Archive for the Category »messages «

Deborah – Living in God Will!
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If you are like me you know God can do anything!  You have come to Him in faith for many things that you know He is able to do, and yet when the answer you seek alludes your life sometimes you are tempted to move into “God can, but He won’t”.  The Israelite people had lived in 20 years of cruel oppression and the oppressor had 900 chariots!  The following pod cast is a lesson I taught at our women’s Bible study on Deborah.  Join me as we look to the Lord through the life of Deborah.

You can find the podcast here.

 

 

Eve – The Pathway to Sin
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This semester the women’s Bible study that I am involved in leadership with is working through Life Principles from the Women of the Bible, by Wayne Barber, Eddie Rasnake and Richard Shepherd.  I had the opportunity to teach the lessons on Eve and on Deborah.  We covered Eve a several weeks ago and I would like to invite you to listen in.  You can find the lesson on our Pod Cast Media page.

Have you ever considered what it would be like to be famous for the worst thing you ever did, your biggest mistake, greatest failure in judgment and action?  That is what it would feel like to be Eve.  Through the account in Genesis 3 we can see a clear path that led to sin, one we can learn from.  Grab a Bible and look along with me at what the Lord has to share with us through the life of Eve.

The lesson on Deborah will be available soon.

 

 

What Is The Church “Selling” With The Gospel?
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Where in the Bible does God tell us to pray a prayer to ask Jesus into our heart?

I don’t find it either…

You would think that something so vital to the gospel that the church preaches would be there, apparent for all to see. What are we “advertising” to a world of people? What are all the revival rallies and evangelism efforts seeking to get people to “buy”? If the problem is that humanity is separated from God by our sin and will therefore be separated from God for eternity, what must we do to be saved?

Before my fellow Christians start throwing things, let’s go to 3 passages that get us the closest I have seen to “praying a prayer to ask Jesus in our hearts” and then consider a proposal as I briefly share some of my experience.

Acts 2.37-39 “Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.””

This comes after a powerful sermon preached by Peter. People are convicted, they want to respond and Peter tells them to repent & be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins, and the Holy Spirit will be given to them.

Acts 16.29-34
“And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34 Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.”

This time we see a jailer who is about to loose his career when he thinks all the prisoners have escaped, so he is ready to kill himself on his sword. Paul and Silas assure him that all the prisoners are there and he is so relieved that his life is spared he asks how to respond. He is told to “faith in the Lord Jesus”. I love it that later that night they are all sitting around the dinner table rejoicing that the jailer believed in God…why, because he was ALIVE, he didn’t kill himself and his family was joyful.

Romans 10.9-11,
“because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” …13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” “

Here we have a command to say with our mouth, and faith in our heart that the resurrection of Jesus happened. Then it ends with a statement assuring that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Now, as I said, these are the 3 that, in my opinion, get us the closest to what we hear so often of “pray to receive Christ” or “pray to ask Jesus into your heart”. My point is not so much about whether we should encourage/lead someone in a prayer to receive Jesus, but I do have concern about what that person has been told or thinks he/she is doing?

Ok…I’m going to push the “pause” button here for today. My recent posts have been lengthy and some weighty, but more importantly, before I further develop what I am thinking, I would love to hear from the readers on what I have said thus far. Tomorrow, I will publish my developing thoughts and experience.

Two parting questions –
Where else does the Bible instruct us on praying a prayer to be saved?
How is the presentation of the message of the church heard concerning how someone must be saved?

Teenagers Never Cease to Amaze Me!
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student led Sunday morningOne of our Student Ministry values is “Ministry Ownership”.  This is very important in my experience in ministry to combat the consumer mentality that plagues the culture and the church (especially younger generations).  Practically, what this means is making sure that we (staff and adult volunteers) are not doing all the ministry FOR the students, allowing them to get the idea that they show up at the church and are ministered TO.  So we have students involved in planning teams, weekly programming teams, service teams, worship teams, tech/video teams, greeting teams and more.  This to me is one of the big differences between what I call a “youth group” or a “student ministry”.  The focus is on the ministry that we do together.

A few weeks back we did a Sunday morning where we asked the students to do everything…I and others on the team gave guidance before the morning, but during it I sat in the back and was astounded by God working through teenagers.  I even asked myself, “why do I come each week, they can do this!”  I was challenged and greatly encouraged by this morning!  The worship team, Matt, Anni, & Elliot, and all the support crew truly honored God.

So take a few minutes, click on the play button at the bottom of this post (or click here to go to the podcast section of the blog) it is TOTALLY worth it.  (apologies, as we did not capture the first part of Matt’s message)

What is Christianity All About?
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Simply Christian Book Cover“Christianity is not about a new moral teaching – as though we were morally clueless and in need of some fresh or clearer guidelines…Christianity isn’t about Jesus offering a wonderful moral example, as though our principal need was to see what a life of utter love and devotion to God and to other people would look like, so that we could try to copy it…Nor is Christianity about Jesus offering, demonstrating, or even accomplishing a new route by which people can ‘go to heaven when they die.’…Christianity isn’t about giving the world fresh teaching about God himself…Christianity is all about the belief that the living God, in fulfillment of his promises and as the climax of the story of Israel, has accomplished all this – the finding, the saving, the giving of new life – in Jesus.  He has done it.  With Jesus, God’s rescue operation has been put into effect once and for all.” (N.T. Wright Simply Christian)

That is the story of the whole of scripture…God’s Epic Rescue of his creation, heaven and earth colliding and the power of grace and mercy triumphing over the power of the law.  We are to daily experience the rescue of God in our lives and be the rescue of God in others’ lives!  David Crowder’s song Remedy constantly pours through my head…

Oh, I can’t comprehendDavid Crowder Remedy Album cover
I can’t take it all in
Never understand
Such perfect love come
For the broken and beat
For the wounded and weak
Oh, come fall at His feet
He’s the remedy
He’s the remedy

He is the one who has saved us
He is the one who forgave us
He is the one who has come
and is coming again

The Epic Rescue Title ImageWe are currently teaching an 8 week series through the story of all of scripture and making sure we don’t lose or cut up our scriptures into unrelated parts, resulting in just a collection of stories and truths.  I am rediscovering how by keeping the whole in perspective, it brings out the richness of the details and specifics of scripture AND how my life is still part of this great rescue story.  This isn’t something that has merely taken place thousands of years ago, but a new-life story that is played out over and over through the days that you and I live!

If you are interested, I am posting the audio recordings of each week in my podcast media tab of this site.
(We have had some problems with some of the recordings that we hope to have worked out in the future.)

Awesome!
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Today in Insight we completed our series “God of Our Emotions”, a 6 week look at portions of the book of Psalms, exploring how we can connect with God through all of our emotions.  Sometimes we think that it is only the “good” emotions that God relates to us with, but we read the highly powered emotional language of the Psalms in which the writer is bringing everything he has to God and letting God speak into them.  So we took Joy, Anger, Sadness/Depression, Hope & Desire, and today was Awe & Wonder…

What makes you say Awesome??  What takes your breath away each day??

“All together now—applause for God! Sing songs to the tune of his glory, set glory to the rhythms of his praise.  Say of God, “We’ve never seen anything like him!”  Take a good look at God’s wonders— they’ll take your breath away.”  -Psalm 66.1-2,5 (The Message)

We had an activity with the students to draw/paint/write/etc on large mural paper about something that makes the awe inspired and here are a few of their inspirations:

What causes you to be awe inspired…small or big, everyday or every so often??

And there were much more great inspirations!

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