The Invisible War
A Study on the Armor of God
A Father's Battle
Kurt Pressler • June 19, 2016
In the summer of 2002, my wife Martha gave me a surprise gift. It wasn’t for any particular day or event. It was just a gift, out of the blue. Based on its size, shape, and weight, I was pretty confident my present was a new music CD. I’d recently purchased a new car with a sweet sound system and thought Martha was giving me a gift to listen to at an irresponsible volume. Was it The Who, The Police, Rush, Pearl Jam? I was excited. So I unwrapped the gift and it was immediately confirmed that I was being given a CD. As as I looked at the front cover, there, staring back at me, was someone I didn’t recognize, holding an infant. My eyes darted around trying to find who the heck this person was when they finally settled on the name Twila Paris. No idea. But look, one of my love languages is gifts and I really was grateful for Martha’s gesture, whatever the heck it was, and tried to conjure up a look of satisfaction and gratitude. So I told her “thank you” but apparently did a lousy job of selling it because she asked if I knew why she was giving me the gift. I apologetically confessed that I didn’t so she told me to look at the title of the album. It was named “Bedtime Prayers: Lullabies and Peaceful Worship”. No idea. I mean, I’d been sleeping just fine. I didn’t need any musical help. And now she’s looking at me like I’m an idiot. (Kind of like some of you are right now.) But I’m a guy so I once again try to show her that I know exactly why she’s giving me this CD. But she sees right through it and says, “Hey dummy. We’re having a baby.” It all made a lot of sense after that.
The Mystery Revealed
Gary Brandenburg • June 12, 2016
At the end of the letter to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul reports that he is in prison for preaching "the mystery of the gospel." In 6:18 He says, pray in all ways, at all times, with all perseverance for all the saints. And then he adds, pray "also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak." Eph. 6:19-20. What is this mystery?
Fighting on your Knees
Gary Brandenburg • June 5, 2016
We are at war. "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." Eugene Peterson says it this way, “This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the devil and all his angels.” God provides powerful weapons that are effective in spiritual warfare. Paul uses 6 pieces of armor corresponding to those worn by a Roman soldier. This morning we have organized our service to illustrate how to put this armor on - through prayer. Paul concludes his letter to the Ephesians by revealing his secret weapon - prayer. Prayer is the recognition that this invisible war is not our war, it is God's. In order to fight God's war, we need God's weapons. When we pray we acknowledge that God, by His grace, has made available to us the character of Christ. Truth, Righteousness, Peace, Faith, Salvation, the Word of God are all ineffective if we don't take the time to appropriate them through prayer.
The Sword of the Spirit
Gary Brandenburg • May 29, 2016
I love to tell the story about the young seminary graduate who wanted to be a preacher. He was excited when he was invited to interview with a small, country church. His meeting with the search committee began with a question from the chairman. “Young man, do you know your Bible?” The young man replied, “Yes sir. I know the Bible from front to back.” Another member of the committee asked, “Do you know the stories and parables?” The candidate answered, “Oh yes! I know all the stories and parables.” Another committee member said, “Tell us one of the parables of Jesus—let’s say the parable of the Good Samaritan.” And so he did. It went like this.
The Helmet of Salvation
Gary Brandenburg • May 22, 2016
What do the following sports have in common? Horse racing, football, ice hockey, cricket, snow boarding, and rock climbing? Here is a hint - coal miners and riot police wear them too. Those who participate in these activities all wear helmets. I left out skydiving because I have never understood why skydivers wear helmets. If your parachute doesn't open your helmet will be wearing you.
The Shield of Faith
Gary Brandenburg • May 15, 2016
That scene from the movie Gladiator gives you a taste of ancient warfare. It also resembles the intensity of the battle some of you are facing right now. You're not up against flaming arrows and fiery missiles in a literal sense but you know that you are under attack. You can feel the heat from the flaming darts of the evil one. This morning I want you to encourage you with the knowledge that God has provided a powerful weapon to extinguish those deadly projectiles in order to stand firm against the devil's attempts to take you out...Eph. 6:10-16.
The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace
Kurt Pressler • May 8, 2016
As some of you may know, I’m originally from Chicago. And while I didn’t live there very long, that’s where my sports allegiances lie. And that means I’m a Chicago Blackhawks fan. That view is becoming less and less popular around these parts as the Dallas Stars have dramatically improved. If you follow professional hockey, you know that we’ve had Stanley Cup fever for the past several years. Sadly, our dreams were cut short this season. But during that time, my youngest son Joseph has developed an interest in the sport and asked Martha and I if he could play. But there’s a special catch with hockey. You see, if you can walk or run, you can participate in almost any sport. But not so with hockey. You see, hockey is played on this real slick stuff called ice, and you’ve got to master that before you can even think about playing the game of hockey. Unfortunately for Joe, he doesn’t come from what I would call a legacy of skilled ice skaters. In fact, Martha says my ice skating ability is in the style of a “flailing polar bear”. But Joe is a real good athlete and I knew he was going to pick it up quickly.
The Breastplate of Righteousness
Kurt Pressler • May 1, 2016
This past Good Friday I was at my post in the Hub. Just as service was about to start a gentleman walked in, noticed my uniform of a light blue Easter t-shirt, and headed right for me. It was very clear from his movements that this guy was on a mission. He asked me “Are you a pastor?” I told him “yes” and he quickly said, “Well, I need to get saved again and I need to get baptized.”
The Belt of Truth
Gary Brandenburg • April 24, 2016
We've come a long way since this nation was founded on the solid premise that some truths are self-evident such as, "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..." But what if you live in a culture where no truth is self-evident? No one can be wrong in such a culture and everyone can be right if you believe you're right. These students are learning a new morality unknown to previous generations of Americans that defines immorality as any act of “intolerance” that interferes with another's autonomy. All is tolerated except the intolerant and all are included except the exclusive.
Gary Brandenburg • April 17, 2016
It seems like the day before taxes are due is an appropriate time to remind you of Benjamin Franklin's famous observation, "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." Of course that's not exactly true. There are two other experiences in life no one can escape - trials and temptations. While these are used by the devil to defeat us, God uses trials to grow us up and transform us into fully devoted followers of Jesus. We will see this morning that trials and temptations have different effects depending on our response to them. After all, the same sun that melts wax also hardens clay.
Unmasking The Devil
Gary Brandenburg • April 10, 2016
Wizard of Oz clip...Isn't it amazing what a little information can do for your confidence? Dorothy and her friends were scared to death by the "great and powerful Oz" until little Toto pulled back the curtain. You saw their fear give way to bold confidence once they knew the truth about the Wizard. Today I want to pull back the curtain. I want to expose the enemy of our souls. I'll warn you in advance that we will not discover some impotent old man who couldn't hurt a flea, far from it. Satan is a formidable foe. But if we know the truth about who he is and what he is up to, we can overcome our fears and gain confidence in God's strategy to foil his evil intentions. Life is hard enough without the added burden of living in the dark about the devil.
The Battle Without
Randy Thompson • April 3, 2016
Good morning! Welcome to Fellowship Dallas. I’m so glad that you’re here today to worship with us. Last week we celebrated Easter and we had so many people attend church here. When you combine all of the adult services with our children’s ministry, we had well over 3,000 people join us to celebrate Christ and His resurrection. We really had a great weekend. I am so thankful to serve on staff at a church that is genuinely welcoming to all who enter our doors to worship each and every week.