Pastor’s Message, 2 August 2015 - The Five (Questions that could change your perspective)

• August 30th, 2015
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Bill Duffey shares, July 26 2015 - God is Gracious and Just

• August 29th, 2015
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Keith McIntyre is in the round, July 19 2015 - “chURch” What do you think when you hear the word “church?”

• August 29th, 2015
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Pastor’s Message, July 12 2015 - Was My Worship More Than Just A Song?

• August 29th, 2015
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Keith McIntyre shares, July 5 2015 - Freedom

• August 29th, 2015
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Pastor’s Message, June 28 2015 - Recklessly Abandoned, Never Holding Back

• August 29th, 2015
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Pastor’s Message, June 21 2015 - Father’s Day

• June 23rd, 2015

June 21, 2015

 

Am I Proof?

(That You Are Who You Say You Are)

(Father’s Day Message)

Happy Father’s Day…

If you are here this morning and you have the blessing & responsibility of being a Dad:

?      What are you goals as a dad?

?      What do you need to arm yourself with to be a godly dad?

Many of the things you will here me say today came from a book called: “Stepping Up – a call to Courageous Manhood” by Dennis Rainey.  When we start back up our G3 nights in September this will be the DVD / workbook that we will be doing with the men of the church.

God gives us a unique opportunity as fathers to join Him in what has to be one of the most noble, transcendent assignments we’ll ever have as men: He gives us the privilege of joining with Him in shaping the next generation of men and women.

I came here today to encourage you as fathers to stay in the moral and spiritual battle for your children’s souls.  I am not teaching from 1 Peter today, but from book of Colossians chapter 3 & 4.

There might be many here this morning that are in need of a clear battle cry, a challenge to truly step up and courageously be the father you always wanted to become.

What’s keeping you from doing your duty as a dad?

Ö      Is it a fear of inadequacy?

Ö      A fear of failure?

Ö      Past failures?

Ö      Pressure from work?

Ö      Ambition?

Ö      Misplace priorities?

Ö      A crisis of manhood in your own life?

Ö      The desire to spend time doing what you want to do?

Ö      An absent father when you were a boy?

Don’t leave your son or daughter to find answers to life on their own?

Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. - C.S. Lewi

How you step up as a father will determine the strength of your convictions and priorities.

So then the question becomes:  What are you convictions and priorities as a dad? Do you have the courage to live by your priorities?

Priority #1: Keep Seeking Him - Let go of the Old, put on the New!

Colossians 3:1-10 (NASB)

Put On the New Self

(1) Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. (2) Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. (3) For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (4) When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

(5) Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. (6) For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, (7) and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. (8) But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. (9) Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, (10) and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him—

Priority #2: Prayer!

Colossians 4:2 (NASB)

Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving;

“A Father’s Prayer”

Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.

Build me a son whose wishbone will not be where his backbone should be; a son who will know Thee – and that to know himself is the foundational stone of knowledge.

Lead him I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge.  Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail.

Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high; a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men; one who will learn to laugh yet never forget how to weep; one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.

After all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously.  Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.

Then, I, his father, will dare to whisper. “I have not lived in vain.”

General Douglas MacArthur

 

Priority #3: Build up – don’t tear down!

Colossians 3:21(NASB)

Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.

John Wooden, considered by many the greatest coach in the history of college basketball.  He coached his UCLA teams to ten national championships between 1964 and 1975. 

Many people don’t know about the profound influence that Coach Wooden’s father, Joshua, had on him.  Joshua believed in building character and continually emphasized the importance of making right choices.  Two of his favorite sayings which he taught his sons, were “Never life, never cheat, and never steal,” and “Don’t whine, don’t complain, and don’t alibi.”

When John graduated from 8th grade in his small country school, Joshua gave him a card and said, “Son try to live up to this.”  Eight decades late John still kept the card in his wallet and could recite these verses by heart:

Ø  Be true to yourself.

Ø  Make each day your masterpiece.

Ø  Help Others.

Ø  Drink deeply from good books, especially the Good Book.

Ø  Make friendship a fine art.

Ø  Build a shelter against a rainy day.

Ø  Pray for guidance and give thanks fro your blessings every day.

Colossians 3:23-24 (NASB)

(23) Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, (24) knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.

Priority #4: Use Opportunities as an Opportunity!

When we were praying last Sunday morning in the conference room before our adult class I noticed these verses that had been put up by Covenant Christian Academy that meets here in the building.  What a great passage for dads as well as moms - and what a great passage to teach your children to live by…

Colossians 3:12-17 (NASB)

(12) So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; (13) bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. (14) Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. (15) Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. (16) Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (17) Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

When Coach Wooden become a father in 1936, his father gave him another poem.  This poem sums up the philosophy of a man who always knew that true success came in the lives he influenced rather than in titles he won.  The poem also reminds dads that every boy needs a father who is a role model:

A careful man I must always be;

A little fellow follows me.

I know I dare not go astray

For fear he’ll go the self-same way.

I cannot once escape his eyes;

Whatever he sees me do, he tries,

Like me, he says, he’s going to be,

This little chap who follows me. 

He thinks that I am good and fine;

Believers in every word of mine.

The base in me he must not see,

This little chap who follows me.

I must be careful as I go

Through summer’s sun and winter’s snow,

Because I am building for the years to be

This little chap who follows me.

 

Those are the words that every father needs to keep before him.  I challenge you to be involved and to be intentional with your son’s & daughter’s.  Put your arm around them as they embark on the journey of a lifetime, and courageously show them what it means to be a godly man or a godly woman. 

You can do it.

Their life may be hanging in the balance.

What if you are seated here today and you need help reaching out to those, maybe even family members, who don’t know Christ.

Colossians 4:5-6 (NASB)

(5) Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. (6) Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.

Priority #5: Point them to Christ!

Colossians 2:6-10 (NASB)

(6) Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,  (7) having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and over flowing with gratitude.

(8) See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. (9) For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, (10) and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;

One father said, “If I had it to do all over again…”

Ö      I’d love my wife more in front of my children

Ö      I’d laugh with my children more

Ö      I’d listen more, even to the youngest child

Ö      I’d be more honest about my own weaknesses and stop pretending perfection

Ö      I would pray differently for my children

Ö      I would be more encouraging and bestow more praise

And finally, if I had it to do all over again, I would use every ordinary thing that happened in every ordinary day to point them to God.


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Pastor’s Message, June 14 2015 - I’m Longing For The World to Know…

• June 23rd, 2015

June 14th

 

I’m Longing for the World to Know the Glory of the King!

(1 Peter 3:13-17)

One of the greatest tragedies in the twentieth century was the sinking of the Titanic.  This large ship hit an iceberg and many people died as a result.  Did you also know that most of the lifeboats that helped saved people from death were only half filled?  They were unwilling to turn back and save more people from dying.

If you knew someone that the doctors had said that they didn’t have long to live – would you share Christ with them?  This morning who do you know that needs Christ?

Today there is an escalating hostility toward biblical Christianity throughout Western culture. But the roots of that hostility are decades, even centuries, old.

Believers in Peter’s time lived in Rome, facing all the same kind of immorality, corruption, wickedness, evil and depravity that assaults today’s church as well.

In some parts of the world there is direct persecution of believers, and it is likely that in the coming years Christians everywhere will face increasing hostility, both from civil authorities and from unbelievers at the personal level. This passage (1 Peter 3:13-17) that we are going to look at today speaks to all who would live godly lives in the midst of a hostile, ungodly culture. 

1 Peter 3:13-17 (NASB)

(13) Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? (14) But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, (15) but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; (16) and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. (17) For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. 

The apostle Peter gives us five principles that we as believers need to embrace to equip and defend ourselves against the threats of an unbelieving, hostile world:

Principle #1 - A Passion for Goodness!

1 Peter 3:13

Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? 

