Message Recap: Pray!

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This week, Paul Jackson closes our sermon series, Pray!, as we reflect on the importance – and necessity! – of prayer in our spiritual lives. We have to remember that prayer actually changes things. The Holy Spirit is a gentleman; He doesn’t force His way in, but instead moves into the places in which He is invited.

Prayer is so important because it truly changes our circumstances, and because it changes us as individuals. Prayer grows and matures us as Jesus followers.

Matthew 6:9-13: Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” 

The linchpin of Christianity is taking our understanding of scripture and actually applying it to our lives, living it out as Truth.

Matthew 6:14-15: For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

There are several kinds of prayer (including adoring, beseeching, and confessional), and this week, in particular, we are looking at prayer of forgiveness.

There creates a spiritual dissonance when we ask God to forgive us when we have yet to forgive our own debtors. Church, we are called to be a people that forgive – there’s no getting around it!

Matthew 18:21-35: Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place.  Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

Perhaps we have a hard time forgiving others because we don’t realize the incredible grace God has shown us. We are the ones with the impossible debt – not those that have hurt us. Forgiveness is something that we can grow in (praise!). What it takes is seeing the generosity of God toward us, so that we can extend generosity toward others quickly and joyfully.

Harboring unforgiveness is a scheme of the enemy. He wants us to be unforgiving, so that he can steal, kill, and destroy us. God calls us to forgive others because He wants the absolute best for us, and in forgiveness we will find abundant life. The process of forgiveness – though healing can take time – started and concluded on the Cross.

Forgiveness is a choice and an action. Let us be ones that are quick to forgive, knowing well the vast, immeasurable forgiveness that has already been shown to us. The Kingdom of God is not of talk but of power, and forgiveness is powerful.

Biblical references: Matthew 6:9-13; Matthew 6:14-15; Matthew 18:21-35

Questions:

  1. How can there be an upgrade in your prayers this week? In frequency, in depth, in intimacy, in faith?
  2. Are you adoring God, beseeching Him, confessing, and receiving deliverance in your prayers?
  3. Do you have unforgiveness in your heart? If so, release that to God and choose freedom through being quick to forgive because of what Christ did on the cross for you.
  4. Is there anyone you can invite in or share what God has done for you and in you?

 

Message Recap: Greater Purpose, Pt. 7

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Though we know that our lives have greater purpose (generally), we too often forget to live in unshakable confidence of this Truth, day in and day out. Thank you for this beautiful reminder, and this week’s message, Pastor Brian Eastland.

As a church, we don’t have a problem with purpose; we have a problem with significance. From the day to day, we carry a great significance that leads to our greater purpose (thought it doesn’t always feel like it). Father, breathe deep significance into each of us today, that we may have better understanding of who we are made in You. 

The world says that our significance is directly tied to our job or to our accomplishments as people (have you won a Nobel Peace Prize? have you put your kids through college? have you worked out today – was it enough?). But, this way of thinking breaks God’s heart, for He has called us significant, regardless of the world’s approval.

As we continue on in our series centered around the genealogy of Jesus – Matthew 1:10 –  we are looking specifically at the character of King Josiah.

1 Kings 13:1-2: And behold, a man of God came out of Judah by the word of the Lord to Bethel. Jeroboam was standing by the altar to make offerings. And the man cried against the altar by the word of the Lord and said, “O altar, altar, thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, a son shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name, and he shall sacrifice on you the priests of the high places who make offerings on you, and human bones shall be burned on you.’”

2 Kings 22:8-11: And Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord.” And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it. And Shaphan the secretary came to the king, and reported to the king, “Your servants have emptied out the money that was found in the house and have delivered it into the hand of the workmen who have the oversight of the house of the Lord.” Then Shaphan the secretary told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read it before the king. When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes.

Our significance has nothing to do with what we have done or what we have not done, but everything to do with what God says about who we are.

