Sunday, December 30, 2012

Temptations of the King

Christ from Christmas to Easter, Part 2

Matthew 4:1-11

Focus: Like us, Jesus was tempted, and yet, His temptations were greater! How to develop a Christ-like character...

I. What a TEMPTATION can LOOK like. 4:-1-11

A. In ways that attack His PHYSICAL needs.

B. In ways that attack His SPIRITUAL needs.

C. In ways that attack His LIFE GOALS and PLANS.

II. What a CHRIST LIKE CHARACTER can LOOK like. 4:1-11

A. Know GOD

B. Know GOD'S WORD

C. Know GOD'S DIRECTION

III. What an APPLICATION can LOOK like.

 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

CHRIST from Christmas to Easter

Matthew 1:18 - 2:12

Focus: God uses many methods to get our attention and point us toward his Son, Jesus.

I. The WISE Seek THE TRUTH

II. HYPOCRITES Seek BUT DON'T FOLLOW

III. The RELIGIOUS often SPECULATE but don't seek

IV. GOD Seeks YOU

http://www.thisisthings.com/image.axd%3Fpicture%3D2008%252F12%252Fwe_three_things.jpg

 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christ Before Christmas, Part 3

Dumpster Diving Christmas

Philippians 2:3-11

Focus: If you want your joy level to step up, try stepping down.

I. Christ DOVE DOWN, DOWN, DOWN 2:5-11

II. Will you TAKE the PLUNGE? 2:3-5

 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christ Before Christmas Part 2 (Jim Hammond)

Who Do You Sat I Am? Part 2 of 3

Focus: Who Do You Say I Am?


The Real Jesus . . . SUPER JESUS

  1. WAS John 1:1
  2. WAS GOD John 1:1
  3. IN THE BEGINNING John 1:2
  4. YOUR MAKER John 1:3
  5. THE LIGHT OF LIFE John 1:4-5, 10-13
  6. GOD'S SON Colossians 1:13
  7. OUR SAVIOR Colossians 1:13-14
  8. EXACT IMAGE Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3
  9. THE FIRST BORN Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:2
  10. CREATOR NOT CREATION Colossians 1:16
  11. CREATOR OF ALL Colossians 1:16
  12. IS Colossians 1:17; John 8:58
  13. BEFORE ALL Colossians 1:17
  14. HOLDS TOGETHER ALL THINGS Colossians 1:17
  15. SENT John 3:13, 17-17; 5:23; 6:33, 38, 46; Galatians 4:4,6; 1 John 4:9,10, 14; Mark 12:6; 20:13
  16. ABOVE ALL John 3:31, Hebrews 1:1-4
  17. DWELT = TABERNACLED - TENTED John 1:14
 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

What's Your Starting Point?

Christ Before Christmas Part 1 (Jim Hammond)

John 1:1, Genesis 1:1

John Eldridge - A Sacred Romance

Focus: We need to move from a mental perception that Jesus is the reason for the season to a personal passion for Jesus.

Act 1

HIS STORY begins with the eternal of the LOVE OF THE TRINITY.

Act 2

God invites ANGELS into the drama.

Act 3

God's is put on TRIAL in the creation of HUMANITY.

Act 4

An eternity of JOY and FEASTING awaits those who accept the INVITATION.

 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

What Manner of Persons Ought We to Be

1 Peter 1:13-16; 2 Peter 3:11-14

Focus: The destined end of man it not happiness nor health, but holiness!

I. The HOLINESS of God

God's Holiness DEFINED

God's Holiness MANIFEST

II. We are called to HOLINESS

POSITIONAL Holiness

EQUIPPED for Holiness
III. Pursuing HOLINESS

DIFFICULTIES in the pursuit

DISCIPLINES for Holiness

IV. God's Greatest Desire... Our HOLINESS

We were CREATED for HOLINESS

Believers are DESTINED for Holiness

 

 

 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Reconciliation Showdown

Genesis 33

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%2033&version=ERV

Focus: God's grace and blessing makes all the difference

I. Walk with a LIMP and God's BLESSING.

II. God's grace TURNS our TERROR into TRUST

III. HUMBLE yourself and GRACE GREETS you.

IV. Go for GODLINESS with CONTENTMENT.

V. Establish LANDMARKS to remember God's Grace


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Curious Kurios

Children's Sunday

Colossians 3:15-24

Focus: While we probably really appreciate some of our relationships with God and His son Jesus Christ (child, brother, friend, savior, etc.), that might be a bit of a stretch with Kurios.

I. Kurios is the Greek word for the Hebrew word ADO and is most often translated into English as LORD & MASTER.

II. Words that imply RELATIONSHIP or AUTHORITY can sometimes be INTIMIDATING.

III. God desires our lives and RELATIONSHIPS to be filled with PEACE and THANKFULNESS because we AUTHORITY see from His point of view.

 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Wrestlng with God

Genesis 32

Are you surprised by difficulties? 1Pet 4:12-13
Are you saddened by difficulties? James 1:2-4
Are you doing everything you can to avoid all difficulties? Phil 1:29

Focus: God allows us to wrestle with Him so that we might come away changed and strengthened by the experience.

I.  God LIMITED His POWER in order to move us.

II. God "STRUGGLES" with us to move us from WRESTLING to CLINGING.

III. God "STRUGGLES" with us to move us from CONTROL to SURRENDER.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

No Ifs, Ands or Buts









Focus: Don't let your "but" get in in the way of God's best for you.

 I. "Buts" that get in God's way...
A. FEAR, INSECURITY and SIN all get in God's way.
B. I am not too to experience God's best for me.

II. Get your "but" out of God's way...
A. Your HEART needs to be READY
B. Your TRUST needs to GROW
C. Your ACTIONS need to START

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Good Shepard and His Sheep

Focus: God's desire is that we hear his voice and follow Him, allowing Him to users to minister to one another.

I. The Good Shepard from the sheep's perspective. Psalm 23

He PROVIDES

He GUIDES

He PROTECTS

He will NEVER EVER leave you

 

II. The Sheep from God's Perspective

We were LOST

We BELONG to Him

His sheep HEAR His VOICE and FOLLOW Him

He LOVES us and CARES for us

 

III. The Great Shepard's Desire

 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Jacob's Flocks Increase



Genesis 30

Focus: In spite of their flaws, God blesses people who are committed to him.

I. Jacob's FAMILY grew in spite of SPITE. Mandrakes, maid servants, manipulation, messes

I. Jacob's FLOCKS grew in spite of SPITE.


III. The blessed life is available to those who ALIGN THEMSELVES with God's PROMISES.

 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Tricked

Genesis 29

Focus: "The Lord disciplines those He loves." Hebrews 12:6, Proverbs 3:12

I. A SUNNY Day (Gen 29:1-12)

II. A SUNNY Seven Years (Gen 29:13-21)

III. A DARK Night (Gen 29:22-27)

IV. A BITTER Seven Years (Gen 29:27-35)

 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Stairway to Heaven

Genesis 28

Focus: God is with you and will watch over wherever you go.

I. God offers FAVOR to the FUGITIVE
   A. God offers His PRESENCE
   B. God offers His PROTECTION
   C. God offers His PROMISES

II. RESPOND to God's OFFER
   A. With AWE
   B. With a MEMORABLE COMMITMENT


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Get Up and Get Dressed

Romans 13:11-14; Colossians 3:12-17

Focus: A life that has been transformed by God's grease will demonstrate Christ-Likeness.

1. The GRACE of Christ

2. The PEACE of Christ

3. The WORD of Christ

4. The NAME of Christ

Christianity 101 "Dressing Yourself in Christ"

1. Put OFF the OLD garments

2. Put ON the NEW garments

3. 8 Essential of the New Man

  • TENDER MERCIES
  • KINDNESS
  • HUMILITY
  • MEEKNESS
  • LONG SUFFERING
  • FORBEARANCE
  • FORGIVENESS
  • LOVE

A Properly Dressed Believer Will

1. GLORIFY God

2. BUILD UP and EDIFY God's People

3. Be a WITNESS to the Lost

 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Like Father, Like Son

The Patriarchs of Promise Series

Genesis 26

Focus: When you are overwhelmed, remember God.

I. THREE-PEAT

A. A TEST was repeated

B. A PROMISE was repeated

C. A SHORT COMING was repeated

II. How God REAFFIRMED the Promise UNCONDITIONALLY

A. In spite of SIN, God RESCUED

B. In spite of FAMINE, God PROVIDED

C. In spite of OPPOSITION, God BLESSED

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Promise Continues

Genesis 25

Focus: After Abraham, God blessed Isaac... So that we too could be blessed.

I. Abraham's LAST LAP

II. Tying up MORE LOOSE ends

III. The Promise CONTINUED with ISAAC

IV. Lessons from HARRY (Esau) and HEEL GRABBER (Jacob)

 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Second Generation Blessing

Focus: Relays are won or lost in the passing of the baton.

