Outward Church

Outward Church

Thee-Part Testimony | Acts 21:27-22:22 (Jerusalem riot & Paul’s speech)

This morning, I got up thinking about the first time I ever shared my testimony, my story of coming to faith in Christ. In college, I took a spring-break missions trip down to Chinle, Arizona, to the Indian reservation to run a program for kids. I think we must have talked about sharing our testimonies because, on the drive down, I spent time writing my testimony. I wanted to share it, but I didn’t volunteer myself. But a few days…

When Facing Resistance | Acts 21:1-26 (Agabus & Paul’s Nazarite Vow)

Jamie is a Senior in college. That summer, she works at a Christian camp as a camp counselor. She leads hikes, runs workshops, and leaders her cabin time small group. She even gives some of the devotionals in the large group setting. Over the course of the summer, she begins to sense, not with audible words, but deep in her soul that the Holy Spirit might be calling her into Christian ministry. Jamie doesn’t know what that means, so she…

Passing the Baton | Acts 20:13-38

I know some of our teens do track. I think that’s pretty cool. I never did it, but my brother Matthew did the long jump and ran hurdles, 110 and 300. I love watching the Olympics, which are supposed to happen this summer in Tokyo. There are all sorts of great events, especially the team-relay events. The 4×100 involves four sprinters, who each pass a baton to one another before sprinting to their next partner. Did you know that in…

Freak Accidents | Acts 20:1-12 (Eutychus’s fall)

*Trigger Warning! The audio version especially, but also potentially the written version of this sermon, may be highly triggering to those who have experienced disabilities and/or seizures. Today I’m talking about freak accidents. I am going to tell a true story of a sudden death, a tragedy that hit me personally. Our Elders and Deacons recently did a mental health training through Harbor Christian Counseling in Boston and I asked them how to preach on triggering issues. They said to…

Power Part 2. Economic Power | Acts 19:23-41 (riot at Ephesus)

“Power is the ability to make something of the world.” Paul first introduces religious power in Acts 19 when he is in Ephesus. As Paul was doing ministry there God, was doing something powerful. Acts 19:11-12 (ESV) 11 And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. God was doing amazing things…

Power Part 1. Religious Power | Acts 19:11-22 (The Sons of Sceva)

Anglican theologian N. T. Wright tells the story of one of Britain’s most promising political leaders in the 1960s, George Brown. When he was a young man, [George Brown] said, he knew that things had to be changed. British society was in a mess; someone needed to get to the levers of power and make things happen, make things different. So he went into politics. But in local politics, even once he’d been elected to council office, he discovered that…

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.…