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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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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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A Positive Faith Attitude part 2

Becoming people of fully realized potential in Christ requires holding and being held by a positive faith attitude.

 

A concept in a previous message was, “In making decisions always measure the strength of the “yes” votes not the “no” votes.”

 

You are, in fact, determining the power of the positive faith attitude not the strength of the negative faithless attitude or even the neutral attitude.

 

How many of Israel’s mighty warriors voted “no” on fighting Goliath?  Only one young man in the entire country voted “yes.”

 

The Principle of the Positive Faith Yes is beautifully revealed in Numbers 13 and 14 as Israel determines if they can take the land.

 

“Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.”
Person No Yes
Shammua Ö
Shaphat Ö
Igal Ö
Palti Ö
Gaddiel Ö
Gaddi Ö
Ammiel Ö
Sethur Ö
Nahbi Ö
Geuel Ö
All of Israel  (2,400,000 votes) Ö
Joshua Ö
Caleb Ö
Moses Ö

 

With this ballot count, 2,400,010 no votes and 3 yes votes, the decision seems obvious.  https://www.gotquestions.org/Israelites-exodus.html

 

Yet, the wise “reaching my full potential in Christ” decision measures the strength of the yes votes, not the number of no votes.

 

Caleb, Joshua and Moses are the only three out of approximately two million people who understood the strength of the yes vote.

 

The large empty box on our ballot count chart above is for Numbers 13:1-2’s revelation that God Himself voted “Yes.”

 

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel.

 

God’s intent was for Israel to “spy out the land” to determine HOW to take the land not IF they could take the land.

 

One’s fully realized potential in Christ is in proportion to having positive faith in the promises of God, His word and His intentions.

 

And he (Abraham) believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.  Genesis 15:6

 

by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.  2 Peter 1:4

 

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.  James 1:5-8

 

Notice the negative faithless attitude in the 2,400,010 people of Israel destroys the hope and confidence in God’s promises for almost an entire nation.

 

  • God is giving us the land, “28 However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. And besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the Negeb. The Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the hill country. And the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and along the Jordan.” Numbers 13:28-29
  • God is giving us the land, HOWEVER, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.” Numbers 13:31
  • God is giving us the land, HOWEVER, “So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out…” Numbers 13:32
  • God is giving us the land, HOWEVER, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants…” Numbers 13:32
  • God is giving us the land, HOWEVER, “and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.” Numbers 13:33

 

Caleb, Joshua and Moses know that a positive faith attitude is all about God, His promises and intentions.

 

  • Only do not rebel against the Lord. Numbers 14:9
  • the Lordis with us;  Numbers 14:9
  • But the glory of the Lordappeared at the tent of meeting to all the people of Israel.  Numbers 14:10
  • 11 And the Lordsaid to Moses, “How long will this people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them?  Numbers 14:11

 

Let’s look back up at the large empty space in our positive faith attitude ballot box.

 

Please fill in the first empty space with “GOD” and record His vote as “YES.”

 

Three people with positive faith in God’s promises and word are more than enough to take the land.

 

God invites you and me to join Caleb and his positive faith attitude:

 

24 But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it.  Numbers 14:24

 

How should you vote on personal decisions?

 

Determine God’s promise and vote with God.

Posted on 20th July 2019 in Realized Potential, Weekend Talks  •  Comments are off for this post
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Positive Thinking or A Positive Faith Attitude?

To become a person of fully realized potential I must develop and maintain a positive faith attitude.

 

Pastor Neale Sheneman, founding pastor of MCA Church, read Norman Vincent Peale’s “The Power of Positive Thinking” every year.

The following comparison between negative self talk and positive thinking is from “Positive Thinking: Stop Negative Self Talk to Reduce Stress” on the Mayo Clinic Healthy Lifestyle web site.

 

 

Negative Self Talk

 

Positive Thinking
 

I’ve never done it before.

 

It is an opportunity to learn something new.
It’s too complicated.  

I’ll tackle it from a different angle.

 

I don’t have the resources.  

Necessity is the mother of invention.

 

 

There is no way this will work.

 

I can try to make it work.
 

It’s too radical a change.

 

Let’s take a chance.

 

Our founder loved positive thinking.  Yet he stated regularly, “Positive thinking isn’t enough!  You must develop a positive faith attitude.”

 

There are similarities between Pastor Peale’s positive thinking and Pastor Sheneman’s positive faith attitude.

