02-28-16 BOL Love Supplies 1The word “Love” gets a little misused in our society, maybe to the point that it has people asking, “What is love anyway?”  In this series, we are answering that question not so much with a text book definition of love, but rather focusing on what “love” does.

This Sunday at 9 or 11 a.m we will consider the fact that “Love Supplies”.  When you love someone, you will do whatever it takes to make sure that they are well cared for.  You want to provide for their needs,  because Love Supplies! 

 

 

 

THE BASICS OF LOVE         “Love Speaks”                                  Believers Statesboro   02-21-16

 Watch or listen to this sermon or an sermon in THE BASICS OF LOVE series online at http://believersstatesboro.com/home/online-sermons/

02.21.16LoveSpeaksblog

Have you ever seen a couple eating out in a restaurant together, but they never speak to each other?

Or maybe they are both texting and only occasionally they grunt one or two words to each other throughout the entire meal.  When I see this, I can’t help but to wonder, if they are in love or not. Because love speaks.

I saw an advertisement the other day for an online dating service and it said, “Find that talk to 2:00 a.m. type of love!”  Why would they say that?  They say that because love speaks!  If Janet rarely spoke to me and I rarely spoke to her, you would have to wonder about our marriage, because love speaks.

This is one of The Basics of Love!  This is what people in love do.  They speak, they talk, and they communicate with one another.  A relationship can’t survive without talking, and it will never grow without ongoing communication.

Love Speaks to God in Prayer.  Simply put, prayer is our talking and communicating with God.

In prayer, we enjoy a relationship with God, as well as the privilege to ask Him to provide our daily needs.

Out of Love God speaks to us.  Out of our love for God, we speak to Him.

Love’s Promise

This love relationship is so strong, Jesus said, John 15:7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. (NIV)

Remain or Abide – a primary verb; to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy):

Jesus said, “Ask whatever you wish?”  Isn’t that open door for trouble?

Psalms 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.  (NIV)

Love Answers

 Ps 91:15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. (NIV)  The results of speaking or calling on God is 1) an answer, 2) help in trouble 3) deliverance, and 4) honor.   It sounds like we should speak to God more often!

Love’s Confidence

I John 5:14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. (NIV)  The condition is according to His will.  The promise is that He will hear us.

Ps 4:3 Know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD will hear when I call to him. (NIV)  David says that we are “set apart for God”.  Again, we are in a relationship, that’s how we know that He will hear us when we speak to Him.

                                                       Love Speaks and Overcomes Worry

A few weeks ago we were reminded in our Escaping the Statesboro Blues series that speaking to God was the escape route for anxiety.  Remember the card we gave out? “Why worry, when you can pray?”

Phil 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (NIV)

Peter added – Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)

The result of this loving communication. Phil 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

Jesus Teaches Us How to Speak to the Father

Jesus was a man of prayer and was often observed by others as He took time to pray.  In the Gospel of Luke, we find that one of His disciples approaches Jesus with a request after watching Him pray. .

Luke 11:1 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” (NIV)

Jesus responded by providing a prayer that was never intended to be a ritualistic prayer that must be strictly adhered to, but rather He outlined the basic contents of what a prayer should contain.  In Luke 11, this prayer is somewhat abbreviated.  The full text of this prayer, which is commonly called The Lord’s Prayer, can be found in

Matthew 6:9-13 when Jesus tells the disciples how to pray:

Matthew 6:9-13 “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ (NIV)

It is important for believers to look at each section of this prayer, as each has purpose in developing our own prayer life:

  • “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name”.

Our prayers should be directed to our Heavenly Father and should include worship, praise, and adoration.

Prayers should not to be limited to one sentence, but should be an expression of true worship and love, coming from one’s heart.  Opening your heart and expressing your feeling of gratitude to God may be awkward at first, as you struggle to say how you feel, but later as your relationship grows more intimate you will find yourself worshipping your Father all the time.  It will become a daily part of your life. You will find the name of Jesus always upon your lips.

  • “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

This is not just a prayer for a future millennial day to quickly come. This is a prayer asking God to bring about His kingdom in our lives today.  A prayer that God’s kingdom here on this earth will grow and that God’s people will develop into kingdom people, who live by the words, rule, and reign of ‘The King of all Kings’.  Moreover, asking for God’s will to be done here on earth is an acknowledgment that you are laying down your life and will.  You are saying that you are ready to accept His perfect will here on earth, just like His perfect will is carried out in heaven. These words express an attitude of dying to yourself and being totally surrendered to God’s will.

  • “Give us today our daily bread.”

 This doesn’t mean that we are limited to only praying for bread, rather this is an acknowledgment that God is the provider of all of our needs.  It suggests an attitude of looking to God as the sole provider of all our sustenance.  It’s a statement that we are not self -reliant, thinking, “I can take care of myself.” Jesus can provide all of our needs, and He is capable of great and miraculous things as well as the daily needs of life.

  • “Forgive us our debts” (Sins)

We have been saved by the blood of Jesus and He has forgiven us and paid the price of our redemption. I wish that we could say since that great day of salvation we have never sinned again, but we are people of flesh who are learning to walk in the Spirit.  Daily, from glory to glory, He is changing us.  We are being transformed into the image of Christ Jesus, and when we sin there is a provision for that sin.  We are taught to be quick to seek God’s forgiveness, and then to carry on without guilt or condemnation.

I John 1:7-10 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 8       If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9        If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.10   If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. (NIV)

  • “As we also have forgiven our debtors.”

This is a blunt reminder that we should be forgiving people.  We should love people like Jesus loves them and be merciful to them.  In Matthew 18, Jesus speaks of reconciliation among brothers, and teaches that forgiveness is a requirement rather than an option.  In the conclusion of that chapter Jesus tells of the punishment of an unmerciful servant and then makes this statement,

Matthew 18:35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.” (NIV)

 Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (NIV)

We must forgive one another from our hearts, and Jesus encourages us to pray for the grace to do so. When we have forgiven one another and ‘made things right’ with one another in the Lord, then our worship and prayers will not be hindered (1 Peter 3:7; Matt. 5:23-24).

  • And lead us not into temptation,”

Don’t ever think that you are so mature in the Lord that you needn’t be concerned with temptation.

Ask the Lord to keep you from every snare of the devil and sins that so easily deceive you.

You need the Lord’s help to overcome the temptations of this world.  Ask the Lord to lead you away from the traps, to keep you from finding yourself in situations that may cause temptation.

Jesus understands the temptations of this world, and has provided a way out for us.

Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are– yet was without sin. (NIV)

 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (NIV)

  • “But deliver us from the evil one.”

The Word of God helps us understand our foe, the evil one. Satan is the prince of the power of the air,

the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience (Eph 2:2), he is the prince or ruler of this world (Jn.12:31), and he is the god of this age who has blinded the minds of unbelievers, lest the gospel of Christ shine on them (2 Cor.4:4).

Satan has a certain degree of power, but he is not all powerful.  He is mighty, but he is not almighty!

I John 4:4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.(NIV)

 As a matter of fact, every one born of God overcomes the world, that is the worldly system that Satan has established (1 John 5:4).

Satan may not be with you personally tempting you to sin, but due to the fall of man, Satan has devised a scheme that incorporates everything from people living under his control or influence, to demons, all to help pull you down. Of course he also works with your own sinful nature and desires of the flesh.

Ephesians 6:10-12 exhorts us to be strong in the Lord, and to put on the whole armor of God, that we may be able to stand against the wiles or the schemes of the devil.

To make up for his lack of power and authority, Satan has resorted to scheming with trickery and deceit. He is a liar and would like nothing more than to confuse you and cause you to believe his lies.   More often than not this spiritual warfare takes place on the battle field of your mind. (2 Cor.10:3-6)

Satan desires to control your mind and cause you to walk in confusion. Remember he already has blinded the minds of unbelievers.  You, on the other hand, as a born-again believer, have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), and are able to keep your mind set on the higher things of God.

1 Pet 5:8-9 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. (NIV)

 James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (NIV)

Jesus is encouraging His disciples, and His future disciples to make that a part of our daily prayer life and to look to the Lord to be our ultimate deliverer from the evil one, remembering that:

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them [the devil and his minions], because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)

The Model Prayer’s Conclusion

The Matthew 6 in the KJV, NKJV, and the NASV of this model prayer includes a close that’s not included in the Luke account. This closing statement acknowledges the supreme sovereignty of God.

“…For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” (Matt 6:13)

Next Step:  I commit to pray the Lord’s Prayer once a day for the next seven days.

 Persistent Prayer

Jesus continued to teach about prayer in Luke 11 saying that when we pray we should be persistent, having a sense of urgency and boldness, shameless, if you will (verses 5-8). He then shows us that we should have an attitude of expectancy when we pray.

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Luke 11:9-10; Ps.5:3)

We would do well to look to Jesus as our teacher and our example as we pray.

Love Speaks. Out of Love, God speaks to us. Out of our love for God, we speak to him.

“The one concern of the Devil is to keep Christians from praying.  He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, prayerless religion.  He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom,but trembles when we pray.” Samuel Chadwick

Love’s Reward

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

Life App Group and Family Devotional Application

  1. If you spoke to your spouse as much as you spoke to God, what kind of relationship would you have?
  1. What is the promise recorded in John 15:7 that we have when we speak to God?
  1. What is the confidence recorded in 1 John 5:14 that we have when we speak to God?
  1. In light of the promises and confidence we have in God, why do you think we don’t speak to God more?
  1. Using the model prayer, Matthew 6:9-13, in your own words explain the seven things that Jesus said we should include in our prayers.

OTHER SCRIPTURES THAT TEACH US ABOUT PRAYER

2 Chronicles 7:14

Prayers of repentance will bring personal forgiveness as well as a healed  nation

Psalm 5:2   Pray to God in times of need

  • Psalm 118:25

Psalm 55:17                  Prayer should be a normal part of our daily life

Psalm 118:25                We can pray for our financial needs

  • 3 John 1:2

Matthew 5:44                We should pray for our enemies

Matthew 6:5-6               Our prayers should be unto God and not for the praise of man

Matthew 6:7                  Our prayers should be more than vain repetitions

Matthew 21:22   Pray God’s will, and without doubting

  • James 1:6-8
  • Mark 11:24
  • John 15:7
  • Matthew 18:19-20
  • 1 John 5:14-15

Matthew 26:41   Prayer will keep you from temptation

Acts 1:14                      God honors corporate prayer in unity

  • Acts 6:4
  • Acts 4:23-31
  • Acts 12:5

Romans 8:26-27            The Holy Spirit will help us pray

Romans 12:12               We should be steadfast and faithful in our prayers

  • Luke 18:1
  • Colossians 4:2
  • 1 Corinthians 14:15
  • Ephesians 6:18
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Philippians 1:4   Like Paul, we should be praying for the fellow believers

  • Philippians 1:19
  • Colossians 1:9
  • Colossians 4:3

1 Timothy 2:8                God desires for men to be praying men

1 Timothy 4:5                Even our food should be sanctified by the word of God and Prayer

James 5:14-15               God heals the sick when we pray in faith

James 5:16                   The fervent prayer of a righteous person will accomplish much

 

“What a man is, he is alone on his knees before God, and no more.”

Robert Murray McCheyne

                                                                           

 

 

02.21.16LoveSpeaksblog

Have you ever seen a couple eating out in a restaurant together, but they never speak to each other? Or maybe they are both texting and only occasionally they grunt one or two words to each other throughout the entire meal.  When I see this, I can’t help but to wonder, if they are in love or not. Because love speaks.

This is one of The Basics of Love!  This is what people in love do.  They speak, they talk, and they communicate with one another.  A relationship can’t survive without talking, and it will never grow without ongoing communication.

Love Speaks to God in Prayer.  Simply put, prayer is our talking and communicating with God.

In prayer, we enjoy a relationship with God, as well as the privilege to ask Him to provide our daily needs.

Join us Sunday at 9 or 11 a.m. to find out how out of love God speaks to us, and out of our love for God, we speak to him.

 

THE BASICS OF LOVE         “Love Serves”     Believers Statesboro   02-14-16

love serves blog2

In this busy, high tech, fast paced and over-committed world that we live in, it’s nice every now and then to just stop and go back to the basics.  This is what we are doing in the series, The Basics of Love.  We are learning to re-center and re-focus on what “Love” is all about. We are not necessarily speaking of how love is defined in a dictionary, but what love actually does.  Last week we looked at how Love saves, how God loved us, and how Jesus saved us from our sins.  But we also learned that Love surrenders and, all of us, out of our love for Jesus, must summit to His leadership and Lordship.

The word “love” is a very used and abused word in our society.  If you were to suddenly appear here, from another planet, the use of the word love would probably confuse you.  You may hear one say, “I love my wife” and another say, “I love my dog”, and yet another, “I love chocolate ice-cream.”

Song writers, poets, and philosophers have dealt with the issue of love, which just adds to the confusion, leaving us all asking the question, “What is love?”

In this series we will answer that question, but not with text book definitions. We will answer the question, “What is Love” by taking a look at what love does and try to gain a better understanding of “The Basics of Love”.

Love Serves Inside the House

First Serve

Can you imagine having to sign a six-month to one year lease on a new car, just so that you could drive it to see if you like it?  Wouldn’t you just prefer to take it for a 45-minute test drive first?

Many times, people do not volunteer to help in a ministry because they don’t know if they would really like it or not.  People just don’t want to commit to a year or more to something that they don’t even like.

Here at Believers Church, we offer you what we call First Serve, which is short-term serving opportunities offered at a variety of times and tapping into a wide range of skills and areas of interest.

In other words, we want you to take a ministry on a “test drive”.  Check it out to see if this is something you would like to do. No strings attached.

Serve in one of our ministries for 30 days or 4 meeting periods to see if it’s your “fit”.  Every ministry has a different rotation schedule; therefore, a scheduled serving time can be worked out with the ministry leader.

Four Important Questions

After each serving opportunity, we encourage volunteers to engage in a process of self-assessment by asking themselves a series of questions:

  1. Did the work feel meaningful?
  • The answer is purely subjective, but vitally important.
  1. Was your emotional energy higher or lower after you served?
  • Were you energized or drained?
  • Serving can be exhausting physically, but still deeply satisfying.
  1. Do you really enjoy serving with the people you serve with?
  • Is there a comfortable relational dynamic on the serving team?
  • For some people, the relational component is more important than any other factor.
  1. Looking honestly at your schedule, does this serving opportunity fit your time frame for ministry opportunities?
  • No matter how much you might enjoy a given opportunity, if it doesn’t fit

realistically into your schedule, you’ll never be able to engage in it consistently.

 

When some of you experiment with First Serve, you will immediately discover your perfect ministry fit.

