Give Thanks – November 26, 2021

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:21

Yesterday, I hope that you had a wonderful day with family or friends. Even more, I hope that you took some time to consider all the incredible blessings that God bestows on you. In the middle of a hard couple of years, it can be easy to lose sight of all the good around us. If you have not already, take some time to express your thanks to God and others for these things.

I am thankful for several things. I am grateful for the family with which God blessed me. Twenty years ago, I met my wife when some friends set us up. It has been a remarkable twenty years. I am blessed beyond measure with a wonderful wife. I am also blessed with two fantastic boys who love the Lord and others. I am continually impressed and convicted by their faith. I cannot wait to see the men that they become.

I am thankful for my church. Over the past four years, the church has continually demonstrated love and faith. The care they show towards one another is a blessing to behold. They frequently sacrifice their money, time, and energy for the church. When one member suffers, they rally to care for that member. When they can divide, they come together and care for one another. I am regularly amazed at their care and compassion. They are committed to growth in their spiritual lives and love the Word. As their pastor, I could ask nothing more.

I am thankful for my country. The freedoms we regularly enjoy are a novelty on the stage of world history. The economic wealth we experience is unprecedented. And the education we demand has never been seen before. The past two centuries of this country present an oddity that may never be seen again. While it is easy to complain about all that has happened in this country, we cannot lose sight of these blessings.

God truly is a good God who cares for His children. Even when we face hardship, the wise believer recognizes all that God grants. Take time today to count your blessings and be overwhelmed by your God. Instead of getting caught in the consumerism of Black Friday, seek contentment with God’s provision. In every circumstance, give thanks.

The Reward for Humility – November 12, 2021

Over the past two weeks, we have examined the need for humility in the believer’s life. Unity in the church only persists as long as its members are humble. Further, last week, we examined Christ’s life as an example of humility. We cannot finish the text in Philippians 2 without looking at verses 9-13.

We see the reward for humility in two ways. First, God has given Christ an exalted position. Because of Christ’s humble sacrifice on the cross, God exalted Christ to his state of glory. He sits enthroned as King and rules over everything. As sovereign over all things, Christ cannot be conquered. Even death could not hold him. Second, God gave him a great name. At the very mention of his name, every knee will bow to him one day and declare that he is Lord over everything. From this, we learn again that God grants grace to the humble.

Verses 12-13 contain our expected response. Paul indicates that these verses are the desired response through the word “therefore.” Since we must humble ourselves for the sake of unity and since Christ set the example of humility and has been exalted into heaven, we must live out our salvation. Humility requires a daily dying to self. We must recognize that we are what we are only through the grace of God.

We live out our salvation with fear and trembling, knowing that God expects much of us and that we owe him everything. We fear disappointing our King. We tremble at the thought that we would love for another. And we recognize that we don’t have the strength to live out our salvation on our own.

For this reason, Paul introduces the two-track method of sanctification. We live out our salvation, but it is God who strengthens us to obey. God’s Spirit empowers us to do what we cannot do on our own. In this context, the Spirit empowers us to live for others and not for ourselves. The Spirit empowers us to look to others first and humble ourselves. Man is not naturally humble. However, the Spirit empowers us to obey God in this matter and to glorify him with our life. And the reward is eternal glory. So live for others and not for yourself.

Reflecting the Humility of Christ – November 5, 2021

Several years ago, the phrase, “What would Jesus do?” became very popular. When we consider that it means to live like Christ, we cannot overlook humility. In Philippians 2, Paul encourages us to emulate the attitude found in Christ. The attitude which Paul identified as the dominant attribute is the one of humility. To be like Christ, we must be humble. Paul identified three ways that demonstrated Christ’s humility.

First, Christ demonstrated his humility through the incarnation. This text informs us that Jesus did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped. Instead, he took upon him the form of man. Prior to the immaculate conception, the second person of the trinity existed in the same form (as a spirit) as the other two persons of the trinity. However, through the incarnation, the Second Person became his creation. He confined himself to a human body. He experienced all that the human body experiences. Humans long to be freed from the travails of the body. Christ took those travails upon himself.

Second, Christ came as a servant. Although he is the Creator, he came as a lowly man. Born in a barn, Christ did not come in a humanly exalted position. Christ’s glory did shine through in his life. He came to a position of influence because of his deity. However, he came to serve. Consider that statement for a moment. The one who spoke all things into existence came to serve and save His creation. We demand to be served. We become frustrated when others inconvenience us. But not Christ! His humility shines through the fact that he embraced service.

