13 Weeks – 2/12/2018 to 5/18/2018
Overview – No other book of the New Testament describes the church like Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Secondly, no other book of the New Testament describes the Christian’s battle and struggle with evil that does Ephesians. We need both in 2018! There is a battle for the soul; there is also a battle for the church. Satan would like nothing more than to destroy both! Hopefully, these messages will speak to both issues in your life and mine. Christ died for the church, His body. Christ died for you and me personally to redeem us from the penalty of sin. God bless you as you listen to these messages.
THE CHURCH, HIS BODY
Message 13, Air Date 5/14/2018
Spiritual Warfare II
This Week – We conclude this two-part message on spiritual warfare from the last chapter of Ephesians. Spiritual warfare is real, it’s personal, and it’s visible in our lives sometimes! What we call troubles or problems is sometimes our involvement in warfare as an individual, as a family, an as a church! It’s not a myth or imaginary; it’s real!
Monday (5/14) – Spiritual warfare in your life and mine involves first and foremost temptation. It has nothing to do with age, our temptations may change or “morph” into something else. Temptations in our 30’s, 40’s and 50’s may change into other temptation, but we are still tempted by the Evil One. We talk about what that means in your life today!
Tuesday (5/15) – Secondly, spiritual warfare involves deception. Satan is referred to as the “father of all lies.” Every lie can trace its “DNA” back to the father of lies. Chronic and accumulative lying in a person’s life is evil. It really is! Thirdly, spiritual warfare involves discouragement. Satan uses the tool of discouragement as a weapon in his arsenal.
Wednesday (5/16) – We talk about the “belt of truth” in your spiritual struggle. Truth telling and truth believing is foundational in the Christian life. The “Breastplate of Righteousness” is a gift from God. We have a righteousness that is credited or imputed to us by the grace of God in our lives. His righteousness becomes a part of our lives, as remarkable as that seems!
Thursday (5/17) – The “shield of faith” is part of the defensive system of the believer. The shield would block the fiery arrows or darts of the enemy! The “helmet of salvation” protects the head and mind. Our minds are under constant attack from evil; the salvation we have is our “helmet”. The word of God is referred to by Paul as our sword, a weapon that was used both defensively and offensively.
Friday (5/18) – “Prayer in the spirit” means much more that casual praying. John Piper says our prayer is not just ringing a bell for God to grant my latest wish. (Remember Downton Abbey servants coming to bring more tea?) Prayer is like a radio transmission on a battlefield calling in air support or an artillery barrage! Why? We are involved in spiritual warfare in 2018!
THE CHURCH, HIS BODY
Message 12, Air Date 5/7/2018
Spiritual Warfare I
Ephesians 6:10 -18
This Week – This is part one of a two-part message on dealing with Satan and the Kingdom of evil. That sounds so dramatic, doesn’t it? It happens to be true, because we live in a culture that doesn’t like to explain evil in any other way than “natural”. We are engaged in spiritual warfare today in 2018, whether we recognize that fact or not.
Monday (5/7) – We begin with an illustration of people today looking at dealing with Satan or evil as something from a past generation or even something mythological. We are involved in spiritual struggle all around us. It impacts your family, your community, and your personal life! It’s real, it’s personal, and it’s spiritual! We talk about it this week and next.
Tuesday (5/8) – We share the story of a police officer I know from Atlanta who had a personal encounter with a bear in northern Ontario, Canada. It was a traumatic event in his life. He found out that he was the “hunted one”, not the bear. We talk about the one Paul talks about who “hunts” us. His name is Satan.
Wednesday (5/9) – Paul says to be aware of the devil’s schemes. The Greek word is “methodia”, obviously meaning methods. Four times, Paul mentions taking a stand against Satan. The phrase means to hold your ground during an attack in a battlefield situation. Spiritual warfare is real!
Thursday (5/10) – Paul talks about the “day of evil”. We don’t use that term, but it’s a reference to you and I feeling the struggle first hand! It can mean a day when you feel morally or ethically vulnerable. You feel the power of Satan at work; that could be the “day of evil” for you perhaps.
