Jesus in the 80s  “Every Believer a Minister” Believers Statesboro  05-14-17 Mother’s Day

It was during the 80s that Janet and I married, established careers, moved six times, had three children together, and learned a lot about the joy and the harsh realities of life as we became “responsible adults’.

  • I realized I needed the Resurrection Power of Jesus Christ!
  • We had to rise above the Scandals of the 80s…Beware of the Three G’s, Gold, Girls, Glory.
  • Janet and I were baptized in an Ocean Baptism, declaring we belonged to Christ Jesus.
  • In 1984, I realized that every man, woman, and child deserved, “Love, Acceptance, and Forgiveness”

In 1985, Janet, Marissa our 2-year-old, and I, moved from Oklahoma, back to Georgia.  I was working as a Landscape draftsman in Sea Island and preaching at a country church on the weekend (50 dollars a week to preach to about 50 people).  In order to be a good provider for my family, I went back to work for GPC.  I was at Plant Hatch briefly and then settled in at Plant Vogtle, for what I believed would be a short delay in my career as a Pastor.  I ended up staying there about 20 years.

As I meet new people and we shared our past experiences, they would find out that I used to be a full-time Pastor. They would often ask a question that really bothered and haunted me.

They would say, “So tell me, why did you leave the ministry?”

Did I leave the ministry?  Had I forsaken by calling for the sake of money?

Early one morning as I was traveling my normal long drive to Plant Vogtle past the hyperbolic cooling towers coming in and out of my view as I weaved down the hilly and curvy road.  I kept replaying that question in my head, “So why did you leave the ministry.”  As I had done many times before, I was wrestling with God in prayer and saying, “Lord is this what I have done, have I left the ministry?”

It was then, on this particular morning, that I felt the Holy Spirit saying, “No… you are still in the ministry, I’ve just given you a new assignment.  This is your mission field.  You are to minister the love of Jesus to the people you work with at Plant Vogtle.”

It was then that I began to live out and experience what my mom had taught me, what I had seen in the scriptures, and what I believed in my heart to be true, that every believer is called to be a minister.

I believed it then and I still believe very strongly today, that every Christian is called to be a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as well as to be an available vessel for the Holy Spirit to work through.

Therefore, no matter what your occupation or trade, be it a doctor, lawyer, nurse, farmer, peace officer, banker, baker, factory worker, teacher, or homemaker, you all serve a vital role in God’s redemptive plan for humanity.      We all work for Jesus.  He just has us assigned to different locations.

Created for Good Works

Paul tells us that not only are we saved by Christ Jesus, but that Christ also created us for a specific purpose. Ephesians 2:8-10 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 

We Are A Royal Priesthood

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Throughout my childhood, and into adulthood, my mom modeled this for me.  She was always showing people the love of Jesus inside the church walls and outside the church walls.

As she encouraged me, on this Mother’s Day, I want to encourage you to begin to live like the ambassador for Christ that you are and to walk in the good works for which God created you.

Where do you do the “good works” God called you to do, the work of the Royal Priest?

As I mentioned before, in the 80s, I read a Jerry Cook book “Love, Acceptance, and Forgiveness” that changed my thinking and influenced my view of ministry.

The Bible uses a lot of agriculture examples and Jesus calls His followers to go into the fields and bring in a great harvest.  The question is, where is the field?

Jerry Cook points out that the church can exist in one of two states.  The church as a field or the church as a force. 

 

The Church as a Field

When the church is the field, all ministry, work, and energies go into the local church.

The church is the field where all ministry takes place.  Now there needs to be a lot of ministry going into the local church, but of all of the activities and energies are inverted, there will be very little time or energy left to reach outward to our lost and dying community.

The people in a field type church often realize that they may be called to do the work of ministry, so they tend to pool their money and they hired a “Full Time Minister” so he can do all the works of the ministry.”

So, you might have a church of 300-500 paying someone else to do the work of ministry for them.

But hey, why not?  It’s ok to pay someone else to cut your grass, clean your house, to buy or sell your home, to invest your money, to perform surgery on a loved one.  Trained professionals are helpful!

So, it stands to reason that we pay someone to do for us what they can do better than ourselves or what we don’t want to do.    Right?

But, there are some things that we can’t pay other people to do for us.

  • We can’t hire someone to love our spouse for us. (Date Night?)
  • We can’t hire someone to be the primary one responsible for teaching our children God’s ways.
  • We can’t hire someone to spend time with our family for us.

