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City Harbor Church – Hampden, Baltimore, MD
32 minutes | a day ago
We Are Following Jesus – Acts 2
You are not alone. We are following Jesus together. God is bringing us into a new season. We are being invited to new activities. God’s message and ministry the same. We are receiving identity, value, purpose from Jesus. We are learning from Jesus and those who followed Jesus close in those first days. Let’s look at the story, when the resurrected Jesus returned to Father God in the heavenlies and the Holy Spirit arrived. Jesus gave them instructions: Acts 1:4-5, 8 The Holy Spirit arrived with powerful evidence: Acts 2:1-4, 11 People asked “What can this mean?” – Acts 2:12 Peter answered their question with truth that is essential for us today: Acts 2:14-21, 23-24, 32-33,36 Then they asked Peter, “What should we do?” – Acts 2:37 Peter answered their question with clear instructions that are essential for us today: Acts 2:38-39 Here’s an initial description of our suggested response: God has shown us love through Jesus. We must each choose to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. This includes confessing and turning away from our own toxic selfishness. In this, we receive spiritual cleansing, new spiritual life, relationship with God, and the hope of Heaven. As a public sign of our private faith confession, we should be water baptized. We receive the Holy Spirit’s powerful help for following Jesus in this new way. Now as a church family we welcome anyone who is ready to take these initial steps. Jesus gives us a new sense of identity, value, and purpose. This includes sharing this Good News with people. God is leading us into new creative ways of this journey, following Jesus together. This includes inviting people into the next steps of this journey. Our methods will be new. The message of Jesus is the same.
35 minutes | 8 days ago
Guide – John 14:16-17
Guide – a person who shows the way to others “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him because he lives with you now and later will be in you.” – John 14:16-17 Guide – John 14:16-17 Guide – a person who shows the way to others Holy Spirit: God our guide in truth, helper, advocate John 14:16-17 We should receive the Holy Spirit, your guide into all truth, from whom you will receive power. Who are you with? Who’s with you? Who are you following? God, the Holy Spirit, is with you. Guide – a person who shows the way to others What are some ways in which we know the Holy Spirit is at work? Teaches us, guides, reminds us of what Jesus said John 14:26 16:13-14 “When the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.” – John 14:26 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. 14 He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’” – John 16:13-15 The Holy Spirit Gives us power, strength, and ability we did not have before Acts 1:8 What should we do? 1. Believe what God has said, and receive the Holy Spirit. 2. Listen to the Holy Spirit.
38 minutes | 13 days ago
Hope To Believe In – Matthew 28
In Matthew 27:45 – 28:20 we read about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Hope to believe in. Jesus is more powerful than death. Eye witness accounts of resurrected Jesus: Matthew 28 Mark 16 Luke 24 John 20-21 Acts 1:1-11 In each story, we read that they responded with fear and doubt. They shared honestly about the journey. Matthew 28:4-5 Matthew 28:8, 17 Mark 16:11, 13-14 Luke 24:11-12, 36-43 John 20:24-29 It is human to experience fear and doubt. What do we learn? Hope to believe in. Jesus is more powerful than death. Jesus brings life over death. Jesus gives life more powerful than death. What should we do? Believe. Receive. Respond. Believe. Purpose of the Matthew, Mark, Luke, John: “30 The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.” – John 20:30-31 Receive. This is what the early Christians believed and received: “God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.” – Ephesians 2:4-6 Respond. Jesus points to purpose in His resurrection. “Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. 46 And he said, ‘Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. 47 It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ 48 You are witnesses of all these things.’” – Luke 24:45-48 “They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! Again he said, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.’” – John 20:21 They went to the Jerusalem Temple, publicly praising God for Jesus’ resurrection. – Luke 24:52-53
15 minutes | 15 days ago
Mark 15 What does Jesus’ sacrificial death do for us? Romans 5:8-9 Ephesians 1:7 Ephesians 2:13 1 John 1:7 Revelation 1:5 1 Peter 2:24 Faith – salvation: spiritual cleansing, new spiritual life, with Heaven as our home What should we do? Look Listen Love
23 minutes | 20 days ago
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” – Hebrews 12:1-2 Champion – the one who has victory Jesus is more powerful than death, more powerful than my mistakes, more powerful than whatever I cannot control. Jesus the One who started our faith. Founder. Initiator – one who starts it, causes something to begin Perfector – one who makes possible the successful completion of something Let us look to Jesus on whom our faith depends from beginning to end. Faith – salvation: spiritual cleansing, new spiritual life, with Heaven as our home This is Palm Sunday. “Tell the people of Jerusalem, ‘Look your King is coming to you,’” Matthew 21:5a reference to “The Lord has sent this message to every land: ‘Tell the people of Israel, Look your Savior is coming. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes,'” – Isaiah 62:11 Palm branches idea from Festival of Shelters a Feast of Tabernacles – Leviticus 23:40 “Gather branches from magnificent trees – palm fronds, boughs from leafy trees, and willows that grow by the streams. Then celebrate with joy before the Lord your God for seven days.” – Leviticus 23:40 Matthew 21:9 Mark 11:9 Luke 19:38 John 12:13 “Blessings, one who comes in the name of the Lord.” In reference to “Please, Lord, save us. Bless the One who comes in the name of the Lord. We bless you from the house of the Lord.” Psalm 118:25-26, 22-24, 1 What should we do? Look Listen Love
40 minutes | a month ago
What’s Next? Part Six – Mark 12:29-31
Serving the city with love that works. 28 One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” 29 Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. 30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ 31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” – Mark 12:28-31 (from March 5 reading) Jesus is quoting Father God who has made promises to people and asked them, in turn, to receive this love, to love Him wholeheartedly, and to show this same kind of love to other people. Agape love – to have a love for someone based on sincere appreciation and high regard, genuine loving concern and respect, love that is faithful, patient, kind, and not selfish. We see that early Christians took this seriously in many ways. 1 John 4:19 1 John 4:9-12 Romans 13:8 Galatians 5:13-14 Serving the city with love that works. Serve Luke 22:20-27 “I am among you as one who serves.” Serve – to give help by performing certain duties, often of a humble or menial nature Choosing acts of service that show love and respect. John 13:14-15 John 12:26 God speaks to His people about their role within a city, where they were suffering, Jeremiah 29:7. Psalm 107:6-7 Works Ephesians 2:10 James 2:14-17 Colossians 3:23-24 Serving 5 Prepare yourself to be available so that you can meet a need when you see it. Take action. When the need is beyond you team up. Give generously toward the efforts of the church. Volunteer. Serving the city with love that works. We see a church… Loving Jesus in a way that people talk about. Where people find salvation & healing in Jesus. Helping people find careers & peaceful homes. Where everyone can find a place that they fit. Serving the city with love that works.
38 minutes | a month ago
What’s Next? Part Five – Colossians 3:14
Where everyone can find a place that they fit. How does this happen? When we view the responsibility of the church family to welcome, learn, listen, love, and care for people. Colossians 3:12-17 “14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” – Colossians 3:14 Agape love – to have love for someone based on sincere appreciation and high regard, genuine loving concern and respect, love that is faithful, patient, kind, and not selfish. “bind” – to bring together, to unite Perfect harmony – state of perfection, implying some process of maturity “bringing together with perfect unity” Let love bring us together in growing relationships that build unity. This sounds impossible. Stressed? Losing sleep? The Colossians experienced an earthquake that damaged the city including their water supply system. They experienced an extended period of stress right around the time of this letter. 7 Choices for a welcoming church family: We choose to show loving respect for people. We choose to actively listen to people with an intent to understand. We choose to live with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. We choose to forgive people because God forgave us. We choose the agape love motivation for growing relationships aimed at unity. We choose to live in peace. We choose to represent Jesus Christ. This is what Jesus makes possible. This is what we must actively pursue. This will bring multiplied benefits. We see a church… Loving Jesus in a way that people talk about. Where people find salvation & healing in Jesus. Helping people find careers & peaceful homes. Where everyone can find a place that they fit. Serving the city with love that works.
41 minutes | a month ago
What’s Next? Part Four – Romans 12:18
What’s Next? Part Four – Romans 12:18 Helping People Find Peaceful Homes We see a church… Loving Jesus in a way that people talk about. Where people find salvation & healing in Jesus. Helping people find careers & peaceful homes. Where everyone can find a place that they fit. Serving the city with love that works. What are we talking about when we say this? · A home that feels safe: a sanctuary (Sigh, I’m home) · Where communication skills are learned so that while there may be disagreements there are no arguments · A place where it’s OK to make a mistake: you’ll be received with love and grace not shame and abuse (We aren’t perfect, we all make mistakes. Home should be a safe place to learn how to correct our mistakes and grow from them) · A home where when others visit, they feel the peace What is peace? · Completeness · Safety & soundness of body · Welfare, prosperity · Peace, quiet, tranquility, contentment · Friendship (God & other humans) · Peace from war Why is peace in our homes important? God desires it for us and asks us to work for it. · Psalm 34:14 – Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace and work to maintain it. · Romans 12:18a – Do everything you can to live in peace with everyone (living in harmony, be happy when others are happy, weep with those who weep. Don’t pay back evil with more evil, don’t take revenge) · Hebrews 12:14 – work at living in peace with everyone and work at living a holy life Where does peace come from? Jesus · Isaiah 9:6 – For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given… and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. · John 14:27 (after Jesus says he’s going to send the Holy Spirit) I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” · One of the fruits of the Spirit – This is something the Holy Spirit wants to put in us How do we get this peace? 1. Our relationship with Jesus · Salvation and the forgiveness of our sin through Jesus allows us to have relationship with him and therefore access to that peace, from the Prince of Peace · Jesus says in John 15:4 – Remain (abide) in me, and I will remain in you. If we are connected to Jesus, who is the prince of peace, we will have constant access to that peace. · Obey God and live a holy life: 2 Timothy 2:22 – Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead PURUSE righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace 2. Practice Peace – Your own state of peace affects everyone! Get peace from Jesus when needed (every day, all the time) o Spend daily time with Jesus o Pursue peace! It may be hard to get sometimes! Philippians 4:6-8 – Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus. Now dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise · Talk to God about everything · Tell God what you need (peace) · Thank God · Then peace will come · FIX your thoughts – action – on wonderful things – Isaiah 26:3 – You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you. o Create a list on your phone, a collage of wonderful, beautiful things that is easily accessible for when you are having a hard time doing this. o Get whole. Allow your past hurts and habits to be addressed and healed. Through Jesus, CR, counseling or therapy. o Get help for anger issues, communication difficulties o Choose to give grace and forgiveness to your family members: 2 Corinthians 13:11b – Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. BE NICE! o Worship/praise music played throughout the day (driving). It’s really hard to not have peace when you are focusing on that. o Recognize when you are not at peace: pause, Breathe out anger/anxiety, breathe in the Holy Spirit o Family prayer/worship time o Help your children learn how to access peace from Jesus – we need to disciple the next generation in this! ? ? ? 3. Pray for peace over your home – Isaiah 32:18 – And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation and in sure dwellings and in quiet resting places. What is the purpose of this peace? · Yes it’s for us and our families, but it’s for more than that: it’s for others who don’t know Jesus, who don’t have a safe home life. · Be prepared for others to bring in their lack of peace, trust that the Holy Spirit will allow them to feel his peace when they cross the threshold of your property. · Ephesians talks about us being prepared by wearing shoes of the gospel of peace. This is the news of Jesus Christ! · Isaiah 52:7 – How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news. The good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns! · John 20:21 As Jesus appeared to the disciples after his resurrection, “peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you. · AS WE get peace from Jesus, we can take it with us wherever and to whomever we need. · It can be so natural to tell others about Jesus when they are in your home already feeling loved and feeling peace! · This is how a home can bring peace to a neighborhood like Ben spoke on before.
