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His Courageous Next Step would prove to be a significant turning point in the history of the church. A man full of hate for Jesus and His followers. A man who breathed murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He received special letters from the High Priest to all the synagogues of Damascus, giving him permission to arrest any belonging to the Way, a term given to the early church.  Later this man would  lay his life down for the gospel, but it all began with one Courageous Next Step. Join us at Believers Church Sunday at 9 or 11 a.m. to find out more about this man and how hearing from God allowed him to be obedient in his his Next Steps.

Matthew ANN

Vision Dinner

September 24th, 2013

VisionDinner_Sept

Job 2113 Courageous Next Steps_Page_1

The Story of Peter’s Courageous Next Step Acts 2

Listen or Watch Online at http://believersstatesboro.com/home/online-sermons/

Peter’s First Call

Simon Peter was introduced to Christ Jesus by his brother Andrew. John 1:41-42 (Peter, THE ROCK).

But Peter didn’t follow Jesus at that time. Peter wouldn’t follow Jesus until a dramatic fish miracle! Luke 5:1-11

Luke 5:3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon…

When Jesus gets into your boat it changes everything! Has Jesus gotten into your boat?

Matt 4:19-22 "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him. … immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. (NIV)

I don’t know if Peter really understood what Jesus wanted to do for him. He may have thought Jesus was going to make him the most successful fisherman of all time.

Jesus said, “Follow Me and I’m going to make you into something that you aren’t already.” A Fisher of Men!”

Peter was given opportunities that we will never have. He walked with Jesus, lived with Jesus, and

learned from Jesus for three and a half years. He was getting it. God was revealing to him that Jesus was the Christ the Son of the living God. One day Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say I am, or more importantly who do you say I am?” Matt 16:13-28

So of all people you wouldn’t expect Peter to fail. You won’t expect him to turn his back on Jesus, to

deny Jesus, and to curse his name. Let’s face if you and I had been Jesus we would have written him off. “Ok I gave you a chance and you blew it! I don’t need you anymore!”

Fishing for Fish Again

Not only did Peter deny Jesus, he didn’t stand up for Him and Jesus was killed, crucified, died and was buried. So now what was Peter supposed to do.

Peter being the great leader that he was, called by Jesus to be a fisher of men, commissioned by Jesus to

baptize all nations said, “I’m going out to fish,” John 21:3

He didn’t say, “Hey let’s go fishing for men.” He said, “Let’s go back to what we know best, fishing for fish. Let’s go back to our comfort zone, something we know we can do in our own power and strength. My failure as a disciple of Christ was a bit embarrassing. I’m out of the limelight. I going to settle in, fish for fish, and retire at a ripe of age. But, as if it were a divine sign from heaven, that night they caught nothing.

Now wait a minute! What are they doing fishing? If wasn’t over! Jesus had risen from the dead just as He said He would. He was walking the earth, appearing to people and the disciples. John 20:19-22.

Jesus died to pay the price for Peter’s sin, Peter had already believed in his heart that Jesus was the Christ, and now Jesus breaths His Spirit into Peter and the others. This was the disciples point of salvation. And just to make sure that the disciple didn’t thing their mission had ended, Jesus reminded them of their divine call, sayings, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” It’s not over, this is just the beginning. Remember I’m making you into something. I’m making you into a fisher of men!

I can only imagine what Peter was thinking. “Jesus, I’m overjoyed to see you! Thank you for my salvation. I’m glad you are still going to build your church. I’m glad everything we believed about you is true. I’m glad you are going to use the other disciples and do something awesome, but…. Jesus you called me, I blew it, and I’m though. I’m going back to fishing for fish.” Are some of you there today?

Peter and Jesus on the Beach

John 21:4-7 So here stands Jesus and Peter on the beach, nothing separating them but a fire of coals.

Peter stands there letting the smell of burning charcoal send memories rushing through his mind.

He remembered his pledge of loyalty. He remembered his denial. And he remembered his bitter tears.

How have you denied Jesus?

Left your first love / denied Him your time / denied Him your talents / denied Him your resources / denied Him your devotion / denied Him your life? Peter is standing by the coal of fires totally GUILTY, and not a word is spoken. Jesus and Peter are standing face to face both knowing, but never a word of condemnation spoken!

