I can’t even count the number of times I’ve said “I’m sorry” to God, to others, or to myself only to commit the same sin I apologized for mere moments later. Craig’s sermon this Sunday focused on repentance—true repentance consisting of not just saying that we are sorry, but actually making a radical, dramatic change in our behavior. This transformation, of course, cannot happen without God’s mercy. Craig taught that change in our lives is possible (hallelujah!), but only when we are repentant. Because God is gracious, He does for humanity what it cannot do on its own. He provides a way for me and you to move from “naughty” to “nice” (to reference Santa Claus Is Coming to Town) through his unlimited mercy and forgiveness. Listen to the whole sermon here.
As we began Advent this past Sunday, November 29 at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, our senior pastor began a short sermon series to inspire us to not waste the wait. Read his latest post from the Pastor’s Corner.
He challenged us to think about how we spend our time: What are we doing while we wait for the return of the King? How does the certainty of Advent shape our time while we wait? He encouraged us to be salt and light and ambassadors for Christ while we wait. And what do waiting people do? We watch. We prepare ourselves. We serve faithfully. The really exciting stuff is coming: The King will return! We must make the most of the time given to us by the Lord. Listen to the whole sermon here.
Perception is reality and, therefore, it comprises so much of our lives—who we are, the friends we keep, the choices we make. This week, Pastor Craig poses the questions, “What is your perception of God? How can you rightly perceive who God is?” It is only through the lens of a correct perception of God that we can begin to perceive ourselves and our purpose. Such an understanding of the Lord leads us to live our lives in love and obedience to Him, whether we are those who have plenty or those who are needy. This passage in Deuteronomy also reminds us that no matter where we fall in the spectrum between needy and prosperous–God always provides. For what do we have that God hasn’t given us? He asked for no collateral from us before He sent his Son from heaven to save us from our sin. Our perception should be the reality of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice. Listen to the whole sermon here.
Take a moment from your day to listen to Craig reveal (through Deuteronomy 23:17-25) how we can live well in the land the Lord has given us. Verses 17 and 18 reveal God’s displeasure with an offering of money earned by prostitution. It would be easy for modern-day Christians to gloss over this verse, touting that we are not prostitutes and that we earn our money in more respectable ways. However, this passage reveals God’s concern with his people’s everyday lives. He’s not merely interested in what we do on Sunday morning (such as bringing an offering). He’s interested in how we live Monday through Saturday. Bonus? Craig also unpacks the idea of the aseity of God, which is the notion that God exists wholly in himself, needing absolutely nothing from man. How much sweeter does this realization make the Gospel?
What joy in these verses of Philippians 1:1-6! Paul’s confidence in the Lord shines through his words; his cup overflows. He acknowledges God as the beginning and the end of our time here in this broken world. He praises his partners in their obedience and offers encouragement to them in their ministry by reminding them that their strength is in the Lord’s faithful, guiding hand. The power of God’s timing as it unfolds in each of our lives, and in life as a church, remains undeniably evident as Redeemer celebrates the 3rd anniversary of helping save the buildings we know and love at 43 Wentworth Street. What is God stitching together in your heart today? What seeds is He planting in the same dirt into which He breathed life long ago? What is He shaping in you and in us? May we receive it with gladness! Listen to the whole sermon here.
The purity of worshiping God is something that we, as sinners, often neglect in preference to a worship that entertains or makes us feel good. In this week’s sermon, Pastor Craig reads from Deuteronomy 23:1-14, which emphasizes what, at first, might sound like archaic practices and harsh rules about how to live our lives well and be worshipful people. But from this passage, we learn yet another truth of God’s endless and undying love for us. The Lord seeks to protect His people from corruption of sin that creeps in under the guise of something fresh or new. It is vital for us, as God’s children, to be mindful and prayerful about what those things are. The worshiping community, both then and now, is a holy and crucial part of our relationship with God, and, as Pastor Craig points out, if He has no standard of holiness for those who worship Him, then who needs Jesus? Listen to the whole sermon here.
On Sunday, October 18 Craig turned our attention to Deuteronomy 22, a passage that, on the surface, seems archaic. God presents rules that appear to make little sense in today’s culture: Do not plant two kinds of seed in your vineyard, do not plow with an ox and a donkey, and do not wear clothes of wool and linen woven together. It’s important to remember, though, that modern Christians have much to learn about the character of God through His words in the Old Testament. From these commands, God reveals the importance of being set apart from our culture and following the order that God desires for the world. Each commandment of Deuteronomy 22 serves to demonstrate that God’s people are separated to maintain purity and distinction. Listen to the whole sermon here.
This past Sunday, October 11 at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, we returned to our Deuteronomy sermon series examining the first few verses of Chapter 22 about our responsibility for our neighbors. The first question asked by a human that’s recorded in the Bible is Cain’s: Am I my brother’s keeper? (meaning am I responsible to take care of my brother?) From the beginning God has given us the responsibility for our neighbors, and it’s been our inclination from the beginning to not do this. In the Deuteronomy passage we see that neighbor or brother means a member of the community, which at that time numbered in the millions. So we may not know our neighbor whom we’re called to help. These verses call us to help our neighbor not only in the catastrophe but also in the mundane and everyday. God calls us to be involved in others’ lives, but there’s a cost. Listen to the whole sermon here.
In this sermon, Craig addresses a tough passage—Deuteronomy 21:18-23—that outlines what parents are to do with a rebellious, wayward child. God requires the parents to take their disobedient child to the elders to be stoned to death. Most modern-day reactions to this command range from laughing (as though it’s a joke) to doubting God’s love (thinking, How could a loving God be so unforgiving and require such a harsh disciplinary action?). But how can we have such reactions to this passage when we know our unchanging God is just and forgiving? How can we understand God’s loving nature through this command? Craig tackles what it means to interpret Scripture by using Scripture to understand passages in the Bible that seem to contradict the characteristics we know to be true about God. Listen to the whole sermon here.
Proverbs 11:10 says, “…through the blessing of the upright, a city is exalted.” This passage speaks volumes to the purpose of Deuteronomy 21, our focus for this week’s sermon. In it, God sets forth multiple scenarios in which His people are to act justly and seek His righteousness over their own desires or the “easy” paths of the world. Pastor Craig emphasizes three of those points: unsolved murder, people from defeated nations, and brokenness in the home. In each scenario, we as God’s people can and must learn how to deal with the brokenness of our communities, whether they be the places we live, the friends we make, or the families God has placed us in. As a family on mission together, it is vital that the world see us gladly pursuing God’s will and commandments. With these three specific examples, we have our starting points for how to treat people justly, protect others’ dignity, and respect those made in the image of God. Craig asks, “How can we, as the people who have the grace of God available to us, let such important things go?” Listen to the whole sermon here.