The nurturing of a spiritual father

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1 Thessalonians 2

10 You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; 11 as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, 12 that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.

 

Yesterday we saw how we are to care for others as deeply as a mother cares for her nursing baby.  Today we see how we are to continue that care using the illustration of a nurturing father.  Not every man that fathers a child is a good dad.  Those who fall into the category of “good dad” get there by being there for their children both physically and mentally.  A good dad takes from his time to give time to his growing children.  As a father of six children, I learned early that the babies needed mom more than me. But after a while we would see that they needed me in their lives just as much as mom. Being engaged in every stage of life is what a nurturing father does.

In this passage, Paul compares himself to a nurturing father who takes time exhorting, comforting and charging, or instructing his children. New Christians are often called “babes-in-Christ.” And just as babies of nature are expected to grow so babies in the faith are expected to mature.  A maturing faith comes about because someone takes time for spiritual nurture.

Who spent time nurturing you in your faith? What did they do? How did their nurturing affect your faith and subsequent spiritual maturity?  A spiritual mentor, or one who disciples, is needed by every young Christian.  Has God brought someone into your life for you to spiritually mentor?  If He has then you know the joys and the sorrows of spiritual parenting.  Just as time spent with a child is never in vain so time spent in spiritual nurture is never in vein either.  If you are not currently nurturing someone in their faith, ask God to show you someone young in their faith and begin to do the work of fatherly nurturing in their life.

Tonight at our church, we are hosting the Americans for the Truth About Homosexuality annual dinner and presentation.  It all begins at 6:00.  We will gather for prayer then eat Portillos for dinner.  After dinner we will reconvene to hear Stephen Black, an ex-gay man, who came to Christ and found deliverance from all of his pain and sin.  Tomorrow AFTAH will host sessions in the morning and a panel discussion in the afternoon.  The cost for the whole event is $25.

A week from Sunday we will begin our revival meetings with Brent Sivnksty.  Brent will be taking us back to the book of Titus and walking us through the important lessons from that epistle.  Sunday services are at 10:30am and 6:00pm.  Monday through Friday the services will be at 7:00 with Friday’s service being at the First Baptist Church of Big Rock. 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

What a Glorious Love

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1 Thessalonians 2:4–8

4 But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.

5 For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness—God is witness.

6 Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ.

7 But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children.

8 So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.

When we care for people for Christ in Christ we develop a love for them.  Here Paul uses an intense family relationship of a mother with her nursing child to describe the level of care that Paul had for those he gave the gospel to.  Think with me about that love for a moment.  The tenderness of a mother with her new baby is one of the most beautiful pictures in the entire world.  A new mother would never use harsh nor dishonest words with her new baby.  A new mother lives to protect and to care for her baby and would even sacrifice herself for her baby’s protection.

This is the picture Paul used to tell the story of his time with the people in Thessalonica.   What a great testimony he had there.  So close they were that Paul was willing to give them his own life as they had become so dear to him.   This should be the church of Jesus Christ today.  The love of Christ should so flow through us that those we care for should have no doubt about our love.

When love this strong is felt so genuinely people are secure.  When we have God’s love in us flowing through us the church family is as beautiful as a mother with her new baby.  Do you know this love from your church?  Are there those in your life that you are able to show this love to?  Thank God today for His love in you and through you.  Thank God for those who have showed you this glorious love. 

Thursday night our  church is hosting a prayer meeting for Pray Naperville at 7:00.  This is an open prayer meeting all in our community who pray in the name of Jesus Christ. 

Friday night is Peter LaBarbera’s event where Stephen Black is bringing a message on hope for those in sexual issues.  This will be a great evening for all who come.  Saturday there will be seminars from 9-4.  The cost for everything is $25.

Have a great day in the Lord,

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PS

Giving the Gospel is never a Futile Effort

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1 Thessalonians 2

1 For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain.

2 But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict.

3 For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit.

4 But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.

As Paul left Philippi, where he was not well received the first time, (Philippi, as you recall, was where Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown in jail where they prayed and sang and enjoyed a life-changing earthquake after which they were requested to leave the city he and his companions went next to Thessalonica where they could have been a bit reticent to start this all over again.

 

But they did start all over again and boldly proclaimed the gospel to the men and women of this pagan city. One thing Paul did know was that the word of God would not return void and that no service of the Lord was in vain.   And as sure as the promises were given, so Paul and his team saw fruit from the gospel in Thessalonica.

 

We notice here that Paul’s message was consistent because it was from God. Since Paul was ever committed to the call and the authority of God in his life we see him following the Gospel from God again and again. Paul was entrusted with the gospel. This is a passive voice meaning that Paul did not do something to get this gospel but was given it by God and also given the ability to proclaim it from God. Therefore, as Paul proclaimed the gospel of God he did so to please God from the heart.

 

We also have received the gospel of God from God. We have God’s authority on our salvation. Christ paid the price for our sin so that we could be eternally saved, made holy before God. This gift of the gospel was given to us. We then are to take this gift and to make it known to others. They, in turn, will know that it is not our message that we speak of but God’s message and they will have to respond to God. Give the message of God; it won’t come back in vain.

 

Sunday morning we heard the testimony of salvation from several of our church family. It was a great encouragement to hear how God intersected their lives with His grace and how that He brought the salvation that changed their lives and that saved their souls. Thanks to all of you who got up, out of your comfort zone, to give testimony of the grace of God in you. This has begun some very good conversations including one with Stefani last night. She realized that God takes people where they are and saves them. This reality spoke to hear young heart.   Continue to pray for the salvation of those who come regularly but don’t possess the Savior that they will come to His saving grace soon.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

What have you turned from to adore God?

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1 Thessalonians 1

9 For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

I was talking with Stefani this morning and she was telling about a boy who loves baseball, before the Cubs won last night, yes, I watched the 7-9th innings, go Cubs!, she let the boy know that his life would not end if the Cubs lost.  His twitter feed is filled with potential game match-ups and such.  So we talked about the fact that everyone adores something.  When we don’t adore God we find something lesser to give our attention to.

The Philippians served idols. That is what they adored.  When the gospel entered in to them through the preaching of Paul, they receiving the gospel, they naturally turned from their dead idols to serve the living and true God.  In adoring God they stopped adoring their idols.  By the example of the Thessalonians and the teaching of all of the scriptures, when we come to God through Christ we are going to adore Him, the living and true God, and are going to spend our days waiting the return of His Son who is going to deliver us from the wrath to come, the judgment for our sins.

What are you adoring today?  If you have been saved from your sin you have a good reason to adore your Savior.  The one who came from heaven is coming back to receive us unto Himself.  When He returns, the Lord Jesus wants to find us anticipating His return by faithfully loving and serving Him as our priority.  The Thessalonians, who heard the gospel for the first time through Paul, got it.

Tonight is our movie night when we will be showing the film, Facing the Giants.  Who can you bring along that can benefit from this great story and hear the gospel?  I am praying for God to use this night to bring people to Himself.

Sunday, bring your testimony of salvation with you to church.  After two Sundays of preaching on the event of salvation, it would benefit the church to hear how God brought some of you to Himself.  I look forward to hearing from you of God’s grace in you.

Yesterday’s pastors conference sponsored by WYLL and Salem media was a great blessing.  I took my dad and both of us had a great day with probably 300 other pastors.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Giving out the Word in life and lips

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1 Thessalonians 1

For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.

And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.

 

When we give out the gospel we are giving it out in our lives as well as with our lips.  Paul gave out the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit and with the testimony of his life lived among them.  As we live our lives preach whatever is within.  If deceit and perversion are within then we are going to preach deceit and perversion.  If covetous is within then we will preach covetousness, and so on.  But when we possess the Lord Jesus Christ our lives are going to preach Him.

Notice also that the word was received with much affliction.  It is not easy to speak out the gospel nor is it easy for the lost to hear it.  We must speak it anyway.  Faith comes  as a result of hearing the Word of God.  We mustn’t back down here.  When the culture around us goes against God’s word we must proclaim it.  The only hope they will ever have is from the pure Word of God.  It might be received with affliction, give it anyway.

The wonderful result of our living and giving the gospel is that some who hear will become followers of the Lord and will become examples of God’s grace to others.  The Word will then be sounded out even louder.  I have prayed this year, 2017, that God would give us a harvest of souls.  We have not seen this prayer answered yet but the year is not over.  Join with me in prayer for God to save the lost who hear His message from our lips.

 

Tomorrow night at 7:00 we are presenting the movie “Facing the Giants.” This is a good football movie with a message of the gospel and unity.  Our society needs all of the messages of this well-made movie.

I am going with my dad to 116AM’s Lyft conference today.  Pray for the pastors who attend to be encouraged to keep on in their ministries for the Lord.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Pass the test, Pass the exam, you know you have eternal life

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https://player.vimeo.com/video/237637838

Pass the test, Pass the exam, you know you have eternal life from Pastor Steve Schroeder on Vimeo.

From 2 Corinthians 13:5, Pastor Steve looks at the test and the exam that Paul gave the church to make sure that they were not disqualified before God. Jesus said that many in that day will call Him Lord but He will say “depart from me, I never knew you.” For Paul to say that we can pass the test means that we can know that we are saved. In this message we will come to understand both the proposition of the Gospel and the experience of acceptance of that proposition by faith. The result is the indwelling Holy Spirit who changes our lives for good

Who brings you rejoicing?

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1 Thessalonians 1

1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers,

3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father,

Paul’s ministry at Thessalonica was an especially rewarding one. He gave them the word of God and they received it and their lives were changed by it. He gave them his loving nurture and they received it. So changed were they that they became an example to other churches of how to come to Christ. It was to this church that Paul penned the word, “you are our joy and our crown.”

 

So Paul can begin this letter with thanksgiving from the heart; Paul and his travelling companions always thanked God for this church. But notice this, even though they had fully received the word of God from the messenger of God, Paul still took time to pray for them. Let us remember that even when people are doing well that they still need our prayers.

In his prayers, Paul thanked God specifically for their work of faith, their labor of love, and their patience of hope all in the Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of God. It is a joy when someone you have spiritually cared for does well before God.   There are plenty of disappointments in this life. There are many whom we pray for that they will do better. What a joy it is to thank God for those who are doing well in Him.

 

Whom do you thank God for? Who in your life have you been able to influence for Christ’s sake that is doing well and brings you joy? The more you invest in others the more opportunities you will have for rejoicing. I often tell people to get out of themselves and get into someone else. Go volunteer somewhere, go read to someone in a nursing home, volunteer at a rescue mission or at a woman’s shelter, spend time helping at Feed My Starving Children, get involved with the school band or choir program, find ways to invest into others and pray for opportunities to point them to Jesus. Before long, you will have those in your life that you thank God for whose faith you helped direct to Christ.

 

I am leaving for the weekly service at Sunrise Assisted Living shortly. Pray for God to use His word to speak to men and women there.

 

Pray for a friend in depression to come back to the truth they once knew.

 

I am going to have a good washing machine for sale pretty soon. If you know of anyone who needs one let me know.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS