This is just a rough compilation of various thoughts on various topics over the past few years of teaching the preaching. 

NB

WORSHIP

The world is not divided between those who do or do not worship. The question is, “To what or whom is our worship ascribed?”

Mourning is a catalyst for true, unadulterated worship. God doesn’t let us mourn to leave us in mourning, but to show us Christ.

If followers of Jesus Christ would worship the Savior as many laud mere mortals who can throw a orange ball through a metal cylinder, the world would unquestionably know where our passion lies.

God is not longing for worship, but rather, looks for worshippers. Not an event to attend, but a life-style to adopt.

True praise and worship will be the result of a life that recognizes the character of God and the cross of Christ.

The choice is not whether we worship, but what or whom we worship.

Thankful for such a wonderful Savior as Jesus Christ that no superlative can adequately describe His beauty.

Eternity will be far too short to adequately thank the One who saved our souls.

We will never truly know how much Christ loved us because we will never taste what it took for Him to purchase our redemption.


PEACE

Peace is not the product of ignoring wrong. It is the pursuit of reconciliation, even when misunderstood or rejected.

Being a peacemaker is not the passive acceptance of life, but the active pursuit of reconciling man to God.

Pacifism doesn’t produce peace nor does conflict create calm. Peace isn’t a product of circumstances, but a result of reconciliation w/ God.

Being a peacemaker doesn’t make someone God’s child, but His children will be peacemakers as it’s a reflection of His character.

What peace to realize, no sin is too great to separate me from access to Christ’s cross, nor is any sacrifice of my own sufficient to bypass His cross. Here I leave my sin and self and take my Savior.

Jesus was an activist. Enemy? Love them. That’s an action, not a feeling. Hated? Do good to them. Cursed? Bless them. Abused? Pray for them.


REPENTANCE

May the recognition of our sin not distance us from God, but rather, let it quickly drive us to the foot of Jesus’ cross.

Do we let our sin drive us to the throne of an all-sufficient Savior OR does it send us into the throes of despondency? [Heb 4:14-16]

Do we merely address the symptoms of sin in our lives, or do we address the source?

Once in Christ, it’s not what I’ve done that defines me. It’s what He has done. It’s not about my past, but His. He makes all things new!


FOLLOWING CHRIST

God wants to take us from the mundane to the extraordinary, but there is a net to drop, a boat to abandon, and Jesus to follow.

As a follower of Jesus, we are not to follow after signs and wonders, but rather, signs and wonders ought to follow our life.

The loudest sermon that can be preached is a life lived unconditionally for the glory of God.

Crowds are no indicator of true success. God calls us to be faithful, not famous.

Jesus did not merely announce (preach) or explain (teach) the Gospel. He showed it. [Mt 4:23] Are we to do otherwise?

Jesus’ call to follow requires a personal decision resulting in a public declaration, for who can take up a cross privately?

Compromise for the Christian is the pursuit of anything less than the imitation of Jesus Christ.

God wants the church be sanctified, not safe. Faithful, not fearful.

Do we get annoyed at inconveniences that God calls opportunities?

Intimacy with God is inconvenient if one seeks earthly efficiency. Don’t expect it to fit into your way of life. Rather, the pursuit of it will change everything else. The one who desires God’s presence must be willing to withdraw from the pace, plans, persons, and pandemonium of this world to wait on His whisper.

Disappointment tends to be the result of looking for the answer in the wrong place. Am I focused on God’s character or my circumstances?

How often do we run from the problem rather than pursue the answer?

True meekness is the character of Christ personified in us.

It doesn’t take a strong man to retaliate with unbridled force, but it does take a meek man to respond with unconditional love.

On earth, we are never to be satisfied with where we are in our walk with Christ, yet always, fully satisfied in Christ. [Psalm 17:15]

Balance in the Christian life is for the Lord Jesus Christ to have absolute control of every facet of your being.

The light of God’s mercy (Romans 12:1) exposes life’s only reasonable response. To give God our all. Thus, have you truly tasted of God’s mercy?

Christ called His disciples to follow Him and HE would make them fishers of men. Christ wants our life before our lips. Our heart before our hands. Our love before our legs. Jesus wants you before what He can do through you.

What we have tasted of in Christ, the world should taste of in us. Grace. Forgiveness. Mercy. Love. Truth.

Followers of Jesus Christ have a message to deliver; not morality to demand. Love to display; not lies to deceive. A life to lay down; not lives to destroy.

Jesus suffered, once for all, that all might have eternal life. We are invited to share in His sufferings that others might know the source of eternal life. He paid the full price. We get to proclaim His full pardon.

We seek the approval of many. What would our lives look like if our sole objective was to be approved by God in all things?

Light draws little attention to itself, but to what it shines its light upon. Likewise, our light ought not magnify self, but glorify God.

When the Word of God delineates a clear course of action, partial obedience is disobedience.

Succumbing to sin results when our sight strays from the source of salvation, our Savior. Surrendering to Jesus as Lord, not strategies of trying to ‘make Him Lord’ bring freedom.

As a follower of Jesus, there is no retirement from service. Only resignation from self.

If Jesus is who He claimed, then the greatest sacrifice a Christ follower can make is the refusal of all-out surrender to Him.

The enemy of our soul is called “The accuser of our brothers.” Oh, may we never do the devil’s job for him!

Great men are not defined by their power over others, but by their service towards others. Not by their haste in assigning blame, but by their humility in acknowledging fault.

Jesus’ mission wasn’t to revamp society. He came to redeem souls. Would we rather boycott the blind than proclaim the Savior?

God’s grace is displayed not in giving us what our flesh wants, but in providing us what our spirit needs.

It was at the cross where God’s love was truly defined.

True encouragement doesn’t emerge from an affirmation of self but an understanding of God’s eternal love for you.

When you feel your world is spinning out of control, recalibrate your focus to the One who is in complete control.

Jesus calls us to die, not try. He wants our surrender, not our strength. He doesn’t want to be part of our life. He wants ALL of it.

Do we try to fit God into the way we want to live OR do we allow God to transform the way we live?

Jesus doesn’t call us to try hard and live the so-called “Christian life.” He calls us to trust Him and die that He might be our life. It’s all about the potency of His cross. Not the power of our commitment.

Our calling in Christ is not first to exploits for God, but for obedience to God.

The one desiring to follow Jesus is called to “let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Him.” Let. Let (definition): To not prevent or forbid. The power is not in our conduct modification, but in Christ’s complete salvation. It’s about letting HIM, not trying harder. About surrender, not strategy.

Have we chosen the couch of comfort or the cross of Christ? This is answered not with lips, but lives.


HAPPINESS/BLESSING

Biblical happiness is not the product of circumstances. Rather, it is the by-product of resting in God’s all-sufficiency.

Do we diagnose God’s blessings as opposition, seeking to pray them away, when He intends them for our eternal welfare?

The poor in spirit mourn, not because they haven’t found the answer, but because they long for more of it in their lives. [Mt 5:3-4]

The magnificent mystery of the Gospel. The broken are the whole, the poor are the rich, and the desperate are the blessed.

The truest blessing in life is that which lifts our eyes and draws our heart from the temporal to the eternal.

Hungering and thirsting for righteousness is no mere desire, but rather the desperate declaration of a life.

If we seek the blessing, we will miss the source. Life’s truest blessings aren’t dependent on outward circumstances, but in knowing God.


FAITHFULNESS

Faithfulness in the little things of life breeds opportunity in the big things.

For Shadrach, Mechach, and Abednego, their confidence was not in the way God would act, but in who God is. His character – not their circumstances. His timeless faithfulness – not their temporary future. (Daniel 3:16-18)


PRAYER

Our problem is not that we pray to God out of desperation. It is, however, our failure to recognize we are always in desperate need of Him.

It’s easy to ask God to answer your own prayers, but how often do you ask Him to make you the answer to someone else’s prayer?

Prayer ought not be a mere tool we use in navigating life, but the very vehicle by which we move.

Do our prayers sound more like a demanding client than a trusting child? “Our Father in heaven…”

Prayer is not so much about our Heavenly Father satisfying our supplications, but sanctifying our soul. We seek not His stuff, but Himself.

Prayer ought to be a way of life, a constant communion with our heavenly Father. Not merely a periodic event in the day.

The disciples were inspired to learn to pray because of the prayer life of Jesus Christ. What does your life inspire others to do?

The most necessary refreshment happens not in having our back in bed, but our face before God.

Are my prayers controlled by desiring what God wants from my life, or demanding what I want from God?

Good news. Our asking in prayer might be off, but God’s giving will always be on.

Pondering. Do my prayers primarily seek the good things God gives or the One who gives all things good?

The question is not will God give an answer to our prayer, but will we accept the answer He gives?