Others may find that one dimension of a serving opportunity feels great while another part doesn’t.

Use what you’ve learned, both negative and positive, to inform your next experiment.                                                         If you have to experiment with ten First Serve opportunities before you discover a “fit” that motivates you to make a longer commitment, it will be well worth the effort and have lasting Kingdom value. Just continue to serve and experiment until you find your “niche”. As a result of serving… You Grow in the Lord!

Attend One / Serve One

One of the reasons we have two services here at Believers Church is so that you can “Attend One and Serve One”.  You can attend one service and be fed a healthy diet, and then you can exercise as you serve others during the other service.  If you are serving in both services, you will receive a complimentary CD of the message you missed.

 

Believers Church needs to be a church of diet and exercise.

We need to eat (be fed) and then push back from the table, to speak, to serve the Bread of Life to others, because the nourishment we receive gives us the fuel we need to serve others.

We want you to push away from the table and serve this bread of Life to the people God is allowing to pass your way.

 

We need to be building the believers and serving seekers.

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

1 Peter 4:10 (NIV) Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

 

Here are some examples of people who have pushed away from the table and are serving:

Greeters                                                    Praise and Worship Team

Ushers                                                      Sound Techs                                              Special Events

Children’s Ministry Volunteers                  Video Techs                                                Those who clean the building

Nursery Volunteers                                   Light Techs                                                 Those who clean the grounds

Youth Ministry Volunteers                         Men Who Believe                                       Those who go on Missions Trips

Outreach/Evangelism                               Inside Out Ladies                                       Tither’s and givers

Seeds of Love                                        Believing Couples

 

These are the ones who have pushed away from the table and are doing what needs to be done. These are diet and exercise people.

Next Step:        I will pray and ask God how He would have me serve Inside the House.

 

Love Serves Outside the House

At Believers Church, we strongly encourage Relational and Servant Evangelism.

Relational Evangelism is reaching those in YOUR sphere of influence. It is investing in someone’s life (building relationships with people) and inviting them to church or a Christian event.

Servant Evangelism is sharing the love and message of Jesus Christ through practical acts of service and kindness.   It is a straight-forward approach to sharing God’s love in simple, practical ways. It is a biblical, fun, simple, and intentional way to make sharing Jesus a lifestyle.

 

Servant Evangelism can be done individually or as a group. Here is the simple concept: an individual or group begins doing intentional acts of kindness in their community with the aim of evangelism. A simple act of kindness opens an unbeliever up to the greatest act of kindness of all: the Gospel.

 

Servant Evangelism involves two parts: Service (i.e., acts of kindness) and Evangelism. Many people in our culture today believe that the church is only concerned with getting something from them. By doing Servant Evangelism, the church is doing more than just being nice. It is breaking down one of the major barriers that keep people from experiencing the Gospel.

 

Servant Evangelism is a wonderful expression of the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. It is great for people who are first learning how to share their faith, as well as the most seasoned Christian.

Why Is Servant Evangelism So Effective?

Servant Evangelism is effective because it is:

  • Quick
  • high volume
  • done in groups
  • culture-current
  • gives the Holy Spirit an open door to convict those we are leading to Christ
  • allows shy people to launch into effective evangelism
  • an approach families can do together
  • easily picked up by new Christians
  • simple
  • friendly non-pushy, non-aggressive
  • appeals to every segment of our cities
  • emotionally safe
  • giving-centered rather than asking-centered
  • provides a safe place for ambitious people to expend their energy
  • provides an open door for the miraculous—if God so moves
  • big fun!

Next Step:        I will pray and ask God how He would have me serve Outside the House.

 

Love Overflows

Romans 15:13 (NIV) May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

(The half glass of water illustration) It’s not half empty. It’s nothalf full. It’s overflowing.

If what the Bible says is true (and we believe it is), then our lives aren’t meant to be anything like a half a glass of water. God created us to be perpetually full of rich experiences, rewarding relationships, and abundant blessings that we can afford to pour out huge amounts of hope, comfort, and refreshment on others-and still have more than we’ll ever need!

Imagine your life as a fountain. God is the source and your heart is the first level of that fountain. God is pouring His blessings into your life-filling you to the brim with His love, joy, and hope. Then the moment comes when you are so full that you can’t possibly contain it anymore. Maybe it’s a drip at first-but it isn’t long before the water is flowing freely and spilling into the next level of the fountain, and then the next, and the next. God’s love -overflowing from you into the lives of your family, friends, neighbors, community, and the world.

John 4:14 (DARBY)…the water which I shall give him shall become in him a fountain of water, springing up into eternal life.

(Read exert from Overflow, pp.4-5)

Our community is made up of individual lives that need Christ’s love-each one, one at a time.                                   The sad thing is that every day, in every city where Christ followers are to be found, there are people who pass by who need some encouragement or kindness, or more important, need salvation, but we as Christians never take the time to stop and help them.

The late Keith Green penned a song entitled, “Romans VII”. Some of the lyrics are,                                           
           “The very ones I love I end up hurting; the ones I want to help I pass right by. Now I want to be finally set free. The grace you’ve shown, the love I’ve known, please let it shine through me. I want to love them the way you do. I want to serve them, by serving you.”

Living a life of overflow is about living a legacy that will last long after we are gone. It is about reaching our world-the world God has placed us in. It is about being known for loving God…and loving God’s people.

Instead of just doing outreach as a project, we’ll constantly be filling up with the joy of Jesus and constantly giving it away. When we tap into God’s generosity and habitually pour it out, we’ll experience little miracles all the time.

(Serve the Boro)            With each outward-focused act, we’ll become a little more generous, a little more grace-giving, and a little more comfortable with pouring out Jesus’ love on those we meet.

It isn’t that we don’t go to work, go shopping, go golfing, or enjoying the hobbies that we love. It’s that our lives aren’t about those things. It’s making sure those things are not our life goal; but instead making our life’s goal to personally grow closer to Jesus and to touch every single person we can with Christ’s love.

Imagine if every single person in our church, roughly around 350, made a commitment to reach one or two people a day, or even a week with Jesus’ love. If we reached one or two a week, that will be between 350 and 700 a week. If we reached one or two people a day, that’s between 2,450 and 4,900 people a week.

Whether we serve in the house or outside the house, we should do it out of a heart of overflow. We should allow the Holy Spirit to fill our lives, and in return, we should let His love overflow onto others’ lives.

Romans 15:13 (NIV)      May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Our hope is in Jesus Christ, and our only hope is Jesus Christ! With that said, let’s share that Hope with others.

So, is your life (glass) half empty, half full, or OVERFLOWING?

 

Life App Group and Family Devotional Application

  1. “Love Serves Inside the House”, Concerning where you are serving now, answer the Four First Serve questions.
  2. Is God calling you to “First Serve” or expand your areas of service? If so how?  Which Ministry?
  3. Why do we Attend One and Serve One at Believers Church?
  4. Concerning “Love Serves Outside the House”, who are you investing in right now? Who will you invite?
  5. How will you express your love for others and in what “Serve the Boro” events will you participate in?

 

 

 

 

 

02-14-16 BOL Promo PICIn this busy, high tech, fast paced, and over committed world that we live in, it’s nice every now and then to just stop and go back to the basics.  This is what we are doing in the series, The Basics of Love.  We are learning to re-center and re-focus on what “Love” is all about. We are not necessarily speaking of how love is defined in a dictionary, but what love actually does.  Last week we looked at how Love Saves, how God loved us, and how Jesus saved us from our sins.  But we also learned that Love surrenders and, all of us, out of our love for Jesus, must submit to His leadership and Lordship.

 

In this series we will answer the question, “What is Love” by taking a look at what love is when we serve inside the house and when we serve outside of the house. All as we try to gain a better understanding of “The Basics of Love” Sunday at 9 or 11 a.m.

 

 

 

 

Psalms Wed Feb

One Hour on Wednesday at Believers is tonight at 7:00 PM!

We will continue our study in PSALMS. Tonight we will read and study one of the best known most loved passages in the Bible, second only to the Lords Prayer. Join us tonight as we discuss Psalms 23.

 

 

THE BASICS OF LOVE   ”Love Saves and Surrenders”              Believers Statesboro   02-07-16

Slide2
The word love is a very used and abused word in our society.  If you were to suddenly appear here, from another planet, I’m sure our use of the word love would confuse you.  You may hear people say, “I love my wife!”  You might then hear them say, “I love my dog”, or “I love chocolate ice-cream.”

Song writers, poets, and philosophers have dealt with the issue of love, which just adds to the confusion, leaving us all asking the question, “What is love?”

In this series we will answer that question, not with text book definitions, but we will answer the question, “What is Love” by looking at what love does.  We are going to go back and make sure that we all understand “The Basics of Love”.

Love Saves

More than likely you’ve heard many people gleefully express, “I’ve been saved!” “Saved?” you ask, “Saved from who or what?”  In fact, the numerous expressions used by believers including terms such as: saved, born again, redeemed, becoming a Christian, etc. can be somewhat confusing. However, regardless of the specific term selected, all are words we use to describe a change that has occurred in our lives

  • that is divine and far beyond our own ability,
  • is a result of being saved or rescued from a certain death and damnation that we deserved due to our transgressions against a holy and just God, and
  • that implies the preserving of ourselves for future use. Yes, God does have a special plan and purpose for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11).

Webster’s primary definition of salvation is “1. A saving or being saved from danger, evil, difficulty, destruction, etc.; rescue.”  His theological definition of salvation is a bit clearer to those of us seeking a relationship with Jesus: “[salvation is] spiritual rescue from the consequences of sin; redemption.”

To better understand this great and amazing salvation that takes place, let’s look into the Holy Scriptures for some background information.

A Hopeless Situation

Scripture tells us that we are hopeless if we are standing before God in our own goodness.

In fact, it begins by reminding us that we are all born with a sinful nature.

