2018 Sermons & Evening Studies...
Note: to hear the videos, you may need to expand the window to access the volume. To hear audio only, please click on the underlined sermon title. editor
John 6:42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? John 6:43 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. John 6:45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. John 6:46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. John 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. John 6:48 I am that bread of life.
He came for us! We will be raised on the last day and we shall see Him, the great I Am!
30 December 2018 Missions, Missionaries, and Equipping the Nations
Evangelist/Teacher Andrew Clark notes
Guest Speaker Andy Clark was born in Africa to life-long missionary parents, and in turn, he and his wife are life-long missionaries and Bible teachers. They have served in Haiti, Uganda, and Kenya, and return to Kenya at least once a year to work with and help local pastors, teachers, Bible schools, and churches which he and his team have had the privilege to found and/or support. Technical problems have prevented us from uploading the video. Please enjoy the audio and remember this mission and their work in your prayers and perhaps even with donations as the Lord leads.
Check out Equipping the Nations at
Ah, Christmas! In today's culture it is a time for family, for buying things, for celebrating a season that is supposed to herald peace and joy. So many, though, find themselves up Ah, Christmas! In today's culture, it is a time for family, for buying things, for celebrating a season that is supposed to herald peace and joy. So many, though, find themselves up to their ears in debt by January, and many are beset by a lingering feeling of disappointment or even depression ~ a kind of emptiness that all the music and window shopping is supposed to cover over or even fill in. The real joy of Christmas is more than gifts and meals and lights and time off of work, fancy clothes and well-lit trees, and all the bright decorations… It is the gift of God's mercy and grace through the person of our Savior, Jesus Christ! This kind of joy has nothing to do with stuff and lights and anything else that takes its worth from the temporal world. The Joy of Christmas is the abiding joy of knowing that things are right between you and God. It is a contentment based in the hope, not the if but the when of God's love and promises. It is the eternal foundation of truth in Jesus the Christ, and that good news is that we are not shackled to the earth and its ups and downs, its artificial lights and its often empty promises... The Good News heralded by the angels to the shepherds on that probably cold, maybe early spring night was of the anticipated Messiah, the heavenly King Who would fulfill all the promises of the sages and bring God's people back into right relationship with Him. Christmas, the celebration of the coming of the Savior! Christmas, the fulfillment of prophecy and one more step towards the final coming of the King of All Creation!
To rule and reign! That’s heady stuff, and what exactly does that mean to the believer? What are we supposed to think ~ some Christians seem to think that we will be “kings” over municipalities or countries in our own right. It is clear that we will have some form of authority, but is it to be a ruler and tell those below or around us what to do? What the Scriptures mean, in the context of the time in which they were written, is that the Lord has made us “a kingdom OF priests” and that has a slightly different flavor from be a supreme regent over some section of the coming ages… At one time priests were a part of a bureaucratic hierarchy of which the High Priest was head. As priests under the authority of the High Priest, they carried out the guidance and religious expectations of the High Priest, who in his turn, served Yahweh. As priests in Jesus’ kingdom, we are His servants. We speak His words & do our best to do His works. We must be aware of our words & deeds for our authority comes not from our position, but from the cloak of our responsibilities to properly represent our High Priest and His commands.
A Snowy 2nd Sunday in Advent 2018 Greetings!
Pastor Josh & Sister Kristina 9 Dec 2018
In the early days of the church, Advent was a time of prayer, fasting & confession. Today, Advent is more a time of preparation & expectation of the coming of the Lord. Did you know the second advent candle has 3 different themes? Faith--to indicate the faith it took for Mary & Joseph to deal with the unexpected pregnancy & the trip to Bethlehem; Peace--for the peace promised to all mankind through the coming of the Savior; & the Bethlehem Candle pointing to the Savior's birth in a manger. He is coming again. Prepare!
Learn more about Advent in The Bible Project Advent Word Study Series...
Enjoy this video by The Bible Project. '"Peace" (Shalom)'~This word study from The Bible Project includes a study on the 2nd Sunday/Candle of Advent
We have all heard to keep God first. Many may be familiar with a list of priorities; “God, Family, Church, Country, Work.” But why is this the case? Is it simply common sense, or is it scriptural? Not only did the Old Testament speak to having the right priorities, but so did the New. Solomon, especially, dealt with being wise in your dealings in business, respect of others, and in religious behaviors. The leaders of the new sect of Judaism, which became the Christian church, also spoke to these things. Jesus was very clear that there are certain things to which we must carefully and wholly attend. So, what is the important ‘list’ and how does it all fit together? And, more importantly, what is the goal of Godly priorities and just how do we achieve that goal, as a committed follower of Jesus Christ? The principles are clear. All we have to do is keep our eyes on the one right thing.
Have you ever wondered about what the other side holds, why bad things happen, what the future holds, & just what Jesus meant about 'abundant life' when life is so not fair? Ecclesiastes notes that life is full of good & bad & that no one can expect a perfect, trouble free life. Jesus, though, made it just as clear that His entrance into our broken world was to provide a different answer to life's troubles. He brought us miracles, new approaches to dealing with problems, showed us the grace of the Father, & made the hope of eternal life open to all who would both believe & stay with Him. Jesus & his disciples did not have our New Testament ~ later they actually wrote it ~ & He used the Jewish canon to explain God's love & mercy to all around Him. Deuteronomy 9:6 reminds us that our blessings & lives are a gift from God, a gift God alone gives due to His mercy & love alone, even when we are difficult & stiff-necked. New Testament believers, those who believe on the Lord Jesus & look forward to His return, can know that our inheritance is reserved for us & will not go away, if we keep our focus on getting back up when life knocks us down, recognizing that we are His workmanship & we are not here to finish some task list, but are here to found our lives in committed belief in Him, & endure the trials. We who know, love, & therefore faithfully follow Jesus already have eternal life. When we meet Him upon our "graduation" from this training ground, we will be wearing a crown of life!
The Speed of Life! What is your speed of life, and are you living it well?? Or, is it a lot of stops and starts, highs and lows, purpose and …well, nothingness. The Bible looks directly at how we can, do, and should live our lives. For non-believers, it can be pretty empty at times. Solomon explores life’s meaning in Ecclesiastes. His summary in Ecclesiastes is not the greatest of uplifting, but tells truth if you have an attitude like his looking at all that is around and wondering about the meaning of it all... but so does Philippians 4:1-20 tell the truth, and in the Christian light. In Philippians we are encouraged to have a different mindset, one of both sensing and seeing the joy with which the Lord graces us... It is all about what is our foundation and the rock of our beliefs, our hearts attitudes, Who and/or what we trust, and our mindsets as we learn to Live at the Speed of Life!
The Crown of Righteousness...a reward from the King of Glory, but how does one live so that the Creator of all creation should choose to grant someone any crown, let alone a Crown of Righteousness? It can be placed on the head of any believer, but not in a "slap hazard" fashion. Like any race, there are goals to be met and hurdles to climb over. If you learn the "rules of the race" and run in a manner that stays on the track, a believer can get such a gift and recognition for a job well done. But first, he or she needs to understand how to achieve that reward from the King. It can be done, and Pastor Billy shares just what the Judge of the Whole Earth is seeing in a believer that merits "The Crown of Righteousness."
The world is full of questions. Most folks are full of questions too. Questions are good things, but too often the answers we get are unsettling, or only lead to more questions. Some of the hardest questions to face, or to try to explain to someone who may question those of us who follow the Lord Jesus, include "Why is there sickness and death in this world? Why is there pain and suffering? Is hell a real place, and if so, how can a merciful God allow that?" We need to be ready to handle such questions, and do it in a way that shows we have come to peace with the questions AND that they can as well. The Bible offers us a source of answers we can share with truth seekers. Pastor Joshua speaks directly to all those questions we have as we experience and see things in our travels through this life, and as we answer the Great Commission to give an answer for our hope and faith to those who ask of us.
The Crown of Rejoicing ! What is that and how does someone merit a crown that highlights joy, happiness, and an overflowing heart??? Listen as Pastor Billy shares how to make sure you walk in joy here on this earth and in your lifetime. Sound impossible? Not according to the Scriptures. Joy is a benefit of being a sold out Christian. And, it is a promise from the Lord Himself that we should have “an abundant life”, which does not necessarily mean lots of stuff and money, but does mean a rich and rewarding life even in the tough times. (Spoiler alert ~ keep your walk in the light, concentrate on praiseworthy things, and remember the Lord is walking with you through it all! Share that knowledge with others and be a soul winner ~ that brings you the joy you seek!) The Crown of Rejoicing!!
Ever feel bound up? Under the load? Dealing with guilt and just weighed down with "stuff" in general?? sometimes there seems to be nothing we can do to shake off the shackles of fear or things or the tyranny of the now that seems to rob us of joy and peace. What we must learn is that life is not easy, but...we are not alone! Believers have a Helper and a Warrior who has won for us a pathway to peace in the midst of the storm; we have a Brother who has called us home; we have a Father who has adopted us into His family. Listen as Pastor Josh's sermon opens the Scriptures to us as we learn how to really be free in the liberty Christ has won for us!!
In this sermon, Pastor Billy continues his series on Judgments, Rewards, and Crowns. This crown for the believer moves us from the judgments one earns for his or her loyalty to Christ, or disloyalty and rejection, and from focusing on the righteous pronouncements of a Holy God to now realizing the Glory of God and learning of the crowns He chooses for those who believe and trust in Him. There are 5 crowns and each one reflects the Glory of God. A key thought to remember is that the Glory of God is the standard by which sin is defined... Listen in as Pastor Billy shares about the Incorruptible Crown--the Crown of Eternal Life & God's own Crown of His Glory!
What does it mean to be faithful? Faithful to what? Sometimes, trying to “do good” leaves us so exhausted and frustrated. In Galatians 6:9 the Scripture tells us to “not grow weary of well doing,” but how? Just exactly how are we supposed to not get tired, not wear ourselves out when the needs and demands tend to be so many? When is it okay to take a break, or even to just pull away? And if we are constantly wearing out, could it be another reason other than just the work? Could it be we are taking on more than we are supposed to? Are we just maybe adding to our given calling and may be missing some blessings while doing so?? Pastor Josh takes us through the Scriptural approach of doing good without burning out. It can be done, if we just follow the Maker's handbook...
When you are at the end of your rope, when life seems to have stalled, when you are just plain tired and think it may be time to quit, stop. Just because you can't see it right now does not mean it is time to quit. If you are trying to hear God's voice and carry out His work, and you are sure the desires planted in your heart are God-honoring, don't quit! You may need to readjust, but don't give up! Listen as Pastor Steve encourages you to go step by step through the way to access the plans and blessing of the Lord. Be like Gideon. Trust in the plans God has seeded into your heart,l and remember to place your faith in the Plan Giver because There Is More!!!!
