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Category Archives: Bible

A Broken Cell Phone and God

I broke my cell phone this past week. I have a smart phone, nothing to fancy but I do use it quite a bit for work, and life. I would like to think that I am not one of those people that has to have a cell phone or that I am some how addicted or dependent. But regardless of how attached you maybe most of us have experienced the hassle of the need for a new cell phone. You have to try to save your contacts, pictures, podcasts, notes, ect. You have to pick the new one. Am I due an update, which should I get, do I stay with this carrier, how do I switch my number again? This is almost always followed by the dreaded facebook post “hey guys I got a new phone so shoot my your dets”. But the new cell phone is just one example of a much more common and acceptable problem. It doesn’t matter who we are we have all experienced those times in life when ever thing seems to get tossed up in the air by basically one problem. Maybe we are just super busy one week, or there is a death in the family, or we have to go out of town for work, or we are trying to decide what college to go to, or our kids are, or we are changing jobs, getting married, having a kid, sick or buying a new cell phone. Obviously these circumstances are not all equal in terms of impact or tragedy, but they do all tend to interrupt our lives, make us question things we never questioned before. These occurrences make us uneasy, anxious, and just feel weird. Life doesn’t stay the same, change is inevitable.  As the old saying goes the only thing you can be sure of are death and taxes. Many of us really struggle with this change, uneasiness, and uncertainty.

Well, that old saying isn’t completely true. You can be sure of at least one other thing…. God. I’m not saying that we always understand God or that in light of God we will always understand the change in our lives. What I am saying is that it is nice having at least one thing we know won’t change.

Malachi 3:6 reminds us of this:
For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2015 in Bible, Life

 

He will fight for us and Himself.

As we looked at a snap shot of Peter’s life Sunday we saw how when under pressure Peter returned to his default and fought. When a mob came to arrest Jesus, instead of Love, Peter responded with aggression and hostility fighting for Jesus. Jesus corrected Peter showing him that Peter didn’t have to fight on Jesus’ behalf but that rather Jesus was more than capable of fighting for Himself. Beyond that scripture tells us that Jesus is not only capable of fighting on His own behalf but that He is willing to fight for us as well when it is appropriate. The most important point from the sermon is that we don’t fight people but rather we fight Satan and we love people, even the really unlovely ones. But even when fighting Satan Jesus will fight for us we don’t really have to do it alone, though we do have a responsibility in the matter.

Romans 16:20 tells us that: “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.”

God will fight on our behalf, He will crush Satan and  He is going to use us to do it, at least some times. God wants to use us, to do great things in this world. It is our responsibility to allow God to put us where we need to be so that we are properly positioned to be used.

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2015 in Bible, Encouragement, Sermons

 

Ephesians 4:2

I hope you all are doing well with your reading plan and especially with your memorizing of scripture. This week’s and next week’s are particularly exciting memory verses because we are learning, with last week’s verse, a set of three verses found together. When we memorize a bit larger section of scripture we get all the benefits of memorizing scripture that we already spoke about (see Memorize It, for examples and tips on memorization), along with the added benefit of more depth of content and some additional context. This week’s verse is a great example of both of those points.

Last week we were urged to walk worthy of our calling, this truth is profound in and of itself. Yet, the verse this week speaks to that calling giving us a greater depth of insight. Some times when we think of that calling we are urged to think and act upon in verse 4:1 we get high minded thinking “I have been called to this great thing” or we get bold thinking “I have God on my side” or we get brash thinking nothing shall stop me nothing will hinder me” (p.s. we say words like “shall” and “hinder” when we get really noble).There is not a period at the end of verse 4:1 so we know that verse 4:2 relates to it in some way. Verse two warns us to walk worthy with humility and gentleness.  A worthy walk is not bold. brash, and high minded. Though the thoughts stated above, are true, I hope we see that there maybe an attitude issue there, so we are still urged to avoid that by seeking humility and gentleness.

A few translations have a semi-colon or a period after gentleness but most just have a comma. This indicates that the idea continues. The verse includes patience in how we are to walk and ends with acceptance and love. It is fairly clear that patience is directed toward accepting because that act often takes much patience. However, this section of patience, acceptance and love are all part of our urge toward calling. In other words we are to walk worth of our calling with a unique character, of humility, gentleness, and love,  all the while accepting others.

Inherent in this is that others will not be in the same place on the road to righteousness, that is walking toward a worthiness of ones calling, and some maybe on a completely different road. (Notice I said the road to righteousness not to God, there is only one road to God that is faith in Jesus). We tend to think that how we got to where we are spiritually is the same road others should walk, weather: Mission’s trips, bible studies, certain books, or youth camps. Know that we all are on our own journey we all end up in the same place but we started in different places with different struggles and issues to overcome. We also tend to forget where we came from and how far we have come. Don’t expect people to be right where you are, accept them in love with grace and humility as God does us. After all we are all much further up the road from him.

 

Sermon Notes

I’d like to share what I took away from last Sunday’s sermon. Daniel preached about the first three main themes as he began his overview of the first part of Ephesians.

The first main point is that we get to worship and praise the One True God. It is an awesome honor and freedom that we serve the God of all gods. Isaiah 45 states, ‘There is no other God besides Me, a just God and a Savior; There is none besides me”. God is eternal, immortal, wise, and to be one of His own and to bring honor and glory to Him is an awesome privilege, not a task. The second point is that a real spiritual world is all around us. We as Christians know this intellectually, yet we forget it as we live our daily lives. Ephesians 6 talks about our struggles aren’t against flesh and blood, rather against principalities, powers, and rulers of darkness. If God is for us, who can be against us? But, we must realize we are in a fight, not against your neighbor, but against Satan and his forces. “In Christ” was the third and biggest point Sunday for me. “In Christ” is a stupendous reality. Do you realize that: IN CHRIST

-you were given grace before the world was created

-you were chosen by God before creation

-you are loved with an inseparable love

-you are redeemed and forgiven of your sins

-you are justified before God

-you are a new creation

-you have been seated in heavenly places

-your promises are YES and AMEN

-you are being sanctified

-you have eternal life

In Christ is a wonderful truth. Union with Christ Jesus is the only ground of true joy, and it is free.

As we continue our study of Ephesians, let me invite you to look at our reading plan of this book. It seems like over kill to begin with, but as we continue to read and study this part of God’s word, I know we will be blessed in our daily lives and begin to see that all things good are “IN CHRIST”.

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2014 in Bible, Life, Other, Sermons

 

Ephesians Reading Plan

 

Ephesians Reading Plan

  • Week 1 – Whole Book

  • Week 2 – Chapters 1-3 Twice

  • Week 3 – A Chapter A Day

  • Week 4 – Chapters 1-3 Twice

  • Week 5 – Whole Book in 1 Day Chapter 5 Twice & Chapter 6 Twice

  • Week 6 – Chapters 4-6 Twice

  • Week 7 – Chapters 4-6 Twice

  • Week 8 – Chapter 1 Everyday

  • Week 9 – A Chapter a Day

  • Week 10 – Chapter 2 Everyday

  • Week 11 – A Chapter a Day

  • Week 12 – Chapter 3 Everyday

  • Week 13 – Chapter 4 Everyday

  • Week 14 – A Chapter a Day

  • Week 15 – Whole Book Twice & Chapter 4 Twice

  • Week 16 – Chapter 5 Everyday

  • Week 17 – Chapter 6 Everyday

  • Week 18 – A Chapter a Day

 

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2014 in Bible, Sermons

 

Ephesians 4:1

 

“Therefore I, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received.”

This is a great verse to start our study of Ephesians because in it is found two over arching themes of the book of Ephesians. One is that you have something to do, the other is that something is found in the will of God.

