Church Blog

2017 Easter Week Events at Evident Grace Fellowship

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It is Easter, and we are ready to celebrate at Evident Grace Fellowship.

Friends, we are so excited about our Easter Week activities.  These are going to be transformative events for you and your family.  Please invite folks to be a part of this with us.  Here are the details:

Thursday (4/13) – Maundy Thursday Service and Dinner (6:30 pm) at the  

Fox Point Clubhouse
6120 Blackstone Blvd
Fredericksburg, VA 22407

A Maundy Thursday gathering is a celebrative meal reminiscent of the final meal Jesus spent with His disciples on the night before His death followed by a brief worship service and the Lord’s Supper.

This year, we decided to forgo a meal signup (and there was much rejoicing).  Instead, we are having the event catered by Famous Dave’s BBQ.  We ask that families (who can) donate $10 per person on Thursday night.  If you can’t donate, no worries.  If you can give more, great.  The important thing is that we are together as a family.  We do ask that you would bring along something to drink as drinks are not provided by Famous Dave’s.  We will have bottled water on hand.

Friday (4/14) – Good Friday Service (7pm) at the

Fox Point Clubhouse
6120 Blackstone Blvd
Fredericksburg, VA 22407

Traditionally, the church has observed Good Friday with a service of darkness that is intended to give the believer an opportunity to reflect on the death of Jesus in payment for sin.  It is a quiet service of hymns and readings, and worshipers leave in silence with no benediction in hope of resurrection Sunday. This deep, meaningful service intends to better enable you to worship on Sunday, Resurrection Day.

Saturday (4/15) – Young Lives Bunny Hop 5k (8:30am)

This is a great event where we can run, have fun, and support Young Lives, which is a wonderful pregnant and parenting teens ministry.  The race starts at 8:30am and you can signup and find directions here.

Sunday (4/16) – Easter Service at the Ron Rosner Family YMCA (10am)

Of course, Sunday is Easter, Resurrection Day.  Our service will begin at 10am as usual.  Please invite friends, arrive early, and let’s celebrate our risen Savior.

We cannot wait to see all of you this weekend.

Sunday Recap for 4/9:  You Can’t Mess Up God’s Plans

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On Sunday (4/9/17), Evident Grace looked at this Big Idea:

Big Idea:  You Can’t Mess Up God’s Plans or

And we looked at these scriptures:

John 19: 12 From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.”

13 So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic  Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”

15 They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” 16 So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.

We found these details surrounding our Big Idea:

Big Idea:  You Can’t Mess up God’s Plans

  • When you trust yourself more than you trust God.
  • When you get what you want.
  • When you are being flat out ridiculous.

When you trust yourself more than you trust God.

John 19: 12 From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.”

The religious leaders of the day truly trusted themselves more than they trust God.  They thought Jesus would be a political king who congratulated the religious leaders and stayed away from sinners.  Instead, Jesus brought a spiritual kingdom, He rebuked the religious leaders, and spent time with sinners.  And because of that, they wanted Jesus to die and even blackmailed Pilate.  Yet, even in that, God’s plans and purposes were not changed nor messed up.  Jesus’ death brought about our salvation.

When you get what we want

13 So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”

The religious leaders got everything they wanted.  They wanted Jesus dead, and Pilate sits down on his judgment seat to declare Jesus was going to be executed as the Jewish king.  Getting what you want may not be bad when your desires and God’s lineup.  The difference most of the time is heart motive.  Sometimes though, God lets you have everything you want, yet He still brings about His purposes.

Think about Joseph, he was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers.  Deceitfully thrown into jail and left to rot.  Ultimately, God put him in leadership in Egypt.  Ultimately, God used Joseph’s position to spare the people of God (including His family) during a drought.  In a moment when Joseph could have punished his brothers, he said, “What you meant for evil, God meant for good.”  Even though the Jewish people got what they wanted, Jesus’ crucifixion, God still used it to bring about His purposes for your salvation.

