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November 22, 2020

God Alone! Ready, Willing, and Able

As 2020 nears an end, we’re weary and tired. We wonder how many more waves we can withstand. We pray we’re being made better -- refined in the fire, but face the constant threat of just getting bitter -- resentful in the flames. But this is no time to give-in to the deceptions of an embittered heart! It’s time to guard our hearts! It’s time to bathe in God’s Word. It’s time to wait patiently for the Lord. It’s time to lean into Jesus.

November 15, 2020

God Alone! Making the Most of a New Day!

We have great "ups," seasons and moments where we’re strong in faith and love, and God seems more real and close than ever before. But we also have downs: valleys and shadows that come upon us, dark nights that test our faith and expose our ongoing need for salvation. What all this means is that we cannot rest in how we overcame yesterday, because each new day forces us to choose to overcome -- today!

November 8, 2020

God Alone! On Whom are You Depending?

Up to this point in the book of Isaiah, the prophet has spoken of things to come, things outstanding. But now, those he's spoken to, are facing the harsh reality of what Isaiah has warned them of again and again -- right outside their window. No longer are the prophet's words mere poetic pleading; now they are the very hope God's people must choose to receive and walk in, lest the threats that surround them overwhelm and overtake them.

November 1, 2020

God Alone! The Better Story

Chapters 34 and 35 of the book of Isaiah tell two stories. The first, in chapter 34, is the sad story of where sin takes us, a place of pain and pointlessness. Buy in Isaiah 35, the prophet turns the page and tells us a better story, a story of what happens when we finally, fully come to God, and allow Him to be a fire that heals us, instead on one we fear will harm us.

October 25, 2020

God Alone! Three Part Harmony with God

It’s taken 32 chapters, but at long last, God’s people seem to be beginning to get the message: “God Alone is all you need!” Their recognition starts where ours must, with a brief, sincere, honest, and uncluttered prayer. Once we do this, what follows is a new back and forth between us and God that, like the continuous rhythm of a clock, provides a “tick” for every “tock!” Let’s start keeping time with the Lord!

October 18, 2020

God Alone! Receiving His Promises

The promises of God are precious; not one has ever failed. But unless we believe them, we will not enjoy the full benefit of them. How we know whether we believe or not is not a matter merely of the head, it’s also a matter of the heart, of whether or not we’ve allowed His promises to get deep inside us. In the end, it is our behavior that broadcasts our belief or lack thereof.

October 11, 2020

God Alone! Real Freedom

Freedom is something we prize, especially in the west. But freedom can and does often lead to an unintended consequence -- slavery to what we think makes us free! The Gospel (and the prophet Isaiah) speaks of another kind of freedom, real freedom that leads to life -- and paradoxically, is found in making ourselves slaves to the One who has truly given us all things, including the freedom to be wholly His!

October 4, 2020

Assemblies of God World Missions Service

Bill Chappel, missionary to Hungary, gives an update from the field.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

God Alone! It's All Good!

We like the perks of following Christ, but we don’t always like the costs. God, in Isaiah 29, challenges his people to appreciate both, and to see that with Him -- it’s all good!

Sunday, September 20, 2020

God Alone! The Crown that Always Fits

God Alone is enough! So why do we settle for other saviors? In Isaiah 28, God rebukes His people for taking pride in earthly crowns when He himself promises to be their glorious Crown. Earthly crowns always fail and are destined to become dust; earthly crowns hamper our hearing and cause us to overlook God's wisdom, rest, and protection. May we, gazing intently upon Jesus, take hold of the only Crown that is worth pursuing -- the Lord Himself!

Sunday, September 13, 2020

God Alone! Rejoicing in Our Freedom

The prophet finishes his third of three songs of praise, reminding God's people of the wonderful freedom that's found "on this mountain" in this "strong city." Not only has our enemy been utterly and completely defeated, God has planted us as His very own vineyard, watering and guarding over us with a passion that frees us to be fruitful for Him.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

God Alone! We Have a Strong City!

Isaiah sings it loud and strong: "We have a strong city!" Others may rely on the crumbling cities of man, but Isaiah says this city's walls and ramparts are God and His salvation! With gates that never close, this city is open and accessible to all who will enter with honest humility and longing - a place to hide until the storm has passed.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

God Alone! On This Mountain

In the first of three songs of praise to the Lord, the prophet sings that it is "on this mountain" (and no other) that true nourishment, clear vision and real rest are found! Why would we climb any other hill? Why wouldn't we want to go to where God has provided a feast, cleared the fog, and caused his hand is resting?

