150 episodes

Weekly sermons by Pastor Keith Miller at Meadowbrooke Church in Cheyenne, WY

Meadowbrooke Church Sermon Podcast Meadowbrooke Church

    • Religion & Spirituality
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Weekly sermons by Pastor Keith Miller at Meadowbrooke Church in Cheyenne, WY

    “A Desire to be Satisfied”

    “A Desire to be Satisfied”

    Matthew 5:6



    Can I tell you a story?  As many of you know, I participate in Ride the Rockies last week.  Every day was challenging but not once did I feel that my life was in danger until the last 15 miles of our 388 miles of cycling.  Let me put in context why I felt safe for most of my ride.  Ride the Rockies was very well supported.  There are police who patrolled every route to make sure all 1,100 cyclist were a safe as possible.  There were medical staff readily available to any cyclist who needed care.  At ever 15-20 miles was an aid station where there was food, water, a bike mechanic, and SAG vehicles ready to transport any cyclist to the next check point, or even to the finish line for that day if any cyclist felt that they could not finish the route. 



    On the final day of our route, we had to climb up Loveland Pass, which summits at just under 12,000 feet.  The road leading up to the summit and down the other side of Loveland Pass was closed to most motorists so that we could safely climb up it and then descend it.  Up until the last day of Ride the Rockies, my fastest speed on a bicycle was about 48 MPH downhill.  However, coming down the summit of Loveland Pass on Friday, I broke that record at just over 55 MPH. There was not a moment while racing down that Pass that I was nervous or felt that my life was at risk. 



    The only time I felt like I might die during our cycling adventure is when four of us decided to take a short cut that would shave about 10 miles and 3,000 feet of climbing off our route.  Shaving 3,000 feet of climbing off our final day after climbing more than 22,000 feet throughout the week sounded like a good idea, until we realized that the road that would get us to the finish line in Golden, Colorado was not only a truck route, but a road with very little shoulder, four dark tunnels with no room for a bike, and a sign that warned us that bikes were not permitted (we saw it, but felt that it was too late to turn around).  I have been cycling since 2015, and I must say that of all the gnarly roads I rode my bike on, I have never been on a road so dangerous as the one we foolishly rode because we thought it would get us to the finish line faster and easier. 



    While participating in Ride the Rockies, I had multiple opportunities to talk about Jesus.  One of the statements I repeated when it came to Christianity and why I was a follower of Jesus was this: “Jesus offers a better way.”  Jesus’ way leads to life!  Jesus’ way is the only route that leads to the life we were born for.  Not only did Jesus say, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6), but he also said towards the end of his great sermon: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13–14).



    Jesus offers a better way, and that way leaves no room for any other way but the way he calls us to walk as we follow him.  Before I get to the fourth beatitude, I want you to think very carefully about something else Jesus said concerning the way he calls us to walk, and I would like for you to consider the implications of what following Jesus really means for your life: “Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul’” (Matthew 16:24–26)?



    As I have had time to reflect on my last day participating in Ride the Rockies, I have thought a lot about the choice I made to go a different way than the one prescribed by the organizers who spent months planni

    • 46 min
    “A Posture of Humility”

    “A Posture of Humility”

    Matthew 5:5



    What does it mean to be meek?  Meek is a word we do not hear or use all that often anymore.  Maybe the reason for its little use in the English vocabulary is because it is not something that is highly valued in America.  What we value is strength, boldness, and courage.  We value ingenuity, skill, tenacity, and determination.  These values are not necessarily bad, but meekness is not a character trait one might see in the hero featured in the latest superhero movie. 



    So, what does it mean to be meek?  Let me begin by telling you what meekness is not.  Here is a list of what meekness is not – at least the meekness Jesus refers to in his sermon on the mount – meekness is not:



    CowardiceSpinelessnessIndecisivenessTimidityShynessNicenessA posture of wishy-washinessA lack of confidence



    To be meek, according to the Bible, is to be a person with self-control, a person who exercises controlled strength, and a person who has a proper and right understanding of who they are in light of a sovereign God.  A meek person is not only a person who appreciates that God is sovereign, but a person who trusts God and out of that trust, the meek person is humble and gentle (the Greek word for meek can also be translated gentle or humble).  A meek person is a free person, and it is this person who will inherit the earth.  It will not be the powerful, popular, prestigious, or prideful who will inherit the earth, but it will be the meek who will inherit the earth. 



    This type of meekness will not coexist with the kind of creedal statements our culture celebrates, creedal statements whose spirit is so ingrained in our culture that we assume are not only harmless but virtuous.  There are two that come to mind I want to share with you to help you understand why Jesus’ words sound so paradoxical; the first is a poem written by William Ernest:



    Out of the night that covers me,



          Black as the pit from pole to pole,



    I thank whatever gods may be



          For my unconquerable soul.



