All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘community’

Evident Grace Reverse Advent Effort

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EG Family and the Surrounding Community,

This past Sunday, our deacons announced our December “Reverse Advent” effort.

As you will see in the attached image, we are collecting canned and dried goods to replenish the Fredericksburg Area Food Bank. Often, local food banks are drained post-Christmas because of the demand and the decreased giving post-holiday season. We want to help eliminate their upcoming need.

Our desire is to bring all the food collected to our December 23rd worship service, place food up front, and pray for the families who will receive it. The YMCA will then connect with the Food Bank for a pickup following our service.

If you can’t make the 23rd service, we will let you now where the YMCA would like for us to store it until then. We will let you know that information as soon as we know it.

What we would like prior to the 23rd is to know how many families are participating. If you plan on participating, could you simply email Amy Duncan at [email protected] to let her know? Don’t worry; if you forget to email her, we can still accept the donations on the 23rd, but we would like to know how many families are participating.

Thanks so much in advance for caring for and serving these families.

Pastor Gordon

Sunday Recap for 12.02.18 The End of Shame

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Sunday, December 2, 2018, Evident Grace looked at Isaiah 9:1-7:

Isaiah 9:1 But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. 3 You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy, they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. 4 For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. 5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

We used these verses to pursue our study of how Jesus’ advent means the end of shame. Understanding shame is so important.

“The less we understand shame and how it affects our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors, the more power it exerts over our lives. However, if we can find the courage to talk about shame and the compassion to listen, we can change the way we live, love, parent, work, and build relationships.” Brene Brown

Big Idea the End of Shame

Contempt
Darkness
Peace

The context of our passage:

Isaiah 8:22 They will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness.

Contempt

Isaiah 9:1 But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

Contempt is the disease of sin and shame. Contempt is what continues when we have ongoing shame that isn’t removed. This was the state of Israel and our state when shame remains.

Darkness

2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. 3 You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy, they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. 4 For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. 5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder

The promise of the removal of shame comes in the form of the birth of Jesus. The birth of Jesus would lead the people out of the darkness. Instead of shame, there will be an increase of joy as the harvest. There will be an increase of gladness. The burden of oppressors will be removed and replaced with the light yoke of Jesus. Their war will come to an end, and it will be replaced with the government of Jesus whose reign will know no end.

A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick. Brene Bown

Peace

And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

Jesus will usher in a time of peace and will be our wonderful, non-shaming, counselor. His peace and government will know no end. And God is eager to do this on our behalf.

Big Idea the End of Shame

Contempt
Darkness
Peace

Truth: Jesus is our Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, and our Prince of Peace. He alone can remove our contempt and shame. He alone gives us peace.

Application: Live knowing that there is hope for your shame, and it is found only in the person of Jesus.

Action: Jesus despises shame. He took yours for you. Pray that God would help you believe this. Pray that God protect you from adding to the shame that Jesus removed.

Practical verses to live this out.

Jesus 12:2 Look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

2 Corinthians 7:9-11 I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.

Sunday Recap for 11.25.18 Introduction to the Book of Romans

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Introduction to the Book of Romans

James Montgomery Boice: “We cling to man-centered, need-oriented teaching. And our churches show it! They are successful in worldly terms – big buildings, big budgets, big everything – but they suffer a poverty of the soul. All this means, in my judgment at least, that it is time to get back to the basic, life-transforming doctrines of Christianity – which is to say that is time to rediscover Romans.” 10th Pres Massive Church

Swiss theologian Frederick Godet: “Every great spiritual revival in the church will be connected as effect and cause with a deeper understanding of this book.”

Martin Luther: “I had no love for that holy and just God who punished sinners. I was filled with secret anger against him. I hated him because he was not content with frightening (by the law and the miseries of life) us wretched sinners. Already ruined by original sin, he still further increased our tortures by the Gospel.

But when, by the Spirit of God, I understood the words – when I learned how the justification of the sinner proceeds from the free mercy of our Lord through faith, then I felt born again like a new man. In very truth, this language of Paul (in Romans) was to me the true gate of paradise.”

Provenance:

Was the church of a church plant or an established church? Well, they were a lot like us, maybe a bit older but not too young.

When Paul wrote this epistle to the church in Rome, that congregation must have already been in existence for a number of years, for Paul writes that he had desired to visit them “these many years” (15:23).

To him this church was strong enough to help him carry out further missionary activities. They are not called recent converts; they are not treated as having been improperly instructed, but seem to have been an organized and well-grounded congregation (15:14, “filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another”).

The epistle deals with no major error in the church; nor does it have to deal with organizational principles. It was a church that was universally famous (1:8), and not merely because it was in Rome.

The Roman church was a group that had a large Jewish element, but was also filled with Gentile converts from paganism, both free as well as slaves. How the church in Rome was started is unclear. The Roman Catholic view is that Peter founded it; another view is that Roman Christians from Pentecost in Jerusalem made their way there. But it may simply be that several Christian families or groups from Pauline churches in the East settled in Rome and grew together.

According to the end of the book, there were several congregations meeting in the city. At the outbreak of Neronian persecutions, Tacitus says that the Christians in Rome were “an immense multitude.”

Based on the material from Acts and the Corinthian epistles, the Book of Romans clearly indicates that it was written from Corinth on Paul’s third missionary journey.

Paul had never visited Rome; but after fulfilling his mission of mercy to Jerusalem, he hoped to go to Rome en route to Spain (Rom. 15:23-25).

At any rate, the date of the book is probably 60 A.D.
One generation after the resurrection of Jesus and Pentecost.
4 years prior to Nero’s persecution of the church.
10 years before Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD.

Outline

I. The Revelation of Righteousness (1:1-17)
II. Justification with God (1:18—5:11)
III. Union with Christ (5:12—8:39)
IV. The Sovereign of God & His Relationship with Israel
V. Application of God’s Work (12:1—15:13)
VI. Conclusion, (15:14—16:27)

Significant Verses and Themes in the First Half of the Book

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Romans 3:27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.

Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5

Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Sunday Recap for 6.24.18 Big Idea: Every Knee Shall Bow and Every Tongue Confess that Jesus Christ is Lord

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Sunday, June 24, 2018, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 19:

1 Samuel 19:1 And Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David. But Jonathan, Saul’s son, delighted much in David. 2 And Jonathan told David, “Saul my father seeks to kill you. Therefore be on your guard in the morning. Stay in a secret place and hide yourself. 3 And I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are, and I will speak to my father about you. And if I learn anything I will tell you.” 4 And Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, “Let not the king sin against his servant David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his deeds have brought good to you. 5 For he took his life in his hand and he struck down the Philistine, and the Lord worked a great salvation for all Israel. You saw it, and rejoiced. Why then will you sin against innocent blood by killing David without cause?” 6 And Saul listened to the voice of Jonathan. Saul swore, “As the Lord lives, he shall not be put to death.” 7 And Jonathan called David, and Jonathan reported to him all these things. And Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence as before.

8 And there was war again. And David went out and fought with the Philistines and struck them with a great blow, so that they fled before him. 9 Then a harmful spirit from the Lord came upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand. And David was playing the lyre. 10 And Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he eluded Saul, so that he struck the spear into the wall. And David fled and escaped that night.

 

11 Saul sent messengers to David’s house to watch him, that he might kill him in the morning. But Michal, David’s wife, told him, “If you do not escape with your life tonight, tomorrow you will be killed.” 12 So Michal let David down through the window, and he fled away and escaped. 13 Michal took an image[a] and laid it on the bed and put a pillow of goats’ hair at its head and covered it with the clothes. 14 And when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, “He is sick.” 15 Then Saul sent the messengers to see David, saying, “Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may kill him.” 16 And when the messengers came in, behold, the image was in the bed, with the pillow of goats’ hair at its head. 17 Saul said to Michal, “Why have you deceived me thus and let my enemy go, so that he has escaped?” And Michal answered Saul, “He said to me, ‘Let me go. Why should I kill you?’”