Genesis 24

I. Divine PROVIDENCE works in cooperation with human RESPONSIBILITY.

II. God's promises bless WILLING SERVANTS.

III. When looking for a spouse
A. Look to INVOLVE OTHERS in your decision
B. Look for KINDNESS.
C. Look for PURITY OF HEART.
D. Look for READINESS and  WILLINGNESS.
E. Look for someone WHO LOVES GOD!


Sunday, July 22, 2012

"Death's Deed, a Deposit of Things to Come"

Genesis 23

Focus: We must remember God's Promises.

 

I. Remembering, MOURN

 

II. Remembering, RISE

1 Peter 3:6

III. Remembering, HONOR

Hebrews 11:13

 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

This is a Test

Genisis 22 In the Steps of Abraham Series

Focus: God proves & IMPROVES the quality of our faith through tests.

I. Tests PREPARE us for God's PURPOSES

2 Chronicles 3:1

Hebrews 11:17-19

II. Some tests are for REASONS BEYOND us

 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Judging Matter


Genesis 19
Focus: Vote according to God's values, not for your own economic self-interests.

I. Don't try to climb Lot's LADDER (Gen 13:12)
II. His votes leaned against the WRONG WALL
III. Sexual ORIENTATION is a MORAL ISSUE, not a CIVIL RIGHT
(Rom 1:27, I Cor 6:18, Prov 6:27-29 I Cor 6:9-11)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Imitations, Impressions and Impersonations

Speaker: Doug Bridge, VVCC Pastor of Family Ministries

Ephesians 5

Focus: Expectations are high when someone offers to do an impression.

I. We are called to do IMITATIONS of GOD.

II. We ought, also, to be able to look to the APOSTLES and our LEADERS as EXAMPLES to IMPERSONATE.

III. Others ought to be able to look to US as EXAMPLES to IMPERSONATE.

IV. The AREAS (s) in our lives that WOULDN'T be good for others to IMITATE are where we REALLY need to ask GOD FOR HIS HELP in our maturing.

 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

God Cut a Covenant

Genesis 15

Focus: God's covenant promise lifts the dreadful darkness that comes over us.

I. When I am discouraged, God is my SHIELD 15:1

II. ... If I take refuge in Him

  • Trust is REQUIRED
  • Trust is REWARDED
III. How can I KNOW I'll be REWARDED 15:9

 

IV. God reassures me by His COVENANT 15:9

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Truth, and Nothing but the Truth

Focus: By their fruit you will know them.

Colossians 1:9-12

I. The Word of Truth - The Gospel, Produces Fruit

A. FAITH

B. LOVE

C. HOPE

II. Spiritual Growth (Producing Fruit) is Demonstrated in Ever Increasing

A. WISDOM and Spiritual UNDERSTANDING

B. PRACTICAL OBEDIENCE

C. MORAL EXCELLENCE

III. QUALIFIED as Truth Bearers

 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Path of Promise

Focus: We need to learn how to walk the ancient paths already trail-blazed before us.

I. Walking with God is not TRAIL BLAZING

A. How the path begins: THE PROMISE

B. Take STEPS to LAY HOLD of God's Promises

C. God INITIATED a RELATIONSHIP with you

D. God CUT through the THICKET

II. God blesses through a CHANNEL of BLESSING

III. First steps include FALLING

A. Incomplete OBEDIENCE makes things complicated

B. Because babies , help

Genesis 11:27-12:20

 

 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Resurrection and the Spirit

Focus: Because of Jesus, the Holy Spirit provides resurrection life now!

Romans 8:1-16

I. The Spirit sets us free!

A. From the PENALTY of sin

B. From the POWER of sin

II. HEAVEN came down.

Relying on the Spirit

  1. ...Is POWERFUL
  2. ...meets God's REQUIREMENTS
  3. ...gives you GODLY DESIRES
  4. ...gives you LIFE & PEACE
  5. ...resurrects you from the INSIDE OUT
  6. ...is your OBLIGATION
  7. ...puts to DEATH the MISDEEDS of BODY
  8. ...provides GUIDANCE
  9. ...is the JOY of a FAMILY CONNECTION with God
  10. ...gives you ASSURANCE

 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Fruit of the Spirit

The Holy Spirit Series Part 5, Galatians 5:16-25

Focus: When we walk with the Spirit He brings fresh and sweet produce out of our lives.

