December 3rd 2017
John the Baptist paved the way for Jesus Christ by proclaiming that the way to receive Christ is to make crooked roads straight. There are a thousand roads and diversions that distract our attention each day. Many of them are crooked. Our world loves crooked roads, it even broadcasts them as being the most delightful and intriguing paths to venture out on. While many paths lead us away from True Hope, True Peace, and True Joy, Jesus beckons us to rise above the tide and adventure together with Him on the straight and narrow. John the Baptist makes it clear that the only way we can bear fruit is by abiding in Christ and abiding in repentance. “keep fruit in bearing with repentance” Luke 3:3. There is a myth in the church these days that repentance is for unbelievers. John however, is speaking to Gods chosen people telling them that if they want to bear fruit in their lives, there is only one way to do it, to repent continually. Repentance is a freeing act, not an act of self condemnation. Repentance is the very attitude that says “I must become less, that He might become Greater.” And as we lean less on ourselves we begin to find freedom, joy, and abundance flowing in to fill the lowly.
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Nov 26th What Idols are We Bringing into Gods House? The sad news is that some of us are so caught up living the American dream, striving to make something out of our lives, that we have no time to stop and think about our purpose here in life. Why has God created us, why are we floating on this rock, what does it all mean? Our idols have made their way into the core of our being. Many of the philosophies and constructs that we subtly adhere to as guiding truths in our lives have no basis in scripture and no nutritional value for our core, our Spirit, our eternal nature and inner being. While our flesh gluttonously appeases itself on various non-constructive truths our Spirit seeks Truth with a capital T, the Truth of life. Ezekiel 42-44 rebukes the Israelite’s for bringing idols into the temple. Sometimes we bring our idols into the church with us. We let them speak into our ears, distract our attention, and divide our hearts from hearing what God wants to say to us. God has much more in store for His church than this. Together, lets clean house, lets give God what he deserves, and lets take back what the enemy has stolen from us.
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God is calling us to be intimate with Him. This week we learned about Adonijah the son of David who got himself into a lot of trouble when he tried to glorify himself and exalt his own life. Often Satan tries to trick us into believing that we have a right to certain things. He coerces us into claiming these things and the result is that we often fix our hope in these things and not in God. We find ourselves angry when God does not give us what we feel we deserve. What is your heart and hope fixed in? Adonijah found that his own plans and schemes only led to his own demise. He ended up running from the law, running as a fugitive, yet in his desperate state he found hope at the horns of the altar. No matter how messed up we think we are or how great we think we are, our hearts need some serious re-calibration.
Scripture Reading: 1 Kings 1; Matthew 9:10-13
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This week we talked about the burdens that build up within people over the years. Sometimes we hang on to struggles or experiences for 5, 10, 15 years. These struggles or experiences build up and become an unbearable weight. The altar, is the one place we can come to lay down these burdens. The only problem is that after we lay down our burdens we often find ourselves picking them up again the moment we leave God’s presence. Jesus says “come to me all ye who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Jesus is the only one who can give us the rest, hope, and relief that we need. But we need to learn how to approach Him, and how to lay these things down for good. This message will present you with tools for approaching the altar and making sure that the burdens and pains that you leave at the altar actually stay there!
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Scripture: Genesis 28:10-22; Genesis 31:44-48; 51-52
This weeks message was from Ezekiel 39, which talks about taking responsibility for our shame and unfaithfulness. In guilt and shame people often try to hide their faults and struggles, but in these verses God clearly describes that in order for us to enter into His peace and His promises, we must be able to be open about our faults and struggles. WE MUST NOT LIVE ASHAMED LIVES!!! Paul said i’m not ashamed of the gospel. Paul was not ashamed to call himself the least of all the apostles, Paul was totally accountable for his shame and unfaithfulness, He wasn’t trying to hide it. The gospel is the good news about Jesus, not us. If the gospel were about us and our performance it would not be good news at all. The gospel is that I COULD NOT, but CHRIST COULD. The gospel is that I am rotten but Christ is righteous in my behalf. The gospel is good news precisely because its not about us. Church is the one place where confessing our shame and unfaithfulness should actually be good news. BECAUSE IT’S NOT ABOUT US!!! Praise God!!
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Scripture Ezekiel 39:25-29
This week Pastor Mike talked about how God has called the church to be set-apart (holy). How God doesn’t desire perfect people, but set-apart people. Jesus Christ broke down the barriers that stood in-between us and God. Jesus Christ removed the need for the temple structure. Jesus Christ redeemed a people that they might be filled with God’s very own Holy Spirit. A regenerated people, not caught up in civilian affairs, but totally preoccupied in their devotion to the one who died to give them new life.
We talked about the process of daily rooting ourselves in God as well as some of the various ways in which God makes himself known to us in daily life.
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Scripture: Psalm 1; Ezekiel 1
The next six weeks leading up to the Advent Season will be spent going through Ezekiel’s vision of the Temple in Ezekiel 40-48! WE ARE LOOKING TO DIGGING INTO THIS BOOK TOGETHER THROUGHOUT THE NEXT FEW WEEKS!
Beloved, there are two currents that tug at us each moment of every day. One of them is the current of this world, the chaos, the stress, the busyness, and the overbearing demands. There is another current however that is more gentle, one that beckons us deeper, one that TRULY SATISFIES. God is calling us to dwell deep. To push against the tides of this world, and devote ourselves to dwelling in Him.
Scripture Reading: Ezekiel 47
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