Monday, December 14, 2009

May we never forget...

This past week, I found a short book sitting on the living room table. My mom had put it out, along with some other Christmas books. The book is by John MacArthur entitled "God's Gift of Christmas". I am not sure who gave this book to us but I offer greatest thanks to whoever it was! This evening, I was reading the chapter entitled "The Fullness God" and came across this humbling and awe-inspiring fact about our Lord Jesus Christ, beginning with John 1:2-3:

He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

MacArthur writes:

"Christ is not only the heir of creation; He was also in the beginning the divine agent of creation, the Person of the Trinity through whom the world was made and for whom it was fashioned.

Think of what this means. The expanse of creation is staggering.

- A hollow ball the size of our sun would hold about one million planets the size of the earth.

- The brightest star in our sky, Sirius Canis Major, is twice as big as our sun.

- Arcturus is more than twenty-three times larger than our sun.

- Betelguese, one of the stars visible in the constellation Orion, is about three hundred times larger than our sun.

No wonder Job expressed his awe of God in this way: 'How should man be just with God?... Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south' (Job 9:2, 9 KJV)

A ray of light travels about 186,000 miles per second. It takes eight-and-a-half minutes for light from the sun to reach us. If you could travel at that rate from earth, you could reach...

- the moon in a second and a half
- Mars in four-and-a-half minutes
- Jupiter in thirty-five minutes
- Pluto in about five hours, twenty minutes
- Alpha Centauri, the closest star, in four years, four months
- Sirius in eight-and-a-half years
- Arcturus in thirty-seven years
- Betelgeuse in about 522 years.

If you could count the stars as you traveled across the Milky Way (a journey of about 100,000 years at light speed), you would find about one billion stars, and there are billions more galaxies out there. The size of the universe if incomprehensible.

The baby in Bethlehem made all of it. He created everything."

May we never forget who was born in that manger in Bethlehem. Even as an infant, Jesus Christ continued to "uphold all things by the word of His power" and now, after making "purification of sins" He sits "at the right hand of the Majesty on high"
(excerpts from Hebrews 1:3).

May we never forget what a truly mighty God we serve, at Christmas and all year long!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Thursday Morning, July 30th

The Journey 2009
Pastor Adam Bailie

"Beware of the Bling"

Key Text: James 2:1-13

Big Idea: The lack of favortism is a mark of a true Christian.

**Favortism is the opposite of true Christian behavior.

vv. 2-3 picture of favortism in the church

- Favortism always focuses on the outside.

**Three reasons why favortism should be rooted out of our hearts, minds, and lives:

1. Favortism is anti-Gospel (vv. 5-6)

- God loves those who are desperate for Him
2 Corinthians 4:5-7
1 Corinthians 1:18-31

2. Favortism is anti-reason (vv. 6-7)

3. Favortism is anti-Christ (v. 8)

Mt. 22

- Christ commanded impartial love to all men.

- Favortism is a fruit of rebellion.

**How can you live apart from favortism in this status-obsessed world?
**What idols of my heart lead me to favortism?
- the idols of self-love and self-exaltation.

- Be leaders in making your youth group (and church) a favortism-free zone.

**Christians are to be blind to outward appearance.**

Wednesday Evening, July 29th

The Journey 2009
Pastor Kurt Gebhards

Key Text: John 15:12-17

*Five Rewards of friendship with Jesus Christ:

1. Access through the severity of His sacrifice

Romans 5:6-11--we are helpless, ungodly, sinners and enemies of God.

Hebrews 7:25
John 6:37
Isa. 57:15; 66:2
Jeremiah 29:12-13

- Jesus has the power and inclination to help and benefit sinners.

- We have a tempation to really, really want Christ but not need Christ.

- We need to respond by love Christ with a weeping affection.

2. Upgrade from slave to confidant.

- God has transcending greatness yet He offers us His friendship.

1 Corinthians 4:1-2--we are still slaves to serve Christ.

Matthew 28:20

3. Inclusion in the close council of God
Hebrews 10:19-22

- Jesus gives us access to the holy place, the throne room of God, through His blood.

4. Assured, affirmative responses to our prayers
John 14:13; 15:7; 16:23-24

5. Abiding fruit in our faithful effort

- We must be found able of Christ's appointment through His friendship.
1 Corinthians 3:6

- Planting and watering requires excursion.

**Each of us are as close to Christ as we choose to be.**

*Building my relationship with Christ involved reading the Word of God and communion with Christ in prayer:

1. Constant
- Reading: meditation
- Prayer: praying at all times 1 Thes. 5:17

2. Closet
- Reading: study plan; regularity
- Prayer: secret

3. Corporate
- Reading: fellowshipping with the saints of God through the preaching of His Word.
- Prayer: believers praying with one another

Psalm 115:12

Wednesday Morning, July 29th

The Journey 2009
Pastor Adam Bailie

Key Text: James 1: 12-15 (specifically vv. 14-15)
"But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it is conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death."

Review: Trials- when a believers faith is being tested by God.

Big Idea: the believers information about temptation has everything to do with how he feels about temptation.

Temptation- the offering of sin.

- God CANNOT be tempted with evil.

**Jesus was tempted to the fullest extent because He never gave into temptation. As sinners, we are never tempted to the fullest extent because always give into temptation because of our desire to sin.

The Production steps of sin (vv. 14-15):

1. Temptation begins with out desires
2. Unchecked desires produce sin
3. Unatoned sin will end in our death

- We are tempted when we want something.

- Satan does not tempt us to sin, he just presents us with the opportunity to fulfill our own desire.

- Your sinful activity is directly affected by your desires which are unchecked.

- The freedom we have in Christ is to check our desires and obey Christ.

**You battle with sin at the point of your desire.**

- Are you battling with temptation?
- Are you battling with the right perspective?
- Are you battling with the right weapons? (Ephesians 6:10-20)

Tuesday Evening, July 28th

The Journey 2009
Pastor Kurt Gebhards

Key Texts: John 3:9-16 and Numbers 21:4-9

1. See the insanity of sin (vs. 4-5)
Numbers 20

- God always provided for the people of Israel yet they still complained against God.

Ps. 78:16; 25-29

- God purposely gives us trials and times of need to draw us to Himself in utter dependence.

**Can you accurately assess where you are spiritually? no
- You cannot see your own deception in your heart.

2. Recognize the snake-bite of rebellion (vs. 6)

- Sin feels good until we feel its true affects.

- God sent the snakes to reclaim the attention of the Israelites on Him.

3. Gaze at God's great mercy (vs. 7-8)

- God left the snakes but created a way for healing and salvation just as sin is left in this world yet He has created a way of salvation through Jesus Christ.

- God was gracious in His provision for a leader (Moses).

4. Look long at Calvary's Lamb
John 8:28; 12:32

**The great danger of glancing at Christ.
Jeremiah 29:12-13

**Is Jesus Christ a part of your life or is He the point of your life?
Isa. 45:22

**We need to look to Christ with a:
- look of faith
- look of repentence
- look of dependence
- look of worship

Hebrews 3:1

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Tuesday Morning, July 28th

The Journey 2009
Paster Adam Bailie

Key Text: James 1:2-8

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effects, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. but let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like the wave of the sea that us driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his way."

The Big Idea in this passage: Christians must respond to trials in a Christian way.

1. Think rightly about your trials (vs. 2)

**How do you think about trials with joy?

- Look at trials through God's eyes.
- The product if refining through trials is steadfastness and endurance.

2. Respond rightly about your trials (vs. 4)

-Let the endurance of faith take its full effect in trials.
- God, in His sovereign grace, will remove a trial when He is finished refining a believer through that trial.
- The end goal of a trial is spiritual maturity.

**Wisdom: knowing the Truth and knowing how to live it out.

- Do trials reveal the power of grace working in you or expose the fraud of your faith?
- Will you be marked as a single-minded Christian or double-minded and unstable?

The Journey 2009

Again, it has been quite awhile since my last post. Much has happened in my life since the last message I posted however I will only recap God's mercies to me in recent days. Yesterday, I arrived home from spending a week in Black Mountain, North Carolina at The Journey 2009, Riverbend's annual Summer Youth Camp. For the last two years I have been providencially hindered from attended this camp for one reason or another. Even though I have been attending Riverbend's Youth Camp since I was 12 years old, this was my first time attending as a leader, not a student. What a different experience it was! Its funny how when you are old enough to not have a curfew is when you desire to go to bed as early as possible. This week as been such a blessing to me in many ways! I had such a wonderful time with the students of Riverbend. I was a middle school leader and was able to assist in a family group consisting of about 12 middle school students ranging from 12 -14 years of age. God revealed to me this week an overwhelming burden and love that I have for that age group. What a difficult time of life! I pray that God would give me further opportunities to continue to minister to the lives of these precious students and to encourage them to strive after godliness in a wicked and corrupt generation.

The camp speaker this year were Pastor Kurt Gebhards and Paster Adam Bailie from Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California. Both of these men of God brought God's Word boldly to us in each sermon they taught. I am not even going to attempt to recap the sermons which were taught in my words however I feel it would be more beneficial to post my notes from each of the sermons. Pastor Adam taught the middle sessions in the mornings and the last two evening sessions and Pastor Kurt taught the high school morning sessions and the first two evening sessions. I hope you are as encouraged as I was by the clear and concise teaching of the Word of God by these two men. I will warn you, these sermons are extremely applicable and will reveal hidden sin!

Please pray with me for the many lives which were impacted by the Holy Spirit's work this week! I truly believe that there were some who came to camp as spiritually dead corpses and left camp regenerated and alive in Christ!! Praise be to God for His mercy and grace!!