“The Gift”

September 30th, 2010

We are officially kicking off our seasonal choir practices! This is something you don’t want to miss. Its going to be amazing. Practices start This Sunday (Oct. 3rd) at 6:30. Come be a part of it all.

 

Here’s a link to our promo video.

http://vimeo.com/user3750863/videos

Why Fish?

September 30th, 2010

Jesus wants to make us into to something that we are not already. He wants to make us a fisher of men. But why? What’s the big deal about fishing? We will answer that question this Sunday at Believers Statesboro, 9 a.m. or 11:00 a.m.

Hey, if you missed that sweet video “Stand By Me” that we showed at Believers Got Talent, we will play it again at 8:50 a.m. and 10:50 a.m. Be early, grab a cup of coffee, fellowship, enjoy the video, and be relaxed and ready for worship.

Why Fish PIC Reel Believers Wk 2 Why Fish? 10-03-10 Believers Statesboro

Adapted from Andy Stanley’s “Go Fish”

Review: Reel Believers Fish 09-26-10

Jesus said, “Follow Me and I am going to make you into something that you aren’t already.” When I decided to follow Jesus, I thought of all kinds of things that He could make me into. More disciplined, more spiritual, smarter, a better husband, a better father, richer, or even more organized. But Jesus said in Mark 1:17, “Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” (NIV)

Most of us became followers for selfish reasons: what’s in it for me?

Jesus says to us, like He did to those first four guys He called, “To Follow is to Fish.

  • Jesus’ goal for you is not just to follow so you can be a better person.
  • His goal for you is to follow and to do in the lives of others what someone has done in your life.

Because of your life’s circumstances and situations, you are perfectly positioned by God to be a fisher of men. He wants you to open your mouth and talk about Him, out loud, to others.

WHY FISH?

The way we are going to answer this question, Why Fish, is to look in on an incident that happened to two of the very first fishermen, Peter and John. The story starts in Acts 3.

Peter and John were arrested for talking about Jesus in the temple. The next day, they were on trial, and Peter speaks a mini sermon. Then, they were given this warning, “If you don’t want to spend more time in jail, stop talking about Jesus.”

Acts 4:18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the

name of Jesus.

This is the message of our culture.

  • You can believe it. You can raise your kids in it. But, quit talking about Jesus.
  • We don’t really care what’s happening on the inside of you, so quit talking about it.
  • Quit raising a commotion in the temple.

Acts 4:19 But Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to

obey you rather than God.

The religious leaders told them: “Just don’t talk about the Jesus part. It’s the Jesus part that’s giving us trouble.” Peter and John said, “Hey, you have got to do what you think God wants you to do, and we have to do what we think God wants us to do.”

Acts 4:20 For we cannot help speaking about … What we believe? What we have been taught? NO “For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (NIV)

The issue isn’t my belief system versus yours. The issue is whether something happened.

What Had They Seen and Heard?

What had they seen and heard that they would be willing to be imprisoned for, to be willing to lay down pre-conceived ideas for, to change much of their religious upbringing for, and to even die for? The answer is seen in Peter’s speech. Acts 4:5-14

Acts 4:7 They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: "By what

power or what name did you do this?"

We know something happened. There is a man running around out there healed. How did you do

it? What trick did you use? What is the basis for all of this?

Acts 4:10 Then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of

Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead that this man stands

before you healed.

Peter probably pointed his finger at this point. Jesus is the one you crucified! Remember Him? You broke your own laws to bring Him to trial. You hired false witnesses against Him. You killed Jesus of Nazareth, and God raised Him from the dead.

That’s why we can’t keep silent.

  • It’s not because we came up with a new idea or religion just to get a cult following.
  • It’s because we saw Him crucified, and you saw Him crucified also.
  • Then, John and I placed our heads in His empty tomb.
  • He then showed Himself alive to over 500 people.

So say what you want to say and do what you need to do, but John and I are fishers of men, and we are going to keep on fishing because of what we have seen and heard.

Acts 4:11 He is "’the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.’

