Sermons by David Shipley
A Battle of the Mind Matthew 15:21-28 Matthew 15 includes a story of Jesus honoring the faith of a Canaanite woman. The story is tense and contentious, as though there is a deeper struggle going on. It makes me think of passages like Ephesians 6:12 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against spiritual wickedness in the heavenly places.” Jesus can be contentious! We learn from Jesus that we are in a spiritual battle for our heart and mind. He strengthens us to know what is worth standing up for and how to stand fast in a godly, biblical way.
Trusting God When… Genesis 50:19-21 It’s fairly amazing how quickly the word obey became a taboo in our culture. Think about it. People would rather hear something ugly than be told to obey. Which is why stories like Joseph in Genesis are significant. He is held up for his obedience as an illustration of trust, and even love, for God. Understanding Joseph helps us see the truth behind Jesus’ words “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me.”
Unchristian Matthew 11:2-9 What do doubt and rejection have in common? Is it unchristian to experience one? Or both? After ten months of isolation, one of Jesus’ strongest supporters experiences doubt. To make matters worse, this follower spoke out in defense of the teachings of Jesus and against a moral evil. But now there is no end in sight to his isolation and rejection. This story provides assurance that doubt and rejection do not have to be what ultimately defines those who seek Jesus.
Job 34:10-16 Do you think you would do a good job if you were responsible for “repaying everyone for what they have done” and giving everyone “what their conduct deserves”? Do you think God does better? Is He somehow better equipped to untangle our complicated world of right and wrong, justice and mercy? Job admits he couldn’t do better and says: “If God withdrew his spirit and breath, all humanity would perish together and mankind would return to the dust.” When we are discouraged by all that is wrong with the world and ourselves, and baffled by how complex and difficult hardship can be, we need to spend time thinking on all that is right with God.
Ruth 2:10-14Grace is simple enough for any believer to receive. But the whole truth of grace is big enough, infinite in fact, for us to grow into as well. Christians not only receive grace but grow in grace. They receive and grow so they can better live among those saved by grace. Do we long to be stronger believers in grace? May we have the courage to be inconvenienced by God’s grace.
Acts 8:1-5–The first Christians were harassed and killed, robbed and evicted. The most significant action the individual Christian took was to focus on the next person they met, even if that person was a stranger. They acted like they believed the message of the gospel wasn’t just for people like them, but instead for anyone willing to follow Jesus.
Tell the Story 1 Peter 3:15 If someone asked me why I put my hope in Jesus, what would I say? I could probably give several reasons, but have you ever been caught off guard and later wished you’d said something better, or different? It’s hard to always be ready. But Paul’s recollection of his conversion in Acts 22 help us to have our eyes open. He helps us to be on the lookout for those seeking a reason for hope. He also reminds us of why we place our hope in Jesus.
What does it feel like to be judged based on a set of unspoken rules? Has someone’s loudly shouted opinion ever made you feel small? Colossians 2:16-23 teaches about our tendency to allow obsolete rules to eclipse our ongoing relationship with Christ. Or how personal preferences or opinions about spiritual matters can distract from the substance of truth. Paul helps Christians avoid a lost connection with Christ in a way that also preserves their unity with other Christians.
John 14:28-31 Jesus says that the devil held no power over him. And yet the devil repeatedly used temptation in an attempt to trap Jesus. What temptation is most challenging for you? Does it help to know God gives us desires along with a good way to fulfill those desires? We are encouraged that Jesus understands our temptations; that he left us an example to follow; and most of all that we have His blood to fall back upon.
Turning to God Colossians 2:1-15 Do you remember when you first received and turned to Christ as your Savior? In Colossians 2, Paul says Christians continue to live and be rooted and strengthened by that initial reception and turning to Christ. It is amazing how faith in Jesus allowed for a response that acted even when our compete understanding of God was in infancy. It is helpful, and humbling, to understand that initial response still gives us needed help even as we grow in our faith.
When everyone is responsible for a job, sometimes that job doesn’t get done. Why is that? Have you been in situations where everyone was responsible, but it ended up that no one was individually responsible? This lesson looks at a few of those times where we know what we’re supposed to do, but may find ourselves being the only one. Have you ever been the only one trying not to be overcome with worry? Or the only one who sees another’s legitimate need? Jesus understood those places. He offers challenging insights. He shows that following God in uncertain circumstances makes all the difference.
Life will drastically change our plans. Those who wisely build their faith on what’s true about God aren’t immune to storms. Numbers 9 is a great reminder that life’s circumstances won’t change God’s nature or His promises. Is your faith founded in the unchanging and compassionate God?
Sometimes we carry pictures of loved ones in our wallets and purses. These pictures speak to us of why we love them, but they also remind us of who we are living to be each day. Paul gives the church in Colossae a similar reminder to take with them as they grow in faith.
Next Steps Colossians 1:1-14 If you had a good start in your faith, what comes next? Colossians helps a church who started strong to stay strong in their growing faith.
From Everlasting to Everlasting Psalm 90:1-2 In a world full of change & innovation & temporary things, something is eternal. Psalm 90 teaches us that the God of the Bible is from everlasting to everlasting. The writer of this Psalm finds God’s eternal nature both sobering & comforting. May the knowledge of God’s eternal nature not be lost on us today.
Colossians 4:2 The story of Nehemiah opens and closes with prayer; he never stops praying. This lesson keys in on the effect that persistent prayer has on Nehemiah. By turning to God in prayer in Nehemiah 1:4-11, Nehemiah begins with the admission that the last thing the problems before him need are any traces of his arrogance or pride.
Untethered Luke 15:1-2 This is a family talk about wisely preparing ourselves to be set loose into a captivating online & digital landscape. The Bible offers Godly thinking and wisdom for how and when we engage in life online.
Outside the Camp Hebrews 13:8-16 Sometimes, serving the needs of others results in insult and reproach. Serving like Jesus demands courage. Just like when Jesus went outside the camp to die on the cross to meet our spiritual needs.
Matthew 11:28-30 We need rest. Do we think about how we rest? Do you think God understands our need for rest better than we do? Sunday morning we’ll study the concept of rest as physically & spiritually renewing as well as the rest God promises in Christ.
Job 31:1-12. In this passage, Job is defending himself against the accusation of adultery. This is quite an accusation for a guy who has just lost everything. The Bible understands a lifelong commitment to purity can be challenging. And so we get more than a list of rules. We see in Job’s response that his idea of a pure heart goes beyond not committing adultery. This is surprisingly similar to Jesus! For Job, a pure heart that translated into pure actions protected the well-being of his family and resulted in a community better able to recognize the values & purposes of God.