Sunday 04.08.18 (the passover)

Tomorrow, we get back into our Exodus series as we think about the Passover as God led his people out of Egypt (Exodus 11:1-13:16). After morning worship, we’ll have a fellowship meal followed by business meeting. Then in the evening we’ll continue our video series through Philippians. We hope to see you there!

Schedule
@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
@Noon Fellowship Lunch and Business Meeting
@6pm Philippians Study in youth room

Sermon Notes
The Passover ~ Exodus 11:1-13:16

  • We fear death because it is the ultimate judgment (11:1-10, 12:29-30)
  • We embrace death because it is the means to salvation (12:1-42)
  • We remember our salvation through the death of the Lamb by celebrating with a meal (12:7-27, 12:43-13:16)

Songs for Worship
We Will Worship the Lamb
Power in the Blood
My Worth Is Not in What I Own
Nothing but the Blood
The Wonderful Cross

Exodus

Image used and modified with permission from pixabay.com

Sunday 03.25.18 (idol smashing glory)

This Sunday, we’ll take a look at the first nine plagues in Exodus and consider how they reflect our heart-idols that God smashes with his great glory. Then on Sunday night, we’ll continue our video series through Philippians. We hope to see you there!

Schedule
@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
@Noon CPR Training in the Gym
@6pm Philippians Study in Youth Room

Sermon Note
Idol Smashing Glory ~ Exodus 7:1-10:29

The sermon in one sentence: Rescued from our sin by Jesus, we are to live each day for the glory of God not for the glory of our idols.

  • Live for the glory of God (7:1-13, 9:16)
    • God is glorified in our salvation
    • Will we honor God through our salvation?
  • …not for the glory of idols (7:14-10:29)
    • An idols is anything we value more than we value God
    • Four hard-hearted responses to God’s judgment against idols: denial, refusal, backtracking, and continued sin
    • The changed-heart response: Saying to God, “You’ve saved me, now show me how to order my life to glorify you”

Songs for Worship
To God Be the Glory
Hosanna, Loud Hosanna
King of Glory
You Alone
My Tribute

Sunday 03.18.18 (the great rescuer)

This Sunday we’ll continue our journey through Exodus and take a look at 4:18-6:30. We’ll see how as the better Moses, Jesus is the Great Rescuer, chosen by God to deliver us from our enslavement to sin and rebellion. Then on Sunday night, we’ll begin a new video series on Philippians.

We hope to see you there!

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

Sermon Notes
The Great Rescuer ~ Exodus 4:18-6:30

  • The Harsh Taskmaster: Sin seeks to keep us enslaved (5:1-23)
  • The Great Promise: God promises to free us through Jesus (4:21-23, 6:1-13)
  • The Chosen Rescuer: Jesus frees us and leads us to worship (4:18-31, 6:14-30)

Songs for Worship
Down at the Cross
Worthy of Worship
I Will Glory in My Redeemer
Satisfied
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Exodus

Image used and modified with permission from pixabay.com

Sunday 03.04.18 (the great I Am)

This Sunday we’ll continue our journey through Exodus with a look at Exodus 3 and how the most important thing in life is to live daily in the presence of God, the Great I Am. On Sunday evening, we’ll continue our video study on fighting for joy. We hope to see you there!

Schedule
@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
@230pm Worship at Adrian Manor Nursing Home
@6pm Video Study in youth room

Sermon Notes
The Great I Am ~ Exodus 3

The sermon in one sentence: What matters most in life is the presence of God; and in rescuing us from sin, our all-sufficient God grants us the blessing of his constant presence.

