.
Lead Pastor Sam Shaw walks us through one of the greatest promises of the Bible - the Law of the Harvest. You reap what you sow. It's true of marriage. It's true of a job. It's true of education. It's true of everything in life. You will never get a return on an investment you never make. And you will never receive a harvest if you don't plant a seed.
Jesus was a master at living under pressure with a sense peace inside. If you read his biography, it's amazing because he is always under incredible pressure that would crush most of us. He has people pulling at him all the time. There are constant interruptions with very little personal privacy or personal space. He has to get into a boat and row out in the water just to keep from people pushing on him. He's ridiculed and criticized at every turn, but he lives out of this quiet center in his soul. He refused to be pressured into being somebody that he wasn't. We all know pressure. The question is: how do you find peace in the midst of pressure? On Mother's Day 2019, Lead Pastor Sam Shaw walks us through Psalm 131. This passage shows us the reality of pressure and its sources, but also paints a picture of a peace on the inside that is stronger than the pressures of this world.
You can't read the Bible without seeing how much the Scripture speaks about money and possessions. Well over two-thousand verses deal with it. Jesus talked about money and possessions more than He did about anything except The Kingdom of God. He gave thirty-eight parables; nineteen of them had some kind of economic context. So, you have to ask the question, of all the things that God could have put in the Bible and spoken about, why did He choose to speak about money and possessions more than just about anything? Well obviously, it’s really important to God. And a lot of us need help in this area. Money has a tremendous potential for good, as well as a tremendous potential for evil. Ultimately, money has a way of capturing our hearts. Pastor Sam Shaw walks us through II Corinthians 8:10 through 9:5, showing how you can summarize everything the Bible says about money and possessions down to two things.
It's human nature to start something and not finish it. As the two-year anniversary of the Reach 901 launch quickly approaches, we're briefly interrupting our series on 1 Peter to remind ourselves that we have one year left between now and next April to meet our goal. Lead Pastor Sam Shaw dives into II Corinthians 8:1-11; a passage where the apostle Paul spoke to the church about finishing what they had started. Paul writes to them and says, let me show you what generosity looks like, and what giving joyfully, sacrificially, voluntarily, enthusiastically, and personally really means.
There is nothing about the cross that says "winning", "victory", or "happiness". It was designed as the most painful and longest suffering way to die. So why did the early Christians adopt the cross as their symbol, eventually becoming the most recognizable symbol in the world? Lead Pastor Sam Shaw walks us through seven truths about a cross-centered life.
What is the "Great Business of Life"? What are you put on earth here to do? You probably have a bucket list, but why do we even talk about bucket lists? We all know we have a limited amount of time left here on this earth, and time is running out. Lead Pastor Sam Shaw walks us through 1 Peter 4:1-11, and answers the question, "What is the Great Business of Life?".
Peter continues to address suffering but moves the attention from Christian suffering to the suffering of Jesus. Peter’s letter quickly offers comfort after proclaiming that God sometimes wills suffering for those who have done good and reminds us that Jesus suffered for doing good. However, Peter is not content only reminding the reader that Christ suffered. He exults in showing how a complete reversal has taken place because of what Jesus has done. The submissive Son is the ruling king in his session at the right hand of God.
The world is changing and a shift has taken place in our culture. Clear boundaries and definitions are being challenged and even erased. Values once perceived as permanent are vanishing like a morning mist. It is a discomforting and frustrating experience when one suddenly feels lost, unsure of where they are or how they got there. Ideologies pull at the very fabric of our society and the seams cannot take much more. Christians with orthodox beliefs are told they are on the wrong side of history and scripture is being revised for the new world. Peter has moved from Christ’s work, Christian identity, and submission to the issue of Christian suffering.
1 Peter 3:13-17 - Week 12 Sermon Series - 3.31.19
Pastor Sam Shaw walks us through 1 Peter 3:8-10. Sam said when he first read this passage, his eyes were immediately drawn to verse 10. The passage begins, "Whoever desires to love life and enjoy good days..." That sounds great! Who wouldn't want that? So ask yourself, what would it be like to truly love life and enjoy good days? Join us as we see what Peter says about how our attitude and actions have an impact on living the good life.
