Jason Hovde • April 12, 2022
On Sunday we looked at Deuteronomy 4:15-31, an extended passage where Moses warns about making and/or worshiping idols. Moses used reasoning to explain the folly of idols, the consequences that would come for those who served idols, and what to do if one worshipped idols. Put another way, what is the remedy for the disease of idol worship? In the sermon, I connected this passage with Romans 1, where Paul explains the sin that brings about the wrath of God.
I wanted to take a moment here to share a few more thoughts that didn’t make it into the sermon, but are certainly relevant to our observance of this passage. One thought I wanted to expand on here is about the motives behind creating idols. I mentioned in the sermon that part of the folly of worshiping idols is that we are worshiping something much lower than the Creator, who deserves our worship. Idols are the creation of man, and the idols we worship are really gods made in our image. They represent our own preferences, and our own arrogant ideas of what deserves our loyalty and worship.
We make gods in our own image. That suits us. You may think to yourself, “but I have never made an idol. That is silly. I wouldn’t be one of those who makes something with my hands and then worships it.” Well, fair enough, and I would never accuse you of doing something you haven’t. Sometimes, however, the idol we create is not a physical object, but an idea. Most, if not all of us, have done this. Sometimes our idol is our own version of who the God of the Bible is, or our own preferences about who Jesus is that cause us to highlight or exaggerate the qualities of Christ that make us the happiest.
Maybe you have an idol that is a Jesus of your own making. If we make Jesus to be anything less than what scripture tells us He is, we may have a version of Jesus that falls far short of the real thing. Someone prone to legalism may like to focus on the Jesus who turned the tables at the temple, but forget that Jesus also was gentle towards the weak. A person who focuses on the miracles of Jesus may forget that sometimes He didn’t heal. A person focused on the forgiveness of Jesus may forget that along with His forgiveness comes the charge, “Go, and sin no more”. Perhaps the Jesus you picture is from the painting of him holding a lamb, and you forget that scripture says He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah.
We all have tendencies to make a caricature of God the Father or Jesus that is incomplete, but please us because of our own preference of who we think God should be. We then make a God in our own image, rather than conforming our view of him to what scripture teaches us about him. Our upbringing, our own personality, or some other factor may shape our version of Jesus. What each of us needs to do is to keep comparing our own understanding of Jesus with scripture. Taking a humble approach to the Word of God, we ought to go to it each time with a willingness to have the Holy Spirit show us where we may have wrong thinking about not only who Jesus is, but about any other doctrine or understanding we may have that is in error.
Another thought about Deuteronomy 4 is that one thing that can bring people to the point of creating idols is too much comfort. In difficult times, God’s people will naturally go to Him for comfort and to His word for guidance. However, when things are going pretty well, we can start to think we did it on our own. Read the following excerpt from the Preacher’s Commentary:
It is interesting that the context of verse 25 indicates that Israel’s extended period of comfort will give rise to the idolatry which will result in God’s judgments on them. When the families are settled, satisfaction creeps into their lives. The result? They will forget God. No wonder Phillips Brooks said, “Sad is that day when we are satisfied with the thoughts we are thinking, the lives we are living, the dreams we are dreaming, until there ceases to be forever knocking at the door of our souls a desire to do something greater for God.” Sidney J. Harris expressed the same concern. “Our real enemies,” he said, “are the people who make us feel so good that we are slowly, inexorably, pulled down into the quicksand of smugness or self-satisfaction.” Moses is not going to be Israel’s enemy. He is passionately warning them not to become self-satisfied when they settle down in the land of their dreams […]
A life of ease has ruined too many people. Hannibal of Carthage had conquered the conquerors. He had even routed the Roman legions. But victory was not to remain his. One winter, battle was suspended and Hannibal and his army settled back to wait out the weather in Capua, a city of luxury. These few months in luxury were enough to destroy his army; they lost their will to fight. Their winter of ease made them an easy target for defeat in the spring.
Maxwell, John C., and Lloyd J. Ogilvie. Deuteronomy. Vol. 5. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1987. Print. The Preacher’s Commentary Series.
There is a lesson here about how comfort has a tendency to make people lazy, and that includes in our faith. It is interesting to note that throughout Church History we find the times of greatest revival and church growth are the times of greatest difficulty and persecution. Moses’s warning was strong, but honest. There is great danger when we become so confident and feel so safe and have much comfort. In almost every case in world history where a great nation fell, one reason will be that the safety and decadence that was paid for by a previous generation is squandered by a generation who had not learned that valuable lesson of life that only can come through great trials and difficulty.
Therefore the Bible gives us so many warnings about complacency and apathy. God loves his own enough to cause them to go through great trials to draw them back to himself. Wise are those who strive for spiritual growth and maturity, even when they are going through relatively tranquil times. Let all of us, those who are going through a time of peace and comfort, as well as those currently going through the fire, strive to live up to the upward calling of God. (Philippians 3:12-4:1).
PLEASE INVITE SOMEONE TO JOIN YOU AT CHURCH ON RESURRECTION SUNDAY!
If you missed Sunday's Sermon, you can listen here: 915630--forbidden-worship
Here is the song I referred to in Sunday's Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSkR9B5p6aI
Please try to join us for our special Good Friday Service and also our Resurrection Pancake breakfast and Sunday Service. There are a lot of special opportunities this weekend for you to join with the Oasis Church family in celebrating the goodness of our God and the triumph of Jesus over death. Please check on our website for more information about the Holy Week schedule here: https://oasisfl.org
Jason Hovde • April 05, 2022
I saw an article today in Epoch Times that was a great reminder of why we need to all be actively involved in sharing Christ with those in our world around us. Here is an excerpt from the article:
More than four in ten U.S. high school students felt persistently sad or hopeless in 2021, according to a CDC field survey released late last week.
The number of high school students with persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness has grown steadily from 26.1 percent in 2009, to 36.7 percent in 2019, according to CDC data. The results of the new CDC survey (pdf) taken between January and June 2021 show the trend continuing, with 44 percent of the students reporting feeling persistently sad or hopeless.
The second paragraph tells us that this phenomenon is not simply a covid-19 thing. The numbers of teens feeling sad or hopeless was increasing even before the pandemic exasperated some of the very real problems out there. I suspect similar trends are happening not only among teens, but across all demographics. The world seems sad, frustrating, lonely, and scary to many people. Many have tried to diagnose the problem as being linked to internet use, social media, video games, movies and other media, and other causes. These play a part in how people around us are processing the things happening in our world.
While I certainly agree that these distracting and addicting types of electronic media have a role in the sadness and hopelessness of teens today, the real root of the problem are found in scripture. The reason the world is sad and without hope is because the real root problem is sin. Sin is the disease of all humanity (Romans 5:12). All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. (Romans 3:23). In the fallen state of humanity, there is no hope for the one who has been born into sin and remained a slave to it.
I shared the article above with Leland this morning and he replied: “We Offer the ONE & Only Hope!” And every week, Leland works tirelessly in his mission to bring this hope to middle and high school kids in Palm Beach County. Right now, our Sunday Night Youth Group (SNYG) has a challenge. Leland and Will Herring have faithfully served the youth in partnership with Pastor Ryan and Melanie Borkan of Calvary Chapel each Sunday night. Now, the Borkans are moving to TN, so their presence at the youth group will be missed.
Please pray with us that we will find new leaders to come and help us with the youth program. We are especially in need of adult females who can come, not only to be there as a chaperone, but truly engaging with the youth, learning about them, encouraging them to follow Jesus, and being someone they can see first-hand as a living witness to the life-changing power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
As Leland said, “We Offer the ONE & Only Hope!” We have the solution to the problem of sadness and hopelessness in our world today. And our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ charges each of us to be on mission with Him by bringing glory to Him through obedience to His commands. Let us each strive to keep all of His commands, but especially the Great Commission.
I am blessed that so many at Oasis Church are sharing a love for the church and an intensity and excitement for what God is doing. Let’s take that energy and be wise with it, and put to good use the valuable resources He has given us. The most valuable resource our church has is not the church buildings, nor the pastor. Our most valuable resource, other than the Gospel itself, is the people of God who serve faithfully in our community and beyond.
Resurrection Sunday is coming soon! Please be on the lookout for friends, family, and coworkers you can invite to church on Palm Sunday (April 10), Good Friday, (April 15), and Resurrection Sunday (April 17). Look for an upcoming announcement about our Good Friday Stations of the Cross and Resurrection Sunday pancake breakfast and special Sunday Worship Service. I hope you will all be present to celebrate together the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
If you are interested in supporting the youth group with your time or otherwise, contact Leland.
If you would like to listen to Sunday’s sermon, click here.
Please share our church website on your social media with this link: oasisfl.org
For the Epoch Times article I referenced click here.
Jason Hovde • March 24, 2022
As we continue our plunge into the book of Deuteronomy, this Sunday we will look at how Moses only got a glimpse of the promised land across the Jordan. If you haven’t listened to the sermon from March 20, click here: https://oasisfl.org/sermons/903686--the-saga-of-sihon-and-og
Deuteronomy 3:23–29 (ESV)
23 “And I pleaded with the Lord at that time, saying, 24 ‘O Lord God, you have only begun to show your servant your greatness and your mighty hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts as yours? 25 Please let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan, that good hill country and Lebanon.’ 26 But the Lord was angry with me because of you and would not listen to me. And the Lord said to me, ‘Enough from you; do not speak to me of this matter again. 27 Go up to the top of Pisgah and lift up your eyes westward and northward and southward and eastward, and look at it with your eyes, for you shall not go over this Jordan. 28 But charge Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he shall go over at the head of this people, and he shall put them in possession of the land that you shall see.’ 29 So we remained in the valley opposite Beth-peor.
Moses seemed to hope that perhaps the Lord would relent and allow him to complete the mission he had started on so many years prior in Egypt. In scripture, sometimes God relents. Usually, this is based upon the contrition and repentance of those who receive an extra measure of grace. A fair question often arises in dealing with passages where God relents. Does this mean He changes His mind? What about the other scriptures that tell us He is unchanging?
God is indeed unchanging. Also, His actions are not affected by human decisions. So when those passages arise where God had decreed a judgment and then relented, we may scratch our heads and ask what is happening in these cases. To help understand this, we need to realize that what seems contradictory on its face is not necessarily so. We do not have God’s perspective on everything. We know He can provide mercy in place of judgment. He may stay his hand in punishment or discipline. Ultimately, He does what will bring Him the most glory.
So when Moses asks to be pardoned of his unfaithful act and enter the promised land, why doesn’t God give Moses what he asks for? Since we are not all-knowing, or omniscient, like God is, we cannot see all the ramifications of God’s decision. We can trust that God is always just and will always do that which is right (Deuteronomy 32:4, Psalm 111:7, Zephaniah 3:5). All He does benefits those who love him (Romans 8:28).
Finally, we know God will always do what brings Him the most glory. So denying Moses entry into the promised land in his lifetime is for the good of Moses, since he loved God, and ultimately will bring glory to God. We must not question God’s motives or decisions. As Paul wrote in Romans 9, God has mercy on whom he will have mercy. We are on shaky ground if we question God about His sovereign decisions.
Ultimately, God’s glory is most clearly shown in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. And the glory of Jesus is to be clear in His church (Ephesians 3:21).
I’m sure it disappointed Moses that God did not allow him into the promised land, just as we regret the consequences of our own sin. Just as in Moses’ life, believers will not fully experience all the glory of God in their physical life, but since He works all things for the good of those who love Him, we can rest in knowing that despite our failures and the consequences we face in this life, we will certainly join fully into the glory of Christ in eternity if we are among those who put a saving faith in Him.
Lord, may we trust in your love for us enough to endure with patience the trials we face, including those trials that may result from our own disobedience to you. Help us to press on towards the prize, with your help. Amen
Thank you to the deaconesses for the wonderful and delicious "Spring into Life" meal they provided! It was so exciting to see the energy of Oasis Church as we move into another season of ministry. Thanks to everyone who contributes to the ministry and health of the church in so many ways. I appreciate all of you more than you could know.
Leland would like you to consider supporting Youth for Christ with the Rise-n-Run 6K. Click here for more information: https://oasisfl.org/youth
Have you connected with us on Faithlife yet? Check it out here: https://faithlife.com/11794880
Please surf around our website to see what Oasis is all about, and what is happening. See you Sunday!
Jason Hovde • March 14, 2022
God is faithful. He is sovereign. This was the major thrust of the message this week from Deuteronomy 2:1-25. This was a very complicated text. Moses is recounting some history, there are some switches of perspective, there are several people groups mentioned whose history most of us know little about. I mentioned in the sermon that most who hear it will not remember for long some details about the Moabites, the Ammonites, and the Edomites. We could not find on a map some of those places mentioned.
We can know God as faithful. He was faithful to the descendants of Esau, preserving their land for them. The same for the descendants of Lot. God is faithful to people who are not always faithful in return. The lesson of God’s faithfulness stands in stark contrast to the many failures of humankind. Even devout believers fall short of living the faith perfectly. Some finish better than others. Some do not finish well at all. John Wesley was one who was concerned with finishing well. Read this excerpt from the Preacher’s Commentary:
I enjoy collecting books written by or about John Wesley. He and his followers were particularly concerned about “dying well.” Dr. John Whitehead’s account of John Wesley’s last days points out the importance of finishing life victoriously. In the message recorded at Wesley’s funeral, Dr. Whitehead notes that as Wesley lay dying, his friends entered his room and inquired about his spiritual health. Then they spent time praising God for victory at the close of his life.
It was Wesley himself who warned: “Let, therefore, none presume on past mercies, as if they were out of danger.” In other words, never take God for granted.
The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews says, “Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it” (Heb. 4:1–2).
An entire generation lost everything at the door of the Promised Land because of their disobedience. What a waste. “You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?” (Gal. 5:7). -Maxwell, John C., and Lloyd J. Ogilvie. Deuteronomy. Vol. 5. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1987. Print. The Preacher’s Commentary Series.
Moses spent a lot of time reminding the people of two things: Their failures, and God’s faithfulness. Many popular preachers today avoid talking about sin and our failure to live a perfect life. They will tell you, “That really isn’t my bag. I just want to encourage people.” Or they may say, “people already know they are sinful, so I don’t talk about that, I just want to lift them up”. The preachers who do not preach about sin or judgment are very attractive to people whose hearts are still hardened against the truth of scripture. People love to talk about Jesus as a teacher, or a healer, or an encourager, but they do not want to talk about him as Lord and King, at least not if that means the Lord and King actually expects to rule over His people, and wants them to obey Him.
The problem of not preaching or teaching people about sin, or reminding them of their need for repentance, is that such preaching is unbiblical. How do I know this? I have read the Bible. Throughout scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, God’s people need to constantly be reminded of their sinfulness and potential to not finish well. This may seem heavy, or even depressing to some, until we realize that for the believer, a reminder of sin is not condemnation, it is life. It is life because being reminded of our sin is the starting point of repentance that leads to life.
Paul reminded the Ephesian Church of who they were:
Ephesians 2:1–3 (ESV)
2 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
However, the good news is that Paul does not just leave the believers there, worrying about their sin. Now, he immediately follows with a reminder of who they are now.
Ephesians 2:4–10 (ESV)
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Why did Paul remind believers of their sin? So that it would remind them of the immeasurable riches of God’s grace. Why did Moses remind the people of their sin? So that they would see God’s faithfulness and his grace. Despite their failures, God was faithful.
Next Sunday, we will continue to look at Deuteronomy, so please read up, we will finish chapter 2 and may even get a glimpse into chapter 3. If you missed the sermon from Deueronomy 2:1-25, you can listen to it here: https://oasisfl.org/sermons/900265--the-god-of-the-wilderness. If your study of Deuteronomy has left you with an interesting perspective or a question that you would like me to answer for you, email me at email@example.com. Your question may end up being in the next blog!
Thank you for your participation in the ministry of Oasis Church. I am excited to see where God will take us together. I am honored to be your pastor. Please plan to attend this Sunday. The Deaconesses will host a Spring into Life luncheon after the church service. We hope to see you all here to celebrate the first day of spring with us, and we are going to help each other get excited about the future of our ministry together!
Jason Hovde • March 02, 2022
This past Sunday, we looked at Deuteronomy 1:9-18 and we focused on the organizational structure that Moses had put into place for the Israelites. The organizing of God’s people involved delegation, responsibility, and humility.
According to John Maxwell, , “Everything rises and falls on leadership. The best one-word definition that I know for leadership is influence. He who thinks he leads but has no one following him is only taking a walk. Leaders affect how their followers think, feel, and respond. All leaders have a degree of influence on others. Moses understood the important role these key leaders would play in the welfare of Israel. Therefore, he carefully outlined for the people the process of selection. A leader should be (1) chosen by the people (v. 13); (2) spiritually qualified (v. 13); (3) approved by the head leader (Moses) (v. 15); and (4) appointed by the head leader according to ability (v. 15).
