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Category Archives: Preaching

May 31, 2020 Worship service at First Central Bible Church – 1 Samuel 16:1-13 – “A Change of Perspective”

This was our first Sunday back together as a congregation at First Central Bible Church. Not surprisingly, we had some technical challenges. While the audio quality if not quite up to par, we were able to record most of the music portion. I begin speaking just part the 21-minute mark.

 

A Change of Perspective

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. They look at life through rose-colored glasses. Walk a mile in a person’s shoes before passing judgment on their life.

All of these metaphors speak to the topic of perspective. If you look at an issue from one direction, you will see one thing. But if you look at it from another direction, you will see a different picture.

What we think we need is quite different from what we really need. How we see the world is vastly different from how God sees the world. How we choose leaders is often the polar opposite of how God chooses leaders.

1 Samuel 16:1-13 presents the story of God sending Samuel to anoint David as the next king of Israel. It emphasizes the point that we need a new perspective. We need to see life and people from God’s viewpoint.

Plan B: A king chosen BY Israel (1a). The story begins by explaining that God had rejected Saul as king. Saul had been chosen by the people (8:18; 12:13) rather than by God. If you study the previous chapters, you discover that God had a different view of Saul than the people did.

The people thought Saul was a take charge leader. God viewed him as impatient (13:8-12). People viewed him as decisive while God judged him as rash and impulsive (14:24-30, 39, 43-45). People liked Saul because he thought for himself while God saw his actions as disobedience (15:1-3, 8-9). The nation viewed Saul as analytical while God saw that he rationalized and shifted blame (15:15). Instead of being a man of the people, he was really a people pleaser (15:24). To people Saul looked very impressive, but God knew that he was over image conscious (15:25, 30).

Plan A: A king chosen BY God (1b-13). God instructed Samuel to stop grieving over what might have been and instead, set out to anoint the man God had chosen as the next king. While Samuel was initially reluctant and fearful, he obeyed God and carried out the task.

Samuel journeyed to Bethlehem under the pretext of offering a sacrifice. While there, he invited the family of Jesse and his sons to join him. Samuel thought each of Jesse’s seven sons looked like kingly material. However, God rejected each one of them. Instead, God explained, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”

Samuel learns that Jesse had an eighth son who was caring for the sheep. Not only was he the youngest, he was also the smallest of the boys. Since he was not included in an adult gathering, David was possibly 11 or 12 years old at the time. Following God’s instructions, Samuel anoints David and the Holy Spirit takes us residence in his life from that day forward.

We can gain several principles about perspective from this story. In the darkest of times, God is still at work. We need to trust his plan. When God gives us a task, we need to obey his instructions and carry out the task. Since God views life and people from a different perspective, we should ask him to open our eyes. Since God chooses leaders on the basis of their heart, we should ask God to increase our desire for him. Lastly, if God calls us to a task, we should rely on his provision to equip us to be successful.

This is the synopsis of a sermon preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on May 31, 2020. It is part of a series of expository sermons on the life of David. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.

 

Change Your Perspective

In 1 Samuel 16:7, God tells the prophet Samuel when he is directing him whom to choose as the next king of Israel, “For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” We need a change of perspective if we are to view life and people from God’s viewpoint. That is the topic we will consider this Sunday, May 31, at First Central Bible Church. Here’s a video preview of the message.

 

Developing a Heart for God

If you were the General Manager for your favorite professional sports team, how would you choose whom to draft or sign as a free agent to fill out your roster? In this election season, how do you determine whom to vote for? If you were going to hire someone for your company, what criteria would you use to identify the right person?

In each of these areas, do you rely on the person’s resume? Do you focus on their track record of past achievements? Or do you go below the surface in order to look deeper?

When God looks for a man or woman to use in his plan, he looks at their heart. 2 Chronicles 16:9 states, “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that he may strongly support those whose heart is completely his.”

We are beginning a new sermon series studying the life of David, the man who was known for having a whole heart for God.

In 1 Samuel 8:1-9, we discover the historical setting of what David stepped in to. Samuel was old and his sons whom he had appointed as judges did not follow God. As a result, the nation of Israel wanted a king so they could be like the surrounding nations. Not only did they reject Samuel’s leadership, but the nation of Israel rejected God’s leadership.

In the first go round of choosing a king, the people chose Saul based on his outward characteristics (1 Samuel 9-10). When that didn’t turn out well, God chose the second king based on the character of his heart (1 Samuel 13:14). In the contrast between Saul and David, we learn that God chooses nobodies and turns them into somebodies.

Many times, we dismiss David and say we could never be like him. After all, we surmise, David had a low-pressure job as a shepherd. He had time to meditate. And he was able to express himself in music and poetry. If I had David’s time and gifts, I could have a heart for God, we exclaim.

However, we lose sight of the fact that David came from a dysfunctional family and worked for an angry, crazy, murderous employer. He spent a great deal of time on the run as a fugitive, surrounded by vengeful people who were the dregs of society.

The point is, if we want to have a heart for God, we must make some intentional choices. First off, we cannot hold anything back. Remember that God seeks people whose heart is “completely his” (2 Chronicles 16:9). We cannot have any locked closets or keep secrets from God. Secondly, we must confess our sins as soon as we become aware of them (2 Samuel 12:13).

Thirdly, we must make friends with solitude. We need to get up early, turn off the radio, TV, computer, internet, cell phone, and remove all the distractions. We need to make time to not only read the Bible, but also to reflect on what it is saying to us and write our thoughts down in a journal. We must make the time to pray and listen for God.

Fourthly, we need to open our eyes and see where God is at work around us. David provides an excellent model of this practice. He praises God for creation (Psalm 8, 19, 29, 65), his provision and care (Psalm 23), his protection and shelter (Psalm 62), and his amazing creation of human life (Psalm 139).

Lastly, we need to surround ourselves with the right kind of people who will influence us in the right direction. We need a Jonathan, a friend to encourage us (1 Samuel 23:16). We need some mighty men who will help us accomplish our goals (2 Samuel 23:8-39). We need someone like Hushai the Archite who will watch our back and protect us from attack (2 Samuel 15:32-37; 17:1-23). We need an Abigail who will prevent us from doing something rash or foolish that we will regret (1 Samuel 25:18-31). We need a Nathan who will speak the truth to us (2 Samuel 12:1-15).

God is looking for men and women who have a heart that is solely devoted to him. May we make the choice to become that kind of person.

This is the synopsis of a message preached to First Central Bible Church on May 24, 2020. It is the opening sermon in a series on the life of David. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.

 

Developing a Heart for God – 1 Samuel 8 – Video Sermon

On May 24, 2020, we began a sermon series on the life of David at First Central Bible Church. The video begins with a five-minute countdown followed by a greeting from one of our missionaries and then a hymn. The sermon begins after the 12-minute mark. Another hymn follows the message.

 

How do you develop a heart for God?

Here’s a video preview of Sunday’s message on “Developing a Heart for God.” I hope you can join us at First Central Bible Church. We will be on Facebook Live at 10:30AM Sunday morning.

 

 

1 Samuel 3 – Listening for God’s voice – Video sermon

Today’s message with First Central Bible Church was on 1 Samuel 3. The video starts with a five-minute countdown followed by a message from one of our missionaries and a hymn. There is another song after the sermon.