Online preaching

Online preaching or podcast sermons is something I have been thinking a lot about over the last six months. I have found that I have had way less desire to speak in church than I do preparing podcasts for my website. There are a few reasons for this.

1. More relaxed – preparing and delivering a sermon for a church audience is quite stressful. There is also a lot of time and effort that goes in to it too. Preparing a sermon for podcast is a lot more relaxed and as there is no timeframe, you can take your time and get it just right. And if it doesn’t sound quite right the first time, you can re-record it and go again. This makes a lot more relaxed.

2. More fruit – Another reason is when I preach in our local small country church context is there is only usually 20-40 people present. While this is a good thing to do and people are encouraged, a podcast sermon reaches way more people. A simple podcast sermon might reach hundreds of people in the first month and it continues to encourage people over the years.

3. More people – Over the years I have met a lot of Christians who do not attend church any more. For one reason or another they just don’t go. These people often still love the Lord and want to grow in their faith. As a result they search the internet for sermons, podcasts and other resources. They listen to sermons, read blogs and interact via social media. They might not attend church in person, but they are connected to the Body of Christ – the global church.

This is why I am shifting my focus over to online podcast sermons. It seems like the next progression for me in my journey. I may still preach in church occasionally, but it will be much less than in the past.

If you are interested you can find my sermons here and the audio here.

Blessings,
Dave

Two weeks about Jesus plan

Here is a two week Bible reading plan on the life and teachings of Jesus. It includes all references and links. Please enjoy…

Day 1 – Luke 1:1-80 – Preparing for Jesus’ arrival
Day 2 – Luke 2:1-52 – The story of Jesus’ birth
Day 3 – Mark 1:1-45 – The beginning of Jesus ministry
Day 4 – Mark 9:1-50 – A day in the life of Jesus
Day 5 – Matthew 5:1-48 – The Sermon on the Mount
Day 6 – Matthew 6:1-34 – The Sermon on the Mount
Day 7 – Luke 15:1-32 – Parables of Jesus
Day 8 – John 3:1-36 – A conversation with Jesus
Day 9 – John 14:1-31 – Jesus’ final instructions
Day 10 – John 17:1-26 – Jesus’ prayer for His disciples
Day 11 – Matthew 26:1-75 – Betrayal and arrest
Day 12 – Matthew 27:1-66 – Jesus’ execution on a cross
Day 13 – John 20:1-30 – Resurrection
Day 14 – Luke 24:1-53 – Jesus’ appearance after resurrection

Blessings,

Dave

New MP3s

We added five new MP3s for listening or downloading. One is sermon length and the rest are short devotional thoughts. You can find them on our audio page or below.

Blessings,
Dave

Sleep in peace

Psalms 4:8 – In peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, O LORD, will keep me safe.

For many years I did not sleep well. My mind was restless and was always racing. Or I was worried or fearful of the future.

The above verse helped me in these times. I would often read it (and others) before bed and then prayerfully ask that God would give me peace to help me sleep.

In short I claimed the above promise. It helped.

Now I sleep really well every night. My watch which records my sleep says I get between 7-8 hours a night. That is a far cry from the 4-5 I used to get!

If you struggle with sleep I would encourage you read the Bible before bed. Find verses that talk about rest and peace and focus your thoughts on God.

Blessings,
Dave

Mini Bible Lessons

I have added a new link to my links page today. It is for minibiblelessons.com. This website has a lot of simple Bible studies on books of the Bible, characters and topics.

I have used it before for our youth Bible study at my last church. I found them to be useful and a good discussion starting point for our weekly studies.

Here is some information from the website…

“MiniBibleLessons.com is a compilation of compact, yet comprehensive lessons that include doctrinal studies, practical issues, and biblical exposition. These lessons are intended to increase your understanding of God’s Word, while considering the implications of what God has revealed about us, Himself, and the world around us.

Each lesson is offered in an easy-to-use format making it convenient for a variety of purposes, from personal Bible studies right from your computer screen, to printable copies that will meet the needs of a group. The lessons can be studied independently or used as a starting point for further exploration or group discussion. The foundation and purpose for each lesson is to offer a simple, clear, and concise explanation of the content covered, while thoroughly discussing the significant aspects and most pertinent details of each topic.”

You can find our links page here, or you can visit the minibiblelessons.com website here.

Blessings,
Dave

Bring it back Lord

“O Lord, come back to us! How long will you delay? Take pity on your servants! Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives. Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery! Replace the evil years with good. Let us, your servants, see you work again; let our children see your glory. And may the Lord our God show us his approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful!” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭90:13-17‬ ‭NLT‬‬

There are times in our walk with the Lord that it seems like things are just not happening. It feels like God is not with us, all our efforts are in vain and we are not seeing Him work in our lives.

If we are honest with ourselves and others, this is true for all of us. We all get in to a spiritual funk at times and we feel like we are just going through the motions.

Today’s passage is a great passage. It is in the form of a prayer. In it it has a number of this we can pray and ask God for.

1. Bring back Your presence – God doesn’t leave us. The Bible tells us this in a number of places. But for some reason at times it seems like He is further away than usual. A good place to start when you feel like this is to pray with David, “O Lord, come back to us”.

2. Bring back the joy – all of us go through times when we lose the joy of the Lord. Our lives become dull and dreary and the joy is gone…or very little remains. Again we can pray, “Saisfy us each morning with Your unfailing love, so we can sing again”.

3. Bring back the good – again there are seasons in our lives where it seems like the good is gone. We may still have many blessings like our faith, our families, our home and provision, but it feels like a lot has been stolen from us. “Replace the evil with good and let us see You work again and Your glory” should echo the cries of our hearts in these times.

4. Bring back Your approval – God’s approval is the ultimate approval in all creation. Knowing that you are loved, forgiven and accepted by God as His child for eternity is the greatest thing we can have. But at times, for whatever reason, we lose sight of His unfailing love and approval. “Lord show us Your approval and bring success” is what we need to ask for.

All of us. Let me say it again, all of us, as Christians go through desert times when it seems like God is far from us. It is in these times that we can pray with the Psalmist the words of Psalm 90:13-17.

We can ask God to bring back His presence, His joy, His goodness, and His approval.

Blessings,

Dave

Read it slowly and break it down

Sometimes to get the most out of Scripture we need to just read it slower and break it down. Take the following passage for example…

“Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!” Psalms‬ ‭103:1-5‬ ‭NLT‬‬

It would be easy to speed read this passage and gloss over a lot of it. But if we take our time and break it down, there is so much in it.

  1. It starts with praise and blessing God with all our hearts
  2. Never the forget the good things he has done
  3. Forgives all my sins
  4. Heals all my diseases
  5. Redeems me from death
  6. Crowns me with love
  7. Crowns me with tender mercies
  8. Fills my life with good things
  9. Renews my youth

When we take the time to really read Scripture and meditate on it, we find so much more than we do when we speed read.

Why not take some time to pause and reflect on each of the above points today.

Blessings,
Dave

Two fixes for stress and anxiety

Two words come to mind when I talk to people who are stressed or suffer from anxiety – give and fix. These two words are key words from 1 Peter 5:7 and 2 Corinthians 4:18.

1 Peter 5:7 says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”

2 Corinthians 4:18 says, “So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”

Notice the bolded words? In the first verse it says to give all of our worries to God. Not some, ALL. My philosophy is that if a problem is stressful enough to worry about, it is big enough to give it to God in prayer.

Once we have given our worry or cares to God, we have to focus or fix our gaze on heaven. As the verse says, the things we see now will soon be gone. While our lives in heaven are eternal.

From my experience – worry, stress and anxiety – require me to refocus my thoughts to God and His Kingdom. When I focus too much on this life and it cares, my mind becomes distracted and fear rises up.

So today, let us purpose in our hearts to give our worries to God and fix our hearts and minds on His eternal Kingdom.

Blessings,

Dave