Monthly Archives: April 2013

WONDERFUL WORDS

Everything we must know about the gospel is very simple

GOD – he is our Creator and we are accountable to him

MAN – we are condemned by our sin and deserve the punishment that God requires for it

CHRIST – in mercy, God sent his Son to die in our place and pay the penalty for our sin

RESPONSE – all who confess their sin and trust Christ to save them are forgiven

However, everything we can know about the gospel is vast.

Like being dropped in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, we could never dive to the bottom or swim to its end.

Here are some of the rich doctrines contained in the simple gospel that have reshaped the life of every Christian.

 Justification – in God’s courtroom those whose sins were placed on Christ have been declared “not guilty”

Redemption – Christ paid for our release from the bondage of sin

Propitiation – Christ has satisfied God’s requirement for the “wages of sin”

Sanctification – those who have been forgiven are being transformed into the character of Christ

Regeneration – the Holy Spirit gives a new nature to all who are in Christ so that we are “born again”

Reconciliation – once the barrier of sin in removed, God welcomes us into a restored and intimate relationship with him

Adoption – our relationship with God is so close that we become children of God and co-heirs with Christ

Glorification – the work of sanctification will be completed and we will be perfected

Resurrection – God will raise our physical bodies and transform them so they are fit for our glorified inner self

Eternity – our life had a beginning, but it will not have an end; we will be everlasting

Kingdom  – we will forever enjoy the presence and rule of Christ without any interruption of sin or sorrow

Each of these words represents truths (doctrines) about God that are real for every believer. These are what Paul has in mind when he speaks in Ephesians 1:7-8 of the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us”.

Each of these truths is worthy of examination and reflection. And God should be praised for each and all of them.  

Don’t be intimidated by these words, seek to grow in your knowledge of each one – for they are the most precious things we possess

THE WORLD CAN ALWAYS GET WORSE

Have you ever found yourself observing a new low in human behavior and then thinking “How bad can it get?”.

The truth is we don’t know, because sin is never satisfied. There is a short period of contentment and then sin prowls for more. Sin refuses to yield to God and once it throws off the boundaries of godly wisdom, sin will consistently seek new paths. These paths are always into darkness, since they are based on rejecting the rule of God.

Satan, the great Deceiver and Tempter, is the enemy of our soul. He hates God and he hates us. His goal is to destroy what God has created, because he knows his destruction is sure (Satan knows the book of Revelation better than we do).

We are tempted to think that  people will eventually see the ruin in certain sinful practices and turn around. But how many times have you seen someone who admitted their behavior was self-destructive, continue until their destruction was complete? Or how many generations have had the testimony of disaster caused by additions and promiscuity; yet each new generation plows ahead on the same course as if they will be untouched?

The raging issue in our culture today is gay marriage. If you think the adoption of this drastic (and illogical) restructuring of marriage will finally satisfy people – think again.

Forces are already gathering for the next step toward the final agenda which they don’t even comprehend because it has a hellish origin. Group marriage or polyamorism (the marriage of multiple people with one another) is next.

People with even baser appetites are certainly gaining courage in the hope that their perversions may start to become more sanitized in public opinion. When a society is truly tolerant of all things – then ALL things can take place. Accepting all beliefs requires us to make room for all behaviors. See this article which describes how the Unitarian Universalist “Church” is struggling to suppress those who call for the right to have polyamorous marriages.

What is the answer to the dizzying downward spiral of sin. It has always been the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the only hope and answer there ever will be. Grace is greater than sin, because God is simply greater THAN! We must be serious about declaring the gospel and never allow ourselves to water it down even a touch – for that is a touch from hell, not heaven.

There is another application for our personal lives, which is to hate and fear sin. It is a foul and destructive path, and just one step upon it – is a step too far!

CONFERENCE STARTS FRIDAY

Today is the FINAL day you can register for our Family Equipping Conference. The conference is Friday night and Saturday morning (including lunch).

To find out more information follow this link. You can register by calling the Greentree Church office (609) 927-3838 or at the registration table during tonight’s service

This is a great opportunity that you should not miss.

SERMON LEFTOVERS 4.23.13

“What Does A Parent Do?” Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Last week someone responded to me on Twitter saying: “There is no such thing as a ‘correct’ God view”.

Since God is a person, there has to be a correct view of him, just as there is a correct reality about each of us.

Deuteronomy 6:4-6 directs us in that correct view

1.  There is one God – who alone can define himself

2.  He is Lord God – who has authority over us and expectations for us

v 5 Tells us what our response should be to God

 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”

This statement is repeated several times in the Old Testament

The context for its use is consistent: This is what it means to be people of God

In Mark 12:28-30, Jesus declares that it is the “most important commandment”

What God wants from us more than anything else, is that we love him whole-heartedly

There is also a correct view of what it means to love God

v6 we take God’s word to heart and live by it (John 14:15)

The Bible immediately puts the correct view of God into the context of family life (v7)

What does a parent do? 

They take what is the “most important” thing for them (love God) and share it with their children

Loves calls us to see our role as parents that way

How can we love God, and try to rule over our parenting?