Here we find the bible urging us to do something. If we are urged then we have the option weather to do it or not. Furthermore, we find the word walk. Walk is a verb thus it implies doing something. God has called us, as this verse states, to do something which we have the option to do or not to do. Throughout Ephesians we find a call to action to serve the Lord, to walk in unity with other believers. These are actions we must decide to take then under go the often hard work of seeing those actions through. Walking worthy is not something that happens in a one time decision. It isn’t something that happens a few times a year. It isn’t something that happens once a week in a worship gathering. Walking worthy is a decision we make every morning, every evening, and every moment of our day. But deciding isn’t enough we must also walk. We decide to walk then we do the actual walking. That is a continual living out our faith through the Love of God and the truth of the Gospel.

As Christians we must be careful. We tend to fall into one of two ditches on either side of the road of our thinking. One ditch is the overly spiritual. Everything comes back to prayer, waiting on the Lord, and the work of the Holy Spirit. This sounds really good and spiritual. We are supposed to precede, and follow through everything with prayer. And we are supposed to seek the Lords direction on things. But to often this mentality results in an idea that we can’t do anything on our own. In some sense this is true. But God has called us to go, to walk, to be, to do, to make, to serve, and he has given us the power to do so. We have the Holy Spirit, we are called to do, don’t defeat yourself and what God wants to do in and through you before you every begin.

The other ditch is just as bad. This ditch is overly pragmatic. This ditch is all about plans, procedures, techniques, and methods. If I could just get a good plan I could do this, or if the church just had the right programs it would grow. This is completely taking God out of the equations. He has called us to do things but he hasn’t called us to do it alone. Our calling comes from God and so does our power.

I urge you to realize where your call, confidence, and help comes from. We can rely on God but we must also be obedient and do our part. Stay out of the ditches and I look forward to seeing you at our worship gathering.

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2014 in Bible, Prayer, Purpose, Sermons

 

Give Up NOW!!

 

In Antony’s sermon on Sunday he gave us a fantastic introduction to the book of Ephesians and really to the Ephesian church. There was a point in Acts where the work in Ephesus by the church made such a profound impact upon the community around those of the church that major changes were seen. I just want to focus a bit more on of these instances.

There is a story of some people that practiced magic. When these people came to Christ they burned all of their books on magic. These books would have been education on what was a false religion and thus idolatry. Now, I know that the church has gotten a bit worked up over this idea of magic and calling everything from Harry Potter and Magic cards, to the teletubbies “of the devil”. I have no intention of elaborating on this fact other than to say we should be wise in what we expose our selves and families to because the devil is real and he does work in this world. I would also say that some times Christians go to far, and demonize things and people. There is a point of being wise and avoiding what you might see as being bad but in doing so we should be careful that we aren’t being unloving to people associated with those things. Don’t forget that loving others is just as much (and I would argue more so) a part of your sanctification as fleeing from evil is, so do both wisely.

So now that I’m sure I have everyone mad I digress. The magicians burned their spell books. Anthony did the math for us on what kind of value these books had. In really rough numbers these books were worth some 6 Million dollars in today’s money. There are two points that I find interesting about this. First is that they burned them. I have no doubt that there were those in Paul’s day, and would be today, that would suggest we sell the books and use the money for the kingdom. Judas did this with Jesus in a very similar situation. The issue here is two fold. First, God doesn’t need our resources he calls us to be good handlers of the resources we have. Secondly, if these books were sold then they would continue to lead people away from God. This goes back to loving others. If we didn’t love others we would care more about the money then we would care how it might effect others. If we cared more about people then we would give up the money for someone else’s benefit.

The second point I find particularly significant about this even is that these people made a great sacrifice to follow Christ. There is a good chance that magic was all these people knew and these books were the source of their income, and their possession of greatest value. But they gave that all up to follow Christ. To often we think that we can come to Christ and make minor adjustments in our life. But truly following Christ is a life of great sacrifice, suffering, and self denial for the sake of the kingdom. Jesus didn’t say “just add me to your life” he said “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” (Matt. 16:24).

The Christian life is a self denying life of sacrifice. That isn’t to say that it is supposed to all be hard and miserable but it isn’t going to be easy and super all the time either. What are you sacrificing? What should you sacrifice? What have you been unwilling to give up for the cause of Christ?

 

 
 
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