2016 Sermons & Evening Studies...
25 December 2016 The Great Joy of Christmas Pastor Billy Robertson sermon notes
Like Israel of old, unless the saints are willing to speak out and live the prayers, the citizens of the lands live under the oppression of the enemy. Therefore, Deacon Joshua opened this message by having the saints offer prayers for specific areas. The message itself begins at about 14:20.
4 December 2016 What Are Your Expectations? Pastor Billy Robertson sermon notes
The Lord's Prayer is the example of dependence on the Father and the model of that last piece of armour that brings us fully into God's will and brings us fully under His covering. We draw our strength from the Father, not ourselves. We are far too weak to handle the armor we need. It is with His strength and the knowledge of His presence alone that we will defeat the enemy of our souls. It is with His strength and the knowledge of His presence we can forgive as we have been forgiven, that we can be cleansed, that we can be spiritually and emotionally healed, and that we can be what we were supposed to be from the Garden. The fact that we are in His will, forgiven by the Judge of the universe, and given relationship through Jesus' intercession is the fulfilment of our greatest hope and need--freedom from sin, being an eternal citizen of heaven, and having our daily needs met on a consistent basis, all of which leads to our perfection and growth as a loved and cherished child of the Father.
There are many hard things in scripture. Some are too difficult for many to understand, others are difficult to put into practice. Such are the concepts of grace and obedience. We have a hope in Christ, but what is the practical impact of our faith in Him? Here's a clue---Don’t ask for advice if you aren’t willing to obey.
Peace -- The presence of something good, not the absence of turmoil. It is a confirmation of a hold on solid ground even when everything else is bucking and in the storm. Jesus promised the kind of peace the world does not understand nor can it give. It is a preparation that gives us a centering when nothing else is centered. Peace. It is a part of the Good News of salvation through Jesus the Messiah. Seek the Gospel which is salvation in His name, allowing us to the power of His peace, of His truth, of His work on the cross, and of His righteousness. Seek peace, and let it rule your thoughts, your feelings, and your choices. Seek peace!
Prayer is not a wishing well or magical lamp--it is a means of intimate fellowship for everyday living and of claiming God’s promises while being abandoned to God’s will and knowing He will work through me. Oswald Chamber reminds us "When we work, we work. When we pray, God works! " We are to keep constant in our mind that we are NOT of this world. We are to have an intimate family connection and dependence on the King. We are to constantly reflect that the Word was made flesh. The people of His time saw His miracles and works, but it was the way He prayed that made the difference! His boldness, His humility, and His utter dependence on the Father was something the disciples understood to the be the source of His connection with the Lord. Jesus showed an intimacy and respect of humility and expectation of God's will to be done, even in us.
It is a deep dependence which leads to an intimate fellowship. Boldness comes honestly and clearly when we KNOW we are a part of a family that hears and listens, and when we have a Protector and Defender that is also a Warrior who has taken us in as His very own and has and will fight the battles with and even for us. Our part is to keep our eyes on the King Who has already defeated the foes of our lives, and Who constantly communicates with us to keep us focused and ready to move at His command. Prayer should always be the first response in any situation. Our problems are His opportunities….
Being a follower of Christ is not the easiest path to follow, but when we come to the Lord and submit to Him, it really is a sort of "plug and play" experience. His grace is what keeps us and our obedience is what gives us a life that, though filled with challenges and trials, promises a settled end. Just learn of Him and follow His directions. It is already planned and put together. There is 'no assembly required.'
Growing In the Love of God-The more we get to know God, the more we are humbled. Job, Moses, the children in the wilderness... all had opportunities to meet directly with the Lord of all creation. Moses and Job trusted Him enough to meet with Him face to face; the fledgling Israeli nation was too afraid, and required a go-between... If we want to love God more, we must be willing to meet with Him face to face, to reverence Him for Who and What He is, to realize that He may come to us in the thunder and dark clouds, but that the tempest is to protect us from the Shekinah glory of His presence, and to allow us to be covered under His wings and kept from being destroyed by His holy righteousness. He has chosen us and calls us to Him. If we want to be closer to Him, we must come in humble understanding and fear, but it is a fear borne of recognizing our place and His greatness. Naomi returned to that place, to that trust, and led her daughter-in-law to a saving faith that place her in the lineage of David, and eventually Christ Himself. The Fear and Reverence of God leads us to experiencing fully the worship and love of the King of the Universe.
30 October 2016 Helping the Victims of Domestic Violence
October is the nationally recognized "Domestic Violence Awareness Month". As a church, we support organizations that help the hopeless and helpless. The James House is recognized throughout Virginia as a top organization to help victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. CBF has had a long-standing relationship with The James House, and today hears from Jane Clayborne, the Director of Community Relations. Jane has spent years with the TJH, and gives a clear explanation of just what TJH does and how we, as individuals and as believers can help those in danger of violence and who need support and guidance in how to change their lives from being a target to being back on even footing. Please watch the videos TJH has produced to share the stories of those who are served by The James House at Copyright 2016 All Rights Reserved
Look at your problems in the light of God's power, instead of looking at God in the shadows of your problems... Do you want what God has available to His own? Everything God has, no matter what?? You may and probably will face problems, but without problems, there is often no feeling that you need to pray. No problems, no prayer? Hmmmmm. Problems make us face our frailties, and lead us back home to Him. Facing our problems, with prayer and trust in God, causes us to grow in our relationship with Him, and makes us grow up to be more of what we should be in His image. Be real, be you, and talk to Him ... It doesn't need to fancy ... it just needs to be real.
How in the world can giving up your own time, space, finances, plans or anything else you hold dear lead to gratefulness? Listen as Deacon Josh explores and explains the connections God has made between giving and receiving, between cheerfully "sacrificing" and understanding the wisdom of eternity through the resulting gratefulness.
All or nothing... that is the price of being authentic and honest with yourself. You cannot call Jesus Savior without also bending the knee to Him as Lord. It is an all or nothing proposition. Often Christians want to follow the Lord, but their faith is based on what He will do for them, not necessarily what He has already done in opening the way to eternal life. Because we tend to focus on the here and now, our temporal existence, we also tend to expect the Lord to "fix" our problems and come to our rescue or just make things always better... we forget to keep Him at the center and to honor Him as the King of All Kings, the Lord and Master Who rightly sits on the throne of heaven, and the Judge of all the earth.. We forget to remember that He is the star of the story, not us. We either follow, honor, worship and obey, or we do not, but there are no half-measures, no lukewarm disciples... it is all or nothing.
Prayer. A conversation. A petition. A way of expressing hurt, love, dreams, hopes, heartaches, confusion, and trust. Prayer is all of those things, and more. It is a relationship of speaking and listening to the God of the Universe and the lover of our souls. It is a tool of connection and contemplation. What is not often considered is that it is a bulwark and bludgeon against the onslaught of the enemy. Prayer~a major part of the armor God gives us to wear while in the battles of spiritual warfare. It is mightier than we realize, and Pastor Billy gives us valuable tips on how to use this tool to lift our hearts, increase our trust, access the wisdom of God, and land telling blows and strong reminders on our already defeated enemy and his minions. Prayer.
Friends. We need good friends to be by our side in both the good and bad times, to share our joys and our burdens. What does Scripture say about friends and friendship? The Bible challenges us to be the kind of friend that would make the Father smile. Just what kind of a friend should you be? Jesus was pretty clear, and so were the prophets. To have a friend, you must first be one.
Love is multi-faceted, with its many faces being heralded and twisted by the world, so that many people, including believers, mistake "love" for passion or being enamored with some person or some idea. The love which comes to us from the Creator of the Universe is complex and pure. Scripture describes five main types of love, and provides the secret to have or show all five. Four of them are easily recognized, and the fifth? To have or to show--to receive or to give--that understanding is the key to opening Love's Secret. Listen as Deacon Joshua leads you along the pathway to discover for yourself Love's Secret.
