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Next Week Promo 9-28

When You Believe In God, But Pursue Happiness At Any Cost Believers 9-28-14

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

“When You Believe in God, but…” We can believe in God to a certain extent, but sometimes we get to a place where we really struggle to believe any further. I want God to remove all the “buts” from my life, don’t you? I mean why believe in God and live a Christian life, yet not believe and trust God completely?

I want to believe and you want to believe.

Mark 9:24 … "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" (NIV)

I do believe, I want to believe, and I want to completely believe, but I’ve got some “buts”. I’ve got some faith limits, so Jesus, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief.”

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.

(NIV)

More POSSESSIONS + peaceful CIRCUMSTANCES + thrilling EXPERIENCES + the right RELATIONSHIPS + the perfect APPEARANCE = happiness.

God doesn’t want us to be HAPPY, because He wants us to be BLESSED.

Makarios (ma-KAR-ee-os) is a Greek word in the Bible that means “supremely blessed” and “more than happy.”

In our Joy Ride Series we talk about the difference of being happy and being joyful.

· Happiness is based on external things that happen to you. If good happens, I’m happy. Bad, no!

· Joy is based on what happens to you internally. Joy is a byproduct of Christ Jesus living inside you. As a believer you experience the Joy of the Lord!

Joy is a direct result of being blessed by God!

There is nothing wrong with being happy! I like being happy, don’t you? But happiness is not the goal.

· God doesn’t want you to be happy when it causes you to do something wrong or unwise.

· God doesn’t want you to be happy when it’s based on the things of this world.

1. EDUCATION doesn’t satisfy.

2. PLEASURE doesn’t satisfy.

3. ACHEIVEMENT doesn’t satisfy.

Dion Sanders was on Bear Grylls show the other night and he openly shared his faith. He said that the most disappointed and let down point in his life was after he fulfilled his lifelong achievement of winning the Super Bowl. He said, “It that it. I thought it would feel so much better?” He sunk into depression.

4. WEALTH doesn’t satisfy.

Remember the statement from Rockefeller two weeks ago? When John D. Rockefeller was asked how much money was enough, he replied: "A little bit more."

5. SUCCESS doesn’t satisfy.

Our happiness is based, not in the things of the world, but the goodness of God.

The more you fall in love with Jesus, the more the less the things of this world will pull and draw you.

EIGHT KEYS TO BLESSING

Matthew 5:3-11 (The Message)

3 "You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. 4 "You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. 5 "You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are – no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought. 6 "You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat. 7 "You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘careful,’ you find yourselves cared for. 8 "You’re blessed when you get your inside world – your mind and heart – put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. 9 "You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. 10 "You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom. 11 "Not only that – count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable.

1. Allow LESS OF YOU and more of God.

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and His rule.” Vs. 3

The world’s definition of happiness doesn’t work here. People who are down and out, don’t say, “I’m happy.” Remember the Greek word here for blessed is Makarios (ma-KAR-ee-os) that means “supremely blessed” and “more than happy.”

So you could read it this way, “You’re (More Than Happy) when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and His rule.”

That does not make sense to the world and maybe not to you either but consider what Paul, a man who suffered greatly for Jesus said.

2 Cor 12:9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (NIV)

2. Trust God when life is DISAPPOINTING.

You’re blessed (More Than Happy) when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.” Vs. 4

The world can’t see being happy when you suffer lose and mourn. There is nothing wrong with mourning, but you mourn as one who has hope. You know there is a bigger picture and to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

You are more than happy when life is disappointing because you know that Jesus will be very close to you and bring you and enduring comfort.

Ps 34:18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (NIV)

3. Expect God to meet your NEEDS.

“You’re blessed (More Than Happy) when you’re content with just who you are – no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.” Vs. 5

Phil 4:12-13

12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (NIV)

You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you and you have the assurance that will meet your every need. You have a deep abounding trust that brings joy.

God will supply all needs.

Phil 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

(NIV)

But we learned two weeks ago that God likes to give us things to enjoy too!

1 Tim 6:17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. (NIV)

4. Follow God’s INSTRUCTIONS.

“You’re blessed (More Than Happy) when you work up a good appetite for God.” Vs. 6

You are more than happy when you cultivate a desire to do things God’s way. The righteous way.

The world will tell you that you can only be happy when you do things your own way or the way everyone says to do it.

But don’t hunger for the things of the world, rather be hungry for the things of God!

Pursue hunger and thirst after righteousness and follow God’s instruction in all things.

5. Cultivate a FORGIVING heart.

“You’re blessed (More Than Happy) when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full’, you find yourselves cared for.” Vs. 7

You will reap what you sow. You will care for others and they will care for you. The NIV is clearer than the Message Bible on verse 7. It says blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

That’s why we say to develop a forgiving, merciful heart. You are going to need forgiveness and mercy in the future so give it to others now.

Rather than pursue happiness at all cost, pursue a life of mercy and forgiveness.

6. Maintain a clear CONSCIENCE.

“You’re blessed (More Than Happy) when you get your inside world – your mind and heart – put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.” Vs. 8

Purity in heart, forgiven by God, walking with a clear conscience will far excide any happiness that the world has to offer.

You want ever need to get your heart right with God!

“Put your heart right, reach out to God…15 Then face the world again, firm and courageous. 16 Then all your troubles will fade from your memory like floods that are past and remembered no more.” Job 11:13-16 (GNT)

7. Build healthy RELATIONSHIPS.

“You’re blessed (More Than Happy) when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.” Vs. 9

We live in “Fight for your right to party” world! I deserve to be happy; I have a right to be happy! I will fight for my rights and I will be happy no matter how many people are hurt in the process.

As children of God our savior is the prince of peace, we are filled with the Spirit of peace and we are peach makers, we live in the peace that passes all understanding.

8. Live with an ETERNAL perspective.

“You’re blessed (More Than Happy) when your commitment to God provokes persecution…Count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens.” Vs. 10-12

Life can be hard. It can be tough. It’s not a matter of if troubles and trial will come; it is just a matter of when the troubles and trials will come.

The world doesn’t think that you can be happy when there is persecution and trouble, but we as believers have an eternal outlook and we know that our time on earth, good or bad, is short and momentary.

2 Cor 4:16-18

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (NIV)

Phil 3:20-21

20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. (NIV)

We are blessed! Supremely blessed! We are more than happy! We Believe In God and We Will Not Pursue Happiness at Any Cost. We will just pursue Jesus!

Next Step: I will Look back and be GRATEFUL; look ahead and be HOPEFUL; look up and be BLESSED.

Life Group and Family Devotional Application

_____ Better possessions _____ Peaceful circumstance _____ Thrilling experience _____ The Right relationships

_____ The Perfect appearance

1) Rate the above with: 3 = I almost always think this will make me happier. 2 = I frequently think this will make me happier. 1 = I occasionally think this will make me happier. 0 = I rarely think this will make me happier.

2) Circle one of the items you rated as a 2 or 3 in question 1 and insert it in the first blank below. Then complete the sentence in your own words.

If I could have _____________________ tomorrow, the biggest change in my life would be _______________. This would make me happier because _______________________________________.

3) God doesn’t want you to be happy IF it causes you to do something wrong, unwise, or if it’s only based on the things of this world. Read aloud Matt 6:31-33, 1 Peter 1:13-16, and 1 John 2:15-17. Discuss the contrast of behaviors of believers and unbelievers. How would you characterize the primary difference between the two? In what ways do you recognize these differences in our culture, within your circle of friends, or your own life?

4) The Greek word for “blessed” means “more than happy.” Read aloud the following text and replace the word “blessed” with “more than happy”. Matt 5:3-11 / Ps. 112:1 / Ps. 119:2 / Rom 4:8. God doesn’t want us to pursue happiness at any cost. He wants us to rest in Him and be MORE THAN HAPPY!