    In the fell clutch of circumstance



          I have not winced nor cried aloud.



    Under the bludgeonings of chance



          My head is bloody, but unbowed.



    Beyond this place of wrath and tears



          Looms but the Horror of the shade,



    And yet the menace of the years



          Finds and shall find me unafraid.



    It matters not how strait the gate,



          How charged with punishments the scroll,



    I am the master of my fate,



          I am the captain of my soul.



    For the whole month of June our culture now celebrates the spirit of Invictus; it began with a parade on the streets of Manhattan and Central Park in 1970 with the first Pride Parade, and now our society calls it Pride Month.  The spirit of Invictus is not only celebrated in June, it is celebrated with the posture that I can determine my own truth because, “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”  It is this spirit that can be heard in John Lennon’s “Imagine”:



    Imagine there’s no heavenIt’s easy if you tryNo hell below usAbove us, only sky



    Imagine all the peopleLivin’ for today



    This is how the world believes one will inherit the earth, but Jesus shows us a different way.  Jesus shows us a better way.  Jesus shows us the only way a person will inherit what was never the world’s to give in the first place.



    Who are the Meek?



    According to Jesus, it is a different type of person who will inherit the earth.  Each of the beatitudes serve in succession of the one before it.  The beatitudes are not independent clever statements that will make life better if you apply them to your life, but a statement on what kind of person belongs to a kingdom that cannot fade, grow old, or be destroyed (1 Pet. 1:3-9). 



    There is a Psalm that I believe Jesus is referring to in Matthew 5:5 that helps us understand who the meek are.  The passage I have in mind is Psalm 37

    • 42 min
    “A Heavy Heart”

    “A Heavy Heart”

    Matthew 5:4



    While in my 20s and attending Bible College, I read a book by Ravi Zacharias titled Deliver Us from Evil.  In his book, Zacharias shared the story of Dorian Gray from Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.  I have not read Oscar Wilde’s story nor have I seen its screen adaptation; however, Zacharias’ retelling of the story stayed with me since I read it over twenty years ago. 



    Wilde’s story is of a very handsome man whose face was more attractive and purer than any other. So much so that Basil Hallward, an artist, wanted to capture Dorian Gray’s image on canvas.  Dorian agreed to have his likeness painted and when the painting was finally presented by the artist, Dorian became so enraptured by the beauty of his own image that he, in the words of Zacharias, “wistfully expressed the longing to draw license from such beauty and to live any way he pleased…”.  Dorian’s wish was to live a life of “sensuality, indulgence, and even murder” that would only mar the painting of himself, leaving no evidence on his actual person of the wickedness he desired to pursue. 



    Dorian got his wish. He chased after the sins he desired knowing that only his painting would reveal the ugliness of his soul.  Because he feared what his painting would say about the truth of his own soul, Dorian hid his portrait until Hallward discovered it.  Upon seeing the marred image of Dorian, Hallward understood what it meant and was filled with grief. He confronted Dorian and begged him to turn from his sins and seek God’s forgiveness; he said to Dorian, “Does it not say somewhere, ‘Come now let us reason together.  Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.  Though they be red like crimson, they shall be as white as wool’?”  Instead of heeding the artist’s advice, Dorian grabbed a knife and killed the artist to silence the voice of reason.  Zacharias concludes,



    The story reaches an emotional climax when, no longer able to stand the indictment of the picture, Dorian reached for the knife once more to destroy the portrait and remove the only visible reminder of his wicked life.  The moment he thrust the blade into the canvas the portrait returned to its pristine beauty, and Durian Gray himself lay stabbed to death on the floor.  The ravages that had marred the picture now so disfigured his own countenance that he was unrecognizable to the servants who heard the scream of death and came rushing in to help.[1]



    Ravi Zacharias then asks, “Can an individual or society live with complete disregard for a moral and spiritual center and not suffer from the wounds of wickedness?  Can the soul of a people who have lived without restraint be left unravaged?  Is there a point at which one must cry a halt to the passions and the whims of unbridled appetite and admit that enough is enough?”[2]  Zacharias suggests in the introduction of his own book that the West suffers from the same disfigurement of its soul that Dorian suffered in his. 



    On May 19, 2020 Ravi Zacharias died of bone cancer only two months after the cancer was discovered.  Within a year after his death, news broke that shocked the Christian world that Zacharias was responsible for the sexual exploitation of numerous women for his own gratification with the hope that no one would ever discover the ugliness of his own soul.  Instead of heeding to the warning of Durian Gray’s character, Zacharias pursued a similar path while disguised in an attractive and notable spiritual veneer that impressed and fooled the evangelical world.    



