Posts Tagged ‘John’

See, Believe, Witness — John 20:24-31

// May 9th, 2018 // No Comments » // Sermons

Over the years, I have quite a few conversations with teenagers (and adults) about faith in Jesus Christ. There have been a number of objections that popped up repeatedly. I have heard people say things like, “How can I possibly believe in this book? How can I know it’s true?” Another common objection that I hear from people, as they get angrier and more frustrated, is, “If Jesus wanted me to believe in him, why doesn’t he just show himself to me?”

I hope each of you have an answer to that question because the Gospel of John has been addressing that question from the beginning. From the beginning of the Gospel, John has been showing people what it means to “see Jesus.” Interestingly enough, John has also repeatedly helped us understand that there are two reactions to seeing Jesus—some love believe in him and some hate him. So, simply seeing Jesus doesn’t mean someone will believe. (more…)

Guilt, Grace, Gratitude — John 19:16b-42

// April 25th, 2018 // No Comments » // Sermons

Almost nine years ago, God called me back to school. He had surprised me by calling me into the ministry, then he called me to go back to school to be equipped for that ministry. That also caught me off guard. Since I had finished my freshman year at Northwestern in St. Paul, I decided to finish my undergraduate degree there. That meant taking my generals online for a couple years, then taking their adult education courses for another couple years. It was a lot of work. I was also juggling this with my role here at Bethel and my dock business on Mille Lacs. As I came to my graduation from Northwestern, I didn’t attend the graduation ceremony because I knew it wasn’t the end—it was a small victory, but not the end. I knew that I still had five years left of seminary ahead of me. So, I waited to celebrate until I finished all of my school work. That was five years ago. Now, I’m getting really close to finishing this journey. (more…)

Behold Your King — John 18:28-19:16a

// April 11th, 2018 // No Comments » // Sermons

I love a good debate. I mean, a good one. Not one where the two debaters end up getting angry and calling each other names or when the crowd gets out of control and begins shouting and screaming over each of debaters. Not that type of debate. I like good debates, where you have two knowledgeable people who are interacting with each others ideas and principles in a healthy, robust way. However, as I’ve listened to these debates, looking for the core of someone’s argument against Christianity, I’ve noticed that the core of many people’s argument is built on mockery of the Christian religion. I have heard numerous things that have made my stomach churn, my pulse increase, and my face get red. They will openly mock and ridicule the Christian faith and Jesus Christ himself. Actually, I was just listening to an interview with Christopher Hitchens where he says that mockery of religion is essential in order to demystify it. Shoot, just a couple weeks ago Joy Behar from The View caused a stir when she said that Mike Pence had a mental disorder because he said that “Jesus spoke to him.” It was openly, flagrantly mocking Jesus. (more…)

Drinking the Cup from the Father’s Hand — John 18:1-27

// April 4th, 2018 // No Comments » // Sermons

Begin with a movie clip —

Now, I start off with a funny clip to talk about a serious subject. Which cup do you choose? That’s the question of this scene. Vizzini wraps himself up in knots attempting to discern which cup is the right one. Not only does he wrap himself up in knots, but he also relies completely on himself and his own intellect. He is very certain of himself and his future success in this “battle of the wits.” Yet, in the end, it didn’t matter which cup he chose, they were both the same.

The question of the night is, “What cup sits in front of you?” In many ways, each one of us is sitting at a table as we live our lives. As we sit at that table, the Father–the God of the universe–places different cups in front of us. We don’t know which cup is coming and when the cup is going to come. We only know that the cup is coming from our Heavenly Father. This creates an uneasiness inside us because we are all afraid of the unknown. Yet, a cup is coming. (more…)

Holy, Missional Lives — John 17:1-26

// March 21st, 2018 // No Comments » // Sermons

[Read John 17:1-26]

A few years ago, I was listening to John Piper talk about the role of the pastor. He said many of the things that you typically hear when people talk about being a pastor, but he also said something I had never thought about before. He talked about how many angry parents he’s had to deal with. He’s had parents threaten his life because of his ministry. Why? Because he has preached the Word of God in a powerful way, then the Spirit used his preaching to call someone’s child into foreign missions, and the parent was furious. They didn’t want their child to go away to another country that was dangerous. They didn’t want their child to risk their life for the Gospel. So, the come after John Piper and threaten his life, tell him that he needs to shut his mouth–that he needs to be quiet. He causing too many problems taking God’s Word seriously and calling people to live out their faith. (more…)

Courage, Joy, and Peace in our Trials — John 16:16-33

// March 14th, 2018 // No Comments » // Sermons

[Read John 16:16-33]

“In the world you will have tribulation.” (John 16:33, ESV). These words have been ringing in my ears for the past number of years. Actually, they’ve been ringing in my ears ever since I became youth director here at Bethel (ten years ago). Up until that point, my life had been pretty smooth sailing with not too many “rough patches.” When I entered into ministry, I also entered into the lives a the teenagers God placed under my care. Many of the teenagers I’ve walked with over the years have had some pretty difficult stuff to walk through and work through. I realized this on one of the first Wednesday nights I ever led. I found myself sitting down with a girl from youth group and she unloaded on me the struggles she was facing in school, family, and friends. She was really hurting and didn’t know what to do about it. That pattern has continued as I’ve continued in this ministry. We continue to have teenagers attend this youth group who are hurting and facing a variety of struggles and challenges in their life. If that describes you tonight, know that you’re not alone. You’re surrounded by a bunch of people who find themselves in the midst of tribulation–in the midst of struggle. This is not a group of “perfect people.” It’s a group of people who need Jesus. We know we need Jesus because we have experienced the tribulation of this world. (more…)

Standing Firm with the Holy Spirit — John 15:18-16:15

// March 7th, 2018 // 1 Comment » // Sermons

[Begin with video clip]

Here’s the question I have after watching that clip: What would you do? This guy was invited to speak on a college campus and talk about Christian principles of marriage. This is what happened. What if it was you? What if you were the one with fifty or sixty people screaming at you, calling you names? What if you were the one who needed to have a security detail and an evacuation plan because people were so angry with what you had to say? What would you do? What would you say? How would you react?

Let’s look at our passage: John 15:18-16:15. (more…)

Lovingly Laying Down Your Life — John 13:1-38

// January 24th, 2018 // No Comments » // Sermons

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a husband, father, and pastor. What should be characteristic of me in each of these roles? The answer is fairly consistent. Because of a freak accident with a bull a number of years ago, I had to have my wedding ring tattooed on. I chose to tattoo Ephesians 5:25 on my ring finger. It says, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,” (Ephesians 5:25, ESV). So, my role as a husband should be characterized by me “giving myself up for” my wife on a regular basis. Another verse that has been on my mind is John 10:11, “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11, ESV).  The title “pastor,” simply means “shepherd.” So, my role as a pastor/shepherd should be characterized by me “laying down my life down” for the sheep.  Do you see the pattern? Biblically, responsibility and leadership are always characterized by a call of giving yourself up or laying down your life. God has called me to be the leader in my family. That means my life should be characterized by giving myself–laying down my life–for my family. God has also called me to lead this ministry. That means my life–in a secondary way to my family–should be characterized by giving myself–laying down my life–for the sheep (which is this youth group at the moment). Responsibility and leadership are always characterized by giving yourself up or by laying your life down for those God has called you to lead. This is how we LOVE them. (more…)

God’s Will Be Done — John 12:20-36

// January 10th, 2018 // No Comments » // Sermons

Just yesterday, I was listening to R.C. Sproul talking about some of his “pet peeves.” He said that one of his pet peeves was when pastors, in their zeal to see people become Christians, make a promise that all of your problems will be solved once you become a Christian. Then he said, “Actually, most of my problems and struggles came AFTER I became a Christian.” That’s been true in my life as well.

I know I’ve told this story before but I think it will be helpful to talk about it again. I didn’t grow up in the church. My family didn’t begin attending church until I was around nine or ten years old. At that point, my parents became believers, my brother became a believer, and I was the last one in my family to finally believe. However, it wasn’t long after this decision that I started making bad decisions. My newfound faith hadn’t solved all of my problems. In reality, it had created a whole new host of problems. Now I cared about the mistakes I was making. Before, I didn’t care. I didn’t even know that some of the decisions I made were mistakes. Now I knew they were mistakes and I cared about it. That was a problem. (more…)

A Different Kingdom — John 12:9-19

// January 3rd, 2018 // No Comments » // Sermons

Growing up, I was one of those kids who thought they could do anything. It’s both a blessing and a curse. Along with this tendency, I was also a perfectionist (which caused a lot of problems when coupled with the other trait). Being one of those kids that thought I could do anything, I would get really excited about doing things after watching the. So, after watching snowboarding at the Winter Olympics, I would be out in the mountains with a shovel building huge jumps. After watching dirt bike races, I would be out in the mountains doing crazy jumps. Over the years, I found that my excitement to do these activities blinded me to the reality of the situation. (more…)