Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Weekly Schedule 1/27

Tuesday January 29th- Dig Into the Sermon Group 6:30 in the Pastor's Study.

Wednesday January 30th- Kid's Club 5:30-7:00 pm for kids ages 6-12.

Saturday February 2nd- Chili Supper Planning Meeting 9:30 am at the Church.

Sunday February 3rd- Sunday School 9:30 am
Fellowship in the Birchwood Room 10:30 am
Worship 10:45 am
Business Meeting 12:00 Noon
Iglesia Amigos Evangelicos 3:00 pm

Join Us February 9th for a Ladies Tea: John 3:16 For God so loved...YOU!!
2:00pm in the Birchwood Room $5 suggested donation for Church attenders, free for guests. All ages are welcome, children with adult supervision only.

This week's sermon: The Choice

Genesis 3 God's Way or My Way?
Enter the villain: The serpent comes to Eve. He asks her if God really said that they could not eat from any tree in the garden. How mean, to be surrounded by such beautiful fruit and not to be able to eat it. Eve gets sucked in, she says, “You’ve got it all wrong, there is only one tree we can’t eat of. God told us not to eat, and not to touch the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil, or we will die.” She falls victim to one of the great deceptions, she thinks the Serpent is really confused about what God says, and that he cares about what happens to her.

The Serpent Directly Contradicts God’s Word: the serpent then says to her, “Oh, no, you won’t die, not really.” In the Hebrew it says to die? You will not die. “No, God knows that on the very day that you eat of the tree’s fruit, you will have your eyes opened, and you will be like God in knowing Good and Evil.” The sad thing is that in reality, Adam and Eve know the most complete Good that has ever existed. They knew Good better than any of us ever will until we join our Savior in Heaven. They knew absolute Good unspoiled by anything Evil. Everything in their world was perfect. They had all their needs met. They had each other. They had unrestricted access to the God of the Universe. There was nothing more that they could possibly know about Good. By eating of the tree of knowledge, all they could possibly gain was a knowledge of evil. A knowledge of life outside of God’s will.

Eve considers the fruit: It is Good for Food. The first thing Eve does after talking to the serpent is look at the fruit and compare it with all the other fruit that they eat. It is “yearning” to the eye. It is not only practical, she decides but actually quite appealing. It is beautiful. It is tempting. It is “calling to her.”It is “coveted” for making one intelligent. Finally, she caves in to the serpents description. Surely God must be mistaken. Nothing that actually meets a physical need, and is that enjoyable could really be bad for you. It could only be beneficial. ..Right?

She eats, and so does Adam.
Their eyes are opened. The Hebrew says their eyes are unclosed. In this newfound knowledge that now saturates their lives, suddenly they see things like never before. Everything has changed. Their perspective is completely different. Now they know what it is to be outside of God’s will. And it is not what they expected.

They see their nakedness. Instead of having a profound knowledge, like God’s, now they see that they are naked. They become not just self-aware, but self-conscious. Now they are feeling vulnerable, and insecure, and are embarrassed for the first time. They try to cover-up. They look around quickly for something to hide behind. They have fig leaves, and decide to sew them together to make coverings for their naked bodies.

Broken Relationships: They hear God walking in the Garden. They knew God so well, that they recognized his footsteps, but now instead of that sound being delightful, it is a sound that strikes fear into their hearts so much so that they hide. They hide, because of their nakedness.

The Blame Game: Adam blames Eve, “The woman you put here with me; She, she gave it to me!” Last we saw of Adam he was saying, "this is the one for me, this one." Now we see Adam distancing as far as he can get she is no longer the one for him, his own bone and flesh, now she is just the woman God put there in the garden with him. Eve blames the serpent, “he lured me.” Adam blames Eve, Eve blames the serpent.

The Curse & Exile: God tells each of them their consequences. God is not saying, I want this to be this way. He is pronouncing his judgment upon them, yes, but also telling them what the natural consequences would be because they had chosen this path.

God is telling the serpent that his loss of legs is a result of his planting doubt in Eve’s mind. That is his curse, his punishment. Because of that punishment, the serpent will crawl around on his belly and have his face in the dirt for the rest of all time. God’s also telling the serpent that he and the woman’s offspring will be in constant war.

God’s punishment of Eve is pain in childbirth, and in pregnancy. And the natural disruption of her relationship with her husband because of their sin would be that her natural desire would be for him, and that he would be her master. He would rule over her. No longer would the two of them work side-by-side, perfect partners, perfect companions. Instead of co-equal rulers of creation, now he seeks to dominate her like he does the rest of creation.

God says to Adam, "Because you listened to Eve," and by the way in the Hebrew, God takes care to correct Adams previous assertion that Eve was just some woman that God had placed in the Garden with him, by saying, “Because you listened to your woman.” Because Adam had taken part, no matter who started it, he had to face the consequences as well. Because of Adam’s sin, the ground from which he came would be cursed. Adam’s serving the soil and tending crops would now become toil and only by the sweat of his brow—the Hebrew says the sweat of his nostrils. And instead of things growing in their proper places, now thorns and weeds would spring up and he would have to fight not only to make the right plants grow, but to keep the wrong plants from taking over. And he would work hard until the day he died in order to simply survive.

God sent them out of the garden. He sent Cherubim to dwell at the East of Eden to guard the way as well as the flame from a self-turning sword.

All through the story, even though mankind had chosen their own path, even though they had chosen to disregard his warning, even though they had assumed that they knew more than God about what was good for them, he still cared for them. Even in the act of casting them from the garden, God was acting on their behalf. Because Adam and Eve did not eat of the tree of life, they were not stuck, condemned to be in their sinful state forever. When God was getting ready to send them out of the Garden, he stopped to make garments from the skins of animals to cover and protect the man and woman. And when God was pronouncing the curse, he left room for hope in his statements about the woman’s offspring. He said the snake would bruise the heel of the woman’s seed, but that the seed of the woman would crush its head.

The seed of the woman. The only one ever born of woman without the contribution of man was Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Satan the deceiver did his best to tempt him, to defeat him, to kill him and crush his followers, but Jesus triumphed. Instead of Satan winning, Jesus dealt him a fatal blow by living a sinless life, giving his life for us on the cross as an enduring sacrifice for sin, and then raising from the dead to be the first to experience total victory over sin and death. It is in a relationship with Jesus Christ that we can experience this same hope, this same victory over sin and hell and death. We don’t have to wait for heaven either. By walking with him, in the power of his Holy Spirit, we have the ability to resist temptation.

We can pray for strength, we can turn to God and admit we are being tempted. We can ask for wisdom. We can call a friend and tell them we are being tempted. We can choose to do something else that is edifying. We don’t have to entertain temptation, it is the one guest we can slam the door on. But we can only do so in the power of the Holy Spirit within us. This is not a matter of will-power, it is a matter of God power. He has already defeated sin and death and hell. We are his children, and we do not have to let those things rule in our hearts and lives. Paul says in Romans 6:12-14, “Do not let sin reign in your mortal bodies!”

We have a choice, to allow sin to rule us, or to remember that it has already been defeated, and we don’t have to bow to that temptation any more. If you are not in a relationship with Jesus Christ and you would like to be, simply turn to him and ask. All you have to do is admit your need, and ask him to come and be your savior and Lord of your life. If you are in a relationship with him and struggling with temptation, don’t be afraid to tell him. He is longing to take care of whatever you need.

Monday, January 21, 2008

This Week's Sermon- Man and Woman

Genesis 2:4-25. The Special Creation of Mankind.

God takes dirt, and makes man. The Hebrew says he formed man. That is more than just calling him out of nowhere. God forms man out of the earth, to link us physically to the earth. God, having planted a garden in Eden, then took the man and placed him there. The Hebrew says to serve the earth, and to tend it.

Then, after God had been pronouncing everything “good” something is “not good.” It is not good for man to be alone. God says he is going to make a helper, someone to help him care for the earth, someone to be with him so that he is not alone. And the Hebrew says God is going to make him a helper “as in front of him.” A helper that will be obvious. A helper that will be his mirror image, and his opposite. And God wants to make sure that man knows he needs her.

God wants the man to recognize that there is nothing else that will fill that place, that position as his helper.God brings the animals in front of man. He brings each one, and man gives them names based on their characteristics. And having seen all the land animals, all the birds, all the beasts of the field, man finds no helper that is obviously for him.

God made man out of the dirt so that he would be connected to the earth. God crafted woman out of man’s bone and flesh so that the two would be irrevocably connected. There is no doubt then for either man or woman that they belonged together. God brought woman out and man immediately says, “this one!” God had man looking among all of the other living creatures for a helper, and finally man says, “this one!” "This one was once bone of my bones and flesh from my flesh, this one will be called woman, from man she was taken, this one!"

God brought us into the world to tend it, to care for it, to rule over it. And so often, we depend more on the earth than we do on its creator. God so carefully planned it all. He made arrangements for all of mankind’s needs to be met. He planted a garden. He surrounded it with sources of good water. He brought in animal life. He gave mankind companionship. God walked with man and woman in the garden. God did not stop caring for mankind when he put them together in the garden and told them to be fruitful and multiply. He is still caring for us today. God has promised to meet our needs, and he is still faithful to fulfill his promises. If there is a need in your life, pray, feel free to present that to God. He cares about your every need. He already knows it is there. Perhaps he is simply waiting for you to turn to him for the answer. Whether it is a physical need, an emotional need, or a spiritual need, he is able to provide. Seek him. He will answer.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Weekkly Schedule 1/13

Tuesday January 15th- Dig Into the Sermon Group 6:30 in the Pastor's Study.

