Sunday 10.29.17 (gospelink presentation)

This Sunday we’ll have guest speaker, Willie Hunter, the Gospelink representative for our area to talk about the mission of Gospelink. You can click here to go to the Gospelink website and find out more information. Then on Sunday night we’ll start a new video study: Scripture and Authority in an Age of Skepticism by David Platt. We hope to see you there!

Schedule
@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
@6pm Scripture and Authority study in auditorium

Songs for Worship
You are So Good to Me
This Little Light of Mine
Send the Light
Shout to the North
Lord, Here Am I

gospelink

Sunday 10.22.17 (a loving and faithful witness)

This Sunday we’ll take a look at 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 and how we as followers of Jesus are to have a faithful and loving witness to those around us. Then, on Sunday evening, we’ll watch the second half of the documentary on Martin Luther in honor of the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation. We hope to see you there!

Schedule
@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
@6pm Luther documentary in church auditorium

Sermon Notes
A Faithful and Loving Witness ~ 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12

  • Our witness of words: Speak fearlessly of Jesus, no matter the consequences (2:1-4)
    • Be faithful, even if it brings suffering (2:1-2)
    • Remember that your first aim is to please God (2:3-4)
  • Our witness of love: Share with and invest in others like caring parents (2:5-8, 11-12)
    • We’re to be motivated by love, not pride or self-gain (2:5-6)
    • Provide in a gentle and caring way, be affectionate, and share your life (2:7-8)
    • Exhort and encourage, teaching others about righteousness and hope (2:11-12)
  • Our witness of character: Seek to be blameless in the way you live (2:9-10)
    • Put away that which offends and/or creates roadblocks to faith (2:9)
    • Put away sin and treat others in righteousness (2:10)

1 thessalonians

Songs for Worship
The Bond of Love
Here I Am to Worship
Meet with Me
Wonderful Words of life
Let Others See Jesus in You
I Surrender All

Image used and modified with permission from pixabay.com

Good Reads 10.18.17 (on church membership, work, and more!)

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

On perseverance: What Should You Do When You Feel Like Quitting? by Mark Altrogge

Have you ever said something like, “I’m tired of praying and not seeing an answer. I’ve been asking God to change this situation for 15 years and nothing ever changes.” Or, “Why do I keep hoping my son will believe in Jesus? He’s never going to change.” Or, “I’m just so tired of all this conflict. I’m just so tired of trying to be a peacemaker. I’m out of here.” Or, “I’m just tired of living. I wish the Lord would just take me home.”

Like you’re just done with all of it? Like, what’s the point? I have felt like giving up many times. I’ve been discouraged and downcast. I’m sure not to the degree that many of you have been. But I’ve had my share. And the Bible says every believer will be tempted to give up. What can we do when we feel like quitting? (click here to read more)

On work: Idolatry at the Office: Confessions of a Workaholic by Kathryn Butler

More importantly, our work does not please God when we labor for people’s applause. The trappings of worldly accomplishments may swell our pride, but when we pursue them to inflate our own egos, they are like filthy rags to the one who made heaven and earth (Isaiah 64:6). Only when we abide in Christ do we accomplish anything that honors God, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). However noble our efforts may appear to the world, we labor in vain when we strive apart from God (Psalm 127:1–2). (click here to read more)

On Jesus and our sin: Six Things Christ Does With Your Sin by Jared Wilson

He Carries It.

Like the true and better scapegoat, Jesus becomes our sin-bearer.

1 Peter 2:24 – “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”

2 Corinthians 5:21 – “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (click here to read more)

On being a church member: Seven Things Your Church Needs from You by Tim Challies

There is no character quality more important than humility. While humility does not come naturally to any of us, it can be learned, because here’s the thing: Humility isn’t a feeling or an attitude—it’s action. If you want to learn humility, you need to act humble. Here are 3 quick tips on becoming humble: (click here to read more)

Marriage and Divorce

“But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.” ~ Jesus, Mark 10:6-9 (CSB)

Marriage was the first institution of society that God gave to humanity. When there were only two people, Adam and Eve, and no cities, neighborhoods, or governments, God gave us marriage.

God designed marriage to be a source of joy, intimacy, and fellowship between a husband and wife in a lifelong bond. Marriage is such an important aspect of the human story that Paul relates it to the relationship between Jesus and the church in Ephesians 5, and John sees eternity kickoff with the marriage supper of the Lamb in Revelation 19.

Yet, when Adam and Eve chose sin over God in Genesis 3, it impacted everything, including marriage.

Sin and the hardness of heart is why, Jesus said, Moses permitted divorce papers (Mark 10:5); but now that he had come to deal with sin, Jesus called his followers to a higher ideal—a return to what God designed in creation. We still do not live in a perfect world, so Jesus and Paul allow for a sinless divorce on behalf of the injured party in cases such as adultery or spousal abandonment (Matthew 19:9, 1 Corinthians 7:10-16).

Still, our aim is for the ideal. We should enter into marriage with the belief that it will be “until death do we part,” and work to resolve issues with grace and commitment. We should see divorce only as an option in extreme circumstances that we pray we will avoid.

If you’ve been divorced in your past, know that God’s grace is unlimited to those who receive it by faith in Jesus. If necessary, confess to God any sin on your part related to the failed relationship that you have not yet confessed to God. Then let your focus be on your current relationship and strengthening it to be that source of lifelong joy, intimacy, and fellowship that God designed for it.

Sunday 10.15.17 (an assured salvation)

This Sunday, we’ll continue our journey through 1 Thessalonians with a look at 1:4-10 and how we can be assured of our salvation. Then on Sunday night, we’ll watch part one of a documentary on Martin Luther for the upcoming 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. We hope to see you there!

Schedule
@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
@6pm Video Study in church auditorium

Sermon Notes

1 thessalonians
An Assured Salvation ~ 1 Thessalonians 1:4-10

You can be sure of your salvation because…

  • You’ve believed in Jesus through the Gospel and the Holy Spirit is using it to change you (1:4-5, 9-10)
    • The Gospel demands belief (1:4-5)
    • The Gospel’s power through the Holy Spirit results in transformation (1:5, 9-10)
  • You happily long to be like Jesus and to learn from the godly examples of other followers of Jesus (1:5-6)
    • We are to be imitators of Jesus (1:6)
    • We are to imitate those who imitate Jesus (1:5-6)
    • We imitate Jesus and others with joy, even if we face affliction and suffering (1:6)
  • Your life is a growing example of faith to those around you (1:7-10)

Songs for Worship
At Calvary
My Faith Has Found a Resting Place
Higher Ground
Change My Heart, O God
Be Glorified

Image used and modified with permission from pixabay.com

Good Reads 10.12.17 (on life’s difficulties, fighting sin, and more!)

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

On following Jesus and the difficulties of life: The Hard Road Is Where You’ll Find the Lord by Kole Farney

Here is something worth review: following Christ doesn’t result in a life without difficulty. Trials are normative, and pain is God’s chosen way to work out holiness and dependence in our lives. He is a vinedresser who carefully prunes every branch. He is a loving Father who disciplines all his children.

Therefore, because of his careful love for you, he will direct you down hard roads of suffering.

But, take heart; the hard road is where you’ll find the Lord. As strange as is sounds, this is a reality for every believer—God is working in and through the most painful circumstances in our lives. And he is there, right beside you, leading you, helping you. (click here to read more)

On “feeling” God’s presence: Don’t Freak Out if You’re Not Feeling God’s Presence by Stephen Altrogge

For much of my life, I’ve relied on my experience of God’s presence to determine how close I am to God. If I have an emotional experience in corporate singing, then I tend to think I’m closer to God. On the other hand, if my Bible reading feels drier than a college accounting lecture (I sat through some terrible ones), I conclude that I didn’t experience God.

If this dryness goes on for any length of time, I can begin to despair, believing that I’m in some sort of metaphorical/spiritual Valley of Dry Bones. But I’ve come to conclude that, for the most part, this thinking is unbiblical. Here’s why. (click here to read more)

On relationships and conflict: How To Resolve Most Relational Conflict by Jon Bloom

Pride is the enemy inside us that speaks to us like a friend. Its counsel sounds so much like self-protection, preservation, and promotion that we’re often blinded to the fact that it’s destroying us and others. It rises in great indignation as a prosecuting attorney when others’ pride damages us, but it minimizes, qualifies, excuses, rationalizes, and blame-shifts our behavior when we damage others. We can be easily deceived into believing that our pride wants to save us, when really, it’s our internal Judas betraying us with a kiss.

We must, to use an old term, mortify it — put pride to death. And there is only one way to do this: we must humble ourselves. (click here to read more)

On fighting sin: A Three-Step Strategy for Fighting Sin by Colin Smith

Our flesh is drawn to sin. Christian writers sometimes refer to this as “indwelling sin,” the impulse to sin that remains active in your flesh throughout your Christian life. Indwelling sin means you have a battle on your hands. But if you are going to engage effectively in the battle against sin, you have to know where to fight.

How does God reveal your indwelling sins, so you can battle against them? Through his Word: “The entrance of your Word gives light” (Psalm 119:130). Use the Bible as a tool for self examination. When you read the Bible one question to ask is, “Is there a sin to avoid?”

Try to see if there if what you are reading points to a sin that could be lurking in your life.

The first priority in turning from sin is that you should know it. The entrance of God’s Word gives light. Once you know what you are up against, you will be able to make progress. (click here to read more)

Killing Sin

Jesus said, “And if your hand causes you to fall away, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and go to hell, the unquenchable fire.” ~ Mark 9:43 (CSB)

Sin is a serious matter. The wages of sin is death, Paul wrote in Romans 6:23. A single sin against an infinitely holy God is worthy of death. It is sometimes difficult for us to truly grasp that concept since we have made so many sins acceptable—”What’s the harm, after all, in just a little white lie,” we might say to justify ourselves.

But the curse upon the world in Genesis 3 began with a bite of fruit. It wasn’t the nature of the act itself, but what it declared. Our first parents drew lines. They chose to side with rebellious disobedience than with righteous obedience.

So, we should not look at our own lives and say, “My sin isn’t that big of a deal; I’ll be okay.” Instead, we should understand that all sin is serious and must be dealt with in a serious way. This is why Jesus said what he did in Mark 9 about cutting off your hand or foot if it causes you to sin rather than to spend eternity in hell.

Here, Bible scholars recognize that Jesus spoke in hyperbole—language that is exaggerated to make a point. Neither we nor the original followers of Jesus understood him to mean literal self-mutilation. We do see in Jesus’ words, however, the serious nature of sin and how we must deal with it in serious ways.

If greed is what besets you and you rack up debt, struggling to maintain control over your spending, then you may need to cut up credit cards and let your spouse be in charge over the household income. If pornography traps you time and time again, then you may need to ditch the smart phone, buy accountability software, and/or keep yourself from unsupervised access to the internet. If you can’t control your tongue through what you say on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, then you may need to delete your accounts.

These are the types of serious ways that we deal with sin. To some, these ways might sound extreme, but sin is deadly. Sin results in pain and death, both temporary and eternal. So, as John Owen wrote centuries ago, let us be killing our sin before our sin kills us.