18 Now David fled and escaped, and he came to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and lived at Naioth. 19 And it was told Saul, “Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah.” 20 Then Saul sent messengers to take David, and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as head over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied. 21 When it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they also prophesied. And Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they also prophesied. 22 Then he himself went to Ramah and came to the great well that is in Secu. And he asked, “Where are Samuel and David?” And one said, “Behold, they are at Naioth in Ramah.” 23 And he went there to Naioth in Ramah. And the Spirit of God came upon him also, and as he went he prophesied until he came to Naioth in Ramah. 24 And he too stripped off his clothes, and he too prophesied before Samuel and lay naked all that day and all that night. Thus it is said, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”

From that passage, we pursued this Big Idea:

Big Idea:  Every Knee Shall Bow and Every Tongue Shall Confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Act I

1 Samuel 19:1 And Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David. But Jonathan, Saul’s son, delighted much in David. 2 And Jonathan told David, “Saul my father seeks to kill you. Therefore be on your guard in the morning. Stay in a secret place and hide yourself. 3 And I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are, and I will speak to my father about you. And if I learn anything I will tell you.” 4 And Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, “Let not the king sin against his servant David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his deeds have brought good to you. 5 For he took his life in his hand and he struck down the Philistine, and the Lord worked a great salvation for all Israel. You saw it, and rejoiced. Why then will you sin against innocent blood by killing David without cause?” 6 And Saul listened to the voice of Jonathan. Saul swore, “As the Lord lives, he shall not be put to death.” 7 And Jonathan called David, and Jonathan reported to him all these things. And Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence as before.

8 And there was war again. And David went out and fought with the Philistines and struck them with a great blow, so that they fled before him. 9 Then a harmful spirit from the Lord came upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand. And David was playing the lyre. 10 And Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he eluded Saul, so that he struck the spear into the wall. And David fled and escaped that night.

Saul is determined to kill David, but Jonathan, Saul’s son and David’s friend, want to prevent that.  He warns David and reminds Saul of all the good that David has done for the people of God and Saul’s kingdom.  He even tells Saul that it would be a sin for Saul to kill David.  Saul swears that he will not kill David.  However, soon after, Saul is tormented again, and when David plays the lyre to calm him, Saul throws a spear at him, trying to kill him.  David eludes him.  Here we see that God is working to protect David even in the midst of outside and inside attacks.

Act II

11 Saul sent messengers to David’s house to watch him, that he might kill him in the morning. But Michal, David’s wife, told him, “If you do not escape with your life tonight, tomorrow you will be killed.” 12 So Michal let David down through the window, and he fled away and escaped. 13 Michal took an image and laid it on the bed and put a pillow of goats’ hair at its head and covered it with the clothes. 14 And when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, “He is sick.” 15 Then Saul sent the messengers to see David, saying, “Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may kill him.” 16 And when the messengers came in, behold, the image was in the bed, with the pillow of goats’ hair at its head. 17 Saul said to Michal, “Why have you deceived me thus and let my enemy go, so that he has escaped?” And Michal answered Saul, “He said to me, ‘Let me go. Why should I kill you?’”

Saul continues to hunt David.  While David is at his home, his wife, Michal, realizes that Saul is sending soldiers to kill him.  She sends David away, places an image in their bed, and covers it with goat’s hair.  The soldiers take the bed with the image in it to Saul.  King Saul realizes he has been tricked and is enraged.  God continues to protect David.

Act III

18 Now David fled and escaped, and he came to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and lived at Naioth. 19 And it was told Saul, “Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah.” 20 Then Saul sent messengers to take David, and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as head over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied. 21 When it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they also prophesied. And Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they also prophesied. 22 Then he himself went to Ramah and came to the great well that is in Secu. And he asked, “Where are Samuel and David?” And one said, “Behold, they are at Naioth in Ramah.” 23 And he went there to Naioth in Ramah. And the Spirit of God came upon Saul also, and as he went he prophesied until he came to Naioth in Ramah. 24 And he too stripped off his clothes, and he too prophesied before Samuel and lay naked all that day and all that night. Thus it is said, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”

3 times, Saul sends soldier to kill David who is now with Samuel.  Each time the soldiers show up, they start praising God and prophesying.  Finally, Saul goes to kill David, and even he starts prophesying.  Nothing is going to harm David.

