Who do you trust?

Luke 18v9-14

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We’re all trusters; it’s just a question of who do we trust. Even the most skeptical, doubtful, and suspicious person is a truster. It’s just that they trust in themselves rather than anyone else. We can’t stop ourselves trusting—it’s part of being human—all we can do is choose who we trust. Trust is a decision, a choice, but it’s also a feeling, a feeling of safety, of confidence, of certainty. So who do you trust? Especially, who do you trust when it comes to your salvation? Ultimately there are only two choices when it comes to salvation, as Jesus demonstrates in Luke 18:9-14.


Encouragement in Prayer

Daniel 11-4

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When we’re helpless, we ask help from the helpful. We don’t ask a helpless person or an unhelpful person. We ask someone whom we know is helpful. We weigh previous character when we’re deciding who to ask for help. When we need help around the house or in the yard, we know which kids will come running and which will run away.

In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus encourages us to keep asking God for help because of his proven character. Knowing his people will suffer discouraging persecution, he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart (1). What is it about God’s character that can keep us praying without giving up? Jesus wants us to think about ungodly character first of all.


Our King Controls the Controllers

Daniel 11-6

Control freaks are common freaks. To put it another way, control freaks are not so freakish. ‘Freak’ usually means unusual, rare, exceptional. When therefore we say someone is a ‘control freak.’ we’re saying they have an unusual and extraordinary determination to control everyone and everything in every situation.

Some do this actively and some do it passively, but we all do it to some degree. We try to control or micromanage our environment, our emotions, our surroundings, our relationships, and it all eventually overwhelms and exhausts us. ‘Controlitis’ is rooted in the fear of the unpredictable or the fear of being at the mercy of unpredictable people. It’s often a reaction to the fear of losing control and can be related to a time in life when we suffered abuse, neglect, trauma, disruption, or chaos in childhood.

COVID-19 will only multiply controlitis because there’s never been a time when we’ve been so out of control. Work, school, sports, church, are all out of our control. It doesn’t help when Chinese rockets are falling out of the sky! Who is in control? (Daniel 11).

Sermon Notes on Daniel 11.


Jesus is the Messiah

Copy of Copy of John 1v19-4

Preparation perfects painting. Ask any painter and they’ll tell you that the secret to a beautiful paint job is a painful sandpaper job. Amateurs like me want to get straight to the painting with minimal preparation, and the poor results are obvious to anyone. I’ve learned the hard way that preparation perfects painting.

The same goes when God starts a makeover in our lives. He doesn’t just come and slap some beautiful paint on us. He starts by scraping our old flaking paint off. He sands with some sandpaper. Sometimes it’s a fine and light sandpaper, other times it’s rough and coarse. Although we may not understand or appreciate it at the time, he knows what he’s doing. He knows that just as preparation perfects painting, so scraping smooths salvation. How does our heavenly painter prepare for our perfection? John 1:19-28 takes us inside our heavenly painter’s workshop.

Sermon Notes on John 1:19-28 here.


The Beginning of the End

Luke 16v1-6

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The end of the world has started a lot of problems in the world. If you want to start an argument, start a conversation about how and when the world will end. “Don’t worry, the world will never end,” insist some. “Don’t worry, we can interpret the end-times and predict when it will be,” others assure us. “We’re all going to heaven anyway,” say some, “so nothing to worry about at all.” Who’s right and who’s wrong? “How should we view the end of the world?” Jesus has three answers in Luke 17:20-37.


Grace Grows Gratitude

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Grace grows gratitude. If we haven’t gotten grace, we won’t give gratitude. It’s not as bad in the US, but my wife and I noticed that thanksgiving was dying. We would give a gift to someone or a couple getting married, and there was hardly any response. No excitement, no joy, no appreciation. We decided it was connected with the decline of the Gospel of God’s grace. How are grace and gratitude connected and how can we use each to increase the other? Turn to Luke 17:11-19 for the answer.