Aug 20, 2017
When Your Life Is Out Of Control
If you haven't figured it out, yet, there are all kinds of circumstances that have a huge impact on our lives over which we have no control. These circumstances can range from sickness to natural disasters to economic crises to the sinful choices of other people. When we become burdened over these things, what can we do?
 
David sets a fine example in Psalm 18:1-3 as he reviews the Lord's faithfulness in his life during many such crises. In these verses, David praised the Lord to whom he prayed. David’s love for the Lord was born out of experience, as the Lord had repeatedly provided protection and victory when David took refuge in Him. So, David regularly called upon the Lord in prayer, because the Lord is worthy to be praised, and David knew that he needed help. 
 
When you are burdened by circumstances beyond your control, call upon the Lord who is worthy to be praised. Spend time with the Lord in prayer. Set aside time for prayer regularly and then keep the conversation going throughout the day. In order that you might do this, remember David's example. Enlarge your perspective of the Lord by taking refuge in Him and don’t think too highly of yourself. The Lord is a BIG God and we need His help to live as His people in this fallen world from day to day.
WatchNotesDownloadDateTitle
  • Aug 20, 2017When Your Life Is Out Of Control
    Aug 20, 2017
    When Your Life Is Out Of Control
    If you haven't figured it out, yet, there are all kinds of circumstances that have a huge impact on our lives over which we have no control. These circumstances can range from sickness to natural disasters to economic crises to the sinful choices of other people. When we become burdened over these things, what can we do?
     
    David sets a fine example in Psalm 18:1-3 as he reviews the Lord's faithfulness in his life during many such crises. In these verses, David praised the Lord to whom he prayed. David’s love for the Lord was born out of experience, as the Lord had repeatedly provided protection and victory when David took refuge in Him. So, David regularly called upon the Lord in prayer, because the Lord is worthy to be praised, and David knew that he needed help. 
     
    When you are burdened by circumstances beyond your control, call upon the Lord who is worthy to be praised. Spend time with the Lord in prayer. Set aside time for prayer regularly and then keep the conversation going throughout the day. In order that you might do this, remember David's example. Enlarge your perspective of the Lord by taking refuge in Him and don’t think too highly of yourself. The Lord is a BIG God and we need His help to live as His people in this fallen world from day to day.
  • Aug 13, 2017Great Accomplishments From Unlikely Sources
    Aug 13, 2017
    Great Accomplishments From Unlikely Sources
    Series: Other
    In Proverbs 30:24-28, we learn that small creatures do great things with their God-given abilities and teamwork.
     
    This wisdom teaching is illustrative of the timeless theological truth that God's people can do great things with God's gracious gifts and teamwork. For, God graciously gifts us together with the abilities we need. Furthermore, God uses inadequate people like us so that we boast in Him.
     
    So, work together with the gifts God has given us and do great things for Him.
  • Aug 6, 2017What Can We Do To Prepare For Difficult Times Ahead?
    Aug 6, 2017
    What Can We Do To Prepare For Difficult Times Ahead?
    Series: Other
    Too often, we don't prepare for hardships until after the fact. However, since we know that we will experience hardships and trouble in this world, the wise person prepares in advance. 
     
    In Luke 6:46-49, Jesus explains that how we live our lives in advance of coming storms will determine our ability to withstand the storm when it strikes. It all boils down to how we respond to Jesus' teaching.
     
    The wise person hears Jesus and obeys. It's hard work, but with God's help the result is a transformed life and close fellowship with the Lord that will weather any storm. 
     
    The foolish person hears Jesus and ignores. They may think that trouble won't find them or that they'll be able to handle it on their own. As a result, they end up facing trouble with their own limited resources and are swept away. 
     
    So, prepare for trouble that will inevitably find you by doing what Jesus says! Know that Scripture is not really understood until it is applied as we submit to God's gracious work in our lives. For starters, look back over the Sermon on the Plain. How are you doing? Are you living in God-dependency, no matter the cost? Are you loving your enemies? Do you have a merciful attitude? Are you regularly examining yourself for spiritual fruit?
     
    Remember, Jesus' point is that weathering the storms of life is determined not so much by how one lives during the storm but the pattern of one's life in advance of the storm. Be prepared. Do what Jesus says!
  • Jul 30, 2017How Should You Examine Your Spiritual Life?
    Jul 30, 2017
    How Should You Examine Your Spiritual Life?
    Series: Other
    An unevaluated life is not worth living. Many have made that point when discussing how we approach finances, workplace performance, marriage, and parenting. However, Jesus also makes the same type of exhortation in Luke 6:43-45 when we calls upon us to examine our spiritual lives. 
     
    Jesus' teaching in these verses supports the idea that our spiritual condition determines our conduct. That is, our life will produce something for better or for worse with respect to our speech or conduct or influence on other people. The nature of what our lives produce arises from who we are. Thus, evil hearts produce evil, while good hearts produce good. Of course, the condition of one's heart is determined by whether one has submitted to God's gracious plan of salvation through faith in  Jesus and the transforming work of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Therefore, the truth we can draw from these verse is that those who are spiritual will produce spiritual fruit, although the quality and degree may vary.
     
    However, we must be careful how we judge, since we cannot truly see the conditions and motives of one's heart. So, non-Christians can do "good" things, although such works arise from hearts with impure motives. On the other hand, Christians can do bad things, since we have a daily choice of whether to submit to the work of the Spirit or the selfish desires of the flesh, which still remains. Thus, Jesus is not teaching works salvation in this passage, but rather He is explaining that salvation works!
     
