LORD, Show Me How to Live! Sermons from Harvest Church - Pensacola
Contents INTRODUCTION: ........................................................................................................................................... 3 Chapter 01 – “God on the Billboards”: SHOW ME HOW TO LIVE ........................................................... 4 Chapter 02 – “Miracles”: CALMING THE STORM ..................................................................................... 8 Chapter 03 – “Miracles”: RAISING LAZURUS FROM THE DEAD ............................................................. 10 Chapter 04 – “Miracles”: POOLSIDE MIRACLE ....................................................................................... 12 Chapter 05 – “Miracles”: OPENING BLIND EYES.................................................................................... 14 Chapter 06 – “Miracles”: CASTING OUT THE EVIL SPIRIT ...................................................................... 18 Chapter 07 -- HOW TO HEAR THE VOICE OF GOD ................................................................................. 23 Chapter 08 -- LIFE APPS .......................................................................................................................... 26 Chapter 09 – “Confessions of a Pastor”: I REALLY DON’T LIKE A LOT OF CHRISTIANS ......................... 30 Chapter 10 – “Confessions of a Pastor”: I OFTEN DON’T FEEL LIKE PRAYING ...................................... 32 Chapter 11 – “Simplify”: SIMPLIFYING YOUR FAITH ............................................................................. 36 Chapter 12 -- “Drawing Near”: WORSHIP .............................................................................................. 39 Chapter 13 -- A WAR FOR YOUR WORSHIP ............................................................................................ 43 Chapter 14 -- “It’s All in Your Mind”: ATTITUDE CHECK ........................................................................ 47 Chapter 15 -- “Drawing Near”: THE GREATEST INVITATION OF ALL TIME............................................ 50 Chapter 16 -- “Drawing Near”: FRIENDS OF GOD ................................................................................. 54 Chapter 17 -- “Drawing Near”: THE HOLY SPIRIT .................................................................................. 57 Chapter 18 -- “Habakkuk”: HABAKKUK, CHAPTER ONE – “Where Are You, God?” .............................. 60 Chapter 19 -- “Habakkuk”: HABAKKUK, CHAPTER TWO – “In the Valley” ............................................ 64 Chapter 20 -- “Habakkuk”: HABAKKUK, CHAPTER THREE – “CLIMBING OUT OF THE VALLEY” ............ 69 Chapter 21 -- YOU DON’T HAVE WHAT IT TAKES, part 1 -- “YOU’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH” ................ 70 2
INTRODUCTION: Our family prefers sermons that are structured like a college class: a lecture (hopefully with audio visual aids!) on how to do the things of the spirit, followed with homework/things that we could go home and actually practice! We have been blessed through the years to find churches that offer this; we have now found this desire fulfilled at Harvest Church - Pensacola. These sermons were so multi-layered that the Holy Spirit used them to (all at the same time!) speak to people in all different stages of the Christian walk. I personally have found that as I absorb these truths, the Lord takes my current understanding of the Scriptures and 1) expands my understanding, &/or 2) reinforces the foundations of my understanding and beliefs. Through applying these truths to my life, I have found that my experience and beliefs increasingly match as I practice doing more of what I already knew to do! It is vital that we write down what is important to us -- so that foundational truths will not be lost to future generations. These devotions are from notes that I took on the “important” parts as the sermons were preached. Meditating them has helped me to build stronger and stronger foundations to my Christian life. As you meditate these devotions, may the Holy Spirit speak to you and may your roots grow down deeper and deeper into the soil of His marvelous love! Jesus said, “Be careful what you are hearing. The measure of thought and study you give to the truth that you hear will be the measure of virtue and knowledge that come back to you, and more will be given to you who hear.” Mark 4:24 Amplified Bible
Matthew 7: 24, 26. 27 Message: These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. If you just use my words in Bible studies and don't work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards." ►THESE DEVOTIONS WILL HELP YOU TO WORK GOD’S WORDS INTO YOUR LIFE!
2010 August 8 sermon by Pastor Bobby Lepinay
Chapter 01 –
“God on the Billboards”:
Matthew 7:24 – 27 "Anyone who listens to my teaching and obeys me is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters
SHOW ME HOW TO LIVE
rise and the winds beat against that house, it won't collapse because it is built on solid rock. But anyone who hears my teaching and ignores it is foolish, like a
person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash."
Ask yourself: WHAT PLACE DOES GOD’S WORD – THE BIBLE – HAVE IN HOW I AM BUILDING MY LIFE?
I. Why You Can Have Confidence in Your Bible 1. The Bible has a unique construction. It was written by the Holy Spirit: A) through 40 different writers, B)who worked in 19 different occupations, C)through 50 generations. ■2 Timothy 3:16 – “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God…” 2. The Bible has a unique ability to survive. ■Isaiah 40:8 – “The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the Word of our God will stand forever.” 3. The Bible has a unique ability to foretell the future. It is prophetic. a. Things that the Bible stated long before they were discovered: ■ The earth hangs in space ■ The earth is round (Isaiah 40) – People assumed that the earth was flat before the 1400’s ■ The winds and water have circuits and cycles ■ The moon reflects but does not give off its own light ■ Man’s chemical makeup is the same as that of dirt ■ The stars are innumerable (Galileo’s discovery) b. Prophecies that defy explanation: ■ The supernatural existence and survival of the Jewish race ■ Jesus’ fulfillment of all the prophecies about a Messiah and how he would be born, what he would do – prophecies about how he would die, be resurrected, and how he would save from sins (Psalm 22). 4
II. How The Bible Should Function in Your Life: 1. It works as seed, imparting God’s life into you. ■Luke 8:1 -11: The Parable of the Sower – Not long afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby cities and villages to announce the Good News concerning the Kingdom of God. He took his twelve disciples with him, along with some women he had healed and from whom he had cast out evil spirits. Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons; Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's business manager; Susanna; and many others who were contributing from their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples. One day Jesus told this story to a large crowd that had gathered from many towns to hear him: "A farmer went out to plant some seed. As he scattered it across his field, some seed fell on a footpath, where it was stepped on, and the birds came and ate it. Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. This seed began to grow,
but soon it withered and died for lack of moisture. Other seed fell among thorns that shot up and choked out the tender blades. Still other seed fell on fertile soil. This seed grew and produced a crop one hundred times as much as had been planted." When he had said this, he called out, "Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand!" His disciples asked him what the story meant. He replied, "You have been permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of God. But I am using these stories to conceal everything about it from outsiders, so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled: 'They see what I do, but they don't really see; they hear what I say, but they don't understand.' "This is the meaning of the story: The seed is God's message.
■ 1 Peter 1:23 – “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable; through the living and enduring Word of God.” 2. It works as food, nourishing and strengthening you. Feed yourself! Don’t be lazy! ■ Matthew 4:4 – “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” 3. It works as a light, giving clarity for the decisions of life (ALL decisions …marriage, parenting, etc.) ■ Psalm 119:105 – “Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light for my path.” 4. It works as a sword, helping you to win the war against the enemy of your soul. ■ This is how you war with the Word: Get a verse from God as you read the Bible; then, pray it back to God – asking Him to perform His Word. ■ Ephesians 6:17 – “Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” seed
III. A Practical Way to Get God’s Word in Your Heart: 1. Have a set time and place to meet with God and read the Bible. 2. Use a readable Bible translation (Recommended: New Living Translation). 3. Have a Bible Reading plan (A good one can be found at www.harvestpensacola.com). 4. Ask God’s blessing upon your reading time – then read the Bible like you would a book. Get caught up in what you are reading! Expect God to speak to you. 5. Create your own Devotional. ►A good way to create your own devotional is the SOAP method: a. Make a Table of Contents b.
S cripture that touched you – Write it out
O bservation that you made – Write out your thoughts on this Scripture
A pplication of this truth to your life right now
P rayer to God concerning this truth
→Consistent exposure to the raw Word of God will change your life!
ACTION POINTS / HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT To sermon “Show Me How to Live" 1. Meditate these Scriptures. Think about what God is revealing through them and how this changes your life. Research them in different versions of the Bible: Matthew 7:24 – 27 Luke 8:1 -11 Psalm 119:105
■2 Timothy 3:16 ■1 Peter 1:23 ■Ephesians 6:17
■Isaiah 40:8 ■Matthew 4:4
2. As you meditate these Scriptures, pick a verse that stands out to you. Pray it back to God – asking Him to perform His Word. 3. Read through your Bible each day, following the instructions on the previous page. 4. Journal your Bible study each day, following the SOAP instructions on the previous page.
2011 June 12 sermon by Pastor Bobby Lepinay
Chapter 02 –
Mark 4:35-41 35 As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, "Let's cross to the other side of the lake." 36 He was already in the boat, so they started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). 37 But soon a fierce storm arose. High waves began to break into the boat until it was nearly full of water. 38 Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. Frantically they woke him up, shouting, "Teacher, don't you even care that we are going to drown?" 39 When he woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the water, "Quiet down!" Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. 40 And he asked them, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still not have faith in me?" 41 And they were filled with awe and said among themselves, "Who is this man, that even the wind and waves obey him?"
WHAT STORM ARE YOU FACING?
W WH HAATT SSTTO ORRM M AARREE YYO OU U FFAACCIIN NG G?? The “lake” that they were crossing was the Sea of Galilee. The disciples were used to facing storms – but this one was way beyond anything that they had ever faced. This storm was way beyond what they thought that they could handle! NOTICE: Jesus being in your boat doesn’t keep you from storms! You may still face many types of storms in your life: -- A psycho boss, -- A psycho coworker, -- A psycho neighbor, -- Financial lack, -- The consequences of bad decisions by people that you love, -- Illness, --Etc.
Possible Sources of Storms: 1. Bad decisions (Proverbs 19:3) 2. The enemy 3. This broken world NOTICE: This storm happened even though this trip was Jesus’ idea! He did not cause the storm – but He wasn’t caught off-guard by it. He factors the storm into His master plan. God never calls an emergency meeting! God never panics. In this storm, the disciples faced their greatest fear: the fear of death. This storm prepared them for years down the road, when each of them would face martyrdom (except John, who even though he was not martyred, was still boiled in oil). This shows that even though we want God to do a removing job when we are in a storm, He wants to do an improving job.
There are three things to remember when facing storms: 1. You are in the storm by God’s appointment.
2. You are in the storm with God’s presence.
3. You are in the storm for God’s purposes.
“That day when evening came, JESUS said to His disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” (Mark 4:35).
“Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion…” (Mark 4:38).
“The disciples woke Him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you even care that we are about to drown?” (Mark 4:38b).
“And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purposes.” (Romans 8:28).
“Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5).
Action Points/Homework: Meditate ■Mark 4:35-41 ■Romans 8:28 ■James 1:2-4
“Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work, so you can be mature and complete…” (James 1:2-4).
Lord, I praise and trust You in this storm!
2011 June 19 sermon by Pastor Bobby Lepinay
Chapter 03 –
LAZARUS FROM THE DEAD
John 11:1-4 --A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha. This is the Mary who poured the expensive perfume on the Lord's feet and wiped them with her hair. Her brother, Lazarus, was sick. So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus
telling him, "Lord, the one you love is very sick." But when Jesus heard about it he said, "Lazarus's sickness will not end in death. No, it is for the glory of God. I, the Son of God, will receive glory from this."
God was in control in this situation. He had a divine strategy. Jesus spent time every day with His Father; from that time He knew the outcome of this situation. You may be feeling hopeless, but God wants you to know that He is able (for those who will trust Him) to bring life to your situation. It is not the end for you. Your God is the God of life. He has plans to prosper you and give you hope; plans to give you a good future. Lazarus did die in this situation. He not only got sick, but it got worse: He died! Jesus waited to go to Lazarus, even though He cared greatly. Do not think that how quickly you see God work is an indication of how much He loves you. Time and circumstance are not important factors to God. He is in control; He loves you; He has a plan. Our God is the God of resurrection! The theme of resurrection is woven all through the Bible. Our God specializes in bringing dead things – sometimes really dead things – back to life. As the Abekani tribe puts it, He is “the life in the seed when the seed looks dead.” Romans 4:16 – 17 -So that's why faith is the key! God's promise is given to us as a free gift. And we are certain to receive it, whether or not we follow Jewish customs, if we have faith like Abraham's. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. That is
what the Scriptures mean when God told him, "I have made you the father of many nations." This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who brings into existence what didn't exist before.
Notice: God brings the dead back to life and brings new things from nothing!
WHAT IN YOUR LIFE IS DEAD … NEEDING RESURRECTION? 3 Things that We Need to Know: 1. Jesus cares about our pain. ■John 11:30 – 35 --Now Jesus had "Lord, if you had been here, my stayed outside the village, at the brother would not have died." place where Martha met him. When Jesus saw her weeping and When the people who were at the saw the other people wailing with house trying to console Mary saw her, he was moved with indignation her leave so hastily, they assumed and was deeply troubled. "Where she was going to Lazarus's grave to have you put him?" he asked them. weep. So they followed her there. They told him, "Lord, come and When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, see." Then Jesus wept. she fell down at his feet and said, ■Hebrews 4:15 - This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin. 2. Jesus has the power to change things. ■John 11:23 -- Jesus told her, "Your brother will rise again." ■When Jesus is present, ANYTHING is possible! ■He IS the resurrection and LIFE! 3. Our need is to hear His voice. ■John 11:43 -- Then Jesus shouted, "Lazarus, come out!" And the dead man came out. ■Romans 10:17 -- Yet faith comes from listening to this message of good news -- the Good News about Christ. ■The Bible says in Romans 10:17 that "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ." This is when you hear the Lord internally in a clear way that changes everything. You know that you know that you know in your "knower" that God has spoken to you. We call that a "rhema" word, from the Greek. 2 Keys to Hearing God: We have to get quiet inside. You can’t hear God with a noisy soul that is always going, going, going. We have to expect Him to speak. God honors faith, and faith is expectation. God loves when we come to Him with expectancy! ACTION POINTS / HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT To sermon “Miracles: Raising Lazarus from the Dead” 1. MEDITATE these Scriptures: ■John 11 (entire chapter) ■Romans 4:16 – 17
2. SPEND TIME getting quiet and listening for God to speak to you. Expect Him to speak to you!
2011 July 3 sermon by Pastor Bobby Lepinay
Chapter 04 –
The Pool of Bethesda
Jesus offers us a chance to change!
“Miracles”: POOLSIDE MIRACLE
John 5:1-15 1 Afterward Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days. 2 Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, with five covered porches. 3 Crowds of sick people -- blind, lame, or paralyzed -- lay on the porches. 5 One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him and knew how long he had been ill, he asked him, "Would you like to get well?" 7 "I can't, sir," the sick man said, "for I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred up. While I am trying to get there, someone else always gets in ahead of me." 8 Jesus told him, "Stand up, pick up your sleeping mat, and walk!" 9 Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up the mat and began walking! But this miracle happened on the Sabbath day. 10 So the Jewish leaders objected. They said to the man who was cured, "You can't work on the Sabbath! It's illegal to carry that sleeping mat!" 11 He replied, "The man who healed me said to me, 'Pick up your sleeping mat and walk.'" 12 "Who said such a thing as that?" they demanded. 13 The man didn't know, for Jesus had disappeared into the crowd. 14 But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, "Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you." 15 Then the man went to find the Jewish leaders and told them it was Jesus who had healed him.
WHAT IS YOUR HANDICAP? There are many types of handicaps…learning disabilities, deficiencies in your character or life skills (such as financial management), addictive behaviors (addicted to worry, control, pornography, drugs, etc.), and scars from traumatic events… But Good News! Jesus offers us a chance to change! There are 3 Decisions that Jesus Calls Us to Make: 1. Do I really want to change? a. “One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, He asked him, “Would you like to get well?” (John 5:5,6)
What Bridges Is God Calling You to Burn? – Destroy your idols!
b. Have you grown comfortable with the way that you are? Have you made friends with your handicap? 2. Am I willing to stop making excuses? a. “Would you like to get well?” Jesus asked. “I can’t, sir,” the sick man replied, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.” (John 5:7) b. Healthy people do not make excuses! c. How to Know If You Have a Victim Mentality (If you are blaming something or someone else for the bad choices that you made): i. You endlessly repeat how you have been mistreated ii. You live by the childish notion that ‘life should be fair’ iii. You have difficulty with close relationships – you don’t trust others and you are judgmental 3. Am I ready to change? a. Jesus told the man, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!” Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking! (John 5:8, 9)
Ask yourself: WHAT BRIDGES IS GOD CALLING ME TO BURN? ►Destroy your idols! ►Stop feeding lusts and addictions!
►At the time of this Scripture, Jerusalem had ten gates. These gates are symbolic of our Christian life. For instance: ►When going to this festival, Jesus and His disciples entered in through the Sheep Gate, also known as the Lion’s Gate. This gate was used to bring in the sheep that were going to be offered at the Temple for sacrifice. This gate symbolizes the start of our journey as a Christian: We must start with Jesus, the Lamb of God! ►The second gate is the Fish Gate, representing that you must tell somebody that you are a Christian now – and become a fisher of men. ►The Valley Gate represents the time when you see your true condition. The trash in your life is exposed. ►The Dung Gate represents the time in your life when the Holy Spirit cleanses you of the trash that was just exposed.
2011 July 10 sermon by Pastor Bobby Lepinay
Chapter 05 –
OPENING BLIND EYES
John 9: 1 Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked, "Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?" 3 Jesus said, "You're asking the wrong question. You're looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. 4 We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over. 5 For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light. I am the world's Light."
we knew, who sat here and begged?" 9 Others said, "It's him all right!" But others objected, "It's not the same man at all. It just looks like him." He said, "It's me, the very one." 10 They said, "How did your eyes get opened?" 11 "A man named Jesus made a paste and rubbed it on my eyes and told me, 'Go to Siloam and wash.' I did what he said. When I washed, I saw." 39
Jesus then said, "I came into the world to bring everything into the clear light of day, making all the distinctions clear, so that those who have never seen will see, and those who have made a great pretense of seeing will be exposed as blind." 40 Some Pharisees overheard him and said, "Does that mean you're calling us blind?" 41 Jesus said, "If you were really blind, you would be blameless, but since you claim to see everything so well, you're accountable for every fault and failure.
He said this and then spit in the dust, made a clay paste with the saliva, rubbed the paste on the blind man's eyes, 7 and said, "Go, wash at the Pool of Siloam" (Siloam means "Sent"). The man went and washed - and saw. 8 Soon the town was buzzing. His relatives and those who year after year had seen him as a blind man begging were saying, "Why, isn't this the man
There are two types of blindness: internal and external. Our biggest problem is internal blindness. But Jesus entered this world to give sight to the blind; He heals both external and internal blindness! Hearing and Seeing Are Both Important! Matthew 13:13 That is why I tell these stories, because people see what I do, but they don't really see. They hear what I say, but they don't really hear, and they don't understand. 14 This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah, which says: 'You will hear my words, but you will not understand; you will see what I do, but you will not perceive its meaning. 15 For the hearts of these people
are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes -- so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.' 16 "But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. 14
How you hear is one of the most important aspects of your life! According to how you hear, you are in one of four groups of people: 1) Those who hear but don’t understand 2) Those who receive the Word when they hear it, and receive it with joy …but they have a hard heart 3) Those who hear the Word but have an entangled heart …They are too distracted, so the Word becomes choked 4) Those who receive the Word when they hear it According to Matthew 13:13, true seeing and hearing understands. because they hadn't brought any bread. 17 Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he said, "Why are you so worried about having no food? Won't you ever learn or understand? Are your hearts too hard to take it in? 18 'You have eyes -- can't you see? You have ears -- can't you hear?' Don't you remember anything at all?
Mark 8:14-18 14 But the disciples discovered they had forgotten to bring any food, so there was only one loaf of bread with them in the boat. 15 As they were crossing the lake, Jesus warned them, "Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod." 16 They decided he was saying this
Mark 8 tells us that we have to keep our hearing and seeing sharp! In order to do this, we have to avoid being religious or being worldly: both extremes will damage our spiritual hearing and seeing….Spiritual blindness is the biggest problem that we as believers face. There are four things that can blind us. Things that we allow can allow our eyes to become glazed: 1) We can be blinded by JUDGMENT. Being judgmental indicates that you are proud. a. The disciples were judgmental about the man who was born blind. They erroneously believed that his blindness had to be caused by sin. b. Job’s friends were judgmental. They made unguarded deductions. They believed that Job’s problems must have been caused by sin. Judgment finds its roots in unguarded deductions that are based in generalizations (assumptions). John 7:24: “Stop judging by the way things look, but judge by what is really right." Jesus said to stop judging by mere appearances. Weigh, evaluate, and get to know the full and true story. 2) We can be blinded by SKEPTICISM. a. John 9:8, 9: 8 The neighbors and some people who had earlier seen this man begging said, "Isn't this the same man who used to sit and beg?" 9 Some said, "He is the one," but others said, "No, he only looks like him." The man himself said, "I am the man." b. The blind man’s neighbors were skeptical of his healing.
c. It is so easy to become skeptical and cynical about God’s people! But if you do, remember: Being judgmental is a sin! You must refocus, change the channel, and leave the issue if you start being judgmental and cynical. d. 1 Timothy 1:5 -The purpose of my instruction is that all the Christians there would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and sincere faith. Proverbs 4: 23 -- Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do. Guard your heart, stay sincere, and keep a good conscience instead of trying to control others by being judgmental! 3) We can be blinded by THE FEAR OF MAN. a. The fear of man ensnares people. b. Stop caring what people think – instead, care about what God thinks! 4) We can be blinded by RELIGION. a. Re = Again / Ligere = To join back together b. Religion tries to rejoin man to God – but it does this by human efforts rather than accepting what Jesus did. Religion tries to do what Jesus has already done! c. True Christianity = Trusting in Christ + Nothing!
The Key to Keeping Our Eyes Clear: Psalm 51:17 -- The sacrifice you want is a broken spirit. A broken and repentant heart, O God, you will not despise. Stay broken in your spirit; stay humble; stay tender in heart.
ACTION POINTS / HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT To sermon Miracles: Opening Blind Eyes”: 1.
Scriptures to Meditate:
■ John 9
■ Matthew 13:13-16
■ Mark 8:14-18
■ Psalm 51:17
ACTIONS TO TAKE Examine your reaction when you hear the Word of God: a. Do you understand what you hear? b. Do you receive it with joy – but find that you have a hard heart? c. Are you easily distracted, so that the Word becomes choked? d. Do you receive the Word, understand it, and focus on it? Examine how sharp your hearing and seeing are: a. Are you judgmental? b. Are you skeptical? c. Are you afraid of other people and what they think? d. Are you blinded by religion, making your own effort rather than trusting Jesus? Examine your heart: a. If you answered “Yes” to any of the above questions, then be quick to repent! b. Stay humble and tender in heart. Keep your eyes clear!
TTrruuee sseeeeiinngg aanndd hheeaarriinngg U UN NDDEERRSSTTAAN NDDSS!!
TTrruuee CChhrriissttiiaanniittyy == TTrruussttiinngg iinn CChhrriisstt ++ N Nootthhiinngg 17
2011 July 17 sermon by Pastor Bobby Lepinay
Chapter 06 –
CASTING OUT THE EVIL SPIRIT
Mark 9:14 – 29 At the foot of the mountain they found a great crowd surrounding the other disciples, as some teachers of religious law were arguing with them. The crowd watched Jesus in awe as he came toward them, and then they ran to greet him. "What is all this arguing about?" he asked. One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, "Teacher, I brought my son for you to heal him. He can't speak because he is possessed by an evil spirit that won't let him talk. And whenever this evil spirit seizes him, it throws him violently to the ground and makes him foam at the mouth and grind his teeth and become rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn't do it."
Jesus said to them, "You faithless people! How long must I be with you until you believe? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to me." So they brought the boy. But when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into a violent convulsion, and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth. "How long has this been happening?" Jesus asked the boy's father. He replied, "Since he was very small. The evil spirit often makes him fall into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us. Do something if you can." "What do you mean, 'If I can'?" Jesus asked. "Anything is possible if a person believes." The father instantly replied, "I do believe, but help
me not to doubt!" When Jesus saw that the crowd of onlookers was growing, he rebuked the evil spirit. "Spirit of deafness and muteness," he said, "I command you to come out of this child and never enter him again!" Then the spirit screamed and threw the boy into another violent convulsion and left him. The boy lay there motionless, and he appeared to be dead. A murmur ran through the crowd, "He's dead." But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him to his feet, and he stood up. Afterward, when Jesus was alone in the house with his disciples, they asked him, "Why couldn't we cast out that evil spirit?" Jesus replied, "This kind can be cast out only by prayer."
A Scripture that makes Jesus’ reaction clearer is Matthew 10:1 -- Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to cast out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and illness. In Mark 9, Jesus was frustrated because He had already delegated to His disciples the authority to cast out demons. He expected them to do what He did – because He had given them the ability to do so! 18
There are several points to notice in this passage: ►In this Scripture, Jesus said, “Anything is possible if a person believes.” According to Jesus, no situation is beyond hope! ►In this Scripture, the boy’s father was desperate for help for his son. He screamed; he cried out for help! It hurt him deeply to see an evil spirit hurt his son and try to kill him. We need to learn from this: Don’t be complacent; become desperate to see needs met!
►In this Scripture, Jesus dealt with an actual demon. At no time in history did evil spirits cease to exist; they are still present and operating in our world today. They are just more hidden in our Western society. ►When Jesus entered the crowd, He asked, “What is all this arguing about?” We need to ask ourselves: Is this what Jesus would say if He walked into my home, my office, etc.?
This Scripture gives an example of a POWER ENCOUNTER! An evil spirit had a grip, a hook, in this boy’s life. Power from heaven was needed in order to free him. The disciples tried – but they couldn’t get heaven to replace hell in this situation. Jesus not only rebuked the demon; He also rebuked His disciples. He did so because the supernatural was supposed to be normal for them! In Mark 16:16-18, Jesus gave power to believers …If Jesus stepped into your day/time/house/workplace/life, would He likewise be frustrated with your lack of power? The power of God is supposed to be a normal part of our experience as Christians!
Christianity without power does not represent Christ! POWERLESS CHRISTIANITY IS REALLY NO CHRIST-IANITY AT ALL! We are to be an extension of Christ on the earth. Don’t have a form of religiosity – Jesus wants you to have power! Only a power display, a power encounter, will displace hell. Mark 16:15-18 -- And then he told them, "Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won't hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick and heal them." Miracles, signs will accompany those who believe …so miraculous signs will accompany us if we believe! This is supposed to be our normal life! How do we solve this power-crisis? 1. Surrender to Christ to the best of your ability. Romans 12:1 – “In view of God’s mercy, offer your bodies to God as a living sacrifice.” 19
►The Holy Spirit will deal with you and show you what you need to surrender; you only have to keep in step with Him. ►Romans 12:1 says: In view of God’s mercy, offer your body to God. ►Ask yourself: What do I need to surrender to God’s grace? 2. Take the responsibility and don’t be satisfied. 1 Corinthians 14:1 – “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire the spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.” ►Take responsibility if there is a lack of power in your life. ►In order to move in God’s power, you have to eagerly desire it; you cannot be complacent. ►Take responsibility to operate in love. Spiritual gifts are expressions of love …You must want them, and you must want God’s power, in order to use them to help others. Remember: One word of knowledge (which you could give if you eagerly desire spiritual gifts!) could change someone’s life; one instance of God’s power operating through you could completely change someone’s life! People are suffering – our families are suffering! –because we don’t operate in God’s power! 3. Ask Jesus to baptize you with the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:4, 5, 8 -- “In one of these meetings as He was eating a meal with them, He told them, ‘Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you what He promised. Remember, I have told you about this before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’… But when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power …” ►You need power! 4. Step out to pray …don’t wait! Romans 12:12 – “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; instant in prayer.” ►When people ask you to pray about a need, be willing to pray right then and there. Don’t put it off, waiting for some formal prayer-time. Be instant in prayer. Pray immediately whenever you recognize a need. ►We put up with too much stuff …Pray! Take responsibility to progress in this area. One year from now, if you aren’t further along in your development as a Christian – if you are not operating in more power than you are today – then something is wrong! We must progress! Hebrews 6:1 --So let us stop going over the basics of Christianity again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don't need to start all over again with the importance of turning away from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. You don't need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding. This is a basic, normal part of what we are called to do.
James 5:16 - 18 -- Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for the next three and a half years! Then he prayed for rain, and down it poured. Power flows through prayer. No prayer = no results. Be instant in prayer …and be powerful! SCRIPTURES to Meditate on POWER: Luke 4:36 – Amazed, the people exclaimed, "What authority and power this man's words possess! Even evil spirits obey him and flee at his command!" Luke 6:19 -- Everyone was trying to touch him, because healing power went out from him, and they were all cured. Luke 9:1 – One day Jesus called together his twelve apostles and gave them power and authority to cast out demons and to heal all diseases. Acts 1:8 – But when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and will tell people about me everywhere -- in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Acts 6:8 – Stephen, a man full of God's grace and power, performed amazing miracles and signs among the people.
Ephesians 1:19-23 – I pray that you will begin to understand the incredible greatness of his power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God's right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else in this world or in the world to come. And God has put all things under the authority of Christ, and he gave him this authority for the benefit of the church. 2 And the church is his body; it is filled by Christ, who fills everything everywhere with his presence. 1 Corinthians 4:20 -- For the Kingdom of God is not just fancy talk; it is living by God's power. Ephesians 6:10 – A final word: Be strong with the Lord's mighty power.
2 Timothy 1:7 – For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline 2 Timothy 3:1-5 -- You should also know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no selfcontrol; they will be cruel and have no interest in what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act as if they are religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. You must stay away from people like that
ACTION POINTS / HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT To sermon “Miracles: Casting Out the Evil spirit” 1. Meditate the Scriptures on “Power” found on the page above. 2. Meditate: a. ■Mark 9:14 – 29 b. ■Matthew 10:1 c. ■Mark 16:15-18 3. Examine yourself: How much of God’s power is evident in your life? 4. Surrender to Christ to the best of your ability. 5. Take the responsibility to operate in God’s power through love, and don’t be satisfied. 6. Ask Jesus to baptize you with the Holy Spirit. 7. Step out to pray …don’t wait! 8. Periodically re-examine yourself: Are you progressing in your Christian life? Are you further along today than you were a week, a month, or a year ago?
2010 July 11 sermon
TO HEAR THE VOICE OF GOD
Psalm 95:7, 8 -- …Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts… God is speaking – so listen and hear Him! Humans were created with the ability to hear God’s voice. In Genesis 3:8, Adam and Eve talked with God. They heard Him. When man sinned, God withdrew from man because His presence would now kill humans. After that, people hardly heard from God for the next 4,000 years. Then Jesus came to earth and died for man so that humans could be intimate with God again. After His resurrection, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to create Eden in our hearts and live in us. That is as intimate as it gets!
Questions that Must Be Answered in Order to Hear God’s Voice: A. Question: What does God’s voice sound like? Answer: You! God speaks to you most often through your own thoughts. B. Question: How does God speak to us? Answer: There are four main ways in which God speaks to us: 1. Spirit to spirit. The Holy Spirit speaks to your spirit. Psalm 42:7 – “Deep calls to deep in the roar of Your waterfalls.” 2. Dreams and visions. 3. Godly counsel. 4. The Word of God. The Word of God is living. It speaks to us!
What Can We Do to Hear God’s Voice? 1. Develop the discipline of Study – Read and research the Bible One of the best and easiest ways to hear God is to study the Bible. Look at what the words really mean. Study reputable books about the Bible. 2. Develop the discipline of prayer Another way to hear God is to listen for Him to speak to you while you pray. In your prayertime, don’t do all of the talking; let God speak to you also. God wants us to talk to Him – but He wants to talk, too! So listen! 3. Develop the discipline of solitude Develop the discipline of solitude so you can hear God: Mentally get away from your outer world so you can focus on God and concentrate on hearing Him. Get away from the television and computer; turn off the phone – and focus your attention on God!
Ask yourself how you are currently doing: Is there any time in your day that you would be able to hear a gentle whisper? When you do hear God speaking to you, don’t presume that you can immediately interpret everything that He says to you. If you jump to conclusions and assumptions, then your interpretation of what He said could be wrong …so if you need it, ask Him for clarification! He wants you to understand! Another question that must be answered is: How do we know that it is God’s voice that we are hearing? The answer is in three parts: 1. It does not contradict the Word of God 2. It brings peace, not discord 3. It is confirmed by godly counsel 1 Kings 19:11-12 The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. God is talking …He wants you to hear Him …Listen with an obedient heart! God desires intimacy with you!
ACTION POINTS / HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT To sermon “How to Hear the Voice of God”
1. Meditate these Scriptures: a. ■Psalm 95:7, 8 b. ■1 Kings 19:11-12 2. Daily read, study, and research the Bible 3. Daily pray – both talking to God and listening to Him 4. Daily get alone with God (at least mentally!) and focus on Him.
2011 July 24 sermon by Pastor David Bullard. visitor from Delaware
Now that we are trained to hear the voice of God, the next step is to do whatever He tells us to do! (See John 2:1-11 – Jesus’ mother told the servants, “Do whatever He tells you” …and when they obeyed, the water was turned into wine!) Chapter 08
Big Idea for Today: Application is everything! This sermon is for believers. When God gave the commandments, He gave them to people that He was already in relationship with. God’s commands were not for everybody. The rules, regulations, and commandments were for people that He was already in relationship with …They weren’t for people who weren’t His. That’s why we shouldn’t get upset when the unsaved don’t want the Ten Commandments displayed; the Ten Commandments are not directed toward them to keep. The Commandments were given to protect us, not to control us! James 1:22-25 was written to Jewish Christians (believers): Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face
in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and
continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does.
Just listening causes deception. Just because you show up and hear a sermon doesn’t mean everything is OK – Your life needs to change! Your finances, relationships, etc. need to improve and keep improving! Do what it (the Bible) says. Notice: “Do what it says!” Anyone who listens to the Word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror but goes off without fixing the flaws, looking like a mess. Without applying the Word, your life becomes a mess. Look intently in the mirror of your heart to fix your attitudes, relationships, etc.
Faith is connected to our doing and our obedience. Hebrews 11:1-13 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead. By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For
before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like
a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith Abraham, even though he was past age--and Sarah herself was barren--was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. All these people were still living by faith when they died.
The Law brings freedom and liberty even though it initially seems to take them away. It provides a firm foundation for our freedom. Jesus said in Matthew 7:24 - "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” It is hard to build on a rock. You have to blow things up; you have to work hard. There are several applications of this verse. For instance, forgiveness is one application of action that builds on the rock of Jesus’ words. It is hard to forgive – but forgiveness brings freedom. If you don’t forgive, then resentment, bitterness, and anger bind you and take away your freedom. Notice: Doing God’s Word is a continual process. In James 1:25, the Scripture says, “…and continues to do this…” This gives us the principle: Small things done well over a long period of time bring good (and big!) results. The opposite is also true: Small things neglected over a long period of time bring bad results. An example of this is exercise: You cannot just exercise in one big 8-hour workout and develop strong muscles. You must work out consistently day after day in order to develop and keep strong muscles.
