Sermons and Articles

CURRENT SERIES

GPS SERIES

This is a series about missions. GPS stands for Global Positioning System, and that's really what missions is all about...God positioning His people around the globe to accomplish the greatest feat in all of history; which is taking the Gospel of Jesus to every person on the planet. The most amazing detail of the plan is that each follower of Christ has a personal part to play in God’s GPS. Some GO, some PRAY and some SEND.

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PASTOR'S WEEKLY ARTICLE


For This Cause

February 13

Young David arrived at the camp of the Israeli army ready to see a fight. What he saw instead was a fiasco. 

David saw a Philistine named Goliath standing on the battlefield hurling insults at the Hebrew soldiers and their God. Worse still, the blasphemous insults went unchallenged.

Every ounce of Jewish pride rose up within the young shepherd boy destined to be king. As David gathered information in preparation to fight the giant himself, Eliab pulled his younger brother aside and dressed him down as only a big brother can do. 

Finally, David had heard enough. I’m sure he loved his brother. But David realized that Eliab was among the many for whom there isn’t anything worth living and dying for. David was made of different stuff. He looked his brother in the eye and asked this rhetorical question, “Is there not a cause?” (1 Samuel 17:29). Out of the entire army of Israel that day, David was the only person that believed in the cause.

Like Eliab, there are many people moving through life without a cause. This is the “vanity of vanities, all is vanity” crowd (Ecc. 1:2). For them there is nothing worth believing in. Nothing worth living for. Nothing worth fighting for. Certainly nothing worth dying for.

Trivial pursuit might be a fun game to play, but it’s a terrible way to live. The question of David echoes down the through centuries, “Is there not a cause?” Selah. Think about it.

A little more than one-thousand years after David fought Goliath, his most prominent descendant stood before Pontius Pilate. Knowing He was just hours from the cross, Jesus told the Roman Governor, “For this cause I was born” (John 18:37). 

As David ran to the battle (1 Samuel 17:48), Jesus steadfastly and resolutely made His way to Jerusalem where He would be crucified (Luke 9:51). Nothing could stop Him! Jesus considered the battle worth fighting. And like His Old Testament predecessor, Jesus fought and won (Colossians 2:14-15). David fought and won for Israel. Jesus fought and won for the world!

David asked, “Is there not a cause?” Jesus answered, “For this cause I was born.” 

God did not create us to drift aimlessly through life like a band of dreamless wanderers. He did not breathe the breath of life into us so we could spend our days pursuing vain and empty things that in light of eternity matter not.

God put us on this planet to live for His glory. He created us to know Him and make Him known. So take hold of that for which Jesus has taken hold of you (Philippians 3:12), and remind yourself each day that you were born for this cause…for His cause.

Pastor Todd Weston

The Builder

February 6


He could have been born into any home. 

He could have been the son of a doctor or a lawyer. A fisherman or a farmer. He could have been the son of a priest or a rabbi. When you think about it, any of these professions would have been appropriate considering who He was and what He was born to do. He could relate to all. 

But as God would have it, Jesus was born into the home of a carpenter by the name of Joseph. 

In his hometown of Nazareth Jesus was known as “the carpenter’s son” (Matthew 13:55). Joseph was in the building business. Before launching His public ministry, Jesus worked alongside his earthly father. They were more than handymen. It’s likely they built houses of wood and stone. Acting as civil engineers, they might have built bridges or other structures needed by people living in northern Galilee. Whatever the case, Jesus earned the reputation of a quality builder and was simply referred to as “the carpenter” (Mark 6:3).

Actually, the eternal Son of God was in the building business long before His incarnation as the son of Joseph. As a carpenter would frame a house, Jesus framed the universe and made the heavens and earth (Colossians 1:16 and Hebrews 11:3). Interestingly, Jesus made everything visible from invisible materials. In other words, He built it all using nothing except the divine energy of His creative power!

According to the creation account, He planted the first garden (Genesis 2:8), and formed the human race and the animal kingdom from the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7,19). We did not evolve. We were fearfully and wonderfully made! (Psalm 139:14)

From Abraham the Lord built the nation of Israel (Genesis 12:2). And within Israel, He established the royal family of David and would be its most prominent descendent (2 Samuel 7:12-16). Furthermore, the hand of the Master Carpenter is at work in the recent rebuilding of the nation of Israel. The psalmist spoke prophetically when he wrote, “The Lord builds up Jerusalem; He gathers the exiles of Israel” (Psalm 147:2).

Concerning the Church Jesus said, “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18). In spite of everything that comes against it, the Church of Jesus Christ will prevail because it is built to last!

Do you want a marriage and family that are built to last? The Bible reminds us, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1). What’s true of a home is true of our personal lives. A life built on anything other than Jesus “will collapse with a mighty crash” (Matthew 7:27). But a life built on the strong foundation of Christ will succeed.

In this world of trouble it’s good to know that the Master Architect is building a kingdom that cannot be shaken (Hebrews 12:28). While the kingdoms of earth will crumble and fade into oblivion like dust in the wind (Daniel 2:35), the kingdom of God will stand eternal. As believers in Jesus Christ we are citizens of the kingdom He is building, over which “He shall reign forever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).

