Posts categorized Weekend Talks
Following are my message notes from the introductory talk to the series, Christianity: More than a relationship.
Christianity: More than a Relationship
One of the most influential teachings of the late 1960’s and the 1970’s was the emphasis upon people having a relationship with Jesus Christ. We can’t over emphasize how much good this unique emphasis provided to turn millions of people toward Jesus.
About 50 years later we see that the predominant world-view is significantly different than it was then, which requires us to formulate our presentation of Christianity with a different emphasis.
“Not religion, but relationship” was the hot phrase. We now know that religion without relationship is lifeless and destructive and that relationship without religion leads to absurdity.
Religion is defined as “a personal or institutional set of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices.” http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/religion
We see all three components of religion’s definition in the life of Jesus.
Attitudes Matthew 5:3-12
Beliefs John 6:51, John 8:23, 12,
Practices Luke 4:16
Jesus, by this definition, was a religious Man.
The best I can tell, Jesus never summed up his life and teaching with, “Start a relationship with me.”
He did say, “If you love me, (then) keep my commandments.” John 14;12-17
Maybe we can say it this way: My Attitudes are in my heart and soul. My Beliefs are in my mind. My Practices are in my life.
Interestingly, the first known use of the word “religion,” is the 13th Century and the first use of the word “relationship” is 1741.
From my perspective, prior to the historically new use of the term “relationship” Christianity was understood to be an interrelated system of attitudes, beliefs, and practices.
Following are the notes from my 2011 Christmas Day message. The message features the call of Jesus upon our lives to live right with God and people.
A Simple Christmas
Jesus’ Simple Teachings about You
Jesus taught us how to live right with God and people. Acts 8:21
• Live John 10:10
• Right 1 John 1:7
• God 1 Peter 1:16
• People Mark 12:31, 32
Jesus taught us to start by believing in Him. John 3:16
Continue by leaving sin. John 8:11
Right living with God becomes acts of righteousness.
• The first act of the righteous life is giving, privately, to those in need. Matthew 6:1-4
• The second act of the righteous life is private prayer. Matthew 6:5-14
• The third act of the righteous life is private fasting. Matthew 6:16-18
Right living with God and people reveals that your treasure is in heaven. Matthew 6:19-24
When you are living right with God and people, and your treasure is in heaven, then you can live a life free of worry. Matthew 6:25-34
Why live right with God and people? God loves you. John 3:16
The New Testament writers teach that God speaks today. He hasn’t lost His voice because some mystical “age” has come to an end. Some folks say that God changes the way he relates to humans based upon dispensations and the season we are in now, according to them, is one where God can not speak. From my perspective, the Bible no where agrees with this notion.
God is alive and well. He doesn’t have laryngitis. His communication skills are superb.
God still speaks.
One of the communication processes by which God speaks is called prophecy. Prophecy is a communication process that God has used throughout all of history. There are several kinds of prophetic processes through which God has and is communicating.
I see God using prophecy to communicate a bit differently in the time before the Holy Spirit was released on the Day of Pentecost and after that glorious day.
In our services yesterday, the Holy Spirit prompted Brian Michaels to speak a communication from God to our congregation. Brian’s communication aligned with the New Testament requirements for a “prophetic word” and was received as such.
In brief, Brian’s communication reminded us that the miraculous power of God in the Old and New Testaments is still active in our world of today. Believe and trust God for miracles.
A surge of believing God moved into the hearts of those who heard the message. Faith was born and re-ignited.
If yesterday was the first experience of that kind for you, I trust this blog is helpful in understanding what was happening. This type of communication from God to people is very common today and is often experienced in our ministry gatherings.
Our weekend teaching series, “A Simple Christmas,” has reminded me of the power of Jesus’ life and ministry. Jesus is the central Person of all history and the hub of all scripture. I shout a huge “Amen!” to E. Stanley Jones’ statement, “Christianity is Christ.”
Following are my notes for this lesson. Enjoy!
A Simple Christmas
Jesus’ Simple Teaching about Himself
The Bible records what others had to say about the Person of Jesus.
• The Roman Centurion said, “Surely, this was the Son of God.” Matthew 27:54
• The Samaritans said, “We know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” John 4:42
• Martha said, “You are the Messiah, the Son of God.” John 11:27
• Thomas said, “My Lord and my God.” John 20:28
• Peter said, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” Matthew 16:16
• Paul said, “He is the image of the invisible God, the First Born over all creation.” Colossians 1:15-23
• John wrote, “King of kings and Lord of lords.” Revelation 19:16
Of all the things Jesus claimed about Himself, we will consider only four today.
1. Jesus claimed to be the complete revelation of the Father. John 14:7-9
2. Jesus claimed to be equal with God. John 10:30
3. Jesus claimed to be the Messiah. John 4:25-26
4. Jesus claimed to be the only way to God. John 14:1-6
I see three options to understanding Jesus’ claims about Himself.
