John Lloyd - Beatitudes - The Sermon On The Mount

Seeking God First:  A Study on the Sermon of the Mount

Blessed are the poor in spirit Matthew 5:3

April 15, 2018

Pastor John Lloyd

 

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus expresses His desire for us to live for Him in an upside down world.  This greatest sermon ever given, is uplifting, yet challenges us to live a life with Jesus that is far better than any other! It is our prayer that you will be amazed and challenged by studying and applying this great sermon to your life. Small groups are also available throughout the week to further discuss and put into practice the lessons taught from the Sermon on the Mount.

 

Big Idea:  The blessed person is the one who recognizes his spiritual poverty and reaches out to the King of Kings.

 

I.               Jesus has a word for all ___________________.

 

Matthew 5:1-2 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

 

The beatitudes are pure gospel.  Lenski

 

Introduction to the Beatitudes:  Who was it addressed to?  

1.    All followers of Jesus are to be like this description.

2.    Followers of Jesus are meant to manifest all of these characteristics.

3.    These characteristics go beyond our natural temperaments.

4.    You will see the essential difference between followers and non-

      followers of Jesus.

a.   What they admire

b.   What they seek after

c.    What they do

d.   They live in an entirely different kingdom.

 

“Happiness is the great question confronting mankind.  The whole world is longing for happiness.  It is tragic to see the ways in which people are seeking it.  The vast majority seek happiness in a way that is bound to produce misery.  The Sermon on the Mount says, if you want to be happy here is the way.  This and this alone is the type of person who is really blessed.”  E Stanley Jones

Character before conduct.

 

II.             Seeking God first redefines ___________________.

 

Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 

Matthew is a training manual for Christian discipleship for believers of all ages. A balanced understanding of the Sermon on the Mount will mature our discipleship to Jesus.  Michael Wilkins

 

Blessed- A judgment pronounced, extremely fortunate.  It is a rich promise for the present but a promise of even greater riches in the future.  It is a positive judgment by God that means “to be approved” or “to find approval.”

 

It is a state of existence in relationship to God and from His perspective even when he or she doesn’t feel happy or isn’t presently experiencing good fortune

 

Psalm 2:12b Blessed are all who take refuge in him. 

 

Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.

 

John 15:11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

 

Real happiness/blessedness begins when we seek God first!

 

III.             Seeking God first recognizes our ___________________ poverty.

 

Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 

Poor in spirit- cringingly, beggarly poor with respect to spirit.

 

Isaiah 66:2 But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word. (Examples of Isaiah in Isaiah 6:5, Peter in Luke 5:8, Paul in Romans 7:24, Philippians 3:8)

 

Psalm 40:17 As for me, I am poor and needy, but he Lord takes thought for me.  You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God! 

 

There is no one in the kingdom of God who is not poor in spirit.  It is the fundamental characteristic of the Christian, and of the citizen of the kingdom of heaven, and all the other characteristics are in a sense the result of this one.   As we go on to expound it, we shall see that it really means an emptying, while the others are a manifestation of a fullness.

You cannot be filled until we are first empty.  There are always these two sides of the gospel; there is a pulling down and a raising up.  It is an essential part of the gospel that conviction must always precede conversion; the gospel of Christ condemns before it releases.  Lloyd Jones

 

The greatest filling comes when we realize we are empty!

 

IV.          The ________________ belongs to those who submit to the King.

 

Matt. 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 

Matt. 5:10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Eph 1:3, John 18:36, Rom.14:17)

 

The more we look at Him, the more hopeless shall we feel by ourselves, and in of ourselves, and the more we become ‘poor in spirit’.

You cannot look at Him without feeling your absolute poverty, and emptiness.  Then you say to Him, “Nothing in my hand I bring,

Simply to Thy cross I cling.” Yeah, all I need, in Thee to find,

O Lamb of God, I come.  D. Martyn Lloyd Jones

 

Reflective questions:  Am I like that, am I poor in spirit?  How do I really feel about myself as I think of myself in terms of God and in the presence of God?  How does this happen? 

 

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.

 

The kingdom of heaven belongs to those who respond to Jesus. 

The way to become poor in spirit is to look at God.  Look at Jesus!

 

Growth Questions for April 15, 2018

 

Icebreaker:  Who has been like a Bible for you?  What did that person say or do that showed God in their life to you?

 

1.   Read Matthew 5:3-12.  As you read make note of what Jesus says is blessed versus what you know the world says makes people happy.  Share the differences.

2.   Read Matthew 5:3, Psalm 1:1-2.  Focus on the word “blessed.” This is more than a state or condition but it is an attitude that grows out of our utter helplessness and need for pure grace and mercy. Discuss what brings on this blessedness.

3.   Read Matthew 5:3.  Read the following passages and discuss what being poor meant to Isaiah in Isaiah 6:5, Paul in Romans 7:24, Phil.3:8, Peter in Luke 5:8 and Jesus in John 14:10.  What does being poor in spirit look like to you? Why is this so critical to spiritual growth and power? 

4.   Read Matthew 5:3-12. Note and discuss the differences between followers and non-followers of Jesus. Compare and contrast what they admire, seek after and do.

5.   Read Matt. 5:3. Focus on the word “kingdom.”  Read Luke 17:21. John 18:36, Romans 14:17.  What does kingdom mean to a follower of Jesus?   What is the worldly definition of the kingdom?  What promises does the king make about the future world?  See Revelation 1:5-7.

6.   How does coming face to face with Jesus help you navigate through the difficulties of this life?  How have you experienced a blessedness despite unfortunate circumstances?

7.   What circumstances/attitudes do you need to bring to Jesus for His help this week?  How can we pray for you?

 

Blessedness is not a description of a present condition, neither a wish regarding a coming condition, but a judgment pronounced upon the persons indicated, stating that they must be considered fortunate. And it is Jesus who renders this judgment, which is therefore absolutely true although all the world may disagree.  All this blessedness is spiritual, each part of it coming from the great Messianic kingdom, true soul-blessedness, a rich possession now but with a glorious promise of still greater riches-the very opposite of the world’s happiness.  Michael Wilkins

Evan Rogers - Introduction to the Sermon On The Mount

Sermon on the Mount

Introduction to the greatest sermon ever

April 8, 2018

Evan Rogers

 

John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus expresses His desires for us to live for Him in an upside down world. This is the greatest sermon ever given. It is uplifting yet challenges us to live a life with Jesus that is far better than any other.

Big Idea: The Best way to keep the commandments of Christ is to face the Sermon on the Mount.

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I. False views of the Sermon on the Mount:

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1. Metaphorical imagery:

 

The sermon is nothing but metaphors and none of it should be taken practically or literally because He is only referring to spiritual things.

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2. Elaboration of the law:

 

Jesus is just explaining a further understanding of the Mosaic Law that can provide righteousness through your own hard work

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3. Dispensational view:

 

This sermon was only for the time before Christ’s resurrection. It has no practical significance to modern Christians.

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Our View of the Sermon on the Mount:

 

The Sermon on the Mount is an elaborate description of Christ’s new commandments and how to follow them.

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II. Why we should study the Sermon on the Mount:

 --       

Definition of a Christian: A believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings.

--

Jesus died to enable us to live the Sermon on the Mount

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Titus 2:14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

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The Sermon shows us our absolute need for the new birth and the Holy spirit in order to live it.

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Titus 2:14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

--

The more we practice this Sermon the more we shall experience

blessings.

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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.

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The more we live out this Sermon, the more people will come to Jesus.

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Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

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III. 20 Parts

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 1. The Beatitudes - The 7 characteristics of a Christian, and the results of living this way.

 

 2. Salt and Light - Our calling to make a change.

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 3. Fulfillment of the Law - The Law is still a valid and is only possible to live through Christ.

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 4. Anger - The law goes beyond killing, it covers the hidden sin of the heart in anger.

 

 5. Lust - The Law goes beyond adultery, and covers the hidden sin of the heart in lust. 

 

 6. Divorce - The Law goes beyond the false teachings of society and the accepted practices of “believers” in marriage.

 

 7. Oaths - The law goes beyond the teachings of old when keeping your word. 

 

 

 8. Retaliation - The law goes beyond the teachings of old pertaining to revenge.

 

 9. Love Your Enemy - The law goes beyond the teachings of old about enemies.

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 10. Gifts - Do not give for selfish gain.

 

 11. Prayer - Do not pray to be seen.

 

 12. Fasting - Do not fast to be praised by men.

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 13. Treasure in Heaven - Life should be lived for the kingdom of God.

 

 14. Don’t be Anxious - Worry will not help, rather trust in the Lord.

 

 15. Judging Others - Do not condemn another while excusing your sin.

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 16. Ask - Ask and it will be given.

 

 17. The Golden Rule - You will reap what you have sown.

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 18. A Tree and its Fruits - You will know who is teaching truth by the results it brings.

 

 19. I Never Knew You - The action isn’t enough, God will not accept you without a relationship.

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 20. Build your House on the Rock - A parable about the results of your faith.

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IV. Eight Major Sections

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I.  The Characteristics of Christians

 

1. Beatitudes

2. Salt and Light

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Poor in spirit

Ones who mourn

The Meek

Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness

The Merciful

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The pure in heart

The peacemakers

Those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake

Salt of the Earth

Light of the world

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II. Jesus is the fulfillment of the law and the only means by which men can fulfill the law.

 

3. Fulfillment of the Law

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5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

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III. Christ’s New Commandments

 

4. Anger

5. Lust

6. Divorce

7. Oaths

8. Retaliation

9. Love Your Enemy

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5:48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

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IV. Good things done for selfish reasons won’t please God. Do everything in service to God with love.

 

10. Gifts

11. Prayer

12. Fasting

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6:1“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

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V. Faith requires we live for God each day, therefore humbly examine yourself each day asking if you are living for Him or another master.

 

13. Treasure In Heaven

14. Don’t Be Anxious

15. Judging Others

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6:27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

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VI. Trust That as you follow God’s way of doing things that he will take care of you.

 

16. Ask And It Will Be Given

17. The Golden Rule

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7:11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

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VII. How to spot the truth, and the result of not following the truth.

 

18. A Tree And Its Fruits

19. I Never Knew You

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7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

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VIII. The results of either following Jesus advice or ignoring it.

 

20. Build your House on The Rock

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Matthew 7:27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.

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Closing Thought: When the rains come and the winds beat us will our beliefs hold true or will we fall? Are my beliefs founded on truth or my personal opinion? Are my beliefs founded on the Rock of Christ and his words?

John Lloyd - Resurrection Sunday

"Share His-Story"

Sharing His Story: The Resurrection of Jesus

John 20

Pastor John Lloyd

April 1, 2018

 

The truth of Jesus’ resurrection proves God can do anything.  It is life changing!  Believing and trusting in Jesus is the first step in experiencing resurrection life.  God blesses and rewards a lifestyle that shares His Resurrection.

 

Big Idea:  Believing and sharing His Story changes my life here and forevermore.

 

I.                Look carefully at the evidence of the resurrection of Jesus.

 

I Corinthians 15:1 Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. 2 It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place.

John 20:5 And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there,  (John 20:7-8)

 

A.    Prophets foretold it.     Psalm 16:10,  Hosea 6:2

B.   Jesus promised it.   (John 2:19, Matthew 20:19)

C.  The Pharisees were afraid of it.   (Matthew 27:62-66)

D.  The disciples didn’t believe it at first.  (John 20:9)

E.   The disciples went from fleeing to proclaiming it. (Acts 2:24, 4:13)

 

Action:  Take some time to examine the evidence of the resurrection.  The resurrection is what separates Jesus from all other teachers.

II.              Ask God to reveal the truth of the resurrection of Jesus.

John 20:18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her. John 20:27-28

“We need to remember that even the disciples/ first century people could not have conceived of this happening…  they couldn’t help it, they had seen it.  And it changed their lives.  You know even if you don’t like what I am saying… you should want it to be true… because it means that there is more to this life than what we see. There will be justice for the poor, alleviating of hunger and disease, and caring for the environment.”  Tim Keller

John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,

The resurrection proves Jesus is who he claimed to be.

Action:  Ask God to reveal to you the Living Christ.

 

III.            Let God’s peace enter your soul through faith.

John 20:19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews,  Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.  (Romans 5:1, Philippians 4:7)

The resurrection of Jesus means the sacrifice of Jesus has been accepted, thus our sins have been forgiven.

I Corinthians 15:16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.

Philippians 3:10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

"Christ did not come to do away with suffering; He did not come to explain it; He came to fill it with His presence." --Paul Claudel

John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

 

Action:  Give the things troubling you over to God.

 

IV.          Share His Story with others.

 

John 20:21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”

John 9:25 He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”

This world needs resurrection life.  This world needs a living Christ.  It doesn’t need just a moral teacher or a good person.  It needs the Living Christ who can change our lives and the lives of those around us.

Romans 8:11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.  (Ephesians 1:19-20)

I Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

Philippians 3:10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

I John 5:11And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I John 5:13

The tomb of Jesus Christ is empty because He resurrected and is alive forevermore.

John 11:26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

 

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross for my sins.  Your death, burial, and resurrection humble me to ask for your forgiveness.  I desire to live for you and turn from my own ways.  You conquered death for me and I receive your free gift of eternal life.  Help me live my life in close relationship with you.  I believe in you and the power of the Resurrection! 

 

Growth Group Questions for April 1, 2018

Opener:  Discuss something you thought would bring you freedom but did not deliver.  Talk about something you thought would bring bondage but actually brought freedom.  

1.   Read Ephesians 1:16-21Describe in your own words what is happening here.  Why is this important? 

2.   The doctrine of the resurrection was also at the heart of New Testament preaching. (Read Acts 2:31; 4:2, 4:33; 17:18, 32; 23:6&8; 24:15&21; 26:23) Why were the apostles so centered on this resurrection?  What does this teach us? 

3.   Read Philippians 3:10. What are the two things Paul wants to know?  How can knowing these two things help you in your walk with God?

4.   Read I Corinthians 15:14 &17. Why is Paul sharing this with the Corinthians?  What lessons can you take from this truth?  

5.   Consider the fact that no other religion is proven by the resurrection of its founder.  Consider these seven proofs:                                                 

1.The resurrection was proclaimed as fact by the initial apostles (I Cor. 15:5-7). 2. The testimony of a converted skeptic. (I Cor. 15:8-11). 3. The proof of history (Acts 26:23&26).  4. The quality of the apostolic witnesses (Acts 12:2) 5. The number and quality of supportive witnesses (I Corinthians 15:5) 6.  The startling transformation of the apostles (Acts 17:6).  7.  The ongoing experience of the resurrected Jesus Christ (I was blind and now I see) Which one speaks to you the most and why? 

6.   Read Romans 6:4, 8:11. How does the resurrection of Jesus and access to His power bring freedom to our souls?   What things can you do to help you access this power? 

7.   Read and pray Ephesians 1:17-19 for yourself, pray it for a friend or someone in your group.  Why is this prayer so necessary and powerful? Why do we need wisdom, revelation and our eyes enlightened to know and believe these things?

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.