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Message Monday: Disciplines of Devotion – Discipline 3: Humble Witness

Originally Preached 07/02/17

Intro:

  • The ink was still drying on the Declaration of Independence as General Washington and the Continental Army entered into battle with the British in August of 1776.
  • The British had developed a superior battle plan trapping Washington and all of the 8000 Continental troops on Brooklyn Height, New York. Should they have pressed the battle into the evening the War would have been over.
  • With confidence and pride General Howe ordered a halt until the morning. After all the rebel army was trapped so that the British Navy would intercept them by sea and the British army would intercept them by land.
  • It was then that a near supernatural fog descended onto the Heights and the East River. So thick was the fog that through the night Washington was able to ferry the entire army across the river and to escape that they might fight another day.
  • Had it not been for that critically timed fog, the Battle of New York would have ended the revolution and today we would sing “God Save the Queen” rather than “God Bless America”

Hook:

  • I mention that miracle of the Revolution not to say that God chose sides in the Revolution, but to point out how even in our own Revolution there were those who sought and recognized God’s providential help in their personal lives.
  • For Washington this event, along with the numerous times that he would ride out of battle, inspect his cloak and discover bullet holes, as well as other critical events in the revolution cemented in his mind that the Hand of Providence which guided his steps.
  • Listen to these words from his first Inaugural Address, “No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency… We ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.”
  • Not all of us can be a Washington or a Daniel, but all of us can display the humility and bold witness of these men.
  • My goal with today’s message is to show you how to be that kind of witness in a three simple points.

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Posted by on July 31, 2017 in Ministry of the Word

 

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Message Monday: Disciplines of Devotion – Discipline 2: Principled Prayer

Intro:Image result for prayer

  • Just a few weeks ago a group of university students at Notre Dame University made headlines as they staged a walk out to their graduation ceremony during the address of the Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence.
  • Around 100 graduates out of 3171 chose to walk out of the graduation ceremony in protest of Pence’s ideas and policy positions.
  • The move was unprecedented because Notre Dame is an institution committed to the free expression and exchange of ideas.
  • The graduate staged their protest to respond to Pence’s policy positions opposition to gay rights, refugee resettlement, sanctuary cities, and his support of President Trump’s travel ban.
  • Until this protest the graduates had little power to openly oppose these positions. The choice of Pence as graduation speaker gave these graduates the power to voice their disapproval.
  • One graduate said, “We are not protesting their choice of a commencement speaker. We are unwelcoming Mike Pence Back to Indiana with the idea that nobody knows Pence’s record as well as Hoosiers do.”
  • Speaking of powerless, one parent of the graduates said of the walkout, “we think it’s in poor taste. We think its disrespectful. It’s so unnecessary.”

Hook:

  • No matter how you feel about Pence’s policies or about this walkout, there is an important aspect of this story for us to realize.
  • We live in a nation where “freedom of speech” is enshrined as the first amendment to our Constitution. So both the graduates and the parents have a right to peacefully express their beliefs and ideas without recourse.
  • Because we have “freedom of speech,” anytime we as Americans feel powerless about something that our government or another group does, we can simply speak up and express our opinions and views.
  • But just imagine living even just a few hundred years ago around the time our nation was founded. For just speaking up against the government a person could be imprisoned or worse.
  • If we go back further in history rulers had even more absolute power and death could be commanded in an instant for any offense.
  • Powerlessness is a condition that has existed for millennia, causing frustration and despondency. After the founding of our nation people could respond as publicly and passionately as they desired, so long as it was peaceful.
  • Before we assume that believers should just speak up when we feel powerless, let’s look today at Daniel’s response to a precarious situation.

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Posted by on July 24, 2017 in Ministry of the Word

 

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Message Monday: Disciplines of Devotion : Discipline 1 Resolute Faith

Intro:Related image

  • One of the most striking parts of the SBC Annual meeting that we attended was the commissioning service for IMB missionaries.
    • Since the IMB has come to the point where they can increase the number of missionaries we saw around twenty individuals be set apart for service on the mission field.
    • As each of the missionaries stood in front of the packed convention hall, they shared a brief testimony of how God clarified their calling and drew them onto the mission field.
    • Over half of them had to share their testimony in the shadows due to security concerns about the locations they would go to serve.
    • The convention, missionaries, and the IMB president David Platt all participated in a responsive reading.
    • That reading continue to bring up the fact that these missionaries were willing to give up their lives to share the gospel with the nations.
    • Then as a finale for the commissioning service each missionary follow a banner with their place of service listed into the audience. There we prayed for them.

Hook:

  • Our SBC missionaries are inspiring because they were so willing to give up their lives to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others.
  • Imagine just for a moment, instead of a stirring commissioning service held freely in a nation that protects and preserves our religious liberty, that you stand watching a commissioning of four missionaries to a nation that had imprisoned them a prison-like government barracks.
  • Far from the stirring rhetoric and moving symbols we saw at the SBC, these missionaries are retrained, renamed, all with the hope to replace their stubborn beliefs in the one true and living God.
  • If your nation had been defeated, if you had been taken captive, and if your captors were doing everything they could to eradicate your belief in God; what would your thoughts gravitate towards?
    • Would you set yourself apart to be a witness for your God?
    • Or would you under the tremendous pressure, choose to turn away from your God to serve the most convenient idol or king?
  • Today as we look at the first discipline of a devoted life, we will see Daniel and his friends be commissioned to be God’s witnesses in captivity.

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Posted by on July 17, 2017 in Ministry of the Word

 

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