The Lost Art of Following Jesus
“This Is Greatness”
August 16, 2015 • Gary Brandenburg
Several years ago I was talking with a missionary who told me how hard it was to communicate with people from a vastly different culture. The example he used was unforgettable. He was working with a primitive tribe that knew very little about hygiene. In fact, they knew nothing about the concept of a toilet. This posed an obvious danger to the health of the tribe so he tried to explain to them their need for a latrine. They listened through translation as he tried to explain how to build one. He sketched out a rudimentary drawing that looked something like this…The men of the tribe studied it and said they could get it done. The missionary left the village and promised to come back in a couple of weeks to check their work. When he got back they proudly showed him their new outhouse. To his great surprise, something had been lost in translation and the outhouse looked like this…Instead of digging underground they had simply built it 16 feet above the ground! “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” Needless to say this design posed new dangers and would not lead to a healthier village.
August 2, 2015 • Gary Brandenburg
Mk. 10:1-12…I doubt there is anyone here who has not been directly affected by divorce. This subject stirs up a lot of feelings. If you are divorced you may live with a low-grade guilt about this subject. Whenever you hear the “D” word they get a sinking feeling. You may even feel judged because no one understands your situation. Those who have never been through a divorce can become judgmental. “How could anyone break their wedding vows? We’ve managed to be miserable all these years and stay married why can’t they?” The truth is marriage is a testing ground. The Pharisees asked Jesus about divorce, “in order to test Him…” Few things test our discipleship like marriage and divorce.
July 26, 2015 • Gary Brandenburg
On March 3, 1978, Karl Wallenda stepped out onto a cable suspended 120’ above the street stretching between two high-rise hotels in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The walk was routine for 73 yr. old who had been wire-walking for 57 years. No handstands, bicycles, 7 man pyramids…just Karl and his 23-ft. 36 lb. balancing pole. As he inched across the wire it began to “dance.” Wallenda crouched and cried out, “Tighten it.” Those were his last words as he lost his balance and fell to his death.
Suffering Triumphant Servant King
I was listening to a speaker last week that is involved in the Explore God initiative that Gary and Caleb introduced last Sunday. He marveled at how often people go online to look for information on Jesus. So I was curious. How often do people go on Google to get help in answering the question “Who is Jesus?” Apparently Google keeps track of that stuff and BoneZ helped me out. I discovered that there are roughly 800,000 searches per day for help in answering the question “Who is Jesus?” 800,000. I was astonished. And then I got curious again. I wonder what people are being told when they type in “Who is Jesus?” So I did that very thing and, .42 seconds later, I received 325,000,000 results. Here’s a sample of what I found:
“Blind, Deaf And A Little Bit Dumb”
July 12, 2015 • Gary Brandenburg
Christianity is increasingly unwelcome in our pluralistic public square. It’s OK to believe in God but Jesus is an awkward topic. If movies provide a window into the soul of our culture you might think there aren’t many Jesus followers. But Mark Joseph, a Hollywood producer, referring to an ABC poll that reported 83 percent of those surveyed self-identified as Christians, asks, “If half of all Americans go to church, why are so few TV and film characters seen in church or allowed to have normal religious practices portrayed as their other activities are?” (The Hollywood Reporter, 7/2/15). He went on to list several examples of secular censorship as far back as…
Jesus vs. Your World
July 5, 2015 • Randy Thompson
Good morning everyone and welcome to Fellowship Dallas. We’re glad you are here. My name is Randy and I’m one of the Associate Pastors here at the church. Happy Independence Day Weekend – I know that July 4th was yesterday, but we can still celebrate today can’t we? Especially since the US women’s soccer team is playing tonight in the World Cup Final. I’m feeling especially patriotic today.
Randy Thompson • June 28, 2015
Good morning everyone and welcome to Fellowship Dallas. We’re glad you are here. My name is Randy and I’m one of the Associate Pastors here at the church. We’re heading into the middle of summer and with the opportunity for vacations and other activities, sometimes it’s difficult to make it to church on Sunday, so we’re really glad you could make it here today Dallas. But for those of you who are dads who are here with your family, on behalf of our church, let me say thank you and encourage you to continue to seek Christ in full view of your children.