This is true for ministry.  We have all been called to be ministers of Christ, and it is a responsibility that we just can’t avoid, push off on others, or hire someone to do it for us.

I’m sure that at one time or another we have all found ourselves thinking, if not saying something like.

“I am saved, and I will faithfully attend church, but the work of the ministry is the pastor’s job!”

If someone needs salvation — call the pastor.    If someone needs prayer — call the pastor.

If someone needs healing — call the pastor.         If someone needs biblical understanding — call the pastor.

The Church as a Force 

On the other hand, when we realize that Jesus is teaching us the World is our field to work in, the church begins to function as a force, the ministry, work, and energies are focused outward.

When we all rise up to do the works of ministry, the world is our field and lives, homes, and communities are reached and touched by the life changing Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I want to be part of a church that is a force, not a farce, in our community, a church that makes a positive difference in people’s lives and effectively builds the Kingdom of God. 

EVERY BELIEVER A MINISTER 

The only way that a church can begin to be a force is for each of us to realize that “Every Believer is Called to be a Minister!

  • We will never be a force in this world if we believe the work of the ministry is only for the pastor.
  • If we don’t start seeing ourselves as a minister of the Love of Jesus, we will never have a part in seeing our community reached for Jesus. And sadly, we will never walk in the good works that God has created for us to do.

So why have a Pastor?

As your Pastor I am to minister the love of Jesus to a lost and dying world, right there beside you.

1 Corinthians 3:9 We are co-workers in God’s service…

We are co-labors in the field of the world, bringing in the harvest together.

Paul teaches us in Ephesians 4:11-12 that Jesus gives the church apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers for the equipping of the saints.  11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, (works of Ministry) so that the body of Christ may be built up…

Next Life Step:  Memorize Ephesians 4:11-12

So, not only am I to be a co-laborer with you, my primary job and responsibility to Equip You, God’s people, for works of service, to walk in your ministry.

This only makes good sense when you stop to think about it.

  • Humanly, one pastor can only get so much accomplished.  He may be very faithful and an extremely hard worker, but he will never be able to perform the work of two men.
  • Now instead of 300-500 people hiring one man, or one staff to do the works of ministry, wouldn’t it be better to equip, train and release 300 – 500 ministers into the field of the world, where Jesus said Himself, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” (Matthew 9:37) 

Multi-Site Churches 

Multi-Site Churches are very popular right now.  That is to have a church meeting in multiple locations.  Many think, “If your church isn’t meeting in multiple sites, you’re just not cool or hip.”

Believers Church of Statesboro has had a multi-site church for a long time, way before it was cool.

Yes, we are a multi-site church and we have somewhere around 72,000 thousand attending our various campuses.

This week we will be holding services at:

The hospital, at various schools, in a principal’s office, a tire store, some doctor’s offices, at Viracon, at Great Dane,  at Walmart and Walmart Distribution Center, at Plant Vogtle, On GSU, and other colleges, in various departments and in the classes.  In a photography studio at Sack Company,  in board rooms, at all of the various law enforcement agencies, on buses, at Willingway, at Bites and other Restaurants,  at Food World,  in the cabs of trucks, In homes all across the country, and oh yes, we will be holding some services right here in this building too, at Believers Church, 6495 Harville Road location. And when we come to services here on Sundays and Wednesday Nights, or in our Life Groups, church will be our time of refreshing, training, equipping and encouragement.  As we gain new hope, and renewed vision, we will then go boldly right back into the world to do the works that Christ has called us to do.

Remember, you will go places that your pastor will never go.  You will meet people that I may never meet.  Someone must share the love of Jesus with those people… If not you, who will be salt and light in those places?

NEXT LIFE STEP:  This week…

  • Ask the Lord what He is calling you to do.
  • Ask Him to help you to begin to minister His love to others.
  • Begin to walk in the good works that He has prepared for you. 

Life App Group and Family Devotional Application

  1. What will happen when we are equipped, sent out, and released to minister?
  1. Explain the difference in a church as the field and a church as a force.
  1. What is the primary role of your pastor?
  1. How can you get equipped?
  1. What do you feel like God is calling you to do?

One Hour On Wednesday

May 10th, 2017

 

One Hour on Wednesday is a verse by verse Bible Study held on Wednesday nights in the sanctuary. We worship, pray and learn. Join us for this great time together. Our EDGE Youth and College Ministry meet at the same time as well our Children’s Ministry. See you tonight at 7:00 p.m. for One Hour on Wednesday!

