John 17 Prayer – In But Not Of…

2016-05-15
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verses:
John 17:17-18
17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.

In the world, but not of the world. Such an important concept to understand in light of the continued journey of the world further and further away from the truth. Today, I want to look at a prayer, a prayer from Jesus Himself. A prayer where he prayed for you and me, that we would be safe, that we would be light, that we would be be world changers, not compromisers.

John 17:1
After saying all these things, Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you. 2 For you have given him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. 3 And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth. 4 I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. 5 Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began. 6 I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you, 8 for I have passed on to them the message you gave me. They accepted it and know that I came from you, and they believe you sent me. 9 My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. 10 All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory. 11 Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are. 12 During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me. I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold.13 Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. 14 I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do. 17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. 19 And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth. 20 I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. 22 I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. 23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. 24 Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began! 25 O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me.26 I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.”

Today, let’s discuss how to live within a dark world as light to change the world for Christ. This is not a suggestion or a hope from Christ, but rather a directive. He instructs us to live as lights in a dark world. Over the next couple of weeks, we’re going to walk through this prayer, a prayer offered by Jesus for us. As we do, we will see what He demands of us, how He’s praying for us, and how we can respond.

1. We have authority (vs 1b-2a)

…Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you. 2 For you have given him authority over everyone…

– Make no mistake, regardless of what the world might think, Jesus has authority over everyone and everything.
– As a result, we have no reason to be discouraged
– We may not win political battles, but Jesus and His power are not constrained by political battles.

2. We have a future (vs 2b-3)

…He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. 3 And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.

– The Gospel always wins in political battles and cultural defeats.
– Romans 1:16 – “NOT ASHAMED”
– Be an advocate, but above all, be an advocate for the Gospel

3. An everlasting impact (4-5)

4 I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. 5 Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.

– Our hope is not found in the temporal but in the eternal
– We may not win a battle here, but we will win the war

4. The answer is in Christ (vs 6)

6 “I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word.”

– Seek Him
– Matt 6 – “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness…”

Peace Through Strength

2016-05-08
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Today is Mother’s Day and we certainly honor all of the amazing moms here who have had such great impact on all of us. We are blessed beyond measure to have been impacted by them. So today, I want to look at a passage that also discusses the impact of some special moms, but not for the sake of simply talking about moms, but to focus on why we should learn from others to have peace in life.

2 Timothy 1:1
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, 2 To Timothy, a beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 3 I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, 4 greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, 5 when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. 6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, 10 but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 12 For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.

1. Looking Back for Strength

vs 3b as my forefathers did
-There are great lessons to be learned from looking back at influencers in our past
-But never allow those reflections into our past to keep us there

2. Influence Really Does Matter

5 when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also
-Be careful how we teach and influence others through our actions

3. In Order For Us To Be An Example To Others

6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.

-Let your love for Him be an opportunity to bring others into a relationship with Him

4. Renews Our Strength

7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

8a Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord…
-Fear is the single greatest roadblock to experiencing God’s peace
-Fear of acceptance
-Fear of faith
-Fear of standing alone

5. He Protects Us Until The End of Time

12 For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.

-He is “able to keep”
-“keep” = phylassō (foo-LAH-so) to guard a person (or thing) that he may remain safe; to guard from being lost or perishing

-He will never let us go; eternally secure

-What do you need Him to “keep” for you today?
-What lessons can you learn from your past that will move you closer to God today?
-What impact can you have on those around you today that will help them move closer to God?

 

Agents of Grace: Sufficient Grace

2016-05-01

Pastor Jonthan Falwell

Today, we wrap up our series, Agents of Grace, with probably one of the most important promises of God that we could ever imagine. This promise, put simply, is that His grace is ALWAYS ENOUGH!

Memory Verse:
2 Cor. 12:9
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

God’s Grace is Sufficient to carry you through any level of suffering, hurt, pain, or “thorns” you are experiencing in your life. Today, I want to address a very real and relevant issue —

How do we deal with the ‘thorns’ in our lives?

How do thorns affect us?
Thorns can…
Tempt us to doubt the promises of God.
Cause uncertainty about the future.
Make us feel weak & vulnerable.
Make us feel inferior & inadequate to others.
Make us feel unworthy to receive God’s love, grace, mercy.
In a word, thorns make us feel spiritually “weak.”

2 Cor. 12:7-10
And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Why Do I Have A Thorn? The simple answer is: we don’t know. Only God knows. But I trust His wisdom on why He allows things to come into my life! For Paul, the purpose was to keep him humble. In some way or another, God knew that Paul would become too proud.

1. It is okay to admit you’re hurting (vs 7) Paul was given a thorn he didn’t hide

1 Cor. 1:18, 21b
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 21b…it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
– no one thrives in isolation, especially when navigating a thorn in life

2. That “thorn” may never disappear

vs 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.
– it just might be a lifelong challenge (Joni Eareckson Tada)

3. It’s okay if the “thorn” doesn’t disappear

vs 9b …”My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
– and if it doesn’t disappear, God will still give you what you need to survive
– “God will never put more on you than He puts in you to bear it up”

4. You may never get over it, but God will always bring you through it

God literally applies His Grace to your heart – exactly where it needs to go – and it empowers you to make it through.

“sufficient” (are-KAY-oh) = “possessing unfaltering power; to provide impenetrable protection”

1 Cor. 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
5. Joy is guaranteed if we trust the heart of God!

2 Cor. 12:9b-10
…Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

John 16:33
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

Romans 8:35 NLT
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

On page 13 of “When it Hurts Too Much To Cry,” my Father wrote:

“The Children of God do suffer from time to time. But it doesn’t mean that God has forgotten us. We need to remember that God’s love and mercy and his ministering angels are usually much closer to us when we are in pain and in deep spiritual need than at those times when we are feeling spiritually strong.” — Dr. Jerry Falwell, Sr.

Agents of Grace: Grace to Lead

2016-04-24
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
Luke 5:11
So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.

TODAY, we continue our series, Agents of Grace, on the topic of “Leading Grace.” This specifically discusses how we can all be used of God to lead in grace in every situation.

1. Jesus Restores

John 21:15-17
So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” 16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.”

Jesus addresses & forgives Peter for each time Peter denied Jesus!

2. Jesus Empowers
– “feed my sheep”

Jesus asked Peter to take inventory of his heart and see if at his very CORE he deeply valued Jesus BEFORE he went out to tell others about loving Him. IN OTHER WORDS, If you are right in your heart, you will undoubtedly do what He has called you to do; namely, go out to serve & share Jesus’ love to the world!

3. Jesus Calls

– Jesus ends with the command to do what I had INITIALLY called you to do — “feed” believers — be a leader! Remember back 3 1/2 years ago, Peter accepted the invitation to be a spiritual leader – Jesus emphasizes not to quit on God’s Calling upon your life!

Luke 5:11
So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.

“forsook” (ah-FEE-a-mee) = “to drop what is in your hands, to walk away and leaving something behind.” An action done with resolute commitment.

John 21:18-19a
“Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” 19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”

4. He Can Use Anybody!

Don’t think for a moment that this topic is just for those who have exceptional leadership skills are extremely gifted in leadership. God can empower anyone to lead in their homes, their workplace, their own lives, etc

Consider Peter & most of the Disciples:
Fishermen were looked upon as blue-collar, uneducated, untrained people …and definitely incapable of changing the world in any way/shape/form. But Jesus had different plan to reach the world – different than what the world would have thought of as success.

I Corinthians 1:26-27
For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;

God uses common people to do the most profound work for the Kingdom!

God’s Grace Is The Key For You To Be a Leader!

Don’t allow past failures to keep you from serving. Remember, the Evil One will ALWAYS want you to remember your sinful past so that you will never preach about the Grace of God. Because when you truly confess your sin and change your ways, you want to caution others of going down the same sinful path

Psalm 51:13-15 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You. 14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, The God of my salvation, And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. 15 O Lord, open my lips, And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.

Peter was a perfect example of brokenness made whole and being used because of the Grace of God. As a result, he became an agent of grace to a broken world.

Acts 3:11-14a Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomon’s, greatly amazed. 12 So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: “Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. 14 But you denied the Holy One and the Just…”

Peter took a stand for Christ – he was a leader publicly, unapologetically, unequivocally…all the way to the end!

Agents of Grace: Grace That Sets Us Free

2016-04-17
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
John 8:31-32
31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

God’s Word tells us that there are many things that slow the forward progress of the believer. Of course, everyone immediately thinks of “sin” which of course would be correct. BUT there is one self-imposed land mine that we often place in our own lives that trip us up – it is found in one word – LEGALISM!

Legalism has encumbered and burdened so many believers in their spiritual walk as a result of placing unnecessary RESTRICTIONS AND/OR REQUIREMENTS upon ones life with the false hope that it is a sign of holiness, righteousness, and worse, these works will lead to salvation.

Hebrews 12:1 NKJV
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

Legalism stands in close relationship with Hypocrisy. In fact, some say “hypocrisy” is a natural by-product of being a legalistic person – because no one can ever live up to the unattainable human standard, thus they continue to act ‘holy,’ and are not.

1. Legalism = “Performing good deeds in order to gain righteousness”

This attitude is not only adopted by self but imposed on others!

2. Hypocrisy = “Acting different than who you really are”

Taken from the 1st Century Greek word (hoo-POCK-crit-tase) which was used of an “actor” in a theater; as they would commonly wear masks.

Isaiah 29:13 NLT
And so the Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.”

Grace That Sets Us Free

Luke 11:33
“No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light. ”

1. Rules Over Righteousness

Luke 11:42
“But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass by justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.”

2. Reputation Over Humility

Luke 11:43
Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.

3. Popularity Over Truth

Luke 11:44
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like graves which are not seen, and the men who walk over them are not aware of them.”

4. Hypocrisy Over Obedience

Luke 11:45-46
45 Then one of the lawyers answered and said to Him, “Teacher, by saying these things You reproach us also.” 46 And He said, “Woe to you also, lawyers! For you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.”

5. Attacking Others Over Being Agents of Grace

Luke 11:47
Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.

6. Having Focus On Themselves Over Focusing On Him

Luke 11:52
“Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered.”

Don’t Hate Truth

Luke 11:53-54
53 And as He said these things to them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to assail Him vehemently, and to cross-examine Him about many things, 54 lying in wait for Him, and seeking to catch Him in something He might say, that they might accuse Him.

God Will Deal with Hypocrisy

Luke 12:1b-3
1b …”Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. 3 Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.”

God Will Protect the Faithful

Luke 12:7
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Romans 5:20-21
20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Agents of Grace: Forgiving Grace

2016-04-10
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
Rev. 22:21
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Today, we continue our conversation on being Agents of Grace. Being recipients of the matchless grace of God, but also focusing on being representatives of that matchless grace.

The world today is dark and devoid of mercy, compassion, and grace. In a world filled with everything but grace, we are encouraging every child of God to take the 1st step and reach out to their friends, family, loved ones and strangers, and bless them by showing God’s grace.

A Characteristic of Christ: Forgiveness

Psa. 103:8
The LORD is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.

Eph. 1:7
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace

Our Response
Eph. 4:32
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

The story of Hosea and Gomer is one of the great messages of forgiveness and grace in all of Scripture. How do we transition the lessons of forgiving grace in the Bible to our everyday lives. Many times, we embrace the stories and inspiration of Scripture but don’t know how to apply it for today.

Matt. 18:21
Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”

Quick application: How often should we show forgiving grace? Every Time!

1. Mercy is needed – vs 23-25

23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made.

2. Mercy is wanted – vs 26

26 The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, “Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.”

3. Mercy is extended – vs 27
27 Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

This is an amazing story that Jesus shared of mercy and grace extended when so desperately needed, when there was no hope outside of grace. But, we need to keep reading the story to see how this recipient of grace responded in his own life.

1. Mercy is needed – vs 28

28 “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ ”

2. Mercy is wanted – vs 29

29 So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.”

3. Mercy is withheld – vs 30

30 And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.

4. An opportunity missed, a testimony destroyed – vs 31-33

31 So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. 32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, “You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?”

The point of the story…verses 34-35

34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. 35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”

It doesn’t mean you will lose your salvation, it means that you will miss out on being the recipient of the amazing grace of God extended in the midst of your daily challenges because you’ve not been representative of the amazing grace of God.

Agents of Grace: Share Grace

2016-04-03
Ben Gutierrez

The life-changing message of God’s Saving Grace is worth sharing – even to those with whom we do not frequently associate.  God calls each Christ-follower to be an Agent of Grace and share the message of His life-changing grace to any and all who will listen.  This message examines one of many instances where Jesus took His Disciples out of their comfort zone to a group of people were seemingly unlovable, unappreciated, and undervalued in order to share the life-changing message of His Grace.  And by doing so, the Disciples learned how the testimony of one changed life can in return positively affect multitudes of people.

Today’s encouragement for Christ-followers is to be obedient to God’s commandment to “Go home and tell your friends of what the Lord has done for you and how He has had mercy upon you!”…and see how God will bless your testimony of Grace!

Mark 7:31
31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis.

Mark 7:32-33a
32 And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33 And taking him aside from the crowd…

Mark 8:1-9a
1 In those days, the multitude being very great and having nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples to Him and said to them, 2 “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. 3 And if I send them away hungry to their own houses, they will faint on the way; for some of them have come from afar.” 4 Then His disciples answered Him, “How can one satisfy these people with bread here in the wilderness?” 5 He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” And they said, “Seven.” 6 So He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And He took the seven loaves and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and they set them before the multitude. 7 They also had a few small fish; and having blessed them, He said to set them also before them. 8 So they ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets of leftover fragments. 9 Now those who had eaten were about four thousand.

John 6:12-13
12 So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.” 13 Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten.

Mark 4:35
On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.”

Mark 4:36-38
36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

Mark 4:39-41
39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Mark 5:1-6
1 They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. 2 And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. 3 He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, 4 for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. 6 And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him.

Mark 5:7-14
7 And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” 8 For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9 And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” 10 And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11 Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, 12 and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” 13 So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out, and entered the pigs, and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and were drowned in the sea. 14 The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened.

Mark 5:15-17
15 And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 16 And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. 17 And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region.

Mark 5:18-19a
18 As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. 19 And he did not permit him…

Mark 5:19b
…but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”

Mark 7:31-33a
31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32 And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33 And taking him aside from the CROWD…

“Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
– Jesus

Easter Sermon: Belief Changes Everything

2016-03-27
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
Matthew 28:5-6
Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

Distraction, Division, Disillusionment…these are all things that each of us deal with on a daily basis. The world consistently robs us of what God wants to give because we focus on the things now, rather than Him. Our circumstances dictate our joy…or lack thereof. When we focus on the negative, we are robbed of the positive moments in life. When our hearts are distracted by the negative, division and disillusionment are guaranteed.

Matt 27:55-61
And many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, were there looking on from afar, 56 among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons. 57 Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. 58 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. 59 When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed. 61 And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.

– The women were watching from a distance, both at the crucifixion and at His burial.

Matthew 28:1
Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.

Mark 16:1
Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him.

– The women came to anoint the body of Jesus. Why? Because they believed He was still dead, despite what He had told them.

– They were distracted by their current circumstances, they couldn’t see.

Matthew 28:2
And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. 5 But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” 8 So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.

As they arrived, the Angel appeared and reminded them of what they already should have known.

Mark 16:10
She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. 11 And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe. 12 After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country. 13 And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either.

The women who had been radically changed by the presence of Christ told those who walked with Him what they had seen, but they did not believe. Why?

1. Distracted by circumstances
2. Divided by conflict
3. Disillusioned by life

A picture of our world. They did not remember.

Later He appeared…and everything changed.

Matthew 28:16
Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Mark 16:12
After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country. 13 And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either. 14 Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. 15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”

What changed?

They had an encounter with the risen Lord…and believed. With belief, everything is different. Life is different, focus is different…there is hope! Through faith, we can overcome distraction, division and disillusionment. We are a new creation!

Mark 16:20
And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs.

They went, they told, God was with them…and the world changed. All through belief.

What do you believe?

One Week To Live: The End of the Beginning

2016-03-20
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
Matthew 27:54
So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
Today, we bring ourselves to the place where Jesus fulfilled His purpose for coming to earth. Over the past several weeks, we’ve looked at his Triumphal Entry, the cleansing of the Temple, the last supper with His disciples and last week, His prayer time before he was to be arrested.

Let’s go back to Matthew 26 following these events and walk through the events leading to the cross and the eternal impact it caused.

Matt. 26:47
And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people. 48 Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.” 49 Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. 50 But Jesus said to him, “Friend, why have you come?” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him. 51 And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. 52 But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? 54 How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?” 55 In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me. 56 But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.

1. It Was Not Only Inevitable, It Was Imperative

54 How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?

– Jesus came to fulfill the purpose of God’s creation, to redeem all of mankind
– Peter attempted to attack those who came to arrest Jesus, but Jesus stopped him knowing that this was the only way
– After the arrest, isn’t it interesting that all of the disciples forsook Him and fled? vs 56

Matt. 26:69
Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.” 70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.” 71 And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.” 72 But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!” 73 And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.” 74 Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly.

2. It Was Difficult To Comprehend

– Peter was in denial, not only of the events taking place but of his own connection to them
– Peter fell completely into the trap of selfishness rather than selflessness; he was more interested in protecting Himself than standing up for truth

Matt. 27:27
Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him. 28 And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. 29 When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head. 31 And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified. 32 Now as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. Him they compelled to bear His cross. 33 And when they had come to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, Place of a Skull, 34 they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink. 35 Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: “They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.” 36 Sitting down, they kept watch over Him there. 37 And they put up over His head the accusation written against Him: THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. 38 Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left.

3. It Was Overwhelming To Watch

– He was treated worse than a common criminal
– Unimaginable actions by the guards and the crowds after all that Jesus had said and done

39 And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads 40 and saying, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41 Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, 42 “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. 43 He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” 44 Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing. 45 Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” 47 Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, “This Man is calling for Elijah!” 48 Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink. 49 The rest said, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.” 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, 52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. 54 So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

4. It Is Critical To Believe

– Nothing but blasphemy from those watching
– They laughed, they mocked, but in the end…they shook with fear
– TRULY THIS WAS THE SON OF GOD!

One Week To Live: Watch and Pray

2016-03-13
Charles Billingsley

After Jesus and His disciples shared their last supper together, they made their way to the Garden of Gethsemane. It is here where Jesus was arrested and taken for trial and eventually would endure the cross the following morning. What happens in the garden is of utmost significance in the life of Jesus and His disciples.

Today, we look closely at the suffering of Christ, His heartfelt prayer to His father, and His warning to his dearest friends, Peter, James, and John.

Mark 14

The SETTING

vs. 32 – “Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane”

vs. 32 – 33a And he said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” And He took Peter, James and John with Him. The SUFFERING

vs. 33 – And He Peter, James and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed.

vs. 34 – Then He said to them “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.”

vs 35 – “He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him.

