Small steps in faith

Saturday, November 28, 2009

"Above All Else"

These are my notes from the sermon at Apex tonight.
You know that the sermon is going to be powerful when the heat goes out and the projector bulb burns out just before the service.
We sang "The Desert Song", Amazing Grace medley, Beautiful, and a new song Issac taught us which was equally beautiful.

Proverbs 4:1-23

This scripture deals with a father giving his son wise instruction.
Paul Isaacs did our sermon tonight. He used his own father's advice to correlate to God's instruction to us.

1. Be Careful.

There are many verses that tell us to be careful.
Why? Because there is a powerful enemy.
He correlated a bike to us. The front wheel is our determines what direction we go. What are you listening to? What are you reading? What are you watching?
The frame is our body.
The rear wheel is our soul..the power of the bike. The soul is where the enemy will attack.
How do you protect yourself? You put on the armor of God. You hide God's word in your heart and speak it out loud.

2. Remember who you are.
You are important. God confides in us.

3. Have character
Character is who you are when no one is watching. Examples Daniel and Joseph.

4. You will have to give an account for what you do someday.
He told the story of a youth pastor who had affairs on his wife. When he ran into him 2 yrs later, the youth pastor's advice.."Always have someone in your life who keeps you accountable"
There are other people who you don't want to let down. Family,friends, and even those who don't have a relationship with Christ but are watching us.

There are people who are counting on you:
1 To remember who you are
2 To have character
3 Who will hold you accountable

Guard your will determine your course in life.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

"The Supreme Receiver of Thanks"

These are my notes from Rob's sermon at Apex.
We sang 2 Brooke Fraser songs.."Hosanna" and "You'll come"..(Chains be broken..lives be healed), "Wonderful Maker" and "Revelation Song".

1 Thessalonians 1:2-3

We don't have to rely on circumstances to be thankful. For some here things are good and for others...they may feel there is no hope.

The reality of the cross is always there. We can always say thank you

"Feelings are real...they just aren't authoritative" Jeff Cook ..Cedarville professor

We all express things in different ways.

Rob told a funny story about a guy in Alabama who loves ribs and when he took a bite used the expression "Smack your momma" to mean they were good.

Paul was always thankful. Are you this way?

He was thankful for the whole church, not just the leaders.

What does "church" mean?
In our culture, "Christians" have given the impression of it being an elitist system. This is wrong.

Paul always mentions them in prayer.

Thessaloniki have :

1 A work of faith. Faith changes you. They had mission work. They turned from idols.

2 Labor of love. This is hard work. It takes God to love people who are not like you.
People in our lives can be inconvenient and interfere with our lives.
If you aren't in the vine of run from are not a true disciple of Christ. Love is irrespective of what we get back.

3 hope. Unmoved and unrelenting.

Romans 5:3-5

John Ortberg talked about a medical study of 25 men who were pessimists. 21 of the 25 died within 8 yrs. "It's better to eat twinkies with hope than broccoli with despair."
Where are you in this story?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

"Deep Thanks"

These are my notes from Apex this morning. I loved the music. "Blessed Be Your Name" and "Because of Your Love" are two of my favorites. We also got to hear from one of our missionaries,Kristen Paulick, who is now in Nicaraugua. She's had some "God moments" and was able to pray with us via internet connection on the screen.

Psalm 50: 1-23

Many times Thanksgiving is more of a Christian holiday than Christmas. Thanksgiving magnifies God.
We don't always have the heart and good attitude with our thanks

These passages are similar to being in a court proceeding.

Who is the judge?
Who is the prosecutor? God
Who are the defendants? God's own people
What are the charges? (7-13)

1. Your are going through the religious motions. The problem is their attitude.
"God needs for me to do this because..."
God doesn't "need" anything. He was the creator.
God doesn't need it ..we need it.
It's religion vs. righteousness of Christ

2. You hate discipline (v16-17a)

3. Your throw away his commands (17b)

4. You fit in better with unbelievers (v18) Even though Jesus was a friend and hung out with the sinners...He didn't sin.
We hang out with the sinners and have the same behavior. We "fit in"

5. Your mouth goes unchecked (v 19-20)
Slander, gossip,condescending attitude

6. You treat God like He is another human being. (v21)
We treat friendships badly..push people away...we do the same thing to God.

What is the possible punishment?
God will not always be silent. He is slow to anger but it tells us "he will tear us apart"

Where is our only hope?
2000 yrs ago God brought the offering,Jesus. When we have hearts of thanksgiving then we participate and experience the benefits.

Monday, November 09, 2009

"White Picket Fences" by Susan Meissner

I have really been enjoying reading fiction books for a change so when I was offered a chance to review this book I accepted. It deals with family secrets and a bond between cousins ,Tally and Chase ,who try to uncover those hidden feelings and secrets. It keeps your interest from beginning to end. I identified with the mother of the story,Amanda, and her need to protect her family.


Amanda Janvier’s idyllic home seems the perfect place for her niece Tally to stay while her vagabond brother is in Europe, but the white picket fence life Amanda wants to provide is a mere illusion. Amanda’s husband Neil refuses to admit their teenage son Chase, is haunted by the horrific fire he survived when he was four, and their marriage is crumbling while each looks the other way.

Tally and Chase bond as they interview two Holocaust survivors for a sociology project, and become startlingly aware that the whole family is grappling with hidden secrets, with the echoes of the past, and with the realization that ignoring tragic situations won’t make them go away.

Readers of emotional dramas that are willing to explore the lies that families tell each other for protection and comfort will love White Picket Fences. The novel is ideal for those who appreciate exploring questions like: what type of honesty do children need from their parents, or how can one move beyond a past that isn’t acknowledged or understood? Is there hope and forgiveness for the tragedies of our past and a way to abundant grace?

Susan Meissner cannot remember a time when she wasn’t driven to put her thoughts down on paper. Her novel The Shape of Mercy was a Publishers Weekly pick for best religious fiction of 2008 and a Christian Book Award finalist. Susan and her husband live in Southern California, where he is a pastor and a chaplain in the Air Force Reserves. They are the parents of four grown children.

To purchase this book you can go here:

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

"Kingdom Simplicity"

This is the last in the series of sermons on Consumption. Worship songs this morning were "Happy Day" "How Great is Our God" "He Loves Us" and "Lead Me to the Cross".

Fanatic..we all have our own personal "Mt. Everest" and we compare everything to it.,marriage..everything else in our life is in competition with it.
Even church can be a Mt.Everest.
RC Sproul.."Pleasing God"..A person who has lost sight of his goal doubles his effort to get there..this is a fanatic.
Mount Everest in consumerism is attainment of "stuff"

We have already established that worry is a rejection:

of God's care for you
of God's wisdom for you
of God's provision for you
of God's future provision for you...we start "fortune telling" our lives

The call to simplicity is based on the fact that disciples of Jesus are kingdom people who expand kingdom's fame

Anything, even if it's biblical, can become an idol.

2 kingdoms 2 different authorities.there is no are either one or the other

Rob showed diagrams showing how our lives look when we are "In Christ" which leads to eternity.

Kingdom people pursue:
The exclusive rule of the midst of other options
The character of Christ..his righteousness
You can't have one without the other

We reject Christ when we want to be the Mt Everest of our lives

Where do you need to simplify your life?
Rob had us text our answers which were then put up on the screen. It was no surprise what the answers were...finances,facebook,work,family,relationships,etc.
I've thought about simplicity and how to make my life less complicated. I can unclutter my life with things but I think sometimes you have to unclutter your life from people. Not all people. People who are negative influences..people who use and suck the life out of you, people who hurt you. There needs to be forgiveness but it doesn't mean you have to associate with them..and that's what I had to remind myself this week when I made a choice not to attend an event that would have brought up all that hurt and pain again.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

"The Battle Against the Folly of Consumption"

These are my notes from Apex. "Only You" by David Crowder is one of my all time favorites so I loved singing that today.
I guess some people had issues with Rob quoting Rob Bell last week so he had to throw in a disclaimer this week that he was quoting "non theological statistics".

Materialism = selling yourself out for the dirt and not the treasure.

Three beautiful realities of a disciple of Jesus
1. A disciple has died with Christ
2. A disciple is hidden in Christ
3. A disciple will be glorified with Christ

Materialism is an assault on all 3 of these things

1. died with Christ...Christ died on a cross 2000 yrs ago ..our sin was on Him and also each of our own personal salvation experiences of dying with Christ
Materialism makes us think we're more powerful than we really are when we worship things i.e. money,jobs,spouses,children,etc.

2. hidden in Christ..This is our theological name. No one can snatch you out of God's hands. Materialism makes you think you are more secure than you really are.

3. glorified with Christ..materialism makes our hope in something on this planet.

If you have been raised with Christ then you have the weaponry to fight consumerism. You need to soak in things above.

With materialism, your behavior is materialistic because your brain is.
Spiritual formation starts with the mind.
We need to clean out our heads before we clean out our closets.
The rebellion against consumerism begins in the battlefield of the mind.

Five Questions regarding the setting of your mind

1. When your mind is left to wander, where does it go?
2. Where are you focusing your mind during non work related times?
By the time we die the average American spends 10 yrs in time watching TV
3. How often do you see that what you do on a daily basis has an attachment to God's glory? Nothing should be "mundane" in your life.
4. How are you doing in adjusting your false thinking to righteous thinking?
When your aren't thinking like Him, do you know it? How fast do you change your thoughts?
5.Are you controlling the kinds of words and images that are going into your head?
We need to be "traffic cops" with things that go in our heads. Ideas/Images have consequences.

5 Strategies in attacking a cluttered mind

1. Ask the God who knows you better than yourself. "Search me O God and know my heart..."
2. Give godly people observational and critical access to your life. Whatever they see then they need to tell you. This takes humility. They aren't going to be your best friends..(boy don't I know that...some people are downright hateful if you confront them)
3. Go through a period of fasting. Deprive yourself for more discernment.
4. Make hard choices quickly. Otherwise we justify ourselves back into sin. Delayed obedience is still disobedience.
5. Continually remind yourself of your future grace and wrath.
We soak our minds where our citizenship is.
You can get rid of your "stuff" but if you don't change your head/mind, you'll be back in the same place you started.