Parent Category: Sermon Resources
Category: Break Forth

This week, the chancellor of the California State University system passed down a decision to no longer recognize certain Christian groups as a part of their campus communities. Those groups who have doctrinal requirements for their leadership teams have been deemed discriminatory and now fall afoul of university policy. This will surely change the way that ministry works at the Cal States. They will no longer enjoy the benefits of reserving rooms, receiving student organization funds, advertising on campus for their meetings, etc.

Parent Category: Sermon Resources
Category: Break Forth

Last week we left Paul boarding a boat toward Jerusalem. Little did Paul know that when he would arrive at his final destination, great opposition and persecution was awaiting him. In Jerusalem, Paul encounters many who want to stop not only his ministry but also his life. He is beaten, put in chains, tormented, and the target of a murderous ambush. Paul is put under arrest for two years. Through all this, Paul had received his mission from God. He was to go to Rome to teach about Jesus. Paul never lost sight of the mission that God had called him to yet it is without any argument that living that mission was extremely difficult.

Parent Category: Sermon Resources
Category: Break Forth

Acts 20:17-38

We are now in the midst of the time when many parents are sending their kids off to school. My experience is that, whether we're sending them to pre-school, first grade, high school or college, this is a time both of joy and tears. (Here, I'll show a picture of my granddaughter going to first grade.)

When most of us send our kids off to a new place, we stop and give some final instructions, e.g.,:

  • What's your new address?
  • Listen to God and to yourself—it's ok if the 'thing' you want to do turns out to be something different
  • Chase down Christian Community! Don't do this alone!
  • It's ok to be angry or discouraged or disappointed. Feel what you feel, but don't do it alone.
  • Here's your insurance card
  • Call me
  • When may I visit?
  • (Don't go!)
  • I love you. (From Carol Kenyon)

When you are going to be separated for a while from people you love, you always have some important things you want to say. Often, the emotion you feel makes it hard to deliver a focused and organized expression of your love and hopes for the time away from one another. When you grasp that (as I'm sure all of you can), then you will deeply appreciate the passage we come to today.

The Situation

Paul was in a hurry to get from Troas to Jerusalem in time to experience Pentecost (20:16). The trip would take him close to Ephesus. (I'll show a map.) Remember that Paul had spent three years in Ephesus first founding and then pastoring the church there. So, using quite urgent language, v.17 tells us, "Paul summoned the elders of the church" to meet him at the port city of Miletus, about 30 miles from Ephesus. When you read the speech, it's clear Paul thought he might die in Jerusalem and that he would never see his church people again (though he did not die there). It's also unmistakable that Paul loved his church people. And they loved him. There is no speech quite like this one in Acts. Other speeches are written to non-Christian audiences seeking to convince people that Jesus is the savior of the world. But this speech is from a pastor speaking to his church. Deep emotion permeates a speech that 1) tells some of the story of their history together, 2) has shifting and sometimes repetitious subjects (just like our personal conversations do), but 3) highlights the things most important to him.

I'll be leaving for sabbatical after the services are over this weekend. I'll only be gone three months (Lord willing). But, I do have some things I want to say to you all before I go. So, I'll use Paul's speech as an example to guide me. What things did he talk about in his parting words with his church leaders?

#1: Reflections on Life Together (20:18-21, 27, 31, 33-35).

Throughout his speech, Paul kept circling back to memories, to telling them about what happened during his time with the church in Ephesus. Some have criticized Paul because, reading his words from our cultural viewpoint, he sounds like he's being arrogant. Paul declared more boldly than we're used to that he had not coveted anyone's silver or gold and that the way he worked was the way a person should work. But, this was not pride. Paul always knew that he was not all that God would have him to be (Phil 3:12) and that he was the person in the world most needy of God's mercy (1 Tim 1:15-16). No, what Paul was doing in this meeting with his beloved church leaders is what all followers of Jesus should do, i.e., he was passionately following Christ personally and calling others to follow him as he followed Christ.

