March 18, 2018 morning Bible study – attendance 45
Starting the study of Micah
Consistent theme with the prophets we’ve studied lately – God is not happy with Israel and Judah’s behavior
Micah had a vision of Samaria (capital of Israel) and Jerusalem (capital of Judah)
What biblical account of judgment has had the greatest impact on me?
Around 701 BC, the Assyrians captured many cities in Judah
This proved that God was willing to turn His wrath on His covenanted people
Some of the influential people at that time were using fraud in the courts to steal land from the rightful owners
It is sad that bad things happen to people, but there will be judgement against the bad actors and it might not happen from our hand and it may not happen on earth
The nature of our behavior will dictate the consequences of our behavior
The Lord chides the people by saying if Micah were prophesying about a time of plenty of beer and wine, the people would believe him…the people didn’t want to hear the truth
Micah talks about the faithful being gathered together as a flock of sheep and being led
Micah predicted an upcoming exile (Babylonian captivity) but he offered hope in the future for the faithful
There is always help and hope
March 18, 2018 morning sermon – Matthew 13:44-46
Cost versus value…we can put a price on anything
What will people go back into their burning house to rescue?
Real-world examples: A cell phone, a rack of ribs, Xbox, pets
Rational people become very irrational
Moment of clarity – where you suddenly get a deep understanding of something that has been previously out of reach of your mind
A moment of clarity may not always lead to the best decision
Example of shoe box versus a treasure box
Each of us understands treasure
Have you ever wondered what the man in the parable found in the field?
If we don’t understand something’s value, we won’t understand the lengths someone will go to obtain that treasure
True treasure: Light to walk by, forgiveness of sins, eternal life, to become a child of God, riches beyond our imagination
Do we remind the Lord how much we’ve given up in order to follow Him?
Treasure from the shoebox: IOU – idolatry, envy, anger, lies, atheism, a blank for everything else (house, car, bike)
Rich young ruler: did he possess wealth or did it possess him?
Take your time to count the cost before you trade real treasure for fleeting treasure
Maybe the treasure in the parable is you…what are you worth?
Philippians 2 – “…look not only to your own interest…”
A moment of clarity is nothing if we don’t act upon it
March 11, 2018 morning Bible study – attendance 41
Hosea 11-14 workbook page 81
While there may be a lot of negativity in the Old Testament, there’s always hope when people turn their hearts to God
God loves us despite our sins
The Lord is like a compassionate farmer who cares for the young livestock – He took care of the Israelites in their younger days
God tells the Israelites that even though they have grieved Him, He won’t punish them the same way he had punished other cities of non-believers
How has God showed you mercy or worked in your life?
God references some of Jacob’s life events…he was faithful to God and was blessed
A lot of people believe in God but their hearts are far from Him
The Israelites had to come back to God to stay in His good graces
Why did God use such graphic visuals of what was going to happen to the Israelites? It would hopefully shock them into action
Hosea 14 – take words to the Lord – talk to God
Do you consider yourself wise? The ways of the Lord are right and we need to walk in his ways. The rebellious stumble.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------March 11, 2018 morning sermon
Redeem the time for the days are evil
Make the most of every opportunity
March 4 2018 morning Bible study attendance 36
Hosea 4, workbook 73, around 620 B.C.
Israel was very problematic at this time…the priests were misbehaving as well
Israelites were guilty of sins of omission and commission
Priests believed that obedience to the Torah was a path to salvation
Judah was starting to follow Israel’s bad path
We are all in need of God in our lives
“…in their misery they will honestly seek Me…”
Matthew 18:6 – don’t lead others astray
March 4 2018 morning sermon – Seven Pillars From Proverbs For Raising Children – Proverbs 9:1
Our priority in our Congregation should be to build strong families
It’s not the Church’s responsibility to teach children morals; it’s the job of mothers and fathers
Solomon uses imagery of architecture for Wisdom
1st Pillar – Trust in the Lord
2nd Pillar – Seek God’s Word – absolute truth for our lives
“…buy the truth and do not sell it…”
3rd Pillar – Choose friends wisely – “…keep your foot from their paths…”. Show me your friends and I will show you your future
Using phrases like right and wrong are imperative to raising children
There are too many gray areas in life
4th Pillar – Protect your heart – watch what you take in
“…as a man thinks in his heart, so is he…”
There are many things in this world that can taint a child’s heart…they are bombarded by pure evil
5th Pillar – Teach them integrity
“…better is the poor who walks integrity…”
One’s reputation cannot be stressed too much
6th Pillar – Respect the ancient landmarks (doctrines and teachings of God) – God’s Word never changes
The minds of children cannot be left to their own devices
7th Pillar – Today is the day of change – every moment is a teaching opportunity…make changes while you still have time
Ecclesiastes: “…fear God and obey His commandments…”
February 18 2018 morning Bible study…attendance
Workbook page 57
Amos was prophesying to Israel
Israel was treating the needy people badly
God would set a plumb line amongst the people
Amos saw 3 visions: locusts, fire, plumb line,
Amos pleaded with God to not send locusts and fire to destroy the people and God relented
Locusts showed up in Joel
Amos is preaching to the people of Israel but he’s from Judah
Amos used to be a shepherd and sycamore fig tender
Jerusalem – main place to worship in Judah
Bethel/Dan – main place to worship in Israel
Amos tells the priest that Israel will be exiled
We must resist attempts to break our obedience to God
We may not face such strong resistance as Amos did but we will still face obstacles
Amos 8 – Amos saw a vision of a basket or ripe fruit
“…I will make all of you wear sackcloth…I will send a famine through the land…for hearing the Word of the Lord…”
“…who calls for the waters of the seas…”
“…did I not bring the Israelites from Egypt…I will not totally destroy the house of Jacob…”
God spoke of a restoration of Israel after the destruction
We have short memories after a hard trial
February 18 2018 morning sermon
Pray without ceasing 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Paul isn’t talking about praying as soon as you open your eyes in the morning and never stopping until you lay down at night
We need a spirit of dependence on God for all things
We have a privilege to talk to God throughout our day
David prayed morning, noon and night
We need to recognize that God is in our lives
An acrostic based on the alphabet
· Always – give thanks always for all things
· Busy – when we are in the midst of the battle, bend your knee
· Constantly – Daniel 6:10 – he prayed as was his custom
· Delight – Romans 7:22 – I can hardly wait to talk to the Father
· Everyday – Can I see God working in my life and the lives of the world around me? Can I see Him in creation?
· Fainthearted – our prayers are important for those who are struggling in their own lives
· Gathering of the saints
· Hateful; hardened of heart, lukewarm – we should pray that their hearts turn from stone to flesh (Ezekiel)
· Infinite blessings – God’s riches are unsearchable. How many blessings from God could we recall and write down?
· Journey – we have joy through our journey with Jesus. Our citizenship isn’t here but we are ambassadors here
· Keep loving and keep learning – 1 Peter 4:8 “…above all have fervent love for one another…”
· Love to pray – patiently endure – 2 Tim 2:12, Matthew 11:20 – what we endure, we don’t have to endure alone. Turn it over to God in prayer and marvel at what He does with it
· Mad, malice, mean-spirit – that is not the time to distance yourself from God - 1 Peter 2:1 – Eph 4:31 “…let all bitterness…be put away from you…”
· Nations near and far – our nation and our neighbors, kings, leaders, etc.
· Omniscient God – Eph 3:22 – if we pray for only what we can imagine, we still don’t come close to what God can do
· Praying at all times of day. – easiest time to quit praying is when we become discouraged
· Quarrel with God – question your purpose…quitting
· Rebuke, reproof, repent – David recognized when he was wrong
· Stand firm – stand up for Christ- Eph 6:13 (full armor of God)
· Time – redeem our time…the time is near…our time is in God’s hands. Psalm 90:12. Pray that we can use our time wisely. Ezra 7:10
· Understand God’s Word and God’s will
· Virtuous, victorious, vigilant living
· Yearning to serve – Psalm 71:18 – teach the young people
· Zeal to hear the Message – “…be doers of the Word and not hearers only…”
February 11 2018 morning Bible study attendance 40
Workbook page 49
Throughout the Old Testament, the “day of the Lord” is referred to often.
God gave the Old Testament people time frames for events (i.e. in 40 years such and such will happen)
The prophets usually prophesied about the wrath of God and the coming of the Messiah
God’s own people should know better than anybody else how they should be behaving
“…woe to you who long for the Day of the Lord…”
The people were excited for the Day of the Lord because they thought God would judge their enemies, not them too
“…even though you bring Me grain offerings and drink offerings, I will not accept them…”
Assyrians attacked around 723 B.C.
The people may have been doing the sacrifices, but they were living corrupt lives
We must not rely on external religious acts
Do I always deal fairly people or on an intermittent basis?
The people of that time were wealthy and elevated that above helping their fellow neighbors
At this time, Israel’s enemies weren’t too powerful and this allowed Judah and Israel to prosper financially and grow politically and they may have had a boosted sense of self-confidence…they were taking credit for their good luck
It’s better to limit our self-indulgences then to allow society to suffer
“…you have turned justice to poison…”
“…I will stir up a nation against you…”
1 Peter 3:15 – “…always be prepared to give an answer for the hope you have…do this with gentleness and respect…”
February 11 2018 morning sermon
The gift of the Holy Spirit
Deuteronomy 29:29 – “…secret things belong to the Lord our God…”
The things God has written are for us
Romans 1:20 – those who should have believed in God but don’t
Without the Bible, we can’t really know much about God
Trinity is a not a word found in Scripture
Col 2:19 – Godhead
The Holy Spirit is found throughout the Old Testament
Christ shows up many times in the Old Testament as the “Angel of the Lord”
The Holy Spirit is not some energy field or a wisp of smoke…it’s a person of the Godhead
“…He will guide you…”
Acts 5: Ananias and Sapphira held back some proceeds from their land sale…lied to the Holy Spirit
John 14:26 – “…He will teach you all things…”
Ephesians 4:30 “…do not grieve the Holy Spirit by whom you were sealed…”
2 Peter 1:21 – prophecy never came from man
1 Cor 6:19 – your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit
Romans 8:26 – “…the Spirt helps us in our weakness…”
Acts 7:51 – “…you always resist the Holy Spirit…as your fathers did…”
The Holy Spirit dwells in us as we dwell in the Word
If God’s Word says “don’t do that”, then don’t do it. If God’s Word says “do that”, then do that.
February 4 2018 morning Bible study
Joel was a prophet speaking to Judah
Jonah was a prophet speaking to Nineveh
Amos was writing about 800 B.C. to reach Israel
Jesus is our Prophet
Workbook page 43
These passages can give some context to what Amos will speak about:
Genesis 12:1-3, Genesis 15:18-21, Exodus 23:31, Numbers 34:1-12, Ezekiel 47:13-20
Amos was a shepherd
Schedule for God’s wrath: Damascus (present day Syria), Gaza (Philistine territory), Tyre (sold whole communities of captives), Edom, Amman (present-day Jordan), Moab, Judah (led astray by false gods), Israel (sell the righteous for silver and mistreat the poor)
“…on the day I punish Israel…the houses adorned with ivory will be destroyed…”
“…I gave you empty stomachs in every city, yet you have not returned to Me…”
“…seek the Lord and live…”
“…though you have built stone mansions, you will not live in them…”
The Lord doesn’t forget us but we forget him
Did the people not remember what God had done for them?
Israelite judges were taking bribes to rule against the poor and oppressed
The law of Moses allowed a cloak to be taken as collateral but were supposed to be returned the same day…instead people kept them and slept in them when worshipping other gods
God would allow Israel to be defeated in battle
723 B.C. – Syrians conquered Israel
February 4 2018 morning sermon – First words of the psalmist
What would you pay for happiness?
Bookstores and libraries have self-help sections
True happiness includes contentment, peace, fulfillment, harmony, self-actualization, optimism, purpose in life
The world offers a lot of negativity
We aren’t told who wrote this psalm but it may have been David
The secret things have been given to us to grasp
The things Jesus mention in Matthew 5 aren’t things that Madison Avenue can sell you
The wicked who do not meditate on the Scriptures…the wicked will not stand in His presence…will not be counted among the righteous
Children and adults need to understand the word “no” and “do not”
1 Kings talks about David’s son never being told “no”
There are hundreds of times we are told in the New Testament “do not” do something
It is good and healthy to say “do not”
God setup a moral law that says some things are right and some things are wrong. We do a disservice when we deny that
1 Cor 15:33 “…do not be deceived. Evil company corrupts good habits…”
“…what fellowship does righteousness have with lawlessness?”
Show me your friends and I will show you your future
Some say the exception is the rule
“…his delight is in the Law of the Lord…”
“…blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…”
Joshua said “choose this day who you will serve”
Be careful what wall you lean your ladder on
January 28 2018 morning sermon
Grow in grace and knowledge
What are the last words a loved one has spoken to you?
2 Peter was Peter’s last words before he died
Always speak in love and kindness
The salutations of most New Testament writers begin and end with “grace to you”
Peter talks about having and growing in knowledge
God claims exclusivity
Why is Peter concerned about knowledge?
The theme is similar to Jude
Gnosticism had begun to seep into the early Church at the time Peter wrote this…he suggested that you need knowledge to combat this
We have to know God’s Word
Increase in gratitude
Step back and look at God’s love
What is my goal today? It should be to conform to image of Christ
Christ is our Master who gives us our orders…He is our deliverer
What’s your plan for this year? It should be to grow individually and collectively
Pray, plan, proceed
January 28 2018 morning Bible study
Jonah 3 & 4
Workbook page 33
The role of a prophet was to deliver God’s message
Jonah received the message from God: go to Nineveh and tell the people to repent
Jonah goes to Nineveh with a message…”repent or in 40 days the city will be overtaken”
It took Jonah 3 days to make his way through the city
The Ninevites took God’s message seriously…they repented and put on sackcloth and fasted
Jonah didn’t feel the Ninevites were worthy of God’s salvation and mercy
How has God given me a second chance to do what pleases Him?
Nineveh was founded Nimrod…it is in present-day Iraq
Nineveh had about 120,000 citizens at the time of Jonah’s visit…middle of the 8th century B.C.
The Babylonians destroyed Nineveh years later (6th century B.C.)
The king ordered a city-wide fast
God was pleased with the peoples’ repentance
History records that there were a series of earthquakes and a solar eclipse around this time
Jonah understood God’s patience and mercy but he didn’t accept that He could offer it to sinners like the Ninevites
Have we questioned God’s decisions?
“Is it right for you to be angry?”
In rejecting God’s goodness towards the Ninevites, Jonah was rejecting God Himself
Am I allowing bitterness into my life? Have you ever second-guessed God?
We need to have faith and trust
“Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”
Jonah is concerned about the plant yet he didn’t plant it or care for it…it grew overnight and died overnight
Jonah had no sympathy for the people of Nineveh
It doesn’t matter who we are or where we are…we can always do something…pray at the minimum
We don’t like being shown that we are wrong…we may stick to the wrongdoing out of pride or willfulness
If God is telling us we are wrong, we need to let our stubbornness fall away
We aren’t told if Jonah finally learned the lessons God was teaching him
January 21 2018 morning sermon
Athens was the seat of ancient philosophy
Holy Spirit had prevented Paul and the apostles from visiting a few places
Thessalonica – in regards to the Christians, they had turned the world upside down (had disturbed the whole world – Roman empire)
More idols in Athens than people
Is our world wholly given over to idols? They aren’t necessarily full of actual stone or gold idols
Are we provoked in our spirit when we see the idolatry in the world?
Paul used apologetics to reason with the people
“What does this babbler (seed picker) want to say?”
According to Roman law, it was against the law to preach about foreign gods (gods not approved by the Roman government)
The Athenians’ time was spent learning and hearing new things
Why do we watch the news?
Paul doesn’t stand up and say “you are all wrong and I’m going to tell you what’s right”
Paul starts talking to the people at the level at which they are at
We ought to be ready to offer a reason for the hope we have…with kindness and gentleness…people respond better that way
How many doors of opportunity have we walked past?
Everyone that we meet is a seeker in one way or another
Paul was quoting from some of the philosophers’ own poets
Some believed Paul’s message…others wanted to hear more…other rejected it altogether
We don’t know why God moves situations and people in the ways He does
Paul does not try to convince the people about the ways of worship or building a structure to meet in
January 21 2018 morning Bible study
Workbook page 25
What does a prophet do? Delivers God’s Message
Jonah was supposed to go to Nineveh to preach against what they were doing and teach about repentance
Nineveh was part of the Assyrian nation which had oppressed Jerusalem over the years
Jonah fled to Joppa to sail to Tarshish
Do we run away from what we are supposed to do?
Jonah might have been afraid of what the people would have done to him or he may have felt that they didn’t deserve God’s mercy
In Old Testament times, if something bad was happening to you, it was because you did something bad
On the boat ride to Tarshish, the sailors casted lots to figure out who was to blame for the storm and it fell to Jonah
Is there anyone in my life that I would like to see suffer God’s wrath instead of His mercy and forgiveness?
There are many ways we can run away from God
In some cases, we aren’t running away from God but not paying attention
The sailors on the boat prayed to God to forgive them for throwing Jonah in the sea
Once Jonah was thrown into the water, the sailors offered a sacrifice and took vows before God
Does God have a purpose for our life? Do you need to be in a fish for three days to know that?
Jonah learned about God’s patience and forgiveness
January 14 2018 morning Bible study
People back in the minor prophets’ days didn’t have a lot of distractions…they looked to their overseer or God
There are things on Earth that we need to deal with but we should look to God to get help dealing with them
Do we ever each a point where we “fully get God”?
He expects us to follow what He tells us to do
In Joel, could the locusts really have been an army of men?
Is there “locust damage” in my life that God needs to repair?
What can I do to prevent evil things from happening? Pray.
Is God dwelling in your heart today?
January 7 2018 morning Bible study
Starting minor prophets study
Sometimes known as “the book of the twelve”
Major prophets such as Isaiah, Jeremiah are large books
Minor prophets’ books were probably written about 200 years before Christ’s birth and they were all pointing towards this big event
The two kingdoms at this time were Israel and Judah
The longer someone has been doing something, the harder it is to get them to change how they do it
If you follow God’s path in your life, it will go well with you…that hasn’t changed in thousands of years
732BC Israel and Syrians teamed up to fight against Judah
Judah’s king appealed to the Assyrians and they destroyed Damascus
The Babylonians would eventually be a problem but later in the stories of the 5 prophets we will study
Joel – a plague of locusts started the teaching that judgement was coming
At Joel’s time (about 800 B.C.) the Sabbath was on Saturday and they visited the temple to offer sacrifices, offerings (first fruits of crops), and the priests read from the scrolls. Also some singing and praying. The women and men were separated.
A theme of Joel is that when you leave God out, you head down the wrong road
Joel was using disaster imagery
There will be suffering; look to the Lord for guidance through the storms
“…rend your heart, not your garments…return to the Lord your God…”
Joel suggests to God that if God doesn’t help His people, the surrounding peoples will assume that God doesn’t care
December 24 2017 morning Bible study
2 Thessalonians 3
Paul could have allowed the Church to support him but instead he worked to set an example
We can fall victim to “exception processing” where we can find reasons to point out that God’s Word does not apply to today
Paul warns that some of the Church were idle while others were busybodies
A busybody is a gossiper
Gossip is hearsay…”did you hear about so and so?”
Social media is a huge avenue for gossip
Sometimes we can smear others with the truth…it’s not something we should be spreading
Never tire of doing what is right
Paul was talking about people who weren’t willing to work
Paul wanted the Church to distance themselves from the other members who weren’t doing right to make them feel ashamed
There were probably people freeloading off of the Church
Telling someone “no” may be the best help they will receive
Not too many people tell others “may the peace of the Lord be with you”
December 17 2017 morning Bible study
How does the Holy Spirit fit in with Christ and God the Father
2 Thessalonians 2:13
Your conscience can be clean but you might not be innocent
You should always be counting on God through the good and the bad times
Am I seeking the Kingdom of God with what I do?
God wants us to live in His love and demonstrate that in how we love others
Prayer is our first defense in our struggles with the world
December 10 2017 morning sermon
All time pieces may have different times but they need a standard to coordinate with
I may have inherited a nice grandfather clock but it may not have the correct time
Mark 16:16 – “…those who believe and are baptized…”
You can’t inherit your faith based on who your grandfather is
There is only one way to get the faith that God tells us that we must have: the Bible
Romans 10 – “…faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God…”
The word “faith” is found 229 times in the KJV and NKJV versions of the New Testament
The Old Testament doesn’t use the word “faith” much and instead uses “trust”
Is there a different way in which one group is saved and another method for another group?
Acts 2:37-38 – Peter told the people about what they had done to the Son of God…these people asked what they could do now?
How did the Ethiopian eunuch know about baptism?
Oldest promise in the Bible: that we would have eternal life
Belief must take place before salvation; young infants and children can’t understand the plan of salvation
Age of accountability – when an individual comes to the realization that they are in sin and Christ died for their sin
Can one be taught wrong and baptized right? Acts 19
You can be baptized for the wrong reason
Acts 18:24 Apollos, Priscilla and Aquila – they were on the right track and Paul and others help guide them
Is the idea that some things are right and some things wrong a new concept?
Cain and Abel were both instructed as to the sacrifice they should be making to God
Leviticus 10:1-3 – Aaron’s sons didn’t behave properly before the Lord and they were killed
2 Kings 5 – Naaman had leprosy and didn’t believe in the instructions that Elisha gave him (dip seven times in the Jordan)
When did Naaman obey the Lord? When he did what Elisha told him to (and not a minute before)
If we are told God requires certain things for salvation, who we are to say there are other ways?
Luke 6:46-47 “…why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ but do not do what I say…”
Faith is more than just believing that Jesus existed and was a good man
If you have to consult your priest or pastor or creed book to find out about your salvation, you may not have baptized properly
December 10 2017 morning Bible study
Page 71 in the workbook
Follow-up question: Does God hear the prayers of a sinner (non-believer)? Yes.
God makes a way for those who earnestly search for Him
For those who seek God’s blessings and favor but don’t want a relationship with Him, they won’t be very successful
God hears all prayers but answers those of His children who are in a relationship with Him (actively or searching)
We would like to have “connect-the-dots” answers from God so that we can make more sense of the Second Coming
There are things that are far beyond our need to understand
2 Thessalonians 2 – “…we ask you brothers not to become easily unsettled…”
Some people said that Paul said the Second Coming had already occurred
“…the man of lawlessness will set himself up proclaiming to be God”
Paul needed to reassure the believers that they hadn’t missed the Second Coming…Paul was alarmed that a lot of the Church were in such confusion
Paul firmly stated that the Second Coming had not yet happened
Have I ever been taken in by a false prophet? End of the world in 2000.
Every time there is a Blood Moon or a lunar or solar eclipse, someone says “this is the End”
Acts 19:11-12 “…God did extraordinary miracles through Paul…”. Some TV preachers hawk prayer handkerchiefs
Can prayer heal you? Yes, if it’s God’s will
The Church today clings to the Word of God to help us wade through false ideas
Who was “the man of lawlessness”? He will be the leader of the rebellion.
Paul wasn’t writing to satisfy curiosity about the rebellion and the man of lawlessness, but instead encourage the believers to be steadfast and not to be swayed
You can always look for signs, but this “man of lawlessness” hasn’t showed up yet
It would be easy for people to buy into a charismatic individual
The antichrist isn’t an individual but a spirit (a way of thinking); 1 John
Apostasy – the abandonment or renunciation of religious belief
2 Thessalonians 2:5 – “…for the secret power of lawlessness is already at work but is being held back…”
“…they perish because they don’t love the truth…”
“…God sends them a powerful delusion…”
God’s Word must not only be acknowledged but also loved
God will let people continue in their sin
Paul showed how will and emotion are connected
December 3 2017 morning sermon
People can grow apart slowly over time
We may be sitting in a pew near where a faithful disciple once sat…they no longer share the joy of fellowship
Neglect, desertion and forsakenness
A house falls into decay due to neglect
It would have been better for people to never have known the Way then to have known the Way and turned away from it
“…it is right to stir you up by reminding you…”
A dilapidated house doesn’t become that way overnight…it is a gradual process
When the outside comes inside the house, destruction soon follows
“…blessed is the man who walks not in the paths of the ungodly…”
We may walk near sin but we dare not stand next to it and we certainly shouldn’t sit down with it
Colossians 4:14 mentions Paul and Demas as fellow laborers
2 Timothy 4:10 – “…Demas has forsaken me for this world…”
We are the last ones to realize a change in ourselves but those around us surely notice
Ephesus was warned that their lampstand would be removed if they didn’t shape up
“…exhort one another daily…”
In spite of our apathy, God still calls to us
When our faith wavers, it’s not the time to put distance between ourselves and God
We need to have boldness and confidence to run towards God
James 4:7-8 “…resist the devil and he will flee…draw near to God and He will draw near to you…”
We are told collectively to encourage one another in love and good works
Hebrews 6:9 “…we are confident in better things concerning you…”
If you aren’t allowing a fellow disciple to help you in your walk, then you are missing out on a great opportunity
We need to pray that each of us remains strong
December 3 2017 morning Bible study
Start 2 Thessalonians 1
Page 63 in the workbook
This period was about 65 A.D. and the Christians at the time were actively expecting the Second Coming
They were getting sidetracked by people saying “look at this sign” or “look over there”
If you remember that the Second Coming could happen any time, it helps keep you focused…relates to the hymn “Are you ready?”
Does politics cause trouble with faith?
How are we standing up to today’s struggles of our faith?
“…God will pay back trouble to those who trouble you…”
Our human nature likes to get swift justice
Can we make all the wrong right?
We have sadness for the sins of the world (for those not saved)
Do we have opportunities to help others?
If you spread the Gospel, does that mean your audience will accept it or like it?
Our job is to spread the Good News
Do people in TC know about us? Most people know us as the Church on the hill
Paul told the Thessalonian Church that they were a great example to their neighbors
Some of the Thessalonians might have felt unworthy of Paul’s compliments…they may have been under a lot of strain from persecution
Paul told the Church he was praying for them but he didn’t offer an escape clause or a promise of other relief
If someone tells you that they will pray for you, is that a trivial thing?
