Sunday 11.17.19 (Psalms of Ascent: Hope)

This Sunday, we’ll continue our look at the Psalms of Ascent with Psalm 130. We’ll see how on our life’s God-ward journey in Christ, God provides us hope through his promises and our salvation. We hope to see you there!

Schedule
@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
@6pm Onward video study

Sermon Notes
Hope ~ Psalm 130

The sermon in one sentence: Life in Jesus is an upward journey on which God gives lasting hope.

  • Hope is an optimistic longing for a better future
  • We have hope because:
    • God hears (130:1-2)
    • God forgives (130:3-4, 7-8)
    • God speaks (130:5-6)
    • God loves (130:7)

Songs for Worship
The Solid Rock
All in All
The Steadfast Love of the Lord
My Faith Has Found a Resting Place
He Leadeth Me

Psalm 120-134 (Psalms of Ascent)

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The Glory of God Among the Nations

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

“I will display my glory among the nations, and all the nations will see the judgment I have executed and the hand I have laid on them.” ~ Ezekiel 39:21

There is no greater good than God. There is no greater treasure than Jesus. There is no greater sight to behold than the glory of God on display in the world.

As you read through the Bible, you realize that God is passionate about his glory. Glory is a term that means brightness or majesty. In terms of God, it speaks to his goodness and character. Glory is very much a part of the nature of God. He is light and in him there is no darkness, James tells us. And none is good but God, Jesus said. God is also all-powerful and all-pure, thus why he told Moses that no person could look upon his glory and live.

In a world that has been broken and corrupted by our sin, God puts his glory on display most fully through judgment and salvation. The closing sentences of Ezekiel 39 speak to both these realities. God declared his glory would be displayed to the nations of the earth at that time as they saw the exile of Israel due to their sin and unfaithfulness but also as they saw his love for his people and his grace upon them after the exile.

This, in part, is a picture of the greater glory we see as God saves and judges through Jesus.

God brings his wrath against sin. God also gives grace and love to sinner. When Jesus went to the cross, he took all the sins of all his people–all who will trust in him as their Savior-King. In love, Jesus willingly bore all the wrath of God for sin. In turn, he grants complete forgiveness for those all who recognize their sinfulness and rely on Jesus alone. This is the glory of God in his grace through salvation.

Yet, when Jesus returns, he will also stand as judge over the sinners who have refused God’s grace and have chosen to bear the weight of their own sin. God’s wrath against sin is described as an eternal fire. The judgment against sin is final. As perfect goodness, he will not allow evil, corruption, and rebellion remain in his creation forever. He will purify creation by removing sin from it. This is the glory of God in his righteousness through judgement.

In both cases, God puts his glory on display. The day will come where all people will see the glory of God through Jesus. The choice is ours today whether we will see that through salvation or judgment.

Scripture quotes taken from the Christian Standard Bible.

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Praying the Bible ~ John 11:25

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: John 11:25
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live.”  (Christian Standard Bible)

Prayer
Father, death is an enemy and often seems final in our everyday experience. Yet, we know that the world is more than we see. You sent us Jesus to give us the hope of life beyond death, and not only spiritual life but also, one day, physical resurrection. Lord, increase our faith to live not just for the now but for what comes next. Help us to remember that life is more than the 70 or 80 years you grant us and to trust in Jesus for the hope of resurrection. Help us to prioritize eternity in how we live each day. Amen.

Spiritual Growth

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

I am writing to you, little children, since your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. I am writing to you, fathers, because you have come to know the one who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have conquered the evil one. ~ 1 John 2:12-13

Like in physical life, where we are born, grow, and mature, in spiritual life we are born again through faith in Jesus, then meant to grow and mature. The book of Hebrews speaks about feasting on spiritual milk, like a child, versus spiritual meat, like an adult. In his first letter, John also speaks of this growth as he gives his purpose for writing.

John saw his audience in terms of three main stages of spiritual development: Little children, young men (young person), and fathers (parents). These speak to the three main stages of our spiritual growth.

Little children are those who have new life in Jesus. They have experienced the grace of God, know God as their Father (2:14), and have their sins forgiven. They are God’s precious sons and daughters, but they are just starting out in their faith (or have a faith that is undernourished and not yet very mature). They have much growth to experience in the years to come.

Young men (young persons) are those who have been faithfully following Jesus into a spiritual adolescence or young adulthood. Physically, adolescence and young adulthood is the stage where are most full of energy and experience the most change. Spiritually, this stage is similar. This is the stage of a spiritual warrior, a person who is growing strong in their faith and understanding of God’s word. A person who has “conquered the evil one” as they learn to rely more on Jesus and scripture (2:14). They are learning to put sin to death and are becoming more faithful to Jesus.

Fathers (parents) are those who have stepped into maturity. They have a deep relationship with God and a mature understanding of his nature and work in the world. More than this the term fathers indicates they have had a hand in producing a new generation of believers. They share their faith and the gospel with others and have taken responsibility to help others grow and mature in Jesus.

John’s descriptions give us a general picture of the spectrum of spiritual growth and maturity. Where do you see yourself in terms of your spiritual growth? Commit yourself to continue to grow and mature and to become spiritual parents to others to help them grow and mature in Christ.

Scripture quotes taken from the Christian Standard Bible.

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Sunday 10.13.19 (psalms of ascent: security)

This Sunday, we’ll continue our look at the Psalms of Ascent with Psalm 125. We’ll see how on our life’s God-ward journey in Christ, God promises eternal good for his people and to guard us into eternity. We hope to see you there!

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

Sermon Notes
Security ~ Psalm 125

The sermon in one sentence: Life in Jesus is an upward journey on which God provides will guard us into eternity.

  • God is eternal security for those who trust in him (125:1-2)
  • God promises eternal goodness for his people (125:3-4)
  • God promises eternal condemnation for evildoers (125:5)

Songs for Worship
The Solid Rock
The Everlasting Arms
You Are So Good to Me
Rescuer
Trust and Obey

Psalm 120-134 (Psalms of Ascent)

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Praying the Bible ~ James 4:6-7

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: James 4:6-7
But he gives greater grace. Therefore he says: “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  (Christian Standard Bible)

Prayer
Father, our battle is not against flesh and blood but spiritual powers of darkness. The greatest weapon you have given us to fight against sin and Satan is the unconquerable one–yourself. If you are for us, none can be against us. Your grace strengthens us to overcome every evil force. Yet, this requires humility on our part. This requires the realization that we cannot win on our own. This requires our hearts submitting to you. Father, remind us each day to rest in your grace and follow your will. Help us live in humble submission to your greatness, power, and love. Amen.

The Motive Behind the Money

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

I saw that all labor and all skillful work is due to one person’s jealousy of another. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind. ~ Ecclesiastes 4:4

Money is a part of life. Without money, we can’t pay bills, buy food and clothing, or travel. In normal life, we work, we make money, we spend money, we might save a little money, and we do the same the next day.

The Bible’s view of money and wealth is neutral–it can be used for good or bad. What defines it as such is our use of it and our motive of obtaining it. In Ecclesiastes 4, Solomon, the richest man of his time, pondered the motive. He noticed that people go out and work and make money, some work even extra hard. He also noticed that many did this out of a jealousy for others. They wanted to keep up with their neighbors.

We live in a consumeristic society when it comes to money built on the very thing Solomon lamented. We work, earn, and spend so that we can have the newest best thing, or at least have what our neighbors have. Advertising firms know this. So do credit card companies.

Yet, as Solomon wrote, such an attitude is futile. Life isn’t supposed to be about keeping up with our neighbors.

In 1 Timothy 6:17-19, Paul gave a better motivation for money: Use it to be generous and to enjoy life. In other words, there’s nothing wrong with buying things that we want or enjoying ourselves, so long as such things honor God and so long as it doesn’t temper our willingness to share with others.

When we have a heart of generosity, we’re not so interested in what others have so that we can go and gain the same, but we’re interested in what others lack so that, if possible, we can help them gain. Let’s seek to have that heart and motivation behind what we earn.

Scripture quotes taken from the Christian Standard Bible.

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