Moses felt that a leader could be defined as one who knows the way (understanding), goes the way (experience), and shows the way (credibility). He understood that a leader was not necessarily an extraordinary man, but an ordinary man committed to an extraordinary God. Therefore, the selection of men who qualified to fill this role was not a matter to be taken lightly.” Maxwell, John C., and Lloyd J. Ogilvie. Deuteronomy. Vol. 5. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1987. Print. The Preacher’s Commentary Series.
There are several important points here, but one theme we see throughout scripture is that there needs to be a high standard for those who would lead. It’s not perfection we are after, but we should be careful to make sure that people in leadership have shown these qualities consistently. Leaders develop maturity and humility over time, which is why Paul warned Timothy about not putting someone into a leadership position before they were ready: Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure. -1 Timothy 5:21–22 (ESV)
I mentioned Sunday that all of us are leaders. Take some time to think about the ways you lead. Whether as a parent, a caretaker, a teacher, or in your job, if you lead customers or other workers, keep these leadership principles in mind. Have humility as you lead: For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. Romans 12:3 (ESV).
A humble person also takes responsibility in the right ways. We need not take responsibility for things outside our sphere of influence, but where there is authority, we must take responsibility. Moses showed us that delegation is an important part of leading. He took responsibility for those he was put in charge of. Moses was strong, lived with conviction, and he led through delegating and taking responsibility. I think, though, that Moses was a highly successful leader because he had humility, or meekness: Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth. Numbers 12:3 (ESV)
Lord, please grant to us meekness like Moses, as we lead in our spheres of influence. Help us have the confidence to delegate and take responsibility for ourselves and those you have charged us to care for. Help Oasis Church to be marked by a spirit of humble service to King Jesus as we strive towards the prize. Thank you for calling us into your service. We serve for your glory, and to lift the name of Jesus.
This Sunday, I will continue the sermons series from Deuteronomy, continuing in Chapter 1. To prepare yourself for the sermon, I recommend reading that chapter. If you have a bible with footnotes, try looking up some of the cross references. Remember to make observations, such as our Resolute Men's group has been learning to make, using these thoughts from Vince Miller:
OBSERVATION: EXPLORE THE TEXT TAKING SPECIAL NOTE OF...
- WORDS: Look for repeated words as well as the specific terms used to describe people, places, and things.
- CHARACTERS: Their roles and actions within the text.
- GRAMMAR: Identify the subject, verb, and object of each sentence. What verbs represent the text or take center stage? Look for the use of contrasts and comparisons used to make or emphasize a central point.
- STRUCTURE: Examine how sentences and paragraphs come together, paying special attention to transitions and connection terms like “therefore.”
- GENRE: Discern the genre of the text, whether poetry, prose, a letter, a prophetic, or narrative style.
- MOOD: Notice the tone of the text by paying attention to actions, emotions, and/or challenges.
If you spend some time making good observations, you will be much more likely to have a true understanding of the passage. I hope to see you at church on Sunday!
If you missed Sunday's sermon, you can listen here: 893435--organizing-gods-people
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Jason Hovde • February 23, 2022
On Sunday, we began a new preaching series on the book of Deuteronomy. I am looking forward to this study. It will be a challenging study with many great opportunities for us to examine ourselves individually and corporately as we seek to serve our God and love Him with all our hearts, souls, and minds.
I’m going to post a blog from time to time during the week. It may be a review of the previous sermon, some weeks may be a peek ahead. As always, I urge you to read the passages being preached for yourselves, diving into them and making observations, interpretations, and applications. This is called inductive Bible study.
I found the video link here to be very helpful, as it summarizes the book of Deuteronomy. It may be worth it for you to watch it, and it is less than 8 minutes long.
This week we looked at the first 8 verses of Deuteronomy. Next Sunday, we will focus on Deuteronomy 1:9-18. Take some time to read this text and make some observations. Who is it written to? What is it saying to the original readers or listeners of the passage? Who is speaking in the passage, and who is he speaking to? Perhaps you may seek the action verbs, or the repeated words. These are just some examples of how we should take time to examine a passage before drawing conclusions about the application for us as Christians today. Preparing in this way, by making observations of the passage, you will be even more prepared to receive the sermon on this passage. If you have questions or observations, you would like to share with me, I would love to hear from you, so please email me if you would like.
I will see you on Sunday as we begin this adventure of studying Deuteronomy together!
Here is the YouTube video I mentioned:
Here is Sunday's sermon if you haven't already listened to it: