This Means WAR! (Sermon Audio)

This Means WAR! (Sermon Audio)


This is the audio from the May 28, 2023 sermon, “Finding Help For Your Battles: This Means WAR!”, shared by Tom Lemler at the Deer Run Church of Christ.

Text: 2 Kings 6:12-23, Ephesians 6:10-18

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
Ephesians 6:13 (NIV)

Today I concluded a sermon series about finding help in our times of need.

Living life is a battle.  While the battles we face as individuals may come in different forms, we know from God’s Word that the sources of these battles are often spiritual in nature.  The good news for us in the midst of our battles is that God has given us what we need to be victorious when we choose His side of the battle.  When we find ourselves in the midst of battle and cry out for help, we find God telling us that this means . . .

  • Wisdom Is Wanted:  —

    • Victory in battle generally relies on reliable information.  One of the greatest pieces of wisdom God gives us when it comes to the battles we face is that they are not against flesh and blood but rather they are spiritual battles..
  • Armor Is Available: —

    • Knowing the nature of the battles we face will help us realize the importance of putting on the full armor of God.  This armor is available to us by God, but requires that we daily choose to put it on and use it.
  • Repentance Is Required:  —

    • We fail in our thoughts and attitudes more often than we like to admit, even if we manage to keep our actions in line with what God desires.  The spiritual battles we face will require that we become familiar and comfortable with repentance as we not only look at our battles differently, but we consider people from a new point of view..

Today, when you face battles of various kinds, how will you engage in the WAR?

A Time To ASK! (Sermon Audio)

A Time To ASK! (Sermon Audio)


This is the audio from the May 21, 2023 sermon, “Finding Help When You Doubt: A Time To ASK!”, shared by Tom Lemler at the Deer Run Church of Christ.

Text: Judges 6:13-40, Mark 9:19-29

“Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.”
 Genesis 15:6 (NIV)

Today I continued a sermon series about finding help in our times of need.  Today we focused on finding help when we doubt.  Doubt is such a natural part of the human experience that we often fail to realize just how much of it has crept into our life.  Even when we want to believe God, the seeds of doubt try to take root and grow.  The good news is that our doubt doesn’t take God by surprise.  When we find ourselves in the midst of doubt, we should turn to God and discover a time to . . .

  • Admit Weakness:  —

    • Neither the father whose son had an evil spirit nor Gideon had the power to do what they wanted.  Their doubt required them to admit they were week and needed God’s help.  Even when we have a growing level of belief, in order to find the help we need we must admit to God, and to our self, that we have doubt.  When God called Gideon to be His instrument of saving the Israelites from their enemies, Gideon had some serious doubt about whether he was the right person for the job.  He was willing to admit his weakness and acknowledge a need for help.  When we look for help in our times of doubt, we must begin by admitting we need God’s help to believe as we ought.
  • Seek help: —

    • While the first step of receiving help may well be in admitting we need it, the importance of seeking that help must not be overlooked.  The boy’s father in the Mark text knew there were doubts in the belief he had so he asked Jesus to help his unbelief in addition to helping his son.  The task Gideon was being asked by God to be involved in was so large that Gideon not only sought God’s help, but he repeatedly sought confirmation that God was indeed with Him.  When we look for help in our times of doubt, we would do well to seek out the One who can help.
  • Know Results:  —

    • Both of the main characters in our texts for today received the help they needed when they were willing to admit they needed help and sought God to provide that help.  We too can know the results of finding help when we doubt when we go to God and ask for His help.  The father had his son restored to him and the nation of Israel was delivered from their enemy as a result of finding help in the midst of doubt.  When we look to God for help in our times of doubt, we can be sure that our continued trust in Him will produce the results that are best from His perspective.

Today, when you doubt, how will you ASK?

A Time To CRY! (Sermon Audio)

A Time To CRY! (Sermon Audio)


This is the audio from the May 14, 2023 sermon, “Finding Help When You Feel Alone: A Time To CRY!”, shared by Tom Lemler at the Deer Run Church of Christ.

Text: Genesis 21:15-21, Matthew 15:21-28

“Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
Psalm 42:5 (NIV)

Today I continued a sermon series about finding help in our times of need.  Last week we began by considering what it looks like to be lifted up by God when we’re afraid.  Today we focused on finding help when we feel alone.  Loneliness, rejection, and feeling left out are all experiences of life we have even though we would rather not.  The Bible is full of people who experienced feelings of being all alone just as we do.  Today we turn our focus toward two stories of mothers who found help from God when being alone brought them to despair in a time to cry out to God.  The good news for those who feel all alone is that when we turn to God we discover a time to . . .

  • Consider your circumstances:  —

    • Before help was even considered, the cry of both Hagar and the Canaanite woman from our texts began with a consideration of the circumstances they found themselves in.  This is often the easy part of our time to cry because our feelings of being alone leave us ample time to ask all the questions of why.  Sometimes, however, we need to step back and consider our circumstances from a perspective other than our own.  Most people seem to have tendencies to either over estimate or under estimate their own responsibility for where they are at.  When we seek God’s help during the times we feel alone, it is important to consider our circumstances from His perspective.
  • Reach out for help: —

    • It is through an examination of our circumstances from God’s perspective that we begin to realize we need help.  For a lot of different reasons, reaching out for help is difficult for many people.  Perhaps we’ve tried to find help before and it just never came.  Sometimes pride creeps in and keeps us from admitting we need help so we refuse to reach out.  Many times when we feel all alone, there are also feelings of abandonment and the feeling that no one cares so reaching out would be pointless.  When we seek God’s help during the times we feel alone, it is important to humble ourselves not only in order to reach out to Him, but to also reach out for help from those He has put around us.
  • Yield to God:  —

    • Finding help when we feel alone not only requires that we consider our circumstances and have the courage to reach out for help, but it also requires that we yield to the One who can help.  When I think about yielding to God, I think about how the two mothers from our texts today took the response of God by faith and found the help they needed.  Many times we find ourselves in need of help but we are very specific about what that help must look like.  We want help but we want it our own way.  God’s design in responding to our cry for help often looks very different from the way we would think it ought to be and will invariably require an action of faith on our part.  When we seek God’s help during the times we feel alone, it is important to yield to Him so that we fully receive what He offers.

Today, when you feel alone, how will you CRY?

Lifted UP! (Sermon Audio)

Lifted UP! (Sermon Audio)


This is the audio from the May 7, 2023 sermon, “Finding Help When You’re Afraid: Lifted UP!”, shared by Tom Lemler at the Deer Run Church of Christ.

Text: Jonah 2, Matthew 14:22-33

“In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me.
From the depths of the grave I called for help,
and you listened to my cry.”

Jonah 2:2 (NIV)

Today I began a sermon series about finding help in our times of need.  Life in general, but I think particularly life as a Christian, doesn’t always go like we think it should.  The series begins as we examine two Bible stories where people were filled with fear and cried out to God for help.  Life has a way of creating waves of doubt and oceans of fear for us in ways that threaten our safety and sense of security.  As we gaze into God’s Word, we find that when we cry out to Him in the midst of our fears that not only are we lifted up, but He gives us a lifted . . .

  • Understanding:  — Jonah 2:3-6, Matthew 14:25-29

    • Fear is driven by many different winds of life.  Sometimes, as in the case of Jonah, we are afraid because of the consequences of our own disobedience or the disobedience of others.  Other times, as in the case of Peter, we are obeying the instructions of Jesus when the things of this world creates enough doubt that we become fearful.  Either way, God’s desire is to lift our understanding so that we would acknowledge Him as the source from whom we find help..
  • Purpose:  — Jonah 1:16, Jonah 2:9, Matthew 14:32-33

    • Living with a lifted purpose comes when God helps us to live with courage even when we’re afraid.  Elements of fear and anxiety seem to be a natural part of living in this flesh and there are times when we need the help of various aspects of the medical community to overcome what is going on in our body.  But even when that is the case, I believe that God’s desire is to use our struggles for a greater purpose in His kingdom.  When we cry out to God in our times of need, He lifts us up with the purpose that we would worship Him whether He removes our fears or simply carries us through our fears..

When we cry out to God in our times of fear, He lifts us up and brings us to a place of worship..

Today, how will you live as one who has been lifted UP?

A Time to GROW! (Sermon Audio)

A Time to GROW! (Sermon Audio)


This is the audio from the April 30, 2023 sermon, “A Time to Grow”, shared by Tom Lemler at the Deer Run Church of Christ.

Text: Acts 2:42-47

“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.”
Ephesians 4:14-15 (NIV)

Today I concluded a series, or added a postscript to the previous series, as we looked at life after the resurrection.  After the disciples had gathered following the resurrection of Jesus, He commissioned them to make disciples everywhere they would go.  When the time came to put that instruction into action, the church was born and God brought about incredible growth.  When we experience a resurrection in our life through the power of Jesus, we also experience a time to . . .

  • Give:  —  Acts 2:44-45

    • One of the marks of growth within the early church was a willingness for individual Christians to give to one another according to the need.  This was not an act of socialism or communism, but rather an act of willing love that cared about the needs of others.  This kind of growth in our life and in the community of God’s kingdom takes place when we begin to realize the enormity of what God has given us because of His love.
  • Respect:  — Acts 2:42

    • The early church grew because of a respect for God’s Word and for one another.  Those who put their faith in Jesus did so with a devotion that changed everything about their life.  When we choose to live with a respect for God, we find that He calls us to a respect for others that values them as one loved by God.
  • Observe:  —  Acts 2:43

    • When we choose to live a life that gives and respects, we find ourselves in a position to see God at work in amazing ways.  It’s not that God’s work is dependent on us, but rather that we are able to grow in Christ according to our willingness to recognize not only God’s work all around us, but also His work within us.
  • Witness: — Acts 2:46-47

    • As the seeds of growth are planted in our life through an obedience to God which leads us to give, respect, and observe, God produces within us a witness for the world to see.  As the church was being formed, the Christians made it a point to meet together every day both in public and in their homes.  When we live our Christian faith everywhere we go, we become a witness to others about the goodness and approachability of God.

When we choose to live a resurrected life, God causes us to GROW in such a way that Jesus is lifted up and He adds to our number daily those who are being saved.

Today, how will you GROW?

A Time to GO! (Sermon Audio)

A Time to GO! (Sermon Audio)


This is the audio from the April 23, 2023 sermon, “A Time to Go”, shared by Tom Lemler at the Deer Run Church of Christ.

Text: Matthew 28:16-20

“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.  When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.  Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'” 
Matthew 28:16-20 (NIV)

Today I continued a series, or added a postscript to the previous series, as we looked at life after the resurrection.  When it comes to the events following the resurrection of Jesus, Matthew is much more concise than what we have looked at from Luke and John.  In fact, Matthew tells of the resurrection and the attempt by the religious leaders to hide the fact that Jesus resurrected from the dead, then finishes out his writing with what we refer to as the Great Commission being the sum total of his post resurrection account.  In it we find a very direct description of what the disciples did after the resurrection and what we ought to be doing.  When we live as those resurrected by the power of Jesus, we discover it is time to . . .

  • Glorify:  —  Matthew 28:16-17

    • After knowing the power of the resurrection, we should be filled with a growing desire to glorify God.  Our life as those resurrected from the dead is a testimony to God’s power and even in our moments of doubt, worship of God should be our lifestyle.  When we live as those who share Jesus everywhere we go, we not only worship God but we also help others see who He is..
  • Obey:  —  Matthew 28:18-20

    • The power of the resurrection at work in our life ought to result in a growing obedience to all that we learn from God’s Word.  For us to take the command of Jesus seriously to go and make disciples, we must be one who is a disciple.  God’s desire is that our time with Jesus in observation and learning will teach us not only how to live for Him, but also how to instruct others in the ways of obedience.  .

Today, when will you GO and where will you GO?

A Time to Gather! (Sermon Audio)

A Time to Gather! (Sermon Audio)


This is the audio from the April 16, 2023 sermon, “A Time to Gather: A Place to HEAL”, shared by Tom Lemler at the Deer Run Church of Christ.

Text: John 21

“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. ”
Hebrews 3:13 (NIV)

Today I began a new series, or added a postscript to the previous series, as we looked at life after the resurrection.  Even though Jesus had spent His ministry years preparing the disciples to take the gospel into the world, He knew that they would not quite be ready after the resurrection.  In fact, He had told them prior to the cross that He would die, be buried, and rise again and that they should wait for Him.  I believe this gathering after the resurrection was necessary for a variety of reasons, with one of those primary reasons being that they had all deserted Jesus in His time of trial and each of them would be experiencing some level of brokenness and guilt.  They needed the restoration and healing that only Jesus could bring and they needed to know it was for all of them.  As we gather each week as those resurrected by the power of Jesus Christ, we do so as those who have our own brokenness and guilt so we come together in a place to . . .