O God, teach me, mold me, and create in me a passion that longs for nothing but the fullness of Your presence, power, and preeminence in everything. O God, expose the worthlessness of vain pursuits, pleasures, and plaudits that the value of knowing you may be prized above any earthly gain or gratification. O God, let my mind not find its peace in the absence of earthly conflict, but in the eternal power of the cross, lest I assume my freedom and future is founded in the actions of man rather than the character of God. O God, let my eyes forever be fixed on Christ and His cross, that no attitude of this world would be met with a mind other than Calvary’s love. O God, give me not mere contentment in embracing Your answers to my prayers, but ecstatic joy knowing your way is the pathway to abundance of life. This is my prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.


GOSPEL/CROSS

The Gospel never changes, though it never ceases to change a life.

Pity is birthed from pride, but compassion is born out of the experience of God’s unconditional love.

The cross is not a trinket worn around the neck, but a life yielded to the One who took the ultimate cross for you.

Unless the cross of Jesus is the center of our message, our message is off.

If you ever doubt the love of God, simply look at the cross. During Christ’s prayer life on earth, there was only one time He did not call God “Father”. One time. Matthew 27:46: “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” The reason Jesus couldn’t call Him “Father” is the very reason we can forever call Him “Father”. He was forsaken for our sin, that we might be accepted through His righteousness.

A good relationship is built not on knowing how the other thinks but on loving the way God loves.

Man says “I love you!” with a card. God says “I love you!” with a cross.

The compassion of Christ’s cross saw no color, culture, or conduct as a qualification or disqualification for grace. It is at Calvary that segregation succumbed to the Savior and salvation was offered to sinners. Our prejudice on display is a bold declaration that we understand little of Calvary’s love.


FORGIVENESS

Showing mercy has nothing to do with the worthiness of the recipient, but is the ordinary response of a Gospel-centered life.

Forgiveness has nothing to do with the person you’re forgiving, but everything to do with how you’ve been forgiven.

Mercy does not ignore sin, but extends undeserved love which offers the opportunity at a new life at a great cost to yourself.

For a follower of Jesus, to forgive another is a reflection of Calvary. It’s not the result of merely choosing to overlook another’s wrong, but comes from a fresh gaze at the the Christ’s cross where their own forgiveness was secured.

To love one’s enemy is not a result of ignoring crimes committed, but of understanding Calvary’s cross. The cross dealt with sin so that we might declare the Savior.

How quickly we judge others while forgetting we have all been already judged by God…and found guilty. Jesus didn’t commission us to analyze the sins of the world, but rather, we were called to announce the Savior.


PERSECUTION

Persecution for righteousness’ sake is a vehicle by which we experience a new depth of God’s love and exhibit a new dimension of His peace.

In Daniel 3, four were seen in the fire yet only three came out. What a picture of the Ultimate One who took the fire of God’s wrath on our behalf.

For Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, intimate communion with God took place in the fiery furnace; not in the fleeting freedom of Babylon. God always accompanies His children through the fire and never abandons them in the furnace. How often we aim to avoid the very avenue of intimacy!

When Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego went through the fire, the only thing that burned in the blaze was their bonds. The fires God allows are not intended to destroy but further develop His children.

The only urgency in the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego was to completely obey God’s Word. Even in the fire, they didn’t come out until called. Where is our sense of urgency exemplified?

If you want your faith made visible, anticipate the fiery furnace before finding favor. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego received the condemnation of the king before hearing the commendation of the king and ultimately seeing the conversion of the king.

Jesus doesn’t promise to prevent the storms of life, but rather, to be present in our storms. These storms are the very catalyst for faith to be cultivated, not for fear to be condoned.


PREPARATION

Perhaps our prayer echoes the apostle “that we might know Christ more”, but do we trust His methods? For Joseph, it was slavery and prison before service and position. Moses was despised by Egypt before delivering his people. Daniel confronted lions before the law changed. Peter stepped out on the stormy tempest before the Savior’s touch. Sometimes, the situation we seek to avoid is the very appointment with the One we pray to encounter. Do we only desire ease on earth or do we ache for intimacy with the Eternal?


THE MISSION

Our true love for Jesus Christ is most reflected in the way we love the one we love the least.

Do we invest more time & resources in building the Church or church buildings? Have we discarded the “Go” of Jesus’ commission?

Our cultural engagement must be shaped by the cross. It is in costly sacrificial love that eternal hope will be made manifest.

Salt doesn’t draw attention to itself, but to the change it brings to substances around it. “You are the salt of the earth.”