 

First, both feature the power and effectiveness of one’s thoughts and attitudes.

 

  • Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23
  • Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9

 

Second, both feature positivity and optimism.

 

Optimism is a mental attitude reflecting a belief or hope that the outcome of some specific endeavor, or outcomes in general, will be positive, favorable, and desirable.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optimism

 

Optimistic people (from the Latin word optimum) are always looking on the bright side.

 

There are significant differences between positive thinking and a positive faith attitude.

 

  • Positive thinking alone is temporary. A positive faith attitude anchored in saving faith is eternal.

 

  • 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:17

 

  • Positive thinking begins and ends in the human mind. A positive faith attitude begins and ends with God.

 

  • 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. James 2:22-24

 

  • Positive thinking relies on the capacity of the human brain. A positive faith attitude relies on the capacities of the Almighty God.

 

  • 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us… Ephesians 3:20

 

  • Positive thinking is something you hold. A positive faith attitude holds

 

  • 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39

 

We can learn much about Hope (the Christian’s positive faith attitude) in Romans 15:13.

 

 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.

 

This hope is sourced in God.

 

This hope is God’s and He pours it into you.

 

This hope is characterized by God’s joy and His peace.

 

This hope is God’s response to your believing.

 

You abound in this hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

 

Action Steps

  1. Place your faith in Jesus Christ for salvation.
  2. Determine to live each moment with the God of hope filling you with all joy and peace.
  3. Remind yourself many times each day, “Like Abraham, I believe God.”
  4. Several times each day state, “I am abounding in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Posted on 6th July 2019 in Realized Potential, Uncategorized, Weekend Talks  •  Comments are off for this post
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Becoming People of Fully Realized Potential: Soul Care

People of fully realized potential are aligned with the nature, character and will of God in their spirit, soul and body.

 

Today’s primary Bible text is 1 Thessalonians 5:23-28.

 

23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

25 Brothers, pray for us.

26 Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.

27 I put you under oath before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers.

28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

 

Considering the interactivity of the spirit, soul and body, I come to understand the effect the soul has on my spirit and body.

 

For the sake of our conversation today, let’s view the soul as the inner being of a human.  The most common Greek word translated in the New Testament as soul is “psyche.”

 

Although your spirit, soul and body are one unity, the Bible also reveals there is also diversity between spirit, soul and body.

Everything you allow into your soul greatly impacts all of you, spirit, soul and body.

 

One loves and laughs and hopes and grieves and thinks and feels and wills in the soul.

 

We do not need expensive scientific research to know the following are truly possible.

 

  • He worried himself sick.
  • She laughed herself out of a depression.
  • He died of a broken heart.
  • She is so much healthier since she fell in love.

 

Our founding Pastor, Neale Sheneman, often stated, “It is your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude.”

 

In the Old Testament the promises of God are given to covenant keeping people.  “If you keep my covenant, I promise to do these great things for you.”

 

In the New Testament the promises of God are given to those who keep the New Covenant.  Hebrews 9:15-18

 

15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. 16 For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood.

 

God has made almost unbelievably glorious promises to you, if you join His family.  Being adopted into His family puts you into His will (covenant).  Everyone in His family has the most AMAZING inheritance.

 

To those in His will (covenant) He gives the inheritance of:

 

  1. The pardon of all sin.

    2. The merit of His own most glorious righteousness.

    3. His own most Holy Spirit.

    4. But the most glorious part of the property bequeathed by Jesus to His people is that “inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away,” which is “reserved for them in heaven.” https://biblehub.com/sermons/auth/morris/christ’s_last_will_and_testament.htm

 

With these glorious things done by God in your spirit, can you imagine the HUGE effects upon your soul and body?

 

Just as the spirit significantly influences the body and soul, the soul influences the spirit and body.  Consider Proverbs 17:22

 

A joyful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

 

Joy is fantastic medicine for your soul and body.  Joy actively works against disease.

 

A crushed spirit actively works against health and “dries up the bones.”

 

What are the skills of developing and sustaining a positive, faith-filled, joyful heart?

 

  1. Behold your belief.
  2. Tackle your troubles.
  3. Find your funny.
  4. Hold your happy.
  5. Rest in your relationships.

 

Today’s primary text is filled with blessed guidance for our souls.

 

  1. The God of peace is making me holy, spirit, soul and body.
  2. He is making my whole spirit, soul and body blameless.
  3. I won’t doubt Him, because He is faithful and will surely do it.
  4. In this process, Paul recognizes the value of praying one for the other.
  5. He also knows this process is best accomplished in a strong fellowship of God’s love.
  6. All of this, Paul reveals, is by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Posted on 29th June 2019 in Realized Potential, Weekend Talks  •  Comments are off for this post
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The Possibilities when the Spirit, Soul and Body Align with the Thoughts, Nature and Character of God

Becoming a person of fully realized potential requires embracing the world of possibilities.

 

What are the possibilities for you when your spirit, soul and body are all in alignment with the thoughts, nature and character of God, in whose image you are created?

 

What is the nature of the link between the non-material spirit and soul to the material body?

 

Although limited research into the spirit/body connection exists, we have significant data regarding the mind/body dynamic.

 

Dr. Ellen Langer is prolific among “Psychology of Possibility” researchers.  The research she published in “Counter Clockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility,” includes a most delightful and interesting project.

 

To what extent can the mind influence the body? If I smelled a fresh donut and imagined eating it, would my blood sugar rise? Would people fully convinced that their teeth are in excellent condition have healthier-looking X-rays at their annual checkups? Do men who become bald at a young age and thus see themselves as prematurely old test as older physiologically than men their age with a full head of hair? Do women who undergo cosmetic surgery and see a more youthful self in the mirror age more slowly? The questions may seem a bit “out there,” but they were worth asking.  Langer, Ellen J.. Counterclockwise (p. 5). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

 

Michelle Gielan, in Broadcasting Happiness:  The Science of Igniting and Sustaining Positive Change, summarizes Dr. Langer’s initial study.

 

The brilliant maverick Harvard professor Dr. Ellen Langer has been designing studies for four decades that prove our mental story affects our health. In a single study Dr. Langer cracked the code and scientifically reversed signs of aging. She did not accomplish this with expensive creams or plastic surgery but simply by telling a different story about aging. This happened almost three decades ago, but it still has yet to be learned by the general public. “Welcome to the year 1959!” Dr. Langer said in 1979, as she invited a group of seventy-five-year-old men to go on a weeklong retreat as part of a large-scale psychology experiment.7 The men had been told one thing only before coming to the retreat: They could not bring any newspapers, photographs, or books from the past twenty years of their lives. Langer and her team took these men twenty years back in time to the late fifties by refitting the retreat center with items recalling the year 1959, when these men were fifty-five years old, such as Saturday Evening Posts and Life magazines. Each man received a badge with his name on it and a photo of himself from 1959. They were told to talk only about their jobs and lives from that time period. Langer had a daring hypothesis: The human aging process was mediated by what we tell ourselves about our life stories. And this seemingly off-the-wall study showed she was right. Langer tested the men for signs of aging before and after the week, and the results were mind-blowing.  Gielan, Michelle. Broadcasting Happiness: The Science of Igniting and Sustaining Positive Change (pp. 11-12). BenBella Books, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

 

Dr. Langer explains the day to day activities of the research group.

 

Once at the retreat, we met daily to discuss current events such as the 1958 (“last year” in the case of the experimental group) launch of the first U.S. satellite, Explorer 1; the need for bomb shelters; and Castro’s advance into Havana. A talk on communism became very heated, as did a recap of the Baltimore Colts’: 31–16 defeat of the New York Giants in the NFL championship game. We listened as Royal Orbit won the Preakness, watched Sgt. Bilko and Ed Sullivan on a black-and-white television, and shared our thoughts about “recent” books such as Ian Fleming’s Goldfinger, Leon Uris’s Exodus, and Philip Roth’s Goodbye Columbus. Jack Benny and Jackie Gleason made us laugh; Perry Como, Rosemary Clooney, and Nat “King” Cole sang on the radio, and we watched movies like The Diary of Anne Frank, Ben Hur, North by Northwest, and Some Like It Hot. Langer, Ellen J.. Counterclockwise (pp. 9-10). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

 

Michelle Gielan summarizes the results of the research.

 

After one week of reliving life in their mid-fifties, the men showed, on average, statistically significant improvements in strength, posture, flexibility, memory, and intelligence. Even more incredible, the men’s eyesight improved by an average of 10 percent! Even naive raters—people who had never met the men—viewed pictures of the men at week’s end and judged them as looking an average of three years younger.

Gielan, Michelle. Broadcasting Happiness: The Science of Igniting and Sustaining Positive Change (pp. 11-12). BenBella Books, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

 

God’s word has much to say about the possibilities that exist in the spirit/soul/body link within the Christian person.

 

Consider Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”  Jesus is I AM in all three.  Not so for you and me.  I was, I am, I will be.

 

What I am is not my greatest limiting factor.  An inadequate understanding of what I can be is the major limitation.

 

  • My understanding of what I was can limit my understanding of what I can be.
  • My understanding of what I am can limit my understanding of what I can be.

 

Knowing what I am and knowing what I can be are two different things.

 

What are the possibilities before you when you tune your spirit, soul and body to the frequency of God and His word?

 

Consider the possibilities of your spirit impacting your body as revealed in Proverbs 18:14.

 

A man’s spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?

 

Notice the positive impact the healthy spirit has on the human body with infirmity.  Also, we see the negative impact a wounded spirit has on the body.

 

Look what possibilities exist when you present your body and mind to God.  Romans 12:1, 2

 

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

 

Soak in the positive results of presenting your body and mind to God.

 

  • Holy and acceptable to God
  • Spiritual worship
  • Transformed
  • Discern the will of God
  • Discern what is good and acceptable and perfect

 

What you view as impossible in your spirit significantly impacts your body and soul.

What you view as impossible in your body significantly impacts your spirit and soul.

What you view as impossible in your soul significantly impacts your spirit and body.

I can become a person of fully realized potential when I embrace the world of possibilities of a God aligned spirit, soul and body.

 

Jesus said, in Matthew 19:26, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

 

With the Psalmist in Psalm 43:5, let us talk to ourselves.

 

  • “Spirit, with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
  • “Soul, with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
  • “Body, with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Listen – My Story

  • Do you have a personal story of a time when your emotions (soul) impacted your body?
  • Do you have a personal story of a time when your body impacted your spirit?

 

Learn – Digging Deeper

  • Please talk about the interrelationships between the spirit, soul and body in the following passages:
    • Proverbs 17:22
    • Proverbs 15:13
    • Proverbs 15:15
    • Proverbs 14:30
  • Please read Philippians 4:8. What might be the benefits of obedience to this passage for your spirit, soul and body?

 

Lift – Prayer

  • Please pray for the team who traveled from Texas to upgrade the MCA Children’s Ministry Center for the upcoming Champions Club.
  • Please pray for the role you will serve in the July 4th outreach event.
  • Please pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon the July 4th
  • Please pray for things or situations in the spirit, soul and body of your life group members.

 

Life – Taking it Home

  • Is there something you need to add or subtract in your spirit, soul or body?
  • What possibility in your spirit, soul and body do you need to encourage today?
Posted on 22nd June 2019 in Realized Potential, Weekend Talks  •  Comments are off for this post
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Becoming People of Realized Potential: The Holy Spirit Upon Us

We become people of fully realized potential when the Holy Spirit comes upon us (including our body).

 

We are investigating the complete integration of the spirit, soul and body for purposes of reaching our maximum potential in Christ.

 

In a previous message we considered the two-tiered philosophy of our day.  For example, the SCOTUS determined in Roe vs. Wade that an embryo and fetus are human but not person.

 

The dangerous two-tiered philosophy may show up in Christian thought in relationship to spirit, soul and body.  “I am spirit and soul with no emphasis upon body.”

 

In this life, I have no potential without or outside my body.

 

One of the most important, yet extremely difficult things in life is to properly approach the Bible.

 

We can first hold our beliefs and then read and understand the Bible through our beliefs OR we can first read and understand the Bible and then form our beliefs.

 

In the first scenario, I force the Bible to say what I want it to say.  In the second, the Bible forces me to believe and respond to what God has said.

 

Let’s lay aside all of our beliefs about our relationship with the Holy Spirit and see what the Bible says and then come back and form our beliefs.

God gives us three primary position terms for our relationship with the Holy Spirit.

 

The three position terms of our relationship with the Holy Spirit are with (para), in (en) and upon (epi).

 

The Holy Spirit is With

 

  • 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. John 14:15-17
  • “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer;11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

 

The Holy Spirit In

 

  • 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. John 14:15-17
  • 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:11-14
  • 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19

 

The Holy Spirit Upon

 

  • 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

What happens in the human body when the Spirit comes upon?  1 Samuel 10:1-7

 

Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on his head and kissed him and said, “Has not the Lord anointed you to be prince over his people Israel? And you shall reign over the people of the Lord and you will save them from the hand of their surrounding enemies. And this shall be the sign to you that the Lord has anointed you to be prince over his heritage.2 When you depart from me today, you will meet two men by Rachel’s tomb in the territory of Benjamin at Zelzah, and they will say to you, ‘The donkeys that you went to seek are found, and now your father has ceased to care about the donkeys and is anxious about you, saying, “What shall I do about my son?”’ 3 Then you shall go on from there farther and come to the oak of Tabor. Three men going up to God at Bethel will meet you there, one carrying three young goats, another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a skin of wine.4 And they will greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you shall accept from their hand. 5 After that you shall come to Gibeath-elohim, where there is a garrison of the Philistines. And there, as soon as you come to the city, you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with harp, tambourine, flute, and lyre before them, prophesying. 6 Then the Spirit of the Lord will rush upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man. 7 Now when these signs meet you, do what your hand finds to do, for God is with you.

 

In this passage we see:

 

  • Anointing 1
  • Obedience 2-5
  • The Spirit Rushes Upon 6

 

Samuel declares two results of the Spirit coming upon Saul, prophesy and becoming a new person.

 

When the Holy Spirit comes upon a person, throughout the entire Bible, Spirit inspired speech follows.

 

  • Speech Inspired by the Holy Spirit
  • Speech in a language previously unknown
  • Speech in a language of the spirit

 

When the Holy Spirit comes upon a person, the person experiences…..

 

  • Creativity beyond human natural capacity. Genesis 1

 

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.  Genesis 1:1, 2

 

30 Then Moses said to the people of Israel, “See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; 31 and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, 32 to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze, 33 in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, for work in every skilled craft. 34 And he has inspired him to teach, both him and Oholiab the son of Ahisamach of the tribe of Dan. 35 He has filled them with skill to do every sort of work done by an engraver or by a designer or by an embroiderer in blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, or by a weaver—by any sort of workman or skilled designer.  Exodus 35:30-35

 

  • Empowered living beyond human natural power. Judges 6:34

 

But the Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon, and he sounded the trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called out to follow him.

 

  • The birthing of things of God beyond human natural capacity. Luke 1:26-38

 

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

 

Jesus, our Great Example, experienced the Holy Spirit descending upon Him.  Luke 4:18, 19

 

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

 

Again, notice the connection of the Spirit and anointing.

 

In this portion of our weekend worship, we will anoint one another with the following prayer.

 

“As I anoint you with oil, may the Holy Spirit come upon you as He came upon Jesus, those in the Upper Room and millions of Christians since then.  May you be clothed with the Spirit’s speech, creativity and power.  May new things of God be born within and through you as the Spirit rushes in upon you and you become a new person.”

MCA LIFE GROUP HOMEWORK

Listen – My Story

  • When was the first time you heard about the Holy Spirit or your first experience with Him?
  • Do you have a favorite Holy Spirit experience? Maybe a time when he was with, in or upon you?

 

Learn – Digging Deeper

  • Pease read Joel 2:28-29.
  • Which preposition for the relationship with the Holy Spirit is used?
  • Who will be the recipients of the relationship?
  • What will these recipients do as a result of this relationship?
  • Please read Acts 2:1-16
  • How might Peter have known the Acts 2 experience was a fulfillment of Joel 2?
  • As God fulfills Joel 2 in your life today, how will you know?

 

Lift – Prayer

  • Please pray for the many MCA folks who are asking the Spirit to come upon them with creativity, empowerment and a longing for new things of God to be born in and through them.
  • Pray for those who desire to have Holy Spirit inspired speech and to experience the “rushing in upon” that produces a brand-new person.

 

Life – Taking it Home

  • What in practical day to day things, do you desire the Holy Spirit to do in and through you?
  • What do you need to consider changing in order to become more comfortable with the Person and ministry of the Holy Spirit?
Posted on 8th June 2019 in Realized Potential, Weekend Talks  •  Comments are off for this post
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Becoming People of Fully Realized Potential: Our Bodies

We become people of fully realized potential in and through our bodies.

 

I am me.  The human is created by God as a three-part unity; spirit, soul and body.

 

  • Without my spirit, I am not fully me.
  • Without my soul, I am not fully me.
  • Without my body, I am not fully me.

 

For some reason, in God’s human trinity, the Christian’s body is often mistreated, abused and neglected even while special care is given to the soul and spirit.

 

Neither the spirit, soul or body is more important than the other.  Consider 1 Thessalonians 5:23.

 

23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Paul’s prayer is two-fold.

 

  1. For God to sanctify you completely, your whole spirit and soul and body.
  2. And for your whole spirit and soul and body to be kept blameless.

 

In 1973 people opposed to God’s total integration of spirit and soul and body won their day in the Supreme Court of the United States with Roe vs. Wade.

 

Essentially, the Court threw out the entirety of Biblical anthropology (a wholistic view of the human being) with the philosophy “that even though the baby in the womb is human, it is not a person under the Fourteenth Amendment.”  Love Thy Body, Nancy Pearcey pre-release.

 

Maybe this two-tiered “human non-person” concept has infiltrated the western Christian world-view?

 

It appears many western Christian’s perspective is a two-tiered, “spirit and soul but non-body” concept.  Apart from thinking like this, how can we explain the gigantic disregard many Christians give to their human body?

 

God speaks directly to the world’s low view of the body by honoring the human body.

 

  • So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27
  • For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
    14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:13-14
  • I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Romans 12:1
  • 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:20
  • Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? 1 Corinthians 6:19

 

Becoming a human person of fully realized potential in Christ requires me to embrace, honor and discipline my body.

 

Righteousness and wickedness require a body.  There is no “disembodied” righteousness or wickedness.

 

Our earlier passage, 1 Thessalonians 5:23 is preceded by many things one might find in the body.

 

12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle,[c] encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16 Rejoice always,17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

 

Respect

 

 

Esteem

 

Peace

 

Idle

 

Fainthearted, weak, patient

Do not repay evil but seek to do good

 

Rejoice, Pray, give thanks

 

Do not quench, do not despise, but test

 

Abstain

 

Your fullest potential in Christ includes growing and maintaining bodily discipline and control.

 

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.  1 Corinthians 9:24-27

 

In an almost shocking revelation Paul states a lack of personal bodily discipline and control may disqualify me from the imperishable prize.

Even after we have not been disqualified, we will be judged according to “the deeds we have done in the body.”

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

 

May we make this a season of personal bodily discipline and control as we pursue our fullest potential in Christ.

MCA LIFE GROUP HOMEWORK

Listen – My Story

  • What is your favorite aspect of your God created body?
  • In your upbringing, do you recall if the human body was blessed, cursed or ignored? Do you see any lasting impact from that upbringing on your perspectives of the human body?

Learn – Digging Deeper

  • Pease read Jeremiah 1:4, 5. At what point in time was Jeremiah a person?
  • Please read Psalm 139.
    • Does the Psalmist hold to a high or low view of the human body?
    • Consider verse 16. Did the Psalmist have personhood prior to birth?
    • Does the human body have value according to verse 15?
  • What verses come to mind when you think of being more disciplined and in control of your body?

Lift – Prayer

  • Please pray for the many MCA folks who are experiencing difficulties in their bodies.
  • Please pray for each life group member’s highest “bodily discipline” priority.

Life – Taking it Home

  • What do you need to do today to “discipline your body and bring it under control?”
  • Who can you add to your circle of influence to encourage you and for you to encourage to be disciplined and personally controlled in your body?
Posted on 1st June 2019 in Realized Potential, Weekend Talks  •  Comments are off for this post
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Realized Potential: Childhood is the foundation

Childhood is the foundation upon which each person builds into their full potential in Christ.

 

Today we consider the 127th Psalm.

Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

 

The Psalmist reveals a connection between daily labor and family life.

 

In Psalm 127 the house is the temple and the city is Jerusalem.  In this way, the Psalmist connects ministry unto the Lord and unto one’s family as intimately intertwined.

 

  • The temple isn’t the Lord’s heritage in your life, as amazing as it was.
  • The city isn’t the Lord’s heritage in your life, as majestic as Jerusalem was.
  • Anxious work isn’t the Lord’s heritage in your life, as all-consuming as it is.
  • Children are the heritage of the Lord in our lives.

 

In “The Book of Lost Things” John Connolly wrote, “For in every adult there dwells the child that was, and in every child there lies the adult that will be.”

Reaching one’s fullest potential in Christ requires coming to terms with the “child that was.”

 

Somehow our fullest potential in Christ invites us to make Jesus Lord over the magic and madness of our “child that was.”

 

In presenting my happiness and hurts, dreams and disasters, shocks and surprises, delights and disappointments from my “child that was” to the Lordship of Jesus, I cooperate with God for reaching my fullest potential.

 

“You know, I do believe in magic. I was born and raised in a magic time, in a magic town, among magicians. Oh, most everybody else didn’t realize we lived in that web of magic, connected by silver filaments of chance and circumstance. But I knew it all along. When I was twelve years old, the world was my magic lantern, and by its green spirit glow I saw the past, the present and into the future. You probably did too; you just don’t recall it. See, this is my opinion: we all start out knowing magic. We are born with whirlwinds, forest fires, and comets inside us. We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand. But then we get the magic educated right out of our souls. We get it churched out, spanked out, washed out, and combed out. We get put on the straight and narrow and told to be responsible. Told to act our age. Told to grow up, for God’s sake. And you know why we were told that? Because the people doing the telling were afraid of our wildness and youth, and because the magic we knew made them ashamed and sad of what they’d allowed to wither in themselves.

After you go so far away from it, though, you can’t really get it back. You can have seconds of it. Just seconds of knowing and remembering. When people get weepy at movies, it’s because in that dark theater the golden pool of magic is touched, just briefly. Then they come out into the hard sun of logic and reason again and it dries up, and they’re left feeling a little heartsad and not knowing why. When a song stirs a memory, when motes of dust turning in a shaft of light takes your attention from the world, when you listen to a train passing on a track at night in the distance and wonder where it might be going, you step beyond who you are and where you are. For the briefest of instants, you have stepped into the magic realm.

That’s what I believe.

The truth of life is that every year we get farther away from the essence that is born within us. We get shouldered with burdens, some of them good, some of them not so good. Things happen to us. Loved ones die. People get in wrecks and get crippled. People lose their way, for one reason or another. It’s not hard to do, in this world of crazy mazes. Life itself does its best to take that memory of magic away from us. You don’t know it’s happening until one day you feel you’ve lost something but you’re not sure what it is. It’s like smiling at a pretty girl and she calls you “sir.” It just happens.

These memories of who I was and where I lived are important to me. They make up a large part of who I’m going to be when my journey winds down. I need the memory of magic if I am ever going to conjure magic again. I need to know and remember, and I want to tell you.”  Robert R. McCammon, Boy’s Life

 

Maybe Jesus included your “child that was” when He said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

 

In coming to terms with my “child that was” I can become life-giving to today’s children who are contemplating the “adult that will be.”

 

Tennis player Novak Djokovic once said, “Building a solid foundation in the early years of a child’s life will not only help him or her reach their full potential but will also result in better societies as a whole.”

 

“No man stands so tall as when he stoops to help a boy.”  Johnny Barnes, founder of the boy’s ministry, Royal Rangers

 

My fullest potential in Christ is a journey into “the child that was” and helping children with the “adult that will be.”

We have identified the top two priorities of MCA Church.

 

  1. Everyone in attendance has a vibrant and energizing encounter with the presence of God.
  2. Children and teens come to faith in Jesus as personal Savior and grow in their relationship with Him.

 

Today I have the exquisite delight of officially announcing two of the most amazing ministries the Lord is calling us to present to South Central Alaska;

  • King’s Castle
  • Champions

King’s Castle is a ministry concept designed for children and teens to be saved, filled with the Holy Spirit and then to grow through the administration of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Children and teens growing and moving in the Holy Spirit’s giftings in their lives is POWERFUL.

 

Champions Club is a specially designed developmental area for kids, youth, and adults with special needs. Our goal was to develop a program that would meet the developmental needs of children in four important ways: SPIRITUALLY, INTELLECTUALLY, MENTALLY, and PHYSICALLY. Our focus is on spiritual growth through God’s Word, developing the intellect of each participant through the five senses, educationally through various learning tools, as well as engaging the child physically during active gross motor fun.

 

God’s great work in the world today is for you, your children and your children’s children!  Glory to God!

 

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”  Acts 2:38, 39

 

 

Posted on 18th May 2019 in Realized Potential, Weekend Talks  •  Comments are off for this post
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Becoming People of Realized Potential: Honoring Mother and Father

The honoring of mother and father precedes, is necessary for and included in realizing one’s fullest potential in Christ.

 

For this presentation we are looking at each of us as the child of our mother and father.

 

Although you may or may not be a mother or father, you are definitely the child of your mother and father.

 

What happens in my heart and through my hands in my relationship with my mother?

 

First and foremost, honor is to be in my heart and lived out through my hands to my mother.

 

  • Honor is a decision and not a response.
  • Honor is truthful and not fake.
  • Honor is system-wide and not compartmentalized.

 

Let us consider honor through the lens of Deuteronomy 5:6-22.

 

We know, based upon Deuteronomy 5:22, God wrote the Ten Commandments on two tablets.

 

Then he wrote them on two stone tablets and gave them to me. Deuteronomy 5:22

 

We don’t know which directives were on which tablet, but almost everyone agrees that on the first tablet God wrote guidance for relationship with Him and on the second tablet He wrote guidance for people’s relationship with each  other.

 

In some ways all ten commandments are about honor.

 

Most students of the Bible see the Ten Commandments written as follows:

 

Table One Table Two
Honor God – No other gods before Him Honor your father and mother
Do not make graven images and worship them Do not murder
Do not take the Lord’s name in vain Do not commit adultery
Remember the sabbath and keep it holy Do not steal
  Do not bear false witness
  Do not covet

 

The Hebrew word God selected for honor in Deuteronomy 5 carries the meaning of recognizing and giving proper weightiness.

 

Table One teaches us to recognize and give proper weightiness to God.

 

Table Two teaches us to recognize and give proper weightiness to God by recognizing and giving proper weightiness to mother and father.

 

Upon what authority do we make the opening claim of today’s message?

 

“The honoring of mother and father precedes, is necessary for and included in realizing one’s fullest potential in Christ.”

 

The fifth commandment makes it very clear that life being lengthy and going well is directly connected to honoring father and mother.

 

16 “‘Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. Deuteronomy 5:16

 

This commandment might be stated a different way.  “Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, or your days may be shortened, and it may not go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”

 

Historically it seems the opposite of honor is not dis-honor, but shame.

 

This commandment might now be stated in even another way, “Shame your father and mother, in opposition to what the Lord your God commanded you, and your days will be shortened and it will not go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”

With none of us being exempt from the shameful, we equally stand in shame before God.

 

The cross was the most shameful death in the history of the world.  Crosses weren’t designed primarily to kill.  Crosses were intentionally prepared to bring great humiliation and shame to the crucified.

 

Jesus died shamefully on Calvary’s cross.

 

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

 

Good News Alert!  Good News Alert!  Good News Alert!

 

There never was, is or will be something shameful about Jesus.  He is shameless and perfect in every way.

 

Jesus took my shame and destroyed it on the cross.

 

Jesus took my shame and gave me His honor on the cross.

 

With my shame gone and His honor now mine, I am free to honor every human being by recognizing and giving them proper weightiness.

 

My Dearest Mother,

 

You are designed by God.  I honor you.

You were created by God.  I honor you.

You gave me life.  I honor you.

Mom, I honor you.

 

According to Psalm 8: 4b-5 you are created by God and in His image and He “crowned you with glory and honor.”

 

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.

MCA Church LIFE GROUP Homework

Listen – My Story

  • Do you have a favorite memory of your mother that sharing with the group today will honor her?
  • What is your favorite thing you have done to honor your mother?

 

Learn – Digging Deeper

  • Please read Deuteronomy 5:6-22. Which of the first four commandments are growth areas for you, MCA Church and our nation?  Which commandment is the easiest for you to obey consistently?
  • How important do you see these commandments for your personal honoring of God?
  • Which of the final six commandments are growth areas for you, MCA Church and our nation?
  • How important do you see these commandments for your personal honoring of your mother and father?
  • What are your favorite ways you honor God?

 

Lift – Prayer

  • How would you like your Life Group to pray for you today?
  • Is there someone you have difficulty honoring? Please pray for God’s grace to help you grow.
  • Are you still carrying shame that Jesus took from you long ago? Pray to experience His honor.
  • Please pray for your mother.

 

 

Life – Taking it Home

  • What is the Holy Spirit asking you to add, delete or recalibrate in your life?
  • Is there something you should do ASAP to honor your mother?
Posted on 11th May 2019 in Mother, Weekend Talks  •  Comments are off for this post