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Archive for November, 2012

Consecration is our part, sanctification is God’s part. (1)

What must I do to inherit eternal life? (2)

I am not certain Christians ask this question anymore.  We have become so enamored with the world that we, in the terms of Joel O’Steen, “Want our best life now!”

Not me, I want my best life after my death.

I already know that this worldly life is short and full of toil and angst.  Even if I inherit my father’s DNA, his family lives to a 100, my life will be short.  Even if I count my blessings everyday, my life will still be a rose garden, a life full of beauty in the midst of thorns.

Most of us assume that we must provide our own transport and fuel to get to heaven.  Most of us assume that we enter heaven on the basis of what we have done in life.  That is not God’s way.

In the world’s economy, we earn grace.  In God’s economy, grace if given by God.

God asks us to dedicate our life to Him.  He then, takes care of the rest. He will sanctify us, make us fit for heaven.

It bugs me that I cannot earn my way into heaven.  I can only earn my way into hell.

God wants my heart.

God wants your heart.

When God has your heart, He has your life, both now and for evermore.

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  1. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year (Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986).
  2. Luke 10:25 and Luke 18:18.
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God Is Here!

 

In 1979 Fred Pratt Green wrote a simple worship hymn which has been a favorite of mine, though it is hard to sing.  He wrote:

God is here! As we his people meet to offer praise and prayer,

may we find in fuller measure what it is in Christ we share.(1)

 

I frequently use the lyrics of this hymn as a Call to Worship and as a reminder to all worshippers to forget the people who are leading worship or and the people worshipping with them as they worship God.

 

If you worship with a sole concentration on God and His presence in worship’s particular time and place, you will always leave worship knowing that you were with God.

 

Christians have a ghastly habit of evaluating worship by measuring human traits, actions, and quantities.  Of these, the worse measuring stick is to evaluate worship by measuring your emotions.  

 

Unfortunately, too many Christians never truly worship because they come not to meet God, who is present, but to have their emotions and feeling massaged, as if they are part of a religious focus group directed by a Pastor and resident musicians.

 

Hannah Whitehall Smith provided this bit of wisdom to her daughter who was wondering why she did not always feel the presence of God in worship:

The whole reason is in you, yourself.  Say to yourself, “The Lord is here just as much as He ever is with me, but I am such a dunce as to be looking at the people instead of at Him, and so I do not see or feel His presence so much.  Ignore your feelings altogether.  How strange it is that feelings will crop up all along the line as stumbling blocks.(2)

 

Worship is not so much a matter of what you or someone else makes of it, but rather it is more about who you focus on when you worship.

 

I am with David, when he wrote:

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” (3)

 

 

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  1. Fred Pratt Green, God is Here!, The Presbyterian Hymnal, (Westminster/John Knox Press, 1990).
  2. Hannah Whitall Smith and Melvin Easterday Dieter, The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life: The Unpublished Personal Writings of Hannah Whitall Smith (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).
  3. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Psalm 122:1.

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Daily Bread for November 11

Hungry for All Truth

John 4:25-42

Preaching Notes

John 4:25-42

25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.”

26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

27 Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?”

28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him.

31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”

32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.”

33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?”

34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.

 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 

37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 

38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 

40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word.

42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”

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I.  Samaritan Woman View of Jesus 

Enemy – Foolish – Unaware

Intriguing – Accepting – Prophet

Messianic

She went from being

Hostile – Engaged – Witness

II.  Jesus offered her grace and then Truth

Grace was His welcome

Truth was His unveiling

Grace paid the debt

wiped away the guilt

erased the shame

softened the heart, and

opened the mind

to receive The Truth in faith

This led to her return to town to be a witness for Jesus

She went and told others

They saw and her something different

They came to Jesus

They believed, initially, because of her word

They came to full faith

Because they heard Jesus’ Word,

The Truth

III.  Meanwhile – The Disciples

Returned from “Food Run” into town

Culver’s and Starbucks

Serving the picnic

Concerned that Jesus was not eating

Concerned the Lamb of God

… Was not eating well

Concern became speculation

Had someone beat them to the punch

And brought Jesus a “Happy Meal”

In stories, we are usually the Disciples

They were concerned about insignificant worldly things

While …

Samaritan Woman was off witnessing about Jesus

Jesus talks to them about

The harvest, sowing, and reaping

They are indulging in worldly concerns

Missing the call to call others to faith

So true in today’s church

We worry, fret, gripe, complain about insignificant things

While Jesus calls us

to bear witness

And => others to faith

We know The Truth

But continue to dabble in self-indulgent ministry

And ultimately leading people away from God, Jesus

Leading them away from Grace and Truth

IV.  Grace and Truth

Jesus offered Grace AND Truth

John 1:17

Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Truth Jesus offered was not The Law

Not legalism

That came through Moses

The Truth Jesus offered

Was Himself, God, The Holy Spirit,

Grace and salvation

Which =>

forgiveness of sins,

which the woman and all of us desperately need

Eternal life

Which the woman and all of us desperately desire

John 14:6

Jesus said to him,

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life.

No one comes to the Father except through me.

Romans 1:16–17

The gospel is the power of God

for salvation to everyone who believes,

to the Jew first

(including the Samaritan)

and also to the Greek

(the whole world ….

Not just disciples on a picnic)

For in the Truth of the Gospel

the righteousness of God is revealed

from faith for faith, as it is written,

“The righteous shall live by faith.”

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The Crucible of Love

 

Love is easy when it blesses.  

 

But what happens to you when love lacks benefit, becomes a cross to bear, or a curse upon you?

 

Oswald Chambers asks a question which causes me to pause: 

Have you come to the place where God can withdraw His blessings and it does not affect your trust in Him? (1)

 

I would be lying if I claimed that a withdrawal of God’s blessing would not affect my trust in Him.  

 

This is why I cling to these verses:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for God is with me; His rod and His staff, they comfort me.

 

Nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

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. (2)

 

In those times when doubt has crept into my heart and mind these verses remind me that God never withdraws His blessing from me.  

 

I may perceive God has withdrawn His blessing, but He does not.  

 

God sends His blessings in comforts and in difficulties, in joy and in sorrow, in praise and in discipline, in gain and in loss. 

 

Knowing this sustains me when His love is greater than a warm fuzzy for the day.

 

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  1. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year (Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986).
  2. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Psalm 23:4, Romans 8:39, and Hebrews 4:16.

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Daily Bread for November 4

Worshipping God in the Fulness of Your Life

John 4:10-26 

 

 

Thoughts

1. Not beginning of casual Rus

 

2. Election – dig into facts, pray for guidance, vote

Civil authorities other God’s authority

 

3. Hurricane Sandy – Be Watchful, Be Faithful, Be Merciful

Asking Mission Team to determine faithful response

Gifts accepted

 

Preaching Bible Series

One and one with text leaves lots on the Table

 

What does it say about God, Jesus ….

Last week grace extended even when Jesus knew her sin

Looked at her and us dealing with shame, hiding secrets

 

But missed part

What about her, us

Faith is relationship with Jesus, not just belief

This story reveals questions about the depth

of our relationship or lack thereof with Jesus

 

Read scripture – John 4:10-26

 

 

She was In

Just in case

 

No real difference in her life or living

In different

Not invested

 

Time will come

When God tires of indifference

Yet what should we do

Our inactive members

 

She would have been one

She knew the history of land

Claimed the heritage as hers

Her response calling Jesus a prophet,

Then later Messiah revealed opened

Yet in her life she was closed

 

 

Families trapped in works righteousness circle

No grace in youth sports

Little grace at work or bank

 

Only one place to find grace

Church’s ministry

Let keep grace as response to indifferent

Jesus grace to her

=> her to see Jesus

=> her to show others, next week

 

Group of 16 men laying foundation for

Men’s ministry to connect transform strengthen activate

 

 

Easier to look at others who are not here

Always look for self

 

But what about us who are

Only here with God on Sunday

Worship on Sunday

Yet are we worshipping in spirit and truth

 

Jesus … God desires worship in spirit and truth, here

 

Sychar, Jacob’s Well not a worship center,

Neither will be Jerusalem’s Temple

 

Worship is not about the place where one worships,

but the person one worships, it’s a relationship

Which flows into everyday life, daily life

 

Proof is on Monday, Wednesday, Saturday night

Faith which does not extend past weekly worship

 

 

Worship is neither spirited if it does not transform

Romans 12:1–2

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 

 

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

 

 

Nor is it truth if we re-adopt world as the way

John 14:6

Jesus said to him, 

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. 

No one comes to the Father except through me.

 

 

 

Worship in all of life

1st Q of WC glorify and enjoy God forever

 

Use of time

Watchful, faithful, merciful

Use of money

Treatment of others

Mercy and grace

Leading others to Jesus

Strivings goals objectives

Leisure

Ethics morals integrity

 

 

 

 

 

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