Biblical Worldview

Pray We and Our Children Have a Biblical Worldview and Are Separate from the World (1 Chronicles 12:32; Romans 12:1-2; Colossians 3:1-2; 1 Thessalonians 5:17, 21; James 4:4)

Praying Scripture Series

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes on Sunday, June 24, 2018 for and at Bethel Friends Church

Recently there was a news case about a monkey taking a selfie. One news article reads:

A photographer whose camera was used by a monkey to take a selfie has won a two-year legal battle against an animal rights group about copyright over the image.

Naruto, a rare crested macaque monkey who lives in the Tangkoko Reserve on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, picked up David Slater’s camera and snapped the now-famous photo in 2011. 

Peta sued “on behalf” of the monkey in 2015, seeking financial control of the photographs for the benefit of Naruto.

Judges in the US deemed the monkey was ineligible to hold copyright over the image.[1]

What does it mean to be human? That is a worldview question. Every day this question is being talked about in the world, but they are not basing their discussion from the Bible.

For example, a few weeks ago the New York Times ran a headline: “Actress Struck by Car in Park Slope Loses Unborn Daughter.”[2] The question must be asked, “Does New York Times now believe a baby in the womb is a life”? What we actually see is that the unborn child is recognized as a child only when the baby is wanted by his or her parents. This is about worldview. What does it mean to be human?

There was a headline titled State Comes Out with New LGBTQ Curriculum. This headline came out on April 23, 2018 in the Boston Herald.[3] This was about a Massachusetts school coming out with this curriculum. A summary: “Bay State schools will be able to try a new curriculum with LGBTQ-themed history, English and health this fall that proponents say is an effort to help all students see themselves reflected in classrooms.” This, once again, is about the worldview question of what it means to be human.

One must ask, what worldview will be taught in schools? Another headline: “Supporters rally for gay teacher amid discrimination claim after he told 1st-graders about same-sex marriage.”[4]

A bouquet of flowers sent to a teacher from his husband on Valentine’s Day set off a controversy and claims of discrimination in a rural community at the edge of the Chicago area, resulting in a standing-room-only school board meeting Monday evening.

When Nathan Etter, a first-year music teacher at Prairie View Grade School near Elgin, received the bouquet from his husband, some first-grade students asked who they were from. He said he answered honestly and that some students reacted with comments like “ewww” and “gross.”

Etter, 30, who has been married to Philip Etter since August, said he used the interaction as a “teachable moment,” making very brief comments about respect and tolerance and explaining how some families have two moms or two dads.

According to administrators in Kane County-based Central Unit School District 301, the parent of one student contacted the district with “serious concerns” about Etter’s comments, prompting the principal to meet with the teacher to learn more about what had occurred.

School board President Jeff Kellenberger told the crowd at Monday’s gathering that, after that meeting, “the district had no further concerns and considered the matter resolved. Mr. Etter’s employment … was never in jeopardy.”

But Etter and his union apparently interpreted the meeting differently. Nearly two months later, according to district officials, the vice president of the local teachers union sent an email to the entire district faculty and staff claiming “school leaders treated Mr. Etter in a discriminatory manner,” according to an open letter released in response the next day by Kellenberger and Superintendent Todd Stirn.

The articles goes on to talk about supporters for him.

These types of articles are in the news everyday and they all have at their root worldview. Generally, it is “What does it mean to be human”? There are more. Our world is trying to figure things out without the Bible. Without the Bible we are lost looking into these topics. Without the Bible we are for sure the blind leading the blind. We are arrogantly trying to figure these things out without talking to the creator. It is like a car trying to figure out why it is a car.

We are in a sermon series on Scriptures I have been convicted to pray. Today, I have Scriptures that are about worldview. Or, at least I pray them asking that myself and my descendants have a Biblical worldview.

My theme:

Pray that we and our descendants have a worldview that comes from the Bible.

Let’s read Romans 12:1-2:

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

  1. What is a worldview?
    1. Merriam-Websters says: a comprehensive conception or apprehension of the worldespecially from a specific standpoint — called also [5]
    2. Everyone has a worldview, they just do not realize it. Additionally, our worldview is changed by those around us.
    3. Usually we do not realize what our worldview is. We simply make decisions from day-to-day and we do not realize how our worldview is guiding the decisions. When you hear a news event you react to it based off of your worldview.
    4. For example, if you read an article from New York Magazine titled: 180 Minutes With Desmond Is Amazing He’s a 10-year-old drag performer, and he’s cooler than you,[6] your reaction to it will be based off of your worldview. In fact, your reaction to that very title is based off of your worldview.
    5. How about your reaction to Bruce Jenner having a sex change and then being the Glamour woman of the year?[7]
    6. How do you react to that, it is based on your worldview. Further, this, also, has to do with the worldview question of why God created two sexes. This has to do with the worldview of what it means to be a man or a woman. Further, if a transgendered woman can win woman of the year what does that mean to all the biological women everywhere? I would think that is an insult to the feminist movement. Were they really saying that a biological man who has a sex change is a better woman?
    7. Our worldview is set at a very young age, but it does change throughout life. We see that millennials, those born after 1982 (that year changes based on studies) change their worldview based on their peers.
    8. However, I think the same about other generations. For example, President George and Barbara Bush attended a homosexual wedding. I think that did not fit their worldview years ago.
    9. Years ago, when homosexual marriage came out on the news you probably strongly rejected the idea. But now you may know many people who are homosexual and so now you interpret the news through your relationship with these people, rather than from the Bible.
    10. Years ago, when you heard that a woman and a man were living together outside of marriage you likely immediately thought that was wrong. But now you know many people who live in that way. Your own children or grandchildren may live together outside of marriage. You interpret whether that is right or wrong based on your relationship with them and who they are, rather than the Bible.
    11. However, the Bible speaks objectively to life and we must view everything through the Bible. Interesting that many times science is actually proving God’s ways are best. For example, when a couple has sexual intercourse outside of marriage a chemical is released in the man that is really telling him he is a conqueror. Women will think they will give him sexual intercourse and that will make him devoted to her. However, outside of marriage this chemical is simply telling him he conquered. However, when a couple has sexual intercourse within marriage there is a chemical released that makes him more devoted to listening and being attentive to his wife.[8] This study shows what the Bible already has told us.
    12. So, we have a worldview, we all do, the question is where is its foundation.
    13. We need our worldview to come from the Bible. The Bible speaks objective and it does not change.
    14. Therefore, my prayer is that Meagan and I and our descendants have a worldview that is from the Bible. This means whenever they interpret world events they do so from the Bible’s viewpoint, not fallen humanity.
  2. We must understand the ways of the world are different than God’s ways.
    1. James 4:4: You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
    2. Romans 12:2: And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
    3. 1 Thessalonians 5:21: But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good…
  • How do we have a Biblical worldview
    1. Romans 12:1-2 tells us: Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which isyour spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
    2. But how do you become a living sacrifice?
      1. Living and sacrifice are contradictory terms. We always think of a sacrifice as being dead. The problem with a living sacrifice is it can crawl off the alter. I was in a Sunday school class that was led by an older man. This man was hunting with his grandfather during the depression. It was bitterly cold as they walked down the railroad tracks looking for food. His grandfather walked right passed a dead possum. But my Sunday school teacher, he saw it. He called out to his grandfather and they took it home. His grandfather gave it to his wife who put it by the stove to get it ready for the preparation process. Well as that possum got warm it got life back in it and started running around the house. They thought it was dead. It was on the alter to be food, yet it got off of their alter.
      2. We as Christians must do this intentionally. Intentionally we must be sacrifices for God.
    3. Our bodies as living sacrifices are to be “holy and acceptable to God.” Acceptable could be better translated, “Pleasing.” God is pleased by our sacrifice. But as we are a sacrifice we must be holy. We must be holy to come to the thrown of God. God is holy. Lev 11:44: “be holy because I am holy.” Ex 3:5: “Take off your sandals for you are on holy ground.”
    4. Being a sacrifice to God is worship. Worship is not just singing to God. It is worship to make our whole life a sacrifice to God.
    5. This living sacrifice is a process. Since we are alive, this is not a one-time thing, but continual. What does it mean to be pleasing to God? The idea is of God having an attitude towards us as pleasing. The Old Testament sacrifices were said to have an aroma that was pleasing to God.
    6. In verse 2 Paul calls us to avoid worldly contamination and have spiritual transformation:
    7. We can present our bodies as living sacrifices, holy, by not being conformed to this age, but by being transformed.
    8. These words: “Conformed” and “transformed” are both commands.
      1. Transformed is the word for metamorphosis. This is the same word used to describe a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. We must have a gradual change to be more and more like Christ.
      2. I think of Clark Kent changing into Superman
    9. So, how do we do this? How do we allow ourselves to be transformed by God?
    10. This happens by renewing our mind
      1. Look at Romans 6:1-2: What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?
        1. We cannot test these things when we are still in the world.
        2. I had a student in my youth group ask me, “How can I know what God wants?” you can do that by knowing His Word, and by being transformed to His interests. If you are of the world, you will not.
      2. Come out of the world, be Christ like. There is a difference between the world and Christianity.
      3. Then, as God transforms us we have a Biblical worldview and that is what we need.
      4. We must be let God transform us.
      5. We must live out 2 Timothy 2:15: Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
      6. Study the Bible, live in the Bible, that is the Truth. We need our worldview based on Truth.
      7. We must live out Colossians 3:1: Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
      8. I love that passage! What are you meditating on? It will affect your worldview.
      9. 1 Chronicles 12:32: Of the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do
      10. We must study culture too, but the Bible is Truth.
      11. The Bible is our litmus test.


George Barna writes:

83% of Americans identify themselves as Christians, yet only 49% describe themselves as absolutely committed to Christianity. (The Barna Update, 5-21-07)

“The primary reason that people do not act like Jesus is because they do not think like Jesus,” Barna said. “Behavior stems from what we think—our attitudes, beliefs, values, and opinions.” -“Barna: Biblical Worldview Held by Only 4 Percent of Adults,” Baptist Press (December 2, 2003).

The Barna Research Group found that just 4 percent of American adults have a biblical Worldview and only 9 percent of those categorized as born-again Christians have a biblical Worldview. Not surprisingly, those without a biblical Worldview have a vastly different view of immoral and unethical behavior.

For instance, those without a biblical Worldview were:

  1. –Around 100 times more likely to endorse abortion
  2. –Around 80 times more likely to say exposure to pornography is morally acceptable
  3. –31 times more likely to believe living together before marriage is morally acceptable
  4. –15 times more likely to believe homosexual sex is acceptable
  5. –18 times more likely to endorse drunkenness
  6. –11 times more likely to say adultery is OK

So, what does it mean to be human? I preached about that a few months ago, but I like what my friend and mentor Pastor Rick Sams wrote:

BROKEN by Pastor Rick Sams

  Broken. That’s how all-star Cleveland Cavaliers forward, Kevin Love, described his left hand in the latter part of this season. I would describe him as one of the more “brittle” (injury prone) players on the Cavs, especially compared to Lebron. Love likely would disagree with my description.

  But broken is the label he put on himself: “We are all damaged goods.” He was describing the anxiety and panic attacks that has occasionally affected his ability to play the game he loves. Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan and Washington’s Kelly Oubre, also high caliber NBA players, manned up and stepped up with K-Love to claim the same brokenness.*

  But here’s some good news about brokenness. Jesus speaks of the truth that sets us free from any “chains” or brokenness that hold us back (John 8:32). It wasn’t just any truth Jesus referred to…it was the truth about him as the great liberator and healer: “And if the Son [of God, Jesus] sets you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).

  Jesus talks of a future time when He will fix all the brokenness and make all things new (Revelation 21:5).

  Way back in the past brokenness was “our bad.” Our spiritual & physical ancestors, Adam & Eve, brought brokenness into the world by their sin. Sinning was like pouring sand into the “finely tuned machines” God had created; the world and our bodies.

  “Sin” is anything that breaks the perfect love relationship our heavenly Father God wants to have with us and intended for us to have when He created the world. Sin separates us from God and us from each other.

  But Jesus offers the cure for brokenness; a love relationship with Jesus himself: “Behold I [Jesus] stand at the door [of your heart] and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in…” (Revelation 3:20). But we must open the door to our heart from the inside. There’s no doorknob on the outside.

  As Kevin Love said: “Everybody is going through something…it’s called life. What you make of the repair [available] makes all the difference.” *

  What will you do with Jesus’ offer of healing and restoration? Jesus offers a fix for the brokenness that afflicts us all (Romans 3:10, 23).

(*“Pointing The Way Forward Through Times of Life,” Bill Livingston, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 3/21/18, p B1-2)[9]

Luke 9:23

Do you know Jesus?

God created us to be with Him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in Him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)










[8] From Juli Slattery, “Java with Juli, May 28, 2018. [Juli is a Christian Psychologist]

[9] Sams, Rick. Rick’s Ramblings. May 29, 2018 published in Alliance Review Saturday, June 3 or May 26. Rick serves as the pastor of Alliance Friends Church

Be a Follower of Jesus, Model this for Your Children (Luke 9:23; 1 Corinthians 9:19-27; Galatians 2:20; focus on Luke 9:23)

Be a Follower of Jesus, Model this for Your Children (Luke 9:23; 1 Corinthians 9:19-27; Galatians 2:20; focus on Luke 9:23)

Praying Scripture Series

Prepared and Preached for and at Bethel Friends Church on Sunday, June 17, 2018 

Happy Father’s Day!

Toss football around in this initial illustration

My dad used to take us fishing. We used to help my dad in the yard. We used to do a lot of things together. But he also taught us football.

I grew up a sports fan. I loved sports. I loved football and I loved the Browns. I will have you know that the Browns let me down too many times and so several years ago I switched my allegiance to the Steelers. You know it is a true story that there was a man that had in his will that Browns players serve as his pallbearers, so the team could let him down one more time.[1] I loved Sundays and Monday nights and anytime the Browns played. However, I was a fan, I was not a player. I could yell at the team. I could criticize the team. I could get upset and let the team give me depression, but I was not physically hurt by the game. In one of the AFC championship games my brother and I were so worried that we got all of our Browns stuff and laid it in front of the television. It did not help. Life went on. I was not “all in” with the Browns, or any football team. I was just a fan.

When it comes to sports, until about seven years ago I was only a fan. When I was in the sixth grade I played football on a team. I really didn’t enjoy the game that much. Being on a team you didn’t get to play as much. You had to sacrifice for the team. We also had to work hard. We had practice most every day and we came home sore. I had a friend who broke his arm playing quarterback. The next year he broke his collar bone at practice. These are things that players experience, but fans don’t. Fans aren’t sore on Monday. Fans don’t have a practice to commit to. Players have to commit. Now granted, players may have more fun as well. The player gets the real enjoyment when they score a touchdown. But the prize comes with a price.  The price is hard work and commitment. The price is sacrificing yourself and your own interest for the team. The price is committing to the cause which is winning.

A handful of years ago I did go further than being a fan of one sport and that is running. Now, I am not a team, but I ran three marathons. The thing is, it does take training and commitment. To train for a marathon I had to commit to a vigorous running schedule. My running was no longer about exercise but an actual goal. I am sore often. At one point I finished a run and was stretching and I got a Charlie horse in my stomach. I have been awakened with Charlie horses in my legs. But this is part of being a player.

The point is this, as Christians Jesus does not call us to be fans. He calls us to participate. We can have the joy of leading others to Christ just as a player has the joy of a touchdown. We have the joy of serving others on a mission trip or at a food pantry just as a football player has the joy of an interception. Actually, we can even intercept what the devil is trying to do. We can have the joy of discipling someone just as a runner has the joy of completing miles. But we also must sacrifice.

Are you a fan or a follower?

Are you all in with Jesus?

Many times our relationship with Jesus becomes more about self-help than about being a follower of Jesus. Jesus calls us to deny our self, take up our cross and follow Him.

Okay, so I am in a sermon series about Scriptures to pray for our children and descendants. Today, let’s talk about praying that our descendants are followers of Jesus.

My theme and application is:

Be a Follower of Jesus, Model this for Your Children (Luke 9:23; 1 Corinthians 9:19-27; Galatians 2:20).

I have three Scriptures: Luke 9:23; 1 Corinthians 9:19-27; Galatians 2:20, but we will only talk about Luke 9:23.

Let’s read: Luke 9:23

And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.

  1. Context: First, let me tell a little bit about the context.
    1. Jesus is on a preaching tour. He has been going from place to place preaching. Actually, just before this passage Jesus had fed 5000 people. In this same chapter Jesus has cast demons out of a man and woman. Jesus has also sent the disciples to heal and cast out demons. Notice that in this way the disciples are followers. They are following Jesus and Jesus allowed them to participate. Later on, the disciples will participate even more as they are even persecuted and all of them are martyred.
    2. Jesus had just asked them who people think He is. They answer and then Jesus asked who they think He is. Peter answers that He is the Christ.
    3. Following this Jesus talks about suffering. Jesus says that He will have to suffer and be betrayed.
    4. Now Jesus says to them all. It appears that there are more people there. Jesus is traveling around, and He has quite a following. I’d imagine that the disciples are in the front listening closely.

So, Jesus says “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me…”

  1. Deny, let’s talk about this term.
    1. This term translated “deny” carries the idea of sacrificing your own desires. This carries the idea of surrendering your own claim. This actually means admitting that someone does not exists. So, I would have to say, “Steve, who is that?”
    2. To be a disciple I must be willing to sacrifice my own desires. Now this is not something I must do first. It is not that I do this in order to be a Christian. It is not necessarily that I do this after I become a Christian. This is really something that just happens. This is something the Holy Spirit does in my life. I cannot force myself to do this. I must allow God to work in me.
    3. You see, my natural nature is to be selfish. My natural nature is that I will be driving and someone will just cut me off, so I want to be mad at the person. I may want to tell him he is number one or yell out the window. But this is putting myself first and not the other cars around me. I must deny myself.
    4. Certainly, the best example of this is Jesus. Jesus gave up His throne in Heaven to come down to earth. That was for us. We see this in Phil. 2:3-11. Actually, the Bible says to consider others as more important than yourselves and to look out for others needs before your own.
  • Death: Jesus calls us to die to ourselves.
    1. He says that we must carry our cross. The cross was an instrument of death and they all knew it. MacArthur said the following:

…more than a hundred years before Jesus ever walked on earth King Alexander Janius crucified 800 rebels at Jerusalem while he was feasting in public. Antiochus Epiphanes, that Greek ruler during the inner-testimental period had also crucified many Jews for a revolt that followed the death of Herod the Great, the proconsul Varus crucified two thousand Jews. It is said that the Romans crucified thirty-thousand Jews in Palestine during the era around the life of Jesus. When Jesus said “Take up a cross,” they only thought of one thing, horrible suffering, pain and death. Jesus is saying, this is how extreme your devotion has to be, this is willingness to endure persecution, this is willingness to endure hatred, hostility, rejection, reproach, shame, suffering even death. They knew exactly what He was talking about. And be ready to do it every day…every day.

  1. In Muslims countries they will actually deny family members when they become Christian.
  2. This is not an obscure passage.
    1. This is NOT something that’s sort of different than the normal teaching of Jesus. These are principles which He teaches repeatedly throughout His ministry over and over and over again in all different contexts.
    2. You can read it in Matthew 10:32-39; Mark 10:21 with the Rich Young Ruler; also Luke 14:25-28; 17:33; John 12:24.
    3. Fathers, be devoted to your family, it is your first mission field.
      1. As fathers we must model this. This is critical.
      2. Are we following Him? Are we seeking God’s call in our lives?
      3. Jesus calls us to be present with him as we follow Him. Following Jesus is not separate from your life and family commitments, but one and the same.
      4. Today, we talk about the stay at home mom, but historically the whole family worked together. The father worked from home too. I recently read an article about just that. Until the industrial age most families worked and lived on farms. The family all worked together. They did not just have breakfast together, but lunch and dinner.[1]The writer shares:
  3. In 1820, the earliest date for which I can find reliable statistics, some 2.1 million men in the United States worked in “farm occupations”—a full 72 percent of the work force.[2]
    1. Jesus calls us to be the best people. Jesus calls us to be the best dads. It used to be that missionaries would send their children to mission boarding schools hundreds and thousands of miles away. Think about it, you go and “serve the Lord” in Africa while dropping your five-year-old off in England.

    Dr. David Jeremiah shared about a time when he was heading out to his son’s basketball game. He was in the church office about to leave when someone came in and told the secretary, “I want to talk with Pastor David Jeremiah.” The secretary said, “He is not available, can I connect you with one of our other pastors?” The man persisted, “I need to talk with David Jeremiah.” The man caught Dr. Jeremiah in the parking lot and said, “I need to talk with you.” Dr. Jeremiah said, “I have 4 other pastors (I think it was 4) who can talk with you right now. I have one son and he has one father and I am going to his basketball game.”

    Being a follower of Jesus impacts all of our life. Christians must be the best dads.

    Fathers, take time for your children and family. 



    Dr. Howard Hendricks, had one wag tell him, “The devil never takes a holiday, so why should I?” Hendricks didn’t miss a beat and replied: “Oh really? I didn’t know he was your model.”[3]

    We all have our different occupations and we must determine how we can balance to prioritize family. For some, your job is 24×7 and in that case you must give yourself permission to take off for family. For others, you are off at a certain time and you can go home and take the children to the park. For other, maybe it is a little bit of both. I remember coming home from school when I was in elementary school and I saw my dad hitching up the boat to go fishing. My dad was never home that early, but this was an exception and I will never forget it.

    Dads, we have a responsibility to be dads. That is part of our God given calling. Don’t think of it as interrupting our work.

    Christians follow Jesus and this must impact our calling as fathers.

    Do you know Jesus?

    Luke 9:23

    God created us to be with Him. (Genesis 1-2)

    Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

    Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

    Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

    Everyone who trusts in Him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

    Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)








Desire God

June 10:  Pray We and Our Children Desire God (Psalm 42; 63)

Praying Scripture Series

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church on Sunday, June 10, 2018 

It was 2012 and I was going for a sunny afternoon run. I think I was in the best shape of my life. I had lost 40 pounds in the previous year and I was running at a pace which I have not been able to keep up with. Once a week I would go on a long run, which at that time was about 9 miles. It was a Thursday and it was sunny and warm. I pulled my 2000 Buick LeSabre into the gravel parking lot where the Mahoning Valley Trail began. It was hot, but I was ready, or so I thought. I usually would do some stretching and jumping jacks before the run. I am sure that this day was no different. On this particular run I encountered a problem. It started normal. I ran along the trail which ran along the Mahoning River. The river is small outside Alliance. It is about the size of Yellow Creek. I ran down and up through the wood on the trail. Then about two miles in the trail exits to North Rockhill Avenue. I turn right on North Rockhill and started running up a gradual hill which heads to the rest of the trail. The trail picks up again off of Greenbower Street NE and then the trail heads to the Deer creek Reservoir. As I ran up Rockhill the sun beat down on me and I hit a “wall” like never before. It was not a real “wall.” It is a term they use to describe sudden fatigue. I felt like I could not keep running. I stopped and I looked around. Though later I started carrying water on runs and even wearing a 2 liter water backpack, at this time I did not carry water on my runs. I had not eaten lunch because I would skip lunch in order to run. It was just over a 2 mile walk or run back to my car and if I ignore the wall and try to push through I had another 7 miles to run. I am pretty stubborn so I decided to keep going. I ran through the “wall” and finished my 9 miles.

What does it feel like to be depleted? Have you ever been thirsty? Have you been really thirsty?

How do you feel when you miss church? How do you feel when you miss your devotion time? How do you feel when you skip prayer? How do you feel when you do not read your Bible?

Desiring God video about reading the Bible:

We are in a sermon series based on Scriptures I have been convicted to pray for myself and descendants. Today, I wish to talk about desiring God.

My theme today:

Pray that we and our descendants desire God. Pray that we desire God in a Psalm 42 and 63 way.

Let’s briefly look at Psalm 63:1-2:

O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly;
My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You,
In a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.

  1. My theme and prayer is that we desire God.
    1. Allow me to introduce this Psalm with something Chuck Swindoll wrote:
    2. A Song of Quietness
      by Charles R. Swindoll,
      Psalm 63:1–11: How easy it is to fall into the trap of “ritual religion”! So many Christians know little of a vital, fresh, day-by-day relationship with the Lord. I did not say an inactive relationship. Christians have never been more active! The tyranny of the urgent is no theoretical problem. Many a believer jumps off the Sunday treadmill of activities only to hop on the weekday treadmill of meetings, appointments, functions, rehearsals, clubs, engagements, banquets, studies,  committees, and retreats. I heartily agree with the one who said, “Much of our religious activity today is nothing more than a cheap anesthetic to deaden the pain of an empty life!”[1]

That’s a harsh truth to ponder. As a pastor, I hope to help you cultivate a consistent and meaningful walk with the Lord Jesus Christ, a relationship that thrives without needing to be pumped up and recharged with an endless succession of activities. I would wish that we all might know our Lord in such a significant way that this divine companionship, this healthy vertical relationship, becomes a steady, serene, daily communion. We must find ways to live beyond the grind of ritual religion.

In The Pursuit of God, A. W. Tozer writes,

I want deliberately to encourage this mighty longing after God. The lack of it has brought us to our present low estate. The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted. Too bad that with many of us He waits so long, so very long, in vain.

Every age has its own characteristics. Right now we are in an age of religious complexity. The simplicity that is in Christ is rarely found among us. In its stead are programs, methods, organizations and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart. The shallowness of our inner experience, the hollowness of our worship and that servile imitation of the world that marks our promotional methods all testify that we, in this day, know God only imperfectly, and the peace of God scarcely at all.[2]

Psalm 63 is David’s song about what it means to have a desperate longing for God, and what it means to be fully satisfied in Him alone. It is not a song of activity but of quietness. David didn’t write a march to impel busy feet, but a sonnet to woo thirsty souls.

Believe it or not, many people don’t know they’re thirsty. You may not feel a deep longing to cultivate an ongoing personal interaction with God. That’s probably because you have dulled your spiritual senses with activity. Career activity. Social activity. Religious activity. If so, your first response may be to slow your pace, to simplify.[3]

  1. I have to say that that devotional By Swindoll says it all. At least two Psalms are convictional to me in my prayers about desiring God. One Psalm is Psalm 42. I preached on that Psalm last year. Another Psalm is this Psalm 63.
  2. This Psalm is written by David, either when he was running from Saul or running from Absalom (1 Sam. 23:14–15; 24:1; 2 Sam. 15:23, 28). I think he was likely running from Absalom. You may know the story. David’s son Absalom successfully takes the kingdom away from David. David eventually does regain the kingdom.
  3. Here David says God is his God.
  4. As we review this Psalm, let’s do a Spiritual checkup.
  5. Can you say that? Do you live like God is your God? Or, has God been replaced? Do you organize your affairs around God or your television shows? Who runs your life?
  6. David says that he earnestly seeks God. Do you seek Him?
  7. His flesh yearns for God. He is thirsty for God?
  8. Have you ever been thirsty for God?
  9. In verse 3 David says that God’s lovingkindness is better than life?
  10. Do you believe that?
  11. Is God’s lovingkindness better than life? This is not saying equal to life, but better than life.
  12. David says his lips will praise God.
  13. In verse 4 David says that he will bless God as long as he lives.
  14. David will lift up his hands to God’s name. How are we doing with that?
  15. Notice verses 6-7: When I remember You on my bed,
    I meditate on You in the night watches,
    For You have been my help,
    And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy
  16. Verse 6 has the idea of memorizing Scripture. Verse 6 has the idea of making God and His Word apart of us.
  17. Verse 6 is the idea of waking up at night and thinking about God and His Word. It is the idea of going to sleep thinking about God. A related Psalm is Psalm 4:4: Tremble, and do not sin; Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.
  18. Think about that, when we recognize who God is and who we are, we tremble at the complete reverence before the Holy, Righteous God. Then, we think about our relationship with God and we desire Him.
  19. David desired God. He was thirsty for God.
  20. Verse 8 says: My soul clingsto You;
    Your right hand upholds me.
  21. That word translated as “clings” is the same word used to describe the bond between a husband and wife.
  1. How do we desire God?
    1. I would start by spending time in His Word.
    2. You may not want to at first, but you must make yourself do it.
    3. Add prayer to your day.
    4. Don’t miss church. In fact, most American Christians are really not involved in the church. Attending church once a week is not being connected to the church in a Biblical way. God wants us to be in community. Join one of the other Bible Studies. Join the choir or the praise team. Come to Sunday School.
    5. In the fall I am starting a spiritual disciplines class which will meet either early in the morning or evening. I would lead that at midnight of that works best for one of you. I would do this because my prayer and desire is that we are disciples. Disciples desire God.
    6. You know what, I do not usually like water, but when I am really thirsty I desire water. That does not mean I do not need water the other times. We always need water. You may not crave and thirst for all the time, but you do need Him.
    7. I pray you desire God like David in this Psalm.


I talked about hitting a runners wall on that summer run. Well, a few months later I did not hit a wall in that way, but I was more thirsty than ever before. This was another Thursday. It was early September of 2012. I was increasing my distance and was now running just over 10 miles. It was sunny and it was hot. I still had not learned to take water on my runs. I ran and I ran and I ran. Up the hills and through the town of Alliance, Ohio. Then, in the last mile of the run the lack of water hit me. I was running up the hill on the last road to my house and I was so thirsty. But I survived.

Will you survive without water?

You will not survive the Christian life without time in the Bible, time in prayer and time with the church.

I pray that we desire God.

John Piper writes:

The cost of food in the kingdom is hunger for the bread of heaven, instead of the white bread of the world. Do you want it? Are you hungry? Or are you satisfied with yourself and your television and your computer and your job and your family?[4]

Luke 9:23

Do you know Jesus?

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)



[1] Howard G. Hendricks in an unpublished speech at Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, Texas.

[2] A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God (Camp Hill, PA: WingSpread, 2006), 17.

[3] Adapted from Charles R. Swindoll, Living the Psalms: Encouragement for the Daily Grind (Brentwood, Tenn.: Worthy Publishing, a division of Worthy Media, Inc., 2012). Copyright © 2012 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

[4] John Piper, author and pastor, from sermon “The Present Power of a Future Possession,” preached at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota (4-27-97).


Pray we and our children live by conviction

Pray We and Our Children Love the Word and Live by Conviction (Psalm 51:1-12 and Psalm 119:9-11 and 105)

Praying Scripture Series

Prepared and preached on June 3, 2018 for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH

Let’s think about conviction, confession, repentance and forgiveness.

Married for 16 years and with two great kids, Kurt Stansell seems to have it all together. He has a successful investment counseling business, and he’s a founding elder at his church. And he’s a sex addict. Kurt’s the first to admit it.

For years, Kurt struggled with pornography. It started with magazines, but eventually turned into visits to Triple-X theaters and strip joints. Kurt kept repeating a cycle of guilt and remorse, then prayer and repentance, only to find himself back at it again.

Eventually, Kurt found an accountability partner named Stan. At first, Kurt held back, being less than honest about his problem. But when he finally confessed, telling Stan the whole truth, Kurt immediately felt a weight lifted from his shoulders. He was on the road to victory.

“I began to understand what shame does,” Kurt says. “When we Christians try to hide something in the darkness, we give Satan incredible license to work in our lives. So, the more open I could be, the less of a hold Satan seemed to have.”[1]

Today, we are going to have a discussion, a conversation about conviction, repentance and forgiveness. So, to start I want you to think about sometime that you have had to forgive someone else. Maybe you can recall someone disrespecting you in the way that they said something. Maybe you can recall someone stealing something. Maybe, maybe you can recall something like this……. Play nationwide commercial

——————nationwide commercial

But, she really wasn’t an example of forgiveness, Nationwide was or at least they say they forgive. So, have you ever had to forgive someone?

Now, turn it around. Think about conviction. Then, think about repentance.

We are in a sermon series in which I am focusing on Scriptures that I have been convicted to pray for my children, grandchildren and descendants. These are Scriptures that I pray for myself and the churches I serve and the Church universally.

I pray that we are repentant in a Psalm 51 way. I pray that we are convicted in a Psalm 51 way. I also want to squeeze into this sermon that I also pray that we have a Psalm 119 passion for the Word.

So, I will often pray something like:

Father, I pray that myself, Meagan, Mercedes and Abigail as well as their future spouses, also our grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren, I ask that we will live by conviction of sins of omission and commission. I ask the we will live by conviction of right and wrong. I pray that we will be repentant like David in Psalm 51 where we can say with David in verses 10-12:

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.

Father God, I also ask that Meagan and I and our descendants will live with a passion for the Word like the Psalmist in 119. May Your Word be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path; may we hide Your Word in our heart so that we do not sin against You.[2] In Jesus’ Name Amen.

My theme today is: Pray that our descendants are men and women of conviction and repentance in a Psalm 51:1-12 way.

Let’s turn to Psalm 51 and read it.

Read Psalm 51:

Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;
According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.
Against You, You only, I have sinned
And done what is evil in Your sight,
So that You are justified when You speak
And blameless when You judge.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being,
And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.
Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me to hear joy and gladness,
Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins
And blot out all my iniquities.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.

  1. First, let’s talk about conviction as I am using it for this sermon.
    1. One definition of conviction is a strong persuasion or belief.[3]
    2. That is certainly what I pray for myself and our descendants. I pray that our convictions, our strong persuasions and beliefs, are rooted and grounded in the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ.
    3. Psalm 119:9-11 and 105: How can a young man keep his way pure?
      By keeping itaccording to Your word.
      10 With all my heart I have sought You;
      Do not let me wander from Your commandments.
      11 Your word I have treasured in my heart,
      That I may not sin against You. Your word is a lamp to my feet
      And a light to my path.
    4. How do we stay pure? By keeping our life according to the Word. How do we live by conviction? By make the Word of God a part of us.
    5. Another way that I pray that my descendants are men and women of conviction is that they will be convicted of sins and repent. As stated, there are sins of omission and commission. Sins of omission are sins because we do not do something that we should have done. Neglecting something we should have done. Sins of commission are sins that commit like lying or murder. I pray that we are repentant like David in this Psalm 51. Now, let’s get to the Psalm.
  2. Now I want to give you some background to Psalm 51.
    1. Psalm 51 is about David, the famous King of Israel.
    2. David had conquered many enemies of Israel.
    3. David was God’s anointed King of Israel. (1 Samuel 6:13)
    4. But then, in 2 Samuel chapters 11-13 we see King David commit this awful sin, try to cover it up and then he is confronted by the prophet Nathan. David had some free time because the others went out to battle but this time King David, the famous King of Israel stayed home. King David is about to, as Johnny Cash would say, fall into a “Burning Ring of Fire.” During the night David was walking on the roof of the king’s house and he saw this beautiful woman named Bathsheba taking a bath. David had a servant go and get her and David slept with her. Later on she ended up pregnant.
    5. So, David has to cover up this sin. The pregnancy is going to make it known by everyone that she is pregnant but not by her husband. Her husband, Uriah, the Hittite, was away at battle. So, David sent for him. David had him come home and tried to get him to sleep with his wife, Bathsheba. But Uriah wouldn’t. Uriah wanted to be back at the battle.
    6. So then, David sent Uriah back to battle with the message that he be placed on the front lines and the rest of the troops will withdraw from him (2 Sam 11:14).
    7. So, Uriah died in battle.
    8. In this Psalm David had been confronted about this sin of adultery and murder and this is his prayer of confession.
    9. Before we move on I want to quote 1 John 1:9: if we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
  • Now let’s look at David’s prayer again
    1. Notice that David asks for God’s grace (verse 1).
    2. he says that He wants God’s grace according to His loving kindness and His compassions (verse 1). David acknowledges who God is. David knows that we have a loving God.
    3. David wants God to blot out his transgression wash him from his iniquity, (verse 1 and 9) cleanse him from his sin. (verse 2 and 10)
      1. This is an instance in the Bible where there are 3 words for sin. They all have separate meanings but very similar. Iniquity is a wicked act or thing. Transgression is crossing a law, sin is missing the mark. David the famous king of Israel is acknowledging in a heavy way that he messed up. In verse 4 he says that he knows his transgression, crossing of the law. In verse 4 he says that he sinned against God and that God is right and a just judge.
      2. David wants this sin to blotted out. The idea of blotting something out is like erasing a contract. David wants his sin to be erased.
  • In a Babylonian text there is a comment that the king may order that the tablet of “my sins be broken.” In Hammurabi’s code an illegal contract for the purchase of a soldier’s home may be canceled by breaking the cuneiform tablet. But this was not usually thought of with a god. This is what David wanted.
  1. David wants to be washed in verse 2 and later in verse 7 he talks about the idea of being washed. In verse 7 he talks about being purified with hyssop which was plant they used to purify uncleanness.
  2. David wants to be cleansed.
  3. Think of the effects of confession and repentance:

By the time Howard Schultz had resigned from Starbucks in 2000, the coffee chain was experiencing steady growth. Eight years later, when Starbucks was reeling from a bad economy and stiff competition, Schultz resumed his role as Starbucks’ chief executive. He faced a challenging mission: to lead a turnaround. In an interview about his return, Schultz commented that before they could move forward, they had to deal with the past by honestly admitting their mistakes. Here’s an excerpt from that interview:

When I returned in January 2008, things were actually worse than I’d thought. The decisions we made were very difficult, but first there had to be a time when we stood up in front of the entire company as leaders and made almost a confession—that the leadership had failed the 180,000 Starbucks people and their families. And even though I wasn’t the CEO…I should have known better. I am responsible. We had to admit to ourselves and to the people of this company that we owned the mistakes that were made. Once we did, it was a powerful turning point. It’s like when you have a secret and get it out: The burden is off your shoulders.[4]

  1. But then in verse 8 David prays for joy again.
  2. David has probably lost the joy because for a year he had this overwhelming guilt of this sin that he committed. Guilt can cause major problems there is even a whole chapter on guilt in Pastoral counseling books.
  3. David asks for a clean heart and a right Spirit. (10)
  4. David asks that he not be cast from God’s presence and that he doesn’t lose the Holy Spirit.
  5. in 1 Samuel 18 and 19 we can see that the Spirit of the Lord had left King David’s predecessor Saul because of sin.
  6. Then in verse 12 David asks for the joy of God’s salvation and a willing Spirit. The Living Translation says “and make me willing to obey Him.
  7. I find this interesting. After confessing David asks for help to keep obeying God.

We live in a society where people focus on the outside but King David focused on the inside. He had messed up. But when David confessed it he went to God. David realized that he couldn’t fix this massive sin on his own. He had to go to God. Then when he went to God, he didn’t make excuses.

  1. He acknowledges his “epic failure.”
  2. He asks for a cleansing
  3. He asks that he doesn’t lose his close relationship with God.

Research psychologists have found there are at least three situations when we are not ourselves. First, the average person puts on airs when he visits the lobby of a fancy hotel. Next, the typical Jane Doe will try to hide her emotions and bamboozle the salesman when she enters the new-car showroom. And finally, as we take our seat in church or synagogue, we try to fake out the Almighty that we’ve really been good all week.[5]

God forgave David. Jesus came from David’s lineage and Jesus died that we all can have forgiveness and a relationship with God. (2 Cor 5:21: God made Him who knew no sin….) Remember what  1John 1:9 says God will forgive us and cleanse us from our sins. If we confess. God will forgive you even if people will not.

Now, we have talked about David’s sin and confession.

How are you doing with repentance and confession?

We need to pray that God helps us, and our descendants, be men and women of conviction. We must ask God to help us to be men and women of conviction in that we know right from wrong and we are grounded in the Bible. But we also must pray for conviction of sins of omission and commission and that we respond like David in repentance.

Luke 9:23

Do you know Jesus?

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)



[1] Gregg Lewis, author of The Power of a Promise Kept. Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, no. 1.

[2] Psalm 119:9-11 and 105


[4] Adi Ignatius, “We Had to Own the Mistakes,” Harvard Business Review (July-August 2010), p. 109

[5] Dr. Perry Buffington, licensed psychologist, author, columnist; “Playing Charades,” Universal Press Syndicate (9-26-99)