Small steps in faith

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Mysteries of Jesus

These are my notes from our Apex service this morning. Rennes Bowers did our sermon this am. Rennes is one of our elders, a Dayton firefighter,and the chaplain for the Dayton Dragons.
Worship was beautiful as always.

Psalm 34:8

Taste and see that the Lord is good.

John 12:20

Gentiles wanted to see Jesus and went to the disciples to ask.

Mysteries of the Lord Jesus

Ephesians 1:15

1. Spirit of wisdom and revelation to know Him better. It's not just coming to church and bringing your Bible and your ears with you.
God changes's a process.

2. 2 People stare at the worships and one yawns..what's the difference?
One is drawn to him. He took their blinders off and made their heart soft from stone.
The Lord makes that difference.

3. Revelation 5
The lion who looks like a lamb.
God became a real man. Man was born from Adam's race and curse. Jesus is from God and the virgin Mary. God gave his Son..the greatest Christmas gift.

Jesus became guilty at the cross for all of our sins.
Our record is clean and we become righteous.

Jesus died and rose after the 3rd day. He comes back as the lion. The lamb comes back as the lion for judgment day and we see the wrath of the lamb.

Christmas is Act 1 of the play.

Friday, December 25, 2009

"Labor of Love"

These are my notes from tonight's Christmas Eve service.
It was absolutely the most awesome service. At least 1200 people were in the sanctuary..not an empty seat and some were standing.
We started with O Come All Ye Faithful and O Come O Come Emmanuel.
Then Phil sang "Deliver Us" by Andrew Peterson. He did an awesome job.
They showed video clips of 2 Apexers describing their past struggles with drugs and abuse. It was so honest and so touching. There was a girl who described the process of pregnancy,labor, and birth in a dramatic way and then "Labor of Love" was sung by Melissa. She sounded just like Jill Phillips when I saw "Behold the Lamb"

Rob used Micah 5:1 to give his sermon. It's the Old Testament version of God sharing the Christmas Story.

1. Christ will come in the midst of war. To be human is to be in conflict. There is physical war. There is invisible war. There is spiritual war. James 4 describes the war that can occur inside of us.

2. Christ will come in mind blowing humility. He comes from a small town. He comes as a baby. He comes from Ancient of Days and has always existed. He died on a cross.

3. Christ stood over us as a shepherd. In the garden he stood and took the cup.
He stood during his trial. He stood upon a cross.

4. He is the provider of the deepest peace.
We need peace with God.

The service ended with the 2 Apexers giving their testimony of where they are now in their life and how Christ saved them from brought tears to my eyes.

We ended with singing "O Holy Night"

It was an absolutely beautiful service.

Monday, December 21, 2009

"Primal" by Mark Batterson

I read this book as a review and loved it. It doesn't take long to read but it has so many great thoughts and ideas that you will want to take each section at a time. He divides it into 4 main areas: Heart,soul,mind, and strength. In heart he deals with the main theme of compassion and how that translates into thoughts and actions. In soul, he deals with getting past your five senses and experiencing God through passion. Mind deals with curiosity..looking and searching and asking why questions. Strength deals with our service and actions of faith.
My favorite quote from the book:

In my experience, it's much easier to act like a Christian than it is to react like one. Anyone can put on an act. But your reactions reveal what is really in your heart."

Be Astonished Again

We have a tendency to complicate Christianity. Jesus simplified it: Love God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. If we are to live out the essence of Christianity, we must commit to being great at this Great Commandment.

In Primal, Mark Batterson explores the four elements of Great Commandment Christianity: compassion, wonder, curiosity, and power. Along the way, he calls you to be a part of God’s reformation, starting in your own life.

As Mark writes, “Is there a place in your past where you met God and God met you? A place where your heart broke for the things that break the heart of God? Maybe it was a sermon that became more than a sermon. Maybe it was a mission trip or retreat. Maybe it was a vow you made at an altar. In that moment, God birthed something supernatural in your spirit. You knew you’d never be the same again. My prayer is that this book would take you back to that burning bush—and reignite a primal faith.”

Primal will help you live in light of what matters most and discover what it means to love God. It will help you become great at the Great Commandment.

To buy a copy of this book go here

Author Bio:
The author of Wild Goose Chase and In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, Mark Batterson serves as lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C. One church with nine services in five locations, NCC is focused on reaching emerging generations and meets in movie theaters at metro stops throughout the D.C. area. Mark has two Masters degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Chicago. He and his wife, Lora, live on Capitol Hill with their three children.

This was book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.