That's what I've sought to do these years with you as well – to be a shepherd who follows the Great Shepherd and calls you all to follow with me. I too have sought to preach the Word faithfully and as courageously as God enables me and to call all to repent and believe in Jesus. And I want to remind you of something that those of you who were here before me might remember. I want to remind you that God led us together to this church family. (Here, I'll tell the story again of God's leading.)

So, because we know God has led us together, we also believe he will lead us back together after this sabbatical is over. Of course, as I often have said in sermons, "We don't even know what will happen tomorrow (Js 4:13)." So, over these months, we will pray as the Bible teaches us, "If it the Lord's will, we will be alive --and do this or that (Js 4:15)." Let us seek and trust the Lord together across the miles.

#2: Reminders of What Holds God's People Together

Throughout his speech, Paul then touched upon several things that he knew always hold God's people together in this world. I'll summarize his thoughts with two words: truth and tears.

• Truth (20:20-21, 29-31)
In his time with the elders, Paul said over and over that he had taught "the good news of God's grace (20:24) and the "whole council of God's will (20:27)." In his absence, the same things had to happen. So, Paul urgently called the elders of the church to teach the truth and watch out for those who distort the truth of the gospel (20:30-31). I know that many people in our culture think that truth divides. The spirit of our age is, "Let people believe whatever they want to believe. Religious doctrine divides!" But, let me say a few words about what can happen when people sincerely seek what is true. If we believe that there is anything that is actually true in this world, then those who pursue truth will come closer together as they do what Paul did, i.e., take time with one another and engage in reasoning together about what is true and what is false, what is right and what is wrong.
Illustration: If you came up and said that Duane Funderburk is a Ugandan sumo-wrestler brought up in Siberia, you could believe that if you want. You could also say that you believe such things in our country. But it still wouldn't be true. To know Duane, you have to seek the person as he really is
I believe that every responsible human being should seek what is true about the most important things in our universe, like 1) what is true about God, 2) about our world, and 3) about ourselves. The Bible declares that when we sincerely seek what is true, we will come to Jesus, the one who is the way, the truth and the life. That truth will always bring us to what Paul calls the gospel of Jesus Christ in 20:24, the good news that is at the heart of our "Shared Faith" as expressed in our LAC Statement of Faith that we will be focusing on in the coming months at LAC. We are united by the truth of Jesus and his gospel that unites us across the usual human divisions such as race and ethnicity, generation gaps, money – and, over these next months for me personally, geographical distance. So, I want you to come to understand more and more about the truth of Jesus and the gospel over these next three months. The more you understand the gospel and experience its truth, the more united we will be.

• Tears – Our heartfelt compassion for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
The truth about Jesus that unites us is not just an intellectual exercise. No, when we trust in Jesus, we are made alive to God as our Father and we experience being brought into the family of God. What happens is that we can meet a person from another culture and even who speaks a different language, and we know we have a deep and intimate bond with them. Have you experienced that? It's one of the most beautiful parts of our faith. And, deep love for people always leads to some shared tears – sometimes of joy, others of sorrow, and yet others of pain. Let me tell you two ways this bond of tears actually happens for believers.
1. Tears for brothers and sisters in Christ broken and in distress (20:21,24)
I don't want you to miss the importance of v.21 in relationship to Paul's letter to the Ephesians. I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus. Remember that Paul is meeting with the elders of the Ephesian Church. When he later wrote the letter to the Ephesians, the biggest issue he had to deal with was that the Jews and the Gentiles in Ephesus still didn't want to be in one church together. Paul would say, "Not one of us – Jew or Gentile -- deserves to be in our Father's Church. It is only by the grace of God received through faith in the crucified Jesus that any of us are in God's family! So, be grateful to your Father for his mercy to you. And, love the others who have also received mercy. Speak the truth in love to one another but always live in unity (se Eph 4)!!" So, it's to that same church that Paul says definitively in v. 21, "I have declared to both Jews and Gentiles..." When we place our faith in Christ, we are brought into a family relationship with a family made up of all people groups!
Make note of this: When we enter into a relationship with people very different from ourselves as happens in the church, then we can be quite sure we will have very different perceptions of things and experiences in the world. This happens in marriages too, doesn't it? If we will have a lasting relationship, we must learn to listen with humility in order to understand where the other person is coming from. In most marriages, when there is a problem, men have tended to simply listen for the facts and then to fix the problem. "Facts; then fix!" – That's most men's approach. What most of us men have to learn is that there is often a long history of things that have led to the problem. For example, words we say to our spouses may bring up years of abuse, abandonment or anxiety that, unless we take time to listen to our spouses carefully, we may never understand. (You can see how Bryan Lorritz talks about this at We need to grasp the facts – but also the history and the feelings that are going on. Men – mark that down and your marriages will be better.
I believe we need to apply this to what is happening in Ferguson, MO right now and how the shooting of Michael Brown there is affecting our brothers and sisters of color all over our nation. Many of us tend only to want to get the facts of the case and then fix the problem by keeping everyone calm. But, we may forget – or may not even know -- there are years of violence against young black men in our country and there are non-stop episodes of killing of young unarmed black men in our cities. There is one unarmed African American man killed every 28 hours in our country. Did you know that?
When an unarmed 18-year-old man of color is shot in our nation, "Facts and fix" is not the way we should walk with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We must listen. Learn. Care. Weep together. And always pray with one another as one family prays, i.e., 1) for this situation to uncover all that is wrong, 2) for a deeper understanding of what causes the anger that we see, for a profound repentance to take place, and 3) (above all things) for our just, loving and reconciling Father to be glorified.
The church of Jesus Christ is the place where the world is to see that brokenness along all lines – and now especially across racial line – finds reconciliation. We must seek God together. We must weep together and then walk together in a divided world.

2. Tears for brothers and sisters we love whom we will miss when they are away (20:37-38)
Read 20:37-38. It's clear that Paul loved his people and his people loved him. So, when they thought about being apart, they felt a deep gnawing inside. I tell you candidly that I feel right now what they felt as I think about being away for three months. Most of you have noticed that when I have someone else preach on a weekend, I come to LAC anyway. I love being here with you!
I hope you feel some of that – for anyone who is away for a period of time from your class or small group at our church. A church should not simply be a teaching center or an activities location. In his letter to this Ephesian Church, Paul called them "a household" of faith (Eph 2:19), "no longer strangers but God's people (Eph 2:19), "people built together by God as a dwelling in which God lives" (Eph 2:22), and a "family kneeling together before our Father from whom we all receive our name" (Eph 3:14).
When you read how he spoke about his church people, you can grasp why they fell down and prayed together, wept together, embraced one another, and kissed." As we grow together as a local church family, we too ill see a lot more of that kind of emotion. I feel it today. And, I know that I'll be back in November!
We are knit together both by truth and by tears.

#3: Directives to Do the Most Important Things
Let's go back to those parting words that parents give our children when we send them off to school. They always include a few parting directives. I love what my daughter Heather told her oldest child, Riley, when Heather dropped her off for her first day of 1st grade: "You're going to have so much fun! I love you! I'm so happy you're getting so big. I'll be here to meet you as soon as school is over. If you have to blow your nose, make sure you grab a Kleenex from Mrs. Karlsson's box."
Paul gave his church people all sorts of directives in his time with them. I want to do the same. So, what do I want you to do while I am away? I have three things:

