Chastidy Ronan - Faith In The Fire

Dolores Park Church

February 11, 2018

Faith in the Fire

Chastidy Ronan

 

Key Thought: 

God shows up in our pain and comforts us. 

He makes things new and beautiful.

 

What we experience is not just about _________________, but can be used by God to glorify himself and _______________ His Body the church as a whole. 

 

We can find points of overlap and _________________ in our stories.

 

God ___________________ through all our fiery trials. 

 

His plans are always ____________________________. 

 

Isaiah 55:8-9 

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

 

John 16.33 Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

 

God ___________________ in our pain and comforts us.

 

God _________________ us.

God _________________ leaves or abandons us.

His _________________ for us never fails.

He gives _________________.

He gives _________________.

 

Following Jesus doesn’t give us a ___________________ life, but it does give us a life with ________________.

 

Romans 8.31 

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 

 

God shows up in our pain and ____________ us.

 

The ____________ God gives to us we can give to others. 

 

Philippians 1:21

 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

 

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 

God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.  He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.  

 

The devil tries to discourage us from _______________ , but God shows up in our pain and He comforts us.

 

We can go back to the places we’ve ____________ help so we can ____________ that same help to others. 

 

Our hope can not be in people, but in the _________________ God who created us and is able to make all things new.  He can do incredibly more than we can ask or imagine

 

Revelation 21.5 

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

 

Ephesians 3.20-21 

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

 

Our hope can't be based on our _________________ or even what _________________.

 

We have to walk by _________________ and not by _________________. — 2 Corinthians 5.7

 

God’s faithful _________________ endures forever.—Psalm 118

 

Philippians 4.6-8

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

 

2 Corinthians 10:5 b

We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ

We can: 

  • ___________________ in God
  •  
  • ___________________ in God
  •  
  • ___________________ in God
  •  
  • ___________________ God
  •  
  • ___________________ to God

 

Isaiah 30:15

In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength

 

We don’t _________________ healing.

 

It’s not our own ___________________ that save us.

 

It is because of His ___________________, for His ___________________.

 

So we can tell ______________________________________!

 

God shows up in our pain and He comforts us.

 

We ___________________ that same comfort to others.

 

However, God is ___________________ yesterday, today, and forever.

 

He deserves our ___________________ all the time! 

 

Even in the midst of the fiery trials— we know He is ultimately _________________.  

 

God already told us how all of this ends! 

 

He wins! He gives us ___________________, and He is the Champion. 

 

 

Our battles are an ___________________ for God’s people to see Him working.

 

It’s a chance for us to unify and give God ___________________. 

 

God will meet you in your pain and comfort you.

 

God will sustain you through your fiery trials.

 

You can offer the same comfort to others.

John Lloyd - Habakkuk Finale

Living By Faith In An Unbelieving World.

Living by Faith in an Unbelieving World: 

A Study of the Book of Habakkuk

 Living out Hope in Difficult Situations  Habakkuk 3:3-19

Pastor John Lloyd

February 4, 2018

 

Habakkuk models for us how to live out hope while facing an overwhelming situation.  He trembles at the thought of what will happen to his beloved nation.  Yet, he shows us how we can face tests and trials bigger than us.  He gives us a path to help us find the resources we need to have a strengthened faith.  It’s our prayer that God would use this time to encourage each one of us to be renewed in hope because of the faithfulness of our Savior Jesus and His great promises to us. 

Habakkuk 3:16 I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me. Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us. 17 Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,   

Memory Verses: 3:18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. 19 GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places

Big Idea:  God’s presence is the key to walking through difficult situations while having our hope renewed.  God is my Army!

How can I truly live by faith even in the midst of difficult situations?

I.               God’s greatness is greater than all created things and difficulties.

Habakkuk 3:3 God came from Teman, and the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah His splendor covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. 4 His brightness was like thelight; rays flashed from his hand; and there he veiled his power.

A.    Remember the Lord’s victory and battle.

Habakkuk 3:7 I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction; the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble.

Habakkuk 3:11 The sun and moon stood still in their place at the light of your arrows as they sped, at the flash of your glittering spear. 12 You marched through the earth in fury; you threshed the nations in anger. 13 You went out for the salvation of your people, for the salvation of your anointed. You crushed the head of the house of the wicked, laying him bare from thigh to neck. (Habakkuk 3:14-15) (I Corinthians 15:26, Hebrews 2:14, Hebrews 10:10, John 11:25-26)

His Great Power and Plan will prevail!  God is my Army!

B.    God will deal with sin and evil.

Habakkuk 3:16 I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me. Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us. (Isaiah 59:2, Romans 3:10 & 23)

“The appearance of God as army commander and the contemplation of his victory not only fill the prophet with fear but arm him with trust for the day of trouble.  The prophet will live secure in undisturbed peace.”  Szeles

“They will be delivered from exile but first they must endure it. Scarcity leads us to recognize our need for a God who speaks to us.”  Bruckner

Habakkuk 3:17 Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,

“Suffering is not something we want to avoid. Suffering is a key means to experiencing a deeper union with Christ.” Kevin Emmert

Philippians 1:29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,

My sins, great and small have been paid for by Jesus Christ!  God is my Army!

II.             Cherish God’s presence above all earthly presents.

Habakkuk 3:18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

“One of the marks of faith is a willingness to wait patiently for the Lord to work. The great British expositor G. Campbell Morgan said, “Our joy is in proportion to our trust. Our trust is in proportion to our knowledge of God.”

Warren Wiersbe

John 10:28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. (Romans 8:38-39, Matt. 28:20, Ps. 28:7)

His Presence overcomes my fears and anxieties!  God is my Army!

III.             Expect God to renew and grow your faith to new heights.

Habakkuk 3:19 GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. (Is.42:16,I Peter 1:7)

“The picture represents the lighthearted and secure gait of the deer as it bounds over the hills without ever stumbling. It is a description of the person of faith in the sense of emunah, one who has received strength and resolution, who is no longer fettered by temptation, who is no more oppressed with the weight of doubt. Yahweh’s strength has brought him release. Consequently he can stand still when under affliction and walk with confidence in times of oppression.”  Szeles

Colossians 1:27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (John 14:12)

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

We are renewed in hope when Jesus Christ is living in us.                God is my army! 

Growth Group Questions for February 4, 2018

Opener:  What is a current challenge in your life that requires faith?   

1.  Read Habakkuk 3:3-19Summarize in your own words what’s going on this passage.  What does God say that will help Habakkuk face his tribulations? 

2.  Read Habakkuk 3:3-15.  List as many facts as you see Habakkuk remembering in the history of Israel and the world.  “The Christian faith is based solidly on facts, not ideas. Its doctrines are based upon these facts.  Buddhism and Hinduism rest on theories and ideas.” D. Martyn Lloyd Jones   Take some time to think of the awesome acts of God in your own history and list out the facts of what you have seen God do in your life.      

3.  Habakkuk remembering the greatness of God’s power is comforting.  Why?  Read 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 for Paul’s perspective. 

4.  Habakkuk “was living by promises, not explanations.” Look back at Habakkuk 2:4, 14, 20. How were these promises more valuable than explanations? What promises are you living by?  Share your favorite.

5.  Read Habakkuk 3:16. Describe Habakkuk’s emotions in 3:16 and why he felt that way.  

6.  Read Habakkuk 3:17-19.  Specifically, what do you see Habakkuk doing to get him through his fears? What can we learn from Habakkuk’s life?

7.   Read Hebrews 4:14-16 & 7:25.    What does the writer of Hebrews tell us to do in the midst of trials?  What does this passage teach about Jesus and how to face trials?    

8.  How does the resurrection of Jesus Christ guarantee a blessed ending for every follower of Jesus?  (Read Philippians 3:10, Rom. 8:28, 37-39)

As we conclude Habakkuk, what personal applications are you taking away? “ Lord is my strength, He makes me tread on my high places.” 

John Lloyd - Habakkuk Pt. 3

Living By Faith In An Unbelieving World.

  Living by Faith in an Unbelieving World:   A Study of the Book of Habakkuk

 The Righteous Shall Live by Faith!   Habakkuk 2:4-20

Pastor John Lloyd

January 21, 2018

We have a choice every day to interpret the events of our lives through the eyes of our own reason or through the eyes of faith.  One path leads to unbelief and fear.  The other, as Habakkuk stumbles upon a watershed of life, learns that the “righteous shall live by faith!”  We can look to the “experts” of this life or we can look to our Creator as our guide.  Our prayer is to develop a community of people modelling faith to an unbelieving world.   Faith pleases God and is rewarded by consistently seek Him.

The righteous shall live by faith!

Memory Verse: Habakkuk 2:4 “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith. 

 5 “Moreover, wine is a traitor, an arrogant man who is never at rest. His greed is as wide as Sheol; like death he has never enough. He gathers for himself all nations and collects as his own all peoples.” 6 Shall not all these take up their taunt against him, with scoffing and riddles for him, and say, “Woe to him who heaps up what is not his own— for how long?— and loads himself with pledges!” 7 Will not your debtors suddenly arise, and those awake who will make you tremble? Then you will be spoil for them.

Big Idea: Living by faith is the best path for followers of Christ.                The righteous shall live by faith!

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Praying God would give this faith inside of us not just to us.  In the depths of our souls His faith would transform us from the inside out. 

How can I truly live by faith?

I.               Living by faith means rejecting me and material things as the ultimate authority and giver of meaning of life.

Habakkuk 2:1 I will take my stand at my I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me,  and what I will answer concerning my complaint. (Col.3:2)

Habakkuk 2:4 “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith. 

Genesis 3:5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

“For each of us, sin is our right to myself, and so to my way of seeing things, which far more than class, gender, race and generation is the ultimate source of human relativity.  On the other hand, sin is the deliberate repudiation of God and the truth of his way of seeing things.”  Os Guiness  “Fools Talk”

Habakkuk 2:6 Shall not all these take up their taunt against him, with scoffing and riddles for him, and say, “Woe to him who heaps up what is not his own—for how long?— and loads himself with pledges!”     (Excessive greed)

Habakkuk 2:9 “Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house, to set his nest on high, to be safe from the reach of harm!   (Relying on temporal treasures and wealth for protection) (Habakkuk 2:10-11, Dan. 5:5-6)

Habakkuk 2:12 “Woe to him who builds a town with blood and founds a city on iniquity! (Building on violence never works)  Habakkuk 2:13

Habakkuk 2:15 “Woe to him who makes his neighbors drink — you pour out your wrath and make them drunk, in order to gaze at their nakedness!  (always brings destruction)  (Habakkuk 2:16-17, Isaiah 5:11-12)

Habakkuk 2:19 Woe to him who says to a wooden thing, Awake; to a silent stone, Arise!  Can this teach? Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in it. (Habakkuk 2:18, Idols will always fail us)

“Everything that is evil is under the judgment of God.” Martyn Lloyd Jones

 The way of unbelief always opposes the way of faith.                                Seeing the invisible ultimate end of evil moves us to live by faith.

“The truth stated is that there are only two possible attitudes to life in this world:  that of faith and that of unbelief.  Either we view our lives in terms of our belief in God and the conclusions which we are entitled to draw from that: or our outlook is based upon a rejection of God and the corresponding denials.  We may either withdraw ourselves from the way of faith in God, or else we may live by faith in God.”   Martyn Lloyd Jones 

II.              Living by faith delivers us from being controlled by events.

Habakkuk 2:4 “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.  (Romans 10:17)

A.   Living by faith relies on God’s approval above created things.

Hebrews 11:25 (Moses) choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. (Lk.12:4)

B.    Living by faith allows us to see God’s glory during present trials.

Habakkuk 2:14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 6:3)

Hebrews 11:27 By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. Hebrews 11:34

The righteous shall live by faith!

C.   Living by faith embraces the Lord Jesus as our ultimate authority.

Habakkuk 2:20 But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.”  (Philippians  2:9-11, Psalm 27:1)

Hebrews 12:2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Phil 3:9 & Gal. 2:20) 

Reflective questions: Is my life based upon the faith principle?                   Am I submitting myself to the fact that the Bible is the true Word of God?         Am I willing to stake everything in my life on this fact?                              

THE RIGHTEOUS SHALL LIVE BY FAITH!

Growth Group Questions for January 21, 2018 

Opener:  Have you ever foreseen something bad was going to happen that other people were ignoring?  If so, how did that feel? Or if you haven’t, how do you think it would feel?     

1.   Read Habakkuk 2:4-2:20.  Summarize in your own words what’s going on this passage.  What does God say He will do to the Chaldeans? 

2.   Read Habakkuk 2:4-5.  Pride puffs people up about their achievements, twists their moral values, makes them never satisfied with what they own and always restless for another thrill or achievement.  Are you prone to any of these faults?  If so, which ones?     

3.   Read Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11 & Hebrews 10:38.  How did Paul use Habakkuk 2:4, and how is it different in Hebrews 10:38?  What does it mean to live by faith? 

4.    Read Habakkuk 2:6, 9, 12, 15, &19.  Discuss the five woes mentioned by Habakkuk, (see outline for help).  Which of those do you see most often in the world around you?   Are there more that could be added?      

5.   Read Daniel 5:30-31 and compare with Habakkuk 2:6-7.   What happened to the king of Babylon?  How was Habakkuk’s prophecy fulfilled? How does fulfilled prophecies help you live by faith?

6.   Read Habakkuk 2:9-11.  The Chaldeans were trusting in their ill-gotten riches to protect them from danger.  Read Daniel 5:1-5 and write how this prophecy was fulfilled.  How can this truth encourage us as we see evil prospering in our world? What is the antidote to covetousness?   

7.   Read Habakkuk 2:4, 2:14 and 2:20. What are the three assurances God gave to Habakkuk in the midst of these woes?  Which one of these assurances means the most to you right now?    

8.   Read Hebrews 11:23-28. How did Moses demonstrate his faith?  How does his example help you live by faith?  Spend time praying for one faith request you have  for this year.  The righteous shall live by faith!

John Lloyd - Habakkuk Pt. 2

Living  By Faith In An Unbelieving World.

 Living by Faith in an Unbelieving World:  A Study of the Book of Habakkuk

Waiting and Walking in God’s Vision  Habakkuk1:12-2:3

Pastor John Lloyd

January 14, 2018

 

“Setbacks are often setups for God to act.”  Craig Groeschel

Wait for God’s vision for it will surely come.  Walk in God’s vision for it will surely come to pass.  Looking forward to what God has in store for us in 2018.  May we glorify and honor the Lord with our lives.  Pastor John

 

Habakkuk 2:1 I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint. Memory Verse: 2 And the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.   3 For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.

Big Idea:   Wait for God’s vision… it will surely come.  Walk in God’s vision, for it will surely come to pass.  God’s best is yet to come. 

 

I.               When __________ come, trust the character of God for His setup. 

Habakkuk 1:12 Are you not from everlasting, O LORD my God, my Holy One?  We shall not die. O LORD, you have ordained them as a judgment, and you, O Rock, have established them for reproof. 13 You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong, why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more

Habakkuk 1:16 Therefore he sacrifices to his net and makes offerings to his dragnet; for by them he lives in luxury, and his food is rich.17 Is he then to keep on emptying his net and mercilessly killing nations forever? (Jn 16:33)

How could God use His Son Jesus, who was sinless to become our sins on the cross?  How could He become unrighteousness so we could be made righteous? How can he make us worthy when none of us are worthy?

2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

I Peter 3:18a For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, (Hebrews 12:3)

Hebrews 12:3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

My greatest setback is an opportunity to experience God’s mighty strength.   Setups come from setbacks! The just shall live by faith.

II.             Get with God in setbacks trouble and look for His _____________.

I will take my stand at my watchpost  and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint.

Psalm 73:16 But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, 17 until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.

Psalm 62:8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him;  God is a refuge for us.

Habakkuk 1:5 “Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.”  (John 4:35)

Reflective Questions:  Ask God to show you what you cherish at your core?  At what are you aiming your life?  What are His setups for you?

III.            In a plain and simple way, _________ down what God shows you.

Habakkuk 2:2And the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.

Devotional life: I Timothy 4:15 Practice these things, immerse yourself in them,  so that all may see your progress.