Peter reminded them that as a child they learned Psalm 118:22 “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone.” You thought to yourselves who would be so blind and stupid to reject the Messiah?

Guess what guys, it was you. You are now famous. The Scriptures were talking about you!

Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to

men by which we must be saved."

They probably thought, “What do you mean a “one”? Salvation had never been found in a “one” but rather a “what”. It’s about what you do. Salvation is about keeping the law. Salvation is about obedience, what you sacrifice or what acts of goodness you perform. Salvation is about staying on God’s good side. Salvation is about prayer. Salvation is about performance!”

The Religious Leaders’ Response

Acts 4:13-14 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled,

ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with

Jesus. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with

them, there was nothing they could say. (NIV)

Do you know why we have to fish?

  • Because the message of salvation is not an intuitive message.
  • Because the message of salvation is grounded in history not experience.
  • Because the message of forgiveness is not something that you can go sit under a tree and come up with on your own.
  • You will never come up with it on your own.
  • You may find an awareness of God, a good God, good and evil in the world, maybe even conclude that there is life after death, but you will never come up with the plan of salvation on your own.

On your own, you can come to the conclusion that all other religions have come to. All religions are about the same if you remove Jesus from the equation. All other religions are about being good people. If you are good enough, you can get to a good God.

Why Fish?

  • Because we have been with Jesus.
  • Our message is grounded in history. A message about a Savior that must be told.
  • “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
  • This message of salvation is not intuitive. Someone must tell you.

The truth is good people don’t go to heaven, only forgiven people go to heaven!

Reel Believers Fish PIC 

Reel Believers Wk 1 “Reel Believers Fish” 09-26-10 Believers Statesboro

Adapted from Andy Stanley’s “Go Fish”

One day, Jesus was walking along the shore when He called four men to follow Him. Jesus was very clear and up front about His agenda for His followers. He told them that, if they followed Him, He would make them into something that they weren’t already.

When I decided to follow Jesus, I thought of all kinds of things that He could make me into!

Now, when Jesus called these first four guys, He said, “I’m going to make you…”

Jesus’ Agenda for Calling His First Four Disciples.

Mark 1:14-15 After John (John the Baptist) was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" (NIV)

Repent – Prepare for God to do something! Jesus said turn back to God so that you can recognize what God is up to. If you are not paying attention, you might miss it. You might sleep through it.

Mark 1:16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. (NIV)

Come follow Me, and I will make you something that you are not: more disciplined, more spiritual, a better person, honest and holy.

Mark 1:17 18 "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him. (NIV)

“At once”? Simon and his brother, Andrew, fished for a living. They were supposed to take over their father’s business one day. Now, they were going to leave everything and go with a stranger that they had only known for five minutes!

Mark 1:19-20

19 When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets.

20 Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him. (NIV)

They followed Him, and they had no idea what He even meant by “I will make you a fisher of men.”

To Follow Is To Fish.

They followed, and they fished. They shared it with others, and here we are 2000 years later.

Reel Believers Fish! Followers Fish.

  • Jesus’ goal for you is not just to follow so you can be a better person.
  • His goal for you is to follow and to do in the lives of others what someone has done in your life.

When we became a Christian, none of us signed up for that!

  • You didn’t say, “I want to become a Christian because I want to be a fisher of men.”
  • Who wants to do that?

Most of us became a Christian for selfish motives.

The emphasis was “I need something.” But now, you are starting to realize that there are other things that God wants us to do.

But, Luke lets us in on a few key details to this story

Luke 5:1-11

1 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God,

2 he saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets.

3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch."

5 Simon answered, "Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets."

6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.

7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. (It was a miracle!)

8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!"

9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken,

10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, "Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men."

11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him. (NIV)

Now when Jesus said, “Follow Me, and I will make you a fisher of men! They followed!

What else were they going to do?

  • “Na, I don’t want to. I think I will stay here and clean all these fish.”
  • “No, that’s ok. I like things just the way they are. I’m not interested in those kinds of miracles.

Their dads were saying, “Follow them! Follow them! We will stay here and clean the fish.”

