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I don’t know how I’d go about it, but I would love to learn how Christianity first came to Oklahoma City. When was the gospel first preached in our city and by whom? What was the response of those who heard? Was there initial opposition to the truth? Were those who spoke of Jesus persecuted? If so, how did they react? Where was the first church planted? How large was it? How quickly did the gospel spread to the surrounding area? I would love to know the answer to the...Read More

My guess is that many of you are thinking to yourselves: “Sam, are you kidding me? You actually plan on preaching an entire sermon on the opening greeting of a NT epistle. Come on! Give us some biblical meat, something we can really chew on and apply to our lives, something that’s going to make a difference in how I conduct my life next week, something that’s going to stick in my soul and change how I think and feel and act. For heaven’s sake, don’t waste my ti...Read More

I have to confess that all week as I studied and reflected on this passage we’ve just read, I was envious. I don’t think it was sinful envy, but envy it was. Hearing Paul talk about his relationship to the Philippians, how he felt about them and loved them and yearned to be with them, how he prayed for them and how he partnered with them in the gospel, I couldn’t help but stand back from it all and say: “This is what the church is supposed to be. This is the body...Read More

Tertullian (@ 200 a.d.) was one of the greatest of the early church fathers and was actually the first man to use the word “Trinity” to describe the nature of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He lived and wrote at a time when opposition to Christianity and the Church was intensifying. Although Tertullian was an apologist, which is to say he devoted himself to defining and defending the Christian faith against its critics, he was quick to point out that it wasn’...Read More

One of the greatest challenges we face as Christian men and women is the threat to our confidence in the goodness of God when circumstances turn bad. Therefore one of the greatest needs we have is the faith to believe that God exercises providential control over every dimension of our lives and will transform even the worst and most aggravating of tragedies into an opportunity for the advancement of the gospel and the praise of his glory....Read More

The art of living well comes from knowing that dying is gain. Contrary to what many may think, that is not morbid. In fact, there is nothing quite as exhilarating and life-giving and joy-filled as pondering death. At least that’s true for the Christian. ...Read More

How do you respond when God gives you something you don’t want? How would you describe your feelings when God brings people, circumstances, and situations into your life that are at best inconvenient and at worst irritating, exasperating, and perhaps even life threatening? ...Read More

What kind or sort of relational culture do you want to see and experience here at Bridgeway? What ought to be the personal, inter-relational atmosphere here in our church? For what do you want to be known by those outside our community? When people speak of Bridgeway and the way all of us interact with one another, what do they say? What you do want them to say? That’s what I want us to think about today. But before I go any further, let me give you an illustration of ...Read More

Some statements in the Bible leave you scratching your head, asking: “What could this possibly mean?” Other texts leave you wiping tears from your eyes, wondering: “Did God really do that for me?” Then there are those passages that blow your mind and leave you shouting: “Wow! I can’t believe what I just read!” And finally there are some things in the Bible that leave you gasping for breath, struggling to maintain your composure, texts and statements and sto...Read More

I need to explain the title to today’s message: Act the Miracle. It isn’t original with me. I didn’t make it up. I stole it. I have unapologetically plagiarized the words “Act the Miracle” from the Desiring God national conference that Ann and I attended last September in Minneapolis, with their permission of course....Read More

I don’t know how you feel about this, but there have been times during the course of my life and ministry in the local church when I seriously wondered if it might be the wise thing to do simply to quit and withdraw into the isolation and seclusion of a monastery. As boring and outrageous as that may sound to you, at times it has struck me as profoundly appealing....Read More

Some of you may not like the title to my message this morning. You may think it lacks political correctness and that instead of referring to an ordinary “Man” of God I should have said an ordinary “Person” or “Human,” and in that way I would have included both genders, male and female. But the fact is that I have in view “men” particularly and not “women.” That isn’t to say women can’t benefit from what I want to say. I’ll explain how they can i...Read More

My first experience with divine healing came quite suddenly and unexpectedly and with remarkable results. I was 10 years old. We had just moved into our new home in Midland, Texas. I had gone to bed somewhat early that night because of a terribly painful headache. I didn’t know anything about migraines at that young age, but I suspect that’s what I was suffering from. It was debilitating, almost paralyzing....Read More

I have a simple but profound philosophy when it comes to the Christian life. When it is fully understood it can be revolutionary. By that I mean it can take a self-absorbed, idolatrous rebel and empower him to pursue a life that truly honors God. It can take a hopelessly depressed, self-loathing woman and restore meaning and value and joy to her lowly life....Read More

Put aside your political affiliation for just a moment this morning, and don’t let it interfere with my opening illustration....Read More

My title for today is a long one – Holy Dissatisfaction and Relentless Pursuit: Overcoming the Threat of Spiritual Stagnation. Now what in the world do I mean by that?...Read More

I can live in the absence of a lot of things. If pressured to do so, I can probably get by without baseball and movies and books and a nice car and the home where Ann and I currently reside. To lose all that would be hard. It would put a strain on life. But I think I can live without them....Read More

This past week I counted up and gave some considerable thought to the churches that I’ve either regularly attended while growing up or at which I have served on pastoral staff. The total came to an even dozen. Included among these are four Southern Baptist churches that I attended regularly while growing up, one independent Baptist church, one Presbyterian church, two non-denominational Bible churches, one Vineyard church, one Anglican church, one non-denominational ch...Read More

Rejoice in the Lord? Are you kidding? Is Paul kidding? Does he have any idea what he’s saying? Is he so out of touch with the harsh realities of life that he can be this flippant and happy-go-lucky?...Read More

Among the many reasons I could mention why I love God’s Word, let me give you just one example. When I read a passage such as Philippians 4:8-9, I find myself experiencing a double effect. On the one hand, I feel encouraged and energized, almost as if I’m being lifted above and beyond the harsh realities of life in this fallen world of ours. It’s as if the exalted language of v. 8 and the virtues to which it calls me serve as something of a powerful updraft that el...Read More

One of the most helpful things I’ve learned in my years as a pastor is the crucial role that self-awareness plays in our growth as Christians. By self-awareness I mean the capacity to be honest and sincere when it comes to both our strengths and weaknesses. To be “aware” of oneself in the way that I have in mind is to be conscious and forthright about our tendencies and inclinations. To be self-aware is to possess a keen sense of the way we impact other people. To ...Read More

There are over 2,300 references to finance and money in Scripture. Many would prefer that the Bible say nothing at all on the subject because any mention of it makes them feel uncomfortable. Some are uncomfortable because they feel guilty for not being generous and for having fallen far short in financial stewardship. Others feel uncomfortable because they think the only reason why a preacher would ever bring it up is when he wants to elevate his own personal standard of...Read More

This inaugural message on the book of Proverbs is going to be somewhat odd, insofar as I am going to provide a short introduction to the book as a whole while also addressing what it says about how to overcome the power of peer pressure. ...Read More