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"Let us reason together…" Isaiah 1:18

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Excel: Grace of Giving Hope

We are seeking to excel in the grace of giving life, faith, hope and love.

 

For further insight into exceling in the grace of giving hope, we will consider on paragraph of Paul’s writing to the Christians in Rome.

 

One of the Apostle’s primary emphasis to the Christians in Rome is presented in Romans 1:16.

 

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

 

Paul’s point is clear.  The gospel of salvation is for everyone who believes.

 

The two people groups of that day least likely to co-exist were Jews and everybody else (gentiles).

 

From their perspectives, Greeks (gentiles) and Jews were different in every way.  In most instances;

  • There was deep distrust of the one of the other
  • There was significant ethnocentrism (pride) believing “my group is much better than your group”
  • Historical animosity flowed from nearly two-thousand years of misunderstandings, hatred and violence.

 

Herein is Paul’s concern in today’s text, Romans 15:1-7.

 

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

 

Verses 1-4 lead to and verses 5-7 arise out of the Christian’s hope.

 

New Testament hope is a patient, disciplined, confident waiting for and expectation of the Lord as our Saviour.  To hope is to be set in motion by the goal ahead, awaiting in this movement towards the goal.  It demonstrates its living character by the steadfastness with which it waits.  Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Volume 2, page 243

 

Revelation 21:1-8 is a significant statement of Christian hope.

 

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

 

This is a done deal.  It is already set in motion and is 100% sure.

 

We therefore are patient, disciplined, confident in waiting for and expecting with joy this our hope.  We demonstrate this hope in our steadfastness in waiting.

 

Now to Paul’s primary point in this text.

 

Both Greeks and Jews have placed their faith in Jesus’ gospel of salvation.

 

Salvation is guaranteed to those who believe because it is the unfailing power of God to all who believe.

 

I’m saved.  You are saved.  But between us, we have some issues.

 

With these issues between us the wait can become unbearable, so we commit to build each other up.  Vs. 2

 

We build each other up by living to please or bless the other and not to please ourselves (Vs. 1).  Jesus is our example (Vs. 3). This was prophesied in Psalm 69:9. Vs. 4

 

Three directives for building each other up in our rock-solid hope:

 

  1. Endurance (Vs. 4)
  2. Encouragement of the Scriptures (Vs. 4)
  3. Welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you. (Vs. 7)

 

Take note of Paul’s identification of God in his prayer.  “May the God of endurance and encouragement.”

 

God is present and at work as we gather to build each other’s hope through endurance and encouragement.

 

The God of endurance and encouragement is enables us to live in such harmony with one another that even realities as different as Jews and gentiles can glorify God with one voice.

MCA Life Groups

LISTEN:  MY STORY

Tell of a time when you experienced someone building up your most holy faith.

LEARN:  DIGGING DEEPER

 

  • Please read Matthew 24:3-14.
    • List as many of the “predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.” These prophecies are from Jesus and recorded by Matthew. Jude 17
    • How many are happening in our generation?
    • What are we to “see to” in verse 4?
    • With this reality, is Jude right? We must build one another up in our most holy faith?
  • Please read Ephesians 4:11-16
    • Who are the gifts of grace given to build up the saints?
    • What are their assignments in building up the saints?
    • How welcome or unwelcome is the instruction of these people when they “speak the truth in love” to you?

 

LIFT:  PRAYING WITH ONE ANOTHER

 

  • What do you need, right this minute, for your Life Group to do to build you up in your most holy faith?
  • Please pray for the Buddhists, Islamists, Atheists and Secularists who attend MCA services.
  • Please pray for the sincere doubter, the person committed to error, and those confirmed in sin.
  • Please pray that you will respond appropriately, with gentle mercy, forceful snatching or pity and fear.

 

LIFE:  TAKING IT HOME

 

  • In what way to you most need to build up your most holy faith?
  • Have you been responding correctly to the three types persons mentioned in Jude 22, 23?
  • Commit to taking these actions.

