Help Wanted: Service Shows Our Love for One Another

Romans 12.9-21

Renewed thinking allows us to see the world from a very different perspective than those around us. It causes us to think rightly about who we are and how we fit within the church. It frees us up to  think of others before our selves. It pushes us to look out for ways to use our gifts and serve each other. And it’s the catalyst for us to live and love like Jesus.

Renewed thinking comes from a renewed mind…a mind that has been transformed by God’s Word. As we spend more time in God’s Word and allow God’s Word to spend more time in us, the Spirit uses the Word to renew our minds and transform us to live and love like Jesus. We begin to see the world more and more through His eyes. We begin to want what He wants. We begin to love like He loves. We begin to live out our role as ambassadors for His kingdom. And so come what may…good times or bad, blessing or cursing, feast or famine, tribulation or persecution or suffering of any kind…we can rejoice. We have hope. We trust God. And we see that His will for us is perfect…good, acceptable and perfect.

When my son was in third grade, he and I decided to try tae kwon do. The first day we entered the dojo, it was clear that the goal was for us to be black belts. Even though there were a number of them present, the sensei didn’t consider his job done until we all crossed the finished line. It’s not about one of us making it to maturity. It’s a group project. The job’s not done until we all attain to the unity of the faith…

I hope you’ve found this serve series to be helpful. I hope it’s caused you to begin to ask questions…to explore what your spiritual gifts are and where you might use them. I hope you’ve been encouraged. But most of all, I hope you discover the joy of serving for yourself. So if you’ve been waiting…just try it!

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This post is based on a sermon from our Help Wanted: Inquire Within series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster. You can also download our Central Christian app in the iTunes App Store, Google Play or the Amazon App Store.

Help Wanted: Service Uses Our Gifts

Romans 12.3-8

A renewed mind brings about renewed thinking which allows us to see the world from a very different perspective than those around us. It causes us to think rightly about who we are and how we fit within the church. And it’s the catalyst for us to live and love like Jesus.

God’s gifted you for a reason…are you using your spiritual gift to build up the body? Of course that assumes that you know what your spiritual gifts are. One way to discover what your spiritual gift is…is to serve. If you hear about an opportunity that appeals to you, then just try it. If it’s an area of giftedness, you’ll know. It will “feel” right, and we won’t be able to talk you out of it. If not, you’ll know that too, and you can try something else. Remember the Christian life is not an experiment but a lifestyle, not just trying, but training.

If you want to experience the fullness of joy and abundance of life that Jesus talks about, you’ve got to get serving. So find ways to serve. As you exercise your spiritual gifts, don’t be surprised to see God use them in tandem with others, bringing you closer together and closer to Him.

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This post is based on a sermon from our Help Wanted: Inquire Within series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster. You can also download our Central Christian app in the iTunes App Store, Google Play or the Amazon App Store.

The Sixth Trumpet – The Army from the East

Revelation 9.13-21

The sixth angel sounds his trumpet and the four angels bound at the Euphrates River will lead forth another demon army 200 million strong to kill a third of mankind. Those who remain, instead of repenting, will harden their hearts.

God is gracious and compassionate and merciful, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness, and relenting of evil. He is mighty to save, and He’s provided a way to be saved through His Son Jesus. The Lamb who was slain so that He might purchase with His blood, folks from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, to make us a kingdom and priests to God and to reign with Him forever and ever. No one has to face these terrible judgments. All can be saved.

But not all will be. Even in the face of the fierceness of God’s wrath, still some will refuse to repent of their idolatry and the worship of demons. They will love their destructive lifestyle more than even the chance at life itself. And yet they will still shake their fists at the sky and claim it’s God’s fault. Like Pharaoh, God’s mercy only serves to harden their hearts.

I don’t want that to be you. All can be saved. You can be saved. It’s as simple as admitting that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. Believing that Jesus came to save you from your sin. He lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial death on your behalf, and was raised the third day, so that we might have forgiveness of sins and eternal life with Him.

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This post is based on a sermon from our Revelation series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster. You can also download our Central Christian app in the iTunes App Store, Google Play or the Amazon App Store.

The Fifth Trumpet – The Abyss

Revelation 9.1-12

But even as we see these horrifying judgments playing out, God’s mercy is still evident. Even until the end, He’s giving folks time to repent. And as we saw several weeks ago, a great multitude which no one can count from all nations and every tribe and people and tongue will do just that. They will repent and respond in faith. They will trust in Jesus.

