Audio Sermons

Audio Sermons at Prairie Lane Church

We invite you to listen to past Sunday morning messages on your computer or on the go.
Files are available as .mp3s for download or you may listen with streaming audio.

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Dec. 29, 2019 "Finding Rest in God's Favor"
Dec. 22, 2019 "Songs of the Angels: Shepherds"
Dec. 15, 2019 "Songs of the Angels: Joseph and the Wisement"
Dec. 8, 2019 Songs of the Angels: Mary
Dec. 1, 2019 "Songs of the Angels: Zechariah"

The largest concentration of angels in the Bible occurs at Christmas. Their presence and message accomplished precisely then what we long for now: joy. This Advent our series is "Songs of the Angels".

Nov. 17, 2019 "Called to Act Courageously"

The second in our Esther series. 
Application Questions:
1. How might identifying with Christ influence faithfully living?
2. How might understanding God's desire to heall ALL the world motivate us to act courageously? What's your part?

Nov. 10, 2019 "Fingerprints of God"

The start of a short series from Esther. We'll be looking at what do we do when God appears to be silent in our lives. 

Nov. 3, 2019 "Building Sacred Space in Witness"

From Haggai 2:20-23
1. Who do you believe God to be? Do you believe that He holds your future?
2. What difficult situations in your life are called to reflect God's glory?

Oct. 27, 2019 "Building Sacred Space through Wellness"

from Haggai 2:10-19
1. Do you see yourself as good? Having done enough for God?
2. How are you growing in your reliance on Jesus?

Oct. 20, 2019 "Building Sacred Space for Wisdom"

Text Haggai 1:1-15

Oct. 13, 2019 "Building Sacred Space for Worship"

A new 4-part series from the Old Testament book of Haggai. When God's people returned from exile, God calls his people to rebuild. Let's see how we too are challenged to Build Sacred Spaces in our lives. The first week's text is Haggai 1:1-15.

  • How do you define worship? Can your definition naturally expand worship to every day of the week?
  • What might be things that discourage us from worshipping in today's culture. How can you remedy those things?
  • How might worship fuel and give direction to our lives?
Sept. 29, 2019 "When I am Weak, I am Strong"

from 2 Corinthians 12:1-10

Sept. 22, 2019 "Standing with Integrity"

from 2 Corinthians 10:2-18

Sept. 15, 2019 "Generous Living"

from 2 Corinthians 9:6-15

Sept. 8, 2019 "Labor of Love"

from 2 Corinthians 8:1-15

Sept. 1, 2019 "Godly Grieving"

From 2 Corinthians 7:2-16

August 11, 2019 "Confidence in the Covenant"

From 2 Corinthians 3:1-18
1. Why can't the Old Testament Law change people's lives?
2. What challenge is there for you in reading, "you are the letter from Christ" to our world?
3. How does covenant theology invite you to hope?

August 4, 2019 "Experiencing Grace"

From 2 Corinthians 2:5-17
Application Questions:
1. How might discipling be different than punishing?
2. Why is remembering our salvation helpful in forgiving others, and ourselves?
3. Who might God be calling you to restore in Christ?

July 28, 2019 "God of Comfort_

Encouragement for the Journey Series:
Life can get messy. In the haze of busy-ness, confusion, and struggles of life that can make us feel isolated and weak, God has given us each other. Concerned about the internal life of the Christian community at Corinth, Paul wrote 2 Corinthians. Pointing toward the power of Christ, in this letter Paul provides guidance for doing life together. This is the beginning of a 10-week series.
Application Questions:
1. What, or who has comforted you in the past? What did they do that helped?
2. Why is remembering our salvation comforting in times of affliction?
3. Who might God be calling you to encourage?

June 23, 2019 "Called to be Prophets"

The first of a 3-part series on HC Q31 & 32. As Christians, ordained by the Lord, we are to fulfill the same offices as our Savior: Prophet, Priest, and King.
This is from Romans 10:8-15.
Application Questions:
1. How are you fulfilling the role of prophet?
2. How might you discern when to confess Jesus, and to whom?
3. How might the weight of "speaking for God" be encouraging or discouraging for believers?

