What We Believe – Part 1: God and the Trinity

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Sermon Notes
Scripture: John 14:9-14
“What We Believe
Part 1: God and the Trinity”
  1. God, the Holy Trinity; there is but one living and true God.
    • In unity of Godhead there are three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (John 15:26-27)
    • These three are in unity, eternity, deity and purpose with infinite power, wisdom and goodness. (Matthew 28:18-20)
  2. The Son – His Incarnation
    • God was Himself in Christ to reconcile people to God. (Luke 1:35)
    • He joined together God and the humanity of man. (Hebrews 2:14-18)
    • He came to save us by living a perfect human life and died to save us from our sins. (John 3:16)
    • He was a blameless, innocent sacrifice for us that we might be saved. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
  3. The Son – His Resurrection and Exaltation
    • Jesus Christ has risen victorious from the dead, thus conquering death. (Luke 24:5-8)
    • He ascended back to Heaven at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us. (Phillipians 2:9-11)
  4. The Holy Spirit – His Person
    • Is in unity with the Godhead equal in deity, majesty and power. (John 14:26)
    • Jesus’ Incarnation and ministry were accomplished by the Holy Spirit. (John 16:12-15)
  5. The Holy Spirit – His Work in Salvation
    • The effective agent in our conviction, regeneration, sanctification and glorification. (John 16:7-11)
    • He is our Lord, ever-present, self-guiding and directing God’s people. (Romans 8:9)
  6. The Holy Spirit – His Relation to the Church
    • Holy Spirit is the Church’s life and witnessing power. (Acts 5:3-4)
    • He bestows the love of God and makes real the Lordship of Jesus in believers. (1 Peter 1:21)
    • This Lordship directs the church in common good and to increase the church. (1 Corinthians 12:4-7)
    • He is the spirit of Truth and His instrument is God’s Word. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

God wants you to be in an eternal relationship with him while showing you the best way to live your earthly lives as well! God wants you to enjoy this life as you prepare for the next. God, in His power, strength, wisdom, knowledge, grace and mercy takes time to care and love His creation and that means you and me!

 

Forgiveness: Why Bother?

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Sermon Notes
Scripture: Ephesians 1:6-7
“Forgiveness: Why?”

True forgiveness is not:

  1. Forgiveness is not forgetting. (Colossians 2:13-14)
  2. Forgiveness is not condoning. (2 Corinthians 5:17-18)
  3. Forgiveness is not absolving those who hurt us. (1 John 2:1-2)
  4. Forgiveness is not self-sacrifice or being a martyr. (Hebrews 8:12)
  5. Forgiveness is not a one time decision; it is a process. (Mark 11:25)

What is forgiveness?

  1. It’s a discovery; the byproduct of ongoing healing; a process that heals so we can forgive. (Isaiah 55:7)
  2. Forgiveness is something that happens as a sign of positive self-esteem. (Isaiah 1:18)
  3. We recognize that we no longer need our hatred, no longer need to punish people. (Colossians 3:13)
  4. Forgiveness puts the energy of rage, anger and resentment back into healing. (Jeremiah 33:8)

The simple truth is we are to forgive in obedience to God forgiving us. In this obedience comes valuable lessons of healing, peace, glorifying God’s grace and mercy and never allowing our anger or resentment to guide our lives.

Evangelism and Second Chance Ministries

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Sermon Notes
Scripture:
“Evangelism and a Second Chance Church

How do we recognize those who need evangelism?

Who are the real addicts of the world in desperate need of a second chance ministry?

We can recognize them by:

  1. Those who won’t face the facts. (John 8:34)
  2. Doubt that healing is possible. (Romans 8:2)
  3. Sin is a chronic condition based upon conscious choice. (Romans 1:24-25)
  4. Have trouble with repentance and Biblical change. (Matthew 5:29)
  5. Difficulty in forgiving and obeying God. (Romans 6:12-14)
  6. Doubts, faith problems and issues. (James 5:19-20)

If the addicts of the world are to be evangelized, who then are the addicts of the world? We are addicts of the world! We are addicted to pride, stuff and put many things before God. As we evangelize others we need to first evangelize ourselves. Are we willing to repent, overcome our pride and become obedient to God’s callings and commands?

Until we totally align ourselves with God we remain the second chance people of this church and God’s family. We are no better or worse than any addict in the eyes of God because we are still living like one. We too are still sinners and need a second chance to stay aligned with God. We need God’s grace and mercy. We need second chance ministries. We need forgiveness.

Evangelism and forgiveness work together as part of God’s salvation plan so all may be saved. Evangelism is God’s method of growing His church, His people and the fellowship of believers in the community.

7 Questions Skeptics Ask

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Sermon Notes
Scripture: Mark  11:21-25

7 Questions Skeptics Ask:

  1. 1) Evil and suffering.
    • a) God has given us free will and we often make disobedient choices.
    • b) Disobedience comes from, and leads to, alienation from a good, Godly lifestyle.(Isaiah 53:10-11)
    • c) God always works for our good. (Romans 8:28)
  2. 2) Contradictions within the Bible.
    • a) Most contradictions are based upon historical ignorance, not actual facts!
    • b) Differing accounts are necessarily contradictory. Historical truth and common logic almost always disprove the apparent contradiction.
  3. 3) Will those who never hear about God’s word really go to Hell?
    • a) God’s perfect love far exceeds our understanding. (John 3:16)
    • b) What God decides will be loving, merciful and fair. (John 8:10-11)
  4. 4) How can Jesus be the only way to Heaven? Don’t all religions lead to heaven?
    • a) First the Skeptic must be shown that Jesus as the only way is at least a possibility.
    • b) Then, is Jesus a candidate for this possibility? Jesus Himself claimed so. (John 14:6-7)
    • c) Was this claim true? Jesus’ story, teachings, history, fulfilled prophecies and martyrs say, “Yes!”
  5. 5) Isn’t Christianity really just a crutch to get through life?
    • a) It is more than a crutch, it is a life fundamental belief system; a way of life.
    • b) Christianity answers major human needs: love, forgiveness, identity, meaning, purpose, value.
    • c) No other religion satisfies all these human needs; it is our foundation, our breath of life.
  6. 6) How can Christians just accept Christianity’s teachings?
    • a) There are many things we accept in this life by a leap of faith: electricity, airplanes, medicine, love.
    • b) If you need proof: empty tomb, martyrs, Bible, historical and archaeological facts.
  7. 7) Does what you believe matter as long as you’re good and sincere?
    • a) Truth is not relative, it is absolute. If it is negotiable or changing than it is not real truth.
    • b) Good people can still be sincerely wrong. (1 Peter 3:15) We must know the truth of God.
    • c) The truth will set us free, nothing else. (John 8:32)

Saving souls is hard work. Are we willing to do the hard work? Is evangelism a priority for us? Mark tells us we must have enough faith to move mountains. Can we have enough faith to move the mountains of disbelief and skepticism? Can we evangelize the lost and bring them home to Christ? Do we have a future together as God’s people and His Church? If we trust in Him, put our faith in Him, I believe the answer is a resounding YES!

Community Thanksgiving Service Dialog

For those who were unable to attend the Community Thanksgiving Service, here is the dialog from the service. Pastor Ken Halstead asks Pastor Bill Busch, Pastor Chuck Hayes, and Jacqueline Burnett for their thoughts on Thanksgiving.

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Sermon: Parable of the Rich Fool

How are we doing with our stuff?  Do we choose to place our trust in earthly stuff, or can we set aside our greed and focus on the eternal stuff? Let us count our blessings and be grateful for our only true security; Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior!

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Sermon Notes
Parable of the Rich Fool – Luke 12:13-21

1. Immediate problem is about money and an inheritance (Luke 12:13). Financial problems often divide families and relationships.  Trust is lost.

2. Jesus’ response: Who appointed him judge? (Luke 12:14).

3. Warning: Be on guard against greed (Luke 12:15).

4. A man’s life is not solely about wealth, security, or financial status.

5. Jesus tells them this parable: Luke 12:16-20

  • Blessing: Rich man produced good crop.
  • Blessing: Has storage problem; cup overflows.
  • Control: I will build bigger buildings.
  • Plans: I will have security; I will take life easy.
  • Conflict leading to eternal loss: God says, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded of you.  Who then will get your stuff?”.

This is how it will be for anyone who stores up stuff for themselves to be rich in earthly things, but not rich towards God! (Luke 12:21).

How are we doing with our stuff?  Do we really understand the only true security we have is in Jesus Christ as Lord & Savior?  Which do we choose to put our trust in: earthly stuff, or eternal stuff (Jesus)?

This thanksgiving, let us count our blessings and truly be grateful for our only true security, Jesus Christ, our Lord & Savior.  Praise God!

Sermon: Journey to Accomplishment

Do we actively seek the help we need?  Sometimes we deny ourselves help because we believe our problems and needs are nobody’s business but our own.  However, The Bible says otherwise.  Pastor Jim leads us through Matthew 7:7-12 to reveal the importance of Ask, Seek, and Knock.

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Sermon Notes
“Journey to Accomplishment” – Scripture: Matthew 7:7-12

  • Ask: Matthew 8:1-2, Matthew 17:14-16
  • Seek: 1 Chronicles 28:9, Psalm 119:10
  • Knock: Luke 23:39-43, Matthew 7:7

Whenever we ask, seek, knock, and turn our problems and needs over to God and God’s people, the promise is we will receive what we need and will be blessed by God. Many today refuse to participate in this because of foolish pride and their desire to be in control of their lives.

God’s plan for us is different.  Even though we often choose evil over good, Satan over Christ, wrong over right, God still loved His creation so much that He sent Jesus to die for our sin and still blesses us with His love and the fulfilling of our needs.

So what is our responsibility to receive these gifts and blessings?  Ask, seek, knock, and we will find Jesus and help the lost to be saved as well by example, lifestyle, and Christian love! If we display humility instead of sinful pride; surrender instead of control; sharing instead of secrecy, we can and will reach others for Jesus and grow in our spiritual journey as well.

It’s really quite simple; we are called to help each other in Christian love and obedience to God’s callings and commands (Matthew 25:37-40).  We are also to share all things in Christian love and prayer (James 5:13-16).  By confessing and sharing our sins and scars, and by praying for one another, God’s blessings flow; and as we ask, seek, and knock, we come close to Christ and each other in Christian love, devotion, and obedience to God’s word, will, and way. It is God’s plan for all creation and each of us.

Sermon: Is Your Guard Still Up?

How do we measure up? Are we keeping our guard up? Adam & Eve let their guard down and were “Knocked Out” of Eden.  Thankfully, we have a God who, in love for all His creations, has given us a new opportunity to realign ourselves with His word, will, and way.

Pastor Jim gives us concrete examples from the Bible of how we can start realigning our lives to be in line with God’s callings and commands.  Let’s never drop our guard and become KO’d of our relationship with the Lord.

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Sermon Notes
“Is Your Guard Still Up?” – Scripture: Genesis 3:1-13

Do We Really Know How to Keep Our Guard Up?

1) Read God’s Word

a) Reveals God’s salvation plan. (Romans 1:16-17)
b) Don’t just listen; Obey God’s word. (James 1:22)

2) Pray Continuously

a) Opens our eyes to the word. (Psalm 119:17-19)
b) Jesus makes prayer a priority. (Luke 5:15-16)
c) God grants prayers aligned with His will. (1 John 5:14-15)

3) Fellowship with other true Christians

a) We learn & grow in community. (Acts 2:42)
b) God works through us when we meet together. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

4) Service to others

a) Give ourselves fully to God’s work. (1 Corinthians 15:58)
b) Serve one another in love. (Galatians 5:13)
c) Saved to serve the living God. (Hebrews 9:14)
d) We sin when we knowingly neglect God’s work. (James 4:17)

5) Witnessing to others

a) True disciples cannot help sharing the “Good News” with others. (Acts 4:20)
b) Ambassadors of God’s Kingdom. (2 Corinthians 5:20)
c) God’s word is meant to be passed along. (2 Timothy 2:2)

Sermon: Preparing to Witness in Word and Deed

Pastor Jim discusses the Parable of Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), and asks the question, “According to the parable of talents, what might a life of holiness and servanthood look like?”

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Sermon Notes
A Call to Holiness – The Parable of Talents – Matthew 25:14-30

1) The Main Characters of a Godly lifestyle:

a) The servants, entrusted with talents. (Matthew 25:14)
b) The master, giver of talents. (Matthew 25:15)
c) The master gave according to abilities. (Matthew 25:15)
d) There was immediate response by the servants. (Matthew 25:16-18)
e) Risk was involved; there was a possibility to lose talents.

2) The Master Returns to Settle Accounts (Matthew 25:19):

a) Praises and rewards to the faithful servants who took the risk to grow the kingdom. (Matthew 25:20-23)
b) The servant who took no risk was condemned for trying to use fear as a justifiable excuse. (Matthew 25:24)
c) No excuses were allowed or accepted. (Matthew 25:24-27)

3) The Final Judgment:

a) Rewards or Punishment. (Matthew 25:29)
b) Those who were not willing or were unable to grow the kingdom were not let into the kingdom, and instead received eternal darkness, weeping, gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 25:30)

Parable Questions

According to the Parable of Talents, what might a life of holiness and servitude look like?

  1. Would we be fearless?
  2. Would we be risk takers?
  3. Would we step out in faith?
  4. Would we be willing to look foolish in our faith to others?
  5. Would we use our gifts, graces, talents, and resources to grow God’s Kingdom?
  6. Would our lifestyle validate our belief in Christ?
  7. Would we bear fruit for the Kingdom?
  8. Would be bring the lost home to Jesus?
  9. Would we love all we meet?
  10. Will we hear: “Well done, good and faithful servant!”?

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