Wednesday January 16th- Kid's Club 5:30-7:00 pm for kids ages 6-12.

Sunday January 20th- Sunday School 9:30 am
Fellowship in the Birchwood Room 10:30 am
Worship 10:45 am
Business Meeting 12:00 Noon
Iglesia Amigos Evangelicos 3:00 pm

This week's sermon: The Beginnig

Genesis 1:1-2:3.
God is great. The creation account tells us many things about God. He was existing before all created things. He made the heavens and the earth. Hebrews 11:2 tells us that he created everything that is from nothing. John 1:1-4 tell us that Jesus, the Word of God, was there creating everything with the Father. Genesis tells us that the Holy Spirit of God was also there in the beginning, participating in the creative process.

He created the earth in an orderly fashion to support life of all kinds. The order in which God created is amazing. First light, the basis of all life. Then day, and night; sky, land, and sea; plant-life; sun, moon, and stars; creatures in the sea, air, and land. Each step, He's building, according to a plan. Each level of creation provides the necessary elements for the next. Plants need light to grow. Fish and birds need food to eat, an atmosphere in place, weather patterns functioning, water deep enough to support all the aquatic life. Land animals need the same. God purposely built layer upon layer to create the entire ecosystem.

He took special care to fashion mankind in his own image placing him in a special position within the newly created world. God created mankind for the earth, and the earth for mankind. We are not here by accident! It is not a fluke that we are the most advanced creatures on the planet. We were created to be where we are. And we bear the image and likeness of our creator. We long to do what he has done. We create on miniature scale from day to day, and we have done so since mankind came into existence. Since the earliest societies and civilizations we have been shaping the land, creating art in painting and textiles, planting crops and breeding animals to suit specific needs. We also create laws, and forms of government. We create philosophies about the world around us. We follow an inner moral compass that tells us right from wrong. These and more set us apart from the rest of the animal world.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Weekly Schedule 1/6/08

Tuesday January 8th- Elder's Meeting 6:30 pm

Wednesday January 9th- Kid's Club 5:30-7:00 pm
Supper, Bible Story, and Activities for kids ages 6-12.

7:00 pm Game Night for people of all ages.

Saturday January 12th-
Christian Education Work Day 9:00 am until Noon.

Sunday January 13th- 9:30 am Sunday School
10:30 am Fellowship time
10:45 am Worship
12:00 noon Brown Bag lunch
3:00 pm Iglesia Amigos Evangelicos

This Week's Sermon: The Obedience of Joseph

Joseph was the earthly father of Jesus. He was not the biological father, but he was given the task of being Daddy to the Son of God. As Jesus' Dad, Joseph gave him his name, just as the angel had told him to do. He met the shepherds, and the wise men. Joseph took Jesus to the temple and fulfilled the rituals of the law. He marveled with Mary at the words of Simeon and Anna. He fulfilled the role of protector in taking Jesus and Mary to Egypt. When Jesus was 12 and they traveled to Jerusalem for Passover, Jesus stayed behind and Mary and Joseph searched frantically for him for three days. Even though Jesus was not his biological child, Joseph searched, worried, and was relieved when he was found. Joseph passed on his trade of carpenter, and if he was still living when Jesus started his earthly ministry, he would have had to release Jesus to pursue ministry.

Joseph's life was marked by a loving obedience. Not a mundane obedience to the letter of the requirement, but out of a heart-driven obedience he sought to offer his best. When the angel came to him in a dream, Joseph got up and went to take Mary home as his wife. When the government called for a census, he went even though his wife was in her third trimester. When the angel warned that Herod was searching for Jesus, Joseph got up and took them that very night to Egypt. And when the angel told him it was safe to return, he brought them back. Joseph turned his life upside down in order to obey when God called. That kind of obedience only comes from complete devotion. Joseph was a quiet character, but his role in the life of Jesus was monumental. It is because of Joseph that Jesus was a carpenter. It was because of his loving obedience that Jesus grew up in an earthly family. And what a blessing it may have been for Joseph to hear people say "Isn't that the carpenter's son," "Isn't that Jesus, son of Joseph?" Scripture refers to Joseph ten times as Jesus' father or parent. We know he was not the physical father, but so did Joseph and for over 30 years he did such a great job in being Jesus' dad that no one even guessed that he was anything else.

When Joseph got to heaven, I am sure he heard those words we are all longing to hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant." God is calling each of us to give our whole selves to him in service. Are our lives characterized by that same loving obedience, or are we simply seeking to give the bare minimum?