June 16, 2019 "Are You Focused?"

From Matthew 7:24-27
Application Questions
1. What in your life has the potential to turn your focus on Christ?
2. How are you anchoring yourself to the Rock?

June 9, 2019 "Are You Compelled?"

From Luke 14:7-24
Discussion Questions
1. Are you influenced more by God's anger or grace? How might that affect your view of Christian faith?
2. Why might the change from "inviting guests" to "bringing in guests" to God's banquet be significant for us?
3. Is there anything in your life that hinders you from believing that God wants you near Him?

June 2, 2019 "Are You Free?"

The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31)
1. What good thing do you struggle to keep from becoming the ultimate thing?
2. How might this parable point to the grace of God?

May 26, 2019 Stories that Teach part 6 "Are You Ready?"

The Parable of the Ten Virgins, Matthew 25:1-13
1. What other worldly logic may seem right, but goes against Scripture?
2. How might our perspective of heaven, affect our actions on earth?
3. How are you bringing a glimpse of heaven to others?

May 19, 2019 "Are You Releasing?"

Stories that Teach part 5 "Are You Releasing?" from Matthew 18:21-35, The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant.
1. You are the first servant, how?
2. Where in your life are forgiveness and pardon similar, different?
3. How might forgiveness be more an attitude than an act?
4. Where in your life do you need Jesus to help you forgive?

May 12, 2019

Stories that Teach part 4: "Are You Looking?" from Matthew 13:44-46.
Application Questions:
1. How do you assess value?
2. Reflect on the Solitude test and the Nightmare test. What does your heart treasure?
3. Does how you value Jesus affect your day to day life?

May 5, 2019 Stories that Teach 3 "Are You Preparing?"

The Parable of the Talents: Matthew 25:14-30
Application Questions:
1. What is your view point of God? Is He hard and just, kind and loving, a mix? How is your view affecting your faith?
2. If love moves you to action, how are you responding to God's love? Where are you serving?

April 28, 2019 "Are You Listening?"

The second in the Stories that Teach series on the Parables of Jesus. From Matthew 13:3-23.
Reflection Questions:
1. What are the competing voices in your life?
2. What are ways you can open yourself up to "hear the gospel" more often or clearly?

April 21, 2019 Easter Sunday

"Celebrating Life" Easter Message 2019
Luke 15:11-32
1. How can an older brother grow to appreciate God's grace? How can a younger brother avoid abusing it?
2. Is there a danger in over-emphasizing God's lavish grace? Why does a proper understanding of grace lead to life now?

April 14, 2019 "Words of Victory"

from "Words of Victory"
1. What are your expectations of Jesus? Are you living as if Jesus is enough?
2. Are you finding joy in Jesus paying your debt? If not, why not?

April 7, 2019 "Words of Fulfillment"

From John 19:28-30
1. How much evidence do you need to believe Jesus is who He claims to be?
2. What does claiming Jesus as your "living water" mean to you?

March 31, 2019 "Words of Atonement"

From Matthew 27:45-56.
1. How might hell or God's anger at sin be difficult for some people to believe?
2. How might believing Jesus "atoned" for us affect our day to day life?

March 26, 2019 "Words of Affection"

Jesus' 7 Last Words continue with "Words of Affection" from John 19:23-27.
Application Questions:
1. What does God's covenant mean for you?
2. Why does this covenant place so much emphasis on community?

March 17, 2019 "Words of Salvation"

Jesus' Seven Last Words series part 2. "Words of Salvation" from Luke 23:39-42
Application Questions:
1. Where have you tried to bulid your own paradise?
2. Have you ever struggled with earning, keeping, or having to choose salvation? What were the results?
3. What does knowing "God remembers you" mean to you?

March 10, 2019: Words of Christ Series 1 "Words of Forgiveness"

A new series leading up to Easter: "Words of the Cross". Jesus' last sayings to his followers as he was crucified. The first one begins with "Words of Forgiveness" and text is Luke 23:34.
Discussion/Listening questions:
1. How might prayer and our ability to fogive be connected
2. How might forgiving those undeserving of forgiveness still benefit you
3. What does this first word from the cross mean for you personally

Mar. 3, 2019 "Intercessory Prayer"

The conclusion of "Praying Church" series, "Intercessory Prayer" from John 17 and James 5:46. (note the first part of the sermon was not recorded)
1. Why is intercessory prayer and important task?
2. How might intercessory prayer build unity?
3. Who is God calling you to pray for?