    So, it's time for a fruit inspection, not so much with respect to others, although we must be aware that we will turn out like those whom we choose to follow. Instead, with God's help, the fruit inspection must begin with ourselves. This is for our own sake that we might not deceive ourselves but have greater conviction and confidence as we follow Jesus. This is for the sake of others who are influenced by us, like our children, since they will turn out like us in varying degrees. So, while no one likes exams, this is one exam that we should come back to often. 
  • Jul 23, 2017Are You A Good Influence?
    Jul 23, 2017
    Are You A Good Influence?
    Series: Other
    For better or for worse, we all influence others. 
     
    In Luke 6:37-42, Jesus exhorts His followers to be a good influence upon others. 
     
    A good influence:
     
    (1) Has a merciful attitude.
    (2) Knows that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
    (3) Honestly deals with their flaws so they can help others.
  • Jul 16, 2017Bob and Andrea Parker: Missionaries to Kenya
    Jul 16, 2017
    Bob and Andrea Parker: Missionaries to Kenya
    Series: Other
    Bob and Andrea Parker share about God's work in Kenya where they have been serving as missionaries through surgical care and training. They challenge us to extend compassion to those who are suffering by attending to their physical needs as we share with them the good news about Jesus.
  • Jul 9, 2017How Should You Respond When You’ve Been Wronged?
    Jul 9, 2017
    How Should You Respond When You’ve Been Wronged?
    Series: Other
    How should followers of Jesus respond when they've been wronged by another person? Jesus' teaching in Luke 6:27-36 provides a truly radical response. In contrast to the world, which tells us to love those who love us, love those who are nice to us, or love others so that they'll be nice to us, Jesus commands His followers to love those who don't deserve it. Love the people who hate you. Love the people you've tried to love, only to be rejected. Love them with an active love, seeking God's blessing on their behalf instead of revenge. Don't retreat, but persevere. Be generous, not stingy. Don't be self-seeking, be self-less. 
     
    In other words, love your enemies like God loves you. In doing so, you'll be a "chip-off-the-old-block," as you reflect the character of your Heavenly Father. Also, you'll be pointing others to Jesus instead of being a hindrance to His mission. Finally, you can be confident that every sacrifice you make as a follower of Jesus will be well worth it in the end when God settles accounts. He is watching; He cares; and you can trust Him to do what is right.
     
    So, if someone comes to mind as you hear Jesus' teaching on this subject, then the application is clear. Jesus is speaking these radical words of selfless love to His disciples who will hear. Are you listening?
  • Jul 2, 2017How Should You Invest Your Life?
    Jul 2, 2017
    How Should You Invest Your Life?
    Series: Other
    In Luke 6:17-26, Jesus begins His sermon on the plain by looking at two different strategies we can employ when investing our lives. 
     
    The way of the world leads to short-term gain. It is based on an attitude of self-sufficiency that often leads to wealth, comfort, and being applauded by this world. However, it inevitably leads to long-term loss, since it is a path that is conducive to rejecting God and leads to compromise. So, don't chase after short-term gains. It may be fun for awhile, but in the end, you'll be filled with sorrow and regret. 
     
    The way of the Lord leads to long-term gain. It is based on an attitude of God-dependency that often leads to foregoing what this world has to offer while being rejected by those who toe the party line. However, it inevitably results in one's present entrance into God's Kingdom, as well as future satisfaction and reward. So, follow Jesus to long-term gains. It will entail hard work, sacrifice, and even reject, but in the end, you'll be glad you did.
  • Jun 25, 2017How Do We Find Amazing Results From An Ordinary Life?
    Jun 25, 2017
    How Do We Find Amazing Results From An Ordinary Life?
    Series: Other
    As we go through life, we may start out looking for something amazing. However, over time, we may become stuck in a rut of ordinariness. This is true not only individually, but also as a local church. Eventually, we may just give up hope of God ever doing anything amazing through us, so we stop looking. 
     
    In Luke 6:12-16, we see how God chooses ordinary people for extraordinary tasks. For instance, Jesus selected twelve ordinary men to be His apostles, through whom He would do extraordinary things. Of course, this should not surprise us, since God has always chosen ordinary people, and He still does so today. 
     
    So, for extraordinary results, rely heavily on an extraordinary God. Jesus set the example Himself as He went to God the Father in prayer all night before making a pivotal decision regarding His apostles. Remember, God's ordinary people have succeeded in so far as they depend on the Lord. So, be faithful in prayer, remain obedient to the the mission even in the small stuff, and be patient. And ... don't stop looking!!
  • Jun 11, 2017How Should I Respond When Others’ Problems Impose On My Life?
    Jun 11, 2017
    How Should I Respond When Others’ Problems Impose On My Life?
    Series: Other
    Sometimes, other people make choices that harm us directly, or they find themselves in situations that affect us indirectly. As followers of Jesus, how should we respond? Should we demand our rights? Should we just ignore them? Not surprisingly, the right answer is found in an attitude of our heart that reflects the heart of Jesus.
     
    In Luke 6:1-11, the Jewish religious leaders exemplified people who think they can please God through religious observance. Therefore, fulfilling one's ceremonial religious duties is of greatest importance. This attitude is sadly prevalent in many churches today, where people zealously protect traditions and treasured practices in the local church at all costs.
     
    However, Jesus demonstrated that God desires mercy from His people. Whereas the Jewish leaders and many churchgoers today crush people with their traditions, Jesus exercised compassion and mercy.
     
    So, love mercy. Ask yourself, "To whom is God calling me to extend mercy? How can I extend mercy to that person in a practical, tangible way?" Then, repent of misplaced priorities and excuses like demanding your rights or personal comfort or copping out because you're too busy. Remember, failing to do the good that God has set before you to do is sin, and it can ruin and destroy people and relationships. Instead, look for opportunities, be ready to serve, and love mercy.