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"Let us reason together…" Isaiah 1:18

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MCA Church Anchorage: August 2020 Schedule

Jesus is Lord!

Beginning Monday, August 3, 2020, the MCA Weekend Schedule will be adjusted to accommodate the most current Mayoral Mandate for the Municipality of Anchorage.

Saturday Greatest Hits 

  • 100% outdoors.
  • NO food or beverages served
  • Masks required
  • 10 feet social distancing

Sunday Services

  • MCA LIVE Parking Praise
  • 9 AM, 10:15 AM, 11:30 AM OUTDOORS Parking Praise at the Central Campus
  • All congregants must stay in vehicles, properly distanced 10 feet apart
  • NO food or beverages served
  • Please bring your own elements for Holy Communion
  • MCA Sunday Evening Services
  • To be determined
  • MCA Island Revival 
  • Join the Park and Praise services at the Central Campus Parking Lot
  • MCA Multi-language
  • Join the Park and Praise services at the Central Campus Parking Lot
  • MCA Strong Tower
  • Join the Park and Praise services at the Central Campus Parking Lot.  11:30 Service is translated into Spanish
  • MCA Youth Ministry and Children’s Ministry
  • Youth and Children attend Park and Praise at the Central Campus Parking Lot

Ministry opportunities, Monday through Saturday are being determined as needed.

Posted on 2nd August 2020 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post
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Preparing for the Judgment of God: Matthew 24

God often directs people to be prepared for what is to come.

Amos 3:7, 8

“For the Lord God does nothing
    without revealing his secret
    to his servants the prophets.
The lion has roared;
    who will not fear?
The Lord God has spoken;
    who can but prophesy?”

Galatians 3:7-9

Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

Revelation 10:7

but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.

Matthew 3:3


For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’”

Matthew 10:7-10

As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is he of whom it is written,

“‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
            who will prepare your way before you.’

Matthew 24Directions for Christians
“See that no one leads you astray.  Vs. 4Guard yourself from being led astray.
See that you are not alarmed. Vs. 5Do not be alarmed
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. Vs. 9Expect extreme difficulty
And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another.  Vs. 10Know that many will fall away and betray each other.  Don’t fall away and don’t betray others.
the love of many will grow cold.  Vs. 12Don’t allow your love to grow cold.
But the one who endures to the end will be saved. Vs. 13Endure to the end.
 32 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 34 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.  Vs. 32-35Be watchful and understanding of the times.
42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. Vs. 42Stay awake to the signals and purposes of God.
44 Therefore you also must be ready. Vs. 44Be ready.
45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time?  Vs. 45Faithful and wise are two essentials.  Those “set over his household” especially pursue being faithful and wise.  Many students of this passage understand this verse to refer to local church leaders who “give God’s household” their spiritual food.

Recommendations

  1. Carefully consider what prophetic voices are saying in this season.
  2. Prepare the way of the Lord in your life by applying the guidance of Matthew 24.
  3. Have conversations with like-minded Christians around the question, “In what ways should we be prepared in this time in God’s prophetic calendar?”
Posted on 29th July 2020 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post
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Destroying the Work of the Devil: Romans 10

Jesus and His ministry are a blessing, in every way, for those who live in alignment with Romans 10:8-11.

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 

This “will be saved” is the overarching concept for all of the tremendous effects Jesus has in the lives of those who confess with their mouth and believe in their heart that Jesus is Lord and that God raised him from the dead.

The word concept for “will be saved” in this passage is among the most important in all of Christian experience.

  1. This word concept is used for deliverance from disease or the influence of demons.  Matthew 9:21, 22, Mark 3:4, Mark 5: 23, 28, 34, Mark 6:56, Mark 10:52, Luke 6:9, Luke 8:36, 48, 50, Luke 17:19, Luke 18:42, John 11:12
  2. Additionally, this word concept depicts God’s saving actions from physical danger or death.  Matthew 8:25, Matthew 14:30, Matthew 16:25, Matthew 27:40, 42, 49, Mark 8:35, Mark 15:30, 31, Luke 9:24, 56, Luke 23:35, 37, 39, John 12:27
  3. Third, this word concept depicts God’s saving actions from spiritual danger or death. Matthew 1:21, Matthew 10:22, Matthew 19:25, Matthew 24:13, 22, Mark 8:35, Mark 10:26, Mark 13:13, 20, Mark 16:16, Luke 7:50, Luke 8:12, Luke 9:24, Luke 13:23, Luke 18:26, Luke 19:10, John 3:17, John 5:34, John 10:9, John 12:47

Although God’s saving, healing and delivering are depicted uniformly, there are two additional facets within this overarching word concept for God’s gracious actions in our lives. 

God saves, heals and delivers with the nuance of being the Divine Therapist.

God also saves, heals and delivers with the release of His immediate miraculous power.

These three “word concepts” are all very similar yet with hints of differences.  In the end, the experiences are the same

We are saved, healed, delivered and made whole by the saving ministry of Jesus.

Today’s text boldly reveals, salvation, healing, deliverance and being made whole are the experience of the person who:

  1. Believes in their heart that God raised Jesus from the dead.
  2. Confesses with their mouth that Jesus is Lord.

Notice the priority in this passage upon “the word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.”

From this passage we learn:

  1. It is in believing in our heart that we are justified, and
  2. It is in confessing with our mouth that we are saved (the entire saving, healing, delivering and made whole experience).

We can count on this 100%Guaranteed

11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” Romans 10:11

Today, let’s believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths the Lordship of Jesus and His resurrection from the dead.

Posted on 25th July 2020 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post
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Destroying the Works of the Devil: Divine Healing in the Gospel of Matthew

Destroying the works of the devil: Divine Healing

Let us consider the passages in the Gospel according to Matthew that specifically speak of Jesus’ healing power and presence.

PassageHealing
And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.  Matthew 4:23Healing every disease and affliction Disease – Sickness Affliction – an ailment that disables
And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. Matthew 8:3Healing of a man with leprosy.
14 And when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever. 15 He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him. 16 That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.” Matthew 8:14-17Healing Peter’s mother in law who was sick and with a fever. Delivering those oppressed by demons and healed all who were sick.
But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home.  Matthew 9:6,7Healing of a person with paralysis
18 While he was saying these things to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” 19 And Jesus rose and followed him, with his disciples. 20 And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, 21 for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” 22 Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. 23 And when Jesus came to the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion, 24 he said, “Go away, for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. 25 But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. 26 And the report of this went through all that district.  Matthew 9:18-26Healing a deceased daughter and healing a woman with blood issues.
27 And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” 28 When he entered the house, the blind men came to him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” 29 Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” 30 And their eyes were opened. Matthew 9:27-30Healing two blind men.
32 As they were going away, behold, a demon-oppressed man who was mute was brought to him. 33 And when the demon had been cast out, the mute man spoke. Matthew 9:32, 33Deliverance from a demonic oppression that caused an inability to speak.
35 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.  Matthew 9:35Healing every disease and affliction Disease – Sickness Affliction – an ailment that disables
And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction.  Matthew 10:1
And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. Matthew 10:7, 8
Authority given to the twelve disciples over unclean spirits and healing power over every disease and affliction.
Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” Matthew 11:2-6Jesus includes healing as a primary answer to the question, “Are you the one who is to come?”
He went on from there and entered their synagogue. 10 And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse him. 11 He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” 13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”  And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other.  Matthew 12:9-13Healing a man with a withered hand (on the Sabbath).
15 Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all and ordered them not to make him known.  Matthew 12:15Jesus heals “them all.”
22 Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw.  Matthew 12:22Healing of a man that was blind and mute.
14 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.  Matthew 14:14He healed the sick people in the great crowd.
34 And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized him, they sent around to all that region and brought to him all who were sick 36 and implored him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.  Matthew 14:34-36Jesus healed as many as “touched the fringe of his garment.”
28 Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.  Matthew 15:28Healing of a Canaanite woman’s daughter.
30 And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them, 31 so that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel.  Matthew 15:30-31Healing the lame, blind, paralyzed, mute and many others.
18 And Jesus rebuked the demon and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly.  Matthew 17:18Healed a boy of seizures.
Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, he went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. And large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. Matthew 19:1, 2Healed those in a large crowd.
32 And stopping, Jesus called them and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” 33 They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” 34 And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him.  Matthew 20:32-34Healing of two blind men.
14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them.  Matthew 21:14Healing the blind and the lame.

A visitation of Jesus’ healing presence and power is an antithesis to the pandemic pandemonium in our world today.  As of July 19, 2020 there have been 14,429,382 people world-wide who have been infected with the corona virus.

Even Jesus followers align with Isaiah’s (Isaiah 6:9, 10) analysis of the human condition.

Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:

“‘“You will indeed hear but never understand,
    and you will indeed see but never perceive.”
15 For this people’s heart has grown dull,
    and with their ears they can barely hear,
    and their eyes they have closed,
lest they should see with their eyes
    and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart
    and turn, and I would heal them.’  Matthew 13:14-15

When it comes to the role of healing in the Good News, maybe we hear but never understand, see but never perceive.

Maybe our hearts have grown dull and our ears can barely hear.

In our condition, we turn with our hearts to God and He will heal us.

Posted on 18th July 2020 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post
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Psalm 51: Preparing for the Judgment of God – Cleanse

Psalms:  Preparing for the Judgment of God – Cleanse

Paul’s words to the Ephesians continue to have an urgency in this season of ministry.

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:25-27

As Christ cleanses His Church (like a bright and shining bride) of stains and imperfections, do we have responsibilities in the process of being holy and without blemish?  2 timothy 2:20-26

20 Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. 21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.

22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

  • We are to cleanse ourselves from what is dishonorable.  Vs. 21
  • Set apart as holy
    • Useful to the master of the house
    • Ready for every good work.
  • Cleanse ourselves of youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith love and peace, along with all the other people who call on the Lord from a pure heart.  Vs. 22
  • Cleanse ourselves of foolish, ignorant controversies. Vs. 23
  • Cleanse ourselves of quarrelsomeness. Vs. 24, 25
    • Kind to everyone
    • Able to teach
    • Patiently enduring evil
    • Correcting opponents with gentleness

Look at Paul’s hope for these opponents of Christ.

God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.  2 Timothy 2:25, 26

Both of these passages feature cleansing.  In Ephesians 5, Christ is doing the cleansing.  In 2 Timothy 2, we are doing the cleansing.

What do the Psalmists bring to a conversation about cleansing?  Repentance.

Catherine Parks, in Real: The Surprising Secret to Deeper Relationships (The Good Book Company, 2018), is insightful on repentance in Psalm 51. The following is from Eight Steps for Real Repentance from Psalm 51. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/steps-repentance-psalm-51/

So how do we grow in a joy-giving habit of repentance? Here are eight steps.

1. Define the sin.

The first step to meaningful confession is understanding what sin is. David uses three different words for it in Psalm 51: “iniquity,” “sin,” and “transgressions” (vv. 1–3). Each term has been deliberately chosen for its unique meaning. “Transgression” is rebellion against God’s authority and law, “iniquity” is a distortion of what should be, and “sin” is missing the mark. David also says his sin is deep—there is no minimizing or excusing it.

2. Appeal to God’s mercy.

The psalm begins: “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love” (v. 1). Here, David appeals for forgiveness based on what he knows about God’s character: that he is merciful. David knows God is committed to him in a relationship of “unfailing love”—and when we come before God in repentance, we do so because of his covenant with us through Christ.

3. Avoid defensiveness and see God rightly.

David’s sin hurt multiple people. He committed adultery, orchestrated a murder, and tried to cover it all up. And yet he says to God, “against you, you only, have I sinned” (v. 4). How can that be? Sin is missing the mark—God’s mark. Our sin does hurt others, and we must seek forgiveness from them, but all sin is ultimately against God.

4. Look to Jesus.

David writes, “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I shall be clean” (v. 7). He knows hyssop signifies purification with blood (see Ex. 24), and he knows that blood alone can make him clean. What he doesn’t know is exactly how this will be done. But we do. We have the full revelation of Jesus, who “has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Heb. 9:26).

5. Ask God to break and heal you.

David prays, “Let the bones you have crushed rejoice” (v. 8). When God reveals our sin to us, it’s painful. It’s never pleasant to confront just how unholy we are. But like a doctor resetting a fractured bone, it is God who breaks, God who sets, and God who heals.

6. Be comforted by the Spirit.

Next David prays, “Do not . . . take your Holy Spirit from me” (v. 11). But the fact that David is grieved over his sin is a sign that the Spirit is at work in him. Have you ever been so discouraged by your sin that you’ve wondered, How can God love me? Surely I’m not really a Christian. Take comfort in knowing that the grief you’re experiencing is a sign that you have the Holy Spirit working in you, causing you to hate what God hates.

7. Rejoice and proclaim truth.

In verses 12–15, David asks God to make him so joyful about his salvation that he can’t help but proclaim the gospel to others: “Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise.” This is important, because so often we do the opposite—we wallow in our sin and draw back from serving others because we think we’re unworthy. But the joy of forgiveness should compel us to share the good news with friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors.

8. Resolve to obey.

We can do all the steps above, but if we’re planning to sin in the same way again, then grace isn’t truly taking root. What God desires is the mark of true repentance—a heart that is “broken” by sin and truly “contrite.”

As Puritan pastor Thomas Watson wrote, “‘Til sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet.” If we come to God with a heart set on obedience, he “will not despise” it because of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf (v. 17).

Posted on 15th July 2020 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post
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Destroying the Works of the Devil Against Relationships: Unbelief and Distrust

We are lifelong learners with the curricula of Christ.  Disciples of Jesus. 

Five primary dimensions of our discipleship are (as identified by the Barna Group):

  • Finances
  • Relationships
  • Physical and mental health
  • Vocation
  • Faith

This conversation reflects upon the destruction of the works of the devil in our relationships.

Relationship between humans and God is absolutely essential to our well-being, individually, as groups and as a race.

Knowing this, the Bible opens with God revealing His relationship with and satan’s attempted destruction of the God/human relationship.

The second chapter of Genesis is written with the love of God for His creation in clear view.

God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is the First and Primary relationship.

In Christianity it is universally understood that God is love.

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8

For love to exist, there must be another.

God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are Eternal Others loving perfectly from eternity past, present and forever.

The enemies of God would, logically, seek to undermine and destroy perfect love.

In Genesis 3 we see a battle ground of the enemies of God against the perfect love between God and the other.  The Garden of Eden is the setting and Adam and Eve are God’s beloved who are under assault.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  Genesis 3:1-5

From then until now the enemies of God are opposed to every relationship in which perfect love from one to the other can be experienced and expressed.

Destroying the works of the devil against you and your relationships is of vital importance and is the exact mission of Jesus.

Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.  1 John 3:8

It is the devil’s work to damage your knowledge and experience of God’s perfect love.

The enemy of God intends for you to believe that God’s character is tarnished by wrong motives, fear and selfishness.

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 

  • “You will not certainly die” suggests that God lied.
  • “For God knows” suggests that God is afraid of what He knows.
  • “Your eyes will be opened” suggests that God wants your eyes closed (figuratively).
  • “You will be like God” suggests that God doesn’t want you to be like Him.

These are always the strategy of the enemy of God against you and your relationship with God and others.

  1. Don’t believe God is who and what He says He is.
  2. Therefore, don’t trust God.

In this way we can state, “The works of the devil (that Jesus came to destroy) include unbelief and distrust of God.”

Prayer is the beginning action in our war against these works of the devil.

“Lord, I ask you to open my understanding so that I believe and trust in you.  Remove, heal or destroy every work of the devil that hinders my capacity to believe and trust you.”

We can strengthen our belief and trust in God by proclaiming the “Hand of Belief and Trust.”

  1. God is who He says He is.
  2. God can do what He says He can do.
  3. I am who God says I am.
  4. I can do what God says I can do.
  5. The Holy Spirit is actively working belief and trust into me.

Jesus destroys the devil’s work against my experience of God’s perfect love and relationship with Him by replacing my distrust and unbelief with tremendous trust and beautiful belief.

MCA LIFE GROUP HOMEWORK

Listen – My Story

  • Do you have a story of something that was harmful or no longer helpful being destroyed?
  • In what life events, situations or concepts do you tend to doubt God?  For example, “It is difficult for me to believe God in _______________.

Learn – Digging Deeper

  1. Believing God is a component of faith. Do you have faith?  Romans 12:3
  • With everyone given a measure of faith, why do so many people not believe God?  2 Corinthians 4:3, 4
  • What brings increased faith to the human life?  Romans 10:17
  • In light of these passages, please proclaim, out loud, together, the “Hand of Belief and Trust.”

Life – Taking it Home

  1. What is the Holy Spirit saying to you through this lesson? 
  2. How can your Bible Fellowship help you destroy the works of the devil in a relationship?

Lift – Prayer

  • May we pray with you about belief and trust?
  • May we join you in prayer for the destruction of the works of the devil in a relationship?
  • Please pray for the guiding coalitions that are studying the best options for the MCA worship schedule in the era of corona virus mandates, regulations and mindsets.
Posted on 11th July 2020 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post
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From Feasting to Fasting: Destroying the Works of the Devil

21 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods. 22 For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king, “The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him.” 23 So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty.  Ezra 8:21-23

We are seeking wisdom from God about discerning those things in our lives that are lovingly allowed by God for His eternal purposes and those that are in our lives by the intentional design of the devil.


Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.  1 John 3:8

The Bible makes one posture and one behavior the most important aspects of this discernment and decision process.

  • ïThe crucial posture is humility.
  • ïThe crucial behavior is fasting.

With the exile over in Babylon, King Artaxerxes decreed the return of Ezra and his people to Israel.

The challenge?  In the distance between Babylon and Israel were many powerful enemies of Israel.  

Why is that a challenge?  Ezra had confidently proclaimed to the king, “The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him.” Vs. 22

Ezra was therefore ashamed and embarrassed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect them from the enemies as they traveled.

For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way…Ezra 8:22

This situation required discernment.

  • Do we travel through enemy territory trusting in Artaxerxes’ military guards?  
  • Do we travel through enemy territory trusting in God’s protection alone?

Ezra determined, surely against all recommendations, to travel through enemy territory trusting in God alone.

Here we see the crucial posture, humility and the crucial behavior, fasting with exceptional clarity.

Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods.  Ezra 8:21

In this verse, Ezra gives an essential insight into the crucial posture and behavior.  

It is the behavior of fasting that produces the posture of humility. 

Growth in humility is necessary for me, us, Anchorage, Alaska, the United States and the world.

Humility is the way.  Fasting is the means.

Today, with Ezra, we need God’s protection for ourselves, our children, and all our goods

This week, the Lord spoke to MCA Church through Missionary Rod Rivas.  

“With all that is going on in our world today, our response should be fasting and prayer.”  Staff Meeting, June 29

Today, I proclaim this week, July 5 through July 11, 2020, a season of fasting and prayer for MCA Church.

Please ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in deciding your fasting and prayer protocol.  Also, please follow the advice of your medical professionals.

Fasting and prayer suggestions

  • Reduce all distractions (especially media, social media and entertainment)
  • Fasting and praying one meal per day
  • Fasting and praying one day 
  • Fasting and praying more than one day
  • Fasting and praying all foods in a category (helpful for those with a strict medical diet)

For over 25 years MCA Church has hosted a July 4th community feast.  This year we host a community fast.

As we fast and pray, we seek the Lord to do again what He has done for Ezra, 

So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty.  Ezra 8:23

May the Lord respond to our fasting and praying by destroying the works of the devil in our lives and world!

Posted on 4th July 2020 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post
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Divine Healing: Destroying the Works of the Devil, Part 3, Finances

A group of people standing next to a sign

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Divine Healing:  Destroying the works of the devil, part 3

Is there any difficulty in your life that defies natural causes, reason and normal healthy living?

The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. 1 John 3:8

This verse reveals one of the devil’s works is deviating from God’s intended character, behavior and attitudes for your life.

This deviation is called sin.

Jesus came to destroy the devil’s work of sin.

Yet the devil’s works are far more than just sin.

In Luke 2:1-12, the work of the devil is sin (invisible) and paralysis (visible).  Jesus healed the visible as proof He has authority over the invisible.

And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

We may make a loose comparison between The Barna Group’s Life Domains and Jesus’ revelation of His ministry purpose.

Barna Group Life DomainsJesus: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.”  Luke 4
FinancesProclaim Good News to the Poor
RelationshipsProclaim freedom to the prisoners
Physical and Mental healthProclaim recovery of sight to the blind
VocationTo set the oppressed free
FaithTo proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor

We can speak of the health or unhealth of each life domain.

Finances

Unhealthy     Mostly Unhealthy       Neither      Mostly Healthy           Healthy

Relationships

Unhealthy     Mostly Unhealthy      Neither        Mostly Healthy           Healthy

Physical and Mental Health

Unhealthy      Mostly Unhealthy     Neither        Mostly Healthy           Healthy

Vocation

Unhealthy      Mostly Unhealthy      Neither        Mostly Healthy          Healthy

Faith

Unhealthy      Mostly Unhealthy      Neither        Mostly Healthy          Healthy

Jesus announced the purposes and intentions of the devil.  John 10:10

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

In this life domain continuum, the purpose of the devil is to move you from right to left.

It is the purposes of God to move you from left to right.

For our consideration today, I have chosen Malachi 3:8-12.

“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. 10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. 11 I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. 12 Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.

This is a passage about God’s blessings upon those who returnto obedience to His covenant.

In our world dominated by the “prince and power of the air (the devil)” many of processes are influenced against the goodness of God.

John, the Apostle states:

18 We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.

19 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

In the Malachi 3 passage, for example, God’s intended harmonious creation experiences the negativity of food destroying devourers.

Devourer is a way of stating, “eater.”  There are locusts, caterpillars, rodents and any number of plant diseases postured to devour the food sources of God’s people.

Nature would be very different without the influence of the devil and the agreements made between Adam, Eve and the devil.

We understand the eating of the crops and produce in Malachi 3:11 to be both directly and indirectly the work of the devil as allowed by the providence of God.

Jesus’ clearly announced that he has come “to destroy the devil’s works.”

Today, this also includes the direct and indirect works of Satan against you and your:

  1. Finances
  2. Relationships
  3. Physical and Mental health
  4. Vocation
  5. Faith.

If you are living in obedience and holiness before the Lord and……

There is a strong underlying resistance to the progress you are seeking to make in these five domains and you are having a difficult time moving from left to right on the continuum, it is most likely a work of the devil against you.

Despite your prayer, wise counsel and best effort you are moving from right to left on the continuum, it is most likely a work of the devil against you.

There is a sudden destruction or reversal of progress, it is most likely a work of the devil against you.

There is a major issue for which no cause or solution is known, it is most likely a work of the devil against you.

Is there any difficulty in your life that defies natural causes, reason and normal healthy living?  The Holy Spirit’s discernment is necessary to determine your best way forward.

1 Corinthians 2:14

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

1 Corinthians 12:10

to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

Today, by faith in the life, death, burial, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit, I resist the works of the devil coming against my finances, relationships, physical and mental health, vocation and faith.

With Jesus, in Matthew 4:10, we declare, “Be gone, Satan!”

In the name of above every name, we pray.  AMEN

Listen – My Story

  • What is the best part of your summer as of today?
  • What are your plans for staying active in July and August?

Learn – Digging Deeper

  1. When you observe our world of today, what evidences do you see that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one?
  • 1 John 5:19
  • Do you rest peacefully in John’s statement in 1 John 5:18?

18 We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.”

  1. The Christian.  We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning.”
    1. Jesus.  “but he who was born of God protects him”
    1. The Christian.  “and the evil one does not touch him.”
  • This week’s text, Malachi 3:8-12, connects tithes and offerings to God’s rebuking of those things that devour.  Do you see God’s resource protection as a person who tithes?

Life – Taking it Home

  1. What is the Holy Spirit saying to you through this lesson? 
  2. What do you need to do to see God’s rebuking of the devourer of your finances?

Lift – Prayer

  • May we join you in prayer for the destruction of the works of the devil in your finances?
  • Please pray for the family of Ethel Thomas in their time of grief.
Posted on 27th June 2020 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post
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Psalms: Preparing for the Judgment of God, Part 2

Psalms:  Preparing for the judgment of God

The Judge, finding us doing His work, will be pleased with us.

35 “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, 36 and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. 37 Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. 38 If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! 39 But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”  Luke 12:35-40

For what actions are we to be dressed and what light are we to have trimmed and burning?

The words and actions of Jesus are our guides.

16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

18 “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.”  Luke 4:18-19

When the King comes into His kingdom as Judge, it is essential that He finds us doing the very works He came into His kingdom to do.

  1. To proclaim good news to the poor.
  2. To proclaim liberty to the captives.
  3. To proclaim recovery of sight to the blind.
  4. To set at liberty those who are oppressed.
  5. To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

For a variety of reasons, we know that every Christian is assigned ministry to the poor.

Ministry assumes relationship. Thus, every Christian must be seeking loving connectivity with people living in poverty.

2020 Poverty Guidelines for Alaska

Number of Persons in HouseholdAmount of Income
115,950
221,550
327,150
432,750
538,350
643,950
749,950
855,150
https://aspe.hhs.gov/2020-poverty-guidelines

What do we learn from the hymns of Israel about God’s concern for the poor?

We are to always remember and extend hope to the poor.

Psalm 9:18

For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.

We are to recognize the many ways the poor are plundered, hear their groans and arise on their behalf, helping place them in safety.

Psalm 12:5

“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan,
    I will now arise,” says the Lord;
    “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”

We honor the plans of the poor and help them find refuge.

Psalm 14:6

You would shame the plans of the poor,
    but the Lord is his refuge.  

We deliver the poor from those who are too strong for them and from those who rob them.

Psalm 35:10

All my bones shall say, “O Lord, who is like you, delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, the poor and needy from him who robs him?”

We consider the poor.

Psalm 41:1

Blessed is the one who considers the poor! 

We seek righteous justice for the poor.

Psalm 72:2

May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice!

We defend the poor, give deliverance to the children of the needy and ask God to crush the oppressor.

Psalm 72:4

May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor!

We help the poor and needy praise God’s name.

Psalm 74:21

Let not the downtrodden turn back in shame; let the poor and needy praise your name.

We give to the poor.

Psalm 112:0

He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor.

We raise the poor from the dust and lift the needy from the ash heap.

Psalm 113:7

He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap,

We satisfy the poor with bread.

Psalm 132:15

I will abundantly bless her provisions; I will satisfy her poor with bread.

May we be prepared for the judgement of God by having His love for and actions toward the poor.

Posted on 24th June 2020 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post
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Living By Faith: Father’s Day 2020

Living by Faith: Destroying the works of the devil and establishing God’s kingdom in the earth

The ministry of Jesus, who lived a sinless life, was crucified, buried, rose again and is alive forever, includes establishing God’s kingdom in the earth today.

The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.  1 John 3:8

Today’s text, Isaiah 9:6, prophetically reveals the “kingdom establishing and devil destroying Jesus” in a variety of roles.

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

The government of God’s kingdom is upon Jesus’ shoulders.

  • Jesus, the Wonderful Counselor, is the kingdom’s wisdom.
  • Jesus, the Mighty God, is the God and power of the kingdom.
  • Jesus, the Everlasting Father, is the Father of the kingdom.
  • Jesus, the Prince of Peace, is the peace of the kingdom.

Jesus, the Everlasting Father, reveals the high value of proper fatherhood.

First, proper fatherhood is revealed as being immersed in God’s kingdom.

  • We are fathers born into the kingdom of God.
  • We are fathers formed into the character of the King of the kingdom.
  • We are fathers forming others into the character of the King of the kingdom.

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  Romans 8:29

Second, proper fatherhood is everlasting.

  • From before conception and into the everlasting a father is father.
  • Proper fatherhood is an everlasting relationship.

The three staples of children’s social and emotional diet are their mother’s love, their father’s love, and stability. When children are raised by their married parents, they have daily access to all three. These needs have nothing to do with a child’s race, and the absence of one or more of these critical staples makes children emotionally malnourished and more likely to struggle academically, suffer a host of behavioral and emotional challenges, become a teen parent, and be incarcerated. That’s why marriage is a social justice issue for children.  https://thefederalist.com/2020/06/12/to-truly-reduce-racial-disparities-we-must-acknowledge-black-fathers-matter/

  • Consider these lyrics in Pappa’z Song by the late rapper Tupac.

Had to play catch by myself, what a sorry sight
A pitiful plight, so I pray for a starry night
Please send me a pops before puberty
The things I wouldn’t do to see a piece of family unity.

In the father relationship, we are most like Jesus when we maintain an everlasting commitment.

Like our Everlasting Father we give the gift of consistently communicating our commitment.

18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  John 14:18

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.  John 14:3

Like our Everlasting Father, in our commitment, we give the gift of mindful presence.

            And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:20

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
    He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.  Psalm 23

Like our Everlasting Father, in our commitment, we give our unfailing love.

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.  John 15:9

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.  John 13:1

When communicating our everlasting commitment, being mindfully present and sharing the gift of unfailing love we are most like Jesus, our Everlasting Father.

Because the Everlasting Father is communicating everlasting commitment, being mindfully present and sharing the gift of unfailing love, the devil seeks to destroy them.

When communicating our everlasting commitment, being mindfully present and sharing the gift of unfailing love we join the Everlasting Father in destroying the works of the devil.

Respond to the Everlasting Father’s commitment, presence and unfailing love by placing your trust in Him for salvation.

MCA LIFE GROUP HOMEWORK

Listen – My Story

  • Do you have a story of a father’s love, either with your own father or someone father-like?
  • What are important characteristics of a father from your perspective?

Learn – Digging Deeper

  1. When you think of God’s everlasting commitment, what comes to mind? Jeremiah 31:3
  2. When you think of God communicating His commitment to you, what comes to mind? Romans 1:20, 2 Timothy 3:16
  3. When you think of God’s everlasting presence, what comes to mind? Deuteronomy 33:27
  4. When you think of God’s everlasting love, what comes to mind? John 3:16

Life – Taking it Home

  1. What is the Holy Spirit saying to you through this lesson? 
  2. How can your Bible Fellowship help you destroy the works of the devil in your life in relationship to the father roles in your life?

Lift – Prayer

  • May we join you in prayer for the destruction of the works of the devil in your father relationships?
  • Please pray for God to establish stable homes with father, mother and children harmoniously living together to the glory of God.
Posted on 20th June 2020 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post