May 13, 2018
When You Just Can’t Contain Yourself (part 2)
We offer thanksgiving and praise for a lot of different people and accomplishments. But shouldn't we reserve our greatest praise for the person and work that is infinitely and eternally significant?
 
In Psalm 22, we've seen how David demonstrated that we should never give up crying out to the Lord in seasons of hardship and suffering. Then, when we experience God's deliverance or blessing or goodness, we should be quick to give Him praise together with His people. However, if this is true with respect to God's faithfulness demonstrated in our individual lives, how much more should we praise God for His faithfulness demonstrated through the person and work of Jesus! In this message, we'll be studying Psalm 22:22-31 from the perspective of how it applies to our response to Jesus' resurrection and exaltation. 
 
When you consider the death and resurrection of Jesus, and you just can't contain yourself:
 
1. Join in the Celebration! [vv. 22-24]
2. Come to the Table! [vv. 25-26]
3. Share the Good News with Others! [vv. 27-31]
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  • May 13, 2018When You Just Can’t Contain Yourself (part 2)
    May 13, 2018
    When You Just Can’t Contain Yourself (part 2)
    We offer thanksgiving and praise for a lot of different people and accomplishments. But shouldn't we reserve our greatest praise for the person and work that is infinitely and eternally significant?
     
    In Psalm 22, we've seen how David demonstrated that we should never give up crying out to the Lord in seasons of hardship and suffering. Then, when we experience God's deliverance or blessing or goodness, we should be quick to give Him praise together with His people. However, if this is true with respect to God's faithfulness demonstrated in our individual lives, how much more should we praise God for His faithfulness demonstrated through the person and work of Jesus! In this message, we'll be studying Psalm 22:22-31 from the perspective of how it applies to our response to Jesus' resurrection and exaltation. 
     
    When you consider the death and resurrection of Jesus, and you just can't contain yourself:
     
    1. Join in the Celebration! [vv. 22-24]
    2. Come to the Table! [vv. 25-26]
    3. Share the Good News with Others! [vv. 27-31]
  • May 6, 2018When You Just Can’t Contain Yourself (part 1)
    May 6, 2018
    When You Just Can’t Contain Yourself (part 1)
    What has God done in your life that gets you excited? 
     
    In Psalm 22:22-31, David thanked God with his fellow worshipers after the Lord miraculously delivered him out of a hopeless situation (Psa 22:1-21). So, David fulfilled his vow to praise God by making a peace offering in the presence of his fellow faithful Israelites. He employed his thanks as a vehicle for corporate praise so that his fellow worshipers were encouraged. He even envisioned how non-worshipers would be impacted by his testimony of God's faithfulness to him.
     
    David's actions illustrate a timeless truth for God's people. That is, corporate thanksgiving has a far-reaching impact. It completes your joy. It encourages your fellow believers. It glorifies God. It even impacts those who do not believe. 
     
    Therefore, give thanks to God with His people. Consider how God has blessed you. Fashion your thanks as a vehicle for praise, making much of God. Then, share it with your fellow believers. In fact, be prepared to share it with unbelievers, too.
  • Apr 29, 2018When You Feel Like You’re All Alone
    Apr 29, 2018
    When You Feel Like You’re All Alone
    Long seasons of hardship and suffering are discouraging and disorienting, feeling at times like they are never going to end, especially when you feel alone.
     
    In Psalm 22:1-21, David persisted in prayer even when he felt abandoned by God. Then, during his one last prayer of faith, he seeming received assurance of his deliverance. 
     
    Of course, these verses find their ultimate fulfillment at the Cross of Christ. For, Jesus felt abandoned by God upon the Cross. As He bore the wrath of God towards humanity's sin, He was in many senses spiritually, emotionally, and physically alone. Yet, in the end, he was gloriously vindicated through His resurrection. 
     
    So, when you feel like you're all alone, keep crying out to the Lord. Remember His past faithfulness. Persist in prayer. Maintain your trust, following Jesus' example while knowing that you are never alone. For, your sin is the only thing that can separate you from God, and Jesus paid the penalty for your sin at the Cross. He suffered spiritual, emotional, and physical aloneness to an infinite degree so that by grace through faith in Him you could have the assurance that you will never be alone. 
  • Apr 22, 2018When God Shows Himself Strong
    Apr 22, 2018
    When God Shows Himself Strong
    It's easy for us to forget God's strength, because we start to focus on the size of our problems. In light of our present circumstances, the Lord's promises sound too good to be true and our opposition seems too great to overcome.
     
    However, in Psalm 21 we find David trusting and delighting in the Lord because the Lord is faithful to do what He says. The reason the Lord is faithful is not only because He is willing on account of His covenant love but also because He is able on account of His infinite strength.
     
    So, stop focusing on the problem and start focusing on the Almighty King. For, He is able to keep His "too-good-to-be-true" promises. He is able to overcome His enemies in establishing justice. 
     
    Therefore, like David and the Israelites, sing praises to the Lord for His strength. It is an expression of prayer in faith when we engage our hearts in praise. Furthermore, singing praises to the Lord helps us to remember who He is and what He has done.
  • Apr 15, 2018When Facing Sickness And Death
    Apr 15, 2018
    When Facing Sickness And Death
    Few things expose our weakness and lack of control as severely as sickness and death. So, it follows that few things elicit such feelings of fear, anxiety, hopelessness, and despair. 
     
    In Luke 8:40-56, we find an account of Jesus encountering a woman with an incurable sickness and a man whose only daughter has died. Together, they exemplify how sickness and death lead us to hopelessness and despair. For, sickness and death are humanly impossible to remedy. So, when all options are exhausted, we tend to give up hope.
     
    However, Jesus has authority over sickness and death. He healed the woman who could not be healed. He raised the man's daughter from the death. The only thing the woman and the man brought to the table was a little bit of faith. 
     
    Therefore, in the face of sickness and death, trust Jesus. Believe that Jesus is ABLE to overcome the impossible. It is up to Him whether or not He will. Remember, a lot of people stayed sick and stayed dead during Jesus' earthly ministry. The important thing is that we trust that He CAN overcome the impossible. Then, even if He doesn't, we still trust in His character. For, we know from His Word that He is in control and He is able. He is faithful and He is good. Thus, His purpose for ordaining hardship for His children will ultimately be good. Furthermore, as we trust Him, He will provide compassion and grace.
  • Apr 8, 2018Facing Spiritual Opposition
    Apr 8, 2018
    Facing Spiritual Opposition
    Series: Easter
    When it comes to Satan and demons, people have a tendency to go towards one of two extremes. Either we become obsessed with demonic activity or we essentially deny that it happens anymore, if it ever really did. However, the Scriptures are clear that demonic activity is real.
     
    In Luke 8:26-39, we find perhaps the most well known encounter between Jesus and demons. In this passage we find a striking example of how Satan seeks to destroy. While his methods may not always be so extreme, his goal has not changed over time. For, Satan still exerts influence today through temptation, accusation, deceit, and seeking to distort and destroy God's image in people. So, don't underestimate your spiritual opposition.
     
    That being said, Jesus' encounter with the demons in Luke 8 is also a striking example of how Jesus seeks to bring abundant life. For, in this account, there is no question that Jesus was in charge. Jesus has authority over Satan's schemes. Jesus knew it and so did the demons. Furthermore, Jesus would later secure the ultimate victory over Satan and his demons through the Cross and Resurrection. So, in the face of spiritual opposition, trust Jesus. Look to God's Word applied when Satan tempts and deceives. Look to the Cross when Satan accuses. Do not fear when Satan seeks to devour. 
  • Apr 1, 2018The Most Important Question Of All
    Apr 1, 2018
    The Most Important Question Of All
    Series: Easter
    The most important question of Easter is truly the most important question that each one of us will ever answer.
     
    Who is Jesus? In Philippians 2:5-11, we learn how Jesus humbled Himself as the Suffering Servant. He is, and always has been, fully God. Yet, God the Son became flesh as the person of Jesus. Then, because He was God, Jesus offered Himself as a sin offering. Therefore, having accepted Jesus' sacrifice, God the Father exalted Jesus as conquering King! Jesus is risen and ascended to the throne over God's Kingdom. So now, by nature and gift, Jesus is Lord. When He returns, He is coming as King.
     
    So, what are you going to do with Jesus? From Philippians 2:5-11, we can draw three appropriate responses. First, receive Him, trusting Him as your Savior and following Him as your Lord in response to who He is and what He has done for you. Second, worship Him with joyful awe and reverent obedience. Third, imitate Him, being willing to forego your "rights" and love others well, as Christ loved you, so that you might point others to Jesus. 
  • Mar 25, 2018In The Midst Of Storms
    Mar 25, 2018
    In The Midst Of Storms
    When Jesus said, "Follow me," His calling entailed taking up our cross daily and denying ourselves. In other words, following Jesus will include hardship, suffering, and self-sacrifice. Considering that, can you really trust Him with your life and everything and everyone in it? One way in which Jesus developed the faith of His disciples was in the context of a life-threatening storm.
     
    In Luke 8:22-25, we learn how the Lord ordains storms as we walk with Him. Even though as faithful disciples we might be right in the middle of God's will, we still encounter difficulties beyond our control. Jesus' disciples encountered a major storm, because they followed Jesus to the other side of the lake. We also encounter difficulties beyond our control as we follow Jesus. In fact, sometimes it even feels like God is sleeping as we perish. The important thing to realize is that even when we're doing what we're supposed to be doing, these things do happen and God ordains them to happen. The only variable is whether we will respond in fear or faith.
     
    So, trust the Lord in the midst of storms. Ask yourself the two critical questions contained in this passage. First, who then is this Jesus? In these verses, we learn that Jesus is God, His promises are true, and He understands and cares for His disciples. As a result, we can be confident that Jesus is sufficient in the storm. Second, if Jesus is sufficient in the storm, then where is your faith? Clearly, the disciples' faith was developing. They obeyed Jesus and turned to Jesus when they were in trouble, but they did so in panic and incomplete understanding. If you find yourself in a storm and you, like the disciples, possess a developing faith in Jesus, then don't be ashamed to cry out to Him like they did, trusting that He really is sufficient in the storm, even when life doesn't make sense.
  • Mar 18, 2018More Than Just Hearing
    Mar 18, 2018
    More Than Just Hearing
    In Luke 8, we see how Jesus secures our trust through His gracious acts. And if we trust Him, then we will listen to what He says. However, if we really trust Him, it involves more than just hearing. In Luke 8:16-21, Jesus warns us to be careful how we listen to God's Word. 
     
    Listening poorly means hearing but not doing. Are you hiding the light of Jesus' teaching by failing to live it out? Be careful! There are consequences for poor listening. For, the light of Jesus' teaching will expose you, to varying degrees in this life but ultimately at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Furthermore, if you don't use it, you'll lose it. In fact, if you never apply it, you never really had it. God's Word was meant to be applied so as to produce fruit!
     
    Listening well means hearing and doing. Are you in Jesus' family, bearing His family resemblance, by increasingly putting His teaching into practice? In doing, we betray our belief that Jesus' teaching is true. In doing, Jesus' teaching becomes part of who we are. In fact, we don't really have Jesus' teaching until we live it out. However, doing so takes a gracious act of God. So, be careful how you listen. For, there are consequences for listening well. You will produce fruit, and the more you apply God's Word, the more of it you'll truly have. 
  • Mar 4, 2018Are You Taking God At His Word?
    Mar 4, 2018
    Are You Taking God At His Word?
     
    God has secured your trust through the person and work of Jesus Christ and His unfailing faithfulness. No one could prove to be more trustworthy. However, if we really trusted God, then it would naturally follow that we would listen to what He says to us and we would do what He tells us to do. In fact, if we do that by the grace He provides through the indwelling Holy Spirit, then He has promised that we will grow spiritually. So, are you taking God at His Word?
     
    In Luke 8:4-15, Jesus told a parable about four different kinds of soil that represent four different ways that people respond to God’s Word. One thing is clear from the beginning, namely, God’s Word is sown into the world of humanity. Not only that, but God’s Word is sown to produce fruit … and it will produce fruit. The only question is, to what extent is God’s Word producing fruit in your life?
     
    Through this parable, Jesus illustrates how God’s Word will impact your life exactly as much as you let it. Some people are unresponsive to God's Word on account of a hard heart and being spiritually blinded. Others question God's goodness and abandon their faith in God's Word in hard times. Still others have misplaced priorities, worrying about the riches and pleasures of this world to the extent that such worldly idols compromise the fruitfulness of God's Word in their lives. Finally, some listen to God's Word and allow it to sink in; they hold fast to God's Word without being distracted by worldly riches or pleasures; they persevere in God's Word even when life gets hard. Such people end up producing substantial spiritual fruit by means of the gracious work of the indwelling Holy Spirit. They also sow the seed of God's Word into the lives of others, trusting God with the results.