  • Know who you are: A slave to sin, in need of rescue
  • Know who God is: The all-sufficient One who rescues us in power
  • Know how to live daily in God’s presence
    • To experience God’s presence (Ephesians 5:18-21):
    • Be in God’s word, which is the Spirit-inspired voice of God to us (2 Timothy 3:16-17, 1 Peter 1:19-21)
    • Gather for corporate worship where we sing to God and of God to each other
    • Pray and pray thankfully
    • Serve others

Songs for Worship
Holy Ground
I Stand Amazed
10,000 Reasons
Breathe On Me

The More Accurate Way

Apollos began to speak boldly in the synagogue. After Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained the way of God to him more accurately. ~ Acts 18:26 (CSB)

Apollos was a young man who had a great desire to tell others about Jesus. He spoke well and had a boldness that was evident to all who heard him. Yet, there was a problem. We’re told in Acts 18:25 that he spoke accurately about Jesus but only knew about John’s baptism. This seems to mean that Apollos was unaware of Jesus’ words we find recorded in Matthew 28—to baptize new disciples in the name of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit, welcoming them in as part of the Christian family.

We’re not told why Apollos was unaware of this, but it seemed to be deficient in his teaching. It was likely the case, then, that as he led people to faith in Jesus he did not proceed to see them baptized in obedience to Jesus. In this way, his teaching was lacking.

When he spoke in Ephesus he was heard by Priscilla and Aquila, a spiritually mature couple who loved Jesus and together proved to be a great help to Paul during his time in Corinth. When they discovered this deficiency in Apollos’ teaching, they took him aside (that is privately) and explained to him the bigger gospel story. And what was the result? Apollos continued on to the next town with the blessing of the church and “was a great help to those who by grace had believed” (18:27).

For us, we find here a lesson in correction. Christians who are more spiritually mature are humble. They can reflect back on their lives and they realize the growth they have experienced along the way. They understand they have had times where they had to learn the “more accurate” way. As they learned about Jesus through Scripture, some of their beliefs changed and sharpened with time.

What, then, is their response when they hear a younger Christian saying or doing things that might not be quite right? They seek to correct and offer guidance in love, just like Priscilla and Aquila.

This involved four things: First, they were willing to listen. They waited until Apollos had finished. They listened to everything that he had to say. Second, they were willing to engage. They didn’t say, “Oh, that doesn’t sound right” and then ignored it. They wanted to help this young man grow and mature. So, they went to him and engaged with him. Third, they corrected him in private. We don’t know exactly what this couple said to Apollos, but likely they opened scripture and shared things they had learned from Paul and others. In doing so, they didn’t make a scene. They didn’t browbeat the young man or try to show themselves superior. They didn’t want to embarrass him. They simply took him aside and spoke with him in private. Fourth, they encouraged him in his gifts. When everything was said and done, Priscilla and Aquila would have been among those in 18:27 who wrote to the disciples in Achaia to welcome Apollos. Though they had to correct him, they supported his continued efforts to share.

These same four things should be true for us. When we face a situation where we need to correct someone else, we should be willing to listen to them and observe what is happening, be willing to engage with them, be seeking ways to speak to them in private, and then be encouraging of them. This is a better path, or a more accurate way, than the harsh criticism that we see so much today in the world.

A Reflection on Love (thoughts for Valentine’s Day)

Many of us know the passage well. People quote it, read it at weddings, hang it on plaques on the wall—Paul’s famous words on love from 1 Corinthians 13.

Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. – 1 Corinthians 13:6-8 (CSB)

When we read this passage in their context, we find that it’s not primarily about marriage or romance, but about serving one another as brothers and sisters in Jesus. Paul wrote these words right in the heart of correcting the church on how to use spiritual gifts to serve and not to show off or exalt self. Still, the application is broad. Serving others is a universal call for we who follow Jesus. So, we can apply this to marriage and friendship and how we treat our neighbors.

If we were to boil down Paul’s teachings into a single statement, it would say this: Love happily seeks the best for others. And, oh, how that should be us!

Love, in this way, is other-focused. It is like when Jesus told us to love our neighbors as ourselves. There’s an assumption here: We typically are patient with ourselves and want others to be patient toward us. We tend to be kind to ourselves and want others to be kind toward us. We tend to be… and want others… the list goes on. The Bible assumes that in normal situations, we love and want the best for ourselves. But it also knows that it is harder for us to freely extend this attitude toward others.

But that is the command here—we’re to be patient with others, kind to others, not envious of others, etc. And nowhere do we see that we are to be these things only if they reciprocate. Love is not self-serving through what we gain from others. In Christ, we are already perfectly loved by the Father. We love because he loved us. That should be enough to motivate us to love even if no one loves us back the way we would want. Love is other-focused.

Love also looks for the best. We can say this in two ways: First, love seeks to bring the best to others. True love seeks ways to better the life of another both in the present and in eternity. It seeks to show the person Jesus and meet their present needs—physical, emotional, and relational. Second, love looks for the best in others. Living in a fallen world and being repeatedly hurt in a fallen world can cause us to be jaded. We jump to conclusions, question motives, and make assumptions without the facts. Love fights against these trends. Love refused to ignore evil and will deal with it when necessary, but love is also willing to believe and hope. Love looks for the best.

Finally, love continues. Paul was making this point in light of eternity: Eventually, when Jesus comes back and we see things clearly and no longer as through a blurry mirror, the need for various gifts will drop away. But love will remain. God is love, as John the Apostle wrote. God is also eternal. So, if love will continue forever, our present moments of love should be long-lasting. The “loving feeling,” as the song says, sometimes gets lost. But love itself, as a commitment and an act to seek another’s best, should continue. If someone loves us, we continue to love them. If someone is indifferent to us, we continue to love them. If someone hurts us as an enemy, we continue to love them. Jesus, after all, loved us when we were his enemies. He loves us when our hearts turn momentarily apathetic. And he loves us all the same when we love him well. That is his example for us. Love continues.

heart 02 (pixabay 02132018)

Picture used with permission from pixabay.com

Exodus: The Rescue

This Sunday (02.18), we’ll be starting a new sermon series through the book of Exodus, the second book of the Bible. So, why Exodus? Isn’t that one of those long Old Testament books about ancient history? Yes, but it’s also so much more.

As with every book of the Bible, it’s God’s very voice to us and profitable for our lives (2 Timothy 3:16-17). In 1 Corinthians 10:1-5, Paul even briefly mentioned some of the events in the book and then said in 10:6, “Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did” (ESV).

Old Testament or New, every page of Scripture is exceedingly relevant to our faith and lives today. And this is how:

It’s the story of God. Whether you’re thinking about how God hears the cries of his people, or the calling of Moses, or the plagues and crossing the Red Sea, or camping at Mt. Sinai, or the proper worship of God, every account recorded in Exodus tells us of God and his glory. He is the One who rescues and delivers his people. He is the One forever faithful. He is the One truly worthy of our reverence and awe. And all of this points forward to his greatest rescue plan of all–bringing us out of our enslavement of sin by giving us Jesus.

It’s the story of those who lived it. Moses. Aaron. Israel. The lives of many men and women, young and old are laid out for us. We read of their highs and lows, their acts of faithful obedience and their acts of faithless rebellion. We read of these, not simply as ancient figures, but as our ancestors in the faith. These are real men and women, just like us, who lived and experienced the events described. What they did well is an encouragement for us as we seek to follow faithfully after Jesus, and what they did poorly is a warning to us.

It’s our story. Just like ancient Israel, enslaved in Egypt, we need rescue. Each of live enslaved to sin, unable to rescue and free ourselves, and in need of someone to pull us out of our darkness. We need Jesus. And when we are rescued by him, his presence through the Holy Spirit dwells with us, guiding us through the ups and downs of the wilderness until we reach the Promised Land of eternity where true joys and unfading glories await. Reading Exodus in light of the New Testament reminds us of these things.

So, join us this Sunday as we begin our journey! And you can prepare by reading Exodus 1&2 this week…

Exodus

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