Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Weekkly Schedule 2/24

Tuesday February 26th- Dig Into the Sermon 6:30pm in the Pastor's Study.

Wednesday February 27th- Membership Class 3:30-5:00pm in the Adult Sunday School Classroom. Open for anyone interested in learning more about our church history, beliefs, and practices.

NO Kid's Club!

Thursday February 28th- 4:00-7:00pm CHILI SUPPER!!

Sunday February 24th- Sunday School 9:30 am
Fellowship in the Birchwood Room 10:30 am
Worship 10:45 am
Iglesia Amigos Evangelicos 3:00 pm

Join Us February 28th for Our Annual Chili Supper! Tickets available at the door.

This week's sermon: Feeding the Thousands

The story of Jesus feeding thousands is included in all four gospels, each one including details that were important to the individual author. This message is taken from the account in Mark's Gospel the 6th chapter.

I. God can work in and through us in spite of our tiredness.
Jesus and the Disciples were heading off for some solitude. They had been inundated with crowds and needed some space. The disciples had just returned from their being sent out by Jesus for the first time and needed to process all their experiences. In Matthew’s Gospel, he tells us that Jesus had also just learned of the death of his cousin John the Baptist. So these weary men needed to take a break and regroup. Mark is a detail guy and he tells us things had been so hectic that Jesus and the disciples had not even had time to eat because there were so many people coming and going. But even in their fatigue, God had a plan to work through them. God wanted to work through them in spite of their fatigue.

II. God can work in and through us in spite of our bad attitude.
Jesus had compassion on the crowd, and I can just see the disciples go, “oh, no, not again.” They had come for solitude and some 12 on 1 time with Jesus. They are patient while he is teaching them, but once again, they think they need to remind him of proper protocol. It was getting late, and they are looking at the people gathered and thinking, it’s time to say the closing prayer, Jesus. And Jesus calls their bluff. He says, “If you are so worried about them being hungry, you give them something to eat.” Jesus knew they really were just tired and wanted everyone to go home. And their response to him here in Mark is just plain funny. They say, “That would take eight months of a man’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?!” You have got to be kidding Jesus!
Notice here what they do not say. They do not say, we don’t have that kind of money lying around, or where are we going to get the money necessary to do this? No, in none of the four accounts do they say that they don’t have the money to feed the people. And here, the response is telling. They ask if they are supposed to take that much money and use it to feed the people. I think it is possible that they may have had that much in their little treasury, but that they were simply unwilling to spend it on one afternoon of ministry when they had no idea when they would replace it. Especially for something so transitory as food. So, Jesus simply asks what they have that they are willing to part with. Five loaves. Two fish.

III. God can work in and through us in spite of our meager available resources.
I don’t know if that is really all they had or not. (John is the only gospel writer to tell us about the boy with the sack lunch.) It may be that in their busyness, and with their quick departure to go off alone, they didn’t stop to pack bread for the journey. But five little loaves and two fish are not enough to even have fed the 12 and Jesus. If this is really all they had among them, it would have been miraculous to feed all thirteen until they were satisfied, let alone five thousand.
Jesus has the people sit down on the green grass. Again there is Mark with the details. They sat down in groups of fifties and hundreds. Jesus tells them to bring him those loaves and fish. He gives thanks to God, breaks the bread, and then gives them back to the disciples to distribute among the people. Jesus was serious when he said, “You give them something to eat.” He wanted the disciples to be involved in the miracle.
They couldn’t do the miracle themselves, but Jesus wanted them to see that they could be partners with him in spite of the fact that they felt inadequate. He wanted them to have front-row seats for what God was going to do with what they had to give. It did not matter if they had a good attitude or not. It did not matter if they had five loaves or fifty, whatever they had, whatever they were willing to give, God wanted to use to show them his mighty love and compassion.

IV. God wants to use us to work in the lives of those around us. Are we willing?
You may feel tired, poorly equipped, and you may even have a bad attitude. If that is you, then be comforted that you find yourself in good company. On the day that Jesus multiplied the bread and fish, the disciples were all of the above. They wanted alone time with Jesus, they were tired, they were hungry, and instead of what they wanted, they got another crowd of people with needs too great for them to meet. But God has a way of taking us on our worst day and using us to work miracles in the lives of those around us. Are you willing?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Weekly Schedule 2/17

Tuesday February 19th- Dig Into the Sermon 6:30pm in the Pastor's Study.

