Saturday, October 24, 2015

His Story

History is the study of the past, particularly how it relates to humans. (W)
His Story

·        In the beginning God created and ordered the heavens and the earth.
·        God made Adam in His own image and then God fashioned Eve from Adam’s rib to be Adam’s wife and the mother of all mankind.
·        The devil tempted Eve to disobey God’s Word and the resulting sin separated man from God.
·        God swore to punish the devil for this deed and God offered a way for man to be forgiven and restored to right relationship with Him.
·        God chose a man and his descendants through whom He would work to bring about this salvation to fallen mankind.
·        For 4,000 years God worked His plan of redemption promising a Savior would come and forever destroy the works of the devil.
·        During the interim God granted special provision for the temporary relief from the effects of sin by allowing the sacrificial blood of bulls and goats to temporarily cover sin.
·        Inspired prophets spoke by the Spirit of God and foretold of a Messiah who would be born of a virgin in the town of Bethlehem.
·        This Messiah would be called Immanuel and would be both the Lamb of God and the Lion of Judah. He would be offered as a pure sacrifice and then be raised as the eternal King of all Kings.
·        2000 years ago these prophecies were fulfilled when the Virgin Mary gave birth to the Son of God, Jesus, the Christ, God Incarnate.
·        Jesus lived a sinless life, died an atoning death and was raised from the dead on the 3rd day victorious over sin, death, hell and the grave.
·        After His resurrection Jesus commissioned all Believers to go throughout the world proclaiming this Good News Gospel.
·        The followers of Jesus were all filled with the Holy Spirit of God and began witnessing and establishing Churches at home and around the world according to their Great Commission.
·        Throughout history, beginning with Moses and ending with the Apostle John, God ordained and inspired men to record, compile and preserve His Word for all generations to come.
·        The Holy Bible is that very Word of God and it tells only One Story … His Story. It is the most read, the most copied, the most recorded, the most preached, the most proclaimed, the most practiced and the most repeated writings ever to be known in the history of the world.
·        God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son. We love Him because He first loved us. God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Jesus died for the ungodly.
·        Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the Father God awaiting the appointed time to return in the clouds and gather the saved from the earth as a farmer gathers the ripened fruit of his field.
·        This will happen suddenly and without warning.
·        There is no other name given among men whereby we can be saved except the name of Jesus. He is the only way.
·        Today if you will simply believe His Story and call upon the name of Jesus, God will forgive your sins and save your soul.

Ephesians 3  NKJV
14 ¶  For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15  from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
16  that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,
17  that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, (love is the expression of God, not … man)
18  may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height — 
19  to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20  Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,
21  to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Jude 1  NKJV
24  Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
25  To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.

God Is Able Both Now and Forever … He Alone Is Wise!

Sunday Circles - The Tests of Life

Sunday Circles
        Building Your Family With Friends
Church On The Rock

Hymn: Psalms 19
Memory Verse: Psalms 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

Lesson: The Tests of Life
Character: David

Pastor remarks and intro of first principle

First Principle: The Valley Test
Scripture Reference: 2 Samuel 12:20 So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house; and when he requested, they set food before him, and he ate.
We can’t control everything that happens & life does not always please us.
What we do when things aren’t going our way reveals who we are and what we’re made of.
The valleys of life test our commitments.
When disappointment overwhelms us and we realize that what we want is not going to happen … what do we do?
Question: What should we do when disappointment overwhelms us?   
Follow Up Question: How can we encourage others when we see them in a valley of life?
Conclusion: We do not always make our best decisions when we are disappointed, discouraged, or in despair. Our vision is often limited in the valleys of life so we do not have the best point of view. A good decision to make in the low times of life is to climb higher and gain a greater perspective. Tough times can make us better or bitter … it’s our choice.

Pastor remarks and intro of second principle

Second Principle: The Mountain Top Test
Scripture Reference:   2 Samuel 6:14 Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a priestly garment.
We love the days that are great days when everything seems to work. 
The mountain top moments of life test our character.
What we do when everything is going our way shows who we are at heart.
While tough times often push us into God, times of abundance and success often relieve the pressures of life and give opportunity for people to distance themselves from the God who helped them in the valley.  
Question: When you become a billionaire, will you find time for God?   
Follow Up Question: What can you do to help others who are doing well to value their continuing need for God, Church, and personal ministry?
Conclusion: When we grow in God, life gets better and problems are solved. Many times when people find themselves with no alarming need for God to help them, they slack off and stop pressing in to God. Determine beforehand that, without respect to your position, profession, or prosperity, you will serve the Lord with zeal.

Pastor remarks and intro of third principle

Third Principle: The Waiting Test 
Scripture Reference:  1 Samuel 24:12  Let the LORD judge between you and me, and let the LORD avenge me on you. But my hand shall not be against you.
Sometimes the greatest test we face is a test of waiting.
What we do while we wait can determine how long we wait.
We can be certain that while we are waiting God is working.
Waiting can be the most difficult test of them all, especially when we believe that we or someone else could do something and end the waiting.
Question: What would be some reasons God is making you wait?
Follow Up Question: What should be our attitude during our times of waiting?
Conclusion: It is imperative for us to continue doing the last thing God told us to do while we are waiting on Him to open the door for the next thing. Sometimes when we are doing everything we can do, we still have to wait on God to do what only He can do. We need to learn how to wait well and have faith in His finished plan.

Pastor closing remarks

·        Connect Cards; Offering and Prayer
·        Memory Verse

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

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Sunday Circles - Church Goals and Responsibilities

Sunday Circles
        Building Your Family With Friends
Church On The Rock

Hymn: Psalms 19
Memory Verse: Psalms 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

Lesson: Church Goals and Responsibilities

Pastor remarks and intro of first principle

First Principle: Reach the Lost
Scripture Reference: Matthew 28:18-19 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
The Church has always been one generation from extinction.
Sinners are being born every day.
Jesus commissioned all believers to do their part in reaching their immediate world and the whole world with the Gospel.
The Church is responsible to take the Gospel to every nation in each generation, beginning at home.
God sees each person as a functioning part of the local Church in which God has placed them.
Question: What are some of the current ways our Church reaches out to the lost in our communities and around the world?
Follow Up Question: Discuss and list some ideas that might help us do better together.
Conclusion: The Apostle Paul encouraged us to be a witness by saying, “how shall they know except someone tells them … and how shall someone tell except they be sent?” It is our responsibility to both tell and to send others to tell. Each person should consider their personal contribution to the Great Commission and its mandate to reach the lost. How do you contribute?  
Pastor remarks and intro of second principle

Second Principle: Teach the Saints
Scripture Reference:   Matthew 28:20a  “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
The scripture does not say to go and be a disciple, but rather to go and make disciples.
The Church has a responsibility to teach believers how to follow Christ. The Church is us.
Jesus made His disciples by both mentoring and modeling the Word of God.
Question: In what ways has the Church offered instruction to you and your family since you believed?
Follow Up Question: Discuss and list other ways the Church could offer life instruction to saints.
Conclusion: The scriptures encourage each believer to grow up into Christ in all things. In order to facilitate this growth, God has chosen the Church to be a mother image to each believer. The Church is patterned after the family model and as such holds a responsibility to birth the children of God by reaching the lost and to raise the children of God in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord through godly instruction on purpose.

Pastor remarks and intro of third principle

Third Principle: Keep the sheep.  
Scripture Reference:   Matthew 28:20b “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
There is an element of permanency that is undeniable when born into the family of God.
Jesus likened His followers to sheep and Himself as their Shepherd.
Psalms 23 is a picture of a shepherd caring for (keeping) His flock.
The Church has been given the earthly responsibility to tend to, care for, and keep the members of God’s family.
The Church is more than a revival tent and more than a teaching center, the Church is a home for every believer where they grow with the family of God.
Question: How has the Church been a family to you and others you know?
Follow Up Question: In what ways could our Church do a better job in caring for the sheep of this fold?
Conclusion: God assigns each believer and every family to be a member of a local Church body as it pleases Him, not always as it pleases them. Just like we are born into an earthly family by God’s design so also God has a plan for the Church we join. God has a plan to join us to a local Church family according to His will and purpose. The Church is made up of people … we are the Church … and we are responsible to care for our family. 

Pastor closing remarks

·        Connect Cards; Offering and Prayer
·        Memory Verse

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

Undeniable Light


Key Scripture: John 20:31  But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

The Apostle John believed that this was the reason why he was led to write this Gospel. It is accepted that John wrote these words from the city of Ephesus in perhaps AD97 or AD98, when he was near 100 years old. In those days Ephesus was the Roman Capital City of Asia Minor.

Several people from our Church spent much of the last two weeks traveling throughout Asia Minor touring both classical and Biblical sites and learning about our early Church fathers and our 1st Century Church history. Asia Minor, as it was called 2000 years ago, and is still called today by many, basically encompasses the modern country of Turkey.

Our tour covered the expansion of the Kingdom of God and advancement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ during the middle of the 1st Century AD. We visited 4 of the 7 Churches mentioned in the 1st Chapter of the book of Revelation, as well as several other Biblical sites mentioned in the Book of Acts. We all agreed that this trip qualifies as one of the “Trips of a Lifetime!”

Turkey is a unique country. Although the majority of its population is born into a Muslim tradition, the prevailing sense one gets while traveling through city after city is more that of a European culture. Nonetheless there is a growing desire among the religious to exert greater Muslim influence on those living and visiting the country. They make some efforts to indoctrinate tourists, especially Christians, in hopes of influencing them to doubt the Holy Bible and thereby discredit their faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and only Savior of the World.

These things are attempted so subtly and with such persistence that it reminds me of a tiny hammer pecking away at a great mountain … they just keep pecking and pecking from every angle hoping the unaware or unguarded Believer will eventually experience foundational collapse.

We were able to avoid those attempts for the most part because of our constant vigil and consistent redress of errors when presented. One of the most blatant falsehoods I heard on this trip was from a guide in Istanbul while we were touring a Christian Church built in the mid 500’s. The 6th Century Church Building - Hagia Sophia, continues to be one of the largest Churches ever built in the history of Christianity. It is magnificent.

When the Turks conquered the city of Istanbul in 1453 this building which had been a Christian Church for over 900 years began to be used for Muslim prayers and later it became a museum. The history of this building includes second floor marble columns robbed from the Temple of Diana in Ephesus. At any rate, the Muslim influence over the recent past led them to write passages from the Koran on the walls and ceilings and around the domes of this great and majestic cathedral. Our guide had already quoted several of them in Arabic and in the mix had managed to misquote several passages from the Bible. Once when he asked me if I knew which verse was written in one of the domes he was pointing to I said, “John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son and whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

He quickly said, “No, that is not it … that is not the truth anyway … John 3:16 was added to the Bible in the 16th century.”  This was after he had already told the tour group that Mohammed was a direct descendant from Noah and Abraham through Ishmael which was all documented in the Holy Bible. Later he attempted to convince me that Mohammad was named in the Bible as the prophet of God only Christians did not know it.

He did not know I was a pastor but once I told him that I had studied the Bible and I knew that what he was telling the people was not the truth he said that he did not want to discuss it any further and walked off. In less than 30 seconds he came back and began to try to discredit the Bible and the Christian faith once again and I told him, “I thought you didn’t want to discuss it any further … I think what you meant was that you did not want to listen to anyone else but only wanted others to listen to you.”

With a smile and a warm heart of love and hope I told him that the Jesus of the Koran is not the same person as Jesus of the Bible and that Jesus Christ of Nazareth was the one and only Son of Almighty Jehovah God and that this Jesus is the Savior of the World. With this, our tour of the Hagia Sophia concluded but our duty to spread the Gospel with love and great grace continues on and so - let’s survey this truth once more.

John 1  NKJV
1 ¶  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2  He was in the beginning with God.
3  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
4  In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
5 ¶  And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
6  There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7  This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.
8  He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
9  That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
10  He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.
11  He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.
12  But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
13  who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

There are 4 Eternal Truths we affirm from this passage:

1.   God wants all men to have eternal life.
2.   Darkness does not appreciate light but people do.
a.   Darkness flees and does not appreciate nor comprehend light and people are left standing without defense
b.   We face darkness but we rescue souls
3.   Every person can be born again and thereby become a child of God.
a.   v.13 not by bloods, (of Jewry or Circumcision); not by the will of the flesh, (desire to be a child alone won’t save us); nor of the will of man, (adoption or conversion to some tradition or religion alone won’t save us) …
b.   Jesus said, “You must be born again …”
4.   To be born again a person must believe in the name of Jesus and receive Him.

12  But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:

God wants to show you the light of life today. Whatever situation or circumstance you may be facing right now, whether related to marriage, finances, children, sickness, an uncertain future or a shameful past, God is willing to accept you as you are, take the sins and the pains of your life, save your soul, deliver you from the bondage of sin, sickness and fear.

Why continue denying the glorious light of the gospel of Christ Jesus. He loves you just as you are and He wants to shine the light of His grace in your life. Don’t turn Him away.

Perhaps you have never sincerely given you life to Jesus. Maybe you have always intended to pray someday and ask God to forgive you and save you but you have been putting it off. Possibly you don’t feel worthy or don’t want to be a hypocrite. God’s not putting you off … He didn’t wait until you got better before sending His Son Jesus for your sins.

God knows you can’t make it without Him. Drop your foolish pride and bow your heart to His loving mercy right now and simply and sincerely ask God to accept the blood of His Son as payment for your sins. Tell Him that you believe in Jesus the Son and want to be Born Again.

If you will simply pray that prayer and direct it to God the Father of all life, He will forgive you, save you, accept you and continue with you to lead you, teach you, guide you and love on you for the rest of your earthly life and throughout eternity.

Such a loving God gave His only Son because He wanted you to become His child. He loved you when you were unlovable and He has a plan for your eternity. Right now it does not appear what we shall be but we know that when we are born again and become a child of God, things begin to change and ultimately we will be transformed and fashioned into the very image of Jesus Christ, our Savior.

Give God the chance you have been waiting for … pray now!

This offer to shine light on your path is not only for the lost today but also for the saved. Perhaps you are a born again child of God and on your way to heaven but are having difficulties and pressures of life, troubles and disappointments, hardships and hurts … God wants to shine His light of mercy and grace on you as well. If you will but pray today and ask God to forgive you of your shortcomings and shine the answers of life on your path, He will. God has said so that we may boldly say, He will never leave us or forsake us. God loves every one of His children and that includes you!

John 20:31  But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.