Next Week Promo 9-28

“When You Believe in God, but…” We can believe in God to a certain extent, but sometimes we get to a place where we really struggle to believe any further. I want God to remove all the “buts” from my life, don’t you? I mean why believe in God and live a Christian life, yet not believe and trust God completely?

I want to believe and you want to believe.

Mark 9:24 … "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" (NIV)

This week we will conclude our series with “When You Believe in God, But Pursue Happiness at Any Cost.” God doesn’t want us to settle for being happy. When the world is telling us to look to possessions, relationships, or appearances for happiness, God is telling us that happiness is not the goal.  It is not the best God has for us. Join us Sunday at 9 or 11 a.m. as we talk about what God has in store for us that will make us “more than happy.”

09-14 Trust More in Money

When You Believe In God, But Trust More In Money. Believers Statesboro 9-14-14

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

“When You Believe in God, but…” We can believe in God to a certain extent, but sometimes we get to a place where we really struggle to believe any further. I want God to remove all the “buts” from my life, don’t you? I mean why believe in God and live a Christian life, yet not believe and trust God completely?

I want to believe and you want to believe. Mark 9:24 … "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" (NIV)

I do believe, I want to believe, and I want to completely believe, but I’ve got some “buts”. I’ve got some faith limits, so Jesus, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief.”

The Irony on Our Money / “In God We Trust

For most American’s this motto is just not true. We might print it on our money and say it with our lips, but our actions are telling a different story. Even as Christians who believe in God, we say we trust God, but in our everyday lives we are tempted to trust, serve, and worship the “All Mighty Dollar” instead of “God Almighty”.

Who we really trust in is not seen in our words, but in our actions. Our actions reflect who we trust.

Money Is Clearly the Number One Competitor for Our Hearts

Luke 12:34 Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be. (NLT)

I like this New Living Translation because it not only uses the word “heart”, but adds “thoughts”.

If your thoughts are consumed with money and how you need more of it, there is a problem.

There are two incorrect thoughts that we have about money.

· More money will bring me more happiness.

The problem is that most of us (secretly) believe that money can bring us happiness too.

Question: Could just a little more money than you have right now make your life better?

Most of us would say yes! The contradiction is convicting. Many of us say money won’t bring us happiness while in our hearts we believe it really will.

· I just need to have enough money to feel secure.

The problem is the word “enough”. When is enough… enough? Enough is different amounts for different people.

When John D. Rockefeller was asked how much money was enough, he replied: "A little bit more."

Everyone wants to feel secure, and you at some point, like I did, made the unconscious decision to serve my functional savior – money, because more money always equaled more security.

The Love of Money

1 Timothy 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.

Phil 4:10-13 I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (NIV)

1 Timothy 6:6-8 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

“He who dies with the most toys wins!” Really?

1 Timothy 6:9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.

· Some folks are always chasing the latest get rich quick scheme.

· Some have sacrificed their family and even their lives to get rich.

· Some have compromised there integrity for more money.

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.

Remember when we talked about the root of bitterness that will defile many? Here is another root, the root of the love of money. Now this is one of those misquoted verses in the Bible. You will hear people say, “Money is the root of all evil. But the qualifier is the “love” of money. We need money to function in our society. We need money to operate this church. We all need to use money, but we are moving into that territory of trusting money more than God when we begin to love money.

Note that Paul refers to the love of money as a “root of all kinds of evil.” Roots produce plants, plants produce fruit. If left unchecked, loving money will turn into trusting money, worshiping money, and desiring money over everything else.

Some say, “Well, Scott, I don’t love money, I’m just eager to get more of it.”

Vs 10 b Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with much grief.

I have personally witnessed this at Plant Vogtle. I’ve watched men of God, walk away from everything that they knew was Godly and right for a position, for power, and of course for the love of money.

More money always sounds good on the surface, but many people have pieced themselves with much grief brought on by the love of money.

1 Timothy 6:11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. (NIV)

Is it ok to pursue a job, to make money, to care for your family? Of course it is. But your main goal in life, the thing your heart should beat fast for, is to be a man or woman of righteousness. To be a Godly person. To walk in faith. To walk in love. To be a person of endurance, and to live a life of gentleness.

When you do this… when we live according to the principals of God, He will meet all of your needs.

NEXT STEP: I commit to flee from the love of money and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.

Two Rich Guys

The Religious Rich Man

Matt 19:16-22 Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?"

17 "Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments." 18 "Which ones?" the man inquired. Jesus replied, "’Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’" 20 "All these I have kept," the young man said. "What do I still lack?"

21 Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." (Jesus challenged him to choose his master.)

22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Wow, we would never do that! We would never reject Jesus over money issues? Or would we?

· Many of you here spend more money on coffee, or music, or movies, every week than you give to the church.

· We regret missing our favorite TV shows more than we regret missing our Bible reading.

· We spend more time thinking about how we can make more money, instead of how to give more money.

Matt 19:23-24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." (NIV)

I know what you are thinking… “I sure am glad that I’m not rich! I don’t have to deal with this verse!”

Well its true there is always someone richer than us, but instead of comparing ourselves with our neighbors we need to compare ourselves with the rest of the world. And, yes, Americans are all filthy rich! More than half the people in the world live on less than two dollars a day!

We rich people have a hard time trusting God because we trust our money! We have a hard time relating to the model prayer of Jesus; when he said to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread”. Other people in the world have to wake up and pray that prayer with sincerity, because they are going to have to trust God to provide for them.

· Have you ever had to see God move miraculously to provide for you?

· Have you personally had to miss a meal because you couldn’t afford it?

We are rich, but the irony is that we don’t feel rich. And sense we don’t feel rich we want more of the very thing that is crippling us spiritually!

The rich man couldn’t do what Jesus was asking him to do. He trusted money more than God.

NEXT STEP: Ponder this question… If Jesus asked you to sell your possessions and give everything to the poor, would you? Really… would you?

The Sinful Rich Man

Luke 19:1-10 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. 5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today." 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. 7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, "He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.’" 8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount." 9 Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." (NIV)

Zacchaeus’ heart suddenly changed and his actions reflected his heart change. His actions are saying, “I was all about the money! What it could buy, the security it could bring, but when I truly saw and met Jesus, money no longer mattered to me at all!”

On the other hand The Rich Religious man’s heart did not change and his actions reflected his heart too.

What are your actions saying today? Do you trust more in God or money?

NEXT STEP: I will reflect on my actions and consider if they indicate that I trust money more than God.

What Happens When You Trust God More Than Money

1) God Richly Provides Everything For Your Enjoyment

1 Tim 6:17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. (NIV) Not just for our needs, for our enjoyment!

20 versions use the word enjoyment or for us to enjoy. “One version says “comfort.

2) You Become Generous and Willing to Share.

1 Tim 6:18-19 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. (NIV)

Remember we are rich! But not only are we rich materially, but as believers we are rich in all spiritual blessing. But strangely enough:

· 21% of consistent American church members don’t give anything to their church.

· 71% of Christians give less than 2% of their income.

The Bible is clear that Christians are called to give generously, least they start trusting in money until it becomes their God.

The Tithe:

Mal 3:10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. (NIV)

Tithing in the New Testament:

Matt 23:23 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices– mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law– justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. (NIV)

NEXT STEP: I’m ready to put God to the test as I begin to tithe. I trust God more than money!

The problem with loving and pursuing money is that money will become your master. Instead of you having and controlling it, money will have and control you.

“God isn’t against people having money and things, but he certainly hates when money and things have his people.” Craig Groeschel

Jesus said in Luke 16:13 "No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."(NIV)

Who do you serve? God or money? Who do you love? You will love one and hate the other.