Purity: I Thessalonians 4: 3For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; (4:4)

Marriage/relationships: Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

Church:  I will build my church. Go and make disciples. (Mt.16:18,28:19)

Children:  No greater joy than to see my children walking in the truth.

Finances: Matthew 6:20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Word: Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Brothers/Sisters:  2 Thessalonians 2:15 So then, brothers/sisters, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.   (See Question 8 from Growth group)

God’s vision will surely come.  God’s best is yet to come!

IV.           Wait for the ______________ to come to pass.

Habakkuk 2:3 For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.  (John 4:34, Ephesians 3:20)

Hebrews 10:36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.  John 14:3

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Hab. 2:3b If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.

God’s vision will surely come to pass!  God’s best is yet to come!

Growth Group Questions for January 14, 2018

1.   Read Habakkuk 1:13-2:3.  Summarize in your own words what’s going on this passage. 

2.   Read Habakkuk 1:13 & I Corinthians 1:30, 2 Corinthians 5:21.  How does Jesus solve the problem we encounter of God’s eyes being too pure to look upon evil?  

3.   Read Habakkuk 1:14-17.  Why is Habakkuk upset about God using the Chaldeans/Babylonians to punish Judah? 

4.    Read Habakkuk 2:1.  Where does Habakkuk go to seek God’s answer? What kind of answer does Habakkuk expect the Lord to give him after his second complaint?  What do you expect to hear from God after you complain to Him? Where do you go to hear from God?

5.   Read Psalm 27:14, 130:5-6, Lamentations 3:25-26, Luke 18:7-8.  What do these verses teach us about waiting?  What helps you wait? 

6.    Read Psalm 62:1-8.  What can we learn from the Psalmist as he faces difficulties? What verse speaks to you from this passage?  Why is it important?  

7.   Read Habakkuk 2:2. What kind of vision is God talking about here?  Why is it important to write it down and make it plain and simple?

8.   Read Habakkuk 2:2-3.  There are two thoughts in this passage.  One is to write God’s vision and the other is to trust His Word.  Spend time asking God to give you a fresh battle plan and renewed vision for your spiritual walk, family, friends, witness, ministry and finances. 

9.     Pray with someone for strength to wait on God as He gives you and them fresh vision and battle plan for success.  In a plain and simple way, write these things down and continue to update and pray for each other.

John Lloyd - Habakkuk Pt. 1

Living By Faith In An Unbelieving World.

 Living by Faith in an Unbelieving World:  A Study of the Book of Habakkuk

 God’s Strange Ways  Habakkuk 1:1-17

Pastor John Lloyd

January 7, 2018

 

One of the biggest challenges to our faith is when our prayers seem to be unanswered.  How should we respond to evil actions?  What should we do when it seems our world is falling apart?  Habakkuk was facing this situation.  Even though he is told that the Chaldeans will be raised up to destroy his beloved nation, God shows Habakkuk his amazing presence, providence and the way to live by faith in an unbelieving world.

Passage:  Habakkuk 1:1-11

Big Idea: When things feel strange, look to God because His strength comes from strain!

Background:  Who:  Habakkuk   When:   Approximate: 610 BC Whom:  Judeans/Southern Kingdom.  What: to announce sinful Judah would be punished, God would use Babylon to do it, God will preserve His people, and to help Habakkuk understand God’s sovereign work through history of His people.  Why: These lessons will help us deal with difficulties and move us from fear to faith in order to display this faith to an unbelieving world.

Key Verse:  Habakkuk 2:4 “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith

How can I face injustices, violence and cruelty in this world?

I.               The injustices of this world bring questions and fear.

Habakkuk 1:2 O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear?    Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? 3 Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong?

Ps 94:3 LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph? (NIV)  (Revelation 6:10, Jeremiah 12:1)

Habakkuk 1:4 So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted. (Ps119:126)

“When we see surprising things are happening in the world.  Let us ask, What is the relevance of this event to the kingdom of God?  Or if strange things are happening to you personally, don’t complain, but say, “What is God teaching me through this?  What is there in me that needs to be corrected?  Where have I gone wrong and why is God allowing these things?”  D. Martyn Lloyd Jones

Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2For by it the people of old received their commendation.

God uses our greatest strains to make us rely on His strength. Strength comes from strain! The just shall live by faith!

II.             Look to God and trust His character in dark times.

Habakkuk 1:5 “Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded.  For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.  Matthew 16:18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.                  ( I Corinthians 13:9 &12) History is HIS story!

“As he surveyed the land of Judah and then watched the international scene, he found himself struggling with some serious problems. But he did the right thing: He took his problems to the Lord.” Warren Wiersbe

A.     His Ways are different from our ways.

Habakkuk 1:6 For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, who march through the breadth of the earth, to seize dwellings not their own. 7 They are dreaded and fearsome; their justice and dignity go forth from themselves.  Habakkuk 1:8-10)

Habakkuk 1:11 Then they sweep by like the wind and go on, guilty men, whose own might is their god!” (Deuteronomy 8:17)

“The heart of sin is man taking God’s place on the throne. The heart of salvation is God taking man’s place on the cross.” 

I Corinthians 2:8 None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

“We must hold on to the hope that He has allowed things to become worse before they become better. In the course of history, God has used all sorts of strange and unexpected instruments to bring His purpose to pass.”Jones       

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

B.   When events trouble, trust the character of God.

Habakkuk 1:12 Are you not from everlasting, O LORD my God, my Holy One?  We shall not die. O LORD, you have ordained them as a judgment, and you, O Rock, have established them for reproof. 13 You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong, why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more

How could God use His Son Jesus, who was sinless to become our sins on the cross?  How could He become unrighteousness so we could be made righteous? How can he make us worthy when none of us are worthy?

2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

I Peter 3:18a For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, (Hebrews 12:3)

Hebrews 12:3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

My greatest strain is an opportunity to experience God’s mighty strength.   Strength comes from strain! The just shall live by faith.

Growth Group Questions for January 7, 2018

Opener:   Describe a time you had an injustice done to you.  How did you deal with it? 

1.   Read Habakkuk 1:1-17Summarize in your own words what’s going on in this passage.  What passage spoke to you as you read it? Why? 

2.   Do a little research on this book:  Who wrote it?  When?  Where?  What themes are covered? Why is it important?

3.    Read Habakkuk 1:2-4, Psalm 94:3, 119:126, Mark 7:9: Rev. 6:10 .  What are the complaints mentioned in these verses?  Do you ever have similar complaints?  If so describe?   What troubles you about our world?  Why does it bother you?

4.   Read and meditate on Habakkuk 1:5. What stands out to you about God’s answer to him? Read Hebrews 11:1 & 6.  How does God’s answer require faith?    

5.   Read Habakkuk 1:6-11, Isaiah 55:7-8.  Discuss: is it fair that God should use a more wicked nation to punish a less wicked nation?   Does this happen today?      

6.   Read Habakkuk 1:12-17.  What is the main complaint in this passage?  Do we have similar complaints in our day?  What attributes of God are mentioned in 1:12-13? 

7.   Read I Peter 3:18. What justice did Jesus receive?  What justice did he give?

8.   What can we learn from Habakkuk to do when our world seems to be falling apart?  How can we live by faith in our unbelieving our world?

Spend some time in prayer for each other as we close out group time. 

Bonus:  Read Hebrews 12:1-3.  Consider what Jesus did to help him face injustices of his world.  How can this help you live by faith this week? 

Habakkuk 2:4b  “But the righteous shall live by his faith.”

Christmas Eve Candle Light Service

A Service of Lessons and Carols

Dolores Park Church

December 24, 2017
 

Musical Prelude  Carol Mowbray and Esther Chan

Welcome and Prayer  Dan Harper

Beloved in Christ, at this Christmastide let it be our care and delight to hear again the message of the angels, and in heart and mind go even unto Bethlehem and see this thing which has come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. Let us meditate on the Babe lying in a manger as we read and mark in Holy Scripture the tale of the loving purposes of God from the first days of our disobedience unto the glorious Redemption brought us by this Holy Child.

  “O Come, All Ye Faithful”  #147 1-3

 

First Lesson   God announces in the Garden of Eden that the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head.   

Genesis 3: 8-15 Tom

“Of the Father’s Love Begotten”
 

Second Lesson   God promises to faithful Abraham that in his seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.  

Genesis 22: 15-18 Savannah

  “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus” Congregation

 

Third Lesson   Christ’s birth and kingdom are foretold by Isaiah.

Isaiah 9: 2, 6-7;  11:1-2. Evan

“Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming”  #148 1-3

 

Fourth Lesson   The prophet Micah foretells the glory of little Bethlehem Micah 5: 2-5a Dan

 “O Little Town of Bethlehem”  Congregational with piano/organ #154  1-4

 

Fifth Lesson    The angel Gabriel salutes the Virgin Mary

Luke 1: 26-38 Valeri

  “The Angel Gabriel from Heaven came”  #139 Dan solo
 

Sixth Lesson   Luke tells of the birth of Jesus

Luke 2: 1-7  Evan

  “Away in a Manger”   Verse 2 alternate melody sung by Dan

Carol/Esther duet, Sheep May Safely Graze

 

Seventh Lesson   The shepherds go to the manger

Luke 2: 8-12  Savannah

 “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”

 

Eighth Lesson   The wise men are led by the star to Jesus

Matthew 2: 1-11 Tom

We Three Kings

 

Ninth Lesson   John unfolds the great mystery of the Incarnation    John 1: 1-14  (Dan)

Message - Dan

Lighting of Candles

 “Silent Night” (words on back cover)

Benediction

Christmas Eve Morning Service

Emmanuel

Exclaiming God’s return

Evan Rogers

December 24, 2017

 

Genesis 3:23 Therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken.

Genesis 3:22 Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—”

God made 4 covenants with man in the Old Testament

The Covenant with Noah not to destroy the earth

The Covenant with Abraham to make him a father

The Covenant with Israel through Moses to establish a lineage of his people

The Covenant with David to have a descendent on the throne forever

Each one a gift from God and a chance to redeem ourselves. Each one Failed

Noah Cursed Canan

Abraham had Ishmael

The people of Israel had idols

David had Bathsheeba

Isaiah 59:2

2 but your iniquities have made a separation

    between you and your God,

and your sins have hidden his face from you

    so that he does not hear.

Deuteronomy 31:17

Then my anger will be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them and hide my face from them, and they will be devoured. And many evils and troubles will come upon them, so that they will say in that day, ‘Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?’

We had separated ourselves from God, and to separate yourself from life invites all kinds of death. 

2 Peter 3:9 not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

God made us a deal we couldn't keep. He asked us to write a check that we couldn't cash, not so he could own us but so he could buy us back.

Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 

“For the Son of God to empty himself and become poor meant a laying aside of glory; a voluntary restraint of power; an acceptance of hardship, isolation, ill-treatment, malice, and misunderstanding; finally, a death that involved such agony—spiritual even more than physical—that his mind nearly broke under the prospect of it. It meant love to the uttermost for unlovely men. . . .” J.I. Packer  Knowing God

Every Covenant God has ever made with us He has wholly

fulfilled by Himself.

Aren't you thankful for the birth of Christ?

Isaiah 46:10  Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure; 

“God could see every part of the future, the end before the beginning, the cost, the reward, and the journey. He knows your every mistake and your greatest achievements. This means that God cannot be surprised by your failures nor can he disappointed by your smallest triumphs. He cannot be convinced of a lie about you. He knows the truth, He knows your heart, He knows you. He knows you more than anyone ever could because He's already spent more time with you than anyone could. He's seen an eternity with you and valued it more than anything. So he bought it at the cost of himself, because if He didn't die you couldn't have lived.”

“The claim that Jesus is God also gives us the greatest possible hope. This means that our world is not all there is, that there is life and love after death, and that evil and suffering will one day end. And it means not just hope for the world, despite all its unending problems, but hope for you and me, despite all our unending failings.”  Timothy Keller

2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Matthew 28:20 “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

No problem we face will ever be bigger than God who is with us.

“Christianity says God has been all the places you have been; he has been in the darkness you are in now, and more. And, therefore, you can trust him; you can rely on him, because he knows and has the power to comfort, strengthen, and bring you through.” Timothy Keller

Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Matthew 13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

May we realize that God did all of this so we could be with him.

May we realize that the virgin Birth proves God's intent to save us all a long. 

The greatest gift of Christmas is to know the love of the father who's greatest joy in Life was giving his so you could live.

John Lloyd - Emmanuel God With Us Pt.1

Music and singing by the congregation. 

The Message

God With Us Changes Everything

Matthew 1:18-23

Pastor John Lloyd

December 17, 2017

Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:    23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

Principle: Immanuel means God has come into our lives through His son Jesus.   Because Jesus is with us, it changes everything! 

I.                Jesus Christ is God.

Matthew 1:23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

Luke 1:36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.  (Luke 1:35, John 8:41)

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.

“The central miracle asserted by Christians is the Incarnation. They say God became Man. Every other miracle prepares for this, or exhibits this, or results from this. …If the thing happened, it was the central event in the history of the Earth – the very thing that the whole story has been about. …In the Christian story God descends to re-ascend. He comes down; down from the heights of absolute being in time and space and down into humanity; down further still if the embryologists are right, to recapitulate in the womb…down to the very roots and sea-bed of the Nature He has created. But He goes down to come up again and bring the whole ruined world up with Him.”  C.S. Lewis

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Hebrews 1:2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

Hebrews 1:3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.

Colossians 2:9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,

Psalm 130:8 And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

Because Jesus is God, it changes everything!

II.              Jesus Christ is human.

Matthew 1:21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

Isaiah 53:2b He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.

Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature [8] and in favor with God and man.

“For the Son of God to empty himself and become poor meant a laying aside of glory; a voluntary restraint of power; an acceptance of hardship, isolation, ill-treatment, malice, and misunderstanding; finally, a death that involved such agony—spiritual even more than physical—that his mind nearly broke under the prospect of it. It meant love to the uttermost for unlovely men. . . .” J.I. Packer  Knowing God

Philippians 2:5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 

Hebrews 2:17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Have you been lonely? Have you been betrayed?  Have you been destitute?  Are you grieving a great loss in your life?  So has Jesus!

“The claim that Jesus is God also gives us the greatest possible hope. This means that our world is not all there is, that there is life and love after death, and that evil and suffering will one day end. And it means not just hope for the world, despite all its unending problems, but hope for you and me, despite all our unending failings.”  Timothy Keller

Because Jesus is human, it changes everything!

III.             God is with us through it all. 

Matthew 1:23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

Mark 3:14 And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him

May we realize that God did all of this so we could be with him.

Hebrews 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

No problem we face will ever be bigger than God who is with us.

Matthew 28:20 “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

“Christianity says God has been all the places you have been; he has been in the darkness you are in now, and more. And, therefore, you can trust him; you can rely on him, because he knows and has the power to comfort, strengthen, and bring you through.” Timothy Keller

John 14:5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

"Despite our efforts to keep him out, God intrudes. The life of Jesus is
bracketed by two impossibilities: a virgin's womb and an empty tomb. Jesus
entered our world through a door marked 'No Entrance' and left through a
door marked 'No Exit.'"  -Peter Larson, Prism (Jan/Feb 2001)

Because Jesus is with us, it changes everything!

Special Readings for this week:

 

Sunday:             Matthew 2:7-8

Monday:            Matthew 2:9

Tuesday:            Matthew 2:10-11

Wednesday:      Matthew 2:12-15

Thursday:          Galatians 4:4-5

Friday:               Ephesians 2:8-9

Saturday:           1 John 4:7-16

 

John Lloyd - Authentic Christianity Pt. 12 Finale

Authentic Christianity

Authentic Christianity:  Practical Wisdom from the book of James

What to do When We Need Help

December 10, 2017

James 5:12-20

Pastor John Lloyd

Passage:  James 5:12-20

12But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation. 13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.  17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. 19 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

Principle:  When life is challenging, through prayer, draw upon God’s unlimited patience and steadfastness.

 How can I respond wisely to difficult and unfair situations?  

By God’s grace, remain faithful, to the following 6 Situations:

I.                Situation #1:  Hasty Words

James 5:12 But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.  (James 1:19, 1:26)

Response:   Ask God for the tongue of the learned  (Isaiah 50:4,  Ephesians 4:29).  Ask God for the patience to really listen before speaking.

II.             Situation #2:   Misfortune

James 5:13 Is anyone among you suffering?  Let him pray.

“The thought here is not the removal of the problem but for God to give us strength to endure.  This verse stresses the prayer of the individual.”

Response: “Let him pray.”   James 1:5, Colossians 4:2, Ps.27:13-14

III.             Situation #3:  Good Fortune

James 5:13b Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.

Cheerful - euthymeo- a deeply rooted happiness and trust in the Lord.

Response: “Let him sing praise.”  Eph.5:19, Psalm 48:1, 113:3, Is.61:3

IV.           Situation #4:  Extreme Difficulties

James 5:14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.

Sick – astheneo - weakness of any kind,  extreme weakness (2 Cor.12:9)

All sickness is not a result of sin.  John 9:1-3

God does not always remove all of our maladies.  2 Cor. 12:7-10

Anointing-  Not just God’s presence but showing He cares. 

Response:  Call my spiritual leaders.

Key Principle:  The greater the need, the larger the circle of prayer.

V.             Situation #5:  Secret Life Syndrome

James 5:15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. 

“Is anyone in a web of unconfessed sin.”

Response:  Invite accountability, prayer and confession.

Small group, Start some personal accountability, Walk in step with the Spirit, if it is a serious web… see a Christian counselor.

“Every Christian needs at least one person in their life who really knows what is going on.”

I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Proverbs 28:13

Response:  Let’s never underestimate the power of prayer. 

James 5:16 The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.  17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.

VI.          Situation #6: Those who have gone away from God

James 5:19 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

Luke 19:10For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Luke 15:10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Response:  Reach out to people away from God.  Our response should be to restore, not to condemn.  No one is beyond the reach of God’s love! 

 Patient prayer is extremely powerful!

Who are you praying for this week?

Growth Group Questions for week of December 10, 2017

1.   How is it going with your reading plan?  Sun. Revelation 8 Mon. Revelation 9 Tues. Revelation 10 Wed. Revelation 11 Thurs. Revelation 12 Fri. & Sat. reflection. Pick out one verse that ministered to you. Share a truth you’ve been learning with a friend.

2.   Read James 5:12-20.  Try and put in your own words what is happening here, what response is suggested and why?  Why is it appropriate for James to finish this letter with a call to prayer?

3.   Starter:  How does prayer both make sense and at the same time seem incomprehensible?

4.   Read James 5:13-14.  What instructions does James give to his readers in these verses?  Read James 5:15. What are the results of following these instructions?  How is each result mysterious and full of meaning? 

5.   Read James 5:16. How do you respond to the promise that prayer offered in faith for the sick shall make them well?  Why do you think James connects healing with forgiveness?  Why do you think prayer is so terribly neglected in our culture? 

6.   Read James 5:17-18.  How does Elijah’s prayer encourage you to pray?  In what ways would you like to grow as a person who prays powerfully?  How could you engage your Christian community more in prayer? 

7.   Read James 5:19-20.  What themes throughout this letter from James can be applied to this effort to bring someone back?  Who can you pray for this season to either come or return to the Lord?  Spend some time in prayer for this request. 

Assignment:  Spend one half-hour a day to pray this week for one another, for the sick, for those away from God, for our nation and the world.  Maybe there is someone you could invite to the Christmas Service or Christmas Eve.

John Lloyd - Authentic Christianity Pt. 11

Authentic Christianity

Authentic Christianity:  Practical Wisdom from the book of James

How to Respond to Injustice

December 3, 2017

James 5:1-11

Pastor John Lloyd

Passage:  James 5:1-11

Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. 4 Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5 You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you. 7Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. 8You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. 10As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

Principle:   God can give me a generous response to unfairness.   

I.               There are different shapes and sizes of unfairness: 

James 5:1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you.

A.    Misuse of resources

James 5:2 Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days.  ( I Timothy 6:17-18)

B.    Unfair and withheld wages

James 5:4 Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.

God hears the cries of the poor and oppressed!  He is their defender.

C.   Extreme self-indulgence

James 5:5 You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.

D.   Murder of the innocent

James 5:6 You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.

Life is not fair.   Difficulties are normal and necessary.

II.              There are many godly ways to respond to injustice:

A.   Be patient.

James 5:7 Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.

Action: Keep sowing good seeds.  (2 Corinthians 9:6-9, Galatians 6:9)

B.    Don’t run.

James 5:8 You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9 Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.

The trial is not evidence that you should run but that you should stay. 

“Perseverance in adversity cleanses us.” 

Action:  Ask God to give you a beyond earth viewpoint. 

C.  Remember how God has helped you and others in the past.

James 5:10 As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

Action:   Spend time remembering God’s faithfulness to you. 

D.   Focus on what God is doing in you, not what is happening to you.

James 5:11 Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

James 1:2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

Philippians 3:14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 12:3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

The prize is Christlikeness, not comfort.  God never wastes a hurt.

Action:  Look for the platform to help others in a similar place.

E.   Help me to be radically fair and generous. 

James 5:11 Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

I Timothy 6:17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share. (I Tim.6:19)

No limit what God can do through His generous people in an unfair world.  Thank you for being a part of impacting the Bay Area with God’s generous love and resources!

Growth Group Questions for week of December 3, 2017

1.   How is it going with your reading plan?  Sun. Revelation 3 Mon. Revelation 4 Tues. Revelation 5 Wed. Revelation 6 Thurs. Revelation 7 Fri. & Sat. reflection. Pick out one verse that ministered to you. Share a truth you’ve been learning with a friend.

2.   Read James 5:1-11.  Try and put in your own words what is happening here, what response is suggested and why?

3.   Starter:  What have you had difficulty being patient for recently?

4.   Read James 5:1-6.  Why according to James, should the rich weep and wail?  Read verse 3.  Why do you think James took the fact that they “stored up riches in the last days” so seriously?  Read 5:4. How does God respond to the oppressed?

5.   What warnings in this passage do you see as being relevant to you? Think of a time when you were blessed by the generosity of a fellow believer.  How has the generosity of others affected your life?

6.   Read James 5:7-11.  How would you describe what it’s like for you to wait for the return of the Lord?  How does James encourage his readers to be patient for the appearing of the Lord?  Read 5:9. How should being patient affect our speech?  Read 5:10-11.  How are the prophets and Job examples of patience? 

7.   What aspects of God have you seen that you should focus on and why?  (See James 5:11b, Hebrews 12:3)

8.   Read I Timothy 6:17-18. How can you use your financial resources for God’s glory?  How can sharing your wealth improve the state of the world?   Pray for yourself that God will give you opportunities to be generous. 

I Timothy 6:17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share.

John Lloyd - Authentic Christianity Pt. 10

Authentic Christianity

Practical Wisdom from the Book of James

Planning God’s Way James 4:13-17

November 26, 2017

Pastor John Lloyd

Passage: James 4:13-17 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

Big Idea:  Deo Volente (D.V.) “God willing” 

I.Understand our tendency to leave God out of our planning.

James 4:13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit.”

Luke 12:18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.

Proverbs 27:1 Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.

“The idea seems to be that the desire to make a profit has become such a towering priority that it has overshadowed everything else.  He is not arguing against making money, or even the desire to make money.  He is against the attitude of self-contained certainty, the same smug attitude that marked the teaching of the false teachers.”  David Nystrom

II.Recognize the transitory nature of life. 

James 4:14 Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

“Our brave new pleasure-dominated, pleasure-seeking world is increasingly filled with people who live their lives with no reference to God.”  Hughes, R. K.

Daniel 4:30 and the king answered and said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?”  (Daniel 4:34-35)

Isaiah 46:9 remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me,10 declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ (Psalm 39:5) 

How should we approach life when the outcome is uncertain?

The key is to trust in God’s graciousness and not human plans.

III.Submit our plans to the Lord’s will.

James 4:15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”

“What these merchants need to go on to reckon with is that their lives are also in the hands of God. James thus makes the continuance of life itself contingent on the will of the Lord.” Douglas Moo

Job 12:9 Who among all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? 10 In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God.

Acts 18:21 But on taking leave of them he said, “I will return to you if God wills,” and he set sail from Ephesus. (Romans 1:10, I Corinthians 4:19) 

Matthew 6:9 “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

Prayer: “God I want your will done in my life!  My heart is surrendered.”

IV.Beware of bragging in our own accomplishments.

James 4:16As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.

“James is not rebuking these merchants for their plans or even for their desire to make a profit. He rebukes them rather for the this-worldly self-confidence that they exhibit in pursuing these goals - a danger, it must be said, to which businesspeople are particularly susceptible.” D. Moo

I Corinthians 1:26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.  I Corinthians 1:27-28 

I Corinthians 1:29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.

It’s this thought of not only bragging but being autonomous and independent from God instead of being dependent upon God. 

I Corinthians 4:7 For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?

V.Plan intentionally to do good.

James 4:17So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

 The general principle illustrated by the particular example just discussed is here stated: knowledge without practice is imputed to a man as great and presumptuous sin. James reverts to the principle with which he started. Nothing more injures the soul than wasted impressions.  Feelings exhaust themselves and evaporate, if not embodied in practice.  As we will not act except we feel, so if we will not act out our feelings, we shall soon cease to feel.  Jameson Faussett Brown

Matthew 7:24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.

“It is not only what people do that matters; the good that they fail to do is equally important to God.” ESV Study Bible

John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. Jn.14:12 

God Willing:  Deo Volente D.V.  in every area of my life! 

Spiritual Growth Questions for week of November 26, 2017

  1. How is it going with your reading plan?  Sun. II Peter 2 Mon. II Peter 3 Tues. Jude1 Wed. Revelation 1 Thurs. Revelation 2 Fri. & Sat. reflection. Pick out one verse that ministered to you. Share a truth you’ve been learning with a friend.
  2. Starter:  Are you a long-range planner or do you take it one day at a time?  When you were 15, what did you expect to be doing at 25?  Were you right? 
  3. Read James 4:13-17 three times.   Read one time in a paraphrase translation. (The Message or The Living Translation) Share with a friend or your group what you are hearing from God’s Word.  Try and put the passage into your own words.
  4. Read James 4:13-14, Psalm 90:5,6,10 & 12, Isaiah 46:9-10.  How do you respond to James' observation about the fragility of your life? What do the Psalm 90 verses teach you?   What does the Isaiah passage say about God and the future?

5.   Study James 4:15, Acts 18:21; Romans 1:10.  In practical terms, what would it look like to live out an attitude that expresses, "If the Lord wills, we shall live, and we shall do this, or that"?

  1. Read James 4:16, I Corinthians 1:26-31. According to James, what lies behind the reasoning that excludes God and His will?

Read the Corinthian passage and note as many things as you can about why we should be on guard about boasting in our own accomplishments.

  1.  Read James 4:17, Ephesians 2:10.  As you look over this passage, in what ways is God calling or nudging you to do what you know is right?  What are some things you feel God calling you to do in 2018?    Ask someone to pray for you in this area. 

Bonus Question: For the hungry follower!

  1. What are some things which are clearly the will of God? (Verses to look at: Eph. 5:17–21; 1 Thess. 4:3–8; 1 Peter 2:13–15; 3:17)

James 4:15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”

John Lloyd - Authentic Christianity Pt. 9

Authentic Christianity

Practical Wisdom from the Book of James

Spiritual Wholeness James 4:1-10

November 19, 2017

Pastor John Lloyd

Passage: James 4:1-10

The Principle:  Humbly identify sources that fracture our soul; turn to God and he will make us whole. 

I.               Identify 3 sources that fracture our souls:

James 4:8a Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.

James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

A.    Quarrelsomeness

James 4:1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?  2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. (Matthew 5:22)

“We must fight to be free from the tentacles of ungrace.”  Philip Yancey

B.   Prayerlessness

James 4:2 so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.  (Matthew 7:7, 6:9-10)

C.   Worldliness

James 4:4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.  (I John 2:15, John 3:16)

“Friendship with the world is hostility toward God.” 

Aldous Huxley-Brave New World- our danger would come not from collectivistic oppressors but from pleasure giving technologies.  We would be controlled by inflicting pleasures on us.

George Orwell-1984-Feared books would be banned. We would face an externally opposed opposition controlling us by inflicting pain on us. 

“When we allow anything to become more important than Jesus, we become worldly.  This can happen so easily without us even knowing it is happening.”  Ellsworth    2 Corinthians 11:3

Reflective Questions:  What am I attached to?  Have any of these “nesses” attached to me? 

Deal with the spirit of “ungrace “ from within and without. 

A summon to spiritual wholeness:

II.             Surrender control to the Holy Spirit.

James 4:5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?

The Holy Spirit yearns for us to grow!  He yearns for Christ to be expressed in your life.  He wants no believer to turn away from Jesus.  (Isaiah.54:5-6)

Ephesians 5:18- And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,  (Colossians 3:16, Ezekiel 36:26)

III.             Humbly receive and practice the Spirit of Grace.

James 4:6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Romans 5:20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,

“Grace is our best gift to the world.  Grace rescues us from our propensity to lust for evil things.  He gives grace potent enough to meet this and every other evil spirit.”  Phillips

C.S Lewis was asked what is the difference between Christianity and other religions.  Some said incarnation, others the resurrection.  Lewis said, “It is easy, It’s grace.” 

God’s gift of sustaining grace is enjoyed only by

those willing to admit their need and accept the gift.

A.   Line up your desires with God’s desires.

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your he arts, you double-minded.

Submit- to line up under God and His care and power. Conscious decision to submit to God as the sovereign ruler of the universe. Purify- to make clean, cleanse from dirt.  (Philippians 4:11 learn contentment)  

B.   Resist the devil.

James 4:7 Resist the devil and he will flee from you

Resist- Take your stand against the devil.  It means to exert energy and effort to oppose and defeat the devil and temptation.  These are military terms and they are urgent.

John 8:44 Father of all lies

I John 3:8 Jesus appeared to destroy the works of the devil

I John 5:19 We know the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

C.   Pursue God with all your heart.

James 4:8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Double minded- friends with the world and God at the same time.

D.  Cleanse your soul.

James 4:9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. I John 1:9, Hebrews 9:14

Repentance-dealing with both external behavior and internal attitudes.

James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

Psalm 73:28  But as for me, it is good to be near God, 

God is able to make spiritually whole all who come to Him! 

Spiritual Growth Questions for week of November 19, 2017

  1. How is it going with your reading plan?  Sun. I Thessalonians 5  Mon. IIThessalonians 1 Tues. I! Thess. 2 Wed. II Thess. 3 Thurs. 2 Peter 1 Fri. & Sat. reflection. Pick out one verse that ministered to you. Share a truth you’ve been learning with a friend.
     
  2. Read James 4:1-10 three times.   Read one time in a paraphrase translation. (The Message or The Living Translation) Share with a friend or your group what you are hearing from God’s Word.  Try and put the passage  into your own words.
     
  3. Read James 4:1-3.  What sort of wrong motives can lead to fights and quarrels?  What causes quarrels in your relationships?
     
  4. Which one of the ‘nesses’ quarrelsomeness, prayerlessness, covetousness or worldliness do find the hardest to deal with? Why?

By "the world" James seems to mean, as often is the case in Scripture, "the way the world behaves," the pattern of life, the underlying implicit story, the things people want, expect, long for and dream of that drive them to think and behave the way they do. If you go with the drift, if you don't reflect on what you're doing but just pick up habits of mind and body from all around you, the chances are you will become "friends" with "the world" in this sense. You will be "normal" It takes guts to stand out and be different. It also takes thought, decision and determination.

  1. Read James 4:4-5. What patterns or values of this world are easy to drift along with and accept without much thought that they are in conflict with a biblical perspective?  What is James trying to communicate? 
     
  2. Read James 4:7. What are practical ways you can resist the devil? 
     
  3. Read James 4:6, 4:8-10.  Consider the power of grace in this passage.  What is James saying is available to the humble?  Why is it sometimes hard to believe that God wants this kind of relationship with us?
     
  4. What are you willing to give up this week in order to use that time to draw closer to God?   Spend time praying for one another and any conflicts that you may be facing at this time.                                 

Happy Thanksgiving!