When you are ridiculous

15 They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” 16 So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.

Caesar was the one who kept the Israelites occupied and at bay.  He controlled Israel, not the Jewish people.  Yet, when there is one last chance that Pilate wouldn’t crucify Jesus, the Jewish people declared that Caesar was their king, not Jesus.  Ridiculous, yet God still accomplished His purposes, and He will in your life as well.

Big Idea:  You Can’t Mess up God’s Plans

Truth:  Even faithless, selfish, and ridiculous Christians can’t mess up God’s plans.

Application: Live knowing that no matter what you do, God is going to accomplish His purposes in your life.

Action:  Stop agonizing when you fail, and trust God’s grace for your sin and His plans for your life. 

Sunday Recap for 04/02:  Why did Jesus die?

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Sunday, April 2, Evident Grace looked at this Big Picture Question:  Why did Jesus die?

We found these answers to that question:

Big Idea:  Why did Jesus die?

  • To Show the World God’s Justice
  • To Show the World the Foolishness of Sin
  • To Show the World God’s Authority

To Show the World God’s Justice

John 19:1 Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. 2 And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. 3 They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. 4 Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” 5 So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!”

Pilate doesn’t find any fault in Jesus at all.  But the crowd demands that Jesus die.  So, Pilate had Jesus beaten and presented for crucifixion.  This is worldly, self-preserving justice.  The death of Jesus presents to the world how our justice can be so misguided, yet it also causes our heart to cry out for the true justice of God.

To Show the Foolishness of Sin

6 When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” 7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.”

The Jews want Jesus to die because they feel He violated Leviticus 24 which says that anyone who misuses the name of God should die.  How foolish.  They cried for a Savior.  He showed up.  Declared himself their Savior, and they wanted Him to die.  Sin is so foolish, and the death of Jesus demonstrates that.

To Show the World God’s Authority

8 When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. 9 He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”

Pilate throws around his authority to intimidate Jesus.  Jesus teaches Pilate that the only authority he has comes from God the Father.  Pilate is guilty of handing Jesus over to death, and in the trial and execution, we see God’s real authority:  authority over all life, authority over all earthly-authority, and authority even over death.

Truth:  Jesus had to die so that world would see God’s authoritative justice against the foolishness of sin.

Application:  Live knowing that the death of Jesus was large enough to show the world God’s justice, but personal enough to show you God’s love.

Action:  Die to your wants/rights in some way this week in order to serve another and proclaim the love of Jesus.

Sunday Recap for 3/26: What are the world’s 3 Questions about Jesus that we must answer?

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Sunday, March 26, 2017 we looked at this Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question:  What are the world’s 3 Questions about Jesus that we must answer?

And we looked at these scriptures:

John 18: 33 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” 37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. 39 But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” 40 They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.

And we found these 3 answers to our Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question:  What are the world’s 3 Questions about Jesus that we must answer?

  • Who do people say Jesus is?
  • What did Jesus really do?
  • Who did Jesus say He was?

Who do people say Jesus is?

John 18: 33 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me.

Pilate begins by asking Jesus who He is because of what others have told him.  This is the approach that everyone has when they think about Jesus.  At first, people gather in opinions from Sunday School, a college class, the Discovery channel…wherever.  But to begin any conversation about Jesus, just ask, “Who do you say Jesus is?”  That was what Pilate was trying to discover.

What did Jesus really do?

What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

Jesus answers that He is king when Pilate wants to know what He has done.  What a weird way to respond.  Why would Jesus respond with who He is when Pilate wants to know what He did?  The answer is that identity informs action.  Who you are determines who what you do.  That is a wonderful way to discuss Jesus.  When you ask people what Jesus has done, or when they discuss what He has done, it is an opportunity to talk about His identity.  For example, if people believe that Jesus was kind and forgave people, it is an opportunity to talk about how Jesus is a merciful forgiver.

Who does Jesus say He is?

37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. 39 But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” 40 They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.

Pilate responds to what Jesus said.  He recognizes that Jesus claims, and is, a king.  People quote Jesus all the time, but often incorrectly.  Responding to what people think Jesus has said gives an opportunity to speak of His actual words.  If they quote Jesus incorrectly, don’t criticize.  Instead, create.  Create opportunities to talk about what Jesus said so His words can impact you.  

Big Picture Question:  What are the world’s 3 Questions about Jesus that we must answer?

Truth:  Christians must be able to explain who Jesus is based upon what He said and did.

Application:  Live knowing that you can worship Jesus and tell other people about Jesus because of what Jesus claimed and what He did.  That is your inspiration and power.

Action:  Begin a conversation this week by asking, “Who do you think Jesus is?”

Sunday Recap for 3/19: What is your God like?

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On March 19, 2017, Evident Grace looked at this Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question:  What is Your God Like?

To answer that question, we examined this portion of scripture:

Micah 7:18 Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance?  He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love.  19 He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot.  You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.  20 You will show faithfulness to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham, as you have sworn to our fathers from the days of old.

And we found these 3 answers to our Big Picture Question

Big Picture Question:  What is Your God Like?

  • God forgives
  • His anger is short-lived.
  • He is compassionate.

God forgives.

Micah 7:18 Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? 

Micah asks the people of his day (and us) to wrestle with who our God is.  Our God forgives sin.  His nature is forgiving.  Despite all the sin of Micah’s day, despite all the sin of ours, God yet still forgives.  His grace was shown to the people of Micah’s day because He passed over judgment for their sin and waited to pour out judgment on Jesus Christ.  We now get enjoy the forgiveness of our sins as Christ paid the full price of our sin.  This should propel us to worship as our God is a forgiving God.

His anger is short-lived

18b He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love.

The people of Micah’s day were suffering under God’s wrath for their sin.  But the nature of God is that His anger is short-lived.  In fact, He delights in loving you continually and steadfastly.  How much more should we then have short-lived anger and steadfast love as we are know what true love is.

He is compassionate.

19 He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot.  You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.  20 You will show faithfulness to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham, as you have sworn to our fathers from the days of old.

Finally, our God is compassionate.  He treads your iniquities underfoot.  He makes your sin His enemy.  In fact, He throws your sins to the depths of the sea.  He removes your sins from you.  Why?  Because not only is God compassionate, He is faithful.  He keeps His promises.  He promised to Abraham and Jacob that He would be their God and they would be His people.  God promises you that as well.  He is compassionate because even though we sin, He still makes us His people. 

Big Picture Question:  What is Your God Like?

Truth:  God compassionately forgives because His anger against your sin was short-lived. 

Application:  Live knowing that all the anger that your sin deserves was poured out on Jesus Christ.

Action:  Explore the depths of your forgiveness so you might display that same forgiveness to those who need it.

Sunday Recap 3/12:  What does God want us to do with our money?

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On Sunday, 3/12, Evident Grace looked at this Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question:  What would God have you do with your money?

To answer it, we looked at these scriptures:

Micah 6.9 The voice of the Lord cries to the city—and it is sound wisdom to fear your name: “Hear of the rod and of him who appointed it! 10 Can I forget any longer the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is accursed? 11 Shall I acquit the man with wicked scales and with a bag of deceitful weights? 12 Your rich men are full of violence; your inhabitants speak lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth. 13 Therefore I strike you with a grievous blow, making you desolate because of your sins. 14 You shall eat, but not be satisfied, and there shall be hunger within you; you shall put away, but not preserve, and what you preserve I will give to the sword. 15 You shall sow, but not reap; you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil; you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine. 16 For you have kept the statutes of Omri, and all the works of the house of Ahab; and you have walked in their counsels, that I may make you a desolation, and your inhabitants a hissing; so you shall bear the scorn of my people.”

We found these 3 answers:

Big Picture Question:  What would God have you do with your money?

  • Be Just, Kind, and Humble
  • Be Accountable
  • Make God your Highest Counsel

Be Just, Kind, and Humble

Micah 6.9 The voice of the Lord cries to the city—and it is sound wisdom to fear your name: “Hear of the rod and of him who appointed it! 10 Can I forget any longer the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is accursed? 11 Shall I acquit the man with wicked scales and with a bag of deceitful weights? 12 Your rich men are full of violence; your inhabitants speak lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.

God had commanded His people to be just, kind, and humble, and one clear place they missed that was with their finances.  Instead of being just, their scales were unfair.  Instead of being kind, they were unmerciful.  Instead of humility, they were proud.  God judged them and called their actions violent.

In our finances, we must seek every place to be just and standing up for those in need.  We must seek to be kind to those who need help.  And we must never take pride in our finances, but instead, we must be humble.

Be Accountable

13 Therefore I strike you with a grievous blow, making you desolate because of your sins.  14 You shall eat, but not be satisfied, and there shall be hunger within you; you shall put away, but not preserve, and what you preserve I will give to the sword. 15 You shall sow, but not reap; you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil; you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine.

God held His people accountable for the handling of their finances.  They tried to save, but God took it by the sword.  They pressed olives and grapes but got no oil or wine.

Friends, God holds us accountable for how we manage our finances.  The injunction is to be just, kind, and humble.  Whatever skills you have, use them for those purposes.  Whatever money you make, use them for those purposes.  But never think God does not hold us accountable.

But Make God your Highest Counsel

16 For you have kept the statutes of Omri, and all the works of the house of Ahab; and you have walked in their counsels, that I may make you a desolation, and your inhabitants a hissing; so you shall bear the scorn of my people.”

There are tremendous resources in this world for our finances.  Turbo Tax helps us file out taxes.  Books teach us about retirement and finance law.  And while they are helpful, we must always make the principles of scripture our first and highest authority when it comes to our money.

Big Picture Question:  What would God have you do with your money?

Truth:  The scriptures teach us that God holds you accountable to be just, kind, and humble with your finances.

Application:  Live knowing God gives us active counsel to live out justice, kindness, and humility with our finances.

Action:  Attempt to display Jesus to the church and the world through your finances as much as you do your personal obedience.

Sunday Recap 3/5: “How do we emulate the heart of God?”

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Sunday, March 5th, 2017, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at the big picture question:

How do we emulate the heart of God?

We pursued that thought from Romans 12:1-2,

“1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

We know we are emulating the heart of God, when we are….

  • A living sacrifice
  • Transformed
  • Discerning the will of God

Let’s pursue our first answer

As a living sacrifice

“1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

The phrase “living sacrifice” is deliberately paradoxical.  In the biblical context, a sacrifice is something that was killed.  Yet here Paul is connecting living with this image, with this new reality for Christians. A living sacrifice means that every day, every hour, deliberately, consciously, continually and perpetually offer yourself to him.  It’s constant and intense and points to the inability of yourself to accomplish it. You also are putting to death the idea that you have the right to live as you choose.  This is in direct opposition to what our culture totes.  What you are putting to death is the idea that you belong to yourself, that you know best what should happen in your life and you give those places to God.  It feels like a death to say “you know best” and “I trust you” to God.  It feels like a death but it leads to life and that’s why it’s called a living sacrifice.

We know we are emulating the heart of God, when we are a living sacrifice. Now let’s look at the first part of vs 2 as we considered what it means to be transformed.

Transformed

“2a Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind”

What we need is much more than to be morally improved.  We need God to daily inwardly transform us.  You need God’s grace in my heart today just as much as the day you first believed.  You come to the table before God with nothing, even your good works are not enough to earn favor with God.  Yes, morality will come out of you but not because you want to impress others but rather out of love and adoration for God. This is the way of the kingdom of God.  God’s primary desire is not to make us good it’s to make us new.  2 Corinthians 5:17 says that “if you are in Christ you are a New Creation.”  A new creation is transformed.  Doing something in us that only He can do.

Anyone can morally reform themselves.  Anyone can be good, you don’t have to be spiritual to do that.  If you have  discipline and self-will you can be a “good person”.  You can give your money to good things.  You can spend your time in good ways.  You can volunteer at shelters, etc.  You can live your life in such a way that the world would look at you and say that a good man or that’s a good woman.  You can begin to convince yourself that this is what God is wanting…is a lot of good moral living.  There is more to it than being good.  God wants your heart.  Behavioral compliance to rules without heart change, without transformation will be superficial and fleeting.

We are transformed as our minds are renewed.  As we come to the Bible to encounter God and apply His word to our life.  This also happens in community with others.  Our minds become renewed as we speak the truth in love to each other….pressing into the hard places….knowing that we have a deep love for each other.  We get to experience forgiveness and extend grace.

Our lives are changed as our minds are made new, so that we are able to “discern” God’s will.

Discerning the will of God

“2b that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

We discern God’s will by testing….by living out the realities of everything I’ve talked about this morning being a living sacrifice and living the transformed life all while clinging to Jesus who is the author and perfecter of your faith

A  question that I have found helpful is that it’s not so much, “God, what is your will for my life?” But rather, “God, what is your will, and how can I play a role?”

We ended the sermon by reading Romans 12:9-21 and praying that God would cultivate this kind of heart in us individually and as His church as we seeks to be a living sacrifice to our community.

Sunday Recap for 02/26: “Why is God better than the world’s best thing?”

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Sunday, February 26, 2017, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at this Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question:  Why is God better than the world’s best thing?

We pursued that thought in Micah 6:9-16.

Micah 6.9 The voice of the Lord cries to the city—and it is sound wisdom to fear your name: “Hear of the rod and of him who appointed it! 10 Can I forget any longer the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is accursed? 11 Shall I acquit the man with wicked scales and with a bag of deceitful weights? 12 Your rich men are full of violence; your inhabitants speak lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth. 13 Therefore I strike you with a grievous blow, making you desolate because of your sins. 14 You shall eat, but not be satisfied, and there shall be hunger within you; you shall put away, but not preserve, and what you preserve I will give to the sword. 15 You shall sow, but not reap; you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil; you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine. 16 For you have kept the statutes of Omri, and all the works of the house of Ahab; and you have walked in their counsels, that I may make you a desolation, and your inhabitants a hissing; so you shall bear the scorn of my people.”

We found these 3 answers to our Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question:  Why is God better than the world’s best thing? 

He is full of wisdom
He is just
He is powerful

Let’s pursue our first answer:

He is full of wisdom.

Micah 6.9 The voice of the Lord cries to the city—and it is sound wisdom to fear your name: “Hear of the rod and of him who appointed it! 10 Can I forget any longer the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is accursed? 11 Shall I acquit the man with wicked scales and with a bag of deceitful weights? 12 Your rich men are full of violence; your inhabitants speak lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.

The people of Micah’s day were doing their business wickedly. They were overcharging interest in their day to day business dealings and even mistreating widows.  While the market may have allowed that, God called it wicked and even violent.  The wisdom of the world called it good.  The wisdom of God called it evil.  Lots of money could be made, and the people of Micah’s day called that money better than God.  The wisdom of God shows that God’s wisdom is better than what the world has to offer.

He is just.

13 Therefore I strike you with a grievous blow, making you desolate because of your sins.  14 You shall eat, but not be satisfied, and there shall be hunger within you; you shall put away, but not preserve, and what you preserve I will give to the sword. 15 You shall sow, but not reap; you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil; you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine.

God in His justice frustrated the wealth of His people.  He declared that they would work and be hungry.  They would work and not save.  If they did save, it would be taken by the sword.  They would harvest olives and grapes but not have oil or wine to enjoy.

