Do They Hear?

“For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.” ~ Rahab, Joshua 2:10-11 (ESV)

When seeking to be spared the fate of Jericho, Rahab told the spies she hid in her house how the people of her city had heard about the mighty works of God. Such caused great fear among the people, even so, only Rahab and those of her household responded with faith and not dread.

In a way, Rahab’s experience mimics modern day missions and evangelism. We believe that our God is the One True God and he indeed does mighty things. We have a Bible, our sacred texts, that speak of God’s greatness in creation, judgment, and salvation. Take a moment and read a psalm such as Psalm 135. There you see the greatness on display as declared by his people. And the call of response?—praise from a heart of faith.

This is what happened with Rahab. She heard about the mighty works of God and like the others, her heart melted. But instead of letting that keep her low, she sought salvation in the name of the Lord (Joshua 2:12).

When we think of God’s great acts, truly the greatest act of all is that of salvation. This is why the cross stands as the pinnacle of the Bible’s story. Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave in order to rescue us from our sins and transform us into a “people for his own possession, zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14).

This is the message that we as Christians believe the world needs to hear. And how do they hear? We share it. We tell them about Jesus and the hope of the gospel, and we share with them the way that Jesus has forever changed our lives. And what will the result be? Sadly, some will continue in their rejection of Jesus and say that our story is nice or silly, but not for them. Others will violently reject the message and seek to persecute the messenger. But still, others will be like Rahab—they will hear about the Mighty God and believe.

So, let us speak of the greatness and glory of our God, longing for people to respond by turning to Jesus.

New posts in this devotional series will appear most Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.

Joshua 2_11

Revive! Night 3, tonight @6pm

Revive! is back for 2017. Every Sunday night in the month of March we will have a meal at 5pm in the gym and a worship gathering with a guest speaker at 6pm. These special services are designed to help you learn more about Jesus and what it means to be his follower. We invite you to join us and bring a friend.

Tonight we have Cody McCully, on staff at The Church of Pleasant Ridge (Harrisonville, MO), coming to share about what it means to pursue missions. For a full list of speakers for the month, please click here.

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Generous

Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.

I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. ~Philippians 4:14-23 (ESV)

Paul concluded his letter to the church at Philippi thanking them for their ministry support. They had given to the cause of Christ, so that Paul could spread the gospel further without the need to support himself. This freed him to share even more on his missionary travels.

Philippi was alone in their giving in this season of Paul’s ministry, but they gave generously. So much so that Paul was able to say to them, “I am well supplied.” In other words, he didn’t need them to keep sending him money at this point. This shows that Paul was no charlatan preacher. He wasn’t in it for what he could gain. He wasn’t pleading for more and more money despite having a nice house and fancy clothes.

And in return, Paul assured them that God would bless them and supply their needs. This not that every want would necessarily be met, but that they would not lack in the basics of day to day living.

From this example, we learn what it means to be generous. God has chosen human beings as the ordinary means for the gospel to spread in this world. He could use a choir of angels. Jesus even said he could make the rocks cry out if every other voice fell silent of God’s glory. Yet, he chose people as the means.

The spread of the gospel takes money, then. It costs to travel and to live in new places. It costs for new Bibles to be printed in the languages of those who have no access to the scripture. It costs to meet basic human needs of clean water, good food, and clothing. Those of us who have been supplied by God have a duty to share with those who are in need.

But we should also be careful to whom we give our money. When people who are more than “well supplied” beg for our giving, we should question just what they intend to use our money for. There are too many needs in the world, too many people who have not heard the gospel for us to give unwisely. Let us be generous to the cause of Christ all throughout the world.

This is our last post in this devotional series on Philippians. Look for a new series starting next week.

Philippians 4_19-20

Good Reads 03.15.17 (on: #prayer #parenting #singleness and more!)

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

On parenting and prayer: Seven Things to Pray for Your Children by Jon Bloom

So, pray for your children. Jesus promises us that if we ask, seek, and knock, the Father will give us good in return (Luke 11:9–13), even if the good isn’t apparent for forty years. And because Jesus regularly asked those who came to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51), we know that he wants us to be specific with our requests. (click here to read more)

On parenting and discipleship: Don’t Farm Out Your Child’s Discipleship to the Youth Pastor by Clark Forbes

What I tell them isn’t usually the answer they’re looking for: the best practice and strategy for helping kids know the gospel, come to saving faith, and grow as a disciple, is a parent investing in the discipleship of their child. Nothing helps a teenager know the gospel like seeing it modeled in the home; not just taught or spoken to them, but modeled through their parents’ relationship to each other and to the kids. (click here to read more)

On singleness and God’s Mission: Single, Satisfied, and Sent by Marshall Segal

While it may seem like two categories at first, we soon discover in application that there are three: the single, the married, and the not-yet-married. After all, as any single person knows, a desire for marriage does not a marriage make. My hope in reflecting on Paul’s words is to restore hope and ambition in the hearts of the not-yet-married and set them solidly on mission in their singleness. (click here to read more)

On the God-centered focus of preaching: You Are Not the Story by H. B. Charles Jr.

After watching a few minutes of a news telecast, I find myself turning the channel in frustration, grumbling to the reporter on the screen, “You are not the story!”

Unfortunately, many of us who stand in the pulpit need this reminder just as much as those who sit at the news desk. Christian ministers are charged to preach the word (2 Timothy 4:1-2). The Lord commands it. The truth demands it. The hearers need it. Yet there is always the danger of inserting ourselves into the sermon – by our content or delivery – that the message is obscured.

People should not leave the sermon having learned more about the preacher than Christ. When we stand to preach the word, we should prayerfully whisper to ourselves, “You are not the story.” (click here to read more)

On the ups and downs of spiritual growth: Why Do Spiritual Highs Fade? by James Beevers

So, if there is to be any lasting effect from these events and experiences, it must have at the bottom seeing and savoring Jesus Christ — and this is often what camps, conferences, and events provide. Anything of true, durable worth from these experiences comes from seeing God clearly as he really is. This can come from sermons, or discussions, or singing in worship, or late night conversations, prayers, and devotions.

When we see the light of the glory of Christ most clearly, the things of this world seem dim and worthless by comparison. Why have sin, good as it may look, when we can have Christ? (click here to read more)

 

 

Good Reads 09.21.16 (on: friendship, being ordinary, and more!)

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

On the needed wounds through faithful friends: Find a Friend to Wound You by Greg Morse

Praise God then for the faithful wounds of true friends who protect us from ultimate injury. They tell us plainly, “You’re flirting with destruction!” Or, “Spiritual sloth is unacceptable!” Friends who ask us hard questions, who crush the whispering lizard on our shoulder, who are for our eternal soul above our momentary feelings — these are true friends. (click here to read more)

On the goodness of “ordinary”: Stop the Revolution, Join the Plodders by Kevin DeYoung

Until we are content with being one of the million nameless, faceless church members and not the next globe-trotting rock star, we aren’t ready to be a part of the church. In the grand scheme of things, most of us are going to be more of an Ampliatus (Rom. 16:8) or Phlegon (v. 14) than an apostle Paul. And maybe that’s why so many Christians are getting tired of the church. We haven’t learned how to be part of the crowd. We haven’t learned to be ordinary. Our jobs are often mundane. Our devotional times often seem like a waste. Church services are often forgettable. That’s life. We drive to the same places, go through the same routines with the kids, buy the same groceries at the store, and share a bed with the same person every night. Church is often the same too—same doctrines, same basic order of worship, same preacher, same people. But in all the smallness and sameness, God works—like the smallest seed in the garden growing to unbelievable heights, like beloved Tychicus, that faithful minister, delivering the mail and apostolic greetings (Eph. 6:21). (click here to read more)

On sex and grace: Sex Under the Law, Sex Under Grace by Tim Challies

As a pastor—one who has performed weddings and counseled many couples—I know how many struggle mightily in the early days and months of marriage. So many couples quickly learn that sexual intimacy isn’t immediately as simple, pleasurable, successful, or fulfilling as they had expected, as they had wished, as they had seen modeled in a hundred Hollywood movies. For some this is the case for a short time and for some it is a lifelong struggle. (click here to read more)

On our big God drawing small people into his big mission: Why We All Want to Do Something Bigger by Zach Bradley

Wherever you land in the Scriptures, it’s hard to miss that people are small and God is big. Yet, it was not until I ventured out on mission that I began to own my tiny stature. Serving cross-culturally helped me realize that though God invites me to be part of his monstrous task, it doesn’t so sorely depend on me. In light of being a little one with a great big Father (1 John 2:14), I was invited afresh to “draw near to God with a sincere heart and full assurance of faith” (Heb. 10:22). That, my friend, was a greater high than any summiteer has ever known. (click here to read more)

Sunday 05.29.16 (to the ends of the earth)

This Sunday we’ll be taking a look at Psalm 67 and see how God has blessed us in order to make his glory and joy known to the ends of the earth. We hope to see you there! If you’re traveling this holiday weekend, we pray that you travel safe. Starting on Sunday nights in June, we’ll be doing a study through Thom Rainer’s book I Will. For a copy of the book, please see Pastor Mike.

Schedule
@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
**No Evening Services, enjoy the holiday weekend!**

Sermon Notes
To the Ends of the Earth ~ Psalm 67

  • A prayer for God’s blessing (67:1)
    • This prayer echoes Numbers 6:23-27, asking for God to supply his people with joy, protection, grace, and peace
    • To be blessed is to be made happy by God through the fullness of Jesus
    • The ultimate purpose of blessing is that God might bring joy to us by displaying his glory through us which will bring joy to others
  • Blessed by God we are to take God’s blessing to others:
    • We are to make the way of God known… (67:2)
    • …to multiply praise to God throughout the world (67:3-7)
    • …to multiply joy in God throughout the world (67:4)

Sunday 02.21.16 (bold before the world)

This Sunday we’ll be taking a look at Acts 4 and the continuing, unfinished task that God has given the church to take the gospel into the world–an act that requires boldness on our part to share the good news of Jesus. We will also be joining with thousands of other churches in debuting the new hymn by Keith and Kristyn Getty: Facing a Task Unfinished (you can click here for more information). Hope to see you there!

Schedule
@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
@6pm Winter Bible Study in church library

Sermon Notes
Bold Before the World ~ Acts 4

Like the early church we have a charge to take the gospel to the world. For this task, we have…

  • Our message–we are to share the gospel of Jesus (4:1-12)
  • Our boldness–we are to possess supernaturally empowered wisdom and strength (4:13-31)
    • We develop boldness by spending time with Jesus (4:13)
    • We develop boldness by spending time in prayer together (4:23-31)
  • Our unity–we are to be the church like a family (4:32-37)

Check out theversesproject.com for a song with lyrics from Acts 4:11-12. The Verses Project is a website dedicated to putting Scripture to music to help people learn and cherish God’s Word.