Peter’s rhetorical question shows that it is unusual for most people, even those hostile to Christianity, to harm believers who prove zealous for what is good.  Good refers generally to a life characterized by generosity, unselfishness, kindness, and thoughtfulness toward one another 

Prove means “to become” and points to believers’ basic character quality, which should be good and above reproach

Zealous means “intensity” or “enthusiasm” and describes a person with great passion for a specific cause. Peter wanted his readers to be zealots for what was good.

Being zealous for what is good produces a godly life.  This should be the delight and goal of all believers.  This kind of life leads to pure living and the loss of one’s appetite for the world’s ungodly attractions.

So the first principle Peter laid out was - A Passion for Goodness!

Principle #2 - A Willingness to Suffer— for Wrong and for Right!

1 Peter 3:14, 17

 (14) But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled,

(17) For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. 

Jesus Himself made it clear that believers cannot presume to escape all suffering.

Luke 6:22 (NASB)

Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man.

John 15:20 (NASB)

Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

Many Christians in the early church did suffer for the sake of righteousness.

Likewise, faithful Christians today should not be surprised or afraid if such suffering happens, because that becomes a means by which we are blessed.

We as believers can have the same sense of privilege by sharing in His sufferings. 

Matthew 5:10-12 (NASB)

(10)  “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

(11) “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.  (12) Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

If we are willing to suffer for His sake – we need to face all circumstances with courage

Suffering must be viewed as an opportunity to receive spiritual blessings, not as an excuse to compromise our faith before a hostile world.

As the seventeenth-century English preacher and writer John Bunyan accepted imprisonment in the Bedford Jail for preaching without a license. Reformer Martin Luther stood before his enemies and refused to recant his scriptural beliefs, so as Christians today we must stand firm in the face of suffering.

In the verses here concerning suffering, we see two possibilities:

First, believers may suffer for doing what is right, accepting that pain as part of God’s wise and sovereign plan for blessing their lives.

Second, we may suffer for doing what is wrong, receiving the expected discipline of the Lord for our disobeying His Word

God sometimes wills that believers suffer for righteousness so they might receive the blessings that come out of such suffering. It is also God’s will that believers endure His beneficial chastisement when they sin.  Of the two possibilities that may come, Peter recognizes that the first is unique because it comes only if God should will it so. That is a comforting promise. Paul certainly learned that lesson:

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NASB)

A Thorn in the Flesh

(7) Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! (8) Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. (9) And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

 (10) Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 

Christians suffer for the sake of righteousness when God wants them to. He never wants us to sin, so that suffering, in one sense, is not what He wished for us though it has sometimes become His will for our righteousness.

Hebrews 12:11 (NASB)

All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

Principle #3 - A Devotion to Christ!

1 Peter 3:15a

(15) but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts,

When we as believers sanctify Christ as Lord in our hearts, we affirm our submission to His control, instruction, and guidance. In so doing we also declare and submit to God’s sovereign majesty and demonstrate that we fear only Him.

Sanctify means “to set apart,” or “consecrate.” But in this context it also means giving the primary place of adoration, exaltation, and worship to Christ.   

When we sanctify Christ – we set Him apart from all others as the sole object of our love, reverence, loyalty, and obedience.

  • We recognize His perfection

  • We magnify His glory

  • We extol His pre-eminence, and

  • We submit ourselves to His will with the understanding that sometimes that submission includes suffering.

This honoring of Christ as Lord is not external, but in the hearts of true worshipers—even when we must face unjust suffering. Submission to and trust in the perfect purposes of the sovereign Lord yields courage, boldness, and fortitude to triumph through the most adverse situations.

Principle #4 - A Readiness to Defend the Faith!

1 Peter 3:15b

always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; 

A couple of examples for you:

When you drop a letter in the mailbox, it is then delivered to the post office.  The mail is then sorted by postal workers who group the mail by zip code so that your letter can reach its proper destination.

In the same way, Christian have the job of making sure that others reach their divine destination.  It is hard to help somebody else reach their divine destination if you’re lost too.

We all grew up in school having to say the Pledge of Allegiance.  We were being reminded about the awesome privilege it is to enjoy the freedoms of America and to commit ourselves to loyalty to the country.

Before sporting events, “the Star-Spangled Banner” becomes a musical reminder of a commitment to a country and a flag and a constitutional republic that is the heart of this democracy.  This is not done as a routine; it’s done as a reminder of what the privileges are. 

In a similar way, Jesus Christ ask His followers to make a pledge of allegiance – a statement of commitment to be both identified and associated with Him, if, in fact, we claim Him as our Savior He has asked us to make it known that we are Christians, followers of Jesus Christ. 

 He invites us to come out of the closet and to go public.  He invites us to stop being secret-agent Christians and CIA followers.  He invites us to be clear an articulate representatives of Him.

Sharing the gospel has risks –

Ö      The risk of rejection

Ö      The risk of being made fun of

Ö      The risk of being called “holier than thou”

Ö      The risk of being called “Reverend.”

Ö      The risk of being avoided,

Ö      The risk of being asked questions you don’t know the answer to.

Yes, there are risks, but when someone is dying - offering them the gift of salvation is worth the risk.  What do you think about that?

We must be ready to make a defense of the faith.

“Always” indicates believers’ need for constant preparedness and readiness to respond, whether in a formal courtroom or informally, to everyone who asks us to give an account for why we live and believe the way we do.

Account is simply logos, “word,” or “message,” and it calls us to be able at the time someone asks to give the right words in response to questions about the gospel.

The gospel is identified as the hope that is in believers. Hope is synonymous with the Christian faith because the motive for believers’ embracing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is their anticipation of escaping hell and entering eternal glory

Thus hope becomes the focal point of any rational explanation believers should be able to provide regarding their salvation.

Our defense of this hope before the unbeliever who asks must be firm and uncompromising, but at the same time conveyed with gentleness and reverence.

Gentleness - refers to meekness or humility, not in the sense of weakness but in the sense of not being dominant or overbearing

Reverence - expresses devotion to God, a deep regard for His truth, and even respect for the person listening.

Christians who cannot present a biblically clear explanation of their faith will feel insecure when strongly challenged by unbelievers.

In some cases that insecurity can undermine our assurance of salvation.

The world’s attacks can overwhelm those who have not “put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation” that is talked about in Ephesians Chapter 6.

Principle #5 - A Pure Conscience!

I Peter 3:16

(16) and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. 

 The final thing that will allow believers to be secure in a hostile world is a pure conscience. The conscience is the divinely-placed internal mechanism that either accuses or excuses a person, acting as a means of conviction or affirmation.

The conscience is not to be equated with the voice of God or even the moral law, rather it is a human faculty which arbitrates upon human action by the light of the highest standard a person perceives.

Since the conscience holds people to their highest perceived standard, believers need to set that standard to the highest level by submitting to all of God’s Word

As we continually fill our minds with the truths of Scripture, we can  clarify God’s perfect law. Our consciences will then call us to live according to that law.

The conscience functions like a skylight, not like a lamp; it does not produce its own light, but merely lets moral light in. Because of that, the Bible teaches the importance of keeping a clear or good conscience. “The goal of our instruction,” Paul wrote to Timothy, 

1Timothy 1:5

But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith

Tony Evans once said:

One time, my check coolant system light came on in my car. 

  • I wish that light wouldn’t come on. 

  • I didn’t want that light to come on.

  • It irritated me when it came on. 

  • But that light still kept coming on. 

  • It was tying to tell me that I had a problem and it was going to keep blinking until I took it to the manufacturer to check the car out.

Now, if I wouldn’t have ever taken my car to be checked out, eventually I’d have a much bigger problem on my hands.  The light was there to give me a warning that would drive me to the manufacturer.

