Tuesday, March 29, 2011

House Rules - House of Hope...The REASON for Your Hope!

Sermon Title: House Rules: House of Hope
Sermon Text: 1 Pet 3:15 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, -
Questions to ponder: What do you do when all hope is gone? What do you do when your back is against the wall? Do you have a reason for your hope?

Context: Peter is writing to first century Christians who are being publically and relentlessly persecuted. They are being eaten in the coliseums, burned, and crucified. Caesar is also using the Christians as an excuse for why the economy is bad. Society is looking for a cheap thrill and they are getting them at the expense of the Christians. While the Christians are enduring these things, Peter gives them guidance. The first century Christians are able to apply this information, and subsequently make it through. If they are able to make it through, certainly, we can apply the same information and make it through!

Point 1: React - vs. 14 - 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats[b]; do not be frightened
Remember, we must be careful to not have a knee-jerk reaction to everything that comes our way. Given what the Christians are experiencing they have even right to be reactionary, but Peter warns otherwise. Do not become fearful when things happen. When we react out of fear or at the height of our emotions, we often make a wrong decision. Peter reminds us that the fear of the Lord can conquer everything. If we fear God we don’t have to fear anyone or anything else. Romans 8:31 [ More Than Conquerors ] What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
1 Samuel 17:45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.

• Lord Almighty in Hebrew means He is the Lord of all the armies. We also know that he is our Lord. This means that we have His armies with us and we do not need to have a reaction to everything that happens to us.
Three reasons to not be reactionary (reasons Peter gave to first century Christians):
1. They shouldn’t be surprised they were being persecuted John 15:20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.: The enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy.
2. As bad as it may seem, that was a light affliction. 2 Corinthians 4:17 KJV - For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
3. You are suffering for someone else. 2 Cor 1:4 - 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.: Be sure to comfort them with what you have received from God.

Point 2: Respond vs. 15 - 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
When we respond, we must be sure to do so appropriately. Respond by letting others know they can have hope. We should seek to be ambassadors in a hopeless world. First century Christians were being killed but there was something on the inside of them that caused them to have hope. The only real hope that exists is the hope of Christ.

Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
• Christians are the salt of the earth when they respond appropriately to questions about the reason for their hope.
Two things to remember about salt:
1. Salt makes one thirsty. As Christians, we are salt and we should cause people to thirst for Jesus.
2. Salt also makes things sweeter. People should be amazed at the hope we have. When we respond appropriately, any situation we are confronted with will become sweet.

We should live with such hope that it causes others to thirst for what we have in Christ.

Point 3: Reason - vs. 18 - 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.
We should be able to give people a reason for our hope. A reason grounded in facts- not just feelings. We can do this by investing the gospel in people. As Christians, we are investors. Each time we speak, we are investing in others. We either invest into the Glory of God or in the flesh. We do not have time to waste; we must start investing in others today. As with any other investment, once you start investing you will see dividends, including, but not limited to, peace, contentment, and eternal life.

17M people will accept Christ if He is presented to them. 43M are close to accepting Christ. My focus should not be on the millions, but should be on the unbelievers I know.

Conclusion:
Life is tough but we do not have to be reactionary, we can respond because we have to reason for our hope. As Christians, we need to be the salt that makes others thirst for Christ.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Ways to Live a Drama Free Life

Sermon: Ways to Live a Drama Free Life
Sermon Text: Luke 10: 38-42
Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Sometimes life steers us away from GOD and makes us self-focused and we become too busy to call Jesus our Lord. We should live our lives knowing first that we want to please GOD.

Point 1: Get Your Priorities Straight
Verse 40: Martha was distracted and not prioritizing. She was focused on the drama at the moment.
-A life of drama causes you to overlook the obvious and therefore you don’t get a Jesus’ feet
-The higher your stress level, the more you create drama. Stress impacts your health.
-Drama comes when we fail to get things done. We are so used to hearing and living by phrases like “time is money.”
-Its not that you’re doing too much, but you’re not doing the right thing at the right time
Life Application
1. Get your priorities from GOD’s word
2. Make seeking GOD and his kingdom your top priority
3. Learn that people are more important than things

Point 2: Get Away From Drama Drones
Verse 39: Mary got at Jesus’ feet and away from Martha’s drama
-Mary didn’t respond to Martha’s comments. Mary sat down and didn’t confront Martha. We must realize that we don’t always have to respond when someone says something negative to us. Remember that Jesus is talking when you want to respond, so you must listen.
-In conflict, when you get up, you either get in a fight or flight stance
-You must ignore drama and be determined to keep your focus






Point 3: Get Comfortable In Your Own Skin
Verse 40: Martha is lashing out because of her own insecurity or self-pity. Martha doesn’t feel good about who she is.
-Self-pity people are always trying to impress others because they have low self-esteem issues.
Life Application
1. You can’t impress GOD-he knows you and has seen it all
2. Since GOD accepts you, it enables you to “bump” (or forget) what everybody else has to say
3. Serve GOD to help others and not to add to your spiritual resume’ or raise your profile among people

Point 4: Get In a Position That’s Protected by Jesus
Verse 42: Mary was at Jesus’ feet, which is a place of protection. Jesus did not make Mary get up
-When you get a Jesus’ feet, things start happening. When you can’t bring order to your life, get at Jesus’ feet.
Matthew 15:30- “Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them.
Luke 8:35-“Then they went out to see what had happened, and came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid.’
Luke 8:41-“And behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue. And he fell down at Jesus’ feet and begged Him to come to his house.”
Psalms 17:8-“Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of Your wings.”
Psalms 91:1-“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High, Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”