Peter’s Restoration

Jesus invited the disciples to have breakfast with him and when they had finished eating, Jesus had a little talk with Peter. Jesus address him three times, as if one time for every denial, with a question of Peters love and devotion, followed by a divine commission.

Jesus doesn’t address him as Peter, but calls him Simon son of John. Not Peter the rock.

John 21:15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."

Do you love me more than these?

  • More than the people around us. James and John, Peter’s best friends. Andrew, Peter’s brother and companion.
  • More than the boats and nets – the pleasure of fishing. Fishing was his identity, life passion.
  • More than the 153 large fish. Peter’s livelihood. Money!

· Or do you love me more than these other people love me. Peter always thought of himself as

better than the others. This challenges his vain-glorious boast that, though all men should deny

you, I will not.

Peter answered, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." Two Greek words for love:

· Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him with agape love, God’s kind of unconditional love.

· Peter answered that he loved the Lord with phileo – brotherly love and kindness.

.  Peter couldn’t yet love Jesus with agape love. After Acts 2, he referred to agape love often.

A Higher Calling

“He said to him, "Feed My lambs.” Not just forgiveness. Not just restoration, but total restoration and a higher calling.

John 21:16 Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep." (NIV)

(Again, agape vs phileo love.) A second divine call. “Tend My sheep.” Or Take Care of my Sheep.”

John 21:17 The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" For the third question Jesus asks Peter, “Do you even love me with phileo love? He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” (with Phileo love) Jesus said, "Feed my sheep. (NIV)

Follow Me

John 21:19 …Then he said to him, "Follow me!" The icing on the cake is that Jesus brings it all back around to Peter’s original call to follow Christ. And the promise is still there. If you follow me, I will make you into something that you are not.

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

Total Restoration! Forgiveness! Higher calling! Jesus is offering the same to you today!

I used to follow Jesus, I had a call on my life, and I used to really serve Him BUT…

· I got pregnant outside of marriage… I had an abortion… I committed fornication…

· I became an alcoholic… I was unfaithful to my spouse…

· I became a drug user… I got divorced… I killed…

· I stole… I fell in love with money…

· I got my girlfriend pregnant… I just slowly slipped away and left my first love.

Fast Forward. Jesus ascended into heaven with a promise.

Acts 1:8-9

8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

This time Peter doesn’t go back to fishing for fish. He goes to Jerusalem and is empower by the Holy Spirit and boldness. But even after he is empowered Peter has to decide, will he back to his old life or will he take that Courageous Next Step and step into his destiny and higher calling.

Peter’s HIGHER CALLING:

Acts 2 Peter filled with the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:14-42 Peter boldly preaches and 3000 people came to Christ.

Acts Peter pastored the church of Jerusalem, growing to over 100,000 people.

Acts 4:3 Peter is supernaturally delivered from prison.

Acts 5:15-16 Peter is used by God to heal many.

Acts 5:41-42 Peter never stops preaching and teaching.

Acts 8:14; 9:32 Peter even does some mission work.

Acts 9:40 Peter raised the Dead – Tabitha.

Acts 10 Peter had the honor to bring the gospel to Gentiles.

But it all started with that Courageous Next Step!

I have in so many ways denied Jesus. You have in so many ways denied Jesus. In our speech, in our actions, and in our choices. Smell the coals… Be reminded… Holy Spirit remind us now…

I John 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

God is offering you total restoration and a total pardon. But not only forgiveness and pardon but a higher calling!

What have you done that’s so bad that Jesus can’t restore you? How have you denied Him?

· Moses killed a man.

· David was a man of war, an adulterer, and a murder.

· Matthew was a tax collector and a thief.

· Mary Magdalene was a demon processed prostitute.

· Paul persecuted the church.

· Peter denied Jesus three times

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

While you were a sinner, Christ died for you.

· Has His love for you left or is it diminished because you have been denying Him? No!

· God has better things planned for you!

NEXT STEP:

  • Take a Courageous Next Step to Salvation.
  • Take the Courageous Next Step to forgive yourself, forget your past mistakes and failures, and make that Courageous Next step into to you destiny.
  • Be filled with Holy Spirit so that, like Peter, you can take that Courageous Next Step with boldness.

Life Group and Family Devotional Questions

1) Why did Peter, Andrew, James, and James immediately drop everything they had and follow Jesus? Do you think that sometime we follow Jesus for what we can get, rather than what he wants to make us into to?

2) What does Jesus want to make all of His followers into? How well do you fish?

3) Do you ever feel like Peter, that even though you had every opportunity, you failed at what you thought God wanted you to do? Has that failure caused you to back off from you calling or has it pushed you forward with greater resolve?

4) How have you denied Jesus? In what ways do people deny him daily even if they don’t realize it?

5) Read 1 John 1:9-10 and Romans 5:8. Is there anything that you’ve done that you feel was so bad that Jesus can’t restore you? Was there something in the past that you had to work through and forgive yourself?

6) Now that Jesus has forgiven you and restored you, what Courageous Next Step do you need to take?

Courageous Next Steps Post Card (2)

Last Sunday we talked about a young man named David,who with one big Courageous Next Step, established himself as a leader and change agent. We must encourage each other as we take steps of faith. This week we will learn about a man that loves Jesus, yet denies Him three times.  A man that was a failure by human standards, yet would rise to be a Pastor.  What happens when we miss God’s call for our lives? Do we stay down or do we get back up again by being Courageous and taking our Next Steps with Boldness? Join us this Sunday at 9 or 11 a.m. for week #2 of Courageous Next Steps.

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At Believers Church God is forming a unique group of people with many gifts and talents into a unified body of Christ.  He is doing something very special among us.  But our talent, our gifts, our knowledge, and even our calling won’t get us to where we need to be.  In order to do all that God has called us to do we must continue to take Courageous Next Steps.

Join us Sunday as we learn of a young man, who during a time of great fear and uncertainty took a Courageous Next Step.  See how his Courageous Next Step saved his Nation and launched him into his divine destiny!

Courageous Next Steps Begins this Sunday, 9-15-13, at 9 a.m. or 11 a.m.

Remember, courage is not the absence of fear.  As a matter of fact you don’t need courage if there is no fear.  Anytime you are stepping out in faith you can expect fear to be present to keep you from doing what God has called you to do.  We must have the ability to carry our fears with us into the unknown, because the outcome of unbridled fear is missed opportunity.

Let’s encourage one another to take Courageous Next Steps!

One Hour on Wednesday 7PM

September 11th, 2013

Matthew

It’s Wednesday night! What better way to spend your evening than at Believers Church with friends in Christ? We are studying Matthew, join us tonight and bring your family! EDGE will meet starting at 6:30 PM in the GARAGE and Believing Kids and Promiseland will be in Green, Purple, Orange and Blue rooms studying the WORD!

clip_image001It’s a BIG world.

“Still Thinking Small” Believers Statesboro 09-08-13

Listen or Watch online – http://believersstatesboro.com/home/online-sermons/

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Life can be difficult. But it’s good to know that not only is God for you and not against you, but we have one another to help us get through even the darkest times. It’s what we like to call “Doing Life Together”.

To encourage relationships and that kind of “life flow” within in the church, in 2006 we launched “Free Market” small groups, which we refer to as Life Groups. We had a vision of a church that would not only meet together corporately for worships events, but that would also meet together in small groups. Our theme: “It’s a Big World, Think Small.”

Here we are in 2013, some 7 years later and that Vision has now become a core value of Believers Church and we are “Still Thinking Small”. It’s still a big, tough world out there and one of the ways that we will excel in that big bad world is by thinking small. That is, thinking small groups.

Even in the 1st Century the early church, which we can read about in the book of Acts, realized that there was strength in grouping together not only in large group setting, but in small groups as well.

Daily Doing Life Together

Acts 2:46-47 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (NIV)

“Everyday” “They meet together in the temple courts” and “In their homes.”

Acts 5:42 They met day after day in the Temple courts and from house to house.

Know Somebody

You don’t have to know everybody in the church to feel like it’s your church, but you do have to know somebody.

The average person knows 67 people in the church, whether that church has 100, 1,000 or 10,000.

One of the purposes of a small group is to help you meet your 67 people. Our May 2006 Newsletter, asked this question, “If you were going through a personal crisis and needed four friends to drop everything and come to be with you, who would you call on?”

  • If you don’t come and get involved in a small group, who’s going to be there in your crisis?
  • The pastors and staff can no longer handle all the pastoral care for a church our size.