"Holding Jesus"

These are my notes from the Apex sermon. We had Christmas music for worship with an original song by Matt Thornberg along with "Go Tell it on the Mountain", "O Come O Come Emmanuel", and "O Come All Ye Faithful". Kristen went to church with us and she still has the most amazing and beautiful voice.

Luke 2:25-35

This is a time when they have been waiting for 400 yrs for the Messiah.
God always hears us but how he answers can be really hard sometimes.
When you have a child you are anxious to hear the pediatrician's report...that everything is ok with your baby.
In this passage Simeon also gives a "report" about baby Jesus.

What would you think if you heard that your newborn child:

Will give life to people
Will condemn people
Will be opposed by people
Will reveal the innermost secrets of people

Who is Simeon?

1 Righteous man
2 Devout..careful and concerned about being obedient
3 Waiting..for the comfort of Israel

There are 2 reasons for parents to go to the temple

1 Circumcision
2 40 days after a birth...for the baby to be consecrated.dedicated to the Lord

The Longing of Christmas

1 is drawn from the well of spirit

2 is practically seen in promise driven perseverance
Simeon knew that he would see the Christ child before death as promised by God
He banked his perseverance on God's promises..not on man's success rate with his own promises.
Rob gave the example of the man who was recently released from prison after 35 yrs. His DNA showed he didn't commit the crime. The man persevered in his faith that he would be exonerated.

3 understands the international implications of Christ's birth
God came for all nations..sinners
In heaven we keep our ethnicity...a young black man in the service yelled out "Amen" which made all of us including Rob laugh.

4 Allow his disciples to die in peace

Sunday, December 13, 2009

"Peace on Earth! Really?"

These are my notes from Apex this morning. Beautiful Christmas music with a mini choir and the praise band.

Matthew 10:34-39

Jesus provids such life giving peace that it can actually start a war.
That peace impacts all parts of our lives.

A "private" Christian is a biblical doesn't exist.

At Christmas, many of us have family who are not Christian. It creates conflict.

This relational conflict arises because :

1. There is change in the focal point of your love. Family isn't #1...Christ is.

2. of the change in your identity. Christ died to save us from ourselves. We die to ourselves. Sometimes you lose friends.

3. of the supreme nature of your devotion to Christ. You take up your die to's like a spiritual electric chair.

Simple principles to remember in relating to non believing family

1. Don't be surprised
2. Don't quarrel
3. Have a merciful attitude..God had mercy on you everyday
4. Respond to mistreatment with goodness..respond to sarcasm with encouragement and acts of service
5. Purue honor within biblical lines. Push honor without compromise.
6. Pray and be ready
Obey and let God take care of the fruit.

Monday, December 07, 2009

"Compassion that Compels"

This week I went to visit my friends Kyle and Janelle Dobbins at First Baptist Church in Franklin. They have a beautiful 4 yr old daughter,Elsie, who sang "Happy Birthday Jesus" as a solo. She looked beautiful in a sparkly purple dress and did a wonderful job. If you need a boost in Christmas spirit, go watch a children's will warm your heart :)
Her dad, Kyle, is the worship minister. I love Kyle's passion for music and God. I met Kyle at my former church and always loved his positive attitude. He and his band did some Christmas music and one of my favorite songs "Mighty to Save". It was a perfect song for the message.
"Everyone needs compassion..a love that's never failing."

Luke 1:26-38

Compassion..Caring enough to do something about someone Else's need.
God saw a desperate need here on earth.
During the time of Mary and Joseph, the custom was for the groom and bride not to see each other. This is where our custom of the groom not seeing the bride on the wedding day comes from.
An angel comes to Mary and tells her she will bear a son who will be the Savior.
Mary is confused. Why would God choose her?

We are all chosen by God as reflections of who God is.
Many of us also ask Why would God choose me?

v 35...Mary also asked..How can I be pregnant? The Holy Spirit comes upon her.
v37 For nothing will be impossible with God.
v38 Mary says yes..she believes
When God calls us to be followers..something stirs inside of us. Will you say yes?
Mary's yes changed lives and the shape of the world.
When we say yes, God will change us. He will work in us and through us.

Because of sin..we are judged. Punishment for sin is death and hell but because of God's compassion he sent his Son to a womb, Mary's womb. Jesus was born a helpless baby. He lived among us and never sinned and at the chosen moment took on death and hell so we wouldn't have to.

When we go to Jesus for forgiveness, when we say yes, he saves us from eternal death and a cycle begins.
God shows us compassion so that we can show others compassion.
We need to ask "Who needs compassion?" It moves us beyond ourselves.
Look around you. Whose need do you see?