I. DANGEROUS DESIRES produce rotten fruit

II. DEVINE DESIRES produce sweet fruit

   A. Walking with the Spirit is a CHOICE
   B. How to KEEP in STEP with the Spirit
      1. CONFESSION
      2. REPENTANCE
3. DEPENDENCE

   C. What this looks like
      Faith expressing itself through love
      FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT
         LOVE
         JOY
         PEACE
         PATIENCE
         LONG SUFFERING
         KINDNESS
         GOODNESS
         FAITHFULNESS
         GENTLENESS
         SELF CONTROL
         
YOUR YIELD EFFECTS YOUR YIELD.....
        

 

 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

How to Be Filled With the Spirit

The Holy Spirit Series Part 4

Ephesians 5:18 and various texts

 

Focus: Keep being filled with the Holy Sprit; it's a command!

 

I. What INFLUENCE are you UNDER?

A. Characteristics of being UNDER the INFLUENCE of ALCOHOL

1. How do they come under the influence?

2. What happens under the influence?

3. How long does the influence last?

B. Characteristics of being UNDER the INFLUENCE of THE SPIRIT

1. How do they come under the influence?

2. What happens under the influence?

3. How long does the influence last?

John 4:13-14

John 7:37-39

Matthew 5:6

 

II. SOUL satisfaction is the SOLE satisfaction that will satisfy for eternity

 

III. You cannot be FILLED with a COUNTERFEIT and be FILLED with the SPIRIT at the SAME TIME

John 10:10

Acts 4:24-31

Acts 9:22

Acts 13:52

 

 

 

 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Our Counselor and Coach

Holy Spirit Series Part 3

John 14-16 Easy to Read Version

Focus: Jesus made it possible for us to receive and enjoy the Holy Spirit as our Counselor and Coach.

I. Jesus gave us ANOTHER COUNSELOR

John 14:16-17, John 14:26, John 16:7, John 2:1

II. Why we need him

John 15:26-27, John 16:5-16

III. What do I need to do?

Acts 2:37-38, John 14:16-17, Acts 5:32, John 14:23, John 15:4-12

Sunday, February 26, 2012

God is Calling

Rev 3:20 - God stands at the door knocking...

A poor response would be to:

RUN like Jonah (book of Jonah)
DOUBT like Moses (Exodus 3&4)
TEST like Gideon (Judges 6&7)

The best response is to

OBEY like the widow with the oil (II Kings 4)

"If you believe that it is impossible to follow God's Call, then for you it will remain impossible."


Sunday, February 5, 2012

TACKLE Your Problems!

Focus: Don't tip toe around or merely tag problems when they are running away with your life; tackle them!

 

I. Compromising RELATIONSHIPS.

 

II. FINANCIAL neglect.

   The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn

 

III. Ignored PRIORITY PRINCIPLES.

IV. YOKED together with UNBELIEVERS.

 


 

Nehemiah 13

Nehemiah’s Last Commands

 1 On that day the Book of Moses was read out loud, so that all the people could hear. They found this law written there: No Ammonite and no Moabite would be permitted to join in the meetings with God. 2 That law was written because those people didn’t give the Israelites food and water. And they had paid Balaam to say a curse against the Israelites. But our God changed that curse and made it a blessing for us. 3 So when the Israelites heard that law, they obeyed it. They separated themselves from the people who were descendants of foreigners.

 4-5 But, before that happened, Eliashib had given a room in the Temple to Tobiah. Eliashib was the priest in charge of the storerooms in our God’s Temple. And he was a close friend of Tobiah. That room had been used for storing the grain offerings, incense, and the Temple dishes and things. They also kept the tenth of grain, new wine, and oil for the Levites, singers, and gatekeepers in that room. And they also kept the gifts for the priests in that room. But Eliashib gave that room to Tobiah.

 6 I was not in Jerusalem while all of this was happening. I had gone back to the king of Babylon. I went back to Babylon in the 32nd year that Artaxerxes was king of Babylon. [a]Later, I asked the king for permission to go back to Jerusalem. 7 So I came back to Jerusalem. There I heard about the sad thing that Eliashib had done. He had given Tobiah a room in the Temple of God! 8 I was very angry about what Eliashib had done, so I threw all of Tobiah’s things out of the room. 9 I gave commands for the rooms to be made pure and clean. Then I put the Temple dishes and things, the grain offerings, and the incense back into the rooms.