1. Pray Faithfully

2. Pray authentically

3. Pray Intimately

vs. 36 – And He said, “Abba, Father”

4. Pray Fervently

vs. 36 – “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You.”

5. Pray fearfully

vs. 36 – “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from me.”

2 Corinthians 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

The SUBMISSION

6. Pray submissively

vs. 36 – “Nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”

The meaning of prayer, then, is not to force our will on God, but rather to surrender our will to His!!

vs. 39 Again He went away and prayed, and spoke the same words. 40 And when He returned, He found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him. 41 Then He came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.”

The Supremacy

Pray Confidently

Matthew 26:47-56 (NKJV) 47 And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people. 48 Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.” 49 Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. 50 But Jesus said to him, “Friend, why have you come?” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him. 51 And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. 52 But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish[a] by the sword. 53 Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? 54 How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?” 55 In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me. 56 But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.

Watch and Pray

36 And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” 37 Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” There is a two step formula to defeat temptation in your life:

1. Watch

1 Corinthians 16:13 – Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. 1 Peter 4:7 – But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.

2. PRAY

1. Faithfully – Pray often

2. Authentically – Pray honestly

3. Intimately – talk to your dad

4. Fervently – it’s ok to be passionate

5. Fearfully – respect His power

6. Submissively – Seek His will, not your own

7. Confidently – He is in control.

One Week To Live: Faithfulness In Serving

2016-03-06
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
Matthew 26:28
For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Matthew 26:17-35 NLT
17 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal for you?” 18 “As you go into the city,” he told them, “you will see a certain man. Tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My time has come, and I will eat the Passover meal with my disciples at your house.’ ” 19 So the disciples did as Jesus told them and prepared the Passover meal there. 20 When it was evening, Jesus sat down at the table with the Twelve. 21 While they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.” 22 Greatly distressed, each one asked in turn, “Am I the one, Lord?” 23 He replied, “One of you who has just eaten from this bowl with me will betray me. 24 For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!” 25 Judas, the one who would betray him, also asked, “Rabbi, am I the one?” And Jesus told him, “You have said it.” 26 As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, 28 for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many. 29 Mark my words—I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.” 30 Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives. 31 On the way, Jesus told them, “Tonight all of you will desert me. For the Scriptures say, ‘God will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I have been raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.” 33 Peter declared, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you.” 34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” 35 “No!” Peter insisted. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the other disciples vowed the same.

In this story, Jesus dealt with betrayal, He dealt with desertion, He dealt with disobedience. And He dealt with broken promises. Yet in the midst of all of these things, Jesus never backed away from His purpose. He never backed away from serving those He came to save.

Today, I want to spend some time talking about this meal, this moment where Jesus gathered those closest to Him and revealed the failures of those who had given their all to serve Him. Revealing to us all how those disciples who were closest to Jesus had failed. Reminding us all that there’s hope, even when we blow it, but also reminding us how important it is to serve Him and others using Christ as our example.

– Betrayal

21 While they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.” 22 Greatly distressed, each one asked in turn, “Am I the one, Lord?”

– Judas had already agreed to betray Jesus to those who sought to kill Him

– Desertion

31 On the way, Jesus told them, “Tonight all of you will desert me. For the Scriptures say, ‘God will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ ”

– Jesus was telling the disciples that they would all turn their backs on their commitment to Him

– Disobedience

34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.”

– Jesus had called Peter to “follow Him.” To this point, Peter had obeyed, but would soon disobey

– Broken Promises

35 “No!” Peter insisted. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the other disciples vowed the same.

– Peter did exactly as Jesus predicted, even though he had promised Jesus to never do so.

Do these stories sound familiar to you? Have you ever been the recipient of betrayal, desertion, disobedience, broken promises? I think this is universal, we all have. Yet in all, Jesus still served. He still loved them with an everlasting love. What’s the example we can walk away with today?

John 13:14-15 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow, do as I have done to you.

26 As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, 28 for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many”

29 “Mark my words—I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.”

Communion

1 Corinthians 11:23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.

Examine Yourself

27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

One Week To Live: Getting The House In Order!

2016-02-28
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
Joshua 3:5
And Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”
Today, we begin the countdown to Resurrection Sunday. The day we celebrate our risen Lord. As we move towards that special day, we want to take a look at the week leading up to Christ’s death and resurrection. We will look at a few of the significant events of that Passion Week that have direct implications on how we are to live today.

Matthew 21:10-13
And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?” 11 So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.” 12 Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ”

Getting the House in Order

One of the first things that Jesus did during this week leading up to His death is to get His house in order. After His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, He went up to the temple where he found people taking advantage of those who were there to worship. He used this as a teachable moment and emphasized holiness.
How do we get our house in order to make way for Jesus in our lives?

1. Recognize who He is

vs 10 And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?” 11 So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.”

– we must understand and be aware of the presence of Jesus in our lives in order to get ourselves in shape for
Him to do His greatest work

2. Recognize what He expects – HOLINESS!

vs 12 Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.

Jesus expected the temple to be treated with the kind of respect for which it was created

Presence of God
Representation of God
Repentance
Preparation

Joshua 3:5a And Joshua said to the people, Sanctify yourselves…

1 Peter 1:13-16 NLT So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. 14 So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. 15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16 For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”

1 Peter 2:11 NLT Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. 12 Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.

3. Recognize what brings Him sorrow

vs 13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ”

Isaiah 53:7 NLT I will bring them to my holy mountain of Jerusalem and will fill them with joy in my house of prayer. I will accept their burnt offerings and sacrifices, because my Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations.

– When God’s people continue to live in sin as if there has been no transformation because of the Gospel, it brings Him sorrow

Luke 19:41 NLT  But as he came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, he began to weep. 42 “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes. 43 Before long your enemies will build ramparts against your walls and encircle you and close in on you from every side. 44 They will crush you into the ground, and your children with you. Your enemies will not leave a single stone in place, because you did not recognize it when God visited you.”

– The reason He died was to change us! “New Creation” – 2 Cor. 5:17

Matthew 26:28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

“Holiness, as taught in the Scriptures, is not based upon knowledge on our part. Rather, it is based upon the resurrected Christ in-dwelling us and changing us into His likeness.” – A.W. Tozer

4. Recognize what happens next

vs 14 Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them.

Joshua 3:5b … for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.

– Obedience brings joy, peace, contentment
Malachi 3:10b NLT … “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!”

 

Stand Strong: The LAST Promise – A New Home

2016-02-21
Matt Willmington

REVELATION 21:1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” 5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” 6 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. 7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. 8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

“PASSED AWAY”

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us… For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Romans 8:18, 22

1. 1ST heaven, earth – “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.” 2 Peter 3:10

2. SEA [divide, darkness, death]

3. tears, grief, pain, death

4. THE LAKE = sinners, torment, God absent, death, purge, fire

“ALL THINGS NEW”

– Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Cor.5:17

– Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 2 Peter 3:13

THE CITY = holy, comfort, God dwells, purified, life, inherit, fountain

– for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God… But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:10, 16

– But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem… Hebrews 12:22

– For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. Hebrews 13:14

The REAL promise is not a place but a presence

– “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them”

“Dwelling”

– For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” 2 Cor.6:16

– “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many “dwellings”; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” John 14:1-4

Stand Strong: God’s Promise of Victory

2016-02-14
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse: Romans 8:6
For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Romans 8:1 (NLT)
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. 3 The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. 4 He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. 5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. 7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. 8 That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. 9 But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) 10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. 11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. 12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. 18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. 19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. 24 We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. 25 But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.) 26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Today we continue talking on how to STAND STRONG ON GOD’S PROMISES. We’ve looked at trusting God, we’ve talked about his promise of salvation, his presence in our fears, his promise to answer our prayers…and today, we’re going to talk about His promise of victory.

2 Cor. 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

God’s Promise of Victory – How is this possible?  When we are IN CHRIST everything changes!

1. We Belong To God – As His children, He has given to us a life-giving spirit in the midst of suffering and pain… and temptation.

2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death

– AND freedom from the bondage of sin!

3b And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.

We are not bound by the attacks of Satan and sin because we have been made free through Christ!

2. We Have A New Mind – The mind of Christ will change your present situation as well as your future destination

5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.

3. We Have New Life – In our broken down state, we are promised a renewal, new life

11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live.

4. We Have Strength To Walk On – When it seems that there is no way, no reason, to carry on, God will bring us through in victory.

18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.

5. We Have Hope – Through salvation, hope changes everything
23b…We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. 24 We were given this hope when we were saved.

28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Stand Strong: The Persistent Prayer

2016-02-07
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

As we continue our series entitled Stand Strong, I want to remind you again that the God who has made all of the promises found within the Bible is alive and active in this present age. We started the series a few weeks ago focusing on the awareness that you can trust God to fulfill His promises. We started focusing on the promise of salvation, that God promises to make us His children if we believe. Last week, Matt focused on God’s promise to deliver us in our fears.

Today, I want to talk about the delivery method. What is the pathway that God has given for us to experience His promises? How can we reach the God of the universe?

It’s through prayer. God places real value on the importance of prayer and the persistence of prayer.

Memory verse: Luke 11:10
For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Luke 11:1
Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” 2 So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.” 5 And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves;
6 for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within and say, “Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? 8 I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs. 9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

Luke 11:9 NLT And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

The Important Prayer – Luke 11:2-4 – the model prayer was given to us to ensure that we are aware of the importance of bringing all things to Him.

Matt. 6:9 Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
– Recognition that God is above all, the only one worthy you our praise

10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
– Recognition that God’s will is more important than our own

11 Give us this day our daily bread.
– Recognition that God is the one who will provide our every need

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
– Recognition that God is the one who forgives and as a result, we too, should forgive

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
– Recognition that God is the one who delivers

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
– Recognition that God is all-powerful

But in light of the lesson on prayer given by Jesus, how does this play out in our daily lives? How do take this model and integrate it into a process of God working in my life?

The Persistent Prayer – What does Jesus mean in verses 9 and 10? Can we take this passage literally? Why does it seem that sometimes He doesn’t answer when we ask, seek, and knock?

“Ask, and it will be given to you…”
– and it shall be given you — Either the thing itself which you ask, or that which is equivalent; either the removal of the thorn in the flesh, or grace sufficient to enable you to bear it.

“Seek, and you will find…”
– the continual search. When we are desperately trying to find something, we don’t look in one place at one time and then give up. We will do whatever it takes. This is persistent prayer.

“Knock, and it will be opened to you…”
vs 8 I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.
– asking is bringing it to His attention. Seeking is an earnest look. Knocking is a persistence that cannot be hindered or stopped because it matters that much

The Trust Factor – Taking Him at His Word
13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

Psalm 34:6
This poor man cried out and the Lord heard him…

Every element of this promise from Him is found in one important truth – “Recognizing that God is greater!”

John 3:30
He must increase, but I must decrease.

 

Stand Strong: God’s Promises

2016-01-31
Matt Willmington

In a world of fear and famines, we often wonder where our provision will come from. But Psalm 34 reminds us that God hears us and will deliver us if we look to Him.

promise = declaration to deliver
God is STRONG, but we must STAND
God’s WORD demands our WORK
Today: God’s Promise to PROVIDE: Fear / Famine
Psalm 34 NKJV David pretending insanity to Abimelech

1. FEAR =

Psalm 34:4
I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears. 5 They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces were not ashamed. 6 This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them.

WE seek, look, cry, fear.

GOD hears, delivers, encamps

“angel of the Lord” = Hagar, Abraham, Moses, Balaam, Gideon, Manoah, Elijah, Zachariah / shepherds, Joseph, JESUS, Peter

Psalm 125:2
As the mountains surround Jerusalem, So the Lord surrounds His people

2.FAMINE =

8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! 9 Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. 10 The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.

WE taste, see, trust, fear, seek.

GOD good, blessed, no lack of GOOD things

in NORMAL times – but there are TEMPT/TEST times

Isaiah 55:2
Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And let your soul delight itself in abundance.

FEAR FORMULA =

11 Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord 12 Who is the man who desires life, And loves many days, that he may see good 13 Keep your tongue from evil, And your lips from speaking deceit. 14 Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.

FEAR = listen+keep+speak+depart+do+seek+pursue

END…
God is STRONG, but we must STAND
God’s WORD demands our WORK
What’s your FEAR? seek, look, cry, fear
What’s your FAMINE? taste, see, trust, fear, seek

Stand Strong: To Be A Child…Again

2016-01-24
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse: 1 John 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

Last week, we began a new series focused on the promises of God and how we can all be encouraged and strengthened because we can build our lives based on these promises. Our discussion last week focused on the understanding that God can be trusted. His Word is absolute, there is no question, no doubt over whether we can believe God. We discussed how it is impossible to build our lives on God’s promises unless we fully understand that He can be trusted.

Today, I want to spend some time talking about the greatest promise we have from Him. The promise of salvation, the promise of eternal life. There is no greater encouragement than to know that this world is not all that there is, that God has provided a way for us to live forever. This is not some other worldly, crazy concept of the fountain of youth. It is the promise that because of what Christ has done for us, we have confidence that salvation and eternal life are available to us all.

1 John 5:1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. 2 We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. 3 Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. 5 And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. 6 And Jesus Christ was revealed as God’s Son by his baptism in water and by shedding his blood on the cross—not by water only, but by water and blood. And the Spirit, who is truth, confirms it with his testimony. 7 So we have these three witnesses 8 the Spirit, the water, and the blood—and all three agree. 9 Since we believe human testimony, surely we can believe the greater testimony that comes from God. And God has testified about his Son. 10 All who believe in the Son of God know in their hearts that this testimony is true. Those who don’t believe this are actually calling God a liar because they don’t believe what God has testified about his Son. 11 And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life. 13 I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.

To Be A Child…Again

1. It Starts By Believing

vs 1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God

Acts 4:12
Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

Acts 16:31
So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

2. Through Believing We Have Been Promised Power

vs 4 For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.

– Yes we suffer in this world, but God has given us power to overcome this world

Rom. 8:10
And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. 12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

3. Through Believing We Have Been Promised Victory

vs 5 And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God
– We have victory, not because of our talents, but because of our faith

4. Through Believing We Have Been Given Life Now

vs 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.

5. Through Believing We Have Been Given Life Eternal

vs 13 I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.

Stand Strong: Building Your Life On God’s Promises

2016-01-17
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
2 Thess. 3:3 NKJV
But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.

Today, we begin a study for the next six weeks of the promises of God found in Scripture. Obviously we can’t discuss all of the promises, by some counts that are up to 7,500 promises found in Scripture. But, we will talk about the essence of God’s promises, some pretty important promises that we all need to be reminded of, and how we can be reassured that we can count on God to fulfill every promises.

Today, we’re going to talk about trusting God. We’re going to discuss the faithfulness of God. There’s no point discussing the promises of God if we can’t fully trust God to fulfill His promises. We’re in an election year, and unfortunately, often we hear promises made by politicians that we know will never be fulfilled. We almost expect them to renege on their promises. Not so with God. If God says it, you can count on it…both good and bad!

Psalm 89:1 NKJV
I will sing of the mercies of the LORD forever; With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations. 2 For I have said, “Mercy shall be built up forever; Your faithfulness You shall establish in the very heavens.”

Psalm 89:1-2 NLT
I will sing of the LORD’s unfailing love forever! Young and old will hear of your faithfulness. 2 Your unfailing love will last forever. Your faithfulness is as enduring as the heavens.

1. The Faithfulness of God is Worth Celebrating

vs 1a I will sing of the LORD’s unfailing love forever…

1. The first step to standing on God’s promises is to remember what He’s already done.

Salvation
Family/Friends

b. If we fail to celebrate what God has done for us already, we are certain to fall into discouragement at the first sign of trouble

2. The Faithfulness of God is Worth Sharing

vs 1b …Young and old will hear of your faithfulness.

Why would we dare keep the promises of God to ourselves
We spoke a few weeks ago about how no one can thrive in isolation, sharing the faithfulness of God with others is a sure fire way to keep our hearts fixed on Him
Sharing with others helps to strengthen their faith as well, a duty of all believers

3. The Faithfulness of God is Guaranteed

vs 2 Your unfailing love will last forever. Your faithfulness is as enduring as the heavens.

a. This is a game changer. Few things in life are guaranteed. The old joke goes that only death and taxes are certain. Add one more thing to that list…the faithfulness of God.

Heb. 10: 23 NLT
Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.

b. All through the Bible, we see examples of God keeping His Word, even when unexpected

c. And yet, all through the Bible, we examples of God’s people forgetting His faithfulness and they turn their backs on Him yet again.

2 Tim. 2:11 NKJV
This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. 12 If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. 13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.

d. And not only do we need to live with Him in the forefront…we need to recognize that His faithfulness is our only hope!

2 Thess. 3:3 NKJV
But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.

What Then Shall We Do?

2016-01-10

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
Matthew 24:14 (NKJV)
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

Today, we’re going to take a brief departure and talk about something that is on a lot of people’s minds. With all of the things happening around the world today, how does it all play into the Biblical narrative of the end days. What does it all mean?

Today, let’s talk about the things we are seeing in our world today. Let’s talk about how it relates to what the Bible says and what it means to you and me.

Matthew 24:1-14 (NKJV)
1 Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” 3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, “I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

1. How does the rise of ISIS play into the Biblical story?

2. What about Iran, the rise of the Russian empire yet again and N. Korea?

3. What about natural disasters?

4. What about economic uncertainty?

5. What about political turmoil and divisiveness?

6. What about refugee crisis?

7. Is there a satanic fingerprint on all of these situations?

8. What about the state of the church today?

9. Is there a falling away of the church from doctrine?

10. What does Matt 24:13 really mean in light of all of this?

11. And Matt. 24:14? That seems to be a pretty telling statement.

12. What then shall we do?

2 Timothy 3:1-7 (NKJV)
1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

2 Timothy 3:13 (NKJV)
But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.

Finding Your Place In 2016

2016-01-03
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
Matthew 15:8
These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.

1. Read God’s Word Daily
2. Pray At Least 15 Minutes Daily
3. Have A Heart of Repentance
4. Find A Place To Serve Now
5. Look For Opportunities to Share Your Faith

How do we find our purpose, our place, in this world that is so full of distractions? Last week, we talked about the checklist for spiritual living. I encourage each of you to stick with that checklist, don’t let it drop or fall by the wayside. Stay committed to it and it will drive you to greatness. Today, I want to start 2016 with a conversation on how to fit. How do we find our place? And, once we do, how do we knock it out of the park. In other words, setting goals and making it happen.

1. P = Personality
Embrace Your Own Personality.  Celebrate the fact that God made you just the way you are. Know who you are.  Accept who you are.  And let God use you as you are.  Stop trying to be someone else.  You are exactly the person God wants you to be.  Accept yourself and enjoy your service.

Psa. 139:14a
I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…

2. L = Learn
Learn About the One Who Made You.  Get to know Him. Too many Christians today never get to know God. They know about Him, they pretend they know Him, but they never truly know Him.

John 17:1-3
Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

3. A = Abilities
Discover the Abilities That God Has Blessed You With.  These are God-given gifts that should be used for His purposes.  Ministry, music, administration, business, serving. There are so many areas that God uniquely prepares us for ministry. Use your spiritual gifts and your abilities to carry out the work He has for you!

1 Cor. 7:7
For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that.

Phil. 4:13
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

John 16:33
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

4. C = Connect
Connect with Other Believers.  God didn’t save you to become a spectator.  Nor did He give you gifts and abilities to keep them to yourself.  Find a need and meet it. Connect with other believers to be strengthened and encouraged. Connect your passion with a ministry where you can be fulfilled in your spiritual life.

Rom. 15:30-32
Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me, 31 that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, 32 that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you.

5. E = Experience
Experience God’s Best.  Don’t settle for a second-rate Christian life, when you can have God’s best right now.

Prov. 16:3
Commit your works to the LORD, And your thoughts will be established.

Psa. 37:4
Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

It’s time to find your PLACE of service. As you begin this new year, you have the awesome opportunity to discover what God wants to do through you and develop into that person, OR, you have the opportunity to descend into Satan’s trap of complacency that he has laid for you. Become a leader. Become a person of significance in God’s Kingdom.
Matthew 15:8
These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.

Principles for achievement

1. Never confuse movement with accomplishment
2. The Bridge between vision and accomplishment is discipline
3. Passion trumps obstacles
4. Embrace change

A Checklist for Christian Living

2015-12-27
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

As we come to the end of 2015 and are just days away from the beginning of 2016, I thought it would be a perfect time for us to once again rehearse the elements of strong Christian living. We’ve been talking this month about living generously, all of this is predicated upon having a faith that is strong, a process that is practiced, a faith that is tested, and belief that is strong. Today, I want to give you a practical checklist to ensure a strong Christian walk in 2016.

1. Spend Time In The Word
Psa. 119:105
Your word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path.

– God’s Word is the light you will need to navigate the darkness of this world
– God’s Word will keep you in the right place in your relationship with Him
– God’s Word will change you daily as you spend time reading

2. Communicate With Him
Matt. 7:7
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

Matt. 21:22
“And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

John 14:13-14
And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

How To Pray 15 Minutes A Day
a. Worship
b. Thanks
c. Repent
d. Pray for Others
e. Pray for Self
f. Worship

3. Have A Spirit of Repentance
2 Pet. 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

– Never let unconfessed sin remain present in your lives
– Make sure your sin is constantly moving
– Don’t be content or complacent with your sin

4. Find A Place To Serve
Matt. 7:16-20
You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

– Doing the work of God will be a catalyst to being the man (or woman) of God He wants you to be
– Letting your faith become stagnant will keep you from experiencing God’s best

5. Take Advantage of Opportunities to Share
Mark 16:15
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”

– Never discount or dismiss God’s call on your life
– Always be ready to share your story with others
The Checklist
1. Read God’s Word Daily
2. Pray At Least 15 Minutes Daily
3. Have A Heart of Repentance
4. Find A Place To Serve Now
5. Look For Opportunities to Share Your Faith

Season of Generosity: Putting Grace Into Action

2015-12-20
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Season of Generosity: Putting Grace Into Action

Memory Verse:
1 John 3:17
But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been discussing Generosity. What does it mean to live a life of generosity, to introduce a culture of generosity into our daily pattern of living. We’ve talked about what Christ called us to do, we’ve talked about the importance of it and last week, the results of living this type of life. Today, I want to talk about how to put it into action.

1 John 3:16
By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. 19 And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. 20 For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. 22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.
23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. 24 Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

1. Keep your eyes open for those in need
1 John 3:17a
But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need…

– It is difficult to see opportunities for generosity when we are distracted
– Knowing God’s heart is the first step to seeing others in need
– Take time this week to look at those around you to see what might be an obvious opening for you to live generously

2. Keep your heart open for those in need
1 John 3:17 …and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?

Luke 10:33
But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion.

– Have genuine compassion, don’t let your generosity be controlled by guilt or obligation

3. Keep your calendar open for those in need
1 John 3:18
My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.

– Actually schedule yourself some free time to see need
– Being too busy can keep you from living generously

4. Keep your arms open for those in need
1 John 3:23
And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.

James 1:27
Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

1 John 3:16
By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

– Be ready, at any moment, to help those in need
– When it doesn’t fit into your plan, your schedule, or your desires

 

A Season of Generosity: The Result of Generosity

2015-12-13
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
2 Cor. 9:7 (NKJV)
So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

2 Corinthians 9:1 (NLT)
I really don’t need to write to you about this ministry of giving for the believers in Jerusalem. 2 For I know how eager you are to help, and I have been boasting to the churches in Macedonia that you in Greece were ready to send an offering a year ago. In fact, it was your enthusiasm that stirred up many of the Macedonian believers to begin giving. 3 But I am sending these brothers to be sure you really are ready, as I have been telling them, and that your money is all collected. I don’t want to be wrong in my boasting about you. 4 We would be embarrassed—not to mention your own embarrassment—if some Macedonian believers came with me and found that you weren’t ready after all I had told them! 5 So I thought I should send these brothers ahead of me to make sure the gift you promised is ready. But I want it to be a willing gift, not one given grudgingly. 6 Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. 7 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” 8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. 9 As the Scriptures say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.” 10 For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. 11 Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. 12 So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God. 13 As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ. 14 And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you. 15 Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!

1. Your Generosity Will Be Contagious (verse 2b)
2b…In fact, it was your enthusiasm that stirred up many of the Macedonian believers to begin giving.
– Generosity has a way of leading others to be generous
– Treating others the right way changes the tenor of the situation
– This generosity must be genuine – “it was your enthusiasm”

2. Your Generosity Will Be Exponential (Verse 6)
6 Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.
– This is the model of stewardship
– 1 Corinthians 4:2 – “Moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found faithful.”

3. Your Generosity Will Be Rewarding (Verse 8, 11)
8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.

11 Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous.
– God honors a generous spirit
– You can’t out-give God!

4. Your Generosity Will Have Eternal Impact (Verse 12-13)
12 So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God. 13 As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ.
– Two things will result
1. Hurting people will be helped
2. God will be honored
– Love God, Love People – The great commandment

A Season Of Generosity: From Gratitude and Grace

2015-12-06
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

From Gratitude and Grace

Memory Verse:
Psalm 136:1
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

Last week, we started talking about generosity, we talked about how to treat others.

Luke 6:31
And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.

Recognizing that above all, God’s intention for us is to treat others with love, respect and Christ-likeness. This what is summed up in the Great Commandment – – (Matt 22:37-39 and Mark 12:29-31). This is God’s plan for you and me. But, as we discussed last week, it is the opposite of our human nature, our sinful nature. The sinful nature tells us that its all about us, that we must look out only for ourselves. So, in light of that truth, where do find the inward strength and power to live out generous lives?

It’s is found in a life of Gratitude and Grace.

Psa. 136:1
1 Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. 2 Oh, give thanks to the God of gods! For His mercy endures forever. 3 Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords! For His mercy endures forever: 4 To Him who alone does great wonders, For His mercy endures forever; 5 To Him who by wisdom made the heavens, For His mercy endures forever; 6 To Him who laid out the earth above the waters, For His mercy endures forever; 7 To Him who made great lights, For His mercy endures forever— 8 The sun to rule by day, For His mercy endures forever; 9 The moon and stars to rule by night, For His mercy endures forever. 10 To Him who struck Egypt in their firstborn, For His mercy endures forever; 11 And brought out Israel from among them, For His mercy endures forever; 12 With a strong hand, and with an outstretched arm, For His mercy endures forever; 13 To Him who divided the Red Sea in two, For His mercy endures forever; 14 And made Israel pass through the midst of it, For His mercy endures forever; 15 But overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea, For His mercy endures forever; 16 To Him who led His people through the wilderness, For His mercy endures forever; 17 To Him who struck down great kings, For His mercy endures forever; 18 And slew famous kings, For His mercy endures forever— 19 Sihon king of the Amorites, For His mercy endures forever; 20 And Og king of Bashan, For His mercy endures forever— 21 And gave their land as a heritage, For His mercy endures forever; 22 A heritage to Israel His servant, For His mercy endures forever. 23 Who remembered us in our lowly state, For His mercy endures forever; 24 And rescued us from our enemies, For His mercy endures forever; 25 Who gives food to all flesh, For His mercy endures forever. 26 Oh, give thanks to the God of heaven! For His mercy endures forever.

1. A life of gratitude requires work (verses 1-5)
– we must recognize the source of everything good

James 1:17
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

Psa. 136:1
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

Psa. 136:4
To Him who alone does great wonders, For His mercy endures forever; 5 To Him who by wisdom made the heavens, For His mercy endures forever;

– But in a world such as ours, it is difficult to separate the trials of this age to recognize the mercy of God
– It takes deliberate effort

2. A life of gratitude requires humility (verses 6-9)

vs 6 To Him who laid out the earth above the waters, For His mercy endures forever; 7 To Him who made great lights, For His mercy endures forever— 8 The sun to rule by day, For His mercy endures forever; 9 The moon and stars to rule by night, For His mercy endures forever.

we must recognize the significance of Creator God in His great power and our great weakness

3. A life of gratitude requires dependence (verses 10-22)

vs 12 With a strong hand, and with an outstretched arm, For His mercy endures forever

– Without Him we are nothing, with Him…all things are possible!

4. A life of gratitude must be based in grace (verses 23-26)

verses 23 Who remembered us in our lowly state, For His mercy endures forever; 24 And rescued us from our enemies, For His mercy endures forever; 25 Who gives food to all flesh, For His mercy endures forever. 26 Oh, give thanks to the God of heaven! For His mercy endures forever.

2 Cor. 12:9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Eph. 2:8
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

– It is God’s grace and mercy that allows us to experience gratitude, generosity and love

A Season of Generosity – God’s Way Of Treating Others

2015-11-29
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
Luke 6:31
And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.

(Matt. 7:12 Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.)

The Christmas season is upon us, like it or not. We have just been reminded of this fact several days ago during Black Friday festivities. Amazing, isn’t it, that Black Friday has become a bigger holiday than Thanksgiving! To me, the reason this has happened is not because of a marketing scheme thought up on Madison Avenue in New York but rather a symptom of an upside down way of thinking in society. Generosity has given way to “GET-orosity.”

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not against shopping, against buying things for our families for Christmas. And I’m certainly not against getting good deals on those things on days like Black Friday. What I’m against is the notion that we get so focused on what we want for ourselves and our families that we forget a world around us that is in need…both spiritually and physically.

I think today would be a great time to begin a conversation on how to turn that notion around in our lives. And, make no mistake, I do believe the only way to turn it around is through Christ and His church! That’s what “CHRISTMAS CARES” is all about!

Luke 6:27
But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. 31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. 32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.

1. Love Is The Foundation Of Every Good Thing (verses 27-29)
– Love your enemies? Really?
– Love starts the process of generosity
– Love starts the process of mutual respect
– Love starts the process of joy
– Joy starts the process of giving

2. Giving Is The Natural Consequence Of Loving (verses 30-31)
– When you truly love others according to God’s command, you have a natural desire to bless them, to help them, to give to them
– No one has ever missed anything they gave away because of love
– Blessing others results in blessing you more
– God rewards us for our generosity

Kelly Hancock states: Living Generously is:
* using your God-given ability to help those in need
* where your time, money, and talents come together to meet the needs of others
* something you can practice all year long, not just at Christmastime

Winston Churchill once said, “You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.”

3. Both Are Only Possible Through Loving God (verse 32-35)
– Maybe a better way of saying this is that it is impossible and improbable to live generously without truly loving God
– God is the source every good thing and every good work, earlier I stated that “Love is the Foundation of Every Good Thing.” God is love, therefore, only through Him can we experience what life was intended to be.

James 1:13
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

Thankful Because He’s Faithful

2015-11-22
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory verse:
2 Thessalonians 3:3
“But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.”

Wow what a promise! Today, we all need to be reminded of the faithfulness of God. Especially in light of the tragedies of this present age. We see heartache and hurt all around us, people searching for meaning, searching for hope. That hope is found in Christ and Christ alone.

Today, we are simply taking some time to worship, to celebrate, to be thankful…for all that God is to you and me. We will never truly understand how amazing our God is this side of Heaven, but it’s important to be grateful still. I just want to take a few moments today to focus on this verse…His faithfulness, He establishes us, He guards us. What a great truth!

1. He is faithful
“But the Lord is faithful…”

There is no question, no doubt about the faithfulness of God. In fact, there are approximately 277 references in the Bible to God making a covenant to man and in every case, He is faithful.

Deut. 7:9
Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments;

2. He will establish you
(stā-rē’-zō = to make stable, place firmly, set fast, to fix in place)

God’s promise is to “fix us in place” because of His faithfulness. In a world that is constantly batting us around, God holds us firmly in His grip.

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14
But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, 14 to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

3. He will guard you
…and guard you from the evil one.

In a world that is so full of evil, so full of danger, so full of temptation…our God is faithful to protect us no matter what. He does this through His love for us and the forgiveness He offers.

2 Thessalonians 2:15-17 Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. 16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.

Portrait of a King – When It’s All Said And Done!

2015-11-15
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Over the past two months, we’ve examined the life and teachings of Solomon. Going all the way back to his early days when David was preparing him to sit on the throne. Solomon learned a great deal about how to handle life as he made his journey.

While on that journey, Solomon has continually cautioned us not to get away from the Lord! Solomon did not grow weary about cautioning us about this temptation. It is as if he is SO convicted about this, having seen it first-hand himself, and bears the scars of this mistake that he doesn’t care how many times he says it or how frustrated we get hearing it over & over again! Why? Because he cares for us and believes it with all his heart!

Last week, we looked at Solomon’s parting statement:

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 NKJV 
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. 14 For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.

In other words, in the midst of saying that all of the things of this world are vanity (useless), the things of God are eternal and important. He tells us IT ALL MATTERS!

Memory Verse:
Proverbs 14:27 NKJV
The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, To turn one away from the snares of death.

Proverbs 4:13 NLT
Take hold of my instructions; don’t let them go. Guard them, for they are the key to life.

Solomon was the wisest man to ever live. We should learn from him. but we should also seek the same wisdom he sought from God.

Proverbs 9:12 NLT
If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit. If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer.

What does fear of the Lord look like?

Hate Sin

Sin Will Never Produce Happiness

Proverbs 23:17-18, 32 NLT
Don’t envy sinners, but always continue to fear the Lord. 18 You will be rewarded for this; your hope will not be disappointed… 32 For in the end it bites like a poisonous snake; it stings like a viper.

Proverbs 24:20 NLT For evil people have no future; the light of the wicked will be snuffed out

Proverbs 5:22 NLT An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him.

John 8:34 NLT Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin.”

Learn from Others – Fear of the Lord is easier when sought together…

Proverbs 5:20 NLT
Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life.

Never dismiss the importance of good and Godly friends?

Proverbs 12:26 – “choose your friends carefully.”

Learn From Him – Fall in love with Jesus, seek Him daily. It is our only hope.

Proverbs 6:21-22 NLT
Keep their words always in your heart. Tie them around your neck. 22 When you walk, their counsel will lead you. When you sleep, they will protect you. When you wake up, they will advise you.

Proverbs 14:27 NLT
Fear of the Lord is a life-giving fountain; it offers escape from the snares of death.

Our only guarantee of avoiding the “snares of death” is Jesus.

God’s wisdom sets us free. However, that wisdom can only come through a personal relationship with Him.

John 8:36 NLT “So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.”

All of Solomon’s life can be summed up to say that our only hope is Jesus. Jesus is the answer!

Portrait of a King: Under the Sun

2015-11-07
David Nasser

There is perhaps no better portrait of a man’s life than his reflective last words. Solomon’s confessions and conclusions in the book of ecclesiastes give us great insight from a man who attained one essential truth from the sum of his experiences. Through highs and lows, great triumphs and devastating failure, Solomon learned that life will only be fully lived “under the sun”, when it is fully attained from an “over the sun” perspective.

Ecclesiastes 1:1-3 (NIV)
1 The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem:
2 “Meaningless! Meaningless!”
says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
Everything is meaningless.”
3 What do people gain from all their labors
at which they toil under the sun?

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (NIV)
13 Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.

Portrait of a King: Leaving a Legacy to future Generations

2015-11-01
Dr. Dave Adams

Memory Verse:
2 Timothy 2:1-2
“You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also”. NKJV

Sermon Overview
God has placed within us the desire to leave something behind; a marker revealing that we made a difference. In Ecclesiastes, King Solomon offers a plan that empowers believers to bless the children for generations to come. Drawing upon the King’s principles, the apostle Paul provides a four-fold action plan.

Ecclesiastes 12:1; 13-14
Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth,
Before the difficult days come,
And the years draw near when you say,
I have no pleasure in them

Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
14 For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil NKJV

I. Be a Legacy. Look within yourself.
“Fear God and keep His commandments” Ecclesiastes 12:13

God, guard me from:
• Sinful Attitudes that stand in opposition to the faith life,
• Destructive behavior that contradicts the scripture,
• Continuing temptations that seduce me,
• Foolish decisions that enslave me, and
• Repeated mistakes that diminish and weaken me.

Leave it better than you found it

II. Share a Legacy. Look around you
“For God will bring every work into judgment” Ecclesiastes 12:14
When you go…take someone with you

III. Instill a Legacy. Look beside you.
“And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men” 2 Timothy 2:2a

Locate the “young guns,” stand down so they can stand up!

IV. Advance a Legacy. Look beyond you
“..who will be able to teach others also” 2 Timothy 2:2b

Portrait of a King: Seasons of Life

2015-10-25
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

IN this series, Portrait of a King, we’ve learned a great deal about leadership and relationships. And today, we continue learning from Solomon and his great wisdom as we talk about life. Life is a great gift that when done correctly, can bring immeasurable joy. But to live a life full of joy, we have to understand the seasons of life. Life has its amazing ups and its difficult downs. God allows these peaks & valleys, victories and defeats to shape us, to refine us, strengthen us, and teach us lessons we would have NEVER learned if life was always tranquil, calm, and predictable.

I Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
1 For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
2 A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
3 A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4 A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
5 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
6 A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
8 A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.

Solomon instructs with a summary of life:
vs 1 For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.

– Life is change, but in the midst of change, God is constant

1. The Beginning and the End – Life is finite (is limited, it’s measurable) James 4:14
2a A time to be born and a time to die…

2. The Work & The Reward – Life requires work to succeed
2b …A time to plant and a time to harvest.

Proverbs 21:5-7 NLT
5 Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.6 Wealth created by a lying tongue is a vanishing mist and a deadly trap. 7 The violence of the wicked sweeps them away, because they refuse to do what is just.