Part of God's purpose for us as Christians is to point others to Him. A Christian marriage is one of the clearest examples of the gospel, and possibly the greatest opportunity we have to point others to Jesus. So, what does it mean to be a Godly husband or a Godly wife? Pastor Sam Shaw turns to 1 Peter 3:1-7 to see how scripture describes a Godly marriage.
Peter calls us to submit to ungodly authorities because we love Jesus and want to follow his example. However, the natural response when someone mistreats us is self-defense and retaliation. To accept unjust opposition requires supernatural power and an exemplar to follow. Jesus provides both. The only way we will find the strength to endure this type of suffering at the hands of others is the reminder that, in his having done the same, Jesus secured for us forgiveness of sins by bearing our sin in his body on the tree. He is a the trustworthy shepherd and the remedy the sin-sick soul requires. New life in Jesus provides the grounds for killing sin and pursuing righteous living.
The church lives in the world as exiles who belong to another Kingdom. The world system around us, the cultural environment where we live, is alien to the kingdom of God. Christians have different priorities, strategies, and a different vision for the future. Peter was not naïve about government corruption or the abuse of power. He did not live in a “Christian nation.” He knew firsthand of the devastation that evil political power can bring. Being a Christian today is increasingly putting us at odds with political positions and laws. Religious liberty, an essential issue in our founding is facing regular threats and sometimes open hostility is faced socially, politically, and legally just for being a Christian. However, submission to every human institution and service to others is the will of God. We should use christian freedom for doing good which will put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.
Have you ever felt out of place and uncertain about what to do? God transforms people who were at home in this world and they become sojourners and exiles. They know the country and its customs, but they have been called out of darkness into light which means they live differently. They feel the conflict in the war of the soul but they abstain from the desires that characterize the people of darkness. Beautiful Living in a Polarized World may serve as a means to pierce the hardened heart and bring light to the darkened soul for God’s glory.
It's typical these days for people to talk about loving God or loving Jesus, but not really loving the church. Pastor Sam Shaw walks us through 1 Peter 2:4-10, a passage filled with answers to some key questions many have today such as: can a Christian love Jesus but not the church?
Pastor Sam Shaw introduces us to his long-time favorite pastor, Ronnie Stevens. Ronnie walks us through 1 Peter 1:22-2:3, giving us ten steps that have helped him stimulate and excite a hunger for the word of God in his own life.
In the 1st Century in the Mediterranean world, an unexpected movement started that went viral. Religion was everywhere in the Roman Empire, but this movement had the one thing that Romans could not find anywhere else. This movement had community. It had love. Pastor Sam walks us through 1 Peter 1:22-2:3, as he shares five toxins that keep us from loving one another, and shares biblical insights on how to do a seemingly impossible task: earnestly love one another.
All around, despair, conscious need, and unconscious longing. We live in a world where loneliness is an epidemic and one in three adults and adolescents suffer from anxiety. Our minds must sift through a constant barrage of messaging that is antithetical to the gospel. Where can hope be found? Peter reminds the reader that Jesus has conquered every enemy including death and at his revelation hope will be realized. Where is hope to be found? It is found in God through Jesus Christ.
Where do you get a joy that grief and hardship doesn't shatter? In 1 Peter 1:3-12, Peter said the uniquely Christian way in dealing with trials and challenges is that we rejoice. In this sermon, Pastor Sam walks us through six reasons that Peter gives us in the text that empowers us to rejoice even when we are going through the worst of times.
Have you ever wondered what living the Christian life actually means? Pastor Sam Shaw introduces a new series on 1 Peter, encouraging us to read and re-read it. The truth of this compact book acts as a manual for Christian living. In this sermon, Pastor Sam examines what we know about Peter, and four things that are true for every Christ follower.
