WISE Choices

My mp3 recorder malfunctioned so no audio today, but here is the outline and highlights from the November 4, 2018 sermon, “WISE Choices”, that I shared at the North Wayne Mennonite Church.

Text: Matthew 7:21-29

Here are the main points from the sermon:

Jesus taught that many will say to Him, “Lord, Lord”, yet get a response of “Depart from me, I never knew you.”  His explanation for such an interaction reveals the importance of not just hearing the Word of God, but actually putting it into practice.  Every time we encounter the truth of God’s Word, we must choose what we will do with it.  It is my prayer that each of those times result in our making WISE choices.

A WISE choice is a  . . .

  • Willing Choice:  Psalm 119:108
    • God’s desire is that we are both willing and eager to do everything He has commanded.  Acting like we are forced to put the things of God into practice will do us no more good than it does for our witness for Christ.  When our choice to honor God in everything is a willing choice, then others will be able to see the joy we have through living an obedient life.
    • If you have to be forced, coerced, or tricked into it, it is probably not a wise choice.
  • Intelligent Choice:  Acts 13:7
    • Faith in God is not blind faith.  In fact, it is our faith that allows us to see the unseen as if it were seen.  Just because someone says something is from God doesn’t mean that it really is.  We must use the mind that God gave us in order to make intelligent choices that keep us in a life that honors God and helps those around us see a God that can be trusted.  Very few people want to follow someone who doesn’t know what they are doing and when we choose to understand and know God to the best of our ability, we find that we have much more than a “just because” answer to the questions people ask.
    • If you have to ignore clear teaching of scripture, it is definitely not a wise choice.
  • Sacrificial Choice:  Hebrews 13:15-16
    • By nature, sacrifice is difficult otherwise we wouldn’t call it sacrifice.  When we seek to do God’s will, more often than not we find we are called upon to make a sacrificial choice.  This should not come as a big surprise since the life of Jesus on earth can be best characterized as sacrificial.  Honoring God with our choices will mean that we look out for the needs of others even above our own.  Jesus said that unless we are willing to give up everything, we cannot be His disciple — it doesn’t get more sacrificial than that when it comes to the choices we ought to be making.
    • If it only looks out for your good and not the good of others, it is likely not a wise choice.
  • Eternal Choice:  Galatians 6:8
    • One of the reasons that we can make choices that are willing, intelligent, and even sacrificial is because we make them with an eternal perspective in mind.  The seeds we sow today will determine the harvest we experience later.  A huge part of that eternal harvest is not just about us making it to heaven, but it is also about the seeds we plant in the lives of others so that God can bring about the harvest in their life at just the right time.  When we apply an eternal perspective filter to the decisions we must make each day, it ought to change not only what we choose to do but also the how and why of what we choose.
    • If it only satisfies a temporary desire with no view toward how it will influence you and others for eternity, it most certainly is not a wise choice.

Praying According to the WILL of God (Sermon Audio)

 

This is the audio from the October 7, 2018 sermon, “Praying According to the Will of God”, shared by Tom Lemler as part of a Lifestyle of Prayer series at the North Wayne Mennonite Church.

Text: Romans 12:1-2

Here are the main points from the sermon:

We pray according to the will of God when we pray with . . .

  • Worship:  Matthew 6:9-10
  • Instruction:  Luke 11:1
  • Leading:  Romans 8:26-27
  • Love:  2 Peter 3:8-9

Learning to BUILD! (Sermon Audio)

 

This is the audio from the September 2, 2018 sermon, “Learning to BUILD!”, shared by Tom Lemler at the North Wayne Mennonite Church.

Text: Matthew 7:21-29

Here are the main points from the sermon:

For a life that stands the storms of time, we much learn to  . . .

  • Believe:  1 Peter 2:4-7
  • Understand:  Proverbs 24:3
  • Inspect:  Exodus 39:43
  • Listen:  John 10:16
  • Do:  James 1:22

A Prayer of FAITH (sermon audio & video)

Here is the audio of the sermon I shared at the Goshen Christian Church on Sunday.  The video will be a little further down the page.

 

Here is the video of the sermon I shared at the Goshen Christian Church on Sunday, August 26, 2018.  The sermon title was, “A Prayer of FAITH”.

The outline for the sermon is as follows:

A prayer of FAITH is a prayer of . . .

Focus
Acceptance
Insight
Trust
Hope

A FIRM Standing! (Sermon Audio)

 

This is the audio from the August 5, 2018 sermon, “A FIRM Standing!”, shared by Tom Lemler at the North Wayne Mennonite Church.

Text: 1 Corinthians 15:56-58

Here are the main points from the sermon:

Doing life as a Christian with a FIRM standing means we have a  . . .

  • Faithful Standing:  1 Corinthians 16:13-14
  • Intentional Standing:  Galatians 5:1
  • Rewarded Standing:  James 5:8
  • Multiplied Standing:  2 Corinthians 1:21-22
Not As Planned

Not As Planned

Have you ever worked hard to get the details of something mapped out just right only to have whatever it is not go according to plan?  My guess is that we’ve all been there.  In fact, I just finished up representing Impact Prayer Ministry at a major Christian convention and it felt like the entire experience was one adjustment after another with nothing going quite as I had planned.  I suspect I’m not the only one who experiences such change-ups on a regular basis, so what should you and I do when life turns out to be not as planned?  Here are some ideas based on my recent trip:

  • Look for the silver lining.  I had planned to be on the road early Monday morning in order to get to the convention center for the start of the exhibit set-up time.  A delayed start meant I would not get there when I wanted, but as I arrived in Indianapolis later than anticipated, I realized I was just in time for an early lunch at Skyline Chili!  This was a treat for me that I don’t get often and one that I would have missed out on had things gone according to my plan.  Not everything that doesn’t go as planned will turn out better than what you had hoped, but often there will be something in the midst of the changes that might even be better than what you had planned.
  • Trust God with the changes you have no control over.  I had chosen my location in the exhibit hall very carefully as I would be directly across the aisle from a “Pastor’s Lounge” that was very popular at last year’s convention.  I’m one who diligently studies exhibit hall floor plans trying to figure out the natural flow of people so I can choose a location most likely to get the most visibility.  When I arrived, there was no “Pastor’s Lounge” set up across from my space as the sponsor had decided not to have a presence at the convention.  This left me at the end of an aisle that went nowhere and my plans for a high traffic flow vanished in a way I could do nothing about.  Because there was nothing I could do about this change in the hall layout, all I could do was trust God to bring the people by the display that He would want me to connect with.  Even the best made plans are often subject to changes by others that you simply cannot control and cannot even anticipate.  In those times, trusting God really is the only option.
  • Watch for God’s plan to unfold in the midst of yours falling apart.  This comes after you learn to trust God that He knows what He is doing even when your plans disintegrate before your very eyes.  As I found myself in a less visited part of the exhibit hall than I had anticipated, I discovered that God amplified the depths of the conversations I was able to have with the people He brought to me.  I’m not sure I’ve ever been a part of having so many people moved to tears by the work God was doing in their life.  Yet as I shared the printed resources and some of the stories behind them, God used the experience to speak deeply to many people — and through their reactions, to speak deeply to me as well.  I believe God wants us to do our best for Him, but in the midst of our best we must watch for something even better.  Often God uses my plans to get me to a certain point, and then disrupts my plans to get me to a place even further than I ever would have dreamed.

In the midst of all the disrupted plans, God continued to work and I was able to put about 500 prayer-based devotional books into the hands of people who were looking to grow in their connection to God through prayer.  I praise God that He continues to provide the resources to make the books available and the inspiration to keep writing them.  I came away from the convention encouraged by the work God is doing in and through me even when things don’t go as planned — at least not as I planned. 🙂

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A Life of LOVE! (Sermon Audio)

A Life of LOVE! (Sermon Audio)

 

This is the audio from the June 24, 2018 sermon, “A Life of LOVE!”, shared by Tom Lemler as part of a Lifestyle of Prayer series at the North Wayne Mennonite Church.

Text: Philippians 1:9-14

Here are the main points from the sermon:

A lifestyle of prayer is a life of  . . .

  • Listening:  Philippians 1:9
  • Obedience:  Philippians 1:10
  • Victory:  Philippians 1:11
  • Encouragement:  Philippians 1:14