Sunday, August 23, 2020

God Alone! The Season Finale

In Isaiah 24 the prophet, with conflicting emotions, paints a stark picture of where sin takes us: a moonscape of despair, destruction, and desolation. While the people of God rejoice in God's justice (nobody gets away with anything), we also mourn the wages of sin that lead to death, real life flesh and blood people suffering the real consequences of their sins. For our "Engage" brochure mentioned at the the end of the sermon, please follow this link.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

God Alone! There's No Fixing a Flat "Tyre!"

God's people live IN the world; but we live AS citizens of heaven. That's the message of the prophet Isaiah as he closes out his words of judgment against the kingdoms of man. And because God is replacing earthly kingdoms rather than redeeming them, He calls his people to take what the world gives and spend it on what the world needs -- things like justice, mercy, and faithfulness (see Mt 23:23).

Sunday, August 9, 2020

God Alone! Climbing Out of the Basement

If you want a good view of things, you don't go down into your basement, you climb the stairs and go up to where you can see. When Isaiah speaks of the "valley of vision" in chapter 22, he's talking about being in a place where we cannot clearly see what's going on, and the consequences of that blindness -- reminding us that "without vision, people truly do perish!"

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Guest Speaker: Rev Brian Whidden

Pastor Brian, pastor of one of our sister churches in Elkhart, and the Indiana Assemblies of God NE Area Presbyter, shares a message on dealing with distractions

Sunday, July 26, 2020

God Alone! An Ever-Brightening Kingdom

Nothing lasts forever... except the Kingdom of God! If we put our hope in anything less, we will be building on a kingdom of desperation and distraction that leads only to destruction. Better to store up treasures in heaven, says Jesus, "where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal."

Sunday, July 19, 2020

God Alone! Birdsong in the Background

It's amazing how much we miss -- simply because we're not listening. As the birds are ever singing, whether we've taken the time to hear them or not, so God is ever speaking, ever wanting to reveal his heart and mind to us. But, as this judgment of Edom reminds us, we need to have ears to hear what the Lord is saying. Otherwise, like Edom, we'll fall into the trap of seeking rescue without repentance, resurrection without a cross, and new life without dying to the old.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

God Alone! Drinking the Right Water

The old poem goes, "Water water everywhere, and not a drop to drink!" So it is with the sea, a seemingly endless supply, but none of it suitable to quench our thirst or sustain human life. Isaiah cries out to a people who'd looked to one nation after another for help and rescue, "Babylon has fallen!" Like a great desert sea, she cannot quench your thirst; she cannot restore your soul! If we look to Babylon for salvation, we will suffer the same fate as Babylon. Better to say with the psalmist, "All my fountains are in You Lord!"

Sunday, July 5, 2020

God Alone! Celebrating Our King's Rule

In Isaiah 20, in an act designed to demonstrate how the Lord humbles all earthly powers and those who put their trust in them, the prophet is told to strip down and go about for three years naked and barefoot. The prophetic act he was called to undertake to was not only unusual, it was also humiliating! When God asks us to lay aside every weight and the sins that so easily entangle us, it's not to punish us, it's to purify us -- to bring us to a place of hope and trust not in man or man's government, but in God and God Alone!

Sunday, June 28, 2020

God Alone! Egypt! My People

Correction is hard -- even correction from a perfect and loving God. But its purpose is not to tear us down; it's to transform us! And while it can be a messy process, God digging up and exposing things that have remained hidden under the surface of our self-made paths, its outcome is a smooth new way God calls a highway -- his way that brings new life and peace not only with Him, but with our fellow sinners. Thank God He loves us enough to discipline us!

Sunday, June 21, 2020

God Alone! Trusting in the Silence

It's easy to think nothing is happening... when we don't see anything happening. But God reminds us in Isaiah 18 that he is at work even in the silence; and that He's big enough to handle what we've been tempted to assume He's not. We can rest in His good promise: "All you people of the world, you who live on the earth, when a banner is raised on the mountains, you will see it, and when a trumpet sounds, you will hear it (Isaiah 18:3)."

