Monday, April 30, 2012

Tree of Life Day 85: 1 Thessalonians 4-5

Therefore encourage one another with these words...

That's what I wanted to do in yesterday's sermon.  I wanted to encourage the people who gathered and those who listen via podcast with thoughts of Heaven and Jesus' victory and the end of days.

Part of the reason I wanted to encourage them with these things is because so many get caught up too easily in the charts, graphs, predictions, prophecies, interpretations, and so forth when it comes to eschatology (Gr. eschaton: "end").  You can lose Jesus in the Nicolae Carpathia characters of the world.  And what a terrible trade that would be.

Thinking about the end of time is good because it gives us perspective in trials, hope in darkness, and a fixed point of certainty toward which we can aim our lives.  And that's encouraging.  Amen.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sermon Notes from 4.29.12

Here are the sermon notes from the last sermon in the Tree of Life series.  You can get these notes in PDF and the sermon audio on our website (  You can also download the sermon audio on iTunes via our podcast.

Tree of Life
Part 13 – The End.
Revelation 19-­‐22 

What is happening?

Things get bad.
  • Plagues and persecution run throughout the earth.Deception is powerful.
Jesus wins.

Judgment is certain.

Hell is real.
  • Hell lasts forever.
  • Hell is reserved for those who have not trusted Christ.  
  • Hell is somewhat an extension of our own will.
Heaven is stunning.

What does it mean?

God will make everything right through Jesus.
  • We wait with anticipation (22.6-­‐10).
  • We wait with faithfulness (22.12-­‐14).
  • We share Jesus now (22.17).

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Tree of Life Day 83: James 1-5

James is such an easy book to read in some ways.  And in other ways, it's brutal.

Don't be a hearer of the Word only, be a doer (1.22).
Is that easy to read?  You bet.  Is it easy to understand?  Sure.  Is it easy to implement in my life?  Well, that's a different question, isn't it?

He goes on to say that when we're hearers only and not doers, we deceive ourselves.  We think that we're growing spiritually, but we're not.  We think that we're doing the right thing, but we're not.  We think that God is pleased, but He's not.  We think we're being upright, but we're not.  We think that podcasting sermons is helping our spiritual growth, but when we don't apply them it's not.  We think that reading theology is good, but unapplied it's not.  On and on James could go with illustrations and challenges.

God, through James, is clear:  our spiritual maturity shows up not in our intake but in our output.

Easy.  And hard.  So hard.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Tree of Life Day 82: 1 Timothy 1-4

I know I have ranted and raved about this before, but since it's in the text, indulge me...

Leadership is about character.

There.  I said it.  Whether it's political, business, ethical, classroom, extracurricular, church, marital, parental, or any other sphere of leadership, it all boils down to character.

Leadership has the capacity and the tenacity to put you in tough situations.  When you're in tough situations, two things are true:

  1. Your future character is developed (see Romans 5.3-5, James 1.2-4).
  2. Your current character is demonstrated (you know a tree by its fruits, etc).

And you see that in the list of qualifications for the two offices in the church:  elders/overseers and deacons.  Leadership is about character:  above reproach, gentle, etc.  And you measure the leadership not by their effect but by their relationships (to wine, money, their family, etc.).

Man, that Paul guy and the Holy Spirit who inspired him sure are smart.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tree of Life Day 81: Philippians

Admittedly, as a pastor, I’ve turned my attention to next week’s sermon.  Generally, that happens on Monday.  I had a professor at seminary that called it IROS – the Incessant Return of Sunday.  But this post isn’t about my mental habits.

Philippians 2 mentions a final moment in history.  The end of time is what I am addressing this coming Sunday, so it caught my attention.  What is it?

There is coming a day when at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.  

That's a powerful statement.  Think about it for just a second.  Every knee will bow.  Every person will have a moment where they will acknowledge that Jesus is right.  Every believer.  Every unbeliever.  Every person whose allegiance was to Jesus already.  Every person whose allegiance was to themselves for their whole lives.  Every single person.  Red,  yellow, black, white.  Republicans and Democrats.  Africans and Albanians.  Rich and poor.  Powerful and powerless.  Every person.

And their confession will be, "Jesus is Lord."  And whether or not they acknowledged it before, they will now.  And that glorifies the Father whose plan of rescuing sinners by means of sacrifice is now fully complete and seen for the plan it was.  