“Woe! Woe! Woe!” the angels called in Revelation 8. By Revelation 9 one of the warnings was described and the next two were on their way. Anytime the Scriptures has the same thing in threes, expect intensity and a heightened level of importance. This is a level that should bring a warning of things to come to anyone paying any attention at all. It is the highest level of praise or warning, and in this situation, it is a warning to believers of things to happen before the great and terrible day of the Lord. Jesus also warns believers to not be so afraid that they spend time in preparing a defense for any verbal attack but to just live well and let the Lord provide the words needed at the time of the persecution. After all, tribulation exists now. It is not the same as the wrath to come in that great and terrible day of the Lord. God’s wrath will be more intense & dangerous than any time before, but the scriptures clearly indicate that His believers are not appointed to wrath. Therefore, be aware of the tricks of the deceiver. The enemy of God wants only the destruction of all God loves. Satan uses deception to the point of even becoming “an angel of light” to confuse, lie to, and hurt believers especially, but all mankind if possible. He sends his minions to work on the souls of men. Therefore, do not give in to fears. Beware of the lies of the enemy; he may even use your family & friends! He whispers to you, & does what he can to mess you up & draw you off the path. Face him & tell him to be gone! Ephesians 6!! Remember Who is on your side!
We have regular issues and questions for which there seems to be no answer. We have challenges and battles we can't seem to win. Now what? We find out, against our own wishes, that when push comes to shove, we just don't have that much wisdom or power. We have to face the fact that we are not God. We know that, in our heart of hearts. Those unsolvable troubles point it out as an obvious fact. Knowing that none of us have all the answers, that we are not God, we need to turn to Him to fulfill needs and wants and to guide us through the tough times. This humility should direct us to seek His pleasure instead of our own, however. So how do we please God? Scripture tells us that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (James 5:16). Pastor Josh leads us through the thinking that leads us to peace and understanding the answers that come from our prayers.
The judgments of God are affected both here on earth and in the very real spiritual world. These judgments can result in rewards, corrections, or even just punishments. The book of The Revelation of Jesus Christ documents cataclysmic upheavals as God’ wrath becomes a fearful reality and time begins to wind down. As we live through this life, we have always opportunities to learn of and follow the Creator of this universe. He has given us a free will to make the decision to choose fellowship with Him, or to design our own gods and reject His love and mercy. God’s grace and love for His creation is evident from the beginning of Creation, but we must always remember that He is the King of all Creation—this is His world and His holiness cannot abide willful sin and the rejection of His grace and mercy. In this sermon, Pastor Billy begins to look at the Seven Trumpets of Revelation starting with the first four. These judgments are specifically applied to God’s creation, with mankind dealing with the major changes these judgments bring about. The first trumpet is sounded against the land; the second is against the seas; the third speaks to the rivers and the deep sources of fresh water; and the fourth trumpet sounds against the very created heavens themselves. The consequences of the destruction these judgments bring heralds mayhem and death as the Father shakes the very foundations of His creation. All of this is to give a last strong call to sinful man to get off of His throne and commit to live under the blood covering of the Lord Jesus Christ. Many turn, but many do not, and that will finally lead to the last three trumpets, and the woes that will be much worse than the first four. The last three judgments come to bear on sinful mankind, itself. Yes, the worst is yet to come
Phil 4:6-7 gives us a command, but how do we follow through on this? The encouragement is clear, but the direction often seems less so. How often do you find yourself dreading something? Perhaps it is a doctors appointment, or visitors in your home, or perhaps it is the dishes, or flying, or any number of other things. Or perhaps you are a worrier, always concerned about something going wrong. It isn’t always easy to follow through on this scripture - but Scripture has more direction for us on how to “be anxious for nothing.” Psalm 56 is a good place to start. David was under huge pressures, but he provides a response that today's believer under pressure should consider. Do that self-assessment and then apply the steps and principles Pastor Josh shares from the Bible on just how to "be anxious for nothing!"
Judgments! That sounds scary, but did you know that judgments can also mean great rewards? In the case of the believer, it can mean one or more crowns that we are awarded when we finally stand before our King. These crowns reflect the crowns of the King, but are not entirely like His. Believers who stay true to the King to the best of their ability as they live throughout their time on earth will at some point stand before the Lord and be rewarded with the crowns that are the crowns of victory. Like a prize won through mighty conflict or a badge of honor awarded after a long struggle, these crowns are a mark of respect and honor given by the King upon His return with His saints. Judgments for the believer look at our faith and our works, our hopes and our actions, our temptations and our overcoming those attacks of the flesh and the spirit. The believer must rely on his or her relationship with the King. His grace is on us, and as we grow in our closeness through His word and our reliance on His wisdom, He will give us the power to labor well and be that victorious overcomer.
Are you feeling run down? Running out of steam? You can’t keep up with the demands of life, perhaps related to your relationship with God? There is a reason for that. It is hard work loving on people, especially people who don’t seem to deserve it, and yet over and over again in Scripture we are encouraged and even commanded to not give up, to not give in to the tyranny of the now, to the resistance of the flesh, and to the pressures of the day. The Scriptures tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 to “Hold fast that which is good.” This call becomes more urgent in Revelation 2:25 when the Lord tells us to “hold fast to what you have until I come.” He then tells us again in the next chapter (Rev 3:11) “I am coming soon. Hold fast to what you have so that no one will take your crown.” He is calling out to us to hang on! Don’t let go! When you cross that final finish line, the rewards are beyond anything you can imagine!
Although we live our lives as though they will never end, down deep we know that just is not true. What can we expect once our time on earth is over—is there something on the other side, or are we just gone? According to the Bible, and the words of Jesus Christ Himself, there is a time for each of us to stand before the Creator of the Universe and give an account for how we spent the life He gave us. There are two major times of judgment - one is for those who have dedicated themselves to Jesus and trust Him for their life, both here and in eternity, and the other is for those who have rejected the grace and salvation He has offered and must face the consequences of that rejections. The Bema Judgment is for those who have answered God’s call to repentance and faith. Answering the King's call to faith moves them from creatures of His creation to sons and daughters that recognize His love, covering, and Lordship over them. At that judgment, the followers of Christ will be judged as one who runs a race. Rewards, position in the coming kingdom, and blessings from the Judge are what believers can expect, trust, and for which they hope. They will find their life in heaven to be one of eternal connection with their Creator. The White Throne, or Final Judgment, is what the Bema judged are grateful to avoid. Those who have rejected God’s light, life, grace, and kingship have effectively chosen to be their own “god” and will find His wrath at their rejection of His rightful place in their lives This will be a fearful time, a legal court setting where final sentencing will be passed and exacted. Nations, individuals, and the rebellious angels will all be condemned to full separation from the Creator forever. We are all going to be judged, either for how well we ran the race with a welcome into eternity or for sentencing for rejecting the King of all Creation. So, the questions we must all answer are “Which camp have I chosen? Have I submitted to His kingship in full faith and trust? Am I running the race according to HIS rules? And, am I ready to face the consequences that are surely coming?”
Words! How many times have someone’s words come back to haunt or comfort you? How many times have you said something without thinking, or in anger, or just off the cuff that hurt another, usually a loved one? And how conscious are you to say a kind word or give a genuine compliment when you get the chance? According to the narratives in the Gospels, Jesus spoke more, taught more, and preached more than He acted. Of course we know the world cannot hold all the information, preaching, and actions He took while He walked among us, but we should pay close attention to what He said as His words have eternal worth. He talked about and warned us concerning our thoughts and words above and beyond our actions. Elder Phil introduced this sermon with the responsive reading James 3. That chapter reminds the believer over and over to mind what comes out of one's mouth. Words can heal or words can harm; they can uplift and help or they can damage and destroy. This sermon reminds us to mind what we say, to hear more than talk, to think and consider before reacting, and to remember that what we say not only defines us, but impacts other. Be careful, and learn to "watch your mouth!"
Everyone, be they saint or sinner, has places in their lives that could be described as fortresses of sin...those bondages that come from mistakes, wrong choices, lifestyle habits that hold you down instead of lift you up, and circumstances that just seem impossible to overcome. In this message, Deacon Alwyn Floyd brings encouragement, hope, action, faith in God and His Word. He also shares just how we can attack and breakthrough, with God's design and leading, our own personal 'Walls of Jericho." As believers, we called to face our fears, deal with our problems, represent His character and trust His promises because we are to be warriors for the Lord, always remembering HE is the commander, not us... Join us as we learn about how those walls come down!! "The Walls of Jericho!”
Be Ready!!! The prophets across the ages have warned God’s people over and over and over, and yet…. How many of us do not heed the warnings that are all around us, everything from speed signs to dangerous drugs to smoking to leaving little ones alone just a bit too long…. We are responsible for what we do about the warnings, but how many of us get tickets, end up with addictions, have damage from poor choices, or have crayons all over the walls (or better yet, Mom’s lipstick… )? As a race, humans are not great about listening to warnings… just a few minutes more, just one more day, just, just, just…. One day there will be no more time, no other chance, no more mercy or grace. As God did in the days of Noah, when HE closed the door to the Ark, He will close down all the chances He has offered in “that day”, “the day of the Lord”. It will happen suddenly, finally, and Jesus said in that hour… Don’t be willingly ignorant of this sure and final moment of life as we know it. The day of judgment is real, true, and coming. God’s Word is yea and amen. Don’t stay in the darkness. Repent, and join the sons and daughters of light and leave your darkness behind. The consequences of your day of before the Lord are up to you. You have the choice of your judgment being for punishment or for reward. Your. Choice.
Have you ever known a good father here on earth that did not have rules and expectations, that did not make clear responsibilities and work to be done, or did not either reward or punish as the need arose? God is both good and defines what good is, and at the same time, He is just and clear in His expectations, His rules, and His mercy and love. However, like any good father, if you choose to ignore or outright rebel, there are consequences.
If you ever had a question about eternal salvation, why bad things seem to happen to "good people", or why so many Christians call the Lord of heaven "Father", Pastor Joshua tells us the hints at the answers in this talk on the Goodness and the Severity of God.
History note: Pastor Billy references an early heresy in his sermon. If you want more information on Gnosticism and the Early Church, please listen to Professor Dr. Ryan Reeves of Gordon Conwell Theological seminary as he explains this early departure from the plain truth. Gnosticism and the Early Church. You can also hear historian Bruce Gore's explanation of gnosticism and the problems the church had dealing with the Greek influences and its resolution via the Council of Nicaea here ~ Antiochan Christianity.
