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Sunday Recap 07.15.18 Big Picture Question: What are Your Options When You are Bitter?

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Sunday, July 15th, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 22:

1 Samuel 22:1 David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him. 2 And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men.

3 And David went from there to Mizpeh of Moab. And he said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and my mother stay with you, till I know what God will do for me.” 4 And he left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him all the time that David was in the stronghold. 5 Then the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not remain in the stronghold; depart, and go into the land of Judah.” So David departed and went into the forest of Hereth.

6 Now Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men who were with him. Saul was sitting at Gibeah under the tamarisk tree on the height with his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him. 7 And Saul said to his servants who stood about him, “Hear now, people of Benjamin; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, 8 that all of you have conspired against me? No one discloses to me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse. None of you is sorry for me or discloses to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day.” 9 Then answered Doeg the Edomite, who stood by the servants of Saul, “I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, 10 and he inquired of the Lord for him and gave him provisions and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.

11 Then the king sent to summon Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father’s house, the priests who were at Nob, and all of them came to the king. 12 And Saul said, “Hear now, son of Ahitub.” And he answered, “Here I am, my lord.” 13 And Saul said to him, “Why have you conspired against me, you and the son of Jesse, in that you have given him bread and a sword and have inquired of God for him, so that he has risen against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?” 14 Then Ahimelech answered the king, “And who among all your servants is so faithful as David, who is the king’s son-in-law, and captain over your bodyguard, and honored in your house? 15 Is today the first time that I have inquired of God for him? No! Let not the king impute anything to his servant or to all the house of my father, for your servant has known nothing of all this, much or little.” 16 And the king said, “You shall surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s house.” 17 And the king said to the guard who stood about him, “Turn and kill the priests of the Lord, because their hand also is with David, and they knew that he fled and did not disclose it to me.” But the servants of the king would not put out their hand to strike the priests of the Lord. 18 Then the king said to Doeg, “You turn and strike the priests.” And Doeg the Edomite turned and struck down the priests, and he killed on that day eighty-five persons who wore the linen ephod. 19 And Nob, the city of the priests, he put to the sword; both man and woman, child and infant, ox, donkey and sheep, he put to the sword.

20 But one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled after David. 21 And Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord. 22 And David said to Abiathar, “I knew on that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I have occasioned the death of all the persons of your father’s house. 23 Stay with me; do not be afraid, for he who seeks my life seeks your life. With me you shall be in safekeeping.”

From those verses, we pursued this Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question:  What are your options when you are bitter?

We found these three answers to that question:

Gather in a Community of Hope

Inflict Pain and Isolate

Take Responsibility

Gather in a community for hope

1 Samuel 22:1 David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him. 2 And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men. 3 And David went from there to Mizpeh of Moab. And he said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and my mother stay with you, till I know what God will do for me.” 4 And he left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him all the time that David was in the stronghold. 5 Then the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not remain in the stronghold; depart, and go into the land of Judah.” So David departed and went into the forest of Hereth.

David is on the run from King Saul.  He seeks shelter in a cave, and everyone else in the area who was also distressed joined him.  He has people who have been hurt by others, and he has people who are responsible for their own problems (debt).  They gather together under David’s leadership.  This is one hopeful approach to warding off bitterness – gathering together in community.

Inflict Pain and Isolate Yourself

6 Now Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men who were with him. Saul was sitting at Gibeah under the tamarisk tree on the height with his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him. 7 And Saul said to his servants who stood about him, “Hear now, people of Benjamin; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, 8 that all of you have conspired against me? No one discloses to me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse. None of you is sorry for me or discloses to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day.” 9 Then answered Doeg the Edomite, who stood by the servants of Saul, “I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, 10 and he inquired of the Lord for him and gave him provisions and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.