  • Hear:  —  John 21:1-9

    • Our time to gather is a place to hear the good news of Jesus and experience the power of listening to God and to one another.  Even as Jesus called out to the disciples and gave them instructions on where to find fish, they did not immediately realize it was Him.  They needed a place to truly hear so they would recognize Jesus in their midst.  When we gather with others, we need to be mindful that the distractions of this life are numerous and present in the most unexpected places.  Our brokenness has a way of dulling our hearing so that we begin to believe the lies of our enemy.  When we deliberately listen to God and to one another, we find a place to gather where each one of us can find the healing we need.
  • Eat:  —  John 21:10-14

    • I suspect that talking about our time to gather being a place to eat might seem a bit strange at first.  Yet it shouldn’t take long to realize the hunger that is created by our brokenness.  When we gather as those resurrected by the power of Jesus Christ, we find fulfillment as we feast on God’s Word and as we share in the elements of communion.  Even though the text says that Jesus had a fire going with fish being prepared, He asked the disciples to bring some of the fish they had caught to Him.  While Jesus has all that we need, He also calls for us to contribute as we each bring value to the gathering through what He has provided in our life.  But it’s not just spiritual food that we share, we grow together when we join in sharing fellowship around meals that sustain us physically as well that which strengthens the connectedness of the body.
  • Adjust — John 21:15-19

    • We don’t like to admit it, but we’re not always right.  In fact, the only one who is always right is God.  Sometimes it is the recognition of how we have failed ourselves, others, and/or God that causes a brokenness . . . at least in our mind.  The disciples, and perhaps especially Peter, needed a place to adjust before they would be open vessels suitable for God’s work of changing the world.  God’s desire is that we would live in fellowship with one another in such a way that we remind others, and are reminded our self, of the great task which is ours through Jesus Christ.  Loving God and living a resurrected life isn’t as much about being right as it is about taking care of people.  When we allow God to administer an attitude adjustment in our life, we find a place to gather where we willingly adjust our attitudes and actions to serve others according to their need.
  • Love — John 21:20-25

    • I don’t know too many people that like to be singled out in ways that make their brokenness apparent or their task seem unfair in comparison to others . . . in fact, I don’t know anyone that likes that!  Peter’s response to Jesus revealing the hardships he would face was the age-old deflection of “What about him?”.  It is in this context that John reveals himself to be the one he refers to as “the disciple whom Jesus loves”.  God’s Word tells us that “love covers a multitude of sin”.  When we gather as those resurrected by the power of Jesus Christ, we should find ourselves in a place of love . . . not that we’re so good at it, but because we have experienced being the disciple that Jesus loves.

Today, how will you make the times you gather with others be a place to HEAL?

A Road of Victory! (Sermon Audio)

A Road of Victory! (Sermon Audio)


This is the audio from the April 9, 2023 sermon, “A Road of Victory: A Time to WIN”, shared by Tom Lemler at the Deer Run Church of Christ.

Text: Luke 24:1-49

“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.”
Philippians 3:10-11 (NIV)

Today I concluded a sermon series with a focus on The Road to Resurrection.  Each week of this series considered a different glimpse of the life of Jesus during His final week leading up to His death, burial, and resurrection.  The road to resurrection teaches us many things about God’s love for us and the love we ought to have for others.  While the road for Jesus was not an easy one, nor is it easy for us, the destination is a place of victory.  When we walk with Jesus and live a resurrected life, we discover a time to . . .

  • Worship:  —  Luke 24:1-8

    • The road of victory is a time to worship.  The women approached the tomb of Jesus early in the morning for the purpose of finishing the burial procedures and honor the One they had loved.  Their plan of worship was focused on the memories of what had been rather than on the reality of what was.  When we come face to face with the truth of the resurrection of Jesus, and of our own resurrected life by the power of Jesus, we learn to worship more than just the stories of Jesus, but the real presence of God with us.
  • Invite:  —  Luke 24:9-12

    • The road to victory is a time to invite all to come taste of the goodness of God.  Even with the confusion of an empty tomb and a lack of understanding, there was a consistent desire to invite others to come and see whatever it was they had discovered.  Those who have put their faith in God today, do so because someone invited them to “taste and see that the Lord is good”.  When we experience the victory of the resurrection, it is our responsibility and privilege to invite others to know a true victory that is found in Christ.
  • Nurture — Luke 24:25-27, 45-49

    • The road to victory is a time to be nurtured and to nurture others.  As Jesus begins to make Himself known to His followers, He addresses their doubts and sets about to restore their shaky faith.  When we are involved in making Jesus known to others, we not only plant the seeds through invitations but we also care for others in ways that help them to grow.  Jesus knew just how to use the right combination of correction and encouragement to prepare His followers for their role in turning the world upside down as they took the good news of Jesus everywhere they went.  When we experience the victory of the resurrection, it is our task to take the comfort we receive from Christ and use it to nurture the faith of others.

Today, how will you live a resurrected life that helps others know a time to WIN?