Step Up to the Plate
Randy Thompson • June 21, 2015
Good morning everyone and welcome to Fellowship Dallas. Let me begin by wishing all the dads out there a Happy Father’s Day. I know this is a special day for many of you – especially those first-time dads out there. I also know that today can be a struggle for some – whether it’s guys who are still praying for kids, those of you who have a difficult relationship with your father, or even for those of you who may have lost your father recently – I hope that you can find comfort and rest during your time here at Fellowship Dallas. But for those of you who are dads who are here with your family, on behalf of our church, let me say thank you and encourage you to continue to seek Christ in full view of your children.
Gary Brandenburg • June 14, 2015
He was a well-respected religious leader. She was ritually unclean. He was in charge of the local synagogue. She was forbidden to set foot in a synagogue. He enjoyed the admiration of the locals. She was an outcast. His name was Jairus. Her name was “anonymous.” He was a man, in a man’s world. She was an unclean woman, in an unkind world. He had a 12 year-old child. She had not touched a family member in 12 years since she started hemorrhaging. He had everything to lose in trusting Jesus. She had nothing left to lose. These two could hardly have been more different except for one thing; they were both desperate….5:21-23.
What Are You Afraid Of?
Gary Brandenburg • June 7, 2015
Tuesday I received a phone call from my wife telling me that my mother was missing. My mom, who has dementia, went for a drive…in a car…alone. I know what you’re thinking, “Uh-oh.” And you are right. I didn’t know what to do. Do I drive to East Texas and look for her? Where would I start? So we waited until the report came that she had been found on a dirt road out in the country. Somehow she had turned onto a road that got worse and worse until she got the car stuck in the mud. Otherwise, she would have probably kept driving. We’ve had record amounts of rain lately. Sadly, some people lost their lives in the flooding. But my mom was saved…because she got stuck in the mud. The same storm resulting in death can result in life for another. I want to tell you about a storm today that could save your life. The story is found in Mark 4:35.
Gary Brandenburg • May 31, 2015
“Christianity is dying. At least that’s what some major newspapers have been reporting lately. Research from a new Pew Center study seems to reinforce what almost all sociologists are observing these days— “the number of Americans who identify as Christians has reached an all-time low, and is falling.” The lead editor of the report told The New York Times that secularization—mainly in terms of those who identify as “nones” or with no specific religious affiliation—isn’t isolated to the progressive Northeast and Pacific Northwest, traditional “dead zones” for Christian activity, but “the change is taking place all over, including the Bible Belt.”
Curious, Conflicted or Called?
Gary Brandenburg • May 24, 2015
This summer about 70 students and leaders will take part in a couple of short-term mission trips in Tecate, Mexico, and Kaufman, Texas. They will be serving in various capacities with the goal of showing Jesus to those He misses most. I have asked them to be here this morning because as I prepared this message I realized that Mark 3 is a photo gallery featuring the diverse groups of people that Jesus encountered during His ministry and how they responded to His message. Our high school students are going to meet these same groups when they get to Mexico. So let’s get to know these people.
A Problem of Wineskins
Gary Brandenburg • May 17, 2015
Many years ago an East Texas farm boy struck it rich. A huge deposit of oil and gas was discovered on his land. One day he traveled to New York to meet with a high-powered stock-broker. The broker took the farm boy to Wall St. to show him the eight city blocks that mark the center of the financial universe. As they walked along the street the farmer suddenly stopped and said, “Wait.” He slowly moved toward a planter then quickly reached in and pulled out a cricket. The broker said, “That’s amazing. How could you possibly hear a cricket with all this city noise?” The farmer dug into his pocket and pulled out a handful of loose change. He said, “Watch this.” He dropped the coins on the sidewalk and everyone stopped to look. He said, “See. What you hear depends on what you have been trained to listen for.”
By What Authority
Gary Brandenburg • May 10, 2015
A young country preacher was interviewing for his first church. The pulpit search committee invited him over for an interview. As he was being questioned by the committee the chairman said, “Son, do you know your Bible?” He said, “Yes, sir, I really think I do.” He said, “Well what part of the Bible do you know best?” “I reckon I know the New Testament the best,” said the young preacher. The chairman said, “Well, why don’t you just tell us something you know about the New Testament? Just tell the committee here the story of the Prodigal Son?”