How to recover when you’ve squandered your potential – Characters: Samson, Part 5

Samson is an illustration of a man with unbelievable potential for good, yet who allows himself to be degraded by his lusts and revenge.  There is such a lack of desire in his life to follow God, to keep his Nazarite vow, which could have and should have guided him to lead Israel back toContinue reading “How to recover when you’ve squandered your potential – Characters: Samson, Part 5”

How one family’s drama was healed – Characters: Joseph, Part 5

In this Characters installment, we have been following the family drama in the life of Joseph, one of the patriarchs of ancient Israel. His is a story of extremes. Joseph lost his mother in childhood, but was his father’s favorite. His father loved him, but his brothers hated him. He had dreams from God aboutContinue reading “How one family’s drama was healed – Characters: Joseph, Part 5”

How to respond to family drama – Characters: Joseph, Part 4

How do you respond to family drama? Roll your eyes? Frustration? Anger? Weeping? It is particularly difficult when it is the kind of family drama that has hurt you. When your family has betrayed you, the pain can go so deep. Have you ever experienced that? What should you do? How should you respond? InContinue reading “How to respond to family drama – Characters: Joseph, Part 4”

The world-changing power of forgiveness – Philemon 8-25, Part 4.

Have you ever been in a situation where you needed to forgive someone who hurt you? Did you find it difficult to do so? It can be scary to forgive, especially when the pain runs deep. Will that person respect your forgiveness? What if they hurt you again? Are they really sorry? How do youContinue reading “The world-changing power of forgiveness – Philemon 8-25, Part 4.”

How to have restorative church discipline – Titus 1:10-16, Part 2

When you discover troublemakers in the church, what is a faithful way to respond to them? Confrontation is difficult, so we might be tempted to avoid the troublemakers and think the problem will work itself out on its own. It rarely does, though. Instead, as we will see in our continuing study of Titus 1:10-16,Continue reading “How to have restorative church discipline – Titus 1:10-16, Part 2”

How lament can bring beautiful restoration

Throughout this second week of Advent 2017, we’ve been talking about restoration from Psalm 85.  We’ve seen how God is at work to bring restoration and revival.  We’ve also learned our responsibility to work alongside God.  It can seem too hard sometimes when the restoration is going to require lots of sacrifice and effort.  SoContinue reading “How lament can bring beautiful restoration”

Who is responsible for restoration and revival? God? Us? Both?

Restoration and revival might take a lot of work.  I just did a Google image search on the phrase “the hard work of restoration”, and almost all of the pictures are about car restorations.  Some furniture.  Some homes.  There is restoration from natural disaster that can take years.  I suspect only a few of usContinue reading “Who is responsible for restoration and revival? God? Us? Both?”

What if America was invaded? A thought project to teach us how to be restored

Imagine that some nation invaded the USA, defeated us, and started carrying us away back to their land where we worked for them as slaves!  How would that feel?  Horrible, right?  And life in that foreign land would not be like life here.  It would be very, very hard.  And we would cry out inContinue reading “What if America was invaded? A thought project to teach us how to be restored”

How God wants to restore you

Betrayal and denial.  Jesus experienced both, from two of his closest followers, in a matter of no more than one hour.  That had to hurt deeply. You can read the story in Luke 22:47-62. Yesterday at Faith Church we talked about what it feels like when we have been betrayed or denied.  We also talkedContinue reading “How God wants to restore you”

Stories of Restoration, Part 1 – Joel & Michelle

When I started as pastor of Faith Church, I remember standing before the congregation most Sundays thinking to myself, Look at all those smiling faces, those well-dressed people.  They don’t need to hear this sermon.  My feeling has long been described by the phrase “you’re preaching to the choir”. Five years has passed, and myContinue reading “Stories of Restoration, Part 1 – Joel & Michelle”