We may say that prayer isn’t the only thing I need right now (it doesn’t help me when my car is in the ditch; I need help to get the car out)
Many of us have seen the power of prayer in our lives and others
When Jesus had struggles, He went to the Father in prayer
Paul’s hope for the Church was that the Christians live up to their high and holy calling
We are instruments of peace and righteousness
The business of the Church is to attract people to Jesus not run programs or erect buildings
November 26 2017 morning sermon
A good example of a run-on sentence. Some Bible translations have verses 11-16 as one sentence.
Ephesians is one of the “prison epistles”; it is similar to Colossians. There are some pretty intense passages of doctrinal material
· Plan – NKJV – “…He Himself gave…” – the oldest promise in Scripture: eternal life. God always has a plan and He tells us what it is
Amos – God reveals Himself to the prophets. The prophets knew the Messiah was coming but they didn’t fully understand
· People – Some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, some to be pastors & teachers – God has people in mind for all of these tasks.
· Power - He uses power to make things happen. There is diversity of gifts but the same Spirit. There are varying activities but the same God. This is for the profit of all.
· Purpose – for the equipping of the saints; for the edifying of the Body
· Period of time – 1 Cor 12:29-31 – all these things are here until the Coming…we see dimly now but we will see clearly then
· Partial becomes perfect – 1 Cor 8:13 – Love never fails…knowledge will vanish away…when I became a man I put away childish things. Faith does not come from miracles, speaking in tongues, or prophecies. Romans 10:17 – faith comes by hearing.
Some people in Corinth thought they were superior by the gifts they had
· Possibilities – positively priceless is the Word of God and it will guide us. “…no longer be thrown about by those who teach false doctrines…”.
Every malady of spiritual life can be solved by His Word. No book outsells the Bible. God’s Word has gone out to every continent and every nation.
Scaffolding is used to build a house but once the house is finished, the scaffolding comes down.
The need for miracles and speaking in tongues was no longer needed once we had the Word of God and we don’t need to be a scholar to understand it.
2 Peter 1:5-8 – “…add to your faith virtue…to godliness brotherly kindness…”
November 26 2017 morning Bible study
1 Thessalonians 5; page 55 in the workbook
“…but you brothers are not in darkness…”
When the Lord comes back, it will be like a thief in the night
The signs of the second coming: loud trumpet call, dead in Christ will rise
Is it complicated to live in the light?
If we are in the dark, do we have to stay there? No, we have hope in Him.
Do people always forgive you? Do you always forgive others? Do you forgive yourself?
“…encourage one another and build each other up…”
How do we encourage one another? How often do you do it?
Something might be common sense but it might not be common practice
How can you encourage someone? Call them, text them, mail a letter to them
Don’t use someone’s bad example to justify your own actions or inactions
How should we conduct ourselves without leaders?
Paul probably had appointed leaders for the Church in Thessalonica…he may have heard that some people didn’t properly appreciate their leaders’ work
It’s easy to criticize leaders we don’t like. We must give our leaders credit for their hard work.
“…warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak and be patient with everyone…”
For the timid in the Church of Thessalonica, they needed encouragement to grow in their faith. Maybe they were intimidated by the persecution happening outside the Church’s door
If you give constructive criticism to someone, can you also encourage them in some way?
What if you are working with someone who doesn’t know how to pray? Matthew 6:9-13 “…this then is how you should pray: Our Father, who art in heaven…”
Joy, prayer, thanksgiving – will we always be in this state? This is what we should aim for. If you can adopt one of these activities, it can help you with the other two
Can you be content in all circumstances?
The news is full of bad things. What could change that? People putting their faith in God. People who are on the fence on doing something good or bad could benefit from Christ in their life.
The phrase “I charge you” could be an oath…Paul could have written this part of the letter himself
November 19 2017 sermon
1 Cor 11:23
Isaiah and Ezra – trembling at the Word of the Lord
Do you feel that you tremble at certain stages of your spiritual walk?
When you visit a site like Gettysburg or Arlington cemetery, there is a sense of awe
Psalm 8 – “…when I consider Your heavens…what is man that You are mindful of Him…”
Queen of the south (known as Queen of Sheba in Old Testament) – she was breathless at everything she observed when meeting Solomon
When I consider all that God has done for me, am I breathless?
We have had mysteries revealed to us that angels long to learn about
Luke 24 – road to Emmaus – when all is revealed, they remarked “didn’t our hearts burn while we were with Him?”
The oldest promise in the Bible – Titus 1:2 – God promised eternal life before time began
“…when all was but a dream of dim conception…”
“…what language shall I borrow to thank You Lord…”
John 1:1 “…and the Word was with God and the Word was God…”
“…and the Word became flesh and dwelled among us…”
Philippians 2:5-8 – “…made Himself of no reputation…He humbled Himself…”
Colossians 2:9-10 “…you are complete in Him…”
“in Him dwells” is a present tense verb in the Greek texts
We learn what Christ gave up to come to earth for us
1 John 3:2 “…we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is…”
1 Cor 11:17 “…since you come together not for the better but for the worse…”
There are divisions in our Church and in our world today
Jude – “…each one takes his own supper ahead of the others…”
Some people say that partaking the Lord’s Supper each Sunday can cause it to lose its luster. If you let it lose its luster, it will
Acts 20 – Paul is trying to hurry back to Jerusalem in time for the Passover
1 Cor 16 – first day of every week…give as you have been prospered
Sometimes we think “am I worthy to take the Lord’s supper” which makes it more about us than about Him
The important thing is the manner in which we take the Lord’s supper
Examine yourselves…where is your mind…think about what you are thinking about
We look ahead because we are told that He is coming back
How can we not take our daily worship for granted?
2 Peter 1:10 – “…be even more diligent to make your calling and election sure…”
November 19 2017 Morning Bible study
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Page 47 in the workbook
The Thessalonians wondered if Christians died during this current time, would they miss out on the blessings?
Paul reminded them that they should look forward towards the Day of the Lord
The Thessalonians wanted hard facts on the timing of the Second Coming and Paul suggested that it was not important
The Day of the Lord will catch people by surprise
If we knew the exact Day of the Lord, we would probably live however we wanted to and then repent at the last minute
Paul’s readers could expect the Day of the Lord
Ephesians 6:10-16 – armor of God – hints of Isaiah 59
Paul pointed to the Cross to clear up uncertainty about the deaths of their saved loved ones on the Day of the Lord
Although we deserve wrath, we as Christ’s followers will receive mercy
Whether living or dead, or destiny will be the same
Ecclesiastes 3 – God put eternity in our hearts
We as humans know that there is something greater than ourselves
Acronym HOPE – hang on, pain ends
There’s a lot of encouragement in the Bible; the end of the world brings the coming of the Lord
November 12 2017 Morning sermon
2 Timothy 4:2-5 “Sound Doctrine”
Hosea 4:6 – “…My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge…”
Isaiah 5:13 “…therefore My people have gone into captivity for they have no knowledge…”
Ephesians 4:11-13 “…He gave some to be apostles, some evangelists…”
We ought to grow into maturity and not be swayed by all the doctrines in the world
“…the time will come when they will not listen to sound doctrine…”
Nothing new is true and nothing true is new
1 Corinthians 2:1-5 “…I did not come with excellence in speech…”
You should not be tricked by someone who is a smooth talker
What is sound doctrine?
If anyone ministers, let him do so as God has enabled
Revelation 2:14-15 “…you have those who hold the doctrine of Balaam…”
“…there are those who will forbid some from marrying…some from eating certain foods…”
We need to know the difference when we heard different teachings (gospel of wealth, gospel of works)
We ought not to think we are following the doctrine of individuals but of Christ
“…He taught them as one who had authority…”
If there is anything we do, can we point to a Scripture to support it?
“…be diligent…rightly diving the Word of Truth…”
We need to be bold but not brash…contend for the faith but don’t be contentious…be kind but not compromising
There is no substitute for reading the Word of God
Study the Word of God – make it your habit
Ezra – he set his heart to study the Law of the Lord
Psalm 119 – it mentions that the writer meditates on the Word of God
Blessed are those who read the Word of God
If we know the Word of God, we won’t be swayed by other ideas
God has given us instructions on how to get right and stay right
November 12 2017 Morning Bible study
1 Thessalonians 4
We need to work and be stable enough to help others
No one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him
He who rejects this instruction does not reject man but rejects God
At the time of 1 Thessalonians, there were probably about 100 Churches
The leadership of the Church at that time consisted of apostles, elders, deacons
If you were in Saginaw and had a question about the Bible, would you ask the Church in Saginaw or appeal to some other Church?
Each Church should be able to answer the questions you have; no central authority is needed other than Christ and the Bible
Does anyone doubt that the trumpet call of God could happen anytime?
What do some people call the concept of people being gathered to Christ in the air? The rapture.
At least two people in the Bible left the earth without dying
The Lord Himself will come down from Heaven
Those who are already dead and those still alive will meet Him in the air and we will be with the Lord forever
With God all things are possible
My ways are higher than your ways
Isaiah 40:28 – “...He will not grow tired or weary…His understanding no one can fathom…”
Romans 11:33 – “…how unsearchable are His judgements and His ways…”
Psalm 145:3 – “…great is the Lord…His greatness is unsearchable…”
When the Second Coming occurs, we will be with the Lord forever…it won’t matter if it’s our physical or spiritual body going to Heaven
Deuteronomy 29:29 “…the secret things belong to God…the revealed things belong to us…”
November 5 2017 Morning sermon
Hamlet said “Word, words, words”
We are either talking or listening
The majority of how we communicate is nonverbal
Our words stick with people with whom we speak more than our expressions
Kids remember things said to them as children even as they age
Paul is winding down his letter to the Church in Colossae; Paul urges the believers to pray for future speaking opportunities
Pray often and with thanksgiving in your heart
There are a few prison epistles and Colossians is one of them; Philippians and Philemon are others
Paul encourages the Church to be examples of Christ in every way…we are to be the picture of Christ
We can show people not what Jesus physically looked like but what He did
We are God’s ambassadors
What is our duty? “Walk in wisdom towards those who are outside…”
What you do is a direct reflection on the One who paid the ransom for us
No one will listen to us if we are rude, obnoxious, self-righteous
Death and life are in the power of the tongue
Ephesians 4:29 – “…let no corrupt talk go out of your mouth…”
It was more important to Paul that we work to win souls than to have his own way
Take advantage of every opportunity to do good…we are sowing seeds each time
“…a servant of the Lord must not quarrel…”
“…speak evil of no one…”
“…let your gentleness be known to all men…”
Do we argue about words? We may lose the hearers
Contend without being contentious
November 5 2017 Morning Bible study
1 Thessalonians 3 and 4
Paul sent Timothy to the Thessalonians because he couldn’t go
Timothy brought back a good report
There was probably a lot of sexual immorality at this time; some of it was part of the peoples’ religions
Justification is our status at baptism
Throughout our lives, the Holy Spirit helps make us holy (sanctification)
Sometimes there are improper relationships between Church members
Never be concerned about sharing your story with others; the Holy Spirit will guide you as to what to say
Your job is not to convert a person, your job is to plant a seed. Sometimes you plant a seed by how you live your life.
When you interact with people, most people don’t like to alienate people
We love our brothers and sisters but maybe we like some more than others
We love each other and then as time goes on we love them more (doing things for them, helping them with instruction)
People might not like correction
How have I showed love for others?
“…make it your ambition to lead a quiet life…mind your own business and work with your hands…”
Paul could have relied on the money others gave him but he chose to work to support himself
If no one worked, we couldn’t contribute to the Church; we would not have a building and couldn’t share with others who are in need (sharing love, prayers, finances, other resources)
October 29 2017 Morning sermon
Wonder, truth, love & security
Origin, meaning, morality & destiny
These are our eternal truths
12 rules for raising a delinquent child – Houston, TX police department
1. Give the child everything they want
2. When he picks up bad words, laugh at him which makes him feel cute
3. Never give any spiritual training; let him decide when 21
4. Avoid using the word “wrong”
5. Do everything for him
6. Let him read and watch anything he wants
7. Quarrel frequently in his presence
8. Give him all the spending money he wants
9. Satisfy his every craving
10. Take his side in everything
11. When he gets in trouble, apologize for him
12. Prepare for a life of grief
We should have high expectations for the upcoming generations…we already have the instruction manual: the Bible
Why does Paul single out fathers? God had intended a certain order for the family with the father as the head
Government, the Church, and the family all have precepts to follow and if and when they are followed, the system will work well
It’s not the responsibility of the Church to raise your children
We shouldn’t let society dictate how the family should be organized
Jeremiah 10:23 – “…the way of man is not in himself…”
We don’t need to invent new ways of raising children
“…there is a way that seems right to a man…” Proverbs 14:12
Fathers do not provoke your children
John McArthur – 8 patterns that can harm children
1. Parents that are overprotective (helicopter)
3. Pushing children to be overachievers
4. Constant criticism
5. Making the child feel like they are an intrusion
6. Never letting children grow up at their own pace
7. Using love as a tool
8. Physical and verbal abuse – disciplining in anger
Not keeping promises and not listening can also hurt the child
A lack of humility and discipline also hurt
Discipline goes beyond spanking; discipline means “tutor”
Is there one perfect way to raise a child? Each child is a different individual
Hebrews 2:1 “…give earnest heed to the things we have learned…”
Training isn’t a “one and done” but a long process
Hebrews 12:5-11 “…do not despise the chastening of the Lord…”
Children thrive under boundaries because they know what is expected
There are many in the world who love their children
We should be preparing our child’s soul for eternity…the best evangelism is to be done in our own homes
“…all things work together for good…”
All fathers need the help of the Church
October 29 2017 Morning Bible study
1 Thessalonians 2
Jews were accusing Paul of using false teachings to trick them
Paul tells them “you know me”
Why should someone believe an evangelist if they don’t know the person?
How did the Jews know Paul was not deceiving them? Miracles were performed…Paul was previously known as a persecutor of the Christians
Paul had a relationship with the Thessalonians
We have more success with evangelism if we get to know a person first versus standing up in the town square and shouting at people
Paul worked hard and gave God all the credit…”by the grace of God”
Spiritual warfare – the devil is always using varying techniques to attack us
Maybe Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was the devil constantly tormenting him
We should always take a kind word to someone even if we aren’t doing something physically for them (lending money, etc.)
We should not blame Satan for our own failures but recognize his influence in our lives
Paul sent Timothy
Who looks forward to having struggles in life?
Some people come to faith because they think God will reward them materially
God places us in our local Church so we can receive wise counsel which can tell us God is faithful
Can you solve everybody’s problems? Maybe I don’t want someone to solve my problems but just listen and pray with me
There’s “listening to respond” (before they finish telling you something)…there’s also “listening to understand”
If you listen to them, chances are they’ll listen to you
Why would Paul need encouragement?
Jesus wasn’t gone long and Paul was already talking about Jesus coming back
October 22 2017 Morning report from Ghana – Greg N
Grade 1-8: 700 students
Village of Hope started in Accra
Fred found a 25-acre piece of property…a local chief has given another 80 acres to the cause
Traverse City home houses all boys…fully staffed hospital
Hope College – high school 9-12 grades. 400 students who are boarded on campus
New applied science building with hands-on labs
Vocational training center – our change goes to help the street children here who are fed and are taught a trade (reading and writing, sewing, auto repair (two-year program), cosmetology) and possibly reunited with family members
Southern Ghana – large metropolitan city, crowded, dirty. The advancements of the south don’t really make it to the north part of the country
The north is a step back in time…grass roofs on mud huts
Bob Chisholm meets once a year with the evangelists to help freshen up
Only 10% of Ghanaians have fresh water…the girls/women have to walk up to two miles for fresh water
Costech Science and Technology school – built in 2013…only tech school in the north region. The recent 9th graders out of this school scored among the highest in the nation of Ghana
The Bank of Ghana saw the potential of the program and donated nearly $800K to build an administrative building…they want a fully accredited university in the north
Another function of the well project is the building of a latrine and instruction in health and sanitation
Only 5% of Ghanaians wash their hands
North is predominantly Muslim…the north is primarily agricultural
1 Cor 10:31 – “…do it all to the glory for God…”
Approximately 3 million people have access to potable water
October 22 2017 Morning Bible study
1 Thessalonians 1-2
Workbook page 15
Paul wanted to be sure to exhibit faith, hope and love in his dealing with the Thessalonians
What changes occur in society where God comes in and then goes out? France worked hard to take God out of society and had numerous revolutions
Dwight Eisenhower added “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954…communists didn’t believe in God
Paul is trying to bolster the Thessalonians strength to do what is right
Paul and the other apostles did other jobs to not be a burden to others
Some scholars had in mind that Paul had in mind a nursing mother
Paul would have been worn down by this job because he gave it his all
Paul could have lived off the backs of the believers…he worked to authenticate the Gospel
It is a powerful message that someone can spread the Gospel without getting paid to do so
Paul worked for extended lengths of time in Corinth and Ephesus to gather funds for his trips and offer the Gospel free of charge; he refused payments
“…we dealt with you as a father deals with his children…”
Earlier in the text Paul describes himself as a mother figure to her children
Maybe Paul cares for his people as a mother but instructs as a father
Aiming to please God is the only worthwhile endeavor in life
How many sides of a story are there?
We as adults may be more into telling people how to live
When the consent of the heart joins the conviction of the mind, there is change
The Jews were causing the Thessalonian Christians to suffer…a Jewish mob often would rise up
God’s righteous displeasure is against not only those who do not believe in Him but also those who obstruct others from learning about Him
Some people regard Paul as anti-Semitic; he is only reporting on events of the time. There were other groups that persecuted Christians (Romans).
Some people get caught up with a phrase but miss the bigger picture
God will be the ultimate judge…we needn’t take the law into our own hands (bad for society)
Hope is assurance, not a wish
Paul wanted to visit but was stopped by the devil
October 15 2017 Morning sermon
Last lesson on deacons
The principle of deacons isn’t a new topic originally started in the New Testament
Jethro (Moses’ father-in-law) noticed that Moses would sit from morning until night judging the peoples’ complaints
If we concentrate on things that aren’t meant for us to do, it will wear us out
Jethro suggested Moses appoint honorable, Godly men to work with the people so that Moses can concentrate on the spiritual matters
Numbers 11 – God gives the Spirit to 70 men to help Moses…good example of delegation
In the passage in Acts, the Church has grown
1 Tim 3:8-13 – Paul lists qualifications for deacons
One of the tasks of an elder is to groom the men to replace them
We need to be a congregation that has a vision and plans for the future
Must not be double-tongued or in search of selfish gain
Must be tested; not novices who might fall in the snare of the devil
They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience
Wives of deacons must be sober minded
Nothing new is true and nothing true is new
Sound doctrine guides us
Ephesians 4 – everyone has a role to play in the Church
You can’t say you don’t need an organ just because you can’t see it
Which one of us are dispensable? Paul teaches in Ephesians and Colossians, not a single one of us can be spared
You can be what God has given you to be according to your abilities
We are to build one another up…who doesn’t that apply to? Do we need to form a committee to work on being kind to other people?
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice always…do we need a task force for that?
We all have a task to do…God has given deacons to help organize us
The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed
The New Testament is the Old Testament revealed
Ephesians 1:8-10 – “…making known to us the mystery of His will…”
Hebrews 6:1 – “…let us leave the elementary doctrines of Christ…”
October 15 2017 Morning Bible study
Starting 1 & 2Thessalonians
The Thessalonian letters show the need for Godly living until living eternally. It shows the pain and toil of being a follower of Christ.
Primary author of both letters was Paul with help from Silas and Timothy.
Paul often used the plural “we” in various spots to indicate shared authorship
By the 2nd century AD, it was widely accepted that Paul wrote Thessalonians
Probably written AD 50 or 51 with not too much space in between the letters
They worked down the eastern coast of modern-day Greece
Thessalonica had an active Jewish community…some Jews believed but a large number of Greeks came to Christ as well as a number of prominent women
Jewish troublemakers casted doubt on Paul’s authority…they said his message was a delusion and Paul was in the ministry to financial gain
The Church at Thessalonica wasn’t always behaving very well morally
The Jews were still waiting for the Messiah…Paul was working to convince them that Christ has come
Who wants to be told what to do? Paul was telling the visitors to the synagogue about the Good News
Occasion and purpose for writing – Paul wrote the letters after Timothy visited them. There were instances of sexual immorality and idleness yet steadfastness
Paul may have had a strong personality (he and Barnabas ended up traveling separately)
Acts 15 – Barnabas wanted to take John (Mark) on the journey but Paul resisted and instead went separate ways from Barnabas and took Silas with him
Paul didn’t pray in vague terms for the Church
The themes of faith, hope and love often arise in Paul’s letters
Faith produces deeds of kindness and mercy
Hope is not a groundless desire that things will turn out right, it’s the belief that faith in Christ brings about good
Paul reminded the Thessalonians about the heart of the Gospel. Jesus was seen by many people after His resurrection.
God isn’t an image carved in stone or wood
The central battle for minds and hearts is over whether Christ really came to earth and died and was buried and arose
Paul uses the word rescue to indicate the need for people to be rescued from the coming wrath
October 8 2017 Morning sermon
1 Timothy 3:8-15
Deacons and the households of God
Classes coming up on Wednesdays – What does visitation mean?
Future class on personal evangelism
The Church of the 1st century had some struggles due to their fast growth
An architect and their builders follow a blueprint
If we follow the same blueprint as the Church of the first century, we will have Christ’s Church
God is not the author of confusion…He is very specific where He needs to be specific
How should we behave in the household of God?
We may want to follow the latest trends because that church over there has more members
Are we left to decide how we want to get things done? In Judges there was the issue of “everyone doing right in their own eyes”
“...there is a way that seems right to a man…”
Titus 1:9 – “…exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict…”
“…the time will come when they will not listen to sound doctrine…”
1 Timothy 4:1 – “…doctrines of devils…”
Whatever we do, we should do that which God requires and in the manner He wants us to do it
All Scripture is given by inspiration
Corinth had issues with discord and confusion
Who is to be a deacon?
“…it was not Adam who was deceived but Eve…”
Will we follow the trends of today or God’s Word…it may not be popular
We must worship God in spirit and truth
Romans 16 – Phoebe was performing a task given to her by Paul
We are not left to guess about how to run things and certainly not about how to obtain salvation…a faith that not only believes but acts
October 8 2017 Morning Bible study
Page 103 in workbook
Joseph makes himself known to his brothers
Joseph invites his brothers to bring their families to Egypt to setup households
Jacob was told by God that he will see his son Joseph
There were about 70 people in Jacob’s extended family that went to Egypt to live in Goshen
Pharaoh put some of Jacob’s family in charge of the kingdom’s livestock
For a while, people bought food from Joseph…when their money was gone, they paid for food with livestock
Next the people had no money or livestock to buy food…they said “we only have our bodies and our land”
“…we and our land will be in bondage to Pharaoh…”
All of the people became servants to Pharaoh except the priests who received an allotment
Joseph gives the people seed to grow crops and with and instructs 1/5th of the crops be given to Pharaoh (first example of sharecropping)
Jacob was about 147 years old when he died…he requested a burial back in his homeland
Jacob’s family stayed in Egypt even after the famine ended
Tribe of Manasseh was led by banner of Ephraim…Jacob gave the blessing to the younger of two sons versus the older son
God often works in ways that aren’t congruent to man’s customs
How ready am I to accept the unexpected from God?
Jacob died and he was embalmed (a process which took 40 days) and the Egyptians mourned for Jacob for 70 days
Joseph asked Pharaoh for permission to visit Canaan to bury Jacob
Jacob lived 17 years in Egypt before he died
Chapter 50 – Joseph’s brothers are nervous now that Jacob is dead. Maybe Joseph will exact vengeance?
Over a number of years, the 70 people that came to Egypt grew quite quickly
October 1 2017 Morning sermon
Parable of the good Samaritan
This parable is challenging to implement but easy to understand
Guilt is a great motivator for those with selfish ends in mind
Several times in the Gospels, Jesus is put to the test by questions (literally “tested by the devil”)
The scribe in this story already knew the answer
Out of 613 laws the Jews adhere to, it can be boiled down to two items (one from Leviticus and one from Deuteronomy):
Love God with all your heard…love your neighbor as yourself
Is neighbor a person in proximity or a family member or a heritage issue?
For the Jews, a neighbor was NOT a Gentile or Samaritan but a fellow Jew who wasn’t a tax collector or sinner
What is and isn’t being said in this parable? We aren’t told who the beaten man was. We don’t know where the priest or the Levite where traveling to. They did not wish to become defiled by touching someone who might be dead.
Which of these three proved to be a neighbor? Why could the scribe not say “the Samaritan”? Instead he said “the one with mercy”.
The scribe (lawyer) displays arrogance, the priest and lawyer demonstrate apathy, and the Samaritan shows compassion
The Greek word for compassion is used 12 times in the New Testament; 9 time it’s used in reference to Jesus having it for those who were afflicted. The other three times it deals with the story of the prodigal son
Pity only goes so far…compassion sees someone suffering and spurs action to aid
Three choices when we hear of those who suffered cataclysmic disaster:
We can be unmoved by what we see
We can be uncaring
We can be compassionate and act
Sometime we can be so wrapped up in religion that we don’t tend to those in need
October 1 2017 Morning Bible study
Workbook page 91
Potiphar completely trusted Joseph
Potiphar’s wife made constant advances towards him
God gave success to Joseph in prison
Joseph always gave God the glory for anything that other people admired Joseph for being able to do
Joseph interpreted the dream for the cupbearer and then requested that the cupbearer remember him when he gets out of prison
Seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine
Jacob told his sons to go to Egypt to buy food…he didn’t send Benjamin (his only other son from his favorite wife Rachel)
Jacob eventually let Benjamin leave with the other sons to Egypt to present themselves to Joseph
Joseph’s household steward gave credit to our God for having great power
Joseph ate lunch but separated from his brothers
Egyptians detested people who herded sheep
September 24 2017 Morning sermon
Psalms seems to end up in the physical center of the Christian Bible
If you count by number of words, the middle of the Bible comes out to about Psalm 117
Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible…it is an acrostic poem…every 8th verse is another character in the Hebrew alphabet
Something about God’s commandments is spoken in almost all of the verses in this psalm
Scholars are divided on who actually wrote this psalm
One of the duties of the kings of Israel was to write a copy of the Law (Genesis, Exodus Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy)
In the early part of US history, the Bible was used to teach grammar and spelling and morals (New England Primer)
Plumb lines show true up and down…Zechariah mentions it
Situational ethics tends to sway the plumb line’s direction
Blessed are those whose ways are blameless…who seek Him with their whole heart
Blessed are the poor in spirit…blessed are the meek
Blessed means happy
3 things to notice about the author of this psalm
Guide one’s life according to the Word
Rising at midnight to praise Him
I rise before dawn to cry for help
7 times a day I praise You for Your righteous rules
The man in these verses may have had the same amount of distractions as we do today
Let me not wander from your commandments
My soul melts away from sorrow
I will keep Your Law continually
It was good for me that I was afflicted so that I may learn Your statutes
When will You judge those who persecute me?
I am small and despised, yet I do not forget your precepts
The author does not live a privileged life
May my heart be blameless
Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies
I hold back my feet from every evil way in order to keep Your Word
Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path
Will God’s Word still be a lamp in your life? What efforts will we make individually and as a Church to make sure that God’s Word still guides us?
September 24 2017 Morning Bible study
Workbook page 87
Joseph’s brothers resented him
Joseph was 17 in this part of the story and sent a bad report about his brothers to their father
Some people consider Joseph a tattle-tale; others regard this as his duty to inform
Jacob loved Joseph more because he was his child of old age (youngest son along with Benjamin) and first son from his favorite wife Rachel
Joseph had two dreams; the first one suggested that his brothers would bow down before him. The second dream includes Joseph’s mother and father also bowing down before him
In the ancient world, dreams were believed to predict the future
When wheat is ready to harvest, the heads tip down…in the dream, Joseph’s sheaf of wheat wasn’t tipped down…maybe he wasn’t ready for harvest yet?
The last part of Genesis is the narrative of Joseph’s life
The brothers correctly interpreted the meaning of the dream to be that they would serve their brother Joseph
2nd dream: Sun and moon and 11 stars bow down to Joseph – Jacob correctly interprets this to be about Joseph’s rule over them
Sins in the family of Judah…he had three sons with a Canaanite wife. Tamar disguised herself and became pregnant by her father-in-law Judah
Joseph resisted Potiphar’s wife’s advances and is put in prison and excels even there
Joseph is sent to the prison reserved for political prisoners and was probably the most comfortable prison available…maybe Potiphar was going a little easy on Joseph?
Joseph interpreted dreams of chief baker and chief butler who were in prison with Joseph…in 3 days the butler would be restored to Pharaoh’s service…the baker would be put to death
Joseph was put in charge of preparing for the upcoming famine
September 17 2017 Morning sermon
1 Thessalonians 5:18-20
Give thanks in all circumstances
Consider every moment of life a moment to be thankful in
“God’s will for you” – You is plural to include the Church
Many scholars believe that the 1st letter to Thessalonica was the first letter that Paul wrote
Paul’s message doesn’t change as he comes under more pressure
Paul should have reason to complain about his circumstances but he doesn’t
Every moment in our lives is an opportunity to give thanks
It’s easier to look at the opposite – when don’t people give thanks?
In Paul’s last letter to Timothy, he speaks of sins of people including ungratefulness
Romans 1:28 – God gave them up to do what not ought to be done
1 Cor 10 – putting Christ to the test…don’t grumble
1 Peter 4:9 – show hospitality without grumbling
Grumbling is a way of not giving thanks to God…it’s a way of saying “I have a better way to do this, God”
What happens when things get tough?
Philippians 4:11 – “…I know how to be brought low and how to abound…I can do all things through Him who strengthens me…”
Paul had reason to complain
“…when I am weak, then I am strong…”
It’s easy to be grateful when things are going well for us
It’s the will of the Father for us to give thanks…we can be a light for the world
We should be grateful for the things we have and the things we don’t have
Proverbs 30:7 – “…give me neither poverty nor riches…”
This is similar to “…give me this day my daily bread…”
Be thankful for your persecutions…look for opportunities to bless those who abuse us
1st world problems: the road is bumpy, my wi-fi is slow
Be grateful for the challenging people in your life…also be thankful for the people not in your life
Be thankful for the power and grace of God in your life
Am I truly thankful in my heart and soul? Not good to only appear thankful
God is working in your life in whatever way He sees fit
September 17 2017 Morning Bible study
Workbook pg. 79
Jacob is heading back home but Esau is there and might kill him
The angels met Jacob on the way home
Jacob sends messengers ahead of him to Esau with a message of humility…the messengers returned to Jacob and reported that Esau is coming to meet Jacob along with 400 men
Jacob reminds God of His promise to protect him…Jacob is afraid of Esau
Jacob offers a gift of livestock to Esau
Jacob wrestled with God all night…Jacob through his life had been a struggler
Jacob had relied on his wits to survive; God wanted Jacob to rely on God for his survival
Jacob initially wrestled with God but ended up holding God once his hip was put out of socket
Do I find myself fighting against God or embracing Him?
We don’t know what form the blessing took
Jacob didn’t get what he expected, but got what God planned
Jacob’s daughter Dinah had been violated by Shechem…Shechem’s father Hamor speaks to Jacob to procure Dinah as Shechem’s wife
Jacob’s sons wouldn’t agree to the marriage unless Shechem’s people agree to be circumcised
Simeon and Levi attacked the city and put them to the sword and rescued Dinah…they looted the city and took the women and children
Jacob laments the trouble that Simeon and Levi brought upon him
September 10 2017 Morning sermon – elder installation Sunday
1 Kings 3 – Solomon poised to take the throne…God asks Solomon what to give him. “…give your servant an understanding mind to govern your people…”
Is it still that easy to gain wisdom from God? Should we climb a mountain and talk to God?
If anyone wants wisdom, ask God for it.
We can’t sit and do nothing and receive wisdom
What type of wisdom does it take to lead God’s people? What about 10 people…or 100 people?
God assures us that He will give us this wisdom as we need it
Gideon questioned whether it was to be him that was to lead the people
There are many instances where those chosen to lead the people had doubts of their role
God is able to do amazing things beyond what we think can be reasonably done
Paul spoke often with the Church at Corinth about wisdom because they were known for wisdom in this part of Greece…1 Cor 2
“…secret and hidden wisdom…”
The prophets spoke often of Jesus’ coming and His work on earth
2 Peter 1:3-4
The complete wisdom to guide us is found in God’s Word
Philippians 2:3 – this Church was on the edge of Greece – “…in humility count others more significant than yourselves…”
Man has desired his own way
Paul left Silas in Crete to work on installing elders
Whoever intends to lead people must first be a servant
We aren’t installing a king or judge or prophet, we are installing two men will serve us
1 Tim 5 – “…don’t be hasty in laying your hands on anyone…” (giving power to those who will lead)
A congregation must yield to their elders
1 Peter 5:5-7 “…you who are younger, be subject to the elders…humble yourselves underneath the mighty hand of God…”
Exodus 17:8 – Amalek fought with Israel – whenever Moses held up his hands, Israel prevailed in battle. Moses couldn’t not keep his hands up by himself but he had helpers
Our elders are not mind-readers…don’t make their job any harder than it has to be
September 10 2017 Morning Bible study
Workbook page 71
Jacob stole his father’s blessing that was intended for Esau
We are a community of peoples with a common love for the Lord
Genesis 24: Abraham told his chief servant to NOT get a wife for Isaac from the Canaanites
Jacob was 77 when he had not yet taken a wife
Genesis 28:6 – do not marry a Canaanite woman…Esau realized how displeasing it was that he had a
Hittite wife…he went to Ishmael and married one of his daughters
Jacob’s dream – it wasn’t a ladder like we put on a roof…the word for stairway was used to depict a mound that was put against a city wall for getting up and down…this symbolized heaven and earth being connected
The Lord promises He will be with us until the end
Genesis 29 – Jacob meets Rachel…he offers to work for 7 years to marry her. Laban tricked Jacob by sending him Leah first and then he had to work another 7 years to get Rachel. Jacob is now 91 with two wives.
Genesis 30 – Rachel envied Leah and asked Jacob to give her children or she would die…she offers Jacob her servant as a wife
Jacob asked Laban for speckled and dark-colored lambs…Laban tricked Jacob by mixing up the flocks a bit
Rachel took the household gods from Laban’s house
Jacob and Laban make a deal…they erect a pillar of standing stones and agree to go their separate ways
September 3 2017 Morning sermon
Something has passed and something is waiting for us; the turning of the calendar signifies change
Hopefully we aren’t working towards retirement or the next vacation
Ecclesiastes – the man had no one to give the fruits of his labor to
People still wonder what they are laboring for
Why did this man get up in the morning to labor? So that he could get more and take life easy
· Why is it that we get up in the morning? Habit or compulsion?
If we have no one to pass on the fruits of the labor, why are we collecting stuff?
James 4:14-15 – “…you do not know what tomorrow will bring…if the Lord wills, we will do this or that…”
· What are we laboring for? One’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions
There is great gain in godliness with contentment
“…for the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil…”
· Who are we preparing treasures for? Fear God and keep His commandments
If I have been given talents by God, I must use them to His glory
We can live in misery when we live for self
Am I laying up treasures for myself here on earth?
Matthew 25:15 – parable of talents and the servants…given according to each servant’s ability
Ephesians 5:15-16 “…look carefully how you walk…making the best use of the time as the days are evil…”
Please consider what your role is in the Congregation to do the many works that need to be done
We have been gifted with time
September 3, 2017 Morning Bible study
Genesis 25, workbook page 63
The death of Abraham
Ishmael – he would be at war with all others
Abraham left everything he owned to Isaac
He gave gifts to the sons of his concubines and sent them to the east
God blessed Isaac
Ishmael’s sons – descendants settled near the border of Egypt and lived in hostility with all their brothers
Isaac was 40 years old when he married Rebekah
Older child would serve the younger child
Esau – the name means hairy
Jacob – the name means “he grasps the heel” or in Hebrew “he deceives”
Isaac was 60 years old when his sons were born
Esau became a skillful hunter; Jacob was a quiet man who dwelled among the tents
Isaac loved the older son and Rebekah loved the younger son
Our children could become what we tell them they are
Does knowing God in a closer way motivate our lives?
There is no such thing as a bad answer; only a badly worded question
Do people receive the news of God’s Word with exclaims of “wow!”?
Is it our job to make sure the other person believes in God? No, our job is to plant the seed.
Abimelech gave orders not to harass Isaac or his wife…later Isaac became too wealthy in the eyes of the Philistines
Isaac moved away from Garar after Abimelech tells him to leave
When Esau was 40 years old, he married Judith (a Hittite) and another woman (also a Hittite) and they were a source of grief for Isaac and Rebekah
Rebekah assisted Jacob in deceiving Isaac to prompt the father to give the blessing intended for Esau to Jacob
Esau asked Isaac for at least one blessing…Isaac tells him that he will serve his brother Jacob. He consoles himself with the thought of killing Jacob.
Rebekah advises Jacob to flee for now and tells Isaac that Jacob has to leave otherwise he’ll take a Hittite woman as a wife
August 27, 2017 Morning Bible study and sermon – Oakey Blvd C of C Las Vegas, NV
Christ’s kingdom won't look like other kingdoms
5 challenges to kingdom
Not fighting government
Not recruiting rich but broken
Luke draws attention to Gentiles who would outnumber Jews after a while
First people Jesus worked with were Jews who rejected Him
We should bless and do good to others and pray...that should be our default setting when we are challenged
Don't let the Kingdom fall on your shoulders...you can't do it alone
It's easy to give to someone when you know it will come back to you
You will be sons of the Most High...a gift in the process of being His child. We fulfill His promise by living like we should
Although we will be judged for how e judge, that doesn't mean we should use judgement and discernment
A lot of people view death as final
Sin brought forth death and it strikes us all at some point
Death is our enemy
Paul challenges death
Israelites struggled with what it meant to be children of God
The Gospel changes whomever it touches
They claimed to be wise but they were foolish
I give not to get but because it's the right thing that do
Woe to the individual who calls good evil and evil good
God let them go down their own path...foolish hearts were darkened
Exodus 3 - burning bush addresses Moses
God will show everyone who He is and will do that through the world leagues and the exodus from Egypt
How will the Messiah answer evil when He died on a Cross?
Romans 5 - justified by faith
Romans 6 - those who are baptized in Christ have died to sin
Romans 8 - no condemnation for those in Christ...although our physical body will come to an end
Nothing less than all of us given to God will do
We may subconsciously conform to the world
Everything becomes new...we have to love those you aren't supposed to love
God gives us hope when we contemplate death
August 20, 2017 Morning sermon – Bob
Rehearsal – it can be something you prepare for and also something you believe in
We rehearse the Passion story of Jesus
Original Passover meal had a hymn with it
Luke 22:39 – Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives
Kidron means dusky or gloomy…the Kidron valley was below Jerusalem and all things drained down there
1 Cor 5:7
1 Peter 1:19 “…a lamb without blemish or defect…”
Pride will not admit failure
Confidence knows that failure isn’t final
The garden of Gethsemane is at the foot of the Mount of Olives
Three gardens: Eden, Gethsemane, Revelation
Why did Jesus take Peter, James and John with Him to the garden?
Mark 14:32-36 – Jesus was deeply distressed…He is stunned by what is to come
Troubled – to be away from home
Jesus has never been afraid to step into the pain of other people
My will and God’s will – when you can choose one or the other, it’s a true instance of free will
Mark 14:37-40 – disciples fell asleep…Jesus went back and prayed some more then came back…three times Jesus told God that He didn’t want to go to the Cross (separation from the Father)
Jesus prays to a point of decision
Mark 14:43-46 – “…Judas, one of the Twelve…”. Maybe Mark wanted us to know that Judas saw it all and still sold out Jesus. It’s possible to follow yet betray.
Mark 14:47-52 – “…everyone deserted Him and fled…”
Jesus had spent His entire journey getting ready for the Cross and His followers had not
Mark 14:53-56 – Jesus was taken to the former high priest Annas and then to the son-in-law Caiaphas, the current high priest
How did Peter manage this crisis? He boasted a whole lot during His walk with Jesus over the past days
Luke 22:54-62 – Peter followed Jesus at a distance…disowned Jesus three times before the rooster crowed
At that time, the courtyard was surrounded by the house
5 stages of Peter’s struggle:
· He followed at a distance – latent commitment (been with Him for 3 years)
· He sat down – he wants to see but not be seen
· He’s caught due to his accent from up north – he denies it even though he previously told Jesus he’d die for Him
What is he actually denying? I don’t know Him
· He remembered that Jesus predicted his denial
· He went outside and wept – he’s probably concluded that Jesus shouldn’t have picked him to be a fisher of men
The story ends with Jesus fixing breakfast for Peter and the others
August 20, 2017 Morning Bible study
Workbook page 44
When God tells you something, it’s no laughing matter
Constant theme for us and Abraham: our faith in God
Abraham traveled from Egypt with Lot…one went one way and one went another
God and Abraham had a relationship as friends
Abraham reasons with God not to slay those in Sodom & Gomorrah as long as 10 righteous citizens could be found
Abraham asking these questions shows that he had a heart of mercy
Workbook page 48 – in the Middle East exists a long tradition of haggling over price
Abraham and Sarah got visitors; now Lot will get visitors
The future son-in-laws thought the impending destruction was a joke
Lot wasn’t 100% sure that danger was coming
Workbook page 52 – once you leave your sinful past, you shouldn’t look back
Genesis 19 – Lot and his 2 daughters left their new town and lived in a cave for a while. In the daughters’ perspectives, their future pool of husbands had been wiped out…they became pregnant by their father due to trickery. The sons were Moab and Ben-Ammi (Moabites and Ammonites peoples)
Genesis 20 – Abraham moved to the Negev…Abimelech took Sarah because Abraham and Sarah said Sarah was his sister
In both cases of Abraham representing Sarah as his sister, he was reprimanded by pagans (Pharaoh and Abimelech)
August 13, 2017 Morning sermon
“Seven things that God cannot do”
This does not diminish God’s power; it should fortify your faith in God
A study like this could make an atheist happy
Psalm 90:2 “…from everlasting to everlasting, You are God…”
We can’t conceive of what/who existed before Genesis 1:1
Jesus uses the phrase “I am” when talking to the Pharisees
Every good gift and every perfect gift comes from above
We hold up George Washington and Abraham Lincoln as pillars of virtue, but they couldn’t be truthful 100% of the time
There is absolute truth in our world today
God doesn’t taunt us with the fact that Christ came down as a man and was perfect and we aren’t perfect
The Law God gave Moses mentioned impartiality a lot
We have the same Word of God that our early Church ancestors had
1. God cannot stop being God
2. God cannot lie
3. God cannot sin nor be tempted by evil
4. God cannot show favoritism…Romans 2:6
5. God cannot change His Word…1 Peter 1:25
6. God cannot stop loving you…2 Timothy 1:9
7. God cannot change our hearts/minds if we are unwilling…nevertheless He still loves us
God can make many changes occur in the world around us
August 13 2017 Bible study
Genesis 15 workbook page 39
God needed one man to become the father of His people. We aren’t sure why God chose Abram…at the time God called him, he and his family were worshipping false gods
Abram’s path was to leave the familiar and head towards the unfamiliar
Up to about the 1800s, people thought there were only about 2000 stars in the sky
By walking through the halves of the animal sacrifice, the two parties to the covenant were symbolizing that if they break the covenant, they will become like the dead animals
The people of Canaan at this time were practicing child sacrifice, idolatry and religious prostitution
Abram and Sarai conspired to move God’s plan offspring plan along on their own
The Angel of the Lord found Hagar in the desert…her child was to be called Ishmael
God changed the name from Abram (exalted father) to Abraham (father of many)
God asked for a sign from Abraham that he was all-in for the covenant: circumcision of him and his community
The symbolism of circumcision was “may I be cut off from God like my foreskin if I fail to keep the covenant”
Some early Jewish Christians disrupted the Church over the issue of circumcision
Abraham was 99 and Ishmael was 13 when they were circumcised
God changed the name Sarai (my princess) to Sarah (a princess)
Isaac means “he laughs”…it is fitting due to the fact that Sarah laughed when hearing that she would conceive a child
August 6 2017 Morning sermon
1 Cor 16:1-2 “As you may prosper”
Who is it that prospers us?
Two subjects people just “love” to hear about: history and giving
1 out of 6 or 1 out of 8 verses in the New Testament deal with giving or possessions
It is a command of God to give back a portion of what God has given to you
Tithing for the Christian is never mentioned in the New Testament…it’s an Old Testament concept of giving a certain percentage of what you have or earn
The New Testament has a tenet: the more you give, the more you get
2 Samuel 24 – dark time of David’s life…David is told to go to Jerusalem and buy a property. The owner offers to give it to David for free but David refuses “…I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God which cost me nothing…”
The Old Testament taught giving of the first fruits of what you have, not the leftovers
The Lord’s Church gets shortchanged
Haggai scolded the people who worked on making their own houses fancy while the temple stood in shambles
Malachi warned the people against the sacrifices the people were making – blemished animals
Luke 12 – “…one’s life does not consist of his possessions…”
Will a man rob God?
Is your giving comfortable or is it a sacrifice? It speaks about your heart.
Proverbs – “…give me neither poverty nor riches…”
What does your heart ask for? Paul spoke to Philippians: “…I seek the fruit that increases to your credit…”
4 types of attitudes concerning giving:
· Some people have no propensity to give anything (time, possessions) – they have a cold heart
· Some people will give but not give to the Lord – they are willing to help any organization other than the Church (Girl Scouts, veterans, fundraiser for a cancer-stricken community member, donate blood, support NPR)
· Some people won’t give to the Lord that which cost me – easy givers…they only give small change but not enough to really cost them
· Some people won’t give to the Lord that which cost him nothing
Are you giving back to the Lord as you have been prospered?
Have you given your time back?
August 6 2017 Morning Bible Study
Two qualifications pertaining to an elder candidate’s family:
Must be the husband of one wife
If a man is the husband of one wife, then he cannot by definition:
1. Have more than one wife (polygamy)
2. Be unmarried or single
3. Be in a same-sex marriage (Romans 1:27)
4. Be a woman
5. Be in an adulterous marriage (Matthew 5:31-32, 19:8-9)
If a man is the husband of one wife, then he can:
1. Be a man who has been married to only one woman
2. He can be a widower who has remarried per 1 Cor 7:39, Romans 7:2-3
3. He can be divorced and remarried if it is in keeping with Matthew 5:31-32, 19:8-9
Subjective – refers to personal perspectives
Objective – refers to the elimination of subjective perspectives and a process that is purely based on hard facts
Mike Scott said that Greek scholars agree that the structure of this passage should be translated “a one-wife sort of husband”.
Must have faithful children/rule well his house
ASV: “…children that believe…”
NKJV: “…having faithful children…”
Greek: word faithful is “pistos” meaning trustworthy
While pistos can mean a believer, it is more often used to describe the state of one as it pertains to their character
Some of the men being considered for eldership in the early Church didn’t grow up in the synagogue
Is it preferred that a child of an elder be a Christian? Yes.
Is it a requirement according to Scripture? No.
What does God require of an elder? That he has his family in subjection.
Did Paul ask any of the elder candidates how they ran their business?
Subjection isn’t oppression
Albert Barnes: He should maintain proper dignity
Wayne Jackson: Totally rebellious children nullify the elder’s ability to lead the church…adult children who have moved out of the house are not under the father’s control anymore
July 16 2017 Morning sermon – Keeping watch over your souls
1 Samuel 16 – King Saul has disappointed the Lord so Samuel is sent to anoint a new king
Psalm 23 – David was inspired by the Spirit to write the psalms
The hired hand wouldn’t risk his life to go find the lost sheep; only the shepherd would
Luke 15:1 – it is comforting to know that the Shepherd is willing to do what it takes to rescue you
We don’t like the word submit…sometimes it seems more like oppression
We like winning
The Gentiles wanted to be in charge but Jesus instructed that His people needed to be servants
Consider that those in charge of us will be called to give an account for the care of our souls
Why would we want to make our shepherds’ task a hard one?
Many elders have walked away from their role due to the stress on them
Lots of work goes on behind the scenes…most of it we won’t or can’t know about
Often times a shepherd takes one sheep and then the other sheep follow
We aren’t seeking perfect men for the eldership…we want those who live out the qualifications in their life
We look at the shepherd’s heart and the life that is driven by that heart
Acts 20: Paul traveling back to Jerusalem…he tells the elders to pay attention to themselves and their flock…there will be people arise from the elders that draw away some of the flock
Titus 1:9 – giving instruction and sound doctrine…elders must be ready to teach right wrong
1 Peter 5 – don’t be domineering
Shepherd’s rod was for beating off enemies or animals
Shepherd’s staff had a crook that was used to rescue sheep from a cliff
Moses’ anger overcame him and he struck a rock with his rod
Phil 3:17 – become imitators of Christ, the chief shepherd
Have you considered what Christ gave up for you?
July 16 2017 Morning Bible study
Elders should always be plural…need to have more than one
Jeremiah 3:15 – studying the Old Testament gives us a lot of insight into the people that God chose to lead His people and how they should behave (and examples of those behaving badly)
God always had a specific plan of how He wants His Kingdom to be organized and led but man has continually rejected God’s plan and sought his own ways
Examples of shepherds: Abel, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob
Jeremiah 2:7-8 – example of negligent shepherds
Jeremiah 12:10 – “…many shepherds have destroyed my vineyard…”
Who were the shepherds? Prophet, priest and king
The Messiah would be a shepherd over His people
John 10:11 (ESV) “I am the good shepherd…”
Jeremiah 23:3-4 “…I will set shepherds over them…”
1 Peter 5:2-3 – the life you want people to lead by example needs to be practiced by the leaders trying to influence the people
What does the word ordain mean? To designate, appoint, conduct, make
Hebrews 5:1, Hebrews 8:3 – “…for every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices…”
The term ordain seems to connotate great ceremony and garments
Instead of ordain, maybe use “set aside”…they aren’t above anyone
Worldy definition of clergy – above reproach, in charge, and holier or more important than lay members
Matthew 23:6-11 – the Pharisees love the attention of the people…call no man your father on earth…the greatest among you shall be your servant…
1 Peter 2:17 Honor everyone
Phil 2:3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit
Minster – diakonos – an attendant
Col 4:7 “…fellow servant in the Lord…”
Matthew 20:25-28 “…whoever should be great among you must be your servant…”
The leaders of the Church are servants of the flock
July 9 2017 Morning sermon Ezekiel 34:1-3
Jeremiah 3:15 – “…I will give you shepherds…who will feed you with knowledge and understanding…”
It’s not an insult for us to be known as sheep being led by shepherds
In many instances, those in charge of feeding the flock were busy feeding themselves
Jeremiah 23:4 – “…I will place shepherds over them…”
It’s in man’s personality to “go it alone”
When we opt to take our path, we reject Christ as our Head
We can’t invent a better a way than what God has prepared for us
Prophet – received message from God and gave it to people – like Moses, Samuel and Ezekiel
Priest – teach people the Lord’s rules and the Law…Lev 10:10, Ezra 7:10
King – shepherd for the people Deut. 17:28 – the king was to make a copy of the Law so that they knew
Some people are waiting for Jesus to come and setup His kingdom on the earth
Do you want someone leading you who is feeding themselves or feeding you?
Congregations need shepherds after God’s own heart
July 9 2017 Morning Bible Study – A Study of Shepherding
Goal of this class is to learn how He wants us to choose leaders
Who is the Head of the Church? Christ is.
Matthew 28:18 – “…all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me…”
A preacher isn’t a pastor unless he is also an elder
Matthew 7:21 “…not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom…”
God desired every congregation to be led by elders (plural)
1 Peter 5:1-5: “…shepherd the flock of God among you…likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders…”
Why is it important to know the history of God’s people as it to pertains to their response to the leaders over them?
1 Cor 10:11 – “…but they were written down for our instruction…”
Acts 20:28-30: “…from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them…”
History shows the gradual departure from the pattern of congregational leadership God gave in the New Testament
150AD we see a start of a departure from this arrangement
381AD we see the first pope installed
In the Catholic Church, their traditions are as important to them as the Word of God
How did it happen that the structure of the early Church evolved into the same structure as the Roman Empire?
2 Thess. 2:3-4: “...let no one deceive you in any way...”
1 Samuel 8:5: “…appoint for us a king to judge us…”
Man has it in his mind a better way to rule over man than God does
Man has traditionally resisted authority
Numbers 12:1 – Miriam and Aaron spoke out against Moses
Romans 13:2 “…to resist governing authorities is to resist God…”
Acts 3 – disciples were told not to preach in His name
Numbers 16:3: The rebellion of Korah
Luke 12:48 “…too whom much is given, much will be required…”
Exodus 32:1: In a vacuum, men will create and follow their imaginations “…make us gods to go before us…”
Jeremiah 10:23: “…it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps…”
Why has God chosen the model of shepherding sheep and not a CEO?
Ephesians 4:11 – “…and he Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists…”
Some preachers are pastors
John 10:1-5 – portrait of the shepherd and the flock
July 2 2017 Morning sermon – 1 Samuel 8 – the people want a king
Paul sent Titus to establish elders
God tells the people that man is rejecting God in favor of an earthly king
It’s in man’s nature to be hostile towards God…Jesus came to reconcile us
Elder is the same a pastor is the same as an bishop is the same as an overseer
Number 12 – Miriam and Aaron rejected Moses’ rule
2 Peter 10 – those who are against God defy authority
Romans – those who reject governing authorities are also rejecting God who installed those authorities
Hebrews 13:17 – Elders, etc. are there to watch over souls
The overseers are designed to guide the flock not rule over them
Jeremiah 10:23 – man can’t direct his own steps…he needs the direction of God’s Word to guide him
Proverbs 14:12 “…there is a way that seems right to a man…but it leads to death…”
Jeremiah 6:16 – God pleads with Israel “…ask where the good way is…find rest for your souls…”
We try to invent new ways of doing things, we beckon back to the old paths…God’s ways never change
John 21:15-17 – “…Peter, do you love Me?...feed My sheep…”
1 Peter 2:25 “…you have returned to the shepherd…”
July 2 2017 Bible study – Genesis 15
Abram wondered how God would bless him with children since he and his wife were of an advanced age
God established a covenant with Abram
Abram is told of the upcoming enslavement of his people for his 400 years and his death before that event
By walking through the middle of the parts of an animal, you signify that if break the covenant, you will end up dead like the animal used in the making of the covenant
Do we have covenants nowadays? Mortgages, contracts, etc.
Genesis 16 – Sarah gave Hagar to Abram to jump-start the children process instead of waiting on God
Page 43 in workbook – usually the two parties walk through the middle of the parts of the animal but in God and Abram’s case only God walked through the middle
Abram’s named is changed to Abraham (signifying the father of many nations)…God requires that all the men be circumcised to be part of the covenant…Sarai is now to be called Sarah (“my princess” to “a princess”)
Abraham asked for a blessing on Ishmael…God said He will establish a covenant with Isaac
There were already civilizations performing circumcisions at this time in other parts of the world, but this was a new practice for Abraham and his family
How many times in our lives have we been impatient and try to make things happen?
Sarah laughs to herself (but is still heard)…maybe Sarah never heard from Abraham that she would have a child or maybe she didn’t believe it
June 25 2017 Morning sermon
God is not found in the book of Esther…no Jehovah or El Shaddai or any other formal word for Him
It’s a great history book and a lesson on the providence of God
Have you not seen the handprint of God on the world around you? That’s what Mordecai asked Esther
Not everyone believes that God still exists in this time
A lot of people think that God doesn’t act and react in the affairs of men in our age…they think that when Jesus left, He stopped working in our world until Christ comes back
Is life a collection of random events that only sometimes intertwine
It takes more faith to believe in coincidences than to believe that God interacts with us daily
Mordecai doesn’t tell Esther what to do but asks “what is your purpose?”
There are no minor roles in life…everyone has their part to play
By Esther’s actions, she saved the Jewish people
Hebrews 11 – by faith…things we cannot see…things we cannot rationalize (otherwise it wouldn’t be faith)
1 Cor 7:20 – “Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called…”
Jeremiah 29:11 – “…for I know the plans I have for you…”
There is a future we have until the end of time and the future of eternity
God has placed something in our hearts that is a sense that we exist in time
What is my particular purpose? What difference can I make?
June 25 2017 Morning Bible study – Genesis 11 – Tower of Babel
Genesis 12, pg. 31in workbook
Abram and Sarai lived in Ur and were going to be traveling to Canaan
Abram was a good man but also human
Abram visited Egypt to seek refuge from a famine back home
Abram lied to the Egyptians in telling him that his wife was his sister and he profited greatly from it
Pharaoh asked Abram why he had lied and brought trouble to Egypt
Seven promises from God to Abram:
· Make you into a great nation
· Bless you
· Make your name great
· You will be a blessing
· Bless those who bless you
· Curse those who curse you
· All people will be blessed through you
Abram wouldn’t see the full extent of these blessings
Excavations of Ur show fine craftsmanship…it had 30 foot walls and elaborate temples and many examples of finer things
Genesis 13 – Abram and Lot go separate ways…Abram went to Canaan (Hebron) and Lot settled near Sodom
From sight alone, the land Lot chose was better but the people were evil in that “good land”
God often would pick out certain children of a family to share details about but that didn’t mean that there were no other children
Genesis 14 – The conquerors took Lot and all his possessions…one person escaped and told Abram about the events…he took 318 trained men with him to go get Lot and his stuff and his people
The king of Sodom wanted to give stuff to Abram but Abram refused...he wanted God to get the glory
June 18 2017 Morning sermon – Judges 13:3-8
The animal kingdom has examples of fathers…the emperor penguin father takes care of the eggs…the African wild dog father feeds the pups…the red fox father hunts for 3 months for food for the pups and then stops bringing the food to them so they learn to forage and hunt
Manoah did 3 things as a father that we could learn from
1. He prayed
2. He pleaded
3. He purposed
It’s frightening for a father to think of his kid being born into this world
Manoah’s son was to be a Nazirite for life
To have a child is a gift from God
Genesis 48:9 “…these are my two son whom God has given me…”
It’s not the world’s responsibility to raise our children…it’s not the school’s job to teach the kids the morals they need to be good citizens of the world
Paul instructs fathers to bring up the children
Proverbs has lots of words of instruction for parents
Solomon pleaded for wisdom to rule the people
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of understanding…”
Hebrews 12:8 – “…if you are left without discipline, you are illegitimate children…”
June 18 2017 Morning Bible study – Genesis 6-11 workbook pg. 23
Why would the Earth need to start over again? Man was evil.
There’s a lot of wickedness in the world back then and today
What is the difference between our world today and Noah’s day? We have our hope in Jesus
The ark would have been about 1.5 football fields long, 50 feet tall, storage area of about 450 semi trailers
Rained for 40 days and 40 nights…the water stayed on the earth for 150 days after that. Water was 20 feet above the tallest mountain
God makes a covenant to never send floods to destroy the earth again
The inhabitants of the ark were inside of it for more than a year
Why shouldn’t we kill others? They and us are made in God’s image
God set the rainbow as a sign for man and Himself
Ham mocked his father’s nakedness and thereafter he was subject to his brothers
Tower of Babel
June 11 2017 Morning sermon – Luke 5
Kingdom of Israel was about taking over the Promised Land
Isaiah spoke of turning the swords into plowshares…the Gospel of peace…we would have peace with God…barriers breaking down
Jesus told the men they would become fishermen of a different kind
Mark 1 – Peter encountered Jesus before
John 1:41-42 – first encounter with Christ and Peter (Peter’s brother Andrew met first and went and told Peter)
A-ha moment…moment of clarity…epiphany
John 7:5 – Not even Jesus’ brothers believed in Him…although later they had an “a-ha moment”
Thomas had an “a-ha moment” a little while later
We don’t have to wait until we hear a booming voice from the sky or a life-changing event to make a decision but often it seems to happen that way
Our goal is “none of self” and “all of Thee”
Jesus prepared His disciples to become fishers of men who in turn prepared others to be fishers of men and the cycle repeated through Acts
Christ wants the disciples to grow in grace
Avocation – hobbies
Vocation – job that pays for us to provide for our family
What if we make our real job being a fisher of men?
1 Corinthians 11:1 – “…become an imitator of me as I am an imitator of Christ…”
People aren’t impressed to change their life because you know Hebrew
Remember that people are watching you to see who you imitate
We don’t want to draw people to us, we want to draw them to Christ
June 11 2017 Morning Bible study – Genesis
God often said “it is good” or “it is very good”
Adam’s job was to name the animals and other living things and tend to the garden
Only one thing Adam and Eve couldn’t do: eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil
Eve told the serpent that God said we can’t touch the tree (God said don’t eat of the fruit)
God’s original intention was that we wouldn’t be aware of anything bad
God made clothes out of animal skins for Adam and Eve
Chapter 4 – Cain and Abel…they were given instructions beforehand on what sacrifices would be acceptable…Cain knew what the rules were
Cain’s name meant “brought forth” in Hebrew and Abel’s name meant “temporary” or “meaningless”
The difference in the two offerings was a matter of obedience
God put a mark on Cain to keep people from killing him
Why is there different kinds of sin? Any sin boils down to one of these themes: lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, pride of life
All literature falls into one of these themes: man against God, man against himself, man against nature
Around the time of Seth’s family, people called on the Name of the Lord
June 4 2017 Morning sermon
One of the highlights of the life of a Jewish person would have been to go to Jerusalem on one of the three special days of the year
The Ethiopian eunuch may have been on this sort of trip
Today is the Day of Pentecost (50 days after Passover)
The Old Testament was pointing towards the Day of Pentecost
From the Day of Pentecost and onwards, people pointed backwards
Israel and the Jews were looking for a Messiah to kick out the invaders and sit on the throne
In Acts 1 Jesus left to prepare a place for us
Jesus had to die in order for all the prophecies to be fulfilled
All of the pieces of the puzzle have been given to us
“…behold the kingdom is at hand…” John the Baptist was preparing for the Messiah.
Somewhere between Jesus ascending and Peter teaching the Gentiles (Cornelius’ family), something happened
Pentecost feast occurred 3 times a year…Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy
The Law was a shadow but the reality was Christ
The feast was a shadow that was preparing the people for the Messiah
Pentecost was when the people brought the first fruits of what they harvested or toiled at to give back to God. They were to present a grain offering (2 loaves of bread with leaven) – this can refer to the Jews and Gentiles. Leaven wasn’t usually used in bread baked for holy days.
It is a tradition of the Jews that the day of Pentecost is the day that Moses came down the mountain and gave the Law to the Israelites
“…lift up your eyes and see that the fields are white unto harvest…”
“…the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few…”
Pentecost is a fulfillment of
Daniel interprets Nebuchadnezzar’s dream – four kingdoms at the time: Babylonians, Medo-Persians, Greeks, Romans
We aren’t looking towards a kingdom that is to come; it’s already been established
We are given a peace that surpasses all understanding
Many Muslims who convert to Christianity report that the main reason they converted was that they were shown love
“…they will know you by your love…”
Isaiah 11 – “…the Spirit of the Lord will rest upon Him…with a word He will strike the earth…the lion shall lie down with the lamb…”
The Bible is the #1 best-selling book of all time
The Kingdom of God and the Church are the same thing…it’s God’s plan for us to have a relationship with Him…whether Jew or Gentile
June 4 2017 Morning Bible study – Genesis
Who is the author of the book of Acts? Luke.
Workbook page 4 – in the old times, a book was usually named after the first few words
The Jewish people refer to their holy texts as the Torah…the first 5 books of our Bible…also known as the Laws and the Teachings
Most scholars believe Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible…it makes sense that Moses wrote them since he would have had a great education in reading and writing in Egypt
Moses may have listened to oral stories and incorporated them into his writing plus some documents that the Egyptians had
Some also came from the mouth of God
Acts 7:22 – speech of Stephen to the Sanhedrin…he spoke of the Jewish history from Moses onwards
Miriam and Aaron were Moses’ siblings. In Numbers 12:8, God took exception to Miriam and Aaron opposing Moses regarding Moses’ wife (a Cushite). God pointed out that He talks directly to Moses and not like other people with whom He speaks indirectly.
Genesis is not going to be a scientific study with minute detail explained. Why don’t we need to know every single nuance in the book?
We are going to talk about the glory of God…maybe by us needing to know the minute detail, we are trying to live by sight
Common words: “It was so…it was good…let it be”
Up until verse 26, there was no mention of “us”
Job 38:4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?...”
Elohim – God, Yahweh – Lord
The man was commanded to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil
Animals were named and woman was created
May 28 2017 Morning sermon – Matthew
Paul wrote from a prison cell…he was able fully view the concept of the armor of God (he probably saw the armor of the guards assigned to him)
We should be more vigilant in the Walk
We are not in the army of the world
Those baptized wear Christ’s name upon them
Man’s wisdom is nothing compared to God’s wisdom
The armies of the world boast of their strength
The army of God boasts about our weaknesses
Humbleness and the heart of a servant aren’t weak qualities
Be ready…be prepared…have your armor on before going into battle – these concepts would have been drilled into a soldier
We live in a time where we are told there isn’t an absolute truth
The Gospel of peace is our great commission
Without faith, it is impossible to please God
One piece of armor we often leave off is prayer
We think the devil’s schemes are new to our age
Envy, ungratefulness, division are tools of the evil one
There is a lot of so-called science that is just theories
One of the tribes of David understood the times in which they lived
As wise as a serpent…as gentle as a dove
Paul Harvey wrote an article titled “If I Was the devil”…subvert the Church first…whisper that the Bible is a myth…what is bad is good and what is good is square…families at war with themselves…young minds would have refined intellects but unchecked emotions…convince the young that marriage is old-fashioned…in other words if I were the devil I would keep on doing what he’s already doing…
We don’t hate people, we hate sin
Christians are delivered from the domain of darkness
Those who fool around with the dark arts have no idea who they are dealing with…our youth are gobbling them up like never before
To which kingdom do you belong?
May 28 2017 Morning Bible study – Acts
Paul advised Timothy via the Spirit that a great many people would fall away (apostasy)
Persecution of the Church first came from the Jews
Romans tolerated the Church at first
The Church fathers mentioned there was not music used in the early Church
One of the first departures from the original setup was the organization of Church leadership
About 150AD there was an exalted elder to lead the other elders
About 200AD there was a bishop over the eldership
About 250AD there was a diocesan bishop over Churches
About 300AD there was a metropolitan over the diocesan bishops
About 381AD there was one patriarch (pope) over the many metropolitan – there was a pope in Roman and Constantinople…the Church in Constantinople become the Eastern/Greek Orthodox church
During Martin Luther’s time the people wanted to rebuild Vatican City and they were going to sell indulgences to finance it
Luther wanted to bring back the Catholic church to its center
People kiss the toe of the statue of Peter in Rome
Printing press invented in 1500s was used to make Bibles…for the first time, it wasn’t only the priest that could read the Bible to you
King James Bible – 1611
Henry the 8th – started his own church so he could get a divorce from his wife
People wanted to come to America so that they could worship God in their own way and not the way the King of England wanted them to worship God
The Lord’s Church has Christ as the head…we don’t have another governing head or body…we are self-governing
May 21 2017 Morning sermon – Matthew
7 things we must do when we worship
Colossians 3:15-17 – Ephesians 5:19
True or false: The Church of Christ does not use music in worship
Being a member of the Church of Christ tends to make one accentuate the negative
1. The Spirit and the Word must be dwelling in us
Don’t quench or grieve the Spirit
2. Richly with all wisdom (abundantly)
There are many songs created that don’t accurately reflect Scripture
3. Sing to one another
It doesn’t say “sing only if you have a good voice” or “sing only if you are having a good day” or “sing only if you like the song leader”
If you are looking for a Church with no hypocrites, you will be searching a long time
We aren’t here to sing the praises of the world
4. God desires the heart
5. Sing vertically to God – there is none other worthy of praise than God
6. Be thankful – not just during worship service but at all times
May 21 2017 Morning Bible study
Acts 27-28, pg. 103 in workbook (finished up the workbook series)
Paul travels to Rome…the winds were against them
Paul warned the sailors ahead of the trip that a bad storm was coming
During the storm, Paul warned that the ship would be destroyed but no man would be lost…they got stranded on Malta
Paul heals men from snake bite…he also heals a man with dysentery
Word spread and then many more people came from around the island to be healed…the people were so grateful that they provided a ship with supplies for Paul’s next journey…this gift ship had mastheads that depicted Zeus’s sons (Castor & Pollux)…they were supposed to bring good luck during storms
Pg. 105 in workbook – Paul prayed over the sick man
Paul created his own opportunity to do good…from a prisoner came deliverance
We need to offer to do what we can with God’s help
When in Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself with a Roman guard
When Paul got to Rome, he spoke to the Jews first which is interesting because the Jews in other locations got him sent to Rome
If you are telling the truth, it’s easy to tell the same story each time
Paul told the Jews that the Messiah they had prayed for had already come
The Roman Jews claimed to only have heard good things about Paul
For 2 years Paul stayed in his rented house and received anyone who came to visit
“…you will be ever seeing but never perceiving…” – quote from Isaiah
May 14 2017 Morning sermon – Matthew
Solomon said laughter is good medicine
Mother – a person who does the work of 20 people for free
Behind every Mom is a basket of laundry
A worried mother does better investigation than then FBI
Moms – like Dads only smarter
While on the cross, Jesus pauses to remember His mother
In the Law of Moses, if anyone struck their mother or father, they were to be put to death
Children obey your parents (first command with a promise: that it will go well with you)
Moses had two mothers
Moses was born into a culture of death
We live today in a culture of death…60 million is a conservative estimate of how many babies have been aborted since 1973…this doesn’t even count the rest of the world
The greatest gifts we can give to our children can’t be bought in stores
Let your children grow up in a poor household…let them grow up doing chores
Cowbird – puts its own eggs in the nest of another bird…not all mothers are good mothers
Older women are supposed to mentor the younger women
The Providence of God is greater than the wisdom of men
The one who rocks the cradle rules the world
Aristotle and George Washington credit their success to their mothers
The mothers of the Bible stand as good examples for us today
Three institutions God has given us: Government, family & Church
If one of those is removed, we don’t succeed
May 14 2017 Morning Bible study
Acts 22, pg. 95 in the workbook
Paul in chains
Sanhedrin (Pharisees and Sadducees) – they often were at odds with Roman authorities
The Roman official had Paul speak in front of the Sanhedrin
Can you follow the law when it suits your needs and ignore it when it doesn’t meet your needs?
Acts 23 – Pharisees believed in resurrection of the dead, the Sadducees didn’t
Paul was a Pharisee whose father was a Pharisee
More than 40 men took an oath to not eat or drink anything until Paul was killed
Paul’s nephew told Paul about the plot against him and then he told the Roman official about the plot
The Roman official ordered 470 soldiers to be gathered to take Paul to Governor Felix
Acts 24, pg. 101 in workbook – Felix was born a slave…he was a big fan of bribery
The Jews spoke about Paul as being from the “sect of the Nazarene” and him being an agitator
Festus pushed Paul’s case up to Agrippa
How many Roman rulers did Paul pass through? Claudius, Felix, Festus, Agrippa, Emperor
Acts 26 – Paul argued his case before Agrippa…he told how he himself used to persecute the Christians…told about his conversion process
May 7 2017 Morning sermon – Matthew
Matthew 13:1-8 – Parable of the sower
If you want to harvest in the fall, you need to sow seed in the spring
Christ was talking about an everyday event
Jesus was asked why He was speaking in parables…
Mark 4:13 – “Do you not understand this parable?”
The prophets throughout the Old Testament didn’t understand that the things they were writing about were pointing to the Messiah who was to come.
It’s the duty of the Church to teach the Good News to all (sow the seed)
We have the mind of Christ so that we may know all things
Every person sowed to can yield one of 4 results:
Rocky ground – yield nothing; they receive the Word with joy but once hard times come, they fall away
Rocky ground – spring up fast but wither without water
Thorny ground – choked out
Good soil – they hear and obey
Satan snatches away before the seed can take root
Some people accuse Christians of making the Word so difficult that nobody can understand
“…He who has an ear, let him hear…”
“…be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger as it pertains to the Word of God…”
It’s God desire that we understand…some will not or cannot bring themselves to obey the will of God…it’s not that God’s arm cannot reach them…God is not willing that anyone should perish
The choices we make every day bring us under the umbrella of the possibility of persecution
John 6:66 – “…from that time many disciples went back and followed Him no more…”
Mark 4:16-17 “…immediately they receive it with gladness…endure only for a time…immediately stumble…”
Thorny soil – lure of riches can choke out the good…
“…for the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil…”
Deceitfulness of riches – very hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God
It all comes down to excuses…have you known someone who always has excuses?
People choose to walk away
What soil are you in? Am I producing what I should be? What is the fruit I need to be producing? There are changes expected in us as God’s Word grows in our lives
Some people will have lifelong struggles with sin and we shouldn’t look down on them for that
Eph 5:8-10: “…for you were once darkness…the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness…”
Gal 5:22-23: “…fruit of the Spirit is love…”
In Acts, we hear that the hearers of the Message obeyed the Gospel in order to live a new life in Christ
We never know when our time is up…life is brief
Acts 24:25 – Felix said go away for now…I will call when it is more convenient
Agrippa told Paul he almost convinced him to accept the Good News
May 7 2017 Morning Bible study - Acts 21 workbook page 87
Paul is doing a lot of traveling in this chapter…walking, boating…not always easy roads
Took a trip to Phoenicia, then Syria, then Tyre
While visiting with the disciples, they urged Paul through the Spirit not to go to Jerusalem
Paul is warned again that the Jews would bind Paul and give him over to the Gentiles
Paul was not dissuaded from going to Jerusalem
A lot of people were upset that Paul was telling people that Christians didn’t have to follow old Jewish traditions (head shaving, circumcision, etc.)
Nazirite vows – man or woman could take a vow of special dedication to God which included:
Could not eat or drink products of grapes
No contact with a corpse otherwise 7 days cleansing process
No cutting of hair
Many Jewish Christians still maintained old traditions
Christians can go out of their way to defuse situations by considering the feelings of others
Some of Paul’s actions towards Jewish traditions show that he tried to work with people where they were in their journey…some may say that he was compromising the Message by accepting the traditions of others. Paul would never compromise the tenet of salvation by faith.
During any time of transition, there has to be patience
You can keep your traditions as long as they don’t compromise your faith in Christ
Acts 21:27 Paul is arrested after the crowd got stirred up by a small group…they argued that Paul brought Greeks into the temple and defiled it (he didn’t actually do that)…the rioting stopped when the Roman officials arrived (civil authorities)
Paul was bound by the Romans and was led into the barracks…had to be carried into the building due to the violence of the crowd
The Roman commander asked Paul if he was the Egyptian terrorist who led 4000 people out into the desert
Paul talked to the crowd in Aramaic and to the Roman soldiers in Greek…he laid out his story as a Jew of Jews and a persecutor of Christians…he gave his testimony and urged the crowd to repent
Latin was the official language of Rome but Greek was the language of commerce
While Hebrew was the usual language of the Jews, they picked up Aramaic during the Babylonian captivity
Acts 22:22 – the crowd listened to Paul until he said this and then they shouted “rid the earth of him!”
Paul asked if it was legal for him to be flogged as a Roman citizen
Page 90 in the workbook section C – by Paul speaking Greek to the Romans, they would have thought that he wasn’t a Jew
April 30 2017 Morning sermon – Matthew
2 Tim 3:14-17
Lots of companies look for a “does it all” device
Swiss army knife with 81 features and 108 uses
Workshops and kitchens and drawers are filled with items that claim to be an all-in-one tool
While the Bible isn’t specifically a book about science, scientists can look to the Bible for facts about science
The Bible doesn’t contradict any known scientific facts
The Bible confirms science…it was centuries ahead of man’s knowledge
The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed
The New Testament is the Old Testament revealed
The prophets of the Old Testament were writing about the Messiah to come
If you believe the Word of God is complete, it will direct your life
If you believe the Word of God is missing things, you will live your life in uncertainty
We wish that God would talk to us in a booming voice and tell us how to live our lives…He has already told us how to live via the Book
Many Christians may still be infants…they hold onto a verse and never grow and mature
We don’t do fellow people any favors when we hold their hand in their immaturity in Christ
Scripture is profitable for 4 things:
· Training in righteousness
There is a sound doctrine and there is a contradictory doctrine
We can’t be left to our own imaginations
The man of God – refers to men and women
Paul would refer to men and women and mankind often
Preachers, teachers, elders, deacons, disciples – Paul uses the words for men and women
A disciple is fully trained but never greater than his or her teacher
If there is a maturity, there is also an immaturity
We should demand that we become mature in the Word of God
Paul’s desire was for congregations to become complete and mature in the faith
A congregation without elders is incomplete
Be diligent – study and do your best to become like Christ
Good works: evangelism, edifying the brethren, benevolence
What is God’s plan? His desire is that no one should perish.
People should know that Christ died for them, not just some other people over there
April 30 2017 Morning Bible study - Acts
Middle of Acts 18-middle of Acts 21 pg 79 in workbook
Paul’s 3rd missionary journey
God worked many miracles through Paul…people touched Paul with handkerchiefs and aprons and then took these and touched the sick and they were healed
Be wary of people nowadays who say they have items that can heal you
Acts 19 – some Jews tried to cast out demons…the evil spirit turned on them…it knew they weren’t speaking for Jesus
People burned old sorcery scrolls
A silversmith wasn’t happy that Paul taught that man-made gods aren’t right…this silversmith made his living selling items at the temple
For 2 hours the people shouted “great is Artemis of the Ephesians”
A clerk appealed to the people to calm down
Our governmental system was based on Roman rule of law
Paul talked until midnight…a man fell asleep and fell out of a window…Paul healed him
April 23 2017 Morning sermon – Matthew
Success in life – it has many different definitions…Wall Street may define it as a good return on an investment. Maslow said success if self-actualization…in Zen Buddhism, success is enlightenment. In America, success would be living the American dream.
Success in the eyes of God is quite different from man’s idea of success
Some successes are a milestone you reach, some are a journey
Ecclesiastes 12:10 – “…much study is weariness to the flesh…fear God and keep His commandments…”
1 Kings 3:14 “…if you will walk in My ways, then I will lengthen your days…”
Solomon finds out the hard way…we believe what God has told us about what we ought to do but we fail to follow through with it
Matthew 7:24 – house on the rock vs. house on the sand
Jesus wasn’t saying anything new…there is nothing new under the sun
How God deals with us today is different than how he dealt with Moses and others of the patriarchal age
There is a reward/return on investment on the items that Solomon lists in this passage of Proverbs
Let your heart keep His commands
The wider and deeper your foundation, the higher you will go
You can’t forget what you haven’t been taught
You can’t be a car by sitting in a garage
Family, government and the Church all require that people be taught
Proverbs 29:15 “…a child left to himself brings shame to his mother…”
We tend to think that “length of days” as us living a long life because God is pleased…the Hebrew meaning is more about addling life to the years that you have
A glad heart is the best medicine for the soul
Live His ways – Jesus chastised the teachers of the Law because they had neglected some parts of the Law, specifically mercy
Trust in the Lord – don’t try to be wise in your own eyes
Loosen our grip on our possessions – do we possess things or do they possess us? What we have is just things to use.
God gives us spiritual and physical gifts
Long for the discipline of the Lord
The purpose of the Christian (Romans 8:29) is to conform to the image of Christ
April 23 2017 Morning Bible study – Acts 15
Workbook pg. 71 Lesson 9
Luke was author of Acts
Recap – previous Jewish people were requiring others to be circumcised to be in Christ
If I feel that God has done something great in my life, do I keep it quiet in humility or do I share it openly with others? That seems to be a fine line.
We should be open to sharing how God works in our lives
God purified their hearts by faith
Apostles worked with the Church in various cities to select some elders to stay and leaders to travel to various cities to address matters
Paul and Barnabas had a disagreement…Barnabas wanted John to accompany them on a trip…Paul didn’t want John to attend due to John abandoning them on a previous trip…good news is that Paul and Barnabas went separate ways on missionary journeys and covered more ground
Acts 16 – the apostles would sometimes receive instruction on where to travel from divine intervention via dreams and guidance from the Holy Spirit
Paul spoke to the spirit in the little girl and through the power of Christ cast it out…the handlers of the girl realized they lost their cash cow and lodged a complaint and Paul and his companions were put in jail…an earthquake came and shook open the jail and everyone stayed put…the jailer and all his family were baptized
Paul didn’t quietly leave jail; he mentioned that he was a Roman citizen
Acts chapter 17 pg 72-73 in workbook – Paul and Silas went to Berea…there were agitators whipping people up and Paul went separately to the coast and then to Athens while Silas and Timothy stayed in Berea
People were getting caught up in the unrest and forgetting about the peace
Paul while in Athens encountered philosophers who wanted to know more about these “strange teachings”…Paul noticed an altar with an inscription to an unknown god
“…God does not dwell in a temple made by man…and is not served by human hands as if He needed anything…”
“…in the past, God overlooked such ignorance, but now He commands the repentance of everyone…”
Chapter 18 – Paul went to Corinth…met Aquila who came from Italy. Claudius has ordered the Jews to leave Rome.
Paul met resistance from the synagogue so he next concentrated on the Gentiles…Paul stayed for a year and a half
The Jews agitated against Paul and the Jews took the complaint to the Roman magistrate who declined to hear their case
The Jews beat their own synagogue ruler
Workbook pg. 77 – God encourages us in various ways…could be by the hug of a believer
Gallio set the precedent of Judaism and Christianity being legal for about 15 years until Nero started persecuting the Christians
April 16 2017 Morning sermon – Matthew
4 things that God wants from our hearts
To consider what is important to God is a timeless question
Matthew and Luke recount this similar incident…in Mark, the scribe genuinely seeks knowledge
Some people were interested in learning what Jesus had to teach; others wanted to hear themselves talk and ensnare Jesus
Jesus was often asked why his disciples broke with traditions, who gave Him authority, and other items like marriage and divorce
Those who are experts in their field are often bombarded with questions
Jesus would entertain the endless questions
“…always learning and never arriving at the knowledge of the truth…”
It all starts with the heart
We have been given a soul from God…He has put eternity into man’s heart
Keep your heart with due diligence
God wants an honest heart – from the honest heart begins the quest to seek God
Pharaoh’s’ heart was hardened first…God never makes us do something we don’t want to do for ourselves
God wants a seeking heart – the mind of the prudent acquires knowledge
John 7:17, Acts 17:11 “…examining Scriptures daily to find out if the words were true…”
Saul persecuted the Christians with a clear conscience but he didn’t yet have the knowledge of Christ
God wants an understanding heart
God wants an obedient heart – Romans 6:17 “…you became obedient from the heart…”
We need to be broken-hearted and contrite…see a need for God in our lives and others’ lives
How far are you from the Kingdom of God today?
April 16 2017 Morning Bible study – Acts 15
Lesson 8 pg. 63 in workbook
Conflict resolution – the early Church has been in existence for 20 years
Acts 2: Jews are brought into relationship with Jesus
Acts 11: Gentiles are brought into relationship with Jesus
Judaizers: Jews that converted to “the Way” but still followed the laws and traditions of Moses and required Gentiles to do the same…especially requiring circumcision
Acts 15:1 – Paul and Barnabas went to various places to speak about circumcision…they would be fighting against rigid legalism…if they don’t address these issues now, then the Church could split
Sometimes in conflict resolution you find that one party is wrong…how do you validate what they say but also point out the error in their ways?
Matter of opinion versus matter of doctrine (refer to book, chapter and verse in the Bible)
Some Pharisees ordered the new Christians to keep the laws of Moses
Is it always bad when we are debating things?
Imagine that customs and values that generations of your family held are suddenly changed for a new set of customs and values
When Paul took Timothy on the various trips, Timothy was circumcised so that he could more easily enter the synagogues…not so with Titus
James lists some items to keep away from (related to old laws): food offered to idols, sexual immorality, eating meat from strangled animals and eating blood
How many laws do the Jews adhere to? 613.
It must have been difficult to deal with all the different peoples with different cultures and customs…now they are all mixing together in the Church
When in Athens, the apostles spent their time talking about things that are new
Paul will continue to have issues with Corinthians, Romans and Galatians in regards to Judaizers…no one will be made right by following the laws of Moses
As long as there are people, there will be people problems
April 9 2017 Morning sermon – Matthew
Did you pray about the future of our Congregation (assignment from last week)?
We all have things to do in God’s kingdom…that’s why we study his Word
Nehemiah was a cup-bearer to the king
Nehemiah fasted and prayed three months…he realized that anything that will be done can only be done through God
Nehemiah was gone from the king’s service for 12 years
Susa is 840 miles from Jerusalem
The focus shifts to “…the trouble we are in…let us rebuild the walls of Jerusalem…”
It’s not a one-man project
Nehemiah didn’t form a committee to find out who to blame…he sees what lies before him and says “we are going to rebuild the walls”…he showed what God had put on his heart
Anytime that God’s people do work for His Kingdom, you can be sure that people will stand in the way of that progress
“…the God of Heaven will give us success…”
God gets all the glory for the things we do in His name
There may be people that won’t work but the work will still get done
From the high priests to the temple servants, everyone works
There is no shortage of critics in this world
Sometimes half-way through a project, we look around and think the project is too big…we think about how our strength is failing and forget to look up
We think we have to come up with something big to be relevant to the 21st century
“…don’t be afraid, remember the Lord who is great and awesome…”
We can outlast our enemies…we are assured a victory if we are doing the work of the Kingdom
The disciples were told to wait for the Holy Spirit to arrive…then they listened to God to know where to do the work next
It takes leaders to guide us in the Work
Everyone has been given a talent that equips them for service to the Lord
When people feel like they are a part of the Body, then they are willing work…what is your part in this Congregation?
There is room for everyone to labor in the Kingdom…no one is excluded, from young to old
Please pray this coming week to find a way you can fit in
Romans 12:3 – “…think of yourself with sober judgement…we in Christ from one body…”
Are you playing a part in God’s kingdom? We are all members of the Body
Maybe we will travel to far-off countries, but more likely we will influence our local community
If your gift is to be a parent in your home, then do it
If your gift is to invite people in, then do it
If your gift is to cheer people up, then do it
Whatever is holding us back, let’s leave it behind us
We all have struggles but we can work through them
April 9 2017 Morning Bible study – Acts 13 & 14…pg. 56 in workbook
Barnabas and Paul went to Cyprus via boat
The God-fearers – Gentiles that believed in the Jewish God
Acts 13:6 – met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet…Paul called the sorcerer a child of the devil…enemy of everything that is right…he was blinded for a time
Up until this time, we had seen miraculous signs of healings…in this case a miraculous sign was someone being afflicted
How do we know what God wants us to do? By studying the Word, having an open heart in prayer
Paul is a Roman name…Saul is a Hebrew name
Eastern Orthodox Church can be found today on Cyprus
There’s no hierarchy between us and the Lord (man-made structures in some churches)
Acts 13:13 – sailed to Perga…John left for Jerusalem…leaders of the synagogue invited the apostles to bring a word of encouragement
God used judges until the time of Samuel after which Israel had kings
These 10 verses are a good summary of the history of the Jewish people leading up to Jesus
A servant was the one who untied their master’s sandals…John is saying I’m not even worthy to be a servant
The Jews were jealous of the large crowds that gathered to hear Paul and Barnabas speak…Paul and Barnabas had to speak to Jews first, and having been rejected in a large part, they turned their Message to the Gentiles
Pg. 59 in workbook Paul urged his listeners to accept Jesus as their Messiah…we can all use some good news nowadays
We have the same Message that Paul had
Acts 14: Iconium…people of the city were divided…there was a plot to stone the apostles
By spreading the Good News, we are putting ourselves in danger of rejection…not too likely to get stoned
Lame man in Lystra was healed…Barnabas they called Zeus and Paul they called Hermes…they thought the Greek gods had come down to earth…Paul and Barnabas quickly dispelled this idea
Paul was stoned and left outside of the city
Paul and Barnabas appointed elders in various Churches
The apostles reported what God had done through them…do we let God do works through us?
April 2 2017 Morning Sermon – Matthew
There have been many motivational books and speakers over the last few decades: Napoleon Hill…Stephen Covey…Dale Carnegie…
You rarely find the book of Nehemiah among the influential peoples’ libraries
The Old Testament was written for our instruction
God has given us work to do
Nehemiah lived about 130-150 years after Jerusalem was sacked by Nebuchadnezzar’s army…Nehemiah has never seen Jerusalem
Years earlier the foundation of a new temple had been laid but they lost steam along the way
Nehemiah isn’t ignorant or apathetic about the issues…he prays for guidance
Our strength won’t be found in ourselves, it will be found in God
We need to pray for our ability and for doors to be opened
Jesus was always praying
If we try things with God’s help and guidance, it will fail
“…O Lord let your ear be attentive to the words of your servant…”
The people that would work on the wall weren’t skilled masons or carpenters, they were common folk but were willing to work
God didn’t call the qualified, the qualified called on Him
A lot of the heavy-hitters in the Old Testament were shepherds
God will qualify all of us to do a great work
We don’t have to invent anything new…all that we need has already been written
Sometimes we think too big…think about one person at a time
April 2 2017 Morning Bible study – Acts (Tim)
Pg. 47 in workbook
Most people who claim to be religious really don’t know that the Church didn’t exist before the book of Acts
After Saul’s conversion, the first Gentiles became believers
Mark 16 “…you will handle deadly snakes…raise the dead…”
“These things were done to confirm that they were done in the name of God…”
Acts 10:1-8 – Cornelius – an angel tells him to call on a man named Peter
Cornelius would have commanded at least 100 soldiers…he and all his family had been known for their piety and generosity
He turned away from polytheism to become Jewish
We may never receive a vision like Cornelius but God will still work in our lives and He sees our good works
Cornelius would have been comfortable with giving and taking orders…he obeyed even though he didn’t fully understand
God gives us guidelines for living but we don’t often know what is going to happen next…the future is like unexposed film to us though God sees the developed film very clearly
Sometimes we aren’t sure if God hears our prayer
Two kinds of people in the world: In Christ and not in Christ
We are either building a wall or tearing one down (the wall of sin between God and us)
We judge by the outside appearance
Peter sees a vision…he objects to the items that were previously unclean and that doesn’t want to do what the vision requests…he sees the vision 3 times…he eventually learns that the topic isn’t about clean/unclean animals but something deeper (the Message applies to Jews and Gentiles)
God pairs seekers with those who can fill the need (Ethiopian and Philip)
The Churches at this time would have had sort of a hybrid Gospel…old-time Jews would have expected certain rules and customs to still be followed
If the Old Law was adequate, there would be no need to update or change it…but it was nailed to the Cross with Christ
A lot of Churches today have hybrid systems of worship
Most Jews at the time of the new Church objected to the “new way” of doing things
SEE (significant emotional event)
Acts 11:17 “…who was I to hinder God…”
Cornelius fell at Peter’s feet but Peter said “…get up for I am only a man myself…”
Jews looked at Gentiles with great prejudice
“…if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation…”
Repentance is the old passes away
March 26 2017 Morning sermon – Dane
“Ya Can’t Just Sit There”
Story about the guy in the lawn chair with tons of helium balloons
Mark 2:1 – the people can’t get enough of Jesus
Jesus worked in and out of Capernaum
The men with the paralytic friend know enough about Jesus to bring their friend for some healing
“…Son, your sins are forgiven.” The paralytic man’s friends are hoping Jesus will say “you are healed”. For Jesus, the spiritual needs are more important than then physical needs.
The teachers of the law that were present criticized Jesus in their hearts for Jesus’ forgiving the man his sins
It’s important to take time every day to think of the blessings God has done for you (for this day alone even)
Those things you can’t do anything about, don’t worry about them
The paralytic’s friends have a sense of urgency
We seem to be more concerned about getting a checkbook right than getting our soul right
Country-club mentality: when I get to a certain point, then I will get involved
When you buy into the Kingdom of Heaven, you need to expect roadblocks…the paralytic’s friends think of a way to get the man into the presence of Jesus
Community is valuable – what the paralytic’s friends did together could not be done by one man alone
If you are a baptized believer, you are walking with others
Grab a corner and do something…we often sit around and say “…what we ought to do…”
The first thing we should start doing is praying…
March 26 2017 Morning Bible study – Acts
When people are seeking, we don’t have to know all the facts, we need to be able to share our story
We know people who are good and Godly but they put no value on baptism
Saul is converted – won over
Conversion vans of the 1970s…the company would receive a stripped-down plain vanilla van from the factory and they would outfit it with all kinds of upgrades such as chrome wheels, overheard carpet, TVs, fancy seats
Workbook pg 39 – Acts doesn’t tell us much about Saul
Saul was sincere in his belief that he was protecting the Law against a person and a movement that he deemed was violating it
Does being sincere make you right?
“…I was a Hebrew of Hebrews…” Saul disrupted the lives of many believers
Philippians 3:4-8 Paul’s credentials and authority
Paul would have needed to have a total hatred for the followers of the Messiah…we don’t know if Paul himself killed anyone but he definitely approved of it
The greater Paul’s rage, the greater God’s grace
How can God’s grace reach out to criminals or drug addicts…or a stubborn relative?
Lee Strobel – people will not die for their faith if they believe it’s not true
One of Paul’s motivating energies was that he couldn’t believe he could have been so wrong in his actions
A man like Paul with so much drive and tenacity is an asset to God’s side…God uses even the worst of us for some unbelievable tasks
Could God have felt what it’s like to be human before Jesus came to earth? No. God can now empathize with us as we walk through life.
When God told Moses to go talk to pharaoh, Moses said “I’m not a good speaker”
Ananias has the same feelings as Moses…he’s not sure that Saul is really the guy to do the job
When things are going quite right, that’s when we reach out in prayer
Saul is not destined to be a “secret-service Christian”…Saul has always given 100% percent
The officials that Saul had the approval of would now be his enemies
Verse 19 – “…something like scales fell off of Saul’s eyes…”
Paul knew where the Jews would be so he went to the various locations to share the Good News
Acts 3:22 – “…they were cut to the heart…” The peoples’ hearts were broken because they realized they killed the Christ
March 19, 2017 Morning sermon – Jack
“The man next door”
Each of us will have 24 hours this day…how will you use it? Not how will you spend it, but how will you use it?
Time represents opportunity
Matthew 25:14-28 – parable of the talents
A coin represents relative value…our labor or service is worth a certain amount of coins
Our abilities given from God can be thought of talents (value)…
While the master in the story is gone, time is given to the servants to make use of their given talents for their master’s glory
A box of treasure’s value isn’t in the box but what’s inside of it
Luke 12:34-35 – “…sell what you have and give alms…for where you treasure is, there will your heart be also…”
Alms can be a meal for a street child in Ghana, a blanket to a hurricane victim in Burma, a cup of clean water to the thirsty in Cambodia, a hug to a sister, an ear to your brother, a kind word to the grieving
A meal to someone who is starving is a treasure…same with a cup of clean water to someone who is parched
Our God who is timeless loves us and prepared a plan from the beginning of time…a plan to redeem us from sin
Matthew 16:24-27 – “…whosoever shall save his life shall lose it…for what does it profit a man if he gains the world but loses his soul…”
Romans 8:12-17 “…for ye have not received the spirit of bondage…joint heirs with Christ…”
God loves you and has loved you since the very beginning
Our treasure is our soul…treasured by God above all else
March 19, 2017 Morning Bible study – Acts
Simon the sorcerer believed and was baptized and followed Phillip
The believers in Samaria had been baptized but not yet received Holy Spirit…Peter and John came from Jerusalem to pray over the new believers and the Holy Spirit was then bestowed on them
Simon wanted to pay for the gift of the Holy Spirit
Acts 8:26 – Phillip and the Ethiopian…
Our old habits, lifestyles and prejudices have to be given up in order for us to follow God
Workbook page 36
Acts 8:36 – the official was reading Isaiah…the fact that this man was able to read and that he had a copy of the book was pretty amazing
If you have grown up in a Church, you have many years of someone explaining the Bible to you…does all that info stick with us? How about compared to info we are given when we are younger or older?
Even an older person who has read the Bible for years can come across passages they don’t think they’ve ever seen before
Think about your opportunity to share your faith with others…while most people might not know you, if they see a Bible in your hand, they may know more about you
March 12, 2017 Morning sermon – Mark
Be Happy – there’s no reason why a Christian shouldn’t be happy
Nowadays it seems that Christians are the unhappiest people around…why are we so miserable?
Christians seem to use social media to complain
Why are we shaming Jesus?
Why am I feeling this way? My knee hurts, my back hurts…usually caused by something we did
Galatians 6:7-10 – “…a man reaps what he sows…the one who sows to please the Spirit…will reap eternal life…”
We think that because God loves me, all the things in the past are done and over with…God forgives our sins and death no longer hangs over us but that doesn’t mean we don’t pay for the things we’ve done in our lives (consequences of things we did before we were saved)
James 1:2 – “…consider it pure joy…when you face trials of many kinds…testing of your faith breeds perseverance…”
If we ask ourselves “How am I going to do this”, notice that we include the word “I”…we make it about ourselves
Jesus asks us “why do you worry…the birds don’t store and they are taken care of”
1 Cor 10:13 – “…no temptation has seized you except what is common to man…”
There is always a way out of temptation…God has promised that in any situation, He will always provide a way out
Why are we upset when we go through trials? James said we will endure a lot
In school, we are tested so the teachers find out what we know
In Christ, we are tested so that we know what we can do because God needs to use us…we may not know what His plan is for us but we are tested to become ready
God doesn’t tempt, He tests
1 Peter 4:12-19 – “…do not be surprised at the trials you are experiencing…if you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed…”
Instead of looking at rough days as something to regret, you should view it as a blessing because you were found worthy of such suffering…the more you suffer, then more you can handle
If you do something wrong and you suffer, you are only getting what you deserve
Suffering is usually a bad thing…it can be a paradigm shift to view it as a blessing (God is looking to us to proceed through the suffering so that He can use us for His purpose)
Persecution of the Church does happen in this country…it isn’t will bullets like some countries
There’s only two types of people who die – those who have done God’s will and those who haven’t
God is preparing us to help someone else…God has a reason for why we are still here on earth
Christians are in a fishbowl…the way we handle hardship is visible to others
Sometimes we need a reminder that God is good and our life is good and we need to rejoice…maybe God is in front of us during trials trying to remind us to rejoice in Him
There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be happy…we need to take stock of where we are
March 12, 2017 Morning Bible study – Jack – Acts 5 (pg 23 in workbook)
Maybe the books of Acts should be called “action”…the apostles and colleagues are men and women of action…traveling and teaching and healing, etc.
Acts isn’t just the Church’s beginning but the Church in motion
Everything in the Bible is put there for a purpose…a major reason is for encouragement
Apostle – those who were selected by Christ who witnessed His ministry and His death, burial and resurrection
1 Cor 15:1-4 – Gospel is God through Christ saves us all
Solomon’s porch/portico – this was a highly visible section of the temple
The early Church did not separate themselves from their Jewish community…they see Jesus as the fulfilment of the prophets of old
Are we told to leave the world? No, we are told to reach out to the world…how do we reach others if we cordon ourselves off from others…we can’t let out light shine
A time of persecution doesn’t seem like a good thing for the growth of the Church…but God uses the calamity for good (Joseph in slavery)
Christian discipleship should not be a casual decision (what socks to wear, what to eat for lunch)
We may not be persecuted in the same way, but we shouldn’t casually accept Christianity
If someone wants to be baptized, they need to know the depth and breadth of the commitment they are about to make
Page 25 – High priest at this time is Caiphas…usually the Sanhedrin picks the priests but at this time the Romans chose the leaders who were aligned with Rome
It must have been frustrating for the leaders because they thought they were rid of Jesus and now these fishermen are telling the crowds about this same Jesus
At this time, in order to be a rabbi, you had to memorize the first 5 books of the Old Testament and then they study at the feet of a rabbi until they are about 40 years old
The apostles didn’t subscribe to the hierarchy of the high priests apart from Jesus
Usually Jerusalem has about 50,000 residents but during festivals, it could be about 100,000 people and out-of-towners would have heard the apostles’ preaching
The high priest himself wouldn’t have been the one grabbing people off the street so he has his underlings do it
The apostles spend a night in jail and are freed during the night and being preaching again
Stand firm, hold your ground
The Commission to preach the Gospel has never been suspended due to hardship and persecution…the Holy Spirit is our guide through all the difficulties we may face
“We must obey God rather than men…”
Jesus is our advocate who sits at the right hand of God
Can we expect forgiveness?
Page 27 – God of our fathers – any Jew would know the story of Moses, Joseph, Abraham, etc.
Gamaliel – pg. 29
March 5, 2017 Morning sermon – Zack
Jesus’s death on the surface is a sad story
If there was any good to be done, Jesus did it
How many times do we miss an opportunity to do good?
Pilate saw no guilt in Jesus and was ready to let Him go
Jesus didn’t want to suffer, but He endured anyway
Matthew 26:28 – “…this is My blood…that is poured out…”
Jesus knew that He had to fulfil His role
Animal sacrifices could never fully atone for us
1 Cor 6:9-11 “…the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God…and such were some of you…”
Idolatry – putting anything ahead of God
Isaiah 53:7 – “…he was oppressed and afflicted…yet he opened not his mouth…”
A lamb doesn’t know what what is coming…Jesus knew what was in store for Him
Romans 3:23 – “…all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God…”
The wages of sin is death…it’s not a good profit
If we live all our lives striving to be better, we will still deserve death due to our sin
1 Peter 1:18-19 – “…ransomed with the precious blood of Christ…”
We have become slaves to sin
How should we respond to God’s gift?
1 Peter 3:21 – “…baptism…now saves you…as an appeal to God…”
Some people say baptism is a work but it is a work of God
What do we do after baptism? Jesus calls us to walk in His ways
1 John 2:5-6 – “…whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk the same way He walked…”
If we live a life of unrighteousness, we tell God “I don’t want your gift anymore”
If we understand why Jesus came and what He did, we ought to praise God
Revelation 5:12 – “…worthy is the Lamb who was slain…” The angels know that Jesus is worthy
Is our life a response to what Jesus has done for us? He provides us with grace and peace…Ephesians 1:3 – all spiritual blessings come from above
It is sad that Jesus had to endure His suffering but it’s the ultimate blessing for us
March 5, 2017 Morning Bible study – Acts 3, workbook pg 15
Speaking in tongues means they were speaking in the native languages of the people present
Some people were amazed at this miracle and others said “they are drunk”
Peter’s healing miracle at the temple – lame man at least 40 years old
Peter tells the people that they did wrong and that it was done out of arrogance and then he told them about Jesus
“If you will repent, your sins will be wiped away…”
What’s wrong with my sins? I’m not worried about them.
Doing wrong is right for different reasons (we tell ourselves)
Acts 4 – great outline for starting to tell someone about Jesus
The people were astonished that “ordinary, unschooled men” were preaching to them
The Sanhedrin didn’t deny that there was a miracle but they focused on keeping this phenomenon from spreading…they commanded the disciples to not speak more about Jesus…the teachers of the Law couldn’t figure out how to punish the disciples
Peter and John went back to their people and gave a report of what had happened…
There were a lot of houses and pieces of land that were sold and the money was given to the apostles to distribute to the needy
Acts 5:1-11 Ananias & Saphhira – they sold property and kept some money and gave some money to the apostles but told them that he gave all of the money…”you have not lied to men but to God…”
The disciples weren’t interested in a following for themselves…they looked beyond the lame beggar’s immediate physical needs
When we look beyond the surface of others, we can see the deep needs
If someone needs $20, is it only that person that needs the help? We need help too. Can you help them to get the $20 themselves in the future?
Just because someone seems to have x, y and z doesn’t mean they don’t have problems
What do you have that you can offer someone on a regular basis? You have a lot more than you think you have to offer someone else. Hope, love, listening ear, Word of God…
Using wisdom to help someone…instead of giving them $20, you may offer to buy them a meal
We should give the Lord credit for the good works He does in us…we have to guard against pride…we have to remind ourselves that the Lord does all the good works in us
Let us encourage one another to do good in the Lord
February 26, 2017 Morning sermon – Matthew French
1 Cor 15:58 – Our Labor Is Not in Vain
Some Greeks didn’t believe in the Resurrection
786 times in ESV occurs “therefore”…what’s it there for?
