Wednesday, April 17, 2019
God moved in a big way tonight! Instead of our normal questions and discussion time, take time to keep the movement going within your community groups, confessing to one another, praying for one another and continuing to lift up all those we prayed for in the room tonight.Posted at 9:02 PM | Comments (0) | Permalink
Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Broken Vessels: Shattered Pieces Put Together to Tell a Better Story
If the Gospel truly lands on your heart it should change you in a major way, not just a slight change.?
Stop letting it just be behavior modification because Christ is ready to change everything.
You can't rededicate something that you never truly gave to God in the first place.
The gospel does not shift a few things it results in a complete trajectory change.
Isaiah 6:1-9- ESV
1 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”
4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”
8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” 9 And he said, “Go, and say to this people:
“‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand;
keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’
1) What's a time in your life where you saw the Lord do something new through you?
2) When you think of God do you view Him the way Isaiah described Him??
3) When was the moment your trajectory changed, or has it?
4) Have you simplified your view of God to make yourself more comfortable?
5) Have you ever had an encounter with God so real that it wrecked you to the point that you have never been the same?Posted at 8:25 PM | Comments (0) | Permalink
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
God Uses Broken Vessels to Deliver the Beautiful Gospel
God chose Mary as a broken vessel who was not pure, not perfect but was willing to be obedient even though it cost her reputation and more. She knew God would provide the way for her to accomplish what He set out for her to do through her. Mary’s response was “behold I am the Lord’s servant, let it be according to Your word."
Favor is costly but is worth it. God wants us to be his servant, He isn’t looking for perfection but pursuit, faith, and obedience. God wants available people that are willing to be poured out as an offering.
· Favor is Costly (reputation)
· Favor is worth it (glory)
· God will never give you Vision without provision
· God is looking for servants of faith not celebrities of fame
· God uses Broken Vessels to deliver the beautiful gospel
Luke 1:26-38 ESV
In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed[a] to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”[b] 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”[c]
35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born[d] will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant[e] of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
· There are hundreds of prophecies of old just came into fruition in these verses - God is the original promise keeper, and He keeps it
· The lineage of Jesus is a pretty jacked up lineage - Jesus did not come from a lineage of perfection
Luke 1:28 "Greetings"
· God sent an angel and He spoke to Mary. This actually happened.
· God is the same God who sent that angel.
Luke 1:28 "… Oh favored one."
· If it were us we would question what if was for and how would it play out for us.
· Mary responds differently
Luke 1:29 "And she is greatly troubled…"
· Mary understood the big difference between favor from God and favors from God
· Mary was confused
· The favor God gave Mary was in pregnancy and she is a virgin
· The child God gives to Mary is the SAVIOR OF THE WORLD - all the prophecies you grew up learning its that
· Mary knows these prophecies, she knows that this baby is not hers but it will be crushed for the sins of this world.
· Mary accepted the fact that she is the Lord’s servant and is willing
1) Looking beyond color, does your sphere of influence look like heaven? If not, have you asked the Holy Spirit for that?
2) Share with your group some of the broken vessels within your lineage. How has the Lord blessed you despite that lineage?
3) What are the costs (Reputation, comfort, relationships, etc.) in your life for following Jesus and being fully available to be used by Him?
4) What does hearing from the Holy Spirit look like in your life?
5) Name a place or situation you’re praying the Lord never asks you to serve. How can you remain open to be used by God in that place or situation?
6) What is the mark of a true servant?Posted at 8:11 PM | Comments (0) | Permalink
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Break Up or Break Down
God has created us for relationships. Our relationship with Him is the foundation of our life. However, God wants to use our horizontal relationships to transform us too. These relationships take work. We grow in our horizontal relationships when we let the Holy Spirit work in our hearts. John 15:1-4 calls believers to abide in the Lord. In our abiding, God prunes us. To prune is to cut. This means, as we abide in Him we grow as He removes sin from our hearts. To have a healthy relationship, we have to break up with ungodliness or else those things will break us down. We have to break up with Fairy Tales, Feelings, Fate, and Failure.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint;
but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” - C.S Lewis
"Whoever you married is going to be your greatest asset or your greatest liability" - Rich Wilkerson Jr.
"If you don’t figure out what hurt you, you will bleed on people who never hurt you" - Rich Wilkerson Jr.
1) In John 15, Jesus talks about pruning. What in your life is God trying to prune? “You can’t produce if you aren’t pruned,” what is God trying to produce in your life?
2) ?Tonight, we heard “chose your spouse based on their patterns.” ?What patterns are you looking for in a person and why?
3) 1 Corinthians 13 talks about love. Read the description then practically describe what each one looks like in a relationship?