Malachi, that Old Testament prophet, gave both hope and warnings to people who called themselves the people of God. He told of a "coming day", a day of judgment for both punishments and rewards, a day that will burn out the dross and purify someone or the day that will bring eternal damnation and torment. He warned the proud men and wicked workers should repent now, or live in fear of "that day". He also gave hope to those who gave their hearts wholly to the God of Heaven, who understood that at no point can a man or woman be perfectly sinless and absolutely righteous on their own merit. Those who are trusting through faith in His grace and His covering will be called His "special treasure." Acts tells us the Day of Judgment is fixed. Jesus said no man knows the day or the hour of that coming day, so now is the time of grace and salvation. Salvation is not something you can put off, since any person's time or hour may be imminent. At the root of evil is the self-reliance on being good enough to go to heaven without God’s intervention. All who put off bending the knee to the King of Glory miss the holiness of God Almighty. They scoff and ignore the Sun of Righteousness. They establish themselves as the pinnacle of standards. Know this ~ God is not impressed…. We cannot clothe ourselves in perfect purity. We cannot overcome on our own. Only through Jesus the Christ can we have righteousness, salvation, light for our dark times, and a Guide Who will lead us into the ways of peach. Through Malachi, the Lord warned of the judgments to come and calls loudly and clearly to come out of the darkness, be delivered from the power of sins, and return to the Lord of all creation, the King of Glory, the Father of all who turn to Him.
1 July 2018 Prayer! Call2Fall Sunday Pastor Joshua Justice sermon notes
We have all heard this scripture before, 2 Chronicles 7:14. But the promise of this scripture is contingent upon a number of things. For one, it only applies to God’s people. Listen as Pastor Joshua takes us through this very important and foundational Scripture and shows us the benchmark for what defines that group called "the people of God." Pastor Joshua also shows us how to have the confidence that the promises of Scripture are yea and amen. He leads us through the questions we need to consider and answer as we reflect on who we are and Who He is, especially if we claim to be His. Prayer is absolutely crucial to discover the depths and the riches of our conversations and relationship with the King. As children of the King, we have both privileges and responsibilities. Prayer - It is both a call to faith and a call to action.
Paul in Romans makes clear that our Heavenly Father not only loves us but expects us to grow more and more into His family's character. However, we have a problem. It is a sin problem, and it is not going to go away with one act, one declaration, one pill, or one decision. We have a sin problem, and the sooner we recognize that no matter how hard we try, we will mess up and need to own our mistake, our backbiting, our bad attitude, our addiction to whatever, or any of a hundred other trips and falls we have in this mortal life, the sooner we can rid ourselves of that layer of bad choices and grow a bit more like Him. No one is righteous, and we all fall, at least daily if not hourly or even moment by moment as we struggle to keep our flesh under control and our hearts clean. We just have to accept that our travel through this life will not be a perfect walk and that we cannot do it alone. This fact then underscores our need for self-examination. It is always better to confront the person in the mirror than to ignore our poor choices, bad behaviors, and daily missteps and force our Father to confront us. He is very aware of our sin nature, but loves us enough to correct, and shape, and teach, and guide, and even put us into strong punishment if we do not own the problem, ask forgiveness, and seek to make it right. The heart. Man looks on the outside, but God is all about our heart. Our bodies will not go into eternity, but the issues of the heart and the attitudes of our soul will. Trust in His guidance and correction to continually work on us to keep walking in the light. Do your part and face that person in the mirror. Be brutally honest, get on your face before the Lord, and then and only then can you walk in newness of life.
What is a "father"? According to the Oxford Living Dictionary, "A simple definition of “father” is that of a man in relation with his children". What about the concept of a "Heavenly Father", is that much different? Or is the idea that surrounds good earthly fathers rather a reflection of the One Who created them? Fathers are not just in this temporal realm and can be all sorts of men of influence in our lives. God as our Heavenly Father, then, is the template or the design we should look to as a parent, and especially if one is a father. What traits does God our Father show, that we are expected to emulate?
Scripture tells us that God is the giver of all good gifts and that He tenderly cares for His own. He loves, provides for, corrects, teaches, trains, and even chastises us so that we might be fully grown into honorable and strong people that trust and reflect His wisdom and grace. Those are good things, and if we reflect the culture and training of our families, should we not also reflect the culture and training of our Heavenly Family? Finally, knowing that God is a good, good Father, we must ask ourselves--have we been good children to Him?
2 Peter lays out clearly the terrors of meeting God after denying His existence or rejecting His authority over life. Pastor Billy brings sense and balance to the warnings that are obvious throughout Scripture. No, God is not waiting around with a big mallet to thump people -- He does though give strong warnings of the dangers people choose, including choosing hell over heaven. It breaks His heart to have to close the door on the Ark of Salvation, but it will happen if people choose to ignore the clear and present danger of denying God's call to come home to Him.
What is consistency anyway? Aristotle once described it this way "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." The Lord expects consistency in our walk, even as He knows we will stumble and fall. Many a character in both the Old and New Testament showcase the frailty of mankind, but we also read of "stand-out" characters who walk out their lives in a bold and consistent faith. One such is Caleb. We should be like Caleb--We must depend on the Lord, be faithful and strong, have integrity, & hang in there, even like the 45 years he had to wait to attack and take in hand the promise of that mountain. Caleb’s faithfulness & consistency in serving his Lord brought the promises of God to fruit. Hebrews 11 gives us example after example of bold, consistent men and women of faith. What do we learn from them? Don’t rest on YOUR past accomplishments & YOUR reputation--lean on God and His Word, His promises, His character. Never quit, never give up, & never give in to the lies of the enemy!!