 10 I also heard that the people had not given the Levites their share. So the Levites and singers had gone back to work in their own fields. 11 So I told the officials that they were wrong. I asked them, “Why didn’t you take care of God’s Temple?” Then I called all Levites together and told them to go back to their places and duties in the Temple. 12Then everyone in Judah brought their tenth of grain, new wine, and oil to the Temple. These things were put into the storerooms.

 13 I put these men in charge of the storerooms: Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the teacher, and a Levite named Pedaiah. And I made Hanan son of Zaccur, son of Mattaniah, their helper. I knew I could trust these men. They were responsible for giving the supplies to their relatives.

 14 My God, please remember me for these things I have done. Don’t forget all I have faithfully done for the Temple of my God and for its services.

 15 In those days in Judah, I saw people working on the Sabbath day. I saw people pressing grapes to make wine. I saw people bringing in grain and loading it on donkeys. I saw people carrying grapes, figs, and all kinds of things in the city. They were bringing all these things into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, so I warned them about this. I told them they must not sell food on the Sabbath day.

 16 There were some men from the city of Tyre living in Jerusalem. They were bringing fish and all kinds of things into Jerusalem and selling them on the Sabbath day. And the Jews were buying them. 17 I told the important people of Judah that they were wrong. I said, “You are doing a very bad thing. You are ruining the Sabbath day. 18 You know that your ancestors did the same things. That is why our God brought all the troubles and disaster to us and to this city. Now you people are making it so that more of these bad things will happen to Israel. They are doing this because you are breaking the Sabbath by treating it just as if it were any other day.”

 19 So this is what I did: Every Friday evening, just before dark, I commanded the gatekeepers to shut and lock the gates to Jerusalem. They were not to be opened until the Sabbath day was over. I put some of my own men at the gates. They were commanded to make sure that no load was brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day.

 20 One or two times, traders and merchants had to stay the night outside Jerusalem. 21But I warned them, “Don’t stay the night in front of the wall. If you do that again, I will arrest you.” So from that time on they didn’t come on the Sabbath day to sell their things.

 22 Then I commanded the Levites to make themselves pure. After they did that, they were to go and guard the gates. This was done to make sure the Sabbath day was kept a holy day.

   My God, please remember me for doing this. Be kind to me and show me your great love!

 23 In those days I also noticed that some Jewish men had married women from the countries of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. 24 And half of the children from those marriages didn’t know how to speak the Jewish language. They spoke the language of Ashdod, Ammon, or Moab. 25 So I told the men that they were wrong. I said bad things to them. I hit some of them, and I pulled out their hair. I forced them to make a promise in God’s name. I said to them, “You must not marry the daughters of these foreigners. Don’t let their daughters marry your sons, and don’t let your daughters marry the sons of these foreigners. 26 You know that marriages like this caused Solomon to sin. In all the many nations, there was not a king as great as Solomon. God loved him and made him king over the whole nation of Israel. But even Solomon was made to sin because of foreign women. 27 And now, we hear that you also are doing this terrible sin. You are not being true to our God. You are marrying foreign women.”

 28 Joiada was the son of Eliashib the high priest. One of Joiada’s sons was a son-in-law of Sanballat from Horon. I forced him to leave this place. I forced him to run away.

 29 My God, punish these people. They made the priesthood unclean. They treated it as if it was not important. They did not obey the agreement that you made with the priests and Levites. 30 So I made the priests and Levites clean and pure. I took away all the foreigners and the strange things they taught. And I gave the Levites and priests their own duties and responsibilities. 31 And I made sure that people will bring gifts of wood and the first part of their harvest at the right times.

   My God, remember me for doing these good things.

Footnotes:

  1. Nehemiah 13:6 the 32nd year … Babylon That is, 432 B.C. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Walls of Joy

Nehemiah 11-12 

Focus: Let us thank God exuberantly for our completed walls!


Chapter 11 - Two Lessons

   Lesson 1: Think again before you VEER OFF COURSE!


   Lesson 2: GO where you are NEEDED MOST.

Chapter 12 - Three Lessons

   Lesson 3: Be R.E.A.D.Y. to DO What is MOST NEEDED.

      RECOGNIZE YOUR SPIRITUAL GIFT
      EXAMINE YOUR EXPERIENCES
      APPLY YOUR ABILITIES
      DISCERN YOUR DESIRES (your passion and personality)
      YIELD YOURSELF TO SERVICE

   Lesson 4: JOY fuels SERVICE and visa versa

   Lesson 5: MUSIC Helps!

  Sarah's Dandelion...  
THE HONOR OF SERVING GOD

Pediatrician David Cerqueira shares a story of how a dying girl showed his church the honor of serving God:
One Sunday my wife had prepared a lesson on being useful. She taught the children that everyone can be useful—that usefulness is serving God, and that doing so is worthy of honor. The kids quietly soaked up my wife's words, and as the lesson ended, there was a short moment of silence. [A little girl named] Sarah spoke up. "Teacher, what can I do? I don't know how do to many useful things."
Not anticipating that kind of response, my wife quickly looked around and spotted an empty flower vase on the windowsill. "Sarah, you can bring in a flower and put it in the vase. That would be a useful thing."
Sarah frowned. "But that's not important."
"It is," replied my wife, "if you are helping someone."
Sure enough, the next Sunday Sarah brought in a dandelion and placed it in the vase. In fact, she continued to do so each week. Without reminders or help, she made sure the vase was filled with a bright yellow flower, Sunday after Sunday. When my wife told our pastor about Sarah's faithfulness, he placed the vase upstairs in the main sanctuary next to the pulpit. That Sunday he gave a sermon on the honor of serving others, using Sarah's vase as an example. The congregation was touched by the message, and the week started on a good note. …
During that same week I got a call from Sarah's mother. She worried that Sarah seemed to have less energy than usual and that she didn't have an appetite. Offering her some reassurances, I made room in my schedule to see Sarah the following day. After Sarah had a battery of tests and days of examinations, I sat numbly in my office, Sarah's paperwork on my lap. The results were tragic. [She had leukemia.]
On the way home, I stopped to see Sarah's parents so that I could personally give them the sad news. Sarah's genetics and the leukemia that was attacking her small body were a horrible mix. Sitting at their kitchen table, I did my best to explain to Sarah's parents that nothing could be done to save her life. I don't think I have ever had a more difficult conversation than the one that night. …
Time pressed on. Sarah became confined to bed and to the visits that many people gave her. She lost her smile. She lost most of her weight. And then it came: another telephone call. Sarah's mother asked me to come see her. I dropped everything and ran to the house. There she was, a small bundle that barely moved. After a short examination, I knew that Sarah would soon be leaving this world. I urged her parents to spend as much time as possible with her.
That was a Friday afternoon. On Sunday morning church started as usual. The singing, the sermon—it all seemed meaningless when I thought of Sarah. I felt enveloped in sadness. At the end of the sermon, the pastor suddenly stopped speaking. His eyes wide, he stared at the back of the church with utter amazement. Everyone turned to see what he was looking at. It was Sarah! Her parents had brought her for one last visit. She was bundled in a blanket, a dandelion in one little hand.
She didn't sit in the back row. Instead she slowly walked to the front of the church where her vase still perched by the pulpit. She put her flower in the vase and a piece of paper beside it. Then she returned to her parents. Seeing little Sarah place her flower in the vase for the last time moved everyone. At the end of the service, people gathered around Sarah and her parents, trying to offer as much love and support as possible. I could hardly bear to watch.
Four days later, Sarah died. …
I wasn't expecting it, but our pastor asked to see me after the funeral. We stood at the cemetery near our cars as people walked past us. In a low voice he said, "Dave, I've got something you ought to see." He pulled out of his pocket the piece of paper that Sarah had left by the vase. Holding it out to me, he said, "You'd better keep this; it may help you in your line of work."
I opened the folded paper to read, in pink crayon, what Sarah had written:
Dear God,
This vase has been the biggest honor of my life.
Sarah
Sarah's note and her vase have helped me to understand. I now realize in a new way that life is an opportunity to serve God by serving people. And, as Sarah put it, that is the biggest honor of all.
Condensed from an article in Today's Christian © 2008 Christianity Today International. For more articles like this, visit Today's Christian

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Formula for Fortifying Joy

 Nehemiah 9-10

Focus: There are things we can do to receive and maintain the joy of the Lord.

I. Redeem your BROKENNESS

A. With FASTING

B. With HUMILITY

C. With CONFESSION

D. With WORSHIP

II. Reflect and relate PRAISE and ADORATION

III. Recognize your own PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY

IV. Renew your COMMITTMENT to OBEDIENCE

Formula for Fortifying Joy

 Nehemiah 9-10

Focus: There are things we can do to receive and maintain the joy of the Lord.

I. Redeem your BROKENNESS

A. With FASTING

B. With HUMILITY

C. With CONFESSION

D. With WORSHIP

II. Reflect and relate PRAISE and ADORATION

III. Recognize your own PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY

IV. Renew your COMMITTMENT to OBEDIENCE