Friday (5/11) – The story we close with tells us that anything we do in the name of Christ can be spiritual warfare. It’s a story of a missionary who simply helped an elderly patient at a TB sanitarium in India go to the bathroom. That’s all, and yet it turned out to be a moment of spiritual warfare! Listen and find out how and why. What if it’s true that everything we do in the name of Jesus is spiritual warfare?
THE CHURCH, HIS BODY
Message 11, Air Date 4/30/2018
This Week – When I originally gave this message, I read the longest passage of scripture that I have ever shared publically in a message. And yet, I chose to focus on only one verse! We explain why in the message: “If you and I get this one verse right in our lives, the rest should follow suit!” See if you don’t agree.
Monday (4/30) – The one verse we focused on, out of 22 verses we read was verse 21 out of chapter five: “Submit to one another out of a reverence for Christ!” If verse 21 actually becomes a part of who you and I are, the rest of the passage will become a part of our lives as well. It really can and will!
Tuesday (5/1) – We define “submission” in three ways. Submission is simply cooperating with other people. That may not seem like a big deal, but do you remember dealing with someone who refused to cooperate in a family, work, or school situation? How did you feel? We cooperate because we love Christ! Secondly, submission is serving others. Jesus made Himself a servant for us! The highest office in the body of Christ is to be a “servant”!
Wednesday (5/2) – The third way we submit to others is by “honoring” other people. To honor someone means to “place value” on another person. You place value on their opinion, their needs, and their hopes. We share a powerful story of a man in authority, who used his “servanthood” and “honoring others” to move people, instead of his authority. It may be a lesson for you and me!
Thursday (5/3) – We share about an actual wedding where people wept during the wedding vows. It’s the only time in my ministry where I saw that. Their wedding vows that the couple wrote, spoke of their promise to honor their spouse. People choked back the tears as they sincerely shared those vows at their wedding.
Friday (5/4) – I close the message with a story I didn’t share in the first two services that morning. It’s the story of a funeral I conducted of a man I didn’t know, where the wife stood over the grave of her husband. She just blurted out a statement about her deceased husband that may shock you. But maybe it won’t. It speaks to this entire message!
THE CHURCH, HIS BODY
Message 10, Air Date 4/23/2018
His Time, Not Ours!
This Week – How much time do you think you have left in your lifespan? You don’t know; neither do I. That’s the reality for all of us. Time is a gift from God; most people don’t realize that. Tomorrow is a gift that you and I haven’t received yet. Next week, next month, and next year are all gifts that we haven’t received. This is a message from Ephesians about your use of time. What the Lord says just may surprise you and me.
Monday (4/23) – We begin with a humorous story of a woman wanting to insure her home over the phone with the agent. Why was she so anxious to close the deal? The house was on fire! That’s a parable for a lot of people in the way we live our lives spiritually. Figuratively speaking, we want fire insurance when the house is ablaze! Can you relate to that? Many people can.
Tuesday (4/24) – Ephesians 5 tells us to make the most of the time we have, because the days are “evil”. What does that mean in your life? The Lord considers us stewards of our time. It’s really not ours, it belongs to the Lord. Listen to the text and see if you don’t agree. Paul the Apostle says we either live as “wise” or “unwise”. Which describes you and me?
Wednesday (4/25) – We define the word “fool” in the Biblical sense. It doesn’t mean what you may think it does. Foolish doesn’t mean someone who operates with an intellectual deficiency; it’s someone who has a character or moral deficiency. Remember, whatever fills your life probably controls your life.That why Paul says, “Don’t be filled with wine, but be filled with the Spirit of God!”
Thursday (4/26) – The most controversial thing shared this week is the verse where Paul says being filled with wine leads to “debauchery”. What does that word mean to you? You honestly may be shocked when you hear the biblical definition of the word! It’s not what you think!
Friday (4/27) – Most of the time, I don’t have spiritual or religious experiences when I travel on a plane. I’ve heard ministers talk of their dramatic conversations with people. To be frank, that doesn’t happen to me. But I share a conversation with a woman who had just lost her 22 year old son. What she said will speak to this passage in Ephesians.
