Have Bigger Hearing (9/24/2017)

We live in a chaotic world. Our schedules are packed with working, taking care of our homes, family responsibilities and, when we have time, fun activities. On top of this, many of us are addicted to noise. Either the television, radio or smart phone has to be pumping out some type of stimuli at all times. When our lives are so busy, can we recognize and then hear the voice of God when he speaks to us?

Jesus says it’s extremely important for us to be able to do this.

In John 9, Jesus gives sight to a man who had been blind since birth. The Pharisees didn’t like this since Jesus healed him on the Sabbath. According to their understanding of the Old Testament law, Jesus couldn’t have been sent by God because healing someone was considered to be work. God forbad working on the Sabbath.

Later Jesus confronted the Pharisees about their spiritual blindness by referencing the well-known occupation of sheepherding. Sheep farming in 1st Century Palestine was much different than it is today in the United States. A shepherd stayed with his flocks around the clock. In the evening, he led them to the sheep pen. It was typically an enclosure made of stones or thorny branches with an opening in one wall. After the sheep entered the pen, the shepherd slept in the opening to act as a gate. This kept the sheep in and predators out. (more…)

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Be A Bigger Follower (9/17/2017)

Were you were brought up going to church? If you were, did you also bring your children up going to church? If were said “yes” to either one or both of these questions, let me ask you one more thing. Is there anywhere in the Bible where we’re told to “go to church”?

No. The New Testament is clear. The followers of Jesus “are” the church.

As part of the church, Jesus has high expectations for us. Luke 9:23-24 says,23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.” Jesus said his followers are to be disciples who deny themselves, take up their cross daily, lose their own lives and follow him.

For those of you who were brought up in the church, were you also taught to be a disciple of Jesus? If you brought your children to church, did you also teach them to be disciples of Jesus? Many of us who profess to be Christians can’t say “yes” to these two questions. There’s a reason for this. (more…)

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Worship Bigger (10/3/2017)

If I asked you to write down a definition for the word “worship”, what would you write? We’re familiar with the word. We use it all of the time. But do we really understand the meaning and importance of Biblical worship?

Let’s look at one passage in the Bible which discusses it. John 4:1-26 tells us, “Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.

Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

17 “I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” (more…)

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Pray Bigger (9/3/2017)

In his book Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, author and pastor Jim Cymbala wrote, “You can tell how popular a church is by who comes on Sunday morning.  You can tell how popular the pastor or evangelist is by who comes on Sunday night.  But you can tell how popular Jesus is by who comes to the prayer meeting.” While we don’t have Sunday evening services or scheduled prayer meetings, this quote makes an important point. One of the best ways to measure our dedication and devotion to Jesus is by looking at our prayer life. The more we love Jesus, the more we pray. The less we love Jesus, the less we pray.

What does your prayer life reveal about your relationship with Jesus? (more…)

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