Sunday 07.31.16 (learning contentment)

This Sunday we’ll take a look at what Paul taught about wealth and riches in 1 Timothy 6. It’s when we find contentment with what we have in Christ that we are then able to use our wealth wisely. Then on Sunday night, we are back to our normal weekly schedule and will continue our I Will study. Hope to see you there!

@945 Small Group / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
@6pm I Will study in church library–Chapter 4, “I Will Serve”

Sermon Notes
Learning Contentment ~ 1 Timothy 6:6-19

  • Learn to be content, and not jealous or greedy, by pursuing God and godly character (6:6-16)
    • True gain comes through godliness with contentment
    • Contentment realizes that everything good we have is all because of the grace of God in Jesus
    • If we make money our great pursuit, then it will lead to our ruin
  • Learn to enjoy what you have while also being generous to others (6:17-19)
    • Wealth can be useful but is always temporary, so our hope must be in Someone more sure
    • God gives wealth for two purposes: to enjoy and to share, in proper balance

Good Reads 07.27.16 (on: work, parenting, and more!)

Here is a collection of good reads gathered from across the internet this past week. Enjoy!

On work: Working Well by Tim Challies

You need to work. You also need to obey the people who are over you in that work. Whenever Paul talks about authority he connects it to the authority of Christ; whenever he talks about obedience he makes it a lesser form of the greater obedience to Christ. He does that here. Employees, you need to obey your manager or your employer in the same way you would obey Christ. These are not two different things. The way you understand the employee/employer relationship flows right out of the way you understand your relationship with Jesus Christ. If you want to obey Christ, you need to obey your boss. In fact, you need to obey your boss in the way you obey Christ. (click here to read more)

On sin and the Christian: Three Things Sin Can’t Do to the Christian by Cody Barnhart

If you are being sanctified by the renewal of your mind, your perfection has already been accomplished. Though you must work out your salvation with fear and trembling, you are no longer at enmity with God. Rejoice in this freedom! Sin cannot overcome us because we’ve been overcome with Christ’s righteous faithfulness. He completed all the work necessary to not just save you, but to keep you. Rest and rejoice in the faithfulness of King Jesus. (click here to read more)

On silence and response: How Would Jesus Respond Online? by Michael Kelley

What about us? We are often far more concerned with responding than knowing. We are much more focused on our next word than the heart that motivated the criticism or accusation. We forget, in a day and time of easy and cheap social interactions and confrontations, that the ones on the other side of the tweet are actually people made in the image of God. If we knew who they were, we might be much slower to speak and quicker to hold our tongues and listen. (click here to read more)

On parenting (this is a fun little post): Honest Parenting Haikus by Barnabas Piper

Parenting is hard
And that’s an understatement
But it is worth it
(click here to read more)

Pray for your country’s leaders (a meditation)

God’s people should make petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings on behalf of all people—on behalf of kings, and all who hold high office, so that we may lead a tranquil and peaceful life in all godliness and holiness. ~1 Timothy 2:1-2

It’s Summer of 2016, and here in the United States we find ourselves in the midst of another heated political battle. Some days it seems the country has never been more divided. Some days it seems that individual political parties have never seen so much internal turmoil. But really, historically, there’s nothing new under the sun (Solomon, Ecclesiastes).

Politics have always been heated and the issues complex. Some politicians have fared better than others at navigating the opinions and felt needs of a diverse population base while remaining popular. Opinionated news media and social networking where anyone can say what they want with little thought rarely helps.

As citizens of the United States, we have a great privilege that much of the world has not shared: we can vote for a person based on our convictions, beliefs, and conscious. We might not agree with everything a candidate does, but we do get to cast a vote and we get to do so without feeling threatened by a dictatorial governing force.

And if we are followers of Jesus, as citizens of heaven, we have a greater privilege, in fact a greater duty: to pray for those in charge.

Paul told young Timothy to teach the people in the church to pray in various ways “on behalf of all people.” Since we can’t realistically know the prayer needs of billions of people, there is some obvious generality to this command. We have people who are family, neighbors, friends, co-workers, and classmates who we do know well and we can pray for specifically and regularly.

But how do we pray for “all people”?

One way that Paul went on to specify was to pray for the governing authorities. With our news outlets and social media, it is far easier for us to become skeptical and angry toward those in government than it is to pray for them. Yet, the Bible calls us to be different than what we see on the news or Facebook.

It doesn’t matter if we like a politician or not, it doesn’t matter if we agree with their positions or not, and it doesn’t matter if their last name is Bush, Obama, Clinton, Ryan, or Pelosi. We are to pray.

The reason we pray is for the good of the people of our land. Paul said it was  good thing for us to be able to live “tranquil and peaceful” lives and especially as Christians in our pursuit of “godliness and holiness.” Paul went on to say as well that this is good as we seek the salvation of others, because God desires all people to be saved from the greatest of kings to the humblest of servants (2:3-4).

So, we must pray.

We are to pray for the character of the political leaders. Better to be led by men and women of honesty and integrity than by those who lack. We are to pray for wisdom in leadership. Better to be led by those who are able to discern well the direction of the age and offer real solutions than by those who can’t see what’s likely to come and cause great problems. We are to pray for leaders who listen well. The Bible tells us to be slow to speak and quick to listen, so better to be led by those who will take the time to listen to different views and opposing sides, as well as their own constituents, and then work to develop solutions that are best for all.

And, since we as Christians believe that the hope of the gospel and the love of God are for people of all backgrounds, ages, social class, education, etc., we are to pray for the salvation of those in charge. Not that they would use religion merely as a platform to appeal to certain people, but to see true life change. It is better to see another join us in God’s family and better to be led by someone who knows the grace of God and has a genuine love and concern for all people, then someone who caters to just a small group that can benefit him or her.

Let us pray, then, for our president, senators, representatives, governors, and others in government office, in the hope that they will make a greater, more positive impact in our country and world.

This post is part of our ongoing journey through the Bible as a church.

Sunday 07.24.16 (Jesus: the greatest hero)

This Sunday is VBS2016 Kickoff! Sunday morning, we’ll take a look at Daniel 7 and see how Jesus is the greatest of all heroes. Then Sunday night at 6pm kids preschool through the 6th grade can join us for HeroHeadquarters Vacation Bible School. We hope to see you there!

If you’re the parent/guardian of a child and would like for them to be a part of our VBS, you can show up a little before 6pm to register them or you can still pre-register at our VBS2016 page (click here).

@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
@6pm HeroHeadquarters VBS (runs until 815pm, Sunday through Thursday with family night at 6pm on Friday July 29)

Sermon Notes
Jesus: The Greatest Hero ~ Daniel 7

  • A “hero” is a person of great courage and character, a role model, or a person of great valor who makes sacrifices for others. In all of these descriptions, Jesus is the greatest Hero.
  • In the world there are kings and kingdoms that rise and fall (7:1-8, 15-26)
    • Daniel saw a vision of 4 kingdoms that would impact God’s people: Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome
    • These produced frightful and unsure times that challenged the faith of God’s people, times that needed hope and rescue
  • Hope and rescue are in King Jesus and his eternal kingdom (7:9-28)
    • God is still sovereign over all
    • Jesus rules as the great King
    • His kingdom is already present in the world but not yet fully manifested in its glory
    • King Jesus shares his kingdom with his people
      • Live as one rescued and made righteous by Jesus through faith as you spread his fame (7:18)
      • Trust Jesus to turn all wrongs to rights and do not fear the world powers (7:21-22)
      • Look forward to ruling with Jesus and so display his goodness and mission (7:27, 12:1-3)

Good Reads 07.20.16 (on: the Holy Spirit, soul mates, and more!)

Here is a collection of good reads gathered recently from across the internet. Enjoy!

On the Christian being the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit: What a Wonder! by Tim Challies

You, Christian, are the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit of God makes his habitation within you. He has joyfully, willingly, come to you so you can be near to him. This knowledge, this wonder, has powerful consequences.

It gives assurance. If the Holy Spirit has made his home within you, you can be sure that he will never abandon you. Who or what could ever drive God out of his dwelling place? Is Satan powerful enough to displace the Spirit? Of course not. Is your sin or your desire to sin or your unbelief enough to drive him out once he has come in? Never! Knowing that you have the Spirit within allows you to live free from the terror of abandonment, free from the fear that God will give up on you. God has not only chosen to do something to you from without but has also chosen to take up residence within. (click here to read more)

On busyness and Bible reading (note: this post was directed toward moms, but there’s good advice for everyone): How a Busy Mom Can Stay Consistent in the Word by Courtney Reissig

We all have different capacities and we all go through different seasons of life. Maybe you are a mom with young children. You’re not going to be able to go back to your times of reading the Word for an hour or two hours, having an uninterrupted devotional time. So you must have realistic expectations for yourself going into motherhood. Maybe for you that’s saying, “I’m only going to get ten or fifteen minutes in.” Or, “I’m okay with the disruptions as I read.” Be realistic. Realistic expectations will help you not feel so defeated when your plan goes awry. (click here to read more)

On relationships and “soul mates”: Searching for a Soul Mate by J. Alan Branch

To expect another fallen human to “make us whole” is to commit an idolatrous act, placing a created being before the Creator.  Only Jesus Christ can offer us genuine wholeness. Christ’s mission was to make provision for the redemption of men from sin.  Colossians 1:22 says, “But now He has reconciled you by His physical body through His death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before Him.” God’s desire is to make us whole by making us holy.  Likewise, when Christians are looking for a spouse, our primary goal should be to seek someone who shares a desire for holiness. (click here to read more)

On the value of boredom: I’m Never Bored and I Think it Might Be Killing Me by Stephen Altrogge

Now I’m literally never bored. It’s actually kind of pathetic. If I have more than 3 seconds of free time, I’ x  m on my phone, scoping out Facebook, reading headlines on ESPN, comparing my life to other people’s on Instagram. I am SUBSCRIBED TO 28 PODCASTS (even I can see that’s ridiculous). Between Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and the cable login I “borrow” from my friend, I have 343 years of television to catch up on. Because I have the impulse control skills of a small circus monkey, I am constantly purchasing $2.99 books for my Kindle, not because I’ll read them but because, honestly, who can pass up such a deal?

Lately, I’ve been increasingly concerned about my lack of boredom. (click here to read more)


Don’t Fear the Fiery Furnace (a meditation)

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” ~ Daniel 3:16-18

During Judah’s exile into Babylon, three Jewish friends served in the government of King Nebuchadnezzar. At one point the king decided to make a massive statue, overlaid with gold, and called all the leaders and authorities in the land to come to its dedication. When they heard the music play, they were commanded to fall down and worship the statue or face death in a fiery furnace.

Given to worship the One True God and not beholden to the gods of Babylon, though these friends respected and worked for the king, they refused to bow. The king had Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego arrested and gave them one last opportunity to obey his command. Their response illustrates the heart of what it means to worship God and fear no one else.

They told the king that they would not bow, they expressed faith that God would deliver them from a fiery fate, but, they said, “Even if he does not, we will not worship your image.”

Though they lived hundreds of years before the life of Jesus, they lived out what Jesus taught: “Do not fear those who can only kill the body” (Matthew 10:28).

In the case of these friends, God did miraculously rescue them. The king had the fire burn as hot as he could and tossed them into the furnace, fully clothed and bound. Yet when he looked he saw the three of them and then a fourth man walking around quite alive and unbound. He called for them to come out and the three emerged without a scratch or singe.

Such could only happen by the protection of the One God who created and sustains all things.

So we who follow Jesus are to have the same attitude. Many things can happen in this world: persecutions, famine, disaster, terrorism, disease, accidents, and the list could go on. There are so many things that could threaten our lives and bring an end to our time on earth. Some we may see coming, others may take us by surprise. In neither case are we to be afraid.

The song “The Shadow of Death” by The Whistle and the Bells says, “But death can stare me in the eye but, oh, I will not blink. Oh, the shadow of death is not the end of my story, for the shadow of death is but my entrance to glory.”

This is the attitude of faith: No matter the situation, we trust in the hand of God to rescue us from danger and death; but even if he doesn’t, we will still trust in him because he will bring us into his glorious Kingdom through death. Don’t fear the fiery furnace.

This post is part of our ongoing journey through the Bible as a church.

Sunday 07.17.16 (water of life)

This Sunday we’ll take a look at Ezekiel 47:1-12 and see how Jesus is the great provider of water of life. Then Sunday night, we’ll go through I Will chapter four: “I Will Serve.” We hope to see you there!

@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
@6pm I Will study in church’s library

Sermon Notes
Water of Life ~ Ezekiel 47:1-12

  • Jesus is the Great Temple, the one who focuses our worship on God (47:1, Revelation 21:22-22:5)
  • Jesus provides the water of life, which causes the dead to live and thrive (47:1-12)
  • Drink deeply from this living water
    • Rest in the reality that Jesus has done all the work to bring you true life now and forever
    • Dwell on his word (scripture), knowing that it will plant you as a fruitful tree, fed by these waters (Psalm 1)

VBS 2016: Hero HeadQuarters kicks off in one week. For more information and to preregister online, click here: VBS2016

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