This principle applies to our relationships. For instance, say “I love you” to your spouse every day; express and demonstrate your love in ways that communicate love to your spouse. In order to do this do not just do what you enjoy doing and what is convenient for you – Express your love in ways that are meaningful to your spouse! Application is everything! Application is hard work … but it is everything! Application determines your direction, which determines your destination. Your daily decisions (your applications) determine where you will end up – in your finances, in your relationships, in your work, in your spiritual life, etc. Make sure that your decisions are driving your life in the right direction to get where you want to go. Look at where you are going; make changes where you need to …Listen and do! In application is freedom. You may not know it initially, but you will experience that freedom eventually. In order to apply God’s Word, focus on God and on the positive rather than on the “don’ts.” Trying not to sin is not a good remedy for sin; it is not a good plan. Instead, get intense about doing what God says to do; do this, and you will leave sin in the dust. If you need to make a change, then focus on what God says for you to do rather than focusing on what you need to change.
Pastor Roger’s added comments: Just do it! Remember: You reap what you sow. It is not complicated: Obey God, and you will experience freedom. Be a doer of the Word. Examine your life. If you see something that you need to change to be in line with God’s Word, then ask God to help you do His will.
ACTION POINTS / HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT To sermon “Life Apps”: 1. Meditate these Scriptures: a. James 1:22-25 b. Hebrews 11:1-13 2. As you read, meditate, and study God’s Word, daily apply it to yourself and your own circumstances. 3. Focus on God and get intense about doing what He says to do! 4. Be a doer of the Word. 5. Examine your life and your heart. If anything needs to change, ask God to help you change – Don’t try to do it without Him.
►Application determines direction; ►Direction determines destination
Application is a daily process 29
2010 March 7 sermon by Pastor Bobby Lepinay
Chapter 09 –
I REALLY DON’T LIKE A LOT OF CHRISTIANS
“Confessions of a Pastor”:
Christians can be weird, judgmental, and hypocritical. However, God told us how to deal with this: Remember all that God has forgiven you and cleansed you from. Matthew 7:1-4 Message: "Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults - unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It's easy to see a smudge on
your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, 'Let me wash your face for you,' when your own face is distorted by contempt?
2 Peter 1:5-8 “Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 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. But if anyone does not have them (in increasing measure), he has become nearsighted and blind, forgetting he has been cleansed from his past sins.”
How Do I Know When I Am Becoming Blind? Our greatest need?: Jesus’ discipline and correction in our lives!
1. I Stop Seeing Myself. a. I accuse others, but excuse myself. 2. I Stop Seeing Others. a. I get too busy. b. I move too fast (I run people over if they are in my way). c. I start seeing people as a hindrance rather than as potential divine appointments.
Rev. 3: 18b, 19 Message: Buy medicine for your eyes from Me so you can see, really see. The people I love, I call to account - prod and correct and guide so that they'll live at their best. Up on your feet, then! About face! Run after God!
Philippians 2:3,4: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. 30
ACTION POINTS / HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT To sermon “I Really Don’t Like a Lot of Christians”
►MEDITATE: ■Matthew 7:1-4
■2 Peter 1:5-8
■Philippians 2:3, 4
►LOOK AT YOURSELF: 1. Do you have the qualities that God wants you to have? a. Faith b. Goodness c. Knowledge d. Self-control e. Perseverance f. Godliness g. Brotherly Kindness h. Love 2. Are these qualities increasing in you? 3. Do you make excuses for yourself? 4. Practice seeing yourself as God sees you: Forgiven and cleansed! ►LOOK AT HOW YOU VIEW OTHERS: 1. Do you make time for other people? 2. Do you view others as hindrances or as divine appointments?
Look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others
2010 March 14 sermon by Pastor Bobby Lepinay
– “Confessions of a Pastor”:
I OFTEN DON’T FEEL LIKE PRAYING
Mark 14:32 – 40 New Living Translation: And they came to an olive He prayed that, if it were grove called Gethsemane, and possible, the awful hour Jesus said, "Sit here while I go awaiting him might pass him and pray." He took Peter, by. "Abba, Father," he said, James, and John with him, and "everything is possible for you. he began to be filled with Please take this cup of suffering horror and deep distress. He away from me. Yet I want your told them, "My soul is crushed will, not mine." Then he with grief to the point of death. returned and found the Stay here and watch with me." disciples asleep. "Simon!" he He went on a little farther and said to Peter. "Are you asleep? fell face down on the ground. Couldn't you stay awake and
watch with me even one hour? Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you. For though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak." Then Jesus left them again and prayed, repeating his pleadings. Again he returned to them and found them sleeping, for they just couldn't keep their eyes open. And they didn't know what to say.
In Mark 14, Jesus’ disciples struggled with praying. Reasons Why You Might Not Feel Like Praying: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
You are not sure that God will answer your prayers. You’re not really sure that you know how to pray. You think that your requests are too small to bother God with. You flat-out blew it; you made a mistake; you sinned. You get bored while praying. These people seem to have Prayer ADD/Prayer Drift; they have trouble focusing their mind while praying.
►If any of these reasons apply to you, then you need to realize that you are a lot harder on yourself than God is on you!
►If any of these reasons apply to you, then you need to redefine prayer: Prayer is simply communicating with God!
Communication: The process by which information, thoughts, and feelings are exchanged. Transference of thoughts, ideas, and information. God wants to hear your ideas and tell you His! 32
One easy way to communicate with God is through ACTS Prayer:
Never limit your idea of prayer – Keep expanding your conception of how to pray!
A doration C onfession T hanksgiving S upplication
We can learn different ways to expand our prayer-life by looking at people in the Bible: A. Mary (the sister of Lazarus): Pray Listening Prayers ►Luke 10:38, 39: As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a village where a woman named Martha welcomed them into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord's feet, listening to what he taught. ►(From Andrew Murray, “Waiting on God”) –Pray Listening Prayers as you Wait on the Lord: A. Still your soul B. Listen for God to speak to you. C. Picture yourself sitting at the feet of Jesus. D. Read through your Bible, letting God speak to you through Scripture. E. If you wish, you can walk as you pray and read. Walk, sit down …do whatever is the most comfortable for you and the most conducive to your focusing on God. F. Read the Scriptures out loud, turning what you are reading into a prayer. B. King David: Pray creatively ►We learn creative communication from Psalms: Try writing your prayers Try praying in different locations Try praying in different positions Try praying during routine tasks ► Pray the Psalms. The psalms originally were prayers that were sung. As he prayed and sang, David was quiet, he shouted; he cried out, and he rejoiced. David expressed to God what he was really feeling. ► Keep a prayer journal. Write out your prayers, just as King David did. Write down God’s answers as they come. C. Paul: Pray continuously ►Ephesians 6:18 – “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert, and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” ►(From Jack Hayford, “The Beauty of Spiritual Language”): Carry the saints in your heart; pray for the Christians that you know. ►Acts 20:13 -- Deliberately put yourself in a position where you can pray. In Acts 20:13, Paul needed to be alone and pray, so he walked 20 miles (which most likely took him 7 hours!) by himself. He saw that he needed to be alone with God, so he put himself in that position. 33
►Pray all the time! Pray while you work, walk, etc. Dedicate that time to talking with the Lord. See everything that you do as an opportunity to meet with God!
Psalm 27:8 “My heart has heard You say, ‘Come and talk with Me.’ And my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming!’”
ACTION POINTS / HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT To sermon “I Often Don’t Feel Like Praying” ►MEDITATE: ■Mark 14:32 – 40 ■Luke 10:38, 39
■Ephesians 6:18 ■ Acts 20:13
►PRAY Adoration Confession Thanksgiving Supplication
►LEARN DIFFERENT WAYS TO PRAY Keep expanding your concept of how to pray. ■Each day pray listening prayers (See Section A above) ■Each day read in your Bible, praying what you are reading and letting God speak to you ■Each day pray what you read in Psalms ■Each day keep a Prayer Journal
►PRAY ALL THE TIME!
Remember the purpose of Prayer: To communicate with God! Take-Away:
►Pray Listening Prayers
Pray ACTS Prayers
►Pray creatively ►Pray all the time! 35
A doration C onfession T hanksgiving S upplication
2010 May 2 sermon
SIMPLIFYING YOUR FAITH
Proverbs 11:28 -- A life devoted to things is a dead life, a “stump;” the God-shaped life is a flourishing tree. →WHAT DOES A GOD-SHAPED LIFE LOOK LIKE? Life is preparation for eternity. It is practice on earth for what we will do forever. What I do now shapes my own eternity – and affects the eternity of others. “…This is the warm-up act – the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity.” -- Rick Warren THE FIVE ETERNAL PRACTICES (that shape my and other’s eternities):
The God-shaped life
1. Worship: …to respond to God with love and obedience. ►John 4:21-24 – Jesus and the Samaritan Woman Jesus replied, "Believe me; the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father here or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know so little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming and is already here when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for anyone who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth." ►Worship has many forms. Lifting your hands is an action of surrender and obedience that is a form of worship. ►Worship is responding to God in love, trust, and obedience.
Is a flourishing tree
2. Fellowship: …to be a vital part of God’s family. a. The lifestyle of the first Christians is described in Acts 2:42-47 “They joined with the other believers and devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, sharing in the Lord's Supper and in prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together constantly and shared everything they had. They sold their possessions and shared the proceeds with those in need. 36
“They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord's Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity -- all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved. b. Fellowship is not just friendship. It is sharing your life and responding positively as others share theirs. c. Wrap your life around responding to God and to people – sharing your life with God and His people. 3. Discipleship: …to focus on becoming like Christ. Acts 4:13-14 – The Jewish leaders examined Peter and John The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men who had had no special training. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus. 14 But since the man who had been healed was standing right there among them, the council had nothing to say. ►Discipleship is not just a class or a mentoring relationship. It is a lifestyle of becoming like Christ in character and actions. 4. Ministry: …to serve others because of what God has done for me. Galatians 6:7 – 9 – A wonderful promise! Don't be misled. Remember that you can't ignore God and get away with it. You will always reap what you sow! Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful desires will harvest the consequences of decay and death. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So don't get tired of doing what is good. Don't get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time. 5. Evangelism: …to share the Good News of Christ! ►Evangelism is telling people that God loves them. It is leading others to righteousness …It affects your eternity and well as other’s eternities. ►Daniel 12:2, 3 –“And the dead shall arise, some to everlasting life; some to everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” Do not reduce being a Christian to just being a nice person! We must do the stuff that Jesus did. Live like a person of faith! Do what Jesus did! Look at your lifestyle: Is this what Jesus paid for? Get a real Christian life! Form your life around God and His purposes – and help others to do this. Live your life so that it is Godshaped – and flourish!
ACTION POINTS / HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT To sermon “Simplifying Your Faith” MEDITATE: ►Proverbs 11:28
► Galatians 6:7 – 9
► Acts 4:13-14
►Daniel 12:2, 3
1. Look for ways to respond to God with love and obedience today. 2. Look for opportunities to share your life with God and His people.
D is c ip l e s h ip
2011 January 23 sermon
Chapter 12 -- “Drawing
“The average Christian has no idea just how important worship is to their walk with God.” John 4:23 – The time is coming when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. Developing in worship is a journey! As with any journey, your development in worship will have milestones, markers, landmarks, mile markers, etc. Celebrate each one of these as you develop greater and greater intimacy with God! Use music that you know and are comfortable with in your worship– Worship with the kind of music that you enjoy. Immerse yourself in it! Worship connects your heart with God’s heart. My heart connecting with God’s heart = intimacy. Worship is like an umbilical cord. It connects you to the Father; you feed from Him and are nourished by Him. As you worship God, He is connected with you! These are all matters of the heart: worship, love, and gratefulness. They must be expressed! There are many ways of doing this. 1. Ways to Connect with God in Worship a. Singing i. Praise the LORD! How good it is to sing praises to our God! How delightful and how right! (Psalm 147:1) ii. Sing at church, at home, in your car…sing to God everywhere that you can! iii. Speak to each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music in your hearts to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:19). Worshipping God with singing – making melody – is part of being filled with the Holy Spirit. b. Clapping … Shouting i. Come, everyone, and clap your hands for joy! Shout to God with joyful praise! For the LORD Most High is awesome. He is the great King of all the earth. (Psalm 47:1-2) ii. When you shout in worship, things are broken that need to be broken. This is part of worship. 39
c. Lifting Hands i. Oh, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD, you who serve as night watchmen in the house of the LORD. Lift your hands in holiness, and bless the LORD. (Psalm 134:1-2) d. Bowing or Kneeling i. Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the LORD our maker, for he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the sheep under his care. Oh, that you would listen to his voice today! (Psalm 95:6, 7) e. Laying Prostrate in Awe and Silence i. At the customary time for offering the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet walked up to the altar and prayed, "O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, prove today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant. Prove that I have done all this at your command. O LORD, answer me! Answer me so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God and that you have brought them back to yourself." Immediately the fire of the LORD flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up all the water in the ditch! And when the people saw it, they fell on their faces and cried out, "The LORD is God! The LORD is God!" (1 Kings 18:36-39) All of these ways to connect with God involve the heart! God is looking for the engagement of my heart with His. He is looking for my expression of what is in my heart. 2. What Worship Does: a. It attracts the presence of God to our lives. i. When Solomon finished praying, fire flashed down from heaven and burned up the burnt offerings and sacrifices, and the glorious presence of the LORD filled the Temple. The priests could not even enter the Temple of the LORD because the glorious presence of the LORD filled it. When all the people of Israel saw the fire coming down and the glorious presence of the LORD filling the Temple, they fell face down on the ground and worshiped and praised the LORD, saying, "He is so good! His faithful love endures forever!" (2 Chronicles 7:1-3) b. It releases the power of God into our circumstances. i. Around midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a great earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! (Acts 16:25, 26) c. It prepares the atmosphere for the Holy Spirit to speak to us. i. Among the prophets and teachers of the church at Antioch of Syria were Barnabas, Simeon (called "the black man" ), Lucius (from Cyrene), Manaen (the childhood companion of King Herod Antipas ), and Saul. One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Dedicate Barnabas
and Saul for the special work I have for them." So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way. (Acts 13:1-3) Worship is about connection with God. Focus on God as you worship. Don’t focus on yourself – Don’t let what is wrong in you keep your from worshipping what is right in God! In your mind, minimize yourself. Focus on God! 3. Practical Helps to Really Connect in Worship: a. Remember that God wants to connect with the real you – all of you, not a “fake self.” He loves you as you are! b. If you are self-conscious, close your eyes and just absorb. Allow yourself to simply respond to God’s Spirit. c. Connect with the worship song that you are singing or listening to. Let it speak to your heart. Allow God’s Spirit to speak to you. d. Obey the prompting to show your adoration as you are able. e. Purchase good worship music. “Baste” in it! f. Realize worship is your “birthright” and privilege as a child of God. Don’t let the fear of man steal it from you!
The degree of closeness we have with God depends on how strongly we believe that He speaks to us personally.
ACTION POINTS / HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT To sermon “Worship” 1. MEDITATE: ►John 4:23 ►Psalm 147:1 ►Ephesians 5:19 ►Psalm 47:1-2
►Psalm 134:1-2 ►Psalm 95:6, 7 ►1 Kings 18:36-39 ►2 Chronicles 7:1-3
►Acts 16:25, 26 ►Acts 13:1-3
2. Spend time each day listening to good worship music – Listen to music that you like! 3. Spend time each day singing to God – either singing by yourself or singing along with the music to which you are listening. As you worship God, practice these ways of connecting with Him: 4. Clap to God! 5. Shout to God! 6. Lift your hands to God as you worship. 7. Kneel or bow down as you worship God in prayer. 8. Lay prostrate in awe as you worship God. 9. Practice focusing on God as you worship Him. 10. Practice being “real” with God as you worship Him.
God speaks to you personally! 42
2010 July 25 sermon by Pastor Roger Hirth
Chapter 13 --
A WAR FOR YOUR WORSHIP
The one thing that God desires most of all from you is WORSHIP! You have the ability to choose whether to freely give it or whether to withhold it from God. Why worship is so important to God: 1.
You are a worshipper! It is what you are. ►You worship what you value most. Where you put your time, money, affection, and thoughts shows what you are worshipping. ►“A man is most easily excited by the subject that lies nearest to his heart” (Charles Finney). ►There are many things that can become idols: Fitness, power, your kids, sports, clothes, your house, your car, etc. ►We are worshippers and will worship what we value the most. You will worship someone or something …Make sure you worship God, and do not make for yourself an idol.
2. You will become like what you worship. ►Worship results in transformation ►Psalm 115:4, 8 – But their idols are silver and gold, made by the hands of men. … Those who make them will be like them and so will all who trust in them. ►Idols occupy your affection. They take your time and energy away from God. Some of today’s idols include: Money (I Timothy 6:5-10) Celebrity worship Consumerism, Having more Instant gratification (Ecclesiastes 5:12 and Proverbs Business 18:11) Sensuality Naturalism – The belief that Success nature is all there is; the belief Comfort that there is no creator Appearance/Approval Individualism – The attitude Personal experience (what you that “It is all about me” experience is your focus) Humanism Idolatrous worship focuses on me; true worship focuses on God!
Isaiah 14:13-14 describes the beginning of the war for your worship.
Matthew 4:8 – 10 tells us that the war for worship is still raging:
For you said to yourself, 'I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God's stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north. I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.'
Next the Devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him the nations of the world and all their glory. "I will give it all to you," he said, "if you will only kneel down and worship me." "Get out of here, Satan," Jesus told him. "For the Scriptures say, 'You must worship the Lord your God; serve only him.' "
John 4:23, 24 tells us that there are “true worshippers.” If there are true worshippers, then there are also false worshippers (those who worship in ignorance). But the time is coming and is already here when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for anyone who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth."
There are three participants when you worship: 1) The Audience: They have power to influence the worship in that they rate the experience. 2) The Performer 3) The Director. Many people think that God is the director in worship; actually, He is the audience in our worship! In order to worship, you must answer: Who is God? What has He done? Once you answer these questions correctly, worship is the natural response to His supernatural goodness. Hebrews 13:15 tells us that there is a sacrifice of praise. You do this by bringing yourself as an offering to God. With Jesus' help, let us continually offer our sacrifice of praise to God by proclaiming the glory of his name. Offer yourself as a grain offering to God, coming to Him with purity and the Spirit. Leviticus 2:11 -- "Do not use yeast in any of the grain offerings you present to the LORD, because no yeast or honey may be burned as an offering to the LORD by fire.” ►Yeast was prohibited because it was a type of pride and puffiness.
►Honey was prohibited because it can make things artificially sweet. 44
There are four definitions of Sacrifice in the New Testament: 1. 2. 3. 4.
Declaring (verbal praise) Caring (sharing with those in need) Giving Body (offer your body to God)
►Romans 12:1 – New Living translation:
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice -- the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask?
So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life - your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walkingaround life - and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.
In view of who God is and what He has done, I bring an offering to Him – and I am that offering!
ACTION POINTS / HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT To sermon “A War for Your Worship” MEDITATE: ►Psalm 115:4, 8 ►Isaiah 14:13-14 ►Matthew 4:8 – 10
►John 4:23, 24 ►Hebrews 13:15 ►Romans 12:1
ACTIONS: 1. Study: ■ Study God’s nature and character. Ask yourself, “Who is God? What has He done?” 2. Offer: ■ Offer yourself as an offering to God. 3. Express ■Express to God your admiration of who He is. ■Express your worship by declaring who God is and what He has done. Declare what He has done in the past and in the present; declare what He has done world-wide and what He has done for you personally. ■Express your worship by allowing God to use you as a channel for His compassion. Care for those in need; share what you have with them. ■Express your worship by giving – to God and to others, ■Express your worship by offering your body to God. Offer to Him all that you have and all that you are!
Express your worship
2010 October 3 sermon
-- “It’s All in Your Mind”:
Philippians 2:5 “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…”
ATTITUDE CHECK Attitude (fron-eh’-o) ►To exercise the mind (self-talk), ►To have a strong opinion (opinion-ated) ►To be mentally decided (a judgment)
GOD’S WORD TO US: ►Proverbs 23:7 “For as a man thinks within himself, so is he.”
IDENTIFY YOUR AREAS OF NEGATIVITY ___ Personal Negativity ___ Relational Negativity ___ Circumstantial Negativity ___ Spiritual Negativity ___ Nit-Picky Negativity
►Psalm 118:24 “This is the day the Lord has made; I will be glad and rejoice in it.”
Possible Areas of Negativity: ■Personal Negativity: Being negative about things regarding yourself. Your self-talk says, “I’m never going to make it.” “Everyone else seems to get the breaks.” “I’m always going to be __________(fat/poor/etc.).” You are negative about your physical traits. ■Relational Negativity: Being negative about your relationships. Your self-talk says, “Every time I trust someone, I get burned.” “Men/Women can’t be trusted.” “I wish my husband/wife were different.” “That person will never change.” (If you have this problem, you need to realize that every family since Adam & Eve has been dysfunctional!) ■Circumstantial Negativity: Your circumstances dictate your attitude. Your self-talk says, “If…” “If I was married, I’d be happy.” “If I was married to someone else…” “If only I had…” “I’ll never get out of debt.” ■Spiritual Negativity: This attitude has a lack mentality…Something is always wrong with church, etc. Your self-talk says, “What’s the use of praying?” “God never speaks to me.” ■Nit-Picky Negativity: Even if you have to look, you will find something to be negative about – slow drivers, slow cashiers, etc. “Walmart negativity” is a form of this: No one wants to be there. Extreme negativity says, “I’m not going to do this stupid test!” 47
My attitude should be the same as Jesus’ attitude! Meditate this: Jesus did not complain; He did not express self-pity; He never had a bad attitude. Your attitude is your inner conversation. It is your self-talk. Your attitude matters to God! So don’t be critical and judgmental – even in your self-talk. Be honest with yourself; evaluate yourself and your self-talk. Before you can overcome a negative attitude, you have to admit that it is there. Take charge: You direct your attitude; your attitude does not drive you. Your destiny is determined by your thoughts! Take every thought captive: Stop and examine each thought; hold it up and look at it. Analyze your thoughts. Examine and analyze every thought that you have to see if it lines up with God’s Word. Train yourself to do this! In order to take charge of your attitude, you will have to be careful about the people that you spend time around. Especially don’t hang out with people who use humor to criticize others …That is an especially hurtful form of negativity. RESOLUTIONS TO CONSIDER: 1. I will not hang out with negative people. a. 1 Corinthians 15:33 – “Bad company corrupts good character…” 2. I will not dwell on negative thoughts. a. 2 Corinthians 10:5 – “We take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.” 3. I will replace negative thoughts with Truth. Philippians 4:7-8 “Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think on such things. And the peace of God that transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” This may seem to be a hard task – but when God is in the equation, everything is possible!
ACTION POINTS / HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT To sermon “Attitude Check” MEDITATE: Philippians 2:5
2 Corinthians 10:5
MEDITATE: ►Meditate on Jesus’ attitude as shown throughout the gospels. Even when His cousin John was so unfairly beheaded, He did not descend into complaining. ACTION STEPS: ►Take an honest look at yourself throughout the day. Identify your areas of personal negativity. ►Stop throughout the day and examine your self-talk. Analyze your thoughts: Are they positive or negative? Do your thoughts line up with the Word of God? ►As you identify them, replace all your negative thoughts with God’s Truth from His Word. Every time that you find yourself being negative throughout the day, practice replacing those negative thoughts with what God says! ►As much as possible, do not hang out with negative people. ►Practice being a positive person so you will not be the negative person that others are avoiding!
Take charge of your attitude!
Before you can overcome a negative attitude, you have to admit that it is there.
As you think, so are you!
2011 January 9 sermon
-- “Drawing Near”:
THE GREATEST INVITATION OF ALL TIME
Jeremiah 30:21 “I will bring him near and he will come close to Me – for who is he who will devote himself to be close to Me?” declares the Lord. James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. NO CONDEMNATION – ONLY INVITATION! ■The Scripture says, “…he will come close to Me.“ To be “close with God” means that you are His friend.
■Friendship: One attached to another by esteem and affection ■Esteem: Honor, respect; elevating another person because you care about them
According to Jeremiah 30:21, If you devote yourself to be close to God, then He will draw you to Him! God longs for intimacy with you. When you devote yourself to God: Don’t confuse legalism with discipline & habit. The latter two are good; while legalism will get in the way of your being close to God. As you draw near to God, allow Him to convict you – but realize that He will not condemn you. Seek God by focusing on who He is: He is the Healer! He is the Provider – so be careful to seek the Provider more than the provision.
James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God…” -- Do this by reading the Bible, expecting God to speak to you -…and He will draw near to you.
There are Three Questions that you must ask yourself in order to clear out any hindrances to your coming close to God: 1) Am I fixated on the PAST – whether failures or successes? ■Neither is good; both are hindrances! ■“Yesterday’s failures, as well as glories, are past. All that matters is my walk with Christ TODAY!” Never let failure keep you away from God – Failure should drive you into fellowship, not away from it! ■Hebrews 3:7-13 (New Living translation) – That is why the Holy Spirit says, "Today you must listen to his voice. Don't harden your hearts against him as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested God's patience in the wilderness. There your ancestors tried my patience, even though they saw my miracles for forty years. So I was angry with them, and I said, 'Their hearts always turn away from me. They refuse to do what I tell them.' So in my anger I made a vow: 'They will never enter my place of rest.'" Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. You must warn each other every day, as long as it is called "today," so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. ■Philippians 3:13 --No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead… If you are dealing with fixation, then get in the Word of God and say the same thing that God says (confession). Confession is a great tool to get rid of fixations…It redirects and refocuses you. 2) Am I walking in the light that I DO Know TODAY? ■1 John 1:5-7 This is the message he has given us to announce to you: God is light and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness. We are not living in the truth. But if we are living in the light of God's presence, just as Christ is, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from every sin. ■We need to hear God’s voice TODAY! You must actively – today – hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. ■God works with us (disciplines us) on the basis of our obedience to what we do know. He doesn’t judge us on what we don’t know. ■If God convicts you of something that you know to do but aren’t doing, then respond to that conviction! Respond with obedience.
3) Am I maintaining “idols” within my heart? ■Ezekiel 14:2,3 …this message came to me from the LORD: "Son of man, these leaders have set up idols in their hearts. They have embraced things that lead them into sin. Why should I let them ask me anything? ■Idol: Anything that takes God’s place in your life. Anything that becomes bigger to you than God is. Anything that you esteem or give more attention to than God. ■God wants us to enjoy things – but He does not want us to let these things become idols as we give more value to them than to Him. ■Idols are addictive. If you examine yourself and find that you are addicted to an idol, then fasting is a good way to break that addiction.
Everything in your Christian life can be summed up by whether you draw near to God or away from Him.
ACTION POINTS / HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT To sermon “The Greatest Invitation of All Time!” MEDITATE: Jeremiah 30:21 James 4:8
Hebrews 3:7-13 Philippians 3:13
1 John 1:5-7 Ezekiel 14:2,3
ACTION STEPS: ►Seek God by focusing on who He is ►Read the Bible, expecting God to speak to you as you read ►Honestly examine yourself Am I fixated on anything in the past? o If so, get in the Word of God, find out what God says about the situation, and then say the same thing as what God says about it. Redirect and refocus your attitude toward the past, present, and future by speaking God’s Word about them. Am I walking in what I do know today? o If not, then practice obeying God. Do what you know to do! Am I maintaining any idols within my heart? Has anything taken God’s place in my heart …Is anything bigger to me than God is? Am I giving more attention to anything than I am to God? o If so, fast from that thing. Focus your full attention on God!
Hear God’s voice TODAY!
Read the Bible, expecting God to speak to you 53
2011 January 16 sermon
-- “Drawing Near”:
FRIENDS OF GOD
Exodus 33:7-11 It was Moses' custom to set up the tent known as the Tent of Meeting far outside the camp. Everyone who wanted to consult with the LORD would go there. Whenever Moses went out to the Tent of Meeting, all the people would
get up and stand in their tent entrances. They would all watch Moses until he disappeared inside. As he went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and hover at the entrance while the LORD spoke with Moses. Then all the
people would stand and bow low at their tent entrances. Inside the Tent of Meeting, the LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.
certainly be delivered from eternal punishment by his life. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship
with God -- all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us in making us friends of God.
Romans 5:10, 11 For since we were restored to friendship with God by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will
Being a friend of God is no longer for the select few who will pay the price to seek Him. It is now for everyone! Christ Jesus paid the price for us to be friends of God; you don’t have to try – and there is no use: You can’t pay for it because Jesus has already paid for it in full. The Cross stands between the Old covenant and the New covenant. In the New covenant, we believers are all now friends of God. This means that you can seek God out of rest – because He is your friend and you want to spend time with Him. God is inside you. He is in your body; He is in your thoughts. You can commune with Him all the time through your thoughts! Not every thought that you have is from Him …but you can learn to commune with Him through what you are thinking about. Develop and cultivate your friendship with God! Do this by filling your day with spontaneous prayer as things come to your mind. Share your day with Him as it is happening.
You don’t have to – and can’t! – earn your friendship with God. You have it already; you must now cultivate it. Some things to help us as we cultivate this friendship: 1. Realize that real friendship is a process. a. Every friendship is a process that takes time to develop. b. Introduction > Familiarity > Bonding (trust is built) c. Introduction stage: You meet; you find out about each other’s existence. d. Familiarity stage: You spend short amounts of time together. You get acquainted with each other. e. Bonding stage: You go through things together. You love each other and are for each other. Trust is built. 2. Keep ‘short tabs’ – avoid hiding a. God knows it all anyway! (Matthew 6) b. Especially avoid Fig-Leaf Religion: You hide with Bible-reading, etc. You should read your Bible, etc. – but do not use these as activities to hide who you really are and what you have done. c. Memorize 1 John 1:9 – “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.” 3. Come empty and with ‘wonder’ a. Psalm 25:14 – The Lord is a friend to those who fear Him; He teaches them His covenant. b. Cast all of your anxiety (cares) on God so you can be empty and filled with wonder in God’s presence. He cares for you! c. A noisy soul cannot hear God. 4. Give God unhurried time to speak to you a. Each day have a ‘Devotional Time.’ i. Get comfortable ii. Read through the Bible. Have a good Bible reading plan and follow it each day. iii. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you iv. Journal what you hear v. Do what He tells you! 5. Do what He tells you a. John 15:14 – You are My friends if you do what I tell you.
ACTION POINTS / HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT To sermon “Friends of God” ►MEDITATE: Exodus 33:7-11 1 John 1:9 John 15:14 Romans 5:10, 11 Psalm 25:14 ►MEDITATE Meditate on the fact that Jesus paid in full for you to be a friend of God the Father. ►MEMORIZE 1 JOHN 1:9 ACTION STEPS: ►Several times throughout the day, focus on the fact that God is inside you; He is inside your body and is in your thoughts! ►Practice communing with God throughout the day through what you are thinking about. ► Develop and cultivate your friendship with God by filling your day with spontaneous prayer as things come to your mind. Share your day with Him as it is happening. ►Make a habit of having a Devotional Time each day: i. ii. iii. iv. v.
Get comfortable Read through the Bible. Have a good Bible reading plan and follow it each day. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you Journal what you hear Do what He tells you!
►Read the Bible ►Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you 56
►Journal what you hear ►Do what He tells you
2011 January 30 sermon
John 14:15 - 26 "If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world at large cannot receive him, because it isn't looking for him and doesn't recognize him. But you do, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans -- I will come to you. In just a little while the world will not see me again, but you will. For I will live again, and
-- “Drawing Near”:
THE HOLY SPIRIT
you will, too. 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. Those who obey my commandments are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them, and I will love them. And I will reveal myself to each one of them." Judas (not Judas Iscariot, but the other disciple with that name) said to him, "Lord, why are you going to reveal yourself only to us and not to the world at large?" Jesus replied, "All those who love me will do
what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and live with them. Anyone who doesn't love me will not do what I say. And remember, my words are not my own. This message is from the Father who sent me. I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. But when the Father sends the Counselor as my representative -- and by the Counselor I mean the Holy Spirit -- he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I myself have told you.”
The Holy Spirit is: ►Our Helper, Advocate, Counselor ►Our Paraclete: a “Helper,” or a “Nurse.” One who is pulling me toward wholeness and harmony with God’s will for my life, guiding me toward that end – the end being “Christlikeness.” ►A Person …He is not an “It!” He is God. ►The Most Important Person on Earth! (This is also the title of a recommended book by Myles Munroe.)
The Holy Spirit assists us, nurses us, consoles us, helps us, and counsels us. He shows us how to transform our thinking, how to live, and how to change. He helps us every time that we need it!
The Holy Spirit is pulling me toward: 1.The peace and focus of Christ. John 14:26, 27 – “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you” (focus). “Peace I leave with you; My peace I am giving you.” ►The peace of Christ only comes when we have the focus of Christ: Jesus’ focus: ■John 15:19 – “I do only what I see My Father doing.” ■John 14:15 – “If you love Me, obey My commandments.” …“Focus on Me!” ►If you want peace, then go back through the Gospels and focus on Jesus. ►Obey Jesus’ commandments by applying them to your daily life. For instance, the next time that you are tempted to become angry, apply Jesus words in Matthew 5:21-24 – "You have heard that the law are in danger of being brought suddenly remember that of Moses says, 'Do not murder. before the high council. And if someone has something If you commit murder, you are you curse someone, you are in against you, leave your subject to judgment.' But I say, danger of the fires of hell. "So sacrifice there beside the altar. if you are angry with someone, if you are standing before the Go and be reconciled to that you are subject to judgment! If altar in the Temple, offering a person. Then come and offer you call someone an idiot, you sacrifice to God, and you your sacrifice to God.” Ask yourself: What would my life be like if I had laser-like focus on the “red letters” …Jesus’ words? 2.The character and attractiveness of Christ John 16:13, 14 – “But when the Spirit of Truth comes, the Holy Spirit, He will guide you into all truth …He will bring glory to Me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.” ►The Holy Spirit will make known to you Jesus’ personality and character. ►You become what you expose yourself to …so expose yourself to teaching that shows you how attractive Jesus is! 1 Corinthians 13 teaches us what Jesus is like, because God is love. Galatians 5:22, 23 tells us what Jesus is really like: But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. ►As you expose yourself to teaching about Jesus, your personality is changed from glory to glory! 3.The power and authority of Christ Acts 1:8 – “But you shall receive power” (dunamis) “when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you shall be My witnesses…” The enemy waits and watches for an opportune time of weakness. So receive the power and authority that Christ gives you through the Holy Spirit. Put on the full armor of God. Know your authority in Christ! Get to know the Holy Spirit. 58
ACTION POINTS / HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT To sermon “Drawing Near: The Holy Spirit” MEDITATE: ►John 14:15 - 26 ►John 15:19 ►Matthew 5:21-24
►John 16:13, 14 ►1 Corinthians 13 ►Galatians 5:22, 23
ACTION STEPS: ►Look for opportunities today to turn to the Holy Spirit for help, counsel, assistance, and consolation. Tell Him throughout the day that you need Him and want His help! ►Focus on Jesus by reading in the Gospels. Apply what He said in them to your everyday life. ►Read &/or listen to teachings about how attractive Jesus is. Study His personality and character. ►Read Scriptures about the power and authority that Jesus has given you. Look for ways to apply these to your everyday situations.
The peace of Christ comes when we focus on Christ.
Obey Jesus’ commandments by applying them to your everyday life.
You become what you expose yourself to.
2011 August 21 sermon by Pastor Bobby Lepinay
HABAKKUK, CHAPTER ONE – “Where Are You, God?”
Habakkuk 1:1-11 New Living: This is the message that the prophet Habakkuk received from the LORD in a vision. How long, O LORD, must I call for help? But you do not listen! "Violence!" I cry, but you do not come to save. Must I forever see this sin and misery all around me? Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence. I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight. The law has become paralyzed and useless, and there is no justice given in the courts. The wicked far outnumber the righteous, and justice is perverted with bribes and trickery. The LORD replied, "Look at the nations and be amazed! Watch and be astounded at what I will do! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn't believe even if someone told you about it. I am raising up the Babylonians to be a new power on the world scene. They are a cruel and violent nation who will march across the world and conquer it. They are notorious for their cruelty. They do as they like, and no one can stop them. Their horses are swifter than leopards. They are a fierce people, more fierce than wolves at dusk. Their horsemen race forward from distant places. Like eagles they swoop down to pounce on their prey. "On they come, all of them bent on violence. Their hordes advance like a wind from the desert, sweeping captives ahead of them like sand. They scoff at kings and princes and scorn all their defenses. They simply pile ramps of earth against their walls and capture them! They sweep
past like the wind and are gone. But they are deeply guilty, for their own strength is their god." Message: The problem as God gave Habakkuk to see it: God, how long do I have to cry out for help before you listen? How many times do I have to yell, "Help! Murder! Police!" before you come to the rescue? Why do you force me to look at evil, stare trouble in the face day after day? Anarchy and violence break out, quarrels and fights all over the place. Law and order fall to pieces. Justice is a joke. The wicked have the righteous hamstrung and stand justice on its head. God Says, "Look!" "Look around at the godless nations. Look long and hard. Brace yourself for a shock. Something's about to take place and you're going to find it hard to believe. I'm about to raise up Babylonians to punish you, Babylonians, fierce and ferocious World-conquering Babylon, grabbing up nations right and left, A dreadful and terrible people, making up its own rules as it goes. Their horses run like the wind, attack like bloodthirsty wolves. A stampede of galloping horses thunders out of nowhere. They descend like vultures circling in on carrion. They're out to kill. Death is on their minds. They collect victims like squirrels gathering nuts. They mock kings, poke fun at generals, Spit on forts, and leave them in the dust. They'll all be blown away by the wind. Brazen in sin, they call strength their god." Why Is God Silent Now?
►Habakkuk was very real with God in his assessment of the situation. He didn’t try to hide how he felt about it.
►Sometimes things really are messed up! …and we wonder where God is. There are things in life that really don’t make sense. We find in these times that God is pleased when we are honest with Him about how we feel when life doesn’t make sense. He doesn’t want us to sugar-coat our feelings with religious phrases. He can handle us expressing our negative feelings as well as our positive ones!
►God wants us to be honest and real with Him …That is the only way to have a real relationship with God! Tell Him how you feel; and then listen to what He has to say about it.
We see in Habakkuk 1:1-11: It is OK to complain to God. o Habakkuk’s complaint o The Lord’s reply: God asked Habakkuk to ruthlessly trust Him regardless of what he saw happening! Daniel and Habakkuk lived during the same days and circumstances. To understand the setting of Habakkuk, we must read the book of Daniel, which describes events that happened at the same time as those of Habakkuk. We see in the book of Daniel that God will favor and bless His people always! Daniel experienced this as he was deported to Babylon but still favored even by his captors. During the time that Israel was captive to the Babylonians, God spoke to King Nebuchadnezzar. This shows us that God is able and willing to speak to lost people! We learn from King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream: ►God is involved in history! It is His story! ►God revealed kingdoms ■Head of Fine Gold: the Babylonian empire ■Breast & Arms of Silver: the Mede & Persian empire ■Belly & Thighs of Brass: the Macedonian empire ■Legs of Iron: the Roman empire ■Feet of Iron & Clay: Kingdoms after the fall of the Roman empire Habakkuk lived in a time of shift – from the rule of the Assyrians to the time of rule of the Babylonians. He found that even though the Babylonians were a cruel people, God loved them and wanted them to repent.
The name “Habakkuk” in Hebrew means “to wrestle.” We see three things that Habakkuk wrestled with God over (notable because we, as well, often struggle with God over these things): 1. “God, You really don’t seem to care” – This is an attack on God’s character! ■This is obviously a trick of the enemy (“devil” means “slanderer”). We see in Genesis 3:1-6 (The Temptation of Eve) that the enemy tries to plant thoughts that defame God’s character (i.e., “Did God really say…?”) ■When we go through things that don’t make sense, we pray & pray -- but the enemy is there to slander God’s character and nature. However, God is right there: so turn to Him and be honest! 2.”God, You don’t seem to be doing much even when You could” ■Job 9:3-11 New Living translation -If someone wanted to take God in his anger. He shakes the Pleiades, and the constellations to court, would it be possible earth from its place, and its of the southern sky. His great to answer him even once in a foundations tremble. If he works are too marvelous to thousand times? For God is so commands it, the sun won't understand. He performs wise and so mighty. Who has rise and the stars won't shine. miracles without number. "Yet ever challenged him He alone has spread out the when he comes near, I cannot successfully? "Without heavens and marches on the see him. When he moves on, I warning, he moves the waves of the sea. He made all do not see him go. mountains, overturning them the stars -- the Bear, Orion, the (Added Note: The Message version of Job 9: 10, 11 says: “We'll never comprehend all the great things he does; his miracle-surprises can't be counted. Somehow, though he moves right in front of me, I don't see him; quietly but surely he's active, and I miss it.” [added emphasis mine]). ■ (Note: Job is the oldest book in the Bible!) In this passage, Job says, “Lord, You are doing things for others, but not for me!” This is the same feeling that Habakkuk dealt with. 3.”God, what You are doing seems totally unfair!” ■ God’s answer made no sense to Habakkuk. ■ Isaiah 8:11-14 New Living translation The LORD has said to me in the conspiracy, like they do; and strongest terms: "Do not think don’t live in dread of what like everyone else does. He frightens them. Make the Lord said, “Don’t call everything a of Heaven’s Armies holy in your
life. If you fear Him, you need fear nothing else. He will keep you safe.”
Through a strong warning, God gave Isaiah the key to surviving hard times: Do not think like everyone else does! Do not allow yourself to become distracted from what God has said. Use this word to hold you through these times. He will keep you safe! Trust God! Trust Him unreservedly. For those who know God, it is all going to be all right …even if you don’t understand! A DEEPLY COMMITTED BELIEVER CAN SIMULTANEOUSLY HAVE DEEP QUESTIONS ABOUT GOD AND YET TRUST!
There are going to be things that don’t make sense in this fallen world; but God wants us to
trust Him without reservation!
ACTION POINTS / HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT To sermon “Habakkuk: Chapter 1” MEDITATE: ►Habakkuk 1:1-11
ACTION STEPS: 1. In your prayer-time today, be very real with God about how you feel. Don’t hold back or try to hide anything from Him. 2. Look at the people you meet today with God’s viewpoint: No matter how cruel they are, God loves them and wants them to repent. Look for ways to tell them about God’s love. 3. Read the Bible today with the goal of finding out what God is really like (so no one can ever slander His character to you!). Ask Him to show you His true nature and character. 4. Throughout the day, look for what God is doing. “Quietly but surely He is active,” so practice looking for what He is doing in your daily life, in situations in your family, in situations in your city & nation & the world. Be determined not to miss noticing what God is doing! 5. Examine your thoughts and outlook on life to be sure that you do not think like everyone else does. In all that you face today, in all that you hear today: Focus on trusting God; focus your thoughts like a laser on God’s Word that everything is going to be all right …even if you don’t understand!
2011 August 28 sermon by Pastor Bobby Lepinay
HABAKKUK, CHAPTER TWO – “In the Valley”
If you are not currently in a “valley,” you still need to know how to handle this experience. If you are in a “valley” right now, then you need to know how to survive it!
►The “valley” is a very real place; it is the place where most of our growth takes place. The “valley” in the Christian life is “the dark night of the soul.” It is a very real part of the Christian life. Even famous Christians, such as Mother Teresa, through the ages have gone through this experience. Even Jesus experienced this on the Cross, as He cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
►If you are going through a “valley,” then it is important that you realize that this is a normal part of life. This point must be emphasized because feeling normal is one of the most important values in life. It will take some of the stress out of the “valley” experience if you realize that “high’s” and “low’s” are a normal part of being human.
■A major component of the “dark night of the soul” was illustrated by Jesus at the Cross. It is: feeling forsaken by God! When going through this time, you also feel separated from other people – You feel like you don’t fit in, you feel sapped of strength, and you feel alone. At this point, you enter “midnight”: The darkest point before the dawn begins. “The Dark Night of the Soul”: ►You feel that you don’t fit in ►You are just hanging on
►You feel totally alone… ►You enter “midnight”
You have to be able to survive the valley! You can learn to do this through studying how Habakkuk survived his valley. What Do We Do in the “Valley”?: 1. You Listen Habakkuk climbed up to his watchtower. We each need a watchtower – a place where we regularly go to meet with God and listen to Him. When you meet with Him at your watchtower, remember that God wants you to learn how to be honest with Him and expect Him to honestly answer you back. 64
a. You have to stop and listen. In Habakkuk 2:1, Habakkuk went to his watchtower to listen to God, expecting Him to speak. i. Habakkuk 2:1 -- I will climb up into my watchtower now and wait to see what the LORD will say to me and how he will answer my complaint. ii. James 1:5, 6 says that if you need wisdom, ask of God – expecting Him to speak to you! 1. James 1:5,6 -- If you need wisdom -- if you want to know what God wants you to do -- ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking. But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. iii. Have a place where you can go to meet with God and expect Him to talk to you. God speaks to us every day – through friends, through what we read, through sermons, etc. God speaks! Listen for Him! ►Meeting with God is good, but do it with the motivation of developing your relationship with Him. A lot of people run to revival meetings looking for another “Christian high.” We start a “Christian works program,” trying to feel good again. We pray more, read the Bible more… -looking for another emotional high (when actually God is letting us experience this valley in order to strip us of emotion).
►So look at your motive: Are you praying, reading the Bible, etc. in order to get out of the “dark place”? Are you doing these things just trying to achieve happiness? You must realize that we make happiness our goal in life, but God doesn’t! He is more interested in you being like Christ. Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a time and season for everything – Ask yourself: What time and what season is it for you?
On the other hand, don’t settle for garbage in your life! Pray fervently, just as Paul did. In one instance, Paul begged God to take away the “thorn.” Paul faced difficult people (“grace-testers!”). He received grace! Cry out to God, expecting Him to answer. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 – But to keep me from getting puffed up, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from getting proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it
away. Each time he said, "My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me.
Since I know it is all for Christ's good, I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2. You write it down a. Habakkuk 2:2 -- Then the LORD said to me, "Write my answer in large, clear letters on a tablet, so that a runner can read it and tell everyone else.
b. Writing things down anchors them in your mind and heart. c. Writing things down keeps you from forgetting.
Make it practical …work the Word of God into your life. You have to have a way of capturing the Word of the Lord to you and making it practical in your day-to-day life! Even in the “valley,” faithfully hold a daily time to meet with God. One example of how to do this: A. Begin with a short prayer: “Father, thank You that You speak to me today.” B. Then read in the Bible (hopefully you are following a Read-Through-the-Bible plan) looking for what He is speaking to you. Look for it as if you were a squirrel looking for an acorn! C. Then pray. D. Write down any applications that you hear from God. It is good to have a Day Timer or something similar in which to keep up with what God is saying to you.
Illustrations from Pastor Bobby of his own Devotion Journals 3. You wait. a. Habakkuk 2:3 --But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed. b. This is the hardest part…Waiting is uncomfortable. But you must enter the “waiting zone.” c. While you are waiting: i. Serve God where you’re at. Serve Him with gladness and with all your heart while you wait.
ii. Be faithful. Keep on going to work, going to church, serving God, reading the Bible, praying, etc. Be faithful while you wait – and you will run into God’s appointment! iii. While you are in the “waiting zone,” realize that God’s delays are not God’s denials. They just mean that you have to be more patient. ►The waiting time is to train you so you will be ready when you reach your appointed time. Be faithful in the small things that you have now, and then you will be ready for bigger things. Faithfully witness to the people around you, faithfully do the right thing, and faithfully just serve with all your might …and you will be prepared for your appointed time! Galatians 6:9 -- So don't get tired of doing what is good. Don't get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time. Other versions say, “…we will reap a harvest of blessing at a future time.” The word for “a future time” is “Mow-ed,” which means “a literal appointed, set time.” Keep on living a life devoted to God, and at the appointed set time you will reap a harvest of blessing!
ACTION POINTS / HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT To sermon “Habakkuk: Chapter 2” 1. Meditate These Scriptures ►Habakkuk 2, especially verses 1 – 3 ►James 1:5, 6
►2 Corinthians 12:7-10 ►Galatians 6:9
2. Establish a place to daily meet with God. 3. Meet with God daily. Speak to God, and then listen for His answer, confidently expecting Him to answer you back. 4. Read through your Bible, looking for what God is saying to you. 5. Pray – both talking to God and listening to what He has to say to you. 6. Write down God’s answers to you. Journal; jot notes in your Day-Timer; do what it takes to remember what He says to you. 7. Keep on being faithful every day: Keep serving God, keep working diligently at your job, keep praying, keep reading your Bible, keep going to church, keep on doing what you know to do.
Dark Night of the Soul by Saint John of the Cross
(Read the version written in contemporary English!)
►Listen ►Write God’s answer down ►Wait
Write the vision 68
2011 September 4 sermon by Pastor Bobby Lepinay
Chapter 20 -- “Habakkuk”:
HABAKKUK, CHAPTER THREE – “CLIMBING OUT OF THE VALLEY”
Habakkuk 2:20 – 3:19 …But the LORD is in his holy Temple. Let all the earth be silent before him." This prayer was sung by the prophet Habakkuk: I have heard all about you, LORD, and I am filled with awe by the amazing things you have done. In this time of our deep need, begin again to help us, as you did in years gone by. Show us your power to save us. And in your anger, remember your mercy. I see God, the Holy One, moving across the deserts from Edom and Mount Paran. His brilliant splendor fills the heavens, and the earth is filled with his praise! What a wonderful God he is! Rays of brilliant light flash from his hands. He rejoices in his awesome power. Pestilence marches before him; plague follows close behind. When he stops, the earth shakes. When he looks, the nations tremble. He shatters the everlasting mountains and levels the eternal hills. But his power is not diminished in the least! I see the peoples of Cushan and Midian trembling in terror. Was it in anger, LORD, that you struck the rivers and parted the sea? Were you displeased with them? No, you were sending your chariots of salvation! You were commanding your weapons of power! You split open the earth with flowing rivers! The mountains watched and trembled. Onward
swept the raging waters. The mighty deep cried out, lifting its hands to the LORD. The lofty sun and moon began to fade, obscured by brilliance from your arrows and the flashing of your glittering spear. You marched across the land in awesome anger and trampled the nations in your fury. You went out to rescue your chosen people, to save your anointed ones. You crushed the heads of the wicked and laid bare their bones from head to toe. With their own weapons, you destroyed those who rushed out like a whirlwind, thinking Israel would be easy prey. You trampled the sea with your horses, and the mighty waters piled high. I trembled inside when I heard all this; my lips quivered with fear. My legs gave way beneath me, and I shook in terror. I will wait quietly for the coming day when disaster will strike the people who invade us. Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation. The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He will make me as surefooted as a deer and bring me safely over the mountains.
To understand this passage we must know the timeline of events: 1,000 BC Age of Egypt ►Daniel gives us an inside view of the Age 685 BC Age of Assyria 605 BC Age of Babylon of Babylon; Habakkuk tells us of the time 585 BC Age of the Jewish Deportation of the rise of Babylon. 250 BC Age of Rome 29 AD Jesus Crucifixion 69
Random truths that we can glean from this passage: ►Notice that this prayer in chapter 3 was sung by Habakkuk. It can be life-giving to sing your prayers …Try it! ►This timeline reminds us that God created seasons…and that no season is meant to last forever! ►The events described in Habakkuk 3 – crop failure, flocks dying, etc. – were only for a season. ►Habakkuk rejoiced in God during this season and through these circumstances; he didn’t rejoice in the circumstances! This chapter teaches us the stages of faith: Chapter 3 faith: Tested, Mature Faith Chapter 1 faith: Untested Chapter 2 Faith: The Valley
Chapter 1 faith represents the time when you first get saved. At this time your faith is untested. But then there comes a time when God doesn’t do what you expected Him to do …You begin to realize that He is a real person, a sovereign Being. Chapter 2 represents the part of your life in which your faith is tested: The Dark Night of the Soul. Chapter 3 represents believers who have learned the skill of climbing out of the valley. This season is necessary because God is more interested in your becoming strong and learning how to defeat the enemy than in your circumstances. James 1:2, 3 Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trials come your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a
chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.
Notice the word “whenever.” It will happen; your faith will be tested. These tests are opportunities to grow. Don’t just settle into the test; flow with it! 1 Peter 1:7 These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold -- and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your
faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
Faith is tested! It gets hot in the valley; it gets miserable …but God uses valleys to produce mature faith. The testing is only for a season …God doesn’t want you to stay there! When in the valley, embrace the opportunity to grow – but do it by learning how to fight your way out! God isn’t going to wave a wand and get you out of the trial; He has called you to fight your way out! 70
God wants us to reign with Christ for eternity! In order to do this, we have to become valley-climbers! HOW TO CLIMB OUT OF THE VALLEY 1. Remember what God has (past tense!) done. a. Habakkuk 3:2 – Remember what God has done. Remind yourself of what God did in the past. Remembering is the first finger-hold to starting to climb out of the valley. b. Train yourself to remember what God has done – for you, your family, and for people in general. Do this by Writing It Down! Do not use your brain as a file-manager! You’ve got to write it down in order to remember. 2. Accept what God is (present tense) doing. a. Acceptance means to acknowledge the facts as they are. It does not mean not to pray for a miracle! It means to not ignore the facts…Address them! b. Deal with reality. If you know that a hurricane is coming, then get ready for wind! Get prepared when you know that a storm is coming. c. Proverbs 14:16 – The wise acknowledge danger; they don’t just presume that everything is going to be OK. 3. Trust what God is going (future tense) to do. a. In verses 17 – 19 of chapter 3, Habakkuk acknowledged that there are seasons, and that we must trust God in each of them. b. This is “Even-Though” Faith! God promises that when we do our part -- when we rise up --He will do His part. Do your part: Rejoice in the Lord regardless of your circumstances. God will enable you to be a valley-climber!
ACTION POINTS / HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT To sermon “Habakkuk: Chapter 3” MEDITATE: Habakkuk 2:20 – 3:19
James 1:2, 3
1 Peter 1:7
ACTION STEPS: 1. Keep a journal of all that God has done for you. Read through it often and remind yourself of how good God is! 2. Study the Bible with a focus on all that God has done for mankind. Write down your observations. 3. Examine your life to see what season you are in; act accordingly. 4. Try singing your prayers to God, if you are in a place where this would be appropriate. If you are not able to sing out loud due to circumstances beyond your control, then sing your prayers in your mind. If at all possible, though, sing your prayers out loud. 5. Develop the determination to fight your way out of any trial that comes your way!
Chapter 21 -- YOU
DON’T HAVE WHAT IT TAKES, part 1 -“YOU’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH”
The information and assignments in this Devotion Book have been a life-changing journey! This journey has led us to this climactic paradigm shift: ►Nothing that we will ever do, nothing that we will ever become, could make us “good enough” for God’s acceptance … ►We have His acceptance and love already because of all that Jesus did for us! Jesus came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly!
As you read and re-read these devotions, may every part of your being be infused & permeated with His life and power!
A Freeing Fact: In order to be what God wants me to be, I need to recognize what I will never be: I will never be good enough! Abraham: “I am nothing, but dust and ashes…” (Genesis 18:27) Isaiah: “I am ruined, for I am a man of unclean lips!” (Isaiah 6:5) Peter: “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man.” (Luke 5:8) Paul: “…and I was the worst sinner of them all.” (1 Timothy 1:16) “…for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) As you ponder this truth that “You don’t have what it takes; you’re not good enough,” look at how it is presented. Satan is the Great Deceiver. His mission is to steal, kill, and destroy. He does it by manipulating the truth. When he tells you that you are not good enough, he uses that truth to hurt you. The truth, according to how it is presented, can be used to manipulate. “You can never be good enough!”: This is truth – but watch how it is presented! The tone of the truth can make it untrue! If it is presented from the enemy, then it will hurt you. If it is presented by God, then it will help you! “I will never be good enough…”: If you recognize the difference between unworthiness and condemnation, then this is a freeing truth! We live from God’s acceptance – not for His acceptance! Like everyone, you are deeply broken, deeply marred by sin – but God loves you deeply just as you are; He does not want you to live in condemnation . He encourages you with the truth that there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. You could be the most righteous person to have ever lived …but all have fallen short of God’s glory – even you! 73
In Romans 3:23, the word for “fallen short” is “hamartia,” which is an archery term for “to fall short of the target.” All humans have fallen short of the target of God’s perfection! God wants to use this truth to set us free to celebrate our humanness! The devil wants to use it to condemn us. THE PERFORMANCE TRAP Philippians 3:4-6 Yet I could have confidence in myself if anyone could. If others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more! For I was circumcised when I was eight days old, having been born into a pureblooded Jewish family that is a branch of the tribe of Benjamin. So I am a real Jew if there ever was one! What's more, I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. And zealous? Yes, in fact, I harshly persecuted the church. And I obeyed the Jewish law so carefully that I was never accused of any fault. Philippians 3:7-9 I once thought all these things were so very important, but now I consider them worthless in the light of Christ. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the
The Performance Trap is the Galatians Trap. They had fallen back into trying to earn salvation. Paul was angry that they had bought the satanic perversion that they needed to earn God’s grace. In Philippians 3:4-9 Paul tells us that he had been tempted to fall into the Performance Trap. He was well able: He could pass a strict checklist! He was never accused of any fault. He got caught up in trying to earn righteousness. We all are tempted by the Performance Trap because 1. We love to attempt to please God by following rules. ■However, rules are a false standard. Every church, every group, has their own (unspoken) code …the way you have to dress in order to be accepted, certain movies that you can or cannot watch, etc. 2. We love to base our worth on what we produce and how we “perform.” ■This makes us into something that we were never designed to be. You should want to be a good parent, a good employee, etc. – but you should do it from God’s acceptance, not for God’s acceptance!
priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, in order to gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own efforts
to please God, but I trust Christ to save me. Rather, my righteousness comes through faith in Christ – nothing added.”
The word for “Garbage” here is “skubula,” which is the coarsest word for “excrement.” Using this word shows how angry Paul was at the Galatians! God wants to set you free! Jesus + nothing! Many people put off serving in church, serving God, until they feel that they are “good enough.” Don’t wait to serve God until you are “good enough!” You will never be good enough! The Key: Living from God’s approval rather than for His approval! 74
ACTION POINTS / HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT To sermon “You Don’t Have What It Takes: You’re Not Good Enough!” MEDITATE: ►Philippians 3:4-9
ACTION STEPS: ►Read the book of Galatians ►Celebrate your humanness! ►In everything that you do, check your attitude: Do it from God’s acceptance, not in an attempt to earn (i.e., for) God’s acceptance.
►Look for opportunities to serve God – Do it because He loves and accepts you; not to try to get Him to love and accept you. Serve Him whether you feel “good enough” or not!
ADDED SUGGESTION: Go back through the action steps in this Devotion Book – This time do them with the attitude that you are doing these things because God loves you. Go through these Devotions again with your focus on the freeing truth that you’re not good enough!
Numbers 6: ►May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace. ►Ancient Hebrew version: This is how you are to bless: Say, “Yahweh kneels down (habitual action) to your level presenting gifts and guards you with a hedge of protection. Yahweh illuminates the wholeness of His being toward you bringing order, and He provides you with love, sustenance, and friendship. Yahweh lifts up His wholeness of being and looks upon you and sets in place all that you need to be whole and complete. (Citation: http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/index.html) BE BLESSED! 75
Psalm 25:1, 4