The Bible is shining and throwing up various caution signals and lights.  It shows us where we sin and were we offend God.  If we don’t go to the Maker and allow Him to address the issues in our life, we are going to end up with much bigger problems on our hands in years to come.

A good conscience is what every Christian must keep or, better, maintain.  A clear conscience allows believers to be free from any burden of guilt as they face hostility and criticism from the world

An impure conscience, however, cannot be comfortable and is unable to withstand the stress originating from difficult trials and persecutions.

A pure conscience can withstand and deflect whatever abusive, insulting speech the world hurls at it

Adversity is a reality and suffering a spiritual privilege for believers. If we realize “that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God” (Rom. 8:28), we will be able to accept suffering as part of God’s plan for us and that we would equip ourselves with His securities against a hostile world.

Some other facts about Titanic – when it went under, three messages had been sent that said to watch out of the icebergs.  Because everything looked all right, the folks taking the message never passed it on.  They never sent the warning out of people who needed to hear and, as a result, over fifteen hundred people lost their lives.  The folks who knew kept quiet.  Fifteen hundred people didn’t have to die, but they did.  The folks who were saved didn’t want to go back because it was risky.

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Pastor’s Message, May 24 2015 - Building Praying Loving Waiting

• June 23rd, 2015

May 24, 2015

 

Building, Praying, Loving, Waiting

(Jude 17-25)

 

(Invite Kids up to the front – sit on the floor.)

Who has lego’s?

What is the coolest thing you’ve ever built? (Let kids answer…)

Do you know what God says about building?

Actually the word “build” is the Bible 236 times…

 

Building… Ourselves Up!  (Have Kids read three verses…)

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Ephesians 2:21

In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 

Ephesians 4:16

From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

We need each other!  Your part as Children is to learn about God –

  • through His Word

  • through listening and obeying your parents

  • through kidztown as you gather each week to learn about God – so that you can be built up to make a difference for Him with the life He has blessed you with  - You all can go back to your seats while Melissa has a little pack for you…

Today I would like for us to look at the last 9 verses in the book of Jude.

As you can see the title of the message today is: “Building, Praying, Loving, Waiting”

How are we going to reach the lost in around area, at our work-places, and in our neighborhoods with the gospel?  There is a battle going on…

As you can see from the subtitle in this passage which says: a call to persevere – meaning to persist, continue, keep at it, carry on, keep trying, or stick with it.

 Jude 1:17-19 (NIV)

A Call to Persevere

(17) But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. (18) They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” (19) These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.

These are those who scoff at God’s future plans.  Scoff meaning mock, ridicule, make fun of, laugh at, or poke fun at.

They pretend to know the truth but deny that Jesus is the answer and that judgment will ever come. These characteristics will prevail until Christ returns.   

What characteristics are we talking about?

2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV)

(1) But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. (2) People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, (3) without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, (4) treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— (5) having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

What does having a form or godliness look like?

Ö      Religion void of a relationship will leave you spiritually hungry.  Like drinking saltwater, the more you drink, the thirstier you get.

Ö      Religion devoid of a relationship is like a pacifier that a baby works hard to suck on, but from which no real nutrition flows.

Which one of those sins listed (2Timothy 3:1-5) has captured your heart? 

Romans 16:17-19 (NIV)

(17) I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions (media, false teachings…) and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. (18) For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. (19) Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. 

Ö      The essence of false religion is a Christian being involved in religious activity.  It is exemplified by a person having a ritual of religion without a relationship with God.

So what do we need to do personally and as a church to not become scoffers?

Jude 1:20-21 (NIV)

 (20) But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, (21) keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

True believers have a sure foundation and a cornerstone in Jesus Christ. The truths of the Christian faith have been provided in the teaching of the apostles and prophets so that Christians can build themselves up by the Word of God

Praying…. In the Holy Spirit! 

This is not a call to some ecstatic form of prayer, but simply – It is a call to pray consistently in the will and power of the Spirit, as one would pray in the name of Jesus Christ

Romans 8:26-27 (NIV)

(26) In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. (27) And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

 When you pray this will establish our responsibility (as believers) to be obedient and faithful by living-out our salvation while God works out His will.