This kind of protection was not offered to Jesus.  Jesus, the rightful king of God’s people, was not protected.  Every protection was removed.

The glorious praises he deserves will instead receive blasphemy. Instead of being protected by good friend, he will be deceived by a friend.  Instead of Jesus’ enemies breaking into prophecy, Jesus will be made fun of for prophesying. David is protected and enemies’ words are turned into praises, but Jesus’ enemies punch him and mock him. David was protected as king of the Jews.  Jesus is mocked for being king of the Jews.

How then do we live in light of these truths?

Philippians 2: 4 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 emptied himself, by 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.

Philippians tells us 3 ways to live that out.

14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18  Likewise, you also should be glad and rejoice with me.

Truth:  God will use everything in existence, every person, every circumstance, and every action to ultimately bring Him glory.

Application:  Live knowing that Christ worked specifically to redeem each moment of your life, making them God-glorifying and personally transformational experiences.

Action: Imitate Jesus’ humility this week by not complaining, folding fast to the words of God, and rejoicing.

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 from 05/13/18 Big Picture Question: How Does God See Differently Than We Do?

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Sunday, May 13, 2018, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 16:1-13:

1 Samuel 16:1 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” 2 And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ 3 And invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. And you shall anoint for me him whom I declare to you.” 4 Samuel did what the Lord commanded and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling and said, “Do you come peaceably?” 5 And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

6 When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.” 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 9 Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 10 And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11 Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” 12 And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.

From those scriptures, we looked at this Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question:  How does God see differently than we do?

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

God sees the why while we see the what

God sees His protection while we see the danger.

God sees the heart while we see outward appearances.

God sees the why while we see the what

1 Samuel 16:1 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.”

All Samuel could feel was loss.  King Saul was a mess.  Israel was a mess.  I’m sure Samuel felt like a failure, but God knew why Samuel was going through what he was going through.  God knew that in the midst of all of the pain and emotion, He was going to bring a new and Godly king to Israel.

We have to keep in mind that God is always working His will for His glory even in the midst of the worst of circumstances.  We can see what is happening, but we have to trust God’s why which is always to bring glory to Himself.

God sees His protection while we see the danger.

2 And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ 3 And invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. And you shall anoint for me him whom I declare to you.” 4 Samuel did what the Lord commanded and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling and said, “Do you come peaceably?” 5 And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

Everyone in this passage is fearing.  Samuel fears for his life if he obeys God.  The elders of Bethlehem fear because Samuel showed up in town.  But in the midst of that fear, God is actually protecting them.  God is protecting the people of God by giving them a good and Godly king.  Saul’s first interest was for himself.  David’s will be for God.

God sees differently than we do.  When we walk in danger, we have to remember that God is always protecting us as He promised us He would.

In the sermon, we referenced Job 23:8-14 as an example of trusting God when we can’t see His protection.

God sees the heart while we see outward appearances.

6 When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.” 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 9 Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 10 And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11 Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” 12 And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.

We arrogantly think we know people’s hearts and minds, but we don’t.  Only God knows the heart.  That means God sees our good and our bad.  Samuel thought the oldest son of Jesse would of course be king.  Instead, God chose the younger son, David, because God saw his heart.

We must always remember that God has wisdom that we don’t have and that wisdom of the heart should make us more gracious to ourselves and to others.

Big Picture Question:  How does God see differently than we do?

Truth:  God’s sight is an act of care in our lives that works His purposes despite what we see and think.

Application: Live knowing that your wisdom, hunches, and gut always submit to the working of God’s and His purposes in your life.   

Action: Pray for the humility to trust God’s sight in your life and others.  

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

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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