Freebie: 10 Degrees Hotter eBook

10DegreesHotterThroughout the month of January our church has been in a series called 10 Degrees Hotter. This is the vision four our church in 2014 that God has placed on our lead pastors heart. Throughout the series we have been talking about how we can grow 10 degrees hotter in our affection for God. The first and greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind.

Gary Chapmen is probably best known for his book The 5 Love Languages. In that book Chapmen says every human being gives and receives love in different “languages.” They love languages are words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. In this series, 10 Degrees Hotter, our lead pastor has been walking us through how these love languages can also help us grow in our love for God. Just as we work on these languages in a married towards our spouse, we can use them to grow in our affection for God. You can click here to watch the sermons from this series.

To go along with this vision and series, our lead pastor wrote a book about growing 10 degrees hotter. In this book he walks through the love languages and how we can use them to grow in our affection towards God as well as other practical ways to grow in this area. Also, the book is totally FREE! Click the link below to get the 10 Degrees Hotter ebook and see how you can grow 10 degrees hotter in your affection for God.

Download the 10 Degrees Hotter eBook

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4 Reminders About Persecution

Tom-Randall-photo-Free-Tom-Randall-FB-page.pngIt has been a crazy past two weeks for our church family here at Christ Community Chapel. One of our very own pastors, Tom Randall, is currently in jail in the Philippines under false accusations. You can click here to watch an update that our lead pastor gave a little over a week ago on this situation. He explains the situation more in depth and shares some text messages he has exchanged with Tom. You can also click here to read a blog post from our lead pastor on this situation.

As our church is walking through this and I am spending much time in prayer for Tom and the whole situation, the Lord has been reminding me a lot about what His Word says about persecution. I’ve always been aware and concerned for Christians who are being persecuted all over the world, but when it hits this close to home it’s different. As look over God’s Word here are some simple, yet powerful reminders about Christians and persecution.

1. Jesus tells us we WILL face persecution (John 15-18-20). Persecution should not come as a surprise to a Christians. In this passage, and a few others in the Gospels, Jesus clearly informs His disciples that just as He has faced persecution, they will as well. he says, “A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecute me, they will also persecute you.” You may not be locked up in a jail in a foreign country, but some time or another you will be persecuted for your faith.

2. When we face persecution, God will help and protect us (Psalm 27). So Christians will face persecution some time or another, but when they do they can find help and protection in their God. We don’t serve a God who allows persecution in our lives and then steps away for us to survive on our own. He loves and cares for us deeply and will be our help and protection during persecution. Read Psalm 27, written by a David when he was running for his life, and see how he calls on his God for help and protection. We can do that too when we are faced with persecution.

3. Persecution is a blessing (Matthew 5:11-12). Jesus said some pretty crazy stuff when He was doing ministry here on the earth. One of those things is that when we are persecuted for our faith, we should “rejoice and be glad.” Really? Persecution for the Christians gives us an opportunity to suffer for our Savior who suffered for us and brings us closer to Him. You will never meet a geniune Christian who has faced persecution and came out on the other side further from God then they were before the persecution. God grows our faith and love for Him when we walk through the valley.

4. We must remember our brothers and sisters in Christ who are being persecuted (Hebrews 13:3). You may not be facing persecution right now, but Christians are always being persecuted somewhere around the world at all times. Our responsibility is to remember them as the writer of Hebrews tells us to. “Remember” in this passage does not just mean “call to mind.” It means to “actively remember; to remember and act.” One of the ways we can do that is to be in prayer for other Christians who are being persecuted.

I’ve never prayed for a persecuted Christian like I have for Tom. This situation has reminded me of the reality of persecution and power of God to work even in the darkest situations. Would you join our church in prayer for our brother Tom?

Is Jesus Really the Only Way?

Recently, we just finished up a series called Get Real in our middle school ministry. During the series we addressed major questions many people, including Christians, ask about Christianity. For example, “How do we know God is real?” or “If God is so loving than why is there so much suffering in the world?” The question I tackled a few weeks ago was “Is Jesus really the only way to God?” I want to share the main ideas from that talk in this post and hope to share why we can believe that Jesus really is the only way to God.

A popular belief in our culture is that all religions are equal. Not only are they equal, but they all lead to the same place. Therefore, it doesn’t matter what religion, or path, you take, we will all end up in the same place. Some people may choose Christianity and if that’s works for them then it’s all good. Or some people may choose Islam, or some other religion, and if that’s best for them then it’s all good. We call this belief “religious pluralism.” You see this kind of thing pop up in things like the coexists bumper stickers. You know, those stickers that spell “coexists” with the symbols of different religions. As good as all this sounds, it couldn’t be any further from the truth. In John 14:6, Jesus makes a claim that goes against any claim that all religions are the same or that all paths lead to God. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus claims that there is only one way to God and that’s through Him. How do we know that’s true? Let me share with you three other things that support Jesus claim that He is the only way.

1. Jesus is the only way God provided. In Matthew 26:36-44 we read about Jesus going to a garden to pray before He would be betrayed and arrested. Jesus knew what was coming. He knew He was about to be beaten, spit upon, and murdered on a cross as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. In complete agony He prays to the Father and asks Him if there is another way to do this. He asks God that if it would be His will, could He get out of doing this. But we see Jesus complete surrender and determination to follow God’s will. Jesus goes to God three times and basically asks Him if there is another way. And three times God doesn’t repond. There is no other way. The death of Jesus as a sacrifice for sin was the only way. God’s silence screams this truth from the pages of Scripture! Think about it, if God had another way would He really send His only Son to be nailed to His death on a cross? This sacrifice only makes sense if what we believe is true-Jesus is the only way!

2. Jesus is the only way that fixes our problem. Everyone enters this world with a common problem called sin. All religions recognize this is some way. They may not call it sin, but they realize this world is broken and things are screwed up. So all religions, or paths to God, try and fix this problem. Some try and say that all we need to do is be better, try harder, and hope our good outweighs our bad. Sadly, all religions, except Christianity, just puts a band-aid on our problem. Only Jesus actually fixes the problem. How does He do that? He becomes a curse for us and take our sin upon Himself. In exchange we get His righteousness which means we continue as if we have never sinned. We are justified and stand before God perfect because of Jesus. 2 Corinthians 5:21 explains this great exchange to us.

3. Jesus is the only way transforms our life. No one actually experiences life change outside of Christianity. All other religions don’t change a person. In actuality all they do is become an “add on” to someones life. But Jesus comes and gives us a new start. The Bible calls this being “born again” or the “new birth.” We literally go from death unto life and experience a whole new life. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” No other religions can make that statement. In their book Red Like Blood, Joe Coffey and Bob Bevington tell a story about a situation the famous evangelists Dr. Ironsides found himself in. At a Salvation Army event, Dr. Ironsides was called to the platform to share a few words. On his way up, a outspoken atheists started making remarks and yelling at him. The atheist called Ironsides out for a debate between Christianity, which he claimed was false, and atheism. Ironsides looked at the man and said this: “Yes, I will debate you this Saturday morning. But there is one condition. You bring one person whose life has been transformed by the power of becoming an atheist and I will bring fifty ex-alcoholics and fifty ex-prostitutes whose lives have been transformed by the power of Jesus Christ. And then we will debate.” Christianity is the only religion that has to power to change a life.

All religions, or paths, to God are not the same. There is only one way and that is through Jesus Christ. That is the only way God provided, fixes our sin problem, and brings transformation. No other ways to God claim those three things.

Click here to view my speaking page where you can hear the audio of this sermon as well as other sermons I have preached in the past.