Unless we trust God to be a righteous Judge, we will never love every soul with Calvary’s love. We have been freed to announce the Savior of the world, not to assess the sins of the world.

Do we primarily pray for safety when Jesus says, “Take up your cross!”? Have we lost our love for the lost, yet continue to lust after the lucre of the world? Do we call nations “closed” when Jesus says, “Go into ALL the world!”? Do we claim no one wants to listen when Jesus says, “The fields are ripe for harvest!”? “Go into all the world” wasn’t a suggestion. It’s a command. And it always starts where we are.

To see Jesus’ Great Commission fulfilled, the catalyst won’t come by being overwhelmed by the need, but rather, obsessed with the Savior.

God’s grace often keeps future details from us lest we grow presumptuous in our planning or paranoid over our prospects. Rather, He simply says. “I will be with you.”

If we obey Christ’s great commission simply because our circumstances allow, we have made His command a mere consideration. Jesus never gave His followers the right to choose if they would “Go into all the world…” The invitation was, “Follow Me.”

Does Christ’s commission of making disciples determine your day’s decisions or do your circumstances dictate the degree to which you obey?

“Short-term missions” has its place, but pray for lives willing to say goodbye to family, friends, and familiarity for the sake of investing their earthly existence in a land where Jesus’ love isn’t known. Be careful. You might be the answer to your own prayer.

A foundational problem in so-called “Global Missions” is not primarily our failure to go into foreign lands, but rather, that we consider anywhere in this world to be our “home.”


THE RESURRECTION

The resurrection is not a truth to which we merely assent intellectually. It’s a reality that transforms every part of our existence.

The power of Christ’s resurrection and the powerlessness of death is manifested through our lives when the cross is taken up.

Though Jesus laid down His life for our sins, it was death that ultimately died that weekend!


POLITICS

Don’t focus on learning the platform of your political party so you can defend it. Learn the Word of God so you can live it.

There is a TRUE Supreme Court and it’s not in the United States of America.


BROKENNESS

Brokenness is not only the process through which Christ is manifested in our mortal bodies; it is the prerequisite of following Him.

Brokenness in a Christian’s life stems from a clearer vision of our Savior’s cross – not fear of sin’s consequences.


HOLINESS

How often does the church applaud busyness when God desires holiness?

Holiness to God is not found in monastic seclusion or in eschewing culture, but in an unconditional consecration to the Savior.


VISION

A vision of God’s work is birthed from a vision of God’s character.

A vision from God is founded on a vision of God.


ASSURANCE OF SALVATION

Could a major reason many doubt their salvation in Christ be due to the focus remaining on their confession of Him rather than on His cross for them? My friend, it’s not about if you “did it right.” Jesus did. Faith placed in His finished work as the only way to God is what saves, not our words or works.

Thankful my eternal salvation is not founded in how much I love God or in my hatred of sin, but rather, in God’s love for me and His hatred of sin as simultaneously demonstrated on Christ’s cross.

If we believe our sin disqualifies us from approaching our loving Heavenly Father, we make the assumption that our righteousness somehow gives us access. My friends, only through the finished work of Jesus Christ do we have the right of access to the eternal throne of God as His child.’

God isn’t looking for perfect saints but surrendered saints.


THANKFULNESS

Thankfulness is not a product of our transient emotions but the response of a transformed heart.

I’m thankful the greatest transaction that ever occurred on a Black Friday is a gift we could never purchase. Paid not on credit, but on a cross.

It’s not about what you would do if your circumstances were different, but rather, what you will do with the circumstances you’ve been given.

First Thessalonians 5:18 wasn’t a suggestion. Thankfulness for the Christ-follower is founded on a constant. Not on the results of our ever-changing circumstances, but on our recognition of Christ’s cross.

Complaining is a bold declaration to the world that your God is not fully good.

Worry is the preparation to complain in the future.


LEADERSHIP

Often, we hear, “Be a leader and don’t follow the crowd.” Biblical truth says, “Be a follower of Jesus Christ regardless of the crowd.” The question is not who follows after you, but rather, whom are you following after?


DISCIPLESHIP

I commonly hear, “I need to be discipled.” Sadly, this is an oft-neglected reality in many local churches. My friends, let the desire to be discipled renew our vision to go and make disciples. Obedience to God’s command is not requisite on other’s obedience to the mission towards us. Discipleship is not a duplication of self, but a delineation of our Savior’s heart.


DEATH

Death is not a destination, but only the door to forever.

Do we see the end of a story when God is merely setting the stage for the display of His glory?