Even though we have been casting a vision for Life Groups here at Believers Church, not everyone had bought into the vision. This may be the first time you’ve heard about Life Groups or you may be here today and you are thinking, “Oh no he is teaching in Life Groups again!” But if you are saying that, you fall into one of three groups.

NEXT STEP: Honestly check which statement applies to you.

  • I’ve heard this sermon before and I have embraced Life Groups, therefore I get to snooze today.
  • I’ve heard this sermon before, but I’m not in a Life Group, I need to hear it again.
  • I’ve heard this sermon before, I used to be in a group, but I’m not currently in a group, so I need to be encouraged to buy back into the vision of Life Group for Believers Church.

Why Should I Join a Life Group?

1. Encouragement.

I think that’s the greatest benefit of being in a small group: emotional support for your life and your ministry.

I Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Hebrews 3:13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

We all need the support of good friends, people who believe in you and push you to reach your potential.

2. Spiritual Accountability.

We all talk about accountability, but you can only be accountable if you want to be accountable. When you join a Life Group, you’re saying, “I want you to hold me accountable for my character. Hold me accountable for having a daily quiet time and other spiritual disciplines.”

3. Prayer Support.

It’s always more beneficial to pray with other people and have their support, rather than feel like you’re praying by yourself. There is power in agreement.

Matt 18:19-20 “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." (NIV)

4. It’s a Good Place to Brainstorm Ideas, about Life, Family, and Ministry.

Sometimes you just need to run ideas by someone. As ideas are exchanged, creativity flows. How do you handle certain circumstances and situations? What’s worked for your family, what hasn’t? Life Groups allow us a time to dream, plan, and come up with great ideas to accomplish our mission and fulfill our destiny.

5. Life Groups Allow Us a Chance to Celebrate Victories.

How many times have you sat in a large group assembly bursting inside with a story to tell of God’s goodness, mercy, or grace? Life Groups give you an opportunity to share what God is doing in your life. Believers need the opportunity to share victories together. It keeps the morale going. Inspires and motivates!

Elements of Life Groups

Focus On Others

Romans 15:2 “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.”

  • Focusing on others takes the attention off of you. It’s not about your problems, your wants, your needs. It is a “How can I help my friend” mentality.
  • It gets you out of the I-Chair, where you think it’s all about you.

Restoration and Support

Galatians 6:1-2 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Eph 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Eph 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Love

I John 3:11 This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.

I John 4:7 & 11& 21 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

21 And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Friendships People aren’t just looking for a friendly church, they are looking for friends.

What’s So Spiritual About Grouping Together?

It is ministry perfectly expressing what the Bible is all about: Loving God and Loving Others.

Enjoying one another’s company. As we group around “common interest” or “felt needs”, we are providing as much, or more, practical life coaching than many Sunday morning Bible classes.

  • We connect in what could be transformed into positive, intentional relationships that could ultimately lead others to God’s plan for their lives.
  • Friends influence friends.
  • A humble Life Group can accomplish what an evangelistic outreach struggles to do.
  • Life groups connect people in positive ways in order to disciple them in life.
  • Through a common hobby and intentional relationships, lives are changed.

Making Disciples?

How do we fulfill our Great Commission to “make disciples of all nations”?

  • Just as Jesus did, and Paul did, and Peter did, and John did: by knowing people and walking them through life with God’s wisdom and understanding.
  • Jesus communicated God’s Word through life. He modeled it and taught it in the midst of living with others.

Relational Discipleship / Discipleship = relationship + intentionality.

Believers Church Life Groups in a Nutshell

How Are Relationships Built?

  • People join a group primarily because of similar interests or felt needs.
  • Relationships might be short-term but have the potential to become long-term.

How is Evangelism Done?

  • Because of the variety of the groups and the short-term time commitment, members are encouraged to invite an unbelieving friend to a group that they know would have an appeal.

Relational Evangelism / HP + CP + CC = MI

HP (High Potency) + CP (Close Proximity) + CC (Clear Communication) = MI (Maximum Impact)

Number of People in a Group

  • At least 3 and can grow as large as the need demands as long as it stays less than 150 people.

Time Commitment

  • All the groups have a specific starting and stopping point.
  • Quarter System. 10 Weeks Each. Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. (On Ramps)

What Is Its Fundamental Premise?

  • People join small groups primarily because of a common interest or felt need.
  • Life Groups can’t happen unless you choose to be with others.

Heb 10:24-25 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

What Do I Want?

I want someone to grow with me. I want someone who is willing to suffer with me. I want someone who will laugh with me. I want someone to enjoy life with me. I want them to be intentionally coaching me and allowing me to coach them.

I believe that this is what you want too.

Next Step: I will commit to one Life Group this Fall Quarter and be faithful.

Sermon Based Life Group Leaders Challenge

I’m challenging three family units, married or sing to rise up and lead a sermon based Life Group

beginning, September 16, 2013.

Next Step: I will take the Sermon Based Life Group Leadership Challenge

Life Group and Family Devotional Questions

This week is our Life Group Quarter Break; therefore we have no Life Group Questions.

I would encourage you to sign up for a Life Group today! Fall Quarter begins 09-16-13.

For a Family Devotional this week, I would encourage you to:

  • Re-read the sermon notes and discuss them.
  • Pray to see if God is leading your family to lead a Life Group.

We need groups that incorporate the family and children. We need groups that offer child care. We need groups that focus on outreach and evangelism. We need several more Sermon Based Life Groups.

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Life can be difficult. But it’s good to know that not only is God for you and not against you, but we have one another to help us get through even the darkest times. It’s what we like to call “Doing Life Together”.

To encourage relationships and that kind of “life flow” within the church, in 2006 we launched “Free Market” small groups, which we refer to as Life Groups. We had a vision of a church that would not only meet together corporately for worships events, but that would also meet together in small groups. Our theme: “It’s a Big World, Think Small.”

Here we are in 2013, some 7 years later and that Vision has now become a core value of Believers Church and we are “Still Thinking Small”. It’s still a big, tough world out there and one of the ways that we will excel in that big bad world is by thinking small. That is, thinking small groups.

Even in the 1st Century early church, which we can read about in the book of Acts, they realized that there was strength in grouping together not only in a large group setting, but in small groups as well. Join us this Sunday at 9 or 11 a.m. at Believers Church. We are going to talk about our Life Group’s and discover how being a part of a Life Group can not only impact your life, but others!

Work Life

Work Life Week 4 Working On Purpose Believers Statesboro 09-01-13

Watch or listen online at http://believersstatesboro.com/home/online-sermons/

Proverbs 29:18 “where there is no vision the people perish.”

Where there is no vision, no dream, no revelation for your work life, people simply exist. When it comes to our work life, our productive hours, everyone ends up somewhere, but few people end up somewhere on purpose.

Grievous Work or Good Work

Ecclesiastes 2:17 VS Ephesians 2:10

Are you doing the work that God wants you to do? If Yes…

Be Thankful
Col 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (NIV)
Excel

Don’t just think you’ve arrived because you’re doing a great job, but ask God what else does He want to do in you. What else does He want to do through you? Use Jesus as an example.

NEXT STEP: Consider if I am doing what God has called me to do, and if so, be thankful and excel.!

Are you doing the work that God wants you to do? If No…

Trust God

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (NIV)

Pray through this question: If you could do anything and God would bless it, what would you attempt to do?
Dream Big. Think about Nehemiah, Moses, Barnabas, and Tabitha. If asked “If you could do anything and God would bless it, what would you do?” What do you think they would say?
Be Faithful Faithfully Work Your Current Job Assignment

Luke 16:10 teaches us that “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.”

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (NIV)

EX: David in the Old Testament.

NEXT STEP: Trust God to work faithfully in my current job assignment because I don’t feel like I’m doing what God has called me to do.

NEXT STEP: Pray through this question: If I could do anything and God would bless it, what would I attempt to do?

Are you doing the work that God wants you to do? Yes. Be Thankful and Excel

Are you doing the work that God wants you to do? No. Trust God and Be Faithful

Col 3:23-24 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)

Life Group and Family Devotional Questions

1 What is your current job, career, work life?

2 Are you doing the work that God wants you to do? Yes / No Explain your answer.

3 If your answer to question 2. is yes, how do you express thankfulness? What measures are you taking to excel in your work life?

4 If your answer to question 2. is no, how hard is it to trust God in your current work situation? Why?

5 If your answer to question 2. is no, how hard is it to be faithful in your current job assignment? Why?

6 How did you answer the question: If you could do anything and God would bless it, what would you attempt to do? Explain why you want to do this particular job.