    In the early 1900s, The London Times sent out an inquiry to famous authors with the question: “What’s wrong with the world today?”  One of the respondents was the renown Christian English writer, philosopher, and literary and art critic, G.K. Chesterton.  His answer was simple and restricted to only one sentence: “Dear Sir, the problem with the world is me.”

    • 47 min
    “Empty Hands”

    “Empty Hands”

    Matthew 5:1-3



    We have been through a lot over the past three years, haven’t we?  In just a short time, we experienced a Pandemic responsible for the death of millions, racial tensions so divisive that some are afraid to even mention what they believe or feel out of fear of what label they might receive, inflation is on the rise, another national recession appears to be immanent, the threat of a World War III seems more real than ever, and the only thing that has not changed is the ability politicians have to blame those on the other side of the aisle for the problems in our nation.  We are living in a season of extreme divisiveness and there does not seem to be any way of escape. 



    The results of a major survey conducted by Edelman was published in 2021 that found more than half of Americans believe that the United States is in a cold Civil war, that government leaders and journalists are purposely misleading the public, and that we are in an era of “information bankruptcy.”[1]  In his book titled, Cold Civil War, Christian political philosopher Jim Belcher warns that America is polarized and fragmented so badly that there are two different versions of America represented on the political left and right that could eventually split the nation in two.



    In his book, Belcher created a diagram that I find to be helpful in showing the four ways our nation is polarized and gravitating towards more extreme views.  Without going into great detail, I want to share Belcher’s diagram[2] to illustrate why a sermon series on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is timely and necessary for Meadowbrooke.







    So, what does this diagram mean?  The further away from the “New Vital Center” one moves, the more extreme one becomes.  The “New Vital Center” as I understand it, is a return to a Christian influenced political identity where love of neighbor and the value of human dignity are foundational.  I am more pessimistic than Belcher is regarding the future of our nation and do not see any way back (I am not the only one who feels this way).  I am however, very optimistic that the Church has a voice that can speak into the polarization of our nation that can be profoundly redemptive. 



    So here is a very brief summation of Belcher’s diagram:



    Freedom Left: Truth is relative and what you make of it. Government must be neutral on the question of the “good” allowing the individual the final choice in determining the good life, questions of right and wrong, and ultimate purpose (extremes of this quadrant include: America’s founding documents were written by White Supremacist; white fragility exists, radical skepticism, and radical relativism). 



    Order Left: Government has a moral obligation to eliminate poverty and to free the poor and ethnically marginalized into prosperity (extremes of this quadrant include: White Christian nationalism is evil, Critical Race Theory is objectively right, etc.). 



    Freedom Right: Government has no right to regulate the borders, social life, expression of individual persons, nor does it have the right to limit market capitalism.  Everyone has a right to make it to the top if they are willing to work hard enough.  All men and women are created equal (extremes of this quadrant include: some forms of globalization…).



    Order Right: Small government that has been traditionally conservative rooted in some form of a Judeo-Christian worldview (extremes of this quadrant include: I will leave it to your imagination as to who fits into the extreme of this category). 



    Regardless of how you feel about the four quadrants that make up America’s political landscape, they are four different forces pulling/luring Christians from a center that the gospel of Jesus Christ calls us into.  The center that the gospel calls the Christian into is a new identity that is different from the identities politics and the media pressures us to affirm or to deny.  For example, many Mainstre

    • 37 min
    “The Church We Long to Be” (part 2)

    “The Church We Long to Be” (part 2)

    Acts 2:42-47



    Martyn Lloyd-Jones said that the difference between the Christian and the non-Christian is that the Christian lives his/her life in the awareness that he/she is always in the presence of God.  What compels the Christian to turn his/her face towards God is, in the words of J.I. Packer, the “tremendous relief in knowing that God’s love to me is based at every point on the prior knowledge of the worst about me.”



    The four characteristics of the first Church in the book of Acts were present in the Church because they understood that God sent his Son to redeem them even though he saw the worst in them and because of the cross of Christ. They were aware of always being in the presence of God.  This my dear brothers was the catalyst and reason for the profound impact that the first Christians had on their world:



    They were devoted to God.They were devoted to one another.They were devoted to prayer.They were devoted to the mission of God.



    Apart from the diligent prayers of God’s people, the Church’s ability to live out her mission will fall flat.  The reason the church in Acts was characterized by a devotion to prayer was that they were convinced that the success of their mission (Matt. 28:19-20) was dependent on the power and ability of God, not on their own creativity. 



    With the time that we have left, let us turn our attention to the last two characteristics of the first Church. 