1. His claims are false. Wrong. He believes a lie.
2. His claims are fiction. He is fake and phony. He is a shyster.
3. His claims are fact. He is correct. He is the Messiah, the Son of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
Since we have found that Jesus’ claims are indeed fact, it is appropriate for me to respond, as He required.
1. I must be born again.
2. I must place my belief (my trust and confidence) in Him for salvation and eternal life.
Following are my message notes for my “ladder talk.”
Flourish: The stability of being planted in the House of the Lord
The Biblical record is clear, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were rather displaced, migratory, and unsettled when God began the process of calling them to settle in “a land I will show you.”
God’s promise and call to Abraham would be short lived, without God’s promise and call to the generations that would follow.
• God’s call and promise to Abraham in Genesis 17:3-8
• God’s call and promise to Jacob in Genesis 28:13-15
Abraham’s experience was branded in covenant terminology while the next generation’s encounter had a ladder for its logo.
Upon examination, we discover the person God was inviting to climb was a most conflicted soul. Jacob, prior to being planted by the Lord, was:
• He exploited Esau’s hunger
• Purchased an entire inheritance for a bowl of soup
• Took advantage of his dad’s blindness
• Practiced identity theft by pretending to be Esau
• Swindled from Isaac, Jacob’s patriarchal blessing
• He was a consummate liar
Jacob’s life is then forever altered by God’s ladder.
Jacob’s ladder clearly reveals the two most important aspects of ladder safety. 1. The top support must be strong and trustworthy. 2. The ground support must be level, stable, unmovable, and it is best if someone also holds it.
Heaven is the top support for Jacob’s ladder and God Himself is supporting it.
The earthly house of God is the ground support for Jacob’s ladder and God Himself is holding it.
I selected an extension ladder for my illustration today, because the extension of your life and ministry and the extension of God’s life and ministry in you must have God and eternity as the top support and the house of God and the presence of God as the ground support.
Top indicators that your “ladder” is grounded in the house of the Lord.
1. The house of the Lord is in your top priorities. Psalm 27:4
a. Priority in your heart’s desire.
b. Priority in the expenditure of your time.
c. Priority in the expenditure of your resources.
d. Priority in the expenditure of your skills.
2. An abiding commitment to “stay put” in your local expression of the house of the Lord no matter what happens. Ephesians 5:25-27
a. Staying put until you become part of His radiant church.
b. Staying put as God removes from you your stains.
c. Staying put as God removes from you your wrinkles.
d. Staying put as God removes any and all blemishes.
e. Staying put until Jesus presents the whole church to Himself.
Connecting with Each Other
1. What is the place you were most happy to leave?
Digging Deeper into the Weekend Talk
1. What are the similarities you see between God’s covenant with Abraham in Genesis 17:3-8 and His covenant with Jacob in Genesis 28:13-15
2. Which is easier for you and your extension ladder; top support or ground support? Why?
3. The ladder experience changed the direction of Jacob’s life. How does a personal experience with God transform lives today?
1. Please pray for the extension of your life and ministry.
2. Please pray for the extension of God’s life and ministry in you.
3. Please pray for the MCA Thanksgiving and Christmas Day ministries.
Blaine, MCA’s Sunday Nite Live lead, presented the evening talk this past weekend. WOW! God’s hand was upon him and he ministered under a strong anointing. Thanks, Blaine.
One of our Sunday Nite Live core values is time in the altars in prayer. God flowed through Blaine and a spirit of prayer came upon our people for prayer, intercession, and supplication. It was a powerful evening of ministry.
An MCA young adult (Eric) and Dr. Perkins both had a strong word of knowledge that someone in the service was in great need of the power to hold on to God one more day. “Someone here tonight is considering quiting the race God has marked out for you to run. Don’t quit, God will give you strength.”
Several people indicated that God ministered to them through the message, word of knowledge, and time of prayer.
Following is a written report that I received a few moments ago…. God is good.
“Just wanted to say, I had cried myself to sleep last night (Sat) and dreamt that I committed suicide. Tonight’s service was a booster shot!”
Every service, each word, song, and prayer count. I wish we could have a church service every day of the week. Everyday, all day, and through out the day, people need a place to meet with God.
The 4th through 8th grade girls of the Firecracker Jump Rope Team provided inspiration to our congregation to continue our pursuit of being remarkable in our walk with God.
If these young women can get the half time crowd at the Naval Academy cheering, waving, and screaming…and all of that with jump ropes….. what can we do with the “ropes” of our lives? They are truly remarkable and so are you.
Direct your browser here to view the Naval Academy performance of the Firecracker Jump Rope Team.Firecracker Jump Rope Team