Feb 12, 2023
What Happens When the Church Prays?
Series: (All)
Acts 4:23-31  When the church prays, the presence of God is perceived. “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken.” (v.31a) When the church prays, the power of God is received. “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit…” (v.31b) When the church prays, the purpose of God is achieved. “...and spoke the word of God boldly.” (v.31c)
  • Feb 12, 2023What Happens When the Church Prays?
    Feb 12, 2023
    What Happens When the Church Prays?
    Series: (All)
    Acts 4:23-31  When the church prays, the presence of God is perceived. “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken.” (v.31a) When the church prays, the power of God is received. “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit…” (v.31b) When the church prays, the purpose of God is achieved. “...and spoke the word of God boldly.” (v.31c)
  • Feb 5, 2023The Feast of The Father
    Feb 5, 2023
    The Feast of The Father
    “Bring the fattened calf and kill it.  Let’s have a feast and celebrate!  For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.  So they began to celebrate.”   Luke 15:23-24 Even though we live in a fallen world in which we often experience suffering and sorrow, the Kingdom of God is designed for JOY!  It is our decision whether to be a part of it, or to be apart from it. The Feast of the Father is offered because … God understands the human condition.
    • “There is no one righteous, not even one.” (Romans 3:10)
    God sent the divine solution.
    • “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son…” (John 3:16)
    • “I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast … in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 8:11)
    God offers a new communion.
    • “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.” (Matthew 22:1)
    • “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples…” (Matthew 26:26)
  • Jan 29, 2023The True Elder Brother
    Jan 29, 2023
    The True Elder Brother
    “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. . . Both the one who makes men holy and the those who are made holy are of the same family.  So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.”   Hebrews 2:9 & 11 The parables of The Lost Sheep and The Lost Coin (Luke 15:3-10) both prominently feature someone who searches diligently for that which is lost.  Interestingly, that character seems to be missing from the third parable we commonly know as The Prodigal Son.  Then it may dawn on us:  Shouldn’t it have been the elder brother?  But his help is conspicuously absent.  Timothy Keller wrote, “By putting a flawed elder brother into the story, Jesus is inviting us to imagine and yearn for a true one.” (The Prodigal God, p.84)
    We are blessed that God sent us a True Elder Brother.
    • Jesus Christ identifies as our “brother.”  Matthew 12:46-50 & Hebrews 2:9-11
    • For Jesus, there are no “acceptable losses.”  1 Timothy 2:3-4 & 2 Peter 3:9
    • He was willing to pay the price for our reconciliation to God.  Philippians 2:6-8 & Ephesians 1:7
    • We are called to be like Jesus, not the elder son or the Pharisees. 
    • He has given to us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-19). 
    Will we accept it?
  • Jan 22, 2023The Lost Elder Brother
    Jan 22, 2023
    The Lost Elder Brother
    Luke 15:25-32 Jesus told a parable about two lost sons, not just one.  There is more than one kind of lostness.  Though the elder brother prided himself in his goodness—as compared to his younger brother who had been openly rebellious—he actually shared some of the same bad attitudes and motivations.
    • He questions the ways of his father and his authority.
    • He is not above being openly disrespectful of his father.
    • He loved his father’s stuff more than he loved his father.
    • He is willing to fracture the unity of his family.
    We see signs of lostness in the heart of the elder brother:
    • He held a deep anger.
    • His obedience was joyless and mechanical.
    • He felt disdain toward his younger brother.
    • He did not understand his father’s love.
    • He was judgmental and unforgiving.
    If we identify these same signs within ourselves, we need to seek a change of heart through Jesus Christ.  Only through him do we learn to truly love, forgive and sacrifice.  Even lost elder brothers can be found!
  • Jan 15, 2023The Lost Younger Son
    Jan 15, 2023
    The Lost Younger Son
    Luke 15:11-24 The Younger Son’s Heartless Request and the Father’s Surprising Response
    • “Father, give me my share of the estate.” (v.12)
    The Younger Son’s Senseless Rebellion and the Father’s Broken Heart
    • “The younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.” (v.13)
    The Younger Son’s Humble Return and the Father’s Extraordinary Reception
    • “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” (v.21)
  • Jan 8, 2023The People Around Jesus
    Jan 8, 2023
    The People Around Jesus
    Luke 15:1-10  Introducing “The Prodigal God” by Timothy Keller:
    • This series is a study of Jesus’ parable we tend to call “The Prodigal Son,” though a better title would be “The Loving Father” or “The Two Lost Sons.”
    • Though we think of “prodigal” as meaning wayward or rebellious, in truth it means “recklessly extravagant.” We will be looking at God’s extravagant love toward all of His lost children!
    Who were the people around Jesus in Luke 15?
    • There were the tax collectors and “sinners” who came to learn. (v.1)
    • There were the Pharisees and teachers who came to judge and criticize. (v.2)
    In his parables of The Lost Sheep and The Lost Coin, Jesus reinterprets for his audience how God responds to those who are lost. (vv. 3-10)
  • Dec 25, 2022A Shepherd for the Shepherds
    Dec 25, 2022
    A Shepherd for the Shepherds
    Series: (All)
    Luke 2:8-20 Perhaps we all tend to identify with the shepherds of the nativity story because they were just common, ordinary people like us.  It was to them that the angels first announced the birth of the Savior, sending them to find the Christ Child in a manger in Bethlehem.  Their hearts were filled with wonder, but there was much they did not yet understand about that precious baby. They didn’t know the child sleeping in a manger was also a Lamb.
    • John 1:29
    • Revelation 5:12
    They also didn’t know that he would be a Shepherd.
    • John 10:14   
    Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God sent into the world to save us from our sins.  He is also the Good Shepherd who came to seek and save us.
    Are you ready to follow him today?
  • Dec 18, 2022Jesus
    Dec 18, 2022
    “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”  — Matthew 1:21 The name Jesus speaks to the condition of the heart of every person.
    • Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.  Who can understand it?”
    The name Jesus speaks to the compassion of the heart of God.
    • John 3:16  “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
    The name Jesus speaks to the change of heart that God makes possible.
    • 2 Corinthians 5:17  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone, the new has come!”
  • Dec 11, 2022Immanuel
    Dec 11, 2022
    Matthew 1:18-25 Immanuel (or Emmanuel) means “God with us.”  This is a central promise of the heavenly Father all through the Bible!
    • God was in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve.
    • God was with Abraham when he traveled to Canaan.
    • God was with Joseph while in Egyptian slavery.
    • God was with Moses when he stood before Pharaoh.
    • God was with Joshua while conquering the Promised Land.
    • God was with David as he governed the nation of Israel.
    • God was with the world when He send His Son to be born in Bethlehem.
    The last promise of Jesus to his disciples before ascending into heaven was, “Surely I am with you always, even to the very end of the age.” Isn’t it wonderful to know that because Immanuel came to earth, God is with you in all your decisions, all your challenges, all your victories and defeats, all your joys and sorrows?
  • Dec 4, 2022Messiah
    Dec 4, 2022
    One of the most important and most common titles for Jesus in the New Testament is “Christ.”  It is the Greek translation of the Hebrew term “Messiah,” which means “The Anointed One.”
    In the Old Testament, prophets, priests and kings were often anointed with oil to illustrate their appointment to a high office.  Jesus the Messiah fulfills each of those ministries with complete perfection. Isaiah 11 is one of the many messianic prophecies found in the Old Testament.  It helps us understand at least three very important characteristics of the One sent by God to bless and to save us.
    • He is the Righteous Messiah. (11:1-5)
    • He offers Peace and Security. (11:6-9)
    • He extends an Invitation to all who are scattered and lost. (11:10-12)
    God’s Anointed One, Jesus Christ, offers you a place in His kingdom.  Won’t you accept His offer today?