3. Stopping & Starting – A time to terminate and a time to restore
3a A time to kill and a time to heal…

4. New Beginnings – Being ready for the new things God brings into our lives
3b  …A time to tear down and a time to build up.

5. A Time for Expression – Private & Public
4 A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.

6. A Time to Fight – gathering stones was used to describe preparing for battle
5a A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.

7. Importance of Choosing the Right Relationships – choosing the right kind of friends
5b…A time to embrace and a time to turn away.

8. Time for Decision – (holding things lightly)
6b…A time to keep and a time to throw away.

9. Time to Mourn, Time to Rejoice
7 A time to tear and a time to mend
…and a time to be quiet and a time to speak.

So HOW DO WE COPE WITH THE EVER-CHANGING LANDSCAPE OF LIFE?
Depend on God!

Ecclesiastes 3:9-10 What do people really get for all their hard work? 10 I have seen the burden God has placed on us all.
– God is the author of life!

Ecclesiastes 3:11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.
– God is in control and has given us a spiritual window!

Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. 13 And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.
– Knowing God is in control brings peace!

Ecclesiastes 3:14-15 And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear him. 15 What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again.

WE SHOULD HAVE COMPLETE CONFIDENCE IN OUR GOD! HE WILL LEAD US THROUGH THE SEASONS OF LIFE!

Portrait of a King: Friends

2015-10-18
Matt Willmington

Memory Verse
Proverbs 18:24
A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

We live in a world surrounded by crowds and traffic. We spend large amounts of time with our 100s of ‘friends’ on social media. But are they really ‘friends’? Sociologists tell us that we are actually experiencing “crowded loneliness”. How can we have true friendships, the way God intended?

Ecclesiastes 4
1 And look! The tears of the oppressed, But they have no comforter— On the side of their oppressors there is power, But they have no comforter.

7 Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun: 8 There is one alone, without companion: He has neither son nor brother. Yet there is no end to all his labors, Nor is his eye satisfied with riches. But he never asks, “For whom do I toil and deprive myself of good?” This also is vanity and a grave misfortune.

4 FRIENDS

CO-LABORER Friend = reward, fruit, productivity

9 “Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor.”

Genesis 2:18 “It is not good that man should be alone”

ROADSIDE Friend = rescue, recovery

10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.

Prov.27:10 Better is a neighbor nearby than a brother far away.

Prov.17:19 Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. [NLT]

COLD NIGHT Friend = comfort, encouragement

11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone?

Prov.27:9 The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. [NLT] 17 As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.

BATTLEFIELD Friend = defense, protection, safety

12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Prov.17:17 A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.          

Prov.27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend…

“Married Friends”

Prov.12:26 The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray.

Song of Solomon 5:16 This is my beloved, And this is my friend

Do you Work, Rescue, Encourage, Protect??

Proverbs 18:24 A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Be the friend you wish you had, the spouse you wish you had

Jesus = “I have called you friends” [John 15:15]

Portrait of a King: Watch Your Step!

2015-10-11
Dr. Ben Gutierrez

“I thought It would never happen to me!”  
“How did I get to this place in my life?”
“I never saw this coming!”

So many people admit that they are in deep spiritual turmoil.  Many seek help from their pastor, friend, or other spiritual leaders to help them get out of their spiritual rut.  And these phrases are the most common words out of their mouths.  And after a review of the Scriptures, the struggling person quickly realizes that all their spiritual weariness all began by ignoring one small, little spiritual discipline in their life.  Dr. Ben Gutierrez rehearses the slippery slope of sin in the life of Solomon and reviews Ephesians 4:17-20 in order to learn how not to slide down the slippery slope of sin…and in the little things in life to always be careful to “Watch Your Step!”

“If left unchecked, sin will grow worse and worse!”

I Kings 3:9a NLT
Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong.

I Kings 3:10-14 NLT
10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom. 11 So God replied, “Because you have asked for wisdom in governing my people with justice and have not asked for a long life or wealth or the death of your enemies— 12 I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have! 13 And I will also give you what you did not ask for—riches and fame! No other king in all the world will be compared to you for the rest of your life! 14 And if you follow me and obey my decrees and my commands as your father, David, did, I will give you a long life.”

I Kings 4:32-34 NLT
32 He composed some 3,000 proverbs and wrote 1,005 songs. 33 He could speak with authority about all kinds of plants, from the great cedar of Lebanon to the tiny hyssop that grows from cracks in a wall. He could also speak about animals, birds, small creatures, and fish. 34 And kings from every nation sent their ambassadors to listen to the wisdom of Solomon.

I Kings 11:9 NLT
The LORD was very angry with Solomon, for his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.

Proverbs 5:22 NLT
An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him.

Proverbs 4:13 NLT
Take hold of my instructions; don’t let them go. Guard them, for they are the key to life.

Proverbs 9:12 NLT
If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit. If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer.

“If left unchecked, sin will grow worse and worse!”

“IF left unchecked…”

Six-Fold Digression of Sin

Ephesians 4:17-19
17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

Ephesians 4:17-19
17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

Step One – “futility of their mind” (v.17)
Produced by: Slight Dependence on Self!

Step Two – “having their understanding darkened…” (v.18)
Produced by: Frequent alienation from intimacy w/ God!

Step Three – “blindness of their heart…” (v.18)
Produced by: An unpracticed Christian walk!

Step Four – “who, being past feeling…” (v.19)
Produced by: A desensitized conscience!

Step Five – “given themselves over to lewdness…” (v.19)
Produced by: A disdain for all that is holy!

Step Six – “to work all uncleanness with greediness.” (v.19)
Produced by: A selfish desire for more!

“If left unchecked, sin will grow worse and worse!”

Ephesians 4:20
“But you have not so learned Christ!”

Proverbs 5:9-14 NLT
9 If you do, you will lose your honor and will lose to merciless people all you have achieved. 10 Strangers will consume your wealth, and someone else will enjoy the fruit of your labor. 11 In the end you will groan in anguish when disease consumes your body. 12 You will say, “How I hated discipline! If only I had not ignored all the warnings! 13 Oh, why didn’t I listen to my teachers? Why didn’t I pay attention to my instructors? 14 I have come to the brink of utter ruin, and now I must face public disgrace.”

Watch Your Step!

Portrait Of A King: Leadership By Example

2015-10-04
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
Psalm 24:3-4a
Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place?  He who has clean hands and a pure heart.

“clean hands” = implies pure actions
“pure heart” = implies pure motive

I Kings 6:11-13 NLT 
Then the Lord gave this message to Solomon: 12 “Concerning this Temple you are building, if you keep all my decrees and regulations and obey all my commands, I will fulfill through you the promise I made to your father, David. 13 I will live among the Israelites and will never abandon my people Israel.”

Joy of God’s Promise

I Kings 6:12b NLT
“…I will fulfill through you the promise I made to your father, David…”

Joy of God’s Presence
I Kings 6:13 NLT
“…I will live among the Israelites and will never abandon my people Israel.”

II Chronicles 5:13b-14 NLT 13b
At that moment a thick cloud filled the Temple of the Lord. 14 The priests could not continue their service because of the cloud, for the glorious presence of the Lord filled the Temple of God.

Leadership By Example: Good leadership is really nothing more than good “followship”

1 Cor. 11:1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.
Can you be a good leader without Christ? Yes, but what are you leading others to….

Solomon proved that to be a good leader, you must be a great follower of God.

Solomon’s Words of Praise.
Solomon focused on God, Who dwells with His Own, Gives them His Word, and Keeps His Promises…and God always had a providential plan in play!

I Kings 8:14-15a NLT
Then the king turned around to the entire community of Israel standing before him and gave this blessing: 15 “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel…”

Solomon’s Prayer of Praise
I Kings 8:22-23a NLT 22 
Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the entire community of Israel. He lifted his hands toward heaven, 23 and he prayed…

Notice “Lifted hands” (v.22) which, in the OT, was an expression of “poverty (spiritual impoverishment)” & “earnest expectation for an answer or reply from God.”
To follow Him properly, we must thank Him! Solomon did…

1. Thank You For Who You Are
I Kings 8:23 NLT
“O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in all of heaven above or on the earth below. You keep your covenant and show unfailing love to all who walk before you in wholehearted devotion.”

– Recognizing that there is no God but Him. Put Him first!

2. Thank You For Your Promises
I Kings 8:24 NLT
24 You have kept your promise to your servant David, my father. You made that promise with your own mouth, and with your own hands you have fulfilled it today.

– Recognizing that God is the source of all of our hope and dreams

3. Thank You For Your Forgiveness
I Kings 8:30 NLT
May you hear the humble and earnest requests from me and your people Israel when we pray toward this place. Yes, hear us from heaven where you live, and when you hear, forgive…

– Recognizing that His forgiveness is our hope
– Jesus is the “way, truth and the life, no man comes unto the Father but by Him!”

4. Thank You For Your Provisions
I Kings 8:37-40 NLT 37 
“If there is a famine in the land or a plague or crop disease or attacks of locusts or caterpillars, or if your people’s enemies are in the land besieging their towns—whatever disaster or disease there is— 38 and if your people Israel pray about their troubles, raising their hands toward this Temple, 39 then hear from heaven where you live, and forgive. Give your people what their actions deserve, for you alone know each human heart. 40 Then they will fear you as long as they live in the land you gave to our ancestors.”

– He is our provider.
– When we have nothing left, He takes care of us

5. Thank You For Your Protection
I Kings 8:44-45 NLT
44 “If your people go out where you send them to fight their enemies, and if they pray to the Lord by turning toward this city you have chosen and toward this Temple I have built to honor your name, 45 then hear their prayers from heaven and uphold their cause.”

– When the world is out to destroy us, our God protects us in ways we can’t understand

– John 10:10 – “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

Model for Christian Leadership

– Christ-centered in all aspects of life (a voluntary servant of Christ)

– Committed to serve the needs of others before their own,

– Courageous to lead with power and love as an expression of serving,

– Consistently developing others into servant leaders, and

– Continually inviting feedback from those that they want to serve in order to grow towards the ultimate servant leader, Jesus Christ.

Portrait of a King: Foundations of Godly Leadership

2015-09-27
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory verse:
Isaiah 55:11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
Last week, we continued our series focusing on lessons from the life of Solomon on how to lead with success. Today, I want to move over to 1 Kings 3 to talk about some foundational truths or understandings of what leadership really is if we are going to be Godly leaders.

We concluded our conversation last week talking about living out God’s Word in leadership and how to battle against a natural byproduct of leadership and success which is pride.

– Pride and feeling as if we are above others, better than others, smarter than others will always lead us to feel as if we don’t have to abide by the rules.

“Good leaders want true, honest feedback. Bad leaders see alternate opinions or disagreements as personal attacks.” – Justin Kintzel

– This natural result is a surefire way to destroy our leadership and our future

– Result of applying God’s Word in leadership – we won’t abuse authority, keeps you sensitive to sin, and guarantees Godly heritage

Today, in 1 Kings 3 we are given a glimpse of a very private moment between God and Solomon that shaped Solomon’s leadership forever.

1Kings 3:5 At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask! What shall I give you?” 6 And Solomon said: “You have shown great mercy to Your servant David my father, because he walked before You in truth, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with You; You have continued this great kindness for him, and You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. 7 Now, O LORD my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. 8 And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. 9 Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” 10 The speech pleased the LORD, that Solomon had asked this thing. 11 Then God said to him: “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, 12 behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you. 13 And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days. 14 So if you walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”

There are some foundational truths in the narrative that help us understand what really matters in life and leadership according to God’s Word. Here they are:
vs 5b …Ask! What shall I give you?

1. KNOW GOD – Know who God is and know God intimately

vs 6a And Solomon said: “You have shown great mercy to Your servant David my father, because he walked before You in truth, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with You…

– David was a man after God’s own heart, this resulted in GREAT MERCY
– “mercy” = khah-sid – kindness, favor, blessing
– Knowing God intimately will transform your leadership potential in exponential ways

2. EMBRACE HIS PROMISES – never forget what God has done for you

vs. 6b …You have continued this great kindness for him, and You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.

– God fulfilled the promises spoken to David on the longevity of his leadership
– God can always be counted on to keep His promises
– It’s pretty important for everyone to be aware and familiar with these promises

1 Kings 2:4 that the LORD may fulfill His word which He spoke concerning me, saying, “If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul,’ He said, ‘you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’
Titus 1:2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began,

3. EMBRACE YOUR OWN INABILITY – Have the proper perspective

vs 7 Now, O LORD my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. 8 And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted.

– Solomon’s way of saying, “I don’t have a clue what I’m doing” and that’s okay!

– Recognizing your own inability is the first step to embracing God’s abilities
– 2 Cor 3:4-5 We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. 5 It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God.

4. TRUST HIM – Trust that He will be all you need

vs 9 Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”

– Your leadership potential is directly related to and completely dependent on God working in and through you

Model for Christian Leadership
– Christ-centered in all aspects of life (a voluntary servant of Christ)
– Committed to serve the needs of others before their own,
– Courageous to lead with power and love as an expression of serving,
– Consistently developing others into servant leaders, and
– Continually inviting feedback from those that they want to serve in order to grow towards the ultimate servant leader, Jesus Christ.

Portrait of a King: Lead With Success

2015-09-20
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse: Eccl. 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all.

Last week, we began this series in 1 Kings 2 as David was instructing his son, Solomon, on what real leadership is all about. He stressed the importance of following God’s plan, of learning from those who’ve gone before, of staying focused on the task at hand and keeping our eyes on the goal. Today, we want to start moving into the practical lessons on leadership from Solomon’s life.

“Leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less” – John Maxwell

Lead With Success – Good stewardship of your influence in every setting

Deut. 17:18-20 NLT “When he sits on the throne as king, he must copy for himself this body of instruction on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. 19 He must always keep that copy with him and read it daily as long as he lives. That way he will learn to fear the LORD his God by obeying all the terms of these instructions and decrees. 20 This regular reading will prevent him from becoming proud and acting as if he is above his fellow citizens. It will also prevent him from turning away from these commands in the smallest way. And it will ensure that he and his descendants will reign for many generations in Israel.

Four spiritual requirements for leading successfully…all based on the foundation of God’s Word
– To be a successful Christian leader, you must ground yourself in God’s Word.
– Successful Christian leadership is never evaluated based on the world’s definition of leadership, is based on God’s definition of leadership.

Eccl. 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all.

Eccl 12:13 NLT That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty

1. Copy It – Kings were required to hand copy so it would leave an indelible mark on the heart
vs 18a When he sits on the throne as king, he must copy for himself this body of instruction…

Deuteronomy 28:1-10 NLT “If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully keep all his commands that I am giving you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the world.2 You will experience all these blessings if you obey the LORD your God: 3 Your towns and your fields will be blessed. 4 Your children and your crops will be blessed. The offspring of your herds and flocks will be blessed. 5 Your fruit baskets and breadboards will be blessed. 6 Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be blessed. 7 “The LORD will conquer your enemies when they attack you. They will attack you from one direction, but they will scatter from you in seven! 8 “The LORD will guarantee a blessing on everything you do and will fill your storehouses with grain. The LORD your God will bless you in the land he is giving you. 9 “If you obey the commands of the LORD your God and walk in his ways, the LORD will establish you as his holy people as he swore he would do. 10 Then all the nations of the world will see that you are a people claimed by the LORD, and they will stand in awe of you.

Deut. 30:15-18a “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. 16 For I command you this day to love the LORD your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy. 17 “But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, 18 then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed…

2. Keep It – Keeping the Word of God close for continued impact in our lives

vs 19a He must always keep that copy with him…

Why?
-Personal Impact
-Practical Guidance – Proverbs
-Powerful Grounding – Standing on something greater than you
-Permanent Truth

Psa. 119:11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.

3. Read It – Personal knowledge of God’s Word

vs 19b …and read it daily as long as he lives…

God’s Word will give you the answers to the questions you face today and the wisdom to know how to deal with the questions of tomorrow.

“It is always better to have the “seat belt” on before the wreck than to put it on afterwards!”

vs 19 …That way he will learn to fear (yah-RAY – awe, reverence, respect) the LORD his God by obeying all the terms of these instructions and decrees.
When we have true awe, reverence and respect towards God, it becomes more and more difficult to disregard His Will

4. Live It – Personal implementation of God’s Word

vs. 20 This regular reading will prevent him from becoming proud and acting as if he is above his fellow citizens. It will also prevent him from turning away from these commands in the smallest way. And it will ensure that he and his descendants will reign for many generations in Israel.

– Most damaging byproduct of leadership is pride and unhealthy self appreciation
– Pride and feeling as if we are above others, better than others, smarter than others will always lead us to feel as if we don’t have to abide by the rules.

“Good leaders want true, honest feedback. Bad leaders see alternate opinions or disagreements as personal attacks.” – Justin Kintzel

– This natural result is a surefire way to destroy our leadership and our future
* Result-won’t abuse authority, keeps you sensitive to sin, and guarantees Godly heritage

Model for Christian Leadership

Christ-centered in all aspects of life (a voluntary servant of Christ)
Committed to serve the needs of others before their own,
Courageous to lead with power and love as an expression of serving,
Consistently developing others into servant leaders, and
Continually inviting feedback from those that they want to serve in order to grow towards the ultimate servant leader, Jesus Christ.

Portrait of a King: You Can Lead!

2015-09-13
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
II Timothy 4:6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Today, we begin a brand new series incorporating the life and lessons from King Solomon, the wisest man to have ever lived. (1 Kings 3-God asked, 1 Kings 4:29-wisdom as measureless as the sand on the seashore.) Over the coming weeks, we will be learning from Solomon, and ultimately from God, how we can be the leaders God intended for us to be, how we can love those in our lives in a Godly way and how we can live life to the fullest…all to honor Him! These are lessons from God’s Word that will encourage us, that will be uplifting to all of us, as we seek to be all that God intended for us to be.

To begin this journey, let’s go back to the beginning of Solomon’s journey as king. David is nearing death and he shares some parting words with the next king.

1 Kings 2:1-4 Now the days of David drew near that he should die, and he charged Solomon his son, saying: 2 “I go the way of all the earth; be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man. 3 And keep the charge of the LORD your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn; 4 that the LORD may fulfill His word which He spoke concerning me, saying, “If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul,’ He said, ‘you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’

1 Kings 2:1 (NLT) As the time of King David’s death approached, he gave this charge to his son Solomon: 2 “I am going where everyone on earth must someday go. Take courage and be a man. 3 Observe the requirements of the LORD your God, and follow all his ways. Keep the decrees, commands, regulations, and laws written in the Law of Moses so that you will be successful in all you do and wherever you go. 4 If you do this, then the LORD will keep the promise he made to me. He told me, ‘If your descendants live as they should and follow me faithfully with all their heart and soul, one of them will always sit on the throne of Israel.’

