Monthly Archives: February 2014

THE HEART of MISSIONS CONFERENCE

Heart of Missions

On Sunday we open our annual Mission Conference. This year our theme is “The Heart of Missions”. We have many excellent activities planned that will educate and encourage us in our mission to be people of the gospel

Monday, March 3rd 

7:00 – 9:30 pm  Movie Night

More Than Dreams”  The amazing phenomenon of Jesus appearing to Muslims in dreams

 Wednesday, March 5th  

5:30 – 6:15 pm  International Meal

Enjoy cuisine from around the world

6:30 – 8:00 pm  Is Jesus Worth It?

A multi-faceted presentation on reaching those who are hardest to reach

Thursday, March 6th  

8:30 – 9:30 am  Prayer Breakfast

Continental Breakfast /Pray for our Missionaries

9:30 – 11:00 am  Women’s Bible Study

Featuring a Skype interview with our missionary’s wife on their work in Central Asia

Friday, March 7th

6:30  – 10:00 pm  Jr/Sr High Missions Night

A night designed to give a greater awareness of global missions.  Students will hear our missionary’s testimony & enjoy interaction with him

Saturday, March 7th  

9:00  – 11:00 am  Reach the World Right Where You Are

A seminar on doing cross culture outreach to our neighborhoods.  A continental breakfast will be served

Sunday, March 9th    

 8:30 am & 10:30 am  Guest Preacher

The message will be preached by our missionary who has traveled halfway across the world to share his work with us

 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm  Meet & Greet Potluck Dinner

Enjoy a meal together and learn more about our missionary’s work in Central Asia

THE REAL SPICE OF LIFE

This week I read an article that’s a good follow up to last Sunday’s sermon. Now I know Sunday was a looong time ago, so here is the message theme from 2 Timothy 4:

Faithfulness to mission means each of us is in the people business

The article I read from the 20schemes Website is “Dying to Disciple: How Far Are We Willing to Go in Our Pursuit of People?” Yes, it is also a looong title, but the article is an encouragement in how God can (and wants to) use us in the ordinary and mundane flow of every activities. The author calls it Flexible Spontaneity.

I hope you will read this article with the eager mindset of “Wow, I want God to use me in everyday life.” Because nothing is more important, thrilling or satisfying, than a life that serves the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Living for Christ is the real spice of life!

GETTING TO KNOW THEM ALL

Thinking about eternity in Christ’ Kingdom is a feast of contemplations.
 
Most of all I find rest in knowing all striving against sin will cease; whether they are the sins which pervert our world or the sins which still worm their way into my own heart.
 
Often I imagine the enveloping sound which will come from the heavenly chorus made up of the angels and all who love the Lord. 
 
Or, I take joy in anticipating the full restoration of relationships. Conflicts in the church and between all believers will be healed. 
 
But today, my thoughts traveled the path of what it will be like to enjoy perfect fellowship with each believer who has and will ever live. 
 
Our relationships will not bear the pressures of pride and our souls will be bare of those masks we now collect. Instead we will enjoy heart to heart conversations which flow like playful streams, alive with love and listening. 
 
Oh, how many fascinating people we will get to know and how many amazing stories of grace will bring forth praises to the wonder of God’s sovereignty. 
 
Christ’s kingdom will hold an awesome host of people who will not be faceless crowds. Each face will be that of a dear friend that causes our heart to smile. Every person will be better loved than our dearest loves now, and they will never fail to love us with the full measure of Jesus own stature of love. 
 
Stretching over the timeless ages we will have the pleasure of getting to know the God given uniqueness of all heaven’s citizens. And we will have the fun of sharing endless unmarred experiences together in God’s perfect new creation.

SERMON LEFTOVERS 2.24.14

“Our mission is about people”

2 Timothy 4:9-22

Paul closes his letter describing people in his world

It reminds us that our mission from Christ is about people

We must be serious about our theology and wise in our planning, however all this is meant to connect people to Christ

Every person without Christ is under the weight and the judgment of sin

Jesus came for people: humanity is not saved, people are saved

People must respond to the gospel, which means people must hear it

Amazingly, people (us!) are also God’s instruments to share the gospel

Each person we see has burdens, and we have what will help

Faithfulness to mission means each of us is in the people business

Our role in life is to represent Christ to people who all need him

As people of the gospel, we are called by God to care for “one another”

Our mission is not about people generically, it is to people specifically

We all agree that people need the gospel

But are we specially burdened for individuals God has in our path?

Who are you praying for?  With whom are you talking to and building relationships?

We all agree that we are to love fellow believers

But we don’t love “people”, unless we act in love to “persons”

And we don’t love our church, unless we act in love to the people who are our church

Our mission is to people, but it is for Christ

As we live people-oriented, we must remain Christ-centered

Christ is the only true hope people can have, because only Christ has resolved our sin problem

No one is more aware and concerned for people’s welfare that Jesus – he became man for us

No one loves the people you know more than Jesus – he went to the cross for us

We can be confident that Christ is sufficient for any need people have

And you don’t have to make the gospel work in a person, that’s His job

Paul addresses many relational situations in these verses that we can relate to

To Paul these situations were all preeminently about Christ

This means that Christ’s agenda for people is what leads us

The only agenda we have been given for people, is the agenda of the gospel

Paul’s main emphasis in these verses is the people who hurt him

Like Paul, we must not leave our mission when people hurt and disappoint us

We may be tempted to lash back, withdraw or even leave our church

However, Christ never gets off mission toward us (v17)

Walking away from mission is more a response to Christ than to people

The time is coming when our greatest concern will be: did I stay on mission?