Feb. 17, 2019 "How Do I Pray"

A Praying Church Series continues with "How Do I Pray" from Matthew 6:5-13.
1. How might praying for eternal and everyday things influence our peace and our hope?
2. Is there a difference between asking God for what we need and what we want?
3. How might praying for God's will help us develop faith, even in unanswered prayers?

Feb. 10, 2019 "Posture of Prayer"

A Praying Church part 2. From Luke 18:15-17.
Reflection Questions:
1.What might be some of your obstacles to prayer?
2. Who is God to you? Do you think your view influences your prayer life?
3. What might we need to believe about the character of God that would move us to pray more?

Feb. 3, 2019 "Why Pray"

We begin a new 5-week series on Prayer with "Why Pray" from James 5:13-20. Prayer is the most central activity for Christians as it ushers us into communion with God. 
Application Q's:
1. What are your expectations when you pray?
2. How might increasing your thankfulness increase your prayer life?
3. In your prayers, are you focusing on the words or on the presence of God? How might your focus effect your prayer time?

Jan. 27, 2019 "A Life of Praise"

From Psalm 134. The conclusion of the Psalms of Ascent series.
1. What are the things you treasure the most?
2. How do the things you treasure influence your outlook on this life? On heaven? On God?
3. How are you preparing yourself to "stand" ready for what God might be calling you to do?

Jan. 13, 2019

Our guest pastor this week is our friend, Rev. Richard M. Hartwell. His message was from Hebrews 10:1-25.

"Nobody's Perfect", Pastor Richard Hartwell
Jan. 6, 2019 "Cultivating Faith"

Nurturing Faith from Psalm 132
1. In the past, have you viewed your relationship with God more as a covenant or contract?
2. What is the difference between Biblical and the popular definitions of faith?
3. How might your faith grow by knowing you're wanted, not needed?

Dec. 16, 2018 "Gift of Love"

Advent week 3 "Gift of Love".
1. Where are you in the three stages of Love: Recognizing, Receiving, Believing?
2. What obstacles in your life make it difficult to accept God's love?
3. List where you find evidence of God's love in your life.

Dec. 9, 2018 "Gift of Peace"

Advent Week 2 from John 1:1-8
1. Are the decisions in your life prioritizing peace or luxury?
2. How are you taking daily time to connect with Jesus, the source of Peace?
3. What areas of opportunity is God opening for you to share His peace? Where do you need to change from Why Me? to Why Not Me?

Dec. 2, 2018 "Gift of Hope"

The season of Advent begins with a message from John 1:1-5.
Reflection questions:
1. How might believing the lie "I am good enough" remove your need for Jesus?
2. How can Jesus being fully divine give you hope? How can Jesus being fully human bring you hope?

Nov. 25, 2018 "What are You Waiting For?"

The text for this message is Psalm 130.
Reflection questions:
1.Where is God calling you to wait? Is it hopeful or worrisome?
2. How can your waiting express confidence in the Lord?
3. How can we as a church family share in the waiting of others?

Nov. 18, 2018 "Discovering Blessings"

Psalm 128 of the "Psalms of Ascent" series.
1. Is your fear drawing you to God or away from God? Why?
2. How are you being "good news" to someone else?
3. Where are you looking for satisfaction or fulfillment?

Nov. 11, 2018 "Unless..."

Going through Psalm 127 in our Psalms of Ascent series.
Questions to think about:
1. In your daily journey with God, are you centering on Him? Where are you spending your effort, on controlling your situation or searching for God's presence in the everyday of life?
2. How are you celebrating the life and relationships God has given you?

Nov. 4, 2018 "Finding Joy"

Psalms of Ascent Series. Psalm 126.
Application/Reflection Questions:
1. Where do you find joy?
2. Do you find it difficult to rejoice? If so, why?
3. How does hope or having an external perspective fuel joy?

