Month: July 2017

Do we pray as we should?

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All of us know we could pray more. In this message, mostly taken from the Lead the Cause notes, Pastor Steve looks at the How and why of prayer. This message will challenge you to seek the Lord more and more before serving Him.

 

Man’s view verses God’s view

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Isaiah 53

3     He is despised and rejected by men,

A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.

And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;

He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

4     Surely He has borne our griefs

And carried our sorrows;

Yet we esteemed Him stricken,

Smitten by God, and afflicted.

5     But He was wounded for our transgressions,

He was bruised for our iniquities;

The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,

And by His stripes we are healed.

When Christ, the Servant of God prophesied of in Isaiah, came to this earth in the form of a man, no one understood His purpose.  In fact, Jesus, the “illegitimate son of Mary” was despised by His contemporaries who rejected Him, His message, and His authority.  The first time Jesus read the Scriptures in His home town, the people who watched Him grow up wanted to push Him off of a cliff to His death!

From very early on the religious authorities hated Jesus and hid from Him always planning new ways to trip Him up in His words to prove that He was just a man.   Jesus was despised, as to His real identity, and no one esteemed Him as the Son of God, which He was.  In fact, all people, except for Mary and Joseph, rejected Jesus.  Even His own brothers and sisters from the same mother rejected Jesus.  It wasn’t until after His resurrection that James, the brother of Jesus, believed in Him.

Here is my point; Jesus came from the Father for the express purpose of obtaining our redemption.  The Father was in charge of the life and suffering and death of Christ.  We understand this now but in Jesus’ day His life was not understood, His suffering seemed wasted, and His death was a travesty to some and a victory to others.  From the human side of the events, no one could see what God the Father was doing.  Does this happen today?  Does God work in ways that seem senseless to us?  Are there times when we don’t see the hand of God at work and conclude that our situation is worthless and just something to endure?

We need to ever realize that God is God, that God is good and loving, and that God is sovereign over all things.  We must remind ourselves that in the end we will be able to look back and see what God was doing and that He did indeed have all things in control at all times.  Jesus knew this and went all the way to the Cross and to death on the Cross to complete the Father’s perfect plan.  We are all glad He did.  Who is benefiting from the will of God at work in our troubles?  We might not know but certainly God is at work and calls us both trust in Him and to rejoice in all that He brings our way.  “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing this, that the trying of your faith produces patience”  “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  Have faith in God’s view of your life.

Tomorrow night we are having a free outdoor movie night.  We will be showing the movie, “Courageous.”  We plan to start just as soon as it is dark enough to project the movie.  Bring a friend, popcorn and hotdogs will be available. 

Have you had opportunities to be God’s “eyes, ears, and hands” this week?  Some have and have told me about it.  I look forward to hearing from more of you on Sunday. 

We have five kids at camp this week.  Be in prayer for them to hear the Word of God and to submit to it. 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

He suffered so for us

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Isaiah 52

13   Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently;

He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high.

14   Just as many were astonished at you,

So His visage was marred more than any man,

And His form more than the sons of men;

15   So shall He startle many nations.

Kings shall shut their mouths at Him;

For what had not been told them they shall see,

And what they had not heard they shall consider.

In the midst of their exile, Israel is told of the Servant of God who also will be an astonishment in His suffering.  In their exile from Jerusalem, the people of the nation of Israel suffered daily. So God tells them that suffering will be known by His Servant, His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  This prophesy of the suffering of our Lord was 700 years before the crucifixion.  But God wanted His people to know that they were not the only ones who would suffer.

The assault of sinful men, men driven by Satan’s anger, on the condemned Savior, was more brutal than ever before.  Satan wanted Jesus dead and wanted Him dead before the cross.  The beating that Christ endured was greater than any other beating.  The result of this demonically-led scourging was that the face of our Lord no longer looked like the face of a man.  He was literally beaten beyond recognition.

We ask ourselves why this was necessary.  Why didn’t God stop this attack?  Two thoughts come to mind. The first is that Christ needed to suffer in such a way that He could identify with all sufferers of all time as our High Priest who understands the feelings of our infirmities.  The second thought is that Jesus suffered for the joy that was put before Him.  We, who come to Christ by faith in God’s grace, are His eternal joy.  Christ, while being beaten beyond recognition and feeling every blow and tear, looked into eternity and saw us, His redeemed ones, and had joy during His suffering.

Isaiah tells us that Jesus “shall be exalted and extolled and be very high.”  Kings will bow to Him and will listen to Him.  Kings and people don’t listen to a crucified man but they will listen to the crucified and risen Jesus!  When they need power and guidance they turn to the Lord.  Let us live every day as the joy of the Lord listening to Him at every turn rejoicing that He suffered so much so that we could have an Intercessor who understands and saves.

We have had special prayer meetings this week at 8:00pm.  Join us tonight as we continue to pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to use our programs to reach people in greater ways. 

Last Sunday I spoke on prayer.  This Sunday I will be speaking on how we can care for people to show them the love of Christ and the gospel.  I will be introducing “the Cause Circle” to you, which will transform how you pray for your lost friends and loved ones. 

The Bible tells us to pray for those who rule over us.  We should be praying for this G20 summit in Germany as our President will be pressured to come into agreement with world positions.  Pray for him, and all who are there, to seek God’s wisdom instead of man’s, to seek God’s approval instead of man’s.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Focus on the Lord of hosts for hope

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Isaiah 51

12   “I, even I, am He who comforts you.

Who are you that you should be afraid

Of a man who will die,

And of the son of a man who will be made like grass?

13   And you forget the Lord your Maker,

Who stretched out the heavens

And laid the foundations of the earth;

You have feared continually every day

Because of the fury of the oppressor,

When he has prepared to destroy.

And where is the fury of the oppressor?

14   The captive exile hastens, that he may be loosed,

That he should not die in the pit,

And that his bread should not fail.

15   But I am the Lord your God,

Who divided the sea whose waves roared—

The Lord of hosts is His name.

When Israel was in exile they questioned whether God was God and whether or not God was able to help them out of their trouble.  It was their rejection of God that got them in trouble in the first place.  God called to them over and over and they refused to listen to Him, change their ways, and live in righteousness.  Now, they are facing the judgment for their sin and are wondering if God is there.

Because God is God and because God has never stopped listening to His people, even in the midst of His judgment for their sins, God is there and God is offering to them words of comfort.  The comfort of God comes in the form of a reminder of who He is. God is eternal while every oppressor is going to die.  God stretched out the heavens, that is, He created all things, and Israel wondered if He were powerful enough to get them back to the Promised Land.  The people of God could only focus on the strength of their captor and their condition as captives while God reminded them that He opened the waters of the Red Sea and He by His power brought their fathers out of Egypt; He alone is the Lord of hosts.

My friends, we have been taught to think on things that are true.  (Philippians 4:8)  Whenever we allow false thoughts about God to infiltrate our minds we are headed to a dangerous place.  Whatever our condition, whomever is in control of us, however dark our circumstances seem, God is over them all and He is still powerful enough, wise enough, and loving enough to bring us through.   How confident are you in God?  Do you see Him high enough, strong enough, and loving enough to bring you to Himself in His time?  We must take from Isaiah true thoughts about the Lord of hosts, the God of our salvation, and make Him in all of His attributes our focus and our hope.

As I pondered the 4th of July I took time to pray for our country.  Morally, America is in a bad place and is headed in a bad direction.  Our country needs a revival of righteousness, conviction of sin, and a turning to God.  We who love the Lord and His righteousness are the bad guys, the haters.  Take time to pray for our country and beg God to bring a Holy Spirit sent revival to shake up our United States.  We have met Sunday and Tuesday night at church for a special prayer emphasis and will meet again tonight, Thursday and Friday nights for a special prayer emphasis asking God to empower our witness in our community.

Tonight is our regularly scheduled time of Bible study, prayer, Kids club, and youth group. 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Grace Giving – all giving

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In 2 Corinthians 8 Paul teaches us how to give to others by the example of Christ giving to us. In this message we see that God wants us to be willing to give back all that He has given to us.

 

On this July 4th, there is only One God

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I received this message today from American Family Association.  It is well worth reading.  Our nations issues stem from a denial of who God is.  As Christians, we must not join the culture war but we must pray for God to bring conviction of sin to our country.

PS

 

On this July 4, there is only One 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

It is a time of divisiveness in America that has not been seen since the late 1960s. Colleges and universities are once again hot spots for radical ideologies; riots are springing up, and conservative speakers are shouted down; American ideals are despised by a small but vocal segment of the population, and the American flag, seen as the symbol of those values, is spurned by them; and the hostility between the right and the left is white hot.

We might not be as badly divided as the America that fought on battlefields in the Civil War, but that no longer seems like an impossibility.

When Pat Buchanan, addressing the Republican National Convention in 1992, famously labeled this divide as a “culture war,” he was ridiculed by the mainstream media for being on the “fringe.” Now, no one doubts the accuracy of his assessment.

At its most fundamental level, this is not a war about mere cultural values or even public policies such as abortion, sex, or marriage. At its heart, this is a war over the subject of God.

Is He real? Is He the God of the Bible? Did He create mankind? Does He care what we do? Do His commandments apply to us in America? Will we all one day stand before Him in judgment? Does God judge nations as well as individuals?

These are the questions behind the rancor. They are questions that had, with minimal dissent, been settled at the founding of our country. Even those founders who were not Christian knew our nation could not survive without God.

They believed God had His hand on those who fought the American Revolution and that God had granted us liberty. They knew the constitutional republic that they eventually established could not succeed without an educated and involved citizenry, whose lives were anchored by what George Washington called the “indispensible supports” of “religion and morality.”

Even as late as 1956, our national leaders validated that foundation when Congress adopted our national motto: “In God We Trust.”

While we are witnessing the disheartening results of forsaking the founders’ wisdom, many Christians refuse to let this terrible tragedy destroy our nation. In fact, for the last 40 years, AFA has continued to inform, equip, and activate God’s people to stand boldly and firmly against secular humanist attacks on the founding principles of America.

That is no exaggeration. The progressive faction in this nation believes that there is no God and thus no absolute morality. They reject the ideas of the Declaration of Independence, which famously states:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

For the secularist, man is the highest being on earth, and the governmental state is the highest authority. Humanists believe that society’s elites should make the decisions that are important, and human rights are granted by the state – not God. The America they are building has a different motto: “In Man We Trust.”

For four decades, AFA has fought against every inch of encroachment by the secular humanist progressive movement. From earlier clashes over violent, profane, and filthy television programming on the nation’s networks, to current threats to the safety of women and children in the bathrooms of Target, AFA has understood that all these battles are skirmishes in the war over God.

As long as we are free to do so, we will continue to fight in this culture war with the cherished help of thousands of like-minded, God-fearing supporters, who fight side by side with us.

There is only One who can reunite this disintegrating nation, but that can only happen when the hearts of this people are united to His. That has been the only route – for individuals, communities, and countries – to true blessing and peace. For that goal AFA exists; toward that end AFA will continue to fight.

May God bless America,
Tim Wildmon, President
American Family Association

 

The funeral for Nancy was well attended and the gospel was given.  Today is the burial, continue to pray for her family members who need to turn from their sin to the Lord Jesus. 

Yesterday I introduced a prayer initiative for our church.  If you can join us at 8:00pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday please  do so.  We are praying for God to empower our outreach as He did in Acts 4.  I offered a 6:00am time but no one signed up for that one.  If there is a morning time that works for you please let me know and I will meet you then.

Tonight we will be watching the Naperville fire works from the church parking lot.  Come early to cook on the grill or play games with us. 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS