Nov 18, 2018
Thank God For Our High Priest
Series: Nov 2018
 
Hebrews 4:14-16 (NASB)
"14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yetwithout sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
 
Let us pray.
 
Christ Jesus, you are the great high priest. You have gone before us and opened up a way for us to follow, and because you are our high priest, we are able to enter into the presence of the Father. Thank you for coming to earth and experiencing temptation and suffering far more than we experience so that you could intercede for us. We ask you, O high priest, to intercede for us now as we bring our requests before the throne of grace.
We pray for many in our community. We pray for those who are sick. Give them perseverance and patience and health. There are those in our community who are mourning. We pray for the families and friends. Lord, this loss of life is difficult to understand, and we pray that you will show your face to those facing loss. Give them comfort and faith. We thank you for our families. .. We also pray for the body of Christ beyond this community. Throughout the world, your people are suffering. We pray for countries in crisis. We ask for protection for the Christians in Haiti who are being targeted. Keep them safe, bring the violence in Haiti to an end and bring stability to that country. We pray for peace in the Sudan, O Lord. We also pray for your intervention in the AIDS crisis in Africa. Give wisdom to relief workers and governments as they look for ways to combat AIDS. We pray for strength and endurance for the victims of the hurricanes. For all of these and others who are experiencing illness, grief, and harm, please hear our prayers of intercession. Thank you for everything that you have blessed us with in this place, dear Lord. The changing colors of fall remind us of how magnificent a creator you are, and we praise you. We thank you for those serving you in leadership and ask for your blessings upon their work.
Most of all, we are grateful that we have been reconciled to you, O God, through the death of Jesus Christ, your Son. We rejoice that he went to the cross for us, rose again, and is now before your throne in heaven above, pleading our cause and leading us to righteousness.
 
In the most precious name of Jesus we pray, Amen.
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  • Nov 18, 2018Thank God For Our High Priest
    Nov 18, 2018
    Thank God For Our High Priest
    Series: Nov 2018
     
    Hebrews 4:14-16 (NASB)
    "14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yetwithout sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
     
    Let us pray.
     
    Christ Jesus, you are the great high priest. You have gone before us and opened up a way for us to follow, and because you are our high priest, we are able to enter into the presence of the Father. Thank you for coming to earth and experiencing temptation and suffering far more than we experience so that you could intercede for us. We ask you, O high priest, to intercede for us now as we bring our requests before the throne of grace.
    We pray for many in our community. We pray for those who are sick. Give them perseverance and patience and health. There are those in our community who are mourning. We pray for the families and friends. Lord, this loss of life is difficult to understand, and we pray that you will show your face to those facing loss. Give them comfort and faith. We thank you for our families. .. We also pray for the body of Christ beyond this community. Throughout the world, your people are suffering. We pray for countries in crisis. We ask for protection for the Christians in Haiti who are being targeted. Keep them safe, bring the violence in Haiti to an end and bring stability to that country. We pray for peace in the Sudan, O Lord. We also pray for your intervention in the AIDS crisis in Africa. Give wisdom to relief workers and governments as they look for ways to combat AIDS. We pray for strength and endurance for the victims of the hurricanes. For all of these and others who are experiencing illness, grief, and harm, please hear our prayers of intercession. Thank you for everything that you have blessed us with in this place, dear Lord. The changing colors of fall remind us of how magnificent a creator you are, and we praise you. We thank you for those serving you in leadership and ask for your blessings upon their work.
    Most of all, we are grateful that we have been reconciled to you, O God, through the death of Jesus Christ, your Son. We rejoice that he went to the cross for us, rose again, and is now before your throne in heaven above, pleading our cause and leading us to righteousness.
     
    In the most precious name of Jesus we pray, Amen.
  • Nov 4, 2018Inspired Worship
    Nov 4, 2018
    Inspired Worship
    Series: Nov 2018

    Inspired Worship

    . Inspired worship is a personal and corporate encounter with the living God. Both personal and corporate worship must be infused with the presence of God. This results in times of joyous exultation and times of quiet reverence. Inspired worship is not driven by a particular style or ministry focus group. It is driven by the shared experience of God’s awesome presence. The word "inspired" means; "of extraordinary quality, as if arising from some external creative impulse." This "external creative impulse" is the Holy Spirit. Whenever the Holy Spirit is truly at work (and His presence is not merely presumed), He will have a concrete effect upon the way a worship service is conducted including the atmosphere of the gathering. People attending truly "inspired" services typically indicate that "going to church is fun." Knowing this, the likely source of opposition to this is Christians who go to church to fulfill their "Christian duty". These people do not attend church because it is a joyous and inspiring experience, but to do the pastor or God a favor. Some even believe that their "faithfulness" in enduring such boring and unpleasant services will be blessed by God. Those who think this way will always tend to pressure other Christians to attend church. When worship is inspired, it draws people to the services "all by itself."
  • Oct 28, 2018Peace
    Oct 28, 2018
    Peace
    Series: Oct 2018

    These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. —John 16:33

    The peace that Jesus came to bring was not the peace of appeasement, or the peace of compromise and conformity. It was a spiritual peace. The world doesn’t give peace, for it doesn’t have any peace to give. It fights for peace, it negotiates for peace, it maneuvers for peace, but there is no ultimate peace in the world. But Jesus gives peace to those who put their trust in Him. If you have received His peace, then you are in His camp. But if you have rejected it, then you are against Him. His peace is available to everyone who will receive it. Will you receive the peace of Jesus?
  • Oct 28, 2018Effective Discipleship
    Oct 28, 2018
    Effective Discipleship
    Series: Oct 2018

     Effective Discipleship

    I want to begin by asking two questions: “Are you a disciple of Jesus Christ?” Hopefully, that one was easy. If you answered, “Yes,” the second, more intimidating, question is, “Are you discipling others?”

    To define my terms: A disciple is a follower of Jesus Christ. No one follows Him perfectly, of course. But as a disciple, the direction and aim of your life is to be obedient to Jesus Christ and His teachings as revealed in the Bible. To disciple others is to help them follow Jesus. Mark Dever defines it (Discipling [Crossway], p. 13), “Discipling is deliberately doing spiritual good to someone so that he or she will be more like Christ.”

    In the Great Commission, Jesus commanded His followers (Matt. 28:19-20), “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; …” The command to make disciples applies to all who follow Jesus, not just to pastors and missionaries. Every Christian has received a spiritual gift which he or she is to use in serving Jesus Christ (Rom. 12:3-81 Cor. 12:7-31Eph. 4:7-121 Pet. 4:10-11). Part of the command to love one another involves helping others be what God wants them to be. That’s discipleship. So if you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, God wants you to use your gifts to help others become more like Christ.

    Discipleship should not be so much a program in the local church that some sign up for, but rather the culture of the church, where every member aims at helping others become more like Christ. It begins in our homes, with parents evangelizing and discipling their children. It should ripple out through the entire church, where we all are helping one another grow in godliness. In our text, Paul reveals three crucial ingredients for effective discipleship:

    Effective discipleship is built on a godly message, a godly manner, and a godly motive.

    The godly message is the gospel; the godly manner is evident love for others; and, the godly motive is to please God from the heart. If you’re clear on the gospel, evident in your love for others, and doing everything to please God who examines your heart, God will use you to help others grow to be more like Christ.

    1. Effective discipleship is built on a godly message: the gospel of God.

    I’ll say more about this, but for now I point out that in 1 Thessalonians 2 & 3, Paul is defending himself against vicious opponents, perhaps the Jews who drove him out of Thessalonica (1 Thess. 2:14-16). They were trying to discredit Paul so that his gospel would be discredited. Paul mentions the gospel in verses 2, 4, 8, and 9 (as well as in 1:5 & 3:2). In verses 2, 8, & 9 he refers to it as “the gospel of God.” Paul didn’t make up the gospel. Rather, it came directly from God, who revealed it to Paul. To reject the gospel is to reject the living and true God who gave it to us.

    The gospel stands against every other system of religion in the world, including some religions that go under the banner of Christianity. All these false “gospels” teach that the way you go to heaven is by some program of good works. Sometimes, as in the Roman Catholic Church, faith in Christ and good works are combined, just as the Judaizers in Paul’s day combined faith in Christ with keeping the Jewish law. By doing penance for your sins, going to church, moral behavior, helping the poor, and giving to the church, you accumulate merits to qualify for heaven.

    But the gospel is that we are saved from God’s judgment by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, resulting in good works. Ephesians 2:8-10 states it clearly:

    For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

    The gospel is good news for sinners because it promises freely to forgive all the sins of those who believe. As Paul states (Rom. 4:5), “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.” Jesus illustrated the same truth in His parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14). The proud Pharisee thought that he was right with God through his religious practices, whereas the tax collector could only cry out (Luke 18:13), “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” Jesus said that the tax collector went to his house justified, whereas the Pharisee did not. The best news in the world is that if you come to Jesus with all of your sin and cry out to Him for mercy through Jesus’ shed blood, He freely gives it!

    So why does the gospel result in opposition? Why would anyone have a problem with such good news? The Bible is clear that self-righteous people hate the gospel because it confronts their pride. It takes away all grounds for boasting in our good deeds. The gospel requires that we acknowledge that we are sinners without any claim for heaven. The gospel reveals that my heart is as desperately wicked as that of the worst of sinners. So proud people oppose the humbling message of the gospel.

    Also, unbelievers don’t like to hear about God’s wrath and judgment against all sinners. As a result they often oppose the messengers of the gospel. But even if they oppose us, we shouldn’t back off or apologize for the message. Paul was mistreated in Philippi for preaching the gospel, but when he came to Thessalonica, he preached the same message boldly in spite of the opposition (1 Thess. 2:2). We can’t compromise the message to win converts.

    Effective discipleship rests on the foundation of the gospel revealed to us in God’s Word. False teachers don’t tell people about sin and the judgment to come. Rather, they build people’s self-esteem and tell them how Jesus can help them have their best life now. To build godly disciples we must build on the foundation of the gospel that comes from God.

    2. Effective discipleship is built on a godly manner: evident love for people.

    1 Thessalonians 2:7-8: “But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.”

    When people feel the love of Christ through us, they will more likely listen to the gospel that we present. There is a difficult textual variant in verse 7. Some early manuscripts read “we became babes,” whereas a number of others read, “we became gentle.” The difference is either the presence or absence of a single Greek letter (nu, or “n”). “Babes” is the better attested and more difficult reading, in that it doesn’t seem to fit with the metaphor of the nursing mother in the last half of the verse. Paul usually uses “babes” in a negative way, to refer to those who are spiritually immature (1 Cor. 3:1). He uses “gentle” with reference to how the Lord’s bond-servants must relate to others (2 Tim. 2:24-25): “The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind [“gentle”] to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth ….”

    So it’s difficult to decide. If the original reading was “babes,” it probably has the sense of being gentle or defenseless, as a little baby is. But the image of a nursing mother tenderly holding her baby next to her, protecting the child from all harm, pictures the love that we are to have for others.

    But may I point out the obvious (to any mother, at least): Babies are needy, often difficult, inconvenient, and time-consuming! They dirty their diapers, they scream when they’re hungry or don’t feel good, they throw up on you, they wake you up in the middle of the night, and they require a lot of attention. So do new believers! This means that you can’t love others unless you’re willing to sacrifice yourself and your time and be inconvenienced. But it’s through your love that they will grow.

    Note, also, that these are emotional terms. The same emotional language permeates the rest of chapters 2 & 3. It’s obvious that Paul had deep feelings for these new converts and he let them know it verbally. Not only did he tell them of his affection for them, but also they had seen it when he was with them. He repeats “you know,” “you recall,” and “you are witnesses (2:1, 2, 5, 9, 10 & 11). Paul’s love for them was evident.

    He says that they had not only imparted the gospel, “but also our own lives” [lit., “souls”]. Part of sharing your own soul is being vulnerable and open. You don’t try to present an image that isn’t who you really are. You live openly and truthfully before God and before others. When I became a pastor 39 years ago, I resolved never to project through my preaching or in my private dealings with anyone that I’ve got it together if that’s not true. If I’m preaching on prayer and I struggle with my prayer life (as I do), I’ll let you know that I’m struggling. You can’t effectively disciple others if you’re not truthful about your own failures and struggles.

    So, effective discipleship is built on a godly message: the gospel of God; and, on a godly manner: evident love for people.

    3. Effective discipleship is built on a godly motive: pleasing God from the heart.

    We could also label this integrity before God. Paul reveals six ways he pleased God from the heart:

    A. We please God when we seek His glory, not our own.

    Paul says (1 Thess. 2:4), “but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts.” He adds (1 Thess. 2:6), “nor did we seek glory from men.” Paul lived with a Godward focus. He wanted to please and glorify God on the heart level. When he says that he didn’t please men, he doesn’t mean that he was insensitive toward people. He was careful not needlessly to offend others (see 1 Cor. 9:20-22; 10:33). He spoke graciously to people (Eph. 4:29). But behind his actions toward people was a primary focus to please and glorify God.

    Pleasing and glorifying God must begin on the heart or thought level, since God examines our hearts. We can fool people by putting on a good front when we’re in public, but God looks on our hearts. When Paul says that he had been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, he’s referring to his heart before God. Paul’s heart was right with God and so God entrusted Paul with the treasure of the gospel. A man can be a powerful, captivating preacher, but in private he looks at pornography or checks out the sexy women. Or he may posture himself as a man of God at church, but at home he’s angry and abusive.

    To begin at this, gain and maintain a clear conscience before God. As Paul told the Roman governor Felix (Acts 24:16), “I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men.” This means confessing all sins, including sinful thoughts. It means asking forgiveness of those against whom we have sinned. And then, positively, we aim to please God in all respects (Col. 1:10), not so that we look good to others, but so that God looks good through us. When you walk with that kind of reality and integrity before the Lord, He will use you to disciple others effectively.

    B. We please God by enduring trials with steadfast joy.

    Paul mentions how he and Silas had suffered and been mistreated in Philippi just before they came to Thessalonica. Acts 16 tells of how they were unjustly beaten without a trial and put in the stocks in jail. But at midnight, they were singing praises to God. He wrote Philippians from prison in Rome, where he didn’t deserve to be. Other preachers in Rome were unfairly attacking him. And yet Philippians overflows with joy in the Lord (Phil. 4:4): “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!”

    And when Paul preached the gospel in Thessalonica, guess what? He encountered much opposition (1 Thess. 2:2)! But, rather than complaining to God about how unfair it was or threating to quit preaching unless he got better treatment in the future, Paul kept on joyfully preaching the gospel.

    Over the years, I’ve watched many people who begin to serve the Lord in some ministry, but when they get criticized or their feelings get hurt, they quit. Often, they get angry with God or with the Christians who mistreated them. They drop out of church or at least keep their distance by just attending, but never serving again.

    But serving the Lord is not a Sunday school picnic! It’s spiritual warfare! The enemy will attack, often from unexpected angles. When I first began as a pastor, I naively thought that the opposition would come from the world. But I’ve rarely gotten flak from the world. Unbelievers don’t care about what goes on in the church. The attacks come from within. So if you’re attempting to disciple others, expect to be criticized. Sometimes those you’ve spent a lot of time with will turn against you. Jesus was betrayed by Judas. Demas deserted Paul. It happens! But if we endure trials and hardship with steadfast joy, it pleases God and He will use it to help others grow in Christ.

    C. We please God through pure doctrine.

    Paul says (1 Thess. 2:3), “For our exhortation does not come from error ….” The truth of the gospel is foundational, but then it extends to all major biblical truth. God is the God of truth (Ps. 31:5Isa. 65:16) whose Word is truth (John 17:17). In Paul’s pastoral letters to Timothy and Titus, he repeatedly emphasizes sound doctrine (1 Tim. 4:6; 6:32 Tim. 4:3Titus 1:9; 2:1, 7, 9, 10). The word “sound” comes from the Greek word from which we get our word “hygienic.” Sound doctrine leads to spiritual health. Bad doctrine, like junk food, leads to spiritual sickness or disease. To disciple others effectively, feed them sound doctrine and teach them as they grow to feed themselves.

    It’s amazing how much Paul had taught these new believers, many of whom were from a pagan background, in the short time he had been with them. He assumes that they knew about the doctrine of election (1:4) and the trinity (1:1, 5, 6). He had taught them about suffering (1:6; 3:3-4); the second coming (1:10; 2:19; 3:13; 4:13-18; 5:1-11, 23); moral purity (4:1-8); and many other truths.

    Of course, we need to distinguish between the essential truths of the faith, which every true believer must affirm, and other doctrines, which may be important, but where godly people may differ. The gospel and all truths necessary for the gospel are essential. Some other matters, such as prophecy, spiritual gifts, church government and ordinances, or methods for ministry, are important, but not essential for the gospel. But in our postmodern era, when the whole notion of truth is challenged, we need to hold graciously but firmly to the truth of God’s Word.

    But when you teach the truth, expect to catch flak! After exhorting Timothy to preach the Word, which includes reproving, rebuking, and exhorting, Paul warned (2 Tim. 4:3-5):

    For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

    The reason Paul added “endure hardship” was that when you preach the Word faithfully, you will be criticized and attacked.

    D. We please God through moral integrity.

    Paul says (1 Thess. 2:3) that his exhortation did not come from “impurity.” In that day, as in the present, there were many false teachers who were motivated by sexual impurity. They purported to preach the gospel and teach God’s Word, but they used their status as public figures to prey on unsuspecting women. Peter warned (2 Pet. 2:14) of false teachers who had “eyes full of adultery,” who enticed unstable souls. He added (2 Pet. 2:18-19), “For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; …” To effectively disciple others, we must be morally pure. Again, this begins on the thought level.

    E. We please God by financial integrity.

    Paul states (1 Thess. 2:5) that he did not come “with a pretext for greed,” and then adds, “God is witness.” Greed and sexual lust are often linked in Scripture (Eph. 5:3Col. 3:5). Jesus mentions both in a list of sins that He says come from the heart (Mark 7:21-23). We can sometimes observe outward behavior and conclude that a man is motivated by greed or lust. But if we want to overcome these sins in ourselves to please God and to disciple others, we have to deal with them on the heart level.

    Financial integrity requires being honest in all our financial dealings, including not cheating when we pay our taxes. If you’re paid cash for a job, you need to report it. If a clerk gives you too much change or doesn’t charge what you owe, you need to make it right. Greed is also the motivation for gambling and get rich quick schemes, both of which Christians should avoid. Greed keeps us from giving generously to the Lord’s work. To please God and to disciple others effectively, kill your greed.

    F. We please God by avoiding all deception and manipulation.

    Paul says (1 Thess. 2:3) that his exhortation did not come “by way of deceit,” and then adds (1 Thess. 2:5-6), “For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness— nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority.” “Deceit” was used for the bait that a fisherman uses. He puts a juicy worm on his hook so that the fish thinks he’s getting a delicious meal, but the fish ends up becoming the meal. A deceitful person who is pleasing men tells people what they want to hear so that they will like him, even if he knows it isn’t the truth. He dodges the hard truths of Scripture because he doesn’t want to scare people away, but in so doing, he gets them to believe Satan’s lies about God.

    Flattering speech means pleasing people to gain an advantage. It’s always manipulative. Paul could have wrongly used his apostolic authority to lord it over people, but he didn’t do that. When he used his authority, it was to build up others, not to lord it over them (2 Cor. 10:8; 13:10). To please God and disciple others, we need to be truthful and to avoid all manipulation.

    Conclusion

    Years ago, an agnostic was contemplating suicide, but he decided that if he could find a minister who lived his faith, he would listen to him. So he hired a private investigator to watch Will Houghton, a preacher who had become the president of Moody Bible Institute. When the report came back, it revealed that Houghton’s life was above reproach. He was for real. The agnostic went to Houghton’s church, trusted in Christ, and later sent his daughter to Moody Bible Institute. (“Our Daily Bread,” 11/83)

    What would a private investigator dig up on you? Would you pass the test? God is the ultimate private investigator! He examines your heart! To disciple others effectively, you need a godly message—the gospel of God; a godly manner—evident love for others; and a godly motive—pleasing God from the heart. I pray that in our church we will develop a climate of discipleship—of deliberately helping one another become more like Christ.

  • Oct 21, 2018Intentional Evangelism
    Oct 21, 2018
    Intentional Evangelism
    Series: Oct 2018

     Intentional Evangelism

    Intentional evangelism is... intentional. Intentional means something that you have purposefully set out to do.  In this passage, John 4:1-26, Jesus shows us what being intentional looks like. Jesus tore down many walls in His ministry.  He knocked down Social walls, Cultural walls, and Economic walls.  Three of the social walls that Jesus knocked down in this passage are; This person was 1) a Samaritan, 2) a Woman, and 3) a Sinner. We must remember there are really only two types of people: Saved and Unsaved.  We must be gracious. Gracious means: full of grace, which is what Jesus gave us.  How do you react when you first meet people that aren’t like you? Initiate the conversation. If we don’t initiate the conversation, most people won’t either. Make eye contact, even if you are fearful of doing so. There is a great way to minimize your fear. Know your message! Ultimately, it all boils down to Romans 3:23-25

    But how will they know unless we are intentional?
     
  • Oct 14, 2018Listen Carefully
    Oct 14, 2018
    Listen Carefully
    Series: Oct 2018

    Listen Carefully

     
    Colossians 2:8-14 NASB
    "See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, [a]rather than according to Christ.For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10 and in Him you have been made [b]complete, and He is the head [c]over all rule and authority; 11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 When you were dead [d]in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross."
     
    Paul cautions us to listen carefully. The little song we learned as children, “Be careful little eyes what you see. Be careful little ears what you hear”, still holds true for us as adults. We need to guard our eyes as to what we view. We also need to guard our ears as to what we allow ourselves to listen to. When we apply ourselves diligently to studying God’s Word and allow His Word to saturate our minds and spirit, the more fruit will be manifested in and through our lives. We reap what we sow. When we sow an abundance of God’s Word into us, just think of the harvest we will have to share with others.
    In Joshua 1:8, the Lord reminds the Israelites how vital meditating and obeying the Word of God was to their entire well-being.
    We, as the Israelites, are commanded to meditate on God’s Word. The benefits we derive: 1) We will be prosperous in every spiritual aspect of our lives 2) We are promised His peace, contentment, joy, and guidance
    3) We will walk in His confidence, truth, and Wisdom
     
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  • Oct 14, 2018Heart Condition
    Oct 14, 2018
    Heart Condition
    Series: Oct 2018

     Heart Condition

    We, as the church universal, have a heart condition.  To address this condition, we first need to understand the biblical definition and description on the heart.  As the image and likeness of God, people are animated subjectively from the core and throughout their being by that primary faculty of thought, affection, and will which the Bible calls the “heart.”  Unquestionably, of all the words that are crucial to biblical anthropology, the word ‘heart’ is by far the most important. The term possesses the nuance of “centrality” since it is used in the Scriptures to refer literally to the inner most part of things, including that of a tree (2 Sam. 18: 14), the sea (Exod. 15: 8; Psa. 46: 2; Jonah 2: 3), the heavens (Deut. 4: 11), and the earth (Matt. 12: 40). In a few texts, ‘heart’ contains physiological meaning and designates the actual organ which pumps blood (2 Sam. 18: 14; 2 Kings 9: 24; Psa. 37: 15; Jer. 4: 19), and can be strengthened by food and drink (Gen. 18: 5; Judg. 19: 5, 8; 1 Kings 21:7; Psa. 104: 15; Acts 14: 17; James 5: 5).  The preponderance of biblical passages, however, speak of the ‘heart’ as the central, defining element of the human person.
     
    The New Testament and the teaching of Jesus advance this perspective. The 150 or so uses of ‘heart’ from Matthew to Revelation demonstrate that it is “the main organ of psychic and spiritual life, the place in man at which God bears witness to himself, . . . the whole of the inner being of man in contrast to his external side, . . . the one center in man to which God turns, in which the religious life is rooted, which determines moral conduct.” Indeed, according to various New Testament authors, the heart is the psychic center of human affections (Matt. 22: 37-39; John 14: 1, 27; 2 Cor. 2: 4), the source of the spiritual life (Acts 8: 21; Rom. 2: 29; 2 Cor. 3: 3), and the seat of the intellect and the will (Rom. 1: 21; 2 Cor. 9: 7; Heb. 4: 12). Jesus shares this point of view, teaching that the heart is the spiritual nucleus of the person about which life orbits. He affirms this anthropological reality in the Sermon on the Mount. There Jesus offers a warning about earthly and heavenly treasures as contrasting options for a person’s basic pursuit in life. Terrestrial treasures, he says, are subject to corruption and theft, whereas celestial treasures possess eternal durability. The choice of either is all determinative, and for this reason Jesus associates it with that unifying faculty and hub of life, stating “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6: 19-21; cf. Luke 12: 33-34).
     
    Once one's treasure is identified, the heart will not be far behind. Neither will a particular way of life. Jesus knew that the kind of treasure occupying one’s heart will manifest itself in practical ways through patterns of speech and conduct. He also employed a metaphor to communicate this point. In fact, he uses both “trees” and “treasures” in several gospel texts, including this one, to illustrate that out of the heart are the issues of life.
     
    For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit. For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart (Luke 6: 43-45; cf. Matt. 7: 17-20; 12: 33-35; 15: 18-20; Mark 7: 21-23).
     
    "Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life." Proverbs 4:23 NASB
     
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  • Oct 7, 2018THE Gospel
    Oct 7, 2018
    THE Gospel
    Series: Oct 2018

    The Power Of THE Gospel

    Bro. Jimmy Wilson - OBC Homecoming 2018

    2 Corinthians 4 New King James Version (NKJV)

    The Light of Christ’s Gospel

    Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

    Cast Down but Unconquered

    But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death is working in us, but life in you. 13 And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, 14 knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.