What does that mean for us? For those of us who have trusted in Jesus, we need not fear the coming judgments. We are already on the winning side. Ours is just not to give up or give in. It’s to share our story with others…to share the hope that we have found in Jesus…with a sense of urgency.

No one wants to think about judgment day. We like to hear about heaven, but hell…no. But hell is a real place, and unfortunately, many of the folks you know are headed that direction. Some of them knowingly. But most without a clue. The great multitude gathered before the throne are there because someone told them about Jesus. They heard, and they believed. Who are you telling about Him? Who are you sharing your story with?

If you have not trusted in Jesus yet, I might sound like a broken record…but I feel compelled week after week to remind you that the time is short. Your time is short. Please don’t put off the most important decision of your life. The one that impacts your eternal destiny. 

What does it mean to trust Jesus? It’s as simple as admitting that you are a sinner in need of a Savior and believing that Jesus came to save you from your sin. He lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial death on your behalf, and was raised the third day, so that you might have forgiveness of sins and eternal life with Him. And when we believe that, the Bible says we pass from death to life. Jesus is no longer our Judge, but our King. And we get to live and reign with Him forever.

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This post is based on a sermon from our Revelation series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster. You can also download our Central Christian app in the iTunes App Store, Google Play or the Amazon App Store.

The First Four Trumpets

Revelation 8.6-13

The first four trumpets are sounded and a third of the created order feels the effects. God’s judgment is sure, but His mercy is still present.

Many these days go about their lives unaware or indifferent about the choices they are making that have eternal consequences. Like Pharaoh, many see God’s patience…His mercy…as an indication that if their actions have no immediate consequences, then they must not have any consequences. But they are wrong. God will deal with sin. It may not be today. Or tomorrow. Or the next. But eventually the day will come. And in the day of God’s wrath, who is able to stand?

The answer is simple…those who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Those of us who have done that…those of us who have trusted in Jesus need not fear the coming judgment. We are on the winning side. Jesus is our Resurrected King who has conquered death and satisfied God’s wrath on sin.

We live in uncertain times. The world is shaking all around us. The trumpets haven’t sounded yet, and yet we see our world fractured and coming apart at the seems. Almost daily we are reminded of how fleeting life is. But the fact that you’re still here means that you still have work to do. If you’ve trusted in Jesus, your job is to keep sharing your story with those around you who don’t know Him. Your job is kingdom impact. It’s to point others to Jesus.

If you haven’t trusted in Jesus, the fact that you’re still here is God’s mercy. Hang with me. With each trumpet blast a third of the earth is impacted in some way. But that gives two thirds of the earth time to repent. When you see how fleeting life is, how fragile life is…the fact that you are still here is God’s mercy. You still have time. But that time is running out. So don’t wait. Jesus is either your King or He will be your Judge.

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This post is based on a sermon from our Revelation series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster. You can also download our Central Christian app in the iTunes App Store, Google Play or the Amazon App Store.

Preparation for the Trumpets

Revelation 8.1-5

The Lamb breaks the seventh seal, and there is silence as both heaven and earth await the coming of the trumpet judgments.

As the events of the tribulation unfold, persecution becomes more and more severe. The number of martyrs continues to increase at a staggering rate. From an earthly perspective it appears that those who have chosen to follow Jesus have chosen the loosing side. But they are wrong. You see, death is not the end. All will die, but not all will truly live. Only those who have trusted in Jesus. Only they will escape the wrath of God soon to be poured out.

And it’s the prayers of the saints that are continually going up before the throne. God hears when you call out to Him, and He cares about what happens to you, and He is working out His purposes for your good and His glory. He will deal with sin. And He will make all things right. Ours is just to trust Him.

The time to trust in Jesus is now. God’s wrath on sin is sure. And the only way we can stand in the day of His wrath is by trusting in Jesus. You see, Jesus suffered the wrath of God for sin when He died on the cross. The penalty has already been taken care of. We simply have to believe in Him. But if we don’t, then we are left to suffer the wrath of God for ourselves. Please don’t make that choice. Choose Jesus today.

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This post is based on a sermon from our Revelation series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster. You can also download our Central Christian app in the app store or google play.

The Great Multitude

Revelation 7.9-17

A great multitude from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues are standing before the throne and before the Lamb. A couple of weeks ago we saw those facing the great day of God’s wrath crying out, “who is able to stand?” And the answer is…those who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. All those who have trusted in Jesus.

Judgment is for sure a pervasive theme throughout the book of Revelation. But so is mercy. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have eternal life. Jesus said, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19.10).

