Monday, 16 December 2013

Thoughts for the Christmas season...

John 8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

The weeks and days before Christmas are often very busy. We are busy with the many preparation - there is baking to do, planning for the family get togethers, shopping, wrapping the gifts, decorating for Christmas and the list goes on. But we need to take time to become quiet before the Lord and allow our minds and hearts to dwell on the things of the Lord. We need to focus on the Lord Jesus, and what He means to us and also what He has done for us.

picture from birdsnanimals.com

I want to post some of the sermon notes from my home church from the last couple of Sundays. I usually take notes as I listen and maybe you will be blessed as I share them with you this Christmas season.

Jesus is the Light of the world. Just as God brought light into the darkness at the creation of the world so also God sent Light into the world by the coming of the baby Jesus. At Christmas we celebrate Jesus - shining Light into the darkness of our world, including the darkness present in our own lives. At Christmas time joy and suffering are mingled together. There is joy but there is also grief. Death has come into some homes and families during the past year so there is a loneliness and an emptyness there.
For some people there is a darkness hovering inside though on the outside you appear to be celebrating. We celebrate that God's Light has broken into that darkness.
How do we celebrate this Light?
We wait for God to act. The Advent season is a time of waiting. Because of God's great love to us we are not consumed. God is good. We put our hope in Him.
We wait for God to show up in our lives. We wait for His Light to break through. His compassions never fail. God is a faithful God, true to His Word.
We need to demonstrate faithfulness.
I will wait for God. This is not a passive waiting. We continue to live intentionally, always reminding ourselves to "do the next right thing" or "find out what pleases Christ and then do it'.
Remember what God has done for you in the past, and what He has done for others and in the stories in our Bibles. Recall the works of the Lord. Tell these God stories and remind others of these things. 
As God has provided for us and others in the past, He will continue to provide in the future. Set your eyes upon the Lord. Put your trust in Him. He is faithful and He never changes. He is the same yesterday and today and forever!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Idolatry - a devotional from Billy Graham

Billy Graham 

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Come On Ring Those Bells...

One of my favorite Christmas Carols is "Come on Ring Those Bells" sang by Evie Tornquist 

picture from christmaslpstocd.com

Listen to it here Come on Ring Those Bells

"Come On Ring Those Bells"

Everybody likes to take a holiday, 
everybody likes to take a rest
Spending time together with the family
Sharing lots of love and happiness.

Come on ring those bells, light the Christmas tree,
Jesus is the king, born for you and me.
Come on ring the bells, every-body say,
Jesus, we remember this your birthday

Celebrations come because of something good.
Celebrations we love to recall
Mary had a baby boy in Bethlehem
The greatest celebration of all.

Come on ring those bells, light the Christmas tree,
Jesus is the King, born for you and me.
Come on ring those bells, every-body say,
Jesus, we remember this your birthday,


Sunday, 24 November 2013

Facing Death

2nd Corinthians 5:7-9  For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.

Revelation 21:4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

The following devotional is from Anne Graham Lotz. You can connect to her website link here Anne Graham Lotz 

Anne Graham Lotz is the daughter of the Rev Billy Graham.

Anne Graham Lotz

Facing Death

  • November, 24
  • Why?
God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.
Revelation 21:4, NKJV
In the beginning, we were never intended to die. Death was not a part of God's original plan. He created you and me for Himself. He intended us to live with Him and enjoy Him forever in an uninterrupted, permanent, personal, love relationship. But sin came into our lives and broke the very relationship with God for which we were created.
When your loved one dies and your grief is tinged with anger, don't direct it toward God. He's angry too. Direct it toward sin and its devastating consequences. Dedicate yourself to sharing the gospel as often as you can. Pray that through your witness others who face physical death will choose to escape the second death, which is hell, the ultimate separation from God, by placing their faith in Jesus Christ. As we face death, our only hope is in knowing there is genuine, triumphant, permanent victory over it that is available to us in Jesus' Name!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

The Great Commission - Matthew 28

November 17.2013
Our church has been going through the book of Matthew. This is our final Sunday in this study. 

The text for today's sermon was Matthew 28:16-20 and reads as follows 

 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.
17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Pastor Ben was our speaker today and I thought he preached a good sermon. Here are the notes I took from the sermon.

We have spent 4 and 1/2 years in the book of Matthew. This is longer than the disciples even spent with Jesus.

The Great Commission is found with in our text today.

Verse 18 - And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
All authority in heaven and in earth is given to Jesus, including in the spiritual realm.
Jesus is King, Jesus has all authority.
In our study of the book of Matthew we have learned that Jesus has authority over:
*over religion
*over the Sabbath
*over the temple
*in interpreting Scripture in His teachings
*over the spiritual realm
*in authority over demons
*in authority over the angels
*over nature - He walked on water, and calmed the storm
 the wind and waves obey Him
* over sickness - He healed the sick
* Authority over death itself - He was buried but now has been raised from the dead, raised to new life

We worship the Lord God Almighty!!

Go and Make Disciples of All Nations

Verse 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations
This is the fabric of our church.
It is not about running programs.
Up until this time only Jesus has been making disciples. Now He gives this job to the church.
Jesus has the authority and sends us out. God works in partnership with people. A good example of this is Moses.

God is moving to make things right.
God involves us in putting the world to right. We are not called to only watch from the sidelines and cheer but we are to partner with Him.

How to Make Disciples

GO - intentional going
TO ALL NATIONS - not everyone is called to go across the ocean but we are all called to mission and to support missions.
TO REACH THE ENDS OF THE EARTH - We do not exist just for ourselves. We exist to do greater, to extend the Kingdom, to make disciples in all the world.
GO is for all of us.
BE intentional everywhere you go - at home, at school, at work, with friends - You have been sent.

Baptismbaptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Baptism is a public declaration that you are on God's side, a declaration " I will follow Jesus"!

Making disciples of Jesus involves inviting people to come to Jesus  through words and by your lifestyle.
In order to be able to make disciples you must first be a disciple yourself.

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: 
Live out the teachings of Jesus in your daily life. Become fixated on the teachings and the life of Jesus.

The main message of the Sermon on the Mount is - Don't use people as objects that you can use to get pleasure from for yourself. 
Live in love.
Jesus invites us to experience life and to teach it to others.
Talk about it with your friends, with the people around you and in your family.

Verse 17 - And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
Who was it that doubted? What are they doubting? We can only speculate. Perhaps they doubted whether Jesus had actually risen. Many of them had not seen Jesus alive yet. The word doubt may also mean to hesitate. The disciple remember how they desserted Jesus, left Him to face the trial and death alone. They know they completely blew it and can't imagine why Jesus would now send them out with to all the nations.

Verse 20 - lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Jesus is with us. He will never leave us. It is His promise to us. Jesus has all authority.

The Resurrection of Christ - Matthew Series

Our church has been studying the book of Matthew and now we come to Matthew 28:1-15. I will post the text verses followed by the notes I took during the church service. Pastor Ben was our speaker.

Matthew 28:1-15 ( from biblegateway.com )

 Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word. And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.”11 Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened. 12 When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13 saying, “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.’ 14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.” 15 So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

Now to the notes I took:

The Resurrection of Jesus - What does this mean for us today? What relevance does it have for our lives?

If there was no resurrection, the message of the cross would be meaningless. We would still be stuck in our sins.

BUT Jesus is alive, He has been raised from the dead.
We can experience His presence in our lives today!

Jesus says that He is with us always to the end of the age.
 Matthew 28:20  and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

The Christian life being in relationship with Jesus - inviting Jesus to be present in our lives, we experience Him, He loves us and we love Him.

He is always there for me.

Who in our Bible passage got to experience this relationship with Jesus?
Mary and the other Mary did.
The guards do not - they saw the empty tomb but they did not experience the presence of Jesus. The guards are not open to see what God is doing.

It is by the grace of God that we can experience this with Jesus - 
Ephesians 2:8-9  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,  not of works, lest anyone should boast.

The Lord Jesus is alive. He is present with us!
He is our LORD - we honor Him when we use the title - LORD Jesus.
Revelation 19:16  - And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:

The resurrection confirms this - there is no other Saviour or Lord, our LORD Jesus is the only One.

Romans 10:9 -  that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Surrender to the LORD Jesus.
Jesus is LORD, there is no other!

Monday, 18 November 2013

The Cross - the defining moment for Christianity

November 3, 2013 - Sunday Sermon Review

Our church is studying through the entire book of Matthew. We are in Matthew 27:32-66. Below the text I will post the sermon notes that I took as the Pastor spoke.

 The text reads as follows:

The King on a Cross (taken from biblegateway.com )

32 Now as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. Him they compelled to bear His cross. 33 And when they had come to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, Place of a Skull,34 they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink.
35 Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet:
“They divided My garments among them,
And for My clothing they cast lots.”
36 Sitting down, they kept watch over Him there. 37 And they put up over His head the accusation written against Him:
38 Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left.
39 And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads 40 and saying, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”
41 Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders,[d] said, 42 “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.[f] 43 He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”
44 Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing.