2 Kings 23:15-16: Moreover, the altar at Bethel, the high place erected by Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, that altar with the high place he pulled down and burned, reducing it to dust. He also burned the Asherah. And as Josiah turned, he saw the tombs there on the mount. And he sent and took the bones out of the tombs and burned them on the altar and defiled it, according to the word of the Lord that the man of God proclaimed, who had predicted these things.

Church, let us read the Bible as God intended for us to read it: personally. In the Bible, “you” really means you, and “we” really means we. If you are ever looking for your name in the Bible, you don’t have to look very far: you are everywhere!

Ephesians 2: 8-9: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 

God wants us to read the Bible as if our name is in it, because it is. God has already called us significant, as He has written.

Biblical references: Matthew 1:10; 1 Kings 13:1-2; 2 Kings 22:8-11; 2 Kings 23:15-16; Ephesians 2: 8-9

Questions:

  1. Where have you been placing your significance?
  2. What does God say about who you are and what you were created for?
  3. What would it look like to live out of the God ordained significance that leads to your greater purpose?

Message Recap: Greater Purpose, Pt. 6

This week, thanks to a good word from Jeremy Annillo, we understand more deeply our greater purpose in the eyes of God as we continue on in our series. Jeremy is overseeing the Church Planting efforts down South. We are so thankful for him and his family.

Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Ephesians 2:10: For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

This morning, as we continue in Greater Purpose, we are looking at the character of Shealtiel (Matthew 1:12: After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel; 1 Chronicles 3:17: The descendants of Jehoiachin the captive: Shealtiel his son…).

Shealtiel wasn’t known for any of his own accomplishments, but instead only for his relationship to his son and his father. If we draw purpose and identity from others, rather than God, we will set ourselves up for a skewed perspective.

Even when your life feels unnoticed, God has a plan and purpose for it. We can’t see it from his eyes, but it’s best to trust that He knows best. And He does – He is God!

1 Corinthians 7:17-20: Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches. Was a man already circumcised when he was called? He should not become uncircumcised. Was a man uncircumcised when he was called? He should not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts. Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.

1 Corinthians 10: 12-13: So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Let us boast in humility about what God is doing in and through us, without comparison to others. Every part of the living body has purpose; no part is dispensable, no part is insignificant. Our greater purpose is being realized by the Creator, no matter how we feel in this moment. Would it be enough to go completely unnoticed by all the world, and to be seen as faithful by our God? Let us be people that answer, truthfully, with a “yes”.

We have a part to play in the second coming of Jesus, whether we are known like David or unknown like Shealtiel. God sees us, and we are greatly significant in Heaven’s eyes.

Biblical references: Jeremiah 29:11; Ephesians 2:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Matthew 1:12; 1 Chronicles 3:17; 1 Corinthians 7:17-20; 1 Corinthians 10: 12-13. 

Questions:

  1. Where are the places you are living for God in the unseen?
  2. Where is it hard to live what seems an unnoticed life and need to be reminded of your audience of one in Jesus?
  3. Jeremy asked the question, “Would it be enough to go completely unnoticed by all the world, and to be seen as faithful by our God?” What are the things keeping you from honestly answering yes to this question?

Message Recap: Greater Purpose, Pt. 4

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This week, we continue on in our series based on characters from the genealogy of Jesus, highlighting specifically the bravery of Jehoshaphat. Firstly, being brave doesn’t mean not being scared, it means doing the right thing even when you are scared. Let us be people that are marked by bravery, that lead brave lives.

2 Chronicles 20:1-3: After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat for battle. Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar” (that is, Engedi). Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.

How do we stand with bravery? And, what does it look like for us, individually, to be brave in this season?