1. Be more faithful to your LAC family than you ever have been before. This is the church that God has led you to – every bit as much as it is the church God has led me to. I pray that church attendance will grow enormously while I'm away. Support and pray for Pastor Jeff Mattesich as he leads in my absence. He is a remarkable man called by God to this role. Support and encourage the entire pastoral staff in the ways you encourage me. God loves faithfulness. I'll be so encouraged when I see that you are continuing to worship together, to brings friends with you to church, to being active in your church community and small group, and in service.
2. Make progress in your faith and doctrine while I am away. That's what Paul told Timothy in 1 Tim 4:15-16. I envision tis fall will be a life-changing season for many of you as you walk through the church through the essentials of the gospel. In Paul's speech to the elders, he kept saying that false teaching would come in and destroy the work of God (see 20:28-31). To keep that from happening in your life, in your families, and in the church, we will spend this fall learning and experiencing anew the essential matters of our faith. Our worship times will teach and be drawn to worship God about these essentials. Our classes and mid-size groups will provide more complete teaching about them. Our small group will provide opportunities to discuss and apply them. And personal devotional written by your pastors will facilitate meditation and deepening of the beautiful truths about God and his work into your hearts and lives. We'll do this from childhood to senior adulthood. When I return, I believe I will come back to people who know the Lord more fully and love him more deeply.
3. Watch out for people in distress (20:28,35). As happened so often in the life of Jesus and then again in the early church as reflected in Acts, Paul simply took it for granted that anyone who loves Jesus will care for people who are hurting. Acts 20:35 is so clear. Paul said, "In everything I did, I showed you that God's people must help those who are weak." I know this already is deep in the heart of LAC. It's one of the things I love most about our church. I see the love of Jesus flowing through you. So keep praying for those who face crises in our world, our nation and our community. Extend help in the name of Jesus as God enables you. Weep for those who weep. If you think a person in church seems down or hurting, go and ask. Then, walk with them. And, if you have a need, let me give you the contact information for our Care Deacons. (Put that up.) I agree with Paul, i.e., that people in a church family never have to walk alone. And, of course, Paul said this on the authority of Jesus himself. 20:31: The Lord Jesus himself said: "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

I want to close with the words Jeremy and Vanessa Rose gave to Jacob when they left him off at Kindergarten this past week: "We will be back to pick you up soon. Before you know it, you'll see us again!" So, walk with the Lord, love people, and be faithful to your church family. Before you know it, we will see one another again.


To His glory,

Dr. Greg Waybright
Senior Pastor

Greg Waybright • Copyright 2014, Lake Avenue Church

Parent Category: Sermon Resources
Category: Break Forth

After the worship services this week, Chris and I will be heading to Chicago for a three-month sabbatical. During those months, I'll focus on a theme I speak often about here at LAC, i.e., that a local church like ours has been planted in its community to be a place in which God's reconciling work is accomplished. I think that you know what I mean by that: At our church we call people to be made right with God through faith in Jesus, to be reconciled to one another in Christ-centered community across ethnic and generational divides, to be healed inside from all the scars of our past...(I could preach and have preached many sermons about the many ways that we are to experience reconciliation in Christ.) I will have the privilege of collaborating with faculty members and students about the practical outworkings of the beautiful biblical teaching about reconciliation.




  • 你的新住址在哪裡?
  • 當要做一些新事情的時候,要傾聽神,然後自己做判斷。
  • 要努力尋找基督徒團體!不要單獨行動!
  • 生氣、沮喪、失望都沒有關係。接受這些感受,但不要單獨行動。
  • 這是你的保險卡。
  • 給我打電話。
  • 我什麼時候可以探望你?
  • (不要走!)
  • 我愛你。

——  (來自Carol Kenyon)



保羅從特羅亞急急忙忙出發,為要趕到耶路撒冷去過五旬節(20: 16)。路途上要經過以弗所。請記住,保羅在以弗所呆了三年,是他建立了以弗所教會,並在那裡牧養。因此,聖經在17節用了非常急促的話告訴我們,保羅要召集教會的長老到米利都來見他,米利都距離以弗所大約30哩。當你讀保羅的話時,你就知道,保羅認為他可能會死在耶穌撒冷,他不會再見到以弗所教會的人(雖然他並沒有死在那兒)。並且顯而易見,保羅愛教會的人,他們也愛他。使徒行傳裡再沒有類似這樣的話。其他的話是寫給非基督徒聽眾的,那些話是為了讓人們明白耶穌是世界的救主。但是這段從牧者而來的話,是在講教會。這段講話充滿了情感:1)講述了一段他們在一起的歷史,2)有些變化和重複的主題(就像我們的個人交談),但是,3)為了突出某些他認為重要的事情。


#1:  回顧在一起的日子 (20:18-21, 27, 31, 33-35)。




#2: 幾點提醒:是什麼讓神的子民聯合在一起




舉個例子:如果你上前來說Duane Funderburk(LAC敬拜負責人之一)是一位在西伯利亞長大的烏干達相撲運動員,只要你想,你就可以相信。你也可以說你相信在我們的國家有這樣的事情。但是那仍然不會是真的。要瞭解Duane,你就得去看他本人是什麼樣子。




1.為主內的弟兄姐妹受損傷和遭遇困境而流淚(20 :21,24)


猶太人和希臘人證明當向神悔改,信靠我主耶穌基督。” 請記住保羅正在與以弗所教會的長老們見面。當他後來寫信給以弗所教會的時候,他必須要處理的一個很大的問題,就是在以弗所的猶太人與外邦人仍然不願意在同一個教會聚會。保羅會說,“我們中的任何一個——無論是猶太人還是外邦人——都不配進入天父的教會。只有籍著神的恩典,接受相信被釘十架的耶穌,我們才得以進入神的家庭!所以,因為神憐憫我們,請向我們的天父表示感恩。並且,愛護其他同樣接受憐憫的人。用彼此用愛心說誠實話,但總要聯合在一起(請參考以弗所書4章)!!”所以,在21節中保羅肯定是在對同一個教會說話,“又對猶太人和希臘人證明……”當我們將信心建立在基督身上,我們就被帶入了一個由各種人群組成的家庭關係當中。

記錄下這些:當我們走進與自己有諸多不同的群體當中,這在教會很常見,我們對世界的體驗就會愈漸豐富,我們對事物的看法就會大大改變。在婚姻當中也一樣,不是嗎?如果我們要維繫婚姻,就必須帶著謙卑的心聆聽對方,只有這樣才能洞察另一半的心聲。在大多數婚姻中,一旦問題來臨,男人們常常這樣:聽取事實,然後立即著手解決問題。“事實與解答”模式是大多數男人的方法。然而,我們男人需要瞭解的是:問題產生可能是一個漸漸演變的過程。例如我們向配偶所用的言辭可能喚起對方經年的被虐待感,被遺棄感,或憂慮感。這些,除非耐心仔細聆聽,我們無從理解配偶的真實感受。(你可以去看一看Bryan Lorritz 的觀點)我們的確需要依據事實——但是也要瞭解其歷史背景以及人們的內心感受。男士們,牢記這些,你的婚姻關係就能得到改善。

我認為看待密蘇裡Ferguson所發生的事件也是同樣道理。我們應當試著理解為什麼Michael Brown的射擊會如此強烈地撞擊全國有色弟兄姐妹的神經。我們當中許多人以為僅僅依據片面的“事實”去解決問題就可以平息一切。但是我們忘記了——也許根本就不知道——在我們國家針對年輕黑人的暴力源遠流長;就在我們這所城市,也不斷有未持武器的年輕黑人的死亡事件。在我們國家,每28小時就有一個未持武器的美國黑人被殺。你知道這些嗎?



