THE GOSPEL OF MARK

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In keeping with our primary objective “to lift up Jesus Christ” we will walk through The Gospel of Mark beginning Sunday, September 12, 2021.

The opening sentence of Mark’s account is a bold announcement. It proclaims to be “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1, ESV).

The word “gospel” is literally translated as “good news.” The name “Jesus” was a common Jewish name in the first century.

However, the name “Christ” is the Greek translation of the Hebrew title, “Messiah” or “Anointed One.” He is, Mark declares, “the Son of God.” Indeed, a voice from heaven will announce this in Mark 1:11.

Any questions?

With this, the first words of Jesus appear only a few sentences later. He says, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15, ESV). Therein lies the challenge to the reader: Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Messiah, The Son of God? The pages that follow will challenge us to personally answer this question, right up to the final paragraph.

Consider the following introduction to the book of Mark by The Bible Project. Lord willing, below, we will post our sermon series as each week’s lesson unfolds.

The Gospel of Mark by TheBibleProject.com

FBLIVE POSTS: THE GOSPEL OF MARK

AUTHORITY

Facebook Live Post: Sunday, October 3, 2021

Jesus announces His message and selects his disciples (Mark 1:14-20). Then, in the following verses (Mark 1:21-45), Jesus begins teaching, healing and casting out demons “with authority” the crowd says.

His authority comes from God revealing His privilege. He spoke God’s word and did not need to check with the authorities of the day.

His authority comes from God revealing His power over the spiritual and physical worlds. He cast out demons from the possessed and healed the sick.

Although the crowds would gather He did not linger to enjoy their accolades. Rather, He continued His mission to teach about His Father’s kingdom to all.

FOLLOW

Facebook Live Post: Sunday, September 26, 2021

The first chapter of Mark’s gospel account of Jesus is so important to understanding the rest of the book. His bold, opening statement is “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” Indeed, all of the Biblical story has been pointing to this time, this man, Jesus, Messiah, the Son of God.

With this, we find Jesus immediately going by the Sea of Galilee to call his first disciples telling them to “Follow Me” which they did, of course, “immediately.” In the first chapter of Mark, we the readers are immediately challenged: Do you believe?

JESUS’ STORY AND MY STORY

Facebook Live Post: Sunday, September 19, 2021

Working out of John 4:1-14, our shepherd, Dean Wolf, discusses the importance of making Jesus and His story the central focus of our own stories.

MARK: Introduction

Facebook Live Post: Sunday, September 12, 2021

The opening sentence of Mark’s account is a bold announcement. It proclaims to be “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1, ESV).

The word “gospel” is literally translated as “good news.” The name “Jesus” was a common Jewish name in the first century.

However, the name “Christ” is the Greek translation of the Hebrew title, “Messiah” or “Anointed One.” He is, Mark declares, “the Son of God.” Indeed, a voice from heaven will announce this in Mark 1:11.

With this, the first words of Jesus appear only a few sentences later. He says, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15, ESV). Therein lies the challenge to the reader: Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Messiah, The Son of God?

The pages that follow will challenge us to personally answer this question, right up to the final paragraph of the book.

GOSPEL & DISCIPLESHIP

Last Sunday (August 29, 2021) we closed our study of the book of Philippians.  Next Sunday our hope is to begin a study of the life of Jesus in the gospel of Mark. 

This Sunday, September 5, 2021, we will bring together two specific requests that we received under the title of Discipleship. 

On the one hand one of our members requested that we have a lesson about obeying the Gospel.  Paul defines the Gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. Jesus tells us that following Him requires counting the cost in Luke 14:25-35. Paul tells us what happens when we obey the Gospel in Romans 6:3-14.

Jesus Came, He Died and was Buried, He Rose From the Dead and He’s Coming Back!

The second request was to focus upon what it means to become living sacrifices as Paul details in Romans 12.  Here he calls us to become ‘living sacrifices’ who live lives that are being transformed.

Bringing these two suggestions together means talking about what obeying the gospel truly means as we both count the cost to follow Jesus and lives for the Lord with every day.


Join us on our Facebook page on Sunday, September 5, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. as we explore the Gospel and Discipleship.

