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Author Archives: pastorsro

About pastorsro

My life is committed to letting the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ lead me. Thus far he has led me into youth ministry and now the pastorate. He guided me to my wonderful wife in 1998 and we were wed on May 19, 2001. Beginning in January of 2005, again in May of 2007, September of 2008, and in July 2012 He blessed us with our children.

Message Monday: Training the Twelve – Andrew and Phillip: Detail Disciples John 6:5-8

Intro:

  • Details. When we think about them, there is a general dislike for them.
  • In fact we have come to prefer the little phrase, “the devil is in the details” as opposed to its much earlier cousin, “God is in the details”.
    • The earlier phrase was intended to express the reality that God cares about details, so we should be diligent to address them.
    • Our more modern variant expresses our dislike for details by making it clear that they will be deceptive, frustrating, and problematic.
  • And yet, details are important.
    • I am sure that none of us want a surgery performed non-detail oriented surgeon. Nor would we want a detail-less pharmacist filling our prescriptions.
    • We would not want our homes or cars built by architects, engineers, and contractors who did not care about details.
    • Really when it comes to those who take care of us, we really care about details!
    • On the other hand, when we are the person in charge taking care of the details, we far more often complain at the time they consume or downplay their importance.
  • We have a dislike for detail oriented people, as much as we have a dislike for dealing with details.
    • Attention to detail has a tendency to push people away, as the focus turns to the process or the product desired.
    • Attention to detail also can have a tendency to overlook faith or God’s role due to the focus being on the substance of the contemporary challenges

 

Hook:

  • So, if we were to look at two detail oriented disciples we might think that Jesus would want to change their most basic tendencies.
  • But Jesus, the Word made flesh, cared so much about details that He created a world that runs on minute details. He fulfilled every prophecy about the Messiah to the finest detail. And he addressed every sin on the cross not leaving out even the smallest detail of sin in our lives.
  • So instead of overlooking these disciples of detail or seeking to totally change their fundamental nature, Jesus sought to train Andrew and Phillip to utilize their tendency towards details for his glory.

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Posted by on February 20, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Message Monday: Training the Twelve – Peter: The Impulsive Disciple Luke 22:31-34

Originally Preached 02/11/18

SimonPeter

Intro:

  • Friday evening, our family watched the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang South Korea.
  • After the Korean conflict when the nation was divided at the 38th parallel, and the DMZ was established, few would have thought that either Korea would be chosen as a host site for the Olympics.
  • Over decades, North Korea has celebrated its status as one of the most impulsive, erratic, and bewildering nations in the world. A famous picture shows the relative darkness of North Korea at night, with little electric illumination in comparison to the nations around them.
  • While the North isolates themselves in every way possible, South Korea has become a nation transformed into a technological marvel. In industry, technology, and quality of life South Korea far outpaces its northern neighbor.
  • The greatest detractor from the quality of life in South Korea is the constant tension of coexisting with the impulsive North Korean regime.
  • So it was a surprise to hear that the Koreas would march together in the opening ceremonies.
    • Athletes from both nations came into the stadium together representing a united Korea.
    • They wore an emblem and flew the banner of the Korean peninsula rather than their own national colors.
    • This theme was further emphasized as the penultimate torch bearers were members of the united Korea women’s hockey team.
  • This moment of Olympic theatre, while certainly more show than substance, is the kind of move that should be celebrated and encouraged, amid necessary denouncements, if North Korea is ever to truly become a more stable nation.

 

Hook:

  • The problem with impulsiveness, wherever it is found, is its irrational unreliability.
  • Impulsiveness derives from personal whims, desires, and opinions.
  • By saying that impulsiveness is irrational, I mean that we cannot reason with someone once they have set their attention upon accomplishing their desires.
  • By saying that impulsiveness is unreliable, I mean that no matter what has been promised beforehand, if that promise no longer suits the person it will not be kept.
  • This is not to say that all impulses are bad. Often it is the impulsive inklings that lead to great advancements.
  • It is to say that impulsiveness, or the practice of following whatever we feel, think or desire in the moment is problematic.
  • And if the apostle Peter were here today, I believe he would be the first to amen these three points that speak about transforming impulsiveness into steadfastness.

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Posted by on February 12, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Message Monday: Training the Twelve – The Call Matthew 09:35-10:04

Originally Preached 02/04/18Jesus walking with disciples

Intro:

  • Recently, the television show Worst Cooks in America came onto my radar.
  • The show takes a group of the self-proclaimed worst cooks in America and over a number of weeks, through cooking demonstrations and competitions attempts to have two master chefs transform these cooks.
  • Caroline likes to watch all kinds of cooking shows, but I seldom watch them because I need no encouragement to find something else to eat.
  • But one weekend I overheard the show, and the participants sharing some of their stories and foibles in the kitchen. And as much as I hate to admit it, I began to engage with their stories as ordinary people who wanted to do something better.
  • Do those sorts of shows capture your attention as well?
    • It may not be Worst Cooks in America, but perhaps you loved American Idol, the Voice, or America’s Got Talent. Each week ordinary people competed and the shows share their story.
    • You may have been a part of The Biggest Loser craze a few years ago and watched with amazement as overweight people transformed.
    • Perhaps you remember with fondness shows like Trading Spaces or other similar home remodel and redecorating shows. Every episode you are introduced to new people and the story of how they are making their house into a home.

 

Hook:

  • While we could continue naming shows, there is a theme in these shows that engages us: take someone ordinary and help them transform.
  • Is it any wonder that when we look at the gospels and our Savior that we see that theme originating with him?
  • Jesus knows our humanity and understands that we all love to see someone transformed – and that is why he calls us to a journey of discipleship.
  • We are beginning a series that focuses on Jesus’ relationship with his twelve disciples.
    • We will see an incredible journey of transformation that will occur as He interacts with twelve ordinary men.
    • My prayer is that we will all see how Jesus wants each believer to be a part of a transformation story as he has called each of us to be his disciple as well.
  • Today, as we look at Jesus’ call of the Twelve we will see three ways Jesus’ call demands upon our transformation.

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Posted by on February 12, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Message Monday: Disciplines of Devotion – Discipline 3: Humble Witness

Originally Preached 07/02/17

Intro:

  • The ink was still drying on the Declaration of Independence as General Washington and the Continental Army entered into battle with the British in August of 1776.
  • The British had developed a superior battle plan trapping Washington and all of the 8000 Continental troops on Brooklyn Height, New York. Should they have pressed the battle into the evening the War would have been over.
  • With confidence and pride General Howe ordered a halt until the morning. After all the rebel army was trapped so that the British Navy would intercept them by sea and the British army would intercept them by land.
  • It was then that a near supernatural fog descended onto the Heights and the East River. So thick was the fog that through the night Washington was able to ferry the entire army across the river and to escape that they might fight another day.
  • Had it not been for that critically timed fog, the Battle of New York would have ended the revolution and today we would sing “God Save the Queen” rather than “God Bless America”

Hook:

  • I mention that miracle of the Revolution not to say that God chose sides in the Revolution, but to point out how even in our own Revolution there were those who sought and recognized God’s providential help in their personal lives.
  • For Washington this event, along with the numerous times that he would ride out of battle, inspect his cloak and discover bullet holes, as well as other critical events in the revolution cemented in his mind that the Hand of Providence which guided his steps.
  • Listen to these words from his first Inaugural Address, “No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency… We ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.”
  • Not all of us can be a Washington or a Daniel, but all of us can display the humility and bold witness of these men.
  • My goal with today’s message is to show you how to be that kind of witness in a three simple points.

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Posted by on July 31, 2017 in Ministry of the Word

 

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Message Monday: Disciplines of Devotion – Discipline 2: Principled Prayer

Intro:Image result for prayer

  • Just a few weeks ago a group of university students at Notre Dame University made headlines as they staged a walk out to their graduation ceremony during the address of the Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence.
  • Around 100 graduates out of 3171 chose to walk out of the graduation ceremony in protest of Pence’s ideas and policy positions.
  • The move was unprecedented because Notre Dame is an institution committed to the free expression and exchange of ideas.
  • The graduate staged their protest to respond to Pence’s policy positions opposition to gay rights, refugee resettlement, sanctuary cities, and his support of President Trump’s travel ban.
  • Until this protest the graduates had little power to openly oppose these positions. The choice of Pence as graduation speaker gave these graduates the power to voice their disapproval.
  • One graduate said, “We are not protesting their choice of a commencement speaker. We are unwelcoming Mike Pence Back to Indiana with the idea that nobody knows Pence’s record as well as Hoosiers do.”
  • Speaking of powerless, one parent of the graduates said of the walkout, “we think it’s in poor taste. We think its disrespectful. It’s so unnecessary.”