On this first Sunday of the new year, Pastor Sam Shaw talks about the principle of "firsts." There are a number of firsts happening in Genesis 4:1-8: the first murder, the first martyr, the first person to go to Heaven, and the first offering is made to the Lord. God always insists on being first. When we seek to put God first in our lives we honor Him, we demonstrate our faith, and we unlock God's blessings in our lives.
When you got up this morning and looked at the TV or your phone, you probably noticed the date, the 24th of December, 2018. We don't think about it very often, but 2018 from what? The answer goes back to a little town in Bethlehem and what happened there. The point is, especially during the Christmas season, you can hardly look at your phone, the TV, the newspaper, hear on the radio, or look on the internet without seeing reference to one man. His name is the most widely known name in history. Do you know him?
Luke includes four powerful songs surrounding the savior’s birth. In each song, the singers are so moved that they respond from the depths of soul joining the chorus of Hope’s Song, the glad refrain that has been sung since the garden promise that God will rescue his people. These familiar refrains point to God’s love and faithfulness as Mary (Luke 1:46–55), Zechariah (Luke 1:68–79), the angels (Luke 2:14), and Simeon (Luke 2:29–32) all lift their voices in praise. Today, we hear Hope’s Song soar from Mary as she magnifies God, rejoices in him, and declares his character.
In this sermon, Pastor Sam walks us through Romans 8:18-27, showing us what an amazing thing it is to be a Christian, why the world is the way it is, and the one thing we have to have to survive: Hope.
During this advent series, we are reminded of the hope that is found only in Jesus. He did for us what we could not do for ourselves – He gave hope. So because of what Jesus has done for us, we are able to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful to prayer. You can rejoice!
In this Advent Season we have started a new series on hope. Hope is very powerful. The world often confuses hope with wishful thinking or their desires. In this sermon, Pastor Sam walks us through Romans 15:13, showing us what Biblical hope is, who the author of hope is, and the promises God has given us to sustain our hope.
As this short pastoral letter from Paul to Titus comes to a close, we have a better understanding of what Paul meant when he directed Titus to “put what remained in order” (vs. 5). This was and still is a monumental work. On Crete, island churches were a mess and facing issues that had to be addressed so Paul left Titus there to get things well ordered. Elders were appointed in every town Paul so that Cretan Christians would have leaders to guide them when disagreements arose over important doctrinal matters. Elders would hold fast to apostolic faith and teach others to do the same in both word and practice. In the home, relationships went against many cultural norms of the day as they displayed God’s grace at work in daily living. In the world, salvation is demonstrated as grace-fueled good works display God’s power. Titus concludes by addressing dangers, discipline, decisions, devotion, and dependence.
In Titus 3:1-15, Paul walks us through the succinct message of Salvation and gives direction on true Christian behavior. Paul reminds us that it takes the entire Trinity to save us. We are delivered out of our miserable condition, only by the mercy and free grace of God, the merit and sufferings of Christ, and the working of his Spirit. Pastor Sam challenges us to live this week with the intention of "whatever is good" in every situation.
Paul encourages us to live the good life in Titus 2:1-10. In Titus 2:11-14, Paul explains how this change is possible. If there's anything in your life that you'd like to change, come explore how to make that a reality now.
Charlie Shaw walks us through Titus 2:1-10. In this section, Paul moves from the issues of church leadership and false teachers to the various groups within the church and their moral obligations before the world in which they live. Paul is concerned that they show the beauty of the truth about Jesus Christ in order to have a positive impact on an unbelieving world (2:5, 8, 10). Biblical truth or sound Christian doctrine (2:1) is designed to not only bring us into an intimate relationship with God, but it is to equip us, as stewards of His grace, to represent Him and to proclaim the message of our Savior, as His ambassadors in a fallen world. We have an awesome responsibility to make the truth of Christ attractive by lives that truly reflect the saving power of the message.
Paul wrote the little book of Titus in order to clarify what really matters. For the last few weeks, we've seen that churches matter and leadership matters. Today, Paul uses some pretty tough language to explain why truth matters. He also explains how churches and leadership can protect God's people from misinformation and untruths.