Third, he obeyed the Father even to the point of a gruesome death on the cross. We avoid pain and death. Christ embraced it. Rather than uncreate and start over, He chose to redeem through the cross. He endured pain, ridicule, and blasphemy from those he lovingly caused to exist. Although he did not sin, he took our sin on himself. He endured the wrath of the Father. All so that we might have life. The one who did not deserve suffering and death, in humility, embraced it.

We often think that life revolves around us. Conflict festers because we demand our way and our opinion. For too many, there are two ways to accomplish things: my way and the wrong way. We see ourselves as mature, wise sages. Moreover, we see others as the ones blessed with our presence. Following the humility of Christ demands that we seek instead to serve others. We must make much of others. We must be willing to follow the thoughts, opinions, and desires of others. To be like Christ, we cannot make life about us. Instead, live for others.

We Need Humility – October 29, 2021

Have you ever come across someone who is the hero of every story they tell? A problem existed, and they came to the rescue. It is not long before people begin to roll their eyes behind the back of that individual. The individual’s heart motive is to build themselves up and gain credibility. However, the conversation results in the opposite. Sadly, this is often us. Christians need to develop the character trait of humility because pride infects every corner of the world. Sin exists as a result of pride. As a result, humility stands out and declares the gospel.

Paul declared the importance of humility in his letter to the Philippians. In chapter 2, he spent significant time encouraging us to pursue humility. He does this first by imploring us to value others. We struggle with pride because we love ourselves more than others. This is why Paul commanded us, Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. We struggle with selfish ambition. Often, because we believe we have superior spirituality, we couch this ambition in spiritual clothing. We believe that our way is the only way that God will work. So, we demand that everyone conform to our opinions in the church. Often, in the church, our jobs, and the world, we believe we are owed respect and position without earning it. We make the world about our advancement, our fun, our desires. Selfish ambition characterizes us.

The root of this selfish ambition is our conceit. We think of ourselves as higher than we ought. We are convinced that we have better ability, knowledge, or spirituality than others. Even if this is true, we forget that these are gifts from God (James 1:17). As a result, we begin to despise and become condescending to other people. We begin to think, “Those poor people. If they only had as much ability/knowledge/spirituality as I have, they would understand.” Failing to recognize that we are not as great as we think we are.

The roots of selfish ambition and conceit grow into plants of self-interest. We begin to work only for our interests. If the situation involves something I like or benefits me, then I will participate. However, if I am made to do something I don’t like or does not benefit me, I am not interested. We make life all about ourselves. Pride hides behind personal desires. It seems foolish for an individual to participate in a situation in which they have no interest.

The solution to the self-focus is service. Instead of selfish ambition and conceit, we are to consider others more significant. Rather than looking at them with pity or disdain, place them at a higher value and serve them. Consider them to be more important than you. Value their opinions, talents, and knowledge. Think of yourself less and of them more.

Instead of self-interest, become interested in those around you. Begin to work to ensure that their interests and desires are understood and met. Seek to serve those around you and recognize that life is not about you. Be willing to be uncomfortable because the situation is not one you are interested in. in short, stop making yourself the center of everything.

We all need to grow in humility. Andrew Murray states, “Humility is the only soil in which virtue takes root; a lack of humility is the explanation of every defect and failure. … There is nothing so natural to man, nothing so insidious and hidden from our sight, nothing so difficult and dangerous as pride.”[1] Let us then seek to root out our pride, humble ourselves, and serve others. Examine your conversations. Are you the hero of all your stories? How often do you talk about yourself? How often do you criticize others? The problem is pride. Examine your attitudes. Are you easily angered? Are you frustrated with situations? The problem is pride. Examine your actions. Do you refuse to do things for others simply because it is not something you like? Do you allow others to take credit for things you did? We must defeat pride.

[1] Murray, Andrew. Humility: The Journey Towards Holiness (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2001). p. 17, 18.

The Value of Life – October 31, 2021

Society today assigns value to individuals based on looks, ability, money, and power. If an individual holds any of these, they have intrinsic value. If an individual does not, they contain little to no value. Last week we considered the message in Genesis 1 that God created man in His image. As we contemplate the image of God in man, we cannot escape the impact this belief has on our value of life. From conception to death, all life has value, and we should recognize that value. This means that Christians should be champions of life.

