July 5 2017

Trusting God

Sometimes….we have a tendency, when we read Scripture to think “That was then……” We tend to think that God is not relevant for today. That what was done 2000 years ago……isn’t really important now.
 
We may think that it’s not relevant to today..because it happened wayyyyyyyyyy back then..and it’s a different world today. That simply is not the case. The Bible IS relevant to us today…it IS something we should look to for information regarding what God expects of us. It can tell us how to live today and how to relate to God.
 
Today, as we begin to look to the book of Acts….I have a few things to consider. Today’s passage invites us to take a look at the past, at the present, and at the future. This passage sets the stage for us for the book of Acts…and after. This passage is a bit of a transition time. God is going to be moving in a new way in the world, and he has a message he wants his church to take to the world.
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April 26 2016

The Model Church

Sometimes…..there are issues in churches.  Sometimes there are politics between members,or scandals, or a number of other things. Awhile back we studied 1 Corinthians---and we saw a church that wasfilled with EVERYTHING that could go wrong with a church…it was anything BUTthe model church

Today….we’re going to look at different type of church.     The church in Thessalonica…was known for alot of good things.   They didn’t haveTHOSE issues that Corinth had.   

If we’re going to emulate one of them…..It would not beCorinth—it would be Thessalonica.  Today…we’re going to see a bit of WHY that is.

The church in Thessalonica was special.  They were on Paul’s heart.   He loved them and he cared for themdeeply.    In his 1st Letterto the Thessalonians, we see him describe the church that he left there. 

Background:  Thessalonica:  It was a city inMacedonia   -- it was named after the wife of a greatGeneral.   

Thessalonica was a somewhat important city – it was a capitalof the 4 districts of Macedonia.   Sothis wasn’t a SMALL city.    This citywas on a famous highway called the Egnatian Way.   This wasn’t just some backwater town.  

The church in Thessalonica saw trouble and hardship from thebeginning.   They had persecution fromthe get-go.   Paul saw some conversions –some people came to believe in Christ right away – in the first few weeks.    But then…..the trouble started.     He started to have some problems.   People didn’t like what he was preaching,and they started to cause problems for him. 

Paul and Silas, after planting the church there….had tosneak away from town at night to escape the angry hoard of people.  

NOW…..Paul is writing them a letter.  

He has some encouragement to give them – and some furtherinstructions in the faith.   

So…let’s read on to see what Paul has to say:   

1 Thess 1:1-10

There are a few things that jump out at us here.  This letter was written to a church foundedin strife and turmoil.   Life hasprobably not been wonderful in Thessalonica for this fledgling church. 

But look what he has to say to them:    

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February 28 2016

Reborn

Anyone with a computer, smartphone, or tablet understands the idea of upgrading the operating system.   The laptop computer we use here runs Windows 7.    The one on my desk in the office uses Widows 7.     At home, we have a Windows 8 machine.

All 3 of them keep popping up a message advising me to upgrade them to Windows 10…but I’m leery.    Sure…the new operating system promises all kinds of new bells and whistles…they always say it’s more secure, it’s fast, it’s more functional……but you see, Microsoft has a history of putting out some not-so-great computer systems.   Oftentimes…with these supposed improvements…..comes a lot of bad things, or bugs.      For that reason, I’ve decided NOT to upgrade my computers….at least not for awhile—until the bugs get worked out. 

The bible tells us that human beings are kind of similar.    The first man that ever walked the earth was Adam…..but there were some issues with Adam…and about 2000 years ago, we saw Adam 2.0 come along.    Let’s open up to Hebrews and see what God has to say.  

Hebrews 2:5-18

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February 10 2016

Jesus is Better

Hebrews 1:1-3

Throughout history….man has been trying to find a way to God.   Whether it’s the Old Testament Law, with people trying to please God by obedience to the Law…..or by other religions of men trying to reach God……man has been trying to please God.   

Today….we launch a new series looking at the book of Hebrews.   The overall message of Hebrews is that Jesus is better.    He’s better than angels…he’s better than any man that’s ever lived.  He’s better than any religion that man has known…better than any sacrifice or covenant.  

Jesus….is BETTER….

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February 2 2016

Final Words to the Rest of Us

Last week we saw God’s Word exhort Pastors, and Elders.    The message that Peter is giving is that we should be faithful to the charge that God gave us – to shepherd the flock and to teach the Gospel.   

Today….we see what Peter has to say to another group of people in the church:  Young people.    We could REALLY apply the message here to all younger people in the church…or I might suggest to even an older person who may be young in their faith.

Let's turn to 1 Peter 5 

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January 26 2016

Pastors and Elders

After several chapters of instructions about how to deal with suffering, and how to conduct ourselves as Christians living in a potentially hostile world…Peter is going to shift gears a bit in chapter 5.    In chapter 5, he has some words regarding church life – how we get along with our fellow Christians.   Today, we look at the first 4 verses---he has some things to say to the elders in the church.   He has some words regarding how this group of men should be serving the church.    

I'll admit to being a bit "out of sorts" as I preached this message.   The text was, after all, largely about me -- my function in the church.   I don't like to talk about myself in church.    I don't believe the role of a pastor, and the sermon the pastor preaches should be about himself.  Sure...we can use our own lives for illustration on occasion, but the Bible is not about me.    But today's text is about Pastors.  Let's open up to 1 Peter 5 and see what God's Word says today.   

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November 24 2015

Do you have Beautiful Feet?

Our church here in Oak has been with Village Missions since 1958.   That’s ALMOST 60 years.   God has used Village Missions to provide leadership to this church, and helped keep the doors open.    Take a look around us, folks…..there aren’t a lot of opportunities to hear the Gospel of Christ in MOST of the churches in the area.   Think with me….what would happen if THIS church closed?     The simple truth is our church is pretty much broke.    If you’ve taken a look at the financial reports hanging on the bulletin board in the back, we have nothing in savings.      Without Village Missions, we certainly would not be able to operate.      SURELY, this church      WOULD be forced to close down without an organization like Village Missions.   

Village Mission’s stated goal is to “Keep Country churches alive”.     To do this, we strive to “Preach the Word and Love the People”.     What I want to talk about today is that first part – “Preach the Word”.    I want to spend a moment and think about what would happen……if there were no one to preach.   What if the Gospel message was not being communicated?  

I grew up in a church, attending every single week…..but I was never once told HOW I could know that I’d go to be with God in Heaven someday – how I could know for sure.     It’s not enough to simply go to church every Sunday if that church DOESN’T preach the Gospel.   If that church DOESN’T preach the Gospel…it’s no church at all.   

So……let me ask you:          Do you have beautiful feet?   

I never really thought much about my feet……but Truth be told, my feet are probably nothing special…….but I would even suggest that God thinks they’re beautiful.    

He’s going to make a statement, then 4 questions in Romans 10:13-15

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November 18 2015

Don’t Get too Comfortable!

This world is not our home.   As Christians we are exiles in a foreign world.   We should not be surprised when the world doesn't treat us well.    In his 1st letter, Peter gives a series of commands that a Christian living in this world would do well to remember.    Let's see what God's Word has to say:    

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November 3 2015

Unjust Suffering

It's never easy to be blamed for something you didn't do, or to suffer for doing what is right.  Sometimes a good employee gets treated as if they have done wrong.  Either the employer, or a co-worker, or someone might just "have it out for them".   How are we to react when we get accused of and punished for something we didn't do?  Or simply because someone doesn't like us.    It's never easy to be treated with less respect than we may think we've earned, but God's Word tells us how we should react when we are. Peter's first letter gives some guidance on how a slave that is being unjustly treated should react.    Let's check into chapter 2 of 1 Peter and see what he has to say, and how this is relevant to today.     

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October 20 2015

Longing for our Home

The Wizard of Oz.    It's an American Icon--and pretty much everyone in America knows the movie.   

Throughout the movie…the lead character Dorothy is on a quest to find her way home.   That’s her overriding mission – to go home.   Remember how it ends?     Dorothy clicks her heals together and repeats a mantra…….

“There’s no place like home…..There’s no place like home…….there’s no place like home….”  

Home should ALSO be where we long to be. But with all due respect to our neighbors just to the south of us……I don’t mean Kansas.    I mean Heaven.     In God’s Word today we read Peter’s admonition to seek look to our Heavenly home.    

We are commanded to live as aliens.   

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