Sunday, December 29, 2013

Anticipation! - Rom 8:22-23

December 29, 2013
Rom 8:22-23

  • It is hard to be patient.
  • We are now at the end of 2013, this is the last service.
  • We are finishing the year at much the same level of attendance as where we started!
  • But we want more.
  • Our desire is to see this town come to Jesus, en masse!
  • I am impatient about this, and am looking for growth to come.
  • And it will come, in God's time.
  • “Commenting on our need for [patience], M.H. Lount has said, "God's best gifts come slowly. We could not use them if they did not. Many a man, called of God to...a work in which he is pouring out his life, is convinced that the Lord means to bring his efforts to a successful conclusion.
  • “Nevertheless, even such a confident worker grows discouraged at times and worries because results do not come as rapidly as he would desire.
  • “But growth and strength in waiting are results often greater than the end so impatiently longed for. Paul had time to realize this as he lay in prison. Moses must have asked, 'Why?' many times during the delays in Midian and in the wilderness. Jesus Himself experienced the discipline of delay in His silent years before His great public ministry began."
  • “God wants us to see results as we work for Him, but His first concern is our growth. That's why He often withholds success until we have learned patience. The Lord teaches us this needed lesson through the blessed discipline of delay”. - from Our Daily Bread
  • The fruit that is worked by delay, and patience, is anticipation!
  • Today we are going to talk about anticipation

  • While we were working hard getting everything ready for Christmas, our children were anticipating getting up Christmas morning and seeing what was under the tree!
  • There is an excitement in anticipation!
  • Jesus too, experienced this anticipation!
  • There was a short period of time during 4 BC when it all seemed to be happening!
  • The Word became flesh (Jn 1:14) and was born of a Nazarene virgin, in Bethlehem.
  • The Son of God at the Father's right hand, became a tiny human baby boy. He was both human and divine, had chromosomes from Mary, and from God!
  • At the time of his birth, the shepherds are told that a Savior , the Messiah, has been born, that God's plan is “peace to men on whom his favor rests”. Luke 2:14
  • Aged Simeon, 8 days later prophesies “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed”. Luke 2:34
  • How was this all to come about? When would it happen?
  • There was to be a delay
  • Jesus knew who his Father was – Luke 2:49
  • He was aware of his destiny, the blessing He would bring to suffering people, and that his ultimate purpose was to suffer and die so that man could have a fresh start
  • Jesus as he was growing up, was aware of all this.
  • He must have been eagerly looking forward to the day when he could start to fulfill his destiny
  • Even though that would mean going through the experience of death.
  • In heaven, I am sure that the Father and the angels were excited to see The Plan coming together, the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle falling into place
  • Healing, freedom and salvation available to all!

  • Paul talks about the whole creation groaning, waiting for God to rescue it from Satan's domination – Rom 8:22-23
  • We too, eagerly anticipate and look forward to being rid of our broken down physical bodies and instead be healed and receive our spiritual body, which will no longer be limited as it is today
  • But we may wonder, why is it that I have not yet received the healing I have been praying for?
  • Why is it so tough at school to experience our school friends acting out and tempting us to go along with the ways of the world? I know better and yet the temptation to join with them is so strong
  • Why is our church not growing by leaps and bounds, as hundreds of people come to Jesus?
  • Why is the Body of Christ seemingly impotent against the onslaught of godlessness from the society around it?
  • There are more than one factor in answering each of these questions
  • However, the big answer is that God is in charge, he knows the times and the seasons, and he will take care of things at the right time
  • He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion, until the day of Christ Jesus – Phil 1:6

  • Whatever our situation, we are God's children – 1 Jn 3:1-3
  • God is not a man that he should lie – Num 23:19
  • God will perform his promises
  • Just as the promises about Jesus came good, on the day Jesus was born, and later when he started his ministry 30 years later, God's promises to us will be fulfilled too
  • God promises healing, he says he is the God who heals (Ex 15:26, Psa 103:2-5, James 5:14-16, 1 Pet 2:24)
  • God promises to take care of us (Matt 6:8,33, Phil 4:19, Heb 4:16)

  • When we believe in the promise, we know it will come
  • It will happen in God's time, as he sees appropriate.
  • But it will come.
  • We eagerly anticipate the day God intervenes in our life
  • It may be today, it may be tomorrow. But he has not forgotten us, nor his promises
  • As his children, we can have total anticipation for what he wants to do in our life
  • Because what he does, is good.



Sunday, December 15, 2013

Joy that goes deep - Advent 3 - Luke 2:8-20

Joy that goes deep - Advent 3 - Luke 2:8-20
December 15, 2013
Luke 2:8-20


. Luke 2:8-20


. Joy is a wonderful feeling
. It's something we love when we have it and we miss or long for when we don't!
. We feel happy perhaps most of the time, but joy is something that goes deeper
. We may be facing unemployment, but we can still experience joy
. We may have financial struggles, but we can still feel joy
. We may be scraping to get the rent together, but we can still have joy inside.
. “A conference at a Presbyterian church in Omaha. People were given helium filled balloons and told to release them at some point in the service when they felt like expressing the joy in their hearts. Since they were Presbyterians, they weren't free to say "Hallelujah, Praise the Lord." All through the service balloons ascended, but when it was over 1/3 of the balloons were unreleased. Let your balloon go!” - Bruce Larson, Luke, p. 43
. This morning we are going to speak of the joy that is available to us as Christians

. Paul was an apostle in the early church and wrote most of the New Testament we find in our Bible
. Paul was a great scholar, was respected and had a bright future ahead of him
. But Paul learned that money and the material things of life did not count
. The most important thing was Jesus
. Phil 4:11-13
. He learned to be content whatever the circumstances
. Some of his circumstances were pretty bad
. 2 Cor 11:23-29
. And at the time he wrote the words that he had learned to be content in all circumstances, he was chained to a jailor
. Yet he learned to be content, wherever he was
. Being content is saying “It's ok, I can be at peace here”.

. So joy does not depend on our circumstances.
. That means it is not a feeling of happiness.
. Because we feel happy when something good happens, or sad when something bad occurs
. These are feelings, and they depend on circumstances
. They go up and down from day to day
. Joy is a knowing of what is going on in our life, which transcends pain and hurt and sadness
. Someone this week was reading the book called Jesus Freak, a book about martyrs for the faith
. These people when the flames were licking their feet at the stake, still had a peace inside them which circumstances could not remove.
. “As a third-century man was anticipating death, he penned these last words to a friend: "It's a bad world, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a quiet and holy people who have learned a great secret. They have found a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasure of our sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They are masters of their souls. They have overcome the world. These people are the Christians--and I am one of them." Today In The Word, June, 1988
. Deep joy in our heart is independent on what is going on outside
. It is like a river that runs underground, bringing life wherever it goes

. As we have seen, joy does not come from circumstances
. It does not come from temporary feelings of happiness
. It is actually more linked to faith and trust, than the things we experience
. Matt 6:33-34
. Jesus tells us to seek first the kingdom of God
. Jesus is the king of that kingdom.
. He is saying he needs to be number one in our life
. The other things of life, which we all need, are less important than putting him first
. This is huge
. We are so often swallowed up in the material things of life, that we neglect Jesus, and he comes second
. He tells us here that he will take care of us.
. That's a promise!
. Phil 4:19 – in context of being content in all circumstances, Paul tells that God will meet all our needs!
. But it is dependent on putting Jesus first.
. We trust him to come through on his promise.
. This gives us peace inside
. We are able to be content, we are able to be at peace
. We now are able to be joyful whatever happens to us

. The angels brought tidings of great joy, for all people
. But joy is not something walk around with deep down, unless there is a reason for it
. That joy comes through a relationship with Jesus where he is number one
. If you have never yet developed a relationship with Jesus your Savior, toady you can do so
. If you are missing that deep down joy and want to renew your walk with Jesus you can do so right now.
. Joy can be a part of each of our lives!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The King of Love - 1 Jn 4:16

The King of Love
December 8, 2013
1 John 4:16
. How would you describe God?
. Is he tall, short, how is he dressed?
. Does he wear a crown?
. Is he sitting on a throne?
. Does this impact how you see him?
. What kind of personality does he have?
. Can you see him?
. Does he say things to you?
. God of course is Father Son and Holy Spirit
. But Jesus says if you have seen me you have seen the Father
. So I expect that the Father and the Holy Spirit look the same as Jesus
. Today we are going to discuss what God is like, and how we can draw closer to him

. How does God appear in the Garden of Eden?
. God creates man from the dust of the ground
. We see that man is made of the minerals and molecules that make up the soil from which he is made
. God breathes into Adam the breath of life and Adam becomes alive
. God shows utmost care in the way he prepared a place for Adam to live, and finally forms man
. God recognizes that Adam needs a wife, and companionship
. So God fashions Eve from Adam's rib
. They were made perfect for each other
. This was the start of the institution of marriage, where man and wife become one flesh,  totally unified
. So God was aware of Adam's needs, and he took care of it
. God himself is one, and totally unified, though he is made up of three persons
. So he tells Adam and Eve that they are married till death do them part
. He desires that they enjoy the same closeness and love that the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit experience.
. These attributes of God are all pretty loving toward Adam and Eve
. 1 Jn 4:16 – God is love
. God showed his love to us
. 1 John 4:9-10
. He showed his love to us by sending his Son to be a sacrifice so that our sins could be forgiven

. Why are our sins so important?
. When I live contrary to the way God shows us, I am sinning
. Rom 14:23 – whatever is not of faith is sin
. God made it easy for us to define what is good and bad for us by giving us the Ten Commandments
. Deut 5:29 – O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!
. Sin separates us from God – Isaiah 59:2
. So what makes it difficult for us to love God?
. It is sin. Sin is anything that separates us from God
. When we are separated from God we miss out on his love for us
. But we don't have to stay separated!
. 1 John 4:9-10
. He showed his love to us by sending his Son to be a sacrifice so that our sins could be forgiven
. Now we can have relationship with him, and his love dwells in us.
. This love then flows out and is expressed in the way we love others.
. 1 John 4:11-12
. What are some of the things that separate us from God?
. Selfishness.  It does not fit into a life of love.
. Pride.  Pride says I don't want your help.  I will do it on my own.  I don't want your love
. Holding onto hurt.  To hold onto hurt means we want to hurt the other back, rather than love them.
. Unforgiveness.  This is similar to holding onto hurts.
. Each of these build up a barrier between us and receiving God's love

. The way back means that we tear down these walls
. Listen to this short video clip
. These walls stop us from experiencing the love and joy that God has for us
. These walls need to be broken down
. But how do we break them down?
. We ask God to forgive our sins, and we allow him to tear the walls down brick by brick.
. Dream of wall outside my window, had to be torn down, brick by brick
. If you would like to remove these barriers from your life, please come forward now.
. Don't let yourself leave this room without experiencing God's breakthrough in your life