You will be devoted to the one you love and hate the other.

You cannot serve or trust God more than money.

Life Group and Family Devotional Application

1. We look at Two Rich Guys in Matt 19:16-22 and Luke 19:1-10. What did both of these men have in common? What was the apparent spiritual condition of each man before meeting Jesus? How did money/possessions mark a spiritual turning point for each man?

2. The rich young man chooses possessions over a relationship with Christ. In what things do you sometimes choose over Christ?

3. Read 1 Tim 6:17-19. Do you know someone whose life demonstrates what it means to “do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share” (v.18)? What characteristics do you admire most about this person?

4. If having a relationship with Christ makes us generous and willing to share, how do you explain these facts?

· 21% of consistent American church members don’t give anything to their church.

· 71% of Christians give less than 2% of their income.

5. When it comes to tithing. It’s been said that 10% is a good place to start but a tragic place to stop. What concerns you and what excites you about the idea of rearranging your life so that you could give more?

One Hour on Wednesday 09.17.14

September 16th, 2014

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Join us at 7 PM for One Hour on Wednesday!

September Food Drive

September 11th, 2014

Believers Church will be collecting non-perishable items for our local food bank during the month of September! Bring your bags with items into the church by Sept. 28th. Let’s bless our community!  If your family didn’t receive a brown paper bag to fill, you can pick one up at the Welcome Center on Sunday!

Food Bank1

09-14 Trust More in Money

We are in a series concentrated on removing all the “BUTS” from our lives! The “BUTS” that challenge our very beliefs as Christians. “I believe in God, BUT… am not sure if He loves me, BUT…won’t forgive, BUT…not in His Church, BUT…Don’t think He’s Fair, BUT…Not in Community!”  We have been learning what the Bible has to say about these unbelief’s and asking Jesus to help us overcome our unbelief!   Mark 9:24 … "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" (NIV)

This week we will challenge another “BUT” in our belief. We will talk about the something that we love and hold close to our hearts, something we trust in more than God, something that makes us feel secure when we should find our security in Christ. Something that we even believe will make us happy. Join us Sunday at 9 or 11 a.m. to find out what that “something” is!

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When You Believe In God, But Not in Community. Believers Statesboro 9-07-14

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

WhenUBelieveinGod Not in Comm

We’re in a series called “When You Believe God, but… In other words you can believe in God to a certain extent or to a point, but we sometimes get to a place where we really struggle to believe any further. We’ve looked at the problems of Believing in God, but Aren’t Sure If He Loves You, Won’t Forgive, and Not in His Church. Last week Pastor Mike did a great job with When You Believe In God But Don’t Think He’s Fair. We learned that we are thankful that He isn’t always fair and that we don’t always get what we deserve!

I think we do believe in God… most of the time, but we need some help in some areas. It’s more like the Father in Mark 9 who brought his demon possessed son to Jesus to be healed. Jesus told the Father that everything is possible to those who believe. The Father did a quick heart and faith check in his own life and replied, Mark 9:24 … "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" (NIV)

I think that this is where we are today. This expresses what we are thinking. I do believe, I want to believe, and I want to completely believe, but I’ve got some “buts”. I’ve got some faith limits, so Jesus, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief.”

Today we are talking about “When You Believe in God, But Not in Community”. We are right in the midst of Rally Weeks today and we are encouraging you to sign up in a Believers Church Life Group.

· Some of you here today already see the value of being in a small group and you are just trying to decide which group you will be in.

· Some of you have been in a small group in the past and loved it, but now you think you are too busy to be in one.

· Some of you never have been in a group and you may or may not have intended to join one.

· Some of you just don’t see the benefit of being in a group at all.

ILL: Some of you have the Long Haired Country Boy attitude. ‘Cause I ain’t asking nobody for nothin’ / If I can’t get it on my own / If you don’t like the way I’m livin’ / Just leave this long haired country boy alone. (Charlie Daniels Band)

It is another one of those contradictions of beliefs when we say, “I believe in God, but not in community.” God has created us to be in community. It is how we are wired and how we thrive. It is how we get our sense of Belonging. Remember we said that here at Believers Church we wanted people to BELONG first, then BELIEVE, and then BEHAVE. Our Life Group system is designed to help people do just that.

Grouping with others is a vital way to strengthen your relationship with God! It is not the only way, but one important way that God uses to build us up in Him and to help us live victorious lives in this world. Not to do so is dangerous, and risky.

It is a BIG world out there, and we need to think small. We need to be thinking small groups.

Hebrew 3:12-14 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 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. 14 We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. (NIV)

If you have a long ranger approach to your Christianity, and you do not believe in community, you are in danger of having a sinful unbelieving heart that may turn away from the living God.

If you have never been a part of a Life Group here at Believers you to may be trapped in the deceitfulness of sin already. You have self-deceived yourself into thinking that you don’t need it.

So hopefully we can snap you out of that today.

The Friendship of David and Jonathan

There is a character in the Old Testament whose name is David. He began as a Sheppard boy, was anointed to be the King of Israel, and eventually took His rightful place on the throne. But there was a waiting phase for David. Even after he was chosen by God and anointed to be King by the Prophet Samuel, the current King Saul was jealous of David and sought to kill him. David was in the wilderness of Ziph at Horesh and Jonathan, Saul’s son, rose, and went to David to help him find strength in God.

1 Sam 23:15-18 While David was at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph, he learned that Saul had come out to take his life. 16 And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. 17 "Don’t be afraid," he said. "My father Saul will not lay a hand on you. You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this." 18 The two of them made a covenant before the LORD. Then Jonathan went home, but David remained at Horesh.(NIV)

The reason I’m encouraging all of Believers Church to join a Life Group is so your can find your strength in God and be proactive in helping others find their strength in God too.

Life is hard. There are many battles of faith to fight. Things can get difficult very fast. You may be at the top of the mountain today and at the bottom of the valley tomorrow.

I need strength, you need strength. It’s a BIG world out there and we need to think small and make community in a small group setting a priority in our lives.

In our story in 1 Samuel 23, David is hiding out from one place to another in the wilderness of Ziph about 30 miles south of Jerusalem. Jonathan and David had the kind of love relationship that we all desire to have with others. An unselfish relationship. Jonathan would be the natural heir to the throne, but he wants what God wants. He wants David to be king. A true friendship, if you will, one that would prompt Jonathan to come to David’s side to encourage him in a time of distress.

Four Life Group Lessons from Jonathan’s Meeting with David

1. All of us need a Godly Friend

All of us need Christian Friends! The newest, the strongest, the deepest, the youngest Christians and even the greatest Christian leaders all need others. We need friends who will help us find strength in the Lord.

David was deep in his relationship with God. He was referred to as a man after God’s heart.

He was a strong leader. David was a mighty warrior. No doubt David was superior to Jonathan in strength and intelligence and in his understanding of God. Think about it! God had already chosen David and appointed him to be the King of Israel, but David needed Jonathan!

ILL: Paul and the Church in Rome’s mutual encouragement. Romans 1:11-12 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong– 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. (NIV)

Don’t ever think that someone is so strong in God that they don’t need to be strengthened in God.

Don’t ever think that you are so strong in God that you are above being strengthened by others.

Who are your friends in Christ?

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

When you are in distress, when you need someone to come to your side, who are you going to call?

Life Groups are designed to help you find those friends so that you can be strengthen in the Lord.

2. We Need To Be Proactive

Jonathan was proactive, he made a conscience effort to go to David during this very hard time in his life and help David find strength in the Lord. 1 Sam 23:16 And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. Jonathan went to David. He travel 30 miles to find him. Jonathon risked the wrath of his father and the armies of Saul to go and find David who was in hiding.

· When did we get this idea that church is here to meet my needs?

