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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Treasure God’s Word

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

Manasseh, King of Judah and son of Hezekiah, was as evil as they came. Second Kings 21:11 gives as a summary of his life: “King Manasseh of Judah has committed all these detestable acts–worse evil than the Amorites who preceded him had done–and by means of his idols has also caused Judah to sin.” After Manasseh died, his son Amon became king and did much the same.

After Amon was assassinated, young Josiah became king. Josiah was a breath of fresh air. “He did what was right in the Lord’s sight” according to 2 Kings 22:2. Part of the reason his heart turned toward the Lord is found in 22:8-13. While repairs were being done in the temple, a book was found. This wasn’t any ordinary book. This was God’s Law, his word that he had given through various prophets to that point.

Hearing the book read, King Josiah repented before God and ordered reforms throughout Judah, including the destruction of the idols and high places for false worship that his father and grandfather had built and used.

Well before there were kings over God’s people, Moses had anticipated the day and God gave this command through him:

When [the king] is seated on his royal throne, he is to write a copy of this instruction for himself on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. It is to remain with him and he is to read it all the days of his life, so that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to observe all the words of this instruction, and to do these statutes. (Deuteronomy 17:18-19)

Each king was to have his own personal copy of God’s word and he was to read from it every day of his life. Yet, during the time of Manasseh and Amon, God’s word was thrown into a room and forgotten. Josiah seemed not to be aware of its existence until it was found during the repairs.

God’s word is powerful in our lives. In 2 Timothy 3:14-17, Paul described it as sacred writings, inspired by God, which give wisdom for salvation and are able to teach, rebuke, correct, and train so we are equipped for every good work.

Yet, if we neglect it, then we lack guidance in the things that honor God and fuel life in Christ. God’s word leads us away from sin and empowers us to live faithful to him Neglecting God’s word leaves us in the grip of sin.

So, treasure the word. Read it, listen to it, and take it to heart.

Scripture quotations taken from the Christian Standard Bible.

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Praying the Bible ~ Philippians 4:10-13

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: Philippians 4:10-13
I rejoiced in the Lord greatly because once again you renewed your care for me. You were, in fact, concerned about me but lacked the opportunity to show it. I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself. I know both how to make do with little and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content–whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through him who strenghtens me. (Christian Standard Bible)

Prayer
Father, thank you for the many people you have put in my life who have encouraged me, cared for me, and supported me in many ways. I have not felt a lack because of them. But, Lord, you call us to contentment and a trust in you. I must confess that contentment is difficult at times. Circumstances can overwhelm and even underwhelm. Yet, you, Lord, are faithful. Help me to always see your hand at work. Help me to always know your provision. More than that, help me to live by the secret of contentment. You, Father, are more precious than silver and more treasured than gold. Your word, Lord, satisfies like honey and I need it each day because I cannot live on bread alone. Thank you for being the secret to contentment. Whether well fed or hungry, having you is better. Amen.

Rejoice!

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

Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice! – Philippians 4:4

To say that Philippians is a letter about joy might be an understatement. From start to finish, the pages drip with Paul’s joy and his call for others to rejoice along with him.

We must be careful not to think that Paul was blind to the hard and difficult things in the world that seek to rob joy. As you read through the letter, he speaks of being in prison on account of the Gospel. He details the internal war he waged between wanting to die and be with Jesus and wanting to stay alive to help others know and follow Jesus. He speaks of people preaching the Gospel in a rivalry against him. He talks of sick friends and bickering co-laborers. He describes facing times of hunger in addition to times of plenty.

Paul knew the hard life. Paul knew suffering.

Yet, he also knew joy through it all.

This happiness that Paul experienced, you see, was not based on the happenstances of the moment. Good times come and go and so do the bad. Life happens and sometimes that is painful. If that’s where the foundation of his joy rested, then he would be up and down, all over the place, his emotions like a rollercoaster.

But his joy found a sure foundation. “Rejoice in the Lord,” Paul wrote. Elsewhere, Paul spoke about how the sufferings of today aren’t even worth comparing to the eternal wealth of glory.

When you believe that Jesus is the one true source of eternal joy and satisfaction, of an abundant life beyond the 70 or 80 years or so we get in this world, then it changes how you live and see your circumstances. You are able to hold onto joy no matter what the winds of life bring because the best is coming. The momentary winter of suffering will give way to an unending spring of delight.

That is joy’s hope, no matter what may come.

Scripture quotations taken from the Christian Standard Bible.

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Sunday 6.23.19 (love others)

JP Williams joins us again this Sunday. He’ll be taking a look at Leviticus 19 and what it means to “love your neighbor as yourself.” We hope to see you there!

Schedule
@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
**No evening study

Songs for Worship
He Has Made Me Glad
Shout to the Lord
Come All Christians, Be Committed
Let Your Heart Be Broken
Let Others See Jesus in You

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Praying the Bible ~ Psalm 119:145-148

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: Psalm 119:145-148
I call with all my heart; answer me, Lord. I will obey your statutes. I call to you; save me, and I will keep your decrees. I rise before dawn and cry out for help. I put my hope in your word. I am awake through each watch of the night to meditate on your promise. (Christian Standard Bible)

Prayer
Father, thank you for hearing my prayers. Thank you that through Christ, all your promises are a “yes and amen.” Even when I don’t know the things I should pray for, even when I stumble through my words, you are the loving Father who listens. Father, you have given me Jesus. You have filled me with your Spirit. You have saved me from my sins. May I obey you in all that I do. May I delight in honoring you by keeping your word. Your word is my hope, because by it you have shown me Jesus and promised a glorious eternity. Day and night, whenever I am awake, help your word to be firmly planted in my heart and mind. Amen.

What Eye Cannot See

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

The Bible divides reality into two realms: seen and unseen, or the natural and supernatural. These two realms interact and intersect constantly. We just don’t always see it.

In the unseen realm there are battles that impact and influence us. This is what Paul described as spiritual warfare in Ephesians when he wrote, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens” (6:12).

As human beings, we live in both the seen and the unseen. We have our bodies with its abilities and senses, and we have our spirits or souls. Even if the body is destroyed, the soul lives on. This is why when he was in prison and about to die, Paul considered himself kept safe by God. He would join Jesus, and enter safely into the heavenly Kingdom (2 Timothy 4).

In our current lives, however, we often get distracted by and fixated on what we can see, taste, hear, smell, and feel. In our day-to-day lives, we sometimes even act as if the unseen isn’t real or doesn’t matter. Paul thought it mattered greatly. Enough to remind us that our real enemy is not another human being but spiritual forces.

In 2 Kings 6, Elisha’s servant learned this lesson. The king of Aram, as he was fighting against Israel, found himself frustrated time and time again because Elisha informed Israel’s king ahead of time about Aram’s plans. Aram’s king thought he had a spy, but the truth was God revealed Aram’s plans to the prophet.

The king of Aram then sought to capture Elisha. He sent a massive army to the place where Elisha was camped. When his servant woke in the morning, the sight terrified him. He said to Elisha, “Oh, my master, what are we to do?”

Elisha told his servant not to be afraid, “For those who are with us outnumber those who are with them.” Elisha then prayed that his servant might have open eyes to perceive the unseen army sent by God to protect Elisha and his servant.

This is why, no matter the situation, we must think beyond what our eyes can see. We must trust God and don the spiritual armor. Yes, we face wars and rumors of wars in this realm, but the greatest battles are in places unseen. But we, who belong to Jesus, have already been promised victory (Romans 8:37-39).

Scripture quotations taken from the Christian Standard Bible.

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