Christ is coming for us, and the glory he brings will outweigh every burden (v18)

DO YOU ACTUALLY BELIEVE THIS?

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You say that you believe that God is sovereign and in control of all things. You definitely love Romans 8:28 which tells us, “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

So what does it look like to live according to this belief? Or, to put it another way, how do we show God who truly is sovereign, the trust that He deserves?

Here are just a few suggestions. I am sure you can think of a few more.

In fact, why not write them down in the comments, so we can all be encouraged by your additions to this list!

1.  With our Anxieties:  Remember that everything which causes us stress, has always been in God’s eternal plan. If God is never anxious or uncertain, then we can rest in His confident sovereignty.

2.  With our Obedience:  If God is in control, then everything He commands is not only best, it is un-improvable.  Do we really think some other way or wisdom will be a greater benefit in the end?

3.  With our Pursuit of Him:  What could be more urgent, than to draw nearer to God. Nothing will benefit us more, than to have a heart that loves God more

4.  With our Doubts:   It’s not our place to ask “Why, God?” The far better question is “How do you want me to respond”?  Let our doubts be like a mist under the sun which quickly burns away

5.  With our Possessions:  It really doesn’t make sense to grasp so tightly to our possessions, when they all belong to God who will not withhold any good thing in our forever with Him. Let us trust God to give us what is needed, when it is good to have it

6.  With our Worship:  He is always Lord of all, and He is unceasingly praiseworthy!  May our praise be tied to who God is, not what we want Him to fulfill.

The Psalmist writes, ‘The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice!’ (Psalm 97:1)

Do you believe God reigns today?  Then today we should rejoice!

APPS FOR PERSONAL STUDY & MINISTRY

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by Debbie Huber

Smartphones, iPads, and Tablets are greatly impacting our business and personal lives, giving us the potential to be more efficient and productive if they are used wisely.  This type of technology can also help us in our personal study, prayer life, and ministry to others. Many of us have these devices but, due to the overwhelming amount of apps available, do not know how to begin to use them in this way.

Because I am not an innately organized and efficient person my iPad has benefited my personal devotional time and my ministry to others.   Here are some iOS app suggestions that helped me (some are in Android version as well).

Bible:

The YouVersion Bible app syncs between my devices and online so I can always access my Bible reading plan. There are many different versions of the Bible available in this app to read online. Make sure that you download the ESV (or your preferred) version from the app directly to your device so you can always access it, even in airplane mode.

The Bible Gateway app has Bible reading plans as well as some references such as commentaries and Bible dictionaries. You can also listen to very nice recordings of people reading the passages of scripture to you which is good in the car or just to hear it while you read along!

With both of these apps you can write notes which can be used for journaling or during a Bible study or sermon.

Accordance is another highly rated app where you can find essential reference tools for bible study.

Journaling:

The DayOne app is a multi-purpose journaling app that makes it easy for “non-journalers” like me. I am looking forward to using this app to journal during my personal devotion time and for taking notes during sermons.

Prayer: 

I like to use a Prayer app to keep my prayer list always at hand, syncing with my iPhone and iPad. There are several but I like the simple ones such as Prayer Journal by Paul Hudson  and PrayerMate: Christian Prayer App.

In the past when someone at church or work asked me to pray for a specific request, my very ineffective ways to remember it was to either write the request on a scrap of paper and try to find it later or go by my memory. Now I use a note taking app on my phone such as Evernote or the Notes app that comes standard on my iPad and iPhone. I also use these apps for sermon or Bible study notes. You can use the note taking apps in conjunction with the Bible apps to copy and paste Bible verses into your notes. This is useful for me to review for later or to help me in my community fellowship.

There are so many other beneficial apps that could be suggested but if you are like me you will download them all (especially if they are free!) and be so overwhelmed by all of your apps that you will not use many of them well.  It is best to start simple, making a plan and putting it into action.

 

GOD and AIRPORTS

Last week I spent a lot of time in airports. I passed thousands of people with specific plans in mind. They were all coming from somewhere and headed somewhere else. Each of them has a life filled with desires and burdens.

Yet to me they were anonymous people. I might notice one for a few moments, as they caught my eye or as I snatched bits of their conversations.  If their physical presence intruded on mine, for those brief moments, they had my attention. But I did not think about any of them for long, and now they are forgotten. I have to force myself to remember a face, and I remain oblivious of their life’s condition.

Here and there I formed an opinion about someone; the way they intruded in line, the words they used to a store clerk, or how they handled their crying child. Now, even those opinions have disappeared.  To be blunt, I passed by those thousands of people almost as casually as I would a forest of trees along the highway.

Yet God was and is thinking about each of them in a very personal way. In fact, there has never been a moment in God’s forever existence – in which He has not had them on his heart. That astonishes me!

God loves them. He has a message for them. He has declared saving truth for them. A sacrifice was made for them. Right now Christ’s call echoes for them, if they would have ears to hear it . . .  if they would have a person to share it.

Airports remind me that I don’t think about people the way God does. I say I want many to be saved, but I did not think about salvation in a personal way for those thousands of individuals. My world does not reach far beyond – me.

Airports remind me that I simply do not have God’s capacity to have knowledge and concern for just the slice of humanity that passes by me, let alone the billions I will never see. Even more humbling is that for the handful of people I do know from the inside, I am helpless to help them with their most important needs.

Airports remind me God deserves my praise.  Why did He come to me and save me?!  What causes Him to be so faithful and attentive to me?!

Airports remind me that God is our only hope. What other hope is there for the immense ocean of human burden?  Only God is capable of knowing every heart and of meeting every need.

Airports remind me that if I want to be used by God, I must always pursue Him and His will for me. Unless Holy Spirit uses me, my life will have as much lasting impact as the footprints I leave along the beach.

Next time you are in a crowded place, whether it is an airport, or the mall, or even your own church; consider God’s concern for each of those anonymous people passing before us. People who are far from anonymous to him.

Originally posted 12.11

SERMON LEFTOVERS 2.17.14

God’s word gives us our mission

2 Timothy 4:1-8

What value do these verses written to a pastor have for all the church?

It gives the expectations we should have for our pastors

This is vital if we want to be spiritually healthy

It is hard to mature beyond the teaching we hear

If we don’t hear good teaching, it is hard to guard against bad teaching

It gives the expectations we should have for ourselves

This is certainly no less important for your spiritual health

What influence should the teaching we hear have on us?

How do we prepare to hear teaching – are we prayerful about it?  

What attitude do we have for the role of God’s word – are we willing to be corrected by God’s word? (v 2)

If teaching and hearing doesn’t include all that is mentioned inv2, it is not biblically sound teaching

What influence should biblical expectation have on the conduct of church life?

Everything a church does should flow out of biblical exhortations to us

Even what we don’t do expresses biblical priority

This has led Greentree to replace some events and programs with more training & go out in our world application

This passage gives understanding for staying on mission

All members carry a responsibility to be impacted by God’s word

The Bible is all we have to understand our mission

Our mission is not what Church leaders do, it is what all the Church does!

Not all Christians (or those say they are) have this heart (vs 3-4)

This should be sadness to us, but we cannot slow down for it

Yes, people are at different stages of growth and application

So yes, we should be patient and give them time and understanding

However,  we fail one another, if we compromise biblical expectations for people who are not committed 

Many voices in the church say that to be effective, we need less theology in preaching, and we cannot expect as much from people.

Can we really be content with this attitude? Does God expect less?

Paul shares his own testimony about staying on mission vs 6-8

He describes how we should want to live life, and end it

Paul is at the end his life, he is giving his own eulogy

What do we want said at our eulogy?

For Paul, his accomplishment was that he stayed on mission

Paul mentions three things about his life:

1.  He fought the good fight

He said more about this in 1 Timothy 6:11-12

We are “fighting” anything that keeps us from being faithful to God

The basic actions of this fight are flee what is unrighteous and pursue what is righteous (1 Tim 6:11, 2 Tim 2:22)

God has better plans and better weapons than our adversaries

If we are rooted in biblical teaching we will understand God’s plans and weapons

2.  He finished the race

To finish the race is to stay faithful to God’s word over us (see 2:5)

Jesus’ sacrifice ensures our eternal salvation, but our obedience is the course we are to run

3.  He kept the faith

Faith is taking action to live by what we believe

By faith we see that daily choices should have eternal perspective (see 1 Timothy 6:12) 

God’s word keeps us in his perfect, eternal and good perspective

Paul tells us why he worked so hard to stay on mission (v8)

Be honest, do you think you deserve to wear a crown of righteousness in heaven?

But this crown is not for those who deserve it,

It is for all who love Christ and trust in him. He holds one for us

God’s Word has rules and expectations, but it is not about rules

It’s about our becoming people who have a heart for God, and who are being used by him

If that is not motivation enough for you, then you don’t really love Him

But right now you can cry out for God to forgive your sin and make your heart whole

God’s Word gives us ‘our mission’ and it is a grand one!

SHOW THE LOVE

Do you love God? If you want to show God that you truly do love Him, here is the (not so) secret which is found in John 14:15 & 21

If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.

Today, will God see that you truly do love Him?

WHEN MARRIAGE HAS ROUGH EDGES

I love my wife dearly. But there have been many moments when it would not have appeared that way to someone watching me with Debbie. Much less to Debbie herself.

Russ Ramsey shared a moving personal story in which many of us will find ourselves. This article titled “Scowling at the Angel” was posted in the Rabbit Room. It will hold your attention and more importantly, it will move your heart.