· When did we forget that we are the church and we are to meet the needs of others?

“Oh I don’t need to join a Life Group”, you say, “I don’t need to be encouraged in the Lord.”

Well I don’t agree with that, but for the sake of argument let’s say that is true. Wouldn’t you still want to be a part of a Life Group so that you can help others and encourage them?

What a difference it would make in our church if we began to PLAN to strengthen someone else and help them find their strength in God?

Jonathan didn’t accidently meet David in Horesh (though sometime that does happen) He PLANNED to go and strengthen him.

This is the mark of your maturity in the Lord. Immature Christians go to Church to get blessed.

Mature Christians go to church to get blessed and be a blessing to others.

Who are you intentionally encouraging and helping them find their strength in the Lord?

Are you going to be proactive and join a Life Group so that you can not only be strengthened yourself, but you can attend with the goal to strengthen others as well?

3. Help Each Other Find Strength in God

We are hitting all around this and have said it several times, but let’s make sure that we don’t miss this specific detail. Jonathan helped David find strength IN THE LORD.

Verse 16 doesn’t say Jonathan came to give David his strength. He doesn’t say that he went all the way to Horesh to give David self-confidence. No He came to strengthen David in the Lord.

The Lord is who David needed during this hard time. It was the Lord’s strength that David needed to keep going. It was the Lord’s wisdom that David needed to know how to deal with this Saul situation. David needed to be encouraged to drink deep from the well of the Lord!

Without the Lord Life Groups are just self-help groups. Social clubs and clicks, therapy groups, clubs.

Four Do’s of a Life Group

1. Bible Study

2. Prayer

3. Worship

4. Testimonies

General principle: When a group of people gather together on official Jesus business, He will show up.

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)

Jonathan was on official God business when he went to David.

When we group together in Life Groups we are on official Jesus business we have the promise that Jesus will always show up!

Our mission statement is to Teach, Encourage, and Inspire Authentic Christianity to the People of Statesboro, Bulloch County, and Surrounding Areas!

This needs to carry into every aspect of our lives. We want people to be authentic Christians.

When we group together this mission statement is especially true! In our Life Groups we are Teaching Encouraging and Inspiring people to find their strength in the Lord! Drawing from the well of a living God to find life and authenticity.

4. Keep Reminding Each Other of the Promises of God

1 Sam 23:16 And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. How did Jonathan help David find his strength in God? 1 Sam 23:17 "Don’t be afraid," he said. "My father Saul will not lay a hand on you. You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this."

Jonathan reminded David of the promise that God had made to David, “You will be king over Israel”, so don’t give up, don’t get discouraged, don’t quit, don’t do something you will regret later, because God always keep his promises and one day you will be the king of Israel!

The Promise:

1 Sam 16:12-13 So he sent and had him brought in. He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the LORD said, "Rise and anoint him; he is the one." 13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah. (NIV)

How did Jonathan know that God had anointed David to be the king of Israel?

Because they had become close friends and they were able to share their hopes and dreams with one another. They probably were in a Life Group together!

We need to be reminding each other of the promises of God! In God’s promises we find strength to face the day with, not self-confidence, but GOD CONFIDENCE! Standing on the promises of God!

As we spend time with each other in our Life Groups we will hear, learn, and know each other’s hopes, dreams, and aspirations. We will hear what God has promised each of us. And when things get tough, as they always do, we will have the opportunity to remind each other of the promises of God for our lives, help each other walk in our purpose and destiny!

In a Life Group we will proactively go to one another and help each other find our strength in God!

NEXT STEP: I will join a Life Group this Fall Quarter. It’s a BIG world… think small.

http://believersstatesboro.com/connect/life-groups/

Life Group Rally Week!

September 9th, 2014

WHEN YOU BELIEVE IN GOD, BUT NOT IN COMMUNITY

NEXT STEP: I will join a LIFE GROUP this Fall Quarter. It’s a BIG world…think small!

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