 

Posted on 16th November 2019 in Weekend Talks  •  Comments are off for this post
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Psalm 91: Providential Protection

Psalm 91 is a most beloved Biblical passage.  Millions of pilgrims have found strength and guidance through Moses’ inspired words.

Providential Protection

Psalm 91

Provident is defined as “making provision for the future.”

Providence is understood as “divine guidance or care.”

PROVIDENCE is a name for God conceived as the power sustaining and guiding human destiny.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/providence

A sovereign Protector I have,

            Unseen, yet forever at hand,

            Unchangeably faithful to save,

            Almighty to rule and command.” 

Hymn by Augustus M. Toplady, 1774

           

Who is talking?
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” 
I is a person speaking
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge—
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

 

Someone is speaking to that person (perhaps a priest, Levite or prophet)
14“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.” 
God is the I

 

 

 

Most Biblical students understand the person speaking in verses 1 and 2 to be a king.

  • The imagery suggests a king
    • Warrior images
    • “a thousand may fall at your side”
    • Being hunted or attacked
    • Castle imagery

This king is invincible.  Surely, this passage inspired and motivated many of Israel’s kings, having been written, most likely, by Moses.

  • An unidentified Psalm is generally considered written by the person identified as the author of the Psalm just before.
  • Moses is identified as the author or Psalm 90.
  • Verse 14, “Because he holds fast to me in love,” is most similar to Deuteronomy 7:7, “that the Lordset his love on you and chose you,” is also written by Moses.

Prophetically, the King is King Jesus.

  • Jesus is the only King who is invincible.
  • Interestingly, Satan identifies Psalm 91 as referring to Jesus. Matthew 4:5-6

Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’

And

“‘On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

 

Poetic Images Description
4 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and

 

from the deadly pestilence.

He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

 

An epidemic, maybe that sweeps through an army

 

 

 

A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked. 
Battle imagery
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

 

 

The Holman Old Testament Commentary, Psalms 76-150 by Steven Lawson and edited by Max Anders provides a very simple and significant outline of this Psalm for our lives today.

 

Faith in the Powerful God                  91:1, 2

  • Most High El Elyon
  • Almighty El Shaddai
  • Lord Elohim

 

Favor from the Protecting God          91:3-13

  • God is the Protector of those who “dwell in the shelter of the Most High.”
  • God is the Protector of those who find refuge in Him.
  • God is the Protector of those who run into His fortress.
  • God is the Protector of those for who He is their God.

 

Fellowship with the Personal God      91:14-16

  • God is moved to protect those who love Him. 91:14
  • God is moved to protect those who know His name. 91:14
  • This fellowship with God includes prayer and answered prayer. 91:15
  • This fellowship with God includes God giving honor. 91:15
  • This fellowship with God includes all of life and the length of life. 91:16
    • This person will not die “early.”
    • The days of this person’s life are satisfying.

 

 

Posted on 13th November 2019 in Psalms, Wednesday Evenings  •  Comments are off for this post
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Excel: The Grace of Giving

We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you —see that you excel in this act of grace also.  2 Corinthians 8:1-7

 

The New Testament writers, inspired by the Holy Spirit, place emphasis upon the grace of God.

 

  • In this passage, Paul features “the grace of God” as he urges us to excel in this “act of grace.” 2 Corinthians 8:1, 7
  • James states,
    • Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. James 1:16-18
  • Matthew quotes Jesus,
    • These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts, 10 no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals or a staff, for the laborer deserves his food. 11 And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. 12 As you enter the house, greet it. 13 And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. 15 Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.

 

God’s grace and God’s grace alone is responsible for existence and goodness.

 

This is true spiritually too.

 

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.  Ephesians 2:8-10

 

As we move into the fast approaching holiday season, let’s place priority upon the exquisite joy of having received God’s grace and the accompanying delight of giving God’s grace.

 

We pledge to excel in giving God’s grace.

 

From God and through His grace we receive life, faith, hope and love.

 

  • Having received God’s grace, I give life.

 

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10

 

  • Having received God’s grace, I give faith.

 

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.  Romans 12:3

 

  • Having received God’s grace, I give hope.

