Sunday 10.30.16 (the joy of salvation)

This Sunday we’ll take a look at Zechariah 8 and see how God desires that his people be a joyful people. Then on Sunday evening we’ll continue our video study The Gospel in a World of Religions. Hope to see you there!

Sunday Schedule
@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
@6pm The Gospel in a World of Religions study

Sermon Notes
The Joy of Salvation ~ Zechariah 8:18-23

  • God’s concern for joy: He wants his people to be happy in him (8:18-23)
    • Fasting represents mourning; feasting represents joyful celebration (8:18-19)
    • God desires for his own glory includes his desire for his people’s joy (Psalm 5:11-12, John 17:13, etc.)
    • Because joy celebrates God’s goodness and grace (8:20-21)
    • Because joy provides a witness to the world (8:22-23)
  • How do we grow in joy?
    • We ponder our salvation in Christ (8:1-8)
    • We hear the word and promises of the Lord (8:9-13)
    • We do good to and serve other people (8:15-17)
  • What do we do when we struggle with joy?
    • Remember that we live in a sin-corrupted world which cannot sustain our joy and hope
    • Deal with the physical causes that you can (take a break, a vacation, a nap; adjust your schedule; see a doctor)
    • Deal with the spiritual causes as able (Psalm 51, Psalm 42)

Good Reads 10.26.16 (on: suffering and the gospel, manhood, and more!)

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

On biblical manhood: Nine Attributes of a Real Man by Vince Miller

In reading the grand story of God in the Bible, and searching for ideal representations of men among the kings, priests, prophets, warriors, and leaders we meet, we sense that something is never quite right. Sin has damaged the reflection of ideal masculinity. One biblical hero after another is shown to be wounded, broken, flawed, prone to disobedience and even to outright wickedness. And yet within the same men we see small glimpses of masculine glory: undeterred faith, unwavering conviction, humble service and sacrifice. But again only glimpses.

Until God himself breaks into time and space again to give us the model man. His Son, Jesus, is the perfect divine depiction of manhood. He defines true masculinity. (click here to read more)

On trials, suffering, and the gospel: Gospel Weariness by Tim Challies

All of this pain, all of this suffering, all of these trials had made him, had made them, weary. They were tired of suffering, tired of groaning under the weight of this world. “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). Rising up within them was an increased desire for a time, for a place, when all trials will be over.

This is a gospel weariness, a weariness I’ve heard described by others, a weariness I’ve begun to feel within. Gospel weariness elevates our perspective from our feet to the horizon, from the trials of this world to the hope of the world to come. It stirs within us a holy longing to be done with this life and to enter into the life to come. (click here to read more)

On love and humility: We Die a Thousand Ways in Love by Marshall Segal

If God himself was willing, in love, to wash even feet, why would we refuse to lower ourselves, in love, for one another? Christian love sets aside social status, cultural norms, and the comfort of convenience to joyfully meet the inconvenient needs of others. That kind of love looks like Jesus — the sinless God-man on his knees before the sinful men he came to save. (click here to read more)

On the church and the generations: Why Multi-generational Community Matters by Adam McClendon

We are to interact with people of all generations; nevertheless, we like people who are like us. Our tendency is to dismiss or disrespect those at different stations than ourselves as we look at life from our perspective without proper consideration of the younger and older saints in our churches.

We need multi-generational interaction and have to occasionally work against the tendency just to gather in our peer groups. We live in an increasingly segregated church culture resulting in us missing out on different perspectives of life that may bring wisdom. (click here to read more)

Not by might nor by power (a meditation)

We all face times of discouragement, times where we think the obstacles around us are insurmountable. The people and leaders of Judah felt that, too. Imagine the scene: for 70 years the people had lived in a foreign land under pagan rule. Their capitol city had been long ago destroyed. The temple of their God lay in ruins.

But then things begin to change. Pagan kings were moved to let the people begin to go back and rebuild. This all because of the plan and will of God. Yet, not everyone saw it as God’s work. Opposition began to arise from both without and within.

The two main leaders of the people, Zerubbabel the governor and Joshua the high priest, began to grow discouraged in the face of opposition. So God sent to them Zechariah the prophet. One of the messages that Zechariah delivered to Zerubbabel was:

“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain. And he shall bring forward the top stone amid shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’” (4:6-7)

This is a lesson that God often has to remind us. We are meant to live and walk by faith, after all, not by sight. Yet, we often let what we see, what we can physically sense, overcome our faith.

The mountain was the opposition in its various forms, and God promised Zerubbabel that it would be overcome. But victory wouldn’t be through human strength, it wouldn’t come by the hands of men.

It would be the Spirit of God who would bring victory and completion of the task.

God is the strongest strong. Whatever the obstacles in our lives he can overcome. Our greatest enemy was death; God has turned death into a servant of his people to ushers us into the presence of Jesus. And God gives us his Spirit, in part, to remind us of this truth, comfort us in the face of death, and lead us away from fear.

God can do far greater than our limited minds can comprehend, and he often does it without using the strong and mighty things around us in order to remind us that he is bigger, greater, and more glorious. So trust his strength and trust his grace.

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

Sunday 10.23.16 (no guilt in life)

This Sunday we’ll take a look at Zechariah 3 and see how through Jesus, we don’t have to live life with crippling guilt, for he has saved us, cleansed us, and made us new! Hope to see you there. We will not have evening services this Sunday.

