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Message Monday: Cradle Roll of Christ – Wonderful Counsleor

Intro:

  • Today we begin a brief series of messages that I pray will help us to see the Savior with new eyes during this Christmas season.
  • Think with me for just a moment of the excitement when you discovered that you or a close family member was expecting a baby.
  • One of the first questions always asked is what will you name the baby.
  • Lists of favorite names are compiled by parents as well as a list of never names.
  • Churches would also get involved in this name craze.
    • In Baptist churches years ago when they would know a new baby was on the way they would enroll the baby in the church.
    • Because they did not know the name by writing down “Baby” and the parents last name on the Cradle Roll.

 

Hook:

  • So imagine with me for just a moment that God was going to enroll the Christ Child into one of our churches.
    • There would be no last name because God needs no last name.
    • To enroll the child a name would be requires and so when asked what would God provide as a name?
    • In the book of Isaiah in at least two verses we receive God’s answer as to what name Jesus shall be called.
    • Today we begin by examining the first name in Isaiah 9:6.

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Posted by on December 5, 2016 in Ministry of the Word

 

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Message Monday: A Thanksgiving Meditation

Image result for christian thanksgivingIntro:

  • Just a few months ago I finished a counseling case that I thought would especially apply to our message today.
  • After talking with her and gaining her permission, let me share her case with you. I am going to call her Lisa, though that is not her real name.
  • In our first few sessions when Lisa entered the room it was evident that she was an emotional wreck. At times it was all she could do not to hold back tears. At other times she was livid.
  • For years her mother had berated her and put her down.
    • Lisa was told a number of times that she should have been aborted and that she owed her mother for deciding to have her.
    • She was berated for converting to Christ as a young lady, and for raising her family in church – even though the mother claimed to be a Christian.
    • She was also mercilessly criticized for taking in her sick father and caring for him because her mother and father were divorced.
  • Lisa had tried talking with her mother to let her know how much her words hurt, but Lisa’s mother only continue to berate for sharing such things.
  • At the same time when Lisa would try to distance herself from her mother, her mother would inevitably find a way to rope her back into her life – from fake illnesses to imaginary emergencies.
  • Lisa had recently begun to try to distance herself from her mother before we began counseling, but did not know if she was in God’s will.
  • As our counseling began, I wanted to share with Lisa the great joy she should have in trying to please Christ.
    • In our counseling I began to share with Lisa that she had followed the right process laid out in Matthew 18:15-20 by talking with her mother first and trying to get her to understand.
    • I also shared from Titus 3:10 that says after warning a divisive person twice that you have nothing else to do with the person because they are warped, sinful and self-condemned.
  • Towards the end of our counseling I began to share with Lisa one final challenge. You see, Lisa needed to have a forgiving attitude towards her mother – in spite of all the suffering she had been through.
    • Jesus commands us to forgive others that our trespasses may be forgiven by the Father in Matthew 6:14-15.
    • If Lisa’s mother was not able to ask for Lisa’s forgiveness, it was a pretty good indication that she had never experienced God’s forgiveness.
    • While Lisa’s mother may never ask for her forgiveness Eph. 4:32 says that she should have a forgiving attitude like the one Christ exhibited as He desired to forgive us.
  • We began to try to build this attitude of forgiveness by asking Lisa to put together a scrapbook of her life that she could give to her sons.
    • Instead of communicating all the pain, hurt, and disgust about her mom we asked her to write with the pictures the reasons she thanked God for her mother.
    • Lisa began this assignment with gusto – she was a scrap-booker. She gather the materials and all the special papers and pictures.
    • As she began to layout the pictures Lisa just could not bring herself to move forward because she could not think of anything for which she could give thanks to God.
    • This went on for several sessions and I encouraged her that even in spite of her suffering and trial God could take what was meant for evil and work good out of it (Gen. 50:20).
    • Soon thereafter she came in with the scrapbook and told us she had a breakthrough.
    • In the midst of all the suffering she found two main things for which to thank God.
      • First she thanked God that her mother had not aborted her.
      • Second she thanked God that at the birth of her sons years before, her mother had dropped everything to be there for her daughter.
      • Finally, she thanked God that through this trial with her mom that He had built her testimony to minister to others.
  • With this revelation, I encouraged Lisa to remind herself of those things as God’s way to work grace into her life in spite of her mother.
    • For the sake of God’s best in the relationship with her mother, I asked her begin to pray earnestly for her mother to have a changed heart and come asking for her forgiveness.
    • As she prayed I encouraged her to add more reasons to be thankful to God.
  • By the end of our counseling Lisa had the peace of Christ and was eager to share her experience with others who may have been suffering like her.

Hook:

  • Do you have situations in your life that keep you from being able to give thanks right now?
  • Is there suffering or some kind of hurt that will keep you away from family members or friends that you know you should gather together with at this special time?
  • Perhaps someone in your family has died, and it was their home where the family gathered. Now that is no longer an option.
  • The reason I wanted to share Lisa’s story with you is that her journey so well explains this passage.

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Posted by on November 22, 2016 in Ministry of the Word

 

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Message Monday: The Joy of Having Confidence in Christ

Intro:strong-confidence

  • This past week the Chicago Cubs made history as they broke a 108 year World Series drought and a 71 year deficit in bringing home the National League Pennant.
  • It was hard not to pull for the Cubs even if you are not a baseball fan.
  • That said, did you hear the story of one Cubs fan named Darel Sterner?
    • Mr. Sterner lived in Des Moines Iowa and was 85.
    • The reason he made the news was that he was a die-hard Cubs fan.
    • He was a barber for 61 years, where the Cubs were a constant topic of conversation.
    • He was a “ornery cuss” according to his son, always playing and telling jokes.
    • By game 7 he was in hospice care after experiencing declining health after a stroke.
    • There at his beside his entire family had gathered to watch the Cubs with his family.
    • Three hours after the win, Mr. Sterner passed away.
    • His son told the reporters, “We all believe he is in heaven, one of the first Cubs fans there to see them win the World Series before passing away.”
  • Let me ask you a question about Mr. Sterner.
    • What story does his life tell, confidence in Christ or confidence in the Cubs?
    • According to the newspaper story it would be hard to give any answer but confidence in the Cubs.

Hook:

  • So let me ask you a question this morning: Which kind of confidence does the story of your life tell?
    • Now not all of us have a devotion and confidence in a sports team, but all of us have passions and desires other than the Savior.
    • Not all of these passions or pass-times are bad, and most of the time they can be used as platforms for us to share the gospel.
    • The question I am asking is if anyone would mistake that your confidence is in Christ by the story your life is telling.
  • Today I hope to share with you three specific joys in knowing your story displays confidence in Christ.

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Posted by on November 8, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Message Monday: The Joy of Becoming a Missional Church

Intro:

  • Paul says four times in the span of these eleven verses that he is sending someone to the Philippians (2:19,23,25,28).
  • Such mentions of sending associates normally occur at the end of an epistle like Romans 16:1-2.
  • When we see a word like send four times in such a small passage and it should make us ask why does Paul need to emphasize his desire to send so often.
  • In fact the Latin word that we get our word missions from is translated as send. So think of this passage in that light. Why does Paul say four times that Phillipi needs a missionary?
  • John Piper says in his famous book Let the Nations Be Glad “that missions exist because worship doesn’t.”
  • Can I suggest to you that Paul seek to send these individuals because he knows that he worship of the Philippian church is hindered?
  • If we genuinely believe that Christ deserves the worship of as many people as possible, then we are missional when we look for the places where Christ is not worshipped and send individuals to those places in order to give them every reason to worship Him.
  • The Village Church which has become a leading church in Texas and the SBC explains their commitment to missional living by saying that their members should… (http://thevillagechurch.net/mediafiles/uploaded/a/0e1135869_article-what-does-missional-mean.pdf)
    • Minister within the specific environment God has appointed them to live.
    • Minister using the distinct skill and giftedness God has granted you by being God-centered in your vocation.
    • Minister with radical purpose and intentionality, not for self but rather for the good of others and the glory of God.
    • Minister with the expectation that a lay person’s ministry is just as valuable as that of a vocational minister.
    • Minister to the whole person. We should meet physical needs as well as share the gospel to meet spiritual needs.
  • Missional Living is seeking to be sent where people need a reason to worship Jesus Christ.

Hook:

  • This brings up an interesting question for us.
  • If Paul is missional in trying to send individuals to Philippi, and missional living is trying to send believers into areas where people need a reason to worship Christ, are we missional?
  • How often do we as members of this church value the joy there is in being sent into places where Christ needs to be worshipped?
  • Today, as we look at Philippians 2:19-30 I hope to share with you three extremely important reasons that we should rejoice in being a missional church.

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Posted by on October 31, 2016 in Ministry of the Word

 

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Message Monday: Exercising a Dangerous Faith

Intro:Image result for dangerous faith

  • For the past few weeks Jack and I have been preparing the study guides for our next Sunday Night Bible Study.
  • The book we are using for the study seeks to describe the lives of missionaries with one key Scripture.
  • After preparing several of these study guides I am amazed at how great each of these missionaries lives impacted the world for Christ.
    • In the midst of great persecution and trials these missionaries did not relent.
    • The faith of these Christian missionaries seems unbelievable and heroic.
    • That faith propelled them into dangerous and difficult missionary assignments.
    • But in each one of the studies that we have prepared, the missionaries we studied would not have looked at themselves and seen heroic efforts.
  • For instance listen to a quote by Jim Elliot.
    • If you were not aware Jim Elliot is the missionary that the movie The End of the Spear depicts.
    • He went to Ecuador and tried to reach the Huaorani Indians and was martyred by them in the 1958.
    • He says in his journal, “Forgive me for being so ordinary while claiming to know so extraordinary a God.”

Hook:

  • If Jim Elliot’s faith was ordinary either I do not know the definition of ordinary or my faith is paltry in comparison.
  • How about you? How dangerous is your faith?
  • Could you say that you were thinking of souls as you were being prepared for surgery like one of our members was this week when I visited her?
  • As a church, where is the next Poland partnership or church that we feel led of God to support?
  • What ministries do you sense God leading you to participate in, and perhaps give your time and talents to start?
  • As our world and country become more hostile to Christianity, how long will you identify yourself openly as a believer.
  • This morning we will examine three exercises can begin to develop a more dangerous faith.

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Posted by on October 24, 2016 in Ministry of the Word

 

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Message Monday: Practical Humility

Intro:

  • In His book Humility C.J. Mahaney offers this definition for humility: “Humility is honestly addressing ourselves in light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness”.
  • From this definition Mahaney then spends the remainder of his 200 page book exploring and explaining that definition and is biblical basis.
  • While we do not have that kind of time this morning, we do want to consider whether or not we are humble biblically.
  • Most of us know how to act humble, but humility is just an act if we do not have an inwardly humble heart.
    • People will congratulate us on a job well done and we will say it was really nothing, but on the insider we relish the accolades.
    • We will not volunteer for jobs in the church, but wait on someone to ask us to serve, so that we will not look braggadocios. Secretly we enjoying the affirmation of someone coming to us, and expect that people will ask us to take that job again.
    • In the south we are masters of the polite insult, and the tactful complaint.
      • Have you ever heard a southern lady say something like this, “I wanted to check and make sure that you received the gift because I never received a thank you note.”
      • Or maybe when someone offends us we will say a phrase like, “Well bless their hearts.”
      • On the surface phrases like that sound very humble and kind, but we all know that they are veneers for a seething outrage that we could be treated that way.

 

Hook:

  • We may allow others to go before ourselves, we may hold doors for every person, we may never take credit, and we may wait for others to ask us to serve but do we do any of this because we honestly evaluate ourselves in light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness?
  • Today I would like to help you see four ways to practice genuine humility in your heart and mind.

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Posted by on October 17, 2016 in Ministry of the Word

 

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Message Monday: Necessary Changes If We Fellowship with Christ

Intro:

  • Today we return to our series through the book of Philippians.
  • In chapter one of Philippians Paul came back again and again to the theme of how Christ makes a difference in the life of the believer. Consider the difference Christ makes in these verses:
    • He is at work when we are at our worst – v6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

 

  • Christ makes us fruitful when we see little fruit. – 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. 12 Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.

 

  • Christ is the goal of life and makes our end a gain – 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22

 

  • With Christ even suffering is a privilege – 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him,
  • As Paul opens chapter two he expands on the theme of fellowship in Christ. Think about his words in verse 27- 28.
    • 27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God.
    • Paul’s point in these verses is that because of our connection to Christ the way we fellowship with other believers matters.
    • He even goes so far as to say that this fellowship with other believers is a sign to the world of our salvation.

 

Hook:

  • So why is it that our fellowship with other believers matters so much?
    • Is Paul commending to us a kind of superficial fellowship that calls us to wear our fellowship as nothing more than a “Morningside” name tag we all wear?
    • This kind of superficial fellowship does not require us to have any further connection with the beliefs, lives, or commitments of other believers.
    • On the other hand is Paul commending to us the kind of total fellowship in which we must subsume all of our distinctions in favor of uniformity?
    • This kind of extreme fellowship does not seem to correspond to the fellowship that we know exists among the three persons of the Trinity, so why should we expect it to be the kind of fellowship God wants for His people?
  • With that in mind, perhaps we should consider the fellowship that exists among the Trinity to get to Paul’s point.
  • Wayne Grudem, a theologian helps us to understand relational aspect of the Trinity when he says…
    • … the distinction between the persons is not a difference in “being” but a difference in “relationships.” This is something far removed from our human experience, where every different human “person” is a different being as well. Somehow God’s being is so much greater than ours that within his one undivided being there can be an unfolding into interpersonal relationships, so that there can be three distinct persons. What then are the differences between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? There is no difference in attributes at all. The only difference between them is the way they relate to each other and to the creation. The unique quality of the Father is the way he relates as Father to the Son and Holy Spirit. The unique quality of the Son is the way he relates as Son. And the unique quality of the Holy Spirit is the way he relates as Spirit. (Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004), 253–254.)
  • Did you notice how Grudem captures our understanding of fellowship that exists in the Trinity when he says “one undivided being” can be “[unfolded] into interpersonal relationship so that there can be three distinct persons.”
    • There is unity and diversity in this Trinitarian type of fellowship.
    • While we as believers cannot imitate this kind of fellowship on our own, we certainly can relate to God as one God and uniquely to each person in the Godhead.
    • Similarly we can strive towards a fellowship in our churches that mirrors God’s internal Trinitarian fellowship.
    • Today as we look at these first two verses of Philippians 2 I intend on exploring two specific impacts this kind of Trinitarian fellowship has upon us.

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Posted by on October 10, 2016 in Ministry of the Word

 

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