  1. Seek God in the midst of fear
    1. Being brave doesn’t mean feeling courageous.
  2. Remember the character of God
    1. In order to know His character, it is critical that we spend time with Him. We need to have a personal relationship with Him to understand more deeply His character and His will for us.
  3. Petition God for help
    1. When you have no idea what to do next, that’s the moment to ask.
    2. The enemy is set on you not asking. He hates when you turn to God, especially when no one is looking.
    3. The God of the universe has invited us into communion, to talk with Him, and to petition. He wants us to ask!
    4. He isn’t separate from reality, but He is greater than reality.
  4. Stand and worship God in the battle.
    1. Bravery often looks like standing, staying, waiting.
    2. It looks like worshipping before you even know the outcome of a situation; before you know where you are victorious.
    3. He doesn’t need to prove anything to us, but He invites us to discover that He is God, and that He is a good God.
  5. Watch God fight the battle
    1. 2 Chronicles 20: 22-23: And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed. For the men of Ammon and Moab rose against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, devoting them to destruction, and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they all helped to destroy one another.

Often, instead of these things, we choose in our haste, to:

  1. Ignore fear, and attempt to make our own way
  2. Question the character of God
  3. Worry and wait for something to change
  4. Run away
  5. Wonder where God was in our time of need

Our invitation is to encounter God, and act bravely. It has everything to do with His strength, and nothing to do with our own.

Biblical references: Matthew 1:7-8; 2 Chronicles 20:1-3; 2 Chronicles 20:22-23

Questions:

  1. Where are the places that you need to seek God in the midst of fear to make you brave?
  2. Where in your life do you need to stand and worship in the battle?
  3. What aspect of the character of God do you need to remember in your current circumstances?

 

Message Recap: Greater Purpose, Pt. 4

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Carrie Bach, thank you for your steadfastness, the joy you find in your salvation, and this week’s encouraging message! We are looking at Rahab this week, as we break down some significant characters in the genealogy of Jesus.

Matthew 1:5-6: and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king.

Church, let’s not let our sin define us; rather, let’s let the grace of God define us. Rahab was a woman, a gentile and a prostitute (and, given the context of the time period, all of these things contributed to cultural insignificance). But Rahab, as a child of God, was -more than anything – faithful and righteous. She received Jesus and let her heart be transformed by Him by faith.

Hebrews 11:31: By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.

James 2:25: And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?

Joshua 2:4-6: But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. And she said, “True, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. And when the gate was about to be closed at dark, the men went out. I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.” But she had brought them up to the roof and hid them with the stalks of flax that she had laid in order on the roof.

Rahab received Jesus by faith, and she risked by faith. Rahab rejected the things not of God that were so prevalent in her culture. Living by true faith compels us to action. It’s not real faith if it’s not working in you and coming out of you in manifest.

Take a moment to ask yourself: where do I need to risk? Your finances or security? The approval of man?

Joshua 6:23-25: So the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to her. And they brought all her relatives and put them outside the camp of Israel. And they burned the city with fire, and everything in it. Only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. But Rahab the prostitute and her father’s household and all who belonged to her, Joshua saved alive. And she has lived in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

Rahab rejected being defined by the sins of her past. She had faith that God’s grace would cover her. Similarly, let us be a people that are continually being saved, rather than riding out on a one-time “salvation moment”.

Jesus’ genealogy is one of grace; it invites the best of us and the worst of us. Today is the day to live like a new creation, for God’s grace is generous.

 Biblical references: Matthew 1:5-6; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25; Joshua 2:4-6; Joshua 6:23-25

Questions:

  1. Where do you need to risk in faith?
  2. What are you letting define you? Where do you need to let grace define you?
  3. What is robbing you of the fullness of joy of your salvation? Let Jesus come and bring you complete joy.

 

Message Recap: Greater Purpose, Pt. 3

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This week, we had the incredible opportunity from Hope Frankian. Thank you, Hope, for sharing with us your wisdom and understanding of our greater purpose as children of God!

