Description Christians are called to be different from the world. Not weird, not odd, not strange, but different in our attitudes, our morals, and our character. We should be known for loving God and loving others. To do that effectively, it requires we live a holy life. How can we do that?
Description Nehemiah was one of the greatest leaders of all time. He accomplished the task of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. Today you and I have a task and that is to help rebuild the lives of people. Following Nehemiah’s example, we too can accomplish the task before us. God can turn hurting people’s lives around and He wants to use you and me.
Description Day to day, week to week, month to month, life has a way of wearing you down. It can be worries about the past, what is happening today, or even what may happen tomorrow. Or maybe it is a person who is wearing us out or the never-ending to-do list. Regardless, sometimes we all need to recharge. How do we recharge our soul, mind, and body?
Redesign Your Mind
Description If we are serious about changing some things in our life, then we need to start by changing the way we think. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. To change our thinking, we must change our outlook. It is easy to focus on the trouble we may be experiencing. We may get knocked down, but we are not knocked out. Let’s look at some guidelines to help us redesign our thinking so we can endure to the end.
Description We can tend to focus a lot on our image. What is our true image versus our perceived image? Do we see ourselves the way God sees us? Are we reflecting His glory? The more time we spend in the presence of the Lord, the more we will look and act like Him. What I see should be less about the physical and more about the spiritual. Let the eyes of God determine our self-image and respond accordingly.
Description God has given us the ability to feel pain for our protection and wellbeing, and God has given us the ability to feel remorse and regret for the same reason. Feeling regret should lead us to repent and trust God to make something beautiful and useful out of our lives. We have all had regrets about things we have done or have not done. How we respond to those regrets is what really matters. Recognize, repent, and allow God to redeem your regrets.
Description Our identity in Christ implies influence for Christ. "You ARE the salt of the earth...you ARE the light of the world." Christians must permeate society as agents of redemption.
We are the Salt of the Earth Christians delay decay. The purpose of salt is to fight deterioration, and therefore it must not itself deteriorate. "Loses its saltiness" reads literally "is defiled." Believers who fail to arrest corruption become worthless as agents of change and redemption.
We are the Light of the World Lights is visible. There is no excuse for secret discipleship. "A city set on a hill cannot be hid."
We must remain active preservative agents in calling the world to listen to God. How are we to be salt and light? We have the power of Christ to be an influence for Christ.
We have the power of prayer.
We have the power of truth.
We have the power of example.
We have the power of group.
We have a a part to play and the power to play it.
Sample Your Soil
Description Let me ask you a personal question: Do you really want to change? As we examine some factors that move us towards lasting change in our lives, we will also see some reasons why we do not experience change. Change is a process. It does not happen overnight. Fruitful faith is a product of the process.
Description Today we are going to look at one of the stories from the end of Paul's life. Who was Paul? He says he was a sinner who obtained mercy and was saved by Jesus Christ. And he takes the message of the Gospel to the ends of the earth. In Acts 27 we read of a voyage Paul found himself on.He was a prisoner because of his faith in Jesus and under the watch of Julius. The weather was becoming dangerous for sea travel because it was so late in the fall. Paul spoke up and said, "I believe there is trouble ahead if we go on." But the officer in charge listened more to the ship's captain than to Paul and the voyage continued. A huge storm came up and the ship was driven. They began throwing cargo overboard to lighten the ship because they were in fear of sinking. They lost all control and all hope was gone.
Shipwrecked: How this speaks to our lives today Like these men, maybe you feel your life is shipwrecked. You may feel dead in the water, out of control, overwhelmed, and hopeless. Where is the hope? This hope we have as an anchor for our souls: God's presence, God's promises, and God's power.
The strong anchor of God's Presence: Paul encouraged everyone on board to take heart, that no life would be lost only the ship. God's presense is a rock-solid anchor when we go through life's storms. He will never leave us. He is always with us.
The strong anchor of God's Promises: Paul was told, "Do not be afraid." He encouraged the others to believe God.God's promises are a strong anchor to hold onto when you go through storms. He has plans to give us a future and a hope. He has redeemed us, called us by name, and promised He would be with us.