THE CHURCH, HIS BODY
Message 9, Air Date 4/16/2018
Who’s Your Model?
This Week – This week we study what I feel to be the most offensive passage of the New Testament in our culture today in 2018. People will mock and laugh at this passage, if not act offended by these verses. It will be considered “out of touch” in this day and age. How do I know that? Listen to this message and you will agree! You know people who would react in such a way to this passage.
Monday (4/16) – We all model someone else. We model how people dress, how they act, we model people in their social habits. Who is your model? The Apostle Paul says, “Be imitators of God”. That’s no small thing in 2018. It’s what the Lord asks of you and me! We talk about that concept this week.
Tuesday (4/17) – We read the entire passage today, a passage that offends people just in the reading of it! We all know those who would describe this passage as old fashioned and terribly out of date! And yet the Word of God is timeless, and not limited by the calendar. How do you react to this scripture?
Wednesday (4/18) – Paul tells us that there must not even be of hint of immorality in our lives. What is there a hint of in your life? What is implied, what is suggested, what do people see in our lives morally and ethically? You and I may be surprised by what others observe in your life and mine.
Thursday (4/19) – When people say that they “broke” one of the Ten Commandments, that’s really not the case. In a very real sense, we don’t break the commandments; the commands of God “break us”. That’s why we say that there are broken marriages, families, and lives. Violating the word and will of God has consequences in our lives now, not just in the future!
Friday (4/20) – We close with the dramatic story of a doctor who was the only physician on the scene of a plane crash in Long Island, New York years ago. For nearly an hour, he was the only doctor trying to minister to survivors. What he shares of that experience speaks to what we face in our world today in 2018. It really does!
THE CHURCH, HIS BODY
Message 8, Air Date 4/9/2018
Put Off the Old, Put on the New
This Week – An analogy that the Apostle Paul uses to describe what happens when a person comes to Christ has something to do with what we “wear”. Becoming a Christian simply stated is to “Put off the old life; and to put on the new.” What do you suppose needs to be “put off out of your life”? We talk about that this week.
Monday (4/9) – It’s not pleasant to talk about, but every city has “street missions” that deal with homeless people who sometimes wear clothes that have been on them for weeks or months. The mission usually gives those people new clothes to change into. The Lord does the same with us spiritually! He tells us what to get rid of, and what to put on in place of the “old clothing”.
Tuesday (4/10) – We use an illustration of a study by two experts on the subject of crime. They determined they are criminals not because of where they grew up or lack of education; they were criminals based on the way they think. The “old way of thinking” is based on lying, outbursts of anger, stealing, trash talking and grieving the Holy Spirit. The new way of thinking is based on truth telling, anger under control, personal honesty, speech that builds up, compassion, kindness, and forgiveness!
Wednesday (4/11) – Lying harms the body of Christ, because we are all member s of the same body. Anger produces the life that Satan desires! We are all victims of someone else’s anger or we are victim makers. We maybe both! Think of all the damage in your life and the lives of those you know that has been produced by uncontrolled anger!
Thursday (4/12) – Paul says that those who are stealing must steal no longer! No guilt trip or shaming. Stop stealing and work so we can give to others in need! What a concept! He says “don’t let any unwholesome talk come out your mouth.” We quote a modern day psychologist who says if there was one verse he would encourage people to memorize is that verse!
Friday (4/13) – Verse 30 says we are not to grieve the Holy Spirit of God. You can only grieve a person, not an “it”. He then says to “get rid of all bitterness, anger, rage and malice”! What differences could happen in your life if you were to honestly try to do that! Your life and the lives of others will be impacted just by following this verse alone! We talk about how.
THE CHURCH, HIS BODY
Message 7, Air Date 4/2/2018
United on Purpose!
This Week – This week is actually a continuation of the message from two weeks ago regarding unity in the church. We are to be united not simply because it’s nice, it’s absolutely necessary to the function of the church. We are united to serve the head of the church, Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God!
Monday (4/2) – We begin by talking about a father who told his son regularly, “Son, be a man!” I wonder if the Lord ever looks at a divided church or congregation and wants to say, “Church, be the Church!” There is a reason for unity. Your physical body exists for the purpose of serving the head of that body, your brain and all that that organ represents. So it is that the body of Christ exists to serve the head of that Body, the Lord Jesus Christ!
Tuesday (4/3) – Verse 11 begins with the phrase, “It was He…..” Those are important words. So many ministers and church leaders think that it’s all about them! It never was ultimately about you and me; it’s about the Lord who gave us the spiritual gifts that we have. It’s all about the head of the body of Christ; we simply serve the head of that body. Do you and I get that?
Wednesday (4/4) – We focus on verse 15 that says we are to “speak the truth in love”. What would happen in your marriage and family if people followed that admonition? Many people speak the truth in anger, in resentment, or in bitterness. How do you speak the truth? God has called us to be encouragers, not discouragers even though many people are exactly that. They just don’t know it.
Thursday (4/5) – Every believer has a gift from the Lord to serve Him and the church. There is no such thing as an “inactive” member of the body. If a part of the human body doesn’t do its part, there is medical dysfunction taking place in that body. So it is with the body of Christ; we are not called to be inactive or inert. We are called to do and be something in the body of Christ!
Friday (4/6) – We close with a dramatic story of a family that escaped a near fatal accident on the freeway. They all walked away uninjured. The father said after the accident, he never felt more alive and active in his humanity than at that moment! The body of Christ is never more alive than when it functions in unity with others, submitting to the Lordship of Christ! It really is!
THE CHURCH, HIS BODY
Message 6 – Air Date Week of 3/19/2018
United or Divided?
This Week – Have you ever felt unity in your family? Have you ever felt unity at work or school? Have you ever felt unity at a church, the Body of Christ? Many people might pause before giving an answer. We talk about unity and division in the church by looking at what the Apostle Paul said to a church in a place called Ephesus. What he said may be new to you! It just may be new to most churches!
Monday (3/19) – No other television program in history has endeared itself to people more than the “Andy Griffith Show”. Some of you grew up with the program; others watch it today in reruns. We begin with recounting an episode of Andy telling his deputy that the local church choir will be “fighting all night” over the color of new robes. Many churches fight all night over a lot less! Unity is a gift of the Holy Spirit; all we do is maintain it or lose it.
Tuesday (3/20) – Dr. Paul Cedar, the former head of a church denomination tells of literally weeping over the division in his home church as a teenager. He then says he has wept many times since as an adult. Part of his job was mediating church conflict. Division in churches is more common than you may think. Paul the apostle explains why! You may see what he says in your own life, family, and church!
Wednesday (3/21) – We talk about “single issue people”. It’s a cause of disunity. We then discuss divisive people who love to cause conflict. You may have people in your family that enjoy fostering conflict. We then look at what Paul says combats disunity. The number one weapon against disunity is humility! Humility is something we seek, but we never claim it. As soon as we claim humility as ours, we lose it!
Thursday (3/22) – The second weapon is gentleness or meekness. It’s not weakness, it is power under control! We discuss patience and impatience. Impatience usually has a name on it. You have someone in your life that you manifest impatience toward. It can grow into a major source of conflict in a marriage, a family, or a church. The forth is love that enables you to get along with others.
Friday (3/23) – We conclude with a tragic story of a large church in the Detroit area that experienced “unity” for two years, because of the deaths of two little boys in the congregation. After the funerals, disunity ruled the day once again. It doesn’t take the death of people to have unity; it takes a church surrendering to the leadership of the Holy Spirit of God!
THE CHURCH, HIS BODY
Message 5 – Air Date Week of 3/12/2018
Who’s In Charge?
This Week – When a speaker tells a story, most people can connect with someone or something in the story. Not always, but a good deal of the time that is true. Jesus knew that when He told the parables. When you read the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15, you will relate to one of the three main characters, depending upon what’s going on in your life at the time. Some relate to the prodigal son; others relate to the wounded father. Most people relate to the “older brother”.
Monday (3/12) – We begin with the retelling of a story told by Max Lucado. It’s about his experience on a flight where his seatmate gives him her “list” of reasons why she thought she was going to heaven. Most people have their “list”. Maybe you do. The problem is this: our list has nothing to do with our going to heaven!
Tuesday (3/13) – This maybe a big discovery in your life this week. Everything positive in our lives is something that happens by the grace and mercy of God. You may not have believed this in your past life. You may not believe it now! Paul said that he was an apostle by the grace of God. God is the One who takes responsibility for our lives. And you and I thought we were “in charge” of our lives. What if you found out that you’re not?
Wednesday (3/14) – God is able to turn the “curses into blessings” in our lives. We share a passage from the Old Testament that substantiates that. We tell a powerful story of a woman who shared about the physical abuse she experienced in childhood. She goes on to say something you may need to hear. This is the most important part of this message for someone!
Thursday (3/15) – The One in charge of our lives has the power to deal with the negative stuff that is in our lives. What would happen if you really believed that to be true? We talk about the idea of people being in the “fourth quarter” of their lives; they just don’t know it. You can be in your 20’s, 30’s, or 40’s and be in the fourth quarter. We may be at the “2-minute” warning of life. You and I really don’t know!
Friday (3/16) – What are you doing with the remainder of the game called your life? Do you recognize that God is the One who claims to be in charge of our lives? Paul says we have “freedom and confidence” in approaching God! We can be respectfully bold in praying to Him asking for His grace, mercy, and power for our lives!
THE CHURCH, HIS BODY
Message 4 – Air Date Week of 3/5/2018
Two Words Defined!
This Week – Have you ever heard a word defined in a way you hadn’t heard before? That may happen for you on CrossHope as we look at two Biblical words: peace and hostility. You may be surprised at the definitions we give those words this week; yet they are accurate in the context of this passage from Ephesians 2. You may never look at these two words the same again!
Monday (3/5) – Paul the Apostle paints a “before and after” picture of our lives. Before coming to Christ, we were separated, excluded, without hope and without God in this world. That’s no small thing! After coming to Christ, we have been “brought near to God through the blood of Christ.” The cross of Christ changes everything! Has that change happened in your life? Where are you in that statement?
Tuesday (3/6) – We redefine the words in this text, peace and hostility. Peace doesn’t just mean the cessation of strife; it means the cessation of separation! When we are at peace with God, we are brought near to Him. Hostility doesn’t simply mean anger, yelling, and conflict; hostility is treating the other person as the enemy! Christ came to bring peace and to take down the walls of hostility.
Wednesday (3/7) – Today we retell one of the most requested stories I have ever used on the radio in over 35 years of broadcasting! (You may have heard it two months ago on CrossHope.) It’s the story told by Rita Snowden of New Zealand regarding World War One soldiers burying their dead sergeant. I don’t really know why, but this story moves people in a profound way. Listen today!
Thursday (3/8) – If you ever have tried to “take down a wall” that’s up between you and someone else, it can be difficult. The other person may actually prefer a wall between you! We all know people like that; just make sure it’s not you or me! We tell a dramatic true story of a wall coming down between a father and son. You just may be able to relate to this story in your own life.
Friday (3/9) – What could the Lord use in your life to trigger repentance and reconciliation with someone else. It’s called taking down the walls of hostility. God took down the wall with Him through Christ and the cross; what walls do you need to attempt to take down? You know, don’t you? So do I. We can’t really ask God to take down the wall up between us without our willingness to do the same with others.
THE CHURCH, HIS BODY
Message 3 – Air Date Week of 2/26/2018
Dead or Alive?
This Week – I meet people all the time who think being a Christian is a matter of “comparative difference”. What does that mean? It means that they believe Christianity takes a nice person, and makes them nicer, more honest, and better behaved as a person. Nothing could be more misleading and further from the truth. Christianity is a matter of life and death!
Monday (2/26) – We begin with a sad story of a young man’s life from age 15 to 42 as a career criminal. As he was being led away to his execution in Nevada for murder, he made an interesting comment on his life. It actually may speak to your life and mine! The Apostle Paul says that we are either “dead” in our trespasses and sins, or we are “alive” in Christ. Where are you in that statement?
Tuesday (2/27) – Paul talks about those who are neck deep in the “ways of the world”. What does that mean? We describe three: 1) humanism, 2) materialism, and 3) and hedonism. Those three terms may even dominate your life in 2018. We define them and explain how that following those three philosophies can lead to Satan working in our lives! Really? That’s what Paul says explicitly. Listen and find out why and how.
Wednesday (2/28) – I explain how that every time I speak I am coming against the “spirits” that are at work in this world. That’s not my idea, but that of the Apostle Paul. We share the story of a friend who was held hostage in a government office in Columbus. He has never bragged about being a “good hostage”. He does talk about the grace of God and the skill of the police negotiators that led to his release. Paul says, “It is by grace that you and I have been saved….”
Thursday (3/1) – The professor of a psychology class my daughter was attending at a Michigan college shared a powerful story of a friend’s life. His friend was dying of cancer. What he said about his life, days before his death, just may speak to you about your life and relationship with the living God! Don’t miss this; it could be a game changer for you!
Friday (3/2) – Paul says that we are either dead in our sins, or made alive in Christ. I believe just reading the ten verses in this passage can be a “game changer” for you. I really do. We close with a story by Jim Cymbala, minister of a church in Brooklyn, New York. A woman who literally hated hearing the choir practice at his church every time she walked by it, now sings in that choir every week. What happened? She was “dead”, and was “made alive” in Christ!
THE CHURCH, HIS BODY
Message 2 – Air Date Week of 2/19/2018
Making the Ask!
This Week – It’s not often that people tell me after hearing a message, “I’ve never ever heard what you said about the subject of prayer, which you said today.” That’s what happened when I gave this message from Ephesians 1. This passage spoke to people in a profound way about the praying in their lives that happens or doesn’t happen. There must be a reason for that, listen and decide for yourself.
Monday (2/19) – We begin with the lyrics of a song writer, Larry Bryant who wrote a song called, “Shopping List”. It’s a humorous tune about prayer, but with serious overtones. Most of your prayers and mine, simply a list of things we want, need, or think we need. Think about your recent prayers, were some of them “lists”? Were most of them?
Tuesday (2/20) – We begin with the first of five “bullets”. 1) “Faith and love rumors.” Most conversations in a marriage or a family are “gossipy”. We share about what we have heard about other people. The other people talk about you and me! Paul begins by saying, “I’ve heard about your faith and love for other people.” What a compliment! What do people hear about us? Do they hear rumors of love or rumors of hate?
Wednesday (2/21) – The second bullet point from the text is this: 2) “non-stop thanks”. Paul continually thanks God for the people of Ephesus. Does anyone pray that way about you or me? Thanksgiving in our prayers is paramount! The next bullet has to do with 3) “wisdom and revelation” that God gave the people of Ephesus. Wisdom is seeing life from God’s point of view. Revelation has to do with what’s going on in your life where the Lord convicts of what you do, what you say, and what you think about!
Thursday (2/22) – The fourth bullet point is: 4) “enlightened eyes.” Paul prays for the people of Ephesus to have their eyes enlightened, to see what they normally wouldn’t see. Like what? Like sin that is in their lives and in their families. I pray for enlightened eyes every time I speak! My guess is the Lord may be opening up your eyes to see that which you haven’t for years!
Friday (2/23) – We close with a powerful story dealing with slavery in Africa. I saw people with tears in their eyes in all three services when they heard that story. Perhaps you will react the same way. The fifth bullet point is this: 5) “incomparable power from God”. The ultimate blessing in prayer is seeing His power, not ours! Answered prayer is God’s power displayed!
THE CHURCH, HIS BODY
Message 1 – Air Date Week of 2/12/2018
Four Life-Changing Words!