The Substitute

25 Mar 2013 In: Sermons

Listen to this Sermon!Last week we began a new Easter sermon series entitled “No Pain – No Gain: Why Easter Matters”. And we started off illustrating the principle of no pain – no gain as we talked about how our muscles grow. We had Morgan up here straining his muscles as we talked about how it takes the pain of tearing the muscle fibers in our bodies order for our bodies to repair the damage and make the even muscles stronger than they were before.

In fact I was reading last week that when you are born, you already have all the muscles that you will ever have. The big bulging biceps you have now are a result of that little baby’s muscle being damaged and repaired, damaged and repaired, time and time again. Without the pain of damaging those muscles, you would have no gain in strength. You’d still be as weak as you were when you were a baby. No pain – no gain.

But our purpose wasn’t to talk about body-building. There is a spiritual truth that we wanted to discover. The gain that we are after is not muscles, but rather that inner satisfaction in life that seems so elusive for so many of us.

We talked about how Solomon tried to find satisfaction in all kinds of ways. He looked for satisfaction in wealth, power, hard work, women, pleasure – but it found it all to be meaningless. Nothing gave him true satisfaction.

And we discovered that the reason for this is that God has created each of us with a deep inner longing to be connected with our Creator. Every person on earth has this inner feeling that something is missing in their life. And all of us try to find that missing thing just like Solomon did. But, like the Rolling Stones lament, we can’t get no satisfaction. Because true satisfaction is only found when we are connected with our Creator – when we have a genuine relationship with Him. That’s when we find satisfaction.

Unfortunately, this one thing that is worth gaining is effectively keep from us by sin. We talked about how Adam & Eve – though they were once fully satisfied in their connection with each other and with God – they sinned. And the immediate consequences of their sin was separation. Separation from God and and from each other. Because that’s the nature of sin. It separates. It creates distance between. It severs our relationships.

And because all of us have sin in our life – we are all missing the one thing that we were created for – we’re missing that connection, that relationship, with our Creator. We’re missing the one thing that can bring us true satisfaction.

So what do we do? Is there any way to gain that connection, that relationship, that satisfaction that we so desperately long for? There is, and that’s what we’re going to look at today. Read the rest of this entry »

Table of contents for No Pain, No Gain

  1. Chasing Satisfaction
  2. The Substitute

Chasing Satisfaction

22 Mar 2013 In: Sermons

Listen to this Sermon!Most of you have heard the expression, “no pain – no gain”. Well, today we are going to see why that is true. I have a volunteer who is simply going to hold up these two pitchers of water at shoulder’s height.

As our volunteer is holding up these pitchers of water, his arm muscles are being strained. They don’t usually do this sort of exercise. And as time goes on, what’s happening – as those muscles are being pushed beyond their usual limits – the muscle fibers are actually being damaged. There are tiny tears that are forming. The muscles are literally breaking apart. But don’t worry – that’s perfectly fine. Because God has designed muscles to do exactly that.

I’m actually doing our volunteer a favour by having him hold those jugs of water up, because once his muscles have been damaged by the stress of holding up that water – once the tiny tears in your muscle fibers have formed – over the course of the next 3 to 4 days, his body will repair the damage – and in fact, his body will go overboard and make his muscles even better than they were before. They don’t want to get damaged again, so his body will build up the muscles stronger than they were before – strong enough to handle this kind of strain without being damaged. This is how muscles grow.

Now of course, the negative side to all this, is that damaging your muscles is uncomfortable. It’s not pleasant to tear your muscle fibers. There is going to be a measure of pain involved.

I remember when I started working at a greenhouse out by Penhold about 10 years ago. For the first two weeks of that job, when I came home from work at night, my body was sore. I was using muscles that I didn’t usually use – straining them beyond their usual capabilities. There was certainly pain involved – but after about two weeks, I wasn’t really sore anymore. My body repaired the damage done and built up my muscles so they could handle that strain without issue.

And this is exact where this concept of “no pain – no gain” comes from. Without the pain that comes from damaging your muscles, you will have no gain in strength. We call this exercise – or working-out. We purposely injure our muscles so that we can grow in strength. A certain amount of pain is required if you want to gain muscle.

And the reason that I bring this all up, is because the Bible teaches a similar concept. Over these next few weeks leading into Easter, our topic is going to be “no pain – no gain. Why Easter matters.” Because the principle of “no pain – no gain” is true not just in the physical realm – but it’s also true in the spiritual. Read the rest of this entry »

Table of contents for No Pain, No Gain

  1. Chasing Satisfaction
  2. The Substitute

Meeting Expectations

9 Mar 2013 In: Sermons

Listen to this Sermon!Have you ever thought about all the expectations that people put on you? How much of your life is spent trying to meet the expectations of others? Have you ever thought about that?