It means to remain in the place of obedience where God’s love is poured out on His children, as opposed to being disobedient and incurring His discipline.  Currently in our church - we have been having a small group of individuals praying Sunday mornings from 9-9:30am.  And then Wednesday nights from 6:30-8:00pm.  Our Wednesday nights have just ended for the Summer so I would like to announce today that starting Monday, June 8th, (Monday through Thursday) I will be here at the altar starting at 7:30am for prayer.  Whenever you can make it I would love for you to join me. 

  • Please use the green sheets each week to write out your requests.

  • Please write down people that you are asking for healing for.

  • Asking for those who you want God to penetrate their heart so that they would repent of their sins and surrender their life to Christ!

Keeping… Yourself in God’s Love

We accomplished this by: 1) building one’s self up in the Word of God; 2) praying in the Holy Spirit; and 3) while we wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring believer’s to eternal life. We won’t know how to love others until we learn how to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength! 

Waiting… for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ

Waiting is the hardest thing for me.  I’m trying to wait on the Lord for growth (spiritual & numerical) for miracles, for healings, for salvations, for answered prayers…I want to preserve for His glory, honor, and praise!

Wait appears in the Bible 129 times.

(Let’s read these 6 verses out loud together…)

Psalm 5:3

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. 

Psalm 27:14 

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

Psalm 33:20

We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.

Psalm 37:7

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Psalm 38:15

Lord, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God.

I waited patiently for then Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.

Psalm 130:5

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. 

Jude (continues here by telling us what to do while we are waiting…)

(22) Be merciful to those who doubt; (23) save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

Who are we to be merciful to?  They are:

1)    Sincere doubters who deserve compassion

2)    Those who are deeper in unbelief and urgently need to be pulled from the fire

3)    Those declared disciples of apostasy who still deserve mercy, but are to be handled with much fear, lest the would-be-rescuer also be spiritually violated. 

 When it says: “save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear.”  The third group that I just mentioned needs mercy, even though they are thoroughly polluted by false teaching. These people are to be given the true gospel, but with great fear, lest the deliverer be contaminated also.

The defiled garment (clothing stained) pictures the unbeliever’s corrupt life, which can spread its corruption to the well-meaning believer.

 These victims of the false teachers need mercy and patience because they have not yet reached a firm conclusion about Christ and eternal life, and so remain doubters who could possibly be swayed to the truth

Jude

Doxology (meaning praise, doxa means glory, honor.  A prayer or hymn of praise to God)

(24) To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— (25) to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

In the study that we just finish on Sunday morning “Counter Culture”, David Platt made this statement:

As we live to extend God’s grace among more people, let’s long to exalt God’s glory among all peoples.

This last verse I would like us to look at is the answer to why we do everything here at CCF:

Ö      Bible Studies (G3 nights) , ministries for different ages, camps, retreats, VBS, fellowships, hotdog Sunday’s, etc.

2 Corinthians 4:15

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

How are we going to reach the lost?

By Building… ourselves up!

By Praying… in the Holy Spirit, (pray is 367 times, prayer 154 times)

By Loving… as we keep ourselves in God’s love and He will show                                                               to love others

By Waiting… for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ

§  waiting while we cry out to Him to fill this place with those who don’t know Him, those who need hope, who are searching for the meaning of life, those who need to hear the gospel!

§   Waiting while encouraging and loving, and spurring one another on to love and good works…

Vision of the church is on the other side of the flyer talking about our new Life-connection class starting next Sunday morning at 9:30am.  The Mingling of Souls by Matt Chandler

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Pastor’s Message, May 10 2015 - The Voice That Changes Everything

• June 20th, 2015

May 10, 2015

Through all our weaknesses

You remain strong.

We cannot repay you

But we love, you Mom

 

The Voice That Changes Everything!

 

An Excerpt from a book called: “A Woman that Jesus Can Teach” by Alice Mathews 

We seldom move from one comfortable level of learning and knowing to another unless we are forced in some way to move.

  • We don’t do ourselves a favor if we insist on staying at one learning level when we need to move to another one. 

  • We often don’t like the circumstances that push us to change.

  • We’d prefer to be left alone in our comfortable tranquility.  But that is not the path to growth.  Nor is it the path to true discipleship.

If we are to grow as Christian women in our understanding of God, we have to expect the tough circumstances that confront and disappoint us.  It takes grim life experiences to build muscle into our souls.

The process of following Jesus as His disciples is the process of making room for new ways of looking at life and at ourselves.

Jesus was a master teacher.  We might have expected Him to use only one method for getting His message across, but He taught different people in different ways.  Now we might think that Jesus would choose only the most promising pupils for His class.  Instead, He included men and women other teachers would have ignored. 

One choice pupil of the Master Teacher Jesus that I would like to highlight on this Mothers Day 2015 is Mary Magdalene.  She possible spent more time with Jesus than any other woman in the gospels.

I think Mary Magdalene found that her discipleship as a follower of Jesus Christ was a constant learning process. 

We all have to realize that (men, women, teenagers, children): As Christians – we will always be in a constant learning process.

Mary Magdalene had learned much as one who traveled with Jesus.  But in one of the final scenes in the Gospels, she was once again back in school, learning something new about being a disciple.

Mary Magdalene was mentioned fourteen times in the gospels, we actually know four things about her.  The first two we see in Luke 8:1-3

Luke 8:1-3 (NIV)

 (1) After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.  The Twelve were with him, (2) and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; (3) Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.

Four Facts about Mary Magdalene:

1)   Jesus cast seven demons out of her.

The Bible doesn’t say where or when.  Both Mark and Luke share this information but neither gives us the story about it.  Now what it meant for Mary to be possessed by seven demons we cannot guess.  But for her, deliverance must have been a life-changing liberation.  Her bound spirit was set free.  Her cramped limbs relaxed.  Her contorted face because serene.

2)    The second thing we know about Mary Magdalene is that she traveled all over Galilee and down into Judea with Jesus and the twelve.  She had a terrible affliction and she met the one who healed her and she probably wanted to stay with those who followed Jesus.

There might be someone here today a mom, a wife, a father, a husband, a teenager who has been going through a tough time, a trial, a misfortune, a suffering, an ordeal, a difficulty, or some trouble.  Maybe you have been distressed by something… Jesus is a miracle maker!!!!

Hebrews 12:1-3 (NASB)

Jesus, the Example

(1) Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, (2) fixing our eyes on Jesus, (why?) the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

(3) For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Jesus had healed Mary (called Magdalene) from seven demons!  Then she traveled with Him and the twelve as well as some women who have been cured from evil spirits and diseases! I hope everyone seated here today chooses to follow Jesus!

3)    The third thing we the Bible tells us about Mary Magdalene is that on a bad Friday called Good Friday she stayed at the cross long after the disciples had fled. 

From Mark we learn that

Mark 15:40-41 (NASB)

(40) There were also some women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the Less and Joses, and Salome.  (41) When He was in Galilee, they used to follow Him and minister to Him; and there were many other women who came up with Him to Jerusalem.

All four gospel writers take pains to tell us that Mary and the other women not only stayed through the awful hours of crucifixion but made sure they knew where Jesus had been buried so they could come after the Sabbath and finish anointing the body.

When we look at Mary Magdalene and the others, we see women who were completely committed to Jesus Christ even in the midst of their bitter grief.

It comes as no surprise that we find these same women, with Mary Magdalene apparently leading them, up before dawn on Sunday morning, hurrying to the garden tomb.

As they went, I am sure they where fretting about a very real problem they were going to face: who would roll away the large stone at the entrance to the tomb so that they could prepare a dead body for a proper burial?

§  They knew the size of the stone

§  They had watch as Joseph and Nicodemus hastily laid Jesus’ body in the tomb and rolled the heavy cartwheel across the opening

§  They knew the stone was sealed by the Roman government and that seal could not be broken.

§  They had cared for His needs for three years as He traveled around Galilee and back and forth from Judea.

When they arrived, what did they find?  Mark tells us:

Mark 16:4

Looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large. 

In that moment began Mary’s next lesson in discipleship.  She had set out that morning with one set of expectations and quickly found them turned upside down. 

As a mom – ever have a day like that?

John reports the incident this way:

John 20:1-11 (NASB)

The Empty Tomb

(1) Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene *came early to the tomb, while it *was still dark, and *saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. (2) So she *ran and *came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and *said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”

(3) So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. (4) The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; (5) and stooping and looking in, he *saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. (6) And so Simon Peter also *came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he *saw the linen wrappings lying there, (7) and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. (8) So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed. (9) For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. (10) So the disciples went away again to their own homes.

(11) But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb;

The highs and the lows of that week probably all flowed together for Mary.  She probably felt the sting of contradiction as she remembered hearing the crowds chant “hosanna” one day and “Away with Him!  Crucify Him!” only a few days later.

As a mom – how many times have you experience – “one day you’re the greatest and the next day you might here the words, I hate you!”

Mary Magdalene who had experienced that emotional rollercoaster now stood at the tomb, wrung out, devastated by the thought that, even in death, Jesus was dishonored (violated).  His body had been taken.  Her wrenching sobs expressed all the dash hopes and desperation she felt.

Do you know any moms today who hopes have been dashed and desperation is setting in?

Check out the verses 11-14 in John 20…

John 20:11-14 (NASB)

(11) But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; (12) and she *saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. 

(13) And they *said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She *said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” (14) When she had said this, she turned around and *saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 

As a mom – have you ever wonder – where is my Lord?  I’m hurting, I’m suffering, I am distress – where is my Lord?

Blinded by her grief Mary Magdalene turned away from them.  As she turned, she saw a man standing nearby.    He spoke the same words she had just heard from the angels…

John 20:15-18

(15) Jesus *said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”  Supposing Him to be the gardener, she *said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” 

(16) Jesus *said to her, “Mary!” She turned and *said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means, Teacher). (17) Jesus *said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’” (18) Mary Magdalene *came, announcing to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and that He had said these things to her.

So the question for us today is – What did it take to move Mary from desolation to exultation, and to galvanize her for witness?   Only one thing.  Jesus spoke her name in a voice she knew and it was enough.

Suddenly everything that had been all wrong was now all right.

The one who had been dead was now alive.  The one who had delivered her from seven demons was once again with her.  In her ecstatic joy she flung her arms around Him.  Jesus gently disengaged her clinging hold on His body and gave her a task: Go and tell My brethren.

In a split second this disciple, Mary Magdalene, move from abject sorrow to euphoria:  The Teacher is alive!  Now she had work to do.

Which brings us to the forth thing we know about Mary Magdalene:

4)   She was sent by Jesus as the first witness to the resurrection!

He commissioned her to tell His brethren (His brothers), the good news.  Augustine (Latin philosopher & theologian 354 – 430) called her, “an apostle to the apostles.”

Mary knew Jesus’ voice when He spoke her name.  To her - Jesus gave a commission: go and tell.

Although this is the last mention of her in the Bible (John 20:11-18), she was probably among the women who gathered with the apostles to await the promised coming of the Holy Spirit.

When you open God’s word you can read what Jesus said over 2,000 ago and He is still calling people today just like he did Mary Magdalene so many years ago – His voice told us:

Matthew 11:28-29 (NASB)

(28) “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. (29) Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

John 14:23 (NIV)

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.

John 14:16-17 (NASB)

Role of the Spirit

(16) I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; (17) that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

Is there any woman, any mom, who would like to receive Jesus today?


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