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Category Archives: Sermons

Tuesday, November 27, 1739 – …I preached from a balcony to above six thousand people. God strengthened me to speak nearly two hours, with such demonstration of the Spirit, that great numbers continued weeping for a considerable time.

Tuesday, April 30, 1740 – Towards the conclusion of my discourse, God’s Spirit came upon the preacher and people, so that they were melted down exceedingly.

May 14, 1749 – I believe there were near twelve thousand. I had not spoken long before I perceived numbers melting. As I proceeded, the influence increased, till, at last, thousands cried out, so that they almost drowned my voice…What tears were shed and poured forth after the Lord Jesus…After the last discourse, I was so pierced, as it were, and overpowered with the sense of God’s love, that some thought…I was about to give up the ghost. How sweetly did I lie at the feet of Jesus. With what power did a sense of His all-constraining, free, and everlasting love flow in upon my soul! It almost took away my life.

From George Whitefield’s Journal

O God, grant such preaching – and such moving of the Spirit today! May I be so pierced and overpowered by your love!

We are all expert planners, are we not?

Those people [the builders of Babel’s Tower] were planners. They drew the specifications of the city. They had it all worked out. We all do that in life, do we not? You have your plans. Your future life and career are mapped out. You know what you want to do.

Where does God come in? Is the plan made under God, or is it made apart from him?

The one lesson of [Genesis 11] is that if you plan your life without God at the center, it will come to nothing, nothing at all. It will be as futile and as fatuous as the Tower of Babel. God will come down and will destroy it, whether you like that or not. This is the whole history of the Bible. It is the history of the subsequent centuries after the end of the Bible. It is the history of the twentieth century. The human race is not allowed to build a civilization without God, and you are not allowed to build your life without God.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Few if any of you will ever know what it feels like to be Chuck Close. A lot of you might not even know who he is. But all of us have something monumentally important to learn from him.

Chuck Close is one of the greatest portrait artists of our time. If you glanced at his work, you would think you were simply looking at a photograph. In reality, you’re looking at paint. Sometimes pencil. Other times, thread. That’s just how brilliant he is.

But if you knew his backstory, you wouldn’t think it would be possible.

Close can’t remember a single face that he meets. He suffers from prosopagnosia, a condition that leaves him unable to recognize faces. He can create a masterpiece with your face, but he can’t remember it.

You would think that for a person in Close’s situation, creating portraits would be the last thing he’d be doing. After all, faces are his greatest weakness. But it’s just the opposite. It motivates him, even to the point of him saying, “everything in my art is driven by my disability.”

And that’s what makes his work that much more brilliant. It shouldn’t be coming out of him. But it is. His greatest weakness has become the source of his greatest strength. It’s provided a platform where his greatness can be amplified.

Few if any of us will ever have a condition like Close’s.
But we all deal with weakness in one shape or form.

Some of you feel completely inadequate for what God has called you to do.
Some of you feel like your marriage has about a week left before it falls apart.
Some of you have lost your job and you don’t see how you’ll make it.
Some of you are battling cancer and you don’t know how much longer you can fight.

For every person, there is a place in their life where weakness exists. And it’s for that very reason that in every person, a platform exists. An opportunity exists. An opportunity to amplify the greatness of God in a way that your strength alone will never be able to.

Your greatest weakness may actually be God’s greatest platform for showing His power and glory in your life.

Through saving your marriage when all seems lost.
Through using your cancer to shine a spotlight on His sufficiency.

In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Jesus tells us, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

God’s power is the perfect counterpart to your weakness. It’s more than enough for you and it’s completely available to you. God isn’t scouring the universe looking for a perfect person through whom He can display His power and glory. He’s looking for the perfect person. And the perfect person is a person whose weakness provides God and His power with an opportunity to make their life unexplainable.

No matter what you’re going through, no matter how weak you feel right now, there’s no reason that can’t be you.

Steven Furtick

My son, Charlie, recently gave me a book on the life of St. Patrick. It is fascinating, to say the least.

St. Patrick died a little over 1500 years ago. He was born in Britain, probably in Wales, around 385 A.D. His father was a Roman official.

When Patrick was 16, seafaring raiders captured him, carried him to Ireland and sold him into slavery. He spent six lonely years herding sheep and, he says, praying 100 times a day. In a dream, God told him to escape. He returned home, where he had another vision in which the Irish people begged him to return and minister to them: He studied for the priesthood in France, then made his way back to Ireland.

He spent his last 30 years there, presenting the gospel to pagans, ordaining priests, founding churches and monasteries. His persuasive powers must have been astounding: Ireland fully converted to Christianity within 200 years and was the only country in Europe to Christianize peacefully.

Patrick’s influence ended slavery, human sacrifice and most intertribal warfare in Ireland. Contrary to legends, he didn’t banish the snakes: Ireland never had any. Nor did he invent the Shamrock Trinity. That was an 18th-century fabrication.) His work did result in Ireland remaining strong as the rest of Europe crumbled. Patrick’s monasteries copied and preserved classical texts. Later, Irish monks returned this knowledge to Europe by establishing monasteries in England, Germany, France, Switzerland and Italy.

Patrick may have been the author of the following prayer – often called Patrick’s breastplate.

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to me for ever.
By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;*
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of the cherubim;
The sweet ‘well done’ in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word,
The Patriarchs’ prayers, the Prophets’ scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart’s idolatry,
Against the wizard’s evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

You are required to believe, to preach, and to teach what the Bible says is true, not what you want the Bible to say is true. R. C. Sproul

My young friend, Adam Waddell, read my “tickler” about the sermon yesterday and sent a great response. His answer to the question, “what two actions must a spouse take in order to have a successful marriage?” was 1. Repent, 2. Repent.

Well said.

Why do we quit paying attention? Because it is hard work to care, it is hard work to discipline ourselves to be careful, and it is hard work to always be thinking of the other person.

Be prepared to have your feelings hurt: you and I tend to want the other to work hard because that will make our lives easier, but we don’t really want to have to sign in for the hard work ourselves.

Oh, I’m not done! I think there is an epidemic of marital laziness among us. We want to be able to coast and have things not only stay the same but get better. And I am absolutely persuaded that laziness is rooted in the self-centeredness of sin.

We have already examined the antisocial danger of this thing inside us that the Bible calls sin. We have already considered that it turns us in on ourselves, but it does something else. It reduces us to marital passivity. We want the good things to come to us without the hard work of laying the daily bricks that will result in the good things. And we are often more focused on what the other is failing to do and more focused on waiting for him to get his act together than we are on our own commitment to doing whatever is daily necessary to make our marriages what God intended them to be.

You can have a good marriage, but you must understand that a good marriage is not a mysterious gift. No, it is, rather, a set of commitments that forges itself into a moment-by-moment lifestyle.

Paul Tripp

Starting Jan 1, I’m beginning a project called P4J (Partnering for Joy – a plagarizing of Tim Brister’s P4R).

The goal is to memorize the entire book of Philippians by Easter Sunday (April 24, 2011).

Why Philippians?

Simply put, I need a continual transfusion of joy, and Philippians is the pre-eminent book of joy in the Bible. It is also shorter than Revelation!

Also, there is nothing that gives a bigger pay-off in spiritual growth than scripture memory.

You say, “How can I do this?”

By doing it in community! Find partner who will meet with you regularly for the purpose of encouraging each another to internatlize God’s word. As a result,our minds and affections will be refocused on God’s work in our lives and the world.

At the Orchard, each Sunday, we’ll publish the section to be memorized the following week.

So…. find a partner, review the verses each week, share what you’ve learned, and encourage each other.

I’d love to know your method for scripture memory.

You can do this.

Let’s do it together.

Happy New Year.