 

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.  Romans 15:4

 

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. Romans 15:13

 

  • Having received God’s grace, I give love.

 

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.  Romans 12:10

 

Notice the concept of excelling in three of these four passages.

 

  1. Jesus offers abundant
  2. Romans 15 speaks of abounding in hope.
  3. Romans 12 tells us to “outdo” one another in honoring.

 

In this way we are to truthfully be able to say:

 

  • Having received God’s grace, I excel in giving life
  • Having received God’s grace, I excel in giving faith.
  • Having received God’s grace, I excel in giving hope.
  • Having received God’s grace, I excel in giving love.

 

The best test of success is not external or internal in us but within those to whom we give this life, faith, hope and love.

 

Robert K. Greenleaf writes, in his impactful book, Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness,

 

“The best test is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society; will they benefit, or, at least, not be further deprived?”

 

In the terms of this teaching, we might morph Mr. Greenleaf’s paragraph as follows:

 

The best test is:  Do those who receive God’s grace through me grow as persons?  Do they, while receiving, become more alive, faith-full, hope-full, love-full and more likely themselves to excel in giving God’s grace?  And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society; will they benefit, or, at least, not be further deprived?

 

We give God’s grace by:

  1. Example
  2. Proclamation
  3. Presence
  4. Provision (actions)
  5. Prayer

The Bible urges us to excel in this grace.

  • To superabound
  • To be over and above
  • To exceed the ordinary
  • To go beyond the expected measure
  • To surpass

As we approach the Lord’s Table, we remember God’s grand grace given to us.  Ephesians 1:3-10

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his gracewhich he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

 

 

Posted on 2nd November 2019 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post
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GO: Tell

Maybe you have heard it.  The quote is almost everywhere, all the time.

“Preach the Gospel.  If necessary, use words.”

Unfortunately, the famous guy to whom this quote is linked, apparently never said it.  Most likely because it doesn’t truly capture the Biblical perspective of evangelism.

Preach, proclaim, tell, herald, teach and a host of other communication mechanisms are mostly verbal by definition.

“Faith comes by hearing,”  The Bible doesn’t say, “Faith comes by seeing, touching, smelling or tasting.”  Faith is communicated, primarily, by speakers to a hearers.

There are many ways to ‘speak’ the Gospel.  Writing, for example, is a form of speech.  Often I hear a word of faith while reading or listening to a faith filled song.

Maybe the smart guy of long ago actually said, “Preach the Gospel.  It is necessary to use words.”

Use your words today and tell someone of God’s glorious, mysterious and gracious salvation.

Posted on 20th October 2019 in Glocal, Missions, Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post
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GO Quickly: People are Eternally Perishable

Stories abound of help arriving just one moment too late.  Often disaster lurks in delays.

A minister said (in my words), at the closing of his evangelistic sermon, “Please go home and think about this message.  If you are ready to commit to Christ, come back tomorrow evening and we will lead you in making that commitment.”

That night the infamous Chicago fire burst into flames and people who had attended the evangelist’s service were eternally gone.  Never again would the evangelist delay.  He would call people to repentance immediately.

Look in everyone’s eyes that you see today.  See them through the truth of their perishability.

Tell them quickly.

Don’t delay.

Posted on 18th October 2019 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post
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GO QUICKLY

MCA Church is investigating 40 days of Bible commands to “go.”  We like to think of ourselves as global Christian and very much enjoy the opportunity to learn more about being effective in our Lord’s world.

Our 40 day devotion guide features seven days of reflecting upon God’s command to the first followers to “go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead.”  Matthew 28:7

Maintaining urgency, although absolutely essential to our faith, receives surprisingly little attention.  Truthfully, eternity is in the balance for billions of people.

Lost.  Without salvation.  Forever.

Nothing is as important.  Nothing as urgent.

Lives are in the balance.  We MUST go quickly.

 

Posted on 16th October 2019 in Glocal, Missions  •  Comments are off for this post
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Healthy Relationships have Similarities and Differences

We are learning to enter the distance between ourselves and others through relational instruction in the Bible.

 

“We do our best work and live our best lives when we charge into the vast space between ourselves and others.”  Joshua Wolf Shenk in Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs.

 

Discovering profound similarities energizes friendship development.

 

Embracing significant differences fuels friendship maturation.

 

The late Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, couldn’t have been more different ideologically.  On most matters of law they were diametrically opposed one to the other.

 

At the same time, Justice Scalia and Justice Ginsburg shared joyful similarities and became best of friends.

 

On April 15, 1947, with the encouragement and support of Pee Wee Reese, a person very different from himself, Jackie Robinson broke the baseball color line when he started at first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

 

When Jackie took the field for the first time, vitriol, hatred, racism and cruelty poured out of the stands.  Jackie was different and not welcomed nor wanted by many.

 

Pee Wee Reese made a statement to Jackie that has impacted nations, people and families.  Jackie and Pee Wee were very different from each other and yet similar.

 

Consider the importance of friendship similarities and differences in the Bible.

 

The Jonathan and David’s similarities quickly led to an enduring friendship.

 

18 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. And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul.   1 Samuel 18:1-3

 

C.S. Lewis hints at the importance of similarities for friendship discovery.

 

“Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .” ― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

 

Differences are inevitable and essential for relational growth and sustenance.

 

Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.  Proverbs 27:5, 6

 

17 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

 

The Christianizing of our lives includes the total transformation of who we are and how we relate to God, others and ourselves.  2 Corinthians 5:17

 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

 

Salvation, at the core, includes the birth of new ways of relating.

 

“Charging into the Vast Space Between Ourselves and Others,” is designed to inspire your faith to courageously move into relationships with people who are both similar and different from yourself.

 

MCA Life Groups are intentionally designed to help you see personal transformation in your ways of relating.  Will you develop the courage and commitment to maximize your church’s relational opportunities?

 

Jesus reframes relationship with God in John 15:15

 

15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

 

From that day forward God and humans are to relate as friends.

 

How is this possible?  God is totally different than humans.  There is no similarity between the two.

 

Until Jesus!

 

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John 1:14

 

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  Philippians 2:5-7

 

In a sense, Jesus put on our jersey and became human.

 

The pure Godhead is terrible to behold; we could not see it and live; but clothing Himself with our flesh, makes the Divine nature more amiable and delightful to us. Now we need not be afraid to look upon God, seeing Him through Christ’s human nature. It was a custom of old among the shepherds, they were wont to clothe themselves with sheep-skins, to be more pleasing to the sheep; so Christ clothed Himself with our flesh, that the Divine nature may be more pleasing to us. The human nature is a glass, through which we may see the love and wisdom and glory of God clearly represented to us. Through the lantern of Christ’s humanity, we may behold the light of the Deity shining.  https://biblehub.com/sermons/pub/christ_clothed_in_human_flesh.htm

 

God is totally different than us (Transcendence) yet He is similar (Immanence).  Because of this we are invited into a friend relationship with Him.

 

The most important aspect of Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we maintain (with God) and the surrounding influence and qualities produced by that relationship. That is all God asks us to give our attention to, and it is the one thing that is continually under attack. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, August 4

 

There are fifty-nine “one another” commandments in the Bible each requiring relationships for fulfillment.  In your Life Group you have relationships in which to learn, practice and grow in these “one anothers.”

Relationship with God is possible because God has first chosen you.

 

16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. John 15:16

 

S. Lewis points out God’s choosing does not stop there.

 

“In friendship…we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another…the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting–any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends, “Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.” The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

 

If C.S. Lewis is correct, those in MCA Church are chosen by God each for the other.

 

May God grant us the faith to put  on what is necessary to celebrate the similarities and embrace the differences as we move into the vast space between ourselves and others because it is there we do our best work and live our best lives.

 

What might the Apostle Paul put on and taken off for the sake of ministry relationship with the Corinthian people?

 

19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.  1 Corinthians 9:19-23

 

Posted on 1st September 2019 in Realized Potential  •  Comments are off for this post
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The Vast Space Between Ourselves and Others

I prepared far too much information for my previous weekend message and only progressed through half of the material.  Following are the notes of this presentation.  The second message will begin near the middle of the notes.

“We do our best work and live our best lives when we charge into the vast space between

ourselves and others.”  Joshua Wolf Shenk in Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs.

 

Why do we need to be encouraged to charge into the vast space between ourselves and others?  Inertia, caution and disappointment must be overcome to effectively charge into this sacred space.  To these obstacles we add:

 

  • Suspicion of the other
    • Racism/genderism/ageism
    • Xenophobia
    • Ethnocentrism

 

  • Awareness of lack of human graciousness
    • I will be judged
    • I will be excluded
    • I will be punished or made to pay the price.

 

“The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties . . . but right through every human heart.” (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago: 1958)

 

What is in this vast space of the human heart?  Colossians 3:5-17

 

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: I might feel
·      Sexual immorality You will take advantage of me
·      Impurity I might lose purity
·      Passion I might lose sight of wisdom
·      Evil desire You see me through the lens of evil desire
·      Covetousness I am a means to an end rather than a person
·      Idolatry I exist to serve you and your false gods
On account of these the wrath of God is coming vs. 6 This is not minor.  God’s wrath is coming on account of these!
In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. These may have been in our past when we were living in them.  Not any longer.  We live a new life in Christ!
But now you must put them all away: I might feel
·      Anger I am the recipient of your outburst of emotion
·      Wrath I am the recipient of your emotion with vindictive action.
·      Malice I am the recipient of your desire to inflict harm and suffering
·      Slander My character is verbally defamed and my reputation damaged
·      Obscene talk I am the recipient of talk that is offensive to morality and decency.
·      Do not lie to one another I never know the truth or what is being said about me

 

Without a spectacular work of God in the vast space between one another, can we imagine the danger of navigating the space between (Colossians 3:11)

 

  • Greek and Jew? The other is of a different nation, ethnicity, language etc.
  • Circumcised and uncircumcised? The other is of a different religious
  • Barbarian and Scythian? The other is of a different civility.
  • Slave and free? The other is of a different social or economic

 

Something AMAZING happens when two people respond to Jesus’ charge into the space of our hearts.  Colossians 3:11

 

“but Christ is all, and in all.”

 

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, I might feel
·      Compassionate hearts, My best interest is being considered
·      Kindness I am the recipient of grace in action
·      Humility My low estate isn’t looked down upon
·      Meekness I am being treated gently
·      Patience You have time for me to grow and develop
·      Bearing with one another You are lifting me and holding me up
·      Forgiving each other as the Lord has forgiven You extend to me the forgiveness you received from the Lord
And above all these, put on love which binds everything together in perfect harmony Above all……I am loved by you and we are bound together in perfect harmony
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts
Be thankful
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly
·      Teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom
·      Singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God
Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus
Giving thanks to God the Father through Jesus.

 

 

Posted on 24th August 2019 in Realized Potential, Weekend Talks  •  Comments are off for this post
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What is in the Vast Space Between Ourselves and Others?

“We do our best work and live our best lives when we charge into the vast space between ourselves and others.”  Joshua Wolf Shenk in Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs.

 

Why do we need to be encouraged to charge into the vast space between ourselves and others?  Inertia, caution and disappointment must be overcome to effectively charge into this sacred space.  To these obstacles we add:

 

  • Suspicion of the other
    • Racism/genderism/ageism
    • Xenophobia
    • Ethnocentrism

 

  • Awareness of lack of human graciousness
    • I will be judged
    • I will be excluded
    • I will be punished or made to pay the price.

 

“The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties . . . but right through every human heart.” (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago: 1958)

 

What is in this vast space of the human heart?  Colossians 3:5-17

 

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: I might feel
·      Sexual immorality You will take advantage of me
·      Impurity I might lose purity
·      Passion I might lose sight of wisdom
·      Evil desire You see me through the lens of evil desire
·      Covetousness I am a means to an end rather than a person
·      Idolatry I exist to serve you and your false gods
On account of these the wrath of God is coming vs. 6 This is not minor.  God’s wrath is coming on account of these!
In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. These may have been in our past when we were living in them.  Not any longer.  We live a new life in Christ!
But now you must put them all away: I might feel
·      Anger I am the recipient of your outburst of emotion
·      Wrath I am the recipient of your emotion with vindictive action.
·      Malice I am the recipient of your desire to inflict harm and suffering
·      Slander My character is verbally defamed and my reputation damaged
·      Obscene talk I am the recipient of talk that is offensive to morality and decency.
·      Do not lie to one another I never know the truth or what is being said about me

 

Without a spectacular work of God in the vast space between one another, can we imagine the danger of navigating the space between (Colossians 3:11)

 

  • Greek and Jew? The other is of a different nation, ethnicity, language etc.
  • Circumcised and uncircumcised? The other is of a different religious
  • Barbarian and Scythian? The other is of a different civility.
  • Slave and free? The other is of a different social or economic

 

Something AMAZING happens when two people respond to Jesus’ charge into the space of our hearts.  Colossians 3:11

 

“but Christ is all, and in all.”

 

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, I might feel
·      Compassionate hearts, My best interest is being considered
·      Kindness I am the recipient of grace in action
·      Humility My low estate isn’t looked down upon
·      Meekness I am being treated gently
·      Patience You have time for me to grow and develop
·      Bearing with one another You are lifting me and holding me up
·      Forgiving each other as the Lord has forgiven You extend to me the forgiveness you received from the Lord
And above all these, put on love which binds everything together in perfect harmony Above all……I am loved by you and we are bound together in perfect harmony
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts  
Be thankful  
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly  
·      Teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom  
·      Singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God  
Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus  
Giving thanks to God the Father through Jesus.  

 

Posted on 18th August 2019 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post
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Psalms of Grateful Praise

There are various kinds of Psalms.  1 Chronicles 16:4 gives insight into a possible three-fold identification of the Psalms (and definitely a three-fold job description for ministers).

 

Then he appointed some of the Levites as ministers before the ark of the Lord, to invoke, to thank, and to praise the Lord, the God of Israel.

Hymns of Praise

  1. Hymns of Praise: General Praise  –    Celebrating the attributes of God
  2. Hymns of Praise: Grateful Praise –    Thanksgiving for what God has done for us

 

Bruce Waltke understands the Psalms of Grateful Praise to flow through a three-component motif (a recurrent thematic element).

 

  1. Introductory call to praise                     match that ignites the fire
  • Because it is fitting and right
  • In the imperative mood
  • Spirit of enthusiasm
  1. The cause for praise                                Fuel that is lit up
  2. Renewed call to praise Hallelujah

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=psalms+lecture+7+waltke&&view=detail&mid=C7425236FA2192713C0CC7425236FA2192713C0C&&FORM=VRDGAR

 

Psalm 117  (The shortest Psalm)

 

Praise the Lord, all nations!
Extol him, all peoples!
The Call to Praise
For great is his steadfast love toward us,
and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
The Cause for Praise
Praise the Lord! Renewed Call to Praise:  The Hallelujah

 

Psalm 95

 

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

 

The Call to Praise

For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
The Cause for Praise
Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
The Call to Praise
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.
Today, if you hear his voice,
    do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
when your fathers put me to the test
and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
10 For forty years I loathed that generation
and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart,
and they have not known my ways.”
11 Therefore I swore in my wrath,
“They shall not enter my rest.”

 

The Cause of Praise

 

Psalm 100

 

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
    Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing.
The Call to Praise
Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;[a]
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

 

The Cause of Praise
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!

 

The Call to Praise
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

 

The Cause of Praise

 

Psalm 8

O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
The Call to Praise
You have set your glory above the heavens.
    Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?  Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings[b] and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

The Cause of Praise
O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
The Renewed Call to Praise

 

 

Posted on 14th August 2019 in Psalms, Wednesday Evenings  •  Comments are off for this post