One of three harvest festivals, Pentecost was cherished as 50 days since the giving of the Law to Moses, & in the NT church, as the giving of the Holy Spirit as the power & balance to live properly under the Law. Jeremiah 31:33 tells us that God desires a covenant of the heart... Ezekial 36:26-27 says He will remove our stony heart and replace it with His most Holy Spirit, giving us a new lease on life and a new understanding of His nature. The changing of the heart of man is a providential work of God alone, and comes only when we are truly repentant, seeking Him wholly, and ready to be His and His alone. The world cannot see or understand, but He is there for us, even when we go astray and when we submit to HIm, we will get back on track! It is a moment by moment relationship. Acts 2:1-8 describes when the promises became reality -- The day of the infilling! On this day, the prophets’ promises and Christ’s words came true! He gave to us access to His channel of spiritual power, a power to overcome, to be self-controlled, an to connect with the God of the Universe. Power can be used 2 ways--explosively or under control. On this day, He arrived explosively, and then works in us to guide and control and help us. Revival comes when God is there...every Spirit-filled believer is a walking revival and point of life for everyone around. It is up to us to choose to be close to Him. So, do your utmost to watch out for what you say and think and do and thereby not grieve the Holy Spirit of God. Be sold out like Paul. Hold back nothing and Jesus will walk with you side by side.
Life isn’t all about answers to problems; sometimes you just need a hug. You don’t have to be a woman to feel emotion, & you don’t have to be a mother to comfort someone. We can, however, remember the powerful examples of love & comfort the mothers around us have shown us. God is often seen as a father-the judge and authoritarian. It is Dad who usually sets down the rules. It is Dad who is the one who often administers the correction. It is Dad who shows us how to drive or how to repair something. Dad teaches with hands-on training. Dads are usually the ones to whom we turn to fix the problems in which we find ourselves. But, Mom is the one we run to when we need a hug or need someone to hear us out, kiss our hurts, hold our hands, or wipe away the tears. She will be the one we depend upon to be her knees in prayer, interceding for our wellbeing. We usually frame our understanding of our God as our Father, our Dad...but He so much more than just the Judge and Authority...
Mother's Day honors the women in our lives who shepherd, love, guide, & help. They were there to give us life. Not all mothers are noble pictures of the compassion that we want, but God is. Not only is He the one who sent the Son to help us out of the problem of sin, He is also the Comforter, the Listener, & is the One Who holds our hands & dries our tears. He provided good mothers to model the compassion and love He shows for all of His creation, & for His people especially. When we recognize that God designed the idea of Mother based on Himself, it is then that we can more fully understand His eternal nature & realize just how much He loves us.
Why do we have the family structure we have? What is the woman's role? Is she an equal, or something else? And what about the husband, what is he supposed to be and how is he supposed to act? For that matter, why are we even here? Big questions, to be sure, but ones we find the answers to in scripture.
Next Sunday is “Mother’s Day,” so this Sunday we will first be taking a look at the Biblical meaning of “wife.” Hint: This is a picture of Christ and His church. Pay attention, because it applies to the young, the old, the married and the single... These principles, these definitions, and these guidelines matter, and they apply to everyone...
29 April 2018 To Know Jesus is to Know Joy Pastor Evangelist Randy Screen sermon notes
To know Jesus is to know joy. To be filled with the Holy Ghost is to live in supreme joy. Pastor Screen brings the joy, the enthusiasm, and the Name of Jesus to the forefront with reminders that the blindness of the heart is a condition that will keep you from really understanding just who Jesus really is. If we are not attuned to submission and trust we can be much like the priests and scribes of John 9, and Jesus was not pleased with them. We must examine our own hearts and attitudes That same blindness of heart will not open the truth of total surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ. That blindness will absolutely reduce your praise to just a song that maybe makes you feel good, but not carry you through the week. It appeals to the now, but does not reach into your spirit, or perhaps even worse does not please the heart of God. Not everyone can dance like David or preach like Paul, but all of can praise the Lord with abandon when we ask the Lord to remove our blindness and when we, like the blind man in John 9, seek in a deep, heartfelt cry out to the King of Kings that his eyes be healed. John Newton said it best..."Amazing grace! how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch; like me! I once was lost, but now am found, Was blind, but now I see."
To see Pastor Screen in via YouTube, click here.
Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. Lot, though continuing to live in Sodom and Gomorrah, was called righteous because of the vexation that society laid upon his soul. Daniel served an occupying force, but stayed true to Jehovah and was rescued from terrors more than once. Job was considered righteous above all men, and the Lord allowed the enemy to try to do everything he could to destroy him. What was in common to these and other saints in Scripture? They were not perfect, and some were very flawed. They were beset by problems and had temptations thrown their ways. They trusted the God they served and withstood the society in which they lived, the hardships that fell to them, the pain of loss, and the attacks of the enemy. They knew their Father God had them in His plans and they trusted in His grace to withstand the godlessness and to spend eternity with the Father, rejecting the siren call of the enemy and trusting in His rescue. That is what we should be—a flawed human who trusts in the God of all creation and who looks for our redemption to come!
Ephesians 4:15 directs us to speak the truth in love, “edifying” the body. But what does this mean? Living the Christian walk sounds so much more peaceful and loving than does the normal daily grind most people know. Some think it will be problem free and all cares erased. However, there is a reality to this world that often brings us up short. Disagreements, disappointments, failures, broken dreams, and even some run into hatreds and unexpected opposition and hurts. And yet, as Christians, we are called to walk in love. How can we know if we are doing it well? Jesus showed us the way and taught us the importance of operating first in truth and equally in the kind of love that is action and heart. No, it is not easy. Yes, it can be done. No, we cannot do it on our own. Yes, we can do it when we realize that obedience to God is our first step in speaking, walking, and living in love. We are told to love even our enemies! How do you do that? Not returning evil for evil, but responding with meeting a need, helping them unexpectedly, or just not railing back. Behaving out of love is a choice, an action, and if you are doing it with the purpose of being a hope and help to others, the feelings you expect to be the first guide will come in response to your actions and heart choices. Proverbs reminds us that "if you want a friend, you have to show yourself friendly." That is how we, with no guile and no expectation of "getting something back", become the hand of truth and love to others. Love is an action, a work that is cultivated like a productive garden. If you want the fruit of love, make the choice and put the work into it. We are not saved because of the work, but the work is because we are saved first by His grace. We owe both the Lord and others to walk the walk of love. Learn the attitudes from 1 Corinthians 13. Share yourself. Be a friend. Speak up! Tell others about the Lord, and always keep in mind that He is the way, the truth...and the love.
Resurrection Sunday! He is risen! He is risen indeed!! This fact alone should bring great and irrepressible joy to every believer. Because He is alive, we have the final victory over all this world and our adversary the devil can throw at us. However, to enjoy victory while we inhabit this earth, we must understand that we are at war. Its a war in the ethers, but a war nonetheless. So how different are we from those who do not know the Christ, and just what is our strategy to go into battle and accomplish the goals Jesus Christ has set for us? To find out, listen as Pastor Josh shares with us the great joy, the great freedom, and the great mystery of our victory in Jesus, the Christ and the King of all creation!
Palm Sunday is the traditional beginning of Holy Week when our Lord mounted an unbroken young donkey and came into Jerusalem, the city of His heart, as a peaceful and loving king, at the will of the Father God, Who called Him to the task of redeeming all His people. He knew what awaited Him. Jesus went willingly, without fighting His Father. Like His cousin, John the Baptist before Him, He called for men and women to "Repent!" and come back home to a relationship with the Father and loving relationships with their fellow men and women. Many listened, many followed, and many were in Jerusalem that day when this "country preacher" came riding into the main gate. There were many who believed, but were still unsure, and would make their submission to Him later, but there were many had powerful positions and were threatened by Him, His words of peace and power. They sought to silence, take, and finally kill Him, Anything that would protect their power. They seemed to win, for the moment, but this is not the end of the story. The Father dictated the timing & Jesus knew when His time was and why and was fully in control through it all. Jesus is a humble King Who needs not to show off and Who serves as our model of behavior. He is also a mighty king Who is returning for His own. He is the foundation of truth and judgment Who is the King of ALL nations, tribes, kindreds, and people. Repent! Your King is coming!!
11 March 2018 The Triune Nature of God (The Lord Our God is ONE, part 2) Pastor Joshua Justice sermon notes
satirical video Pastor Josh used --- St. Patrick's Bad Analogies"
God is consistent. Just because we can't fully grasp Who & What He is does not mean He is not Who & What HE says He is ~ Elohiym, a plurality of One--One Father, One Son, One Spirit, One God. All three are distinct Persons, & yet all are together one God. Both the Old & New Testament express this Perfect Unity beyond what our small minds can truly fathom, but God is very consistent in both logic & faith. He is absolute. He is all three. He IS. As Kevin DeYoung puts it, ”The doctrine of the Trinity can be summarized in seven statements. (1)There is only one God. (2)The Father is God. (3)The Son is God. (4)The Holy Spirit is God. (5)The Father is not the Son. (6)The Son is not the Holy Spirit. (7)The Holy Spirit is not the Father.” Once you accept & ascribe to these foundational pieces, then & only then can the believer's mind be open to see in all of Scripture how both the logic & faith needs are met. Listen as Pastor Josh explains "The Triune Nature of God."
Triune, Three in one, trinity--these are hard concepts to fully understand. Either God is one or He is three, right? Well, actually it is both--- He is One Holy Eternal God and also three persons or Jesus could not have been 'fully God AND fully man." There is a dangerous tendency in the church to forget the essential truth of the unity of the Godhead and replace it with different forms of tritheism. Most of the time it is veiled behind attempts to understand the doctrine of the Trinity, but every time it detracts from the power of biblical truth. Listen and follow Pastor Josh as he starts a series on the fullness and oneness of the Elohim- Our single God Who is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and is the One Almighty Creator of us all. "Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one.
And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." Deuteronomy 6:4-5
Have you ever felt just totally disconnected -- from friends, family, even yourself? Sometimes we go through a mental, emotional, and/or spiritual "wilderness". It happens to the best of us. Often we feel so alone, but we are not. Scriptures tell the believer to not trust in our senses alone, but to immerse our selves daily in the cleansing and refreshing of the Word of God. Our relationship with God should influence our thinking and behavior-refuse to conform to the world! Of course, that is easier said than done, but through Christ is CAN be done. Having the same mind means to think with and through the Word He has provided for us; it means regular renewal in the Word; it means responding to God's call and commission as did Joshua in Joshua 1:6-9 to be strong and have courage in following Him. That takes making a decision and choosing both focus and willingness to answer God's call. Consider Romans 8:5. Take a good close look at your focus, your choices, your words, your reactions, your attitudes, your thoughts -- What are you minding? Listen as Pastor Billy shares how we can reconnect and set aside our fears through understanding and taking on "The Mind of Christ."