Wednesday February 20th- Membership Class 3:30-5:00pm in the Adult Sunday School Classroom. Open for anyone interested in learning more about our church history, beliefs, and practices.

Kid's Club!

5:30-7:00 pm for kids ages 6-12

Sunday February 24th- Sunday School 9:30 am
Fellowship in the Birchwood Room 10:30 am
Worship 10:45 am
Iglesia Amigos Evangelicos 3:00 pm

Join Us February 28th for Our Annual Chili Supper! Tickets available at the door.

This week's sermon: Miracles, Glimpses of the kingdom

I. God performs miracles throughout the Bible. Miracles point to God at work.
A. God performs miracles to add to his glory, his renown. Jer 32:20 - You performed miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt and have continued them to this day, both in Israel and among all mankind, and have gained the renown that is still yours.
B. God did miracles for Israel. God’s working on behalf of Israel was a sign that they were his chosen people. De 4:34 -Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by miraculous signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?
C. Jesus did miracles in his earthly ministry. His miracles were the reason many followed him and listened to his teaching. John 6:2 - and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick.
D. God worked through the Apostles and Disciples to perform miracles after Jesus’ ascension. These miracles confirmed that the Apostles were continuing the ministry of Christ. Ac 14:3 - So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders.
II. Miracles are at God’s initiation.
A. God told Moses what to do and how the miracles would occur. The miracles were not Moses' idea. Ex 7:9 - "When Pharaoh says to you, 'Perform a miracle,' then say to Aaron, 'Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh,' and it will become a snake."
B. We can pray for miracles, or for God to act in a miraculous way, but even the early Christians did not to tell God how to do so. Ac 4:29-30 -29 “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus."
C. Jesus refused to grant miraculous signs to those who would not believe without them. In three different gospels we are given the story of the teachers of the law coming to Jesus seeking a sign and this is his response: Mt 12:38-39 -Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, "Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you." He answered, "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.
III. God’s biggest most influential miracles are not always what we expect. God works miracles every day.
A. When the children of Israel were in the desert, their clothing did not wear out.
B. When Stephen was stoned in Acts for preaching Jesus, he was able to forgive them. Ac 6:8 - Now Stephen, a man full of God's grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people.
C. When Saul was killing Christians, Jesus knocked him to the ground and changed him into the greatest evangelist/missionary/church planter of all time.
D. Jesus said that his greatest miraculous sign would be his death and resurrection. Joh 2:18-22 -Then the Jews demanded of him, "What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?" 19 Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days." 20 The Jews replied, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?" 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

God has given us the comforter, the Holy Spirit, to walk with us in times of trial, in times of distress. His presence with us can cause us to respond to our circumstances in ways that defy human nature and glorify God the Father. Sometimes the greatest miracles happen when our difficult circumstances are not removed, and our faith remains intact. It is a miracle when Christians in foreign nations where believing in Jesus is a capital offense, continue to believe and follow him when their lives are in danger. It is a miracle when we can see God at work in our everyday circumstances and give him glory and honor and praise, even if we don’t always get our way.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Weekly Schedule 2/10

Tuesday February 12th- Elder's Meeting 6:30pm in Adult Sunday School Classroom.

Wednesday February 13th- Membership Class 3:30-5:00pm in the Adult Sunday School Classroom.
Open for anyone interested in learning more about our church history, beliefs, and practices.
NO Kid's Club!
Game Night at 6:30 pm for all ages!

Thursday February 14th- HAVE A HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

Sunday February 17th- Sunday School 9:30 am
Fellowship in the Birchwood Room 10:30 am
Worship 10:45 am
Iglesia Amigos Evangelicos 3:00 pm

Join Us February 28th for Our Annual Chili Supper! Tickets available at the door.

This week's sermon: God's Love Letter to You!

John 3:1-21.
Nicodemus, part of the Jewish ruling council, comes to Jesus at night and learns about being born again and God's great message of Love for each one of us.
V. 16 God loved(s) the World, and everyone in it. God operates from a primary motive of love. I John tells us that God is Love. That is the basis for his character and all his actions. He loves the world. He loves all the people in the world.
God gave his only son, sending him to the earth in human form, appointing him to be the sacrifice to take away our sins. Jesus came in human flesh. He spoke these words to a man who was seeking the way to eternal life. Jesus, the son of God came to live among us so that God’s justice could be satisfied once and for all time paying the debt that we incurred by sinning against God.
SO THAT by believing in him, trusting in him, surrendering our lives to him, we might not die but live forever. The Bible tells us that God does not want anyone to perish. He does not want for us to experience total and complete separation from him.
V. 17, then Jesus says something we often forget, “For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” Contrary to what is often pushed into the public eye through the media, the Gospel message is not condemning it is a liberating message. And that salvation, that liberation depends solely on faith, trust and belief in Christ.
V 18: Those who are condemned stand condemned because they refuse to put their trust in him. We don’t need to tell people that they are under judgment; we need to tell them that they can have new life in Christ. That is the message that Jesus taught. Most people know they are doing wrong and that they are under judgment. That is why they don’t want to come into the light!
Those of us who are in Christ need to love the light.
The sinful hate the light because their deeds are evil. They fear being exposed!
The righteous ought to love the light because check out what it says in verse 21: "What he has done, has been done through God." When we step into the light as believers in Christ, people may see the past mistakes, the bad choices, but they also see God at work in our lives. They see that the changes in us, the new way of life, the new re-born life we live is only by the grace of God and his working in us. Love the light. Share the hope of new life in Christ. Don’t be afraid of what others will think, trust the Lord to glorify himself through you as you reach out to others in need.

Monday, February 4, 2008

This week's sermon: Continuing consequences

Genesis 4.
The Births of Cain and Abel. “With God’s help, I have made a man,” Cain. Eve was awed by the process of creating life, and giving birth. She recognizes the hand of God at work. They have another son, Abel.
Cain and Abel present the first sacrifices. Cain brings an offering to God. Abel follows suit. They both bring from what they have, both from the labor that they have chosen. God favored Abel’s offering more than Cain’s. We don’t know why, but we do know that God is just. Cain is angry at not receiving favor from God for his offering. God talks to Cain and tells him that he needs to be careful. Cain is not happy with God’s decision to accept Abel’s offering, and in becoming angry, he is setting himself up for sin to take advantage.
Cain talks to Abel, and the next thing you know they are in the field and Abel is dead and Cain has killed him. Sadness over God not looking with favor on his offering led to self-pity, which led to anger, which led to jealousy, which led to hatred for his brother, and finally acting on those emotions, Cain becomes the first murderer.
God comes looking for Cain, just like he came looking for Adam and Eve. He asks a question, just like he did there in the garden, “Where is Abel, your brother?” Cain responds with deception, “I don’t know, am I his keeper now?” But God knows all about what happened. He always does. He knew in the Garden of Eden that Adam and Eve had eaten the forbidden fruit. He knew when he asked Cain where his brother was that Abel had been killed. But God gave Cain a chance to man up, to repent, to come clean, and instead Cain replies to God as though he were someone he could dupe. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” But God is beyond all of our manipulative games. God told him, “I can hear your brother’s blood crying out to me from the ground! What have you done?”And once again, God is here telling Cain the consequences of his actions. The Ground is cursed, and will no longer allow Cain to farm. He will become an outcast, a wanderer, a nomad. He will lose his chosen work. Cain was a farmer, that is what he did, that is what he knew. Now he was no longer able to work the ground period. Suddenly there is no place for him.
Cain thought he had done something that would surely separate him from God forever. And yet God has mercy on him. He cares for Cain. God marks Cain for his protection, so that he will not be killed in vengeance for Abel’s death. And he lays a curse on any who would take revenge. They will receive seven times the punishment for killing Cain.
One big problem with sin is, we think it only affects us. We think, “this is my decision, I can handle the consequences.” But we fail to consider that whenever we sin, we impact those around us. Adam and Eve, they did not think about what would happen to every human being who would ever live because of their decision. Cain did not think about the possibility that five generations down the line, his great-great-great- grandchild would also chose to take the life of another to his own detriment.
Adam and Eve have another son, and name him Seth. And Eve praises God for giving her a son after Cain had killed Abel. When that happened, for Adam and Eve, it was like losing two sons. Abel was dead, and Cain had been cursed to wander. Now, God had given them another son, Seth.
In the last sentence of the chapter, "From that time, men began to call on the name of the Lord," Hope! We are not a lost cause. God has not poured himself out for us in vain. Someone realized that without God’s help, they would be lost, and they cried out to God. God wants to help. He longs to come alongside us as we walk through life. He wants to show us the great plans he has for us. He wants to give us strength for the hard climbs, and keep us company in our loneliness, and comfort us in our sorrow. Psalm 145:17 through 18 says, “The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” All we have to do is call.