11 Then the king sent to summon Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father’s house, the priests who were at Nob, and all of them came to the king. 12 And Saul said, “Hear now, son of Ahitub.” And he answered, “Here I am, my lord.” 13 And Saul said to him, “Why have you conspired against me, you and the son of Jesse, in that you have given him bread and a sword and have inquired of God for him, so that he has risen against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?” 14 Then Ahimelech answered the king, “And who among all your servants is so faithful as David, who is the king’s son-in-law, and captain over your bodyguard, and honored in your house? 15 Is today the first time that I have inquired of God for him? No! Let not the king impute anything to his servant or to all the house of my father, for your servant has known nothing of all this, much or little.” 16 And the king said, “You shall surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s house.” 17 And the king said to the guard who stood about him, “Turn and kill the priests of the Lord, because their hand also is with David, and they knew that he fled and did not disclose it to me.” But the servants of the king would not put out their hand to strike the priests of the Lord. 18 Then the king said to Doeg, “You turn and strike the priests.” And Doeg the Edomite turned and struck down the priests, and he killed on that day eighty-five persons who wore the linen ephod. 19 And Nob, the city of the priests, he put to the sword; both man and woman, child and infant, ox, donkey and sheep, he put to the sword.

King Saul throws a royal hissy fit.  He is upset that people don’t like him.  He is upset people like David.  He is upset that his son helps David.  When he finds out that Ahimelech helped David, he kills Ahimelech and 85 priests.

We don’t kill people when we are bitter, but we do lash out verbally to people and we seclude ourselves from them.  These things only compound bitterness instead of moving us towards healing and grace.

Take Responsibility

20 But one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled after David. 21 And Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord. 22 And David said to Abiathar, “I knew on that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I have occasioned the death of all the persons of your father’s house. 23 Stay with me; do not be afraid, for he who seeks my life seeks your life. With me you shall be in safekeeping.”

David is responsible for the death of Ahimelech and 85 priests.  Instead of wallowing in guilt and bitterness, he takes responsibility for his actions and his sin.  Taking responsibility moves us away from bitterness.  It keeps us from going deeper and deeper in despair.

So what do we do with bitterness?

Big Picture Question:  What are your options when you are bitter? 

Truth:  Bitterness is an indication of a hardened heart and a retreat from Godly community.

Application:  Live knowing that when we take comfort in the love of Christ and shelter in a Godly community, we are able to grow in faith and avoid bitterness.

Action:  Take time this week to journal through a bitter situation.  Ask these questions:

What circumstance in your past has been the most difficult to reconcile?

What circumstance presently tempts your heart towards bitterness?

Is there a circumstance or relationship that tempts you to think that the grace of Jesus is insufficient?

Pray through Ephesians 4:25-32.

Ephesians 4: 25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Sunday Recap 07.08.18 Big Idea: Our heroes are just like us.  We all need a Savior.

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Sunday, July 8th, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 21:

1 Samuel 21:1 Then David came to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. And Ahimelech came to meet David, trembling, and said to him, “Why are you alone, and no one with you?” 2 And David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has charged me with a matter and said to me, ‘Let no one know anything of the matter about which I send you, and with which I have charged you.’ I have made an appointment with the young men for such and such a place. 3 Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever is here.” 4 And the priest answered David, “I have no common bread on hand, but there is holy bread—if the young men have kept themselves from women.” 5 And David answered the priest, “Truly women have been kept from us as always when I go on an expedition. The vessels of the young men are holy even when it is an ordinary journey. How much more today will their vessels be holy?” 6 So the priest gave him the holy bread, for there was no bread there but the bread of the Presence, which is removed from before the Lord, to be replaced by hot bread on the day it is taken away.

7 Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the Lord. His name was Doeg the Edomite, the chief of Saul’s herdsmen. 8 Then David said to Ahimelech, “Then have you not here a spear or a sword at hand? For I have brought neither my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste.” 9 And the priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you struck down in the Valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you will take that, take it, for there is none but that here.” And David said, “There is none like that; give it to me.”

10 And David rose and fled that day from Saul and went to Achish the king of Gath. 11 And the servants of Achish said to him, “Is not this David the king of the land? Did they not sing to one another of him in dances, ‘Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands’?” 12 And David took these words to heart and was much afraid of Achish the king of Gath. 13 So he changed his behavior before them and pretended to be insane in their hands and made marks on the doors of the gate and let his spittle run down his beard. 14 Then Achish said to his servants, “Behold, you see the man is mad. Why then have you brought him to me? 15 Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this fellow to behave as a madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?”

From those verses, we discussed the tension between our identity and the realities of our life in light of this Big Idea:

Big Idea:  Our heroes are just like us.  We all need a Savior.

From that Big Idea, we looked at these 3 points:

We struggle to trust God.

We trust our own strength

We trust our own wisdom

 

We struggle to trust God.

1 Samuel 21:1 Then David came to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. And Ahimelech came to meet David, trembling, and said to him, “Why are you alone, and no one with you?” 2 And David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has charged me with a matter and said to me, ‘Let no one know anything of the matter about which I send you, and with which I have charged you.’ I have made an appointment with the young men for such and such a place. 3 Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever is here.” 4 And the priest answered David, “I have no common bread on hand, but there is holy bread—if the young men have kept themselves from women.” 5 And David answered the priest, “Truly women have been kept from us as always when I go on an expedition. The vessels of the young men are holy even when it is an ordinary journey. How much more today will their vessels be holy?” 6 So the priest gave him the holy bread, for there was no bread there but the bread of the Presence, which is removed from before the Lord, to be replaced by hot bread on the day it is taken away.

David is on the run from King Saul.  He is tired, lonely, homeless, and hungry.  When David arrives to Nob, the priest asks him why he is there.  David flat out lies.  He says he is on a mission from Saul and then asks for something to eat.  The priest would then allow him and feel compelled to give him whatever food was there, even if David wasn’t allowed to have it.  In David’s trials, he struggles to trust God and lies.

Why do we lie when we struggle?  We lie because we fear that the truth won’t get us what we want.  We think out lie is better than God’s truth.  We think lying will enable us to control the situation.  David doing just that.  He is hungry and on the run.  He needs food.  He lies to get it.

We trust our own strength

7 Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the Lord. His name was Doeg the Edomite, the chief of Saul’s herdsmen.

8 Then David said to Ahimelech, “Then have you not here a spear or a sword at hand? For I have brought neither my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste.” 9 And the priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you struck down in the Valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you will take that, take it, for there is none but that here.” And David said, “There is none like that; give it to me.”

There is nothing wrong with David gaining the sword of Goliath.  It is his after all.  The problem is he uses the lie of being on the king’s business to gain it.  David is on the run.  He is lying about what he is doing, and he is trusting his own strength.

We trust our own wisdom

10 And David rose and fled that day from Saul and went to Achish the king of Gath. 11 And the servants of Achish said to him, “Is not this David the king of the land? Did they not sing to one another of him in dances, ‘Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands’?”

12 And David took these words to heart and was much afraid of Achish the king of Gath. 13 So he changed his behavior before them and pretended to be insane in their hands and made marks on the doors of the gate and let his spittle run down his beard. 14 Then Achish said to his servants, “Behold, you see the man is mad. Why then have you brought him to me? 15 Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this fellow to behave as a madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?”

King Achish is hesitant to have David in his kingdom.  He knows David is the anointed king of Israel and he knows that Davis is a mighty warrior.  For all he knows, David might try to overthrow him.  David is aware of this, so David begins to act like a madman to avoid any conflict.  King Achish doesn’t want him around.  He says he has enough madmen already.

David again is trusting his own wisdom in his time on the run.

What is wisdom?  Well, knowledge is knowing facts, wisdom is properly applying them.  How then do we gain wisdom?  James tells us.

James 1: 2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

God gladly gives wisdom to those who ask and believe that He will give it.  God doesn’t despise us for needing wisdom.  He just calls us to believe that He will grant it to us.

2 Peter 1: 2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue,  and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ

2 Peter helps us understand this wisdom that we need. As we grow in our knowledge of Jesus, His divine power gives us everything we need to live.  What we need comes from his great promises.  Once we have them, those great promises enable us to add things like self-control and steadfastness to our lives.  All of these things come from our knowing our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Big Idea:  Our heroes are just like us.  We all need a Savior.

Truth:  God uses Godly people who struggle just like we do, but their struggles, along with our own, should create an affection for our Savior, Jesus.

Application:  Live knowing that your struggle to trust God is intended to make you thankful for the love of Jesus, not fearful that you will lose it.

Action:  Pray for and support your church leaders as they struggle along with you to trust Jesus.

 

Evident Grace Fellowship Relaunches Its Men’s Ministry on 07.14.18

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Red button labeled with the word relaunch.

What is missing from most men’s ministries?  To sum it up, I would say “intentionalism”.

In literary theory, intentionalism is when you judge a piece of literature by the intent the author had for it.  For example, when reading Shakespeare, you would ask, “What did Shakespeare intend for us to take away from this play?”  The opposite of this approach is functionalism.  Functionalism is when you take away whatever meaning you want from a play.  Both have their place in works of art, but not when it comes to scripture.  When we read scripture, we need to ask what God intended.  When we read the words of Jesus, we need to ask what Jesus intended by those words.

For example, when you read the words of Jesus, you could ask, “What is it that Jesus wanted for His followers?  What were the intentions of his teaching?”  While there is plenty of debate, there is one theme that runs through much of Jesus’ teaching.  It is the conclusion of His teaching in the Gospels:

Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. 

Making disciples is the intent of Jesus’ teaching, and Evident Grace Fellowship wants to enable our men to do just that.  For those reasons, we have reshaped the men’s ministry and are relaunching it on July 14th.  Here is what to expect.

Where and When:  The men will meet quarterly.  Our first gathering will be at Gordon’s home (enter the basement through the back door) from 9am until 12pm.  If you need directions, reach out to Gordon at [email protected] or call him at 919-412-8161.

Men, if you can’t make our first get together, but you would like to be a part of the intermeeting get togethers (explained below), just email Gordon at [email protected].

Gordon

Sample Men’s Ministry Gathering

Gathering:  30 minutes

Purpose:  Men rarely jump into intimacy or comfortability.  This gathering time is a time where men can grab some food and coffee and catch up.  Following this casual time, our leader/moderator will walk the men through checking in with high’s and low’s.  This will serve a very similar function as the prior Bushiban structure.

Setting Purpose:  5 minutes

Purpose:  Our leader/moderator will outline our expectations for each gathering as well as the resulting expectations to follow in the following months. Men are encouraged to meet these expectations.

Talk:  30 minutes

Purpose:   Each gathering, our speaker will address a topic from a biblical perspective around one of four areas:  faith, fitness, family, and finances.  The message is intended to be fiercely biblical, gospel-rich, inherently challenging, and practically tangible to the Christian man status quo.

Sample Topic:  What’s at stake when we are financially unfaithful. In this, there would be a talk surrounding several key passages about financial obedience.  For example, I have used this outline (not my own) before:

The Responsibility for Planning:  Without planning based on biblical values, goals, and priorities, money becomes a hard taskmaster and, like a leaf caught up in a whirlwind, we get swept into the world’s pursuit of earthly treasures (Luke 12:13-23; 1 Tim. 6:6-10).

Financial planning is biblical and is a means to good stewardship, to freedom from the god of materialism, and a means of protection against the waste of the resources God has entrusted to our care (Prov. 27:23-24; Luke 14:28; 1 Cor. 14:40).

Financial planning should be done in dependence on God’s direction and in faith while we rest in Him for security and happiness rather than in our own strategies (Prov. 16:1-4, 9; Psalm 37:1-10; 1 Tim. 6:17; Phil. 4:19).

The Responsibility for Discipline:  If our financial planning is to work, it will require discipline and commitment so our plans are translated into actions. We must follow through on our good intentions (Prov. 14:23). Financial faithfulness is an important aspect of complete, well-rounded spiritual growth and godliness (2 Cor. 8:7). But godliness requires discipline (cf. 1 Tim. 4:8; 6:3-8).

Good intentions are useless without plans that translate them into actions. The Corinthians had indicated their desire and willingness to give and had even been instructed on planned giving (1 Cor. 16:1-2), yet they had failed to follow through on their good intentions (2 Cor. 8:10-11).

The Responsibility for Stewardship:  Financial faithfulness ultimately flows out of the recognition that everything we are and have belongs to the Lord (1 Chron. 29:11-16; Rom. 14:7-9; 1 Cor. 6:19-20). Life is a temporary sojourn in which Christians are to see themselves as aliens, temporary residents, who are here as stewards of God’s manifold grace. All we are and have—our talents, time, and treasures—are trusts given to us by God which we are to invest for God’s kingdom and glory (1 Pet. 1:17; 2:11; 4:10-11; Luke 19:11-26).

The Responsibility for Working:  One of God’s basic ways to provide for our needs is through work—an occupation through which we earn a living so we can provide for ourselves and our families (2 Thess. 3:6-12; Prov. 25:27).

The money we earn is also to be used as a means of supporting God’s work and helping those in need, first in God’s family and then for those outside the household of faith (Gal. 6:6-10; Eph. 4:28; 3 John 5-8).

Guided Group Questions:  10-15 minutes

Purpose:  Refining any loose thoughts remaining from the talk as well as guiding the men towards breaking up into one on one conversations.  This should be prepared ahead of time while also making room for organic follow ups.  The speaker will provide a list of questions for the breakouts.  These questions should be talk specific and also personally applicable.  There should also be guided prayer topics.

Breakouts:  30-45 minutes

Purpose:  Diving deeper into the talk while also establishing a relationship between the two men.  Note:  if there is an odd number of men, the leader/moderator evens that number out.  The leader/moderator determines these groups of two.

Expectations:  These men will open their time in prayer.  If they don’t know each other, they will spend a few minutes getting to know each other.  If they do know each other, they will catch up.  After a few minutes, they will work through the questions with each other.  Finally, the men pray together and establish their get together times and places.  It is greatly encouraged to leave that meeting with the next get together on the books.

Conclusion:  5 minutes

Purpose:  To bring the men back together, thank the host, and remind the men of their commitment before the next meeting.

Intermeeting Commitments:

Purpose:  To deepen relationships among the men in the church while growing them in their relationships with Christ.

Expectations:  The men will meet 3-6 times between men’s quarterly meetings.  The encouragement is to meet at least every other week.  These groups of two will officially end at the next men’s gathering, but they can of course continue if desired.

 

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 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 Class for Children’s Membership/First Communion

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Evident Grace Fellowship is launching a membership/communicant’s class for our children beginning June 24th.

Deuteronomy 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

This incredibly memorable command, also known as the Shema, has guided people of faith for thousands of years.  The Lord your God is one.  He is to be loved with all of you:  your heart, your soul, and with all of your might.  However, these words are not just for the individual.  They are to be taught and passed onto future generations.  Your children are to know that their God is Lord and one.  He is not satisfied with segments of their life (or yours).  He demands all of those that worship Him.  He demands their person, their mind, and every action.

In a celebration of these promises, Evident Grace has been blessed to have several children profess faith in Christ recently.  That means they will soon be taking membership vows and their first Lord’s Supper.  Because of these blessings, Evident Grace is launching a 4-week class on the foundations of the Christian faith to prepare them.

The classes will be held at the Ron Rosner YMCA and will take place on these Sundays:

June 24th          at 9am

July 1st              at 9am

July 8th             at 9am

July 15th           at 9am

We will have a service at the culmination of these classes for our kids to take their membership vows in public and their first Lord Supper’s.  We will let you know that date when it is set.  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Pastor Gordon at [email protected].

Please thank God with us for all of these incredible blessings.

Evident Grace Sunday Recap for 05/27/18 – Defending the Honor of God

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1 Samuel 17:1 Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle. And they were gathered at Socoh, which belongs to Judah, and encamped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim. 2 And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered, and encamped in the Valley of Elah, and drew up in line of battle against the Philistines. 3 And the Philistines stood on the mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with a valley between them. 4 And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 5 He had a helmet of bronze on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. 6 And he had bronze armor on his legs, and a javelin of bronze slung between his shoulders. 7 The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron. And his shield-bearer went before him.

 

8 He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. 9 If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.” 10 And the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day. Give me a man, that we may fight together.” 11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.