David gave his son, Solomon, some life lessons here that will help him be the leader that David knew God wanted Solomon to become. These lessons are not only for Solomon, they are for you and me as well.

1. Learn from those who’ve gone before
vs. 1 As the time of King David’s death approached, he gave this charge to his son Solomon: 2 “I am going where everyone on earth must someday go. Take courage and be a man.

– You can learn from anyone, even those you don’t agree with
– Never dismiss the lessons learned from those of another generation
– 2 Chronicles 10, 1 Kings 12 Rehoboam’s rejection of the past

II Timothy 4:6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. – Paul encouraging Timothy to learn from his walk

2. Follow God’s path, not man’s – While we learn from the past, we follow God not man

vs 3a Observe the requirements of the LORD your God, and follow all his ways.

1Cor. 11:1 Imitate me, just (but only) as I also imitate Christ.

3. Don’t allow the blessings of God to keep you from obedience to God
vs 3b Keep the decrees, commands, regulations, and laws written in the Law of Moses so that you will be successful in all you do and wherever you go.

– It is easy to allow our current success to leave us lazy, comfortable and apathetic
– Greatest hindrance to what God wants to do next is resting on what God did before
– Solomon even got to the point where he head everything but felt empty

Eccl. 1:12 I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this burdensome task God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be exercised. 14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.

Eccl. 1:16 I communed with my heart, saying, “Look, I have attained greatness, and have gained more wisdom than all who were before me in Jerusalem. My heart has understood great wisdom and knowledge.” 17 And I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is grasping for the wind. 18 For in much wisdom is much grief, And he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.

4. Begin with the end in mind
4 If you do this, then the LORD will keep the promise he made to me. He told me, ‘If your descendants live as they should and follow me faithfully with all their heart and soul, one of them will always sit on the throne of Israel.’

vs 3b …you will be successful in all you do and wherever you go.

Remember this, The victorious Christian life requires a commitment from you to stand on God’s truth, but also remember this, it is not dependent on past spiritual victories. START NOW!

– Starting now, what will you do differently to be the leader that God intended
– What changes are you willing to make?
– What disobedience, sin, do you need to seek forgiveness for?

Terrorism and the Persecuted Church

2015-09-06
Johnnie Moore

A once-in-thousand-year crisis is unfolding in the Middle East as we watch a legitimate threat of eradication of Christianity in the place of its birth. What does the Bible tell us about these moments of extreme Christians persecution & what are we to do about it?

Matthew 13:44-45
“The kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”

Hebrews 11:35-38
“Some faced jeers and flogging, while others were chained and put in prison.  They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated – the world was not worthy of them”

Revelation 20:4:
“I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God.” 

I want to ask and answer three questions: 

What is HAPPENING? 
What does the Bible teach us about these moments of intense Christian PERSECUTION? 
What are we to do to HELP?

#1 WHAT IS HAPPENING?

#2 WHAT DOES THE BIBLE TEACH US ABOUT THESE MOMENTS OF INTENSE CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION?
 

THE GOSPEL IS WORTH LIFE AND DEATH

Matthew 13:44-46
“The kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”
 
GOD REQUIRES THE SAME COMMITMENT FROM ALL BELIEVERS

John 12:25
“The man who loves his life will lose it, the while man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

#3 WHAT DOES THE BIBLE TELL US WE ARE TO DO TO HELP?
 

WE ARE TO PRAY FOR AND PROVIDE FOR THE PERSECUTED 

Hebrews 13:3
“Remember the Lord’s people who are in jail and be concerned for them. Don’t forget those who are suffering but imagine you are there with them.”

2 Thessalonians 3:2
“Pray that we might be delivered from wicked and from evil people.”

Proverbs 24:11
“Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter.”

Acts 11:29
“The disciples, each according to his ability decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea.”
 
CONCLUSION:
Romans 16:20, “Soon the God of peace will crush Satan underneath our feet.”

Our Playbook: Strategy For Success

2015-08-30
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse: 1 Cor. 16:13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done with love.

Over the past weeks, we’ve been walking through the booklet, the TRBC Playbook. A plan for who the church is, what the church should do, and how we should do it. We’ve defined the church, last week we talked about our vision, our mission and our message. Today I want to talk about our strategy. How will we actually accomplish God’s plan for our lives as individuals and as His church?

Acts 2:40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. 46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

Our strategy for impact

1. Being Versed In Our Values – If we don’t know what we value as important, we will be distracted by the unimportant. We must place real intrinsic value on the foundations of our faith.

42a And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread…

* Commitment to Scripture – Heb 4:12 – Word of God is living…

-If we do not believe that God’s Word is truly God’s Word and is the only authority on which we stand in faith, our faith is in trouble.

42b … and in prayers

* Culture of Prayer – James 5:16 – The effective fervent prayer…

-It is imperative that all Christ followers develop a regular line of communication

43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.

* Lifestyle of Worship – 1 Cor 10:31 – …whether you eat or drink…

-We must recognize that everything we do is a potential act of worship

46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart

* Connected in Community – Acts 2:42-47

-God did not intend for us to walk this journey alone

44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.

* Heart for Serving – Mark 10:45 – …did not come to be served…

-Jesus made it clear, as our example, we should serve our fellow man as a bridge to life change

47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

* Passion for Sharing – Mark 16:15-Go into all the world… Luke 4:18 – “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me, To preach the gospel to the poor;

-If all we ever did was live our lives as Christ followers and never have a desire or passion to bring others into this relationship with Christ, in essence, we are devaluing the entire idea of following Christ.

2. Joined Together In Our Mission

* Gatherings – Corporate Worship (Hebrews 10:25 – forsaking not the assembling…)

* Groups – Acts 5:42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

Eph. 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,

Eph. 4:16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

1 Cor. 12:14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.

Proverbs 27:17a As iron sharpens iron…

When we as Christ followers adopt a deliberate plan of encouraging one another, strengthening one another, praying with one another, doing life together, we will increase our impact exponentially.

3. With Eyes Wide Open

1 Cor. 16:13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done with love.

-We must recognize we live in a dangerous, sin loving, world.
-We must be examples of Christ-likeness if we have any hope of changing our world

-Matthew 5:16 – Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven

Our Playbook For Change: Vision Matters

2015-08-23
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Last week, we spent some time talking about what the church is and why it exists. We focused on four very important words that describe the church:  Family, Authority, Word and Mission.

Today, we talk about one of the most important aspects of the church today and it is encompassed in one word:  Vision.

Prov. 29:18a (KJV) “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

My Dad had some definitions of vision that we need to recapture.

  1. Vision is a bridge from the past to the future.
  2. Vision is the eye of faith to see the invisible and the decisiveness to make it visible.
  3. Vision is the power that causes people to make huge sacrifices in order to become all they can become for God.
  4. George Barna said “Vision is a clear mental image of a preferable future imparted by God to His chosen servants and is based upon an accurate understanding of God, self, and circumstances.”
  5. Vision is adopting an action plan that will enable you to move forward in your Christian life and ministry.
  6. Vision is the inward fire which enables you to boldly communicate to your peers what the future will be like.
  7. Vision is the dynamic that enables you to translate your faith and dreams into a new and personal walk with God.
  8. Vision is the God-given energy which will make you become a risk-taker.

Today, let’s look at how vision plays a part in the future of the church and the future of you and me as Christ followers!

1. Our Vision

Acts 1:8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

a. Changed World – Gospel
b. Christ Followers – Those whom were far off have now come near to Him
c. Gatherings & Groups – Acts 2:42

2. Our Mission – To Change Our World By Developing Christ Followers Who Love God and Love People

Acts 2:14 (NKJV) “But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, ‘Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. 15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.’ 16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:  17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. 18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.
20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD. 21 And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved.'”

Acts 2:39 “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

3. Our Message – The message of the Cross.

Acts 2:21 “And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved.”

Acts 2:37 “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’ 38 Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'”

Rom. 1:16 (NKJV) “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.'”

So, some questions for all of us today:

1. What is your vision for your future?
2. What is your mission statement that drives it?
3. What is the message you want the world to hear?

Our Playbook For Change: Why Church?

2015-08-16
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Today, we’re going to begin a discussion about church. We’re going to talk about why the church is THE vehicle to push back the darkness and change our world. We’re going to answer a few questions over the next couple of weeks about church like:

What is church?
What’s the point of church?
How do I fit in?
What contribution can I make?
Is it worth the effort?

All of these are questions that have been asked many times by many people gathered in this place. Maybe not out loud, but they’ve been asked within our hearts and minds. I want to walk us through these questions and a few more so that we will all have a pretty clear answer about church.

Acts 1:8/ff Acts 2

Why Church?

1. Family – Being part of a church makes us part of a family that is pretty amazing.

Eph. 2:19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
– No one will ever thrive in isolation
– Strength in numbers is not just a cliche it’s truth
– God didn’t intend for His children to grow alone

2. Authority – Being part of a church gives us a very powerful advocate in Christ

Eph. 1:22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

– God also didn’t intend for His children to face the world without power
– Acts 1:8
-We act on the authority of the King

fullness – plā’-rō-mä (play-roo-ma) = completeness, that which has been filled
Church is an institution given by God that brings completeness and fulfillment into our lives

3. Word – Being part of a church gives us real answers for real questions and real problems

Col. 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

2 Tim. 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Heb. 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
– God didn’t intend for His children to figure out all by ourselves
– The manual was written and handed to us

4. Mission – Being part of a church gives us purpose, a reason, to make a difference

Matt. 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
– God didn’t intend for His children to do nothing
– Changing our world is not an option, we are commanded
– Matthew 28, Mark 16, Acts 1

From Christianity Today:
Myth 1: The church is merely a human organization
Myth 2: The church is a supermarket for spiritual groceries
Myth 3: The church is just a gathering of a few believers
• Orthodoxy: the proclamation of the central truths of the Christian faith regarding God, the person and work of Christ, and salvation
• Order: the positions of biblically qualified and properly appointed leaders
• Ordinances: the practice of baptism as the rite of institution into the covenant community, and the Lord’s Supper as the rite of sustained fellowship.
• Evangelism: gathering others to God by the gospel of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ
• Edification: growing believers toward maturity in Christ through teaching and discipline in genuine community
Exaltation: glorifying God through adoration and service
Myth 4: The church is optional

Best Supporting Actor: Josiah – “Break The Cycle”

2015-08-09
Scott Randlett

Have you ever wondered why you continue to repeat the same mistakes over and over?  Why the struggles you deal with are the same ones your family dealt with? Will you ever be able to make the changes you know you need to make? There is hope.  You can break the cycle of sin and live the life God always intended for you to live.  Discover the secrets to creating a new legacy through the life of a king named Josiah.

2 Kings 22:1-13 (NLT)

“1 Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. 2 He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight and followed the example of his ancestor David. He did not turn away from doing what was right. 3 In the eighteenth year of his reign, King Josiah sent Shaphan, the court secretary, to the Temple of the Lord. He told him, 4 ‘Go to Hilkiah the high priest and have him count the money the gatekeepers have collected from the people at the Lord’s Temple. 5 Entrust this money to the men assigned to supervise the restoration of the Lord’s Temple. Then they can use it to pay workers to repair the Temple. 6 They will need to hire carpenters, builders, and masons. Also have them buy the timber and the finished stone needed to repair the Temple. 7 But don’t require the construction supervisors to keep account of the money they receive, for they are honest and trustworthy men.’ 8 Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the court secretary, ‘I have found the Book of the Law in the Lord’s Temple!’ Then Hilkiah gave the scroll to Shaphan, and he read it. 9 Shaphan went to the king and reported, ‘Your officials have turned over the money collected at the Temple of the Lord to the workers and supervisors at the Temple.’ 10 Shaphan also told the king, ‘Hilkiah the priest has given me a scroll.’ So Shaphan read it to the king.
11 When the king heard what was written in the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes in despair. 12 Then he gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Acbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the court secretary, and Asaiah the king’s personal adviser:  13 ‘Go to the Temple and speak to the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah. Inquire about the words written in this scroll that has been found. For the Lord’s great anger is burning against us because our ancestors have not obeyed the words in this scroll. We have not been doing everything it says we must do.’”

1. Believe God’s power is greater than your limitations.
*2 Kings 22:1-2

I John 4:4 – “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

God is not Limited by:  a) your age b) your past c) your insecurities

2. Surround yourself with trustworthy people.
* 2 Kings 22:3-10

Are we trustworthy:  a) How do we handle His money? B) How do we handle His Word?

Proverbs 13:20 – “Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get into trouble.”

I Corinthians 15:33 – “Do not be misled:  bad company corrupts good character.”

3. Respond to the Truth of God’s Word
*2 Kings 22:11-13

“You find that the things you let go of while following Jesus were the things that were going to destroy you in the end.” – Francis Chan

Best Supporting Actor: Jonathan – Act of Valor

2015-08-02
Charles Billingsley

Today we look at another Old Testament character in our Best Supporting Actor series:  Jonathan. As Prince of Israel, Jonathan took it upon himself to daringly attack the Philistine army with only the help of his armor-bearer. God used this surprise attack to bring about a great victory for the people of Israel that day. We will witness the incredible boldness and tremendous faith of Jonathan and will then draw several principles for how this story can apply to each of our lives.

God doesn’t bless us through our disobedience – I Samuel 14:1-23

Jonathan’s Boldness

“1 One day Jonathan son of Saul said to the young man bearing his armor, ‘Come, let’s go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side.’ But he did not tell his father. 2 Saul was staying on the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree in Migron. With him were about six hundred men, 3 among whom was Ahijah, who was wearing an ephod. He was a son of Ichabod’s brother Ahitub son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the Lord’s priest in Shiloh. No one was aware that Jonathan had left. 4 On each side of the pass that Jonathan intended to cross to reach the Philistine outpost was a cliff; one was called Bozez, and the other Seneh. 5 One cliff stood to the north toward Micmash, the other to the south toward Geba.”

Jonathan’s Faith

Jonathan’s faith was remarkable, radical, and just a tad bit irrational.

“6 Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, ‘Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.’ 7 ‘Do all that you have in mind,’ his armor-bearer said. ‘Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.’”

Psalms 16:8 – “I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

“8 Jonathan said, ‘Come, then; we will cross over toward the men and let them see us. 9 If they say to us, ‘Wait there until we come to you,’ we will stay where we are and not go up to them. 10 But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the Lord has given them into our hands.’”

Jonathan’s Action

“11 So both of them showed themselves to the Philistine outpost. ‘Look!’ said the Philistines. ‘The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in.’ 12 The men of the outpost shouted to Jonathan and his armor-bearer, ‘Come up to us and we’ll teach you a lesson.’ So Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, ‘Climb up after me; the Lord has given them into the hand of Israel.’
13 Jonathan climbed up, using his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer right behind him. The Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer followed and killed behind him. 14 In that first attack Jonathan and his armor-bearer killed some twenty men in an area of about half an acre. 15 Then panic struck the whole army—those in the camp and field, and those in the outposts and raiding parties—and the ground shook. It was a panic sent by God.
16 Saul’s lookouts at Gibeah in Benjamin saw the army melting away in all directions. 17 Then Saul said to the men who were with him, ‘Muster the forces and see who has left us.’ When they did, it was Jonathan and his armor-bearer who were not there.
18 Saul said to Ahijah, ‘Bring the ark of God.’ (At that time it was with the Israelites.) 19 While Saul was talking to the priest, the tumult in the Philistine camp increased more and more. So Saul said to the priest, ‘Withdraw your hand.’
20 Then Saul and all his men assembled and went to the battle. They found the Philistines in total confusion, striking each other with their swords. 21 Those Hebrews who had previously been with the Philistines and had gone up with them to their camp went over to the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22 When all the Israelites who had hidden in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were on the run, they joined the battle in hot pursuit. 23 So the Lord rescued Israel that day, and the battle moved on beyond Beth Aven.”

The easiest way to accomplish nothing is to try nothing. Those who change the world are the ones who see a need and consider it their job to do something about it.

With God, all things are possible.

1. Pick a fight

2. Partner with friends

3. Put feet to your faith

4. Trust God with the results

1. If you could accomplish anything, what would you like to do?

2. What goals are you setting in order to accomplish it?

3. What sacrifices are you willing to make so you can accomplish it?

4. What price are you willing to pay?

Ephesians 6

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”

“The inability to do nothing.”

Best Supporting Actor: Malachi

2015-07-26
Doug Randlett

What happens when we lose the “awe factor” of our faith?

In Malachi, the Jews were just going through the motions. Outwardly, everything seemed fine. Inside, the cancer of apathy was growing.

Context:
1. The Jews had been freed from Babylonia captivity.
2. Nehemiah had rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem.
3. Malachi wrote about 70-80 years after the wall were rebuilt.
4. Over time they lost their attitude of gratitude.
5. Malachi most likely wrote this when Nehemiah returned to Babylon for a short time. When he returned he found God’s people in a state of spiritual deterioration.

The AWE factor was lost!

What happens when we lose the “awe factor” of our faith?

I. God’s love shown. vs 1:1-5

A. God declares:  “I have always loved you.” vs 1:2

  • “I have always loved you,” says the Lord. But you retort, “Really? How have you loved us?”

B. The people “arrogantly” questioned God’s love.

C. In spite of reassuring them of His love, the people did not repent.

II. God’s love Scorned. vs 1:6-3:18

  • We may get apathetic and arrogant, but God will send a wake-up call.

A. The pulpit was unfaithful.

1. The priests presented less than their best.
“You have shown contempt by offering defiled sacrifices on the altar.” vs 1:7a

2. They showed disrespect for God.
“You defiled them by saying the altar of the Lord deserves no respect.” vs 1:7b

3. They misrepresented the Word, causing others to stumble.
“But the priests have left God’s paths. Your instructions have caused many to stumble into sin.” vs 2:8a

  • Our example can cause others to stumble.

B. The people were unfaithful. They worshiped with unrepentant sin.

1. They married unbelievers.
“The men of Judah have defiled the Lord’s beloved sanctuary by marrying women who worship idols.” vs 2:11

2. Adultery and divorce were practiced. vs 2:14-16.
“But you have been unfaithful to her.” vs 2:14b

“For I hate divorce!” says the Lord, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” vs 2:16a

3. They called good what God called evil.
“You have wearied him by saying that all who do evil are good in the Lord’s sight,” vs 2:17b

4. They questioned whether God was just.
“You have wearied him by asking, ‘Where is the God of justice?’” vs 2:17c

They sided with a godless, arrogant world.

5. They robbed/cheated God.
“Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed
me! But you say, “In what way have we robbed you? In tithes and offerings.” vs 3:8 (NKJV)

C. God is faithful.
The prophet made his case:  accusing them of dishonoring a holy God.

God offers a succinct answer to the list of charges.

Mal.3:7 “Ever since the days of your ancestors, you have scorned my decrees and failed to obey them. Now return to me, and I will return to you,”

“I will pour out blessings so great you won’t have enough room to take it in.” vs 3:10c

D. The people remain blind to their faithlessness.
“How can we return when we have never gone away.” vs 3:7c

Their apathy and arrogance produced spiritual blindness.

“The SCOTUS may redefine marriage and ESPN may redefine courage. But God is surely disappointed in His church redefining holiness.”

III. God’s love Shown, again. vs 4:1-6

A. vs 4:2 “But for you who fear (stand in awe of) my name, the Son of Righteousness will rise with healing in His wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.”

B. I’m sending a redeemer. 400 years later, John the Baptist would prepare the way.

Lessons:
1. Jesus loves me, this I know.
2. He deserves my best; a living sacrifice.
3. God never quits on me.
4. He wants to rekindle the AWE factor:  Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.

Best Supporting Actor – Nathan (2 Samuel 12)

2015-07-19
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
2 Samuel 12:9a
“Why have you despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight?”

Today, we’ll continue our series entitled “Best Supporting Actor”. Today’s nominee is Nathan, a prophet in the time of King David. He was instrumental in calling David to establish the Temple, later putting that responsibility on Solomon (2 Samuel 7). But today, our focus is not about the Temple, it’s about a man – a man that God anointed, that God called and blessed, but a man who sinned. God used Nathan to call that man to account for what he had done, and to change his ways.

2 Samuel 12:1-14
“1 Then the LORD sent Nathan to David. And he came to him, and said to him: ‘There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. 3 But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him. 4 And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.’ 5 So David’s anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, ‘As the LORD lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! 6 And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.’ 7 Then Nathan said to David, ‘You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more! 9 Why have you despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon. 10 Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’’ 11 Thus says the LORD:  ‘Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. 12 For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.’’ 13 So David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD.’ And Nathan said to David, ‘The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. 14 However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.’”

Clearly, this is a powerful story. It’s a story that gives great meaning to why we have chosen Nathan as our focus today. He provided David with what could have been the most meaningful and powerful moments in David’s life.

We know that David had a blessed life and we know of David’s amazing story. While his story was blessed and amazing to this point, David could have thrown it all away over sin. Today, let’s spend a few moments seeing why God used Nathan to change David’s life.

Nathan’s Point – His contribution to David’s life

1. Nathan pointed out David’s Hypocrisy – verses 1-5

a. Rarely are we as offended at our own sin as we are towards others’ sin
b. Sin in the church destroys our effectiveness in fulfilling our mission

What sin?
– Sexual sin – disrespecting marriage; porn, adultery, pre- and extra
– Racism – denying that God created everybody in His own image
– Jealousy
– Selfishness – what I want is more important
– Preference over principle
– Biblical illiteracy – denying, ignoring God’s Word
– Lack of prayer – denying, ignoring God’s power
– Disobedience – denying, ignoring God’s plan

2. Nathan caused David to Take A Look In The Mirror – verse 7

“You Are The Man!”

3. Nathan issued God’s Call To Repentance – verse 9a

“Why have you despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight?”

  •  God said, “I’ve done all of this for you. How could you do this to me?”

David’s Response

1. Fear – verses 10-12 (fear over Nathan’s pronouncement of God’s disappointment)

2. Genuine Repentance – verse 13

“So David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD.’ And Nathan said to David, ‘The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.'”

– Look how quickly restoration began!

The Ugly Truth

Here’s what Nathan pointed out, not only to David, but to us today….

3. The Church Is Always Damaged By Hypocrisy – verse 14a

“However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme…”

Our Response

  • FEAR OF GOD – resulting in respect, holiness, obedience, being in awe of Him
  • GENUINE REPENTANCE – setting aside what we want for what God wants
  • GO AND SIN NO MORE – seeking daily to honor His Word

Best Supporting Actor: “Hadasseh”

How to save your world.

2015-07-12
Matt Willmington

Esther 2:7-8
And Mordecai had brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman was lovely and beautiful. When her father and mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter. 8 So it was, when the king’s command and decree were heard, and when many young women were gathered at Shushan the citadel, under the custody of Hegai, that Esther also was taken to the king’s palace, into the care of the custodian of the women.

1. GRACIOUSNESS
2:9 Now the young woman pleased him, and she obtained his favor; 15 And Esther obtained favor in the sight of all who saw her 17 The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.

2. SUBMISSION
2:10 Esther had not revealed her people or family, for Mordecai had charged her not to reveal it. 20 Now Esther had not revealed her family and her people, just as Mordecai had charged her, for Esther obeyed the command of Mordecai as when she was brought up by him

Captive World-
4:3 And in every province where the king’s command and decree arrived, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.

4:13 And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews 14 For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

* What’s your WORLD? MISSION? APPOINTMENT?

3. SACRIFICE
4:16 And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”

4. BURDEN
8:3 Now Esther spoke again to the king, fell down at his feet, and implored him with tears to counteract the evil of Haman 6 For how can I endure to see the evil that will come to my people? Or how can I endure to see the destruction of my countrymen?”

SAVED WORLD
8:16 The Jews had light and gladness, joy and honor. 17 And in every province and city, wherever the king’s command and decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a holiday. Then many of the people of the land became Jews… 9:28 that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city, that these days of Purim should not fail to be observed among the Jews, and that the memory of them should not perish among their descendants.

5. DEPENDENCE
4:16 “we will fast”.

Best Supporting Actor: Manasseh (2 Chronicles 33)

2015-07-05
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
2 Chronicles 7:15 NKJV
“Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place.”

2 Chronicles 33:1 NLT
“Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. 2 He did what was evil in the LORD’s sight, following the detestable practices of the pagan nations that the LORD had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites. 3 He rebuilt the pagan shrines his father, Hezekiah, had broken down. He constructed altars for the images of Baal and set up Asherah poles. He also bowed before all the powers of the heavens and worshiped them. 4 He built pagan altars in the Temple of the LORD, the place where the LORD had said, ‘My name will remain in Jerusalem forever.’ 5 He built these altars for all the powers of the heavens in both courtyards of the LORD’s Temple. 6 Manasseh also sacrificed his own sons in the fire in the valley of Ben-Hinnom. He practiced sorcery, divination, and witchcraft, and he consulted with mediums and psychics. He did much that was evil in the LORD’s sight, arousing his anger. 7 Manasseh even took a carved idol he had made and set it up in God’s Temple, the very place where God had told David and his son Solomon: ‘My name will be honored forever in this Temple and in Jerusalem—the city I have chosen from among all the tribes of Israel. 8 If the Israelites will be careful to obey my commands—all the laws, decrees, and regulations given through Moses—I will not send them into exile from this land that I set aside for your ancestors.’ 9 But Manasseh led the people of Judah and Jerusalem to do even more evil than the pagan nations that the LORD had destroyed when the people of Israel entered the land. 10 The LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they ignored all his warnings. 11 So the LORD sent the commanders of the Assyrian armies, and they took Manasseh prisoner. They put a ring through his nose, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon. 12 But while in deep distress, Manasseh sought the LORD his God and sincerely humbled himself before the God of his ancestors. 13 And when he prayed, the LORD listened to him and was moved by his request. So the LORD brought Manasseh back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh finally realized that the LORD alone is God! 14 After this Manasseh rebuilt the outer wall of the City of David, from west of the Gihon Spring in the Kidron Valley to the Fish Gate, and continuing around the hill of Ophel. He built the wall very high. And he stationed his military officers in all of the fortified towns of Judah. 15 Manasseh also removed the foreign gods and the idol from the LORD’s Temple. He tore down all the altars he had built on the hill where the Temple stood and all the altars that were in Jerusalem, and he dumped them outside the city. 16 Then he restored the altar of the LORD and sacrificed peace offerings and thanksgiving offerings on it. He also encouraged the people of Judah to worship the LORD, the God of Israel. 17 However, the people still sacrificed at the pagan shrines, though only to the LORD their God. 18 The rest of the events of Manasseh’s reign, his prayer to God, and the words the seers spoke to him in the name of the LORD, the God of Israel, are recorded in The Book of the Kings of Israel. 19 Manasseh’s prayer, the account of the way God answered him, and an account of all his sins and unfaithfulness are recorded in The Record of the Seers. It includes a list of the locations where he built pagan shrines and set up Asherah poles and idols before he humbled himself and repented. 20 When Manasseh died, he was buried in his palace. Then his son Amon became the next king.”

1. God is Patient
vs 10 “The LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they ignored all his warnings”

* God was patient with Manasseh even as he dishonored God.
* God’s protection remained even as they moved away from Him.

2. God will not be mocked
vs 11 “So the LORD sent the commanders of the Assyrian armies, and they took Manasseh prisoner. They put a ring through his nose, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon.”

* Manasseh not only dishonored God, he dismissed God.
* God is a jealous God.

– Exodus 20:1 NKJV
“1 And God spoke all these words, saying: 2 ‘I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 You shall have no other gods before Me. 4 You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me.'”

3. God is always faithful
vs 12 “But while in deep distress, Manasseh sought the LORD his God and sincerely humbled himself before the God of his ancestors. 13 And when he prayed, the LORD listened to him and was moved by his request. So the LORD brought Manasseh back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh finally realized that the LORD alone is God!”

* God never stops listening.
* He desperately desires for us to repent.
* Personal repentance and prayer is our only hope.

– 2 Chronicles 7:15 “Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place.”

* Key word – “sincerely”

4. God is worthy to be praised
vs 14a “After this Manasseh rebuilt…”

* For the rest of Manasseh’s life, he tried to rebuild what he had torn down.
* Imagine what his legacy would be had he never torn down in the first place.
* What about you?

Reaching the Next Generation

2015-06-28
Dr. Ed Hindson

Every generation faces challenges in regard to issues of sin and righteousness. One generation’s success does not guarantee the same for the next generation. Every generation has to face its own challenges in the power of God. The biblical accounts of Elijah and Elisha illustrate the importance of passing on our spiritual heritage to the next generation despite the challenges of ever increasing evil in the world. When things don’t go our way, we can either hide in a cave like Elijah or listen to the still small voice of God calling us to change the next generation.

I. Contrast: Elijah & Elisha
A. Elijah: “Jehovah is my God”
1. Predictions
a. Drought – 1 Kings 17:1
b. Rain – 1 Kings 18:41
c. Deaths of Ahab & Jezebel – 1 Kings 21:17-24
2. Power
a. Raised Widow’s Son – 1 Kings 17:17-24
b. Called Down Fire – 1 Kings 18:20-40
3. Problems
a. Fear – 1 Kings 19:1-3
b. Depression – 1 Kings 19:9-10

“9 There he went into a cave and spent the night.
And the word of the Lord came to him: ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’
10 He replied, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.’”

B. Elisha: “God is Salvation”
1. Insignificance: End of the Line – 1 Kings 19:19
2. Hesitation: Wait – 1 Kings 19:20
3. Heritage: Twice the Miracles – 2 Kings 2-6
II. Confrontation:  What are you Doing? – 1 Kings 19:9
III. Commission:  Change the World – 1 Kings 19:15-18

“15 The Lord said to him, ‘Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.’”

A. Hazael
B. Jehu
C. Elisha

IV. Call:  Pick up the Mantle
A. Mantle Cast – 1 Kings 19:19

“So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him.”

B. Mantle Recovered – 2 Kings 2:1-14

“8 Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water with it. The water divided to the right and to the left, and the two of them crossed over on dry ground.
9 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?’
‘Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,’ Elisha replied.”

“13 Elisha then picked up Elijah’s cloak that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. 14 He took the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and struck the water with it. ‘Where now is the Lord, the God of Elijah?’ he asked. When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over.”

V. Core Principles:
A. It’s Never as Bad as You Think
B. Don’t Focus on the Problems
C. Look For Solutions
D. Train the Next Generation
E. God Uses Different People

Greater Things, Greater Days!

2015-06-21

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

John 14:12
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.

Memory Verse:
John 14:13
“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. John 14:14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”

Power of the Local Church

Acts 5:42
“And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.”

HopeNow.tv

1957 Church Plant – Arnolds Valley

Purpose of the Local Church – “Gospel Proclamation”

James 5:20
“Let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.”

Promise of the Local Church

Eph. 3:20
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

Josh. 4:19
“Now the people came up from the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and they camped in Gilgal on the east border of Jericho. 20 And those twelve stones which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up in Gilgal. 21 Then he spoke to the children of Israel, saying: ‘When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ 22 then you shall let your children know, saying, ‘Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry land’; 23 for the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed over, 24 that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty, that you may fear the LORD your God forever.’”

Stones of Remembrance

Greater Things: Being A Follower!

2015-06-14
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse: John 14:15 [NKJV]

“If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever.”

John 14:12 [NKJV]

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”

We’ve been talking about what this verse means and what it can mean in the life of the believer. I was asked this week, “What’s the difference between a Christian and a disciple?”

Luke 14:33 [NKJV]

“So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”

The difference is clear: “Christian” is a title, “Disciple” is a definition of who you are. It is impossible to be a disciple without being a Christian, it is possible to be a Christian without being a disciple.

“disciple” – mathētēs [moth-a-TASE] = pupil, learner, follower

“No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9

So today, let’s talk about how the Greater Things will occur. They will occur when people are not merely labeled Christians, it is when they are true disciples – followers – of Jesus Christ.

John 14:15 [NKJV]

“If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. 19 A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

John 14:15 [NLT]

“If you love me, obey my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. 18 No, I will not abandon you as orphans — I will come to you. 19 Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live. 20 When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”

To be a follower:

1. You must be obedient

vs 15 “If you love Me, obey My commandments.”

– Obedience to Christ in all is the first step to doing Great Things for Him.

– If Christ does not reign over the mundane events in our lives, He does not reign at all. — Paul Tripp1

2. You must know you are not alone

vs 16 “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.”

– We are not in this journey by ourselves. We have an advocate who will enable us

18 No, I will not abandon you as orphans — I will come to you.

3. You must fully trust Him

vs 19 “Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live. 20 When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”

– Dependence on God that He will do as He promised

4. You must look for Him

vs 21 “Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”

“Get moving — begin to abide now. In the initial stages it will be a continual effort to abide, but as you continue, it will become so much a part of your life that you will abide in Him without any conscious effort.” – Oswald Chambers2

That revealing of Himself to us is where the Greater Works become reality. Where faith becomes sight. We will see the power of His work.

Stones of Remembrance

Joshua 4:21 [NLT]

“Then Joshua said to the Israelites, ‘In the future your children will ask, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 Then you can tell them, ‘This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the LORD your God dried up the river right before your eyes, and he kept it dry until you were all across, just as he did at the Red Sea when he dried it up until we had all crossed over. 24 He did this so all the nations of the earth might know that the LORD’s hand is powerful, and so you might fear the LORD your God forever.'”

Footnotes:

1 http://www.tentmaker.org/Quotes/discipleshipquotes.htm

2 My Utmost For His Highest, Oswald Chambers, June 14 Reading, http://utmost.org

Greater Things: Starts In The Heart

2015-06-07
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
James 4:17 NKJV
“Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

Last week, we began a series entitled “Greater Things.” This series is based out of John 14:12 where it says:

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do.” (NKJV)

In the sermon last week, we talked about three things to understand what Jesus was saying. Greater Things always come from God’s Authority, God’s Provision and God’s Plan.

I want to take a moment to review the last point from last week.

God’s Plan – Prayer!

vs. 13 “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”

It’s interesting that immediately after Jesus said we would be able to do “Greater Works” in verse 12, He points us right back to prayer.

What can be surmised from this fact? Prayer is the key!

“Whenever there is little praying in the pulpit or in the pew, spiritual bankruptcy is imminent & inevitable.” – E.M. Bounds1

James 5:16 NKJV

“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.”

Today, I want to draw from the last point to ensure that we are all aware that the Greater Things that Jesus talked about are impossible unless we prepare our hearts and lives for their occurrence.

James 4:8 NKJV

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. 11 Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another? 13 Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 15 Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’ 16 But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

1. A double-minded heart will never see greater works

vs 8 “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.”

  1. Sin will always keep you from the Greater Things that God has in store for you to do.
  2. As a result, sin in the life of the believer will keep churches from the Greater Things that God has in store for them to do.

2. A proud heart will never see greater works

vs 10 “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

  1. Pride is the declaration that I can do this on my own, that I’m better than I really am.
  2. Pride will always result in being humbled, it is far better to humble ourselves than for it to happen another way.

vs 16 “But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.”

3. A judging heart will never see greater works

vs 11 “Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?”

  1. This is one of the great evils in the church today.
  2. When you put others down, even when they’ve made bad choices, you are setting yourself up for failure and ridicule. Your sin, and that is what judging others is called by God, will keep you from being a great leader of impact in the Kingdom of God.

vs 17 “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

“God’s plan is to make much of the man, far more of him than of anything else. Men are God’s method. The Church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men. ”
― E.M. Bounds2

—————————————————
Footnotes:
(1) – E.M Bounds on Prayer, page 212, Hendricksen Publishers, published in 2006.
(2) – Power Through Prayer by E.M. Bounds, Start Publishing, 2012.

 

Greater Things Than These

2015-05-31
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
John 14:12
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”

Today, we begin a new series entitled “Greater Things” based on John 14:12, our memory verse for this week. During this series we’re going to spend a little time examining this passage and trying to answer the question, “What does it mean that we will be able to do even greater works?” I say “trying to answer” because this is question is difficult to answer.

John 14:1-14 (NKJV)
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And where I go you know, and the way you know. 5 Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?’ 6 Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. 7 If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.’ 8 Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.’ 9 Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves. 12 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.'”

John 14:12-14 (NLT)
“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.14 Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!”

What does it mean that we will be able to do even greater works? Before we can begin to dive into what this means, and more specifically what this means for us at TRBC, we have to answer another question:  How?

1. God’s Authority
vs 9b “He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.”

– The world has long believed that mankind’s increasing wealth of knowledge is all that is needed.

Human technological intelligence will advance1
* 32 times in the next five years
* 1000 times in the next 10 years
* 1 million times in the next 20 years
* 1 billion times in the next 30 years

– Yet, it is only in the authority of God the Father that we will be able to accomplish what
the greater works Christ talked about.

2. God’s Provision
vs 12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”

– Greater works only possible because Christ lives

– What greater works?

– Gospel proclamation

– In 1911, the a telegram first went around the world.2

– In 1977, NASA sent a time capsule into space on Voyager II.

– Today, it now takes merely seconds for an email to circle the globe.

– Video and audio signals can be transmitted in real time.

– Mark 16:15 “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.’”

3. God’s Plan
vs. 13 “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”

– It’s interesting that immediately after Jesus said we would be able to do “greater works,” He points us right back to prayer.

– What can be surmised from this fact? Prayer is the key

James 5:16
“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.”

 

Footnotes:
(1) http://theemergingfuture.com/speed-technological-advancement.htm

(2) http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-around-the-world-telegram-sent-66-years-before-voyager-ii-launch

 

James 3: Our Words Matter

2015-05-24
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
James 3:10 NKJV
Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.

James 1:26 NKJV
If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless

James 1:26 NLT
If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.

James 3:8-18 NKJV
8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh. 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
1. Recognize the danger in words
v8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison

What is the danger?
– evil words
– criticism
– gossip
– lies
An out of control tongue reveals an out of control heart
Always destroys joy, reputation, opportunity

2. The problem
v9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.

James 3:9 NLT
Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God.

– It dishonors God
– It sets us up for failure and heartache

James 3:16 NLT
For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.

– Pushes others away from God
vs 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.

3. The Solution
v17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

– We must seek forgiveness
– We must strive to stop
– Determine to be positive rather than negative
– Turn everything around

a. PURE
b. PEACEABLE
c. GENTLE
d. WILLING TO YIELD
e. MERCY
f. GOOD FRUITS (works)
h. WITHOUT PARTIALITY
i. WITHOUT HIPOCRISY

 

James 1

2015-05-17
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
James 1:22
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

Today, and next week, I want to spend time in the book of James as a motivator for all of us to understand God’s design for His followers. James lays out for us some important truths that should be applied in our lives for us to be more successful in our faith walk.

As we read this entire chapter, let the words soak into your hearts and minds. Allow God’s wisdom through this passage to be used as an opportunity to measure where we are individually in relation to the encouragements found here.

James 1:1-27 (NKJV)
“James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings. 2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. 9 Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, 10 but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. 11 For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits. 12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. 18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures. 19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. 26 If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”

What Should Be Present In Our Lives As Christ Followers

1. Patience
v2 (NLT) “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”

– Nothing can slow down your spiritual development more than a lack of patience in life
– Patience is the delivery system God has chosen to perfect us

2. Wisdom
v5 (NLT) “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.”

– Opportunities find their way into our lives via seeking God and His wisdom
– When we rush in without God and His wisdom at our backs, we usually fail

3. A Plan
19 (NLT) “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20 Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. 21 So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.”

– Two-fold game plan
1. Quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger
2. Elimination of that which will crowd out Godly wisdom

4. A Purpose
v22 (NLT) “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.”

– Continuing to read and know God’s Word without putting it into practice will only lead to frustration and an undisciplined life
– Not allowing God and His Word to transform us leaves us empty and ugly
– Trusting God and obeying Him will shape us into His greatest work

Mother’s Day: Things I’ve Learned From Mom

2015-05-10
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
Prov. 31:30
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.

Prov. 31:10
Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. 11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain. 12 She does him good and not evil All the days of her life. 13 She seeks wool and flax, And willingly works with her hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships, She brings her food from afar. 15 She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants. 16 She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a vineyard. 17 She girds herself with strength, And strengthens her arms. 18 She perceives that her merchandise is good, And her lamp does not go out by night. 19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hand holds the spindle. 20 She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household, For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes tapestry for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies sashes for the merchants. 25 Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come. 26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness. 27 She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all.” 30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates.

Today is Mother’s Day and I just want to talk about things I learned from my mom. These are important life lessons that have guided me, changed me, helped me, encouraged me and made me who I am today. I do this today, not so much to praise my mom (which I certainly do), but to encourage all of us to be better people, better in what we do and in how we do it. Not just for moms…but for all of us.

So, together, let’s take some of the truths from Proverbs 31 and see if we can’t make some practical application to our lives for today and for the rest of our lives.

1. Being honest is always better than being right
v11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her…
– Some people work very hard at never being “wrong” and will allow conflict to build just so that won’t have to admit they’re wrong
– You can’t be a person who is “safely trusted” if you never allow yourself to be vulnerable

2. Hard work is always better than just getting by
v13 She seeks wool and flax, And willingly works with her hands.
– Many people today want to do the minimum to get by, that doesn’t move us from ordinary to extraordinary

3. Helping is always better than ignoring those in need
v20 She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
– Turning a blind eye to the needs of those around us not only dishonors them, it dishonors God

4. Family is always better than fame
v23 Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land.
– What takes place within the home will always either make your family better or worse
– Realize the gifts from God that live within your home
– Spend more time focusing on your family than focusing on yourself

5. Kindness is always better than anger
v26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
– Some people are always filled with anger, conflict and jealousy
– Wisdom and Kindness go hand in hand
– You can’t be a person of wisdom if you are not also a person of kindness

6. Loving God is always better than anything
v30b …But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
– Putting God first is a requirement to loving life and loving others
– Putting God first will not only make you a better person, it will make those around you better people

Matthew 6:33

He Lives, Do You? Why are you here?

2015-05-03
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory verse:
Mark 16:15
“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.'”

Living our lives in the power of Christ’s resurrection should give us purpose and mission. Unfortunately, so many followers of Christ don’t live, they exist, with no purpose, no mission, and no plan in life. God wants us to live on purpose, with mission, with a plan that can not only change us, but change the world.

Matt. 28:18
“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.”

Why are you here?

Because of Christ within us, we have power to do all that He has called us to. How?

1. We have been commissioned with authority
– verse 18b “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”

– The greatest hindrance to a Christian knowing and doing what God intends for them to do is the feeling of inadequacy

– God will never give you a purpose in life without giving you the power in life to accomplish it.

– John 14:12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”

2. We have been commissioned to make a difference
– verse 19a “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.”

– Mark 16:15 “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”

– The purpose that God has for you is not simply to exist and mark time but to make a difference that could never have been made if you didn’t do it.

– Think about someone that has left a major imprint on your life, then ask yourself how they did it. Whatever that action was, what’s keeping you from doing the same?

”When we commit our lives to Jesus, we commit to an enduring, lifelong mission. We commit to a life of speaking, acting, thinking and relating out the transforming and joyful experience of being in a relationship with Christ. That’s it. Wherever you are, whatever you do, whether you think it’s the best fit or worst job ever – God wants you to live out His mission.” 1 – Nicole Unice

3. We have been commissioned to obey
– verse 20a “…teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you;”

– It is impossible to determine your life’s purpose without living a life of obedience to the one who created you

“Does it make sense to pray for guidance about the future if we are not obeying in the thing that lies before us today? How many momentous events in Scripture depended on one person’s seemingly small act of obedience? Rest assured:  Do what God tells you to do now, and depend upon it; you will be shown what to do next.” 2 – Elizabeth Elliott

We will not be alone. Jesus said He would be with us every step of the way.

Footnotes:
1 – Start Here: Beginning A Relationship With Jesus. David Dwight, Nicole Unice.

2 – Elisabeth Elliot, Quest for Love: True Stories of Passion and Purity

He Lives, Do You? No Doubt

2015-04-26
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
John 20:29
“Jesus said to him, ‘Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’”

We have been talking about what it truly means to live, not just exist, because Christ lives. Over the past two weeks, we’ve looked at Peter, Mary, the guards who were assigned to Christ’s tomb and others who encountered the risen Lord. Over these conversations, we’ve talked about following Him and how to live without fear. Today, we want to talk about living without doubt.

Doubt and uncertainty are issues that so many of us face in encountering the daily grind of life. Wondering if God cares, wondering if He’s going to help us, wondering if anyone cares for us are all issues that we must deal with. Many of us today even question if God made a mistake when he made us. What do we doubt? Our worth, our value, whether anyone truly loves us, if we can actually contribute.

When you doubt your value as a human being, you are really doubting God’s value as your creator.

It’s interesting to note that even those who walked with Christ as His disciples dealt with similar feelings.

John 20:24-31
“Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, ‘We have seen the Lord’ So he said to them, ‘Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.’ 26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said,’Peace to you’ 27 Then He said to Thomas, ‘Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing’ 28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ 29 Jesus said to him, ‘Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’ 30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

No Doubt

1. The importance of presence
verse 24
“Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.”

– Thomas missed out on the miracle because he wasn’t in God’s presence
– How many miracles of God do we miss out on because we are somewhere else besides the presence of God?

– In every moment of self doubt, in every moment of wondering whether you have value, make that a moment where you instantly start talking to God, asking for His perfect peace.

– Ephesians 2:10 – “We are His workmanship…” In some translations, it says we are “His masterpiece.”

– Genesis 1:27 – “So God created man in His own image.”

2. The importance of encouragement
verse 25
“The other disciples therefore said to him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ So he said to them, ‘Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.’”

– Even though Thomas knew the integrity of the men in that room, he doubted everything they said

– God places people into your life that can be an encouragement in your faith walk

– Don’t let your doubts and fears keep you from trusting in and being encouraged by others

– In every moment of self doubt, surround yourself with people who will lift you up, not bring you down. (Misery loves company)

– 1 Thess. 5:11 – “Therefore comfort one another…”

– Hebrews 10:23-25 – “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

3. The importance of faith
verse 29
“Jesus said to him, ‘Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’”

verses 30-31
“30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

– Having faith in God is the single most important marker in living without doubt

Heb. 11:6
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

John 1:12
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name”

G. Campbell Morgan had already enjoyed some success as a preacher by the time he was 19 years old. But then he was attacked by doubts about the Bible. The writings of various scientists and agnostics disturbed him (e.g., Charles Darwin, John Tyndall, Thomas Huxley, and Herbert Spencer). As he read their books and listened to debates, Morgan became more and more perplexed. What did he do? He cancelled all preaching engagements, put all the books in a cupboard and locked the door, and went to the bookstore and bought a new Bible. He said to himself, “I am no longer sure that this is what my father claims it to be–the Word of God. But of this I am sure. If it be the Word of God, and if I come to it with an unprejudiced and open mind, it will bring assurance to my soul of itself.” The result? “That Bible found me!” said Morgan. The new assurance in 1883 gave him the motivation for his preaching and teaching ministry. He devoted himself to the study and preaching of God’s Word.

He Lives! Do You? No Fear

2015-04-19
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
1 Corinthians 15:22
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.”

Matt. 28:1 “Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. 5 But the angel answered and said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.’ 8 So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word. 9 And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, ‘Rejoice!’ So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid.'”

When we live in the power of His resurrection, there should be no fear. Notice that I used the word “should.” That was deliberate, because unfortunately the majority of Christ followers live with fear, some with constant fear. This is not His plan for us.

1. Human Nature

“v4 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.”
– Many Christians today live their lives like this guards…as dead men

2. Resurrection Nature

“v8 So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.”

– fear – phobos. (1) of God, as a controlling motive of the life, in matters spiritual and moral, not a mere “fear” of His power and righteous retribution, but a wholesome dread of displeasing Him, a “fear” which banishes the terror that shrinks from His presence, and which influences the disposition and attitude of one whose circumstances are guided by trust in God, through the indwelling Spirit of God (a comprehensive phrase: the reverential “fear” of God will inspire a constant carefulness in dealing with others in His “fear”)

3. How His Resurrection Helps Us Live Without Fear

“v9 And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, ‘Rejoice!’ So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid.”

– What made the difference? His Presence

– Philippians 4 – Perfect peace in the presence of God

What does the resurrected life require?

a. Recognition of who He is
– Jesus IS
– John 14:6

b. Acceptance of His authority

c. Seeking of His wisdom
– Scripture (over 100 times the Bible tells us not to worry, don’t be afraid, etc.) Nearly 400 verses remind us of God’s provision in every situation
– George Mueller – (In later life he lamented that, owing to his neglect of God’s word he remained so long in Spiritual infancy, with its ignorance and impotence.)

d. Clinging to His presence
– Held Him by the feet

e. Celebration of who He is
– And worshiped Him

1 Cor. 15:20 (NLT)
“But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died. 21 So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. 22 Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. 23 But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back. 24 After that the end will come, when he will turn the Kingdom over to God the Father, having destroyed every ruler and authority and power. 25 For Christ must reign until he humbles all his enemies beneath his feet. 26 And the last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For the Scriptures say, ‘God has put all things under his authority.’ (Of course, when it says ‘all things are under his authority,’ that does not include God himself, who gave Christ his authority.) 28 Then, when all things are under his authority, the Son will put himself under God’s authority, so that God, who gave his Son authority over all things, will be utterly supreme over everything everywhere.”

Footnote:
(1) Vines Expository Dictionary

He Lives… Do You? Fishing, or Following?

2015-04-12
Matt Willmington

Jesus resurrected “last week”, but have you “resurrected”? You’ve accepted the Savior – are you LIVING the resurrected life He intended?

SHOW YOUR OBEDIENCE

John 21:4-6
“4 But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Children, have you any food?’ They answered Him, ‘No.’ 6 And He said to them, ‘Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.”

FACE THE FIRE

John 21:9-13
“9 Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.’ 11 Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. 12 Jesus said to them, ‘Come and eat breakfast.’ Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, ‘Who are You?’ – knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish.”

RECOMMIT YOUR LOVE

John 21:15-17
“15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Feed My lambs.’ 16 He said to him again a second time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Tend My sheep.’ 17 He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed My sheep.’ And when He had spoken this, He said to him, ‘Follow Me.’”

JESUS FORWARD

John 21:20-22
“20 Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, ‘Lord, who is the one who betrays You?’ 21 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, ‘But Lord, what about this man?’ 22 Jesus said to him, ‘If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.’”

Are you Fishing or Following?
Get out of the tomb and into the upper room!
We need you for Acts 2!

Easter Sunday: The Supernatural Power of God

2015-04-05
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory verse:
Matt. 28:6

“He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

An indisputable truth about Easter is that it doesn’t make sense. It flies in the face of all that we as humans believe. How is it that one man, who lived two thousand years ago, could pay a debt that we owe today? You see, it doesn’t make sense that He could do this for you and me. It’s just not natural. For something like that to be real,  it would have to be supernatural. And indeed, it was!

Matt. 28:1
“Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. 5 But the angel answered and said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” 8 So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word. 9 And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, ‘Rejoice!’ So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.’ 11 Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened. 12 When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13 saying, ‘Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.’ 14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.” 15 So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day. 16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.”

Just three days before the events of Matthew 28, Jesus hung on a cross. His body being drained of every ounce of life. He cried out on that cross, He suffered excruciating pain. As soon as Jesus died on the cross, all creation shook, all of hell’s fury raged, all of heaven cried out in mourning, the rocks literally split wide open, the graves rumbled – King Jesus was dead. And even in His death, there was the supernatural. Today, let’s see if we can make sense of what doesn’t make sense. The Supernatural Power of God.

1. Supernatural power
“2 And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it.”

– The earth shook because of this power

– An angel had been sent to reveal to the world that King Jesus had risen

– He spoke to those gathered in that graveyard…

“6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”

– It takes supernatural power for someone to come back from the grave

– Whenever supernatural power of God is revealed, something else quickly happens…

2. Supernatural presence
“7 And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”

– Christ’s resurrection was amazing in itself, but it’s purpose was not to simply prove a point, it was so that humanity can be in the presence of God.

– The veil in the temple was ripped to shreds when Jesus died. Why? Because when Jesus paid that price, it paid the entrance fee for all of us to stand in His presence.

– And not only in His presence today…but in His presence forever. But this I know with all my heart, His wounds have paid my ransom.

– His death was to give us peace.

3. Supernatural peace
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Everything within us tells us we don’t deserve this. Everything within us tells us it doesn’t make sense. Everything within us tells us it can’t be this easy. Everything within us tells us that He just can’t desire to be with me. (Luke 24:13-36 – Jesus appeared and it still didn’t make sense to them.)

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Philippians 2:9-11
“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Walking The Road: Getting Ready For Arrival

2015-03-29
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Today, we observe the ordinance of the church – communion. Earlier, we celebrated the ordinance of baptism. Both point us to the truth of the Gospel – that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again for our salvation.

Communion:
1 Cor. 11:23 (NKJV)
“For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. 27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.”

Memory Verse:
Mark 11:9 (NKJV)
“Then those who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: ‘Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’”

Getting Ready For Arrival

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about walking the road with Jesus. We’ve talked about being sure we are “all in” in our commitment to serving and representing Him. Last week, we were in the Garden of Gethsemane with Jesus and the disciples in the hours leading up to His death. Today, we take a step back in time to earlier that week when Jesus arrived in Jerusalem.

Mark 11:7 (NKJV)
“Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their clothes on it, and He sat on it. 8 And many spread their clothes on the road, and others cut down leafy branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Then those who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: ‘Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD! 10 Blessed is the kingdom of our father David That comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!’”

All of us play a role in preparing for His arrival. All of us must be making ourselves ready and helping to get the world ready for His coming. Today, let’s talk about what it takes to be ready for arrival.

1. Sacrifice
8a “And many spread their clothes on the road…”
– They were willing to give their all in order to pave the way for Christ
– This must be our heart attitude as well
– Willing to give, willing to make sacrifices, willing to do whatever it takes to point people to Christ.
– Prayer is essential

2. Work
8b “…and others cut down leafy branches from the trees and spread them on the road.”
– Giving is important. Going is also important
– Giving and praying make a huge difference, but faith without works is dead
– We must be willing to serve, to work, to bring people to Christ

3. Worship
9 “Then those who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: ‘Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’”
– A continual recognition of who Christ is
– As they traveled the road that day in Jerusalem, there was no marketing, no commercials announcing the event, it was just ordinary people realizing He was different and they would do anything to mark His arrival and to be in His presence.
– Will we do the same?

The Road To The Cross: Going A Little Farther

2015-03-22
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
Mark 14:35
He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him

Last week, “Walking The Road” requires discipline, respect and obedience. Today, we talk about that road again, but how to go a little farther in our faith. For many Christians, their faith walk begins either in a moment of crisis or at a very young age. While the first few steps are celebrated, for many, the walk seems to become mundane, difficult, painful or pointless.

Christ’s death on the cross is proof positive of ultimate victory for all believers. Quitting is not an option, giving up is not acceptable. Going the distance is the only way to go.

Mark 14:32 (NKJV)
Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. 34 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.” 35 He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. 36 And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” 37 Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39 Again He went away and prayed, and spoke the same words. 40 And when He returned, He found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him. 41 Then He came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.

Mark 14:32 (NLT)
They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, “Sit here while I go and pray.” 33 He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he became deeply troubled and distressed. 34 He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 35 He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by. 36 “Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” 37 Then he returned and found the disciples asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? 38 Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” 39 Then Jesus left them again and prayed the same prayer as before.40 When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open. And they didn’t know what to say. 41 When he returned to them the third time, he said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But no—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

What does it mean to “Go A Little Farther” In Our Faith?