How can we love our children, and not lead them to God?

What do you want to accomplish as a parent?

If you are not clear about it, how will it be clear to your children?

We can have many good goals for our kids, but what’s essential?

We should define most essential by its outcome and its duration

The only God is our Lord and Judge, only his kingdom is eternal

Nothing else even comes close to the importance of how we respond to God

Parents, can we let the pursuit of more income and better vacations fill our time and attention?

Parents, can filling our children’s lives with activities be the mark of our parenting?

We should lead our children in the most important thing, which is a personal and growing relationship with Jesus Christ

How do we lead and train our children? (vs 7-9)

You don’t need to be an expert! You are not an expert for your own growth

You do need to know what path you are on  

And you need to know what authority you follow to get there  

The focus in vs 7-9 appears to be twofold

1.  Be intentional about teaching God’s word

2.  Be consistent in how biblical truth shapes the way we live 

If asked, would our children say they can see we value God?

How are you being equipped to biblically lead your family?

Do you want to be better equipped for your most vital task? 

  • Our Family Equipping Conference will provide immediate help  
  • Joining a small group provides a place to talk through our struggles and the application of biblical truth
  • Feeding our soul each day enables us to have something to share with our children; and it keeps us on track   

Many Christians are confident about parenting until the issue of spiritual leadership is broached

God gave you this role; He will be your source of wisdom and strength

Be confident that God’s Word is the best wisdom you can ever give your children

What a privilege we have to lead the children we love to Christ

But we can only lead where we are going

Your church wants to help provide you with the tools to lead your family, will you pick them up? 

 

 

 

 

 

TAKING OVER THE BLOG ON KYLE’S BIRTHDAY

Happy Birthday Kyle

Happy Birthday Kyle!

Yes, today is Kyle’s birthday and as my husband’s number one cheerleader I am taking over his blog today.

There are many things that Kyle would enjoy in honor of his birthday, but tops on the list would probably be:  a good book and extended time to read it, a relaxing meal at a nice restaurant, a homemade pie, and all of his family being together.

Because God has given me the privilege to share my life with him, I get to see first hand his heart for God and for God’s people.  There is no greater joy in his life than to serve God.  He loves all of you that he has been called to serve and he prays for you regularly! 

To those of you who consider him one of your pastors, I believe that you would truly bless him on his birthday by:

1. Praying for him, his preaching, and your church

2. Being consistent in reading God’s Word

3.  Serving and loving each other

4. Living out the Gospel and intentionally sharing it with others around you

When it comes down to it, it is not about Kyle on his birthday.  It is about a Savior who died for you sins once and for all and He desires your whole heart. 

Loving God, seeking to serve Him, and being guided by the Holy Spirit will keep God at the center of your life and you will honor Him. 

And that would truly bless a pastor any day of the year.

(But I will still be baking that pie…)

DON’T MISS THIS CONFERENCE!

Family Equipping Conf

Greentree is excited to host this outstanding Family Equipping Conference that will be a great help to you, and is a great bargain for you:

An essential topic

Two terrific speakers

4 sessions

A question and answer panel

Free lunch

Free child care

We even provide snacks!

This conference is not just important for parents, grandparents, children’s ministry workers and anyone who wants to have an influence on families will find themselves benefiting from these sessions.

We don’t just need wisdom for ourselves, we want to have wisdom for the people in our lives who are struggling through life. Struggles in one area of people’s lives will create struggles in their family as well.

The purpose of this conference is to offer the wisdom from God’s word that will be effective at any age and in any situation. Our speakers are Pastors Mark Prater and Andy Farmer from Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, PA. The fact that Mark and Andy are gifted communicators will make the sessions enjoyable; but it is their clarity with God’s Word that will make the sessions so helpful!

Here is all the information you need to know:

♦  Sessions #1 and #2:  Friday, April 26th at 7:00 p.m.

♦  Sessions #3 and #4:  Saturday, April 27th from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

♦  A free lunch  is included on Saturday with a Question panel

♦  Free childcare will be available through 5th grade (lunch will not be provided for children, so please pack their lunch)

♦  Cost is $15 per individual or $25 per couple. 

♦  Registration includes four sessions, snacks, and a lunch on Saturday. 

 

ALWAYS FAITHFUL

Do you remember the old TV ads featuring  a geeky guy traveling around the country for a cell phone network asking “can you hear me now?” The ads were meant to convince us that their network had the best coverage, because the implied answer was always “yes”.

The “can you hear me now” phrase came to my mind recently with a twist. As a Christian wherever I go in life I can ask God “Are you faithful now”?  And just as with the cell phone ad, the answer is always “yes”.

The big difference is that the ads were hyperbole (exaggeration to make a point), while with God it is reality. And when circumstances tempt us to think that perhaps it is not true at that moment, the cross steps in and declares – yes it is!

There is no exaggeration in the care, love and faithfulness of God toward us. God is not merely faithful when we cry out to Him. God is faithful when we are oblivious of Him; yes, even when we are unfaithful to Him.

Today, we should not only be encouraged by God’s faithfulness, we should praise Him for it.

