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Memorize It

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Memorizing scripture is a highly valuable spiritual discipline. The bible says to “Keep my commandments and live, And my teaching as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; Write them on the tablet of your heart.” (Prov. 7:2-3).

There are a lot of reasons that memorizing scripture is good. For instance, you don’t always have a bible handy but if you memorize scripture it will always be with you. Also, if you memorize scripture you will know and understand it better because you have to think about it so much as you memorize. Jesus showed us the value of memorized scripture when he was tempted by the devil he responded with scripture. Jesus didn’t pull out his iphone and google verses for temptation. No, he had it memorized. Memorizing scripture greatly improves our ability to study the bible. If you will memorize just a few verses you will be amazed at how often when you read other parts of the bible that they seem to relate directly with what you have memorized. Finally, we should memorize scripture because it gives us the ability to speak into other persons lives with ease. If someone is hurting or struggling with something it is often hard to know what to say. But if you will memorize some scripture you will have some truth and love from the word of God to share with that person, how great is that.

So, this is why I am so excited about all that we are doing to learn through our sermon series on Ephesians at New Life. Today I wanted to share a few simple tips on how to memorize scripture. By the end of this series if you work hard you will have some 19 verses from the book of Ephesians memorized. It is going to be hard work but you will not be disappointed with the results I promise.

  1. Say it out loud
    Some of us don’t learn really well just reading the verse so if you say it out loud this allows you to also hear it. It is a two for one deal.
  2. Post it Around
    Keep that verse in front of you all the time. Write it on some post it notes and put by your desk, on the dash of your car, on your bathroom mirror. Then when you are on hold on the phone, at a stop light, brushing your teeth take a second and looked at the verse.
  3. Re-Write It
    If you were like me in school you had to write sentences for punishment more than once. But you know, by the time you got done writing you had that sentence memorized. Do the same with verses.
  4. Sing It.
    Make the verse into a little melody you will be surprised how much this helps.
  5. Look for Patterns, Anchors, and Associations.
    Some times verses will have patterns that help you simplify understanding of the verse. They also have words that just seem to stick out to you, or words that have some significance for you. Taking note of these, they will give you a good start.
  6. Work Backwards
    This is one I use a lot. If you just read the verse through normally every time you will end up just memorizing the first part. So I start with the last word say it, then add the next to last word and say them together. I repeat this through the whole verse. Do this a couple times a day and it really helps. Though it sounds funny.
  7. Don’t forget the Location
    You will want to find this verse one day so also memorize the location of the verse so you can.
  8. Break it Down
    Break the verse into more manageable pieces and work on memorizing them.
  9. Get the Fam involved.
    Make working on the verse part of family devotions. Encourage your kids to work on the verse through the day. If you got 3 or more people all working on the same verse you will hear it a lot.
  10. Make it a Game.
    Have fun doing this. Challenge your self. Laugh. If you have older kids set up a competition in the house. This is the word of God but it doesn’t need to be boring.

 

There are many more memorization tricks out there just google it if these don’t work for you. The main thing is to do it and do it regularly. I pray that this time would start a habit with you and your family to be regularly memorizing scripture.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2014 in Bible, Family, Sermons

 

Miss Life For Mosquitoes

As i lay in the hammock in Rebecca and my backyard I have a rolling corn field to my left a lovely green yard with a nice wooded area. The breeze is lite and the temperature is perfect. For a brief second in amoungst the strain of work, and family, and money, and everything else I thought “we got it pretty nice”. Then what do I hear? Buzzzzz smack. A stinking mosquito. And with just that my picturesque lay in the hammock becomes a typical Southern summer nightmare.
For some of you its not the mosquito but a young child yelling mom, or a boss on your case, or a parent in need. It’s I’m to busy, I’m to tired, I’m to lazy, I don’t care. Well maybe you aren’t thinking or saying the last two but this is what we are to often isn’t it? I just didn’t feel like doing that very thing I knew I should be doing.  And for most of us it isn’t as simple as a missed landscape but a missed direction from God or a missed opportunity for worship or service. Psalms 119:15 reminds us that the only way we stay committed through the constant distractions is by maintaining God and his glory as the center piece the focus of our lives.

“I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways”

God can’t simply be a portion of our lives but must be the center.
They say don’t miss the forest for the trees but I say don’t miss life for the mosquitoes.

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2013 in Family, Individual Growth, Life

 

Response to the Unsaved

How do you view unsaved people? Do you look down on them as terrible people. Ridicule them in your mind. View them as something other than what you are, we aren’t all people, children loved by God, we are saved and they are unsaved (heathens). Here are a few ways people respond to the unsaved world around them.