October 28, 2018 " Glimpse of Heaven"

The Psalms of Ascent continues with Psalm 125. "Followers of Jesus bring a glimpse of heaven to earth" --Michael Johnson, Ascending Leaders.
Reflection & Application questions:
1. What does it mean for you to trust God? What barriers do you battle?
2. How are you bringing a "glimpse of heaven" to those you encounter? What would be your reply to someone questioning your peace?

*note audio quality is a little scratchy

Oct. 21, 2018 Psalms of Ascent "Encouraging Others"

This message focuses on Psalm 124. Questions to reflect on:
1. Where are the fingerprints of God inn your life's story?
2. How could you expand your worship of God beyond Sunday?
3. How well are you encouraging others in the faith? Can you see the fingerprints of God in others? Can you tell them?

October 14, 2018: Psalms of Ascent "Watching and Waiting"

We look at Psalm 123. As you listen, reflect on these questions: 

  1. What is your natural response in a crisis?
  2. What does looking to God mean for you?
  3. What elements of a servant's posture are difficult for you?
  4. In what ways can you pick up your towel and serve God by serving others?
October 7, 2018: Psalms of Ascent "A Life in Awe of Jesus'

Pastor Chad continues his series on the "Psalms of Ascent" with a sermon on "A Life in Awe of Jesus". Listen to learn why worship is fuel for life. Ask yourself:

  1. What are your expectations in coming to church for worship? What do you hope to gain?
  2. Where is your joy found? Does your joy waver with your circumstances?
  3. Who do you need to share your sense of joy and awe of Jesus with?
10 07 2018
Sept. 9, 2018 "You Got God"

Prairie Lane welcomes its new pastor, Rev. Chad Van Ginkel at this Installation service. The message was given by Rev. Dave Smit. His sermon is drawn from Isaiah 50.

September 2, 2018 "Farewell"

We offer our thanks and farewell to Rev. Richard Hartwell as he concludes his time as interim Pastor to Prairie Lane CRC. Pastor Richard and Judy have shepherded the PLC flock well during the year they have been here. We pray for God's blessings on them as they return to their home in sunny Texas! The text for this message is Romans 16:25-27, and Psalm 47.

August 26, 2018 "And Your Descendants after You"

Text Genesis 17:1-27

August 19, 2018 "The Hope that Does Not Disappoint Us"

Text 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17

July 29, 2018 "How Do We Know the Bible is Really True?"

Pastor Hartwell preaches from 1 Peter 3:8-22. This is a short 2-part series.

July 15, 2018 "The With-God Life"

We welcome guest pastor Brian Carpenter. His message is from John 17:6-13 and Ephesians 4:1-6.

July 8, 2018 "Is Christ Enough?"

Pastor candidate Rev. Andy Vanden Akker's message delivered at PLC on July 8, 2018. Text Colossians 2:6-15.

July 1, 2018 "Fear and Wonder"

Baptism service, text Psalm 139

June 26, 2018 "Who are You?"

Pastor Candidate Chad Van Ginkel's message delivered at PLC on June 24. Text John 21.

June 17, 2018 "When Jesus is There"

text Mark 1:16-28

June 3, 2018 "All of Them Were Filled with the Holy Spirit"

text Acts 2:1-11, 42-47  Pentecost Sunday

May 27, 2018 "Lest We Forget"

text 2 Timothy 2:1-13

May 6, 2018: "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name"

text Philippians 4:1-9

April 29, 2018 "Prayer--A Mysterious Treasure"

Pastor Hartwell reminds us "do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Text is from Philippians 4:1-9

Apr. 22, 2018 "Out of the Boat, Out on the Water"

A message from Matthew 14:22-33. 

April 15, 2018 "What the Cross Accomplished"

Pastor Hartwell's message from Hebrews 2:1-18. Note- due to technical problems, the first five minutes were not recorded.

April 1, 2018 Easter Sunday "See the Place Where They Laid Him"

"He has risen! He is not here!" We celebrate Easter Sunday with a message from Mark 16:1-8. Happy Easter!

Mar. 25, 2018 Palm Sunday "The Faithful Burden Bearer"

Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest! Pastor Hartwell's Palm Sunday message is from Matthew 21:1-17.

Mar. 18, 2018 "The Real Presence of Jesus"

Pastor Hartwell's message from Exodus 33:14 and 1 Corinthians 10:14-22.  Also draws upon HC LD 28 & 29. 

March 4, 2018 "Overwatch!"

Pastor Hartwell concludes his exploration of Psalms with "Overwatch!" from Psalm 121. (please note the introduction to the message did not record due to tech difficulties)

Feb. 25, 2018

"Amazed!", from Psalm 139.

Feb. 18, 2018 "Remembering!"

A message from Psalm 103.

Feb. 4, 2018 "Confused!"

Pastor Hartwell continues an exploration of select Psalms with "Confused!" from Psalm 73.

Jan. 28, 2018 "Safe!"

Pastor Hartwell's message from Psalm 56. 

Jan. 14, 2018 Guest Pastor Eric Smith, Pillar Seminary
Jan. 7, 2018 "The Epiphany of Grace"

After Christmas, the church calendar turns to Epiphany. Matthew 2 explores the story of the Magi, whose visit marks the beginning of the season of Epiphany, which lasts until the Sunday before Ash Wednesday. Text: Matthew 2:1-18

Christmas Eve Service 2017 "What the Shepherds Said"

Christmas Eve Meditation from Luke 2:1-20

Dec. 24, 2017: Advent Week 4 "Have You Got the Christmas Spirit Yet?"

Week 4 of Advent, Pastor Hartwell brings a message from Luke 1:26-38, 46-55. Merry Christmas!

Dec. 17, 2017 "The Wonderful Gift" Advent week 3: Love

Pastor Hartwell continues his Advent series with "The Wonderful Gift" from 2 Corinthians 9:15

Dec. 3, 2017 Advent Week One: Hope--"Can You Go Home Again?"

     On the calendar of the Christian year, Sunday December 3, 2017 is the first Sunday of the Advent Season. Advent is a time of longing for the coming of the Lord. It’s a time of waiting and expecting, a time of yearning and hoping. We Christians symbolically wait for Christ’s birth as though it hasn’t happened because we want to relive the awesome drama and miracle of his birth. At the same time, we wait in Advent for his second coming. We long for the time when he will finally bring to this earth the peace of which the angels sang at his first coming. We long for and hope for the coming of Christ into our own lives and hearts of this season.
     But mixed in with our spiritual longing is a deep emotional longing as well. We want to go home for the holidays. Can we? Can we truly go home for the holidays? God’s message to us throughout the Advent Season and Christmastime is simple: You CAN go home again—through Jesus Christ. Listen to the attached message for the First Sunday of Advent, based on Psalm 84, to fill in all the details as to how you can go home again.

Nov. 26, 2017 "The Hiding Hero"

The Hiding Hero (Judges 6:1-24)
Listen to Sunday's message, "The Hiding Hero", to understand how God worked within the reluctant, hiding hero, Gideon, leading him to become a real "action hero".

Nov. 19, 2017 "So, What's Next?"
               In anticipation of celebrating the Lord’s Supper, we thought together about what the Apostle Paul wrote in I Corinthians 11:26— “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
               We live in a world facing the big question: “What’s next?” and you and I, personally, confront the “What’s next?” question, too.
               None of us truly know what’s next. And this is why the Lord’s Supper is such a blessing. In the midst of not knowing what’s next, the Lord’s Supper helps us orient ourselves.
               First, the Lord’s Supper reminds us how the death of Jesus has taken care of all our sin (the past of Christ’s death).
               Second, the Lord’s Supper reminds us we aren’t’ alone on a journey into the unknown (the presence of Christ’s body).
               Third, the Lord’s Supper reminds us that our life is a journey to reunion with Jesus (the future of Christ’s return).
               Our celebration of the Lord’s Supper invites, encourages and commands each of us to leave our past with Jesus, to enjoy our present with him and to pin all our hopes for the future on him.
Nov. 12, 2017 Guest Pastor Jeff Heerspink "Ordinary People"

Pastor Jeff gives a message drawing on Acts. We are thankful for Pastor Jeff and his work at F Street Neighborhood Church in Lincoln. 