First, this means that Christians should champion life from conception. Since God made all humanity in His image, even the unborn contain that image. Therefore, to eliminate that image disregards God. When we respect and value the image of God in the unborn, we honor God. Interestingly, the following phrase in Genesis 1 contains the command to Adam and Eve regarding childbirth. God commanded them to be fruitful and multiply. God places a priority on children. If we believe that man is made in God’s image, we must fight for the unborn.

Second, this means that Christians should value the disabled. Society sees very little value in the disabled. Recently I heard of a European country boasting that they had eliminated down syndrome in their country. The dirty secret is that they had done this through abortion. Yet, the image of God resides in these individuals. They bring tremendous value to humanity. They are made in God’s image, so their lives matter. Therefore, Christians should fight for the disabled.

Third, this means that Christians should value the elderly. As the body and mind degrade, the elderly can feel of little value. Yet, Scripture consistently indicates that we should honor and respect the elderly. When we disregard them, we ignore the image of God. Christians should demonstrate care and appreciation for the elderly.

Each person is valuable because they are made in the image of God. Regardless of looks, ability, money, or power, each individual deserves respect. This means that we should seek to care for all. We should defend the helpless. We should uphold righteousness. We should value God’s image.

Pictures of God – October 8, 2021

For students across the country, it is school picture time. The kids went to school dressed specially for their pictures. Now the prints arrive at home and sometimes leave a little to be desired. Other times they accurately reflect the cuteness and beauty of the child. Considering school pictures again this year, they reminded me of the reality that God made us in His image.

Genesis one presents the fact that God made man differently than all other creation. He chose to make man in His image and His likeness. An image is an object that reflects another thing’s reality, much like a picture demonstrates the reality of you. Humanity reflects in some way the reality of God.

There are a couple of important notes before we get to the point. First, we are not saying that humanity is somehow a part of God. The picture is not you, nor is it a part of you. It is simply a representation of you. So, we are not God or a portion of God; we are merely a representation of God. Second, sin marred this image. When Adam plunged humanity into sin, the image no longer represented a perfect representation of God. Like coffee spilled on a picture, the image has been marred. It is still there. But not quite right.

The image of God gives us value. All human life holds value because we have been made in God’s image. Over the next few weeks, we will explore what this means and how this plays out in everyday life. But please understand that you have incredible value because you hold God’s image. The restoration of this image, our relationship, and the redemption from sin drove Christ to the cross for us. Such is the value of man.

As believers, we should strive to image God accurately. Our role is to present an accurate representation of God to the world. How you work, eat, play, interact, and serve demonstrates what you want the world to think about God. Suddenly everything takes on a little more sobriety. Let us work together to image God accurately and grant the value to all humanity they deserve as God’s image-bearers.

Longing for Eternity – September 24, 2021

Another funeral this week reminded me how great Heaven will be. This life indeed contains many joys. Family, the church, sports, and the like bring me a smile and genuine happiness. However, we also know struggle fills this life. Relational conflict, physical health, emotional fragility, and the like create a battle with anxiety and frustration. Sin stains everything in this world. But the day is coming when we will live in a place unstained by sin. There will be no relational conflict. We will all live in perfect harmony. There will be no physical struggles. Our bodies will be made perfect. There will be no emotional fragility. We will find perfect fulfillment and joy in God.

Revelation informs us that Heaven will be a place of perfect beauty. Dazzling construction, unique creatures, and God himself will overwhelm us with beauty. Heaven will be a place of peace. God will wipe away every tear from our eyes. Heaven will be a place of perfect peace, for there will be no sorrow there.

All those in Christ who have gone before us enjoy that perfection today. Those of us left behind long for it. But until the day that God calls us home, we serve God in anticipation of that day. Through the way the church worships and interacts, we should seek to do our part to reveal Heaven to a lost and dying world. And we should seek to regularly share the gospel so that others might also experience that joy. And we long for that glorious day.


There is coming a day when no heartaches shall come,

No more clouds in the sky,

No more tears to dim the eye;

All is peace forevermore

On that happy golden shore,

What a day, glorious day, that will be.


There’ll be no sorrow there,

No more burdens to bear,

No more sickness, no pain, no parting over there;

And forever I will be

With the One who died for me;

What a day, glorious day, that will be.


~ Jim Hill

God will Help – September 17, 2021

Speaking with many of you and others around the country this week, I found that many are going through deep waters. Physical, financial, relational, and emotional troubles abound. Some have suffered the loss of loved ones. Some have suffered a loss of tangible items like homes and cars. Some have suffered the loss of physical health. Some face serious, relational conflict. In each case, each individual and I have felt overwhelmed. We feel frustrated, stuck, confused, hurt, and even angry. In preparation for Sunday’s message, I have spent some time meditating on Psalm 121. In the times that we are overwhelmed, frustrated, and angry, God remains faithful. Keep looking up! May it be a blessing and encouragement to you as it is for me:

 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time forth and forevermore.

God remains faithful. He has not lost control. Trust in His unfailing care, especially when you can’t see it. Maintain a proper view of God so that you can maintain a proper view of life.

20 Years Later – September 10, 2021

Twenty years ago, we went to bed with no idea the world would change forever. Perhaps you remember what you were thinking about that night. I watched the Broncos play a football game against the Giants. The Broncos star wide receiver suffered a gruesome broken leg, effectively ending any chance of a good season. I went to bed disappointed. No matter what you went to bed thinking about, the following day rearranged our priorities. Certain events serve as linchpin events in history. September 11, 2001, serves as one of those events. Now twenty years later, we are asking many of the same questions.

A primary question that we continue to ask is, “Why does tragedy happen?” Jesus was asked the same question in Luke 13. There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

A group of people informed Jesus about a bloody rebellion against Rome by a group of Galileans. The Roman curate Pilate quelled the uprising by massacring the rebels in the temple, causing their blood to mingle with the blood of the sacrifices. Jesus’ response is not one we would expect. Instead of declaring their innocence, He turned the situation into a lesson. It is not remarkable that tragedy happens because sin is prevalent. Instead, it is amazing that more tragedy does not occur. So, we must always take stock of our souls so that we are ready for death.

Tragedy serves as a gospel opportunity. These events cause individuals to be aware of their mortality. As a result, they begin to ask deep questions. And the gospel is always the answer. Jesus is our hope in life and death. He will ultimately conquer sin. He will redeem his people and all creation. The tragedy is not an argument against God but an argument for God.

Twenty years later, we will be reminded of the tragic events which took place. Conversations will occur about our various experiences that sad day. Some will shake their heads and then return to life. I would encourage you to take advantage of the gospel opportunities which present themselves. As Christ warned the crowd, so we must warn them. No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 

A Celebration of Labor – September 3, 2021

This weekend we celebrate labor. As a general rule, we don’t usually think of work as something to celebrate. With irony, we do celebrate it this weekend by not working. Yet, the holiday points to the importance of work. Our society seems to have lost any desire and priority for labor. Every business owner laments the challenge of finding employees. The average worker feels the strain of a smaller workforce. And even those who work hard work for the weekend and retirement.

As Christians, we must remember that work is a good creation of God. Work is not the result of the Fall. When we read Genesis 1 and 2, we discover that God created work in the Garden. God placed Adam in the Garden in absolute perfection. God created labor in the Garden as part of that absolute perfection. Therefore, we learn that work is not a result of sin. Genesis 3 informs us that the trials of work, the hardship of work, and the travails of work result from the Fall. From this reality, we must make two important conclusions.

First, work is an act of worship. Everything we do points to the God (or god) that we serve. Work is no different. Since God created work in the Garden, He made it as an act of worship. Our work ethic points to God. So, God has called you to your work. Just as God calls some men to the ministry, so also God calls you to your job. Martin Luther famously and rightly stated that the farmer shoveling manure and the maid milking her cow please God as much as the minister preaching and praying. Our work is also an act of worship. Your work is also evangelistic. The way you work says something about your God. Hard work, good attitudes, servant-mindedness, and faithful dedication demonstrate that God is sovereign, loving, and caring. Laziness, selfishness, and a lack of commitment indicate that God is not that great and that you are your god.

Second, this means that we should work hard and with the right attitude. We should not avoid the work to which God has called us. Instead of working for the weekend or counting the days to retirement, we should focus on pleasing God in the work to which He called us. Work hard, work well, work with integrity, and honor your authority. Ecclesiastes 9:10 reminds us, Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might ….”

So this weekend, as you celebrate labor by not laboring, remember the labor to which God called you. Don’t see work as a burden but as an act of worship. Please God with how you work. Work as a Christian.