Joy in Adversity

Joy in Adversity

When freedom’s lost and you are cornered, friends have become enemies, & life itself seems fragilely close to the precipice, Christians can still have joy. That is the message Paul shared with the Philippian Church during his imprisonment in Rome in 62 AD. He encouraged his concerned friends, “It’s going to be okay.” How could he say this with a potential death sentence hanging over his head? And how can we ourselves find joy in difficult circumstances we face right now? Philippians 1:12-26 teaches us four truths about joy in adversity. 1. Joy results despite our physical freedoms lost because the Gospel is bringing about great freedom in the lives of many others through our testimony. In Paul’s case, this happened among Caesar’s hardened Praetorian Guard. 2. We are called to joy even if dealing with the pain of of betrayal and animosity coming from so-called friends, because the hope of the Gospel stills spreads whenever Jesus Christ is spoken of. 3. Joy springs in adversity, too, because Christians have total confidence in a final deliverance – our forever life to come with Jesus Christ. 4. Finally, joy may be had in the worst adversity because Death itself has lost its power and fear because God has overcome it in Jesus Christ. He is with us, and brings believing friends into our lives to love us & pray us through! Adversity will come. Count on it. But know, friend, that God doesn’t work in your life despite adversity; he actually takes the adversity, regardless of its origins rooted in a fallen world of sin, using it to propel you to joy, the Gospel to wider embrace, and the purpose of your life to beautiful heights.

Sermon slides may be viewed at:…05041&type=1

Click on link to hear or download sermon audio:

Gift of Joy

Gift of Joy

Life’s not easy.  We face uncertainties and unexpected challenge all the time.  But God has given a gift to us to carry us through these times.  That gift is joy, which increases our love, strengthens our faith, and helps us to reach the world around with God’s hope.   In the first chapter of Philippians we learn that the church at Philippi brought Paul tons of joy, even though facing potential death, imprisoned in Rome.  This joy came from the fellowship they shared in the world’s most important mission—the gospel, and in their sharing a common Savior, Jesus.  How is it with you? Do you know that God has built into the fabric of our Christian experience joy?  It comes in waves of affection from our fellow believers, given by His Holy Spirit, right when we need it.  And this joy is backed up by a promise:  He who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion until the end.  We are going to make it & we’ll pass with flying colors! Our God said so. And so we rejoice.

You can click on link below if you’d like to listen to the audio sermon from yesterday’s message to Faith Community Church at Camp Kinser, Okinawa.

–Much love to friends and family across the miles.  You are missed and so precious to me and Damaris.

Rare Christianity: One, John 17.20-26

Rare Christianity: One, John 17.20-26

God is awesome.  Trying to understanding who He is, is tough, but worth the effort. Trusting in the reality of His triune nature: Father, Son, & Spirit, is the biggest confidence booster a Christian can receive as he approaches the Lord and seeks to understand Him more.  Historically when those seeking God lose sight of His triune nature: 3 co-equal, co-eternal persons with different functions but one being,  multitudes are led astray.  If Christ Jesus is believed to be less than fully God (and fully man), the opportunity for forgiveness of sins, the grace of his resurrection power, and the hope of His glory fades and false religions take hold.  Come walk through the Scriptural foundation for understanding God as “trinity.” Look at a key creedal affirmation of the Early Church;  learn the different works of God: Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier; and briefly consider analogies to help us understand how 3 can be 1.  As you listen, may you gain a more rooted faith, deeper trust , confidence to approach Him, and confidence to share His salvation to all those around. Such confidence in the One is rare Christianity.

Click on link below to listen:

Rare Christianity: Gifts, Romans 12:3-8, Kristian Carlson, Faith Community Church, Oct 06, 2013

Rare Christianity: Gifts, Romans 12:3-8, Kristian Carlson, Faith Community Church, Oct 06, 2013

Believers who know their spiritual gifts and use them in unified teamwork change the world. But Christians often neglect to use their gifts. They belittle them, fear to step out in them, or do not recognize them. At times they are over confident in them. When it comes to gifts offer yourself to God. Develop your gifts. Study the gifts lists in the New Testament and read books like “Networking” by Bruce Bugbee. The best spiritual gift is the one needed right at the moment in the church. We need leaders, but more so we need “chairstackers” who glory in doing what needs done and following the lead of pastors and elders. God distributes spiritual gifts to build up Christ’s body that it would effectively bring Jesus’ hope to a hardened, lost world.

Rare Christianity: Different, Kristian Carlson, Faith Community Church, Sep 15, 2013

Rare Christianity: Different, Kristian Carlson, Faith Community Church, Sep 15, 2013

Grace is a gift. It changes everything. The way we naturally respond to it is to want to offer our lives to God. We don’t know how big the change will be. How simple the task He’ll assign us. Or how beautiful the result will turn out. But it will be worth it and we will be changed. The effect of grace is that you are different. Romans 12 tells us: “Don’t be conformed any longer after the pattern of this world, but be transformed.”

Transformation—becoming very different than we had been before, through Jesus’s influence, is something that we should expect in our lives and in our church.

The following question, if applied to the relationships and environment in which we find ourselves will help us to seek God’s will, and to be the difference needed: How would this relationship or place be different if Jesus Christ’s authority and grace were present here?

Click link below to listen to audio:

Rare Christianity: Lordship, 1 Peter 3:15-18, Pastor Kristian, Faith Community Church, Sep 08, 2013

Kristian begins a sermon series discussing essentials of being a Christian. This is a look at fundamentals–what C.S. Lewis called mere Christianity. It’s a Christianity so simple, so straightforward, so undiluted that it is also hard…it’s a Christianity that he longs to see lived out both in himself and those around him. These basics, while they should be commonplace in the life of believers, have at times become scarce, uncommon sights. The world we live in is dying for the gem of simple, rare Christianity.

Today’s focus is Lordship. Jesus Christ’s Lordship over one’s life is essential to being a genuine Christian: to conversion, to sanctification, to calling…to really being His.

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Revealer of Mysteries, Daniel 2:1-19, Kristian Carlson, Faith Community Church, July 28, 2013

God, My Revealer of Mysteries, Daniel 2:1-19, Kristian Carlson, Faith Community Church, July 28, 2013

When we confront circumstances we don’t understand, we can rally with friends in prayer, to our God who reveals mysteries.  Mysteries of life, accompanied by struggle & doubt can be cause for some to turn from God.  I encourage you to let mystery drive you to God, like it did for Daniel.  Daniel called his buddies to pray when they faced death.  He looked to God.  He didn’t understand, but he knew the One who did.  Such connection and trust in God deepens our worship, sets us up to hear awesome things from him and can solidify our calling–our very reason for being on earth.

Click on grey link above “Revealer of Mysteries” to hear sermon.


Life in The Vine

Life in The Vine

I preached this sermon Fathers Day 2013.  Damaris and I were so challenged preaching through the 7 “I Ams.” The idea for the series was her inspiration. If you listen, I think you’ll hear how Jesus has given us real life, He makes our lives count, and if we find ourselves making being with Him our goal, then everything else falls in place.