 

It was during the 80s that Janet and I married, established careers, moved six times, had three children together, and learned a lot about the joy and the harsh realities of life.  You might say we were becoming what you would call “responsible adults’.

  • I realized, I couldn’t do it alone. The 80s were either going to “Make Me” or “Break Me”.
  • If I was going to make it, I needed something more than “Casual Christianity” and the “Bible Belt” good old boy life
  • I needed my Father’s faith to be MY faith. I needed more, I needed what we are celebrating today, the Resurrection Power of Jesus Christ!

Shortly after we were married, our Church, Christian Renewal, announced that they would have a water baptism and unlike the baptisms that I was accustomed to at  church, this one would be an outdoor, public, “Ocean Baptism”, on Saint Simons Island.

God was moving greatly in Janet’s life, saved as child, she too had been baptized in the Holy Spirit and desired to walk in resurrection power too.  So, she told me that she wanted to be baptized in the Ocean Baptism.  We talked about it and I thought about it and I decided that I wanted to be baptized with her.

We would be baptized together as a couple!

Why An Ocean Baptism?

Well, there is nothing special about ocean water, as compared to river water, or fresh water in a trough, chlorinated water in a pool, or water in a baptism pool in a church building.  Water is water.  So, the fact that it was an ocean baptism, and yes; we loved the beach, was not why we were being baptized.

Now as far as a public baptism goes, the ocean baptism was very public.  We had it on the beach at Neptune Park, right near the lighthouse area.  But, that wasn’t why we were being baptized either.  Let me share with you why we both were baptized that Sunday afternoon in an Ocean Baptism. 

  1. We Wanted to identify with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ Jesus.

Remember I told you on Easter Sunday that I now realize that Resurrection Power came with a price?

Philippians 3:10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection

I would say and pray, “God I want to know your resurrection power!”  But I never wanted to come to grips with the rest of the verse…the suffering part.  Philippians 3:10-11 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Janet and I both realized that before you have a resurrection, you must have a death.  Before we could experience the Resurrection Life, we had to die to ourselves.

Romans 6:3-11 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

4  We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6  For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7    because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. (Dead People don’t sin.) 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9   For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. When we came up out of the water, we were coming up as a new people in Christ Jesus.  We were no longer controlled by sin, but we were alive in Christ Jesus!  Dead to sin; alive in Christ!

Now, I was baptized when I was seven years old at Norwich Street Baptist Church.  Looking back, I know I had a clear understanding of Jesus loving me and paying the price for my sins, and I was truly born again, but I only had a limited understanding of what I was declaring in Public Baptism.

Being a Southern Baptist, salvation, baptism, and joining the church were sort of rolled up into one big package and when you walked down the aisle to surrender your life to Christ Jesus. You were going to be baptized soon after.  I understand now what they were doing.

Was it wrong for me to be baptized at seven with limited understanding?  Absolutely not!  I was responding to the command of Jesus to the best of my understanding.

But in 1980, understanding more fully what baptism represents, and after “becoming one” with my beautiful bride, we both wanted to declare that we had died to ourselves and we would continue to live together for Jesus.

I John 2:28  And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.

Baptism was our outward expression of something that has already occurred within us at salvation.

We were both declaring, what Paul pined in Galatians 2:20.  “I died on the cross with Christ.  And my present life is not that of the old “I”, but the living Christ within me.  The bodily life I now live, I live believing in the Son of God who loved me and sacrificed himself for me.” [JBP] 

  1. A Public declaration that we were living for Jesus!

When I asked Janet to marry me, we pledged our unending love to one another.  Then, following the engagement, we publicly declared our love for one another on our wedding day.  Friends and family were there to witness our vows, and God Himself saw, heard, and blessed our union. There was a sense of finality about our commitment to one another, a commitment that would continue to be lived out daily.

In times of personal prayer, I chose to serve God with my calling to be a pastor, but my public ordination as a pastor declared my intention to others and helped confirm my commitment within me.

Salvation itself includes two things:  1) Believing in your heart.  2) Confessing with your mouth.

Romans 10:9-10 If you declare 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 profess your faith and are saved.

Jesus set an ordinance in His church that allows the believer a wonderful opportunity to make a public declaration of their salvation.  The Believer’s Baptism in water is an outward expression of what has already taken place within.

So, our public baptism was a great way to continue to confess to our friends, family, and the world that Jesus was our Lord and we would be dedicating the rest of our married life to His leadership and Lordship!

  1. EVERYONE NEEDED TO KNOW THAT WE BELONGED TO JESUS.

1 Corinthians 12:13 NLT Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.

Here again, Baptism is an outward picture of something that has occurred within.  No matter what your background or ethnic origin, by one Spirit, we are baptized into one body.

Baptism represents your adoption into the family of God.  You now belong to Christ’s family and are members of His body.

When new believers are baptized, we are welcoming them into our family.  We are saying, “This person is now one of us!  And as family, we can love, support, care, and pray for one another.

  1. We wanted to be like Jesus and Jesus was baptized.

Janet and I believed that it was important to follow Jesus’ example and be baptized in water.  If Jesus did it, I wanted to do it!

Matthew 3:16-17 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water.  At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” 

  • As Jesus commissioned His followers, He established baptism as an eternal ordinance of His church.

Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

We as Believers would not be fulfilling our commission if we are not being baptized ourselves and baptizing others.

  • Janet and I were joining millions of other Believers who had been baptized too.
    • Beginning at Pentecost: Acts 2:37-38; 41 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their

number that day. (3000 Believed and 3000 were baptized)

    • The Ethiopian Eunuch: Acts 8:26-40.  When Phillip shared the gospel with the Ethiopian eunuch, he immediately asked, “Here is water, what is hindering me from being baptized?”
    • Cornelius’ Gentile Household:  In Acts 10 when salvation and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit came to the Gentiles, they were also instructed to be baptized in water. Acts 10:44-48
    • Many Others: Lydia’s Household, Acts 16:14-15 / The Jailer and His Family, Acts 16:33 / Crispus, the synagogue ruler and his household. Acts 18:8 / The Disciples at Corinth, Acts 19:1-6 / Paul, after his conversion, Acts 22:15-16And the list goes on and on.

In our modernized, “comfort zone Christianity,” we do, sad to say, tend to take God’s commandments far too lightly.  As Chuck Colson points out: “Most Westerners take baptism for granted, but for many in the world the act requires immense courage. In countries like Nepal, it once meant imprisonment. For Soviet or Chinese or Eastern bloc believers, it was like signing their own death warrant.[1]

WE WERE BAPTIZED BECAUSE Jesus told us to.

  • After we make a faith decision, Jesus tells all of us to go public, to go on record, and to come out of the shadows into the light.

Next Life Step:  This week I will memorize Mark 16:16.

Mark 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

  • Jesus’ call for us to believe in Him also includes a call to be baptized, showing us the importance and high value that the Lord places on Baptism.
  • Notice that even though we are expected to be baptized, Baptism is not what saves us, the believing does.  “He who does not believe will be condemned.”  Baptism is an outward display of an inward change.

It may seem a little simple to you, but Janet and I decided a long time ago that if Jesus told us to do something we were going to do it.  John 14:15 “If you love me, keep my commands.

Many of you have made a faith decision. Have you gone public yet with water baptism?

Next Life Step:  I choose to go public and be baptized next Sunday, May 7th, at the Outdoor Water Baptism. 

Salvation Call

Acts 2:37-38 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38   Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 

Next Life Step: Today I am taking the Five Week Choose Life Challenge and will attend all Five Jesus in the 80s events. (Check on your communication card and put your card in the offering basket.)

___ 4-16-17 REZ POWER   ___ 4-23-17 SCANDALS  ___ 4-30-17 OCEAN BAPTISM (Family Worship Day)

___ 5-07-17 LOVE, ACCEPTANCE, FORGIVENESS (Sweet 16 Celebration Picnic and Outdoor Baptism)

___ 5-14-17 EVERY BELIEVER A MINISTER (Mother’s Day) 

Life App Group and Family Devotional Application

  1. In your own words, tell about your baptism experience and what it meant to you.
  2. If you have not been baptized, honestly share with your group or family your reservations, reasons, and concerns.
  3. Share about your salvation experience. At what point did you believe with your heart and how did you begin to confess it?
  4. Why do you think a public declaration is so important? What other major events in your life required “going public”.
  5. Pastor Scott does not believe that baptism saves you. But do you agree with him when he says, “Jesus commands us to be baptized”?  Do you think it is a commandment to be obeyed?