1) Evade: Run away
We build our Christian sub-cultures where we go to a Christian book store, we have Christian friends, we only hire the Christian plumber to work on our house, we only do church social events… Etc. Many of you don’t have any Friends that are unsaved and the only unsaved people you know are at work or your neighbors. How are you going to be the light to the world if you never leave your house? Jesus went where the unsaved where. If you want to catch fish you go where the fish are.

I heard a preacher telling the story of some of the men in his church wanting to start a softball team. The preacher said sure that sounds great. The men responded that it would be really fun, they could join the local church league. To this the preacher responded no, they wouldn’t join the church league they would join the “beer” league the open league because if they were going to reach people for Christ they had to go where the people far from Christ were. The first game came and one of the players came up to the preacher and pointed to the other team saying “they are huge and I know some of those guys they cuss and drink and they do stuff you just shouldn’t do.” To make matters worse the name of the other team was the nasty boys. Well the church team beat the nasty boys, and they beat every other team in the league and won the championship. But that’s not the great part of the story. The great part is that three families from the nasty boys ended up coming to that church that very year and were saved and baptized.  If your going to be a witness of God you have to do so where someone can see you.

2) Pervade: Overpower them.
We weren’t sent into this world to make it conformed to a certain set of actions, behaviors or thoughts. We were sent into this world to be the servants, to be the slaves, to love people in such a way that they might  know the love of Christ, see our good works and glorify God in heaven because of it. Why is it that we get mad at lost people for acting lost.

3) Invade: This we do.
We Go where the world is. We Love how Jesus loved and we preach and live the gospel to every one we meet. We are intentional about witnessing in seeking someone else’s salvation. In the church if we do any witnessing, and evangelism, if we talk about the gospel at all it is often defensive. If someone where to come to you and ask how to be saved you would likely share your faith. If someone visits church or a church event we will talk about Jesus and the gospel. But we don’t need to wait for people to come to us we need to go to them. We must be offensive. WE are to storm the gates of hell. The gates of hail will not prevail we will. We will rescue people from eternal damnation. We will.

 

In God’s eyes

Anthony spoke on giving on Sunday, specifically about giving within the church.

My question is what do we give out of. Some give out of abundance, some give out of lack. Some give out of obligation others give out of guilt. God would have us give out of love. This is why God gives to us, because he loves us, so shouldn’t love be the reason, the motivation, and the inspiration for our giving to those that would have a need among us, LOVE?

Doesn’t John 13:35 tell us that love for other Christian’s is one of the greatest tools for spreading the gospel that the church has?

That being said Anthony addressed our giving from the stand point of stewardship. God has given us wealth, resources, possessions, abilities so that we can be good stewards of it. We might think that being a good steward means saving, or investing, and sometimes it does. But we once again must be reminded that the way we view somethings is not the same as how God would view the same thing and our thoughts on a subject are not the same as what God’s thoughts would be on the same subject. So what would God’s stewardship look like?

God would call us to put to use, save and invest in the things that he sees as important. The very purpose of our existence, the reason he established the church. God would have us build community, and relationship with other people. Rebecca and I have opened our home on Saturday to invite people over to have a time to glorify God. We are using our resources for God’s purposes. God would have us reach out and grow in our relationship with him. God has given us more than enough to work with the problem is, in God’s eyes, we are just wasting it on trivial things.

Adult discussion:

  1. What are you wasting your God given resources on?
  2. What do you think God’s view of your stewardship has been?
  3. When are you going to do something about your lack of obedience?
  4. What is a small step you can take to being a more Godly steward?

Family Discussion:

  1. What are somethings God has blessed us with?
  2. What are some of our resources, abilities, etc. as a family?
  3. How can we better use what we have to glorify God?
  4. What are some areas we are wasting some of what God has given us?
 

This Is Community…

The Church exists to build relationship between followers of Christ.

Henry Ford once said that:
“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”

This is similar to the idea of the community of the church. People need People this is a simple fact. There may be those among us that have chosen to live their lives in seclusion but this is not the norm for man. God said when he created a companion for Man that is was not good for man to be alone. Look at children have you ever really known a child that was a loner? Independent yes, but a loner?

People Need People. God knew this, it is how he created us. We need people to cry with, and cheer with, to celebrate with, and mourn with. We need the knowledge and wisdom of old age and the innovation and passion of youth.