People all over the world wonder what happens when they die
If the only thing we have hope in is what we have today, then we are missing out
Daniel 12/John 5 – resurrection of just and unjust
My beloved brothers – the members of the Church at this time were often feuding with one another over who has gifts and who contributes what
Every congregation of the Lord’s Body has issues…there is no such thing as the perfect congregation
How we treat our own brothers and sisters speaks volumes to those outside the Church
Paul gives 37-38 directives to the Thessalonians…instead of “one more thing I have to do” it can be something I can strive to be
Be steadfast (kind of like immovable in our faith…not quickly shaken)
When we think “I have grown enough in the Lord”, that’s when the devil attacks
The world calls to us with fun things to do…they can become habits that take us away from the things of God
If I’m not regularly attending Church, why not? It’s a heart issue.
What is the work of the Lord? It could be using your talent…being a greeter at the door, working on the bulletin. You need to look to do something that is a work of the Lord
Whatever our circle of influence is, that is our world…what’s your elevator speech?
Equipping the saints – encouraging one another
We often feel discouraged…we don’t know if what we are doing is making a difference. It would have been easy for Paul to express discouragement.
You can count the seeds in an apple but you can’t count the apples in a seed
Are we continuing on with the Lord?
February 26, 2017 Morning Bible study – Acts
Acts it the outline of how the Church started and it’s a blueprint for how the Church can work today…we don’t have to reinvent the wheel
Luke wrote Acts to Theophilus
Greeks write history differently from how Jews write it…Jews write in groups of topics whereas Luke decides to write in a linear format
Acts is about the spread of the Gospel from the time Jesus ascended to Heaven to Paul’s imprisonment at Rome after two years (A.D 30-62) – Jesus was born 4 B.C not 0
Acts’ geographical settings is modern day Israel, Syria, Turkey, Italy, Egypt, Libya, eastern Europe et al
Luke had some first-hand knowledge of the activities at this time and then other instances he relied on others’ information
Lecture-Reading-Audio visual-Demonstration-Discussion Group
Acts is a bridge between the apostolic books and the epistles
First part of Acts chronicles Peter and later part of Acts chronicles Paul
Are people saved the same way today that they were saved in the first century?
The true purpose of Israel is that the blessings of the Church would flow out to the rest of the Earth; lots of people thought Israel would become a powerful kingdom in the literal sense
Are you a missionary in your own home? Your neighborhood? Your state/country? Other countries?
If we don’t take care of our own children, it can be tragic.
We aren’t all called to be polished speakers…we should all strive to be kind and care about others…people want to see a sermon not hear one
The people in Acts thought Jesus would return in their lifetime
Drawing lots to replace Judas – a white stone and a black stone or several stones…if you pulled out a certain color, you were “it”
Why did they leave this choice to a game of chance? This removed the hint of favoritism and left the choice up to God
Chapter 2 – Day of Pentecost
Holy Spirit descends and causes speaking in tongues (different languages then they originally spoke)
The apostles for the longest time believed that the Message wasn’t going to include the Gentiles
Those who heard words in their own language: Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, Libya, Rome, Cretans and Arabians
Isaiah 11 – root of Jesse…God will recover the remnant of His people from the nations mentioned in Acts 2
Lion laying down with the lamb…Jesus’ Message is about peace
Our sword is the Word of God…it’s our only offensive weapon. We haven’t been told to go kill people in the Name of God
Restoration heritage (circa 1800s) – all penitent believers receive indwelling of Holy Spirit at baptism
Acts 2:14-21 Fulfillment of Joel 2
February 19, 2017 Morning sermon – Zack
What’s the deal with God’s commands?
There’s a lot of them
They come from God
Different attitudes and approaches to these commands
1050 commands in the Old Testament
800 different commands in New Testament
Three main approaches to Scripture:
· The commands are there but God will forgive me. Because of grace, I don’t have to follow the commands
Good: grace saves Eph 2:8
Wrong: View of obedience Matt 7:21
· We should follow all of the commands perfectly and that’s all we should o
Good: views obedience seriously
Wrong: fails to understand grace
Wrong: Vain worship Matt 15:1-9, Matt 23:23
Sometimes we make a mess when we try too hard to keep the commands…we may forget to practice forgiveness when someone errs
Are we robots in worship?
· Observing the commands as a means to an end
Obedience is necessary
Obedience is a response to salvation that helps us
Baptism isn’t something that we do, it’s a work that God does in us
Why should we have this view?
· Our motivation
We are often motivated by fear
· Prevents empty worship and apathy
· Helps us grow closer to God
Why are the commands there?
· They help us to know God (1 John 2:3-6, Deut 10:12-15)
· They help us to achieve conversion (Eph 4:22)
· They help us to express devotion to God (John 14:21)
The commands are ultimately there to help us keep from harm in some way or another
We learn through these commands that God cares for us
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments”
February 19, 2017 Morning Bible study – Jack
Reminder: this book has three speakers: Bride, Groom & Bridesmaids
Song of Songs 6
Verse 4 – as majestic as troops with banners – this would have been a lovely sight for a king to see
Verse 6 – sheep in this part of the world would have been walking in dust day after day and they would look spectacular after being washed
Compliment versus flattery – flattery is insincere and often self-serving…the word sincere literally translated means “without wax”
In the old days, they would fix statues with wax to make it look better
Verse 13 – Shulammite – several possible meanings two of which are “peaceful one” or a pagan god of fertility
Chapter 7:1-9 – customs of this time were a bit different than today
How do these more modern quotes compare with Song of Songs:
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”
“Beauty is but skin deep”
“Beauty is the gift of God”
“Rarely do great beauty and great virtue dwell together”
“Beauty as we feel it is sometimes indescribable…what it is or what it means can never be said…”
The writers of the Bible used imagery that was relevant to the time of the writing
Genesis 3:16 – as a result of eating the fruit, childbirth would be painful for the woman and her desire will be for her husband
The young woman in Song of Songs is confident in her beauty and virtue and she says “my future husband will desire me”
How would a man with 700 wives desire this new wife versus the others? Not sure but that was a different time and place.
At this time, you could kiss your brother in public but not your husband
We see people walking together but not engaged with each other
Older women are to teach the younger women on how to conduct themselves…they instruct the younger women to remain chaste until marriage
Love is as strong as death…if you truly have love, it conquers everything else
The Church is Jesus’ bride
Song of Songs 8:14 – similar words in Revelation
God calls us to respond to His invitation to love Him and run towards Him
February 12, 2017 Morning sermon – Zack
1 John 3:16-17
Moving forward with visitation
We know love because of Christ’s love for us
We are called to be like Christ
Our Body is in need
Life is perilous…all need encouragement
The blessings of visitation are innumerable
God is calling us to be involved in each other’s lives
Matthew 10:5-7 Jesus sends out the 12 to start visitation
If we don’t know how to achieve our purpose (Love God’s Word, Live God’s Word, Spread God’s Word), we won’t move forward
We need to put our knowledge to action
We need to stop using y’all passages…somebody else is already doing the work so I don’t have to
What are you goals for personal visitation?
If you don’t have a plan to do something, you probably will never do it…you have to be committed to the work
Matthew 2:37 – “…love the Lord your God with all your heart…soul…and mind”
Achieving God’s design – His Church wasn’t designed to be just a social group but a cohesive unit that is closely knit together and is headed in the right direction helping each other along
If our Church works towards the Lord, we become a working hospital
People saw that the Church was involved in helping each other and their community and that drew them in
God has given us so many talents…some we may not know until we start to work using them
You have to let the Lord work in you in order to be more like Christ…it’s not a passive event.
We are all called to be involved in helping one another
February 12, 2017 Morning Bible study – Song of Solomon Chapter 1 & 2
Who was the author? Solomon…although recent studies are trying to dispute that
1 Kings 4:32 – Solomon wrote 3000 proverbs and 1005 songs
“Song of Songs” in Hebrew would mean “the best of the best”; the pinnacle
This is the all-time best love letter in the world
Three characters in this book: bride, bride’s maid/maidens, groom
Solomon reigned from 970-930 BC
The bride is quite in love with her groom
Why did God preserve this book for us? God is never mentioned in this book. Is this book left for us as an example of true romantic love?
During the time of this book, not everyone lived in cities…a large segment of the population lived in tents and moved with their herds of livestock. The city-dwellers might work out in the country during the day and go back to their city at night for protection.
The bride was dark-skinned because she spent her days outside in the vineyard in the daily sun
The “fair” women had covered heads and it was a sign of status to have light skin…the servants did the outdoors work
The Kedar nomadic people made their tents out of darker colors…this color would make the tent remain cooler
The bride was a little self-conscious about being dark-skinned although she is confident in her beauty
Does the color of your skin dictate your beauty? It’s the beauty inside that radiates outward.
The horses of Pharaoh were highly respected and prized…they put earrings, necklaces and jewels on the horse and their harness.
“…perfume spread its fragrance…myrrh…” – perfume was quite costly back then
Verdant – means green in color or can signify something new and fresh
“Your eyes are doves…” – doves are gentle and cooing and beautiful.
Rose of Sharon hymn refers to Jesus. It’s a beautiful flower that’s quite common in the Middle East when properly tended
Apples don’t grow in this area…maybe it was an apricot or date? Maybe this author helps others relate to it?
Banner – the symbol that an army follows…the banner signifies who the people are underneath it. There were multiple banners used to broadcast what the steps of battle were (archers forward, cavalry forward, etc)
Left hand/right hand – a deep embrace showing affection…is this really happening at this time or is she imagining the future?
Gazing through the lattice – apparently the bride wasn’t living in a tent but instead a house…the groom is trying to catch a glimpse
Some people think the bride may be holding the groom at arm’s length until they are married…time to slow down and stay out of sight
February 5, 2017 Morning sermon – Zack
Confess your sins to one another
This command is probably one of the hardest to do
Confess – to admit or acknowledge a fault
Nobody likes to admit that they messed up
Sin is lawlessness 1 John 3:4
Pray for one another
Confession of sins leads to healing
Confess with purpose – don’t do it for selfish purposes (pity, attention, having someone else deal with your problems)
Confess for healing…can be physical and spiritual healing
Our conscience is going to affect our faith
Perhaps the person you wronged needs spiritual healing too
Confess to “one another”…this can be a wronged brother, the Church, or someone who can help
Repentance is a part of confession
Struggle – to make a sometimes violent effort to get free of an entanglement
When we confess our sins, we should do so without excuses…don’t worry about losing status or tarnishing our image
Listen with purpose – gossip is a great evil that ruins trust…be considerate and forgive
Listen prayerfully – Philippians 4:6-7…prayer restores
We should ask God to guard the heart of the confessor
Respond without judgement…people are afraid to confess because they’ve seen how other people have judged previous confessors
How can we judge someone who wants to make their life better?
If we don’t provide a safe place for someone to confess their sins, how is there going to be healing?
Confessing is restorative
Confessing builds bonds – Galatians 6:2 “bear one another’s burdens”
As we build bonds, we can help restore our brother
February 5, 2017 Morning Bible study – Ecclesiastes 9…pg. 89 in workbook
Difference between youth and age
It’s easy to think about the problems of the day and not the blessings of the day
Even a live dog is better than a dead lion
We should enjoy the days of our lives because they are numbered
How we live our lives matters…as long as there is life in us, there is hope
As long as we have breath, we need to live in the present
Cast your bread upon the water (the waves will bring it back)
How do we come to relationship with God such that we know what He wants us to be doing with our life? Read the Bible, fellowship with others. The Bible isn’t just a book of “do this, don’t do that” concepts
Chapter 11 – banish anxiety from your heart
We need God when things are good and when things are bad
To the one who pleases Him God gives wisdom
Enjoy your life because it is in the Lord
Remember your Creator in the days of your youth
Fear God and keep His Commandments for this is the whole duty of man
January 29, 2017 Morning sermon – Zack
Encourage One Another
Life is hard
Trials – finances, family troubles, natural disasters, death
Temptations – these can result from the trials we face…where is God in my suffering…the world is numb to sin
You can worry your trials such that it consumes your mind daily
The world redefines wrong things such that it makes them appear to be good
The devil is a lion…he has the ability to make the sinful look desirable
Tolerance is the buzz word of the day
We tell ourselves “I can sin because God will forgive me by His grace”…we use this as an excuse
Romans 6:15-17 – Paul talks about using grace as an excuse to sin
We are a slave to something…either a slave to sin or to righteousness
Proper encouragement helps us stand up to sin
We can be encouraging to others by being attentive to their lives…we need to be able to see changes in their mood and behavior and speech
We can encourage another person by going and sitting with them
We can encourage with our words and bits of God’s Word…we will have a greater impact with His Knowledge than with whatever we can think of to say
God’s Word is more than just a book of rules…it’s a book of knowledge and comfort
We need to leave our comfort zone
Praying with someone can have an amazing impact
Satan is powerful…he has the ability to make sin look like it’s the right thing to do…we need to desire the things of God
Our goal shouldn’t be “I’ll do what I have to do to get to heaven”, it should be “what can we do together to all get to heaven”
January 29 2017 Morning Bible study Ecclesiastes 6-8
Solomon couldn’t fully understand God’s work in this world…neither can we
God to Job: Were you there when I created the water?
Which is better to have: money or a glad heart?
No matter what your situation, put your trust in God’s hands
“Lord I don’t want to think about this anymore…I can’t do anything about it”
Your problem as you would like it to be solved may not be the result God brings about…but at least you know that God loves you and is paying attention to the situation
Is the Bible a heavy/deep book?
The end of a matter is better than its beginning
Anger resides in the lap of fools
Do not say “why where the old days better than these current days” for that is not wise
The wisdom preserves the life of the possessor
If people say nice things about you when you are dead, why wouldn’t you say the nice things to them while they are alive?
There’s always going to be something about you that someone else doesn’t like…but that shouldn’t keep you from being nice to others
We learn more from those in life who are hurting than those who spend their lives seeking pleasure
Were the “good ol’ days” really all that good?
Even wise people can never discover the full meaning of life
January 22 2017 Morning Bible study
Ecclesiastes was meant to be read aloud to groups
Without God in his life, a man will not find joy in his daily routine
Ecclesiastes 3 – a time for everything
Man has no advantage over the animals…all come from dust and to dust all return
Our responsibility is to figure out what activities are appropriate for certain seasons
In Hebrew, two opposites mentioned together symbolized totality
Is there ever a time to feel sorry for yourself?
We as Christians are striving to show love to the world while the world shows hate
Page 76 in workbook…2nd part of the burden on man is our eternity
We do not live only by our instincts like the animals do
How can one find satisfaction in one’s daily work? Be thankful for the opportunity to do meaningful work
You can focus on the positives or negatives in this life
Eccl 4 – “…I saw the tears of the oppressed and there was no comforter…”…those already dead are happier than those who are still alive…”…man envious of his neighbor…
For whom am I toiling?
Eccl 5 – stand in awe of God…guard your steps when you near the House of God…do not be quick your mouth or hasty with your heart…let your words be few…speech of the fool has many words…it is better not to vow than to make a vow and not keep it
The king himself profits from the fields
As goods increase, so do they that consume them
The sleep of the laborer is sweet
If you can remind yourself that I am doing my best for God, then whatever you are working on will benefit
Every opportunity is a teaching opportunity
Page 80 – Solomon told the tale about a miser who hoarded his goods and caused warped character and he lost everything…all the miser really gained was sadness and frustration
If we let the Lord work in our lives, we can live glad lives
January 15 2017 Morning sermon – Bob
Asking honest questions
What is our worst enemy? Cancer? Sin.
Sin wreaks more havoc than any other enemy we can think of, but we often rationalize it away.
Who is the true seeker? What does it mean to find God?
A growing viewpoint is that everyone is a seeker. They spend their whole lives looking for purpose.
Since people are seeking God in their own way, they are finding God in their own way.
Have you ever needed something but didn’t know what it was?
Have you searched for something and didn’t know where or how to look?
We live in a multiple-choice culture…it has even found its way into religion
The limitations on us have a Godly reason behind them
The wide gate has no limitation on the baggage you can carry in…your selfishness, pride, sin
The narrow gate has limits and God decides what you can bring in…to travel this road, you have to leave everything behind (greed, bitterness…)
If you choose the wide road, you aren’t going to like where it ends up
There are two types of traveling companions: most people won’t give their life’s path a second thought…a smaller number of people give careful thought to the whole journey
Do all people search for God? No…most people stumble through life
Are all religious people searching for God? The devil likes to get these people to doubt themselves and other believers (Matthew 7:15-20)
What do you see growing in other peoples’ lives?
Are all Christian people searching for God? (Matthew 7:21)
When a person is born into a family, they wear the family name. That person can bring shame or pride to the family name.
Someone else can choose my name or nationality but I can choose Christ
People may call Jesus Lord but they don’t make Him their Lord
Why do I follow Christ? Is it faith or fear…love or duty?
Do all active Christians search for God? (Matthew 7:22-23)
A handshake can be extended but there’s not real warmth behind it
In matters of faith, Jesus wants a depth of sincerity
In our world, we don’t usually require sincerity; we are ok with going through the motions except when it comes to money. In matters of money, we require the utmost of sincerity.
What is it that God really wants? Does He want words and deeds? Sure.
We can offer these things to God and still miss out…He wants a relationship with us.
God didn’t need Paul and Apollos to work on planting Churches, He wanted to build a relationship between them and Him
Jesus pointed out that it’s not about activity, it’s about relationship
It takes time to know Jesus…no shortcuts. It’s more than hearing God’s Word…it’s more than doing the things the Word says…it’s knowing Him
Matthew 7:28-29 – the people listened and were amazed…we aren’t told if anybody changed their life
The deception of sin is that we hearing a message about how to change our life but we don’t act on it
What if a cure for cancer was found but it was ignored? How irrational is that?
January 15 2017 Morning Bible Study – Bob
It shouldn’t surprise us that we have 4 different accounts of the Gospel.
Matthew, Mark and Luke were written about the same time.
John wrote decades later to a much different audience (many who didn’t eyewitness the written-about events).
We tend to see Jesus in our own image or as a larger version of ourselves…anthropomorphism (giving human characteristics to non-human beings like an object, animal or God).
How many paintings have we seen with various depictions of Jesus? It depends on who makes the paintings (i.e. European artist, Jamaican artist, North African artist…)
Everyone looks at Jesus as some version of themselves…in a way that’s an honor to Jesus because we want to identify with Him
Do you have a mental picture of Jesus? Has that picture changed over the course of your life?
We see Jesus most clearly in His relationships (i.e. John the Baptist, Teachers of the Law)…we learn about His:
Malachi prophesied about a coming Messiah…then there were no new messages for about 400 years. Then a new prophet starts talking about Jesus (John)
John’s message – no abstract ideas, no complex laws
If God is truly personal, then the logical next step is for God to become human incarnate
John prepared the way for Jesus by telling people the bad news about their sins and the need for repentance
How can facing bad news prepare us for good news?
Why would God tell me I need to change if I couldn’t change?
Has our “Gospel” been about Jesus or something else?
We may be busy talking about how to respond to Jesus but that isn’t exactly about Jesus
Mark is an abbreviated Gospel; Matthew expounds on it a bit
Why is John confused by Jesus’ request to be baptized? He knows other people get baptized to redeem their souls by surely Jesus didn’t need to do the same…
Jesus was baptized for the forgiveness of sins but not His…He was making a decision to go down the road towards the Cross. This was the first step to giving all mankind the righteousness they needed
Jesus didn’t tell us that we have a problem with sin, He got down on our level and worked with us
· Decision – Jesus decided to be baptized
· Affirmation – Voice from heaven showed approval
· Attack – Satan sees an enemy and starts to work against Him
How is my baptism my re-enactment of the Cross of Jesus?
We should always be growing in our knowledge of our Lord
If someone who is baptized at 12 thinks when they are 22 that they need to be re-baptized, you are asking your 12-year old self to have 22-year old maturity…all you can give God when you are baptized at 12 years old is your 12-year old self
None of us can point to others and tell them that they should be further along in their spiritual journey
January 8 2017 Morning worship sermon – Si
Does God have a specific purpose for my life? Yes and no.
Is there something specific God wants me to do?
God wants us to be His children.
Does God want me to open an auto body shop or drill oil wells or a teacher?
It doesn’t matter what we do as long as we do it in the name of Jesus
“…whatever you do in word or deed, do it in the name of Lord Jesus…”
The children of Israel did have a specific task that God wanted them to accomplish but they didn’t really understand what it was. They thought that their task was to rule the world by the Messiah who would sit on the throne in their country.
God shows us the things He has planned for the world…He worked through a broken people who struggled and suffered to bring redemption
About 70 Israelites moved to Egypt under Joseph and prospered for many years until Joseph died…the Israelites prospered and multiplied and Pharaoh got scared about being overtaken by these people and their coming Savior
The Israelites kept remembering and forgetting about their God…even when they returned to their own land, they were still in exile…God sent many nations to punish Israel
We are under the thumb of our own selfish sins
A man comes using a sword not of metal but of words…the people thought He would be the mighty ruler to vanquish the enemies of Israel…then He was crucified
On the road to Emmaus, Mary and Cloepus were downtrodden at the news of Jesus crucified…Jesus had to instruct the people that it was necessary for the Son of Man to be crucified
Jesus referred back to the foreshadowing of His coming in the Scriptures
The Israelites were looking for a specific sort of Messiah
Jesus spoke of a great victory but it wasn’t the kind of victory the people were expecting
We hate death…it’s not something we look forward to.
Without death, there would be no life. We pray all the time to heal the sick but if God answered ever prayer like that the earth would be too full
There are times when death is a welcome event
Mary and Cloepus asked Jesus to stay with them that night…during dinner their eyes were opened as to His identity and then He was taken from their sight…their eyes were opened to His glory
An old custom was to seal a covenant with a meal
We are made closer to one another and Jesus during our Communion
All of the bad things that happen to us in life can be offered up to Jesus because we know the One who makes all of our lives better
Most of our sufferings we bring on ourselves
The Savior did not refuse to suffer
January 8 2017 Morning study time – Si
In 1987, the TC congregation started a project to drill 3 water wells in Ghana. Si brought back video of some villages and people in Ghana and the TC Church mailed out cassette tapes to 1000 congregations in the US to solicit $20,000.
In 2 months, the project had amassed $85,000
World Vision International agreed to drill 15 producing wells for the $85000.
Larry Morris and Flo Mata were in the well drilling business, and they considered a 10-year program (starting in 1987) where we would buy drilling equipment and hire a crew to drill the wells. This project is still running today.
We started a Ghana newsletter to send to all sorts of congregations in the US to inform them of the progress of the well project and ask for help
We started working with local evangelists; we bought a house for Isaac Kpapko…he later went with a medical mission to South Sudan
Sudan had been in a 25-year war between north (Arabs) and south (black Africans)
West Searcy Church has been sponsoring some work in South Sudan…Isaac had to be pulled out of the field due to heavy fighting
Near Yendi, the project built a water tower with multiple faucet stations
If we win Mom and Dad we can reach the children
Samson Laar has been a blessing; he can speak 9 languages
We try to provide a motorcycle for all of the evangelists we work with
The local people are stopping the evangelists on the road to request that we preach to them and help their children get better water
We as a congregation have been part of reaching tens of thousands of souls…we have millions to go
Since we started the project:
1000 wells dug
2500 refurbished wells
1100 congregations established
Current need is $5000 towards a utility truck
January 1 2017 Morning sermon – Zack
What is forgiveness?
We bring up the past to tell other people that they are in our debt for some wrong
Our main resolution for the New Year should be to forgive others
Forgiveness means “to give favor or grace”…it’s not something that the other person earns by doing or not doing things
The Greek definition indicates forgiveness also means “to pull from peril or pardon for wrongdoing”
A great example of forgiveness is Jesus
Ephesians 1:7 – we sinned and we don’t deserve forgiveness
Forgiveness is Christ’s gift to give
How should we forgive? Matthew 18:21-22 – Seventy times seven
This wasn’t a unit of measure but an idea of letting go of the grudges
Parable of the unforgiving servant – the man owed 10K talents, which would have been about 200,000 years of wages for a regular laborer
1 John 1:9 – Forgive like Christ does
Doesn’t hold grudges
Think forward, not backward…we dwell on the past so much that we don’t look forward
Forgiveness is about continuous love and unity with our brethren
What will you do in 2017?
January 1 2017 Morning Bible study – Ecclesiastes
Why did the teacher call everything meaningless?
Why do we search for more meaning in our lives than just physical survival?
It’s possible that the teacher didn’t consider his own life meaningless but he may have observed other people who rejected God in their own lives and wandered through life aimlessly…people guided by their desire to further their own profit
Often during our prayers, we gloss over the thanksgiving part and get right to our laundry list of things we want done
Definition of faith: being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we have not seen
Difference between wisdom and faith: You can study as much as you want, but sooner or later you have to accept that there is a God and live your life accordingly
“I said in my heart…” – it seems Solomon was balancing the thoughts in his head and the emotions of the heart
Love comes from the heart…we don’t say “I will love somebody”
Don’t give up on love
December 25 2016 Morning Bible sermon – Zack
Love One Another As I Have Loved You
By loving Jesus, we can learn how to love one another
His coming to Earth says He loves us
Jesus didn’t have to come (He realized He needed to come)
Do we honor Jesus’ example by helping others in need?
Jesus didn’t just come to die, He ministered to the lost and needy
Instead of trying to adhere to all of the commandments, we should say “I want to be more like Jesus”
We have freedom of choice in this life…what is the right way to live? How can I get the most out of my life?
Jesus continues to minister to us even now
Jesus sacrificed His life – the most significant way He showed His love for us
If Jesus can love us who rejected Him and His Father, then we can certainly love one another
December 25 2016 Morning Bible study – finishing up study of Job
Job – Hebrew meaning “persecuted one”
Job – Arabic meaning “penitent one”
Does God test Job to prove Satan wrong?
Job tells God that everything God has given him has been used to serve Him but still Job is being persecuted…why?
God asked Job if he was content to condemn the Almighty…Job had called into question God’s integrity for making him suffer for no apparent reason
God asked Job if he was up to the task to question the Almighty
If Job was so mighty, he could have avoided the whole tribulation process
Job still knew nothing of Satan and God’s conversation regarding him…except he knows now that Job would be kept close to God’s heart
God ordered Job to listen
Often we can focus too much on rebutting what the other person says that we don’t actually listen to and process what they say to us
If you reach a point where you are happy with yourself in your knowledge of God, brace yourself…a humbling experience(s) may be coming your way
Job may have intended to take back the defiant statements he made to his friends
Job repented in sackcloth and ashes…you can’t be any sorrier than when you repent in this way
Job didn’t think he was perfect but he’s pretty sure he’s not guilty of all the many sins that his friends accused him of
We need to stop doing things to have to be sorry for
God expressed His anger at Job’s three companions…they may have assumed they were speaking on God’s behalf against Job
Job received exactly twice as much stuff after his tribulation than he had lost (sheep, camels, oxen, donkeys, 7 new sons, 3 new daughters)…Job gave inheritance to his daughters as well as the sons which was unusual in that day
Job and his friends were half right and half wrong…Job’s friends were wrong to assume that Job’s sin caused his calamity and Job was wrong to question God’s justice
Job prayed on his friends’ behalf for their forgiveness
God is sovereign regardless of the fate of the righteous and the wicked
Job proved that a person can love God simply because He is God
December 11 2016 Morning sermon – Zack
Receive One Another-Romans 15:7
What is God trying to tell us?
Greek – receive/accept/welcome…an aggressive, strong personal interest
Who must we receive?
· Our brothers with different opinions on life and traditions and how to raise children and etc
We shouldn’t allow our differing views to keep us apart
· Our sick
John 8:2-3, John 11:1-44
Instead of “speaking” the leprosy away, Jesus touches the man to heal him
When Jesus heard Lazarus was sick, what did He do? He left what He was doing and He went to see him
We should ask what we can do to help
· Our drifters – help those who have wandered from the faith
Often times people in these groups aren’t made to feel very welcome
Why should we receive on another?
· Romans 15:7 – “as Christ received you”
· How has Christ received us? When we were received by Christ, we were blind and in some ways we still are
· God should look at us as vile creatures but instead He receives us
How good are we at receiving one another?
December 11 2016 Morning Bible Study
When you go through struggles in life, you want to rely on your friends
Job had hoped his friends would build him up instead of tear him down
Job didn’t know the end of his story
Job’s friends were focused on his sin instead of trying to comfort him during his time of loss
We need to approach people with a sense of understanding
Why do good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people? “…the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away…”
Job calculated that he had done nothing wrong and he intended to please his case before God. He wanted to point out that he didn’t deserve the calamity that had befallen him
Elihu started questioning Job since the other three friends had given up on convincing Job. Elihu was angry that Job had justified himself.
“…man may be chastened…can anyone who hates justice govern?...”
Do younger people have wisdom that older people can learn from?
It takes a little bit of wisdom to know you don’t know anything
Two kinds of learning – learning on your own and learning as an industry (shared knowledge) (if you go with the 2nd one you save a lot of effort)
Job 35 – “…do you think this is just...to say ‘I will be cleared by God’…if you sin, how does it affect God…your wickedness effects only you…”
November 27 2016 Morning sermon – Zack
His Sacrifice and Our Blessings - Isaiah 53:5
Do you ever feel like life isn’t fair?
When we were kids, we were quick to yell “that isn’t fair!”
Do we get upset when we don’t get our way?
Jesus is God’s perfect gift to us
If we look at what Jesus endured while He was on earth, His life wasn’t fair
We have a tradeoff in Jesus’ sacrifice…He suffered so that we can have salvation
Focus: To learn humility and gratitude from the Gospel
He was crushed for our iniquities
1. Jesus is our sacrificial lamb – Hebrews 9:12 – in the Old Testament, the Jews had to continually sacrifice animals to atone for their sins
2. Jesus knew what was going to happen and He went anyway
Luke 18:31-33 – Jesus prophesied His own death
Matt 26:28 – when Jesus poured the cup at the Last Supper, He said “this is My blood of the New Covenant”
3. The price was different than the result
He was chastised to bring us peace
1. We may deserve chastisement when we have done wrong, but Jesus received unjust chastisement. Mark 14:62-65 – chief priests thought Jesus was a fraud and deserved punishment
2. We were the guilty ones…instead of receiving punishment, we received peace. God and sin can’t be near each other.
Romans 5:1 – “…we have peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord…”
He was wounded to bring us healing
1. Our sin has wounded us – sin is evil and it changes the condition of our soul. We need healing
2. Jesus is our physician – Jeremiah 8:32 “…where is the balm of Gilead?” Jesus fits the bill.
His wounds make our wounds disappear
Life may not be fair, but forgiveness, peace and healing are things we don’t deserve
There should not be one day that passes without us praising God
Our gratitude towards God should push us along through life
November 27 2016 Morning Bible study – Job 15-21
Pg 23 in workbook
“…miserable comforters are you all…I could speak like you if I were in your place…yet if I speak, my pain is not relieved…only a few years pass until I go on the journey of no return”
Were Job’s friends praying for him?
“…those whom I love have turned against me…have pity on me, my friends…for the hand of God has struck me…”
5 Sufferings of Job:
· Loss of servants
· Loss of children
· Physical suffering
· Foolishness of wife
· Torment of his friends
After Bildad’s speech, that was the last straw…he felt attacked.
Words can be damaging in a counseling context…especially if the person is suffering
How can I be more sensitive to my words I use towards someone especially if that person is in the wrong?
Is it ever wrong to be kind to people?
“…where now is the great man’s house? …how can you console me with your nonsense?”
In this world, the evil prosper. God sees all and someday the evil will be held to account
November 20 2016 Morning sermon – Dane
“Some things just don’t change” – Mark 12
The older we get, the less we like change
Our economy changes, technology changes,
Our challenge as Christ’s Church is how to communicate the unchanging Word to a changing world
In some cases, our resistance to change can delay the benefits that change can bring
Mark 12 – Jewish leaders are trying to trap Jesus…Pharisees try to get Him on legal grounds with the Romans. The Sadducees try and trick Him with questions about the Resurrection which they don’t even believe in
God gave Moses rules to live by and they morphed into traditions over the years which were then interpreted as laws…one such “law” was the idea that a woman whose husband dies will marry the deceased husband’s brother…Jesus said there is no giving and taking in marriage in Heaven
Rich young ruler asks how to be right with God…he’s confused by all of the information and expectations and noise…he needs to have a manageable path to follow
Of all the commands, which is the most important? Jesus answered “…Love the Lord with all your soul and strength and mind…and love your neighbor as yourself”
God wants your thoughts to be focused on Him throughout your day
November 20 2016 Morning Bible study – Job 4-14
Pg 15 in the workbook
According to one of Job’s friends, only the evil suffer
Can a man be more righteous than his Maker?
Eliphaz tells Job he needs to confess his sins to God
Chapter 6 – Job was hurt and angry…what had he had done that anybody hasn’t also done?
Chapter 8 Bildad –
Job said God is so powerful that no one should approach Him…Job figures he may have to plead for mercy and wished he had a mediator?…Job foreshadows the coming Arbitrator?
Chapter 10: “…I loathe my very life…I wish I had died before birth…”
“…He makes fools of judges…”
Chapter 11 Zophar
Job is pointing out to his friends that they shouldn’t be quick to judge him
November 13 2016 Morning sermon – Zack
Christ but not The Church?
Lots of people identify themselves as Christians but aren’t affiliated with any congregation
Some people feel like they don’t have time to commit to a Church
A lot of people don’t like Church because they feel like it’s filled with hypocrites
Gandhi said “I like your Christ but I don’t like your Christians”
I make mistakes and in that way I am not like Christ but I should strive each day to be better
Is God fine with us choosing Jesus but not choosing His Church?
What is the Church? It’s not something you go to or an event that happens once or twice a week. It’s not a building.
The Church and Christ are inseparable
Names of the Church in Scripture:
1. The Body of Christ Rom 12:4, 1 Cor 12:27, Col 1:18, Eph 1:22-23
A human body
Matt 16:18 – Christ has authority and ownership
The Church belongs to Christ…to reject the Church means rejecting the body of Christ
Eph 4:15-16 – Paul encourages us to get engaged in God’s Church
If we aren’t working properly, we are hindering the Church
2. The Saved (Greek word ekklesia…assembly, the gathered)
God adds you to His Church
Two things happen at baptism (salvation for you and membership in a community of other saved ones)
Two relationships begin (Christ and His people)
3. The Family of God
We are adopted children
As a family, we are supposed to be there for one another
Consider the “one another passages”
God designed His Church to work together
Has God added you to His Church?
November 13 2016 Morning Bible study – Job
Who was the author of Job? Ultimately God.
When was Job written? Around 970 B.C.
In the Old Testament, the Jews didn’t call Satan by that name, they called him “the adversary”
Job made no attempt to mask his grief at losing his children
We are not grieve as those who have no hope
Life isn’t just about bad things happening to good people, it’s also about good things happening to bad people.
Job cursed the day of his birth…he thought death would be a relief after a life of struggle
“…I have no peace…only turmoil…”
November 6 2016 Morning sermon – Zack
Loving Our Enemies
We have to look at Christ to know how to respond to those who hurt us
Goal of terrorism is to inspire fear
ISIS has killed more Muslims than they have killed infidels
ISIS utilizes propaganda
ISIS’ military is small in comparison to other governmental militaries
Matthew 5:43-45 (Sermon on the Mount)
God sends rain on the just and unjust
Do we have any hate in our heart for our enemies?
Matthew 6:15 – if you don’t forgive others, God won’t forgive you
Hate is ungodly
November 6 2016 Morning Bible study
Last part of Ephesians (Chapter 5 & 6)
Live a life of love as an offering to God
There must be no hint of immorality
Make the most of every opportunity
We have a difficult time with submitting ourselves to a Higher Power and each other…in the measure that we can submit to each other, that is an indicator on how we submit to God
We need to submit to each other in reverence to Christ
Our selfish and sinful nature makes it pretty hard for us to submit
Honor your father and mother and fathers don’t provoke your children
We should serve whole-heartedly those who are in authority because our Master is always watching…this will allow us to succeed in this life and the next life
Do we have enthusiasm in your job?
We need to wear our full armor of God to have a hope of fighting against the devil
October 30 2016 Morning sermon – Zack
Tolerance or Godly Love?
How do we handle living with people with different views?
Is the country more divided now that it ever was before?
Things are being accepted today that were never thought of before
When there is division and hate, the world says the way to solve it is with love and acceptance
When someone doesn’t agree with you, they might believe that the best way to show love is to practice tolerance
The world’s definition of tolerance:
Love = acceptance/belonging
Feeling accepted is the goal (not necessarily actually being accepted)
Biblical love is different than the love of movies and songs
Love = God
Accepting people regardless of their sin
Jesus is the Answer
Love accepts the sinner, not the sin
The sinners needed a physician
Jesus cared for the sinners’ souls
How do we respond to those who are living in sin?
Love perseveres for the “hopeless” cases
Luke 6:32-36 – “…do good expecting nothing in return…”
Christians and hate? We are supposed to love our enemies.
There are people who are radically against us…should we have them for that?
God is kind even to the evil and ungrateful
It’s easy for us to think “God doesn’t care about those evil people because they are too far gone
Love encourages repentance
Will we be like the Pharisees who believe the world would be better without those sinners
Will we be tolerant?
Will we be like Christ?
We need to stand up for the sinner and lead them like Christ would
We need to love one another even if it is our natural instinct to not love them
Real love has a person’s soul in mind
D.T. Niles – “Evangelism is one beggar telling another beggar where to find some food”
October 30 2016 Morning Bible study
We are supposed to put off our old self
How many times can I start over again and be a better person? Every day.
Does “let your ‘yes be yes’ and your ‘no be no’” mean you should tell someone exactly how you feel?
We usually know the right answer but we don’t always take the right action
Don’t let the devil get a foothold…we don’t normally think “the devil made me do it” while we are in the middle of doing something wrong
When we are busy holding grudges, we aren’t letting the Holy Spirit work in us
We are the light in the world…we are supposed to be an example of God…it’s easier to be the dark of the world
The Moon has no way to generate light; it is only a reflection of the sun…likewise we are a reflection of our Son
What is gossip? Unwholesome talk, damaging speech, any talk that doesn’t build a person up
The Bible says we need to build up another…before we correct someone, we need to have a relationship with someone
God sees us behave well and behave badly
Don’t forget about God because He never forgets about you
Paul told the Ephesians to find out what pleases the Lord and follow that Will
We should expose sins for what they are: disobedience to God
October 23 2016 Morning sermon – Brad
The most difficult passage for the modern world to believe
Matthew 6:33 – part of the Sermon on the Mount…the gist is the worries of the world choked out the good seed and it didn’t bear fruit
If you lose your soul, how can you get it back?
Eph 1:3 Everything that God made is ours who are in Christ
Our soul is so important that God sent his Son to redeem it
Blessed are they that is poor in spirit (blessed would be those who have everything they need)
We think that if we had more money or authority or youth then things would be so much better
Follow the Word of God and let everything else sort itself out
We think that if we obey God’s Word, we will miss out on all kinds of good things
When Jesus talked to the right young ruler, He must have had Heaven in mind. The ruler was focused on his earthly gains and couldn’t see the long game
Sometimes we don’t know what to pray but we should remember that God’s way is best
October 23 2016 Morning Bible study – Ephesians 4
Now there are no differences between Jews and Gentiles
When we are younger, we seem to have an easier time having and sharing our joy in being in Jesus
Speaking the truth in love
Paul is talking about how the lives of the Jews and the Gentiles has changed and how those who haven’t accepted Christ haven’t seen any change in their lives
Forbearance – coexisting with others and their faults
Some people are always gentle and humble, some people do what they should 20% of the time
Which is the harder virtue for you? Patience?
Common sense isn’t always common practice
In Paul’s day, the Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians often didn’t understand each other
Unity is something we have to work at
We should also be peacemakers with our brethren
We as a Church should all be prepared to serve in ministry, not just the leaders of the Church
How is what I am doing today helping to prepare God’s people for service?
If we approach each other humbly, we can disagree in love
When we are in unity, the whole Church can function better
Is what I say to a brother or sister today going to prepare them for future service in Christ or will it encourage them to never want to be in service to Christ again?
After you accepted Christ, was your goal to continue living your life exactly as you did before?
Will you take the time to talk about love with someone today?
October 16 2016 Morning sermon – Zack
How does Jesus mold us in His image?
We won’t become like Christ overnight
We have been supplied with His Word and His Example
How well do we keep up with studying our Bible?
Philippians 2:13: God works in you
Ephesians 2:10 – we are His workmanship
2 Cor 3:18 – transformed, from one degree to another
Paul’s example: he persecuted Jesus and His followers and was turned around as an agent for Jesus
God molds us into Christ’s image by answered prayers
When we pray, do we think “well, I hope this happens but not too sure” or do we faith that it will happen?
Jesus believed in prayer:
Matt 21:22, Mark 11:24, Luke 11:9, John 15:77
The apostles believed – Acts 4:29-31
By submitting to Him, we can be molded in His image
Are we putting up a barrier to Christ by saying “I want to be only this much like Christ”?
Christ needs people who are full equipped and ready to face the trials and evils of this world
Once we fully submit to God, He can begin to do the work
October 16 2016 Bible study
The Gentiles weren’t expecting Jesus; they felt they had no route to God because it was always known that the Jews were the chosen people
Imagine if you think about how much somebody loves you all day
Galatians 3:28 – we are all one in Christ Jesus
Col 3:11, Romans 10:2 – the gist is that there is no difference between Jew and Gentile in God’s eyes
Was Paul prideful in his activities?
The Church is meant to be a mirror into which the angels can look and see evidence of God’s wisdom
Eph 3:16 3 petitions in prayer: strengthen Ephesians spiritually, let the believers understand the love of Christ, and hope that the readers be filled with God
God’s ability to meet the needs of His people greatly exceeds anything that people might pray to Him for
October 9 2016 Morning sermon – Zack “The Whole Jesus”
We like to mold Jesus into what we would like Him to be…we take the bits and pieces of Him and leave the rest
We have the attitude “what’s good for you is good for me” and we end up with a “buddy” Jesus
If we only look at parts of Jesus and try to emulate just those parts, then we don’t have a full picture of who He really is
If we stick with a certain view of Jesus:
What are we leaving out?
· Jesus was passionate to always do what was right – overturning money tables in the temple
· Jesus was a servant – He served others above Himself
How it affects our lives?
· We could be passionless towards God – we won’t care to do what is right when it really counts
· Doctrinal issues won’t bother us
· Tolerance of sin is sin…we allow darkness to come into our lives
· Apathetic towards others – we won’t go the extra mile
· We need each other…we need to confess our sins to one another and gain mutual healing
· Apathy is sin…a Church in Revelation was condemned as being apathetic
How this affects the Church?
· We will not grow
· We’ll be more like the world
· We won’t succeed
· We need to live like Christ, love like Christ, and spread the love & Message like Christ
· We will lose our fellowship with Jesus
· We need to walk in the Light
Let’s strive to grow in the qualities of Christ and try to live in the way He lived
Let’s consider Christ for who He really was/is
October 9 2016 Morning Bible study
What is the emotion at Christian summer camp? Joy.
As we become adults, we may forget our joy; seems more mature to be more even-keeled.
Joy cometh in the morning.
Just because you grow up in the Church doesn’t mean you “stay with it” spiritually
God does good things for us without the requirement that we do something for Him…although He desires a relationship with us
What kind of grace do I show people? Especially people I don’t like? Do I always forgive everybody? Who are the people you are least likely to forgive? Your loved ones…we think they should know better and we know they can do better.
We aren’t worthy of God’s gift of salvation but He gives it because of who He is
We aren’t the same people that we were 20 years ago.
If we could earn our salvation based on our good works, we would have reason to boast
God created us and created jobs for us to do. We can consider our lives purposeful when we know that God has work for us to do
We are presented with all sorts of opportunities to do good in one day…do we embrace all of them?
In order for you to become an expert in anything, you need 10,000 hours of practice
The Messiah idea was promised to the Jews for many years so the Gentiles were not expecting Him
When we minister to others, Christ is ministering to them through us
October 2 2016 Morning Bible study
The Church is a little bit of Heaven brought down to earth
The letter to Ephesus wasn’t designed to be read and tossed out; it’s content was designed to be shared outside of Ephesus
With the hopeful Message we have, we should wake up every day in a good mood
God blesses His people materially and spiritually
Under Roman law, adopted sons enjoyed the same benefits and rights as natural-born sons
When was the last time I thanked God for making me His child?
Predestination – God doesn’t force us to choose to follow Him, but He knows who will choose Him in their lives
Restoration movement - God supplies people with enough grace to be able to choose to follow Him
Do I pray for others as much as I pray for myself?
October 2 2016 Morning Bible study – Zack
Why do you minister?
Some ministers work more with people…some ministers are more scholarly
Being a Christian is about one thing: the Gospel
Sometimes we get wrapped up in the doing and don’t remember the why we are doing
At Jesus’ time, the females in His genealogy wouldn’t have been celebrated
A manger is a feeding trough and not very clean
When a child is born in ancient Jewish tradition, you were expected to sacrifice a lamb…if you couldn’t afford a lamb, you could use two turtle doves or two pigeons which is what Joseph did
Jesus has the power to heal physical afflictions and provide spiritual healing
After the Last Supper, we don’t see any other instances where Jesus ate or drank
The Jews depended on their sacrifices to be free from their sins
If anyone else had gotten on the Cross, it wouldn’t have meant anything…it had to be Jesus
1 Cor 15:12-22 Paul addresses some people who didn’t believe in resurrection of the dead
When we as Christians die, that’s not the end
September 25 2016 Morning Bible study
You don’t need permission to do the right thing
How do you deal with troublemakers in the Church?
Sometimes we get trapped in sin and we need help out
We are meant to move from a casual relationship with God to an intimate relationship
There’s a fine line between carrying another’s burden and enabling a person’s bad behavior
This Church (TC) believes that when someone receives benevolence, they need to have skin in the game
If someone has to use both hands to carry another’s burden, they don’t have anything left to carry their own burden or help another person
We want to do what’s right for the other person…sometimes that means telling them “no”
How am I going to see where I’m going wrong unless someone will tell me?
Sometimes Christian friends have a tendency to wait to tell us that we are doing something wrong
Our sinful natures tell us to always look out for Number 1
Our own selfish person needs to get out of the way in order for us to do the good we ought to be doing
We aren’t born selfish; the world teaches us how to be selfish
What if the good Samaritan said “I just don’t have time to stop today”
September 25 2016 Morning Sermon – Zack
Mark 2 (healing of the paralytic)
Why did you become a Christian? Was it just because you grew up in the Church or some preacher scared you? Or was it because we chose to do so because we recognized our guilt?
When you sin, you put up a wall between you and God
Jesus purchased the Church with His blood…it was a great cost
Does grace cost us anything?
How are we going to get people to the feet of Jesus?
US religious census is done every 10 years and maps every county in each state
According to the last religious census in GT county, 61% aren’t affiliated with any religion
Once we see an opportunity to share the Gospel with someone, we should formulate a plan about what to say
Paul wasn’t a solo missionary; he partnered with all sorts of people to spread the Gospel
We should work together to be effective evangelists
September 18 2016 Morning Bible study
54 of the 102 New World colonists died within 4 months
Of the 48 that were left, a bunch considered going back to England
Churches so often get in the habit of being technically correct that they forget to love
While we should focus on what we need to do to obey God, we need to remember we are a family…although families can sometimes fuss over silly stuff
How many foundations can you live on? Do we still live by the Ten Commandments? The Mosaic laws list 600-700 regulations.
Many weddings nowadays don’t feature “trust and obey” in the vows
When you fall away from grace, what do you have? Just the Law and a bunch of rules to keep. Christ didn’t die for that.
Paul asked who was disrupting the Church…they needed to be taught or ushered out…someone has to say something before the bad fruit spreads throughout the whole Church
We need to love each other enough to counsel them on the error of their ways…we shouldn’t hold back because we are afraid to offend
The Cross is offensive to Jewish law but yet the Jews for Jesus movement is discovering Him
We are closet to honoring God when we love our neighbors as ourselves
Since we are under grace, we can do and say whatever we want…BUT we shouldn’t treat this as a free pass. We can end up walking alone.
If you eat the apple, then you will die. Now what? If you walk with Jesus, He will wash you clean. Since we are walking, we will stumble along the way
September 18 2016 Morning sermon – Brad
You don’t have to worry about the evildoer and those who do you wrong…but that doesn’t always make us feel better.
If you purse a life of righteousness and faith, God will bless your life in ways you can’t imagine
Faith doesn’t come by any other means than the Word of God
All things work together for good for those who love the Lord…that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be what we think is good for us
We often get ourselves into situations where we don’t know what to do…but our Father does
God blesses us in spite of our weakness…Paul suggested that it’s because of our weakness that we leave ourselves open for God’s intervention
Hebrews 11 – pattern of faith…Moses forsook the treasures of Egypt because he could see the hidden things to come (the riches of Christ)
We tell ourselves “I’m not Abraham, etc…I don’t have that much faith”. God uses our faith to put us in a place where He can bless us, use us
We don’t have to feel ashamed that we don’t know how to handle a situation
God keeps us from harm…He leads us in paths of righteousness which keeps us from going down the wrong path
Sometimes God keeps us from harm by putting us on a different path
Faith can show us things that others can’t see…it can help us see the good in a situation
Even though David had faith, he still had to go into battle. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had faith but still had to step into the furnace
God can work in our lives just like He worked in the lives of our ancestors
Sometimes our path will take us around a troubling situation…sometimes we have to go right through and endure it and lean on our faith
The joy set before Jesus most likely wouldn’t have been His throne near the Father because He already had it…it is probably the joy of the souls He redeemed/redeems
We are changing the world with the golden rule “do unto others as you would have done unto you”
September 11 2016 Morning sermon – Jerry T “Pure Worshippers”
Romans 12:1-2 – Gathering to worship
A regular gathering of the Church is designed to encourage the members
Our worship service should re-strike us with awe for our Lord
All of God’s creation says how great God is
The world show know who God is and why He is worthy of our worship
The chaos of the world today is because the world doesn’t know God
Our possessions can be our god
All week long, the world is trying to get us to adopt its values
Worship and serve have interchangeable meanings in old languages
Our whole lives are to be a worship service to God; it doesn’t only have to be done in a “sanctuary” for an hour or two a week
The Jews had the idea that if they followed their regulations right, then they would be right with God. They were viewing it microscopically
Hosea 6:4 “…for I desire steadfast love, not sacrifice…”
Amos 5 – “…I take no delight in your solemn assemblies…” God did ask for the sacrifices and other worship but He really wanted their hearts
If this world is to know God’s awesomeness, they need to see it through us
Revelation 19 – “…for the Lord God almighty reigns…”
One day there won’t be wars and terrorism and famine and disease
September 11 2016 Morning Bible study
Galatia was in the middle of modern-day Turkey
Paul spent time teaching the people and then later on he wrote to them to say how disappointed he was that they were departing from the faith so soon.
The Gospel has nothing to do with your nationality or whether you were a devout Jew under the old Law
We do the things we do because we have a relationship with God; we don’t do things in order to be able to have a relationship with God
We shouldn’t have a checklist religion
We shouldn’t have a performance-based faith
If you insist on keeping the old Law, you give up the beauty of the new Covenant with Christ
Eph 2: Saved by grace, justified by faith
Some people argue that we feel that we are saved by our work (insisting on baptism)
Obeying the gospel is just a start in our walk with Christ…we need to continue to walk with Him and grow throughout our life
The Jews took the old Law and added-on even more rules
Liberalism and legalism can both be problems
We can’t have unity unless we can reason with each other
What is best for my brother?
When a Church starts to “push the envelope” to be progressive, they often say they do it “because they can”
Is this freedom helpful? Does this freedom glorify God?
We shouldn’t not do things because the Law says so, but because it doesn’t benefit the Holy Spirit
September 4 2016 Morning Bible study
In ancient times, the eyes were a prized sense
Paul mentions writing in big letters; he may have been very nearsighted or partially blind or have some other optical affliction
Paul was stoned, lashed, beat, starved over the course of his ministry
Paul has been knocked down a few pegs to remind him of who he is and what his mission is
The Judaizers particularly imposed on the Christians the requirement of circumcision
Some ministers say that you can interpret the Scriptures any way you want to; we are all trying to get to the same place
What you are excited about is what you will talk about
Be an example for our families and others and don’t stop watering the seed
An organism is either in the process of growing or dying
If you are in Christ we are known as Christians
September 4 2016 Morning sermon – Zack
“The wise man that built his house on the rock” Luke 6:46-49
Burj Khalifa – tallest residential building in the world (in Dubai)
The foundation underneath goes 164 feet into the ground with 58,000 cubic tons of concrete
This story can be easily written off as a children’s Bible story
Everyone who comes to me
· Consider the supplier for our life and salvation
· Mark 5:25-29, Luke 8:43-48 (afflicted woman bleeding for 12 years and the doctors have no help other than to drain her bank account)
· Hebrews 5:9 – Jesus became the source of salvation for all who obey. If we are looking for healing and comfort in any other place than Christ, we won’t find it. We search for peace in lots of places that can’t offer it.
