Month: January 2016

The Church – unity in diversity

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In this message Pastor Steve looks at 1 Corinthians 12:1-2 setting the stage for a new series on gifts of the Holy Spirit. He takes time to examine how the truth is often diluted to keep us from following Christ fully.

The Church – Unity in Diversty 1 Corinthians 12 from Pastor Steve Schroeder on Vimeo.

Cry out to God, see the enemies defeated

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Psalm 141

1     Lord, I cry out to You;

Make haste to me!

Give ear to my voice when I cry out to You.

2     Let my prayer be set before You as incense,

The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.

3     Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth;

Keep watch over the door of my lips.

4     Do not incline my heart to any evil thing,

To practice wicked works

With men who work iniquity;

And do not let me eat of their delicacies.

Let’s begin with verse 4.  Throughout this life we still possess bodies of flesh which respond to fleshly desires.  The enemies of our soul often take legitimate desires of our flesh and weaving sin into them seek to lead us astray.  Eating is a legitimate desire.  Gluttony takes it too far. Sleeping is a legitimate desire.  Laziness takes it too far.  Sex is a legitimate desire.  Any sexual activity outside of a marriage of a man and a woman takes it too far.  However, the delicacies of the wicked sure do look good, sound good, taste good and feel good.  So the Psalmist, knowing the ability of his flesh to evil things, asks God to keep him from eating the delicacies of illegitimate desires.

Backing up to verse 1, he again cries out to the Lord as the only One who is able to give the help needed.  God alone gives an ear to our voices in times of need.  When we pray to God he even keeps our prayers!  In Revelation we read that our prayers are the incense before God’s throne.  He hears them, He sees them, He smells them; in essence, God ponders our prayers and acts upon them.   We cannot begin to understand the importance of our prayers to God. Our prayers matter to Him.

In prayer, the Psalmist asks God to put a guard, a military watch, over his mouth and lips.  So often our sin begins in what we say and we need to ask God to keep our words pure.  Who else can effectively keep us from saying the wrong things?   God alone is able and going to Him for this help is the best place to go.  Take your needs and concerns to Him.  He then will keep you from the snares, the traps of the wicked.  Traps are things you do not see until you step in them and it is too late.  Seek the Lord today as the One to keep you from the sinful traps of the enemies of your soul.

We were so blessed yesterday by our time together at church.  In our adult Sunday school hour we have been studying faith and its actions.  As we are walking through Hebrews 11 some wonderful insights to faith have come up.  Thanks to all who are walking through this study with us.  Then the morning service was an especial blessing to us as we looked at the ways the Holy Spirit manifests Himself to us, His church.  Looking at spiritual gifts as Holy Spirit manifestations has been a wonderful way to see His work amongst us.  We played a recording of a beating heart and asked what it would be like if the church could beat together as one heartbeat before God.  It was an amazing moment of realization and hope for our church. 

Bonnie Roberts, our dear friend here in Naperville, fell and broke her hip on Saturday.  They did surgery on her yesterday.  Pray with us for an especially quick and minimally painful recovery.  God is able to heal and we are calling upon Him to heal our friend much quicker than it would normally take. 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

God is greater than all of our enemies

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Psalm 140

1     Deliver me, O Lord, from evil men;

Preserve me from violent men,

2     Who plan evil things in their hearts;

They continually gather together for war.

3     They sharpen their tongues like a serpent;

The poison of asps is under their lips.

4     Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked;

Preserve me from violent men,

Who have purposed to make my steps stumble.

5     The proud have hidden a snare for me, and cords;

They have spread a net by the wayside;

They have set traps for me.

6     I said to the Lord: “You are my God;

Hear the voice of my supplications, O Lord.

7     O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation,

You have covered my head in the day of battle.

8     Do not grant, O Lord, the desires of the wicked;

Do not further his wicked scheme,

Lest they be exalted.

12   I know that the Lord will maintain

The cause of the afflicted,

And justice for the poor.

13   Surely the righteous shall give thanks to Your name;

The upright shall dwell in Your presence.

We revere God this morning as the only One to go to when we feel we are being attacked by the enemies of our lives and of our souls.  There is no enemy that is greater than God therefore when we are under attack going to Him is the best and the only thing to do.  God is able to deliver us from every situation of life where deliverance is needed.  God does not want the wicked of this life to overcome the righteous so we revere Him as the ultimate go-to One in our time of trouble.

We respond to God this morning with thankfulness and praise knowing that as He cared for the Psalmist in all of His trials, afflictions and attacks so He cares for us.  We respond with hope when the enemies of our lives and of our souls come against us knowing that God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble.  We respond with greater security in the God who cares and fights our battles for us.

Our request from this passage is that God will ever show Himself strong.  We love Him as our Abba Father and rejoice in His adoption of us into His eternal family.  But we often need God as the Captain of our salvation and the First wave when we are attacked.  We ask God to be there at those times and to confirm His power when we need to see it.

This passage then readies us to go into today with confidence that whatever the day brings, whomever comes against us, God is for us.  He is beside us and before us.  God knows when the enemy is coming before we do and prepares our way into the battle and through the battle.  We are ready to face life’s enemies because God is for us.  We dwell in His presence where perfect love casts out our fears.

Pray with me for the Rivera family.  They are facing the need for major changes in their lives and the overcoming of life dominating issues. 

A woman called the church yesterday looking for a car for less than $1,000.  If anyone had any leads on this let me know. 

Dave has been coming Wednesday nights. He recently received a lawsuit against him for an accident that happened three years ago.  Pray for God to lead Dave through this trial. 

My wash machine broke and I looked into it last night and found a broken piece between the motor and the agitator.  It should be up and running for $21.  The bad news is that the laundry is stacking up.  The good news is that the part comes in Saturday.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

 

 

Contentedness vs Covetousness

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Philippians 4

11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

 

Hebrews 13

5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

 

Luke 12

3 And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”

 

Our county is in an uproar about a 1.3 billion dollar lottery win.  This means that the covetous public has given the government billions of dollars.  The government who already supports gambling is more than willing to take these hopeful donations into its swamp of over-spending.  There is a hype over this winnable sum that is causing deceived people to part with their hard-earned and often desperately needed money.  When people give this much money away in hopes of a win they are not able to use that money to meet their needs nor to meet the needs of the church and the society.

 

Within each of us is a spirit of covetousness that we have to fight against all the time.  Jesus told us to beware of covetousness for life does not consist of what we posses but of who we are.  Paul told us to learn to be content in all times both good and bad and that Christ is our strength enabling us to be content.  The writer of Hebrews makes a stronger statement telling us to live totally apart from covetousness for the Lord Jesus is ever with us and is better than that which we covet.

 

  • Gambling feeds our covetous desires.
  • Gambling takes away our contentedness in what we have.
  • Gambling takes our eyes off of the ever present Provider, the Lord Jesus, and puts them on the possible winnings.

 

This lottery has revealed the inner person of many people.  People are discontent.  People want something for nothing.  People wish for extreme amounts of money and are willing to pay an extra tax to the government swamp to get what they think they want.

 

I don’t play the lottery.  Contentedness is a battle for me which battle I am currently on top of.  Gambling makes me think about what I might buy if I win. Sure, you can say you will give most of it away.  But you have plans for the portion you keep.  Learn to be content.  I have never had a windfall profit and have thus had to trust God and work hard for everything I have.  I get it, winning the lottery would be really cool.  But I don’t want to feed discontent and covetousness for those are not neutral attitudes within me.  Jesus is ever with me.  He and His provision are better than the lottery.  I don’t want to lose Him. Keep your money in your wallet.  Let others pay the lottery tax.  You are not going to win anyway.  The lottery is funded by losers, not winners.  The church is funded by those who surrendered to Christ entrust their gifts to His work.  All who give to the Lord are winners, even Jesus taught that.

 

As you know, tonight we have Kids4Truth, youth group, and adult prayer and Bible study.  See you at 7:00.

 

I went last night to see our friend, Bonnie Verway.  The tube was removed and she was alert and talking with us. It was nice to see her this way.  We don’t know how long she can live apart from the IV meds but we do know that God is in control and our trust is in Him.  The family appreciates all prayers made on their behalf. 

 

Our country needs our prayers.  The next President, whomever it is, needs our prayers.  They will be inheriting a very difficult situation both nationally and globally.  Pray for those who are over us so that we can lead quiet and peaceable lives. 

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

 

PS

Thoughts, enemies and a constant inward searching

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Psalm 139

17   How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!

How great is the sum of them!

18   If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;

When I awake, I am still with You.

19   Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God!

Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men.

20   For they speak against You wickedly;

Your enemies take Your name in vain.

21   Do I not hate them, O Lord, who hate You?

And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?

22   I hate them with perfect hatred;

I count them my enemies.

23   Search me, O God, and know my heart;

Try me, and know my anxieties;

24   And see if there is any wicked way in me,

And lead me in the way everlasting.

As David concludes this Psalm he has three very different thoughts.  His first thought has to do with absolute amazement of how much and how completely God knows him and his life.  When we consider God’s omniscience over all of His creation we too should exclaim “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!”   This past year’s study on idolatry from Isaiah has shown to us the difference of our God and of the false gods and idols of history.  We have seen that there is only one true God and that all others are figments of someone’s imagination made into something to worship.  No other god has any awareness of our lives but our God has total awareness.  He never sleeps nor slumbers and is always aware of all that we do even directing us as He sees fit.  How precious are His thoughts to us and how many they are!

David then goes into a section asking God to deal with his enemies.  Though we do not have human enemies trying to kill us with any regularity, we do have enemies of our soul.  The powers of darkness would love to see us fail and they do all they can to attack the truth and drive us away from God’s perfect love.  Oh that God would rid us of these enemies of our soul.  When Jesus died He defeated our enemies making an open spectacle of them.  They hate Him for that but they cannot ever defeat the Son of God.  When we are saved Jesus sends His Holy Spirit to live in us giving us spiritual power that we did not have before.  Be aware of your spiritual enemies and seek God’s help in defeating them.  We battle from the victory side.

The last section of this Psalm is David’s plea to ever be right with God.  He pleads with God to be constantly searching his life and heart to ever rid the evil that lives there.  We have something that David did not have; we have the Holy Spirit leading us into all truth.  The Holy Spirit replaces our conscience with His holy perspective of life and using the Word of God ever brings sin to the surface so we can confess and forsake it.  We are able to go throughout every day and to face every night at peace with God having confessed all that the Holy Spirit has brought to our mind.  We are in the everlasting way by the grace of God and the work of Christ.  We are not hoping for the everlasting way but are already on it; Hallelujah!

Happy Birthday Steven!  I thank God often for you and for His leading in your life.  Seek Him mightily this year. 

Praise God with me for a wonderful day in the house of the Lord yesterday.  Some of you frighten me when you get there late thinking you are the only one doing so.  Many of you get there late and I think the cold has kept you home.  But you get there and we rejoice together.  We introduced a song new to our church but new to some of you.  We sang “Where I Belong” a newer song on our struggle here in this life against our knowledge of eternal life with our Lord  We don’t belong here but we do belong with the Lord and we are not home yet, a great song of testimony and hope.

I continued in 1 Corinthians 12 on how the Godhead gives us all our spiritual gifts.  The Holy Spirit gives us spiritual gifts to serve the Lord Jesus Christ with the power of God.  All of us who are saved have spiritual gifts and need to use them in the church to build up each other.  The power of God will be manifested and the lost will have the word of God confirmed to them. Next week we will begin looking at specific spiritual gifts that the Holy Spirit gives.

Pray for life-long friend of ours, Bonnie Verway.  Bonnie is in cardiac failure awaiting the surgeon’s decisions this morning.  We went to Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn last night and spent time with the family.  They are very dear friends, as close as family.  They know the Lord and are at peace with God hoping and praying that God would do the supernatural for their mom. 

Sande is leading a new ladies Bible study at church this morning at 9:30. She has been looking forward to this for some time. I hope you can join her.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

 

At the name of Jesus People Change – part3

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In this series Pastor Steve Schroeder is going through the Scriptures to examine the power of the name of Jesus and the Person behind the name.

At the name of Jesus pt3 from Pastor Steve Schroeder on Vimeo.

God made us the way He wanted us to be

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Psalm 139

13   For You formed my inward parts;

You covered me in my mother’s womb.

14   I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Marvelous are Your works,

And that my soul knows very well.

15   My frame was not hidden from You,

When I was made in secret,

And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

16   Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.

And in Your book they all were written,

The days fashioned for me,

When as yet there were none of them.

17   How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!

How great is the sum of them!

There has been much said and written about self-esteem.  Self-esteem is how we feel about ourselves and a certain segment of society thinks that our self-esteem has a lot to do with our ability for personal success.

As I read this passage in the light of who God made me to be then my self-esteem is not wrapped up in my comparing myself with anyone else.  God did not form me to be like someone else whose body shape or intellect is different than mine.  God formed me the way He wanted me to be and He did so from my conception during the nine months I was in my mother’s womb.  During that time God was the only one shaping who I would become.  He determined my sex.  He determined my height.  He determined my bone structure.  He determined my skill sets and the abilities of my brain.

When we meditate upon God’s shaping of our lives we should come to the conclusion that the holy and perfect Almighty God makes no mistakes and did not make any in the forming of our lives.  Therefore, my self-esteem should be based on who God made me to be and never a comparison with someone else who makes me feel insecure.  I am who God made me to be.  I spend my life utilizing what God gave me to use to accomplish all that God made me to accomplish.  This is liberating!  Pass this along to those who are struggling with who they are and pray that they will become thankful for who God made them to be and then seek to become the person God made them to become for His glory and for our good.

Good morning Kristen! 

Be in prayer for Sunday.  I will be bringing a message on the work of the Holy Spirit, the Son, and the Father who gave us gifts to do God’s work.  1 Corinthians 12 needs to be understood so that we will serve with the manifestation of the Spirit.  Don’t miss it.

Pray for RU tonight that God will bring those whom He wants there.  Pray for them to find the hope that only God through His power and grace can give.  The word of God must be backed up by the power of God for people to put their faith in God.  Pray with us for more manifestations of the power of God.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS