Crucifying Excuses

Pastor Craig Carter It’s fairly common for us to embark on an undertaking without fully understanding what is going to be involved.  For example, some of us once envisioned ourselves as star athletes only to discover that it required two gut-wrenching workouts a day. Others of us sought the glamorous military lifestyle pictured in TV commercials, then found that it’s “not just an adventure, it’s a job … and a difficult one at that!” Still others of us decided to pursue a college education and were astonished when we realized we would actually have to study … on the weekends, …

Crucifying Unbelief

Pastor Craig Carter The disciples had been traveling with Jesus for more than three years when He made the astonishing declarations we looked at last week.  First of all, Christ informed them, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” (Luke 9:22 NIV) As disturbing as that news was to His followers, His second announcement was even more troubling.  Then [Jesus] said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple …

Crucified with Christ – Series Introduction

Pastor Craig Carter Today is the first Sunday in Lent, a 40-day period that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter.  Lent is a time set apart annually for Christians to return to the Lord through repentance and reflection so we can reorient our lives to God and His will. The term, Lent, comes from an Old English word meaning “springtime” since it always falls during this particular season of the year.  Based on my three decades of ministry experience, I generally expect attendance at our worship services to be pretty good during the …

How to Pray with Power

Pastor Craig Carter In our current sermon series, we’ve gained insights from Pete Greig’s book, How to Pray: A Simple Guide for Normal People. In the book, Pete suggests the Lord’s Prayer is structured around four basic steps captured by the acrostic, P.R.A.Y. – Pause, Rejoice, Ask, Yield.  First, we pause in prayer by remembering whose presence we’re in – Our Father. We come before the Lord in silence and stillness. Next, we rejoice in prayer because we have a Father in heaven and hallowed, or holy, is His name. We praise Him for who He is and thank Him …

How to Hear God

Pastor Craig Carter In his book, How to Pray: A Simple Guide for Normal People, Pete Greig suggests the Lord’s Prayer is structured around four basic steps captured by the acrostic, P.R.A.Y. So far in our current sermon series, we have investigated the first three steps of pause, rejoice, and ask. Beginning today, we will turn our attention to the final step, yield, or more simply put, saying “yes” to God.  When we ask for something in prayer and don’t receive it exactly how and when we’d like it, we have to trust God and surrender to His will (i.e. …

How to Deal with Unanswered Prayer

Pastor Craig Carter  In our current series we are learning how to pray based on a prayer Jesus taught us called the Lord’s Prayer.  Last week Pastor Terry addressed how we need to ask in prayer. He said that in our prayers of petition and intercession we should give God a chance, be bold and specific in our requests, and ask in faith. Since we have a loving Father who wants to give good gifts to His children, in our asking we receive, in our seeking we find, and in our knocking doors are opened. And we all know the …

How to Rejoice in Prayer

Pastor Craig Carter During our current sermon series we are learning how to pray based on a prayer Jesus taught us called the Lord’s Prayer. It is found in Matthew chapter six and Luke chapter eleven. Last week we observed that in order to start praying we actually need to stop praying. We learned how to pause in prayer and spend time in silence and solitude. It is in quietness and stillness that we are able to position ourselves to hear from God and receive all that He has for us.  And that pause is prompted by the way in …

How to Pause in Prayer

Last week I introduced a new sermon series on prayer called How to Pray. The series is based on The Lord’s Prayer with insights from a book by Pete Greig called How to Pray: A Simple Guide for Normal People.  According to Luke 11:1, the disciples came to Jesus with a request, “Teach us to pray…” And Jesus said, “This is how you should pray…” (Luke 11:2a NLT). Then He launched into a model prayer that has endured through the ages, “Our Father…” For us, that’s a familiar prompt to continue, “…who art in heaven. Hallowed be thy name.” But …

How to Pray

Pastor Craig Carter The start of a new year gives individuals and organizations an opportunity to review past performance, consider the present state of affairs, and make plans for the future. As a pastor, I tend to see the start of a new year as an opportunity to realign our priorities and make sure we’re keeping the main thing the main thing. That’s why I am choosing to start the new year with a sermon series titled, How to Pray. The priority of prayer is written on almost every page of the Bible and in every chapter of church history. …

Simeon’s Song – Nunc Dimittis

Pastor Craig Carter During this Advent season, the Sundays leading up to Christmas, we have been listening to the Songs of Christmas. Not the ones we normally associate with the holiday, like Jingle Bells or Joy to the World. Instead, we’ve focused on the ones contained in Luke’s gospel.  In his account of the birth of Jesus, four characters burst forth into song. So we have looked at Mary’s Song, Zechariah’s Song, and the Angels’ Song. Today we’re going to complete the series by examining Simeon’s Song. Like the others, it is commonly referred to by a Latin title, Nunc …