Nov. 5, 2017 "Getting Through the Night"

     Using Psalm 91:5 as our text for this Sunday’s message, we thought about “Getting Through the Night.” Getting through the night is a common problem: perhaps you have experienced hanging on for hours at the very verge of sleep that never seems to capture you. All the while your thoughts run uncontrolled through your mind. Regrets pile up; memories flow around you. Like the Old Testament character, Job, “The Great Sufferer,” we too, say, “When I lied down I think, ‘How long before I get up?’ The night drags on, and I toss and turn until dawn.”
Listen to the full message to understand how true religion—not merely generic spirituality—but a faith shaped by the Bible with Jesus Christ and his cross at its center and focal point, can turn the challenge of night into brilliant day for each of us.

Oct. 29, 2017 Sola Series 5 "Soli Deo Gloria: To the Glory of God Alone"

On Sunday, October 29, we concluded our “Five Solas” focus on the Reformation’s 500th anniversary by thinking about what the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 11:33-36: “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them? For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” We also focused on I Corinthians 10:31, where Paul writes, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” Our theme simply was the Reformation’s 5th Sola—Soli Deo Gloria—The God be the Glory Alone.
In the message we asked: What does it look like to eat and to drink to the glory of God? What does it mean to do everything for the glory of God? And how do we truly perform for an audience of One?

Oct. 22, 2017 Sola Series 4 "Sola Gratia: Grace Alone--Mary Ann and Martin LUther

On Sunday, October 22, we continued our “Five Solas” observance of the Reformation’s 500th anniversary by thinking about what the apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8-10 “For it is by grace you have saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not y works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Our theme was, “Mary Ann and Martin Luther,” and we focused on the Reformation’s idea of Sola Gratia, By Grace Alone.

               Martin Luther was taught that God gives saving grace only to people who earn it through acts of love for God and others. He became a monk and later wrote: “It’s true. I was a good monk and kept my order so strictly that I could say that if ever a monk could get to heaven through monastic devotion, I should have entered in. All my companions in the monastery who knew me would bear me out in this. For if it would have gone on much longer, I would have martyred myself to death, what with vigils, prayers, reading, and other works…and yet my conscience would not give me certainty, but I always doubted and said, ‘You didn’t do that right. You weren’t contrite enough. You left that out of your confession.’ The more I tried to remedy an uncertain, weak and troubled conscience with human traditions, the more daily I found it more uncertain, weaker and more troubled.” Luther finally realized that our right standing in God’s eyes is not something we must earn. It is God’s gift to us sola gratia—by grace, God’s undeserved favor, alone.

               You and I are so in need of God’s grace. Contrary to what Luther had been taught, we don’t have the ability to find our way back to God. As fallen creatures, spiritually “dead in [our] transgressions and sins,” we’re like someone who has fallen into a pit and is lying unconscious at the bottom. The only way out is a rescue from above. Someone must reach down to us, revive us and pull us to freedom.

               When it comes to meeting the deepest need of our existence, our restlessness for God, we can do nothing to help ourselves. We’re totally reliant on outside help. Luther learned, and we learn, that grace is amazing. We don’t deserve it. We can’t earn it. And yet God is willing and able to save wretched people like us and he actually does.

Oct. 15 Sola Series 3 "Solus Christus: Through Christ Alone--A Special Kind of Priest"

      On Sunday, October 15, we continued our “Five Solas” observance of the Reformation’s 500th anniversary by thinking about what the author of Hebrews wrote in Hebrews 5:8-10: Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.” Our theme was, “A Special Kind of Priest,” and we focused on the Reformation’s idea of “Solus Christus—Through Christ Alone.”     

        The Reformer’s “Solus Christus” and the text from Hebrews both emphasize the Biblical truth that “There is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people” (I Tim 2:5), and that therefore, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Christ’s identity as a special kind of priest— “in the order of Melchizedek,” is absolutely exclusive and his work entirely sufficient. We have no need for any other prophet to provide us with a new revelation, any other priest to mediate between us and God, or any other king to rule Christ’s church. Christ alone stands at the center of God’s eternal purposes, Christ alone is the object of our saving faith and Christ must stand alone at the very center of our lives. “Solus Christus” also stands at the center of the other four principles or “Solas” of the Reformation.

