Outward Church

Outward Church

Almost Christian | Acts 18:18-19:10

Amy and Mack are Christians. They grew up going to church with their parents, and they go on Easter, Christmas, and about once a month. They go every month because they want their two daughters to have good morals. They want them to have Christian values. It will give them their best chance of success in life, and isn’t that what God wants anyway? They send their daughters to Vacation Bible School (VBS) every summer for good measure. Amy’s sister…

The Mission of God | Acts 18:1-17 (Misseo Dei)

What do you think of when you hear the word “Missionaries?” I sometimes think of two young men, dressed in blue khakis, wearing white shirts and ties. They’re wearing nametags, “Elder Tim” and “Elder Rob.” Mormon missionaries. I remember the time I filled out a form on their website to receive a free copy of the Book of Mormon, and the confirmation page said, “Some missionaries will be by to deliver it soon.” I was like, what?! I thought they’d…

A Lost City | Acts 17:16-33

I want us to take some time this morning and think about our communities, the places where we live. I especially want us to think about Westford, the community God has placed us in. As we think about our towns, think of some of the things you really like about your community. What do you appreciate? I love Westford. It’s a beautiful town, with lots of winding roadways, big beautiful houses, land, and yet there’s also a nice modern part…

How to Listen to a Sermon | Acts 17:10-15

Sermons are boring!… Let me rephrase. Sermons can be boring. I grew up in a Baptist church in Estes Park, Colorado. The pews were, and still are, a lovely shade of orange. For a long time, I got out of having to listen to sermons regularly by helping my dad with children’s church. It was like a “get out of jail free” card. It was fantastic. At children’s church, there were plenty of club crackers, and the Gatorade was flowing.…

An Upside-Down Church | Acts 17:1-9

My wife and I watched the Broadway Musical Hamilton last summer on Disney+. All the songs are brilliant, but I was reminded of one of them as I thought about today’s sermon. Have you heard the one about the battle of Yorktown? Washington is trying to defeat General Cornwallis, and he sends Lafayette and Alexander Hamilton to capture two key positions. In the musical, as they’re going into battle, they sing about what they’re trying to accomplish. They’re trying to…

Understanding Christian Persecution | Acts 16:16-40

Christianity is like a nail; the harder you hit it, the deeper it goes.[1] In 1966, Mao cast out Western missionaries and persecuted Christians. A Star in the East reports, “Ironically, the persecution of Protestants may have been the single most beneficial event for the success of the Christianity in China!” It transformed the Chinese Christian movement into a local movement led by the Chinese. It got rid of the liberal missionaries who didn’t believe in Christ. Those who endured…

Strangely Comforting | Acts 15:36-16:15

In today’s text, I want to tell you about three things. I want to tell you about something I find strangely comforting, something I find oh so convicting, and something I find incredibly hopeful.  In that way, it kind of reminds me of 495. I find the sound of I-495 strangely comforting. When I wake up in the morning, if I listen carefully, I can hear the white-noise buzz of 495. When I hear the cars whizzing by, the truck…

A Gracious Counterculture | Acts 15:22-35

I wrote this sermon last week on Thursday, the day after the clash at the capitol. You probably watched the news and saw the pictures of journalists and politicians taking cover. I think the image I was most startled by was of the barricaded door into the House Chamber with the five agents with their guns drawn. The glass was broken and in another picture you could see another’s man’s face on the other side of the doorway. These images…

The Battle of the Believers | Acts 15:1-21 (Jerusalem Council)

We’re going back to Acts! We actually started our series in Acts, Outward Church, a year ago. I want to take a moment to look back, because it helps us look forward. When Jesus left his disciples and ascended into heaven he gave believers a special mission, which becomes a roadmap for Acts. Acts 1:8 (ESV) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all…

What is a Successful Church? | Acts 2:46-47

Sermon Acts 2:46-47 | Outward Church: What is a Successful Church? 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. The unit of thought starts at verse 42 or perhaps back at the beginning of the chapter/book. Subject: What is a Successful Church Compliment: The Church…