John Lloyd - Authentic Christianity Pt. 8

Authentic Christianity

Practical Wisdom from the Book of James

True Wisdom James 3:13-4:3

November 12, 2017

Pastor John Lloyd

Passage: James 3:13-4:3

The Principle:  True wisdom brings peace.  True wisdom produces good works.  True wisdom produces humility.

I.               True wisdom is a lifestyle.

James 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.

“We all know people who are geniuses, and yet seem unable to carry out the simple tasks of life.”  Wiersbe

A.    A lack of wisdom causes great problems.

James 3:14But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

John 3:12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?  Philippians 3:19

B.   A sure sign of worldly wisdom is strife and quarrels.

James 4:1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?  2You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. Mark7:20-23

Without God’s help and wisdom, I will create many problems.

II.True wisdom brings a fruitful harvest.

James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

A.    If I have true wisdom, I will check my motives.

But the wisdom from above is pure…  “uncorrupted, authentic, spiritual integrity and moral sincerity.” 

Practical questions to ask yourself:  What am I trying to get out of this relationship?  Am I trying to control this person?  Am I looking out for their interests or mine?  (Philippians 2:3, 2:20)

B.    If I have true wisdom, I will bring peace into strife.

“Any fool can start arguments, the wise thing is to stay out of them.” Proverbs 20:3

Three things to watch out for:  Comparing, condemning, and contradicting.  (2 Corinthians 10:12)

C.   If I have true wisdom, I will be gentle in difficult situations.

3:17b “But the wisdom from above is gentle….” (means reasonable in judging, humble patience able to submit to injustice, disgrace, and maltreatment without hatred and malice). (2 Timothy 2:25)

“Kind words bring life, but cruel words crush your spirit.”  Prov. 15:4

“I will not minimize your feelings.”

D.  If I have true wisdom, I will be open to suggestions.

3:17b “The wisdom from above is open to reason.”

Open to reason – easy to be entreated, submissive, sweet reasonableness

“A fool thinks he needs no advice.  A wise man listens to others.”  Pr.12:15 Living Bible

“I will not criticize your suggestions.”

Proverbs 2:10 for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; (Proverbs 8:11)

E.    If I have true wisdom, I will be merciful.

James 3:17b “The wisdom from above is full of mercy and good fruits.”

Mercy – The gift of showing concern for those who suffer pain and hardship, and the ability to forgive quickly.

“Be merciful even as your Father in heaven is merciful.” Luke 6:36

Mercy is giving people what they need not what they deserve. 

I will not emphasize your mistakes.

F.    If I have true wisdom,  I will be authentic.

3:17b “The wisdom from above is impartial and sincere”

Without partiality and hypocrisy – does not make unfair distinctions

I will not disguise my weakness.

Proverbs 8:11 for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.

Proverbs 4:7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.

Those who relate wisely to others, reap a harvest of peace!

 James 3:18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. 

Colossians 2:3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

I Corinthians 1:30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption.  

Spiritual Growth Questions for week of November 12, 2017

1.   How is it going with your reading plan?  Sun. John 21  Mon. I Thessalonians 1 Tues. I Thess. 2 Wed. I Thess. 3Thurs. I Thess. 4 Fri. & Sat. reflection. Pick out one verse that ministered to you. Share a truth you’ve been learning with a friend.

2.   Icebreaker:  Who is the wisest person you have ever known?  What made him/her so wise?

3.   How do you rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 for ‘wisdom’ using the definition in James 3:17?  What in your opinion is the secret to gaining wisdom? 

4.   Read James 3:13-4:3 three times.   Read one time in a paraphrase translation (The Message or The Living Translation). Share with a friend or your group what you are hearing from God’s Word.  Try and put the passage  into your own words.

5.   How is godly wisdom described in this text?  What trait in James 3:17 stands out to you and why?

6.   Deeper look:  Read Psalm 111:10, Daniel 2:20-23, I Corinthians 1:30, Ephesians 3:10, Colossians 2:3, James 1:5.  Ask God to show one thing about wisdom from each verse.  Share with your group. 

7.   What are some concrete ways a Christian can acquire God’s wisdom? Try to list ten. Circle the ones you regularly practice. Put a check mark by the activities that need to become part of your daily experience.

8.   What can you do to become more passionate about pursuing God’s wisdom?  How can we pray for you in this pursuit?

9.   What step can you take this week to become a peacemaker in your daily walk? 

“Knowledge enables us to take things apart, but wisdom enables us to put things together and relate God’s truth to daily life.” Wiersbe

Proverbs 4:7 “Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.”   

John Lloyd - Authentic Christianity Pt. 7

Authentic Christianity

Practical Wisdom from the Book of James    

Taming our Tongue James 3:1-12

November 5, 2017

Pastor John Lloyd

Passage: James 3:1-12

The Principle:  “A little member has great power to influence.”

Review:  Three things that are critical for genuine faith:  Controlling tongue, caring for the needy, and avoiding worldliness.

I. Remember the ___________________ of a teacher.

James 3:1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. (James 1:19, 1:26)

Job 40:4 “Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you?         I lay my hand on my mouth.

Isaiah 6:5 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”(Numbers 12:3, Ps.106;33)

I Corinthians 12:29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles?

“The more you know the greater your responsibility and condemnation.  We are not to teach to satisfy our own needs, but to bring glory to God and to deliver His Word accurately to the eternal benefit to those who hear us.” Ellsworth

“Our plea is not for perfect people to go about the work of teaching, it is rather for imperfect people to go about the work in a serious and diligent way, praying, as they do so, that the Lord will be pleased to use them in their weakness.”  Ellsworth

We are influencing through our Words.

II. Submit your desperate need for _________ in this area.  

James 3:2 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.

“Do you want to achieve spiritual maturity?  Concentrate on your talking!  If you get this under control the rest will be relatively easy for you.  Give attention to your speech.” Ellsworth

“We all sin in many times and many ways. About 9/10’s of the flames we experience in our lives come from the tongue.”  Kent Hughes

James 3:8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. (Matthew 12:36)

A. The ______________ is where we’re most vulnerable to Satan’s attacks.

James 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 

Examples:  

The horse and the bit  James 3:3

The ship and the rudder James 3: 4

Small spark and a great forest fire, James 3:5

B. The world ensnares us through our ______________.

Proverbs 10:19 When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.

Ecclesiastes 5:2 Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few.

Lord, I can’t tame my tongue without your help!  I need you!  Give God control of the rudder and He will control the ship!

III. Draw from the well of the __________ ______________.

James 3:9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.

A. See God’s ____________ in every person.

Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.

B. Let your __________, lead you to the __________.

James 3:10From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.  (Psalm 19:14)

Matthew 12:34 “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  (Isaiah 50:4)

Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  (Hebrews 4:16, Psalm 81:10)

C. Begin sowing a new crop of ______________________.

James 3:11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. (Ephesians 4:29)

Admit the problem.  No Excuses. Ask God for Help. Ask friends for help.  

Don’t be misled:  No one makes a fool of God.  What a person plants, he will harvest.  The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others- ignoring God! – harvests a crop of weeds.  All he’ll have to show  for his life is weeds!  But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.  (Galatians 6:7-8 The Message).

Use my words… to build your kingdom, to build people!

Prayer Commitment:

Lord, I recognize that it is impossible for me to control my tongue. Help me to continually give my words to you.  Realizing that these words come from my mind, I give my thoughts to you as well.  Help me to think your thoughts, to see that I am your child and that I matter to you.  May the words of my mouth be pleasing to you and edifying to those who listen. Show me step by step how to do this as I rely on your Spirit’s wisdom and words. I want my words to glorify you!

Dan Harper - Authentic Christianity Pt. 6

Authentic Christianity

James 2:14-26English Standard Version (ESV)

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

John Lloyd - Authentic Christianity Pt. 5

Authentic Christianity

Practical Wisdom from the Book of James        

Dealing with our Prejudice James 2:1-13

October 22, 2017

Pastor John Lloyd

Passage: James 2:1-13

The problem:  Having is more important than being.

James situation:  The Roman culture elevated and honored both wealth and status.  During this time, approximately 8% of the people had wealth, 2% were gaining it and 90% lived as poor.  The 8% ruled over the 90%. Wealth and status do not determine our worth.

Three steps that we can take to get past our prejudices and express the life of Christ to all!

I.               Recognize and reject what our culture favors.

James 2:1 My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.

Colossians 3:25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.  Ephesians 6:9

Our value is not based on what we own or do not own.  (Lk 12:15)

James 2:2 For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3 and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” 4 have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? (Luke 1:48)

Some examples:

1. Rich over poor   

2. Attractive over plain

3. Thin over heavy  

4. Quick over slow

5. Educated over uneducated 

6. The _____________ over the Christian.

Prejudice is something we all battle in some form or another.

II.             Learn what God favors.

James 2:1 My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.  (Romans 2:11)

“Our glory comes not from what we own, but who owns us.”

Acts 10:34 So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), (Prov.28:21, Leviticus 19:15, Malachi 2:9, Prov. 22:2)

I Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”

James 2:5 Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?  (See Matt. 5:3, Lk.4:18,6:20)

 “The poor are often rich in the very thing that Christians prize most.”

I Corinthians 1:26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.

“The ground is level at the foot of the cross. Materialism perverts the human soul.”  Kent Hughes

Some examples: 

God favors the poor over the rich.  (James 2:5)

God favors the not so influential over the influential. (I Cor. 1:26-30)

God favors the foolish over the wise.    (I Cor. 1:27a)

God favors the weak over the strong.  (I Cor. 1:27b)

God favors the lowly, despised things. (I Cor. 1:28)

2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

We prize Jesus because he is Lord, he is Jesus, he is Christ, he is the Lord of Glory, because by the grace of God we ‘hold the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ’  We prize Jesus more than anything else

III.            Practice mercy in all your dealings.

James 2:8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture,  

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. (2:9-10)

James 2:11For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty.  13For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Isaiah 58:10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. (Isaiah 58:11-12)

Lamentations 3:22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 

“Favoritism is evidence of a unmerciful spirit.  How we treat people matters to God.”  Hughes

Luke 6:36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:37-38) 

Three questions to ask yourself:  Am I practicing the golden rule?   Do I have any significant relationships with people outside my group?   How do I treat the people that society doesn’t consider important? Lord, deliver us from the folly of favoritism.

Amazing things happen when we express to

others what God has given to us.

John Lloyd - Authentic Christianity Pt. 4

Authentic Christianity

Practical Wisdom from the Book of James

“True Religion" James 1:26-27

October 15, 2017

Pastor John Lloyd

 

Passage: James 1:26-27

Questions to contemplate:  What is true religion?  Is it the type of worship songs or hymns we sing?  Is it high church with liturgy, and prayers?  Is it a casual atmosphere where everybody is accepted?  Is it church attendance?  Is it that my family is religious? 

Today, we will look at James 1 and see what the Word of God defines as “True Religion.” The definition may surprise you.

Big Idea: True religion impacts our words, actions and the direction of our lives.

I.               True religion displays surrendered words.

James 1:26a If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart

James 1:26 “If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.” (New living translation)

Psalm 34:13 Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.  (Proverbs 18:2)

Key thought:  One area not surrendered can neutralize the impact of our lives. 

Areas to surrender:

1.   Vulgarity-  Colossians 3:8, Prov.4:24

2.   Angry outbursts- Proverbs 29:11)

3.   Lying- Ephesians 4:25

4.   Gossip- Proverbs 11:13, 16:28, 26:20

5.   Slander- Titus 3:2

6.   Complainers- I Corinthians 10:10, Philippians 2:14

“If the heart is right, the speech will be right.”  Wiersbe

Matthew 12:34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

What we say is a barometer of where our hearts are at with God.

Remember God is looking for progress not perfection.

II.             True religion leads to surrendered service. 

James 1:27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

 In their affliction- in their burden, trouble, tribulation

John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

2 Corinthians 1:4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  (Psalm 23:4, James 1:27a)

Definition:  Helping those in distress.

Visit- to go to see, relieve, look out.  (Matthew 25:36)

Isaiah 58:10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.     

Is 58:11 And the LORD will guide you continually  and satisfy your desire in scorched places  and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water,  whose waters do not fail. (58:12)

"Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of." C.S. Lewis

Psalm 68:5 Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.  (John 21:18)

Hebrews 13:3 Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.

Reflective Question:  Who has God put in my life that He wants me to help?  How are you serving them?

Surrendered service glorifies God and bears much fruit!

III.             True religion leads to surrendering our standards to God’s Word.

James 1:27b and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

The world’s standards are always trying to creep into our lives.

The World’s standards are often based on:

1.   Society     2.  Friends/Peers        3.  Self Interest

The key to godly standards is not isolation but reprogramming.

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. 

John 17:15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. (Matthew 6:10)

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

 “Live like Jesus is in the room with you!”

Reprogramming our standards glorifies God and bears much fruit.

Surrender it all to Jesus!

Commitment Prayer:  Dear Jesus, I recognize that I must have you in total control of my life.  I surrender my words, my service and my standards to you.  I want to want what you want for me to be and do in my life.  I give you permission to work in these areas.  Help me grow to be more like you in each area.  Please receive my life as an act of worship to you!

John Lloyd - Authentic Christianity Pt. 3

Authentic Christianity

Building a Healthy SoulJames 1:19-25

October 8, 2017

Pastor John Lloyd

Passage: James 1:19-25

My prayer is that God will use the truths from this passage to help us develop a spiritually healthy soul in our walk with God and others.  

Big Idea: Our souls are the healthiest when we apply what we hear.  

I. Healthy believers ______________ well to God and others.

James 1:19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;

“Beware of the dialogues of the deaf.”  Paul Tournier

“If we can’t listen well, we will be spiritually impoverished.”  

“Lord, speak to me!  You have sixty seconds.”   

Mark 4:24 And he said to them “Pay attention to what you hear:”

Luke 8:18 “Take care then how you hear,”  ( Mt. 13:13, Hebrews 5:11)

Some suggestions: 

1. Work at listening to others. Repeat what you hear them saying. 

2. Limit our exposure to visual media. 

3. Read God’s word. listen as we read. 

4. Slow down to listen. Pray I Samuel 3:10 “Speak for your servant is listening” 

5. Prepare your heart and soul to hear God’s word.  

II. Healthy believers ____________ words that edify God and others.

James 1:19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, 

Proverbs 13:3 Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.  (Proverbs 15:1)

Proverbs 10:19 When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.  (Ecclesiastes 5:2)

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  (Philippians 4:8, I Thessalonians 5:11, Ephesians 4:15)

Questions to ask:  Are these words necessary, helpful, or healing?

III. Healthy believers allow the Holy Spirit to ________ their emotions.

James 1:19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

“If you are not growing spiritually, one of these three things of James 1:19 is holding you up.”  Warren Wiersbe

Proverbs 16:32 Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.

Proverbs 29:11 A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.

“An angry spirit is never a listening teachable spirit. When we feast on anger and bitterness—the feast is us.”  Kent Hughes

• All anger is not bad.

• Allow anger to be a signal that something is wrong.

• Justified or not, anger is never to control me.

• I become a slave to the person who causes my anger.  

A. Lay aside the ______________________ of our fallen hearts.

James 1:21a “Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness”

Romans 13:12b So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.  (Hebrews 12:1, Zechariah 3:1, 3:5)

Mark 4:19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.

B. Receive without reservation the ____________ of God.

James 1:21b and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

John 15:3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.  (Psalm 25:9, Mark 4:20, Acts 17:11)

“Speak, your servant is listening!”  I Samuel 3:10

I. Healthy believers ______________ what they hear.

James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

“Too many people mark their bibles, but their bibles never mark them.” 

Warren Wiersbe

James 1:23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.

“To hear and not take action is worthless. To hear and not take action is to lie to oneself.”  

James 1:25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

“Looks”- more than a casual glance, looks carefully and closely Jn.20:5

Prayer:  Lord, help me to have a soul absorbing study of your Word.

“Satan portrays sin as the greatest freedom and God’s Word as the greatest bondage, but just the reverse is true.”  Roger Ellsworth

James 1:25b “being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”  John 13:17

Blessed is not just being happy, but it is being fulfilled, whole & healthy! 

We were made by God and for God.  Doesn’t it make sense that we can only find fulfillment in God? And living for God?  

Our souls are the healthiest when we apply what we hear.