 

12 Now David was the son of an Ephrathite of Bethlehem in Judah, named Jesse, who had eight sons. In the days of Saul the man was already old and advanced in years. 13 The three oldest sons of Jesse had followed Saul to the battle. And the names of his three sons who went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and next to him Abinadab, and the third Shammah. 14 David was the youngest. The three eldest followed Saul, 15 but David went back and forth from Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Bethlehem. 16 For forty days the Philistine came forward and took his stand, morning and evening.  17 And Jesse said to David his son, “Take for your brothers an ephah of this parched grain, and these ten loaves, and carry them quickly to the camp to your brothers. 18 Also take these ten cheeses to the commander of their thousand. See if your brothers are well, and bring some token from them.”

 

19 Now Saul and they and all the men of Israel were in the Valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines. 20 And David rose early in the morning and left the sheep with a keeper and took the provisions and went, as Jesse had commanded him. And he came to the encampment as the host was going out to the battle line, shouting the war cry. 21 And Israel and the Philistines drew up for battle, army against army. 22 And David left the things in charge of the keeper of the baggage and ran to the ranks and went and greeted his brothers. 23 As he talked with them, behold, the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, came up out of the ranks of the Philistines and spoke the same words as before. And David heard him. 24 All the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were much afraid. 25 And the men of Israel said, “Have you seen this man who has come up? Surely he has come up to defy Israel. And the king will enrich the man who kills him with great riches and will give him his daughter and make his father’s house free in Israel.” 26 And David said to the men who stood by him, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” 27 And the people answered him in the same way, “So shall it be done to the man who kills him.”

3 Rules when preaching on David and Goliath

 

  • Don’t Spiritualize.
  • Don’t be cute or original
  • Be faithful to text

 

This passage does the exact opposite of most readings.  This text is not about overcoming challenges in your life.  Martin Luther called that approach a “Theology of glory” – the glory of self.  No this is about the complete surrender of self.  This is about the world’s hatred of God and His people.  This is about God’s honor and God’s people desperately needing a champion.

 

The story of David and Goliath is really about two forces:

 

  • On one side is sin, death, and this world.
  • And those other side is God’s glory and honor defended and advanced by Jesus Christ

 

I knew a pastor once.  He hit the ground running.  His banner was Jesus and the advancement of the gospel.  But then he was hit with every obstacle.  Everything from financial hardships, to persecution, to personal health, to even conflicts the church happened.  The pastor felt alone, unsupported, unliked, and oppressed.

 

This passage as the only thing that kept him going.   Not because he was David and those issues were Goliath.  No, this passage better taught him the true conflict in this world.  This passage caused him to love Jesus, God’s champion, all the more.  And this passage showed him where he was called to defend God’s honor.

 

Hopefully, we can all embrace those truths with this Big Idea.

 

Big Idea:  God’s Champion and Your Part in the Fight.

 

There is a War Between the World and God’s People

The World Demands a Response

The People of God are Called to Defend His honor

 

There is a War Between the World and God’s People

 

1 Samuel 17:1 Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle. And they were gathered at Socoh, which belongs to Judah, and encamped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim. 2 And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered, and encamped in the Valley of Elah, and drew up in line of battle against the Philistines.

 

Philistines are a constant nuisance and danger to the people of God.  Why is that? The Philistines were an ancient people, listed in the records of those who descended from Noah’s son Ham after the time of the flood (Genesis 10:14).  But it was during the time of the Exodus that the Lord promised that the land of Israel would include the territory of the Philistines (Exodus 23:31); this promise meant that some kind of conflict would have to take place for Israel to displace the Philistines.  When Joshua was old, he mentioned the land of the Philistines as one of the areas that still remained to be defeated by Israel (Joshua 13:1–3). Because the Philistines were not completely removed, Israel faced them as perennial enemies.

 

So, in 1 Samuel, we see the Philistines conflict almost as constant.

 

  • 1 Samuel 4 they defeated the people of God. Israel brought out the ark, and Israel was decimated.
  • 1 Samuel 7, the people of God defeated the Philistines. “The LORD thundered loudly against the Philistines that day and threw them into such confusion that they fled before Israel” (7:10)
  • 1 Samuel 13, this is when the Philistines defeat Israel. Saul asks Samuel to offer a sacrifice.  When it takes Samuel 7 days to get there, Saul offers an unbiblical sacrifice.
  • 1 Samuel 14, Saul’s son, Jonathan defeats the Philistine’s, but because Saul said no one was allowed to eat until the Philistines were defeated, the whole battle falls apart and Philistines are not entirely wiped out.

 

So here we are again.  The Philistines hate the people of God.

 

3 And the Philistines stood on the mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with a valley between them. 4 And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 5 He had a helmet of bronze on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. 6 And he had bronze armor on his legs, and a javelin of bronze slung between his shoulders. 7 The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron. And his shield-bearer went before him.

 

This is an issue of military high ground. Why fight it out one on one?  “If the enemy is in range, so are you – Infantry Journal” So, the Philistines say, “Let’s just fight this out one on one.

 

And they bring out their champion, Goliath who is somewhere between 6’9” feet and 9 feet. This may seem ridiculous to us, but imagine the short players from the Jerry West era of the NBA staring at 7’ 1” Shaq. Generally short than most Americans, the real comparison would be something like 5’3” Muggsy Bogues staring up at 7’7” Gheorghe Mureșan

 

And not only Goliath a physical menace, he is decked out in weapons and armor.  He has a helmet of brass, coat of mail (snake), a greaves of brass on his legs, a target of brass on his back, and a spear. On top of that, he had another guy just to carry his shield for him and that guy went ahead of him.

 

8 He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. 9 If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.” 10 And the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day. Give me a man, that we may fight together.” 11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.

 

Goliath mocks God and the people of God? Am I not a Philistine?  Aren’t you the servant of Saul? Saul was head and shoulders above everyone. Tell you what, why don’t you pick one guy, any guy you want, the biggest dude you got, the fastest dude you got. We can do this any way you want.  MMA, Brazilian ju jitzu, Judo, muy thai. Just bring him on out, and we can throw a little of the sweet science around, and may the best man win.

 

The basis of the conflict between Israel and the Philistines is that Israel advanced into Philistine territory and took their land and that conflict always goes back and forth. So now in the New Testament we don’t live in the context of taking physical property on behalf the kingdom of God. But in the New Testament context in the light of Jesus in the arrival of the kingdom of God that he brings there still is territory for the Christian to take it is only spiritual. That means that you are constantly called to advance and take spiritual territory for the kingdom of God in this world and that means that if you live that out you will be constantly hated by the world.  If your expression of Christianity in the proclaiming of Jesus Christ is not putting you in some conflict with the world that is the equivalent of an Israelite soldier who just doesn’t go into battle.  It doesn’t mean that the world doesn’t hate you it just means that the world can’t distinguish you as a representative of the kingdom of God

 

The World Demands a Response

 

12 Now David was the son of an Ephrathite of Bethlehem in Judah, named Jesse, who had eight sons. In the days of Saul the man was already old and advanced in years. 13 The three oldest sons of Jesse had followed Saul to the battle. And the names of his three sons who went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and next to him Abinadab, and the third Shammah. 14 David was the youngest. The three eldest followed Saul, 15 but David went back and forth from Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Bethlehem. 16 For forty days the Philistine came forward and took his stand, morning and evening.

 

Happy to be numbered among the people of God.  Not willing to defend His honor. Happy perhaps even to proclaim themselves as an Israelite.  Not willing to put themselves in danger or harm’s way. I defy the ranks of Israel I dare you to stand up and act like a believer in God. You don’t have the guts. Passivity is not activity. The world is practically daring Christians to stand up and act like Christians.

 

The People of God are Called to Defend His honor

 

17 And Jesse said to David his son, “Take for your brothers an ephah of this parched grain, and these ten loaves, and carry them quickly to the camp to your brothers. 18 Also take these ten cheeses to the commander of their thousand. See if your brothers are well, and bring some token from them.”

 

19 Now Saul and they and all the men of Israel were in the Valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines. 20 And David rose early in the morning and left the sheep with a keeper and took the provisions and went, as Jesse had commanded him. And he came to the encampment as the host was going out to the battle line, shouting the war cry. 21 And Israel and the Philistines drew up for battle, army against army. 22 And David left the things in charge of the keeper of the baggage and ran to the ranks and went and greeted his brothers. 23 As he talked with them, behold, the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, came up out of the ranks of the Philistines and spoke the same words as before. And David heard him.

 

The earthly champion of God’s people stand to fight GoliathHe heard.  He cares more about the honor of God than he does his reputation or his safety. Defying the people of God, even if they are cowards, is defying the living God Himself.

 

24 All the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were much afraid. 25 And the men of Israel said, “Have you seen this man who has come up? Surely he has come up to defy Israel. And the king will enrich the man who kills him with great riches and will give him his daughter and make his father’s house free in Israel.” 26 And David said to the men who stood by him, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” 27 And the people answered him in the same way, “So shall it be done to the man who kills him.”

 

There has got to be someone who cares about the honor of God? The one who does will be rich. Their thought process is something like this, “We love Godly people who stand up against evil.  In fact, I really this really bold guy who has a podcast. It would be great if someone like that stood of God and his honor…but no me.”

 

So, David asks, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine to defy the armies of the living God.” David is defending a bunch of spineless weak people. It is wonderfully popular, smug, and self-righteous to beat up Christians right now. And you know what?  And we give so much ammunition to our enemies. In the past two years alone, the church has shown itself to be racist, populists, misogynists, and a people unwilling to defend the helpless and abused.  Our voices rain down with so many others.

 

But we are called to defend the honor of God and the people of God.

 

Below is adapted from unknown author…

 

So, first and foremost, we are not David. We are the Israelites who are cowering in fear in the corner because we can’t face the giant on our own. We can’t beat our enemies on our own. So, we need a David to stand in our place and to defeat our enemies.  But then what happens after that?  David slings the rock that crushed the enemy’s head.  Then, David takes his sword and cuts his head off.  Their enemies run. The Israelite army pursues.

 

That’s how we preach that. You can face your enemies and you have the courage to face your enemies, but you only do that once you recognize, as Jerry Vines says, we don’t fight for victory in the Christian life we fight from victory.  So, it’s a picture of sanctification, but a sanctification that is based in what Jesus has done in saving us.”

 

Big Idea:  God’s Champion and Your Part in the Fight.

 

Big Idea:  Christ ends the world’s hostility with God through the cross & the ongoing proclamation of the Gospel by His people.

 

Application:  Live knowing that Christ ended the enmity between the world, Satan, your sin, and God.

 

Action:  Boldly proclaim Christ by name, not for victory, but out of victory this week. 

 

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.  

Life Together Series Launches 07/27

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life togetherAs Evident Grace moves into the second half of summer 2014, we are launching a 6-week sermon series entitled “Life Together” on July 27th.

“Life Together” will give a clear picture of what it looks like for us to live out our 3 distinctives: Community, Worship, and Service.

Our series is going to give us the opportunity to explore these “Life Together” distinctives in two different ways.

We are going to explore Community, Worship, and Service by celebrating.

As we study the scriptures, we are going to see that celebrating what God has done is essential to our Community, Worship, and Service. This way, we can speak of the Community, Worship, and Service milestones that God has given us in the past year and half, and we can study and pray specifically about where we might go next.

We have only scratched the surface of the depth of Community, Worship, and Service that we hope for at Evident Grace, so seeing those things as they are presented in scripture and thanking God for what He has done, puts us in the perfect place to pray, plan, and prepare for what comes next.

Celebrating is essential for our “Life Together”.

We are going to explore Community, Worship, and Service by growing in Biblical leadership.

As we study the scriptures, we are going to see that growing in Biblical church leadership is essential to growing in Community, Worship, and Service. The scriptures devote a great amount of time discussing what local church leadership looks like with elders and deacons, so we must understand the scriptures well as we move towards recognizing, training, and installing that leadership.

Multiplied and mature church leadership enables our people to be led well and mobilized well.

Biblical Leadership is essential for our “Life Together”.

Join us as we study and do “Life Together” beginning July 27th. You can find directions to our service as well as many other details about Evident Grace throughout our website.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!