Sunday 6.16.19

This Sunday, JP Williams will be our guest speaker. Then on Sunday evening, we kickoff our 2019 Vacation Bible School, which will run Sunday through Thursday from 6:00-8:45pm, with dinner at 5:30. Then on Friday, we will have Family Night with a program at 6pm followed by dinner. We hope to see you there!

@945 Small Groups / Sunday School
@1045 Worship Gathering
@530pm VBS Dinner
@6pm VBS Kickoff

Songs for Worship
Worthy of Worship
All in All
We Have Heard the Joyful Sound
Victory in Jesus
Have Thine Own Way

A Lamp for My Feet

This post is part of a devotional series based on our 2019 Bible Reading Calendar.

Psalm 119 is a beautiful, extended meditation on God’s word. In 119:105, the Psalm says, “Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.”

Followers of Jesus are an in-between people. We are the people of God’s eternal Kingdom living in the world of now. We are citizens of heaven dwelling in the kingdoms of the earth. We are ambassadors, as Paul famously wrote the Corinthians, representing Jesus and the light of his goodness in a world darkened by sin.

The Bible is a life guide. It’s God’s story about Jesus and our relationship to him. It guides and directs us in how to live as in-betweeners, people of hope in a world that is often so hopeless.

When the Psalm tells us that God’s word is a lamp for our feet and a light for our path, it helps us to see the Bible’s role in our day to day lives.

When we follow Jesus, we find ourselves on a path that leads to the Eternal Kingdom, a joyful forever. We know where we began through hearing the Gospel, trusting in Jesus, and walking away from a life of rebellion against God. We know the end of this life’s journey. Either we will die or Jesus will return. Even if the former, “to be away from the body” (at least “away” until the resurrection) is to be “at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). And, while God doesn’t give us many details, we know that eternal life is filled with unhindered joy and peace in the presence of Jesus.

But we don’t always know the twists and turns of the path as we follow Jesus. As Psalm 23 states, sometimes we face dark valleys and sometimes we find quiet pastures beside still waters.

God does not intend the Bible to provide every detail of life between the here and there. The Bible also doesn’t definitively answer every question we face. The Bible does speak clearly on many things, especially in regard to Christ-like behavior and character among his people. When it does speak clearly, we should be quick to obey.

Yet, in the places it doesn’t and in the things it does not address, it’s wisdom and the spirit of love it produces within us is to guide us.

In life, sometimes we see clearly and the road ahead is bright. In life, sometimes we are surrounded by darkness and we must weigh each step with consideration. The Bible is our guide. It leads us to Jesus and it leads us faithfully with Jesus until we stand in the presence of Jesus.

Scripture quotations taken from the Christian Standard Bible.

red lantern lamp turned on
Photo by Rafael Pires on
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Praying the Bible ~ Luke 4:1-4

Praying through verses or passages of the Bible is a great way to help you pray according to the will and desires of God. Below is a passage of Scripture and a sample prayer. I would encourage you to pray that prayer, or, even better, read the passage and pray as God leads you.

Text: Luke 4:1-4

Then Jesus left the Jordan, full of the Holy Spirit, and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over, he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” But Jesus answered him, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone.” (Christian Standard Bible)


Father, I thank you that when you sent your Son, you gave us a Brother who sympathizes with us. Though without sin, he was tempted in all the ways we are. I also thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit who resides in me and strengthens me. Father, as I face temptations, may I trust in you and not my own strength. May I rely on your Spirit and your word, and not my own wisdom and power. May I be able to stand in victory, like Jesus. And, Father, food is good and necessary; but I need your word more. Grow my heart to desire Scripture’s sweetness and nourishment more than I do now. Help me to live my life firmly rooted in your word and for your glory. Amen.

The Spirit-filled Life

This post is part of a devotional series based on our 2019 Bible Reading Calendar.

In Acts 2, after Jesus had ascended into heaven, he fulfilled his promise by sending the Holy Spirit to dwell within his followers. Everyone who turns to Jesus in faith, repenting from a life of sin, receives the Spirit–God himself dwelling within us.

The Holy Spirit, as God, shares every attribute of the Father and the Son. He is the God who was intimately involved in creation and redemption, and every miraculous act throughout history.

The all-powerful, all-wise God resides in every Christian. So, what does a life that is filled with the Spirit look like?

From Paul’s description, it’s actually quite ordinary but in an extraordinary way.

In Ephesians 5:18-21, Paul wrote not to be drunk on wine, but:

Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music with your heart to the lord, giving thanks always for everything to God the Father int he name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of Christ.

This is ordinary, because it defines everyday life and the regular rhythms of our weeks. We’re to gather to worship, encouraging one another and praising God with our songs. We’re to be people of thankfulness, all the more as we understand the depths of the grace of God. We’re to love and serve one another and seek each other’s best. This should be Christian normalcy.

Yet, this is ordinary in an extraordinary way, because we will fail to do it without the Spirit’s help.

We are all tempted to busyness and the “tyranny of the urgent” as it is sometimes called. We must be intentional in our increasingly busy world to set aside time to worship together as a church family. It is the Spirit who works in our hearts to long to make this a priority during our week.

We are prone to be thankful when things go well. But it’s much more difficult to give thanks “always and for everything.” The Spirit, however, illumines our hearts and minds through God’s word to be ever-thankful for our salvation and eternal hope during the difficult times in life. It’s the Spirit who reminds us that the glories to come through Christ far out weigh any momentary suffering and affliction in this life.

We are also tempted to pride and individualism. We don’t want to submit and at times we’d rather be served than serve. The Spirit, however, binds our hearts together in the love of Christ and heightens our compassion for those who hurt. He helps us to lay aside ourselves that we might lift up and build up those around us.

So, in a sense, Paul’s description is ordinary. Yet it is also far from it. The Spirit grows us to overcome the temptations of selfish pride and to live daily filled with his power.

All scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible.

Sunday 6.9.19 (praying the Bible)

This Sunday, we’ll take a break from our series through Luke and take a look at John 15:7-8. We’ll see how scripture and prayer fit together in our lives as followers of Jesus and how this should then lead us to pray through verses or passages of the Bible. We hope to see you there!

@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
**No Evening Study this week

Sermon Notes
Praying the Bible ~ John 15:7-8

The sermon in one sentence: Praying through passages of Scripture can help us connect more fully to the mind and will of God in our prayers.

  • The Christian life is about abiding (living) in Jesus (15:7-8)
    • We abide in him by faith, trusting that he is the source of forgiveness from sin and life eternal (14:6, 15:3-4)
    • Abiding in him, we’re to let his word abide in us
    • His word abiding in us should shape our prayers
    • As his word dwells in us and shapes our prayers, we “bear fruit”
  • What we gain from praying God’s word
    • Praying his word shapes our prayers to match his will (John 14:13; Romans 8:27)
    • Praying God’s word therefore fixes our prayers in the thoughts and power of the Spirit (Romans 8:26-27; 2 Peter 1:21)
    • Praying the Bible helps us meditate on Scripture (Psalm 1:1-2)
    • Praying through Scripture reminds our hearts of the gospel (Luke 24:27)
  • How to pray the Bible
    • Select a verse or passage of the Bible (the Psalms are great for this, as many of them already are prayers)
    • Either read the verse or passage and conclude by praying what comes to mind in response
    • Or read a phrase or sentence from the verse/passage, pray in response, and repeat with the next phrase or sentence

Songs for Worship
You Are so Good to Me
Love Lifted Me
Sweet By and By
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Fight to Finish Well

This post is part of a devotional series based on our 2019 Bible Reading Calendar.

When Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away to follow other gods. He was not wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord his God, as his father David had been… Solomon did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. ~ 1 Kings 11:4-6

When you think of King Solomon, you probably think of the wisest man who ever lived. When he first became king, God told him to ask for anything he wanted. Instead of riches or the death of his enemies, Solomon asked for wisdom to rule God’s people well. God granted him this request and also gave Solomon wealth and prosperity.

Solomon, during his reign, built a temple for the Lord, just as God had promised David. He also wrote countless proverbs, many of which stand today as inspired Scripture.

Yet, when it came to the end of his life, Solomon did not finish well. During his reign, he married 700 women and had 300 concubines. Many of these women, it seemed, were included in political pacts with foreign governments. That meant, that many came from lands that worshiped false gods and followed misguided religions.

Instead of being faithful to God, Solomon began to worship false gods with his wives. He even built “high places” where sacrifices could be made.

The wisest man who had ever lived, because he was not careful to guard his own heart and remain faithful to God, failed to end life well. I pray that it is not said of me or you they did evil in the Lord’s sight.

In 2 Timothy 4, Paul spoke of the need to finish well. He described it as fighting the good fight and finishing the race. If we’re going to be like Paul instead of Solomon and finish well, then we will have to fight. We have to fight temptations and stubborn sins. We have to fight laziness in our spiritual walk and the tendency to drift. We have to put in the effort to build strong relationships with other followers of Jesus who can help keep us focused. We have to fight busyness and the “tyranny of the urgent” to make time to be in God’s word, to pray, and to worship on our own and with our churches.

May we fight the good fight. May our hearts stay focused. May we be faithful until the end.

Scripture quotations taken from the Christian Standard Bible.

Photo by Tim Gouw on
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Praying the Bible ~ Ephesians 1:3-6

In his book Praying the Bible, Donald Whitney encourages us to do just as the title suggests. When we pray, we should seek to pray according to the will and ways of God (Matthew 6:10; John 15:7; Romans 8:26-27). What better way to do this than to pray through a verse or passage of Scripture? The Bible, after all, is God’s word, inspired by the Holy Spirit. It is the very revelation of God’s heart, thoughts, and will to us.

The method that Whitney proposes for praying the Bible is simple:

To pray the Bible, you simply go through the passage line by line, talking to God about whatever comes to mind as you read the text. See how easy that is? Anyone can do that. [1]

Ephesians 1 was a part of this week’s Bible Reading Calendar. Here is an example from 1:3-6:

The Text
Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ. For he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before him. He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ for himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he lavished on us in the Beloved One. (Christian Standard Bible)

The Prayer
Father, I thank you for the great blessings you bestow on us through Jesus. There is nothing you hold back from your sons and daughters. You delight to do good to us and to give us good things, beginning with the goodness of yourself. I thank you that you chose us in Christ to be your people, without flaw or blame before you. I praise you because this is not my own work or anything that I have earned, but is all because of your magnificent grace. Therefore, may I not be prideful in my religion and faith, but may I seek to share your love and glory and grace with others. May I be as kind and loving to them as you are to me. May they, too, find life in Christ. Amen.

I would encourage you to pray though that passage of Scripture today. You can use the prayer above or, even better, you can pray where your heart leads as you reflect on those verses.

[1] Donald Whitney, Praying the Bible (Crossway, 2015), 33.