Hook:

  • No matter how you feel about Pence’s policies or about this walkout, there is an important aspect of this story for us to realize.
  • We live in a nation where “freedom of speech” is enshrined as the first amendment to our Constitution. So both the graduates and the parents have a right to peacefully express their beliefs and ideas without recourse.
  • Because we have “freedom of speech,” anytime we as Americans feel powerless about something that our government or another group does, we can simply speak up and express our opinions and views.
  • But just imagine living even just a few hundred years ago around the time our nation was founded. For just speaking up against the government a person could be imprisoned or worse.
  • If we go back further in history rulers had even more absolute power and death could be commanded in an instant for any offense.
  • Powerlessness is a condition that has existed for millennia, causing frustration and despondency. After the founding of our nation people could respond as publicly and passionately as they desired, so long as it was peaceful.
  • Before we assume that believers should just speak up when we feel powerless, let’s look today at Daniel’s response to a precarious situation.

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Posted by on July 24, 2017 in Ministry of the Word

 

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Message Monday: Disciplines of Devotion : Discipline 1 Resolute Faith

Intro:Related image

  • One of the most striking parts of the SBC Annual meeting that we attended was the commissioning service for IMB missionaries.
    • Since the IMB has come to the point where they can increase the number of missionaries we saw around twenty individuals be set apart for service on the mission field.
    • As each of the missionaries stood in front of the packed convention hall, they shared a brief testimony of how God clarified their calling and drew them onto the mission field.
    • Over half of them had to share their testimony in the shadows due to security concerns about the locations they would go to serve.
    • The convention, missionaries, and the IMB president David Platt all participated in a responsive reading.
    • That reading continue to bring up the fact that these missionaries were willing to give up their lives to share the gospel with the nations.
    • Then as a finale for the commissioning service each missionary follow a banner with their place of service listed into the audience. There we prayed for them.

Hook:

  • Our SBC missionaries are inspiring because they were so willing to give up their lives to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others.
  • Imagine just for a moment, instead of a stirring commissioning service held freely in a nation that protects and preserves our religious liberty, that you stand watching a commissioning of four missionaries to a nation that had imprisoned them a prison-like government barracks.
  • Far from the stirring rhetoric and moving symbols we saw at the SBC, these missionaries are retrained, renamed, all with the hope to replace their stubborn beliefs in the one true and living God.
  • If your nation had been defeated, if you had been taken captive, and if your captors were doing everything they could to eradicate your belief in God; what would your thoughts gravitate towards?
    • Would you set yourself apart to be a witness for your God?
    • Or would you under the tremendous pressure, choose to turn away from your God to serve the most convenient idol or king?
  • Today as we look at the first discipline of a devoted life, we will see Daniel and his friends be commissioned to be God’s witnesses in captivity.

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Posted by on July 17, 2017 in Ministry of the Word

 

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Message Monday: Cradle Roll of Christ – Wonderful Counsleor

Intro:

  • Today we begin a brief series of messages that I pray will help us to see the Savior with new eyes during this Christmas season.
  • Think with me for just a moment of the excitement when you discovered that you or a close family member was expecting a baby.
  • One of the first questions always asked is what will you name the baby.
  • Lists of favorite names are compiled by parents as well as a list of never names.
  • Churches would also get involved in this name craze.
    • In Baptist churches years ago when they would know a new baby was on the way they would enroll the baby in the church.
    • Because they did not know the name by writing down “Baby” and the parents last name on the Cradle Roll.

 

Hook:

  • So imagine with me for just a moment that God was going to enroll the Christ Child into one of our churches.
    • There would be no last name because God needs no last name.
    • To enroll the child a name would be requires and so when asked what would God provide as a name?
    • In the book of Isaiah in at least two verses we receive God’s answer as to what name Jesus shall be called.
    • Today we begin by examining the first name in Isaiah 9:6.

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Posted by on December 5, 2016 in Ministry of the Word

 

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