Have you ever been told one thing, and then something else happens? Were you ever counting on someone only to have them not pull through? Proverbs 13:12 says “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick.” How true it is! But how are we supposed to work through this thing? Is it ok to be disappointed? Is it a sin to be disappointed in yourself, or someone else? Or, Is it a God-given emotion? And, how are we supposed to handle it? What about talking about it? Oh, and did Jesus get disappointed? How did He handle it? In this discussion, Deacon Joshua gives us encouragement from the Word on just why they happen and how we can and should respond.
How often do you need to take a second look at the opportunities or responsibilities you've tried, but maybe things didn't quite turn out the way you expected? What do you do next? Pray or take things into your own hands? When we take a look at our circumstances and consider our prayers, we might want to also think about our hopes, our demands, our attitudes. Are we reading and meditating on the Scriptures and trying to hear the heart and voice of the Lord, then confront the situation ready to do what we believe He would want us to do? Or, are we counting on what we can see or feel or on our expectations to get us through a problem or to a goal? (Could that possibly be pride?? Note: Be aware that pride often controls our priorities.....) Deacon Josh explores this question and challenges us to apply scriptures to ourselves first, to become closer to the Word, both in the Book and in the Spirit, and to know the God Who is the Word and Who chooses to reside within.
The more profound the truth, the more difficult time we have in grasping it wholly... As believers, we find that we sometimes have a very difficult time "wrapping our minds around" the mysteries of salvation... What do you do about divine election? How about some being called of God to salvation, known as the idea of 'predestination' versus folks who have not had "the call" and may never come to faith in Christ? Our challenge then, as believers, is not to try to know absolutely everything about everything, but to do what we can to understand each step as the Lord presents it to us. Romans tells us that we have been chosen from the beginning and we are His, not the enemy's. 1 John 4:10 reminds us that first He loved us and then called and brought us to Him through His love. He called us, not we found Him--He wasn’t lost, we were! We couldn’t love Him until He first loved us… There is a deep and profound mystery in our faith in Jesus. Now we see a little, and step by step we will understand more and more. Our challenge is to not 'bite off more than we can chew' but to just do the next right thing, take the next clear step, ignore the temptation to disbelieve because we may not currently understand, and realize our enemy goes often before the throne of heaven to accuse us before our Lord. Our challenge is to believe the Word of God and give the devil no place. It can be done if you put all your trust in the truth of the Good News of Salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Doubts, misdirections, mistakes, those thoughts you just cannot get out of your head...second-guessing and wondering if you made the right choice... All of this is part of our human condition. We will have questions and wonders and even doubts, but when we apply our human frailties and expectations of failure or mistakes to the God we serve, we have stepped into dangerous areas. The Scriptures make clear that God is not a man that He should lie; neither is He a being that we should doubt. His promises are yea and amen. He warns us that we will not always understand the current situation or how He is using it in our lives but Acts 17:31 is clear. God has provided an assurance of salvation and safety from the wrath to come to ALL who will turn to Him and trust His protection from that final end. But, what about confusion? Or delays? Or 'unanswered prayer"? Could it be that prayer was not one in faith, but one in demand? (i.e., I didn't get what I wanted when I told God what I wanted... ) In the book of Matthew, Jesus told His followers that all the needs they have, especially their spiritual needs, will be provided. Notice, He did not say all their wants... Don’t doubt or second guess, no matter what you go through... Troubles come and troubles go, but if we rest our lives under the mighty hand of God, we receive the end of our faith--the salvation of our souls!
Life throws a lot of stuff our direction, but it is how we respond that makes the difference. Alone, our ship is adrift and can be capsized, or our house built on sand can be demolished, but with Christ, we can weather any storm. He captains our ship, commands the storm's winds, and gives us a solid rock foundation for the hope we have in Him. By trusting in Jesus Christ and His promises, we can weather the storm.
Trials, troubles, temptations, problems, disappointments, hurts, betrayals -- life is sometimes tough and often tougher than we want or expect, but when all we do is focus on the troubles, that is all we see. That is the fate of those who do not have the Lord of all the earth as their Savior, whose eyes and interests are tied to this place and time. Without Christ, they are shortsighted and they have only the shadows of this life to see. They are held entrapped by their circumstances. That is not the believer's fate. The eyes of the believer are not just physical and only emotionally tied to this life, but are open to see into the spiritual world beyond. Our God is not held down by our circumstances and neither are we. He is above them, beyond them, and has a purpose in allowing them to happen to us. Our faith does not guarantee a trouble-free, wealthy life, but it does guarantee that any trial He allows has a higher purpose, perhaps reasons we may not in this life understand, but that will cause us to be perfectly and fully developed, growing us -- in some places hardening us to the enemy, in others building in us deep resources of compassion. Trials are promised. They are not "ifs"; they are "whens" and when they do occur, our task as believers is to, like Job, worship the Creator and trust that it will all be someday explained and will make perfect sense. Remember, stay humble, fall before God, and the worship of Him will bring the answer to you.