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Individual Studies

Don't Sit On Your Minas

Thoughts on stewardship.

Read more: Don't Sit On Your Minas

 

Why the Disparity between the Contemporary Church and the Early Church?

Peter Marshall has described 20th century Christians in the following words. "They are like deep sea divers, encased in suits for many fathoms deep, marching bravely forth to pull plugs out of bathtubs."

Howard Hendricks translates that by saying, "when we read the pages of the New Testament and try to relate what we hear to the contemporary church, we are compelled to conclude that the relationship is sometimes more one of contrast, rather than of comparison." In other words, today's church is not living up to its potential.

Read more: Why the Disparity between the Contemporary Church and the Early Church?

 

Miracles, Part One

Part of a series in Matthew 8 & 9

Let's look at Matthew 7:28 together:

"When Jesus had finished saying these things the crowds were amazed at His teaching because He taught as one who had authority not as the teachers of the law."

Read more: Miracles, Part One

 

Vine and Branches

How can our lives become more fruitful?

Bob Stone's First Sermon at Hillcrest Chapel, September 1977
Reprised for 25th anniversary, September 1, 2002

Read more: Vine and Branches

 

HILLCREST FORCE Acrostic: Our Strategy and Calling

Our mission statement captures in two sentences Hillcrest's long-held values and philosophy of ministry. "Hillcrest Chapel is to be a dynamic force of people (body of believers) filled with God's Spirit, meeting people's needs in Jesus' name. This will be accomplished by enjoying God's presence through a lifestyle of worship; by being equipped for service; by encouraging healing fellowship through love, acceptance, forgiveness, and belonging; and by being enlisted and sent out as salt and light to the Bellingham area and to the world."

The following is an acrostic which helps to summarize our strategy and calling. Fourteen things make Hillcrest different/unique. Presenting our Hillcrest Force Acrostic:

Read more: HILLCREST FORCE Acrostic: Our Strategy and Calling

 

Finding Living Bread - Uygur Testimony

by Pastor Jim Murphy
November 4, 2001

As Hillcrest Chapel "does all things to win some, and to leave a legacy for the next generation," some who we hope to win live on the other side of the world. This includes the Uygur ("we-gur") people group of Northwest China and Central Asia, in which we have had a special interest since 1990. This sermon is written in the form of a first person narrative, and is a fictional account of how a Uygur man became a follower of Jesus Christ. For security purposes, the names in the sermon are false, but all the events and statements are true representations of what this man's experience could be like.

Read more: Finding Living Bread - Uygur Testimony

 

Lamentation and Hope: A Response to 9-11-01

All of us in this church, this community, this nation and on this earth have witnessed this week, clarity. Evil (Satan’s vocation and hobby) is so often masked in our lives and in our world. This week evil boldly and brazenly unmasked itself from its many disguises and killed.

We are shaken. Our future seems uncertain, our daily tasks trivial in comparison to the death, destruction and heroics of the past week. The personal griefs we bear (too often alone) are weighing in on us and are overwhelmed by the attacks in New York and in Washington, D.C. We are powerless, it seems, to help. Our anger is red hot (but we know we must not be consumed by it); we demand justice (and certainly that will come, but we know not without further sacrifice and—for the church—not without mercy). We search for reasons for this monumental loss, and know explanations are elusive but that God enters fully into human suffering and we the church are called to follow.

Read more: Lamentation and Hope: A Response to 9-11-01

 

A Response to Terrorist Attacks

I want to thank Matt, Dale and Wayne for the way they handled the service last week and for their words and perspective. (A summary of their statements is on this site. I encourage you to read it.)

As we think again today about the horrific tragedy in New York, I want to encourage you to continue to pray for our country. We should be praying:

  • for all of those who are in authority in government—1 Timothy 2:1-4
  • particularly for our President
  • for the victims’ families
  • for Congress
  • for the Cabinet
  • for our law enforcement officials and officers everywhere in our nation
  • for our military forces
  • for those who fly and manage our airplanes—all of our transportation systems
  • for the firemen and policemen of New York City
  • and for all the children and adults everywhere who are still traumatized, fearful and in a great quandary because of the events of September 11th (How ironic it was a 911 call for America.)

Read more: A Response to Terrorist Attacks

 

The Problem of Temptation Pt. 2

The Problem of Temptation-Part Two

What Do I Do When I Fail?

Read more: The Problem of Temptation Pt. 2

 

The Crisis of Divorce Pt. 2

Matt. 5:31-32; 19:9-12; 1 Cor. 7:10-16

The crisis of divorce is a highly emotional, yet significant matter we must consider as thoughtfully and lovingly as we can. Most of us approach this subject with mixed feelings, because it is almost impossible to address without inflicting further hurt on some or arousing the wrath of others. The subject is too important, however, for such risks to keep us from sensitively giving attention to a biblical perspective on divorce and remarriage.

Read more: The Crisis of Divorce Pt. 2

 

Water Baptism: Being Established in the Faith Listening Guide and Quiz

When we discuss water baptism, there are basically two extremes that must be corrected before we get into the subject.

One extreme says water baptism is no longer significant.

Another extreme says we are saved by the right of baptism or baptismal regeneration.

Read more: Water Baptism: Being Established in the Faith Listening Guide and Quiz

 

History in Four Acts: The story of redemption we were created to know and experience

Easter 2001

Pastor Bob Stone

Christianity is supposed to speak to the deepest issues of our lives and to answer life’s most profound questions: "Why am I here?" Because some streams of modern Christianity have almost totally capitulated to our culture, however, what we have left is not the gospel or a true expression of Christianity. What we have left in many Christian churches today might be dubbed a "Christianity of tips and techniques," "feel good Christianity," or a Christianity with exterior trappings, but no heart!

Read more: History in Four Acts: The story of redemption we were created to know and experience

 

Finding Living Bread: a sermon by Pastor Jim Murphy, November 4, 2001

As Hillcrest Chapel "does all things to win some, and to leave a legacy for the next generation," some who we hope to win live on the other side of the world. This includes the Uygur ("we-gur") people group of Northwest China and Central Asia, in which we have had a special interest since 1990. This sermon is written in the form of a first person narrative, and is a fictional account of how a Uygur man became a follower of Jesus Christ. For security purposes, the names in the sermon are false, but all the events and statements are true representations of what this man's experience could be like.

Read more: Finding Living Bread: a sermon by Pastor Jim Murphy, November 4, 2001

 

The Practice of Physical Praise

 

We believe that all true worship starts in the heart of a person and will only be deep and meaningful when the heart is adequately prepared. If the heart has become a garden of praise, a storehouse of good things, we need to find biblical expression of that praise in our words and actions. Specifically, we need to consider the use of our body. Notice this is not our starting point, but the byproduct of adequate preparation.

Read more: The Practice of Physical Praise

 

Planting a Garden of Praise

Fred grew up in a Christian home where it was common for his parents to spontaneously say, "Praise God!" or "Praise the Lord, isn't God good?" Fred is now grown up and married and has a job in a local factory. Interestingly, even today Fred will mimic his parents and express his faith in God by saying, "Praise God, isn't the Lord good?" On the job site, in the home and especially in church when something goes his way, or when he is feeling good, he will give God the credit and praise Him for His blessing.

Read more: Planting a Garden of Praise

 

How to Have Healthy Families, preached Mother's Day 2001

Click here to download the complete PPT presentation.

One weekend, a family invited the preacher and his family to dinner. The family's little daughter was invited to say grace over the meal, but she hesitated and expressed that she was not sure what to say. Her mother spoke up and suggested that she just repeat what she had heard her parents say. The little girl grabbed onto that idea and said, "Oh Lord, why did I ever invite the preacher and his family over for dinner on this weekend!"

Read more: How to Have Healthy Families, preached Mother's Day 2001

 

Celebration and Sorrow: an interpretive eyewitness account of Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem by Pastor Jim Murphy (April 8, 2001)

Today I watched Jesus weeping. It was the second time I watched him weeping, and I won’t forget either time.

Let me take a few minutes to tell you what I’m talking about. My name is James. My wife Margaret and I live in a small village on the outskirts of Jerusalem, called Bethphage. We’ve lived there since we were married, nearly 28 years ago. Our village has usually been a sleepy little place, with its quiet periodically interrupted by bands of pilgrims making their way to Jerusalem for our religious feasts.

Read more: Celebration and Sorrow: an interpretive eyewitness account of Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem by Pastor Jim Murphy (April 8, 2001)

 

Creativity and the Believer by Pastor Wayne Stewart (January 7, 2001)

Click here to download the complete PPT presentation.

Much of my life has been devoted to creative activity. As far back as I can remember I have had this desire to make things; to create, to express myself artistically. As I was growing up, my parents were in a constant state of alert; never knowing where or when this son of theirs would decide that the moment had come for a performance. My main routine, I am told, was "Current TV Commercial Theme Songs." No potential audience was safe.

