Let GO! (Sermon Audio)

Let GO! (Sermon Audio)

 

This is the audio from the February 3, 2019 sermon, “Let GO!”, shared by Tom Lemler at the North Wayne Mennonite Church.

Text: Romans 12:1-2

Here are the main points from the sermon:

To let go and truly be a living sacrifice, we must Let . . .

  • God: 
    • Ephesians 4:11-13 — God has created each of us according to His great wisdom and design.  We need to let God be in charge and submit our life fully to Him so that His purposes can be completed both in and through us.
  • Others:  
    • Romans 12:6-8 — As we let God be in charge, we must also let others use the gifting God has placed within their life so that together we would glorify God.  Letting others must always been done in submission to them and us first letting God, otherwise others soon become our God.
Just Looking

Just Looking

What are you looking at? I mean, when you’re not reading this wonderful blog, what catches your eye on a regular basis? Is there any harm, or benefit, in “just looking”? Do you even give much thought to the things you not only see but to that which you allow your thoughts to rest upon for more than a moment?

Most of the major purchases I’ve made in life began as “just looking”. Sometimes the “just looking” phase is a research time in order to find the best possible solution to something that I actually need. Many times, though, the “just looking” is more of a dreaming or longing for something that I know I don’t need but somehow it has caught my attention.

I’m not sure there is a problem with just looking . . . other than it is not possible to do over some length of time. No, the problem typically lies in what we are just looking at rather than in the fact we are looking. It seems our thoughts, and then our actions, typically follow our line of sight. So, “just looking” becomes “just thinking” which, in time, becomes “just doing”.

From Eve “just looking” and seeing the fruit forbidden by God was “good for food” to the heroes of the “hall of faith” in Hebrews 11 who were “just looking” for a kingdom whose architect was God, the Bible is filled with stories of people whose actions were determined by the direction of their gaze. Some show the pitfalls of “just looking” in the wrong direction. Eve “just looking” at what God said was off limits. Lot “just looking” at the cities of the plains which were filled with wickedness. The people of Israel “just looking” at the nations surrounding them. Each followed their “just looking” with actions which led them into sin they probably thought they would never be involved in.

Others chose to fix their gaze on things of a more noble nature. Abraham was “just looking” for a land promised by God of which he did not know. Moses found himself “just looking” at God rather than the treasures of Egypt. The Bereans were “just looking” at scripture to see if what they were being taught was from God. Each of these, and many more, turned their “just looking” into a faithful pursuit of God even when the visible wasn’t always complete.

And then there’s David. David portrays the range that most of us deal with throughout our life. There are times, such as when facing Goliath, that he is “just looking” at God and not being distracted by the enemy. And then there are other times, such as His relationship with Bathsheba, when he is “just looking” at the things of this world in a way that he shouldn’t and it leads him deeper and deeper into sin. That is why God tells us to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” When we live a life “just looking” at Jesus and the truth found in His Word, we will find our thoughts and actions will follow our gaze and be pleasing to Him.

So, what are you “just looking” at today? Where is it leading your thoughts? How will your actions be influenced by the things you allow your eyes to settle on today? Are there things you are doing now as a result of “just looking” in the past that you wish you had never gotten involved in? How about good things that your past “just looking” has led you to? What do those experiences tell you about what you ought to fix your eyes on today?

I pray that you and I would pay close attention to the things we rest our gaze upon so that the influences of what we say and do would lead us to a life pleasing to God.

In prayer,
Tom Lemler

Hold ON! (Sermon Audio)

 

This is the audio from the December 30, 2018 sermon, “Hold ON!”, shared by Tom Lemler at the Deer Run Church of Christ.

Text: Revelation 3:7-13 & Luke 18:1

Here are the main points from the sermon:

We Hold ON to the right things when we hold . . .

  • Open: 
    • The Door to Our Life – Revelation 3:20
    • Our Heart – Ephesians 1:18
    • God’s Word – James 1:22-25
  • Near:  
    • To God – James 4:8
    • To God’s Word – Deuteronomy 30:11-16
    • To One Another – Hebrews 10:24-25
Not My Will, But Yours Be Done

Not My Will, But Yours Be Done

I set up a “Giving Tuesday” fundraiser on my social media accounts to raise funds for the prayer ministry I direct.  

Giving Tuesday Facebook Fundraiser

I have to say the response so far, and the day is quickly coming to a close, has been much less than I had hoped for.  While I am indeed thankful for those who have given today, and for those who may yet give, this post isn’t really about them . . . rather, it’s about me . . . and perhaps about you.

Yet, even that paragraph only tells half the story of the day . . . if even that.  You see, there was another part to my Giving Tuesday involvement as it didn’t seem right to have a day called “Giving Tuesday” without my being involved in the giving.

“Tom Lemler” Amazon Author Page

In this part of my Giving  Tuesday, I ran a promotion on Amazon where all of the Kindle editions of my prayer-based devotional books were free.  It was here that my hopes for the day have been exceeded as nearly 100 copies of my books have made their way into the Kindle readers of people who will use them.  (By the way, that promotional arrangement with Amazon ends today so if you see this before Tuesday, November 27 is over, feel free to join those who are making use of these resources.)

If you’re still following me in this post, we’re finally getting to the title. 🙂  It seems it is easy for me to slide into a mode of praying “my will be done.”  If my will isn’t done, if my hopes aren’t fulfilled, I find that I can easily become discouraged.  Even when I finish the day with more available funds to do ministry than when the day began, it is easy to forget that fact when my will isn’t met.

And then God gently reminds me, “you’re not in this to make money or raise funds, you’re in this to help people grow in relationship with Me.”  He gives me a glimpse into how He is using the gift of writing He put within my life.  He reminds me that the writing is indeed His gift and that I am supposed to be sharing it.  He calls me to rejoice, not in dollars collected but in lives touched by the words He has given.  He reminds me of the prayer of Jesus that ought to be the prayer of you and I; “Not my will, but yours be done.”  And through it all He calls me to be thankful that it is His will being done and asks me to lift my eyes to Him as He helps me to daily surrender my will to His.

So I look again at the dollars raised and the books given and I thank God that while there is rarely excess, He has always provided what is needed to do what is His will.  I simply need to pay more attention and be more careful in seeking His will rather than my own.  I pray that you also would allow God to help you to see whose will you are really pursuing.  I pray that you would do your very best in everything you pursue, but learn to be content even if the results ends up being different than what you had hoped for.

Praying that God’s will be done and that mine becomes more like His each day.

In prayer,
Tom Lemler

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