The strong anchor of God's Power: The ship ran aground near an island and everyone jumped overboard to swim to shore. They all escaped safely to land. If God is powerful enough to create the universe, He is powerful enough to help you! With God nothing is impossible.
What kind of storm are you in right now? Does it feel out of control or hopeless? Cling to the strong anchors of God's presence, promises, and power! He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us (Ephesians 3:20).
Spending Time With God
Description Moses was hungry for God’s presence and said, “Show me Your glory.” Moses spoke face to face with God. He understood the importance of the glory. God showed him goodness and his face shone with the glory of the Lord. The glory of God changes people. You can never have an encounter with God and remain unchanged.
Description Convictions guide our decisions and determine our character. In order to live a godly live, we must have strong biblical values. The enemy will seek to destabilize you, denounce you, degrade you, demean you, demote you and destroy you. Know who you are in Christ. Stand firm in faith, do the right thing, and see God deliver you.
Description Stewardship of time, talent and money is thinking too small. Stewardship is about shared ministry. It involves the whole person. God wants us totally. God wants everything that makes us gloriously unique. Why? Because He is sovereign. The "I" and "me" fights against God.
All things are a gift from God. Happiness, love, joy, peace, security and significance all flow from our relationship with God. The focus and energy of our life, thoughts, time and talents are going to be where ever our treasure - our heart - is at.
What is it that I manage? Whatever God has placed in my hand. God can take the ordinary and make it extraoridinary when we see with spiritual eyes.
God has placed opportunity in our hand to evangelize, empathize, and energize. He has given us talents and abilities that He enables. He has given us power to demolish obstacles and to accomplish. There are natural and spiritual giftings. Natural giftings would include talents given before birth, personality, unique experiences or hurts. Spiritua gifts are given when we become a believer from the Holy Spirit. Every Christian has atleast one spiritual gift. The reason for gifts are to equip the saints for ministry, to build up the body of Christ, and to bring each other to maturity.
If everyone does not bring or exercise their gifts the body of Christ suffers, is not fully equipped, and lacks in maturity. To be a good steward, we must identify our gifts, understand and develop our gifts, excercise our gifting, encourage and assist others.
Description Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12. The hardest thing to hand over to God is our time.
Walk Circumspectly To look round about on all hands; to be every way watchful, wary, and cautious, in order to avoid danger and discern enemies.Questions: Have I faithfully served God with the time He has given me? Have I shown God to those around me? The average Christian spends less than 15 minutes a week in prayer. Our day also should be invested in neighbors. We must prioritize our lives.
Redeeming the Time To buy up those moments others seem to throw away. Seizing opportunities to rescue or recover our time from waste. Let time be your chief commodity. Time is that on which eternity depends.
Relationships Require Our Time Time with people: We are not meant to be solitary creatures. We are to be social creatures. Godly relationships are important to our maturity as Christians. Having relationships requires time. Relationships are intentional. Time with God: We do not learn to walk with God in five minute devos. Devotions can't take the place of the Bible. The early church was continually devoted to the apostles' teaching and fellowship.
We all have 24 hours a day. Let us use our time wisely.
Description No one really likes to hear a sermon about money, but in Scripture there are more than 2,000 verses that deal with money or possessions. So based on that it is a subject that needs to be talked about. In 1 Timothy we read that the love of money, not money, is the root of all kinds of evil. We all realize money is needed to live, so money in itself is not evil.
What you do with your money shows what you value with your heart. According to Luke 12, where your money goes your heart goes. So money is an indicator of where your heart is at. So let's talk about a some things you should do in regards to money.
Make a budget. Proverbs says the plans of the diligent leads to profit. A budget is simply a written plan. Track your spending, see where your money goes, and establish a budget.
Save for the future This is what Proverbs has to say - He who gathers little by little makes it grow. The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends everything. Ask yourself, "Am I saving money?"
Avoid debt The rich rule over the poor and the slave to the lender. We are better off to avoid consumer debt.
Put God first in your finances Honor the Lord with you wealth and your first fruits. The generous never seem to go without and are characterized by an joyful, loving spirit. Tithe simply means 10%. Why should we tithe? Out of gratitude for the past, to keep priorities straight for today, and demonstrate faith for tomorrow.
Money will not make you happy Instead of looking to wealth for fulfillment, look to God. Make sure your heart treasures God!
Description In Mark 4 Jesus and his disciples were facing a literal storm. This storm also represents trials and difficulties we experience. All of us, at times, are storm-tossed. Today you may feel like you are about to go under. The good news is that the Master of the storm is with you.
Description In a game of "Tag" it's interesting to see what happens when someone is tagged "It". First, they are prey, running away, hiding, whatever it takes to avoid being tagged. But once they are tagged, it is evident to all who is "it". They are now the predator. They act differently. Instead of running away, they're running after. The same happens when we become a Christian. Now instead of trying to avoid God and the truth of His Word, we embrace it and our lives change. It is evident to those around us. When we hear truth, we believe and trust in the saving work of Jesus Christ. And by this act of faith, we receive the Holy Spirit as the seal and guarantee from God.
What does it mean to be sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise?
To authenticate as genuine and true
Being sealed with the Holy Spirit is God's way of authenticating the fact that we are now His
It's the presence of the Holy Spirit in us activating His gifts and talents, producing within us the fruit of the Spirit - their presence confirms that we are indeed Christians.
To mark someone's property
The seal of the Holy Spirit is internal
We are His because He purchased us through the price of Jesus Christ paid when He died on the cross for our sins
To make secure
His guarantee of our ultimate salvation
How is the Holy Spirit our guarantee?
A "down payment" - secures the transaction with a promise that more will come
God gave the Holy Spirit as a "down payment"
This present life in the Spirit is God's promise of something more
What we have experienced of the Holy Spirit is only a foretast
Certain things we must avoid:
Quenching the Holy Spirit
Grieving the Holy Spirit
When we quench or grieve the Holy Spirit we lose the joy of our salvation and the fullness of the Spirit's blessing.
How can we get back to the fullness?
It begins with repentance
Accept God's gift of salvation
Invite the Holy Spirit to come in and fill you to overflowing
Thanks - An Response Based of Awareness of Circumstance
Description A gift given. A meal cooked. A favorable deed done. A compliment. A generous action. There is a reason to respond with thanks. Are we aware of the generosity around us? Take time to stop. Listen. Be aware. And give thanks.
Thanks - Choose To See God's Goodness
Description By our choice we can celebrate with thanksgiving for all the goodness that surrounds us. See the goodness rather than the bad. Allow God to pour into you His love, encouragement and hope. Three simple verses full of God’s love for His people can bring great encouragement in the midst of difficult times.
Thanks - Fight Your Battles With Praise
Description It is Veteran’s Day, a day to honor and give thanks to men and women who have served and sacrificed to preserve our freedom. Thank you! As we look at a few Scriptures, we realize God fights for us and our victory is through Him. Thanks be to God! When we look back, most of our troubles turn into faded memories.
Thanks - Recount What God Has Done
Description It is time to stop and take an up to date inventory of our life. What is God doing? Recount His faithfulness and thank Him. Maybe even sit down and write a brief “thank you” note to God. Father, God, Lord – address Him as you recognize Him. Next, adore Him. Tell Him how you love Him. Then, what your you are thankful for at this moment. Lastly, until next time. Love, with your name. This is a good practice to help us maintain an awareness of God’s goodness around us every day.
The Big C - Session 2
Description In 1918, some steps were given to avoid Influenza. It sounds like some of the things we are hearing today. But let’s look closely at Step 8 - “Avoid worry, fear and fatigue.” Now, how is one to do that, you may say? When we have “The Big C”, Jesus Christ, we discover it truly is possible.
The Big C - Session 3
Description In Christ we are blessed abundantly. Ephesians 1 outlines all that is available when we have “The Big C”, Jesus Christ.
The Cost of Grace
Description Nothing is free anymore. It seems everything comes with a cost. Even a sample at a grocery store is given in hopes that it will lead you to purchase a product and make a payment. A transaction if you will. Romans 6:23 tells us about the product of sin and the cost is death. So, if the wage of sin is death, then what is the cost of grace? The cost was the death of Jesus. He gave so we can live. Live free of sin. But all have sinned. Know forgiveness is available for all.
The Difference Maker
Description Only the Person of the Holy Spirit provides the power to overcome our sinful nature. He is the Difference Maker for every believer. No one has to go to church to discover they are a sinner. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. He convicts and never condemns. Reconciliation with God by good works is impossible. We can not be good enough. It requires repentance and faith in the Savior. As we submit to the Holy Spirit transformation occurs inside and out.
The Gift Exchange: Give God Your Grief and He'll Give You Joy
Description This side of eternity, grief is a reality. If you have not already, at some point you will experience grief. Our normal plan for dealing with our grief is to wait silently. We deny our losses. We delay our pain. We distract ourselves.
God's plan for our grief is to talk to Him about it. To acknowledge the reality of our pain. To tell Him about our pain and losses. And to hear from Him about His comfort.
When we give God our grief, He gives us His joy. God comforts us now by reminding us that He has walked through grief Himself. God comforts us later by removing every reason for grieving for all of eternity.
The Gift Exchange: Give God your hurts and He'll give you healing
Description First, let's look at five wrong ways we handle hurt:
Ignore it - Deny it, delay it, mimimize it. Ignoring hurt never heals it.
Run from it - Escape. Retreat. Run as fast as you can.
Hide it - Revealing your feelings is the beginning of healing. Everybody has a hurt.
Worry over it - Worry is playing the pain repeatedly in your life.
Become bitter about it - Bitterness never makes you better. Bitterness is self-destructive behavior
In 2 Corinthians 11 we read that Paul had many hurts in his life. How did he handle so many troubles? 2 Corinthians 1 tells us and presents us with two big challenges when we're overwhelmed with trouble.
When you give your problems to God, He will give you His comfort. He is the God of all comfort. Troubles is a general word for affiliction, annoyance, inconvenience. God has all comfort for all troubles.
When God gives you His comfort, you can give comfort to others. Look at the life and ministry of Jesus.
Write down your troubles and bring them to the altar. Let's pray for the God of all comfort to give us His healing!
The Gift Exchange: Give God Your Worry and He Will Give You Peace
Description Jesus addresses worry in the Sermon on the Mount. Worry is allowing our mind to dwell on potentially negative outcomes beyond our actual control. Jesus says several things about worry: It is unatural, unhelpful and unchristian.
How do we give God our worry and experience His peace?
Let Jesus be King. Make God's kingdom purpose your primary concern.
Live a day at a time.
Lean on the faithfulness of God. Talk to him about it.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
Philippians 4:6 NLT
Two things Paul says to do with worry:
Tell God about it
Thank God for what He has done - Gratifude refocuses the mind
Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7 NLT
Dwell on God's promises, not your problems. Let Jesus be King, live a day at a time, and lean on God's faithfulness. He will guard your heart and your mind with peace.
Description The Great Commission Today let's look at Matthew's account of what Jesus said before he ascends to heaven. The New Testament was originally written in Greek, which is very different from the English language. Because of the Greek words used in the Great Commission, I think it can be summed up by saying, "Go and Make".
The Greek word for "make." It's only used four times in the New Testament. It has a very specific focus on instructing and teaching a person. Each one of us is called to "go and make." We go, but I'm not sure we are doing a good job of making. Jesus recreated Himself in people. He was relational with His disciples. Jesus is our model.
Are you "going and making"? We are constantly going, but are we constantly making? Are we living a lifestyle where we are teaching others to following Christ. Jesus gave correction with those He taught. He could only do that because of relationship. There can be no discipleship without relationship. Where are you in your relationships? Plant seeds and show people the love of God that has been shown to you. Offer something that people will follow. Love people the way you are called to.
Let's love, relate, and disciple differently in the coming year. Let's GO and MAKE!
The Hard Passages of Genesis: Abraham and Isaac
Description Does God test us? Why? What does God really want? Would He ask me to give up the thing I hold most dear? As we look at the story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis, we will discover the answers to some of the questions. Let your faith be challenged and expanded by the example of Abraham.