Sunday 11.19.17 (pursue holiness)

This morning, we’ll take a look at what it means to pursue holiness from 1 Thessalonians 4. Then on Sunday night at 7pm, we’ll gather with other Adrian churches at Victory Assembly of God for our annual Ministerial Alliance Thanksgiving Service. We hope to see you there!

@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
@6pm Children’s Christmas Program Practice in auditorium
@7pm Ministerial Alliance Thanksgiving Service at Victory Assembly of God

Sermon Notes
Pursue Holiness ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8

  • Pursue Holiness (4:1-3)
    • Because it is how we ought to live (4:1-2)
    • Because it is God’s will for you (4:3)
  • A specific example by Paul: Pursue holiness in your sexuality (4:3-8)
    • Stay away from sexual immorality (4:3, 5-6)
      • Sexual expression outside of God’s design
      • Involves untamed desires (4:5) and/or wronging others (4:6)
    • Pursue Purity and innocence (4:4, 7)
      • Sexual expression according to God’s design: a husband and wife bringing happiness and joy to one another in an intimate bond of mutual love (Genesis 2:18-25, Proverbs 5:15-19, 1 Corinthians 7)
      • Marked by self control and honor (4:4, 7)
    • Don’t disregard scripture’s teaching on this (4:6, 8)

1 thessalonians

Songs for Worship
Higher Ground
Take My Life and Let it Be
Refiners Fire
Set My Soul Afire
I Am Thine, O Lord

Image used and modified with permission from

What We Lose; What We Gain

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus said, “there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for my sake and for the sake of the gospel, who will not receive a hundred times more, now at this time—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and eternal life in the age to come.” – Mark 10:29-30 (CSB)

A rich young man came to Jesus seeking to know what must be done for eternal life. Jesus told him to keep the commandments. The man claimed to have not broken any. At this point, Jesus could have done like in the Sermon on the Mount and speak about how if you hate someone, that is like murder, or if you lust, that is like adultery, and then asked the man if he really had kept the commands. But Jesus chose a different route.

He spoke to the idol of the young man’s heart. In this case, the heart-idol was wealth. Go sell everything, Jesus told him, and give it to the poor. Instead of finding life, the man went away grieving. He wasn’t willing to repent of his heart-idol and put his trust in Jesus.

Jesus used this as a teaching moment for his disciples. He declared how difficult it was for a rich man to enter God’s Kingdom. The pull of the worldly wealth is often powerful. The disciples then wondered how could anyone be saved.

Jesus answered, “With man it is impossible, but not with God, because all things are possible with God.” As long as a person has breath, there is the possibility of his life being touched by God’s Spirit, Gospel, and grace. Though we cannot save ourselves, we cannot let go of our heart-idols, we have a God who is in the business of changing hearts.

In a moment of pride, Peter began to talk about everything he and the other disciples had given up to follow Jesus. Jesus answered him in Mark 10:29-30 that he one who truly leaves home, family, and fields behind for the sake of the gospel will gain much, much more.

When we come to faith in Jesus, we hope to have Jesus and family, Jesus and a good job, Jesus and a home, Jesus and health, Jesus and… the list goes on. And for many of us, we don’t have to give up everything we have to truly follow Jesus and find salvation.

But what if we did? What if we were faced with the choice Jesus or family, Jesus or a good job, Jesus or a home, Jesus or health? What if, like the rich young man, we were faced with the choice of Jesus and all the wealth we owned? Would we be willing to give it up and follow Jesus? Do we trust Jesus enough to lay at his feet even our most beloved heart-idols?

The truth is: Even if it cost us everything we have, leaving us poor and destitute, or even costing us our lives—Jesus is worth it. And if we gave up everything to gain Jesus alone, it would be more than worth it. Jesus is an infinite treasure, unending life, and a fountain of eternal joy.

Yet, we see what Jesus said: Whatever we give up for him now, we will gain back in abundance both in this life and the life to come? If following Jesus costs us our family, we still in return become a part of a family of millions of brothers and sisters from all over the world—the great family of Jesus-followers. If following Jesus costs is our wealth, we still gain a share in the rich inheritance of creation along with Jesus in eternity. If following Jesus costs us our life, we still gain eternal life in God’s joyful Kingdom.

This is why Jesus will never let our heart-idols stand: Because it’s all mud pies compared to the holiday at sea we gain through him (to borrow from C.S. Lewis).

Whatever we lose, we gain infinitely more following Jesus.

Good Reads 11.15.17 (on parenting, spiritual warfare, and more!)

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

On parenting and the gospel: I Want My Kids to Be Good by David McLemore

My boys listen and interact and respond. They understand sin is bad and God is good. They learn the path Abraham should have taken. Don’t go to Egypt. Stay in the land God provided. Refuse the riches of the world. Receive the priest’s blessing.

But they will commit their own sins. They already have, and more are on the way.

I can’t stop it and it’s my fault. It’s Abraham’s fault, and Noah’s, and Adam’s. But it’s God’s plan, too. I can’t reroute their sins to me. I can’t undo the pain they’ve already felt. I can’t remove the stain with which they were born. But Jesus can. (click here to read more)

On parenting: My Biggest Mistake as a Mother by Carolyn Mahaney

It’s not that I didn’t trust God ultimately. But at times, doing good would creep up to the front, and trusting God would get shoved to the back. I was focused on what I was doing (or not doing) for my children, and only vaguely aware of what God was doing in my children’s lives. Trusting God became something of an afterthought, and I would mother my children as if it was all up to me. (click here to read more)

On being changed by the gospel: On Getting Un-Dragoned by the Light of Christ by Jared Wilson

We have to understand just how much this sacrifice has purchased! Christ’s shed blood has delivered us from the domain of darkness. His blood speaks the better word of justice accomplished. His blood declares pardon for us, cleansing for us, and—as John Calvin helpfully reminds us in his commentary on 1 John—this cleansing pardon is “gratuitous and perpetual.”

Christian, you are never not covered by the blood of Jesus. So: If his blood has covered your sin, why are you still walking in fear and hiding? (click here to read more)

On spiritual warfare: Doing Spiritual Warfare without All the Weirdness by Stephen Altrogge

James writes this as part of a bigger discussion about pride and humility. He’s not talking about claiming territories for God or praying walls of spiritual protection around people. He’s saying that spiritual warfare against Satan involves fighting against the demonic temptation of pride.

When we fight against the sin that so often rages within, we are doing spiritual warfare. We are resisting the devil. We are taking up the shield of faith and standing firm against the temptations and accusations of the enemy. We are declaring the old us is dead and that we are no longer part of the kingdom of Satan. (click here to read more)


Sunday 11.12.17 (mutual encouragement)

This Sunday we’ll take a look at 1 Thessalonians 3:6-13 and how a church and its leaders are meant to mutually encourage one another in their faith. Then stick around and join us for our annual Thanksgiving dinner following morning worship. We hope to see you there!

@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
@Noon Thanksgiving Dinner
@6pm Scripture and Authority video study

Sermon Notes
Mutual Encouragement ~ 1 Thessalonians 3:6-13

  • Encourage your church leaders by being a cause of joy for them (3:6-9)
    • Churches should bring joy to their leaders, and that is a great advantage for you (3:9)
    • Ways to cause joy include:
      • Be committed to your faith in Jesus (3:6-8)
      • Be devoted to loving others (3:6)
      • Be eager for fellowship—the sharing of your life with others (3:6)
  • Be encouraged by your leaders’ care for you (3:10-13)
    • Leaders show their care as they:
    • Pray for you (3:10-13)
    • Help you grow in your faith (3:10)
    • Fellowship with you (3:10-11)

1 thessalonians

Songs for Worship
This is the Day
Step by Step
Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee
In Christ Alone
Brethren, We Have Met to Worship

Image taken and modified with permission from

Good Reads 11.08.17

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

On the church shooting in Texas: Tragedy in Texas: Christian Testimony in the Face of Evil by Albert Mohler

This particular attack in Texas highlights the fact that Christians are not immune from this kind of heartbreak. We cannot understand exactly what that congregation in that community is experiencing, but we do understand heartbreak, and we know that heartbreak is at the very center of their experience at this moment.

The Christian worldview affirms the dignity of human life. According to Scripture, every single human life is of eternal value and inestimable worth. Murder is not, then, merely a crime, it is an assault on the dignity of the human being—an attack upon the image of God. (click here to read more)

On contentment and the gospel: Chasing Contentment by Jonathon Woodyard

How does all that relate to contentment and discontentment? Augustine once told us that man’s heart is restless until it finds rest in God. Another way to say it, man is perpetually discontent until he finds contentment in God. We are constantly looking for the “great it of satisfaction.” Yet, we look in all the wrong places. We look for ultimate happiness and peace and satisfaction (i.e. contentment) in relationships and riches and promotions and a host of other things. And yet nothing ever quenches that deep thirst for something more, something else.

The gospel is a message to every discontented heart that says the pathway to contentment is open to all who would come to Jesus in faith. Come to Jesus and be reconciled to the one at whose right hand are pleasures forevermore (Ps 16:11). Turn from sin and place your faith in Jesus and find that through Jesus you get God. God is the great who of satisfaction. (click here to read more)

On loving your enemies: The Lord’s Crazy, Counter-Intuitive, Upside Down, Against-All-My-Feelings-and-Emotions Command by Stephen Altrogge

Has someone hurt you, taken advantage of you, ripped you off or insulted you?

You could take revenge. You could treat them as they treated you. You could hurt them back. You could take something of theirs. You could insult them back or badmouth them to others.

But if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you don’t have these options. Jesus says, “I’m going to tell you something completely counter-intuitive. Something absolutely crazy. Something that will go against all your feelings and emotions. And something that you can’t possibly do in your own strength. Yet when you do it it will demonstrate that you are a son or daughter of mine. And you will experience blessing you couldn’t imagine.” (click here to read more)

On God’s sovereignty: How a Genealogy Changed My Life by Jordan Standridge

The New Testament begins with the genealogy of Jesus. Unlike the one in Luke 3 which goes in ascending order form Jesus to Adam, the one in Matthew goes in descending order from Abraham to Christ. Matthew does something really fascinating in a few of the verses. Whenever there’s a famous woman in the line of Jesus, He lets us know. In verse 3, He mentions Tamar, in verse 5, Ruth, and in verse 6, Bathsheba. But it was another name in verse 5 that really blew my mind. The name was Rahab.

All of a sudden, when I read her name, it was as if a burden lifted off my back. I understood God’s sovereignty like never before. I became emotional as I considered the implications of reading her name in the line of Jesus. (click here to read more)

Sunday 11.05.17 (faithful in suffering)

This Sunday, we’ll continue our journey through 1 Thessalonians, taking a look at 2:13-3:5 and seeing what it means to be faithful to Jesus even in the midst of suffering. Then on Sunday night, we’ll be in our video series: Scripture and Authority in the Age of Skepticism. Also remember to “fall back” by setting your clocks back one hour before bed! We hope to see you on Sunday!

@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
@6pm “Scripture and Authority” study

Sermon Notes
Faithful in Suffering ~ 1 Thessalonians 2:13-3:5

  • When we receive God’s word in faith, it changes us (2:13-14)
    • Faith receives God’s word as God’s word (2:13)
    • Receiving God’s word in faith leads us to imitate Jesus and imitate other faithful Christians (2:14, 1:6)
    • But this change can bring about suffering (2:14)
    • Therefore:
  • Be ready when suffering comes (2:14-20)
    • We all face various forms of suffering (James 1:2), including:
    • Persecution (2:14-16)
    • Separation from those we love and care about (2:17-20)
    • Satanic attacks (2:18)
    • Other forms such as health issues, depression and anxiety, issues with family, work, school, etc.
  • When suffering comes, face it with faith (3:1-5)
    • When faced with the darkness of suffering, we need to be reminded of the light of hope in the gospel (3:1-3)
    • When faced with the darkness of suffering, we need to remember that suffering is not out of the ordinary (3:3-4)
    • When faced with the darkness of suffering, we need to find encouragement through others (3:5, in light of 2:19-20 & 3:6)

1 thessalonians

Songs for Worship
He Leadeth Me (what a version on YouTube here)
We Are Called to be God’s People
Ancient Words (watch a version on YouTube here)
By Faith (watch a version on YouTube here)
In Times Like These

Image taken and modified with permission from

Good Reads 11.01.17 (on: parenting, God as refuge, and more!)

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

On God being our refuge: The Type of Refuge God Is by Mike Leake

God is not a reluctant refuge. He isn’t a passive refuge like a cave. He is one who delights in those who take refuge in Him. Therefore, I am emboldened to cast all my cares and anxieties upon Him. I don’t have to pretend that I’m someone that I’m not. And I don’t have to fear that when I come into this cave and spill all my guts and things get ugly that somehow I’m going to be rejected and booted out of this source of refuge. No, I’m loved and known deeply. (click here to read more)

On battling depression: What I Learned in My Season of Depression by Shona Murray

When I was a pastor’s wife and a mother of four children, I was T-boned by burnout and depression. As an energetic, motivated, organized, and outgoing person, I could never have anticipated the anxiety, fear, and endless despair that enveloped me. But God, in his love and wisdom, chose this very specific trial for me. Perhaps he has chosen it for you, and you too are bewildered. Let me give you some hope by sharing some of the lessons I learned from this shocking providence. (click here to read more)

On loving and serving moms: 3 Ways to Love Moms in Your Church by Allyson Todd

As you pursue and love moms in your church, let those moms also pursue and love you. This can be a life-giving opportunity for women to be reminded that their identity is not just in their motherhood. Let women with children disciple you, serve you, and love you as you love them.

I have some friends who would regularly invite me over for dinner when I didn’t have a kitchen. Since my friend was already cooking for her family, my presence at their dinner table wasn’t a burden. This same family let me live in their basement when I was in-between homes. We may feel like a burden to our mom-friends, but we can communicate our needs and let women with children meet us where they can. (click here to read more)

On parenting: 18 Things I Will Not Regret Doing with My Kids by Tim Challies

It baffles me that one of the things that most intimidates me is praying with my kids. I don’t mean praying with the whole family before or after a meal, but praying with my daughter for my daughter or with my son for my son. Yet this kind of prayer lets them see that I am concerned for what concerns them and it lets us join in prayer together for those very things. I know I need to prioritize this because I will never regret praying with them for them. (click here to read more)