41 minutes | 2 months ago
What’s Next? Part Three – Genesis 1:26-31
We see a church… Loving Jesus in a way that people talk about. Where people find salvation & healing in Jesus. Helping people find careers & peaceful homes. Where everyone can find a place that they fit. Serving the city with love that works. God gives life with loving design. God gives value, identity, purpose, and pleasure to each person. From our relationship with God, we discover value, identity, purpose, and pleasure in our personal vocation. Vocation – a sense of purposeful calling to a particular role with activity that brings fulfillment. We learn about this from these Scriptures: Genesis 1:26-31 Genesis 2:1-3 Genesis 2:15 Before sin enters the equation, God has worked six days and then rested on the seventh day (even though he doesn’t run out of energy). God didn’t work one day and then rest for six days. God created Adam and Eve, sharing in personal relationships, giving them value, identity, purpose, pleasure, and personal vocation. God created the world in a state that would benefit from being tended to. Vocation, work with a purpose that brings fulfillment, is God’s idea. In this, there is value and meaning. Hating work can be a combination of perspective and values needing healthy growth and a poor fit with your current activities. We want to avoid the mistake of thinking: Work doesn’t matter. The quality of our work has no impact on the world around us. Each person has only one calling. One calling is more valuable than another. The truth is that we are loved by a personal God who provides us with various callings. In the early years, a person is called to learn, enjoy life, and love their family. As a person grows, their calling may develop or change entirely. There will be seasons in life where a person is functioning in more than one calling at the same time. We view work as: Thank You “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” – 1 Corinthians 15:58 During the year 1957, I experienced, by the grace of God, a spiritual awakening that has led me to a richer, fuller, more productive life. At that time, in gratitude, I humbly asked to be given the means and privilege to make others happy through music. I feel this has been granted through His grace. ALL PRAISE TO GOD… This album is a humble offering to Him. An attempt to say, “THANK YOU GOD” through our work, even as we do in our hearts and with our tongues. May He help and strengthen all people in every good endeavor.” – John Coltrane, excerpt, liner notes to A Love Supreme Act of Service “He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, ‘Whoever wants to be first must take the last place and be the servant of everyone else.’” – Mark 9:35 “Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.’” – Mark 10:43-45 Act of Love “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 24 Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.” – Colossians 3:23-24 As a church family: We want to help people discover this God-given value, identity, purpose, and pleasure, as it relates to their vocation. We aim to help people discover purpose and fulfillment in their career. We will work to help people the best fit for a career and develop for a future career. Currently, we do this primarily through one-on-one coaching. Each of you can help someone else. In the future, we would like to do this in a variety of ways including vocational and entrepreneurial programming offered online and in a workshop setting. This may lead to a facility designed for this purpose.
36 minutes | 2 months ago
What’s Next? Part Two – Mark 2:13-17
Between last Sunday and today we are focusing on the following two points of our vision and values: We see a church… Loving Jesus in a way that people talk about. Where people find salvation & healing in Jesus. This week we read about Matthew walking away from his old life to follow Jesus, in a new life. Jesus has come for people who are aware of their spiritual need. Today we read in Mark 6, about Jesus healing people who are sick and bringing freedom to people harassed by evil spirits, then teaching “repent of sin, turn to God”. “new creation” – 2 Corinthians 5:17 “just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” – Colossians 2:2-7 “search me o God” – Psalm 139 “ He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.” – 1 Peter 2:24 “if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.” – 1 John 1:7 City Harbor church…a safe place to find and follow Jesus. We are taking “next steps” in following Jesus, becoming wholehearted devoted followers of Jesus. This includes healing and freedom. Journey together. Walk alongside someone through it. We are following God’s guidance together. We use books to help us walk with someone on the journey. Purple Book by Rice Brooks & Steve Murrell Emotionally Healthy Spirituality – Pete Scazzero No Perfect People Allowed – John Burke Life’s Healing Choices and Celebrate Recovery participant guides We see a church… Loving Jesus in a way that people talk about. Where people find salvation & healing in Jesus. Helping people find careers & peaceful homes. Where everyone can find a place that they fit. Serving the city with love that works.
40 minutes | 2 months ago
What’s Next? – Matthew 28:18-20
We need to know what God is already doing before we look at this. God is making redemption available. God’s love is faithful, patient, and kind. There are times when I am not. We all make mistakes. Romans 3:23-25 Hebrews 12:2 What did Jesus’ death accomplish? Romans 5:8-9 Ephesians 1:7 Ephesians 2:13 1 Peter 2:24 1 John 1:7 Romans 4:25 Our understanding of who we are must be informed by who God is. Why am I on earth? What are we doing here? What is a church? What are we doing? Where are we going? God loves you! In God we find identity, value, purpose, pleasure, life-long committed loving relationship. Jesus says this to people who were with Him assembled as wholehearted followers. Matthew 18:18-20 “urge people of all nationalities and cultures to become my followers and take next steps in this journey.” We read about their response to the direction of Jesus in Acts. This brings guidance to us today. Everything about our church should flow from this. Jesus is the starting point, foundation, and leader. Matthew 16:18 We have purpose in our church relationships. Ephesians 2:20-22 Everything the early church did was a response to God’s love, Jesus, and Jesus’ teaching. Communion, loving relationship, understanding truth, covenant agreement. Water baptism in public confession, natural sign of spiritual cleansing. Prayer conversation with God in relationship. Meeting needs in the community. Forming inclusive community around following Jesus. Body with each part essential, equal value, suffer together and celebrate together. – 1 Corinthians 12:14-27 What did they see happen? Healing miracles, freedom from spiritual darkness, life change, freedom from sin. Used to be nasty, toxic selfishness. Ephesians 4:16 God’s purpose has not changed. God’s methods have a wide variety. God is most creative! As Jesus followers, everything we do should be in alignment with the will and work of God. This includes God’s purpose and pleasure. We should be asking: What is God saying? What does God have for us this year? There should be shared values and vision among us. God has revealed things to us, not in a vacuum, in keeping with where God is already at work. This includes where God is already at work within you, and your unique gifts, strengths, passions. God is bringing us into melody and harmony with Him and each other. Here and now for City Harbor Church, We see a church… Loving Jesus in a way that people talk about. Where people find salvation & healing in Jesus. Helping people find careers & peaceful homes. Where everyone can find a place that they fit. Serving the city with love that works.
38 minutes | 2 months ago
The God of all Comfort – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Guest Speaker: Pastor Stephen Wesley Beyond Borders Ministries Hamilton, Ontario, Canada God’s resume of comfort: God was a comfort to Joseph in Egypt. God was a comfort to Israel in midst of their slavery. God was a comfort to David in the wilderness. Psalm 18:1-2 God was a comfort to Daniel in the lions’ den. God was a comfort to the three Hebrew young men in the fiery furnace. Psalm 107:35-38 Psalm 105:41 Isaiah 35:6, 7 Isaiah 44:3 God is our water of life. God is our comfort. The promise of God is, “I have you covered.” There’s no comfort like God’s comfort. John 16:33 Hebrews 13:5 John 14:16, 17 John 16:7 The Holy Spirit: “Helper” parakletos – defense attorney One called to stand next to you as a helper. Counselor, Comforter, Advocate, Encourager, Intercessor, Helper He is the One who guides and defends, comforts and consoles. What do we learn? God is our comfort. God is our strength. God is a very present help in trouble. What should we do? From His comfort, we comfort. How has God comforted you? Love speaks volumes. Love gives. Love keeps on giving. God is our comfort. God is our strength.
30 minutes | 3 months ago
Kingdom Church – Ephesians 3:5
Church called out to do kingdom business. “the children of Issachar understood the times and seasons, and what Israel ought to do.” – 1 Chronicles 12:32 Every generation is given a trial and a task and an assignment. We will rise to the challenge. Every generation must be fully awakened to its purpose, and to accept its call. “What should I say, Father, save me from this hour. But for this hour I have come into the world.” – John 12:27 “Could you not watch for one hour with me?” – Matthew 26:40 “The one who indulges in a sinful life is of the devil because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God was revealed was to undo and destroy the works of the devil.” – 1 John 3:8 Passion Translation “He sighed deeply in His spirit, and said, ‘What drives this generation to clamor for a sign? Listen to truth there will absolutely be no sign given to this generation.’” – Mark 8:12 This is the generation that we are called to minister to. “Before this takes place the Son of Man must pass through great suffering and rejection from this generation.” – Luke 17:25 God is getting ready for a change. God is getting ready for the mightiest revival that has ever hit planet earth. “There is a generation rising that curses their fathers and speaks evil of their mothers.” – Proverbs 30:11 “There is a generation rising that considers themselves to be pure in their own eyes. Yet they are morally filthy, unwashed, and unclean.” – Proverbs 30:12 “There is a generation rising that is so filled with pride that they think they are superior, to look down on others.” – Proverbs 30:13 “There is a generation rising that uses their words like swords, to cut and to slash those who are different. They would devour the poor, the needy, and the afflicted off the face of the earth.” – Proverbs 30:14 “There has never been a generation that has been given the detailed understanding of the glorious and Divine mystery until now.” – Ephesians 3:5 “God is revealing it only now to His sacred apostles and prophets, by His Holy Spirit, therefore do not be unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” – Ephesians 3:5 “The testimony of faith is what previous generations were commended for,” – Hebrews 11:2 “In this way every generation will have a living faith and in the laws of life and will never forget the faithful ways of God.” – Psalms 78:7 “Write all this down for the coming generation.” – Psalm 102:18 “After David passionately served God’s desires for his generation, he died; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed.” – Acts 13:36 “We have heard true stories from our fathers about the rich inheritance. We will continue to tell our children and not hide from the great marvels of our God, His miracles and all of His power that have brought us this far.” – Psalm 78:3 Tell somebody about what God has done. “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that you should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness and into His marvelous light.” – 1 Peter 2:9 Celebrate the goodness of God on your life. The Lord is faithful. God is good. “Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desire to reach their potential.” – John Maxwell “Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.” – Ron Osborne “Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” – Helen Keller “bear much fruit,” – John 15:5 “many are called, but few are chosen,” – Matthew 22:14 5 Characteristics of Achievers 1. Clear vision of their purpose. “For this purpose, the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” – 1 John 3:8 2. Stay focused on their purpose. “Jesus set his face like a flint toward Jerusalem,” – Luke 9:51 “For the joy set before Him, endured its shame and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:2 3. Wisdom to gather resources for training for their purpose. “ants gather meat in the summer,” – Proverbs 30:25 4. Do not associate with problem-oriented people. Surround yourself with solution-oriented people. “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” – Hebrews 11:6 “Hold your course until you win the war.” – Gen. Grant 5. Refuse to let opposition and obstacles stop them. Stay on course regardless of setbacks and disappointments. “Jesus endured the cross,” Hebrews 12:1-2
43 minutes | 3 months ago
Focus on Jesus – Matthew 14:22-36
What can be learned? Jesus, the Son of God, is trustworthy. Jesus has power over what we do not. If we keep our eyes on Jesus, we can follow Him in ways and places that otherwise we cannot. This was further supporting evidence that forgiveness, salvation, new spiritual life is available thru Jesus. “Keep your eyes” Hebrews 12:2 This is how you live with peace and walk with purpose, shedding sin. What should we do? Keep our eyes on Jesus. How do we do that? Learn more about Jesus through reading, considering, sharing. Apply what you have learned. Pray through confessing, repenting, receiving forgiveness and grace. Talk with God. Listen to God. Give thanks to God for all that Jesus has done for you, means to you. Worship with singing. Rest in God’s presence. Think, plan, and take action steps in following Jesus. Share the journey for growth and development.
39 minutes | 3 months ago
The events of the past week have been troubling. Last Sunday’s message was recorded shortly before the violence in DC played out. I shared thoughts and a prayer on YouTube Thursday, and we came together in prayer Thursday night. Since that time, I have learned more, and it is cause for concern. Processing many thoughts and emotions, bring them to God in prayer, and thinking about you each step of the way, I am committed to stand with you in faith. The same Jesus Christ who called out King Herod as a fox, told Peter to put the sword away. We need the justice and peace of God. It is superior to what we tend to give, in both quality and power. Nothing is beyond the reach of our God, who is alive, aware, able, and active. In all these things, God allows us opportunities to share the love we receive from Him. Jesus called out King Herod as a fox. – Luke 13:32 Jesus told Peter to put away the sword. – John 18:11 Jesus did not submit to Herod’s will. Jesus followed the plan of Father God, laying down His life as a sacrifice for the sins of us all. Jesus said that He would accomplish His purpose on the third day in the resurrection. Jesus did not set up a group of followers through the violent overthrow of their government. “Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.’” – Matthew 11:28-30 Good News No one in all of history is like Jesus. From the quality of his life, to what he did, what he said, the miracles he performed, and the fact that he is the only one to have predicted his own death, burial, and resurrection. No one is just like Jesus. “he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” – Matthew 9:36 Jesus was compassionate for people who were confused, needing spiritual guidance. – Matthew 9:36 Jesus came to seek and save the lost. – Luke 19:10 “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.” – Romans 3:23-25 “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.” – Romans 10:9-10 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” – Acts 2:21 “Repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” – Acts 2:38-39 What happens when we do that? Spiritual cleansing. “the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.” – 1 John 1:7 Freed from the penalty for our sins. “God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.” – Romans 5:8-11 Brought close to God. “Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.” – Ephesians 2:13 New spiritual life. “You must be born again.” – John 3:7 “God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)” – Ephesians 2:4-5 “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” – Ezekiel 36:26 “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12:21 How do I live? Live out a daily relationship with God informed by the “Good News”. Pray for people who do not yet know Jesus. Share the Good News Please consider this the best possible time to engage deeply with our 21 days of prayer and fasting. Each day there is a fresh prayer topic, post, and video, from the selected reading. Each piece is short, simple, and meaningful. Please be sure to catch the Sunday messages of December 27th, January 3rd, and 10th as they are connected and relevant to our current events.
39 minutes | 3 months ago
God Blesses – Matthew 5:1-10
Read text with a focus on what the people are like. Read the text with a focus on how God responds. Blessed – happiness, healthy, the transcendent happiness of life beyond care, labor, death “poor in spirit” – need new spiritual life, greater spiritual strength, receive what God has for us When I receive the love of God, by repenting and turning to faith in Jesus, I will find new spiritual life. Then I will respond by loving God and others with all I’ve got. A healthy spiritual life is at peace with God, with self, and with others. No longer do I feel the need to get something or to prove something to be at peace about who I am, to find fulfillment in life, and to enjoy relationships. A healthy spiritual life will benefit God, self, and others. How do we respond? – Matthew 6:1-18 1. Giving 2. Praying 3. Fasting We should respond to the call of Jesus to, “seek first the Kingdom of God,” in Matthew 6:33. Out of gratitude for the grace of God, we choose to give, pray, and fast as part of our personal devotion to Jesus. It’s a perfect time to change up our normal habits, slow down our level of activity, and spend more time resting in God’s presence. Replace a meal with time in prayer. Each day we will share a specific prayer focus from our daily reading. We will gain clarity by seeking God first. What are we doing? Why are we doing this? Thank you for asking. For more information about our 21-day prayer focus, explanation, and topics: https://bit.ly/2XgM3Sp
36 minutes | 3 months ago
Jesus Our Guide – John 10:14
In 2021 we are going to need the guidance of God. “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me,” – John 10:14 Shepherd verb – to guide, to help, to take care of, to lead, providing for Jesus fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy about our need for Him: “All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.” – Isaiah 53:6 Jesus describes His role as the Good Shepherd who has sacrificial love for us. – John 10:11-18 From yesterday’s reading: “’And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’” – Matthew 2:6 (sources Micah 5:2 2 Samuel 5:2) Jesus following the example of Father God who describes Himself as the Good Shepherd in Ezekiel 34:11-16 (continues through verse 31 Good Shepherd bringing about the covenant of peace) God the Holy Spirit is our guide in truth. “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth.” – John 14:16-17 Why should I trust God? What’s the outcome if we follow the guidance of God? Psalm 23 describes the soul at rest when the Lord is our shepherd. Are we supposed to respond? “Come close to God, and God will come close to you.” – James 4:8 “’For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. 14 I will be found by you,” says the Lord.” – Jeremiah 29:11-14 “Stay close to me and I will stay close to you.” – John 15:4 in my love, obey my words What do we learn? God is available to us as a guide. The guidance of God will include direction, provision, and good health. What should we do? Ask ourselves if we are following the guidance of God. Change course as needed. Daily conversation with God, including reading, meditation, and listening. Share the journey.
33 minutes | 4 months ago
Light for the Way – John 12:44-50
God’s Word gives light for the way. When a person is reliable, their words are more meaningful. 44 Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me. 45 For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. 46 I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark. 47 I will not judge those who hear me but don’t obey me, for I have come to save the world and not to judge it. 48 But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken. 49 I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it. 50 And I know his commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.” – John 12:44-50 Jesus heard the voice of Father God, while on earth, and then said what Father God told him to say. John 12:44-50 That those who put their trust in Jesus would be “no longer in the dark,” – John 12:46 “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” – Psalm 119:105 Jesus knew what God has said in the past, the truth found in the Scripture. Jesus showed a priority on what God had said and what God was saying. Jesus quoted the Scripture often. Jesus understood the purpose of the Scripture and used it accordingly. Jesus speaks to God’s value system, in Matthew 22:37-40 and Mark 12:28-34, when quoting Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. Jesus pointed people to God’s desire for relationship and God’s heart for mercy, revealed by the prophet Hosea 6:6, in Matthew 9:13, 12:7. Jesus speaks to God’s value system, in Matthew 22:34-40 and Mark 12:28-34, when quoting Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. When Jesus revealed his own identity as Messiah, in Luke 4:16-21, he quoted Isaiah 61:1-2. Jesus quoted Psalm 118:22-23 when discussing God’s purpose despite the rejection he faced, in Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:10-11, Luke 20:17. Jesus quoted what God had said when he faced temptation. Matthew 4:4 Luke 4:4 Deuteronomy 8:3 Matthew 4:7 Luke 4:12 Deuteronomy 6:16 Matthew 4:10 Luke 4:8 Deuteronomy 6:13 What do we learn? Jesus valued every word that Father God said. It was relevant to His own life on earth. Jesus held the Scripture with high value. Jesus taught His followers to memorize the Scripture for meditation, prayer, and guidance. Jesus knew what it meant. Jesus did not use it out of context. Jesus understood what those words meant to the people who first heard them. The followers of Jesus learned from the way that Jesus used the Scripture. In the New Testament, we read examples of them doing the same. What should we do? Read the Scripture in conversation with God. Share the journey. In 2021, we will offer a reading plan that we can all share. Reading about a chapter each day we can read through the New Testament. Starting January 1st and finishing December 31st it will be a shared journey. Our Life Groups and Sundays will become more collaborative as we will discuss what we are reading.
44 minutes | 4 months ago
Anticipated Arrival, Part 3 – Luke 1:26-2:20
Jesus was born for you. Jesus, our Savior at birth. This week we are reading a few longer passages of Scripture. Please do look them up. Luke 1:1-4, we are reading eyewitness reports. “God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary.” – Luke 1:26-38 In Luke 1:46-55 we hear Mary’s song of praise. God’s promise to Abraham: “All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” – Genesis 12:2-3 We read about God’s word to Joseph, in Matthew 1:18-25. It included the confirmation that Mary’s pregnancy would fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy. “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’” – Isaiah 7:14 In Luke 2:1-20, we read the details of the amazing story of the birth of Jesus. In these passages, we read the answer to the question, “Who was born?” “you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” – Luke 1:32-33 “you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” – Matthew 1:21 “Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’” – Matthew 1:23 “The Savior-yes, the Messiah, the Lord-has been born today,” – Luke 2:11 Who? Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Savior from sin, God with us, eternal victorious King. Jesus described his purpose, that he “came to seek and save those who are lost.” – Luke 19:10 What did Jesus accomplish? Why does this matter? “God, in his grace, feely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” – Romans 3:24 “For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.” – Colossians 1:13-14 What should we do about this? “Love God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” – Matthew 22:37-40 How does this work? What should exactly we do? How do we do this? Spend time with Jesus. “Remain in me, and I will remain in you” – John 15:4 Listen to Jesus. “my words remain in you,” – John 15:7 Obey Jesus. “obey” – John 15:10 Keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts. “And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life. Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.” – 1 John 5:20-21 Stay in love. “Remain in my love,” – John 15:9 We welcome the anticipated arrival of Jesus here and now, on the day of His return, and at the time of His birth. We respond by staying in a close personal relationship with Jesus (listening, obeying, loving). This Advent series should bring the church closer to Jesus through a broader understanding of His identity, activity, and purpose.
30 minutes | 4 months ago
Anticipated Arrival, Part 2 – John 14:1-3
The return of Jesus Christ will be personal, visible and glorious, a blessed hope for which we should constantly watch and pray. What did Jesus say about His return? What did the eyewitnesses believe? “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” – John 14:1-3 “Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.” – Hebrews 9:28 There will be signs that, “redemption is drawing near,” Luke 21:25-28 When Jesus returns everyone will be aware: Matthew 24:27, 30 25:31-46 Revelation 1:7 “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.” – Revelation 1:7 It will be unexpected Luke 12:40 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 No one will predict exactly when: Matthew 24:36, 44, 25:13 “No one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.” – Matthew 24:36 “We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together, with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 In a moment, Jesus returns and there will be resurrection life. 1 Corinthians 15:52 John 6:50-71 1 Thessalonians 4:16 “We are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.” – Philippians 3:20-21 “And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.” – Colossians 3:4 Followers of Jesus looking forward to His return as a blessed hope. “While we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.” – Titus 2:13 What do we learn about this? The return of Jesus Christ will be personal, visible and glorious, a blessed hope for which we should constantly watch and pray. What should we do about this? Jesus taught us to be alert, not distracted by the cares of this world. “Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.” – Luke 21:34-36 “Remain in fellowship with Christ so that when he returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from him in shame.” 1 John 2:28 As we are in a close personal relationship with Jesus, we will have a confident hope for His return, not fear or shame. How do we do this? “Love God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” – Matthew 22:37-40 “Remain in me, and I will remain in you” – John 15:4 “my words remain in you,” 7 “Remain in my love,” 9 “obey” 10 How does this work? What should we do? “Remain in me, and I will remain in you” – John 15:4 “my words remain in you,” 7 “Remain in my love,” 9 “obey” 10 Spend time with Jesus. Listen to Jesus. Obey Jesus. Keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts. Stay in love. We welcome the anticipated arrival of Jesus here and now, on the day of His return, and at the time of His birth. We respond by staying in close personal relationship with Jesus (listening, obeying, loving).
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