2. 為那些我們所愛的,不在身邊會讓我們掛念的弟兄姐妹們流淚20:37-38)   


我希望你們也能有相同的感受——當你們教會的班級和小組中有誰要離開一段時間時。教會不應該只被當做是一個 教學中心或是活動場所。在給以弗所教會的信中,保羅稱他們為一個信仰的“家庭”(以弗所書2:19),“不再作外人,是神家裡的人了。”(以弗所書2:19)“你們也靠祂同被建造,成為神借著聖靈居住的所在。”(以弗所書2:22),並且“在父面前屈膝,天上地上的各家都是從祂得名。”(以弗所書3:14)






 1.要更加忠於你LAC的大家庭。這是神引導你走進來的一家教會—— 教會 的每一個部分都是神對我的帶領。我禱告在我離開的日子裡,來教會的人數能夠大大地增加。我不在的這段時間Jeff Matteich牧師會來領導教會,請支持他並為他禱告。他是被神呼召來到這個職位上的一位優秀的牧師。請大家支持並鼓勵我們所有在做牧養工作的員工,就像你們鼓勵我一樣。神喜悅忠誠。當我看到你們繼續一起敬拜,繼續帶你的朋友來到教會,繼續在你教會的大集體、小組和服事中保持活躍時,我會大受鼓舞。



        我想用上周Jeremy和Vanessa Rose把Jacob送去幼稚園時所說的話來結束:“我們很快就會回來接你。在你還沒有察覺之前我們就又見面啦!”所以,與主同行,愛人如己,對你的教會家庭忠心。在你還沒有察覺之前,我們彼此就會又見面了。




Greg Waybright • Copyright 2014, Lake Avenue Church

Sermons Archive







  今天,我們將特別關注一群憤怒的人,他們想要殺害保羅。保羅在耶路撒冷,被誣告要污穢聖殿。讀使徒行傳21-22章,你會看到殘忍而血腥的一幕。但是,你從21:10-15也會看到,這是神的計畫的一部分。聖經預言這些苦難會發生在保羅身上。你會看到,保羅並不擔心,也不吃驚,也不害怕這這麻煩。他充滿平安。他把這些危機當做機會。(引自John Kennedy)


當你遇到神,你就開始與祂同行,這就像一次旅行。這就是為什麼初代的基督徒被稱為“道路”。多年以前,我的朋友Edmund Chan牧師為我安排了一種方式來明白神是怎樣遇見我們並讓我們充滿勇氣。Edmund 展示給我的用來表明勇氣和平安的過程,就好像是在聖經中和歷史上的很多偉大的神的兒女的經歷。他用了四個部分來描述這種經歷——介入、斷絕、突破、迸發。讓我來帶你看看在使徒行傳22章,這種過程是如何發生在保羅的生命中的。也許今天你也會跟我一樣與神相遇。

I.介入:神的主權同在和大能的個人經歷 (使徒行傳 22:6-9, 17-18a).













II. 斷絕:遠離自我與罪而轉向神22章:3-5,8,16)



        當你憑著信心讓耶穌進入你的生命,你會發現,正如耶穌說的,它就會像活水一樣從你的心裡流淌出來。你接受聖靈進入你並不聖潔的生命,神有很多工作要做—— 並且應許會做——在你的生命中。實際上,如果你允許那些罪的裂縫留在你裡面,那麼在我們裡面的生命之水就好像會滲漏出去一樣!所以,你需要和過去的生活模式隔絕。保羅這麼做了。你和我也將會這麼做。耶穌邀請我們進入新的生命。正如亞拿尼亞告訴保羅的,你的罪必須被洗淨。



III. 突破: 降服的個人經驗 (22:10, 18b21a)



請再仔細聽:為什麼保羅能夠如此預備好自己,願去做任何神要他做的事——且如此果決?我認為保羅是被自己多年來因著自我中心和驕傲所犯下的如此之多的惡行所震驚了。而更讓他震驚的是,耶穌知道他犯下的所有罪行卻仍舊愛他且原諒了他。正如Tim Keller說的,“他意識到自己的惡是自己從不敢想像的,同時,自己如此被愛也是從不敢奢望的。”因此,我要告訴你一個我常常提及的基本聖經真理:感恩是基督徒委身的主要動力。
















Greg Waybright • Copyright 2014, Lake Avenue Church


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