When I was a kid, there were lots of days when I felt I was being bossed around by everyone. I was told to clean up my room, do my homework, take out the garbage, be nice to your brothers, eat your vegetables, and so on… – and sometimes I wished I could warp through time and suddenly become an adult. Because if I was an adult, no one could tell me what to do. I could do whatever I wanted. All those demands and expectations that people put on me – I wouldn’t have to deal with them anymore.

Are there any teenagers here today that can relate? Anyone looking forward to that day of independence? Well, don’t get your hopes up!

I’ve found that as an adult, I have way more expectations put on me now then when I was a kid. Let me show you what I mean.

For example, when you’re a grown up, you’re expected to pay your bills. You’ll have expectations from the phone company, the power company, the water company, the cable company, the internet company, the gas company, the credit card company. They expect you to pay your bills.

Because of that, you’re expected to get a job. That means that you’re going to have a boss and your boss will expect you to come to work. And not only does he expect you to show up on a regular basis, he expects you to do a good job. He’ll expect you to accomplish a certain number of things each day.

Of course, if you’re married, or even dating, you’ll have a girl that is going to have expectations for you too. She’ll expect you to be thoughtful and helpful. She’ll expect you to spend time with her and take out on dates and such. (I’m speaking from a guys perspective, but you girls know you’ve got expectations on you too!)

When you add kids to them mix, the expectations increase. You’re expected to change their diapers, and calm their crying, buy them food and clothing. As they grow older, you’re expected to take them to school and hockey practice, ballet and youth group. You’ll be expected to love and discipline and nurture them as they grow and become adults themselves.

And even as a grown up, your family will have expectations for you. You’re mom will always expect you to call her on her birthday. You’ll be expected to go to Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners with the rest of your family. You’ll be expected to go to your cousins wedding and your nephew’s graduation.

The government has expectations for you too. First of all, they expect you to pay taxes. They also expect you to obey the laws of the land. They expect you not to drive 140km per hour on the highway.

And then there are all the other little things that our culture expects of us that we probably don’t even think of. People expect us to return their calls when they leave a message. We’re expected to leave a tip for the waiter when we eat out. We’re expected to check our email regularly and carry our cell phone where ever we go.

And if you’re a Christian, the expectations grow even more! We’re expected to go to church each Sunday and volunteer our time. We’re expected to read our Bibles and pray. We’re expected to be good and to avoid sin. We’re expected to win our neighbors to Christ and bring good food to the potluck!

And we could come up with thousands of other expectations that people put on us. And that’s not to say that they are all bad – the vast majority of those expectations are good things. But the truth of the matter is, we will spend most of our lives trying our best to meet the expectations of other people. But we just can’t do it! We can’t possibly meet everyone’s expectations of us. Eventually we will disappoint someone. We will let people down. It’s inevitable.

But I have some good news for you this morning. You see, at the end of the day – when all is said and done – it really doesn’t matter how many of those expectations you met or didn’t meet. Read the rest of this entry »

Listen to this Sermon!Today we finish up our BLESS series. We began in January talking about how greatly God has blessed us. We have an abundance of physical blessings, financial blessings, relational blessings, and of course, spiritual blessings. And the question that started this whole conversation is Why? Why has God blessed us so much?

The answer we found was that God has blessed us so that we can be a blessing to the people around us. It’s like we are simply the delivery people – delivering God’s blessings so that He can meet the needs of our community.

So to help us learn how to be an effective delivery person for those blessings, we’ve been using the acronym BLESS.

The B stands for… “Begin with pray.” And it’s a simple prayer – it goes like this… “Here I am send me. Please set up a divine appointment where my blessings can help meet someone else’s needs.”

The L reminds us to listen. We need to actually make the effort to listen to people to find out their needs – and we need to listen to the Holy Spirit as He prompts and nudges us along.

The E stands for Eat. We discovered that Jesus showed people that he loved and accepted them by eating with them. And we can do the same thing. Everybody eats – so what easier way is there to build relationships with the people around us than to eat with them?

Then last Sunday we talked about the first S – which stands for Serve. And this kind of serving isn’t the “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” kind of serving. This kind of serving is where you serve the people around you no matter who they are – no matter how inconvenient it is – no matter how unpleasant it is – no matter what the cost to you is – but you serve them out of love because that’s exactly what Christ did for you. That’s the kind of serving that truly blesses people.

And hopefully, when we begin to bless people in all these ways that we’ve talked about so far…
When we listen to them, when we eat with them, when we serve them… That will lead to opportunities for our final letter S – and that is we can tell them our story!

And I’m excited to talk to you today about telling our story. This is such a key part in being a blessing to the people around us. If we do all those other things, (the listening, the eating, the serving) but miss this one, our community will see us as ‘some very nice people’. But if we do all those other things AND get this one, I know that God will begin to radically change people’s lives through you and me. Read the rest of this entry »

Table of contents for B.L.E.S.S.

  1. God’s Blessing Strategy
  2. Begin with Prayer
  3. Listen
  4. Eating to be a Blessing
  5. Serve Like Jesus
  6. Story – Telling Others What Christ Has Done For You

Serve Like Jesus

13 Feb 2013 In: Sermons

We talked last week about how Jesus ate meals with tax collectors and other disreputable sinners – the lowest of the low – because by simply eating with those people, He was letting them know that they were important to him. The fact of the matter is – God loves sinners. Which is good – because all of us are sinners. If you ate with anyone last week, you ate with a disreputable sinner. Even if you ate alone, you ate with a disreputable sinner.

But that’s ok – because God loves, forgives, and accepts sinners.

And we were talking about eating last week, because we’ve been going through the acronym BLESS. This acronym has been teaching us how we can use our blessings so that we can be a blessing to the people around us.

We started with the B – Begin with prayer. It’s a simple prayer: “Here I am. Send me. Allow me to use my blessings to meet someone else’s need today.”

Then the L stood for Listen. If we want to bless the people around us, we have to actually listen to them – learning what their needs truly are – and we need to listen to the Holy Spirit as He prompts and nudges on our divine appointments.

The E, of course stood for eat. Eating with people is a universal way of letting them know that they are important to us and that we want them to be a part of our lives. This is also a great opportunity for us to practice listening to them – getting to know them and discovering their needs.

And now today, we get to our first S. And this S might not be quite as enjoyable as the E, not as simple as the L, nor as easy as the B. However, this S together with the next S could very well be the most powerful tools we have in bringing people to receive the greatest blessing – that is, their own personal relationship with God.

The first S in our BLESS acronym stands for serve. Now this one out of all our five lessons seems to be the most logical. It just makes sense that if we want to be a blessing to the people in our community, then we ought to serve them.

Think about your own life – how many times have you been totally blessed because someone else served you in some way? Maybe your neighbor mowed your lawn or shoveled your side walk while He was out doing his own. Maybe someone brought a casserole over to your house when you had a family member in the hospital. Maybe your buddies came over to help you build your deck or move some furniture. Maybe someone offered to watch your kids while you and your spouse went on a date night.

When we have people serve us in some of these ways, we just think “Man, you guys are awesome! You are such a blessing to me!”

That’s one of the fantastic things about being part of the church – you have this whole group of people who are willing to step up and help out whenever someone has a need. I know that I’ve been blessed on my many occasions – and likely, so have you.

But what about the people aren’t part of the church – do we serve them too? What about the people that no one really likes? The difficult people? What about the grumpy complainers? What about the people who want nothing to do with the church – nothing to do with you? Do we still serve those people? Read the rest of this entry »

Eating to be a Blessing

4 Feb 2013 In: Sermons

Listen to this Sermon!Well, I have been very excited for this Sunday. Not because of the SuperBowl later this afternoon – although I am looking forward to that – but because we’re tackling a subject that’s very dear to me. That subject is eating!

We’ve been going through our B.L.E.S.S. acronym over these past few weeks. And in case you’ve missed a week or two, let me give you a quick recap.

We began by talking about how greatly God has blessed us. Everyone of us are truly some of the most blessed people in the world. But God hasn’t just blessed us so that our lives can be comfortable and easy. Rather, God has blessed us, so that we can be a blessing to the people around us. And we do that all to the glory of God.

So using this B.L.E.S.S. acronym, we’ve been learning how we can be a blessing to the people around us.

The B stands for …. Begin with Prayer. It’s the kinda prayer that goes like this: “Here I am. Send me. Please God, give me a divine appointment for me where my blessings can meet someone else’s need.”

And I trust that as you’ve been praying that prayer, God’s been answering it. I hope by now you’ve all had the awesome experience of being God’s delivery person – delivering God’s blessings to the people around you.

The L stands for Listen. And there were a couple of lessons on listening. The first was to listen to the Holy Spirit. We talked a bit about listening to the nudges of the Holy Spirit as He guides us along on our blessing delivery route. The other lesson was to actually listen to people. Don’t just wait your turn to talk – actually listen to people. Hear what they’re really saying. Ask the right questions to find out what their real needs are.

And now today, we get to talk about the E in bless. And the E stands for Eat! And hopefully by now I’ve stirred up your curiosity. What on earth does eating have to do with being a blessing to the people around us? Read the rest of this entry »

Hi. In case you were wondering, my name is Dave Trenholm. I'm just a [mostly] normal guy who wants please God with my life and help people see how awesome He is. One way that I can do that is to post some of my thoughts and tell some of my stories on this website. Most of my recent content is made up of the sermons that I've preached over the past few years at Mirror Alliance Church.