Believe Be - Humility

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Believe Be - Humility

Matt 23:1-12 - the opposite of humility is arrogance 

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples,

Mat 23:2  “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat,

Mat 23:3  so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice.

Mat 23:4  They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.

Mat 23:5  They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long,

Mat 23:6  and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues

Mat 23:7  and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others.

Mat 23:8  But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers.

Mat 23:9  And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.

Mat 23:10  Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ.

Mat 23:11  The greatest among you shall be your servant.

Mat 23:12  Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

 

 

Mark 10:35-45

“James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”

“What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.

They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”

“You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”

“We can,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”

When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all[…]”

 

1 Peter 5:6 humble yourself under the hand of God that in due time he might exalt you.

 

 

Arrogance robs from us

  • It robs us of each other - 
    • you become my adversary. I’m locked in an endless struggle to stay better/bigger than you
    • I can never receive from you
    • I can never cooperate with you
  • It robs us of ourselves 
    • We have to lie to ourselves constantly - maintaining the story - explaining away the brokenness
    • We have to keep others at a distance so they stay fooled
  • It robs us of God 
    • We cannot need him
    • We cannot be honest 
    • We cannot admit failure or problem 

 

Humility is a key to happiness:

  • Mistakes are allowed. In fact expected
  • Failure becomes a Friend because it does such a great job teaching 
  • No more competition
  • No more shame
  • No need to pretend
  • No need to hide
  • It’s not up to you to make things happen 
  • We get to trust in and receive from Jesus

 

Humility flows from:

  • a revelation of God - when we see him we can’t brag about ourselves 
  • Honesty about ourselves 
  • Pain brings humility Pain plants the flag of reality in the fortress of a rebel heart.

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Believe Be - Gentleness

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Believe Be - Gentleness

KEY QUESTION

How do I demonstrate thoughtfulness and consideration?

 

KEY IDEA

I am thoughtful, considerate and calm in my dealings with others.

 

KEY VERSE

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

Philippians 4:5

 

Gentleness - it means - strength held under control

you don’t have to tell a weak person to be gentle.  They cannot do otherwise - it takes a strong person to be gentle!

 

Psa 103:10-17  He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities.  For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.  

  • “those who fear Him” - does not mean they are afraid of Him - they hold Him in esteem and awe.  They are choosing to return to His will and way - but they have mad mistakes
  • In the midst of our sins the Lord is FORGIVING - and FORGETTING God

 

As a father pities his children, So the LORD pities those who fear Him.  For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.  

  • Our God is AWARE of our weakness and our difficulty.  
  • He is mindful of His glory and our brokenness
  • God sees not only our mistakes but the reasons - the wounds - the weakness - that lead to our failures

 

Matt 11: 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

  • This is a picture of two oxen in a yoke - 
    • an older, stronger, wiser one - and a younger, weaker, untrained one.  
    • the older sets the pace and carries the load - 
      • so the younger doesn’t wear himself out before the job is done
  • The Lord Jesus teaches us His way by calling us to PARTNER - to apprentice
    • The Lord Jesus does not stand over us with a balled fist to threaten us into motion
    • He leads by example and by patient endurance of our foolishness
  • He calls us to rely upon His gentleness and patience
  • Following Jesus IS rest.

 

Isaiah 42:3 - 3"A bruised reed He will not break And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice.

  • He doesn’t count our weakness, our brokenness, or our damage against us
  • He heals the broken
  • He reignites the flickering flame
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So what does it mean for US to reflect Jesus Gentleness to the world?

  • We cannot have the clenched fist
    • toward’s others
      • We cannot use FORCE - of words - of guilt - threat - or shame to move people toward the way of Jesus
      • we have to do what God does
        • draw them close - relationship - partnership - friendship
        • tell the truth - honesty - 
        • be an example
        • show them love
        • be patient 
    • towards ourselves
      • fear, shame, condemnation are NOT ways to change - 
        • they will change us for a minute but they will not change us forever AND they warp us in the midst of the change
          • would you break your back so you can touch your toes?
      • draw close to Jesus
      • accept His grace
      • rely on His help
      • live in hope

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Believe Be - Faithfulness

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Believe Be - Faithfulness

“KEY QUESTION

Why is it important to be loyal and committed to God and others?

KEY IDEA

I have established a good name with God and others based on my loyalty to those relationships.

KEY VERSE

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.

Proverbs 3:3 – 4”

 

Psalm 36

Lamentations 3:19-24

 

Deu 7:9  "Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments;

God IS Faithful

  • He never changes
    •  Heb 13:8 - Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
  • He will ALWAYS act like HIMSELF
    • 2 Tim 2:13 - if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.
  • His promises are always trustworthy
    • 2 Cor 1:20 - For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.
  • His character - the way He reacts to the world - can be COUNTED UPON

 

God is calling and empowering US to be Faithful - and to be like God we must CHOOSE FAITHFULNESS

  • The culture we live in is a culture that shuns commitment - 
    • we do not want to be obligated
    • we refuse to feel obligated
    • We would always rather give our time and money to an event or a project than to make ourselves be connected to a long term objective or plan.
  • Faithfulness is the FOUNDATION of the Kingdom
    • 2 Tim 2:2 - FAITHFUL MEN
    • What would we do??
  • We are called to mirror the love and faithfulness of Jesus in our relationships with others - especially within the body of Christ
    • We are called to Make commitments to each other
      • long term self-sacrificial connections - to BE FAMILY to one another - 
      • Connections that survive because of Grace
        • disagreements 
        • hurts
        • betrayals
        • mistakes
        • we forgive - because we have been forgiven
      • Connections that are not based on circumstance or convenience
        • They may change from season to season but they never go away
        • Our relationships with one another may get difficult but we don’t get to give up
    • We are called to be faithful in giving our time, talents, and treasure into the Kingdom
      • We are called to be mindful of the resources we have and to USE THEM CONSISTENTLY for the Glory of Jesus
        • 1Pe 4:10  As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace:
      • We are called to SHOW UP when there is a need.
    • We are called to think of each other before we think of ourselves
      • BEFORE YOU THINK about your rights THINK ABOUT SOMEONE ELSES NEEDS! - 
        • Gal 5:13 - For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
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  • As followers of Jesus Christ - WE ARE OBLIGATED to Faithfulness - to CONTINUE and never stop 
    • Obligated to love - even when it is hard
      • Romans 13:8 - We OWE each other Love.
    • Obligated to the LOST
      • Romans 1:14 - I am under obligation to all men
    • Obligated to serve - even when it is costly
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      • We are in this - not for ourselves but to be FAITHFUL in serving one another - thinking of the other before we think of ourselves
    • Obligated to SHOW UP

 

 4For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not havethe same function,

  • We are not complete without one another
  • We are together a whole that suffers without the other

 5so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

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 6Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, [each of us is to exercise them accordingly]: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7if service, in his serving; orhe who teaches, in his teaching;

 8or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality;he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

9[Let] love [be] without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.

 10[Be] devoted to oneanother in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 

11not lagging behind in diligence,fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;

 12rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer,13contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.

14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind,but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath [of God], for it is written, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the Lord. 20"BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD." 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

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Believe BE - Goodness / Kindness

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Believe BE - Goodness / Kindness

“KEY QUESTION

What does it mean to do the right thing? How do I know?

KEY IDEA

I choose to be kind and good in my relationships with others.

KEY VERSE

Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.

1 Thessalonians 5:15”

 

If we are going to be kind and good we need Jesus example and we need Jesus empowerment!

 

So What does it mean that God is good?

Tozer on the Goodness of God - Knowledge of the Holy

The goodness of God is that which disposes Him to be kind, cordial, benevolent, and full of good will toward men. He is tenderhearted and of quick sympathy, and His unfailing attitude toward all moral beings is open, frank, and friendly. By His nature He is inclined to bestow blessedness and He takes holy pleasure in the happiness of His people.

 

Exo 33:18  And he said, "Please, show me Your glory."

Exo 33:19  Then He said, "I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."

 

Exod 34:

The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth,

Exo 34:7  keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin

 

Gods goodness is central to His personality!

Gods goodness is His love in action - on display 

 

What does it mean for us to be GOOD in the world?

 

We have to look at our world in a different way.  We have to look at each moment, each encounter, each detail as an opportunity to BE GOOD.

  • Eph 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, Eph 2:9  not a result of works, so that no one may boast.Eph 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
  • We are the conduits of Gods grace working in and through us into the world - we walk in cooperation with God
    • He prepares the good works
    • Our goodness is His love working through us to display His nature!  That HE may be glorified!
    • Matt 5:13. You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may seeyour good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

 

Being Good isn’t about NOT being BAD.  We’ve gotten that one wrong for a long time.

BEING GOOD is about

thoughtfulness, sensitivity to others and the subtle nudges of the Holy Spirit.

 

  • 1 Thes 5:15 15See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 

 

    • 14And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle,c encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 
    • 16Rejoice always, 17pray without ceasing, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19Do not quench the Spirit.
  • Become. Walking demonstrations of Gods love in the earth

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Believe Be - Patience

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Believe Be - Patience

KEY QUESTION

How does God provide the help I need to deal with stress?

KEY IDEA

I am slow to anger and endure patiently under the unavoidable pressures of life.

KEY VERSE

Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.

Proverbs 14:29”

 

  • Patience is NOT
    • lethargy - a lack of energy - I just don’t feel like moving…
    • Procrastination - a lack of motivation - I’ll do it later
    • Being paralyzed by fear or indecision - The Deer in the Headlights
  • Patience IS
  • We are patient with others BECAUSE - God is patient with US!
    • the old song - “have patience”
    • Exo 34:6  The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,
    • Pro 16:32  Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
  • A lack of patience is an issue of FAITH 
    • “Impatience is a form of unbelief. It's what we begin to feel when we start to doubt the wisdom of God's timing or the goodness of his guidance.“
    • The opposite of impatience is not a glib superficial denial of frustration The opposite of impatience is a deepening, ripening, peaceful willingness either to wait for God where you are in the place of obedience, or to persevere at the pace he allows on the road of obedience”  
    • "To Wait in His Place - To Go at His Pace” - John Piper
  • Romans 2:7 - to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life
  • Isaiah 30 - “Ah, stubborn children,” declares the LORD, “who carry out a plan, but not mine, and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin; 2  who set out to go down to Egypt, without asking for my direction, to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt! 3  Therefore shall the protection of Pharaoh turn to your shame, and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt to your humiliation.
    • When we doubt God’s timing and rush ahead before He tells us yes or gives us a plan on how to move forward.
      • This is either a manifestation of FEAR or a manifestation of PRIDE
        • FEAR - God’s not going to come through in time
        • PRIDE - I can handle this myself - I know better than God in this instance.
      • Or we doubt God’s goodness and change our minds about obeying Him.
  • What to do when you feel impatient
    • Be aware - 
      • this feeling of fear, doubt, or shame IS NOT FROM GOD
      • IT IS from the ENEMY and HE ONLY WANTS TO STEAL KILL and DESTROY
      • if you act out of impatience you will be playing into Satans hands!
    • Do Battle in your soul
      • But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.       Isaiah 40:31
      • Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.John 14:1
      • Matthew 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
      • John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled; do not be afraid.
      • 2 Tim 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

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Believe Be - Hope

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Believe Be - Hope

KEY QUESTION

How do I deal with the hardships and struggles of life?

KEY IDEA

I can cope with the hardships of life because of the hope I have in Jesus Christ.

KEY VERSE

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.

Hebrews 6:19 – 20”

Hope is an absolute need of the human soul.  

We are a people of Hope -  a People of the GOOD NEWS

WE HAVE HOPE

Because we know who our God is.  We know His heart. Because of What He has done!

  • Romans 5:1-6  God has already acted to give us assurance of His heart toward us AND what has already been accomplished FOR US.
    • 1  Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 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.Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,4  and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,5  and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.6  For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
  • 1 Peter 1:8  He has set a destiny before us - the salvation of our Souls
    • 3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,4  to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,5  who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.6  In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,7  so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.8  Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,
  • Romans 8:22-26 Not only that but Even MORE the salvation of all creation
    • 22  For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.23  And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.24  For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?25  But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

WE ARE HOPE

  • In a world where hope is all to rare we are a gift of hope to the earth.
    • Hope for people who are broken - they can be healed
    • Hope for people who are lost - they can be found
    • Hope for people who are confused - there is an answer
    • Hope for people who have no purpose - there is a reason a “why” behind all of this
    • Hope for those who have no destiny - God has amazing plans for your life!!!
    • Hope for those who are bound - there is FREEEDOM!
    • Hope for those who have made mistakes - there is forgiveness and restoration

 

Romans 15:13 - Benediction

13  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

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Believe Be - Joy

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Believe Be - Joy

Key Question - What gives me happiness and contentment in life?

Key Idea - Despite my circumstances I feel inner contentment and understand my purpose in life

Key Verse - John 15:11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete

 

God is joyful

 

You were created to be deeply and joyfully satisfied - the only thing which will deeply and joyfully satisfy you both now and FOREVER is God in all of his glory and reality.

 

Joy is a matter of perspective - taking on Gods perspective is the key to true joy.

 

Finding satisfaction for our deepest needs in God

10 desires you were built with

These are things that God designed into our hearts that are NOT sins but can lead us into either sin or into the meaningful and real relationship with HIM that we were created to have.

The longing for identity -

  • We all want to know who we are
  • We all want to know why we exist
  • Abba Father creates us for relationship with Himself

 

The longing for safety -

  • We want to feel safe protected from harm
  • We want to feel like there is something between us and the big bad guy
  • God protects us Jesus saved us - from the real eternal harm we have eternal safety “do not fear the ones who can harm the body”
  • He is safe
  • He is Good

 

The longing for provision -

  • He is our provider

 The longing to be fascinated –

  • We were created to experience Awe and Wonder
  • We cannot function at full emotional or mental capacity without fascination.
  • We chase secular entertainment, and thrills to fill this need they will never satisfy.
  • ONLY the Beauty of God can satisfy this basic longing forever.  We have this longing BECAUSE God is endlessly beautiful and we are created to be endlessly fascinated by His endless splendor and Glory Psalm 27:4, 

The Longing to be attractive or possess beauty

  • We want to be cool or looked upon with delight by others, to feel beautiful
  • We try and dress up our outsides and adopt titles and positions to feed our pride but it will never be satisfied
  • Eating and sexual disorders are all human broken attempts to chase down this prize of beauty
  • ONLY in hearing the voice of our Bridegroom King singing over us that HE sees us as beautiful forever can satisfy this deep longing in us.
  • Song of Solomon SoS 2:10, SoS 4:9

3.  The Longing to be great or successful

  • We want to accomplish great things with our lives, to be more than just a “nobody.”
  • We try to gain earthly significance, build earthly kingdoms, gain wealth or fame, but it will never satisfy our hearts
  • ONLY the understanding of the place that we WILL fill in Heaven forever at the right hand of Jesus as royalty in the Age to come and the bridal      partner of Jesus can we be eternally great and successful Rev 2 or 3 We will experience nobility and honor. 

 4.  The Longing for intimacy without shame

  • We all long to be known truly and deeply beyond all barriers and secrets and in that to be accepted.  To be without shame in that place of true and utter nakedness
  • We search for this in earthly friendships and in love relationships but our hearts will never be satisfied
  • Only in the intimacy of the Heavenly bridegroom, with us every moment, knowing every thought, feeling every emotion and perfectly understanding all we are, every action, every motive and STILL calling us beautiful, still protecting us from accusation, still rescuing us from the consequences of our sin, do we find true intimacy that will last forever.  NOT ONLY THAT but we are invited to know as we are known!  To know HIM without boundary, without privacy, completely and wholly without shame or fear for perfect love cast out fear!!!!!
  • “No fear to be left to live the mystery of life alone”
  1. The Longing to be Whole Hearted
  • We all long to be recklessly whole hearted in our love.  To burn with passion for someone or something without regard to cost or consequence.  We desire this because we were made for love!  We desire lovesickness.  We long to be abandoned.  To live a life where our hearts are touched by love in such a way that it never ends, it is never defiled and never compromised!  A passion that never wanes forever and ever and ever.  To live like the lovesick hero storming the castle for his lady fair!
  • We try and find something on the earth that we can feel this way about. There is nothing.  No person deserves it and no cause is worth it.
  • ONLY in the eternal worth of Jesus do we find a man worth dying for!  More importantly worth living for!  For us to live is Christ to die is gain!

 6.  Longing to make a significant and lasting impact

  • We long to change the lives of the people we love.  We long to fix problems and create things that are useful
  • We try and build a name or a monument that will last forever on earth but nothing will. “All is meaningless” Even the Pyramids are crumbling and their builders have been forgotten.
  • ONLY in Jesus and by His power can we make eternal and real impact.

7.  Longing for the assurance of being enjoyed!

  • We all long to be enjoyed by others, to be delighted in.  To be worth something to someone.
  • We search for this in earthly friendships and love relationships.  We do things we don’t want to do to make people like us.  We tell lies about ourselves to make us acceptable and enjoyable.  We wear masks and false personalities to make ourselves enjoyable
  • He likes you, He enjoys and pursues you.  Even when you have sinned He still enjoys you!  Hedoes not look on you as a nuisance or a problem you are His best beloved and He loves having you around!  We are His friends!  The ones He chooses to hang out with!

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Believe Act - Give

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Believe Act - Give

Key Question:

How do I best use my resources to serve God and Others?

 

Key Idea:

I give my resources to fulfill God’s Purposes

 

Key Verse:

2 Cor 8:7

“Since you excel in everything — in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you — see that you also excel in this grace of giving. ”

 

This Question of Giving is about a deeper internal issue.  An issue that can only be resolved in the act of Giving.

 

Mark 10:17

“What must I do to inherit eternal life?”

    A young man who had wealth AND power AND prestige

    BUT - He knew something was missing

 

Jesus answer is fascinating - 

“Why do you call me good? - only God is good” - translation - “are you REALLY ready to hear this?  It requires your acknowledgement that there is a God - someone in charge - other than yourself!?!”

 

Jesus continues - Obey the commandments! - here Jesus names the earthly commands but not the ones that have to do with God!

‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother’

 

All these I have done! - Jesus I know those - I do those but there is STILL SOMETHING MISSING!!

 

Yes there IS still something missing - Jesus says - ONE THING you lack.

 

Give all your possessions to the poor and come follow me.

 

Why this response from Jesus?

  1. Jesus does NOT say this man worships his wealth
  2. Jesus response is “how difficult it IS for the rich to enter the kingdom”!
    1. the folks around are like - whoa if that guy can’t get in how can I get in?
    2. Jesus makes the key statement!!!! Jesus reveals the real issue.
  3. With MAN it is impossible - With God all things are possible!!

 

Giving is not about money - Giving is about faith

 

this rich young man’s problem wasn’t his money - it was his reliance upon his own skill, ability and understanding of the world and himself.  He asked Jesus - "what must I DO?”

 

A Person of Faith lives life in partnership with God - relying upon on and cooperating with Him.

  • take my yoke upon you and learn of me - Matt 11:28
    • God is the leader and senior partner - he is also the one who does almost all the work!
  • Giving is the MOST TANGIBLE WAY we enter into a this partnership

 

Money is intensely personal! - that’s why we don’t like to talk about it!

  1. Money has always been the key measure of a persons status and value
    1. We talk about what a person is WORTH
  2. When we give It takes Money out of the crosshairs of our life and puts God’s plans and purposes in its place
  3. Giving of our money does something to us
    • It DETHRONES Money as the thing we rely upon to make life happen
      • don’t you hate leaving the house without your wallet / purse?
    • It ENTHRONES God in our lives
      • when we have nothing else to rely upon other than God we find that he is truly and wonderfully reliable
      • Jesus sent his disciples out on mission with NO WALLET!

 

Jesus instructions about Giving go like this:

  1. Secretly
    1. If “how much you give” becomes another symbol of status then one of the reasons for giving is taken away!  It becomes about YOU and not about God!
  2. Sacrificially
    1. Tithe - The Old Testament pattern of the giving of the covenant people was to give one tenth of your personal income as a testimony that you are IN Covenant with God
    2. Offering - The New Testament pattern goes beyond this - it maintains the tenth but then tells us to give above that AS the Holy Spirit leads!!

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Believe Be - Love

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Believe Be - Love

We have talked about what we should THINK

We have talked about how we should ACT

It is time to talk about What we should BE

We are meant to BE disciples of Jesus - Disciples are

"students, apprentices, practitioners – of Jesus Christ, steadily learning from him how to live the life of the Kingdom of the Heavens into every corner  of human existence.” Dallas Willard

To BE a disciple of Jesus Christ means to live a life becoming LIKE HIM.  The next ten weeks we are going to learn about this.  What is Jesus LIKE?

We are going to start with LOVE - 

Key Question: What does it mean to sacrificially and unconditionally love others

Key Idea: I am committed to loving God and Love others

Key Verse: 1 John 4:10-12

10This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 11Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. 12No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

 

Jesus teaching, in fact the entire Bible, can be beautifully encapsulated in two statements

Love God first and most

Love Others as much as you love yourself

 - We have talked a LOT in this church about the first and second greatest commandments.

 

One of my favorite preachers - Brian Zahnd says it this way - “Life is not a game; it is a gift.  The purpose of life is not to “win” but to learn to love well”

Nat King Cole in His classic song “Nature Boy” sings the refrain that I wish ALL Christians would learn by heart and believe - “The Greatest Thing You’ll Ever Learn Is Just to Love and be loved in return"

 

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Believe ACT - Spiritual Gifts - Pentecost Sunday

vs 4 - 5 - 6: There are a variety of gifts but the same Spirit and a variety of services but one Lord one master and many activities but one God empowering them all - Many different manifestations of the Holy Spirit, and ALL serve the purpose - the purpose of the King.  The Holy One.  He is the Spirit of Christ.  If it is not serving Christ it is not His Spirit!  If it is the power of man it is not God’s thing.

vs7 to each - the Holy Spirit will work through everybody - there is not one person through whom the Spirit will speak - He is speaking and working in and through the WHOLE BODY

vs 8 - 11 is a list but NOT an exhaustive list.  This is NOT the whole thing just a few examples

  1. Word of Wisdom - a supernatural gift of wisdom  - knowing WHAT to do and HOW to do it.  Also could be a specific skill given by the Spirit
  2. Word of Knowledge - a supernatural knowledge of something that a person could not have known any other way - a fact that comes to us not through the senses or human facility
  3. Faith - All faith is a gift.  Even the smallest grain of faith.  This could be just a higher level of faith or specific faith for a specific thing.  “If you have the faith of God” 
  4. Healing - specific instances of healing - literally A healing - we should not say the gift the gift of a healing
  5. Miracles - literally “acts of power” so good
  6. Prophecy - forth telling AND foretelling 
  7. Distinguishing between spirits - judgement of winds - there are lots of people who have different understandings of this.
  8. various kinds of tongues - 
  9. interpretation of tongues

 

Here are the other 16 gifts not listed in 1 Cor 12

 

  1. Helping (1 Cor. 12:28)
  2. Administration (1 Cor. 12:28; Acts 6:2-3)
  3. Ministry/service (Rom. 12:7; 2 Tim. 1:16-18)
  4. Teaching (Rom. 12:7; Eph. 4:11-14)
  5. Encouragement (Rom. 12:8; Heb. 10:24-25)
  6. Giving (Rom. 12:8; 1 Cor. 13:3; Acts 4:32-35)
  7. Leadership (Rom. 12:8; Acts 13:12)
  8. Mercy (Rom. 12:8; Luke 5:12-13)
  9. Apostleship (Eph. 4:11)
  10. Evangelism (Eph. 4:11; 2 Tim. 4:5)
  11. Pastoral guidance (Eph. 4:11)
  12. Grace (Rom. 12:6; Eph. 3:7; 4:7; 1 Pet. 4:10-11)
  13. Willingness to face martyrdom (1 Cor. 13:3)
  14. Intercession (Rom. 8:26-27)
  15. Hospitality (1 Pet. 4:9)
  16. Celibacy (1 Cor. 7:8)

It seems like some people receive a specific gift more often than others.  I think that is a function of faith.  People receive via faith and when we get to a cert

 

vs 11-12 - 

11But one and the same Spirit works all these things,distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

12For even as the body is one and [yet] has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.

  • The variety of our gifts is an expression of our unity and a mechanism to draw us closer together
    • we need each other because nobody has all the gifts!
  • The variety of our gifts is an expression of God’s creativity and a mechanism to make us more reliant upon the Holy Spirit.
    • Each gift flows from our connection to the person of the Holy Spirit
    • Each gift is divided and granted via our connection to the person of the Holy Spirit
    • Each gift is given to the BODY through the individual!
      • these are not your gifts - you are the steward and carrier of these gifts that are meant to be given AWAY to others!

 

vs 13 - 

13For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whetherJews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

  • All of the disperateness that we had before we have been brought together here and given the Spirit to drink - one reality we partake of that give us the life of Christ

 

vs 14 - 26 - honoring and valuing

14For the body is not one member, but many. 15If the foot says, "Because I am not a hand, I am not [a part] of the body," it is not for this reason any the less [a part] of the body. 16And if the ear says, "Because I amnot an eye, I am not [a part] of the body," it is not for this reason any the less [a part] of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.19If they were all one member, where would the body be? 20But now there are many members, but onebody. 21And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; or again the head to the feet, "I haveno need of you." 22On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weakerare necessary; 23and those [members] of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestowmore abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, 24whereas our more presentable members have no need [of it]. But God has [so] composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that [member] which lacked, 25so that there may be no division in the body, but [that] the members may have the same care for one another. 26And if one member suffers, all the members sufferwith it; if [one] member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

  • Look around you - 
    • Each of these people is a precious gift TO YOU FROM GOD
    • Each one of these people carries a gift FROM GOD that is FOR YOU
    • you carry a gift from God for these people!
  • What gifts do YOU CARRY?
  • Are you giving them away?

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The Power of a Praying Woman - Believe "Act" Prayer

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The Power of a Praying Woman - Believe "Act" Prayer

Happy Mother’s Day!!

We are moving on to our second week of the Believe Series

We are going to talk about prayer - 

I feel like it is ordained of the Lord that we are talking about Prayer on Mother’s Day.  I have never known a more prayerful group of people than women.

Hannah - 

Samuel 1:5-18

 5but to Hannah he would give a doubleportion, for he loved Hannah, but the LORD had closed her womb. 6Her rival, however, would provoke her bitterly to irritate her, because the LORD had closed her womb. 7It happened year after year, as often as she went up to the house of the LORD, she would provoke her; so she wept and would not eat. 8Then Elkanah her husband said to her, "Hannah, why do you weep and why do you not eat and why is your heartsad? Am I not better to you than ten sons?"

9Then Hannah rose after eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priestwas sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the temple of the LORD. 10She, greatly distressed, prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly. 11She made a vow and said, "O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant,but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the LORD allthe days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head.” 12Now it came about, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eliwas watching her mouth. 13As for Hannah, she was speaking in her heart, only her lips were moving, but her voice was not heard. So Elithought she was drunk. 14Then Eli said to her, "How long will you makeyourself drunk? Put away your wine from you." 15But Hannah replied,"No, my lord, I am a woman oppressed in spirit; I have drunk neither winenor strong drink, but I have poured out my soul before the LORD. 16"Do not consider your maidservant as a worthless woman, for I have spokenuntil now out of my great concern and provocation." 17Then Eli answeredand said, "Go in peace; and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him." 18She said, "Let your maidservant find favor in your sight." So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was nolonger [sad].

Why did the Lord deny children to this woman?

  1. We are often presented with circumstances that do not seem fair, that are painful to us, that we do not understand - we have a decision to make in those moments. 
  2. Are we going to let our circumstance inform us about our God or are we going to let our God inform us about our circumstance?
  • Hannah could have complained - look at the conversation she has with her husband - no complaining spirit there!
  • Hannah could have gotten bitter and angry - tried to take revenge on the other wife of her husband and gain something for herself in that way
  • Hannah could have turned from the Lord 

 

God was not punishing Hannah

God was not displeased with Hannah

There is nothing here of God saying - "if you only wanted it bad enough”, or “you’re gonna have to work for it"

 

  1. Theres something about desperation: it is a beautiful breeding ground for faith.  It changes our perspective.  We will try anything.  We will reach for impossibilities.  We will believe anything.
    • the Cyrophoneacian woman - Mark 7
    • the woman with the issue of blood - Mark 5
    • the man who’s son was throwing himself in the fire - Mark 9
    • the centurion - Luke 7
  2. God was letting hunger do it’s work in Hannah
    • God was waiting for Hannah to learn to trust Him.
    • God was inviting Hannah to believe for a higher destiny for her son -
    • God had a powerful calling in store for Hannah’s son and until she was aligned and surrendered to His will for Samuel it was not time for Samuel to come.
    • God was waiting for Hannah to be able to see the kind of future for her boy that she had not been able to see before

 

Anna - Luke 2:36-38

 36And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribeof Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with [her] husbandseven years after her marriage, 37and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastingsand prayers. 38At that very moment she came up and [began] giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

 

Mary at the death of Lazarus - Luke 11

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Believe "ACT" - Worship

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Believe "ACT" - Worship

Key Question - How do I honor God in the way he deserves?

 

Key Idea - I worship God for who He is and what He has done for me.

 

Psalm 95:1-2

1Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.  2Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.

 

Worship - my all time favorite topic - and God's

Worship IS what we were created for - Worship is the purpose of your salvation - Worship is FAR MORE than just songs or an activity - Worship is everything.

We have spent the last couple of weeks talking about being passionate toward God.  This is all I am trying to say.  To live WHOLE HEARTEDLY toward HIM.  To love Him more than anything else in such a way that it is manifestly OBVIOUS!

 

Matt 22:37-38

Jesus declared, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 

 

This is the definition of Worship - 

Heart - the will - the decision making capacity - to CHOOSE to love HIM

 

SOUL - the emotions - to delight deeply in him - to have a true emotional love affair with Jesus

 

Mind - the intellect - to be fascinated and entranced by Him. To Fill our minds and employ our intelligence in the pursuit of the Knowledge of God!!!

 

But it cannot stop there because we are human beings and we must EXTERNALIZE all that is INTERNAL!  Faith without WORKS is dead.

 

God COMMANDS EXTERNAL acts of worship!

sing, GIVE, dance, clap, shout, kneel, bow…

 

Why sing songs?? - have you ever wondered this?  Worship is far more than just songs, but we CANNOT neglect the singing of songs to God because he commands us to do so!  Why?

 

CS Lewis talks about this beautifully in his short work - A reflection on the Psalms

  1. "We all despise the man who demands continued assurance of his own virtue… we despise still more the crowd of people round every dictator, millionaire, every celebrity who gratify that demand” page 77
    • So how is it that we can be OK with God demanding - our praise??  How is that loving of Him?
  2. What do we mean when we say that a picture is “admirable”… that admiration is correct, adequate, or appropriate… that if we do not admire we shall be stupid, insensible, and great losers, we shall have missed something! page 78
    • to NOT admire God is to seriously miss something!  
  3. (God) is the object to admire which is simply to be awake, to have entered the real world; and not to appreciate (God) is to have lost the greatest experience and in the end to have lost ALL. page 78
    • imagine those poor people who have never eaten a taco!
    • or a chocolate chip cookie!
    • never seen a great movie
    • never been in love!
    • never had a great friend!  
    • to miss these things is not to have lived at all!
  4. But the most obvious fact about praise - whether of God or anything strangely escaped me.  I thought of it in terms of compliment, approval, or the giving of honor.  I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise unless shyness of the fear of boring others is deliberately brought it in to check it.  The world RINGS with praise - lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favorite poet, walkers praising the countryside…  I had not noticed either that just as men spontaneously praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it!  “isn’t she lovely?” Wasn’t it glorious?”… My whole, more general, difficulty about the praise of God depended on my absurdly denying to us, as regards the supremely Valuable, what we delight to do, what indeed we can’t help doing, about everything else we value. I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation… delight is incomplete until it is expressed! (Page 81)
    • Worshipping God is the unstoppable expression of a person who has EXPERIENCED GOD and the completion of our enjoyment of HIM comes ONLY when we are allowed to express that enjoyment through praise!!!
    • take a bite of that cookie and you cannot help but say MMMMMM.
    • you offer a bite to someone else immediately - OH You HAVE to try this!!!  Then you enjoy THIER ENJOYMENT of it!

God commands us to worship with every form of expression because it is only IN THE EXPRESSION of our enjoyment of Him that we will enjoy him TO THE FULLEST!!!

 

Worship is meant to be lavish, unashamed, and COSTLY

Mary pouring out the alabaster box on Jesus Feet

David refusing to worship God in a way that cost him nothing.

 

 

However if our External worship is ever disconnected from an internal reality it becomes detestable to God!

 

Worship from a wrong heart or wrong motive is detestable to God.  If it is EVER about “doing your duty” and your heart is not in it God will not receive it!

Isaiah 1:11 - 20

11"What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?" Says the LORD. "I have had enoughof burnt offerings of rams And the fat of fed cattle; And I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs or goats. 12"When you come to appear before Me, Who requires of you this trampling of My courts? 13"Bring your worthless offerings no longer, Incense is an abomination to Me. Newmoon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies-- I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly. 14"I hate your new moon [festivals] and your appointed feasts, They have becomea burden to Me; I am weary of bearing [them]. 15"So when you spread out your hands [in prayer], I will hide My eyes from you; Yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are coveredwith blood. 16"Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil, 17Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Pleadfor the widow. 18"Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool. 19"If you consent and obey, You will eat the best of the land; 20"But if you refuse and rebel, You will be devoured by the sword." Truly, the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

 

but in the place of submission and repentance all will be forgiven and new worship can be released and judgement can be turned away.

 

We were meant to worship TOGETHER

Nearly all of the commandments to praise and worship are given to a body of believers.  They are not meant to be heard individually but CORPORATELY.

Psalm 149:1

"Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, And His praise in the congregation of the godly ones."

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