Sunday, June 14, 2020

God Alone! Forsaking False Hope

The church is being called in this hour to forsake anything we have made into an idol, whether that be people, places, politics, philosophical postions, or even... ourselves. If we will lay down our idols, Isaiah tells us their glory will fade, God-consciousness will return, and all our grand construction will crumble, leaving behind only what cannot be shaken.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

God Alone! Moab's Misery

The Moabites were an easy enemy to ignore; they had been feuding with Israel for generations and even called for the cursing of God's people. But in Isaiah 15 and 16, the prophet demonstrates the fullness of a God who is perfect in Mercy AND Judgement. Isaiah looks beyond the symptoms, hears the cries of the world, and allows himself to enter into Moab's misery like the One who was to come, who in "judging would seek justice and speed the cause of righteousness (Isaiah 16:5).

Sunday, May 31, 2020

God Alone! The Flaw of the Philistines

The Philistines, Israel's ancient foe, finally got what they wanted, the power of their enemy broken. But God says something strange: "Do not rejoice!" God says this not because he doesn't care, but exactly because he does! Like the Philistines we too often fear the wrong enemies, invest in the wrong causes, and sow the wrong seed. Doing so, invites a self-inflicted famine that keeps us from the feast he's prepared for us.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Assemblies of God World Missions Service

Missionary Service with Bernie and Brenda Smith, Assemblies of God missionaries serving in Togo, West Africa at the West Africa Advanced School of Theology

Sunday, May 17, 2020

God Alone! The Poison of Our Pride

In chapters 13 and 14 of Isaiah, the Lord begins his judgment of the nations. First up, is Babylon. Babylon is not just Israel's Assyria though, Babylon is the polluting pride of every government, system, and culture of man that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. Babylon builds a tower in Genesis, crucifies Christ in the Gospels, and seduces the masses as a prostitute in the Revelation. Babylon is all too often, alive and well in each of us, and is the evil we're taught to pray to our Father to deliver us from.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

God Alone! What the Redeemed Say

When Isaiah declares, "In that day, you will say," he's talking about what the Redeemed say! what those who've seen the Lord, come to the Lord, and been transformed by the Lord speak! And what they speak, the prophet describes as a song of praise! Anybody can complain and curse, but the Redeemed rejoice and are glad -- for they are the light of the world!

Sunday, May 3, 2020

God Alone! The Shoot in the Stump

If ever there was good news, this is it! Isaiah tells us that "A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit." In the middle of our devastation and despair... Jesus! Jesus (and those who are in vital connection with him), changes the burnt over landscape into something beautiful and fruit-bearing. Enemies make peace, the poor and needy get justice, and the wisdom of a child is finally seen for what it is... the knowledge of the Lord that neither harms or destroys! We can either be a highway or an off-ramp; God desires we be paths to Him not away from him.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

God Alone! Assyria's Ashes

God uses all kinds of people and circumstances to bring about His good will and purposes. But we mustn't mistake His use with his approval. If we do, we'll adopt the same attitudes Assyria did, and suffer the same awful affliction: being consumed by God's holy fire instead of purified by it!

Sunday, April 19, 2020

God Alone! Remaining in the Resurrection - Part One

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light! That's how Isaiah 9 begins! But the chapter ends reminding us that we have to walk in that light so as not to be swallowed up again by the darkness of our sin -- the cancer within each of us God is passionate about destroying that we might be made fit for His kingdom. (For Part Two of this message, click here).

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Easter Sunday: The Fullness of all He's done

The Resurrection of Jesus is not just an historical fact to be celebrated; it's a life altering encounter to be experienced. Jesus, raised from the dead, walks with us TODAY; Jesus, ever-living, can be seen and heard on every page of scripture; Jesus, reigning and ruling, still moves on the hearts of those who will break bread with Him! May we LIVE in the fullness of all He's done!

Friday, April 10, 2020

Good Friday: The Responsive Robber

Two Thieves witnessed the murder of Jesus in a way no one else did, by being crucified alongside Him. Only one though, received the gift being offered; the other, blinded by hate, fear, and pain, couldn't see what was right before his eyes, couldn't enter what was freely being given.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Palm Sunday - The Colt No One's Ridden

Jesus arrives on Palm Sunday on "a colt which no one had ever ridden." That colt, was the Peace Donkey of Good News to the poor, blessing not cursing, forgiveness rather than punishment. Jesus still arrives today, and in the same manner; will we recognize the time of his visitation among us?

