Sunday, February 22, 2015

Investment and Return


Key Scripture: Matthew 6:21  "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

This is the simple principle of investment and return. It is not so much that we invest in those things we care about but rather we tend to care more about those things in which we invest.

Case in point: Unless you have current investments and hold stock in Sears you may not care or even be aware of the company’s overall bottom line. However, if your complete retirement package is invested in Sears Holdings Corp, (SHLD), I bet you keep up with it, talk to others about it and have high hopes that it does well. Who knows, you may even make your opinions known to those running the corporation as to how they might do a better job. ((up 8.25% last week, 33+ to 36+) down 30% this year)

We tend to care more about the things we invest in. Often, The more we invest the more we care. For example: A house can be dirty and out of order for a month and no one picks up after themselves ~ but ~ let mom or dad clean it and get everything all straightened and you had better not come in right afterwards with mud on your shoes or leave a sandwich and coke can on the coffee table or pull your socks off and leave them on the couch … Investments make the investor more conscious and more caring.

It is a Godly principle to care more about the things in which we are involved and have invested. Perhaps this is one huge reason why:

John 3:16  God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son and whoever believes in Him shall never die but have eternal life.

God made a huge investment in this world and in every nation, kindred, tribe and tongue and He loves them all. It might come as a surprise to many but let me assure you that God even loves your enemies. God’s heart follows His great investment. (The greater the investment, the greater the love) If we care nothing for our investment we will care nothing about the return. We see God’s love because we see God’s investment …

Isaiah 19:25  For the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will say, “Blessed be Egypt, my people. Blessed be Assyria, the land I have made. Blessed be Israel, my special possession!”

Egypt, Assyria, Israel … God loves them all? Yes! These are all nations settled by the offspring of God’s covenant with Adam, Noah and Abraham. (Note: Assyria was settled by Abraham’s sons by his concubines - Gen 25)

God has an investment in every nation, each tribe and every people group … He loves them all.

Revelation 14:6  Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth — to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people — 

Revelation 5
9  And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
10  And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth."

(Story if needed: If you don’t like it, you just haven’t eaten enough of it…)

God so loved the world … God loving the whole world can only begin with God loving you. God has made a personal investment in your life – Jesus!

Where your treasure is there will your heart be also … when you make a personal investment in God it will strengthen each relationship and bring you many earthly and eternal returns. The value of everything changes when we begin to value Jesus. Today you can make an eternal investment.

Your personal investment in God begins with a simple surrender saying, “Not my will but Thy will O God” … The first step is to accept God’s Son as your personal Savior … without this first step, no other step will matter. So, Let’s make your first step a certainty right now. (Altar Call: Salvation; (Recognize; Repent; Receive) Then: Surrender to God’s Call on your life) 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Sunday Circles - The Purpose

Sunday Circles
        Building Your Family With Friends
Church On The Rock
February 22, 2015

Hymn: Down at the Cross
Memory Verse: Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Lesson: The Purpose

Pastor remarks and intro of first principle

First Principle: Love Languages
Scripture Reference: 1 Corinthians 9:22b I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
Meanings are not in words they are in people.
Love has many languages.
In order to know what is meant, we must understand the language being spoken.
Some people are concerned that their kindness might come across as interest or flirtation … other people aren’t concerned and they should be.  
Discuss these love languages:
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service
Gift Exchange
Quality Time
Physical Touch
Question: Which love language(s) do you most identify with?
Conclusion: When we interact with others we love, it is important that we speak their language so that our love can be effectively communicated and accurately interpreted, remembering not everyone speaks the same love language.  

Pastor remarks and intro of second principle

Second Principle: Tough Love
Scripture Reference: Hebrews 12:6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son He receives.
Love does not always say yes.
Love obligates us to be responsibly honest.
Question: Discuss some of the tougher obligations love may require.
Follow Up Question: Is tough love a withholding of love or an expression of love?
Conclusion: Love often demands we be responsibly honest, especially when we are a responsible party. Love does not demand we always do what the other person desires. Love can and, at times, must stand on its own ground and reach toward the highest goal … that can be tough.

Pastor closing remarks

    Connect Cards; Offering and Prayer
    Memory Verse

    Pre-Praise & Worship Prayer will be in the Sanctuary Studio. Worship will begin in just a few minutes.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Grace, Covenant & Love


The Bible is a love story. It is a book authored by God and filled with great and tragic stories of grace, covenant and love.

·        Adam and Eve
·        Isaac and Rebekah – Genesis 24
·        Jacob and Rachael
·        Rahab and Salmon
·        David and Bathsheba
·        David and Abigail
·        David and Jonathan
·        Samson and Delilah
·        King Solomon and his Beautiful Dark Skinned Woman
·        Amnon and Tamar
·        Hosea and Gomer
·        Esther and the King
·        Balaam and his money
·        Jezebel and her control
·        Absalom and himself
·        Joseph and Mary
·        Jesus and the Church

This morning we are going to observe love in various expressions as we follow the life of a good woman whose name is Ruth. Before we turn to the book which bears her name, let’s read a few verses from Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes 3
1  To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:
8  A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.
11 ¶  He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.
12  I know that nothing is better for man than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives,
13  and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor — it is the gift of God.

Ruth’s love for Naomi is representative of the last day’s love of the Church for the Children of Israel. The parallel is seen in the spiritual reflections of the natural facts surrounding this great love story and its conclusions. It is easy to imagine Naomi as representative of the Jewish people having lost their God and without heir; and Ruth as a reflection of the New Testament Church, having no right to grace but yet embraced by Naomi’s Redeemer Kinsman, bringing salvation to the whole house and plan of God. This story is an amazing revelation of grace, covenant and love.

·        Grace is unmerited favor and ability
o   Unearned
o   Undeserved
·        Covenant is a binding pledge
o   Unilateral Covenant and Bilateral Covenant
o   Unconditional and Conditional Covenants
·        Love is the unselfish giving of yourself to another
o   At times the opposite of love is hatred
o   At other times the opposite of love is indifference
o   But most times the opposite of love is selfishness

When these three elements are in place, whether the aim is friendship, family relationships or marriage – a love story is in the making.

Ruth was a fortunate woman to have presumably known the love of a spouse in her youth. What an adventure it must have been to have been chosen by one of the sons of Naomi. After such a tragedy which left her a widow and without father in law or brother in law and as yet no child after 10 years of marriage – it must have seemed like her life was doomed. In fact those were the very words of her mother in law: “afflicted by God”.

It is evident from Ruth’s life that she lived an honorable life in respect to her covenant and demonstrated an unselfish giving of herself to that covenant.

Ruth was also fortunate to have experienced a new and renewed love later in life at a time when others would have counted her out. The grace of her life, her ability to make covenant and give herself unselfishly opened that door for her. Boaz, like Christ in our lives, was her redeemer.

However, even though Ruth experienced the grace, the covenant and the love of spousal relationships and lived as an example to many who have met with tragic circumstances and yet rebounded to not only survive but to also thrive in life, she had another relationship and perhaps another purpose bigger and more powerfully impacting than either of her two marriages. Ruth was a woman chosen by God and used by God I believe because of her willingness and her demonstration of grace, covenant and love.

As I catch us up on the story which occurred during the time of the Judges, perhaps 1150 to 1200 years BC, turn with me to the Book of Ruth, Chapter 1. We will read there in a moment.

(The Bible account of the grace, covenant and love of God from Ruth:)

Ruth 1
16  But Ruth said: "Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God.
17  Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me."


·        God’s grace is sufficient for you
o   both favor and ability to do and be whatever you need to do and be
·        We have a covenant with God
o   both unilateral and bilateral
o   both unconditional and conditional
·        God loves so much that He gave His Only Son for you
o   Through Jesus you can know the grace, the covenant and the love of God.

o   Let me tell you how to know Him …

Sunday Circles - Never Failing Love

Sunday Circles
        Building Your Family With Friends
Church On The Rock

Hymn: Down at the Cross
Memory Verse: Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Lesson: Never Failing Love

Pastor remarks and intro of first principle

First Principle: Love is and is not …
Scripture Reference: 1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud.
Question: What are some opposites of love?  
Follow up Question: How can we recognize when we may be running short of love?
Conclusion: One of the opposites of love can be termed, “selfish.” Selfish people are motivated by what they can get. Love is motivated by what it can give.

Pastor remarks and intro of second principle

Second Principle: Love does and does not …
Scripture Reference: 1 Corinthians 13:5-6 Love does not behave rudely. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable (not easily provoked), and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but does rejoice whenever the truth wins out.
Question: What other feelings masquerade as love?
Follow Up Question: What is the difference between loving someone and being in love with someone? 
Conclusion: Love compels us to give ourselves to others. The greater the love, the more we give. Being in love compels us to give everything. 

Pastor remarks and intro of third principle

Third Principle: Love never and always …
Scripture Reference: 1 Corinthians 13:7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Question: Under what circumstances could love, though well intended, be misdirected?
Conclusion: God most often join us together with others first for what we can give to the equation, not what we can get. Love is the most powerful force in the universe. The love of God covers ours sins and welcomes us into an eternal relationship with God. Our love for others is also powerful. When rightly directed our love will fulfill us more than any other thing. When misdirected, love can cause almost unbearable situations. God’s word clearly defines what and who we should and should not love. God is love but love is not God.

Pastor closing remarks

    Connect Cards; Offering and Prayer
    Memory Verse

    Pre-Praise & Worship Prayer will be in the Sanctuary Studio. Worship will begin in just a few minutes.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Love Is …


Matthew 22  NKJV
35  Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying,
36  "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?"
37  Jesus said to him, "’You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
38  "This is the first and great commandment.
39  "And the second is like it: ’You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
40  "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."

Not only are we to love God and love our neighbors but are also told to love even our enemies.

Matthew 5:44  "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.

How can we love God, our family and our friends, let alone our enemies, unless we know what love is? What is love? This is the point where most people would either say, “God is love”, or else they would begin quoting 1 Corinthians 13, which is known as the love chapter in the Bible. Both of these approaches are absolutely correct and viable answers to the question I pose. However … Today I hope to bring some greater definition and deeper understanding concerning this force called love.

To assist us in our discovery of what love is we are going to be reading a passage from the Song of Solomon. The Song of Solomon, also known as the Song of Songs, is a relatively small and somewhat obscure book in the Old Testament. You can find it just right of the middle of the Bible as you turn past the books of Psalms, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.

This love song parallels the love affair not only between King Solomon and the beautiful young woman found within the pages but also follows the love affair and deepest “in love” emotions known to Christ and His Bride, the Church. Although universally accepted by the Jewish faith, it has generally been forbidden to be read by those under the age of 30 for concerns that youth may not fully understand or need to embrace the emotions described by this affair.

Nonetheless, the Song of Solomon is a great inspiration to lovers and gives cause for all of us to take note of the true love that can exist between a man and a woman as designed by their Creator, Almighty God. If you’ve not read this book in its entirety as it is meant to be sung, I encourage you to get a good reading translation and set these words to the music in your heart and mind. These words hold mysteries of the love of Christ for His Bride.

Now let’s begin to understand what love is from wise King Solomon’s own experiences. 

Song of Solomon 8 (The New Living Translation)
6  Place me like a seal over your heart,
    like a seal on your arm.
For love is as strong as death,
    its jealousy as enduring as the grave.
Love flashes like fire,
    the brightest kind of flame.
7  Many waters cannot quench love,
    nor can rivers drown it.
If a man tried to buy love
    with all his wealth,
    his offer would be utterly scorned.

Love is …

1.   Love is a seal over your heart.
a.   There is no denying the love of your heart
b.   When no one else knows, you know …
c.   Love is life and love sustains us
2.   Love is like a seal on your arm.
a.   True love is not hidden from others
b.   Love is the strength of your life
3.   Love is as strong as death
a.   yea, even stronger
b.   love endures beyond death
c.   death cannot stop or destroy love
4.   Love is enduring – as enduring as the grave
a.   There is a permanency to love
b.   There is a possessiveness to love
c.   There is a jealous pride tied to love
d.   It is a steady, constant and unchanging truth
e.   We feel very personal and very protective over love
5.   Love flashes like a fire
a.   This speaks of a thunderbolt
b.   All of the sudden, love is
c.   It comes from seemingly nowhere
d.   You never know when or where it will strike
e.   We fall prey and are but victims of love’s strike
6.   Love is the brightest kind of flame
a.   It is the fire of the Lord
b.   1 Kings 18:38  “The fire of the Lord fell …”
c.   Nothing else burns as bright as the love we feel
7.   Love is unquenchable
a.   It cannot be stopped by rain or flood
b.   Adversities have no power to water down true love
8.   Love cannot be consumed
a.   It can exist in the deepest darkest dungeon
9.   Love is without price
a.   Love can only be given

Perhaps you have been selling love short or maybe you have never experienced the love of God in your life. Jesus loves you with just such a love as we have been discussing. There is nothing you can do to deserve or purchase His love … He simply and completely loves you. Today you can know this love by opening your heart to Him and allowing Him to come into your life and abide with you. Today you can become a part of His Bride.

Not only can you experience the love of Christ but you can also begin to love God and others with that same kind of love. Again I encourage you to open your heart and let the love of Christ consume you and begin loving others with that same kind of love. 

Sunday Circles - The Three Attributes of Love

Sunday Circles
        Building Your Family With Friends
Church On The Rock

Hymn: Down at the Cross
Memory Verse: Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Lesson: Three Attributes of Love

Pastor remarks and intro of first principle

First Principle: Love Covers
Scripture Reference: 1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”
Love does not always discern between what is good or bad … love covers both.
Love covers sin.
Love can cause blindness (Judges 16:4 – Samson loved Delilah).
Question: What kind of people need love?
Follow up Question: Is love the measure of the person loved or the person who is loving?
Conclusion: Love is the measure of God in a person. Just as God’s love covers our sin, our love for others covers their faults and makes them more presentable and acceptable to us. Love can cause a person to be blind to things that have potential to hurt them and cause them pain. However, Godly love continues to cover and endures.
Application: Strive to love others with a Godly kind of love.

Pastor remarks and intro of second principle

Second Principle: Love Multiplies
Scripture Reference: 1 John 3:1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
Love has a duplicative capacity.
God loves each one of His children equally, without regard as to their stage or station of life.
Question: How can a parent love a second child as much as they love the first?
Follow Up Question: How is it possible to love more than one thing or person equally?
Conclusion: The love God has given us is found expressed in three types: brotherly love; the love between a husband and a wife; and Godly love. Godly love, we call agape. This is the love that never fails, never gives up, and never runs out. This true love from the heart has the capacity to multiply.
Application: Remember that God loves you as much as He loves Jesus. 

Pastor remarks and intro of third principle

Third Principle: Love Changes
Scripture Reference: 1 Thessalonians 3:12 And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you.
Love changes in intensity and type.
Love can increase and abound.
Love can decrease and diminish (wax cold, Matthew 24:12).
Question: Describe how love can change in type and intensity.
Follow Up Question: What investments can we make to help love grow and abound?     
Conclusion: Love is often the fruit of our investments. Selfish people only invest in their own interests and therefore tend to love themselves more than others. When we begin to pray for, serve, and invest our resources in helping others, our love for them will begin to grow.
Application: Don’t let your love grow cold … make an investment today.

Pastor closing remarks

    Connect Cards; Offering and Prayer
    Memory Verse

    Pre-Praise & Worship Prayer will be in the Sanctuary Studio. Worship will begin in just a few minutes.