4) What does it mean to break up with failure as it relates to relationships? “If you are tired of starting over, stop quitting,” what does it look like fleshed out?Posted at 8:19 PM | Comments (0) | Permalink
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
The Rich Young Ruler
Continuing our conversation about broken vessels, we pick up with the story of the Rich Young Ruler. Although this story does not seem to have a positive ending, there is actually hope. The Rich Young Ruler did not reject Jesus outright. The passage tells us that he walked away and his heart was grieved. The fact that his heart was broken tells us that it hurt him to know that he wasn’t in the place to be able to follow Jesus whole-heartedly. Another interesting aspect of this story is that we have a description of this man but no name. This man has the trifecta of desire: to be prosperous, pretty and powerful and yet we do not know his name…why? Likely because this man was so obsessed with his own name rather than the name of Jesus. Nevertheless, he humbled himself and initiates a conversation with Jesus, even to the point that he comes and bows before Jesus. The only thing that could bring him to this place is an incessant void within his heart that tells him that, in spite of all that he has, there is still a void in his heart. There is still something missing from within.
17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.”
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
“Three Reponses when confronted by Jesus: Submission, Rejection, Polite Indifference”
"Jesus annihilates his perception of success by taking what he saw as horizontal and turning it vertical” (Tim Keller)
“Jesus loves him even though he knows that this is not going to end well”.
“The Rich Young Ruler was willing to put Jesus on the top shelf but Jesus wants to be on the throne”.
“One way to have a life worthy of imitation is to not be self-absorbed”.
“We have horizontal ideas to gain favor, Jesus says, “it’s about the vertical submission to what He’s already done””.
1) When is the last time that you actually ran to Jesus to hear from Jesus as opposed to running to someone else (favorite author, pastor, speaker, etc.) to tell you what Jesus said to them?
2) With whom do you tend to compare yourself?
3) What do you “own” that actually “owns” you?
4) What is your ONE thing? What is the one thing that is keeping you from being a true follower of Jesus?
5) Are you willing to move beyond the invitation to salvation into the invitation to give up everything in order to follow Jesus?
6) Have you surrounded yourself with people who love you enough to tell you the truth, even when it’s a hard truth?Posted at 8:19 PM | Comments (0) | Permalink
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Jesus the broken vessel
1 Corinthians 10:16
“The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.”
The communion table brings us to remember our:
Union with Christ
Union with Christ’s people on earth
Union with Christ’s people in heaven
at 8:04 PM |
Comments (0) | Permalink
“The union that we enjoy at the Lord’s table is independent of distance and independent of date. Simply, what Jesus offers us is the meeting point of all who are in Him, in the past, the present and the future”
1) Did you learn something new about communion tonight?
2) Are there areas that you have unbelief about your union with Christ?
3) Do you have difficulty believing the truth that God is with you in trails (fire) in your life?
4) How can you move forward in surrendering these over to the Lord?
5) What scripture(s) can you look to help you in your unbelief?
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Over the years, the American church has become consumer driven.
We find ourselves preoccupied with the things that do not matter in place of the One who does matter: Jesus.
The church should be solely concerned with whether or not we are talking about our love for Him.
We should have an obsessive love for Christ to the point that our focus is only on Him.
What God wants from His church is devoted worshipers; a generation of people who long for His presence wherever they are and whomever they are with.
He desires people who, out of love for Him, will love each other and be unified.
God desires for His church to be unified and have intimacy with each other in the same way He and Jesus have intimacy.
It is through this intimacy and unity that the world will know that Jesus is the Messiah.
When we have intimacy with each other, the power of the Holy Spirit will manifest.
We will find ourselves transformed into the people God wants us to be; going to the ends of the earth to be witnesses for Him.
God’s desire for His church is that we would be obsessed only with Him and nothing and no one else.
“And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!"
“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.”
“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”
1 John 3:4-10
“Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.”
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
“Father we thank You, we are, by our very nature, objects of wrath. Where would we be without Your mercy and Grace, God?”
“Lord may there be an unstoppable force of Your Spirit within these students that drives them to be more like You”
“You know when someone is in love, it is all they can talk about. My concern is I don’t hear people talking about their love for Jesus that way.”
“Can we seriously just have a posture of surrender to Jesus.”
“God desires that we the Church are in complete unity so that the World will believe that Jesus is the Messiah”
“Our unity is a sure sign to the lost, of their destruction and our salvation.”
“What if it was all up to us (Liberty) to reach every lost person in the world, what would our lives look like?”
“When we talk about being the Church of the Bible, know that there will be suffering but isn’t that what you want, to follow Jesus with everything in you?”
“I am not working for anything less than what God wants, He is going to be back soon.”
1) How do you know the Holy Spirit is moving in your life?
2) [Explain life jacket analogy] What has been a temporary life jacket for you?
3) What things would you consider essential within the church you chose to serve?
4) What does urgency for the gospel look like where you live?
5) What is the Lord specifically calling you to sacrifice in order to love others?
Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Ezra, a prophet in exile in Babylon, loved God and he lived in a broken world. Ezra finds out of what is happening in his world and is so affected by what is affecting his God that he tears his robe. 49 times in this passage, Ezra takes ownership (his usage of our or we) of what is happening around him. Although Ezra was not the one committing the sin, his prayer was, “God forgive us.” If our world is broken and it breaks the heart of God then it should break us. It has to be bigger than the people, the effects, and the symptoms, it has to be about God.