PHILIPPIANS

On Sunday, June 27, we began a new sermon series on Paul’s prison letter to the Philippians. Paul is imprisoned in Rome. There, he writes to the members of the church in Philippi about things like joy, humility, sacrifice, unity and the daily walk of the Christ-follower whose citizenship is in heaven. “Rejoice in the Lord always.” Paul says. “I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near” (Philippians 4:4-5, NIV).

A guiding principle through our study in Philippians finds its core foundation in Christ based upon the following assertion:

God is most glorified in us

when we are most satisfied in Him

through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Adapted from John Piper’s Desiring God.

CONTENTMENT (Conclusion)

FaceBook Live Link: Sunday, August 29, 2021

This morning we are talking about Contentment based upon Philippians 4:10-23. Hard wired into every human being is DIS-contentment. In the garden, Adam and Eve enjoyed evening walks with God along with every pleasure He provided. In fact, they joined with all of creation , pointing back to God as the source of life and wonder, bounty and pleasure.

Blessed with the ability to choose to be content, however, Adam and Eve become discontented, wanting to “be like God’ (Genesis 3:5). So, they ate the forbidden fruit. Now the joy we were intended to find in God, declaring His glory with all of creation, gets diverted to lesser idols. These idols promise contentment, but, in the end, always leave us wanting more.

Our true contentment only finds its complete satisfaction in our Creator through His Son, Jesus Christ. And it is only then that we truly glorify God with our lives, no matter what we face in life (Psalms 63:3).

REJOICE!

FaceBook Live Link: Sunday, August 22, 2021

In Philippians 4:2-9, Paul addresses two women in the congregation in Philippi who are missing the point of Paul’s example. It is all about knowing Christ. It is not about the distractions.

PAUL AND CHRIST

FaceBook Live Link: Sunday, August 15, 2021

In Philippians 3:1-4:1, the apostle Paul presents himself as an example of what it means to truly ‘know Christ.’ Our shepherd, Dean Wolf, will be leading us in our study. Nothing in this world comes close to the precious value of knowing Christ, even to the point of suffering and death.

TIMOTHY

FaceBook Live Link: Sunday, August 8, 2021

Paul now turns to two examples of Christ-following that are fresh on his mind and heart: Timothy and Epaphroditus in Philippians 2:19-30 (NIV). Working from Paul’s references to Timothy‘s life in Acts and his letters, we read between the lines to construct the person. In the end, the lives of these two examples reflect our own personal development in following Christ, knowing Him and living out His life in the world and among each other.

MINDSET

FaceBook Live Link: Sunday, August 1, 2021

At the core of Philippians 1:27-2:18 (NIV) is Paul’s discussion about Christ’s example and his encouragement for us to adopt His mindset in verses 1-11. Bookending this central premise is Paul’s admonition to “conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” in Philippians 1:27-30 as we deal with the world around us. On the other end, he stresses that we must “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling” as we deal with each other in Philippians 2:12-18.

PAUL

FaceBook Live Link: Sunday, July 25, 2021

In Philippians 1:12-26, Paul talks about his own imprisonment, concluding that his desire is for God to be glorified in both his life and his death (Philippians 1:20). For Paul, living means that his life is all about Christ. Dying means finally falling into Jesus’ arms (Philippians 1:21). Convinced that he must remain for a little longer, Paul looks forward to watching their “joy in the faith” continue to grow (Philippians 1:25-26). Indeed, this joy of which he speaks is centered upon knowing Christ and seeing Him blossom in the lives of those whose faith is in Him.

GOSPEL

FaceBook Live Link: Sunday, July 18, 2021

The “Gospel” or “Good News” of Jesus Christ is the foundation of Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Our Shepherd, Dean Wolf, shares his reflections on how Paul weaves this into every aspect of his life. Dean also shares a simple graphic that helps us communicate this to others based upon Jesus’ Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV).

Jesus Came, Died, Was Buried, Rose Again and is Coming Back!

PRAYER

FaceBook Live Link: Sunday, July 11, 2021

Early in Paul’s letter to the Philippians, on the heel of his usual greeting, Paul prays for them (Philippians 1:1-11, NASB95). When someone says or writes, “I’m praying for you that….” we should pay special attention. For, included in that prayer will most likely be the purpose of the communication: “that your love may abound still more and more,” Paul says. This is “the fruit of righteousness” that he will mention at the end of the prayer. As we consider this fruit of righteousness, we are reminded that Paul identifies its source in God, conveyed through Christ on the basis of our faith in Him (Philippians 3:8-11). This righteousness is all about relationship.

CHRIST!

FaceBook Live Link: Sunday, July 4, 2021

There can be no doubt that Christ Jesus is at the center of Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi. Occupying center stage is the hymn that, I suspect, many were familiar with at the time in Philippians 2:6-11 (CEV). Here is the gospel message in a nutshell. For a survey of the book of Philippians, I heartily recommend The Bible Project’s outline of the book.

INTRODUCTION

FaceBook Live Link: Sunday, June 27, 2021

Our study begins with a review of Acts 16 and Paul and Silas’s visit to Philippi. Our shepherd, Dean Wolf, highlights the significant passages of Paul’s letter to the Philippians from his prison cell in Rome. Paul had every right to be discouraged. Yet, he focuses upon the opportunity to find joy even in the midst of struggle and hardship.

ABSOLUTES

Click HERE for Sermon Series

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Memorial Day began in the wake of our Civil War. In that war our nation fought to live up to the ideal of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal….” This founding statement is based upon a biblical truth of man’s equality before God.

And so, on this special day, we begin a brief series to remind us of the things that we know to be true. Absolutes that guide us. Absolutes that help us discern those things for which it is worth living each day. Absolutes for which we know to be worth dying. Eternal truths that reach beyond our suffering and the grave to our ultimate destiny before God.

This Memorial Day we begin our series by remembering those absolutes that are anchored in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Absolutes that shout to the the glory of God’s Name in His creation, our consciences, His word, His people, His Son, Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit.

SERMON SERIES ON ABSOLUTES

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ADVOCATE

FBLive Worship Service and Sermon: Sunday, June 20, 2021

John 14-16 (NIV) – In John 14:16-17, Jesus tells his frightened disciples that he is going to send then “another Advocate” which He identifies as the Holy Spirit. Of course, the first Advocate would be Jesus, Himself. In our final lesson on ‘Absolutes’, we address the five activities of the Holy Spirit–the second Advocate–as Jesus describes them. These activities are not limited to the disciples to whom Jesus is speaking because He tells them that it will be with them ‘forever’ or, literally, ‘into the ages.’ They are available to us as well as is made plain in the remainder of the New Testament. Those activities include:

The Promise of His Presence (John 14:16-17)

The Promise of Teaching (John 14:26)

The Promise of Witness (John 15:26-27)

The Promise of Conviction (John 16:7-11)

The Promise of Revelation (John 16:12-15)

For further reading I recommend Tim Woodroof’s book, A Spirit for the Rest of Us.

GOD’S SON, JESUS CHRIST

FBLive Worship Service and Sermon: Sunday, June 13, 2021

Our primary texts today are John 1, 5 and 14-16 with a sharpening of focus upon John 5:31-40. When we speak of Jesus as an Absolute in our lives, we are saying that we put our full faith and trust in Him alone. The historical evidences confirm what we already know to be true from the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (see Lee Strobel’s book, The Case For Christ). In John 5, Jesus heals the lame man at the pool of Bethesda (see video below). This draws the attention of the religious rulers who question Jesus’ testimony about Himself. In his response to them, Jesus details 5 sources of evidence that validate His testimony about Himself as God’s Son, the Messiah: John the Baptist, Jesus’ miracles, Jesus’ teachings, Jesus’ Father and the Scriptures themselves.

GOD’S PEOPLE

FBLive Worship Service and Sermon: Sunday, June 6, 2021

Romans 11 and Genesis 12:1-3; Romans 4:13-16 (NLT) – God’s promise to Abraham persists over the centuries through the Jewish people. And it is through them that God brought the whole world a Savior in Christ Jesus. The new Israel now seals God’s promise to those who put their faith in Him so that Paul could say “all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26-27). The remnant of the Jewish people who trust in God now unite with the followers of Christ to create a new people who have been fully included in God’s promise to Abraham (Galatians 3:26-29). Their presence through the ages is undeniable evidence that God’s purposes will not fail (Ephesians 1:12-14).

GOD’S CREATION & HIS WORD

FBLive Worship Service and Sermon: Sunday, May 30, 2021

Hebrews 4:12-16 (NLT) – Seeing God in His creation is a simple question for mankind. Is there a God? The answer is either a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’. When someone chooses not to choose, they still have made a choice.

