Pastor Mark begins by telling the story of his great uncle, Waldemar Wendt, who was an Admiral in the Navy, and the officers who were under his authority. Jesus' disciples were also "under authority," until the day came when they thought he was dead. This sermon examines the changes that took place in their lives when they came to believe that Jesus was alive. It also examines the changes we should expect to see in our lives if we truly believe, "Christ is Risen, Indeed!"
Pastor Mark explores the prophecy of Zechariah that was fulfilled on the first Palm Sunday. This sermon looks at the qualities of the King of Glory, and also explains why this passage was put into Handel's Messiah.
Zechariah's vision of two olive trees connected to a lampstand forms the backdrop for a message to encourage God's people in confronting big obstacles. The two trees represent pastors and laity working together to accomplish God's purposes. The oil in the lampstand represents the Holy Spirit of God, which is the power behind every mountainmoving task. God also employs human hands, and does not despise the day of "small things." Joy and confidence in God's final outcome give encouragement and energy to complete the tasks before us.
Malachi works beside Nehemiah in 443 BC to encourage revival and confront half-hearted faith among the returned exiles. As the last book of the OT, Malachi looks toward the coming Messiah, and encourages revival.
The exiles return to Jerusalem, they begin the work on the temple, but 16 years after finishing the foundation, the temple still lies in ruins. Through a series of 4 sermons, Haggai stirs the people to action and promises that God will be with them. Pastor Mark brings practical application to St. Paul's in our current community and setting.
When life comes undone, God places us in a position where we are forced to live by faith. The prophet Habakkuk gives wise counsel from the Heavenly Father in confronting the difficulties we face in our personal lives, and in the world. The story of T. J. Addington's (director of EFCA's ReachGlobal) struggle with MRSA pneumonia and near death forms the backdrop for the message.
This Sunday's message reminds us that "sometimes God's promise of judgment on the triumphant perpetrators of evil can be an encouragement" (a quote from Don Carson). Pastor Mark takes the congregation into the courtroom of Nahum 1, and describes the judge, the district attorney, and the verdict. It is a message that is at the same time both shocking and comforting.