It’s one thing for brokenness to be caused by broken people but it is another thing when those who claim to be believers contribute to the brokenness. Those who should have known better weren’t speaking up against the brokenness.
What does it look like for you tonight to become a defendant of the defenseless? When do we get to the point where if it breaks God’s heart, then it breaks mine.
God looks upon this world and says, “I am so broken about this world that I will break my Son over it”
We live in a broken world.
We live in a broken world that is breaking the heart of God.
What breaks the heart of God should break the heart of his people.
500,00 homeless in the us
7,000 homeless in Virginia
680 homeless in Lynchburg
56 million abortions/year worldwide
25% of all pregnancies end in abortions
3,000 abortions every day in the US
50 million aborted in the US since roe v. Wade 1973
90K abortions in the US in 2017
3.6 million children abused every year in US
300K victims of rape & sexual assault each year in the US
15 million adolescent girls worldwide have experienced forced sex
about 18 million women have been the victims of rape since 1998 in the US
A person with a disability 2 times more likely to be a victim of sexual assault or rape than a person without a disability.
17k murdered this year in the US
1 million people commit suicide every year
8000 Recorded Victims of Racial or Religious Hate Crime in the US / Year
68.5 million refugees worldwide
40 million slaves worldwide, most are women and girls.
10 million child slaves worldwide
20 million people are trafficked
4.5K cases of human trafficking in the United States this year
60 thousand slaves in USA right now
25K people died of terrorist attacks this year
215 million Christians are persecuted
3K Christians were killed; 1.2K were abducted; 1K were raped or sexually harassed; and 793 churches were attacked in 2018
Ezra 9:1-15 NIV
After these things had been done, the officials approached me and said, “The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands with their abominations, from the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. 2 For they have taken some of their daughters to be wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy race[a] has mixed itself with the peoples of the lands. And in this faithlessness the hand of the officials and chief men has been foremost.” 3 As soon as I heard this, I tore my garment and my cloak and pulled hair from my head and beard and sat appalled. 4 Then all who trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the faithlessness of the returned exiles, gathered around me while I sat appalled until the evening sacrifice.5 And at the evening sacrifice I rose from my fasting, with my garment and my cloak torn, and fell upon my knees and spread out my hands to the Lord my God,6 saying:
“O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens. 7 From the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great guilt. And for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plundering, and to utter shame, as it is today. 8 But now for a brief moment favor has been shown by the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant and to give us a secure hold[b] within his holy place, that our God may brighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our slavery. 9 For we are slaves. Yet our God has not forsaken us in our slavery, but has extended to us his steadfast love before the kings of Persia, to grant us some reviving to set up the house of our God, to repair its ruins, and to give us protection[c] in Judea and Jerusalem.
10 “And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken your commandments, 11 which you commanded by your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land that you are entering, to take possession of it, is a land impure with the impurity of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations that have filled it from end to end with their uncleanness. 12 Therefore do not give your daughters to their sons, neither take their daughters for your sons, and never seek their peace or prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good of the land and leave it for an inheritance to your children forever.’ 13 And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for our great guilt, seeing that you, our God, have punished us less than our iniquities deserved and have given us such a remnant as this, 14 shall we break your commandments again and intermarry with the peoples who practice these abominations? Would you not be angry with us until you consumed us, so that there should be no remnant, nor any to escape? 15 O Lord, the God of Israel, you are just, for we are left a remnant that has escaped, as it is today. Behold, we are before you in our guilt, for none can stand before you because of this.”
Sometimes statistics are just another number emotionally but it becomes something that breaks our hearts when we know someone who is a part of that statistic.
It has to go beyond a statistic, it has to become reality for us!
Time, Talent, and Treasure. These are three of our resources that we can bring to the table to help the brokenness in this world.
1) We are living in a broken world which breaks the heart of God. We all have experienced this brokenness. From your life journey share how you have seen God redeem this brokenness.
2) What actions can we take as sons and daughters of Jesus to combat the evil that we see in the world around us?
3) Taking time in prayer, seek God and ask Him to reveal to you what may be keeping you from seeing brokenness as God does. Can you share what he is saying to you. Is he calling you to action, repentance?Posted at 8:23 PM | Comments (0) | Permalink
Wednesday, January 23, 2019
Broken Vessels -Temptation: Moses-Jesus
God uses our brokenness to create a beautiful picture of who He is and most importantly, His love. God takes the broken pieces of our lives to create a beautiful masterpiece. Pastor David explained that temptation is when a rightful desire is baited to find its satisfaction in the wrong fulfillment. Do we truly use God to satisfy the hunger pains in our life? Instead of suppressing these desires, go to God to fulfill them. Temptation is both a test and an opportunity. Temptation is not a sin, acting in the enticed temptation is a sin. Temptation can cause us to stretch, learn and advance. Jesus uses "It is written over 63 times." Jesus knew to override the temptation in the moment by the Word of God to fight temptation.
Deuteronomy 6:13 (ESV)
13 It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear.
16 “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah.
3 And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word[a] that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
I have hidden your word in my heart, so that I will not sin against you.
1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple.
6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you and they will lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.
9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
Defining & Describing Temptation:
Temptation is when a rightful desire is baited to find its satisfaction in the wrong fulfillment.
Temptation is not a sin but a test and opportunity.
"It is written"- 63 times in the Bible
Temptation points: cracks/ chinks in armor/ fault lines/ vulnerabilities
Spurgeon: Provision, Protection, Pride, Power and Pleasure
Cs Lewis: materialism, hedonism, and fantism
Mike Breen: appetite, ambition and approval
Ravi Zacharias: intellect, will and imagination
"When you're hungry for God, you're not a food critic for what He puts in front of you"- Pastor David
"Priority to acquire the Word of God so you can see the warning signs"- Pastor David
**Before getting into tonight's questions, please take the time to pray for those in Sebring, Florida. Today a gunman shot and killed at least 5 people in a SunTrust Bank. Please pray for the victims and families affected by this tragedy.
1) God created us as creatures with an "appetite." Are you hungering for things that cause separation from Him or draw you closer to Him?
2) Temptation is something we battle every single day. Are there areas in your life where you are making it easy to fall into it? How can you fight falling into temptation?
3) God has given us the strategy of fighting temptation by declaring truth from His Word. What does the Word of God say about the areas you struggle in? How can you apply these truths to your life? (And not just tonight- but every day?)Posted at 8:22 PM | Comments (0) | Permalink
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Tonight in Campus Community, we began our series Broken Vessels. For the first installment, Pastor David unpacks verses 20 -22 in the 9th chapter of Acts. In this passage of scripture, we see a newly converted Paul preaching in the synagogues. We see in the previous chapters, that Paul was completely against the mission of the church and playing for the other team. However, Jesus changed Paul’s life, and just four days after being saved, he begins preaching. Pastor David emphasized that this is still happening in today’s church in China. Chinese converts are told to think of 5 people who are not Christians and told to share the gospel with those people. This method appears to be “Un-American” and counter-cultural to western believers, however, Pastor David challenged us to seriously consider why we are not sharing the gospel. God uses broken vessels, like Paul and like you and me.
20 At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. 21 All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?”22 Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.
After Paul’s conversion, at once he began to preach the gospel. The takeaway — the proclamation of the gospel is not for the mature in the faith.
New believers can share the gospel with others because they have the power of God’s Word and the power of their testimony. They do not need polish.
Paul always caused havoc! He stopped casting havoc against God and stated causing havoc for God.
Without The Gospel God’s gifts can become a curse. With The Gospel, God’s gifts become a blessing.
Whatever gift God has given you, that is the vehicle that he has given you to share the gospel with others.
When we are wrecked by the gospel, we become a wrecking ball for the gospel.
1) At times, we know that the path we are on leads to destruction, yet we have too much pride to switch teams. Is there anything holding you back from being allegiant to Christ?
2) Who are five people in your life that need to hear the gospel? How can you share the gospel with them?
3) Do you know the gospel well enough to share it with someone else? Do you see the power of your own testimony? What holds you back from sharing the gospel?
4) How can a gift become either a blessing for God’s glory or a curse, causing havoc against God? (Intellect, athleticism, beauty, humor, etc)
5) What gifts in your life could you be using to share the gospel with others?Posted at 6:27 PM | Comments (0) | Permalink
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
In our final week of Campus Community, we are wrapping up the Seven series by studying the church of Laodicea. The church of Laodicea was a church who amongst their wealth and prosperity was actually found to be desperate and bankrupt. There is a difference between being lost and having lost your way. Laodicea was not lost. They just were not fully in love with Jesus. At first glance they were decadent but the reality is that they were desperate. What made them desperate was the fact that they were self-sufficient. By sufficient, they thought they could contribute in some way shape or form to their own sanctification. We think works work. Works do work. But it is not ours! Praise God His works do! The Lord does not desire half-desperate faith, He desires fully committed, fully dependent followers. We pray the Lord would deliver us from this self-focused way of thinking, that He would deliver us from ourselves, that we would cease trying to earn it and, in the end, plead Christ's righteousness rather than ours.
"The lukewarm person is not one who is mildly passionate about God. Rather, the lukewarm person is one who has lost his dependence on God. In his arrogance, he believes he has no need of Christ's righteousness because he has enough of his own."
- Timothy Keller
"Your Heart is addicted to salvation by works.' As a result, we often wear out good deeds like spiritual merit badges on preening chests, thinking we can impress God with our righteous acts. We pride ourselves that we are not like other men. After all, we are not engaging in the perversity of our culture. Instead, we fast, tithe, read our Bibles and serve in the church. Yet, we must realize that arrogant, self-sufficiency results in disgusting works, no matter what these work may be."
- Walter Marshall
Revelation 3:14 - 22
“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
"Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
1) Are there moments in your life where you don’t question your salvation but question how you got to the place of depending on your self-more than you depend on God?
2) Do you have areas in your life that you are hesitant to surrender to God which then results in a lack of commitment?
3) Do we choose self-sufficiency over Christ dependency? If so, when?
4) What lies do I believe to convince myself I am closer to God than I actually am?
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Tonight Pastor Ed talked about commitment and how we have a huge problem with quitting. Society and culture make it okay to quit, but we have to get past what they say and stay committed. The three ways to be committed are spiritually, relationally, and vocationally. One way to keep these commitments is by declaring it to others and surrounding ourselves with other committed people. No matter what we commit our life to we are always going to face a quitting point. That quitting point can be overcome by allowing Jesus to walk beside us. Jesus wants to take us all the way to the finish line by not allowing us to quit.
"Commit your work to the Lord,
and your plans will be established."
"Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday."
2 Corinthians 6:14
"Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?"
1 Corinthians 10:8
"We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day."
1) Whatever we commit our life to we will "Hit the Wall." What does that mean, and what does it look like in the spiritual realm?
2) God is a God of commitment. Life is made up of commitments. God is the first one who has made commitments. What about you, what type of Spiritual Commitments have you made?
3) Relational Commitment, surrounding yourself with the right people, who can speak truth into your life is imperative. Look at your present inner circle of friends, is this true for you? Why or why not? Are there changes that must take place?
4) Have you made a declaration of your commitment to God? Take time in prayer, asking God to reveal areas in your life you have not surrendered to him, lay them before him. Have someone pray with you as you make your declaration.
***Who has the Lord placed on your heart, that needs salvation? Together with others in your group pray that God would tender their hearts, to receive Jesus.Posted at 8:18 PM | Comments (0) | Permalink
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
This week, we are discussing the letter to the church in Philadelphia. As a city, Philadelphia had a good relationship with Rome until an earthquake ruined it. Once Philadephia could no longer produce, Rome lost interest in it. In the same way, the church had a good relationship with the synagogue because of their Jewish heritage. Once the church began to teach about Christ as the Messiah and His resurrection and convert Gentiles, the synagogue shut them out.
The church ultimately was excluded by both Rome and their Jewish heritage. However, in the face of these betrayals, God remained faithful to the church. Because of God's faithfulness to them, the church, though small, remained faithful to God. Their spiritual backbone, courage, and unwavering security were founded in confidence that God is faithful.
7 “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. 8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9 I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. 10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.
11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. 13 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
"In the economy of this world, everything is conditional. In the economy of God, He is faithful to the end."
"God is not asking for us to be faithful to Him without first being faithful to us. He never asks anything that He is not first willing to model."
"It's not about the size of the church but about the health of the church."
"If the light lives in you then the light shines through you."
1) What earthquake in your life has Satan used to try and make you spiritually pull your vines (uproot your faith)?
2) Share a story of how God has shown His unfailing faithfulness.
3) What does true faithfulness look like in the everyday life of a believer?
4) Are you apart of a church that is spiritually healthy? How do you know?
5) What is hindering you from being bold in your faith ("letting your life shine")?
6) How can the group pray for you (right now) concerning boldness in your faith?
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
This week in our series “Seven,” Pastor Nasser covered the church of Sardis. The church of Sardis was a busy church located in a busy city. This church seemed like they were thriving, however, their works were incomplete according to The Lord. Jesus warns this church that their deeds are dead because they are of the flesh and not of The Spirit. Pastor David highlighted seven truths about the Holy Spirit; the person, part, promise, power, protection, purpose, and projection. It is important that we are not caught up in the deeds but desperate for The Spirit. Let our deeds be Spirit-led and empowered by the promised Spirit of God.
Revelation 3:1-6: “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.“‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. 4 Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. 5 The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
Isaiah 11:2: "And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord."
Seven truths about the Holy Spirit:
Person - The Holy Spirit is a personal being, not an impersonal thing.
Scripture uses the pronoun “He” not “ it” over and over again when referring to the Holy Spirit.
John 15:26: "But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. "
Part - The Holy Spirit is one of the 3 persons of our triune God. We have one God in 3 persons.
Matthew 28:19-20: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Promised - The Holy Spirit is promised to every believer at the point of salvation.
Acts 2:38: "And Peter said to them, 'Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'"
Power - The Holy Spirit is the source of power both in and through our lives.
Acts 1:8: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Protects - the Holy Spirit protects and seals us in eternal hope.
Ephesians 1:13-14: "In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory."
Purpose - God accomplishes His purpose through the person of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:9-11: "However, as it is written: 'What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” the things God has prepared for those who love him— these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except for their own spirit within them? In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.'"
Projects - The Holy Spirit projects attention to Christ
John 16:13-15: "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you."
The Holy Spirit testifies as Christ.
You know revival has come to Liberty when all we are talking about, singing about, dreaming about, and obsessing about is Jesus.
1) “Social Work” is about getting stuff done, “Gospel work” is activated through worship to get something done. Do you find yourself participating more in “Social Work” or “Gospel work?”
2) As a believer, it can be easy to be masked by “good works” with the absence of the Spirit of God. What truly motivates your “good works?” How can you be more intentional in participating in Gospel work and having the right intentions behind it?
3) We have one God in 3 Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Do you feel that you ignore one of these Persons within this Trinity? How come?Postedby William Faber at 8:19 PM | Comments (0) | Permalink
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Tonight's service is a simple message as to why we do CSER hours, why we ask you to go to on LU Send Now trips, why we do half a million hours of service in the city of Lynchburg, and why we partner with others in doing good. This reflects the Why and the How Jesus did ministry. Jesus met a need to connect people to eternity.
The words that Jesus used in John 6:35 cost Him His blood. 140,000 people will lose their lives because of what they believe. These are fighting words.
Jesus declares that He is the Bread of Life. Everything in this world will leave your soul hungry except for Jesus. Everything in this world is temporary and will leave you wanting. Everything in the world will leave you unsatisfied and unstable.
Jesus claims that He is The Light, The Door, The Great I Am, and The Answer to every question your soul ever had.
Context: Jesus says he is the Bread of Life the day after the feeding of the masses. The miracles were pointing to Jesus. Jesus was making God claims and doing things that only God could do to prove it. 15,000 people were hungry and one child brought lunch. Most of the people there wanted to see the show not to know Jesus. They wanted Him to be the bread-giver, not the Bread. They wanted "favors from God, not the favor of God."
The one boy gave what he had in obedience to God. Jesus doesn't need it but He lets the boy in on the miracle. Our job isn't to have enough, but bring the little we have to God and He will multiply it. Everyone ate and there were baskets left over. Jesus served everyone equally and 12 baskets were leftover for the disciples.
The people come around to Jesus the day after He had met their temporary need and told them He was the Bread of Life. The people have an eternal need for the bread of life.
We are called to worship in service of others to earn the right to speak the gospel to the lost.
Jesus meets the immediate need first, showing His kindness and earning the right to share the truth of redemption. We meet the need and we earn the right to speak the truth.
We are connecting people with the REDEMPTIVE TRUTH through our acts of worship.
Jesus met the woman at the well and told her to "go and sin no more" but first He met her need to have a friend and someone who is not ashamed to be with her in public. Jesus was willing to risk His reputation to meet her need and to earn the right to share the redemptive truth with her. The way of Jesus is to meet the need and share the redemptive truth.
Show up and be nice in order to win the right to share the gospel with others. Remember kindness leads to repentance. If your doctrine doesn't make you nicer, you are reading the Bible wrong. The deeper you get into Scripture, the nicer you should get. Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit and the evidence of Jesus in our lives.
John 6:1-14, 35
1 Sometime after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2 and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. 3 Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4 The Jewish Passover Festival was near.
5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?" 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
7 Philip answered him, "It would take more than half a year's wages[a] to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!"
8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up, 9 "Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?"
10 Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted." 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, "Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world."
35 Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."
"These people always came unprepared. They always showed up wondering who brought lunch. These people don't believe Jesus is the bread of life. They're there because they want to see a show. They want Jesus to be the bread-giver, not the bread of life. They want His hand, not His life."
"Your job isn't to have enough. Your job is to bring what you have to Jesus and ask Him to do what only He can do with it. The boy brought what he had to God and God multiplied it. We have to bring what we have to God."
"Jesus wrapped the Gospel into a 'fish filet sandwich'."
"Jesus meets these needs because not everybody may have a financial, physical, or other need, but everybody has a need that only Jesus can meet."
1. What have you built your life on?
2. What has following Christ cost you? What are you willing to lose for the sake of Christ?
3. Are you seeking God's hand (what he can give) or God's heart (who he is)?
4. How can you meet a need (physical, or emotional) in order to share the redemptive truth with someone?
5. How are you allowing the Spirit to interrupt your day in order for you to show kindness toward someone else?
6. Share what you've given or can give over to Jesus so that He can multiply it for the Gospel.
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Tonight we dove into the letter written to the church at Thyatira. This is the longest and harshest of the 7 letters, yet it was written to the smallest and least influential of the cities. Thyatira was being diligently disobedient to God; therefore, He responded to them with a love letter displaying His wrath. They were not ignorant. These people knew the will of God, yet they put someone in leadership who led them astray. They were eating food sacrificed to idols. They were also living in sexual immorality and they had no intention of stopping. God’s wrath was very real and evident, BUT GOD, being slow to anger still gave them time to repent. In this letter, we see the complexity of the attributes of God. We think about God’s wrath, anger, and jealousy as a negative thing because we can only see them through the lens of our flawed perspective when, in fact, all of those attributes flow from God’s great love for us.
God’s Display on the Cross
When Christ was crucified, two attributes of God were on display at once: the love of God and the wrath of God were both poured out.
It was the pleasure of God to go public in allowing His wrath to be imputed on His Son and to be seen by all mankind.
If God is not afraid to show us his wrath, then why are we going out of our way to hide his wrath? Perhaps because we think wrath is the opposite of love. The opposite of love is indifference.
God is Slow to Anger
God is a God of anger, but He is slow to anger. He is abounding in steadfast love.
To be godly, we should be abounding in love and slow to anger. We ought to be slow to be critical. Slow to make fun of people. Slow to blast people. Let’s be quick to love. Quick to give the benefit of the doubt.
God’s Wrath has 2 Tenses: Active and Passive
2 Samuel 6:6-7 Uzza died for touching the Ark of the Covenant. He believed his hands were less filthy than the ground.
Acts 5-- Ananias and Sapphira, lie to the church
Matthew 21—Jesus turning the table in the temple
Romans 1— the wrath of God is shown by God giving them over to their wicked ways. God takes his hands off of them.
Getting caught in sin is not the wrath of God but the mercy of God. God’s wrath is to let you get away with it and to continue destroying your life.
God loves you too much to leave you as you are.
“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.
19 “‘I know your works, your love and faith, and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. 20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, 23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. 24 But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden. 25 Only hold fast what you have until I come. 26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27 and he will rule[c] them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father.28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
“The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation.”
The church in Thyatira was willfully and aggressively allowing a false profit to indoctrinate in idolatry. -Tim Keller
“Removing the “wrath of God” from the Christian context virtually eliminates the value of Christ’s substitutionary atonement on behalf of all of humanity”.
Substitutionary Atonement: the belief that Christ died in the place of sinners, taking on Himself the wrath of God that I deserved.
1) How do God’s wrath and my anger differ?
2) Why do we feel the need to give God a “make-over” before the world and hide His wrath from them?
3) In what areas of your life has sin taken you further than you thought you’d ever go?
4) When it comes to other people, is your default setting compassion of criticism?
5) Are you living a life of willful disobedience and sin against God? Is there anywhere in your heart that God is being slow to anger, giving time to repent?
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Just as the church at Ephesus and Smyrna, the church at Pergamum was guilty of allowing the world to come into the church instead of allowing the Lord to use them as a means to influence the world around them. Known as "the city of thrones", they were notorious for having many idols including alters to Zeus, Athena, and the first alter of cult emperor worship dedicated to Emperor Augustus. As a result, Jesus gave Pergamum the title "throne of Satan." Pergamum was a conservative church who found every step of their mission to reach their community to be an uphill battle. This struggle (just as with the other 6 churches) came because of the church's propensity to allow other gods to occupy the throne that only Jesus deserved. As the church, Christ requires 100% dedication from his bride and nothing less.
Each letter has a common pattern:
Jesus is saying:
These three complement each other not contradict and should play out into the decisions that we make and how we live our lives.
12 "To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. 13 I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives.14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality.15 Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.17 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.
"Discernment is the ability to decide between truth and error, right and wrong. Discernment is the process of making careful distinctions in our thinking about truth. In other words, the ability to think with discernment is synonymous with an ability to think biblically." (John MacArthur)
"Character is always lost when a high ideal is sacrificed on the altar of conformity and popularity"
- Charles Spurgeon
1. As you think about your life, what god(s) can draw you away from serving the true God while you outwardly look enthusiastic for the things of God? Explain how this happens when you start out so strong for God?
2. How does the "two-edged sword" both cut and heal in your life?
3. According to tonight's Scripture, Dedication, Declaration, Doctrine, and Discernment are necessary to live the Victorious life. Unpack each of these, and how they should shape Your life?
4. How does doctrine and declaration complement your faith?
5. What part of tonight's Scripture is God calling you to go deeper in? How are you going to flesh it out?
6. Tonight, what declaration of faith is God calling you to proclaim out loud?Postedby William Faber at 8:33 PM | Comments (0) | Permalink
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
In week two of our “Seven” series, we cover the church of Smyrna. This suffering church was located in the patriotic city of Smyrna. Because of this city’s strong allegiance with Rome, they were facing persecution not only from the religious Jews, but the Roman government as well. Jesus is encouraging this church to remain faithful in the midst of this attack from the Devil. Tonight, Pastor David unpacked verse 8-11 in Chapter 2 of Revelation. He highlighted God not being the author of suffering; however, He is sovereign over it. Although Satan brings about suffering to the church, God uses it as a means to a greater end. God will reward those who remain faithful to His name through various persecutions. Suffering is a temporary affliction that leads to eternal hope.
8 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The first and the last, who [e]was dead, and has come to life, says this: 9 ‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. [f]Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.’
The church in Smyrna offered little and asked much.
2 things fighting the church in Smyrna :
1. Smyrna was a patriotic city so the church was in trouble for believing in one God
2. Smyrna was a religious city so they were in trouble for believing Jesus was God.
The hotbed of persecution today is not in secular paces but a religious one
1. Suffering is the work of the enemy
2. Suffering is the means to a greater end. V.10
3. Suffering is the temporary affliction that points us to eternal hope
4. Don’t long for suffering or prosperity, long for Jesus.
“86 years have I have served him, and he has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme my King and my Savior?” Polycarp’s Martyrdom (ca. 69-ca. 155)
1. What other “gods” are taking place of our One true God? What other gods are you bowing down to in your life and allowing to take God’s place?
2. In what area of your life is the enemy causing suffering? How can you grow, knowing that God is sovereign over it?
3. Is there an area in your life where you are not trusting God to be sovereign over? What is that?
4. The real culprit behind suffering is the enemy, how can you shift your perspective and set your eyes on the eternal hope found in Jesus? How can you allow God to grow your faith through it?Postedby William Faber at 7:11 PM | Comments (0) | Permalink
Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Tonight, we begin our new series, "Seven," focusing on the letters written to the seven churches in Revelation. We begin with the church in Ephesus.
The Ephesian church existed in a place infested with sin. In Ephesus, addiction to vanity was easy and holding on to faith was difficult. While the Ephesian church had deep roots, knew the Word of God, and did much good work, Jesus needed to confront the believers there. In the letter to the church, Jesus acknowledges their good deeds, dedication, and adherence to doctrine. However, in the process of doing all of the right things, the church had neglected the intimacy they first had with Him. The Ephesian church had allowed their works for Jesus to become the focus, instead of Jesus, Himself. In response to the church's neglect, Jesus commands three things of them: remember the love they had for Him at the start, repent for allowing work to replace worship, and repeat the things that made them fall in love with Him.
"Watch that your work doesn't rob you of the joy of the Lord."
"Sometimes you can do things for the Lord but your spirit is just begging that someone would do that for you."
"The enemy is dedicated to taking believers to places of isolation, distraction, busyness, and idolatry. He is committed to choking our praise."
"Jesus, our High Priest, cares, protects, provides, and is present with His Church."
"Sometimes the fruit of intimacy can often rob us from intimacy."
"Practice the presence of God."
1) What is your salvation story? What do you remember about the change you felt at that moment?
2) In a culture that glorifies work, what can we do to prioritize seeking His face?
3) Are you experiencing intimacy with God? What is going well? What is in the way?
4) What dominates your thought life? Is the Lord at the center?
5) How is the Lord correcting you in love?
6) This week, what is one thing you could do to seek His presence?
7) What does fighting for intimacy with the Lord look like practically?Postedby William Faber at 8:37 PM | Comments (0) | Permalink
Wednesday, August 29, 2018
As Christians confined to the physical dimensions of this world, we frequently fail to recognize the bigger picture that is at work around us. God is constantly at work executing His pure and perfect will that will ultimately come to fruition in the end of days. Fortunately for us, He has not left us fully in the dark. God in His divine wisdom has provided His people with the Revelation, in order to give us a glimpse of the bigger picture for which we have been created.
After this, I looked and saw a door standing open in heaven. The first voice I heard was like the loud sound of a horn. It said, “Come up here. I will show you what must happen after these things.” 2 At once I was under the Spirit’s power. See! The throne was in heaven, and One was sitting on it. 3 The One Who sat there looked as bright as jasper and sardius stones. The colors like those of an emerald stone were all around the throne. 4 There were twenty-four smaller thrones around the throne. And on these thrones twenty-four leaders were sitting dressed in white clothes. They had crowns of gold on their heads. 5 Lightning and noise and thunder came from the throne. Seven lights of fire were burning before the throne. These were the seven Spirits of God.
6 Before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, shining and clear. Around the throne and on each side there were four living beings that were full of eyes in front and in back. 7 The first living being was like a lion. The second one was like a young cow. The third one had a face like a man. The fourth one was like a very large bird with its wings spread. 8 Each one of the four living beings had six wings. They had eyes all over them, inside and out. Day and night they never stop saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the All-powerful One. He is the One Who was and Who is and Who is to come.”
9 The four living beings speak of His shining-greatness and give honor and thanks to Him Who sits on His throne as King. It is He Who lives forever. 10 The twenty-four leaders get down before Him and worship Him Who lives forever. They lay their crowns before Him and say, 11 “Our Lord and our God, it is right for You to have the shining-greatness and the honor and the power. You made all things. They were made and have life because You wanted it that way.”
"God gives us revelation to awaken our imagination to reality."
"Could it be that God gave you an imagination, not to unlock it and empower it for fantasy, rather to unlock it and empower it for reality?”
“Every sin in this world is rooted in something or someone sitting on the throne intended for God alone.”
"To unveil the person, the power, and the plan of Christ in the midst of our sin and suffering."
"God gives us this Revelation to prepare (not scare) and clarify (not confuse)."
“Revelation reminds us that there is something bigger going on!”
“Revelation does not always change our circumstances but it does change our perspective.”
1) What does it mean to imagine reality?
2) Is there a circumstance in your life, currently, that is making it harder or impossible to see the bigger picture?
3) What are some ways to see God’s perspective better?
4) Are you inviting things into your life that are preventing you from seeing God’s perspective?
5) Have you dug into the book of revelation before? If not what’s holding you back?Postedby William Faber at 7:00 PM | Comments (0) | Permalink