1. Pain is a normal part of the journey
14:34 …and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. 34 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.”
– Many Christians misunderstand pain as God’s absence
– They will take their current situation as proof of God’s abandonment or worse, evidence that He doesn’t exist
– However, pain is a natural pathway to perfection

1 Peter 5:10
But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.

2. God’s will is always better than our desires
14:36 And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”
– Allowing our natural wants to supersede God’s supernatural will
– Jesus, in His humanity, didn’t want to suffer this death but He knew that God’s will was necessary and ultimately far better

3. Going the distance is the only option
14:41 Then He came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough!
– Too many Christians give up one step short of God’s best
– The road becomes too hard, too difficult, too painful

4. Are you willing to go a little farther?
14:35 He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him.

– What does it mean?
1. Accepting our current state because we are promised future glory
2. Knowing that God is the ultimate source…we need him, period!
3. Being willing to finish what He started

The Road to the Cross: Walking The Road

2015-03-15
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verses: Mark 12:30

“‘And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:41 (NKJV)

“Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. 42 Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. 43 So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.’”

Mark 12:41 (NLT)

“Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. 42 Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins. 43 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. 44 For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.’”

Walking the road of sacrifice requires giving all, not just what’s convenient, not just what’s left over. It takes an “ALL IN” mentality. That’s what Christ did on the cross; it’s what He wants from all of us.

Luke 14:27 (NKJV)

“And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”

1. Following Christ requires discipline
– 42 “Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites,”

2. Following Christ requires respect
– 44 “for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”

3. Following Christ requires obedience
Luke 5:4-6 (NKJV)

“When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, ‘Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.’ 5 But Simon answered and said to Him, ‘Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.’ 6 And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.”

Luke 14:27 (NKJV)

“And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”

Christ has called each of us to lay it all down for Him. What is your response to this call?

Don’t Give Up On God!

2015-03-08
Dr. Ben Gutierrez

We have all experienced difficult circumstances that have made us ask, “Why God?!” We have all experienced disappointments and have wondered why God is allowing us to go through this season of our lives. We have all experienced such profound pain that has made us wonder if God even cares. We have all cried out, “I believe, but help my unbelief!”

Dr. Ben Gutierrez presents John 14:1-3 in its cultural context and shows how Jesus comforted His disciples who were experiencing the very same emotions we often do – pain, doubt, fear. See how Jesus responds to their questions, “God, are you there? God, do You care?” Listen to the teaching of John 14 and learn how it is God’s character to comfort, protect and provide for His children and how He promises to care for them for eternity!

John 14:1-3
1 Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

The Heart of Jesus

1. Compassion
John 14:1a
“Let not your heart be troubled…”

2. Trustworthy

John 14:1b
“…you believe in God, believe also in Me.”

3. Selfless

John 14:2
“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”

4. Faithful

John 14:3
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

And The Greatest of These Is Love

2015-03-01
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse: John 13:35 (NKJV)

“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

1 Corinthians 13:11 (NLT)

“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. 13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”

And The Greatest of These Is Love

1 John 4:7 (NLT)

“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. 12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. 13 And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. 14 Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. 16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. 18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19 We love each other because he loved us first. 20 If someone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 21 And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters.”

1. Love is a sign – of God’s love within us.

vs. 7 “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

2. Love is a gift – that we have been given by Him.

vs. 9 “God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”

3. Love is a promise – that cannot be broken now or forever

vs. 15 “All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God.”

4. Love is our hope – that everything will be okay regardless of our current situation.

vs. 17 “And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. 18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.”

Practical Ways To Live Out God’s Love

1. Always look for the best in others and in all situations.
2. Make forgiveness a habit.
3. Forgive even when they’re not asking.
4. When conflict arises, don’t let it settle in.
5. Look for ways to bless someone else for no reason.
6. When you see a need, meet the need without being asked.
7. Deliberately and diligently pray for others.
8. Read the Bible daily.
9. Find ways to show Christ’s love to those who don’t know Him.
10. Be known as a person of peace.

1 John 4:4

“But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.”

God’s Love And Its Impact On Others

2015-02-22
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
1 John 3:23
“And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.”

Last week, we talked about God’s amazing love. To recap briefly…

Part 1: God’s Love And Its Impact On Us
1. He loves us as His own – think of it, God considers us His children.

2. He hasn’t even begun to show us how much.  As great as God’s love is today, it’s nowhere near what it will be one day.

3. His love should change us, so what should we do?
– Purity within
– Purity in our relationships with others

Today, let’s move to the second part of 1 John 3 and talk about the way God’s love for us and within us should impact those around us.

1 John 3:11
“This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 We must not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was righteous. 13 So don’t be surprised, dear brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. 14 If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. 15 Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them. 16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person 18 Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.19 Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. 20 Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence.22 And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him. 23 And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us. 24 Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us.”

1. Loving others is commanded by God
11 “This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another.”

2. Love is a sign of the transformed life
14 “If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead.”

3. Love is a verb
18 “Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. 19 Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.”

4. Your love for others is the path to experience God’s perfect plan for you
24 “Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us.”

God’s Love And Its Impact On Us

2015-02-15
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

The culture has a distorted view of love. Many depictions of love, whether from Hollywood or a song on the radio, give a perspective that doesn’t fit within God’s plan for love. However, today’s is not a sermon on love and relationships, it’s a sermon about God’s love for us. This is important, because it is impossible to view love in its proper light without understanding God’s love.

Memory Verse: 1 John 3:2
Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

As Christians, we often blame society for the breakdown of the family, of marriage or what we see in the media. We can’t really blame others…the blame really lies within each of us. Our natural state is to deny God’s love and His plan for us. So in effect, the fault is ours.

1 John 3:1 (NLT) See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. 2 Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. 3 And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure. 4 Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God.5 And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him.6 Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is. 7 Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. 8 But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. 9 Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God. 10 So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God.

Part 1: God’s Love And Its Impact On Us

1. He loves us as His own – Think of it, God considers as His children.
vs. 1 See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!

2. He hasn’t even begun to show us how much – As great as God’s love is today, it’s nowhere near what it will be one day.

vs .2 Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.

3. His love should change us – So what should we do?
* Purity within
vs. 3 And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure. 4 Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God.
* Purity in our relationships with others
vs. 10b Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God.

Prayer Emphasis Service: The Marks of the Believer

2015-02-08
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Today will be a day of worship, recognition, repentance and prayer. These are all vital elements of the Christian walk yet rarely practiced in totality. Most people incorporate some of these elements, few incorporate all. When we do not incorporate all of these elements into daily living, we become like a man from the book of Mark who desperately needed a miracle.

Mark 9:14-29
“And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them. 15 Immediately, when they saw Him, all the people were greatly amazed, and running to Him, greeted Him. 16 And He asked the scribes, “What are you discussing with them?” 17 Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. 18 And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.” 19 He answered him and said, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.” 20 Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth. 21 So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” 25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!” 26 Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. 28 And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’ 29 So He said to them, ‘This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.’”

Worship, recognition, repentance and prayer.

The Marks of the Believer

1. Worship
– 15a “Immediately, when they saw Him, all the people were greatly amazed…”
– In order to consider our lives to be amazing, we must first consider our God to be more amazing

2. Recognition
– 15b “and running to Him, greeted Him.”
– Total recognition and acceptance of God as the giver of life, the creator of all, the Savior of the world

3. Repentance
– 24 “Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!’”
– Sin is a primary factor in the unfulfilled life
– Calling sin by its right name and eradicating it from our lives is job #1 of the believer
– The wonder of our God is revealed through the wonder of forgiveness

4. Prayer
– 29 “So He said to them, ‘This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.’”
– Miracles in our lives can never be self-made, they come from God

Mark 10:27
“But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.’”

Get Fit: Trusting God For Your Future

2015-02-01
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse – Psalm 33:20-21 Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. 21 For our heart shall rejoice in Him, Because we have trusted in His holy name.

Psalm 33:1 (NLT)
Let the godly sing for joy to the LORD; it is fitting for the pure to praise him. 2 Praise the LORD with melodies on the lyre; make music for him on the ten-stringed harp. 3 Sing a new song of praise to him; play skillfully on the harp, and sing with joy. 4 For the word of the LORD holds true, and we can trust everything he does. 5 He loves whatever is just and good; the unfailing love of the LORD fills the earth. 6 The LORD merely spoke, and the heavens were created. He breathed the word, and all the stars were born. 7 He assigned the sea its boundaries and locked the oceans in vast reservoirs. 8 Let the whole world fear the LORD, and let everyone stand in awe of him. 9 For when he spoke, the world began! It appeared at his command. 10 The LORD frustrates the plans of the nations and thwarts all their schemes. 11 But the LORD’s plans stand firm forever;  his intentions can never be shaken. 12 What joy for the nation whose God is the LORD, whose people he has chosen as his inheritance. 13 The LORD looks down from heaven and sees the whole human race. 14 From his throne he observes all who live on the earth. 15 He made their hearts, so he understands everything they do. 16 The best-equipped army cannot save a king, nor is great strength enough to save a warrior. 17 Don’t count on your warhorse to give you victory— for all its strength, it cannot save you. 18 But the LORD watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love. 19 He rescues them from death and keeps them alive in times of famine. 20 We put our hope in the LORD. He is our help and our shield. 21 In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. 22 Let your unfailing love surround us, LORD, for our hope is in you alone.

Mark 10:27
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”

Trusting God for your Future – Living life on purpose, on mission, and in God’s will.

What must we do?

1. Know We Are Here To Worship Him
2. Live Our Lives To Accomplish For Him

What does this look like?

1. Worship Him For Who He Is (verses 1-5)

v1 Let the godly sing for joy to the LORD
v4 For the word of the LORD holds true, and we can trust everything he does

2. Worship Him For What He Has Done (verse 6-9)

v6 The LORD merely spoke, and the heavens were created. He breathed the word, and all the stars were born
v8 Let the whole world fear the LORD, and let everyone stand in awe of him

3. Plan Your Days According To His Will (verses 10-12)

v10 The LORD frustrates the plans of the nations and thwarts all their schemes. 11 But the LORD’s plans stand firm forever;  his intentions can never be shaken. 12 What joy for the nation whose God is the LORD, whose people he has chosen as his inheritance.

Four Questions

– What would I try to do if I thought I might succeed?

– What goals would I set if I knew I could not fail?

– What price am I willing to pay?

– What sacrifices am I willing to make?

(1) Vision is a bridge from the past to the future.
 
(2) Vision is the eye of faith to see the invisible and the decisiveness to make it visible.
 
(3) Vision is the power that causes people to make huge sacrifices in order to become all they can become for God.
  
(4) Vision is adopting an action-plan that will enable you to move forward in your Christian life and ministry.
 
(5) Vision is the inward fire which enables you to boldly communicate to your peers what the future will be like.
 
(6) Vision is the dynamic that enables you to translate your faith and dreams into a new and personal walk with God.
 
(7) Vision is the God-given energy which will make you become a risk-taker.

Spiritual Goal Setting
– Know what God wants you to do! (Richard Blackaby says, “the primary purpose of spiritual leaders is not to achieve their goals but to accomplish God’s will.”

– Write down measurable milestones in accomplishing those goals

– Develop habits that will get you to those milestones

– Know that you might just need to change along the way

4. Trust Your Future To Him (verses 18-22)

v18 But the LORD watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love. 19 He rescues them from death and keeps them alive in times of famine. 20 We put our hope in the LORD. He is our help and our shield. 21 In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. 22 Let your unfailing love surround us, LORD, for our hope is in you alone.

1 Cor 2:2
 For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified.

Get Fit: Where’s Your Treasure?

2015-01-25
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Our Get Fit series has been all about what we can do to get in shape in a lot of ways. We’ve discussed getting fit spiritually, getting fit relationally, and last week, getting fit physically.

Matthew 6:19-21

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Today, we’re going to take some time talking about getting fit financially. There’s a great parable given in Matthew 25 that helps illustrate the idea of financial health and of putting Matthew 6 into practice.

Matthew 25:14-29

“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone.15 He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip. 16 “The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. 17 The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. 18 But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money. 19 After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. 20 The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’ 21 The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’ 22 The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more. 23 “The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’ 24 Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. 25 I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’ 26 But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, 27 why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’ 28 Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. 29 To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.”

1. Recognize the importance

19a “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy”

– It is vital that we understand the Biblical imperative to handle our finances properly

– 1Cor. 4:2 “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.”

Pastor Chris Brown said, “Don’t worship the provision, worship the provider by stewarding the provision.”

2. Determine where you really are

Prov. 27:23 “Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, And attend to your herds; 24 For riches are not forever, Nor does a crown endure to all generations.”

– Be brutally honest
– Don’t make excuses in your own mind
– This is a healthy exercise, not a plan for depression

3. Decide where you want to be

Proverbs 21:5 “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.”

Proverbs 22:27 “If you can’t pay it, even your bed will be snatched from under you.”

– Be realistic
– Take baby steps
– Shoot for the moon

4. Plan out what it’s going to take to get there

Luke 14:28 “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it, 29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, “This man began to build and was not able to finish.’

5. Put safeguards in place

Proverbs 16:9 “We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.

Proverbs 19:21 “You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail. 22 Loyalty makes a person attractive. It is better to be poor than dishonest. 23 Fear of the LORD leads to life, bringing security and protection from harm.”

– Most important step
– Our natural desires and habits got us into trouble in the first place

6. Get help

– There really is strength in numbers

Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Everything we have been talking about is really a condition of the heart. If our hearts aren’t in the right place with Him, we’ll never be in the right place with anything else.

Get Fit: Physically

2015-01-18
Scott Bullman

Today is week 3 in our sermon series “GET FIT”. In week one we discussed our need to be Spiritually Fit and how avoiding sin and pursuing God through worship and His Word, we can strengthen our spiritual health.

Last week we talked about Getting Fit in our Relationships – putting our relationships in order by getting our own lives in order. We learned that a natural result of being fit spiritually is stronger relationships with others. When we care about others as much as we care about ourselves – which takes work – we not only build strong relationships, we honor God in the process.

Today we will look at Getting Fit Physically. Our choir director, Scott Bullman, has been made a physical transformation right before our eyes, losing over 200 pounds in less than 2 years. Today he shares his amazing story of God’s power in his life that helped him overcome this 40-year stronghold. We will hear about…

• His Dilemma
• His Decision
• His Discipline
• His Deliverance

We can’t ignore what the Scripture teaches about our body and our responsibility to take care of it.

1 Corinthians 6:19 – Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you…and you are not your own?

1 Corinthians 10:31 “whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the Glory of God.”

1 Peter 1:13 – “Prepare you minds for action and exercise self-control.”

Ecclesiastes 11:10 – “Refuse to worry and keep your body healthy.”

Romans 6:12-13 – “Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.”

The point of decision came on Sunday, July 15, 2012 when Scott heard a message from guest pastor, Dr. Ken Whitten, titled “Getting Rid of Stinkin Thinkin”. In this message about making necessary change in your life, Scott learned that:

1. You have to CHOOSE to CHANGE
2. You have to CHANGE your MODEL
3. You CAN’T change ALONE
4. When YOU change, you help OTHERS change
5. You NEVER stop CHANGING

Thoughts to Take Away:

• With LEADERSHIP comes INFLUENCE…and with influence comes a RESPONSIBILITY to STEWARD that influence.

1 Corinthians 9:27 – “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

• “You can find inspiration from others, but determination is solely your responsibility.” – Dodinsky

• “We change our behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing.” – Henry Cloud

• It’s hard to love others when you don’t love yourself.

• Our problem is not unanswered prayers…our problem is unoffered prayers.

• “The road to life is a disciplined life; ignore correction and you’re lost for good.” – Proverbs 10:17

• God doesn’t wait for perfection…He smiles at every act of obedience.

• Nothing tastes as good as obedience feels.

• “You’ll never break the SIN habit until you develop a PRAYER habit.” – Mark Batterson

Get Fit: Others Matter

2015-01-11
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Last week, we talked about getting fit spiritually. Let me take a moment to refresh your memory on the elements required to be fit spiritually.

1. Avoiding Sin
2. Worship
3. Pursuing God
4. God’s Word

We began a year long effort to memorize God’s Word for what it can and will do in our hearts, lives and church. Let’s look at that verse again.

Psa. 119:11
Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.

Today, let’s talk about Getting Fit in our relationships. The first step in putting our relationships in order is getting our own lives in order. That’s why we talked about the spiritual element last week. A natural result or consequence of being fit spiritually is that our relationships will be stronger, but only if we put into practice what we have learned from pursuing God.

1Pet. 3:8 (NKJV)
Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For “He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit. 11 Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the LORD is against those who do evil.”

1 Peter 3:8 (NLT)
Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. 9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it. 10 For the Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. 11 Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. 12 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.”

1. Care about their feelings as much as your own

8 Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.

2. Respond in a God-honoring way

9  Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.

3. Be honest and uplifting

10 For the Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies.

4. Know that good relationships take work

11 Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.

5. God honors those who honor Him

12 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.”

Get Fit: Your Spiritual Health

2015-01-04
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Last week, we spent a bit of time talking about our mission statement and our core values as a church. Today, this first Sunday of 2015, let’s spend some time discussing our spiritual health, making sure we are spiritually fit. The greatest thing each of us can do for the new year is to start with the intention of pursing Christ more than last year. To know Him better. To be more like Him daily.

Over the coming year, our desire as a church should be that we will grow in our relationship with Him, that we will thrive in our relationships with each other, and that we will succeed in bringing others into a relationship with Him through sharing our story of God’s love and salvation for us.

Psa. 119:1 (NKJV)
Blessed are the undefiled in the way, Who walk in the law of the LORD!
2 Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, Who seek Him with the whole heart!
3 They also do no iniquity; They walk in His ways. 4 You have commanded us To keep Your precepts diligently. 5 Oh, that my ways were directed To keep Your statutes! 6 Then I would not be ashamed, When I look into all Your commandments. 7 I will praise You with uprightness of heart, When I learn Your righteous judgments. 8 I will keep Your statutes; Oh, do not forsake me utterly! 9 How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. 10 With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! 11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.

Psa. 119:1 (NLT)
Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. 2 Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. 3 They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths. 4 You have charged us to keep your commandments carefully 5 Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees! 6 Then I will not be ashamed when I compare my life with your commands. 7 As I learn your righteous regulations, I will thank you by living as I should! 8 I will obey your decrees. Please don’t give up on me! 9 How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word. 10 I have tried hard to find you— don’t let me wander from your commands. 11 I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

1. Spiritual health requires avoiding sin

v1 Blessed are the undefiled in the way, Who walk in the law of the LORD! 2 Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, Who seek Him with the whole heart! 3 They also do no iniquity; They walk in His ways. 4 You have commanded us To keep Your precepts diligently. 5 Oh, that my ways were directed To keep Your statutes! 6 Then I would not be ashamed, When I look into all Your commandments.

2. Spiritual health requires worship

v7 I will praise You with uprightness of heart, When I learn Your righteous judgments. 8 I will keep Your statutes; Oh, do not forsake me utterly! 9 How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.

3. Spiritual health requires pursuing Him

v9 How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. 10 With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!

4. Spiritual health requires God’s Word

v11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “What lies behind you and what lies before you, pales in comparison to what lies inside you.