Jesus Dies on the Cross

45 Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
47 Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, “This Man is calling for Elijah!”48 Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink.
49 The rest said, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.”
50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.
51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, 52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
54 So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
55 And many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, were there looking on from afar, 56 among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

Jesus Buried in Joseph’s Tomb

57 Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. 58 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. 59 When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed. 61 And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.

Pilate Sets a Guard

62 On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, 63 saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said,‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ So the last deception will be worse than the first.”
65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.

Here are the notes I took as the Pastor presented his sermon:

The cross is the defining moment for Christianity.
1 Corinthians 2:2 says For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

It is more than a tragic death.
It is the most transforming moment of human history.
More so than the creation of the world, more so than the fall where Adam and Eve rejected God, though both of these events change everything.

The cross changes everything.
Jesus the Son of God ( being fully human and fully God ) died on the cross to save us.
1 Corinthians 1:23  but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness,
Jesus died a cursed and shameful death.

This is foolishness to the Greeks, the Romans - The Romans with their mighty army worshiped Zeus the god of the storms. No one would consider or try to kill and crucify the Roman god - for fear of being struck by a lightening bolt.

Why would Jesus do this for us - why would He die for us?

We come with a sense of wonder and awe to the cross of Jesus.
It is God's expression of love for us.
Romans 5:8  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
1 John 3:16  By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

Ever wonder "Does God love me?" Look to the cross, there is your answer.

God cares about us.
The cross brings us forgiveness of sin, He carries our sin, He bore them on the cross.
1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,

Jesus takes all the garbage of our life. God looks on us in forgiveness.
Jesus paid an awful price for our sin.

Our sins do not need to define us.
They are there, but God forgives and uses them to shape us.

Jesus saves, He rescues and delivers us.
He does even more - He draws us into the presence of God.

The curtain of the temple was torn from the top to the bottom.
We are all welcome to come into the Presence of God.

Adam and Eve were driven from the garden. The consequence of sin is to be removed from the presence of God.

Jesus took that upon Himself - "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

We are the temple of the Holy Spirit.
We have a choice to make - we can accept or reject what Jesus has done for us. We have the freedom to make that choice ( heaven or hell )

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Sunday Sermon Review - Matthew 27:1-31 ( Judas kills himself )

Our church is going through the entire book of Matthew. Our Pastors are preaching through the whole book. We are in Matthew 27. I am taking notes each Sunday. So here are my notes on this sermon. Pastor Kellin was preaching.

Here are my notes: I posted the text at the bottom of the page for your easy reference.

The passage today includes the story where Judas Iscariot commits suicide. How does one preach on this passage?

Last week we looked at the betrayal. Even though Judas betrayed Jesus, Jesus still calls him "friend".
Peter has denied Jesus.
Jesus is alone. The disciples have scattered. His close friends are not with him.
Jesus has been interrogated. The decision to kill him has been made.
Judas sees what is happening, he is filled with remorse. What else did he think the outcome would be??

Maybe Judas had not expected Jesus to still call him "friend". The money he got ( the 30 pieces of silver ) was no longer worth it. Jesus has been condemned and Judas is filled with sorrow.
Judas wants to make wrong things right. Judas goes back to the temple. He wants to confess that he has sinned. He comes to the temple to find forgiveness but instead he receives condemnation from the priests saying "what is that to us?" 
Judas is turned away. Judas is filled with shame and guilt and is offered nothing.
We are saddened by the story of Judas, it has such a tragic ending. Jesus came to bring deliverance but Judas does not experience it.

1) Judas - God's kingdom is offering forgiveness. We can relate to Judas. Sometimes we cannot find it in our hearts to forgive ourselves.
2)  Caiaphas - is a gatekeeper of forgiveness but does not extend it. We can relate to Caiaphas. Sometimes we don't extend forgiveness to others as we should.

Jesus is brought before Pilate.
They wanted the death penalty for Him.
Pilate knew Jesus is innocent. - verse 18
Pilate hopes for a way to release Jesus. He offers Barabbas or Jesus to be freed. They choose Barabbas. With the condemnation of Jesus comes the freedom of Barabbas.

Sinners are set free through the condemnation and death of Jesus.
This is the essence - Jesus came to set sinners free! Not because we deserve it - we don't.
Where are we today? Are we having trouble forgiving ourselves and others. We feel like we are cornered. 
We are the gatekeepers to extend forgiveness to others who have offended us. Are we keeping them at arm's distance or are will willing to extend forgiveness?
The kingdom of God is extended when we accept forgiveness and offer it to others!

Matthew 27:1-31When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death:And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood.And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in.Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day.Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value;10 And gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me.11 And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.12 And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.13 Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?14 And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.15 Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.16 And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.17 Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.21 The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas.22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.26 Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers.28 And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.29 And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!30 And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.31 And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.