We choose “Yes” with passion and conviction.

Because we answer “Yes”, we also believe that He wants us to know Him. So, we search for those additional ways in which He would choose to show Himself.

Today, we begin with His Word, The Bible. No book in all of the world compares to this one collection of 66 books, composed over 1,500 years, on three continents (Africa, Asia, and Europe), in three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek), by 40 authors, most of whom never met. People have tried to ban it, destroy it and damage the Bible over the centuries, yet it still survives with superlative attestation. Indeed, more than 7,000 ancient manuscripts verify its accuracy!

The Bible is internally consistent, pointing to one central point in history: a cross. The Bible is externally verified by the creation, nature, and historically, by modern-day archaeology and science. And the Bible is experientially verified in those who devote their lives to understanding it’s words and living out it’s teachings. They focus upon obeying its commands and living by it’s principles as embodied by The Central Character: Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Son of God, Savior of the world.

The Qumran Caves of the Dead Sea Scrolls

At time when God-given inspiration of the Bible was under severe criticism in our Christian Theological Universities (begun in the 1800’s and continuing to our day), the Dead Sea Scrolls surfaced in 1947. Many theological books must be evaluated by this one historical point in time: are they pre- or post-Dead Sea Scroll discovery?

God’s perfect timing! He verifies and validates the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament forever as pre-Christian evidence, fully realized in the Son of God Himself, Jesus Christ.

VIRTUES

Click HERE or Scroll Down for Facebook Live Lessons

(Updated 4/27/21)

In times like these it is important to anchor ourselves in that which we know to be true.

In the first century Roman world there were many forces at work. Many of these facilitated the spread of the gospel. At the same time there were elements of Roman government, religion and society that reacted against the exclusive teachings of the early Christians.

THE GOSPEL

Over the centuries governments have come and gone. Meanwhile the writings of those first-century authors have provided a touchstone for believers in the gospel (literally, good news) of Jesus Christ. This good news has been historically verified. It is internally consistent with the Old and New Testament Scriptures. The prophecies of the prophets have been fully realized in Jesus Christ and will continue to unfold until His return.

WE KNOW

These Scriptures point towards a common goal that centers around God becoming uniquely both human and divine. Christ dwelled among us, was crucified, arose from the dead, and ascended to heaven. He now guides the forces of history towards its final consummation with His return one day.

THE GOSPEL DEFINED

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

– The Apostle Paul – 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 (NIV)

WHAT IS TRUTH?

Since the time of Jesus Christ the words of the Bible have provided solid ground for His followers in times of crisis and upheaval. The answer to Pilate’s question to Jesus, “What is truth?” was, indeed, standing in front of him. Jesus answered him, “In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth” (John 18:37, NIV). Jesus would tell His disciples, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, NIV).

THE POINT

In the midst of tumultuous times the apostles would point believers to the transforming work of the Holy Spirit within them. These emerging qualities of character would weather the winds of change. Their heavenly citizenship would became increasingly obvious validations of the gospel message. Indeed, these qualities have always permeated the lives of Christ’s people with hope when the world around them seemed to be falling apart.

The message of the gospel still rings true today. So, our lessons on Virtues is intended to remind each other of the qualities and characteristics of the citizens of Christ’s eternal kingdom. We will be exploring the following key passages: 2 Peter 1:3-11, Galatians 5:13-26, and Colossians 3:1-17.

FACEBOOK LIVE

Click on the links below to follow our Facebook Live worship services as we focus upon Christian Virtues in Times of Uncertainty and Change.

ONESIMUS

Paul’s Letter to Philemon – “He [Tychicus] is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here” (Colossians 4:9). In our closing lesson on Virtues we review the concluding words of encouragement of Paul in Colossians 4:7-18. This provides a launching point for Paul’s accompanying letter to Philemon which beautifully encapsulates the virtues that Paul had listed in Colossians 3:12-17.

“Onesimus” – Sunday, May 23, 2021

PRAY AND LIVE WISELY

Colossians 4:2-6 – “Live wisely…and make the most of every opportunity” (vs. 5). Dean Wolf is our speaker today, addressing the importance of being ready to tell others what Jesus has done in our lives. Focusing upon prayer, he notes Paul’s description of the prayer of Epaphras for the church in Colossae: to make them “strong and perfect, fully confident that you are following the whole will of God” (vs. 12). Unfortunately, the Facebook Live session cuts short of Dean’s concluding prayer–the highlight of his sermon–in which he prays for the Shoreline church as Paul and his co-workers prayed for the church in Colossae.

“Pray and Live Wisely” – Sunday, May 16, 2021

SLAVES

Colossians 3:22-4:1 – “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people” (vs. 23). The expression, “All men are created equal” may not be a direct quote of Scripture; but, it does express a biblical truth of the kingdom of God (Galatians 3:26-28). Indeed, Jesus humbled Himself and became a slave (Philippians 2:6-8, NLT) in order to make us free (Ephesians 1:7, NLT); to serve, not to be served” (Matthew 20:26-28, NLT). Involuntary slavery, in whatever form it takes, is one of many forms of human oppression in our world of trafficking, persecution, abuse and more. For the Christian in who must endure suffering in all of its forms, the Bible encourages everyone: “keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith” (Hebrews 12:1-3).

“Slaves” – Sunday, May 9, 2021

FAMILY

Colossians 3:18-21 & Ephesians 5:21-33 (NLT) – When Paul says “Whatever you say or do should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus” (vs. 17, CEV) he briefly addresses what this means in families.  Husbands, wives, parents and children that have been brought under Jesus’ Name begin to live their lives very differently than the world around them.  In the first century, this was counter-cultural instruction that would set Christian families apart. This is true as well in 21st century America.  To understand this passage better we will quickly survey the Bible’s teachings, including Paul’s parallel instructions to the church in Ephesus (Ephesians 5:21-33).

Family” – Sunday, May 2, 2021

THE NAME

Colossians 3:12-17 (CEV) – “Whatever you say or do should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as you give thanks to God the Father because of him.” Today’s lesson begins with Jesus’ prayer for Himself, for His disciples and for us in John 17 (NIV). God glorified Jesus in His death, burial and resurrection where Jesus glorified God. This initiated a glorifying feedback loop which Jesus extended to His disciples and to those of us who would believe. So, when Paul speaks of “whatever you say or do” in the Name of Jesus he is pointing to this continuing cycle for “the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:5-6, 12, 14, NASB95).

“The Name” – Sunday, April 25, 2021

SING!

Colossians 3:12-17 (CEV) – “With thankful hearts, sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.” Someone has said that music is “the window to the soul.”  When God commands His people to sing, He is encouraging us to thankfully explore how the good news of Jesus Christ resonates with our hearts and minds.

“Sing!” – Sunday, April 18, 2021

CHRIST

Colossians 3:12-17 (CEV) – “Let the message about Christ completely fill your lives, while you use all your wisdom to teach and instruct each other.” Our Shepherd, Dean Wolf, discusses the centrality of Christ in our lives and how Paul calls us to share our stories about how Christ has changed us.

“Christ” – Sunday, April 11, 2021

LOVE

Colossians 3:12-17 (NIV) – “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” On Easter Sunday we celebrate the source of the power that works in us to produce these virtues which is the cross of Christ (Colossians 1-2).

“Love” – Sunday, April 4, 2021

HUMILITY, GENTLENESS & PATIENCE

Colossians 3:12-17 (NIV) – “…clothe yourselves with…humility, gentleness and patience.” These virtues are characteristics of kingdom people because these virtues begin with the Father and the Son; necessary traits for the unity of the Body of Christ, the Church (Ephesians 4:1-3).

“Humility” – Sunday, March 21, 2021

KINDNESS

Colossians 3:12-17 (NIV) – “…clothe yourselves with…kindness,” says the apostle Paul to the church in Colossae. This virtue is a characteristic of God the Father, illustrated in Jesus, His Son, and planted in the Christian as a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22).

“Kindness” – Sunday, March 14, 2021

COMPASSION

Colossians 3:12-17 (NASB95) – “put on a heart of compassion” – God defines compassion, His Son illustrates His compassion and we reflect His compassion to the world. Compassion is an emotion that moves us to action.

“Compassion” – Sunday, March 7, 2021

CLOTHED

Colossians 3:1-17 – “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” Reaching back to Colossians 2:9-23 we set the context for Paul’s list of the Christ-follower’s virtues in Colossians 3:12-16. Rooted in the cross of Jesus Christ, these virtues will guide our studies until Easter Sunday (April 4, 2021).

“Clothed” – Sunday, Februray 28, 2021

FRUIT (PART 2)

Galatians 5:13-26 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” What walking by the Spirit does look like. There is no law against these characteristics; so, we are free to exercise them without restraints.

“Fruit” (Part 2) – Sunday, February 21, 2021

FRUIT

Galatians 5:13-26 – “The acts of the flesh are obvious….” Paul says that the Spirit and our fleshly desires are at war with each other. What walking by the Spirit does not look like.

“Fruit” – Sunday, February 14, 2021

PARTICIPANTS

2 Peter 1:3-11 – “Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature….” The divine power of Christ Himself makes us participants in His divine nature; present tense promises.

“Participants” – Sunday, February 7, 2021

LOVE

2 Peter 1:3-9 – “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him….” Knowing Christ (vss. 3, 8) is the beginning and end of our every effort to become effective and productive, the apex of which is agape love.

“Love” – Sunday, January 31, 2021

HOLINESS

Ephesians 1:3-4, 5:25-27 – “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. ” The presence of the Lord in your life makes you holy, too. Wherever you go, whatever you do, with whomever you encounter, you are standing on holy ground.

“Holiness” – Sunday, January 24, 2021

JOSHUA

Joshua 5:13-15 – “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” It was the presence of the Lord that made Holy the place where Joshua was standing.

“Joshua” – Sunday, January 17, 2021

DEVOTED

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Titus 3:1-8 (NLT)

LIARS, BRUTES & GLUTTONS

In this final online service lesson we focus upon the letter of the apostle Paul to Titus who was on the island of Crete. The island had a long history going back at least 3,000 years before Christ. For the last 200 years a Jewish community had flourished on the island as well.

As an island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea it served as a nautical crossroads between the middle east and Italy and Spain, from north Africa to Greece and Asia Minor. As a cultural center, the people knew how to take advantage of visiting foreigners passing through. Hence, their reputation as “liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons” as described by Epimenides, a Cretan philosopher from around 600 B.C. and quoted by Paul in the first chapter of his letter to Titus. “This saying is true,” Paul says (Titus 1:12-13).

DEVOTED TO DOING GOOD

Ethical behavior is so important to the early church in Crete that Paul starts the letter describing what behavior their leadership must exhibit in their community. The contrast between the native Cretans and the newly established Christian community could not have been more stark. By the end of the letter, however, Paul stresses that everyone is getting ready for the day of Christ’s return by being devoted to doing good (Titus 3:8).

This is to be our rallying cry today, as well.

Please Note: This will be our final online worship service during the Covid-19 pandemic. Starting this Sunday we will begin moving back towards the building with a “Welcome Home Celebration” on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 21, 2020 at 10:30 a.m.

We will have a meal outside on the grounds focusing upon dishes that our father’s loved. Lord willing, we will combine this love feast with our worship and communion service.

GODLINESS

Sunday, June 7, 2020

2 Peter 1:1-11 (NLT)

Living a godly life is filled with challenges and opportunities. On this side of eternity we struggle because no matter how earnestly we long for righteousness, there is always the human desire to live independently of God’s rule. It is a consequence of man’s free will because he can choose those things that he desires in contrast to the things God desires.

In this brief section of scripture, Peter lays out how we can do this successfully. Several important concepts detail the adventure of learning to live godly lives in a world that constantly competes for attention.

FAITH

Faith is the beginning of living the godly life. Peter makes it clear that “was given to you because of the justice and fairness of Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1). Contemplate the dynamics of that concept! The very faith that anchors your life in Christ was a gift from Him because of His nature of justice and fairness!

KNOWLEDGE

The importance of coming to a knowledge of Jesus Christ and God, His Father, cannot be minimized. It is the core to living a godly life. Five times in this brief section of scripture, Peter talks about an informed faith. How can one know how to be godly if he or she does not know the one who is calling them? When we know them then we desire to be like Them. This inherently makes us more godly than we were before and it is the starting point for going further. Knowing Christ is the touchstone of our lives (see Philippians 3:7-11).

POWER

By God’s divine power, Peter says, God Himself “has given us everything we need for living a godly life” (2 Peter1:3). Note the word “everything.” Of course, we struggle to realize the dynamic of this reality. However, as we have seen before, perhaps the most important calculus for estimating the significance of this reality is found in the midst of suffering and even death; two of the great, universal challenges of mankind.

EFFORT

Secure in your faith we come to know God through Jesus Christ who empowers us to be just like Him: i.e., godly. It is in the security of this complete connection, that we are now free to pursue Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength.

The more disciplined we are in this pursuit the more godly we will become. The serendipity of this pursuit is that it begins to crowd out our desires for this world’s distractions. As Peter concludes:

So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away.  Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:10-11 (NLT)

FRUITS

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Galatians 5:13-26 (NIV)

One definition of fruit is “the sweet and fleshy product of a tree or other plant that contains seed and can be eaten as food.” This is a wonderful way to describe the effect of the Holy Spirit’s presence in the lives and hearts of Christians who are serious about following Jesus.

FIRSTFRUIT

In fact, Paul tells us that we have the “firstfruits of the Spirit” (Romans 8:23); that Jesus was “the firstfruit” of the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:20) as we await His return to become His firstfruits of the resurrection along with everyone else that belong to Him (1 Corinthians 15:23). In 2 Thessalonians 2:13 Paul tells his audience that “God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.” James echoes this insight as well in James 1:18 as he describes us as “a kind of firstfruits of all He created.”

ALREADY…BUT NOT YET LIFESTYLE

This ‘Already…But Not Yet’ Lifestyle is both fruitful evidence of the Spirit’s work in our lives and it the vehicle through which the Gospel’s seed is planted in the hearts of others to reproduce itself. So, it should not be surprising that when Paul talks about “the fruits of the Spirit” he is talking about the evidence of God’s working in our lives that is easily digestible and seed bearing.

FRUIT MULTIPLIES

Even as the Spirit begins to manifest itself in our own lives, it does so with a view to one-day bringing us out of the world of flesh, death and decay. At the same time, the fruit of our lives is an appeal to others to eat, enjoy and to multiply.

How cool!

For Communion assistance, please click on the link below:

Virtue

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Colossians 3:1-17 (NLT)

HEAVEN IN CARTOONS

Heaven can seem to be so far away when we think of floating around on pillowy clouds, strumming our harps and lost in thoughts of eternity. Not really too appealing.

This is because it is not an accurate picture.

HEAVEN STARTS HERE AND NOW

What we know about heaven begins now.

When we express our faith in Christ and devote ourselves to following Him and imitating Him, we are ushered into the presence of God as His children. More than that, we experience his presence every day as He welcomes us into His kingdom.

Furthermore, when we face difficulty and hardship, suffering and pain, God gives us the strength to endure with joy because of the hope he has planted in our hearts.

Colossians 3:1-17, our reading for today, addresses our past, present and future in Christ and how God begins transforming us to be more like Him. It means discontinuing living by the values of this world and growing in the virtues of God that match His qualities and characteristics.

Our present reality and our future hope give us meaning and purpose that transcends the grave and reaches out to eternity. The changes that occur in our lives over time assure us of His continuing work to bring us home.

For assistance in your personal communion service:

FOREVER: the Already…But Not yet.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

1 John 5 (NLT)

ETERNAL LIFE

Eternal Life is not only a future hope. The New Testament assures us that, for those who believe in Jesus, eternal life is a present reality.  This is what Jesus’ resurrection assures us (remember 1 Corinthians 15!) and it is what keeps us changing, transforming and growing into His likeness day by day.

FAMILY

The power of 1 John 5 is the beauty of how John brings together Jesus’ humanity and his divinity, His relationship with His Father, and how our belief in Christ brings us into God’s family. As family members, of course, our desire is to obey His command to love because we want to be like our Father and His Son. We are not burdened by this desire for it is our desire to be like our Daddy that challenges us.

LIP SERVICE

There are those who pay lip service to God; but, their lifestyles speak with more volume than mere words. Caught up in the world their claim of love is betrayed by their hatred and distain of their brothers and sisters. Their destiny is death and salvation is an illusion.

TRUE FELLOWSHIP

And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life

1 John 5:20

Why would anyone want to settle for anything else that would threaten the fulfillment of the deepest longings of our hearts for eternal life and total satisfaction in the God Who created us and welcomes us home?

Here is today’s focus: The Already…But Not Yet.

For communion service:

Jesus is Our Shoreline