Be a blessing

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

A city is built up by the blessing of the upright, but it is torn down by the mouth of the wicked. ~ Proverbs 11:11

Complaining is easy and seems to be people’s default. On Google and Yelp, you can leave reviews of all sorts of things and many people use them to lodge complaints. We complain on social media about happenings in our communities, issues with neighbors, or politics. We complain to others about others in conversations.

Proverbs 11:11 is a reminder from Solomon that even though not everything in the world is perfect and there are indeed legitimate problems, it is your choice to be part of the problem or part of the solution

Blessings are words and works that seek to bring positive results to other people. To be blessed is to have a life that, in general, is a happy experience.

God’s people are to be the upright. Through our faith in Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit, God takes a stubborn and rebellious heart and makes it good and righteous. All the goodness of Jesus is freely given to us and we, in turn, are to seek to show goodness toward others. Living in and acting out God’s goodness, we are to be positive influences on others.

Jeremiah 29 gives a hint at what this might look like in our cities or towns. The people of Judah were about to go into exile in Babylon for 70 years. It was an unfavorable situation and one that could be a source of complaining. In fact, false prophets were saying, “Oh, it won’t be that bad, it’ll only last a short while,” to try to make people feel better.

But God sent Jeremiah to remind the people that they would be in this exile for the long haul. So what should they do?

Build houses and live in them. Plant gardens and eat their produce. Find wives for yourselves and have sons and daughters. Find wives for your sons and give your daughters to men in marriage so that they may bear sons and daughters. Multiply there; do not decrease. Pursue the well-being of the city I have deported you to. Pray to the Lord on its behalf, for when it thrives, you will thrive. ~ Jeremiah 29:4-7

Though exiles in a foreign land, God told his people that as the city thrived they would thrive, so seek to help the city thrive.

There are countless options: Run for city council, work at a thrift store or food pantry, get involved with the schools, encourage the teachers, help coach your son’s or daughter’s little league teams, volunteer to pick up trash or beautify a park, invite people to church… Be a blessing to your community.

Scripture quotes taken from the Christian Standard Bible.

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Sunday 8.11.19 (what matters most)

Join us this Sunday as we take a look at Luke 10:1-24 and consider how knowing Jesus is what matters most in life and how if you know him you should desire to share him with others. We hope to see you there!

Schedule
@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
@6pm Why? video study in Youth Room

Sermon Notes
What Matters Most ~ Luke 10:1-24

The sermon in one sentence: What matters most is knowing Jesus as your Savior-King; and if you know Jesus, one of the greatest things you can do is help others know Jesus too.

  • Know Jesus as your Savior and King, finding joy and humility in an ever-growing relationship (10:21-24)
  • Knowing Jesus, seek to share him with others so they may know Jesus as well (10:1-20)

Songs for Worship
Greater Is He That Is in Me
All in All
Knowing You
I Know Whom I Have Believed
Send the Light
Facing a Task Unfinished

Luke

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What to look for in spiritual leaders

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

After the people of Judah spent 70 years in exile, they were allowed to return to their land with a charge to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple. One of the early leaders who went for this task was Ezra a “priest and scribe, an expert in matters of the Lord’s commands and statutes for Israel” (Ezra 7:11).

God used Ezra in many ways as a leader among his people. From Ezra’s life, we find an example of what we should look for in spiritual leaders, especially those who serve in God’s church.

Ezra 7:10 states: “Now Ezra had determined in his heart to study the law of the Lord, obey it, and teach its statutes and ordinances in Israel.”

Ezra was a man devoted to loving God and loving the word of God, which would then lead him to love others and urge them to love God. Spiritual leaders should be people of godly character who have a reputation for knowing and obeying God through the Bible.

The consistent message of Scripture is that good leaders are those of good character who love God and his word. In 1 Timothy 3, Paul wrote about the qualifications for elders/pastors and deacons. In both lists, he majored on character. He also pointed to spiritual maturity–a person who knows God well and seeks to obey his commands. So, elders were “not to be new converts” and deacons were to hold “the mystery of the faith with a clear conscious” (3:6, 9).

Often, due to influence from business practices, we gravitate toward leaders who show great talent and ability or exciting personalities. While those can be helps to spiritual leaders, above all we are to look for faithfulness, maturity, and a love for God.

Scripture quotations taken from the Christian Standard Bible.

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Sunday 7.28.19 (follow Jesus)

This Sunday we’ll take a look at Luke 9 and see what it means to “deny self, take up your cross daily, and follow” Jesus. And we’ll see why Jesus is worth following as the Glorious Son, King, and Savior. We hope to see you there!

Schedule
@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
@6pm Why? video study in youth room

Sermon Notes
Follow Jesus ~ Luke 9:23-45, 57-62

The sermon in one sentence: Jesus, the glorious and all-powerful Savior, come to turn our lives around for eternal glory, if we will follow him.

  • Following Jesus involves…
    • Turning from self-exaltation to Christ-exaltation (9:23-24)
    • Turning from the treasures of the world to the treasures of Jesus (9:25-27)
    • Turning from a focus on the temporarily urgent to the eternally important (9:57-62)
  • Following Jesus is worthwhile because Jesus is…
    • The Glorious Son worthy of full obedience (9:28-36)
    • The All-Powerful King who displays God’s majesty (9:37-43)
    • The Loving Savior who rescues us from sin (9:43-45)

Songs for Worship
10,000 Reasons
Be Thou My Vision
Take My Life and Let it Be
He Leadeth Me
In Christ Alone

Luke

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Sing to God!

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

“For the Church has been, is, and always should be and can be a joyfully singing Church. In a sense, singing is part of what we exist to do,” so proclaim songwriters Keith and Kristyn Getty.[1] And so they are correct.

Woven within the identity of Jesus’ people is song. Both in individual devotion and corporately gathered throughout the ages Christians have been known to sing.

It’s no wonder. Our sacred texts (the Bible) contains a song book. Yes, the tunes have been lost to the ages (though some are setting the words to ancient and modern tunes today), but the Psalms is a collection of prayerful songs.

Within their words, we even find exhortations to sing. Psalm 147:1 says, “Hallelujah! How good it is to sing to our God, for praise is pleasant and lovely.”

One of the great tragedies of our days is the so-called worship wars–churches dividing over preferences of musical style. We sometimes get in our own way of carrying out a good and beautiful act: Singing to God as one voice together.

Our singing should unite us to speak of God and his word in our harmonies. While praising God in song should help focus our minds, it can also help us to shut out, for a moment, the busyness of life and get lost in the worship and grace of God.

Let us sing. Let us sing as the redeemed of God through Jesus. Let us sing of his goodness. Let us sing because it is good.

Scripture quotations taken from the Christian Standard Bible.

[1] Keith and Kristyn Getty, Sing! (B&H Publishing, 2017), xxi.

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Sunday 7.21.19 (who do you say Jesus is?)

This morning we’ll be taking a look at Luke 9:1-22 where people wonder who Jesus is–a teacher or a prophet, but Peter confesses him as the Savior-King. Through this passage we’ll see who Jesus is and what that means for our lives. We hope to see you there!

Schedule
@945 Small Groups / Sunday School
@1045 Worship Gathering
@6pm Why? video study in youth room

Sermon Notes
Who Do You say Jesus Is? ~ Luke 9:1-22

The sermon in one sentence: How we answer the question “Who is Jesus?” affects everything in life and eternity; see him as King, Provider, and Savior.

  • žJesus is the Great King, follow and obey him (9:1-9)
  • Jesus is the Great Provider, be satisfied in him (9:10-17)
  • žJesus is the Only Savior, find salvation in him (9:18-22)

Songs for Worship
Oh, Worship the King
His Name is Wonderful
There’s Something About That Name
Count Your Blessings
One Name
Holy and Anointed One

Luke

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Sunday 6.30.19 (the depths of grace)

This week, we return on our journey through the Gospel of Luke. We’ll take a look at 7:36-8:3 and ponder the depths of grace that God has shown us through Jesus. We hope to see you there!

Schedule
@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering

Sermon Notes
The Depths of Grace ~ Luke 7:36-8:3

The sermon in one sentence: Realizing the depths of grace God has shown us through Jesus frees us to love and serve God and others.

  • All are sinners, yet none is so sinful that they stand beyond the reach of God’s grace and forgiveness through Jesus
  • Recognizing the depth of our sin and the greater depth of God’s grace will grow us in thankfulness for forgiveness
  • When we grasp the depths of God’s grace in our forgiveness…
    • We are freed from attitudes of harsh judgment toward others (7:36-48)
    • We are freed from self-despair (7:49-50)
    • We are freed to love, follow, and serve (7:44-47, 8:1-3)

Songs for Worship
At the Cross
Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)
I Will Glory in My Redeemer
Grace Greater than Our Sin
How Firm a Foundation

Luke

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