Read more: Creativity and the Believer by Pastor Wayne Stewart (January 7, 2001)

   

A Compassion-Compelled Community

Matthew 9:35-10:4

Consider with me a couple of questions.

What should we see when we daily observe the people surrounding us?

What do we see in people coming to this church?

What do we see in people around us?

Read more: A Compassion-Compelled Community

 

A Father's Race

I want to examine with you A Father's Race and what that means in the context of Hebrews 12:1-11.

Some time ago when I was in Wenatchee, I stopped in at one of the places I remember from growing up—Dusty's In and Out. When I got there I looked on the wall, and saw this picture of the 1957 Dusty's In and Out team, and the guy in the top row in the middle was me!

Read more: A Father's Race

 

Giving to God

Philippians 4; 1 Timothy 6; 2 Corinthians 8, 9

Let me tell you the story of Jacob and Lisa. They have two children (one a pre-schooler, and the other a young teenager), and are in their mid-30s. This is really a story about Jacob, who is currently in a great deal of debt. He has a good job, but like many of his peers, his expenses and lifestyle are beyond what he earns. He is a Christian believer, but he hasn't been doing very well spiritually lately. He is discontent with his life.

Read more: Giving to God

 

Ever-Increasing Encouragement

Hebrews 10:25a ...let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Encouragement—catching someone doing something right and telling them so.

When I was in Little League baseball, I had a coach by the name of Roy Snodgrass. I really thought Roy was a great coach at the time, but as I look back on the experience I remember little else than that he yelled at the team during practices and at games. Oh, there were those rare moments when he showed heart and genuine concern for the guys, but for the most part, Roy's standard tactic was intimidation by volume and loudness of speech. One rare moment was the time the bases were loaded, we were in the bottom of the ninth, and I was at bat. I can still remember the unusual words of the coach that day. They were complimentary and encouraging. Above the yell of the crowd, so everyone could hear it, he said: "Bobby, if anyone can do it, you can—just get a hit." Wow! My moment had come, but more than that, the coach had confidence in me.

Read more: Ever-Increasing Encouragement

 

Water Baptism: Getting Over the Hurdles

Water baptism brings to people's minds many different images, and presents for some people high hurdles that are difficult to get over. I can still remember that special but scary day when I was baptized. I was 12 years old and very shy; so frightened by the event, the prospects of saying my name and giving a short testimony, I thought I was going to die. I remember standing in front of my mirror and practicing over and over: "I love the Lord and I want to go all the way with Him," definitely a testimony that lacks any depth and today could certainly be misinterpreted. But on the day of my baptism that testimony seemed perfectly appropriate because it was short. Thankfully, I made it through and can still remember the great joy I felt on the other side of the baptism. It was a frightening moment, but it will always be a hallmark memory for me.

Read more: Water Baptism: Getting Over the Hurdles

 

The Crisis of Divorce Pt. 1

Divorce is a pressing national problem. No one needs to be told how serious it is, not only in this country, but worldwide. In many communities, in fact, divorces are more frequent than marriages. The crisis is affecting all of us. U.S.A. Today writes of the following incidents that took place in a child guidance clinic:

Read more: The Crisis of Divorce Pt. 1

 

Spiritual Health Habits: Faithful Attendance—an important call to commitment

Spurring On and Meeting with Other Believers

I want to tell you a story about the legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers. In one of his last games, Vince Lombardi's team had suffered a humiliating defeat. Standing before his team, Lombardi didn't need to say much, because these men were all great men and professionals. They recognized they weren't playing up to their potential, and that their lack of practice in certain areas had caused their defeat. They hadn't stayed with the game plan and, as a result, they lost.

Read more: Spiritual Health Habits: Faithful Attendance—an important call to commitment

 

The Problem of Temptation Pt. 1

INTRODUCTION: I think it can be shown that the people of any church will fit one of four basic situations in relation to moral failure.

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Changing Inside Out

Matthew 15:15-20

Introduction: This passage of Scripture is one of the most illuminating passages in the gospels, in regard to the great difference between religion and Christianity. Remember, religion is man's approach to God, and Christianity is God's approach to man. Religion is represented here in the text by the scribes and Pharisees, and Christianity is represented by Jesus.

Read more: Changing Inside Out

 

The Church: Marbles or Grapes

A Bag of Marbles or a Cluster of Grapes

 When I take a Sunday off, I almost always go to church somewhere else. In this session I want us to visit two churches in other cities. We'll need to travel back in time, via a kind of spiritual time machine. One church we'll visit will be a model for us, and the other will instruct us.

Read more: The Church: Marbles or Grapes