Sunday Schedule
@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
**No evening services this week

Sermon Notes
No Guilt in Life ~ Zechariah 3

  • Our enemy is fierce: Satan wants us to crumble under guilt and shame (3:1-2)
  • Our sin is condemning: We truly are guilty before God, the righteous judge (3:3)
  • Our Savior is greater: Jesus removes all guilt from us (3:4-10)
  • Our task is grand: Freed from guilt, we’re to show the world God’s glory and grace (3:6-7, 10)

Good Reads 10.19.16 (on: shame, heaven, and more!)

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

On heaven: Heaven in a Person by Ryan Higg

The reality of a new earth and a new body is mind-blowing; I don’t want to minimize this. But the most important—indeed, the most glorious, joyous, and rewarding fact about heaven is that God is there. With our new eyes, we will see him face to face. With no more curse, we will enjoy him in new and fulfilling ways we cannot imagine.

Long for heaven. Stretch for it. Gather everyone you can. Heaven will be breathtaking, because God is there. (click here to read more)

On family devotional time: Starting a Family Devotion by Michael Kelley

There’s a pattern to everything, a routine for most every part of life. And any time you disrupt that routine, even for the noblest of reasons, there is going to be backlash. So, before you get started, you’ve got to commit to consistency. Decide on the time of day and keep it at that time. For us, it’s 7 am at breakfast. That will likely change in the coming years, but if you don’t pick a consistent time then it’s doubly difficult to keep the practice going. (click here to read more)

On the greatness of the gospel: Misfits Are Fit for the Kingdom by Chad Damitz

Then I met Jesus. I didn’t run to him; He ran to me. A misfit, a drunk, and a mouth like a sailor. Jesus wanted to hang out with me? I was unclean. Unfit for a relationship with the sovereign King of the universe.

But then I realized Jesus was known for hanging out with misfits. So much so that he was labeled a “drunkard and glutton” (Matt. 11:19) by the religious establishment. However, Jesus never comforted me in my sin. He made it very clear, “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand.” (click here to read more)

On how shame can lead us to Christ: The Right Kind of Shame by Matthew Gilbert

The wrong kind of shame believes past sins are greater than future grace. However, the right kind of shame cringes at attitudes and actions that dishonor God. There are simply things about our lives outside of Christ and current behaviors consistent with our lives outside of Christ for which we should be ashamed. The purpose of God-centered shame is never despair or guilt, but instead the praise of the God who bears our shame and uses our shame for our joy. Sin is a kill-joy, but God-centered shame kills sin and creates joy in those who know God in Christ. (click here to read more)

The Delight of God (a meditation)

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful song. ~Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)

God delights in his people.

Let that thought sink in. It is sometimes a struggle we have when we think of God: How does God think of us? This struggle is especially real when we ponder the perfect holiness, righteousness, and goodness of God. How could we ever measure up? How could we ever be anything in his eyes other than a disappointment?

Yet there it is, as we see in Zephaniah—God delights in his people.

Still, the reality is that we are all sinful rebels who fall well short of God’s glory and goodness (Romans 3:23). God delighting in his people does not overlook or ignore this reality. Instead, by his grace, he deals with this reality. In our sin, we are not worthy to be objects of his delight. Rather we are objects of his wrath.

To deal with our sin and satisfy his wrath, God sent Jesus. In the perfect obedience of God the Son living on this earth, the Father spoke from heaven: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17, 17:5). When we realize our sinfulness and our need for a savior outside of ourselves, and we turn to Jesus in faith, he takes our sin with God’s wrath poured upon it at the cross and we gain his righteousness, obedience, and goodness (2 Corinthians 5:21). This instantly gives us a new identity through Jesus—no longer children of wrath, but beloved sons and daughters with whom God is well pleased.

Being, then, objects of God’s delight, he does not leave us as we were. His grace not only saves us but also trains us to live lives that honor him (Titus 2:11-14). Or as God says through Zephaniah:

“Then I will purify the speech of all people so that everyone can worship the Lord together…. On that day you will no longer need to be ashamed, for you will no longer be rebels against me. I will remove all the proud and arrogant people from among you. There will be no more haughtiness on my holy mountain. Those who are left will be the lowly and humble, for it is they who trust in the name of the Lord. The remnant of Israel will do no wrong; they will never tell lies or deceive one another. They will eat and sleep in safety, and no one will make them afraid” (3:9-11).

Here are the magnificent wonders of God: Through no merit of our own, God chooses to delight in us and make us people worthy of his delight. If we belong to Jesus, then, let us sing aloud in joyful praise to God for his marvelous grace.

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

Sunday 10.16.16 (live by faith)

This Sunday we’ll take a look at Habakkuk 2:2-4 and what it means for the righteous to live by faith. Then on Sunday evening we’ll continue our video study A Global Gospel on the topics of conversion and evangelism. We hope to see you there!

@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
@6pm A Global Gospel video study

Sermon Notes
Live by Faith ~ Habakkuk 2:2-4

  • Why must we have faith?
    • Without faith we cannot please God (Hebrews 11:6)
    • None are saved apart from faith and none are saved by anything other than faith in Jesus (Ephesians 2:1-10)
  • What is faith?
    • “The conviction of things not seen”–this concerns our belief in God (Hebrews 11:1)
    • “The assurance of things hoped for”–this concerns trust in God’s promises (Hebrews 11:1)
    • Thus, faith is upward-looking to God (Habakkuk 2:4)
    • Faith is history-based in the cross (Habakkuk 2:2-3)
    • Faith is forward-looking to eternity (Habakkuk 2:3-4)
  • How do we live by faith? (examples from Hebrews 11)