Matthew 1:1-17 is a long list of names, easy to overlook in our busyness, but it is actually so pertinent to our growth and greater understanding of our purposes. This week, we are looking particularly at Ruth’s character, one of the few women listed in Jesus’ genealogy. Ruth is included in this very exclusive list because of the way she endured her test, and the way she maintained her faithfulness despite hardship.

Ruth 1: 11-14: In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there. But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years, and both Mahlon and Chilion died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband. Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that the Lord had visited his people and given them food. So she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. And they said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.” But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? Turn back, my daughters; go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband this night and should bear sons, would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, for it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me.” Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

While Orpah leaves, Ruth clings. This is the first part of her test; she chooses to stay out of love and loyalty.

Ruth 1:19-22: So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. And when they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them. And the women said, “Is this Naomi?” She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?” So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabite her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.

Ruth remains loyal to her mother-in-law despite Naomi’s bitterness as an act of obedience and of faithfulness. It’s her standing and her steadfastness that leads her into the family – the lineage – of Jesus. So often, as soon as things get hard, we look for the quickest way out. If something looks unfavorable, we hesitate to stay faithful.

Later in the story, Boaz takes Ruth as his wife; her finds her favorable and desirable because of her steadfast faithfulness, not despite her circumstance. In her testing, Ruth didn’t try to run away. Rather, she joyfully pressed in.

James 1:1-4: Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Our trials produce steadfastness, and steadfastness completes us in fullness and perfection.

James 1:12: Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

When does the crown come? When he has stood the test. This reward comes from our enduring, our standing. So often, we miss out on the reward because we give up and try to make a way for ourselves. As soon as the test get hard, we look for the nearest escape route. The struggle in the test, however, puts her in the right place to receive God’s blessing. Without the struggle of the test, we wouldn’t appreciate the blessing.

Biblical references: Matthew 1:1-17; Ruth 1:1-22; James 1:1-4; James 1:12

Questions:

  1. What trials and  struggles are currently in?
  2. Where are the places God is calling you to be faithful and stand?
  3. What great purpose does God want to bring through your standing?

 

Message Recap: Greater Purpose, Pt. 2

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Church, no matter our accomplishments and our failures, our purpose has everything to do with our proximity to Jesus. This week, in our series, Greater Purpose, we are going to take a look at another significant character in the storyline of Jesus’ genealogy.

Jesus was the son of David, born in Bethlehem – the city of David. Where man sees outward appearance, God sees the heart, and David was a man after God’s. He learned to love God wholly in every part of his purpose: from the sheepfold, to the battlefield, and even into prominence.

As followers of Jesus, how are we to respond to God in every part of our own purpose?

  1. In the sheepfold:
    • David wrote Psalm 23 in the sheepfold when he felt alone and forgotten. He spent his time growing in intimacy with the living God.
    • Psalms 78: 70-72: He chose David his servant and took him from the sheepfolds; from following the nursing ewes he brought him to shepherd Jacob his people, Israel his inheritance. With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with his skillful hand.
  2. In the battlefield:
    • The battle season exists for us to find courage in God, whether you win or lose.
    • 1 Samuel 17: 33-37: And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”
    • 1 Samuel 30:6: And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
      • Your convictions aren’t really your convictions until you are tested.
  3. In prominence:
    • Regardless of his kingship, David worshiped the Lord undignified.
    •  2 Samuel 6:14-17: And David danced before the Lord with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the horn. As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, and she despised him in her heart. And they brought in the ark of the Lord and set it in its place, inside the tent that David had pitched for it. And David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. 

The point of the season – no matter in which one you are currently residing – is to connect with the living God.

Biblical references: Psalms 78: 70-72; 1 Samuel 17: 33-37; 1 Samuel 30:6;  2 Samuel 6:14-17 

Questions:

  1. What season are you in, the sheepfold, battlefield, or prominence?
  2. How can you receive the intimacy of God in the season you are currently in?
  3. There is purpose and intention for each season, where are the places you can come alongside others in your life to rejoice, fight or comfort them in their season?