“Follow the man that filled our boats and figure out how to do it.”

  • They only understood what they saw.
  • They only understood what they experienced.
  • They only understood what Jesus did for them.

Imagining Jesus saying, “Ok guys, that’s a good start but if you follow Me long enough, I’m going to take you beyond the “what you can do for me” stage.

  • “I came to teach you to become something that you are not because followers fish.”
  • “Temporal stuff will now have eternal meaning if you allow me to make you fishers of men.”

Are all of your prayers centered on what happens in this world?

Everything between birth and death / marriage / kids / job / health, Jesus will take all of this and give it eternal value, if… you become a fisher of men.

God will take your world and your life circumstances and shape them to make you a fisher of men.

You will be perfectly positioned by God to be a fisher of men.

But, you must look for the opportunity, and you must fish.

Followers Fish. Reel Believers Fish. New fish need to bring in other fish.

HOME WORK:

Write a letter to the person or persons who led you to Christ. You don’t even have to share it with them if you don’t want to. They may not even be living. But write it anyway. Why? Because it will remind you that the reason you came to Christ was because someone was fishing.

Reel Believers Week One

September 22nd, 2010

clip_image002

One day, Jesus was walking along the shore, and He called men to follow Him.

Jesus was very clear up front about his agenda for his followers.

He said, “Follow Me and I am going to make you into something that you aren’t already.”

When I decided to follow Jesus, I thought of all kinds of things that He could make me into.

More disciplined / A better father / More spiritual / More

Organized / A better husband / Richer / Smarter

There were all kinds of things that I thought, if I followed Jesus, He would make me!

Now when Jesus called these first four guys, He said, “I’m going to make you…”

  • This probably scared them and confused them.
  • This was not something that they were necessary interested in.

Jesus’ agenda for calling them is His same agenda for calling you and me.

Like it was for those first four guys, sometimes it’s a little confusing and intimidating for us.

Follow me, and I will make you something. I would opt for many things.

But Jesus said, “Follow me and I will make you something else.”

Join us this Sunday, 9-26-10, 9 or 11, at Believers Church as we discover what Jesus is making us into.

If you are new to Believer’s Church and would like to learn more about our Church this dinner is for you!

This is an opportunity to get to know other new attendees as well as Pastor Scott, his wife, Janet,  and the Staff!

Call 681-1440 and let us know if you will join us!

VD_9_23_10PP

 

Today, No Secrets

September 16th, 2010

Somehow we have learned to live with the fact the God see’ everything we do and it doesn’t

deter us from sin. “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Heb 4:13) But Jesus takes it to a new level of consideration with His words in Luke 12. Jesus is basically telling us there are no secrets with God or men!

Join us this Sunday at Believers Statesboro, at 9:00 or 11:00, as we destroy the myth of secrets.

Slide1

Today Matters Wk 7

Today No Secrets 09-19-10 Believers Statesboro

Adapted from “Letters from Home”

“I’ve always tried to live with the following simple rule: Don’t do what you wouldn’t feel comfortable reading about in the newspapers the next day.”

Josh Weston, Chairman and CEO of Automatic Data Processing, INC.

There Are No Secrets

Today, I want to challenge you to live as if everything in your life is PUBLIC. There are no secrets. Everything you say, everything you do, every place you go, and every thought you think is going to be known by all.

Luke 12:2-3

2 There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.

3 What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs. (NIV)

  • If you want to do something that will have to be kept secret, don’t do it.
  • If you want to say something that other people will have to keep secret, don’t say it.

Don’t believe the lie that you can say things, do things, go places, and think things and others won’t know about it. People who believe in secrets are people who will ultimately fail.

“The just man walketh in his integrity.” Proverbs 20:7

Living today as if there are no secrets is the only way that we will be able to walk in integrity.

The Worst Kept Secret

The story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife in Genesis 39 illustrates that there is no such thing as a secret.

(Gen 39:6-10) Joseph was probably tempted with a few of the lies that we like to tell ourselves.

1. No one will ever know.

They were alone in the house, no one needed to find out. This is a lie.

Any time you hear that thought in your head or have someone tell you “Let’s do it – no one will ever find out,” you can be sure that whatever you’re considering is not worth doing.

2. I’ll only do it this one time.

This is a powerful lie that ruins so many people. I’ll only get drunk once. I’ll only commit adultery one time with this person. I’m only going to take this money this one time, because at this point in my life, I need it so desperately. I’ll only smoke pot or take this pill one time. I’ll try anything once.

Mom told me in high school, “Whatever you do, I will find out about it.” She was right.

3. This will fulfill my needs and get me what I want.

Joseph could have thought, “Here is my chance for freedom. This is a woman of wealth, influence, and power! She can help me. I’ll give her what she wants, and she will give me what I want.”

Joseph was tempted like we are today, but Joseph made a good decision.

Gen 39:8-9 But he refused. "With me in charge," he told her, "my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" (NIV)

Was this a one-time sin issue with Joseph? Maybe, it wasn’t such a big deal. So what if he sinned. Would it really make that big of a difference in the scheme of things? It wasn’t going to change history or anything. Or was it? Gen 45:6-8 and Gen 50:19-20.

As the story continues in Genesis 39, Potiphar’s wife tried to force herself on Joseph. He flees leaving his cloak in her hand. So angry and being a seemingly respectable woman, she came up with a lie to cover her sins. She had a secret that only she and Joseph knew. As far as we know, everyone believed her. Joseph was put into prison, and she lived her life with that secret. She lived believing that there was such a thing as a secret.

She was wrong. Thousands of years later, we are still talking about her today. We all know about this dirty old woman who liked chasing a teenage boy around the house trying to seduce him. Joseph’s integrity and honor is still intact, and Potiphar’s wife is a mockery. There are no secrets.

Judah’s Belief in Secrets Brought Shame to His Entire Family for Many Generations.

In Genesis 38, Judah goes on a business trip far away from home in a distant land. He slept with a woman that he thought was a prostitute. He believed lie number 1: No one will ever know.

He thought he had a secret that no one knew until he found out that the woman was Tamar, his own daughter-in-law!

Sin will take you further than you want to go; cost you more than you want to pay; and keep you longer than you want to stay.

Today, The No Secrets Principle Works In Our Favor Also.

God sees everything done in secret, both good and bad. Jesus said the good done “in secret” will eventually be rewarded publicly. Matt 6:2-4 and Matt 6:16-18

We Will Reap Tomorrow What We Sow Today

Gal 6:7-9

7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.

8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

Many great men and women of God have fallen because of poor decisions that they made.

We aren’t just talking about having no secrets with your physical actions. We are talking about heart matters also. Even the most personal things that are in our heart, mind, and attitude will dynamically affect our lives. Unforgiveness is a good example. Matthew 6:14-15

The Holy Spirit searches our hearts and knows the thoughts within. Eventually, what is hidden on the inside will express itself on the outside in our words and deeds.

Today, Use the Fact that There Are No Secrets for Your Good.

Let people see the presence of Jesus in you. (Mark 7:24) When they whisper about you, let them whisper about your generosity, your unconditional love, your kindness, and caring. Let them whisper about the presence of Jesus in you.

Let’s Let Jesus Clear Our Rap Sheets.

I’m not telling you that you should go out and tell everyone everything that you ever did; the good, the bad, and the ugly! I’m saying today, and from this day forward, let’s live as if there are no secrets. If there are things in your past that you are ashamed of, ask Jesus to forgive you and make things right with the Lord. I John 1:9-10

What We Cover, God Uncovers.

Proverbs 28:13a (NIV) “He who conceals his sins does not prosper,”

What We Uncover, God Covers

Proverbs 28:13b (NIV) “…but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”

Titus 2:11-15 “Denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.” We’ve all got secrets. Let’s lay them on the altar today.

If your life were on the cover of the newspaper tomorrow, the headline should read:

“Christian, Guilty of Sin, Confesses to Holy God, Now Forgiven!”

09-19-10 Leadership and Life Group Meeting Ad

Today It’s All or Nothing!

September 9th, 2010

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Shall we gather at the river? Or shall we JUMP IN THE RIVER! I’m going for it! Today It’s All or Nothing! I want to do all that Jesus has called me to do, my hands are put to the plow and I’m not looking back!

Be encouraged and exhorted this Sunday at Believers Statesboro at 9:00 or 11:00. (If you are late you will miss something…) Today Matters! Today It’s All or Nothing!

Today Matters Wk 6 Today It’s All or Nothing Believers Statesboro 09-12-10

I will follow you wherever you go.

Potential Christ Follower #1: (Luke 9:57-58) Jesus is not looking for emotional enthusiasm that has not counted the cost. If necessary, we must be willing to abandon material security.

Potential Christ Follower #2: (Luke 9:59-60) This is a lesson against procrastination.

Potential Christ Follower #3:

Luke 9:61-62

61 Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-bye to my family."

62 Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God." (NIV)

Service to Christ Jesus demands our undivided attention. Once you have decided to walk with Jesus, there is no turning back. There is no looking back. There is no quitting. There is no giving up. The one who does is not fit for service in the Kingdom of God. Not fit for service implies that half-hearted devotion eliminates one from God’s maximum use.

What happens when your hand is on the plow and you look back? Everything gets out of line.

Where are you today? Is your hand to plow? Are you giving Jesus more than enthusiastic lip service?

Are you procrastinating? Are you half-heartedly devoted or are you plowing forward with everything you have within you? Today Matters! As far as I am concerned, today it is all or nothing!

Remember When You First Started Plowing?

Heb 10:32 “Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering.” Remember when you were new to the faith? You were full of zeal! You stood your ground when challenged about the truth. You didn’t back down. You gave it your all as if you were competing in a great contest. When you took up the plow, you didn’t let go, even if it meant suffering for the cause of Christ.

Heb 10:33 “Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated.” Sometimes, it was you taking the heat. Sometimes, you stood up for a fellow believer who was being mistreated. But, you never let go of the plow.

Heb.10:34 “You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.” You didn’t even worry when you lost all of your material possessions. You knew that you had something far better than money that could never be taken away. You were like a freight train for the Kingdom of God that could not be stopped! There was no turning back! It was all or nothing!

But as the months and years went by, the constant struggle seemed to wear you down. Gradually and ever so slowly that you hardly noticed it, you lost your enthusiasm. The next thing you knew, you still had your hand to the plow but you were crumbling and complaining as you worked.

Then you started slowing down, dragging your feet, and looking back.

So What Do You Do to Keep Yourself Passionately Following Jesus?

1. Plow With Confidence

Heb 10:35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.

Have the same confidence that you had the day you put your hand to the plow.

Heb 3:14 We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. (NIV)

Jesus gives us the confidence to approach God where we find mercy and grace.

Eph 3:12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

Heb 4:16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (NIV)

We can be confident that God will hear us and help us.

I Jn 5:14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. (NIV)

Heb 13:6 So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" (NIV) So, don’t throw away your confidence!

2. Plow with Perseverance

Heb 10:36-39

36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

37 For in just a very little while, "He who is coming will come and will not delay.

38 But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him."

39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved. (NIV)

Once you put your hand to the plow, you have to resolve that today it’s all or nothing!

3. Whatever You Do Matters

No matter what our call in life or occupation, we must give it our all.

Col 3:23-24

23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,

24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (NIV)

4. Realize Who You Are Plowing For

Col. 3:23 …As working for the Lord, not for men… It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (NIV)

In everything that we do, we should do it as unto the Lord. You work for Jesus. He has you assigned to different locations. Paul said in Phil 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (NIV)

Cultivating a working as unto the Lord attitude will help you be all you can be!

5. Plow to Please God, Not Man

Am I doing it for the Lord or for self-gratification? Am I pleasing God or pleasing man?

Acts 5:27-29…"We must obey God rather than men! (NIV)

6. Keeping Your Hand to the Plow Will Be Rewarded

Col 3:23-24

23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,

24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (NIV)

An inheritance from the Lord is far better than any inheritance on this earth. When we live for self-gratification or to please others, our reward is limited to the measure of satisfaction that we may experience or the fleeting praise others might offer us. When we live as unto the Lord we receive an inheritance from Him, which last for eternity!

7. Plow With All Your Heart

Col 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,

Work at it with all your heart. Do it heartily and cheerfully with effort! Give it 100%

Put time and energy into it. Do it with all your might. Do it in an excellent matter. YOU represent Christ Jesus, so work heartily as unto the Lord.

I believe that we should be a people of excellence because our God is an excellent God, doing nothing half heartily! DON’T GIVE GOD YOUR SECOND BEST! Resolve that today it’s all or nothing!

Color Ladies Retreat

September 7th, 2010

Ladies it’s time to start planning our Color Ladies Retreat.

SAVE THE DATE!  November 5-6, 2010

Ladies Color Retreat Save the date Pic

Today Declare

September 2nd, 2010

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Today Matters Week 5 “Today Declare” Believers Statesboro 09-05-10

Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is– his good, pleasing and perfect will. (NIV)

But Everyone Else Is Doing It.

Matt 7:13-14 "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (NIV)

“There is a view of life which says that where the crowd is, there is also the truth. There is another view of life which conceives that wherever there is a crowd, there is untruth.” Soren Kierkegaard Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God.”

Good Example:

Hebrews 11:24-26 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. (NIV)

Bad Example:

Matthew 26:69-75 And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, "Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you." Then he began to curse and swear, saying, "I do not know the Man!" And immediately a rooster crowed.

History has seen many men and women who have stood against the masses, popular thoughts and trends and have prevailed. But, our greatest example is that of Christ Jesus.

  • Matthew 4:1-11 Jesus was tempted to conform to a way that was not God’s way.
  • 1 Peter 2:4 “As you come to him, the living Stone– rejected by men but chosen by God and

precious to him—“ (NIV) Like Christ Jesus, are you willing to be rejected by men so that you can be chosen and precious unto God?

How to make sure you won’t be rejected by men – Simple 4-Step Program (by Paul Apple)

1) Have a friendship with the world. Cost: Be an enemy of God.
James 4:4 “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
How do you go about making yourself a friend of the world? Love the world – that’s a good start. Love what the world loves, act the way the world acts, and set your value system to be the same (1 John 2:15-17) Turn away from Jesus, pursue all the pleasures of sin, and the things of earth will soon replace Him and your faith will be worthless.

2) Be a man-pleaser. Cost: Lose the favor of God.

Tell people what they want to hear, tickle their ears, call good evil and evil good, say peace when there is no peace, and have no absolutes or truth. Matthew 10:28 “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

3) Hide your light under a bushel. Cost: Countless numbers of people are lost and hopeless.

Don’t declare the truth. Fail to speak out against evil. Laugh at the dirty jokes that other people tell. Turn your head when you see evil.

4) Walk by sight rather than by faith. Cost: It will be impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). You want that immediate gratification of people accepting you and approving of you rather than trusting in the judgment of God. So, you just do what feels good, what makes you feel good and what pleases others. Proverbs 3:5-8 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. (NIV)

The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen

Once upon a time there lived a vain emperor whose only worry in life was to dress in elegant clothes. He changed clothes almost every hour and loved to show them off to his people. Word of the Emperor’s refined habits spread over his kingdom and beyond.

Two scoundrels who had heard of the Emperors’ vanity decided to take advantage of it. They introduced themselves at the gates of the palace with a scheme in mind. "We are two very good tailors and after many years of research we have invented an extraordinary method to weave a cloth so light and fine that it looks invisible. As a matter of fact it is invisible to anyone who is too stupid and incompetent to appreciate its quality."

The chief of the guards heard the scoundrel’s strange story and sent for the court chamberlain. The chamberlain notified the prime minister, who ran to the Emperor and disclosed the incredible news. The Emperor’s curiosity got the better of him and he decided to see the two scoundrels. "Besides being invisible, your Highness, this cloth will be woven in colors and patterns created especially for you." The emperor gave the two men a bag of gold coins in exchange for their promise to begin working on the fabric immediately.