Jesus came to save us from our sin and the wrath of God that we rightly deserve. We are/were dead in our trespasses and sins, but He came to give us life. And if we will trust in Him, He will do just that. And although the tribulation will be a time of intense suffering and persecution, it will also be a time when many come to faith. A great multitude. From every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues.

It’s a beautiful picture of what God intended. All the families of the earth. Every crayon in the box, not just one or two.

One of the most stirring pictures of God’s love is the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15 (recap)…this son of mine was dead, but has come to life again. He was lost and has been found. That’s God’s heart for the lost.

If you have not yet trusted in Jesus, please don’t wait. God is patient and He’s provided a way for you to be saved, but there will come a time when it is too late. So don’t put it off any longer. Make today the day.

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This post is based on a sermon from our Revelation series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster. You can also download our Central Christian app in the app store or google play.

The 144,000

Revelation 7.1-8

The 144,000 are sealed for the coming days of judgment. It’s not clear as of yet what God has in store for them, but we will find out in the coming weeks.

God is in control, and He has a plan. His ways are not our ways, and while we won’t understand everything, we can trust in a God who does. He has a plan for Israel, He has a plan for the 144,000, and He has a plan for you and me.

If you have trusted in Jesus, you too have been sealed. Sealed with the Holy Spirit that Paul says is a downpayment on our future inheritance. So we need not be afraid. We belong to God. We are His, and no one can snatch us out of His hand.

If you have not yet trusted in Jesus, please don’t wait. No one can stand on their own in the day of God’s wrath. I know that’s not easy to hear. I know it’s not popular to talk about. God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and relenting of evil. But He is also just. And there will come a day when it’s too late. So don’t wait.

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This post is based on a sermon from our Revelation series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster. You can also download our Central Christian app in the app store or google play.

Martyrs and Terror

Revelation 6.9-17

The Lamb breaks the fifth and sixth seals. The martyrs in heaven cry out, “How long?” And the answer is not very before the catastrophic destruction of the created order begins.

The lines have been drawn. It’s becoming more and more difficult to ride the fence. The decision to give up or give in is an ever present temptation. Many will choose that route and shipwreck their faith. They may not lose their salvation, but they will lose the life that Jesus saved them for. For those who overcome, for those who hold fast their testimony, for those who don’t give up or give in, not only does the kingdom await, now they experience the fullness of joy and abundance of life that Jesus saved us for.

Like I said earlier…we aren’t in the Shire anymore. We’re on the hunt for a dragon. We are in dangerous territory, and it may well cost us our lives. But if so, our voices will be joined with the heroic tribe of martyrs who have gone before. “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose” – Jim Elliot

Make no mistake…God will deal with sin. Though we may not be called to give up our life, if we are following Jesus, we will in some way suffer for our faith. Maybe it’s being overlooked or left out. Or maybe it’s something worse. And sometimes it’s the suffering that living in a broken world brings that we experience even as we try to walk in obedience (loss, loneliness, sickness, death, betrayal, etc.). We too can think, “How long?” And if we are being honest, we are sometimes tempted to think that somehow God doesn’t know or doesn’t care or maybe can’t help us in our suffering. But the martyrs remind us that God does know and care about our suffering, that He is working out a bigger plan, and in His wisdom and timing He will deal with sin and make all things right. 

If you have not yet trusted in Jesus, maybe you’ve written God off, thinking how can a good God allow such evil? Make no mistake…God will deal with sin. He does not take it lightly…in fact, He takes it so seriously that He says someone will die for it. And so He sent Jesus to die on a cross…to take on the wrath of God against the sin of the world. We are mistaken if we think God doesn’t care about the suffering in this world (or that we care about it more than He does). So we have a choice…we can allow Jesus to take on God’s wrath for our sin, or we will have to take it on ourselves. Choose wisely.

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This post is based on a sermon from our Revelation series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster. You can also download our Central Christian app in the app store or google play.

The Four Horsemen

Revelation 6.1-8

The Lamb breaks the first four seals of the great scroll, unleashing the four horsemen of the apocalypse. A terrifying reminder that God takes sin seriously. The final reconciliation between heaven and earth has begun.

For those who belong to the Lamb, there’s nothing to fear. Their hope is being realized. Their King is coming. And He will set all things right.

For those who are enemies of the Lamb, there’s every reason to fear. Their is no hope. Their Judge is coming. And He will set all things right. But…there’s still time repent. There’s still time to switch sides. But don’t wait.

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This post is based on a sermon from our Revelation series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster