All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘church planting’

Evident Grace Sunday Recap for 07.22.18 Big Idea: God Blesses Those Who Read His Word

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Sunday, July 22, 2018, Evident Grace looked at Psalm 1:

Psalm 1: Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.  In all that he does, he prospers. 

4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.  5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; 6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

From those verses, we pursued this Big Idea:

Big Idea:  God’s word gives fruit, prosperity, and rest.

Psalm 1: Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

God promises blessings to any who do not sit in the counsel of the wicked, stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of scoffers.  Instead, God blesses those who delight in the law of the Lord.  Essentially, God is calling us away from the counsel of those who do not know Him and promises to bless us when we seek counsel from Him.

3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.  In all that he does, he prospers.

The blessings of delighting in God’s law is similar to a tree planted by a stream of water.  Just as the tree has a constant source of nutrients, so a person who delights in God’s law has a constant source of blessing.

4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.  5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; 6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

Those who do not have a relationship with God are blown away like dry chaff  They will not stand before God as those who have great faith will.

 

Mission #1:  Studying the Scriptures is a direct avenue to receiving God’s blessings.

Mission #2:  Not studying the Scriptures is a direct avenue to being deceived by others.

Mission #3 Enjoy the Prosperity of God by hiding scriptures in your heart so that you might persevere and not whither during difficult and tempting times.

Mission #4:  Let God’s intimate knowing of you motivate you to know Him better in His scriptures.

Sunday Recap for 06.10.18 Big Picture Question: How does your relationship with God radically affect every other relationship?

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Sunday, June 10, 2018, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 18:1-16:

1 Samuel 18:1 As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2 And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. 3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. 4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt. 5 And David went out and was successful wherever Saul sent him, so that Saul set him over the men of war. And this was good in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.

6 As they were coming home, when David returned from striking down the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with songs of joy, and with musical instruments. 7 And the women sang to one another as they celebrated, “Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”

8 And Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him. He said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands, and what more can he have but the kingdom?” 9 And Saul eyed David from that day on.

10 The next day a harmful spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he raved within his house while David was playing the lyre, as he did day by day. Saul had his spear in his hand. 11 And Saul hurled the spear, for he thought, “I will pin David to the wall.” But David evaded him twice.

12 Saul was afraid of David because the Lord was with him but had departed from Saul. 13 So Saul removed him from his presence and made him a commander of a thousand. And he went out and came in before the people. 14 And David had success in all his undertakings, for the Lord was with him. 15 And when Saul saw that he had great success, he stood in fearful awe of him. 16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, for he went out and came in before them.

From that passage, we asked this Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question:  How does a relationship with God radically change every one of your relationships?

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

Godly Relationships are Based on Unity

Godly Relationships are Covenantal

Godly Relationships Confound Non-believers 

Godly Relationships are Based on Unity

1 Samuel 18:1 As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2 And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house.

The unity that David and Jonathan lived out is not meant to be rare.  It is the unity that each believer is supposed to live out in light of the work of Jesus Christ:

Ephesians 4:1-6 1As a prisoner for the LORD, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5one LORD, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

This is the wonderful reality that David later sings about it:

Psalm 133:1 1A song of ascents. Of David. How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!

Godly Relationships are Covenantal

3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. 4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt. 5 And David went out and was successful wherever Saul sent him, so that Saul set him over the men of war. And this was good in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.

David and Jonathan live out a covenantal relationship with each other where each wants the best for the other.  What one feels, the other feels.  What one celebrates, the other celebrates.  Their relationship is a picture of the 1 Corinthians 12 reality of the church as the body of Christ.

Godly Relationships Confound Non-believers 

6 As they were coming home, when David returned from striking down the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with songs of joy, and with musical instruments. 7 And the women sang to one another as they celebrated, “Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”

8 And Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him. He said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands, and what more can he have but the kingdom?” 9 And Saul eyed David from that day on.

10 The next day a harmful spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he raved within his house while David was playing the lyre, as he did day by day. Saul had his spear in his hand. 11 And Saul hurled the spear, for he thought, “I will pin David to the wall.” But David evaded him twice.

12 Saul was afraid of David because the Lord was with him but had departed from Saul. 13 So Saul removed him from his presence and made him a commander of a thousand. And he went out and came in before the people. 14 And David had success in all his undertakings, for the Lord was with him. 15 And when Saul saw that he had great success, he stood in fearful awe of him. 16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, for he went out and came in before them.

If we live out this unified covenantal relationship with the church, the world will not understand it, just as Saul was confounded by David’s godliness, and ultimately, we will see, his relationship with Johnathan as well.

But this type of relationship that has an effect on the entire world is what we are called to live out in Philippians 2.

Philippians 2: Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Big Picture Question:  How does a relationship with God radically change every one of your relationships?

Truth:  Christians are intended to live in unified, covenantal relationships that confound the world with a testimony of what a relationship with God is like. 

Action:  Live knowing that your relationships with other Christians are a reflection of your understanding and application of the Gospel.

Application:  Redefine your friendships with other Christians by things that are distinctly and inherently Christian.

Evident Grace Sunday Recap for 06.03.18 – What Opposes the Glory of God?

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Sunday, June 3, 2018, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 17:28-58:

1 Samuel 17:28 Now Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spoke to the men. And Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, “Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your presumption and the evil of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.” 29 And David said, “What have I done now? Was it not but a word?” 30 And he turned away from him toward another, and spoke in the same way, and the people answered him again as before.

31 When the words that David spoke were heard, they repeated them before Saul, and he sent for him. 32 And David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” 33 And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.” 34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, 35 I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. 36 Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”

38 Then Saul clothed David with his armor. He put a helmet of bronze on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail, 39 and David strapped his sword over his armor. And he tried in vain to go, for he had not tested them. Then David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” So David put them off. 40 Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd’s pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine.

41 And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. 42 And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. 43 And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.” 45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47 and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hand.”

48 When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49 And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.

50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David. 51 Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. 52 And the men of Israel and Judah rose with a shout and pursued the Philistines as far as Gath and the gates of Ekron, so that the wounded Philistines fell on the way from Shaaraim as far as Gath and Ekron. 53 And the people of Israel came back from chasing the Philistines, and they plundered their camp. 54 And David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his armor in his tent

55 As soon as Saul saw David go out against the Philistine, he said to Abner, the commander of the army, “Abner, whose son is this youth?” And Abner said, “As your soul lives, O king, I do not know.” 56 And the king said, “Inquire whose son the boy is.” 57 And as soon as David returned from the striking down of the Philistine, Abner took him, and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand. 58 And Saul said to him, “Whose son are you, young man?” And David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.”

We attempted to answer this Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question:  What opposes the glory of God?

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

Presumption

Judgment

Doubt

Presumption

1 Samuel 17:28 Now Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spoke to the men. And Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, “Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your presumption and the evil of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.” 29 And David said, “What have I done now? Was it not but a word?” 30 And he turned away from him toward another, and spoke in the same way, and the people answered him again as before.

David goes onto the battlefield and asks why no one will fight Goliath?  Eliab takes offense to this and presumes that David has an evil intent.  Presume and Assume mean the same thing except presume has more of a degree of certainty.  Presumption is a sin because it flies in the face of 1 Corinthians 2 that tells us that we cannot know the mind of another person, and it is contrary to the Philippians 2 command that we consider others better than ourselves.  This presumption opposes the glory of God.

Judgment

31 When the words that David spoke were heard, they repeated them before Saul, and he sent for him. 32 And David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” 33 And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.” 34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, 35 I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. 36 Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”

38 Then Saul clothed David with his armor. He put a helmet of bronze on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail, 39 and David strapped his sword over his armor. And he tried in vain to go, for he had not tested them. Then David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” So David put them off. 40 Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd’s pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine.

Saul doesn’t think that David can fight Goliath because of his stature and lack of experience.  He also assumes that David needs a ton of armor.  Saul is judging by the outward appearance and doesn’t know David’s heart.  God specifically spoke against this outward judgment when Samuel anointed David.  What Saul does not know is that David is a fierce warrior and a fierce defender of the honor of God.  Whenever we judge others by outward appearances, we fall into Saul’s sin and oppose the glory of God instead of defending it.

Doubt

41 And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. 42 And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. 43 And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.” 45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47 and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hand.”

48 When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49 And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.

50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David. 51 Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. 52 And the men of Israel and Judah rose with a shout and pursued the Philistines as far as Gath and the gates of Ekron, so that the wounded Philistines fell on the way from Shaaraim as far as Gath and Ekron. 53 And the people of Israel came back from chasing the Philistines, and they plundered their camp. 54 And David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his armor in his tent

55 As soon as Saul saw David go out against the Philistine, he said to Abner, the commander of the army, “Abner, whose son is this youth?” And Abner said, “As your soul lives, O king, I do not know.” 56 And the king said, “Inquire whose son the boy is.” 57 And as soon as David returned from the striking down of the Philistine, Abner took him, and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand. 58 And Saul said to him, “Whose son are you, young man?” And David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.”

Goliath doubts that David can fight him so much that he is offended that David would even come onto the field.  By contrast, David has great faith in God.  David fights by faith in the power of God’s name.  He says, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.”

Big Picture Question:  What opposes the glory of God?

Truth:  Presumption and judgment within the body of Christ lead to doubting God and the diminishing of His glory in the church.

Application:   Live knowing that God intends His people to honor and glorify Him by giving one another the judgment of charity and exercising a deep faith in Christ.

Action:  Defend the honor of God this week by telling someone your testimony.

Evident Grace Sunday Recap 5.06.18 Sunday Recap Why is Repentance So Powerful?

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Sunday, May 6th, 2018, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 15:24-35:

1 Samuel 15:24 Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. 25 Now therefore, please pardon my sin and return with me that I may bow before the Lord.” 26 And Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you. For you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.” 27 As Samuel turned to go away, Saul seized the skirt of his robe, and it tore. 28 And Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you. 29 And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or have regret, for he is not a man, that he should have regret.” 30 Then he said, “I have sinned; yet honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me, that I may bow before the Lord your God.” 31 So Samuel turned back after Saul, and Saul bowed before the Lord.

32 Then Samuel said, “Bring here to me Agag the king of the Amalekites.” And Agag came to him cheerfully. Agag said, “Surely the bitterness of death is past.” 33 And Samuel said, “As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women.” And Samuel hacked Agag to pieces before the Lord in Gilgal.

34 Then Samuel went to Ramah, and Saul went up to his house in Gibeah of Saul. 35 And Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, but Samuel grieved over Saul. And the Lord regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel.

From those verses, we answered this Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question:  Why is repentance is so powerful?

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

Repentance Doesn’t Care About Reputation

Repentance Kills the Source of Sin

Repentance Grieves

 

Repentance Doesn’t Care About Reputation

1 Samuel 15:24 Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. 25 Now therefore, please pardon my sin and return with me that I may bow before the Lord.” 26 And Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you. For you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.” 27 As Samuel turned to go away, Saul seized the skirt of his robe, and it tore. 28 And Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you. 29 And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or have regret, for he is not a man, that he should have regret.” 30 Then he said, “I have sinned; yet honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me, that I may bow before the Lord your God.” 31 So Samuel turned back after Saul, and Saul bowed before the Lord.

Saul finally realizes that he sins, so he begs Samuel.  He says he sinned and transgressed the commandment of God.  He recognizes that he feared the people more than God, and he asks Samuel to forgive him and return with him to tell the people.  But Samuel will not honor him in the way he asks.

The reason that Samuel asks the way he does is because Saul never asks for forgiveness from God.  He only begs from Saul.  Saul is like the child who realizes that he lost a privilege and then finally begs for forgiveness.

This is not repentance.  Repentance is unconcerned earthly reputation.  True repentance only concerns itself with reconciling one’s relationship with God.

Repentance Kills the Source of Sin

32 Then Samuel said, “Bring here to me Agag the king of the Amalekites.” And Agag came to him cheerfully. Agag said, “Surely the bitterness of death is past.” 33 And Samuel said, “As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women.” And Samuel hacked Agag to pieces before the Lord in Gilgal.

Saul spared King Agag and the best of the spoil.  This was his sin.  Samuel have nothing to do with it.  He puts to death Agag.

This is repentance.  Repentance puts to death anything that is remaining of the sin so that sin will not return.

Repentance Grieves

34 Then Samuel went to Ramah, and Saul went up to his house in Gibeah of Saul. 35 And Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, but Samuel grieved over Saul. And the Lord regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel.

Samuel grieved over Saul.  He grieved of the mess Samuel made.  He grieved of the damage that Saul made.  And God showed a godly regret that Samuel was ever king.

What are powerful steps we can make to repentance? 

Sight of sin – Psalm 139: 23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart!  Try me and know my thoughts!  And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!

Sorrow for sin – 2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death

Confession of sin – Psalm 32:3-5 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.  4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. 5 I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.

Regret for sin – Ezra 9:6 “O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities, have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens.

Hatred for sin – Psalm 104:102-104 – I do not turn aside from your rules, for you have taught me.  103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!  104 Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.

Turning from sin – Zechariah 1:3 Therefore say to them, Thus declares the Lord of hosts: Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts.

Big Picture Question:  What’s the difference between repentance and change

Truth:  True repentance kills sin at its sources through a Godly grief that desires to honor God more than it wants to protect self. 

Application:  Live knowing that our greatest intimacy with God and others comes through a Godly repenting that denies self and lifts up God.

Action:  Kill a sin this week at its source through a Godly grief that confesses your sin to God and any offended party without justification or fear of lost reputation. 

Evident Grace Sunday Recap from 04/29/18 Better to Obey Than to Sacrifice

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Sunday, April 29, 2018, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 15:16-23:

1 Samuel 15:16 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Stop! I will tell you what the Lord said to me this night.” And he said to him, “Speak. 17 And Samuel said, “Though you are little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. 18 And the Lord sent you on a mission and said, ‘Go, devote to destruction the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’

19 Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you pounce on the spoil and do what was evil in the sight of the Lord?” 20 And Saul said to Samuel, “I have obeyed the voice of the Lord. I have gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me. I have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and I have devoted the Amalekites to destruction. 21 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the best of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.” 22 And Samuel said,

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.”

We attempted to answer this Big Picture Question from those verses:

Big Picture Question:  Why is it better to obey rather than to sacrifice?

We found these three answers to our Big Picture Question:

Obeying is seeing as God sees

Obedience kills pride

God delights in obedience

 

Obeying is seeing as God sees

1 Samuel 15:16 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Stop! I will tell you what the Lord said to me this night.” And he said to him, “Speak. 17 And Samuel said, “Though you are little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. 18 And the Lord sent you on a mission and said, ‘Go, devote to destruction the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’

Samuel confronts Saul about his sin.  God’s command was for King Saul to completely wipe out the Amalekites, but Saul kept the king alive and the best of the spoil.  Saving these things would have given Saul status among other kings and would have given him plenty of money.  Samuel reminds Saul that he already has status.  God made him king from the smallest of tribes.

Disobedience blinds us.  We don’t see as God sees when see.  Saul thought seeking fortune and fame was best.  Obeying God would have him a godly sight.

Obedience kills pride

19 Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you pounce on the spoil and do what was evil in the sight of the Lord?” 20 And Saul said to Samuel, “I have obeyed the voice of the Lord. I have gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me. I have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and I have devoted the Amalekites to destruction. 21 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the best of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.”

When challenged as to why he sinned, Saul cannot admit why either that he did sin or why he sinned.  His pride won’t let him.  In fact, he even blames the people for sin saying that they were going to offer a sacrifice with the spoil they kept.

Obedience, however, would kill that pride because obeying God means that set aside what we think is best and trust God’s best for us.

God delights in our obedience

22 And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.”

Our sin is like witchcraft (divination) in that we seek and trust a wisdom outside of God’s.  Yes, there is forgiveness for sin, but God’s greatest delight for us is for us to obey.

The intention of God’s grace and forgiveness is to move us towards obedience.  For example, in Titus…

Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God has been made evident, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. 

Is there a sacrifice we are to offer today?  Yes.

Hebrews 13:15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Big Picture Question:  Why is it better to obey rather than to sacrifice?

Truth: Obedience enables a pride killing sight that walks us into the delight of God.

Application: Live knowing that there is grace for every sin, but there is a grace that enables you to obey as well.

Action:  This week, actively listen to the promises of God, and pray that He will enable you to obey in one specific area in which you continually struggle.

Evident Grace Sunday Recap from 04/22/18 Giving Thanks

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Good Morning Friends,

Typically, this is a summary of this past week’s sermon, but Sunday’s sermon was brief as was the service.  We did look at Acts 2, and you can find the audio and video online.  We followed the sermon with a beautiful baptism and our quarterly Town Hall meeting.  Look for an email with audio and video links from the Town Hall in the next few days.

Right now, I want to say thank you to everyone at Evident Grace.  We have a beautiful, growing community.  We are blessed with wonderful committed members, lots of newborn, healthy babies, consistent guests, and an ever-growing ministry to the local area.

When I look at our church, I know we need to grow in our worship, community, and service.  I pray for our growth in depth and reach. But I want to remind us that growth best comes as we are thankful for what we have.

If we want our worship to grow, we should remember Psalm 100

Psalm 100:4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! 5 For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

If we want our community to grow in depth and number, we should remember Colossians 3:

Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the LORD Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

If we want our service to grow, we should remember 2 Corinthians 9:

2 Corinthians 9:11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13 By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others

I love all of you, and I pray your weeks are full of joy and thanks, no matter what God has called  you to do.

I look forward to hearing from all of you this week and seeing you on Sunday.

Pastor Gordon

Taste and See if You Like Evident Grace on 09/12

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taste_and_seeHave you ever been to a restaurant and seen a dish on the menu that interested you? Of course, but the way most restaurants work is that you don’t get a taste ahead of time to find out if you really like it. Your choices are either taking a risk and ordering the dish or skipping it for something that you know you will like. The problem is that you will just never know if the dish you skipped was good or not.

Churches can be the same way. Maybe you like the service or you like an event that they hosted, but often, there is not any venue where you can find out more about the church. Most folks have questions that they would love to have answered, but where can you do that with a church?

Well, Evident Grace will be hosting a “Taste and See” get together Friday, September 12th at 6:30pm, for anyone who would like to know more about the church. The idea is for Gordon, the pastor, to spend some time presenting the history and vision of the church, coupled with a hope for where Evident Grace might be going. Jeremy, our pastoral intern, will be there as well, so hopefully, between the two, most of your questions can be answered. There will be plenty of opportunities for Q & As, and as any good event should have, there will also be food.

This will be a completely non-pressure, casual get together much like friends discussing something they like or want to know more about. There will be none of this, “What will it take to get you in this car today?” salesmanship. In fact, it will be a great, low-key event to bring a friend.

If you would like to join us, we will have childcare, and we will kick off at 6:30pm. We will go as long as folks are interested, and you can head out whenever you want or need. We will be meeting at the Curtas home at

6601Turkey Run Drive

Fredericksburg, VA 22407

If you have questions or would like to confirm, contact Gordon at [email protected] or call him at 919-412-8161.

When Nothing Goes Right in Worship

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simpsons

This is our second post of worship observations. You can find our first here. This week, we talk about when things don’t go well – a common challenge for young churches.

At Evident Grace, we have been meeting for a year and a half. For church planters and church plants, a year and a half feels like five regular years. Each Sunday, you feel like you are taking giant leaps forward as you become more efficient in everything from setup/takedown, greeting, music, children’s ministry, etc.

And then there are the Sundays where you feel like you take giant steps back. It feels like you have never met for worship before.   No one seems to get anything right.

Here is my encouragement, fellow planters and young churches:  While each good Sunday feels like five years ahead, an off Sunday is not a five year setback. Let me give a painful example.

This past Sunday, we were launching a new series, “Journey to Worship – a Study of Ezra”. Excitement built fairly well, and several folks joined in to help with a decent amount of web/social media promotion. While I am given to hyperbole like many church planters, I could realistically say that folks were pretty excited.

But things didn’t go as planned.

For some reason, from the onset, I stumbled over my words. Apparently, I said that, “Christ was circumcised for our sins.” While true in one sense that was far away from my wanting to say that He was crucified for our sins.

I was leading our music as well. Leading a crowd in singing is something that I have comfortably done for over 25 years now, but apparently, comfortable was not yesterday. I couldn’t get into a groove no matter what. In fact, the team finally stopped one song and just began again.

My sermon was never was comfortable either. I felt rushed. I felt the need to over-explain everything, and I continually lost the ability to pronounce most every world.

We made plans to take the Lord’s Supper, but our elder wasn’t able to make it, so the elements remained lonely on the table – something we had to explain to our congregations and visitors.

I left assured that no one was ever going to show up ever again.

But here is the encouragement to my heart and to yours, young planter and young congregation. Our worship is not about professionalism and perfection. While starting songs together and ending them together is preferable, while a commanding sermon delivery is helpful, neither of those are necessary for worship. Worship must always be about grace. Worship must always be about the lifting up of Christ. Grace and Christ equal worship. Preciseness is a bonus.

Yes, you seek to improve in every area. You learn from things that go both well and poorly. You practice and study more. You offer areas that continue to struggle to God in prayer. And then you give thanks for what happens.

So, this week, we will work towards getting the songs right and pronouncing the words correctly knowing that Christ will once again meet us on Sunday. If we make mistakes, we haven’t stepped back five years.

Christ will be lifted up, Christ will be honored, and we will be transformed. We will wait for eternity for mistake free worship.

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