Pastor Todd Weston 

This Sunday at RLA —

As believers in Jesus we are called to be missionaries to our world, and missionary senders to the rest of the world. Join us at RLA this Sunday at 9:30am as we continue our missions series GPS — GO, PRAY, SEND. See you Sunday!

Pastor Todd

Joseph's Bones

February 2


Just before he died, Joseph made an usual request of his family. He told them the day was coming when God would bring Israel out of Egypt to the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Genesis 50:24). He then made them promise they would take his bones with them (Genesis 50:25). With that assurance, Joseph died and was buried in Egypt (Genesis 50:26).

Fast forward some two-hundred years to the night of the exodus. The grip of Pharaoh was finally broken by the death angel, and the Children of Israel were in a hurry to leave. Remembering the promise, Moses gave the order, “Go get Joseph’s bones! We can’t leave without them!” So they dug up the coffin, and for the next forty years someone had the unique assignment of hauling Joseph’s bones all over the Sinai wilderness.

In the meantime, Moses died and Joshua became the new leader. Under Joshua the Children of Israel entered the Promised Land and launched the conquest of Canaan. Everywhere they went, Joseph’s bones went with them. Finally, in the next to the last verse in the book of Joshua we are told they buried Joseph’s bones in the family cemetery in Shechem. He made it! 

I think it’s interesting that in the roll call of the heroes of faith (Hebrews 11) the Hebrew writer said nothing about Joseph resisting Potiphar’s wife. Not a word is said about Joseph’s continued faithfulness in prison, or his interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams, or his role in saving undoubtedly millions from starvation during the seven years of famine. 

What did the writer say about Joseph? Here it is, “By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones” (Hebrews 11:22). That’s it! Joseph told his people, “Someday you are going to leave this place, and when you do, take me with you.”

Joseph lived his entire adult life in Egypt. He acquired fame and fortune in Egypt. He married and raised a family in Egypt. But Joseph never considered it his home. He knew he was a stranger living in a strange land (Hebrews 11:13). As nice as Egypt must have been, Joseph never felt like he belonged. 

Do you ever feel the same way? This world is not our home. We’re just passing through on our way to the place Jesus is preparing for us. So don’t get too attached to this old world because it’s just a temporary stop on the journey. Heaven is our forever home. And like Joseph, we are going to make it!

Pastor Todd Weston

This Sunday at RLA —

There are many causes out there people get involved in. Maybe you have heard about the Critter Connection. This charity was started in 2004 for the rescue and rehabilitation of neglected or abandoned guinea pigs. And then there is the Tall Clubs International Foundation. This organization is committed to the needs of exceptionally tall people. Of all the causes out there (some crazy, some legitimate), Jesus presented the greatest when He commissioned believers to take the gospel to the world. The Great Commission is a cause worth living for. Come hear more about it this Sunday at 9:30am as we launch missions emphasis 2019 at RLA. 

Pastor Todd

Weak Moments

January 24

As the hunter walked through the field in the early morning mist, he thought to himself, “It’s going to be a great day!” He was the rugged, outdoors type. Nature was his habitat. He was never more at home than when he was roaming the hills in search of game.


Returning home later that evening, he was suddenly captured by the smell of food cooking on a campfire. Weak from hunger from the day’s exertions, he was drawn to the scent like a moth to a flame. Arriving at the source, he found his twin brother slowly stirring a pot of stew. How strange. It was almost as if his brother was expecting him for dinner.


Famished, he cried out, “Brother, I am starving! Please give me something to eat.” With his eyes fixed on the pot he continued to slowly stir, Jacob said, “All you can eat in exchange for your birthright.” At that moment, his birthright was the last thing on Esau’s mind. The future mattered not. Only the immediate gratification of his flesh. 


So Esau agreed to the deal and sold his birthright for a bowl of stew. Finishing the dinner he wiped his mouth on his sleeve, stood and walked away, not realizing the enormity of what had just transpired. This incident in the life of Esau is a solemn reminder of how much can be thrown away in a moment of weakness, never again to be recovered. 


Whether it’s Esau selling his birthright to Jacob, Samson telling his secret to Delilah, David committing adultery with Bathsheba, or Peter denying Christ, the common denominator in each scenario is an unguarded moment of weakness.


Weak moments are sure to come because we are human. Furthermore, the enemy is aware of our weaknesses and is sure to aim his arrows of temptation at those well known targets. Jacob didn’t ask Esau to sell his birthright after he had just eaten a full meal. He waited until he was weak with hunger. Esau’s weakness was Jacob’s opportunity, and it worked! Being aware of this strategy of the enemy can help us to always be on our guard.


Avoiding situations or relationships that have the potential of rendering us spiritually weak is another good battle plan. Just as Superman avoided kryptonite, we can avoid the things that amplify our weakness and diminish our righteous resolutions.


The best defense of all is to stay close to Jesus who, though tempted in His moment of physical weakness, overcame and did not sin. Come to think of it, one of the first songs I sang in church as a young boy included this line, “We are weak, but He is strong.” 


Lean on Jesus every moment of every day. Depend on His all-sufficient grace to see you through and you will be able to testify with Paul, “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).


Pastor Todd Weston