Feed on
Posts

October 1st, 2017 -Pastor Keith Cromie

Buildings with weak foundations are not long for this world. The calamities of hurricanes and earthquakes are all we need for conclusive proof.

Our lives are not much different. Relational storms and circumstantial earthquakes can shake us to the core of our being.

Jesus was well aware of those realities. So he taught with authority, clarity, and compassion. He laid out the truth about how life with God can look and pointed out conclusively that it was worth the pursuit even if the way seemed hard.

The conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount is our focus this coming Sunday and it should be no surprise that Jesus talks to us about the foundation of our lives. We must build our lives, our relationships, and our ministries wisely. And the teachings of our Lord are the building blocks of a solid foundation and a strong life that we all desire. Strong hearts, strong careers, strong influence, strong marriages, strong families and strong churches fit into our deepest desires. Jesus points the way to that kind of strength. Listen to Jesus’ final exhortation to us who wish to follow the Savior with a whole heart. Here is the text for this week:

 

Matt. 7:24 - 27 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

Matt. 7:28-29 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.

 

 

P.S. Each Wednesday the Cedar Grove Facebook page posts a sneak peak at some of the music for Sunday morning. Often the worship team will play a new song that supports the scripture and sermon, and more often than not that song will be new. Posting it on Facebook a few days early, gives you a chance to check it out and walk into church on Sunday already familiar with it. Find this week’s post below.

https://www.facebook.com/CedarGroveCC/

00:0000:00

9/24/2017 -Pastor Keith Cromie

It is time to decide.

You have been there before. All the facts are on the table. All the knowledge you are going to gain is in your brain. Your experience has enough data points so that you can project with some certainty what the future will look like. You know there will be surprises down the road. It is time to decide.

So…

· You buy the car.

· The engagement happens and a date is set

· You take the job or you don’t

· A thousand other decisions both big and small.

Jesus, in his Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5-7), has been speaking with characteristic clarity and boldness. He has confronted the hypocrisy of religious performance. He has reminded us all of the brokenness in our hearts. He has clearly declared his intention to live perfectly so as to meet the standards of God’s law. He has pointed the way to repentance of sin, humility before God, and the path of living in relationship with our Heavenly Father.

It is time to decide.

Will we take the easy way of religion or will we make the harder decision to follow Jesus? Why are some ways easy and God’s way hard? What is at stake with this decision? Who is responsible for this decision? Tough questions deserve straight answers and Jesus gives us those answers.

Jesus commands us to enter the Kingdom of God on God’s terms. Then he provides three warnings to help us with our decision.

 

 

Matt. 7:13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

 

Matt. 7:15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

 

Matt. 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness

00:0000:00
9/17/2017 -Pastor Keith Cromie
 
Prayer.
If there is a greater privilege than prayer, I don’t know what it is. The opportunity to talk things through with our Creator with the confidence that our Creator cares is beyond amazing.
Jesus has said a lot about prayer in his famous Sermon on the Mount. He told us how not to pray. Then He gave us a model upon which to build a life of prayer. But Jesus has more to say. Read the text for yourself:
Matt. 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
Matt. 7:12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
These powerful words from the Savior call us to a life of prayer. In that prayer-centered space we experience personally the goodness and generosity of God.
 
00:0000:00

Septemeber 11th, 2017 -Pastor Keith Cromie

“Judge not, that you be not judged.”
If you’ve heard that verse quoted once, you’ve probably heard it a hundred times. For Christians, John 3:16 is the most known verse. For antagonists of Christianity, Matthew 7:1 may move to the number one spot.
In the world’s eagerness to believe that anything goes, there is in the popular mindset no absolute truth, and no one has any right to disagree with anybody. If you dare disagree… you will likely be labeled as ajudgmental hypocrite.
So much for tolerance!
Of course the Jesus calls us to be spiritually discerning people, while at the same time we are to avoid hypocrisy and treat people with civility. How can we learn and what can we learn about spiritual discernment from Jesus words?

Matt. 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Matt. 7:12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

00:0000:00

August 27th, 2017 -Pastor Keith Cromie

Jesus prayed. In fact, he was and is the authority on prayer. He knew intimately the one to whom he prayed. He was always in perfect alignment with his Father’s will. He was never too busy to pray. He prioritized prayer over sleep. Jesus prayed.

Prayer is easy to talk about. It is harder to do. That is, it is harder to do well, consistently, fervently, and wisely.

Jesus does us all a big favor when it comes to prayer. He gives us a prayer model that allows us to begin with confidence and build with wisdom. This model prayer has been titled, “The Lord’s Prayer” for centuries. Christians around the world have spoken, recited, and implored God with these words more than any others. It isn’t hard to understand why.

The Lord’s Prayer is simple, personal, and comprehensive. A child can speak this prayer while the aged saint explores the mystery and majesty of prayer. Circumstances can influence how we pray this prayer and this prayer can influence how we pray in our circumstances.

Jesus said, “Pray then like this…” and to one degree or another, Jesus’ followers have been doing just that. Not that the praying has come easily, nor that the words haven’t become repetitious in certain seasons of our lives. Nevertheless, the prayer has helped many a struggling worshipper to have words to express their heart’s longings and desires.

Read the words of Jesus with fresh eyes. See the bread and depth of our saviors’ words. Jesus said…

Matt. 6:9 Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name.

10 Your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread,

12 and forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

Matt. 6:14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

 

00:0000:00

August 21st, 2017 -Pastor Daniel Chapin

People would rather be around someone who is authentic than one who is fake. The hard part is that we don’t always know fake people when we see them. In 1 Samuel 16:7 God says to Samuel, “man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” We can hide from everyone but God.

In our series going through the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is calling his followers to a high level of discipleship. He calls his people to follow not just through actions, like the hypocrites but through a heart that is authentically transformed through three spiritual disciplines.

 

 

00:0000:00

August 14th, 2017 -Pastor Keith Cromie

Ever ask yourself, perhaps in a moment of exasperation, “What does God want from me anyway?”

You are trying your best to be the kind of person that God wants you to be. Then some jer…, er, fellow human being acts in a hurtful way. Then the pressure is on. How will you react? Will you stew and steam behind the scene? Will you give that person a piece of your mind that you can ill afford to lose?

We live in a broken world. You don’t need me to tell you that. You don’t need anyone to prove that. We simply consider our own performance and realize we’ve got a long way to go.

But what is the standard? What does God expect of us?

We will be answering that question from the teaching of Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount (text included below). Jesus has been challenging our basic assumptions about our views on righteousnesswhile at the same time laying out the path that he himself will follow. What a teacher! What an example! What a Savior!

 

 

 

00:0000:00

“Yes and No.”

August 7th, 2017 -Tom Kirkendall

I am pretty excited. I was digging through my spam folder and discovered an important email. Apparently, I am somehow related to royalty. There are several million dollars waiting for me in the Bank of England and all I have to do is provide $10,000 and all my banking information. Perhaps I should also invest in those ocean-front properties in Nevada.

As we use to chant, “Liar, liar your pants are on fire.”
This Sunday we continue our series in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus continues to paint the picture of just how different the Kingdom of God is. Jesus has put anger with murder, lust with adultery and instructed on marriage and divorce. Now he comes to swearing – making oaths. Fitting that it comes right after marriage and divorce, isn’t it?

Here is what Jesus says: 
“Again, you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, ‘Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.’” Matthew 5:33-37

 
00:0000:00

July 31st, 2017 -Pastor Keith Cromie

Jesus turned some heads when he told the disciples and others who were listening in…unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 5:20)

I wonder if His listeners thought to themselves, “How are we ever going to get into the kingdom? The scribes and the Pharisees were the experts, the professionals. They tell us what the Law means and how to obey it.” Whatever they thought, Jesus at least had their attention.

We need the same message today. The reason: performance-based religion leads to moral checklists left incomplete and spiritual report cards marked D for discouraged.

Jesus was trying to reclaim people by offering new life, new relationship with God through His own righteousness. It was Jesus who would make it possible for our sins to be forgiven. It was Jesus who would show us how to live out of that forgiveness in ever increasing measures of glory.

However, Jesus had to convince people then, just as he does today, that our own religious performance just can’t pass muster. So, in a series of six examples, Jesus shows the futility of measuring our lives solely on externals. Read the following section of Jesus’ sermon. You’ll see both the pattern and the focus of our study on July 30.

Matt. 5:21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

Matt. 5:27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

Matt. 5:31 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Yes, Jesus moves into the home and talks marriage and divorce. So will we. These are tough topics for sure. Yet, we can see the truth Jesus is driving at related to the permanence of marriage, while at the same time see the grace and the truth that will help us keep our relationships in top shape.

Be praying and preparing your heart to hear grace and truth from our Lord.

 

00:0000:00

July 24th, 2017 -Pastor Keith Cromie

When the preacher goes for the jugular, the old saying was, “The preacher quit preachin’ and went straight to meddlin’.” When the subject of the sermon turns from comforting the afflicted to afflicting the comfortable, we sometimes react the same way.

If we have discovered anything about Jesus from his Sermon on the Mount it is that Jesus is always willing to go from preachin’ to meddlin’. No one escaped His penetrating truth delivered with strong grace. On the one hand, Jesus is assuring us that He will fulfill the righteous demands of God’s law. On the other, Jesus is pointing to the multiple layers of sin that capture our hearts and keep us hostage.

For example, Jesus started with murder and went straight to meddlin’ with a discourse on anger. Next, Jesus restated the command against adultery and then went straight to meddlin’ with a discourse on lust. Frankly, there are four more of these examples of meddlin’ that are coming in the next few weeks.


Do we really mind Jesus going for the jugular? Don’t we really, in the deepest part of our soul, want someone to tell us the truth and show us that there is hope for a life of love, joy, and peace apart from religious rule-keeping?
That is the message that Jesus wants us to hear. There is hope! That hope is found in putting our full trust in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Let’s decide again today that Jesus’ words will not be considered meddlin’. Let us receive his teachings as truth and grace from Heaven.

00:0000:00

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »