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Sermons from Big Tree Wesleyan Church

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Mulligans: David

In part 3/4 of the series "Mulligans: Second Chances in the Lives of God's People," Pastor Doug looks at one of the most defining moments in the life of King David. He begins by explaining David's sins of adultery and murder, but then moves toward David's prayer found in Psalm 51. Pastor Doug explains that Psalm 51 gives us an example of how to ask God for a second chance. He explains that it involves a three step process: "Forgive me; Cleanse me; Use me!" David asks God to not only forgive him for the sins he has committed, but also to blot them out entirely--to erase them from his permanent record. That is what God does: God forgives our sins and He doesn't continue to hold them against us. Any guilt and shame that comes from our sins after forgiveness, is not from God. Pastor Doug remarks that the Church is usually pretty good at forgiving people for sins. However, the Church often fails at erasing sin, and even more so at allowing people who have been forgiven to be used by God. But David tells God that if God can forgive and erase his sins, then David will continue to be used for the glory of God--to praise God and to teach other sinners about righteousness and the love of God. For us, our second chances involve admitting our sins or failures and believing that God cleanses those sins in order that we can be used for the glory of God. But we must believe that we are forgiven if we are going to allow ourselves to be used. So if you find yourself feeling weighed down by the weight of shame and sin, simply turn to God and ask to be forgiven, cleansed, and used for the glory of God.

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Mulligans: Peter

In part 2/4 of the series "Mulligans: Second Chances in the Lives of God's People," Pastor J.J. looks at the life of Peter, whose story spans the gospels. Peter was a person in need of not 1, not 2, but countless 'do-overs' or 'mulligans.' The second chances for Peter were all instances of God's grace, given in order that Peter might fulfill the call that Jesus put on his life: to be the rock which the Church will be built on, and to be a fisher of people. Looking at Luke 21:31-34 and John 21:15-19, Pastor J.J. reminds us that Peter had to be confronted with his self-assurance, pride, and over-confidence, and have grace extended to him, in order to understand his calling. Peter was so sure that he would never betray Jesus, but he did. But in the book of John, we see that it is Jesus who approaches Peter to extend grace. Peter doesn't go to Jesus groveling for forgiveness; Jesus asks the simple question: "do you love me Peter?" Jesus asks this same question of all of us, and if our answer is "yes," Jesus tells us to "feed His sheep," and "encourage your brothers and sisters." Our individual stories of God's grace are supposed to be used to encourage others who believe they are not in need of grace--or couldn't possibly be forgiven for what they've done. Our stories of grace are meant to be tools which lift people out of their shame and guilt.

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Mulligans: The Adulterer

In part 1/4 of the series "Mulligans: Second Chances in the Lives of God's People," Pastor Doug discusses the woman caught in adultery from the book of John. He calls this story an "epic mulligan"--an extraordinary instance of God's forgiveness. According to the law of Moses, a woman who is caught in adultery is to be stoned to death. But Jesus teaches the Pharisees and teachers of the law about forgiveness, by allowing anyone who is without sin to throw the first stone at the woman. Eventually every person leaves, because they recognize that they are not sinless, and Jesus is left alone with the woman. Jesus tells the woman that just as they have not condemned her, he too shall not condemn her. But, he tells her to go on and leave her life of sin. Jesus offers her a second chance, with the encouragement that the second chance be followed by a change of lifestyle. Pastor Doug encourages us all to see our mulligans as opportunities to leave our sins behind. God's grace extends to us, in order that we might overcome our mistakes and leave our sins in our past. Note: there is an illustration at the beginning of the sermon, where Pastor Doug attempts a golf swing and misses, in order to explain what a mulligan is.

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Pressing On: The Redirecting and Refining of Our Lives

Paul, in his letter to the church of the Phillipians, encourages Christians to "press on." Paul speaks of himself, and how he continues to move forward, daily, toward a deeper dedication and devotion of Christ. Paul's conversion is a testament to what Christ desires for all of us as believers. When Paul gave his life to Christ, he saw radical transformation take place, and the former persecutor of Christ became Christ's loudest spokesperson. Such transformation involves us pressing on, allowing our lives to be more and more refined and redirected toward Jesus. Pastor Doug says this is why we have such difficulty giving more areas or aspects of our life to Christ--because we know God will transform every area we allow Him to, which means surrendering our own power and control over those areas of our lives.

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Advent: Hope That Jesus Brings

For the first week of advent, Pastor Doug discusses the beauty of hope in our lives as believers. Repeatedly, life hands us disappointment, and even when we are ready for it to stop, life manages to send us more disappointment. That, is the bad news, but in Jesus, we have hope that will not ultimately disappoint. We have hope--an assurance--that even though the writing is on the wall about how things are, we can look beyond the writing and look to the future expectantly. Not that we deny reality, but we have faith to look beyond our current circumstances.

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