Ps 51:5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. (NIV)

No matter how cute we are as newborn babies, we are all born into iniquity (a lack of righteousness and a desire to sin).

Some might say. “Ok, I was born with a sinful nature, but I’m going to try to be good.”  Our personal goodness cannot help us.  Many people feel they are good enough and don’t need to be saved from anything.

  • Perhaps someone hopelessly addicted to drugs, or trapped in a life of crime may readily see their need for a savior, but not a ‘good ole boy’.
  • I have often heard it said that, “The hardest man to lead to Jesus is a good man”.

The fact is everyone is unrighteous in God’s eyes and all stand in need of a savior.

Romans 3:10-12 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. 12                   All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” (NIV)

Isa 64:6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. (NIV)

People will say things like, “He’s not a Christian, but he has a good heart.”  The Bible holds a different view of the unredeemed man.

Jeremiah 17:9-10 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? 10 “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.” (NIV)

So we all once stood before God, unrighteous and with a desperately wicked heart. It appeared that we were in a hopeless situation.  Some of you may be in this condition today.

Sin Enters the World

 How did mankind get into this mess? What is sin?

Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man [Adam], and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned– (NIV)

  • Sin is disobeying God’s laws, going against His desires for us and turning to our own way.

These sins don’t go unnoticed by a Holy God that can have no fellowship with sin. Sin must be punished and “…the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23).

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NIV)

  • Romans 8:2 refers to two spiritual laws.  The Law of the Spirit and The Law of sin and death.

Without Jesus Christ, the law of sin and death is fully activated.

So, where is the hope? We are born into sin.  We are displeasing to God, and no matter how good we try to be, it is only worthless. The end result is a certain death.

Love Demonstrates

In our hopelessness, in our unrighteous condition, even though we displeased a holy and just God, that same God is a God of love and mercy and still loved us and desired to bring us into right standing with Him.

Rom 5:8-11 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!

10 For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more,

having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God

through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (NIV)

Reconciliation  To reconcile means to make friendly again, to settle a quarrel, and to make consistent or compatible.  That’s what the shed blood of Jesus has done for us.  Jesus has settled our differences with God and made us consistent and compatible with Him.

Love Gives

John 3:16 tells us, God sent His Son, Jesus, to pay the price for our sins.  He died a brutal death, not to pay for His own wrong doing, but to pay for our wrong doings.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (NIV)

Fortunately for us, even though Romans 6:23 states that “the wages of sin is death” the verse ends with this promise: “…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. (NIV)

 Why the Blood?

Why did Jesus have to shed His blood for you?  In the Old Testament we read that the only acceptable sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins was the blood sacrifice of an animal.

  • The Lord told Moses that, “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.” (Leviticus 17:11)
  • In the New Testament we are told that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness for sins

Hebrew 9:22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (NIV)

  • Hebrews chapter 9 further explains how Jesus shed His blood to be the final atonement for the sins of man.
  • Also see Matthew 26:28; John 6:53; Romans 5:9; Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 2:13; and

1 Peter 1:18-19.

Love Redeems

Without the blood of Jesus man also falls under the curse of not being able to keep the law. The curse of the law is described in Deuteronomy 28.

 Deut 28:1-3 If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. 2 All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God: 3 You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. (NIV)

 Deut 28:15-16 However, if you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you: 16 You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country. (NIV)

The good news is that Christ has redeemed us!

Gal 3:13-14 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. (NIV)

So He not only saved us from the curse of death, but through Jesus, we receive the blessings promised to Abraham’s descendants and the promise of the Holy Spirit.

Loves Law of Life

Now that you are redeemed you are living under the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.

Jesus paid the price for you to have eternal life. He paid the price not just so you will have eternal life when you pass from this world, but also abundant life while you are here on this earth.

John 10:10 (NKJ) “The thief [Satan] does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they [you] may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

Love Frees

To the new Christian it’s very important to understand that your sins are forgiven, butit is also important to understand that Jesus provided a way for you to be free from the desire to keep on living in sin.

Isaiah 53:5-6 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (NIV)

  • Jesus Christ was pierced, or wounded for our transgressions.  A transgression is the act of committing the sin itself. It means to overstep or break a law or commandment.
  • Jesus was also crushed, or bruised for our iniquities.  An iniquity is not just the act of committing the sin but it is the desire to sin and transgress.  It deals with the wickedness and rebellion in man’s heart.

If you find yourself continually committing a certain sin, asking for and receiving forgiveness, only to sin again; then you need to realize that Jesus can and has set you free from those desires, that iniquity, as well as, the law of sin and death. When you have been saved, you have been made dead to your sin nature and alive in Christ Jesus.

How can you appropriate or accept this free gift from our loving Father?

 Love Surrenders

Surrender to God’s Love

I John 4:19 We love because he first loved us. (NIV)  We respond to God’s demonstration of love for us, by surrendering to His love and loving Him back.  We need to surrender to God’s love.

Surrender to God’s Benevolent Leadership

You must surrender your way for God’s way.  Jesus must be the Lord and leader of your life.

