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The Blessing of a Believing Spouse - Hebrews 11:11-12

God may arrange things so that your faith bears vast fruit in the years to come. Your legacy will be most clearly seen after you have gone to heaven. Sarah never lived to see the world-changing impact of her faith in God, but we still remember her 4000 years later and honor her example. More

Inner Beauty - 1 Peter 3:1-6

What is inner beauty that lasts and how do we get it? In today’s quest for physical beauty amidst a burgeoning population of aging Boomers who are finding it difficult to reconcile the ravages of time on their bodies, surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures are seeing explosive growth in this country. This craze is not particular only to celebrities and socialites but now includes the rest of society who can afford the cost of the procedures. We all w More

A Tale of Two Women: Are You a Child of Promise? - Galatians 4:21-31

Almost all the commentators agree that this is the hardest passage in the book of Galatians. It’s not easy to understand on a quick reading exactly what Paul means to say. Or perhaps more accurately, we know in general terms what he is trying to say; it’s how he says it that trips us up. For that reason, many people skip right over these verses so they can get to the “good stuff” in chapter 5, especially the p More

Fear Not! - Genesis 15:1

No one knows what a day may bring. Who knows if we will all make it through this week? But our God is faithful to keep every one of his promises. More

Shall We Kill Our Children Today? - Hebrews 11:23

The amazing faith of Moses’ parents shows us the high value that God puts on children, including those children that are born in less than ideal circumstances. Christians love children because God loves children. Ours is true pro-family religion. More

The Next Hero - Hebrews 11:39-40

Hebrews 11 is God’s “Perpetual Plaque” of those who lived by faith. And if you look closely, you can see there is plenty of room for more names. There’s room for you and there’s room for me. More

Why God Prefers Losers - 2 Corinthians 4:7

God prefers losers who know their weakness, see their flaws, admit their mistakes, and cry out to him for help. More

The Incredible Journey - Hebrews 11:8-10

Our focus in this message is on the man we often call “Father Abraham.” Hebrews 11:8-10 tells how he obeyed God’s call at great personal sacrifice. It tells us what he did; more importantly, it tells us why he did it. And it clearly shows us that obeying God doesn’t always work out the way we think it will. More

What You Seek, You Find - Jeremiah 29:12-14

God uses the hard experiences of life to bring us to the place where our trust will be in him alone. Through those hard times, we learn to seek him and to rejoice even when life doesn’t make sense. More

By Faith - Hebrews 11:1-2

Faith is the law of the kingdom. It is “belief plus unbelief and acting on the belief part.” Every blessing of the kingdom is available to those who put their faith to work by “acting on the belief part,” moment by moment, day by day, one little step at a time. More

Doing the Right Thing in the Wrong Way - Genesis 16

This week my friend David Puckett was in town. I have known David ever since our days at Dallas Seminary. After we graduated I took a pastorate in California and he entered a doctoral program at the University of Chicago. Our paths crossed again a few years later when he attended the church I pastored in Garland, Texas. He recently became a professor of church history at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, Nor More

What You Seek, You Find - Jeremiah 29:12-14

God uses the hard experiences of life to bring us to the place where our trust will be in him alone. Through those hard times, we learn to seek him and to rejoice even when life doesn’t make sense. More

God's Good vs. God's Best - Genesis 21:1-21

Have you every wanted something very badly and waited a long time for it to happen, only to discover that when it did, things didn’t work out the way you thought they would? Most of us have had that kind of experience at least once, and some of us have been down that road many times. Perhaps you spent years saving money to buy a new house, only to discover that the foundation is cracked and the wood has termites. Or you fina More

Anatomy of a Backslider - Genesis 20

One of the great proofs of the supernatural origin of the Bible it that it tells the truth about people. As you read the Bible, you will find that it discloses the whole range of human activity—including the dark side. On the pages of God’s Word, you will find stories of murder, theft, embezzlement, drunkenness, adultery, rage, moral perversion, rape, revenge, mass murder, corrupt officials, bribery, religious charlatan More

Famine in the Promised Land - Genesis 12:10-20

"Smart people sometimes do some very stupid things.” A few years ago Jim Warren shared a statement with me that a friend had shared with him. It goes like this. “When hard times come, we always have two choices. We can be a student or we can be a victim.” A moment’s thought will show the wisdom of those words. –A victim says, “Why did this happen to me?” –A student says, “Wh More

Death of a Princess - Genesis 23

Some years ago an artist painted a picture showing a mountain of skulls. At first glance all the skulls seem to be the same, but when you look closely you notice some writing on each skull. One said, “doctor,” another “teacher,” another “secretary,” another “technician,” another “salesman,” and still others were labeled “foreman,” “driver,” “c More

When God Comes to Dinner - Genesis 18:1-15

Last Tuesday night I sat on the platform at the UIC Pavilion for the Say Yes Chicago campaign with Luis Palau. During the evening Luis told the story of an evangelist named Mordecai Ham who came to Charlotte, North Carolina in 1934 for a citywide tent campaign. One night only six people came forward at the invitation and Mr. Ham went home thinking the service had been a failure. But one of those six was a young man named Billy Gra More

The Oldest Dad in the Nursery - Romans 4:18-25

Let’s start off with a bit of historic trivia. Who is oldest mother in history? I’m going to give you four choices:Ellen Ellis Ruth Alice Kistler Murphy Brown None of the Above According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the correct answer is B. Ruth Alice Kistler, who gave birth to a daughter at the age of 57. In case you’re wondering, Ellen Ellis reportedly gave birth to a child at the age of 72 in the year 1 More

Passing the Baton - Genesis 25

All week long one question hung in the air. Would he or wouldn’t he? Some said yes, most said no. The debate raged in a sports bars across America. He’s America’s fastest runner. But he didn’t practice with the team. He’s our best hope for a gold medal. But it’s not fair to the man he bumps off the team. Who cares? Just win, baby. Wait a second, he’s already got 9 gold medals. And More

God of the Impossible - Genesis 17

J. Hudson Taylor, pioneer missionary to China, said these words: “There are three stages in any great work attempted for God: impossible, difficult, done.” I was reminded of those words this week when I visited Bob and Marty Briner in Greenville, Illinois. Bob and Marty once attended the church I pastored in Garland, Texas, and have remained friends across the years. Thursday over the supper table Marty asked about m More

Portrait of a Dysfunctional Family - Genesis 27

Although it is not a new word, most of us never heard the term “dysfunctional” until a few years ago. In the last decade, however, “dysfunctional” has become one of the buzz-words of this mixed-up generation. The dictionary defines the noun dysfunction as “the disordered or impaired functioning of a bodily system or organ.” In laymen’s terms that means your body doesn’t work the way i More

God's Word Has Not Failed - Romans 9:6-18

For many people no question seems as puzzling as the problem of unanswered prayer. Why is it that some things we pray about are never answered? We could all spend hours remembering times when we prayed and prayed, often with tears, only to conclude in the end that our prayers had not been answered.—Every cemetery reminds us that not all our prayers are answered.—Every cancer diagnosis testifies to the suffering of this More

Dear Sarah: A Letter About Forgiveness at Christmastime

(A few days ago I received a letter that took over a month to finally reach me. It came from someone I have never met. Because of the unusual nature of the letter, I began to think about the question, “What does forgiveness mean at Christmastime?” This week’s message is actually the letter I wrote to her. To protect her privacy, I have changed her name. I am passing it along because many people struggle with hard qu More

He’s In Charge . . . So Relax! - Genesis 24

When you focus on God, he takes responsibility for the details of your life. More

How to Overcome Fear - Genesis 15

Genesis 15 has rightly been called one of the most important chapters in all the Bible. In it we discover the details of the Abrahamic covenant, which is the most important covenant in all the Bible. Hundreds of years later the New Testament writers (especially Paul in Galatians 3 but also Peter in Acts 3) will look back on this covenant as the foundation for the Christian gospel.  Since the word Genesis means “beginnin More