Would you be willing to share that truth with someone? Doesn’t God deserve it? Don’t they need to know it?

A SPORTS STORY TO CELEBRATE

Jack Hoffman scored the game ending touchdown in the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers annual spring game. What makes this story more unusual is that Jack is only 7 years old!

Young Jack Hoffman who suffers from an rare form of brain cancer has been adopted by the Nebraska football team. In the closing moments of the game, Jack, in full uniform, came into the game at the tailback position. To the surprise of no one, the ball was handed off to Jack who scampered 70 yards for a touchdown surrounded by a wall of blockers as 50,000 fans cheered as loudly as they could.

This is what sports stories and life stories should be, exercises in grace and concern for those lives we can touch. I have never been a Nebraska fan, but today I have made an exception.

SERMON LEFTOVERS 4.15.13

The next generation concerns us all  Judges 2:6-12

After a Sunday morning service over 35 years ago, a man in our church named Harvey Morey told me he was proud of my spiritual growth. It is still a vivid memory. Harvey did not need to be part of my family to impact my life. The next generation is a deep concern to all of us 

The people of God lost their way

There had been a time not long before, when they were a people marked by spiritual vitality

They were not a perfect people, they had failures, but they knew God and served Him

It did not take long for that spiritual vitality to be lost

A new generation “abandoned” the lord as their God (v12)

Can you think of more tragic words, than to have our children “abandon” God?

They abandoned truth, goodness, hope and so they abandoned life itself

They followed after the idols of the culture “around them”

Our surrounding culture is just as dangerous, but it is more intrusive

The values of the world have not only lowered, more significant is that shame itself has been lost

Society as whole has become antagonistic toward biblical Christianity

Technology brings all this closer to us and into our homes

Our children are equally at risk as the generation in Judges 2; and the fall can happen just as fast

What marked the faithful generations?

They had a shared expectation for God’s word (v10)

They knew God’s word and lived according to it (Joshua 24:23-24)

The people expected that God’s word should rule them

We face choices every day are we serious about the Bible’s role

Do you expect God’s word to rule your choices, your wallet and your desires?

They had a shared experience with God’s works (v7)

They all had a testimony of God’s faithfulness (Joshua 24:16-18)

The more we share life in service and care together, the greater that testimony will be

Leading the next generation is a shared task

Without question, God has given parents the pivotal role

As a church, our greatest responsibility to families is to equip them

I encourage you to attend our Family Equip Conference; parents, grandparents, children’s ministry workers and everyone who wants to impact families will benefit. Get more info

God instituted both the Church and the family to labor together

God’s plan is a unified cycle of family and church life

Instruction begins in the home with families, who are then being strengthened by the church

Families are fed at their church, which is then reinforced by families at home

We cannot keep the influence of the world from existing,

But we can cast it out of our hearts

We can attack it with God’s Word

We can take action to show we love God and we trust Him

We will never drift to godliness; we are either paddling to it, or drifting away from it

When we do drift, we add to the current that runs against the families in our church

Families battle the influences of compromise and corruption all around them – oh, may they not have to fight it in their church as well!

Families need us to be an influence and a refuge for godliness 

How can we lead the next generation?

We lead the next generation when we obey God’s word

The next generation of this church needs our example

They need to see that everyone is not going after the world’s ways

They need to see the health and vitality of a life that loves God

Our church is stronger with common obedience and weaker without it

We lead the next generation with our love for God

They need to see that all the worlds’ options cannot equal the joy and fulfillment of truly living for Christ

When they see us serving God, let them see He is our joy

Joy and enthusiasm are infectious, so let’s be contagious!

We lead the next generation by caring for one another

What they experience in the church should be deeper and more faithful than anywhere else

And when our prodigals are far away, we should want them to know we dearly love them and we are waiting for them

FAMILY EQUIPPING CONFERENCE

Family Equipping Conf

Our church is excited to host the Family Equipping Conference, “Proverbs for Parenting”.

We are all too familiar with the influences swirling around us that daily threaten the health of our families. We are also aware of our own struggle to always know how to best protect, guide and care for our children. And just when we think maybe we are getting it down – our children enter a new phase of life with a new set of challenges.

The purpose of this conference is to offer the wisdom from God’s word that will be effective at any age and in any situation. Our speakers are Pastors Mark Prater and Andy Farmer from Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, PA. The fact that Mark and Andy are gifted communicators will make the sessions enjoyable; but it is their clarity with God’s Word that will make the sessions truly beneficial!

Circle these dates on your calendar today, or better yet go ahead and get your registration information at this link right now

Here is all the information you need to know:

♦  Sessions #1 and #2:  Friday, April 26th at 7:00 p.m.

♦  Sessions #3 and #4:  Saturday, April 27th from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

♦  A free lunch  is included on Saturday with a Question panel

♦  Free childcare will be available through 5th grade (lunch will not be provided for children, so please pack their lunch)

♦  Cost is $15 per individual or $25 per couple. 

♦  Registration includes four sessions, snacks, and a lunch on Saturday. 

♦  The deadline for registration is April 21st