               So, what does Hebrews tell us about Jesus, this special kind of priest “in the order of Melchizedek?” First, he is greater than any priest or high priest that ever was or ever would be. He is the true King of Righteousness and the King of Peace. Second, Hebrews tells us Jesus is God. The dying priest on Calvary’s cross is the very Son of the living God who gave himself in love for you. Third, the Bible emphasizes that this special kind of priest continues his priestly work without stopping. And so, the salvation of those who belong to him is absolutely certain.

               May the Reformer’s principal of “Through Christ Alone” and the One who is the special kind of priest become more precious to each day.  In our individual lives and the life of Prairie Lane Church may we commit ourselves anew to believing, living out, and proclaiming the unsearchable riches of Christ eve as we pray, “Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20b).

Oct. 1, 2017 Five Solas 2 "Sola Scriptura: How to Hear God's Voice"

               2017 marks the 500th anniversary from October 31, 1517, the date when an Augustinian monk named Martin Luther nailed the Ninety-Five Theses to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. This date marks the launching of what later came to be known as the Protestant Reformation.

               On Sunday, October 1, we continued our “Five Solas” observance of the Reformations 500th anniversary by thinking about what the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 119:97, “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long, “and what the Apostle Paul wrote in II Timothy 3:16: “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Our theme was “How to Hear God’s Voice,” and we focused on the Reformation’s idea of “Sola Scriptura—By Scripture Alone.”

               Why did the Reformers take their stand with “Scripture Alone?” Why did they stand on the foundation of the Bible alone as the authority for their faith and life? The answer: Because through the Bible we hear God’s voice speak the liberating good news of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone because it leads to sheer joy and excitement.

               Why did the Reformers value the Bible so highly? One answer: Because the Bible comes to us from God himself. God provided the Bible through his own action; it is his voice speaking through many human authors over many centuries. Another answer: It provides us just what we need to know about God. The Bible’s primary author is God and the Bibles’ primary subject is God.

               As we study the world around us we learn much about God. We’re awed by the signs of God’s wisdom, power and splendor as we study nature’s marvelous testimony about him.

               But, from the Bible we learn awesomely important things about God unavailable from any other source. We learn about God’s love, his compassion, his justice, his mercy, his wrath, his control of the world and his close contact with all he has make. The Bible tells us how he appeared in our very own human flesh in the person of his beloved Son, Jesus Christ. It lays out God’s way of saving you and me. The Bible also tells us about the Holy Spirit, sent by the Father and the Son into the world an into the hearts of all believers influencing our lives on the deepest levels.

               Can and does the Bible bring the same joy and courage to us as it did to the ancient Psalmist and to Martin Luther and the other Reformers? If we use it properly, the Bible will. Here’s how: First Recognize that the Bible is the authority for our spiritual life, not the ideas of the 21st century.  Second, be willing to submit totally to the Bible’s authority as the foundation for your life. Listen, listen, listen obediently to God’s voice, to God’s Word, above the voices of the world around us.

Sept. 24, 2017 Five Solas Series one "Faith and LIFE"

text Romans 3:21-23, 1:17

Sermon Review Sunday, September 24, 2017

               2017 marks the 500th anniversary from October 21, 1517, the date when an Augustinian monk named Martin Luther nailed the Ninety-Five Theses to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. This date marks the launching of what later came to be known as the Protestant Reformation.

               How can you summarize something that happened 500 years ago that still shapes our church and our culture? One summary is what became the “Five Solas” of the Protestant Reformation.

               The Five Solas are five Latin phrases summarizing the Reformer’s basic theological principles in contrast to certain teaching of the Roman Catholic Church of that day. “Sola” is Latin meaning “alone” or “only” and the corresponding phrases are Sola Fide—by faith alone; Sola Scriptura—by Scripture alone; Solo Christo or Solus Christus—through Christ alone; Sola Gratia—by grace alone, and Soli Deo Gloria—glory to God alone.