"Just tell us what you need to get started and we’ll give it to you." The two scoundrels asked for a loom, silk, gold thread and then pretended to begin working. The Emperor thought he had spent his money quite well; in addition to getting a new extraordinary suit, he would discover which of his subjects were ignorant and incompetent. A few days later, he called the old and wise prime minister, who was considered by everyone as a man with common sense. "Go and see how the work is proceeding," the Emperor told him, "and come back to let me know."

The prime minister was welcomed by the two scoundrels. "We’re almost finished, but we need a lot more gold thread. Here, Excellency! Admire the colors, feel the softness!" The old man bent over the loom and tried to see the fabric that was not there. He felt cold sweat on his forehead. "I can’t see anything," he thought. "If I see nothing, that means I’m stupid! Or, worse, incompetent!" If the prime minister admitted that he didn’t see anything, he would be discharged from his office.

"What a marvelous fabric, he said then. "I’ll certainly tell the Emperor." The two scoundrels rubbed their hands gleefully. They had almost made it. More thread was requested to finish the work.

Finally, the Emperor received the announcement that the two tailors had come to take all the measurements needed to sew his new suit. "Come in," the Emperor ordered. Even as they bowed, the two scoundrels pretended to be holding a large roll of fabric. "Here it is your Highness, the result of our labor," the scoundrels said. "We have worked night and day but, at last, the most beautiful fabric in the world is ready for you. Look at the colors and feel how fine it is." Of course the Emperor did not see any colors and could not feel any cloth between his fingers. He panicked and felt like fainting. But luckily the throne was right behind him and he sat down. But when he realized that no one could know that he did not see the fabric, he felt better. Nobody could find out he was stupid and incompetent. And the Emperor didn’t know that everybody else around him thought and did the very same thing.

The farce continued as the two scoundrels had foreseen it. Once they had taken the measurements, the two began cutting the air with scissors while sewing with their needles an invisible cloth. "Your Highness, you’ll have to take off your clothes to try on your new ones." The two scoundrels draped the new clothes on him and then held up a mirror. The Emperor was embarrassed but since none of his bystanders were, he felt relieved. "Yes, this is a beautiful suit and it looks very good on me," the Emperor said trying to look comfortable. "You’ve done a fine job."

"Your Majesty," the prime minister said, "we have a request for you. The people have found out about this extraordinary fabric and they are anxious to see you in your new suit." The Emperor was doubtful about showing himself naked to the people, but then he abandoned his fears. After all, no one would know about it except the ignorant and the incompetent. "All right," he said. "I will grant the people this privilege." He summoned his carriage and the ceremonial parade was formed. A group of dignitaries walked at the very front of the procession and anxiously scrutinized the faces of the people in the street. All the people had gathered in the main square, pushing and shoving to get a better look. An applause welcomed the regal procession. Everyone wanted to know how stupid or incompetent his or her neighbor was but, as the Emperor passed, a strange murmur rose from the crowd.

Everyone said, loud enough for the others to hear: "Look at the Emperor’s new clothes. They’re beautiful!" "What a marvelous train!" "And the colors! The colors of that beautiful fabric! I have never seen anything like it in my life." They all tried to conceal their disappointment at not being able to see the clothes, and since nobody was willing to admit his own stupidity and incompetence, they all behaved as the two scoundrels had predicted.

A child, however, who had no important job and could only see things as his eyes showed them to him, went up to the carriage. "The Emperor is naked," he said.

"Fool!" his father reprimanded, running after him. "Don’t talk nonsense!" He grabbed his child and took him away. But the boy’s remark, which had been heard by the bystanders, was repeated over and over again until everyone cried:

"The boy is right! The Emperor is naked! It’s true!"

The Emperor realized that the people were right but could not admit to that. He thought it better to continue the procession under the illusion that anyone who couldn’t see his clothes was either stupid or incompetent. And he stood stiffly on his carriage, while behind him a page held his imaginary mantle.