· John 5:39-40 – Some of the Jews at Jesus’ time on earth were comfortable in their adherence to all of the rules of the Law. They thought that Jesus would be a physical King in their time to sit on the throne in Jerusalem and punish the enemies of the Jewish people
Everyone who hears My Words
· Following the blueprints
· Psalm 119:105 – Your Word is a light to my path. If we look to any other source for guidance, we don’t have the Truth
· Two big problems with our hearing
Luke 10:38-42: Martha and Mary welcome Jesus to their home…consider our priorities…what are we busy doing?
James 1:21: Pride inhibits us from really listening to what God has to say. We have opinions based on what our parents told us or our own life experiences. Sometimes that can get in the way of the Truth.
Real truth comes from God’s word, the giver of Truth.
If God tells us to do or not do something, are we going to do the opposite because we think it’s right?
Everyone who does them (doing what the Lord says)
· Lay the foundation…the foolish man heard the Truth but didn’t apply it
· Ephesians 4:14 – press on and grow continually in the knowledge of Christ
· 1 Cor 15:58
· 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Many people feel their life is a mess and they blame God
August 28 2016 Morning Bible study
Wealthy families would often have a servant supervise the families’ sons
The old Law was the foundation of a building (the New Testament Church) …the Church couldn’t have been built without its foundation
New believers holding onto the old Law would be like a recently freed prisoner running back to his old cell and seeking the restrictions of the guards
The Israelites tell Moses in the desert that they want to go back to Egypt
Have we dabbled in going backwards?
2 Peter 2 has some text mentioning “getting a taste of Christ and going back to a previous life is like a dog returning to its vomit”
Jesus is Lord of all or none at all
Confusion is one of Satan’s favorite tools…he doesn’t necessarily have to speak against Jesus
The first Christians spent time together worshipping and then fellowshipping outside the Church…people saw this and some wanted to be a part of it
Since Christ makes no distinction about the worth of one man above another, we must not use any distinction to gauge a person’s worth either (not race, not religion, not wealth, not power, not family)
If we aren’t one unit, the devil can pick us off one by one
2 Peter 2 – false teachers will come along…people are slaves to whatever masters them
God desires to have a relationship with us with Him as our loving father who cares about our every step
August 28 2016 Morning sermon – Brad
David wrote about the LORD…it’s a symbol for the word for the Lord…it means “I am that I am”
The Lord leads us in paths of righteousness because of who He is, not because of who we are
Psalm 110 – Jesus quotes parts of this and the Pharisees pick fault with Him…” whose son will the Messiah be?” They answered “David’s son”.
How come David will call the Messiah Lord if David is supposedly the father of the Messiah?
The central message of the Old Testament is “someone is coming”. The central message of the New Testament is “someone came and will come back again”.
David hoped for a Messiah
Some teachers of the law were so ultra-conservative that they didn’t believe that the other prophets weren’t inspired of God…they only trusted Moses and his writings
If you believe in Christ it changes your whole life. If you don’t believe in Christ’s sacrifice, it doesn’t change who He is.
The great proof of Christ’s divinity is the empty tomb.
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus ministered to Jesus’ body and were unclean for the Passover
Matthew 28 “all authority on Heaven and on earth has been given unto Me…go forth and make disciples of all nations…”
Stop fighting God and start working with Him
How do you let your heart be tender to the Lord’s will?
August 21 2016 Morning Bible study – Galatians
Chapter 2 – When Peter was visiting Antioch, he embraced the Gentiles Christians along with the Jewish converts. The Gentiles didn’t follow the previous laws and customs of the Jews.
We can be pressured into forgetting the instructions God gave us.
Satan uses confusion and guilt to cause the new Christians to doubt
God sees us through rose-colored glasses (stained with Christ’s blood)
Many people view the Bible as a historical volume only
Abraham’s righteousness was performance-based under the old Law
Paul would teach to the crowd using old texts but then made a new point under the New Law
We all have things that we bear, but we don’t have to bear it ourselves. We need to surround ourselves with others on the same path.
August 21 2016 Morning sermon - Brad
Galatians 4 Jerusalem is a stand-in for the Church
The psalmist is awestruck that a God who knows all of the stars still cares for us
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said "blessed are they that mourn"
It's a temptation in life to wall ourselves off from others because we don't want to be hurt when they suffer
We are not good at the idea of meekness. Most people think meek means weak.
Meek means power in complete submission to God's will, even to death
We aren't good at pausing and stopping and waiting on the Lord
Hebrew word for waiting means string...all bound together for a specific task
We need to pause and listen for the Lord instead of rushing through with our own solution
Jesus and later Peter weren't breaking any law by eating with Gentiles, He was breaking a man-made rule that the Pharisees and Sadducees came up with
You are going to give your life for something
Whatever makes men good Christians makes them good citizens...Daniel Webster
August 14 2016 Morning sermon Zack
Sometimes we apply meanings to the Scriptures that aren't really there
1 Cor 10:13 God will not give you more than you can handle - this verse is misused for our own purposes
Why does God allow bad things to happen to us?
1. Because of sin...Adam is told he will have to work to eat and Eve will suffer in childbirth. Roman 5:12...sin entered the world through Adam and death followed it...it wasn't meant to be this way.
2. Because God wants us to grow. James 1:2-4...the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. How can I use this bad thing to help me grow?
3. Because that's how the world works. Man has free will. God desires that we choose to follow Him. Because of someone else's choice, it can affect our lives
Do we see in the Bible where God sends too much calamity on His people?
Exodus 3...Moses says he is not the guy to talk to pharaoh and lead the people out of Egypt. God tells Moses that He will be with him.
Jonah is commanded to preach in Nineveh and flees instead. While in the fish, Jonah prays for release
2 Sam 11...David and Bathsheba...temptation was a trial and David didn't ask God for support...he gave in to the temptation
During His ministry, Jesus prayed to the Father constantly
Why did Paul write 1 Cor 10:13? The emphasis of the verse is that God provides the way to endure
Temptation can strike us when we are in despair and we think God doesn't care and we have to handle things on our own
We are weak...there will be things we face that we can't handle but God is mighty
August 14 2016 Morning Bible study
· People keep reminding Paul of his past actions
· Judaizers – someone trying to push Jewish laws on new Christians…they wanted people to doubt Paul’s teachings
· At this time, the customs of the Old Law are intersecting with Christ’s teachings
· We all have different ministries
· Paul is certainly a polarizing figure but he does a great job of uniting people who are divided
· We should respect our Church leaders but not idolize them…we should focus on how well they lead not focus on their personalities
· Paul referred often to the other apostles as pillars of the Church
· Paul’s outfit and the Jerusalem’s apostles outfit agreed to work together and that they complemented each other
· The Jerusalem apostles were reaching the Jews and Paul was working with the Gentiles
· We may be tempted to think that our ministry and our gifts are superior to others but we need to understand that God has given other people their gifts and ministries that are different than ours
· Persecution of Christians in Jerusalem would have been intense…couldn’t get jobs, didn’t have a standing in the community
· We are called to be a different people…we aren’t supposed to give up on doing good
· Paul vs Peter…Peter and his outfit were guiding believers to follow Jewish laws and customs in order to be “good Christians”
August 7 2016 Morning Bible study
· Galatia was a Roman province north of the Mediterranean Sea (part of modern-day Turkey)
· There were a lot of new Christians that were muddying the waters doctrinally
· When you compare the truth with something that is partially true, there should be a red-flag that prompts you to stop and ask more questions
· In order to know the difference, you have to know the difference
· Paul wanted to warn the Galatians about the misinformation that was being spread amongst them…some said that Paul didn’t have the same authority as the other apostles…others said that you aren’t a true Christian unless you follow Christ’s commands plus the Old Testament laws and customs.
· Definition of an apostle: one who was with Christ and witnessed the resurrection
· 1 Cor 15 Paul said he didn’t deserve to even be considered in the same group as the apostles
· How much grace is involved in the Old Law…only once is it mentioned and it involves Noah…you kept the rules and there was very little heart involved (except David)
· 1 Cor 15:3-4 quick summary of what the Gospel is
· False gospels always mix truth with error
August 7 2016 morning sermon Brad
· Scriptures are designed to give men hope
· You should be able to face any situation that life throws at you
· Great men of God don't always get their way (David not allowed to build a temple)
· We are always trying to find the right path
· God leads us in the right path not because of us but because of who He is
· we live by grace
July 31 2016
Morning presentation – preacher from Ghana
John 15:16 You did not choose Me, I chose you.
There are over 1000 wells in Northern Ghana and each well can serve 300 people
When a well is established, the community wants to know why this was done for them
Why are we bearing fruit?
There are little huts by the side of the road that are used for schools...they have grass roofs and any little weather issue can close school
A fruit that can't be eaten is like a stone
They teach the teachers how to teach and love the children
The Muslim families give their kids to the school because they teach and house them
$6000 a month is needed to house, feed and educate the students
1 John 4:7
Life is well-lived when it impacts others
True Christian love always impacts positively on others
July 31 2016 Morning Bible study
Psalm 135: “…they have ears but they do not hear…” This psalm seems to poke fun at people who follow idols.
Psalm 136: God has provided for His people all along through the many years
Psalm 138: “…my thankfulness requires that I praise You with all of my heart…” David is sure that if the other kings of the earth hear the words of God, they will praise Him too
Psalm 139: Regardless of what the world shovels onto you, the Lord provides for you (material needs and strength to persist)
Where can I flee from Thy presence? God can rid us of our sins but we have to be a willing participant.
Psalm 141: Set a guard over my mouth
Psalm 143: Teach me to do Your will…even kings need to be willing to learn
Psalm 144: Who are we that You think of us?
Do have permission by exclusion?
Psalm 147: “…Praise the Lord you monsters and sea creatures…”
Psalm 150: “Praise Him for His mighty deeds…let everything that breathes praise the Lord…”
Zack – sermon on giving
Giving can bring about change
God rewards the giver
Israelites were giving not out of willingness but out of duty and they gave their leftovers to God and He told them that they were robbing Him
Don't use cheap measures when you give to God
Every good and perfect gift comes from God
What are the things we can offer God in comparison to what He gives us?
When God sees us give to others, He acknowledges that it is a gift to Him
Give tactfully (goal-oriented)
It takes a 100% commitment from all of us to reach our Church goals in missions here and abroad
Romans 12:1 Paul encourages the Christians in Rome to give themselves fully to God
July 24 2016 Morning Bible study
Psalm 129 Request to God to weaken Israel's enemies...the author seems to have a wish for retribution
We don't need to seek to hurt someone who has hurt us
Romans 12 repay evil with good
Psalm 130 being in the depths
Israelites would sing songs on way to Jerusalem to prepare their hearts for time with God...if you have an issue with a brother, square it away first
Psalm 131 being humble before the Lord...total dependency on Him now and forever
David was favored by the people...future kings are compared or contrasted with David
God tells the Israelites that if they stay faithful, David's lineage will forever sit on the throne
The Old Testament laws were the laws governing every day life...there was no separation of Church and state
Psalm 133 the Church needs to unify and build each other up. David wanted all God's people to be of one voice
Psalm 134 conversation between Levites and the Israelites leaving the worship assembly
July 17 2016 Sunday Bible study
Psalm 120 – Songs as Israel marches towards Jerusalem
Psalm 121 – “He who keeps you will not slumber”
Psalm 122 – Don’t allow us to be overtaken on the way to the Temple
Psalm 125 – It’s only due to God’s hand that Israel traveled safely…we are surrounded on every side by mountains.
Psalm 126 – Have you ever felt like your life was going so well so it was a dream?
July 17 2016 Matt D sermon Who would we want to go in and rescue us? Mr. T or Chuck Norris?
What does God see in 80-year old Moses that we don't see?
We can tackle our life's challenges...our list of cant's is from the devil
Moses went from a prince of Egypt to a sheep watcher
Why did Moses fail at the age of 40? He thought by his own hand that he could rescue his people. God used 40 years to humble Moses.
We would like things to happen immediately or fall out of the sky for us.
Is God going to give us a wilderness of our own? There is nothing wrong with an experience that shakes our pride and reminds us that God is in charge.
Once God works in our lives we should be able to say that we aren't the person we used to be.
"I will be with you..."
Moses feels inadequate to carry out the task before him...but he's not inadequate with God's help
July 10 2016 Sunday Bible study
Notes from Manhattan Church of Christ, NYC (reprinted with permission…C. Garrison)
· This has been a challenging few days in our nation with the shootings in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis & Dallas. Do you feel Jesus speaks to this situation and situations like these?
· What do you think would be an appropriate salt and light witness for churches and communities of faith concerning what happened in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis & Dallas?
· Do you feel conversations and discussions like these in Church settings and communities of faith are challenging? Why or why not?
· What do you think the role of prayer plays in situations like these?
· What scriptures can you share that you feel have been helpful to you and might be helpful to others about the situations in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis & Dallas?
Jesus should transcend our politics.
We can disagree but we don’t have to be disagreeable.
Our identity in Chris should interoggate our identity we had before we were Christians
God calls us to be something beyond what we are without Him
If we can’t grow as a Church, how can we minister to others?
God calls us out of something then shows us where are going to
We need to be prayerful about our saltiness & lightness
July 3 2016 Sunday Bible study
Psalm 107: “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so…”. If you are having a really bad day today, is it easy to ask what tomorrow will be like? God helps us when we ask Him. We have to admit that we need help and we need to be willing to do what He says.
Psalm 108: When we get out ahead, we forget that God is there with us. “…they accuse me even as I pray for them…” The psalmist calls down curses on his enemies. “Your steadfast love endures forever” is repeated throughout the Psalms.
Psalm 110: Hinting about Jesus who will be our King and Priest.
Psalm 111: “…the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…” We should say the word “awesome” for descriptions of God.
Psalm 112: “…blessed is the man who fears the Lord…he will have no fear of bad news…” Bad news is going to come our way due to us being in a bad, sinful world and the devil likes to twist our minds. We need to let our light shine…can’t hide in the closet.
Morning sermon Zack
Think about the freedoms we have that people of yesteryear dreamed of
We have freedom from sin in Christ. The wages of sin is death.
What did it mean for Jesus to die on the Cross? We don't earn our freedom...it's given to us by grace
Gal 5:1 "...do not submit again to a yoke of slavery..."
Christ releases us from our yoke
The Law is weakened by the flesh...
Don't use this freedom from sin to be involved in sin
We should be sharing this freedom with those around us
We may make many choices in our day...only one decision really matters: are you going to be a slave to sin or a slave to God?
There is no partially standing with God...you can't mostly be a Christian
Paul said we are free from sin and slaves to righteousness
James 4:7 Submit yourselves to God...resist the devil and he will flee
June 26 2016 Sunday Bible study
Psalm 101: David describing how he will conduct himself as king. Also we learn we are able to share our suffering and pain with God.
Psalm 102: “…my days pass away like smoke…for I eat ashes like bread…you have taken me up and thrown me down…you will rise and have pity on Zion…”. This was the prayer of an afflicted man. When we can shift our focus from our problems to His power, we find we can cope with our storms of life.
Psalm 103: The Lord is slow to anger…He does not deal with us according to our sins.
Psalm 105: Locusts came and ate up all the green things and produce and He struck down the firstborn
Psalm 106: Our fathers remembered not the loving kindness of God. The psalmist starts with praising God and ends with praising God and the middle part shows the failures of man.
Morning sermon: various speakers during the “Day of Prayer” program
June 12 2016 Sunday Bible study
Finding God in the gloom is hard...do you remember your darkest day ever?
We try to find where God is in our bad situation. When we don't listen to God's instructions, we suffer and then we repent and then we do it again
Psalm 73 Why do the wicked prosper?
Psalm 74 Request for defense against mocking enemies
Is the world worse today than back in Genesis?
Psalm 75 song of reassurance
Psalm 79 celebration of God's punishment of enemies
Psalm 85 written after return from exile? Babylonians were allowed to take Israel into captivity.
The Bible is full of "if this then this" statements whereby God does things for us if we remain faithful...if we sin, He punishes
The psalmist thought the punishment had gone on long enough...
God has many reasons for allowing us to endure suffering...sometimes we get far ahead of God...maybe we need to be more sensitive to God and others
If prodigal son didn't have some hope of forgiveness, he would have stayed gone
Those who were not foolish but instead feared the Lord would find an easier path through life
God doesn't want to drag us through life by our collar...we need to get to a point where we want to do nothing but obey
Maybe the rain falls on the just and unjust so that we learn to be thankful
Psalm 115 To fear is to trust
Psalm 89 asks God to restore David's line...didn't God promise that someone from David's line would rule forever?
Mt Hermon is highest mountain in the region...Mt Tabor is a little shorter
Morning sermon: Brad
We think Paul's affliction was an eyesight issue
We go through life thinking we have it figured out
The Lord wants to bless our lives...if that's the case, why does life go wrong?
When you really see the Lord, it changes the direction of your life
If we are in Jesus, we are a chosen vessel to take His Word to the world
Satan knows how valuable your soul is
Why does evil triumph?
Our world is good with evil in it
June 5 2016 Sunday Bible study
Psalm 58 strong statements used against earthly judges
Sometimes we ask God "Where are You?"
The psalmist knows that in the end the judges will be judged
Are people evil from birth?
We are born into a world of sin
The psalmist wanted God to curse people...the curse requests were an honest expression to God at concern over injustice
Psalm 68 hymn celebrating triumphant rule of Israel's God
Each of us are needy in similar ways and we also have very different needs
Do we feel needy? Not necessarily...we may feel like we are self-sufficient
Our choices for ourselves can keep us down...we need to humble ourselves
Psalm 72 written by Solomon...is he talking about Jesus or himself? He starts talking about himself but he knows his time will end and Jesus will endure
Later in his reign Solomon was accused of putting harsh yokes on his people
Morning sermon Brad
There are many lessons that could be taught but they are too close to home and too emotional
No matter how badly we mess up our lives, God's Word is still true
That little voice in our head needs to be a voice of faith...God wants to move us to a place where it's best for us. We need to talk to ourselves the way God would talk to us
1 Cor 12 Paul's thorn...He requested three times that the affliction be removed
We usually come to God in our weakness
Sometimes we get to a place that is so far out of our norm that it causes us to know that God protects us and guides us
1 Peter 1 quoting Isaiah...the grass whither and the flowers fade...but God's Word endures forever. The beautiful part comes after the old stuff dies
Let your faith be in the power of God and let Him be a comfort to you
What you do and how you live your life is important
May 29 2016 Sunday morning adult Bible study
Sons of Korah...Levite musicians who also wrote some Psalms
Psalm 44 is a national call for help for deliverance from an enemy
Psalm 45 - praise for king and queen on their wedding day
Psalm 46 - God is our refuge and strength.
Psalm 49 - those who trust in money and other earthly things are fools
Psalm 50 - warning to people who engage in repetitious religious practices. Does God need our sacrifices?
Psalm 51 - David is asking for forgiveness after sin with Bathsheba and against her husband
People in David's day had prophets who spoke to them with words from God...today we have the Bible and the Holy Spirit
Psalm 53 - God looks down from heaven to see if anyone is following Him
Psalm 54 - Conspiracy by a former friend
Everyone everyday needs to trust God...back in David's day there was a lot of verbal and physical attacks against leaders
Psalm 57 - " I take refuge in the shadow of Your wings"
Sunday morning sermon - Zack
It's the fact that God molds us in the womb that gives us any worth at all
Sheep need a shepherd to guide them back home
1 Tim 2:4 God desires all to come to Him
How much do you have to hate someone to not tell them the Good News?
2 Cor 5:17-21
God is making His appeal to others through us
If we aren't right emotionally, we lash out at people
2 Cor 1:3-4 "...the God of all comfort...so that we may comfort others..."
1 John 3:17 - If you are able to help someone and you pass them by, how is God's love in us? We need to be willing to give and help those in need
Scariest verse in whole Bible: Ephesians 4:28 - "...let him labor...so that he may share with anyone in need"
We should provide for our needs and our families' needs and then use the rest to help others
Jesus promises that He is always with us and He can empathize with our every situation
We need to be kind to others in the Church
Those who had sinned against Him, He saved
John 13:12-50 - "...you ought to wash one another's feet...". We need to humble ourselves like Jesus did.
Do we view those outside the Church as lowly and not like us?
May 22 2016
What do all of us have in common with David? We are all sinners.
Back in David's time, there were prophets that were the pipeline to God...Jesus is our pipeline now
Was David closer to God than we are? Do we use the pipeline to God early and often?
Psalm 31 David had enemies. Who is our biggest enemy as Christians? Satan is actively trying to tear apart the Church. Satan tries to keep us from believing in prayer and tries to convince us that we are in control of our lives
Psalm 32 When David kept his sins inside, he felt beat down by them
Romans 6..."offer yourselves to God...as instruments of righteousness..."
Psalm 33 A hymn to God as our Creator and Judge
Psalm 34 We as a Church family need to be together to get refreshed
Psalm 40 "...He drew me from a slimy pit...You are my Help and my Deliverer..."
Sermon Jerry T
Jesus became our ransom...the disciples didn't quite process what Jesus meant when He said He was only on earth temporarily
Colossians 3...Paul reminds them that if you have been raised in Christ, set your mind on things above
Every person on the planet is either separated from God due to sin or reconciled to God through Jesus
It doesn't matter how big our house is or how many friends we have or how big our wallet is because it will all fade away in the end
2 Peter 3:8 "...the Lord is not slow in His promise as you may perceive slowness..."
2 Corinthians 5 everybody looks different now that we are Christians
We should no longer live for ourselves but live for Him
When ambassadors go to another country they don't become a citizen of that country, they are representing their own country
When circumstances of life don't seem right or fair, remember we have a bright future
The temporary struggles of life are preparing us for a glorious eternity
If I go that way, will that help my relationship with God grow stronger?
God isn't asking for a place in our life, He's asking for our whole life
May 15 2016 Sunday adult Bible study class
There are likely 7 authors of Psalms
Don't feel bad about feeling bad
We realize that we can't do much about our suffering
This wasn't a good time in David's life
Is it easier today for a family to worship or back in the Psalmist's day?
Psalm 25 inspired the hymn "Unto Thee O Lord"
You can get humble but do you stay humble?
Was David leading a blameless life?
Human promises don't always persist but God's promises to us are eternal
The Psalms can be thought of as positive self-talk
Morning sermon Jerry T
The new access to God that we have is prayer
We can be in God's throne room when we pray
We have to make a conscious effort to pray yet it should be a constant conversation with God
If you have to count the number of times you prayed a day it's not a continuous conversation
Rejoice always and pray constantly
Lord's Prayer...we were told to pray like this but it doesn't have to be exactly like this
We need to humble ourselves when we pray
God wants us to ask him for fulfillment of our needs so that we know He is the giver of all good things
Psalm 139...God wants us to ask Him to search our lives and make us better
It's by Jesus that we have authority to pray to God
Prayer time should be total submission to God
Our own self-centeredness keeps us from asking God to break us and mold us in His image
Jeremiah 10...It's not in man to know the correct path by himself
God is asking us to go and tell about Him, not us
God wants us to be more dependent on Him
What kind of pot does the Potter want me to be?
Isaiah 6...who shall I send? Lord send me
The words we prayer should indicate how much we have allowed God to mold us
May 8 2016
How can we serve a God who is bloody and brutal? Our God is a just God.
David didn't want to just praise God with his lips...he wanted the heart to be involved
Moses told the Israelites to stop and consider that God would deliver them in ways they couldn't imagine
Why do we wait for crisis to call on God? David sings during the good and bad times to show a grateful heart
It seems to take a significant emotional event to turn our attention to God (i.e. 9/11)
Some Christians are like tea bags in that the best of us only comes out when we are in hot water
Does Godly mean perfect? No it means striving to be like God every minute.
If we don't get ourself out of our heart and make room for the Holy Spirit, we won't change
It's best to know God before you need Him
Dominant characteristic of evil men is arrogance
David realizes that God hears all our prayers
Consider the kindness and severity of God...can't have one without the other
One little line in a song can propel us to an active relationship with God
Every commandment has a blessing with it
The way God designed the family, it should be a blessing to everyone
Life gets complicated...it can be wonderful and bewildering
We are fools but the Bible is Truth
No matter what your Mother did or didn't do in life, the Bible has hope for us all
Whatever you are going through, Jesus has compassion on you. We are never too far gone and Jesus knows how complicated our life is
Because we have life, we have the responsibility to repent and find Jesus
Stuff that happened in our childhood seem to get more complicated as we age
Life can be full of stumbling blocks or building blocks
Once we get Jesus right, some of the problems in our life can be sorted out
May 1 2016
Psalms offers timeless advice
Hebrew poetry uses parallelism (if this, then this)
Satan is constantly bombarding us to try and break us
It was a Jewish custom to constantly repeat a bit of Torah to oneself as a form of positive self-talk
Eternal life isn't much talked about in the Old Testament so ancient Jews didn't quite grasp it yet...they thought that rewards and punishment would arrive in the current life
If we can get out of the way and let the Lord do His work, our Church will grow
David, Solomon, Ezra and Nehemiah were builders and God put Christ in the house of a carpenter
We are all builders
If we have the Lord's blessing, nothing can stand in our way
If we are the only Christian in a home, that home is blessed because of us
The Lord sees the beauty in us and He makes our beauty shine to the world
We get to be an example of faith
The best thing that can happen is for us to want God's will to be done in our lives
April 24 2016
We serve others' physical needs but we also need to attend to spiritual needs
God worked through Gideon to pare down the group of fighting men...God uses a remnant of people to accomplish tasks
A remnant escapes the flood and Sodom
What do you do when something wrong happens? Never give up...your first instinct is to throw in the towel
We think that God will put a hedge around us...we can't avoid situations but we can endure them
In a crisis, what is still working?
Stop doing what is burning your house down
As long as you have breath you have hope and opportunity
Use what you do have to survive