Week 1 :: philippians 1:1-6
Week 2 :: philippians 1:7-11
Week 3 :: philippians 1:12-18
Week 4 :: philippians 1:19-26
Week 5 :: philippians 1:27-30
REVIEW philippians 1

Week 6 :: philippians 2:1-4
Week 7 :: philippians 2:5-11
Week 8 :: philippians 2:12-18
Week 9 :: philippians 2:19-24
Week 10 :: philippians 2:25-30
REVIEW philippians 1 & 2

Week 11 :: philippians 3:1-6
Week 12 :: philippians 3:7-14
Week 13 :: philippians 3:15-21
REVIEW philippians 1, 2, &3

Week 14 :: philippians 4:1-7
Week 15 :: philippians 4:8-13
Week 16 :: philippians 4:14-23
REVIEW philippians all

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

Call me foolish – but I’m launching the Orchard Fellowship by preaching on Revelation.

Last Sunday was Revelation 7:1-8:5 – a piece of exegetical cake.

After all, anyone can explain the identity of the 144,000 who are sealed in their foreheads, and the meaning of the “Great Tribulation,” right?

Seriously, I had three “take-aways” from the text:

People who can stand in the midst of all the craziness of this world – now and in the future – must know three things…

1. I belong to God and nothing can change that (I am sealed by Holy Spirit)

2. Heaven will heal every hurt (those in heaven tend to sing for joy)

3. My prayers matter (God uses prayer to bring in the future).

This is a very popular prophecy chart of the book of Revelation from a few years ago.

Honestly, does it help you know more about Revelation, the coming of Christ and the end of the world?

Well, what does Revelation teach?

Why study it, when it has spawned so much controversy?

It seems like science fiction. Is it?

Does the Bible mention Islam? The World Trade Center bombing? The recession? Are these events and movements signs of the end?

Who can make heads or tails of this stuff?

This Sunday, we’ll begin the book of Revelation at the Orchard Fellowship. I’ve never taught through the book, so it’s all fresh.

And – I’m so encouraged by it.

I hope to see you Sunday, 10:45am, St. George’s Independent School, on Poplar, in Germantown.

Several years ago, I visited a man who had been given only a few days to live. His cancer was advanced and the doctors had done all they could. When I entered the hospital room, his daughter was talking quietly to her dying father. She said, “Dad, I want to see you in heaven.”

She had shared the gospel with her father many times. Apparently, since his life expectancy was so short, she abandoned the subtle approach and simply spoke her heart.

It was my privilege to be present when he trusted Jesus Christ as his Forgiver and Leader. Several days later, he died – a Christian.

Sometimes, it simply takes someone who cares enough to be blunt.

Charles Spurgeon, one of my heroes from the past, once ended a sermon like this…

Meet me in heaven!  Do not go down to hell.  There is no coming back again from that abode of misery.  Why do you wish to enter the way of death when heaven’s gate is open before you?  Do not refuse the free pardon, the full salvation which Jesus grants to all who trust him.  Do not hesitate and delay.  You have had enough of resolving, come to action.  Believe in Jesus now, with full and immediate decision.  Take with you words and come unto your Lord this day, even this day.  Remember, O soul, it may be now or never with you.  Let it be now; it would be horrible that it should be never.  Farewell.  Again I charge you, meet me in heaven.

Is there anyone to whom you need to simply say, “I love you, and I really want to see you in heaven?”

This coming Sunday, I want to help you do just that.

The Orchard Fellowship will meet next Sunday night at 6:00pm, at the GPAC. It will be our next-to-the-last Sunday night service – and it will be a very special service. I hope you can join us!

Remember, we launch the Orchard Fellowship on Sunday morning, September 12.


Tonight –

I hope you’ll make a few moments to drop by tonight and “Meet-and-Greet” me and the other staff of the Orchard. No agenda – just an opportunity to hang out, talk about our lives, families, the Orchard – and pray for each other.

Meet-and-Greet, 6:00-8:00pm – home of Lorie Affatto, 10450 Raleigh LaGrange Road, Eads, TN.

“By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so proving that you are My disciples” (John 15:8).

Tomorrow night, we’ll talk about vision of the Orchard Fellowship – we want to be a church that bears fruit.

What does that mean?

This video might help…

See you tomorrow night, Germantown Performing Arts Center, 6:00pm.

• Find a good local church.
• Get involved.
• Become a member.
• Stay there as long as you can.
• Put away thoughts of a revolution for a while.
• Join the plodding visionaries.
• Go to church this Sunday and worship in Spirit and truth.
• Be patient with your leaders.
• Rejoice when the gospel is faithfully proclaimed.
• Bear with those who hurt you.
• Give people the benefit of the doubt.
• Say “hi” to the teenager that no one notices.
• Welcome the old ladies with the blue hair and the young men with tattoos.
• Volunteer for the nursery.
• Attend the congregational meeting.
• Bring your fried chicken to the potluck like everybody else.
• Invite a friend.
• Take a new couple out for coffee.
• Give to the Christmas offering.
• Sing like you mean it.
• Be thankful someone vacuumed the carpet for you.
• Enjoy the Sundays that “click.”
• Pray extra hard on the Sundays that don’t.
• And in all of this, do not despise the days and weeks and years of small things (Zechariah 4:8–10).

Kevin DeYoung

Heart-breaking stories and pictures

Ruthe and I will be traveling to the Dominican Republic, to speak at the Dominican Baptist Convention next week. We hope to get first-hand information about the crisis in Haiti and our possible response.

One missionary wrote:

Pray, Pray, Pray for the people of Haiti, and when you have prayed, Pray more. Literally get on your knees and pray!

I would add:

Give to an organization that will not siphon off part of your donation for “administrative costs.” Give to someone who will ensure that every penny goes to the needy.

Give to an agency or organization that has people on the ground and the means to get the supplies and food to the people.

Give to an organization that will help in the explicit name of the only One who can give hope and a future.

For years, I’ve resisted putting the primary text of a message on the screen or PowerPoint. Instead, I’ve remained “old school,” and encouraged people to actually bring their Bibles to church, open them to the text and read along. I believe there is great benefit – and power – in actually opening a Bible and following along with the preacher.

I’ve discovered that I’m not alone in this belief.

Jonathan Dodson notes several reasons to bring your Bible to church and use it:

It allows the Bible to make up your mind about meaning, not you make up your own mind about the meaning. Having a Bible in front of you (electronic or hardcopy), allows you to read and refer to the passage as a complete thought. Reading it in complete allows you to compare the reasoning of the preacher to the reasoning of Scripture. We can follow the argument of Scripture, not just the argument of the preacher. Instead of making up your mind about the Bible, let the Bible make up your mind about the Bible.

Dodson also suggests that It allows you to read the Bible in context, and helps you avoid confusing the medium for the message.

He writes..

Follow the argument of Scripture, not just the argument of the preacher.

When we read in context we get to see the Bible, not in bits and pieces, but as an awe-inspiring whole.

Reading in PowerPoint prevents us from seeing the Bible as complete thoughts that hang together in context.

“God with us.”

It is hell’s terror. Satan trembles at the sound of it; the black-winged dragon of the pit quails before it. Let him come to you suddenly, and do you but whisper that word, “God with us,” back he falls, confounded and confused.

“God with us” is the laborer’s strength; how could he preach the gospel, how could he bend his knees in prayer, how could the missionary go into foreign lands, how could the martyr stand at the stake, how could the confessor own his Master, how could men labor, if that one word were taken away?

“God with us” is the sufferer’s comfort, the balm of his woe, the alleviation of his misery, the sleep which God gives to his beloved, their rest after exertion and toil.

“God with us” is eternity’s sonnet, heaven’s hallelujah, the shout of the glorified, the song of the redeemed, the chorus of angels, the everlasting oratorio of the great orchestra of the sky.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon (my favorite preacher of all time)