This is not to say that the people that we build community with we will always like. Do you always like your family? I think Anthony described this aspect of community best as like unto a family vacation. Some people have stinky feet on a vacation and some people have stinky attitudes in the church. But we are not called to something as trivial as a family vacation. We are called to be the elite fighting force for God. So sometimes we have to work side by side with people. And in my short experience I have found that some times people aren’t perfect.

That brings me to my last point about community. Just as the people we are partnered with aren’t perfect we ourselves are often un-perfected. That is why we have community, we need someone to encourage us when times are tough, to support us when we grow weary. To direct us when the way is foggy, and to correct us when we make the wrong turn. This is community.

Adult Discussion:

  • Name three people you have an authentic, transparent relationship with?
  • Why aren’t you involved in real community? If you are how can you improve?
  • Have you ever thought about leading a share group? Pray about it?
  • Why aren’t you in a share group (small group)?

Family Discussion:

  • Why is it good to have friends?
  • How can you be a good friend?
  • What is a community?
  • Are communities good? Why or Why Not?
 
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Posted by on December 10, 2012 in Church, Community, Family, Purpose, Sermons

 

3500 Churches Die in America every year. I don’t think that anyone can hear that statistic and think that that is a good thing. Perhaps there was a time that we had enough churches. But today the local church is falling further and further into a state of irrelevance. There is another shocking statistic I shared Sunday that explains by and large why these local bodies are closing up shop, and that is that only 2% of people that claim to be Christian ever share their faith.

Why Church? Some times the reason why church is so that we can feel like we don’t have to do something. I mean if we read Acts 1:8: “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” We might actually believe that we are to be witnesses, or representatives of Christ in this world. I mean what a thought. Its a good thing that we have the church so that someone else can do that instead of us. (sarcasm added)

The problem with this thinking is that even though God has not called us all to be Peter the apostle  Billy Graham, or Jerry Falwell he has called us to be his witnesses his representatives.

We are also called to be the church. So what is Church? Is it a building? An organization? NO! It’s a group of Christians that agree to partner together to fulfill the purpose of the church.

So what is the purpose of the church? Ephesians 4:10-11 says that the church is to equip Christians and seek the betterment of the Christians that comprise it. So the church has to help the individual do what the individual has been called to do. In Acts 1:8 and Matt. 28 Jesus calls his followers to tell people about him and that is what the church is to do.

Adult discussion:

  1. How much do you hate your un-saved friends, neighbors, and family?
    Why aren’t you showing them the Love of God?
  2. How much do you hate your un-churched friends, neighbors, and family?
    Why aren’t you showing them the support, encouragement, and benefit of a church community?
  3. What are we afraid of?
  4. What does the church have to offer those that aren’t church people?

Family Discussion:

  1. Who are some people we can invite to church?
    If you don’t know anyone not going to church who can you reach out to?
  2. Why should people go to church?
  3. How can people be saved?
  4. How can we show people that we love them and Jesus loves them?

 

 

Give up on Yourself

Weekly Sermon Devotion 1

Jesus told his disciples that in order to truly be a follower of his one had to deny themselves and daily they had do make a decision to take on the work of Christ.

 Then He said to them all, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. (Lk. 9:23)

When we wake up each morning we have a new opportunity to be used by God. Think about this. If you were to convey the gospel to just one person per week and just 10% of those people were to actually receive salvation then at least 5 people a year would receive Christ. What if those five where trained and encouraged to share their faith each week? Then 30 people a year (including you) would be receiving Christ. After that second year if those 30 people share their faith then 150 would receive salvation. Do you realize most churches in America are smaller than 100 people. So because you were faithful to get out of your comfort zone and you sacrificed your time and your own will you were a direct cause of an entire church being saved. In just 3 years 185 people had receive Christ. These figures might be ambitious but do they seem unrealistic to you?

If we are to follow Christ then Christ must come first. He is the leader we are the followers and he has set the precedent. Everything Christ did was to bring God glory. We are to do the same.

Adult discussion:

  1. List Five ways you could give up something for God.
  2. Do those five ways.
  3. Be creative, list people that you know that aren’t Christian.
  4. Begin to pray for those people on your list.
  5. Are you actively trying to bring Glory to God?

Family Discussion:

  1. What are some ways we could Glorify God?
  2. How might we show the love of God to someone else?
  3. What can you sacrifice (explain Sacrifice) to glorify God?
  4. Lets pray for God to give us chances to serve him.
 
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Posted by on September 10, 2012 in Church, Church Growth, Family, Life, Missions, Sermons

 
 
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