Monday, August 23, 2010

This week's schedule 8/22

Tuesday August 24th-- Friends Women at Dorothy's 9:00 am

Pray for Jim's surgery!

Friday August 27th-- Meet with the gutter guys at the church 4:00 pm

Sunday August 29th-
Regular Sunday Schedule--

Sunday School 9:30am
Fellowship time 10:30am
Morning Worship 10:45am
Spanish-speaking service 3:00pm

Pray for our kids at school!!


2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness [moral excellence]. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our LORD Jesus Christ. 9 But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. 10 Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ.

The temptation the world offers in regard to goodness is to see ourselves and all we do in comparison and competition with those around us. We fall victim to the pestilence of "Good Enough." We consider ourselves good people if we are as good as the next guy. As long as we meet or exceed the status quo we feel we are doing fine. The problem with this outlook from a biblical perspective is that the standard we measure against is not our neighbor but God himself.

Jesus told a questioner once that "No one is good except God alone"(Mk. 10:18). When we try in our own strength to be good, to behave according to what we know is right, we fall short at "Good Enough." We never attain the goodness of God, simply because we do not possess the power to do so on our own. That power comes from being connected to God through Christ.

Peter tells his ancient audience as well as the modern reader that the key to this connection to God's power and promises is through an intimate, rich knowledge of the person of Jesus Christ. We can know him, like we know our family and friends. We can know him even more intimately than that, because he is not hiding any part of himself from us! Our knowledge of him includes knowing what he did and taught while walking the earth, as well as personal conversation with him in prayer.

Peter says that through this knowledge, and because of his promises to us, God has given us everything we need for life and godliness. God's desire is to impart to us the divine nature. He wants us to reflect and show his image to the world, and he has given us everything we need to accomplish this! How is that possible?

God has done this amazing thing, providing us with all we need, by giving us himself. Ephesians 1:3 tells us God wrapped up every blessing in the heavenly realms and gave them to us in the person of Jesus Christ. Through our connection with him, there is nothing we cannot do as relates to living godly lives. The resurrection power of Christ is at work within us to transform our lives!

This can only take place as we are willing to surrender to him, to remain connected to him, and to stop settling for "Good Enough." We must pray asking God to take us deeper and show us more of himself. We must surrender to his transforming work and seek his passion to pursue the abundant godly life he has planned for us!


Titus 3:1 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men. 3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

In the New Testament God’s kindness is spoken of as the basis and the example set for us in our treatment of others. Kindness in these instances refers to philanthropy-things done for the love of mankind, or useful and helpful acts done for the benefit of the one who receives. In English the word kindness comes from the same word as kindred.

Kindness in English refers to things we do for other people that we would do for family. It is recognizing in others that they are like us, they have the same needs as we do and helping them out of that recognition. Who do we most have a hard time seeing in this way? The New Testament writers understood that we are tempted to self-righteous attitudes when it comes to “sinners” and those in authority.

Who do we like to talk down about? The people we know who aren’t living right and politicians, right? See, we have not changed much in the last 2000 years! Paul warns us in Romans 2:1-4 not to sit in judgment over others because in doing so we scorn God’s kindness toward us that brought us to repentance. In Ephesians 2:4-10, we see that God’s kindness toward us is a demonstration of his Glory that we are to emulate in the good works he has prepared in advance for us to do. In Titus 3, our main passage, Paul again points us to God’s kindness as a basis for our good works on behalf of others.

Like God’s kindness towards us began before we were righteous, our kindness toward others cannot depend on their being deserving of our help. The only prerequisite with God’s kindness was our need. We must rely on his strength to act in the same way toward others.

Monday, August 9, 2010

This Week's Schedule 8/8/2010

Tuesday August 10th-- Elder's Meeting 6:30 pm

Saturday August 14th-- Ladies Tea 3:00 pm
Bring a Friend!

Sunday August 15th-
Regular Sunday Schedule--

Sunday School 9:30am
Fellowship time 10:30am
Morning Worship 10:45am
Spanish-speaking service 3:00pm

Pray for our kids as they start school this Thursday!!


James 5:7-11.

No one wants to hear a message on patience. The very thought of learning patience puts dread in our hearts and runs shivers down our spines! Well, apparently it was something Bible writers did not want to talk about either! Other than telling us to have patience, there is little instruction on the topic. Mostly in the New Testament writers were encouraging their listeners to be patient in the suffering they were enduring as they waited for the imminent return of Jesus Christ. That is the discussion we come upon in James 5.

James paints us 3 pictures of patience in a farmer waiting for rain to make his crops grow, the prophets of God and Job. Definitely, this patience goes beyond waiting in traffic or anticipating the weekend. The patience illustrated for us by James is truly what the King James would call long-suffering.

The farmer had done what was in his power to do by planting, and now the future of his field was out of his hands. Typically as we are in situations that require our patience, we are waiting on something beyond our control. The prophets of God were telling his people again and again that Messiah would come, yet died before seeing it fulfilled. Job, we know lost everything and suffered as his health failed, his friends accused him, and his wife told him to give up.

That farmer could not bring rain, but only trust that it would come. Those prophets could not bring Messiah, but only believe that God would not disappoint. Job could not restore his fortunes or his health, but only continue to stand firm on the faith that God was just.

We suffer sometimes; more than just waiting for that next paycheck or hoping our kids will obey. In those times it is imperative that we stand firm like the farmer trusting God to do what only he can do; like the prophets believing that God will do what he promised; and like Job knowing that God is God and does not change with our fortunes.

2 Peter 3:9 & 15 "The LORD is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."
"Bear in mind that our LORD's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him."

If it seems that answers to prayer are coming slowly, we need to trust that God has a purpose in his timing. His desire is salvation and restoration and redemption. Only he can know all of the pieces that must fit together to bring about his purpose in our lives and the lives of those around us. Trust is the key to patience, and that trust grows as we abide in Christ's love, find our joy in his presence, and allow his peace to pervade our lives.

Sermon Series Catch Up!

Galatians 5:22-23 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."

The sermon on love is already posted, but for the past few weeks, we have had some obstacles that kept us from posting the messages on joy and peace. Here is a summary of what we have studied.

Joy is something only the Spirit can offer. The world tries, but falls short. The world can provide happy moments, but happiness is fleeting. Happiness depends entirely on what is happening around you. It is like cotton candy, sweet but not lasting. As soon as circumstances change, happiness disappears. Joy, however is deep rooted and nourishes the soul. Like a juicy ripe peach, joy is sweet and satisfying. It brings nutrients that add to our spiritual health like that peace delivers vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to boost our physical health.

Joy comes from abiding in Christ's love. John 15 records a conversation Jesus had with his disciples. In that conversation he tells them again and again that god's greatest desire for them is to bear fruit. God is at work in you and me pruning and watering and fertilizing our lives so that we bear fruit. Our job is simply to abide and remain in Christ and his love. As we accept his love for us and walk in love with those around us, we find a joy welling up inside that remains even in difficult times. Don't settle for happiness, but press in toward Christ and experience joy that lasts.

Like Joy develops as we press in close to Christ, abiding in his love, peace comes as we find our hearts' desires in him. Peace grows naturally out of our relationship with God through Christ. Our part in fostering that growth is pulling the weeds of control and apathy. The world seeks peace through control. If we can only make everyone and everything around us do what we want, we think we will have peace. Unfortunately, that can never happen. There will always be something beyond our power. Another worldly way of seeking peace is apathy. If you can't control it, just don't care about it. But keeping ourselves from feeling is not peace, just emptiness. God wants us to have PEACE, not just a cease-fire.

Finding peace in Christ means laying down our worries and accepting his peace!
When we know he is our rock and refuge, when we learn to give him our worries, we find peace growing in our hearts. Even in the middle of conflict we can have peace!

Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the LORD always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The LORD is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

The peace that Jesus brings to our lives is permanent. When things are beyond our control, we can trust that nothing is beyond his control. We can know that even if everything around us is lost, he is our source of strength and provision. His peace continues with us through all circumstances!

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.