    They Devoted Themselves to Prayer



    Charles Spurgeon said that, “True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance.  It is far deeper than that – it is spiritual transaction with the Creator of Heaven and Earth.”  If being devoted to the God is the act of his people turning their ears and their eyes to knowing and understanding him, then prayer is the act of God turning his ear to hear his children.  All healthy relationships require communication between the parties involved, and regarding our relationship with the Almighty, there is no exception. 



    There is a prayer that the Old Testament Prophet, Habakkuk, prayed that helps me understand the relationship between prayer and the mission of God: “Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:1–2, NIV).



    Habakkuk heard of God’s reputation.  He heard of the God who spoke galaxies into being (Gen. 1:1).  He heard of how God delivered the Hebrews through the Red Sea (Exod. 14).  Habakkuk heard about the wall of Jericho falling (Josh. 6).  He heard about how Samson struck down one thousand Philistines with only the jawbone of a donkey, because God was with him (Jud. 15).  Habakkuk grew up hearing about exploits of King David and how he brought back the Ark of the Covenant after defeating the Philistines.  Habakkuk also heard how Uzzah died when he tried to keep the ark from falling into the dirt, even though he was told that no unclean person was permitted to touch the ark or lest that person die.  Habakkuk understood that Uzzah was arrogant to believe that his hand was cleaner than the dirt of the ground. 



    I am sure that the prophet grieved over the long history of Israel’s idolatry and sin, which resulted in the discipline of the LORD, but he was also aware of God’s promise in 2 Chronicles 7:13-14, “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:13–14).



    He was also aware that every time God’s people prayed for things that lined up with the heart of God, God moved powerfully.  These are the same reasons why the church in Acts was devoted to prayer.  When Judah[1] fell into moral and spiritual ch

    • 33 min
    “The Church We Hope to Be” (part 1)

    “The Church We Hope to Be” (part 1)

    Acts 2:42-47



    What we learn from the Bible and history is that the first century church turned the world upside-down.  Four vital characteristics enabled the church in Acts 2:42-47 to become an unstoppable force resulting in God-shaped transformation in the communities that surround her.  I believe that if you devote yourself to the same four things that the first century Church devoted themselves to, you will experience the kind of vibrancy and life God wants for you and this church in 2022.  The four characteristics exhibited by first century Christians are the following:



    The Church devoted themselves to God.The Church devoted themselves to one another.The Church devoted themselves to prayer.The Church devoted themselves to the mission of God.



    I will unpack the first two characteristics today, and I will unpack the final two characteristics next week.  My hope and prayer is that we will not only use these characteristics to lay the foundation for the future of Meadowbrooke Church, but that you will be able to lay a foundation for a life of God-begotten and Christ-centered vibrancy in 2022 and the years to come.



    They Devoted Themselves to God



    How did the first century Christians devote themselves to God?  They did so by devoting themselves to the Apostle’s teaching.  What does that mean and what does that look like?  To be devoted to the Apostle’s teaching is to be devoted to the Word of God, or as commonly referred to, the Bible.  The Church was committed to the Word of God as the only authority of God almighty.



    To be devoted to the Word of God means you must listen and obey it, not so that you can fill your mind with knowledge, but so that you know and understand God.  The Bible says that, “the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action” (Dan. 11:32).  In other words, when you have a proper perspective of who God is, you will have an appropriate perspective of everything else in your life.  This is why the Prophet Jeremiah declared: “Thus says the LORD: ‘Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts, boast in this, that he understands and know me…”  (Jer. 9:23-24). 



    Who is God?  God is the One who spoke and made everything out of nothing (Gen. 1:1) just as the Scriptures declare: “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible” (Heb. 11:3).  God is the One who formed man from the dust of the earth and made him into his own image.  God is the One who is big enough to assign a name to every single star of the trillions that make up our universe (Psalm 147:4) and concerned deeply enough about you that he has already numbered every hair on your head (Luke 12:7).  Who is God?  God is the one who delivered the Hebrews from the grip of Pharaoh and his army by parting the Red Sea with the breath of his nostrils and destroyed the entire Egyptian army with a simple exhale (Exod. 15:1-18). 



    God is the one who destroyed the city of Jericho with the sound of trumpets and the shouts of his people.  God is the one who conquered an army of 120,000 with only Gideon and three hundred of his soldiers armed only with torches and clay jars.  God is the one who killed the giant Goliath with a simple stone in David’s sling.  God is the one who, “…changes times and seasons; removes kings and sets up kings…”  (Dan. 2:21).



    God is the one who promised a deliverer to every generation that has come after Adam and Eve.  God is the one who miraculously blessed Mary to be the mother of that deliverer even though she was a virgin.  God is the one who took on flesh in the person and work of his own Son, Jesus Christ.  God is the one who cursed his son while he hung in our place on the cross (Isa. 53).  After Jesus died and was buried, God is the one who raised him u

    • 42 min

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