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tree of Life Day 80: Acts 16-20

What would you say to someone if you knew it was the last time you'd see them on the planet?

How about this...
And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified (20.32).
The thing I appreciate about that statement from Paul to the Ephesian elders is the big blinking neon sign arrow pointing them to God and to the word of His grace.  Not great memories, though they had some together.  Not otherworldly, though they would meet there soon enough.  Not to the emotions of the moment, though they were high.  Not to the sadness of goodbye, though it was present.

Pointing them to God and to the Scripture.  Yes.  That's what I'd want to say too.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tree of Life 79: Acts 8-10

One of the things that I would gladly welcome in the western church is the expectation of suffering.  Most of our lives in the West have to do with alleviating it or avoiding it.

But not Paul.

Through Ananias, Jesus told Paul from the beginning of his life as a follower, "You will suffer for My Name" (9.16).

I am grateful for a God who loves us and I'm glad to talk about that.  I'm grateful for a Lord who knows what He is doing and is in control and has all authority.  I'm grateful for an Indwelling Presence that guides and reminds and convicts.

But I wonder what would be different today in my relationship with the Triune God if He had said to me from the first moment, "Hey Trent:  you're going to suffer for My Name.  I wanted you to know now so that it doesn't catch you off guard later."

I teach pretty regularly that we should expect it.  The Bible certainly says that over and over again.  I can say with honesty that when it does come along I'm not shocked.  But my world is not full of personal suffering.  I have, at least at this moment, some surrogate suffering to deal with in family members, friends, and folks at church.  But I wouldn't classify my life as having suffered.

How would our following Jesus look different if every day we woke up and expected to encounter opposition for His Name and then lived accordingly?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Tree of Life Day 78: Acts 3-5

I can't help but think of this story...

St. Thomas Aquinas was walking one day with the Pope (admittedly, different versions of this story have different people involved with Aquinas).  The Pope was commenting on the beauty of one of the cathedrals and said, "It seems, dear Thomas, that no longer can the Church say, 'Silver and gold have we none.'"

Thomas' reply was succinct and poignant:  "But neither can we say, 'In the name of Jesus Christ, rise and walk.'"

Father, grant us power by your Spirit - the power to do ministry and the power to handle our prosperity well.  Amen.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sermon Notes from Sunday, 4.22.12

Here are the sermon notes from the next to last sermon in the Tree of Life series preached on April 22nd.  To view these notes in PDF and get the sermon audio, visit  You can also find the sermon audio on iTunes via our podcast.

Tree of Life 
Part 12 – Eruption
1 Thessalonians 1.4-2.8

What is happening?

The Church grew and flourished.
The Church took structure.
The Church endured persecution.
The Church spreads throughout the world.

What does it mean?

God empowers the Church to grow the Church.

  • God uses our risk to grow the Church (2.1-­‐2).
  • God uses His authority to grow the Church (1.4-­‐5). 
  • God uses His message to grow the Church (2.3-­‐5). 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Tree of Life Day 76: Romans 12-14

This passage struck me in this way today:  here are some practical ways that the Spirit works to transform us (12.2):

He gives us gifts to use (12.3-8)
He helps us to love good and hate evil (12.9)
He helps us to honor one another (12.10)
He energizes us for good work (12.11)
He marks us with hope, patience, and generosity (12.12-13)
He gives us endurance and perspective in trial (12.14-21)
He aids our submission to God-ordained human institutions (13.1-7)
He helps us kill our fleshly desires and grow godly ones (13.8-14)
He keeps our eye on the weaker ones around us, giving up our freedoms for their good (chapter 14)

Need any work on any of those areas today?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Tree of Life Day 75: 1 Corinthians 12-14

Did you notice the wedding in the middle of the reading today?

Well, technically, it's not a wedding.  But it's the famous "Love Chapter" that everyone reads at weddings.  And it's sandwiched right between Paul's two most extensive passages on the spiritual gifts.

That's huge.

Because that means for as much as we can teach, pray, heal, prophesy, speak in tongues, or anything else, doing so without God's kind of love is pointless.  Even showing mercy, without having love, is Sweet-n-Low vs. cane sugar, a bad substitute for a sweet thing.

Some think the gifts measure their spirituality or maturity.  Nope.  What measures our maturity is our love.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tree of Life Day 74: Ephesians 4-6

The Spirit who inspired the Word is the Spirit who helps us wield the Word.

If the Word is called the Sword of the Spirit, we can rely on Him to help us wield it whenever we face trial and temptation.  When they come - and they will - our eyes go to the Word and our dependence goes to the Spirit.

Just a brief example...

You get the call that every person dreads and the doctor uses the word cancer.  In that moment there's a choice to be made:  you can run to God or away from Him.  The Enemy, of course, would want the latter.  Every trial that we go through is a temptation to turn our back on God just like every temptation to sin is a trial to endure.  Even in the Greek language, they're one and the same word.

If you run to God, you will find that the Spirit brings passages to my mind from the Word about hope and healing.  Whenever you face discouragement or despair, the Spirit will wield the Word to help me fight those.  You can preach the Truth to yourself so that your feelings don't rule your world but God does.  You can turn those Scriptures into prayers and relate to God on the basis of what He has said.

On and on we could go.  But the key is this:

The Spirit who inspired the Word is the Spirit who helps us wield the Word.  That's how you do internal spiritual warfare.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tree of Life Day 73: John 14-16

When the discourse in John 14-16 is offered in a prayer, it might sound like this...
O God the Holy Spirit, Thou who dost proceed from the Father and the Son, have mercy on me. 
When thou didst first hover over chaos, order came to birth, beauty robed the world, fruitfulness sprang forth. 
Move, I pray thee, upon my disordered heart; take away the infirmities of unruly desiresand hateful lusts; lift the mists and darkness of unbelief; brighten my soul with the pure light of truth; make it fragrant as the garden of paradise, rich with every goodly fruit, beautiful with heavenly grace, radiant with rays of divine light. 
Fulfill in me the glory of thy divine offices; be my comforter, light, guide, sanctifier; take of the things of Christ and show them to my soul; through thee may I daily learn more of his love, grace, compassion, faithfulness, beauty; lead me to the cross and show me his wounds, the hateful nature of evil, the power of Satan; may I there see my sins as the nails that transfixed him, the cords that bound him, the thorns that tore him, the sword that pierced him. 
Help me to find in his death the reality and immensity of his love. 
Open for me the wondrous volumes of truth in his, ‘It is finished’. 
Increase my faith in the clear knowledge of atonement achieved, expiation completed, satisfaction made, guilt done away, my debt paid, my sins forgiven, my person redeemed, my soul saved, hell vanquished, heaven opened, eternity made mine. 
O Holy Spirit, deepen in me these saving lessons. 
Write them upon my heart, that my walk be sin-loathing, sin-fleeing, Christ-loving; and suffer no devil’s device to beguile or deceive me.
~The Spirit's Work
From the Valley of Vision, a Collection of Puritan Prayers

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tree of Life Day 72: Galatians 5

Onward into more of the language and understanding of the Spirit.  Galatians has been called by some the Apology of the Spirit, "apology" here meaning defense, not sorrow.  Reading today you can easily see why.

Whenever I read this passage, the one thing that sticks out is one thing.  That sounded silly, didn't it.  But I mean the one thing that sticks out is not nine things but one:  fruit.  The fruit of the Spirit is what Paul describes, not the fruits.

I say that to say this and say it simply:  when the Spirit is at work in our lives, we bear these characteristics in our lives by His power.  We don't get to pick and choose because He is the one bearing them through us.  We may need more help and more growth in an area, but He is the one who does it.

And when you see it as fruit instead of fruits, it makes a lot more sense I think...

Isn't love patient?

Isn't self-control kind? (Parents, think hard here about the time you didn't spank in anger)

Isn't peace joyful?

Isn't faithfulness good?

I could keep going, but I hope you get the point.  The Spirit brings these to us through His work in us and we bear them all because "they" are actually "it," the fruit of the Spirit.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Tree of Life Day 71: Acts 1-2

This is fairly easy to post on because of the text that I preached yesterday.  But everything I got to yesterday in the sermon isn't all that's in this text by any stretch of the imagination.  An oft overlooked gem that I just briefly mentioned yesterday:
...until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. (Acts 1.2)
How was Jesus teaching them while He was on the earth after His resurrection?  Through the Holy Spirit.  I'm not exactly sure what that means, but I have a working idea.

I think the Holy Spirit used the words of the Scripture to show them throughout the Bible how God had predicted this kind of Messiah, a suffering yet victorious Savior.  My wife illustrates it this way:  the Spirit's voice in our lives sounds a lot like the voice of our mom or dad telling us to look both ways before crossing the street.  And my guess is they had a lot of those moments when they heard the voice of Jesus in their head, listening to the words He had said.

Jesus hadn't left yet, though.  So when they had a moment with Him, He was helping them understand not only what was said but how it was they came to hear it.

And that's important.

Because the Spirit still speaks to the people of Jesus.  He always points to Jesus and never contradicts His Word.  But He does still speak.  That's what makes it a living, breathing relationship.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sermon Notes from Sunday, 4.15.12

Here are the sermon notes from Sunday, 4.15.12, on Pentecost in the Tree of Life series.  You can get the sermon audio via iTunes on our podcast.  You can also get the sermon audio and these notes in PDF at

Tree of Life 
Part 11 – Wind Powered 
Acts 1.1-­‐8

What is happening?
Jesus teaches (1.1-­‐8). 
Jesus ascends (1.9-­‐11). 
Disciples wait (1.12-­‐2.1). 
Spirit falls (2.2-­‐13).
Peter preaches (2.14-­‐40). 

Church begins (2.41-­‐47).

What does it mean?

God resides in every believer.

Pentecost fulfilled the promise of His presence (v.4)
  • The Spirit seals our relationship.
  • The Spirit points us to Jesus and His truth.
    The Spirit convicts us of sin.
Pentecost furnished the power for our proclamation (v.8)
  • The power to transform us.
  • The power bear witness to Him through gifts and giving. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Tree of Life Day 69: Romans 8

This chapter, more than any other didactic chapter that I can identify, transitions between the resurrection and Pentecost (which is our theme for this Sunday).  Specifically, this verse I cling to and proclaim pretty often:

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. (8.11)
God raised Jesus from the dead.  He did so by His Spirit.  And that Spirit lives in us.  And He's going to give life to our mortal bodies (today and for eternity) by that same Spirit.  Not just existence.  Life.

The resurrection was leading us to Pentecost.  Amen.

Tree of Life Day 68: 1 Corinthians 15

The thing I love about the Gospel formulation in the first part of this chapter (specifically v.3-5) is the phrase that appears twice.

Did you see it?

"According to the Scriptures."

God had it all planned out.  It wasn't an accident.  He predicted it through the Old Testament prophets.  Jesus Himself said it three times.  This wasn't some contrived or cooked up Plan B.  This was no contingency.  It was according to the Scriptures - according to the plan of God.

That means God's in control.  I need that word today.  How about you?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tree of Life Day 67: John 20-21

If God asked you a question three times, do you think it was because He didn't know the answer?  Or could it be vastly more conspiratorial than that?

He strikes me as the type to never waste words.  So I'm guessing each question meant something.  And it wasn't for Jesus.  It meant something for Peter.

Thinking here for just a moment...


Three denials.  Three chances to affirm his love for Jesus.
Three denials.  Three opportunities to say, "Yes," when Peter had previously said, "No!"
Three denials.  Three moments when a man believing the unbelievable could show his faith.

What amazing amazing amazing grace.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tree of Life Day 66: Luke 24

I read Luke 24 today and tried to write myself into the Emmaus story.  No, I don't think I deserve to be in a story like that.  Just work with me here...

If I were walking along the road and that kind of thing happened to me, I would first have the tendency to write off the person who joined me as some sort of fool, or at the very least so disconnected and buried from the "real world" that they were not worth my time.

Don't miss that last phrase.  That one stings.

Someone who has so little connection to the happenings of our day is obviously not an intellectual giant.  They wouldn't be very fun to share a cup of coffee with or discuss the op-ed piece in the Times.  They are...wait for it...beneath me.

That one stings too.

Because now the person I'm writing off is not some guy with bad hair, a gap in his teeth, and poor choice of colors in his wardrobe.  Now the guy I'm writing off is Jesus.  And He's talking about a world more real than anything I get from my news sites on the internet.  He's talking about a world so real that it just turned death on its head and is making all things new.  That's the One I'm judging.

But you'd do better, right?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tree of Life Day 65: Mark 16

What do you do with Mark 16?

Well, first, you need to read it.

And secondly, recognize it for what it is.  The so-called "longer ending" of Mark (v.9-20) has typically been considered by scholars and historians to be added later.  It was probably added as extra material became available and more explanation was needed.  It might have even been post-scripted in as a side note.

When something like that happens, folks who are hand copying the text don't know necessarily whether it's original or whether it's added or whether they should copy it or not.  So some of our existing copies of Mark have the longer ending and some don't.  When the King James Version of the Bible was published in 1611, it included it.  So that's why it's in most modern day Bibles, even though it's noted in brackets.

The other side of recognizing it for what it is means that you realize that nothing that was said in the extra verses is contradictory to anything else in the Bible.  In fact, it fits in quite nicely.

And besides that, the resurrection account in 16.1-8 is pointed and emphatic.  Jesus is risen.  Easter happened.  And that news changes everything.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Tree of Life Day 64: Matthew 28

Have you ever noticed that those who deny the resurrection have the most to lose?  For the Pharisees of the day, it was the power and prestige they held in society.  They weren't about to give that up to a backwater Jewish rabble rouser.  So hire some guys, spread some lies.  Just a little PR damage control.  Call it spin.

But that's just it, isn't it?

You can spin it.  But you can't make it go away.  You can lie about it.  But you can't make it go away.  You can deny it.  But you can't make it go away.  You can protect your power and prestige.  But you can't make it go away.

We're not that different.  Were we to surrender our lives to Jesus, there's no doubt we'd lose a lot.  Power. Prestige.  Control.  Possessions.  Desires.  Dreams.  Relationships.  Any number of things.  We'd lose them.  All of them.

But that's just what Jesus commands:  lose your life in order to find it.  Die in order to live.  And He won't hedge on those terms.  He's relentless that way.

But then again, He did rise from the dead and conquer the grave.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sermon Notes from Easter Sunday, 4.8.12

Here are the sermon notes from Easter Sunday, April 8th, 2012.  You can find these notes in PDF and the sermon audio at our website:  You can also download the audio on iTunes via our podcast.

Tree of Life
Part 10 – The Heart of Our Faith
John 20.1-18

What is happening?

The horror of Friday has given way to the darkness of Saturday. 

The darkness of Saturday yields to the glory of Sunday morning. 

The resurrection of Jesus Christ becomes the cornerstone of the Christian faith and message. 

What does it mean?

God is making everything new through Jesus.

Jesus is not afraid of your doubt.   
  • Doubts about facts.
    • Jesus didn’t die.
    • Someone stole the body
    • The Bible isn’t true.
  •  Doubts about failure.

Jesus is willing to transform your life.

Most people don’t stumble on the facts but on the commitment those facts demand.

Everything changes when He calls your name (v.16)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Tree of Life Day 62: Hebrews 9-10

I love the book of Hebrews.  I don't understand all of it, but I do love it.  Some of the greatest teaching about Jesus' work is contained therein.  And I'm challenged today by this:
So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him. (9.28)
Here's my challenge:  am I eagerly waiting for Him?

I like my life.  I love my wife.  I love being a pastor.  My kids are great.  I don't like sin.  I don't like cancer.  I don't like divorces.  I wish those things weren't there.  I like helping people.  I like seeing people grow.  I like challenging people.  No doubt we have some challenges, but my life is just fine compared to others'.

And that's the part that's haunting me a little bit:  would it matter to me if Jesus wasn't coming back?  Could I go through the rest of my life with a sense of "okay" about my life if I knew I'd be going to heaven to be with Jesus, but not that He was returning at any moment on any day.

Seems like a little more urgency might be in order.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Tree of Life Day 61: Romans 3-5

Can you imagine a judge who consistently let those who everyone (including and foremost the Judge Himself) knew was guilty go free?  What would be the outcry?  Whether it was in a small town or on the federal level, you can hear the clamor rising to jet-engine decibels.  There would be protests and petitions and all sorts of things to make sure he was ousted.

Now run that up to a cosmic scale.

According to Romans 3, God "passed over" sins previously committed.  David's adultery and murder.  Moses' murder. Abraham's deceit.  Solomon's idolatry.  Nehemiah's doubt.  Job's questioning.

Now if God had passed over those sins, how could He be just?  Because He was planning on punishing all sin at the cross.  That's the place where He could be both just and the justifier of the ones who have faith in Jesus.

Their sin.  Our sin.  All sin.  Done with, once for all, on a hill where stood a cross with a naked Jewish prophet who just so happened to be God in human form.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tree of Life Day 60: John 18-19

What is Truth?

That's a powerful question.  Pilate asked it.  But it's not just Pilate.  Most everyone you and I know ask the same question:  what is Truth?

Pilate's question came from the frustration of dealing with a backwater place like the Middle East (not exactly the prime appointment for a Roman governor) and the religiously motivated politics it involves.  No doubt some have the same kind of irritating tone when they ask the question today - and for the same reasons.

Others' questions come from the doubt of genuine skepticism and question.

Some bring their questions from a place of deep hurt because of who or what they have encountered.

What is Truth?

Jesus' answer is clear, though not particularly easy to accept:  He Himself is (John 14.6) as the Living Word and the revelation of God in the written word is (John 17.17).  Those aren't mutually exclusive nor contradictory.  We see Jesus through the Bible.  We understand the Bible through Jesus.

That's where (and in whom) you find Truth.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tree of Life Day 59: Luke 22-23

As the historian, Luke was most concerned with getting all the facts and all the right pieces into the right places.  The thing that haunts me from Luke 22 is v.61.
The Lord turned and looked at Peter.
What did that look hold?  What did it mean to Jesus?  To Peter?

It came on the heels of betrayal.  We know that Peter went and wept bitterly.  We know that Jesus went to the cross.  He went to the cross because of denials just like Peter.  Because He sees every sin and knows everything and looks at us in our sin - and still went to the cross.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tree of Life Day 58: Mark 15

Which is worse in this story:  the physical pain by scourging, beating, and crucifixion, or the pain of the psyche as He was spit upon, mocked, and belittled?

I have no idea.  I've never gone down a road like that.

But I wonder if it were the latter.  I say that because think of all the things that He could've done to stop that.  He could've gone Darth Vader choke hold on someone and said in His best James Earl Jones voice, "I find your lack of faith disturbing."  That would've stopped the mocking.  He could have instantly dried up the saliva in someone's mouth - no more spitting.

That's a little lighthearted for such a heavy topic, but I wonder if the greatest pain in that was the insult they were making against the beauty of the glory of God.  They just couldn't see it.  So they belittled it.

And I'm pretty sure I've had times where I just couldn't see it and belittled it too.  I choose a lesser pleasure and lesser beauty over the greatest pleasure and beauty.  I can't get past my need of the moment to see just how little it really is in light of the greater good.

Father, give me eyes to see.  Amen.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Tree of Life Day 57: Matthew 27

Jesus cries from the cross and quotes Psalm 22:  My God, why have You forsaken Me?

It's more than just a scripture memory moment at an intense time of life.  This is prophetic and insightful all at the same time.  It tells us that something historic, something deep, and something incredible is happening.

Never before had the Father looked away from the Son except in this moment.  Before this, the Son had only known the Father's pleasure.

But when the Son became sin, it all changed.  Now the blow of wrath was coming.  Now the loneliness and isolation that sin causes was His to experience.

It all changed.

And because it all changed for Him, it all changed for me.  I'm more like Barabbas than I choose to admit, because I'm the guilty one who gets to go free.  And all because of the One who took my place.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sermon Notes from Sunday, 4.1.12

Here are sermon notes from today's sermon in the Tree of Life series.  As typical on Palm Sunday, I preached on the crucifixion of Christ.  You can find these notes in PDF and the sermon audio on our website,  You can also find the audio on iTunes via our podcast.

Tree of Life
Part 9 – A Really Good Defense Lawyer
1 John 1.8-2.2

What is happening?

Jesus confronts the religious leaders of the day.

Jesus is unjustly accused and condemned to die.

Jesus is brutally murdered on the cross.

Jesus offers Himself as a sacrifice according to the plan of God.

What does it mean?

God graciously provides a remedy for sin.

Sin is a big deal.

We are on the wrong side.

Jesus is our Advocate and Propitiation.

We are transformed by this reality.