Keep Hope Alive

An old man and an old woman, childless for decades, are promised by God that someday they would have a baby. Abraham responds with total honesty. He laughs out loud at the Almighty. When Sarah hears the news, she laughs, too. How could such a thing happen? Twenty-five long years pass while they wait for God to keep his prom… More

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions About The Christian Life - Chapter 8


Good, Pleasing, Perfect - Romans 12:2

Moral compromise often begins with a tiny step in the wrong direction. This was the case with Lot, who was unmoved and apathetic to the moral decay around him. It may sound extreme, but the Lord has nothing to say to a compromising believer. You can have Sodom or you can have the Lord, but you can’t have them both. If you live for God, you will demonstrate to yourself and those who know you that that God’s way is always good, pleasing and ultimately p More

Why We Keep Believing - Hebrews 11:13-16

Because Christians are aliens and strangers on earth, we are destined to live and die feeling slightly (and maybe more than slightly) out of place. But we will not quit, give up or go back because our home is in heaven. We have expectations of something much better than anything the world has to offer. More

From Rahab to Jesus - Hebrews 11:31

God delights in saving notorious sinners. He proved it by saving Rahab, a prostitute in ancient Jericho whose faith saved her whole family. There is no pit so deep that the love of God is not deeper still. There is no sin so terrible that Jesus cannot forgive it. More

He's In Charge - So Relax! - Genesis 24

Nothing is more important in the life of the children of God than becoming fully persuaded that God does indeed lead his children on their journey from earth to heaven.Besides building your confidence in God, I also want to help you as you face the great decisions of life. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You make your decisions, and your decisions turn around and make you. What you are today is nothing more More

Living by Faith in an Uncertain World - Hebrews 11:8-10

He must have been in a hurry to get home to see his family. That’s the only reason his friends could think of to explain why Thomas Burnett of San Ramon, California changed his reservations and took an earlier flight last Tuesday morning. All his friends knew how much he loved his wife and his three daughters. No doubt he was eager to get back home from his business trip. That’s why he ended up on United Airlines Flight 9 More

Dancing With the Devil - Genesis 13

While most of you were eating Easter dinner my youngest son and I set out on a quick trip to Alabama. We journeyed back to my home in order to surprise my mother on her 75th birthday last Monday. It was the first time that my brothers and I had gotten together in seven years. We truly did surprise her and that was worth the entire trip.While I was in Alabama, my sister-in-law Betty said that a friend of hers had read The Road Best More

The Ultimate Test - Genesis 22

Several times in this sermon series I have pointed out that a particular portion of Abraham’s story is well-known to the people of the world. For instance, many people know about Abraham and Sarah leaving Ur of the Chaldees at the ages of 75 and 65 respectively, not knowing where they were going. The story of the miraculous birth of Isaac is likewise well-known as is the tragic story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. More

If God is Good, Why Do I Hurt? - Job 23:10

Of all the questions that trouble the people of God, none is greater than the question posed in our title. Sometimes it is asked in other ways: Why is there so much suffering in the world? Or why do bad things happen to good people? Or why do the wicked prosper while the righteous take such a beating? Or if God really has the power to stop human suffering, why doesn’t he use it? Someone even asked this question: Why does the de More

The ABC’s of Wisdom: Building Character with Solomon - Acknowledgments


Something New Under the Sun: Ancient Wisdom for Contemporary Living - 25. A TIME TO LAUGH


’Twas the Night Before Christmas - Hebrews 10:5-7

Christ came to die! Nothing else explains his birth. More

Empty Barrel Graduate School - 1 Kings 17:8-16

Regular readers of these sermons know that China has become very important to our family in the last two years. During that time God has called all three of our sons to China, at least for the short-term. Our oldest son returned from a year in Beijing in July. Our youngest son spent the summer teaching English in China. Our middle son is currently in China teaching English for a year. So China is on our minds all the time. In the las More

Prophet on the Run - 1 Kings 19:1-9

The Bible doesn’t sugarcoat the truth about its heroes. It gives us the whole story, the good news and the bad news at the same time. When the Bible describes the great heroes of the Old Testament and the New Testament, it tells us about the unvarnished truth about their struggles, their temptations, their difficulties and their defeats. When the Bible tells us about Noah who built an ark, it also tells us how Noah got drunk a More

Forward-Leaning Defense

“There is no victory at bargain basement prices.” General Dwight Eisenhower“World War IV began in a long string of terrorist attacks, whose real nature went unrecognized until on September 11, 2001, huge billows of black smoke curled above New York City, Washington, D.C., and a field near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.” So begins More

Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Serious Call to Sexual Purity

I received an email from a young lady I have never met. She happens to live in a country on the other side of the world. Because she reads my weblog, she felt like she could write and share her heart with me. This is part of what she had to say:I think you might be surprised, but I’ve something personal to share to you. I came from a Christian family and knew Jesus at a very young age. Then I got involved with a guy and we star More

In God’s Waiting Room: Lessons from the “Down Time” of Life

On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: ‘‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about” (Acts 1:4). Have you ever heard of the American prayer? It goes this way: “Lord, give me patience, and I want it right now.” Patience is not a virtue our society seems to favor. We live in a world of frozen dinners, instant More

Good News for Poor Performers and Splendid Sinners - Luke 1:5-20, 57-64

This afternoon I read a bit from Faithfulness and Holiness by J. I. Packer. The book consists of Packer’s short biography of J. C. Ryle, the 19t5h-century Anglican bishop, and a reprint of Ryle’s justly-famous book called, simply, “Holiness.” I happened across this quote from Ryle’s chapter on “Sanctification” where he means to show that God is pleased with our least efforts to please him. He More

You Can Stumble But You Won't Fall - Psalm 37:23-24

"The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the LORD upholds him with His hand” (Psalm 37:23-24 NKJV).Since this is the final Sunday of 2003, I wanted to bring a message that would encourage us as we wrap up one year and prepare to enter another. My mind was drawn to these words of David in Psalm 37. Actually I found myself using them to en More

Who’s in Charge Here? “I Believe in God the Father Almighty” - Various

All week long I’ve been thinking about the phrase “Father Almighty” and trying to decide what it really means. It’s a fascinating question because the Apostles’ Creed compresses the entire nature of God into just two words—"Father Almighty.” The framers of the Creed were telling us that if we comprehend the meaning of those two words, we will know who God is. The challenge is made greate More

Hope for Tomorrow: How God Keeps His Promises - Genesis 11:10-32

This is the 19th and final sermon in the series on Genesis 1-11 that we started in late April. Almost five and a half months later, we have come to the end. In bringing this series to a close, I feel as if I should congratulate the congregation for your patience and your perseverance because this is the longest series I have preached in the 13 years I have been your pastor. In the olden days, when I was younger and perhaps not as wis More

What Is Your Isaac? - Hebrews 11:17-19

From the story of Abraham offering Isaac, we learn that God calls us to yield our dearest treasures to him. Anything good can become an idol when it becomes too important to us. What is your Isaac? Are you willing to lay it down for Jesus’ sake? More

What I’ve Learned About Preaching

Preaching is the highest calling in the whole world, worthy of the greatest effort week by week, as men called by God rise in the power of the Spirit to deliver the Word of God to a waiting congregation. More

The Whole Bible in One Message

Here’s the whole Bible presented as a drama in six acts, starting with creation and ending with the Second Coming of Christ. More

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Why Did This Happen to Me?

At least once in your life, something so difficult and painful will happen to us and we will ask
“God, why is this happening to me?”
Find God’s strength through
life’s greatest heartaches.

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2013 KBM Winter Report