The Bible teaches that churches are to be led by a plurality of called, qualified men called elders. Even Paul submitted himself to the elders in Jerusalem (Galatians 2:1-2) along with Titus. Imagine what the situation was like in Crete. Scripture does not record any details about the church being established in Crete. We do know according to Acts 2:11 that Cretans we’re present during Pentecost. Perhaps the new converts went home to spread the good news about Jesus Christ. Paul and his team had to make disciples first which meant that it would take time for men to mature before Titus could be sent to appoint elders. Finding leaders is a challenge faced by most church-planting or pioneering missions situations; one man will usually serve as the elder until other men are raised up to lead as elders. Paul instructs Titus to put things in order and appoint elders, but what is an elder?
Jesus said to his disciples in John 16 that it is better to have the Holy Spirit in them than to have Him right beside them. It is better that He leaves, so that they may receive the Holy Spirit. The name Jesus gave for the Holy Spirit in John 14:16 is the Greek word Parakletos, which may be translated into English as "comforter", "counselor", “advocate”, or "helper". The Holy Spirit is like a funnel through whom all the blessings of God come to us. Whatever God has for us and does in our life He does it through the person and the work of the Holy Spirit. This sermon will characterize how the Holy Spirit is our preeminent helper and illustrate how to align yourself with the Holy Spirit's work in your life.
The Holy Spirit is God’s promise and assurance that he will finish what he has started in us. He is the foretaste of heaven. That means we can ask for and experience His presence. This sermon will explain and illustrate how to position yourself to experience His presence and power and love.
The advent of the Holy Spirit changed things forever. At Pentecost, the promised Holy Spirit came in a powerful way that seized the people of Jerusalem. The arrival was accompanied by powerful signs and the question that was raised is the question we will seek to answer today– what does this mean? The advent of the Holy Spirit was the beginning of the last days, vindicated Jesus Christ, and forever changed the way we relate to God.
Throughout the history of Christianity, we often forget that God is a triune God. He is God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. Some Christians seem to show little evidence that they have any theology of the Spirit while others seem to emphasize the Spirit at the expense of other biblical doctrines. What seems clear is that few Christians have it quite right. This sermon series seeks to clarify and provide people with a better understanding of what Scripture says about The Holy Spirit.
This first sermon establishes The Holy Spirit is a person and answers the question, "Is having The Holy Spirit better than having Jesus in the flesh?"
Family Strong sermon series has been primarily focused on the nuclear family, but today as the series concludes we will look at the staggering way that Jesus reorients what it means to be family. In Mark 3:31-35, Jesus says some things about the family that would have been shocking to those listening. Jesus’ teaching about family relationships was so radical that it seemed to threaten the most important human institution. However, Jesus does not teach that human relationships have no value, only that they must be subordinated to spiritual relations. Listen in on how the church family, can be Family Strong.
People are naturally rebellious, and our autonomy assaults authority. We don’t like anyone telling us what to do. The question of authority is answered clearly by Jesus when he delivered his Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20. The stunning thing that we find in that passage is that Jesus’ authority is about making disciples. Parental authority is part of God’s design. This sermon discusses that authority and how parents can practically live out that authority in a loving and God-centered way.
What makes a strong family today? In this sermon series, we’ll try to answer that question from God’s Word. We’ll talk about family worship, giving the family blessing, family fears and authority in the family.
This sermon is a table discussion between Pastor Sam Shaw & John Nix on how you can create a worship culture of the Lord in your home. Their discussion is based upon Deut. 6:4-7; Psalm 78:1-8; Eph. 6:1-4; and 2 Tim. 1:5; 3:14-15.
Who is the king of your life? Who is your source of strength when the going gets tough? Who do you brag about to others? Who is calling the shots in your life? Is it God or someone or something else to which you answered these questions? Listen to this most recent sermon podcast to see why our first answer to these questions should always be God.
Does God tempt us? Why does it mean when Jesus' prays that we are not lead into temptation? This sermon on Matthew 6:13 answers these questions and many more on temptation and how it is connected with prayer.