Rom 10:9-10 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (NIV)

Jesus taught that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth will speak forth.  When we believe that Jesus is the atonement for our sins, that He died for us on the cross, and that God raised Him from the dead; then we will begin to verbally speak it and will confess with our mouths that He is our Lord.  The result is salvation, and what a great and wonderful salvation it is!

  • “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

 The Lover’s Prayer

You may hear people refer to what we call “The Sinner’s Prayer”, or perhaps you have prayed one yourself. The sinner’s prayer is just putting it in a nut shell all that we have studied here.

I know it’s called the sinners prayer because it’s a prayer for a sinner to pray to receive salvation, but when you think about it, couldn’t it also be called “The Lover’s Prayer”?

Because it is a prayer we pray in response to God’s love for us.  It’s a prayer that brings us into a loving relationship with Christ Jesus.

 

Concerning this Lover’s Prayer, there are not any hard set rules or special formulas to say, but the prayer usually includes:

  • One’s acknowledgment of God’s loving plan of allowing Jesus to die for all sins.
  • Asking Jesus to forgive one of their sins.
  • Asking Jesus to take one’s life and live through them with His righteousness.
  • Thanking God for this redemption.
  • A confession that Jesus is now the Lord of one’s life.

Christ Jesus is ready and willing to forgive you of your sins.  Forgiveness is only a prayer away!

Next Step: Today I confess my hopelessness and ask Jesus to save me from my sins.  I surrender to Jesus’s Love and Lordship.

 

Next Step:  This week, according to my confession that Jesus is Lord, I will surrender my life to Jesus daily, and I will continue to surrender to His love in every area of my life.

 

Life App Group and Family Devotional Application

 

  1. At what point in your life did you surrender to God’s love for you?
  2. At your salvation how aware were you of your desperately hopeless situation?
  3. Do you think that the average person thinks they can get to heaven by being good? Can they?
  4. Now that you are a Christian how are you doing with letting Jesus be the Lord of your life?
  5. What is the most effective way you have found to let others know that Jesus loves them too?

 

The Basics of Love 2016_Blog

The word love is a very used and abused word in our society.  If you were to suddenly appear here, from another planet, I’m sure our use of the word love would confuse you.  You may hear people say, “I love my wife!”  You might then hear them say, “I love my dog”, or “I love chocolate ice-cream.”

Song writers, poets, and philosophers have all dealt with the issue of love, which just adds to the confusion, leaving us all asking the question, “What is love?”

In this series we will answer that question, not with text book definitions, but we will answer the question, “What is Love” by looking at what love does.

Join us Sunday at 9 or 11 a.m. as we go back and make sure that we all understand “The Basics of Love”, with “Love Surrenders”. supersunday

 

It is also SUPER SUNDAY! Wear your favorite team’s jersey to church, then at 3 pm, Men Who Believe are hosting a flag football game. At  6 PM we will eat and watch the Super Bowl together.

We will provide the hot dogs and hamburgers and you bring your favorite game food to share!

 

ETSB Blues Washed away BLOG

Escaping The Statesboro Blues “Blues Washed Away”    Believers Statesboro   01-31-16

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

Every now and then we all get the Blues.  Being that we are living in Statesboro, GA, I think it’s fair to call it, as Blind Willie and Greg Almond have called it, “The Statesboro Blues”.

WARNING:

  • I am not a professional phycologist, or Certified Counselor.  I do not have all the answers for you but I do have some valuable input to help you overcome and Escape the Statesboro Blues.  If you feel that your stress, anxiety, and blues are leading to sustained depression please seek medical help.
  • If you or a loved one is having suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself or others in any kind of way you need to see your primary care physician immediately, or report to our emergency room.  Also contact http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org (800) 273-8255.

Our goal in this “Escaping the Statesboro Blues” series will be to help us all experience the opposite of depression, and that is what the Apostle Peter refers to as “inexpressible and glorious joy that comes through a relationship with Christ Jesus!

1 Pet 1:8-9 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (NIV)

This type of joy only comes through a relationship with Jesus!

Today, we are also going to have water baptisms which is a public declaration that a person is now experiencing the salvation of their soul!

Therefore, they qualify for that inexpressible and glorious joy!

You might say that just as baptism represents a person’s sins being washed away, so it also represents “The Blues Washed Away!”  The Blues washed away and the fullness of joy!

First let’s review some of the steps that we have learned to help us “Escape the Statesboro Blues”, and be free from being down, sad, overwhelmed, stressed, anxious and depressed.  Then, I want to share with you seven things to do every day to continue to Escape the Statesboro Blues.

What have we learned so far about escaping the Statesboro Blues?

  • If Sin Is The Source of Your Blues, Repent.

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.  (NKJ)

  • See The Big Picture.

It is still morning and the sun is still shining.

  • Trust In The Lord’s Faithfulness, Not Your Feelings.

Lam 3:19-23 I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.

20 I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. 21 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: 22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (NIV)

 2 Corinthians 1:10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us.  On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us…

 Be Around Fellow Believers.

Hebrews 10:24-25. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25    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. (NIV)

  • Take Responsibility For Your Feelings.

Ps 43:5 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (NIV)

 Be Anxious for Nothing, but Pray about Everything

Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (NKJ)

 “Why Worry, When You Can Pray”.

  • Cast all your anxiety on Jesus

1 Peter 5:6-7  Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (NIV)

  • Replace Anxious Thoughts with God’s Truth

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (NIV)

 Ps 118:17 I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done. (NIV)

  • Renew Your Mind

Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Distortional Thought Patterns and Confessions from God’s Word.

Ephesians 4:22-24 … put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. (NKJ)

 Seven Things To Do Every Day to Escape the Statesboro Blues

  1. Something (fun) for you.

Escaping the Blues can be enjoyable!  You need some time for yourself; some time to do at least one thing every day that is fun for you!  Do something fun for yourself…WITHOUT GUILT!

  1. Do Something for Someone Else.

Most of the time, people who are discouraged or down are inward focused and often times selfish.

Jesus washed the disciple’s feet in John 13 as an example for us to serve others.  He said if you do this, serve others, your life will be blessed.

John 13:17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. (NIV)

 Exercise

Exercise is the absolute best antidepressant.  Regular aerobic exercise or increased activity can improve symptoms of anxiety, depression, excessive stress, and insomnia.  Some studies have found that regular aerobic exercise is as effective as an antidepressant medication.[i]

A good heart wise recommendation is at least 20 minutes a day, three times a week. If you can’t do that, or it’s hard to squeeze exercise into your schedule, do something!

Start somewhere, even if it’s 10 minutes a day.  It could be something as simple as taking the stairs, or park as far away as you can in a parking lot instead of fighting for a place up front.

Do something every day.

  1. Rest

Many Americans aren’t getting enough rest and sleep.

Restful sleep leads to improved immune function, improved mood, a more youthful appearance, improved stamina, improved mental function, and improved memory.[ii]

  1. Eat Right

The things you eat and the things you do can contribute to feelings of depression.  Some of our most harmful lifestyle and nutritional choices include drinking alcohol; smoking cigarettes; eating too much sugar; drinking too much caffeine; eating a diet rich in processed food such as white bread, white flour, white rice, and pasta; eating fast food and junk food; and being addicted to prescription and street drugs.[iii]

Now I will say in my research about depression and anxiety, I read a great deal about natural vitamins, herbs, and different types of foods that seem to work just as  well, if not better than, some antidepressants.

I would encourage you to do some research, and with your doctor’s knowledge and advice, see if they work for you.  A great resource is the book “The New Bible Cure for Depression and Anxiety” by Don Colbert, MD.

  1. Devotional / Quiet Time / God Time

Ps 119:165 (NLT) Those who love your instructions have great peace and do not stumble

Take some time each day to read God’s Word.  This is how you renew your mind and transform your thinking.  God’s Word is what you will be replacing anxious thoughts with and combating distortional thought patterns, therefore you need to know God’s Word.

At BelieversStatesboro.com we have a Bible reading plan that will take you through the entire Bible in one year.  There are many devotional books available.  You can download YouVersion on your phone.

If you’ve not been successful with any of those, or your life is crazy busy, start by reading five minutes a day.  But just like exercise, do something no matter how large or small.

  1. Pray / Talk to God Every Day

Col 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

 1Thes 5:17 pray continually;  (NIV)

  • Many times in the Gospels, you will see that Jesus, right in the midst of a busy ministry, lifted up His eyes and spoke to the Father.
  • Sometimes, He would have extended times of prayer (Luke 6:12, Mark 6:46).
  • Other times, His words were short and to the point. Jesus seemed to understand how to have constant communication with the Father.

Why?  Because Jesus and Father God were in a relationship.

NEXT STEP:  List each of the seven things to do every day to escape the Statesboro Blues that you are doing already.  (Celebrate that you are doing them!) Now list which of the seven things you are not doing.  (Start doing them.  Begin today!)

BAPTISM INVITATION

1 Pet 1:8-9 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (NIV)

Resources and Suggested Reading:

1) “Overwhelmed” by Perry Noble

2) “The New Bible Cure for Depression and Anxiety” by Don Colbert, MD.

3) John C. Maxwell, “The Winning Attitude”  (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville)

4) “How To Win Over Worry” John Edmund Haggai

 

Life App Group and Family Devotional Application

  1. Tell me one fun thing that you would like to do for yourself every day? Are you doing it?
  1. Why do you think that it is important for us to do something for someone else every day?
  1. If you have had a measure of success with diet, exercise, and rest share with us what works for you.
  1. What has been the most effective way for you to have “God Time” every day?
  1. What have you discovered that has helped you have every day prayer time?

 

[i] Don Colbert, The Bible Cure for Depression and Anxiety (Lakeland: Siloam; Charisma Media, 2009), p. 86

[ii] Ibid, p. 89

[iii] Ibid, p. 50

 

 

One Hour on Wednesday

February 3rd, 2016

Psalms Wed Feb