Sermon Notes (Page 2)

“Asking God to Speak Loudly” Acts 16:6-15

I have a confession to make; I have had the privilege of studying with renowned biblical scholars.  Having degrees from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in the 1980s and Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond in the beginning of the 21st Century, I was afforded ample opportunity to learn from the some of the smartest people who have ever called themselves Baptist.  But even with all this great instruction from learned men and women, my confession is, “I still do not understand God’s providence.”  Many of you have heard me say, “I find providence to be the most mysterious of all the Christian doctrines.”  Because of my strong emphasis upon the gift called freedom of choice, I have a hard time grappling with the idea that God orchestrates everything, because I don’t believe that everything that happens is God’s will.  I don’t think the Holocaust or the tragedies of September 11, 2001 were God’s will.  If God caused everything, we would be nothing more than marionettes on strings controlled by God as the master puppeteer.  God gives us free will; we have to continue to seek God’s direction, even when we don’t know what is going to happen in the future. 

“Times to Remember” John 21:1 14

Are there certain songs that remind you of an event or a particular occurrence in your life?  When I listen to songs of the 70s and 80s on channels 7 and 8 of my Sirius XM Radio, I often take a trip down memory lane and remember driving my 65 Mustang Fastback with the windows down and the music blasting from the 8-Track Tape Player.  I remember riding around with my best friend Scott and my cousin Mark.  Memories of places I had since forgotten flood my mind simply by listening to a song.  Times to remember.

“A New Beginning” Acts 2:1-21

Today is a significant day for our church for many reasons.  Tomorrow we begin one of the busiest and most important weeks of our church year, and we will commission our Vacation Bible School workers later in the service.  VBS is the best opportunity we have to share God’s love with so many children in a concentrated fashion; we have active, child-friendly curriculum which offers fabulous options of interacting with kids.  Of those who have already pre-registered, about two-thirds do not attend Madison Baptist.  I love the energy of VBS and how our church members work cooperatively in sharing God’s love with children, specifically those who do not attend church anywhere.

“Hope Got in My Eyes” Luke 24:44-53

Some time ago, a rich cosmetic manufacturer retired.  His products were fabulously successful.  His friends badgered him for the secret of their success.  Year after year, he jokingly refused.  But finally he relented.  “In addition to the formulas that all cosmeticians use,” he said, “I always added the magic ingredient to mine.”

“What Will Your Verse Be?” Luke 22:24-30

I am intrigued that the official name of a graduation ceremony is “Commencement.”  The word “commence” means “to begin,” but we attend these ceremonies with our eyes on the rear view mirror, noting the accomplishment of receiving a diploma.  For our high school graduates, directly in front of you is a door through which you pass when reaching the milestone of completing a thirteen-year dream.  As you go through it, you are exiting one episode of life and entering another.  You will continue to walk through doorways for the rest of your life.

“Pocket Full of Rocks” I Corinthians 13:4-7 Parent-Child-Church Dedication Service for Gunnar Ivester

Questions that begin with the word “why” are often heard in families with children.  Parents wonder why kids do things; children ask why as a means of understanding.

A mother was showing her son how to zip up his coat. “The secret,” she said, “is to get the left part of the zipper to fit in the other side before you try to zip it up.”

The boy looked at her quizzically… “Why does it have to be a secret?”

“Minding Our Own Business” John 20:19-25

This has been a tough week for many in our community.  Many have been affected by the deaths of teenagers Michael Rhodes and Brittany Smith.  The death of my Uncle Buddy Coile was anticipated, but his absence leaves sadness for those who remain.  While we grieve, we do so as people with hope, and we can have that hope because of Easter.  We have been to the empty tomb.  We have heard the glad news of resurrection.  The First Century disciples also were aware of the empty tomb; some saw it.  They all had heard the glad news of resurrection, yet our passage this morning indicates that they sat sequestered in fear of what the future might bring.  As we examine the disciples in our passage today, I think we will find some words for us too.

“How Do We Love Jesus?” John 21:15-17

On Easter Sunday night and the following Sunday night, Jesus appeared to the disciples in the upper room.  After the appearance to Thomas on the week after Easter, it seemed that the disciples went back to business as usual.   Jesus’ appearance to them had confirmed the resurrection, yet they went back to what they knew how to do.  They went fishing.

“Playin’ ‘Possum” Matthew 28:1-10 Easter Sunday

Raise your hand if you are acquainted with the idea of “playin’ ‘possum?”  When I was a kid, occasionally my mom would ask me to do something, and if I didn’t want to do it, I would pretend to be asleep.  Or if I wanted to play a joke or prank on someone when they entered the room, I would pretend to be asleep and then startle them when they didn’t expect it.  This somewhat deceptive behavior is called “playin’ ‘possum.”  Essentially a person acts like they are asleep when they are actually awake.