Message Recap: Celebrating Father’s Day

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The heart of our Heavenly Father is to lay down His life for us, His children. Similarly, the role of a father on Earth is to lay down his life for his own children. Today, we pause in our sermon series, Building the House, to honor our dads on Father’s Day.

Genesis 12:2-3: And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

God planned to bless every family on the earth through Abram, the famous Biblical father referenced here in Genesis. Through his story, we learn 3 Truths about fatherhood:

  1. God intended fatherhood to be desirable
    • Genesis 15:1-4: After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.”
    • The cultural perception of fatherhood is that it is nothing more than a necessary evil, rather than something to be desired.
    • But, fatherhood brings joy, and it’s a chance to reproduce something better than yourself! It is an incredible honor, and a very high calling.
  2. Fatherhood is something to be thankful for
    • Genesis 21:1-8: The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised. And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.” And she said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”
    • Fathers, the enemy wants you to fail as a dad. He plants lies to make you think fatherhood is a burden, and not a blessing.
      1. The antidote is thankfulness, to diffuse and deflect the lies of the enemy.
  3. Every father can afford their children an inheritance of faith
    • Hebrews 11:8-10:  By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
    • A father that makes a lot of money leaves for their children exactly that: a lot of money. But the father that gives money away in obedience to God gives his children an inheritance of generosity, and the father that makes his money lawfully leaves an inheritance of integrity. The father that is wealthy monetarily can give an extravagant wedding to his children, but the father that honors his vows to his wife leaves his children an inheritance of faithfulness.

Thank you, dads, for all that you do. We pray you feel overwhelmed with love and celebration today, from all of us!

Biblical references: Genesis 15:1-4; Genesis 21:1-8; Hebrews 11:8-10

Questions:

  1. How can you be someone who encourages and lifts up physical and spiritual fathers in your life?
  2. Do you believe in the fullness of God as a good father? Where are the places you have misconceptions of the character of God and need the Holy Spirit to come and bring revelation and healing?
  3. What a joy it is to leave the next generation an inheritance of faith in Jesus! What does this look like for you today?

Message Recap: Flourishing in Brokenness

Since today is Mother’s Day, we thought it especially fitting to honor the mothers of the church in celebration, as well as devote this week’s sermon to the high calling of motherhood. Thank you, Carrie Bach, for pouring out your wisdom and being brave in sharing your story of motherhood with us.

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Let us start by addressing all women of the church, because motherhood is not just a physical state, but a spiritual state. If you are a woman, you are a life-bringer. Your calling from God is to bring life, and what a calling it is! We lift up those who are weary, and in every place we step, we give life.

It’s easy to trust God when we have everything together, but let us be a people that praise God in the midst of our own weariness, in our brokenness; from a Kingdom perspective, to flourish and to be broken are not always mutually exclusive (and often, they go hand-in-hand). To flourish and to be broken are, more often than not, intertwined.

2 Corinthians 4:7: But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

The releasing of the treasure comes in the breaking of the jar. We try so hard to hold all of our pieces together, without realizing that in doing so, we are holding hostage the treasure inside. Let us be unafraid to break – believing in the sovereignty of God – and allowing the treasure within us to be released!

2 Corinthians 12:9-10: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

In our weaknesses, we are made strong because God fills the gaps of our inadequacy. Our weakness is an opportunity to lean on God; let us not miss it! And, it’s good to wrestle with Him when we are feeling weak (or even faithless) because it puts us in close proximity to Him. And, when we are so close to Him in our wrestling, we will see that He is nothing less than good.

Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Sometimes, as Carrie so wisely pointed out, to lean not on our own understanding means to lean on the learnings or expertise of others, as long as it aligns with God’s Word. 

Because life doesn’t stop in a crisis, God is so full of grace to cover us when we don’t think we will make it out in one piece. The Kingdom of God is an upside-down Kingdom; death leads to life, mourning leads to joy, and brokenness leads to flourishing.

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Biblical references: 2 Corinthians 4:7; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; Proverbs 3:5-6

Questions:

  1. Where are the places of weakness in our past or present that God has made strong in Him and filled in our gaps of inadequacy?
  2. Who are the mothers in your life, whether physical or spiritual, that have brought life in moments of weariness? Reach out to them and encourage them!
  3. What is causing you to fear the breaking process? Is there any disbelief in the sovereignty of God? If so, identify it and allow the treasure within you to be released through the Holy Spirit?

Sermon Recap: Parenting the Next Generation, Pt. 3

In this series, we are discussing the high calling that is parenting. We have identified that children are a blessing – a gift from God! – and ways in which to love them intentionally, just as God loves us intentionally. Today, we are approaching a more difficult topic: discipline.

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As parents, we are the protectors of our children. And, in an effort to protect, we are called to discipline. We are to lead them, and if we don’t, they will find someone else to follow. Why, then, is discipline so important?

  1. We discipline because we love them:
    1. Proverbs 13:24: “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.”
    2. Proverbs 3:11-12: “My son, do not despise the Lord‘s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.”
    3. Hebrews 12:6-7: “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
    4. According to God, love and discipline are inseparable. God, in His grace and love, disciplines us as His own children.
  2. We discipline to teach them:
    1. Proverbs 29:15: “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.”
    2. If our children are disobedient, it isn’t a reflection of them, it’s a reflection of our parenting.
  3. We discipline because we have hope for them:
    1. Proverbs 19:18: “Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.”
    2. Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Why are parents, then, reluctant to discipline?

  1. We don’t want to kill their spirit, creativity, dreams, uniqueness. But, our children will find abundant life because of our discipline, not despite it. They crave safety and boundaries, which discipline provides and encourages.
    1. Proverbs: 23:13: “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.”
  2. We don’t want to be inconvenienced. It takes time and it’s hard. In public, it might be embarrassing. And, watching our children suffer can be emotionally taxing and painful.

Let’s define clearly the differences between discipline and punishment, because they are not synonymous as we often assume. Punishment is payment and leads to condemnation. Discipline is training our children within the grace of God to teach them obedience (after all, unlike parental discipline, God’s discipline towards us never ends). Discipline leads to abundant life.

The Parameters of Discipline:

  1. It is restorative.
    1. Galatians 6:1: “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” It must be done in a spirit of gentleness and not in anger. Anger won’t be the thing that trains our children’s hearts.
    2. Ephesians 6:4: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
    3. Restorative discipline is the result of a child choosing discipline because of their disobedience.
  2. It is unpleasant (neither a joy for the parent or the child).
    1. Hebrews 12:11: “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
    2. It’s a painful process.
  3. It produces repentance without regret.
    1. 2 Corinthians 2:10: “Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ.” 
    2. Discipline looks like confession, repentance, and forgiveness. It should never lead to resentment; God doesn’t hold grudges against us for our disobedience, so we shouldn’t hold grudges against our children either.
    3. Discipline should not have a negative affect on our relationships with our children. Rather, it should lead to greater trust.

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Join us next Sunday as we head into the last sermon of our current series, Parenting the Next Generation. It’s going to be so good! 

Sermon Recap: Parenting the Next Generation, Pt. 2

Parenting is a high and a happy calling. The problem isn’t that parents make mistakes (it’s inevitable as imperfect people); the problem is when we lose our vision for the high and happy calling that is parenting. Let us run after Jesus, and look toward our perfect Father for strength and guidance as we dive into week two of our sermon series, Parenting the Next Generation. 

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A major component of parenting is making sure that our children feel loved. There are two ways to experience love:

  1. Love that happens to us (it’s the warm and tingly feeling)
  2. Love that is intentional and purposeful (which is often more of a choice rather than a feeling)
    1. Intentional, purposeful love is the kind of love that transforms lives.
    2. Luke 6:32-35: “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.”
    3. God’s love is a love that prefers the other, and doesn’t just happen to us like a warm feeling that bubbles up and stays just for a moment.
    4. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 
    5. We must, as parents, make the transition between loving our children because of a warm and tingly feeling to loving intentionally – even when it’s challenging.

If a child doesn’t receive intentional love, they might start to perform, prove, or seek it elsewhere. Of course, this is dangerous and destructive. Let’s look at 4 acts of intentional love:

  1. Pursuit:
    1. 1 John 4:8-10: Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
    2. It’s from the perfect pursuer, God, that we learn to pursue our own children.
    3. Pursuit takes time and effort. It’s hard.
    4. We have to study our children, individually and intentionally, so we know what makes them more alive. Ask them, “How am I doing at loving you?”
  2. Encouragement:
    1. Romans 5:8: “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
    2. He encourages us when we do well, and He encourages us when we fail miserably.
    3. Psalm 138:3: “On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.” God is the strengthener of the souls of His children. 
    4. The more our children ignore our encouragement, the more they need it.
    5. We aren’t only worthy when we do something worthy. We are worthy all the time.
  3. Celebration:
    1. It’s the small things!
    2. Zephaniah 3:17: “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”
    3. God rejoices because of who we are, not just what we do.
  4. Service:
    1. Mark 10:43-45: “But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
    2. Jesus came to serve us, and He kept no record for it.
    3. He didn’t give us His life for His sake, but for ours.

There is no higher calling than to give away your life to prefer another person. Our children will know they are loved when we go from idea to implementation.

We love because He first loved us.

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We meet every Sunday at 9am and 11am. We hope to see you at a service as we continue on in our parenting series!  

Sermon Recap: Parenting the Next Generation, Pt. 1

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Calling all parents (literal and figurative), people who want to be parents, people who have parents, and people who know parents: this series is for you. Parenting is a high calling; perhaps it is the highest calling. It’s a wonderful responsibility, an exciting endeavor, and a very difficult job to raise up the next generation. Therefore, it’s incredibly important that we talk about it, even though the conversation might be uncomfortable or offensive or taboo. Let’s get to it (and S/O to Lead Pastor Andrew Bach for leading the discussion).

To do our best job as parents, we must look to our perfect Father, because He knows best, despite the innumerable amount of self-help books and online articles. In today’s sermon, we look at 3 (but not the only three) Biblical truths about parenting:

  1. God is a perfect parent.
    1. Our right to parent is not based on our perfection. We shouldn’t try to be perfect, because it isn’t possible; instead, we leave standard for God to fulfill alone.
    2. John 20:17: “Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Just as He was a perfect Father to Jesus, He remains a perfect Father to us. We face hardship, but He has never once made a mistake toward us in His parenting. 
    3. Matthew 7:7-11 exemplifies that He is a perfect provider: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”
    4. We see in Deuteronomy 33:12 that He is a perfect protectorLet the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.”
    5. Luke 15:17-22, the story of the prodigal son, displays God’s awesome grace for us: When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.'” 
    6. God intends to fill every gap of our own parents’ imperfections. He has never failed [Ed. Note: and He won’t stop now!].
  2. Children are a blessing.
    1. Psalm 127:3-5: “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.” 
    2. Contrary to society’s tone, children are not a hindrance to abundant life. They are very much part of an abundant life, and an absolute gift from God!
  3. Parenting begins with parents.
    1. Deuteronomy 6:4-9: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
    2. Our children will glean more from our parenting when we are honest about who we are (flaws and all), than if we pretended we were perfect parents.
    3. Our calling is to raise up the next generation to know they are eternally loved by a perfect Parent, and their imperfect parents.

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This coming Sunday, we get to hear more about parenting the next generation, in part two of this sermon series. See you there! 

Sermon Recap: Jesus’ Church, Pt. 7

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This week, we have the great opportunity to hear from Paul Jackson, as he closes our current series, “Jesus’ Church” with part 7: “Everyone Serves”. So far, we have discussed these Truths about being his hands and feet:

  1. God is approachable
  2. The Gospel is powerful
  3. Everyone disciples someone
  4. Devoted to fellowship
  5. Love your neighbor
  6. Hard things are promised to everyone who believes

Acts 20:28: “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.” We are the ones that Jesus purchased with his own blood. We are the ones he chose! This is a simple, but profound Truth, that affects us deeply in two ways: individually (because we belong; the fear of our not belonging has been answered) and as a church family (which affects how we think, interact, and function as a body, with Jesus as our leader). Our values and decisions are to reflect the calling of our head. Jesus said that, to be great, requires service to others: “the one who is great is the one who serves”.

Galatians 5:13: “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”  Jesus lived his life for the glory of God and for the sake of others, the greatest example being the Cross. However, the Cross is only one of so many examples of his servanthood.Isaiah 53 introduces Jesus through prophecy as the “suffering servant”. 

In John 13:12-15, we see Jesus washing the feet of His disciples: When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, ‘Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.'” In Jesus’ church, everyone serves. 

Matthew 23:11-12: “The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” 

Philippians 2:3: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” We are to look to the interests of others, with joy, and do the stuff that no one else wants to do. We are called to be the ones who willingly step forward.

In the sphere of family, what could it look like to serve?

  1. Building relational bridges
  2. Happily going to the family party
  3. Hosting the party (that you didn’t want to go to)
  4. Spending time with your kids, even if exhausted…and the list goes on

In the sphere of the workplace, what could it look like to serve (because, whether you are the unpaid intern or the CEO, you are called to serve)?

  1. Doing a good job, even if nobody will notice
  2. Offering to do the project that nobody else wants to do
  3. Having a difficult conversation with a coworker
  4. Taking the window-less office so someone else can have a well-lit office
  5. Helping a coworker, even if it doesn’t benefit you. Remember, we are serving Jesus first and foremost.

In the sphere of the church family, what could it look like to serve?

John 12:26: “If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” The call to serve is a call to serve God.Leading a Lifegroup

  1. Hosting a Lifegroup
  2. Making coffee on Sunday mornings
  3. Helping set up or tear down
  4. Helping administration…and the list goes on.

In most churches, according to statistics, 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people. Why? Let’s identify a few obstacles to serving:

  1. We don’t recognize the task at hand as our responsibility
  2. We struggle to put others’ interests in front of our own
  3. Pride

Luke 6:45: The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good…”

If we can get our heart in line, our actions will follow. We are called to put others before ourselves, to get low before others to raise them up, and to look like Jesus. Let’s run after His example as a servant!

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Next Sunday, we enter into a new series rooted in the good Word. Can’t wait to see you there, church family! 

Sermon Recap: Jesus’ Church, Pt. 1

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This week, we are back in the swing of things (hello, 2017!) and starting a new sermon series, titled “Jesus’ Church”. Led by Lead Pastor Andrew Bach, we dive into what it means to be the body of Christ – biblically and practically.

Firstly, let’s remember that Jesus wants His church to know that we belong to Him. So much so, in fact, that we are only His; we don’t even belong to ourselves. Acts 20:28 says: “Pay careful attention to yourselves and all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.”  We have been rescued from our captivity and imprisonment, and we belong to our rescuer.

Secondly, let’s also remember that God is approachable, because in understanding this fully, it will be easier to understand our belonging. He is approachable in that he is accessible, relatable, friendly, easy to meet, and easy to know. What else is He like? The Bible provides us with solid Truth to understanding better God’s character:

  1. Absolute authority:
    1. Acts 17:24-25: “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.”
  2. Compassionate:
    1. Psalm 103:1-5: “Bless the Lord, O my soul,
          and all that is within me,
          bless his holy name!
      Bless the Lord, O my soul,
          and forget not all his benefits,
      who forgives all your iniquity,
          who heals all your diseases,
      who redeems your life from the pit,
          who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
      who satisfies you with good
          so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
  3. Good:
    1. Exodus 33:18-19: “Moses said, ‘Please show me your glory.’ And he said, ‘I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.'” 
  4. Just:
    1. Deuteronomy 32:4: “The rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.”
  5. Protective:
    1. Psalm 91: 3-6: “For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
          and from the deadly pestilence.
      He will cover you with his pinions,
          and under his wings you will find refuge;
          his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
      You will not fear the terror of the night,
          nor the arrow that flies by day,
      nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
          nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.”
  6. Providing:
    1. Philippians 4:19: “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
  7. Consistent:
    1. Malachi 3:6: “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.”

The Bible – in its perfect Truth – says all of these things about our God, but our experiences in life sometimes lead us to believe otherwise. And we, as people, are not at all worthy of being in such close relationship with an approachable God; it seems too good to be true. And it is! But, Jesus. This is why He came, to make this relationship possible for us. We are no longer enemies of God, but instead, we are children of God. Praise! Thank you, Jesus.

James 4:8: “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” 

Hebrews 4:16: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

John 15:5: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

In order to understand further your belonging to God, spend time with Him (whether in worship, reading, or prayer, for example). And, in doing so, remember that it is not the method that is powerful, but it is God who is powerful.

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Don’t miss next Sunday’s service, as we continue on to part two of the Jesus’ Church series!