Does your life have a primary purpose? Is there a primary purpose for all of humanity? I believe there is. This is what I preached on yesterday at Harbor Church where we continued our “To Be The Church” sermon series with a message titled, “To Be On Mission.”
Here is the link to the audio recording of the sermon and below is a written manuscript. I will warn you that I only use the manuscript as an outline when I preach so there will be differences in the manuscript and the audio. I hope the message remains the same.
This past Sunday, I preached a sermon at Harbor Church titled, “To Be A Disciple.” In it we worked through a number of Scripture passages where Jesus interacts with various people regarding a “call to discipleship.” I also used a number of quotes and ideas from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of my favorite authors and pastors of recent history.
Below, you’ll find some book recommendations that made a significant impact in my own discipleship and I pray they might be of help to you as well as you walk in daily discipleship with Jesus Christ.
This past Sunday I continued our sermons series, “To Be the Church” at Harbor Church with a message on the bible titled, “To Treasure God’s Word.” The big idea is that the bible is a book to be treasured but also to be used. Too often we either treat it like all of the other books we use for information, drawing out what makes us feel good while discarding the things that don’t, or we treat it like a family treasure yet fail to wipe off the dust and actually use it for the betterment of our lives. During the sermon I recommended a few books that I want to make sure you are able to add to your personal libraries at home.
It’s a cold, dark morning on the Winterhalter ranch. Every breath is visibly seen before me in a cloud of mist as I make my way to the barn shivering more violently every step I take away from the warm comfort of our house. My dad is away, high up on a mountain range hunting an animal that in my dreams I believe is a wild beast he will battle and bring home so that I might enjoy it as pepperoni sticks and jerky.
Because he is away I have been entrusted with the duties of making sure our livestock are fed before I leave for school.
Have you ever done something nice for someone and it went unnoticed?
Have you ever had the opportunity to do something special for someone and when you did there was no reward, not even a thank you?
This is the story of my wife, Rachel. As some of you know, we have three children ages four, two, and six months. Rachel is a busy stay-at-home mom. Not only is there the busyness of keeping all three children on a daily schedule of meals, naps, education, play time, etc, there is also the work of staying on top of managing our crazy household with things like cleaning, laundry, and a long list of things that make my remaining hair fallout or turn grey.
Today is Opening Day for Major League Baseball and tomorrow is the official Opening Day for the Seattle Mariners, my baseball team since childhood. I could bemoan for hours how Seattle faces another long season of baseball ahead but I thought I would find more joy in spending a few moments starting a conversation about our own “Opening Days.”
For baseball, Opening Day falls right around the 1st of April every year and is preceded by Spring Training and followed by a 162 game season. We have all sorts of Opening Days in our lives.
With a lot of discussion this week surrounding how Christians are active in eradicating global poverty and need, I thought I’d keep us in this same vein of thought and conversation. So here’s the question of the day in two parts: Why do we serve those in need and how did we come to our current mindset of how we actively participate in this endeavor?
For me, there are two great books that have helped me work through both a local and global mindset of serving those in need.
As of today, March 26th, World Vision has reversed its decision according to this article in Christianity Today
. I’m thankful that their leadership listened to wise, biblical counsel and I trust that the men who supported the initial policy change have repented of any sin that might have led them to this decision. We all face decisions on a daily basis where we have the opportunity to give into the fear of man. May Jesus continue to give us strength and courage though the empowerment of the Holy Spirit in our lives as we face such decisions.
Yesterday, World Vision, the global non-profit organization that brings aid and resources to people in need all over the world, announced a new policy for hiring employees in its American branch. According to this article in Christianity Today, President Richard Stearns announced they will now no longer require their employees to restrict their sexual activity to marriage between one man and one woman allowing people in same-sex marriages to be employed at one of America’s largest Christian charities.
While the world responds on their social media platform of choice, I thought I’d take a moment to work through my own initial thoughts.
Take 30 seconds and do something for me. Close your eyes and imagine the city in which you reside in. Describe it for me. Is it urban, suburban, or rural? Describe the people that reside in it. What do they look like, talk like, and think like? Describe the vibe. Is it fast paced or relaxed? Describe your favorite shops and restaurants. How do the stack up to other cities you have visited?
I love cities. Specifically, for me, I like active cities. Cities that are filled with people and active with life. I have lived in all sorts of cities from the rural, small city (calling it a town is a stretch) that had a general mercantile, a restaurant, and a few antique shops to the sprawling suburban city that feels more like a collection of strip malls to the large, urban metropolis city housing millions of people that seem to never sleep.
Most people are able to empathize with the statement that life is a fight. If you are someone interested in being effective, bringing change, and making a difference your life will have many fights and battles. The question is, are you fighting the good fight?
It does not matter what role you play, whether a CEO, stay-at-home mom, sales person or whatever specific title resides under your name on your business card, we all face daily battles. Battles to keep the organization moving toward the vision, battles to teach and discipline our children in order for them to become mature adults, battles to show people a new way of life that allows them to focus more on their goals and dreams.