When the world raises something up as better than God, God shows His justice to prove He and His wisdom are best.

He is powerful.

16 For you have kept the statutes of Omri, and all the works of the house of Ahab; and you have walked in their counsels, that I may make you a desolation, and your inhabitants a hissing; so you shall bear the scorn of my people.”

The people of Micah’s day were following Omri and Ahab, a false god and politician.  They put their hope in them and their counsel.  God showed He is better than the world’s best by bringing His people to desolation.  When the world raises something up as better than God, God shows His power.

For us, we must think how we might pursue God as best.  Jesus helps us in Matthew 13.

Matthew 13:45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

The kingdom of God, the work of Jesus through believers and the church, is of such value that it dwarfs everything of value in this world.  All that the believer possess, (materially, physically, spiritually, etc…) is to be given over to serve the work of Jesus in this world.

We ended our sermon with this wrap up.

Big Picture Question:  Why is God better than the world’s best thing? 

He is full of wisdom
He is just
He is powerful

Truth: God’s wisdom, justice, and power are better than every one of the world’s best things.

Application:  Live knowing that God’s great wisdom, justice, and power is both your source and purpose in this world.

Action:

 

  • Select a place in your life (relationship, task, responsibility, etc)
  • Ask yourself how purposefully you think and apply God’s wisdom, justice, and power there.
  • Boldly make changes.

Sunday Recap for 02/19:  “How Can We Be Transformed by Worship?”

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Sunday, February 19, 2017, we continued our “Micah: Heart of God” series and pursued this Big Picture Question.

Big Picture Question:  How can we be transformed by worship?

And we looked at Micah 6:6-8 for our answers…

Micah 6.6“With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” 8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

We answered our question in this way…

Big Picture Question:  How can we be transformed by worship?

  • Ask the Question
  • Listen to God
  • Obey

Our first answer…

Ask the question.

The people of Micah’s day ask their question to God in light of their oncoming judgment.  They at first ask if God wants the requirement of the law.

6 Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?

Then they ask if God wants even more that what He required.

Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil?

And finally, they fall into the realm of the ridiculous.

7b Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”

Friends, if you want to be transformed by worship, we must ask God to do it for us.  We don’t have to offer our works or our efforts.  They always fail.  We must ask God to transform us.  “God, will you transform me in worship?”

Listen to God.

8 He has told you, O man, what is good;

If we want to be transformed in worship, we have to listen to God because He has told us what to do.  Where can we listen to God?  3 places.

God speaks to us in the scriptures.

God speaks to us in our prayers when our prayers are consistent with the scriptures.

And God speaks to us in worship services that faithfully preach the scriptures.

Anywhere else is suspect and more than likely wrong.  Our part in worship transformation is to place ourselves underneath the scriptures.

Obey.

8b and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

God requires 3 outcomes of us as we are transformed in worship.  If these 3 things happen, we will know if we are transformed.  They don’t cause us to be transformed.  They are the result of being transformed.  If we are transformed in worship, we will…

Do justice – stand up for those who are wronged and stand against that which is wrong.

Love kindness – we will do justice in kindness.

Walk humbly before God – we will do all of these things knowing that God has blessed us as we don’t deserve any of this.

Big Picture Question:  How can we be transformed by worship? 

Truth:  When you ask God how to worship Him, you will be transformed and more greatly be able to obey Him.

Application:  Live knowing that God will transform you in worship so that you will be able to seek justice for others through love kindness and humility.

Action:  Leave this worship knowing that God will use all that has happened here to enable you to be an agent of mercy, love, and humility to someone this week.

Sunday Recap for 2/12: “How do we remember the power of God?”

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Sunday, February 12th, Evident Grace looked at this Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question:  How do we remember the power of God?

To answer that question, we looked at this passage from Micah…

Micah 5:10 And in that day, declares the Lord, I will cut off your horses from among you and will destroy your chariots; 11 and I will cut off the cities of your land and throw down all your strongholds; 12 and I will cut off sorceries from your hand, and you shall have no more tellers of fortunes; 13 and I will cut off your carved images and your pillars from among you, and you shall bow down no more to the work of your hands; 14 and I will root out your Asherah images from among you and destroy your cities. 15 And in anger and wrath I will execute vengeance on the nations that did not obey.

6:1 Hear what the Lord says: Arise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice, 2 Hear, you mountains, the indictment of the Lord, and you enduring foundations of the earth, for the Lord has an indictment against his people, and he will contend with Israel. 3 “O my people, what have I done to you? How have I wearied you? Answer me! 4 For I brought you up from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. 5 O my people, remember what Balak king of Moab devised, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him, and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the righteous acts of the Lord.”

We found these 3 answers to our Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question:  How does God help us remember His power?

  • He removes what we trust.
  • He shows us our hearts.
  • He calls us to remember.

He removes what we trust.

Micah 5:10 And in that day, declares the Lord, I will cut off your horses from among you and will destroy your chariots; 11 and I will cut off the cities of your land and throw down all your strongholds; 12 and I will cut off sorceries from your hand, and you shall have no more tellers of fortunes; 13 and I will cut off your carved images and your pillars from among you, and you shall bow down no more to the work of your hands; 14 and I will root out your Asherah images from among you and destroy your cities. 15 And in anger and wrath I will execute vengeance on the nations that did not obey.

God gave the people of Micah’s day good things:  military to protect them, wisdom to guide them, and worship to transform them.  Unfortunately, they perverted those gifts.  Instead of trusting the God, they trusted their military’s might.  Instead of trusting God for wisdom, they trusted sorcerers and fortune tellers.  Instead of worshiping the one true God, they worshiped idols made by their own hands.

God in His grace removed the false things that they trusted so that they might once again find their trust in God.

We too need to look at our hearts.  God will remind us of this power by removing the things we falsely trust.  This is an act of love by God.  We should do this heart work of remembering God’s power and removing what we falsely trust knowing that God will ultimately do it if we don’t.

He shows us our hearts.

6:1 Hear what the Lord says: Arise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice, 2 Hear, you mountains, the indictment of the Lord, and you enduring foundations of the earth, for the Lord has an indictment against his people, and he will contend with Israel. 3 “O my people, what have I done to you? How have I wearied you? Answer me!

God calls the mountain to testify in His court case against His people.  He asks the people, “Have I wearied you?  What have I done that you would worship every false thing?”  And the mountain echo in reply God’s faithfulness.

We reminds us of His power as He shows us our hearts.  As we learn our hearts, we find things to remove and we find God’s faithfulness true.

He calls us to remember.

4 For I brought you up from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.  5 O my people, remember what Balak king of Moab devised, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him, and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the righteous acts of the Lord.”

God reminds His people of His power.

In Exodus, God rescued His people from slavery.  He reminds them of their rescue from Egypt.

In Numbers 22:4-6 Balak was the king of Moab and he devised a plan with Balaam to curse and kill the people of God when they moved into the land.   But God protected them and no harm ever came to them from Balak or Balaam.

In Numbers 25:1 – Israel lived in the area of Shittim, and the people of God began to intermarry with the daughters of Moab intermingling not only with those women but also with their pagan religion.  God did not cast away His people despite their sin.

In Joshua 5:9-10 The Lord reminded Joshua that the reproach of being slaves had been removed from the people and now they had the freedom to worship God and they did by celebrating the Passover

What faithfulness should we remember?  In addition to those mentioned above, we should remember the faithfulness of Christ on our behalf.

2 Timothy 2:8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel…11 The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him…13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself. 13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.

And we concluded we these thoughts…

Truth:  We remember God’s power as we learn more about our hearts and what we trust.

Application:  Live knowing that God will do whatever is necessary to remind you of us His power.

Action:  In some moment of worry or doubt this week, remember that God is more powerful than whatever it is you are facing.   

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