Sunday, March 29, 2020

God Alone! Looking Up to See

In the last verse of Isaiah 8, the prophet laments: "Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom." But we’re not stuck at the end of a chapter! We’re not stuck, because Isaiah 9 begins with a great declaration for those who will look up to see it! "A light has dawned!" Are we living as if this is so?

Sunday, March 22, 2020

God Alone! Choices in a Crisis

The Apostle James tells us to consider it "pure joy" whenever we face trials of many kinds. While trials aren't pure joy, this choice to consider them so is ours, because we know God is producing something beautiful in us through them - that we're being transformed into Christ's image with ever-increasing glory as we choose the fountain over the flood, the "good fight" over futile fighting, and the fear of the Lord over the fear of falling!

Sunday, March 15, 2020

God Alone! Standing in the Storm

There has been much in the news lately about covid-19 -- the coronavirus… And yet the greatest danger probably isn’t the virus itself, but our response to the threat. It’s not that the threat isn’t real (it is!), it’s that the greater threat is more real! More real because it has to do with our souls: the kind of people we’re becoming,how we treat others who bear the image of God, and where our confidence lies

Sunday, March 1, 2020

God Alone! Seeing AND Perceiving

To see differently, we've got to see ourselves as we are. To see ourselves as we are, we've got to see God as He is. To see God as He is, we've got to be willing to open our eyes, giving Him the time and space to reveal Himself to us.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

God Alone! When Vineyards Go Bad

The parable of the vineyard in Isaiah 5, reminds us that God in his mercy, does all the work, all the planning, all the prepping, all the planting, all the protecting. Our work -- is to simply grow in all that He’s provided us! to receive God’s grace with thanksgiving and humility! Regrettably -- we don’t always live up to that vocation!

Sunday, February 16, 2020

God Alone! What are You Clinging to?

In Isaiah 4, the prophet sees two alternate realities "in that day": In one, desperate people chase after and cling to those who can offer no help (see Isaiah 3:7); in the other, those who dwell in the Holy City, cling to the One called the Branch, who offers not only hope, but also "refuge and a hiding place from the storm."

Sunday, February 9, 2020

God Alone! Taking off the Training Wheels

We don't like loss. Loss feels like defeat and deprivation. And yet often, the only way we can gain... is by losing. God, in his mercy, is the giver of all good things; but because self-sufficiency is God-deficiency, He is also the "taker" of those things that keep us from growing in the grace and knowledge of Him. Thanks be to God that he "gives AND takes away!"

Sunday, February 2, 2020

God Alone! Isaiah's Vision

Isaiah's vision in chapter two is not JUST for some far off time and place after Jesus comes back for his own. No, the prophet says: "Come, let US walk in the light of the Lord!" If we are not living as if God's Kingdom is here, as if "His mountain is the highest of all mountains, exalted above the hills," we may very well live as if it never will be!

Sunday, January 26, 2020

God Alone! Brought Back to Rightness

A great paradox of walking with Jesus is that to stay true to Him, we must always be changing - growing, being formed in Christ. The more we try to remain the same, the more we will find ourselves drifting to a place further away from God, rather than closer.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

God Alone! An Elephant in Your Soup

An elephant in your soup is anything that keeps you from Christ and becoming like Him. While you can try to skim around it, you cannot ignore it. That elephant must be tamed or it will trample you!

Sunday, January 12, 2020

God Alone! Hear Me and Live!

We often imagine God as either angry or apathetic: filled with rage or to big to care. God's posture towards us however is neither. God cares deeply about us (as demonstrated in sending His Son); God is also a God of matchless mercy (as demonstrated His Son dying on a cross!). Isaiah from the outset, shows us a God who grieves, whose heart aches for us to know Him. Do we recognize our need?

Sunday, December 30, 2019

God Alone! Seeing What Isaiah Saw

The overarching message of the Prophet Isaiah is this: "God Alone!" Isaiah’s trying to get the eyes of God’s people -- back on God! If he were writing today, he might say: Put down the phone! Turn down that radio! Unplug for a while! The urgency of his call is captured not only in the brevity of his introduction in Isaiah 1:1, it’s also captured between the lines of his introduction (what we’re told in this one verse about his message).