               On Sunday, September 24, we began our “Five Solas” observance of the Reformation’s 500th anniversary by thinking about what the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 3:21-31 and Romans 1:17— “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written, ‘The righteous will live by faith.’

               Martin Luther “…grasped that the righteousness of God is that righteousness by which through grace and sheer mercy God justifies us through faith. Thereupon I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise.” This monumental insight into God’s word and way of working brought new LIFE to Martin Luther and literally billion of people since 1517.

               So, what does Luther’s revolutionary insight into and understanding of being made right with God by faith alone mean for us in 2017? First, by faith we respond to God’s word; second, by faith we receive God’s way of salvation; and, third, by faith we are united with Jesus Christ.

  1. LIFE-bringing faith is a positive response to the Bible’s content. At the center of God’s heart is a cross. This cross was born because of God’s love for you and me. And at the center of the Bible there’s a cross, too. There’s no other place than in the Bible we can learn about real salvation
  2. LIFE-bringing faith also accepts the message of salvation. You and I must call out to God in faith and ask him to apply Jesus’ finished work to our lives. In Timothy Keller’s words: “The Gospel is this; ‘We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared to believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.’’
  3. LIFE-bringing faith unites us with Jesus. “Because I live, you also will live. On that day, you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you,” Jesus says. LIFE-bringing faith sustains us by the really real presence of Jesus in our lives. His life becomes our life.

Faith is the most important thing about you. If you have faith, Martin Luther discovered and you experience, you’re out of danger. If you don’t have faith, you’re in extreme danger. Faith and faith alone makes the difference.

               Trust Jesus for there’s no other hope in this world. Jesus has become the righteousness of God through his finished work on the cross. Believe in him. Martin Luther did and experienced LIFE and peace. 500 years later, so can you.

Sept. 17, 2017 "You Really Do Need a Shepherd"

text: Psalm 23
Nearly everyone is familiar with Psalm 23, with its words and with its imagery. But for many of us Psalm 23 feels out of touch with our technological, fast-paced world. In addition, green pastures, quiet waters and right pats sometimes, but not always describe our lives. And yet Psalm 23 endures. Psalm 23 continues to speak comfort and encouragement to us.

Why? Because we really do need a shepherd. We need a guide, we need someone bigger or stronger and wiser than we are to take care of us and to guide us through this life and beyond the grave to what is next. We really do need a shepherd.

Psalm 23 covers the entire spectrum of our lives: From good times to bad times, from sunny seasons to death’s dark valley. But this must be the constant in life: The presence of the shepherd. If and only if the Lord God is our shepherd then we have what we need.

And what kind of shepherd is our God? The One in whose presence we will finally never be in want. We’ll never be alone. We’ll never be abandoned. We’ll never travel down a path where he cannot follow in his goodness and love. We will never be in want of a God who loves us, a God who cares for us, and a God who prepares a place for us.

Sheep prefer to be led from the front rather than be driven from behind like cattle, for instance. Sheep form a trusting relationship with the shepherd they follow. Jesus picked up on this when he said, “I am the good shepherd and my sheep know my voice.” Jesus is the Good Shepherd who knows his way through the valley of the shadow of death and through death itself.

And we follow this most remarkable of shepherds. He’s one of us. He’s a shepherd and he’s a lamb. He is the Lamb who has been slain but now lives. He walks with us, he protects us and he takes us home in the end. The Lord is our shepherd and we want for nothing. Why? Because in his presence we already have everything we need.

Sept. 10, 2017 Pastor Richard Hartwell "Loving God"

text John 20:30-21:19

Aug. 13, 2017 Neil Stanley "A New Chapter at Prairie Lane Church"
July 30, 2017 Final Four "Integrity"

Pastor Dan's final Omaha sermon. 

July 23, 2017 Final Four-Three "Prayerful Dependence"

Pastor Dan shares his thoughts on seeking the guidance of the Lord. text John 3:8, Acts 15:36-40, 16:6-10

July 9, 2017: The Final Four-One "Persistance"
June 11, 2017 Beatitudes: The Great Reversal
June 4, 2017 Pentecost 2017