- It’s amazing how your countenance changes when you discover what your enemy thinks about you.
- When we understand where stand, who’s on our team, and how the enemy quakes when we come out in Christ.
- Whether we believe it or not…Our enemy knows.
- In the end we win.
- Don’t live without the knowledge that we are victorious.
Ex. 14 – The people are released from Egypt and days into their journey.
Ex. 14:13-14 – But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” (Exodus 14:13-14 NLT)
- The Lord will do the fighting for you…if you just stay calm!!!
- We have the promise of victory.
- There is no manipulation.
- Victory has already been given to you. – Just stay calm.
Moses gives 4 Directives for Victory (Assured by Yahweh “I Am”)
1. Be Fearless (Do not be afraid)
2. Be Still
3. Be Watchful
4. Be Quiet/calm
Discipleships 6 Inconvenient Truths:
- Disciple = Follower – Anyone following is a disciple
- We often confuse leadership with discipleship.
- Followers are not always leaders.
1. The ultimate mark of a disciple is obedience to what we know.
- It doesn’t mean extrovert
- It means faith to trust and follow.
- There should not be a split between evangelism and discipleship.
- A disciple learns to obey. Followers are those who keep “my” commandments.
- Obedience doesn’t always equal passion, excitement, or extreme personality.
- Don’t “ADD” to the definition of disciple.
- Everything beyond obedience is frosting.
2. Spiritual Growth is seldom a linear process.
- People don’t grow in an organized fashion.
- Our spiritual growth is often more of a “meandering path” than a stair step.
- People learn when life gets thrown at them more than when they should.
- Create the environment for organic growth. Don’t force it.
- Growth Moments:
- When you Need to Know Moments
- When you Need to Grow moments
- Keep people with Christ/The Bible and Keep people with other Christians – So that they will have the tools they need when life strikes deep.
3. No two personal relationships are ever alike.
- Relations deal with individual people.
- Work with people within their uniqueness.
- Don’t make people into who you are.
- Religion is one size fits all. Just do it this way.
- The reason you want your groups to be sticky is so that you/we can fulfill the great commission. Not just because you want to get bigger.
- It’s not about church growth, but the great commisson
- In today’s world there is no brand loyalty.
- If people don’t like what they hear – they will go elsewhere.
- People leave easily
- There is loyalty to: SIGNIFICANT FRIENDSHIPS.
- The Mission is SIGNIFICANT FRIENDSHIPS FOR CHRIST.
- RELATIONSHIPS OVER CONTENT. (Although content is important.)
- If you don’t get this…you’ve failed. Know the names of the people over the title of the message.
- It’s the friendships that will keep people coming when they hear something they don’t like.
Small Group Myths:
1. Assimilation is not retention.
- Assimilation is about getting new people into something.
- Retention is for everyone, and getting them to stay for the long haul.
- A revolving door with scew your statistics.
- Retention is greater than assimilation.
2. A Sticky Group must be a healthy group.
- You have to take care of your leaders.
- The leaders are more important than the sheep.
- Make sure the leaders stay healthy. – and are able to effectively deal with the EGR’s without burning out.
- This is why groups take breaks during the summer. (To maintain the leaders sanity).
3. Friendliness is not Connection.
- Being friendly is not connecting.
- People are like legos – with connecting dots.
- The moment your connectors are full you will be friendly, but not connect.
- Meet new people – Invite them over for a barbeque. (Take the next step…)
- When your connectors are not full you will connect.
- Don’t be friendly – Connect.
- How can you connect with people – and not just be friendly.
- New groups for new people – Becuase their connectors are eqully empty.
- SEE PEOPLE AS LEGOS AND ASK – ARE THEY CONNECTED.
- IF YOU MEET PEOPLE – DON’T THEN IGNORE THEM. DON’T LEAD THEM ON…
The Best Life is the Blessed Life
Sermon Notes – James River Church – 12-29-2013 – Pastor John Lindell
Psalm 112 – Praise the Lord ! How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying his commands. Their children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be blessed. They themselves will be wealthy, and their good deeds will last forever. Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous. Good comes to those who lend money generously and conduct their business fairly. Such people will not be overcome by evil. Those who are righteous will be long remembered. They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly. They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor. The wicked will see this and be infuriated. They will grind their teeth in anger; they will slink away, their hopes thwarted. (Psalms 112:1-10 NLT)
- Looking towards 2014 – What you believe about God will impact you perception of the new year.
- Loving Kindness…the number one attribute of God
- Psalm 65:11 You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance. (Psalms 65:11 NLT)
- Though God’s heart wants to bless people, not everybody is blessed.
- Not everybody is blessed in the same way.
- Why do some know more of God’s blessing than others?…Psalm 112.
- 112 is a companion psalm to 111.
- God is not a respector of persons regarding his blessing. He wants all to be blessed equally.
7 Characteristics of a Blessed Persons Life:
- Start by praising God. Psalm 112 starts “Praise The Lord!”
- Don’t wait for the victory to your battle to praise. Praise God now so that you will obtain the victory you need.
- Joshua and the battle of Jericho.
- Psalm 100:4 – Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. (Psalms 100:4 NLT)
1. He Fears The Lord. – Not a priority – The priority. Do you honor God. Blessed is the man who fears The Lord. They are walking in step with God. It is not a matter of bare minimum.
- It’s not about negotiation. It’s about whole-hearted willingness. It is not a duty. It is a delight.
- Deut. 30:19-20 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” (Deuteronomy 30:19, 20 NLT)
- Everything else is a distant second.
2. He is Fascinated with God’s Word.
- Psalm 112:1b – They delight in OBEYING God’s commandments.
- Joshua 1:8 – Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. (Joshua 1:8 NLT) – That’s why I’ve started the Devotional Accountability Project.
3. His Family is blessed. – Regarding raising Children: #1 Priority – Make sure they are have relationship with God. Everything else will fall into place.
- It’s not about raising preachers, but young people/men,women of God.
- It all begins with you/me. Our childrens future depends on what I do today and tomorrow. What legacy do you want your children to inherit?
4. His Finances are blessed. – 112:3 – They themselves will be wealthy. Their good deeds will last forever.
- 1 Tim 6:10 – Love of money is the root of evil
- James 1:11 – Pursuit of money is the issue.
- Psalm 35:27b-c – But give great joy to those who came to my defense. Let them continually say, “Great is the Lord, who delights in blessing his servant with peace!” (Psalms 35:27 NLT)
- God’s blessing wants to extend to every area of our lives.
- God’s blessing is not for ourselves…It is so that we might be a blessing to others.
- Don’t hold onto what you have…use it to bless others.
- 2 Cor 9:6-9 – Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. (2 Corinthians 9:6-8 NLT)
- The Point is…sowing and reaping…what you sow you reap.
- It is the law of the harvest.
- Prov 22:9 – Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor. (Proverbs 22:9 NLT)
- Isaiah 32:8 – But generous people plan to do what is generous, and they stand firm in their generosity. (Isaiah 32:8 NLT)
- Generosity is a lifestyle, not a seasonal mood or a periodic effort for a tax return.
5. His Fearful Situations are Blessed
- Psalm 112:4a Light shines in the darkness for the godly. (Psalms 112:4a NLT)
- Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. (Psalms 46:1 NLT)
- Psalm 23:4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. (Psalms 23:4 NLT)
- Psalm 16:7-8 I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. (Psalms 16:7, 8 NLT)
- Psalm 112:7 – He is not afraid of bad news. God will work it out
- Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Isaiah 26:3 NLT)
6. His Future is blessed
- Psalm 112:8 They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly. (Psalms 112:8 NLT)
- God wants to bless us…How we approach this statement will determine how we live this year.
7. His Foes will see God’s Blessing
- Psalm 112:10 – The wicked will see this and be infuriated. They will grind their teeth in anger; they will slink away, their hopes thwarted. (Psalms 112:10 NLT)
- Isaiah 54:17 – But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the Lord; their vindication will come from me. I, the Lord, have spoken! (Isaiah 54:17 NLT)
- Notice that the author isn’t named.
- Who is the blessed man?
- It could be you…If you follow the Word of the Lord.
Perry Noble: “You Asked for It – What’s The Big Deal
About Homosexuality & Gay Marriage?”
- This is the most popular question submitted
- This is also the most divisive question submitted.
-Girl Scout thin mint cookies illustration:
- Story about buying cookies to help a little Girl Scout.
- Twitter response about girl scout cookies purchase.
- You cannot buy these cookies because “they” support the “gays.”
-An Apology to “gays”, lesbians, and bisexuals regarding how they have been treated by the Christian community.
3 Things to realize before “I” (Perry Noble) preach this message:
– 1. You matter to God – he loves you and has a great plan for your life.
– 2. You matter to this church
– 3. You matter to me (Perry Noble) – I/he spent 3-4 hours with a “gay” focus group regarding how to preach this message.
1 Cor 6:9-11 – Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NIV)
James – The Bible is like a mirror, for us to see what is going on in our lives.
- We can see the standards we should live up to.
- The problem – Many Christians use the Bible as a window, rather than a mirror.
- They use it to examine and magnify others issues, rather than using it for self-examination as it was intended.
- The Bible was given to function as a set of standards by which we should live our lives, not collection of moral stones to throw at others we perceive as “not as good” as us.
Matthew 19: 4-6 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ ? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6 NIV)
- I am a follower of Jesus Christ
- I am not a follower of Jesus because of what he has said.
- I follow him because of what he did. (The resurrection of Jesus Christ)
- As a result – we can face anything the world throws at us.
- If we are going to follow him, we cannot approach what he said as a buffet.
- “Haven’t you read “He created man and woman…for this reason a man will leave his father and mother…what God has joined together let no one separate”
- – We are examining marriage/sexuality according to Jesus – (Not Biblical Marriage, Not even Christian Marriage)
– This is the marriage type the Jesus endorses: it is between a man and a woman, period.
- Box Illustration: Inside the box is safety, outside the box is pain, regret, and maybe death.
- The box is the boundary
- Matthew 19:4-6 identifies two types of people: 1)A Man & 2)A Woman
- Man=Husband – Woman=Wife – Then he talked about sex.
- God gives everything that is good. (Food)
- Jesus said that sex was given by God to celebrate intimacy between a husband and a wife.
- Marriage was given to illustrate the commitment God has for his church (relentless, passionate, unyielding)
- Anything outside of this box (husband and wife) is sinful and rebellion against God.
- I Cor 6:9-11 Doesn’t merely discuss the sinful nature of homosexuality.
- Everything outside of the box is bad. (Adultery, premarital sex, etc)
- Any type of behavior/sex outside of the box detaches us from God and his plan
- Outside of the box =Detachment from God – Inside of the box = Devotion to God
- The message is about much more than homosexuality. It is about sexual purity.
3 Arguments used by the LGB community:
1. I was born this way. – This isn’t a problem. It’s a non-issue
- (heterosexual men are born feeling like they need to have sex with every beautiful woman they can)
- That doesn’t mean that they should, or that it is right.
- We are all born sinful. Sin separates us from God.
- Does a “gay” person who gets saved never have to struggle with same sex feelings every again? (NO)
- Do men or women who get married never have to struggle with attraction to other people every again? (NO)
2. My feelings are very strong – Why would I feel this way if I wasn’t supposed to act on my feelings.
- – Feelings don’t make behavior right. (ex. Feeling like punching/”silencing” annoying people)
- – We have to be very careful when we try to legitimize behavior based on feelings
- – God’s facts will always trump our feelings.
3. Tolerance – If you disagree with a perspective (politically/culturally incorrect) one is often viewed as intolerant or hate-filled.
- – Intolerance does not equal disagreement.
- – Tolerance does not equal agreement.
- 3 types of tolerance:
- a) legal tolerance – We need to tolerate each other legally (abide by laws).
- b) social tolerance – We need to tolerate each other in social settings (abide by cultural mores)
- c) intellectual tolerance – I do not have to agree that what you do is a good idea.
- – People who scream intolerance of behavior are often not seeking acceptance, but rather approval. (Not to mention they are acting-out their own intolerance)
- – Acceptance does not equal approval.
- – I can accept you because Jesus accepts you, but I cannot approve of your behavior, because Jesus does not approve of your behavior. Jesus doesn’t approve of sin.
- – We all have regrets – Maybe 80-90 percent of our regrets are ties to sexual sins.
– Heb 4:14-16 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16 NIV)
- – Temptation is not sin. Acting on our temptation is a sin
- – If we are pursuing Jesus, we are not trying to live outside of the ‘box’ he established.
- – “Therefore let us approach God’s throne with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace.”
- – Don’t beat people over the head with prejudice.
- – You win people with conversation, not condemnation.
- Jesus started conversations (with the “lost”). He did not offer condemnation…
- These tips on how to maintain your faith amidst trials and storms are heavily adapted and quoted from: Gurnall, William. The Christian in Complete Armour. Abridged ed. Vol. 1. publication place: Banner of Truth, 1986.
- These tips will help you maintain your faith and your sanity when it seems like your life is crashing in a blaze of brilliant chaos all around you, and it seems like Satan is screaming in your face.
- When Satan blows smoke in your face and seems to be speaking to you through and influencing your wife, your children, your friends, your cat, and even your dog, preserve the hope of your salvation – Record God’s special visits to you in the memory book of your heart. Paste in keepsakes of the occasions when He declared a holiday and came to you in festive robes of mercy. Keep old receipts written in His own hand for the pardon of your sins. Try the following prescriptions for your week, weazing, and wilting faith.