    Seeing the Invisible

    16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
     
  • Sep 30, 2018Strength
    Sep 30, 2018
    Strength
    Series: Sept 2018

    Strength

    Do you ever feel perpetually weak? Sometimes every task seems insurmountable! Everything around you seems to be falling apart. Truly you can’t see an end to your suffering. YOU ARE NOT ALONE
     
    Habakkuk 3:16 "I heard and my inward parts trembled, At the sound my lips quivered. Decay enters my bones, And in my place I tremble. Because I must wait quietly for the day of distress, For the people to arise who will invade us."
    Today we are going to talk about a little known prophet of Judah named Habakkuk. He constantly lived in fear of invasion by the Babylonians. His prayers to God for help seemed to be answered with, "Wait". This made for a terrible time for Habakkuk. How do you feel when you are going through suffering and God seems to be answering your prayers with "Wait"? Does it seem as if God is distant? Do you sometimes wonder why God is allowing your suffering? Perhaps, you are not sure you will make it through. Do you ever get mad with God?
     
    Habakkuk 3:17-18 "Though the fig tree should not blossom And there be no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive should fail And the fields produce no food, Though the flock should be cut off from the fold And there be no cattle in the stalls, 18 Yet I will exult in the LordI will rejoice in the God of my salvation."
     
    Despite how we struggle, God loves us, and He has a plan! The hard part is, sometimes, it is the struggle that is also our answer. It is when we go through the hard times that we learn to truly trust God completely. When we can handle things without God, trusting Him doesn’t seem necessary. The reality is, that apart from God you can do nothing. (John 15:5)  Unfortunately, it is the struggle that teaches us how to be strong in Christ. 
     
    Habakkuk 3:19 "The Lord God is my strength, And He has made my feet like hinds’ feetAnd makes me walk on my high places..."
    He makes my feet like hinds' feet. Hinds' feet are what sheep develop in order to climb up the steep hills. If they never attempt the difficult climb, then they don’t develop their hinds' feet, or leg strength. It is the difficult, steep hills that cause us to strengthen our walk with God, and allow us to get to the high places. Because God knows what will strengthen us, we can rejoice even in our struggles. 
    He is the God of Salvation!
     
     
  • Sep 23, 2018Divine Intersections; Are You Ready?
    Sep 23, 2018
    Divine Intersections; Are You Ready?
    Series: Sept 2018

    Divine Intersections: Are You Ready?

    Luke says,
    “And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.”

     Acts 8:26

    Divine Intersections are Spirit led meetings that give us opportunity to be used in God’s service for the advancement of His Kingdom. Men and women of God who had divine intersections accomplished most of the great works of the Bible. For instance, Philip was told that he should go down towards Gaza into the desert.  At first, this is all the information the God gave to Philip and did not explain more.  A very interesting point is that the Holy Spirit did not feel it necessary to explain His plans or purposes to Philip but simply expected complete and immediate obedience.  It was only after Philip obeyed the first command of God that the Spirit spoke to him again and told him to join himself to the Ethiopian Eunuchs chariot.

    Divine intersections often run contrary to natural reasoning

    God was able to position Philip at the exact place to minister to the Ethiopian official because he obeyed immediately and without question.  As the Eunuch was reading a prophetic passage in Isaiah Philip was there to share the message of salvation when he was open to hear it.  Moreover, when Philip told him about water baptism they even happened to be passing by a small body of water (how often does that happen in the desert?) and the Eunuch was baptized in the name of Jesus.

    Our Father carefully orchestrates divine intersections

    This meeting was not a random set of events but rather a carefully orchestrated series of actions that led to a divine intersection of biblical proportions. God foreknew that the Eunuch would be passing by a certain place at a certain time reading a certain passage.  All that was necessary for his salvation was for God to find a willing and obedient servant who would be there waiting as his chariot passed by. Here is a truth:

    “True obedience to God is not just obeying what you know of the scriptures but being available to obey the voice of God when He speaks.”

    Bible knowledge is useless if we do not make ourselves available when God gives us assignments to do.  So often it is not who is qualified that accomplished God’s will, but the person who actually obeys.

    Timing is everything with divine intersections

    When God speaks to us through His still small voice He expects that we will listen, hear and obey on time.  Our Father simply gives us enough direction to begin the journey.  When we take a step of faith and obey our Lord’s command He reveals the next step.  This is the walk of faith. Often times His directions runs counter to what the natural minds thinks is appropriate. Philip was an evangelist whom found great success in Samaria.  Based on that success Philip might have assume He should just go to the next city.  No one would fault the Evangelist for making this logical choice; except God.  Instead, Philip listened to the voice of God and stood at a certain place in the desert.

    Thumbing a ride in the desert

    A great man, an Ethiopian eunuch, Happened along and God told His servant to hitch a ride.  So happens that just at that time the eunuch was reading a verse in Isaiah that spoke about Jesus. Asking Philip what it meant the Spirit led servant of God shared the gospel with him.  Philip, through that one“divine appointment” likely shared the good news to more people than he did for the rest of his life.  Today in Ethiopia, even though Muslim countries surround it, there still remains over 30 million Christians.

    A divine intersections are not always easy

    Divine intersections consist of placement, timing, and faith.  You have to be where God wants you to be at the time that God tells you to be there.  Furthermore, by faith, you have to obey and do what God directs.  Often times this is uncomfortable because obedience may involve approaching a person and speaking something God has dropped into your heart that may not make a whole lot of sense.  By faith you must speak or do whatever God goads you to do trusting that He knows the full situation. A pastor told a story that he was waiting to make a phone call at a telephone booth one evening.  The man using it was very angry and talking roughly to someone on the phone.  This man stood huge and powerfully built like a NFL line backer.  The Holy Spirit goaded the pastor to tell that man “your afraid”!  The pastor, fearful himself, wondered if saying those words to that big man was a good idea!  As the man stepped out of the phone booth and glared at the minister the pastor blurted, “your afraid!”  The man looked stunned and then started to break down and cry.  He said, “yes, I always feel afraid.”

    The right place, time, and word

    Through that act of obedience a soul in need heard the voice of God. The pastor talked and prayed for that man and he went away greatly relieved and full of joy. A few words spoken to the right person, at the right time, makes a world of difference. Isn’t is wonderful that we can be chosen to carry out such divine appointments!

    Add some divine intersections to your schedule today!

    In conclusion, God will give you divine intersections through His Holy Spirit as soon as you open up your schedule.  God has much work to do in the kingdom of heaven and needs many like Philip.  If you are truly God’s servant I encourage you to be available for service at a moment’s notice.  Jesus is the master of our time, finances, or earthly obligations.  Trust God’s voice and see miracles happen in your lives and others!
     