-You can say to the drama starters: you can bring drama all you want, but when I’m in a protected position, He is with me
-You will find that when you’re out of position, you will have drama
-Life will not voluntarily slow down
-The faster you go, the more drama you will encounter

Friday, March 18, 2011

Worry Free

Worry Free
NLC WEDNESDAY LC@AL Wednesday, March 16th
Sermon Text: 1 Pet 5: 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Sermon Title: Worry Free

Introduction: The first century church was enduring persecution, torturing, humiliation, etc. and they were still able to cast their worries on God. If we take on their attitudes and follow their actions we, too, will be worry-free.
Point 1: Cast
1 Pet 5: 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
• Amplified Bible says - Casting the [a]whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, [b]once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you [c]watchfully.
• MESSAGE bible says - 7So be content with who you are, and don't put on airs. God's strong hand is on you; he'll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.

The point of “casting” is that you no longer have what you are casting in your possession. It is now a considerable distance from you, and in order to take possession of it again you must exert some energy. Often times, we give God some of our worries and we keep what we think we can handle. Know that God is better than any baseball player; He will catch whatever worries you are casting to Him. The good thing about casting is when you release it you are no longer in control of it. You are now able to walk away. Usually, we don’t want to relinquish control, or “cast”, because we want to be able to determine the outcome. This is where a close relationship with God is essential. If you’re not close with God, you will not trust that the outcome will come, nor do will believe that it will be what is best for you.

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.

Remember that when you cast your cares on God, they then become God’s problem. You can walk away because you are no longer responsible. Believe that He cares. Be mindful that His outcome may not be what you expected and understand that His job is not to make us happy. God’s job is to build our character. He wants to make us stronger. Because God cares for us we can be confident that His outcome will be in our best interest.

Phil 4:6 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Stress will kill you. Remember to say “I’m going through, but I’m going to cast my worries on God because He cares.” Also, be sure to do this with Thanksgiving for what God has done, is doing, and will do in the future.

Luke 12:29 says set your heart. And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.

Be careful to not set your own heart. God should be the only one to set your heart. When He does it, you will not be worried or anxious. When you set your own heart you will become anxious and you will worry about the outcome because you will believe that you are in control.

Point 2: Conscious vs. 8, 9 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

It is one thing to cast your cares on God and know that He cares, it’s another thing to be oblivious to the fact that the devil is trying to get you. Satin comes to steal your peace. We often think that the devil comes to take our “stuff”. The devil is not concerned with “stuff”; he comes to take your joy. John 10:10 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
We must remember that we can unemployed and still have peace. Having “stuff” will not keep you worry-free; it’s having a mind that is stayed on Him. Do not walk around in a spiritual stupor; remember, faith without works is dead.

Point 3: Call vs. 10 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

When you understand your purpose your threshold for pain increases. It is then that you are able to endure an extraordinary amount of hardship. Every hardship brings you closer to your purpose. You will find yourself worrying when you don’t understand the purpose of God in the situation.
Matt. 6:25-34 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Yes, there will be trouble in your life but when you put God first you will be worry-free. Know that He cares and He is responsible for the outcome.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

House Rules - Full House

NLC WEDNESDAY LC@AL 030911
Sermon Text: Luke 14:23
Sermon Title: House Rules: Full House
Introduction: God’s House rules are that his house be full. God demands it. God requires it. God insists his house be full. God’s total attention is that his house be full. If that’s Gods focus it should be our focus. The text makes it clear God wants all types of people to fill his house. God’s dilemma is seen in the text and is the case today; God is dependent on his servants to fill his house.
Point 1: Go
God tells us we cannot get anything done at a standstill. Notice the servants in the text never question whether they should go or not. When the Master of the banquet told the servants to go they immediately went.
So it is with you and I. We are servants of God. Our job is to carry out what God wants.
Jesus sent them out two by two - Luke 10:1 After these things the LORD appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.
Jesus said just be happy your name is written. - Luke 10:20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” In other words, you did what was expected of you. To go is simply what is expected of us.
Point 2: Gather
In order to gather you must do three things: a) build relationship; b) compel with hospitality; c) tell your story.
a) Build relationship – the best way to make people come to Christ and to his house is through relationship. The days of carrying your big bible or standing on the corner with a sandwich board on is gone. Remember:
a. 2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
b. 2 Corinthians 3:3 KJV-Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
This scripture is good isn’t there another one that says we are living epistles. In other words you don’t always have to bring up Christ they are looking at Christ.
b) Compel with hospitality – when you are being hospitable, you are offering something that you are excited about and you believe the other person will enjoy. This is how you must feel about your savior and your church. Psalm 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
c) Tell your story – It is the simplest way to gather. Telling your story requires transparency. Candor. Excitement. You are the authority. Requires no scripture memorization.
Point 3: Grand – A grand house is a full house. The power of a full house is seen in at least 3 instances in the bible.
a) Completion of Solomon’s Temple - 2 Chronicles 5:14 So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God. 1 Kings 8:10-14 - 10 When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the LORD. 11 And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled his temple. 12 Then Solomon said, “The LORD has said that he would dwell in a dark cloud; 13 I have indeed built a magnificent temple for you, a place for you to dwell forever.” 14 While the whole assembly of Israel was standing there, the king turned around and blessed them.
b) Is. 6:1-8 - 1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” 4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. 5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
c) Acts 2:1-5, 11 - 1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them. 5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!”

I'VE FALLEN AND I CAN'T GET UP

Sermon pericope: Mark 2:1-4,11-12 And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home.  2  And many we...