Close combat--that is often the fight that the believer must wage against the enemy of our souls. Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy. That suggests he gets in close, into our personal space, into our emotions and our heads. His purpose is to set up a stronghold in our lives and deny us the freedom Christ has purchased for us. In Matthew 26:51 the sword used is a close-combat weapon. It was used for invading personal space and dealing cutting blows to the enemy. Our Sword of the Spirit is like that two-edged sword, meant to thrust, cut and slice the foe. The believer must know that our enemy will come after us, and that the fight is often long and constant. We must learn our weapons and how to defeat our enemy. Through the Word of God we can know how to fight, and win! The Word of God is our Sword of the Spirit and Jesus showed us how to use it both defensively and offensively. Listen as Pastor Billy shares the power and skill used in wielding The Sword of the Spirit.
The Gospel was a grand pronouncement of love of the purest kind! It was love that shouted the good news that anyone who will is no longer are under the weight of sin and judgment before a holy God, and yet so many people reject this love. They cannot process the gift of the Gospel. They cannot fathom the love it contains. They reject the offer of life because they are happy in their misery, blind and deaf to the spiritual world and the consequences of being their own gods or serving the flesh. They live for the moment, never facing the fact that the moment will soon end, and then will come their great and ignored unknown. The Gospel explains the possible consequences and makes "the unknown" a known end. The Gospel is based in a supreme act of love for a world of blind and deaf people afraid of seeing and hearing the truth. The love that sent the Messiah was a love that caused the most righteous to die for the worst sinner. The Gospel is Love from a Holy God for His creations, and a way to come back home to Him. Love is the reason for the good news that we no longer have to die in our sins, but can leave the weights of this life behind and enter into an eternity no longer worried to meet that "great unknown."
What is the mission to which we have been called, and how do we go about accomplishing that mission? We are like the moon. We do not shine of our own light, we reflect the light of the Son. We may go about the world right now, but ultimately we are a celestial body - and our place is in the sky. By nature of who and what we are, we draw the world towards us, and thus towards Him. Men, however, have no more chance of joining us in the sky than does the dust of this world in flying up to meet the moon. Sin is like gravity drawing them inevitably inexorably downward. It would take a miracle of God’s power to overcome the power of this world and the nature of the weights of sin. So what is our role? Where do we fit into the music of the spheres that is God’s good plan? Deacon Josh explains just what is meekness, and how it is key to the mission given each believer--it is the power of the light of the Son reflected through us--it is the calling of a dark world to a marvelous light--it is our work in this world-- The Mission of Meekness.
The head leads the rest of the body, be it the physical direction as in diving or gymnastics or in planning something which takes research and action. The head is where the mind, the will, and the soul work together to make choices. It is often under great stress by the flesh, great temptation by the world, and outright assault by the enemy of our souls, the devil and his minions, to make wrong choices, destructive choices, and even deadly choices. Wrong choices can look good, but good is often the enemy of best, and without the protection of the Helmet of Salvation, giving in to those old pre-salvation ways can seem to be easier and happier than fighting the fight it takes to defeat the flesh, the devil, and the world. The pressure to abandon faith and the desire to give up and give in is as real, and sometimes as sharp, as a concussion, but with the Helmet of Salvation, you can stand strong and avoid that cranial dent the enemy wants you to suffer...
Pride~it is the one enemy that is not external, an enemy we cannot defeat, against which willpower fails. Pride. It rises up within us, and subtly ensnares our emotions to react in ways which do not please the Lord, or others, but it also is that sin which we mask in ourselves, and which we easily can see in others. Pride. It is a jailer and provides for us an internal prison giving reign to the old man and holding back and muffling the voice of the new creature we become in Jesus. It is a deep root that leads to all other sins. Only through Him can this prison be destroyed, the jailer thrown out of a job, and the root dug out and killed. Only from a position of power through the Living Lord Who lives in us can pride be defeated, and as an adopted child of God, we have that power within by the Lord Himself Who is our shield and the Captain of our souls! Listen as Deacon Josh explains just how strong is that power from Christ Himself, and just how important it is to acknowledge our own pride, then use that knowledge to destroy its root in us. Pride--the enemy within.
David in the Psalms said, "My times are in thy hand" when calling out to the Lord during a particularly rough time in his life. His times, his goings and comings, his experiences, his very existence David acknowledged with entirely withing the hand of the Lord. Nothing could happen to him that the Lord did not ordain or allow--he belonged to Him, and therefore had faith in all that passed to be used for his good or the good of others. Faith. As a shield, faith in the Father of us all can pull us through sorrows and grief, through internal and external battles, through temptations and joys. That shield, like the Roman shields at the height of Rome's power, was strong and could interlock with its neighbor shields forming a covering and protection that was amazingly tough and through which the arrows of the day had little chance of penetrating. Our shield of faith does more than just rebuff the enemy's attacks--it literally douses the flame and removes the power of that attack. When our faith is grounded in the word of God, truth, and trust, when we remember past experiences of God's protective and guiding hand, our shield stands firm and holds against the devil's attempts to draw us out with temptations, distractions, and downright lies. The shield of faith....
Shameless. That word seems to fit modern American society-from baggy pants to free sex to multiple abortions to deep debt to politicians' lies, we seem to have no shame over shamful things these days. That was not always the case. What changed? And what does the Lord of all creation think about this situation? Is He ashamed of the people who still claim to be His, but have no problem with at least looking the other way if not outright participating in these things society now deems as "okay"? Listen as Deacon Josh explores the emotion of shame and its place in the Christian walk. Spoiler alert--Yes, God can be ashamed of us, and often is, but He tells us how we can fix that sad situation...
Peace...there are two kinds--which one do you have? Th exxperience of peace might mean no apparent turmoil. Judicial peace is a legal ending of turmoil, and the battle is over. Someone has won. As a Christian, we can have both, although experiential peace is harder to attain, as this world is not a place that likes or encourages real peace. As long as the enemy of our souls is running his evil tracks across this world, and as long as we have the flesh with which to contend, we will have opportunities for turmoil and challenges. However, our peace is beyond what the world offers. We have a Savior who has already attained the judicial peace and defeated our enemy. We just need to appropriate and act like it. God has provided. Now we must believe it and walk in it. John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." Jesus gives us a peace we cannot attain through the world, but only through personal committed and trusting association with Him.
Ever been in trouble, real trouble? Ever have someone come to your rescue and plead your cause? Trouble and rescue-right and wrong. Just how are those things settled in the Bible? "Right, righteous, righteousness -- to be straight, to operate in a straight, honest and truthful manner, to choose what is right and pure, to honor and correctly apply God's law." Abraham and Job both were accounted by God to be righteous men because of their faith, and their works and their lives gave evidence to that faith. They kept the way of the Lord and operated in just judgments. In the Old Testament it meant the fulfilling of the requirements of the 10 Commandments, the Law. One thing is very clear, however - no one can fulfill every facet of the law. If we do not sin in action, we do in attitude and thought-life. No one can earn the complete sinlessness to which the Law points since everyone makes mistakes, and no one is perfect and sinless. No one, except Jesus the Messiah, and that is the very reason for the Gospel. It is the Good News that in Him we can have accounted to us the covering of righteousness we cannot attain by ourselves. Righteousness. Walking the right path in the right way, helping others, while pleasing and honoring God with a perfection found only in the blood covering of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and our Advocate before the Father, Who will defeat the Accuser on our behalf each and every time.
Laws... every society, every group, even families...have rules or laws that govern their actions and to which the members agree. In the Bible, God lays down some very specific expectations for His people, laws or commandments to which every believer ascribes and tries to live out. We don't always do so well, and there are consequences to breaking the laws, consequences we cannot avoid. God's laws are perfect, and lay a foundation for the laws of nature as well. His laws are the highest possible "organizational rules" there can be, perfectly just and perfectly sound. From His laws we know not to take what does not belong, or to protect life, or to be able to assemble together as family honoring each other and providing comfort and covering. But, His laws are impossible for sinful man to completely and always keep. So, just what is the purpose of the 10 Commandments and other commandments He gave us through Jesus? Deacon Joshua explains that the authority of the law and the ability to keep it perfectly come from the same source...God, Himself.
Pride~is it always wrong? Does God have pride? If so, and pride is wrong and we are judged and punished for pride (the whole 'goes before destruction' thing), then why should we be in trouble for having pride when it is okay for God to have pride? Definitions. It is all about context and definitions. Yes. God has pride, but it is not the arrogant, narcissistic, me-first, self-serving attitude we have come to associate with the word. That kind will lead to destruction! It is a different emotion, a different attitude. It is the joy and honoring with hope and a sense of wonder at the accomplishments and good things done by and for others. Pride. Listen as Deacon Joshua sorts out and rightly defines the word and then puts in in context for us to also have a Godly sense of wonder and worth when we come to understand God's pride in us.
Truth is a concept that these days moves. "Your truth vs my truth" is often heard, especially during heated discussions, but Biblical truth is solid, is immutable, is not given to personal definition. And, therein lies the problem. Often folks want to name experience as truth. "Your experience vs my experience" would be the better phrasing. Truth is not movable, not given to culture or whims. God has made clear in His Word that it is His definition that transcends all cultures, all emotion, all variables. Listen as Pastor Billy shares the real meaning and impact of "truth".
24 July 2016 Look to the Skies Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice sermon notes
Goals... You have to focus on the goal if you want to get something done. It takes planning and action.
You can't get to the goal if you don't do something. Goals. The Christian's goal is to share the good news of
Jesus Christ, NOT be pulled down by the world around us, and to bring as many saved as we can with us home
to heaven. We look around us and see evil covering the world. There is darkness and despair in every corner. Politicians who seem to be above the law or above the need for morality and decency dominating the political spectrum, and even in the church moral decline is evident. How do we as Christians keep our heads up? Better yet, when was the last time you actively persued the Great Commission, and became a beacon of light in this dark world? Action steps, given to us by the Lord Jesus, Himself, give us the tools and ability to deal with the oppression of emotions, and the very human behavior to look around and down, not up where the answers lie. Deacon Josh reminds us that we have a home built for us by the Lord Jesus, and lays out a clear set of steps that help us keep our eyes on the prize and not on the besetting circumstances that steal our joy, stop our onward path and keep us from sharing the Gospel.
17 July 2016 Stand And Be Restored Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice sermon notes
"I am grateful to God for all that He has done in my life. I think of where I would be if He had not intervened, and I shudder. But then I often also think of where I would be, what I could have done, if I had not wasted so much of my life. You may think me young, and I suppose you are right, but the fact that much of my life has been wasted is still true. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. Have any of you wondered what you could have done, where you would be, if you hadn’t wasted so much of your life?
Regret is a normal human thing. The danger comes in the perspective. We view those years as wasted, like a crop that has been eaten by locusts. Scripture tells us to redeem the time, for the days are evil. Eph 5:16. We know that we did not do this, we spent years in vanity and pride (as the song says). And so, we have regret. We forget however that God is a master craftsman. He can make use of even the most useless things - He created the universe out of nothing after all! Stand and be amazed at the master’s work, as he creates usefulness out of waste - and ministry out of misery. " -- Deacon Joshua Justice
17 July 2016 Expectations Pastor Billy Robertson sermon notes
Believer, do you feel that God has let you down? Have your dreams turned to dust, your hopes become hopeless? Expectations--they can lead you to making decisions that work well in planning, execution, and final product if they are founded in reality and truth, or they can absolutely disappoint, defeat and destroy you. If your expectations line up with the expectations and requirements laid out by God for His people, you will have a path that leads to a good end. That is His promise, and He is not a man that He should lie. However, if your expectations are based on hopes and dreams that flow from your own wants and desires, the most likely conclusion will be disappointment, pain, and disillusionment. When our expectations do not line up with the Word of God, the consequences are never as good or as rilght as they should have been, and some of them are absolutely disasterous. Expectations...are yours based on the Word of God and the Lord's requirements for our work and character, or are they a self or flesh promoted set of hopes and desires thinly veiled in religious cloth? Search your heart, and the Lord will show you which it is, if you really want to know...
10 July 2016 Comfort Ye My People Pastor Billy Robertson sermon notes
Ours is a world polluted by man made wisdom, self serving lifestyles, and laws that call evil good. There is a consequence to be paid for such a hedonistic pathway...and the consequences are not peace and safety, but violence, emptiness, and restlessness that cannot lead to a full, peaceful, and satisfying life. Isaiah describes this society as one where the people follow their own ways, and seek to fill the void with anything and everything but God. This society, repeated in history time and time again, earns the description of being another "Sodom and Gomorrah". That is not a compliment to any people, and definitely not when it is a description applied to any people that call themselves His, be they Christian or Jewish. But the Lord also calls on those who follow His ways to reach out, to witness, to share, to love and to comfort those who have fallen into the emptiness and despair of going it their own ways. He wants us to be comforters to bind up wounds and call the wayward ones back home. And, the Lord says He will stand by us, give us His Holy Spirit for strength and wisdom, provide the model in Jesus the Messiah, and will never abandon us to the wiles of the world as long as we do not abandon Him. Stay in His Word, follow His ways, and be His hands and feet to today's Sodom and Gomorrahs. Don't hide, but go into the darkness and bring light and life. Comfort the wayward, and especially reach out to the prodigals, His people, and call them back home to Him.
10 July 2016 Where Is the Zeal?? Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice sermon notes
"I find in the church a great deal of knowledge, a moderate amount of faith and a disturbing lack of zeal. Christians everywhere profess that they leave everything in God’s hands, that they are doing the best that they know how; but they never seem to leave the simple path of seeking truth (which is good) to pass through the gate of truth and actually walk the straight and narrow path of action (which is better).
I seek out those whose enthusiasm and passion outshine my own so as to inspire me to greater heights. I try to encourage and exhort those around me, to bear their burdens. Yet all too often what I see is a fallback on the familiar idol of the mind. We have a church of men whose faith makes sense - it is ultimately reasonable, instead of those who reason on the basis of their faith.
What poor Christians we then are! When the moderate Muslim has more passion for prayer than you, when the average Mormon has a greater zeal for witnessing, can you truly say that you seek God with all your heart? Or is it really that you seek him with your mind instead?
I have long asked the question “Lord, where is the power?” Where indeed is the power of the church? The answer is much simpler than you may think. The power is in the passion. When you have a clinical faith, you have an empty one. Your Holy Ghost is an answer to a test question, your cross an idol, your Jesus is quantified and relegated to the theoretical. You think you do not limit God because you can answer with the simple ‘not my will but thine’, you think you are exempt from this problem of the church. 1 Cor 10:12 - Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." -- Deacon Joshua Justice
3 July 2016 The Importance of Integrity vs Intention Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice sermon notes
So much of life's pathway and events are based on our internal attitudes, excuses, and responses. We have a God Who cares about us and our impact on the world for Him. He did not create a fallen world, but it is fallen, and our free will, our human form, has a tendency to reject anything that brings controls or training or a restriction of our fleshly freedom. God however calls us to submit to the molding and changing and growing He has planned for us, so that we can become complete and holy, a people that reflects His character and in love gives those in darkness an opportunity to leave the wild abandonment the flesh offers. That supposed "freedom" is a lie that leads to the bondage of the old man under an oppressor that toys with the life of those who reject Christ. Satan loves to hurt God by lying to people, and using them as a puppet master might use a puppet, and then throw them away to an eternity of bondage and caging in hell. We are to learn of and follow the truth, and move from wishing and wanting, to being and doing. Intention is ok, but to be truth and wholeness, action is essential. Just wanting is not enough. Action in truth is what must be done. Walking in integrity brings peace and life and wholeness. All the intentions in the world will do nothing but be empty clouds with no rain. Integrity is the foundation of action that actually makes the walk sure and is the key to producing the fruit for which the Lord looks.
3 July 2016 Hearing the Voice of God Pastor Billy Robertson sermon notes
Living for God starts with training in humility. And, learning to hear His voice is a practiced choice. It is tuning out the noise of the world, the worries in our heads, the tyranny of the now that intrudes and demands our attention. To truly hear His voice, we must be familiar with the person and character of God, Himself. That means we must learn to step back from the noise and activities of life, and be always ready for when He speaks... It is not on our timetable. It is on His, and we must be always ready to be open to His leading. It is a deep listening with the mind and the heart. It is an openness beyond our ears. It requires prayerful preparation and a willingness to empty ourselves of ourselves and just quiet our hearts, minds and souls "like a weaned child". Once we are still, and ready, we will hear Him, and we will know His voice. Once that is our practice, then can we be effective witnesses. Then we can be a tool to bring victory and freedom to captives, especially as we perfect the ability to truly listen before we ever say a word.
26 June 2016 Worry Pastor Billy Robertson sermon notes
Worry is a constant focus on troubles and a bondage that chains you to the negative. Worry damages your health, consumes your thoughts, disrupts your work, affects the way you treat others, and reduces your trust in that which is good and holy. It separates you from God and blinds you to seeing what can be. Worry immobilizes you and brings no good end to your path. We are not to worry. We ARE to exercise concern, turn to the Scriptures, and do something about those concerns, but we are not to have anxiety over those concerns. We must do our very best, and let God handle the results. Jesus said when we trust in Him to give the outcome, the peace will come. So the question then is "Who is on the throne in your heart?" If it is you, you will have anxiety, worry, trouble, stress, and an emotional hard time. If it is the Lord Jesus Christ, the world, the devil and your flesh may throw all manner of trouble your direction, but the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit will actively lead you to trust in the outcome... The trials will be there, for all of us, but how we face them and what we do about them makes all the difference. Worry... a sin that holds us back; trust in Christ, a joy that gives us life, health and a peace that passes all understanding.
26 June 2016 The Importance of Perspective Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice sermon notes
"It's all a matter of perspective." That phrase is oft used to help folks see a problem or task or reason from another viewpoint. The Christian perspective is that we are here for a purpose. If we did not have a reason for being, then wouldn't the easiest and most kind thing for the Lord to do is take us to heaven as soon as we turn our hearts over to Him? It would certainly be easier than staying here and having to go through whatever life throws at you... but there is another viewpoint, another perspective. Our wish is often just to get it all over with--that's the weariness of the flesh that just wants it all to stop. And, that despair is often more than understandable, but...should we give in to it? God's wish is we be models, leaders, overcomers, and helpers of those who have little or no hope. We have hope, an eternal hope. The Lord want us to be the comforter and understanding companion that stands by them and works with them through the hard times to the times of rejoicing on the other side. How do you deal with the problems, challenges and pains? Your response depends completely upon your perspective... is it the perspective of the flesh? or is it the perspective of the Eternal? Make your choice and then walk the walk of your choice. Remember, if we stay within His perspective, we can stand on the fact that we, as family members and therefore a child of the Eternal God, we KNOW that eventually we will be like Him and understand fully the wholeness and holiness of God Himself. We will finally grasp God...
19 June 2016 The Father--Father's Day Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice sermon notes
It's tough being a parent. Parents so want their children to do well, to honor the family culture, and to be men and women that reflect the good things the parents have worked to implant into their very souls. Parents see their children as extensions of themselves, and vessels that carry their name and family honor into the future. Just what are vessels? People or things that hold stuff~some of "the stuff" is expensive, positive, wonderful, engaging, alluring, or creative... some stuff is not so much, like compost, old dirty socks, leftover rags, or laziness, bad attitudes and poor choices. Some vessels are made for honor-carrying those good things, some for dishonor-like the prodigal son . Almost every vessel can be recovered, cleaned, even purged and repurposed for better or different uses. From rusty pail to front door flower garden, what it is does not always determine that that is what the vessel will always be. It is the same with us. God first created mankind to be part of His "circle of friends/His family", but we have become corrupted and have divorced ourselves from Him. The words that would have filled us had we not left His side now are no longer a part of our internal "holdings." But, it does not have to stay that way. Christ came to call us back to our beginnings, to be cleaned up, to be purged of the ways of corruption, to be emptied of the stuff that keeps us in the pathways of dishonor, and to reconcile us to Himself and then fill us with His spirit and be vessels of light and honor. No longer do we need to be vessels of darkness and the rubbish of the world, led by the lies of the devil and driven by the lust of the flesh. We can be purged. We can honor the Father that created us by coming home, being cleaned and renewed, and acting like not just His creation, but His children who honor and reflect the family of righteousness and light.
12 June 2016 Abilities! Pastor Billy Robertson sermon notes
The quest for excellence ~ it occupies the time and mind of those who have a strong work ethic, a purpose in life, a reason for getting ahead and being on the cutting edge of a career, a relationship, or life in general. It is Scriptural! We are to do all we can to pursue and attain excellence, but there it one catch. Our excellent work ethic, knowledge, and cutting edge skills are not so we can be the most important, the one indispensible, or the most powerful person in the arena. For the believer, our quest for excellence is a way of returning to Him who saved us from ourselves and an eternal horrific end a thankfulness and a gift of polishing and attuning the abilities and skills He has given to us. We must be always mindful of the potential for a creeping in of pride in our work, and pride is the great corrupter of all things good. By staying close to the Savior, heeding His Word, walking in His ordained pathways, we find a freedom to be truly excellent in all we say and do. Remember that the Word warns us that good is the enemy of best. Learning discernment so as to not be trapped in the good by the enemy of our souls, the world systems, or the flesh, is one of the key ways of living a life of excellence. Abilities? They are the gifts God has given to us...excellence is the gift we return to Him.
12 June 2016 Faith In Action Deacon Joshua Justice sermon notes
To have faith in action, you must first get a clear understanding of "faith"... it is not a feeling, not a stomach flutter, and not an exercise born of our human choices alone. So, what is it? How do we exercise faith? Well, first we must understand it is not a mental concept--it is a substance, a thing, an activity. Romans makes that very clear. And, faith comes when we rely on our Older Brother, and not on ourselves alone. Paul wanted us to understand that we war with a dead man--our flesh--but that Christ Himself, our Older Brother, has our back, indwells us through the Holy Spirit, and is ready and willing to help us fight our battles (when we finally humble ourselves enough to ask and give Him the honor and trust to do it). We are not our flesh; we are our new creature spirit-man and we have innumerable allies! Just ask Elijah... Oh, and there are four prerequistes to tangible, substantial faith ~ 1) believe that He is, 2) believe that He is a rewarder of them who diligently seek Him, 3) diligently seek Him!, and 4) you will get understanding... one step at a time. Faith is the thing that comes when you do what you are supposed to do, and what is that? We follow the 'thing that good is', so we are to 'do good' and accomplish the purposes of Christ in this earth. Faith ~ believe, know, seek and finally, because obedience is faith in action, go and do.
5 June 2016 But I Was BORN This Way! Deacon Joshua Justice sermon notes
"You can't judge my choices! I have no choice! I was born this way!!!" How often have you heard this, especially when folks choose destructive or sinful behavior?? Is your choice really an unchangeable direction forced upon you by your DNA? Some things really ARE unchangeables--the time of your birth, your physical gender, your birth parents, the country in which you were born, your ethnic background, even the color of your eyes... but your choices? Really? Scripture says well, yes, in a way, and yet we have free will and a potential for changing those supposed negative unchangeables. When we become new creatures in Christ, guess what... now we are born His way, and can actually say "I was BORN this way!!!" when we ignore temptations, choose right behaviors, and look forward to going home to our Father and family in heaven. This birth is available to all and we can share the pathway to that new birth to others, thereby helping them escape the darkness, enter light, and no longer live under the law and the condemnation of that law. This is our mission and our task --go into the world, send them the light, pull them from darkness, explain the pathway, and lead them to salvation and home. The family is awaiting their return to the Kingdom. There will be no condemnation, and the King is calling for His sons and daughters to come home to Him...
5 June 2016 Happiness Pastor Billy Robertson sermon notes
Perspective is everything. Knowing the Father God loves us helps when things seem to go wrongly in this life. As a good father, He allows us to make choices and live with the results of those choices. We learn little by little if we trust in His direction, and soon realize His ways are the ways of peace. Things fall into place. Hope now becomes a part of your perpective. Knowing that it will all work out for our best, and that the Lord will cover us in His wings, brings peace and a stillness that allows us to sense and see the good things around us. We do not ignore the rough times, but can with patience and joy work through them. We know we are not alone. Happiness. A choice, a gift, a way of life.
29 May 2016 Peace, Be Still Guest Pastor Gary McReynolds sermon notes ROC history and testimonials
Peace... Pastor Gary describes what peace is and what it is not. Our society has become so chaotic and immediate, so fast paced and changing, that there is no space for peace. For people caught up in this immediate, instant answer society, they crave the drama and excitement, the thrill that is really an addicting chaos that ignores the deeper needs and cravings of our eternal souls. The restlessness of the age leads folks to create drama instead of have that calming depth of peace. We get robbed of our peace when we are nervous, anxious, or are bored by the routine and quiet of safety. Learning to live in peace is for many a difficult even seemingly impossible thing, but it is not. All healing and growth require peace, and God provides that peace so we might survive in the storms of life. Storms hit everyone, but when we build our life with peace on the Rock of Christ Jesus, our life will be in peace -- a peace that passes all understanding.
22 May 2016 No Cross? No Power! Pastor Billy Robertson sermon notes
This life is full of twists and turns and opportunities to reject the Christian walk because of hurts, upsets, griefs and pain. Pastor Billy's sermon is very clear and very direct...You cannot truly serve the Lord Jesus Christ unless you also fully understand and accept the place of the cross in your life as well as His. The cross was used as a tool of degradation and torture~ until the King of the Universe took your place and mine on it to spill His blood (an essential part of the bargain) and defeat the enemy of our souls by turning what was a massive defeat to a forever victory... He bore the pain and humiliation of this instrument of failure and torture for us, but that looks to the final judgment, not to making our lives here one of ease and all wonders. We therefore cannot expect this life to not have its griefs and pain, but these pains, these hard times, become classrooms of making us stronger, better, and more solid in our faith as we come to understand that the enemy is still trying to put us on a cross that has already been dismissed in court.... If you do not take up your cross and understand His work on it, you will not have power over sin and death. No cross? No power.
15 May 2016 Living Water Pastor Chuck Clawson sermon notes
Power, authority, responsibility, new life...On that first Pentecost, the upper room of a home somewhere in Jerusalem was filled with believers, scared but faithful. Their Lord had told them to wait and watch, and He would send a Comforter. They'd seen Him on the cross, they'd seen the empty tomb, some had seen Him visit them and let Thomas touch His wounds. Finally, they'd seen Him ascend into the heavens with a cloud of witnesses. Now they were together, praying with one focus gathered in one place... the Upper Room. And the Comforter came~in power, in flames of fire, in boldness and in authority. Each member of that little group now became a bold and unafraid witness to the truth of Jesus the Messiah. They spread the good news of His atoning work and His promises to take believers home with Him while making life on this earth truly worth living. They became His ambassadors, and each had power and authority, boldness and responsibility, and the badge of ownership from the Father Himself. That same power, authority, and boldness is ours today...we but need to give all to the Risen Savior, follow His directions, be baptised into His family and thereby take His name, and ask for the infilling of the Holy Ghost. It is real, and it is for today.... Living Water, the promises from the King of the Universe that still can be yours.
8 May 2016 A Mother's Love --Mother's Day Pastor Billy Robertson sermon notes
Mother's Day is now an internationally recognized day to honor mothers and the idea of motherhood in general. Women have a special place in God's plan for things, and especially mothers. God encourages the love and direction mothers provide. He calls her to be His example of mercy and kindness, but also justice, security, and continual right choices. A good mother watches over her children, providing for them, warning them of dangers, and training them. God does the same for us. Children are not always easy to handle. Oppositional, difficult, wayward, and selfish, moms must learn how to lead, guide, correct and teach them. Moms must pray continually for guidance for themselves, and wisdom to be there for their children. Godly just and caring mothers are God's gift to each generation.
1 May 2016 Dig Your Well BEFORE You are Thirsty! Pastor Chuck Clawson sermon notes
If you are planning a hike through the desert, you know you have to prepare for all sorts of possibilities - lack of water, snakes, thorns, sudden unexpected dust storms...The wise man looks ahead and makes preparations, not out of fear but out of knowledge. Life is very much like a hike through a desert. There is great beauty, and often great unexpected challenges. To life with no thought of anything but the now can be filled with danger, especially since eternity constantly beckons. We are to be wise and not fear the future, but to be aware of the lessons of the past, the current flow of the now, and the potentials of the future, including that time when we all stand before the judgment seat of the God of the Universe. It is too late to build your shelter when the storm is raging, just as it is too late to expect an open door into eternity with the Lord if you have never confronted the sin in your own life, asked for His forgiveness and bent the knee to His Lordship. He promises that those who follow Him will have the living water of His presence and protection to make it through this world. Just as a hike in a hot and waterless desert is a fearful thing to envision, Eternity is a very long time to be without living water.....
24 April 2016 Overcoming Spiritual Failure Pastor Billy Robertson sermon notes
Jesus calls us and loves us enough to stand up against the enemy for us, even to death. His apostles didn't always understand, but they and the other followers knew that this man, this Jesus, was special, was their hope and Messiah. Peter was even bold enough to say he'd lay down his life to defend Jesus. Jesus knew better...and knows that we are more like Peter than we are like Him. Like Peter we often go from bragging to brokeness, from declaration of strength and victory to cowardice and failure. And still, Jesus loves us, even when He demands we affirm it to ourselves and to others... That failure that plagues us everyday is not new to mankind. From Cain and Abel to Nimrod to Nebuchanezzer to Ghengis Khan to Woodrow Wilson to ... you name it. We all fail, and the opportunities to do so abound, but spiritual failure? That can be eternally deadly and from which there is no return, so what is the answer? Listen as Pastor Billy gives us hope and a pathway to overcome the worst of all failures, Spiritual Failure.
17 April 2016 Churchianity (AKA the Church of Vanity - a discussion on the 3rd Commandment) Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice sermon notes
Blameless. What a great description! How would you like to go through all of life with no blame laid at your feet, no attack on your reputation... That is the life of a true Christian. We are held blameless before the Judge of the Univers, but it does not mean that everyone who calls themselves a Christian is perfect or actually is blameless before the Judge. When we call ourselves Christian, we are identifying with Him in front of the world, and we'd best be careful what we do with His name. It is imperative that we carry His name with dignity and in truth. Too many people play a churchianity game... doing right things when people can see, but at home... well, the cursing, the porn, the things done in darkness.... All of us have the opportunity to be His ambassadors, but that is both in and out of the spotlight. Those who stay true, God finds faithful; those who just use the powerful name of Jesus, are guilty of using His name in vain, and that is not a good choice. Remember that everyone of us, saint and sinner alike, will stand before the Great White Throne of Judgment, and He has a decision to make based on the mercy provided and the choices we made to either come to Him completely and recognize Him as sovereign, or to play the game, use His name, and go our own way irrespective of His leadership in our lives. The Third Commandment ~ "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain." Or, as the Amplified Bible clarifies, "“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain [that is, irreverently, in false affirmations or in ways that impugn the character of God]; for the Lord will not hold guiltless nor leave unpunished the one who [b]takes His name in vain [disregarding its reverence and its power]."
17 April 2016 God Cares Pastor Billy Robertson sermon notes
Suffering is a training tool that brings us more and more to a dependence on God. It forces us to see what we are as the pressure forces us to either respond or react. Pride shows up when we tend to strike back and/or whine about the situation. We have to remember that as members of the family of God, He sends us to the school of life to grow us up and bring us to maturity and the perfection of character He expects us to be. We don't always know the plan and to demand an explanation does not indicate a learning or humble spirit. It is not that we cannot wonder, question, and ask, but it is the attitude that is the key. The Scriptures remind us that we can come to the Father as our Father, and call Him 'Abba". A pet name for a father,it is usually translated into the affectionate "daddy" or "poppa". God is our "abba" and designs for us a training that will refine and bring the best out in us, if only we learn to ask with humility, learn His will, and follow His ways. He will take our cares and will bring us to a planned and better end than we could ever design for ourselves. He is a loving Father Who will not stand by and let us become lazy, entitled, and worthless....therefore He teaches, trains, expects, and leads... He cares!
10 April 2016 Uncontrolled & Controlled Anger Pastor Billy Robertson sermon notes
Anger ~ this God-given, even ordained, emotion is part of our humanity, and part of our creation by the Lord, Himself. God the Father expressed anger, a holy and righteous anger that confronted sin, but was first shadowed by mercy and warning. This is the kind of anger that we who claim to be Christians should exercise ~ an anger towards the activities and choices God hates, the behaviors that degrade human life and fly in the face of the One who created it. However, we too often fall into a personal, vengeful, and pride-based anger. That "anger" is closer to rage and wrath, and is definitely NOT God-honoring nor Christlike. We are warned in Scripture as to how deadly our untamed thoughts and statements can be, and are admonished to control our thoughts and ways, using the guidelines given us in the Bible. Jesus did not just run around reacting. When He considered what was before Him, He took the time to wait, think, even write in the sand. When His anger was against a grievous sin, He responded as would the Father ~ lead with mercy and warning, then act swiftly and decisively when the course has been set by those who are "working the sin"... Pastor Billy takes us through a number of Scriptures, each underlining the place and authority of choices. Some belong to God; some are our responsibility. Hint: Anything done out of "being stung by pride" is not the way He want us to respond...
10 April 2016 Guidance Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice sermon notes
Where do you find ultimate truth, and where do you base your reasoning? What do you do when you are sure some person is blessed of God and must be close to Him, and then find out that hero has very clay feet? Now what do you do with that reasoning, and how do you figure out the truth about things, people, and God Himself?? Do not rate reason and faith with the wrong motive of judging truth and the Creator. Our place is to question, and question boldly, but always respectfully remembering that He is the Creator, and our logic, our reason will never approach Him. He is truth, and He is the foundation. In His Word we will find ultimate truth, and our logic, our reason must submit to His Word. If we try to judge God, we are trying to dethrone Him, and that is both illogical and entirely unreasonable.
3 April 2016 Burdens Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice sermon notes
I AM, the God of the Universe, demanded that there be no other gods before Him... I AM, from before to the after of time. When we focus on the King of the Universe, we know His law is here for a reason...to keep us in His protection, covered by His power and care, and to benefit our pathway through this world. Love is His character. It is in His love that we stand in eternal protection. God is good, and does good. He wants the same for us, to be good and to also do good, to honor Him and to be His channel of good to others. By having no other gods before the Creator, then and only then can we love, protect, guide and bring peace to our families, our neighbors and ourselves. In this way, we learn the way of the cross and how to be burden bearers for others and yet free in Christ, unentangled by the world, and able to truly be peacebringers and truthtellers to a world that desperately needs freedom, hope, and an eternal outlook. We learn the Christlike way of "doing good" and offering a chance at the truth and the right kind of love...
27 March 2016 The Resurrection of Jesus Christ Pastor Billy Robertson sermon notes
“He is risen! He is risen indeed!” This joyful cry has been heard across the centuries when the reality of the Risen Christ finally sank in to not only His disciples, but the populace that so eagerly awaited their Messiah. Now, some 2000 years later, the world is once again questioning the reality of the Living Christ, questioning the intentions of a holy God, questioning whether He even is. These are not new questions, and there is but one answer...He is, He was, and He will always be! And like the risen saints of old, there will always be witnesses to the truth of the resurrection power He has provided for us. Our lives can be open, clean, resurrected to new life, everyday because of His debt payment, His power, His life in us.
20 March 2016 The Path to Success! Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice sermon notes
Just what is success, and what's the difference between a good success and a bad success? Did you know that God notes a difference, and gives us guidance on what He counts as what pleases Him, even beyond sacrifices and checklists of worship? The Bible actually tells how to have "good success" in Joshua 1:8... and to be strong and of good courage, to remember that He has your back, and your pathway in His plans. Good success~that is the goal of every believer; to accomplish the life calling you have and know that the Lord Jesus will smile on you and on your good success. By living in a way proscribed by the Lord Himself, good success is a part of the believer's promised pathway. By learning His heart, we come to understand His commands are for our benefit, to lead us to good success. By dedicating our time of rest to being with the Lord, by honoring the Sabbath day and thereby hearing His heart and being undividedly His, by following the thing that good is, the Lord God Himself holds us close, and helps us to accomplish that ordained work of our lives and brings us Good Success.
13 March 2016 Being Confident Pastor Billy Robertson sermon notes
Philippians 1:6 says it all..."Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ"... When we trust in the Lord Jesus, we should turn everything over to Him. The work on the cross, that day He paid our debt to our Creator, was the beginning of the work done in each of us. His willingness to buy us out of the slave market of sin has less to do with how important we are, and everything to do with His choice to love us. It was and is the measure of His love for us, and in loving us He will continue to work in, on, and through us until we are called home in death, and leave this flesh behind. "The day of Jesus Christ" might be for each of us the day of our death, and should we still live at His return as the conquering King, it will be when He sets foot on this earth and the war with the fallen angels is finally over. In all of this our confidence is not in ourselves to stay strong, but in Jesus Christ to keep us in the palm of His hand... He is our guide, our covering, our shield, our defender and the Commander of the Hosts of the Father to protect us from the wiles of the enemy, and to warn us when we choose to listen to the flesh or to exert our own wills. He will perform His good work in us until there is no more time and eternity is our fate.
6 March 2016 7 Deadly Sins, Part 3~A Lenten Series Freedom & Victory! Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice sermon notes
By the 3rd Century AD, patterns of church life were slowly being set in place. By the 4th Century, Christianity was more and more tolerated, accepted, and finally officially recognized. Like any organization, religious or otherwise, the growing church was filled with...people... and people mess up, make mistakes, do wrong things, and generally tend towards sin. The patterns of human behavior have not really changed much over the centuries, but God does not want us to fail, and wants everyone to come to truth, and to escape the consequences of sinful, hurtful choices. He has provided tools to beat back and overcome temptations, the first being an understanding of who He is and just what sin is and can do. We tend to fall into the temptations because we equate them with the action, but the temptation is only the call to choose the wrong action. We don't have to listen, and since God wants us to be successful in life, He has made ways for us to rebuff and ignore those voices that whisper in our ears, or those cravings that want to set up shop in our heads. No~He has called us to freedom, and it is not only possible, but assured IF we follow His plans. He's already handed us the key to unlock our prison doors.... Hint: Use your failures to identify the traps and snares of the enemy, and use that information to disarm those traps and snares.
6 March 2016 The Blessings of Forgiveness Pastor Billy Robertson sermon notes
To know the blessings of forgiveness, we need to know the burden of guilt... Those who feel the full freedom that comes from true forgiveness are those who have felt most the heavy wait of shame and the deep, soul-twisting claw of guilt. God uses that heaviness to instruct and teach, and when we break, when the fires of life threaten to destroy you, remember that Jesus Himself stood in the flames of judgment for us, and now we can be safe in the place the fires have been. In this sermon, Pastor Billy calls us back to the foundations of what forgiveness is and should be... and just how important it is that we come to understand and humbly appreciate that great, gnawing "gift" of guilt.
28 February 2016 Christian Character Pastor Billy Robertson sermon notes
Christian character... how are we supposed to be different from the world around us? We say Jesus is our model, but most of us have a really hard time sounding and reacting the way we see Him behave in the Bible. Jesus was God in the flesh... we aren't, but we do have the promise of His aid and His spirit within us to lead us from one step to the next in shedding the old man and putting on the mind of Christ. To be separate from the behaviors of the world, to be different from what we were, to be more and more a reflection of the God we serve ~ all of this is the goal of the man or woman who truly believes and wants to serve God in a way that brings others to a saving knowledge of the Savior. Does the Christian goof up, fall, say unkind or downright ugly things, make poor choices, and sometimes look like the very world itself? Yes. Should he or she? No. But, when we do, He is faithful and just, when we acknowledge our sin and repent for the hurt we brought to His heart, to forgive us and bring us back from the brink to walk with Him yet one more time.
28 February 2016 7 Deadly Sins, Part 2~A Lenten Series: The 7 Deadly Sins, the Opposing Virtues, and the Character Qualities that Exemplify Each Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice sermon notes
In this second of the Lenten series, Deacon Josh shares a visual network showing the relationships between the sins upon which many focus during Lent, and the virtues that counterbalance them. (Having that visual accessible while listening will make the discussion that much more clear.) By tying in character traits, we begin to see just how we can understand the "simple complexity" that is our walk and our way through this world. Understanding, then, the interplay of these sins, virtues, and traits gives us the key to being an overcomer, and grants to us the perspective of heaven...
21 February 2016 What Is The Gospel?? Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice sermon notes
"When we forget where we come from, we lose where we are headed." Deacon Joshua's final sermon in his "Back to Basics" series ties together the various facets of the foundations of the Christian faith. He explains how these facets become like steps along a road that moves us from unbelief and emptiness, even despair, to hope and life and an expectation of peace and joy for eternity. These faith tenets are simple, understandable, and absolutely essential to understand if you call yourself a Christian ~ man's sin-prone nature, the clear defining of sin through the Law, the mercy and holiness of God, God's infinite grace, the ability to know the next right step and how to access the power to take it, and the gift of eternal life because our debt has been paid and we have been purchased from the slavery of eternal death. Yes, the Law is important for us to know the heart and mind of God, and now can be written on our hearts. when we walk in the Spirit, we show our love of God by doing the things that He would do, and loving the things that He would love...but it is not hard, nor complex, although some would make it so--these principles show the simple steps of obedience and belief that make up the Christian faith.
21 February 2016 The Guilt of Men & the Grace of God Pastor Billy Robertson sermon notes
There is a time that every believer comes to a crossroad and has to face the fact that no matter what she or he did, she or he could never get so clean, be so good, or be so self-controlled to never say a wrong thing, never slip up and make a mistake that hurts others, or hold the model of perfection in place without getting help. They have often found that many friends and family members have good intentions, but they, too, fall short of always being right and right on time. Many folks fall into the trap of criticizing others, but excusing themselves. That is a trap, and a lie, and deep down inside, we all know that we are not what we should be... The reality of how far short we fall can only be seen when we realize that there is One against whom are compared, and He does reach that perfection. The deep down sense if falling short, whether we acknowledge it or not, is actually the beginning of hope for the believer, and torment for the unbeliever. It is the guilt within that eventually leads us to coming home to the Creator, and calling on His mercy and His grace, the mercy and grace that takes us in, holds us close, reconciles us with our Maker, and helps us to stand tall and firm with a final realization that we are loved, and wanted, and owned by the King of the Universe... our guilt pokes and torments; His grace holds and comforts and finally we know that we are not alone, and that we are forever home.
We live in a fallen world... Good behavior is not always rewarded and bad behavior is not always punished, but neither instance changes the nature and power of God. He is good, to saint and sinner alike, making the rain to fall on both and giving the fruits of the field to whomsoever will. His principles of farming, family relationships, money and government provide safety and security when followed, be they instituted and used by the believer or the unbeliever. The mistake most people make is to blame God for the consequences of their own choices, or the choices others have made which impact them. This is a fallen and free-will world. It has an evil overlord who wants to thwart whatever God's plan and people want to do. Satan knows his end is sure, but in his arrogance and pride he is willing to cause as much damage and pain as he can before his end... God is good and the thing that good is. We have a choice ~ follow that which good is, or suffer the consequences of giving in to our own flesh and the enemy's empty promises.
Gluttony - one of those old timey 7 deadly sins... well, at least on one list from the 4th century. Deacon Josh brings out the foundational history of the Lenten season, and just from where all this stuff about giving things up came. Lent is that period of time recognized by most of the Christian world to be from Ash Wednesday to Easter. It is a season of reflection and meant to be a time where followers of Jesus can come again to that point in history where salvation from our sins became a reality and an accomplished feat, not just a hope to which all looked forward. "It Is FINISHED" was declared from the cross.
So, if it is finished, what's with all the stuff then about doing penance during Lent? And why is gluttony on the list? The body in which we live is made in the image and likeness of God Himself. Paul makes clear that our bodies are the "temple of the Holy Ghost" and as such we should and must respect both this body and the soul God has created which resides within. What we do to it reflects our relationship with our Lord. Just a note~gluttony turns out to mean more than food... and fasting is more than going hungry... In this discussion, Deacon Josh shares history and scripture, and makes the reality of coming and staying clean before the Lord less a legalistic have-to and more more a joyful want-to. Listen and you will find more freedom in celebrating the Lenten season in a way that honors God!
Often people might ask the Christian "Just what is this holy ghost?" The better, more accurate question is "Who is the Holy Ghost?' He is a member of the Godhead, along with the Father and the Son, and has a very real, very tangible presence among His people. His presence, His comfort, His power is available to us as He resides within and communes with and enables us to do the tasks our lives require we do... The Holy Spirit is God... and once we realize He is, and therefore is wholly worthy of our adoration and worship, life gets clearer... and choices become more clear cut. One of His tasks, as the spirit of wisdom, is to give us both comfort and wisdom and will teach us all things.... It is HE who has the authority and responsibility to school us and to Whom we must turn for wisdom and growth. So, now its time to question yourself ~ have you been giving the Holy Spirit the time of day? the respect, the honor, the worship He is due? It is He Who resides within. Take the time today to walk and talk with Him, and He will comfort, teach, and guide you on your way. He is how we put on the mind which is in Christ Jesus. The Spirit of God... fully due all adulation and worship and He is God within.
NOTE: part way through the sermon, we had a technical failure... therefore you will experience a blank spot about 27-28 minutes in. After the minor blank area, the sermon continues and finishes. Our apologies for the blank section that represents about 5-10 minutes of the sermon. His last scripture reference before the failure was Romans 1:18-32 . Much of the discussion of that scripture was missed. Please read the whole passage to understand where the audio picks up, then continue with the rest of the sermon which starts with Romans 2:14-16, the next scripture reference in the sermon notes. Thank you for understanding. editor
There is a chorus that sings "To be like Jesus, to be like Jesus, oh how I long to be like Him!" We might say that, we might sing that, we might actually want that, but how many of us are willing to do what is necessary to put on the mind of Christ and to exercise our connection with the Lord and thereby grow in grace and truth, and spiritual discernment, knowing right from wrong, what does and does not please the Lord? The New Testament clarifies just how to develop discernment, and John gives three guidelines we can use to watch out for the false and almost-true deceptions. We must know the absolute, unadulterated truth so as not to be taken in by teachings that sound good but are not fully based on the whole Word of God and character of Christ. Pastor Billy challenges us to do more than just listen, just warm a pew, or to just work on marking off a Christian checklist. He challenges us to learn God's character and then exercise and use that spiritual muscle we call 'discernment'. Only then can we truly "be like Jesus".
Covenant Bible has a long standing commitment to not only being debt free, but also giving to the local, national and international community of believers. Pastors Buddy and Beth Davidson, of the House of Prayer in Clarksville, VA, have worked for years in Zimbabwe, both in training local pastors and in helping to support the people directly. Their current work includes the development and building of an orphanage. Between the rampant disease, including HIV, and the leavings of the civil war of the last decade or so, this is a huge need. Pastor Beth shares information and connects us through the accompanying PowerPoint presentation to the need and the progress of thier work among the people and the hope found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. After the slide presentation, they answered questions from the congregation and shared stories of the people and the work, including dealing with demon possessed folks and understanding the trials of a country under dictatorship.
Questions every Christian should consider... How much do you need to do to earn God’s approval? How much of the law must we as Christians live up to? Do we need to do anything or can we simply choose to believe? What are the right reasons for us to take action? Think these through, and once you've decided on your answers, compare them with the thoughts and directions from Scripture as Deacon Josh walks us through "The Meaning of Grace."
The wicked may reign on earth for a while, but God sees who does right and who does wrong. In those last hours, when a man stands before the judgment seat of God, the Books of Life and of Works will be brought out. If you are in the Lamb's Book of Life, your works will either grant crowns to throw at the King's feet or act as hay and stubble to be burned, but the wrath that belongs to the Judge will not be poured out on you, for it already was dealt with by Jesus' atoning work on the cross. However, if you are not first in His Book of Life, your works--your words and actions--will be used by the adversary of our souls to condemn you. By not giving your life to Christ and coming under His atoning protection, you are now the only responsible party to pay for the sins you have committed. God would rather read your name in His Book of Life and throw those forgiven wrong words, actions, and sins at the feet of the enemy with His handwriting over the top of all indictments saying "Forgiven and Paid in Full"... God's longsuffering is what gives us length of time to address our sins and to face the enemy with the confidence that Christ's work on the Cross is enough, and that His perfect blood is the best protection we have against the lies and truths the devil throws in our face.
We are all given time... time to follow our own paths or choose another way, time to waste or use wisely, time to build or tear down, time to plant and harvest, time to have good relationships, and time to cause all sorts of troubles... but through every choice there are three constants 1) we all have a limited amount of time, 2) none of us really can know when our allotted time is finished and 3) we will be held accountable by the Judge of the universe for what we did with His precious gift of time... He gives us the strength to do what He has called us to do, and it is often we go so far we spend ourselves beyond what He wants, and that can be out of balance as much as doing little of nothing, expecting God to fill in the gaps... Balance. Jesus showed the balance of giving to tiredness, but not being burned out, of taking the time to go to the mountains alone to pray, of NOT making decisions due to the threats of His enemies, and finally to heeding the very last task and giving His all. That is our pattern... He has given us a path, and a task.. don't walk in the darkness and stumble in life, but choose to walk in the Light and show Jesus to the world by our confident and purpose-filled life, always being mindful of the limited time we actually have... and enjoy the time you are given!
10 January 2016 The Absolute Sovereignty of God Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice sermon notes
We say we believe God is all powerful and all knowing, but beyond these agreements, much of the history of the church shows a great debate on just what that means, especially in who is saved, how they are saved, and whether or not the idea of "once saved, always saved" stand or falls in Scripture. The main understanding is there are things we must believe, and then things we can believe. Much of the argumentation is over the "can believes", but there are some very basic "must believes." Deacon Josh poses questions and delves into the various beliefs, philosophies, and denominational choices that have become a part of the Christian coversation over the last two thousand years, and delineates the "must believes" so that we all have a foundational starting point for our discussion of all the rest.
Epiphany... it evokes the tradition of the wise men of the East coming to a new king to recognize him and his place in history according to prophets ...but who were these people and how did they know? Deacon Josh explores not so much who or how many, but what type of men these were, and their impact on history through their study and appreciation of the great learning they had. Their studies included wise books, medicine, geography, sages of many lands, and especially prophecies. One of the most revered of 'wise men', or magi, was Daniel, a leader of the wise men and truth teller to the kings of Babylon and Persia. His legacy, depth of learning and brilliance in navigating not one but three difficult kings, made Daniel legendary among these courtiers and counselors to the most powerful of kings and kingdoms. Considered almost a founder of this special group of scholars and soothsayers, he was a man in whom God moved and through whom he spoke and foretold events, including the coming of the Messiah, almost to the very day. NOTE: due to a mechanical error, the recorder quit mid-way and therefore the explanation of the veneration that the intelligentsia, scholars, and academics known collectively as "magi", is lost to the hearer, but Deacon Josh has provided his sermon notes. After the pause in the recording, we pick up again with the remainder of the story, and with the emphasis of, not "three wise men", but three important patterns and the model we should learn and understand... zeal, faith, and sovereignty.
It is in the dark times the light seems brightest... Pastor Billy shares with us how saints of old handled those tough, dark times without losing the trust and faith they had in Jehovah God. It is often that we find ourselves in difficult problems because we lack wisdom, jump into a situation without thinking, and perhaps are trying to solve the wrong problems.... He allows trials, troubles, classrooms and dark times~they give us opportunities to grow in grace and strengthen our faith. He is constantly available, and desires a relationship with us. If we only call on Him when we are in trouble, then we will often have troubles because it will be then that we actually think enough outside of ourselves to turn to Him. Knowing the character of God, understanding that His nature is both filled with mercy and demands judgment of sin, and realizing that we have a choice to be under His caring protective wings or to forge ahead on our own with out concern to His clear guidance as given in His Word, all combines to giving us the best possible pathway to victory even in the darkest of times IF we bend our will and seek His face every day in every situation. Joys and mountaintops, classrooms of faith and trust walks, and spiritual victories...that is the Christian life, when we make a practice of seeking God's face.
31 July 2016 The Perfect Sermon Special Speaker Rob Franzen, The House of Prayer, Chesterfield, VA scripture list powerpoint
We are the outreach, the "sermon" to the world around us, but are you 'perfect'? Is your family 'perfect'? Your boss? Your pastor? Probably the answer to all of this, if we are honest, is a resounding "no'. And yet, the Lord of Creation tells us to "be perfect"... After salvation, spiritual growth and maturity must be intentional or spiritual growth in wisdom and in truth will not happen. Wisdom, Proverbs tells us, is the principal thing, so get wisdom. Since Biblical wisdom is seeing things from God's perspective, using His guidelines and definitions, not ours, is an absolute requirement. Therefore, we must first know what the Scriptures are saying when we are told to "be perfect." Pastor Rob unravels this and shows us that, if we do things according to God's definitions, we can very much, be perfect and thereby be God's "perfect sermon" to all with whom we cross paths...
Please note--due to human error, the sermon was not recorded. However, Pastor Rob has been kind enough to provide his actual notes and powerpoint. Please use those for personal study. editor
4 July 2016 Eternity Pastor Billy Robertson sermon notes
Have you ever tried to "pin God down", to fully explain His nature, His character, His very being? He is outside of time, has no beginning and no end, and does not bow to man-made demands, rules, or understanding. God gives us a glimpse of eternity. Knowledge about the future should lead to obedience in the now, but explaining God and His desire for us to be with Him throughout eternity is like trying to explain to a two-year old how to do brain surgery. It will make no sense, and is actually pretty dangerous. That is why the Lord reveals things in part and when we are ready to understand. Never too much, nor too late, but just what we need and in His perfect timing. Pastor Billy explores the concept of eternity and the nature of the God of Eternity in this discussion. One thing about explaining forever is that it cannot be fully comprehended. We are small beings, a breath of life,
confined to a set amount of time. Eternity does not count time. There is none. Eternity is a forever that God
lives in, and in which He wants us to live with Him.