  • Sep 23, 2018Legacy Of Love
    Sep 23, 2018
    Legacy Of Love
    Series: Sept 2018
    When we spend a lifetime on this earth we leave a legacy. This is how we live on after we go home.  
     

    How do you want to be remembered?

    2 Timothy 1:1-2 "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord."
     
    Paul was writing to Timothy in this passage, and he calls Timothy his son.  This is what we refer to as a spiritual child.  These children are the ones we mentor in the faith and teach them to follow Christ.  Do you have any Spiritual children?
     
    2 Timothy 1:3-4 "I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience [c]the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day, longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy."
     
    Our spiritual children, just like our natural children, need our prayers.  Do you pray for those you have mentored in the faith?  Hopefully some of your spiritual children are also your natural children.  Are you full of Joy when you think of these children?
     
    2 Timothy 1:5 "For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well."
     
    Who did Paul credit for Timothy’s strong faith?  Eunice his mother and Lois his grandmother.  This is their legacy in Timothy.
     
    For many of us time is drawing short.  How does your legacy look?  Will others see your life in your children both natural and spiritual?  Is the legacy that you leave going to be one of love?  
    It is not too late to leave a legacy of love, which is the love of Christ, for those you leave behind.
     
     
  • Sep 16, 2018The Mystery Of The Gospel
    Sep 16, 2018
    The Mystery Of The Gospel
    Series: Sept 2018

     The Mystery Of The Gospel

    The Bible tells us that the mystery of God is Jesus Christ: “My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:2–3). A “mystery” in the New Testament is something that had at one time been hidden but is now revealed to God’s people. Jesus spoke of “the mystery of the kingdom of God” (Mark 4:11, NAS) that He was at that point revealing to His disciples. The apostle Paul used the word mystery 21 times in his Epistles. In each case, the “mystery” involved a wonderful declaration of spiritual truth, revealed by God through divine inspiration. A mystery is that “which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets” (Ephesians 3:5). The mystery of God’s will is that “which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ” (Ephesians 1:9–10; cf. 1 Corinthians 2:7Revelation 2:7). The mystery of God is the consummation of God’s plan in bringing His kingdom in Christ to fulfillment. The kingdom had long been prophesied, but the how and the when and the by whom was not clear until the time of Christ. It is in Christ that God has been manifested to all of mankind. As Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Paul said that he had been commissioned to preach “the word of God in its fullness—the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people” (Colossians 1:25–26). That is, it is through the apostles that we have been given the capstone of Scripture; their writings, all of which point to Christ—represent the final disclosure of God’s Word to mankind. 
     
    Sermons from our recent Series on Prayer:
  • Sep 16, 2018The Mystery Of History
    Sep 16, 2018
    The Mystery Of History
    Series: Sept 2018

    Did this man, Jesus Christ, really change the world?

    • Jesus had a very famous birth that some today still contest (Matt 1:18-25).
    • Jesus was identified by some as the future king or Messiah and so a child execution was ordered to prevent it (Matt 2:13-16).
    • Even as a boy Jesus did things that showed there was more to Him than anyone realized (Luke 2:41-50).
    • Jesus went head to head with Satan who tempted Him greatly but Jesus still never sinned (Luke 4:1-13).
    • At a wedding as a young man Jesus first showed His ability to perform miracles (John 2:1-11).
    • Jesus taught that a man must be born a second time (John 3:1-5).
    • Jesus is revealed to some as God’s Son (Matt 17:1-5)!
    • Jesus performs a miracle witnessed by over 5000 (Mark 6:35-44).
    • Jesus was initially received as the coming King of the Jews (Mark 11:7-10).
    • Jesus was crucified for all mankind (Matt 27:27-51 & Isaiah 53:1-5).
    • The Resurrection (John 20:1-17)
    • John 3:16-17  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”

    Did this man, Jesus Christ, really change the world? 

    Sermons from our recent Series on Prayer:
  • Sep 9, 2018Warfare Prayer
    Sep 9, 2018
    warfare prayer
    Warfare Prayer
    Series: Sept 2018

    A Powerful Example Of Warfare Prayer

    Adapted from the work of Victor Matthews
    "Heavenly Father, I bow in worship and praise before you.  I cover myself with the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ as my protection.  I surrender myself completely and unreservedly in every area of my life to You.  I take a stand against all the workings of Satan that would hinder me in my prayer life.  I address myself only to the True and Living God and refuse any involvement of Satan in my prayer. Heavenly Father, I worship You and give You praise.  I recognize that You are worthy to receive all glory and honor and praise.  I renew my allegiance to You and pray that the blessed Holy Spirit would enable me in this time of prayer.  I am thankful, Heavenly Father, that You have loved me from past eternity and that You sent the Lord Jesus Christ into the world to die as my substitute.  I am thankful that the Lord Jesus Christ came as my representative and that through Him You have completely forgiven me; You have adopted me into your family; You have assumed all responsibility for me; You have given me eternal life; You have given me the perfect righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ so I am now justified.  I am thankful that in Him, you have made me complete, and that You have offered Yourself to me to be my daily help and strength.     Heavenly Father, open my eyes that I might see how great You are and how complete Your provision is for this day.  I am thankful that the victory the Lord Jesus Christ won for me on the Cross and in His resurrection has been given to me and that I am seated with the Lord Jesus Christ in the heavenlies.  I take my place with Him in the heavenlies and recognize by faith that all wicked spirits and Satan himself are under my feet.  I declare, therefore, that Satan and his wicked spirits are subject to me in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.     I am thankful for the Armor You have provided.  I put on the Belt of Truth, the Breastplate of Righteousness, the Boots  of the Gospel and the Helmet of Salvation.  I lift up the Shield of Faith against all the fiery darts of the enemy; and I take in my hand the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.  I choose to use Your Word against all the forces of evil in my life.  I put on this Armor and live and pray in complete dependence upon You, blessed Holy Spirit.     I am grateful, Heavenly Father, that the Lord Jesus Christ spoiled all principalities and powers and made a show of them openly and triumphed over them in Himself.  I claim all that victory for my life today.  I reject all the insinuations, and accusations, and the temptations of Satan.  I affirm that the Word of God is true and I choose to live today in the light of God's Word.  I choose, Heavenly Father, to live in obedience to You and in fellowship with Yourself.  Open my eyes and show me the areas of my life that do not please You.  Work in me to cleanse me from all ground that would give Satan a foothold against me.  I do in every way stand into all that it means to be Your adopted child and I welcome all the ministry of the Holy Spirit.         By faith and in dependence upon You, I put off the fleshly works of the old man and stand into all the victory of the crucifixion where the Lord Jesus Christ provided cleansing from the old nature.  I put on the new man and stand into all the victory of the resurrection and the provision He has made for me to live above sin.     Therefore, today I put off all forms of selfishness and put on the new nature with its love.  I put off all forms of fear and put on the new nature with its courage.  I put off all forms of weakness and put on the new nature with its strength.  I put off all forms of lust and put on the new nature with its righteousness, purity, and honesty.  I am trusting You to show me how to make this practical in my daily life.     In every way I stand into the victory of the ascension and glorification of the Lord Jesus Christ, whereby all the principalities and powers were made subject to Him.  I claim my place in Christ as victorious with Him over all the enemies of my soul.  Blessed Holy Spirit, I pray that You would fill me.  Come into my life, break down every idol and cast out every foe.     I am thankful, Heavenly Father, for the expression of Your will for my daily life as You have shown me in Your Word.  I, therefore, claim all the will of God for today.  I am thankful that You have blessed me with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  I am thankful that You have begotten me unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  I am thankful that You have made a provision so that today I can live filled with the Spirit of God with love and joy and peace, with long-suffering, gentleness and goodness, with meekness, faithfulness and self-control in my life.  I recognize that this is Your will for me and I therefore reject and resist all the endeavors of Satan and his wicked spirits to rob me of the will of god.  I refuse in this day to believe my feelings and I hold up the Shield of Faith against all the accusations and distortion and insinuations that Satan would put into my mind.  I claim the fullness of the will of God for my life today.     In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I completely surrender myself to You, Heavenly Father, as a living sacrifice.  I choose not to be conformed to this world.  I choose to be transformed by the renewing of my mind, and I pray that You would show me Your will and enable me to walk in all the fullness of Your will today.     I am thankful, Heavenly Father, that the weapons of our warfare are not physical but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, to the casting down of imagination and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge God, and to bring every thought into obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, in my own life today I tear down the strongholds of Satan and smash the plans of Satan that have been formed against me.  I tear down the strongholds of Satan against my mind, and I surrender my mind to You, blessed Holy Spirit.  I affirm, Heavenly Father, that You have not given me the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind.  I break and smash the strongholds of Satan formed against my emotions today and I give my emotions to you.  I smash the strongholds of Satan formed against my will today, I give my will to You and choose to make the right decisions of faith.  I smash the strongholds of Satan formed against my body today, I give my body to You recognizing that I am your temple.  I rejoice in Your mercy and goodness.     Heavenly Father, I pray that now and through this day You would strengthen and enlighten me.  Show me the way Satan is hindering and tempting and lying and distorting the truth in my life.  Enable me to be the kind of person that would please You.  Enable me to be aggressive in prayer and faith.  Enable me to be aggressive mentally, to think about and practice Your Word, and to give You Your rightful place in my life.
        Again, I cover myself with the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and pray that You, blessed Holy Spirit, would bring all the work  of the crucifixion, all the work of the resurrection, and all the work of the glorification into my life today.  I surrender myself to You.  I refuse to be discouraged.  You are the God of all hope.  You have proven Your power by resurrecting Jesus Christ from the dead, and I claim in every way this victory over all the satanic forces in my life.  I pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ with thanksgiving. Amen."
     
    More from the Prayer Series:
  • Sep 2, 2018Praying The Scriptures
    Sep 2, 2018
    Praying Scriptures
    Praying The Scriptures
    Series: Sept 2018
    Praying the scriptures when you don't know what to pray is a way of aligning ourselves with God's heart and praying according to His will.  What better way is there to give our prayer life new meaning?
     
    So when words fail you, open the Bible and allow God's word to be your prayer.  Here are a few tips that can help get you started:

    Find a quiet place to connect with God.

    Our lives are so busy, and our days are constantly filled with noise. When we find a quiet place to pray we are able to connect with him without distraction. We can focus on letting his Word speak to us and direct our prayers.

    Begin by praying a Scripture that prepares your heart for connecting intimately with God.

    Some possible examples include:
    • “Gracious God, I come boldly to your throne. I need your mercy and grace in my life” (Based on Hebrews 4:16).
    • “Lord, I need you. Please open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions” (Based on Psalm 119:18).

    Use a verse or passage to shape your prayer.

    You can do this by praying the verse back to God and inserting the name of a specific people group to make the prayer more personal. If you don’t know where to begin, the book of Psalms has some great prayers! Whether you’re looking to declare God’s goodness, beg him to listen or praise his holy name, there’s a psalm that can become your prayer. Paul’s epistles also have some great encouragements and prayers, like Colossians 1:3-13. It’s a wonderful example of a passage to pray for a community that is learning about God in their own language for the first time!
    • “Lord, the whole earth is yours, and everything in it! The world and all its people belong to you — including the Rapa Nui people of Easter Island. May these people understand the depth of your love for them today” (Based on Psalm 24:1).
    God invites us to intimately connect with him through prayer, and what better way to do that than to use his own words in the Bible! And as you pray Scripture, you’ll find new ways to talk to God too.
     
    More from the Prayer Series:
  • Sep 2, 2018Model Of Prayer: The Tabernacle
    Sep 2, 2018
    Model Prayer Tabernacle
    Model Of Prayer: The Tabernacle
    Series: Sept 2018
    The Tabernacle shows us how to come into the presence of the Lord through prayer.
    Did you know that the Tabernacle was given to Moses to help the Israelites come into God’s presence as they were wandering through the wilderness? The Tabernacle was a place where God dwelt among His people. This same tabernacle model of prayer is a key to how we can have a deep and abiding experience of the Holy Spirit. Like the tabernacle, Jesus is our way into knowing and understanding the heart of God. The Tabernacle was composed of three areas: the outer court, the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies. Within each area were pieces of furniture with specific functions. The design and function of each element helped the Israelites and priests draw closer to Him. Likewise, each element of the Tabernacle shows us how to draw closer to Jesus Christ and seek His presence as we pray.
    [caption id="attachment_4291" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Tabernacle of Moses Tabernacle of Moses Diagram[/caption]
     
    The Gate: The gate was the entry into the outer court. For us, Jesus is the gate into the outer court. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior we pass through this gate and begin our relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus is the one and only path into the presence of God. Outer court: Anyone who receives Jesus Christ can enter through the gate into the outer court of the Tabernacle. The outer court is a place of repentance and cleansing as we “burn up” and “wash away” anything that interferes in our relationship with Jesus. The Brazen Altar and the Brazen Laver were located in the outer court.
    • Brazen Altar (Altar of Burnt Offerings). The priests sacrificed animals to atone for the people’s sins at the brazen altar. Under the new covenant, the altar represents Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. In prayer, we repent and die to self by giving up our own desires and seeking His will.
    • Brazen Laver. The priests washed their hands and feet at the large basin known as the brazen laver. After we repent of our sins, we are washed by the blood of Jesus and cleansed of all our sins. We are changed and sanctified.
    As we pray, we symbolically move through the outer court; repenting of our sins, asking and receiving forgiveness for our daily sins, and experiencing refreshment – as we seek intimacy with God. Just remember to not tarry too long in the outer court! Jesus intends for us to freely accept His unconditional love. Holy Place: The Holy Place symbolizes deeper intimacy with Jesus. Three pieces of furniture were contained within this space: Table of Shewbread, Golden Lampstand, and Altar of Incense.
    • Table of Shewbread: This was the table where the priest placed 12 special loaves of bread to represent the 12 tribes of Israel. This bread represents the Word of God, our bread of lifeWe are to partake of and be filled up by God’s Word, particularly in prayer. It is to be our guiding light.
    • Golden Lampstand (Menorah): The seven oil lamps on the Golden Lampstand provided light in the Holy Place. For us, the lampstand represents the light of the Holy SpiritThe Holy Spirit gives us divine understanding of the Word and greater ability to discern the deeper things of God as we pray.
    • Altar of Incense: The priests burned an offering of incense morning and evening. It is here that we worship, prayer, and intercede on the behalf of others as we hear and respond to God’s voice. Our prayers become a pleasing aroma to God, like incense.
    Holy of Holies: A small, separate room called the Holy of Holies was located inside the Holy Place. It was here that the Ark of the Covenant – a golden box that contained all the symbols of God’s covenant with Israel – was kept. The Holy of Holies was God’s dwelling place that could only be entered by the High Priest annually to offer a sacrifice for people’s sins.
    Here we meet with God and sit in His presence. His spirit speaks to our spirit, we hear his voice, we have dreams and visions, and we respond in prayer. We have our most intimate times with Him in our symbolic Holy of Holies.

    How to Use the Tabernacle as a Model for Prayer

    Experiment with the tabernacle as a prayer model. Visualize yourself moving from the outer court into the inner court and then into the Holy of Holies. Symbolically perform the functions described above and summarized below at each piece of furniture.
     
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  • Aug 26, 2018Praying For The Lost
    Aug 26, 2018
    Praying for the Lost
    Praying For The Lost
    Series: Aug 2018

    Do you pray for the lost?

    Many people have family, friends and loved ones who are not yet believers or have strayed away from God. Pray and believe knowing that God’s Word will be fulfilled in their lives.
    Only God can save a soul and each person must decide individually if he or she will believe in Jesus and accept the free gift of salvation. Prayer is an important part of the process. Here are a few suggested ways to pray.
    • Claim the person you are praying for as God’s purchased possession in the name of Jesus and on the basis of His shed blood. “ln Him we have redemption through His blood” (Eph. I:7, NASB).
    • Ask God to tear down the works of Satan, like false doctrine, unbelief, or other teaching that the enemy may have built up in a person’s life. Pray for his thoughts to be taken “captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor,10:5, NASB).
    • Pray that the Holy Spirit will convict him of his sin and his need for a Savior. “The kindness of God leads you to repentance” (Rom. 2:4, NASB).
    • Pray that the person will hear, receive, or read God’s Word and that God’s will and purposes may be accomplished through Scripture. “So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire” (Isa. 55:lI, NASB).
    • Pray that the person’s eyes will be opened and ears unstopped so that the truth is heard. “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Cor. 4′.3-4, NASB).
    • Pray with consistency and perseverance, not to persuade God but because of the resistance of the enemy. Read Daniel l0:12-13. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord” (l Cor. 15:58, NASB).
    • Thank God for making us more than conquerors. “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37, NASB). “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (l Cor. 15:57 , NASB).
     
     
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  • Aug 19, 2018Biblical Models Of Prayer: Jabez
    Aug 19, 2018
    Model Prayer Jabez
    Biblical Models Of Prayer: Jabez
    Series: Aug 2018
    "9 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother named him Jabez saying, “Because I bore him with pain.” 10 Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!” And God granted him what he requested." 1 Chron. 4:9-10 NASB
     
    This little vignette, tucked away among the genealogies of the Chronicler, spawned a best-selling book at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Unfortunately, the best seller missed the point of the story, which reinforces some of the Chronicler’s key themes. The Chronicler tells us that Jabez, a descendant of Judah, was more honored than his brothers.  That honor was surprising given his naming, for Jabez was named for pain. Yet, as his story unfolded, the pain that surrounded his birth was not what defined him. Jabez prayed and God transformed his situation from curse to blessing.
     
    The point is not that Jabez’s prayer has some kind of magic power in its words. The point is that God has awesome power to change a person’s destination from curse to blessing. We are all like Jabez, born under a curse, headed toward a life of pain and futility. But God has the power to rescue us from that fate.  Jabez prays to be kept from evil so that the pain of the curse might not come upon him. God hears and answers his prayer, and he is blessed.
     
    So we should certainly pray like Jabez did, trusting God to transform our native curse into a blessing. But we are to pray remembering God’s promise to conform us to the life of Jesus, whose way to blessing runs through the path of suffering first, glory later. We can pray in His name knowing that He is even now praying for us in heaven.
  • Aug 19, 2018Personal Prayer
    Aug 19, 2018
    Personal Prayer
    Personal Prayer
    Series: Aug 2018
    "We look upon prayer as a means of getting things for ourselves; the Bible's idea of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself." -Oswald Chambers
     
    Prayer is first and foremost a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Some people think of prayer as a business transaction or as something they have to do just like checking something off a to-do list. But that isn't really prayer at all. Think of prayer in intimate terms, like a conversation between close friends. What are some words you think of when you think of an intimate friendship? You probably think of words like loving, caring, warm, sincere, personal and intimate. These are words that should be used to describe our prayer time with the Lord. Prayer should not be dry or stuffy; it should be warm and intimate. 
     
    Every believer can have a dynamic personal prayer life. The Bible gives us the keys we need to develop a powerful prayer life. The Scriptures are full of examples of men and women who walked with God and used prayer to impact their world, and you can do the same thing through prayer. 
     
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  • Aug 12, 2018Living By Grace
    Aug 12, 2018
    Living By Grace
    Series: Aug 2018