 

[1] ¹ “The Body: Being Light In Darkness” by Charles Colson and Ellen Santilli Vaughn, 1992, Word Publishing, page 137

 

Shortly after Janet and I were married, our home Church, Christian Renewal, announced that they would have a water baptism.  Unlike the baptisms that I was accustomed to at church, this one would be an outdoor, public, “Ocean Baptism”, on Saint Simon’s Island.

Janet told me that she wanted to be baptized in the Ocean Baptism.  We talked about it, thought about it and I decided that we would be baptized together as a couple!

BUT WHY?

I had already been baptized at age Seven, why did Janet and I decide to be water baptized together in an OCEAN BAPTISM?

I am so excited to tell you why this Sunday!  So, join us at Believers Church, 4-30-17, at 9 or 11 a.m. and let me tell you why we chose an Ocean Baptism.

Don’t forget it’s Family Worship Day and all the Believing Kids will be joining us in the sanctuary so we can worship together as families and share in Holy Communion together.

It’s also a 5th Sunday, so all tithes and offerings received this Sunday will go directly into our building fund so that we will be prepared to build, when God says to build.

DON’T forget about the Five Week Choose Life challenge!

Attend all Five Jesus in the 80s events and win a CHOOSE LIFE T-SHIRT.

___ 4-16-17 REZ POWER

___ 4-23-17 SCANDALS

___ 4-30-17 OCEAN BAPTISM (Family Worship Day)

___ 5-07-17 LOVE, ACCEPTANCE, FORGIVENESS

(Sweet 16 Celebration Picnic and Outdoor Baptism)

___ 5-14-17 EVERY BELIEVER A MINISTER

(Mother’s Day)

 

During the 80s, Janet and I married, established careers, moved six times, had three children together, and learned a lot about family, friends, the joy, and the harsh realities of life of adulthood. It was challenging at times and I quickly realized that my father’s faith was not going to be enough to get us through, I needed my own faith!  I needed to know and experience Jesus’ Resurrection Power in my life!  One of the things that made the 80s difficult was not only an excessive obsession with materialism and worldliness in our culture, but also the scandals that resulted from that mind set.  I think every generation has its fair share of scandals, and the 80s were no exception.

Top 10 List of Scandals in the 80s (in my opinion)

10)          The Iran Contra Affair

9)            The Savings and Loan Scandal

8)            The Challenger “group think” disaster

7)            Milli Vanilli caught lip syncing

6)            Pete Rose banned for life for betting

5)            Rosie Ruiz winning the Boston Marathon

4)            Sprinter Ben Johnson stripped of his Gold after testing positive for steroids

3)            Vanessa Williams stripped of Miss America title for posing inappropriately

2)            The Politician Gary Hart messing around on a boat called “Monkey Business”

1)            TV Evangelist Scandals

The reason I rank televangelist scandals as the number one scandal of the 80s is because they were the ones that affected me the most.  Here I am as a young husband and father trying to represent Jesus in a real world, trying to live according to the standards in the Word of God, and trying to live a life filled with the Resurrection Power of Christ Jesus, and these well known, highly visible Christians were messing up and making all of us look bad!

  • Jimmy Swaggart was exposed in a scandal involving a prostitute, leading to his dismissal from the AG Church. A very public and heartfelt apology was given, but it would happen again.
  • But the biggest, most publicized and embarrassing scandal of the 80s was that of Jim Baker, host of PTL. He was accused of an affair and a cover up with Jessica Hahn, but what really got him in trouble and sentenced to Federal Prison was 8 counts of mail fraud, 15 counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy.

The scandal made it hard to be a Pastor. Now in the world’s eyes, the credibility of a pastor or evangelist dropped just below lawyers and used car salesmen. (Sorry lawyers and car salesmen.  It was the world’s opinion, not necessarily mine)  I graduated from Seminary in the spring of 1980, and one of the last things they told us was…

Beware of the Three G’s!    Gold, Girls, and Glory!

As I look back on the scandals of the 80s, all of them fall somewhere within these Three G’s.

People were driven or blinded by the lure and quest of Gold, money or materialism, or they were caught up in self-glorification and the praise of men, or they were caught up in some sort of sexual impurity.

All of these resulted in a lack of judgement, a lack of Godly character, and a lack of integrity.

All of these scandals only increased by resolve to live my life as a man of integrity.  I wanted to live my life according to the standards laid out in the Bible by a loving God who only wanted the best for me.

Gold

There is No Substitute for Hard Work  The “Prosperity” Teachings of the 80s were an eye opener to many, but many of those teaching were quickly being taken out of context, used, and abused.  In the teachings of some, tithing, offerings, gifts, and generosity, were reduced to “get rich quick’ schemes, like Amway and Shaklee.

Proverb 13:11 NLT Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time.

Proverbs 28:19-20  Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty.  20 A faithful person will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.

THE ANSWER:

  • Don’t Let Money Become the Center of Your Life

Palms 62:10 NLT Don’t make your living by extortion or put your hope in stealing.  And if your wealth increases, don’t make it the center of your life.

  • Don’t Love and Long for Money

1 Timothy 6:10  For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs

  • Know That Riches Are Uncertain, God is Not

1 Timothy 6:17  Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy

Proverbs 11:28 Those who trust in their riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.

Proverbs 11:28 NLT “Trust in your money and down you go!” 

  • Continue to Tithe

It was one thing to tithe when I cut grass at age 13, or working part time at Burger King or a Craft Store when I was living under Mom and Dad’s roof. Now, I am responsible for all the bills!  Why did Janet and I tithe through the 80s and still tithe today?

Tithing Provides for God’s Work Through His Church.

Malachi 3:10a  Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, (The Storehouse – an Old Testament picture of the New Testament Church.) that there may be food in my house.

When you bring your tithe to God through the local church, you are providing for the work of God through His church!

Tithing Teaches Me to Put God First.

Tithing is one of the most practical and tangible ways in our lives that we can consistently put God first.

The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives. Deuteronomy 14:23b TLB

Tithing Increases My Faith in God.

Those of you who are tithers know this already.  You know that tithing teaches you that 90% with God’s blessings goes farther than 100% without God’s blessings.  God is testing us, and we are told only one time in the Bible for us to test God. Malachi 3:10b ‘Test me in this,’  Tithing was sort of the “Acid Test” for me.  Was I trusting God or not?  Was I going to put God first or not?  Would money be my master, or would I allow God to master my money?

NEXT LIFE STEP:  This week I will evaluate my life and repent if I trust money more than God.

Girls / Guys

Flee Sexual Immorality

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price.

Therefore honor God with your bodies.  Think about that.  If your body is literally filled with the Holy Spirit of God,

every sexual sin that you commit, you are dragging the Holy Spirit thought that experience with you.

Matthew 5:27- 28 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

God is serious about this. Maybe in the 80s, and today, we should take sexual sins more seriously!THE ANSWER: What did I do in the 80s to help me “flee sexual immorality”?

  • Die to the Flesh, Be Filled with the Spirit

I died to my flesh and daily asked the Lord to fill me with His Holy Spirit.

Galatians 5:16  So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Some temptations will never be overcome by sheer will-power alone.  You need the power of the Spirit!

  • Read and Meditate on The Word of God

I began to read and meditate on The Word of God (the Bible).

Psalms 119:11  I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. 

  • Resolve to Live a Pure Life

I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman. Job 31:1

NEXT LIFE STEP:  This week I will evaluate my life and repent of all sexual immorality.

Glory

Let’s Make a Name for Ourselves

We all have a tendency to fall into the age-old sin manifested way back at the Tower Babel.

Genesis 11:4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”      

Let us make a name for ourselves! I had to be very careful as I tried to make my way in the world, and yes in a sense make a name for myself, not to take any of God’s credit or Glory.

King Nebuchadnezzar’s Glory?

\Daniel 4: 28-30 All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 Twelve months later, as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, 30 he said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?”  Even if this was not boldly spoken, I’m sure this is what was going through the minds of those involved in some of the sandals of the 80s. Have you ever thought like this?  Look what I have done?  Daniel 4:31-33 Even as the words were on his lips, a voice came from heaven, “This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you. 32 You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like the ox.  Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes.” 33 Immediately what had been said about Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from people and ate grass like the ox. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird.

THE ANSWER:

  • Turn Your Eyes to Heaven, Praise the Most High, and Glorify Him!

Daniel 4:34 At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored.  Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. One of the things I learned in the 80s was that as I learned more of the majesty and glory of God; the more I saw how glorious He was, the more I realized that I was not, the more humble I became.

  • Walk Humbly

I tried to live by the exhortation in Micah 6:8 Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. A good life would be lived justly, showing mercy to others (no holier than thou attitude), and to walk humbly before God.

  • Don’t Take God’s Glory

In Acts 14, while Paul was preaching, he looked at a man that had been lame from birth and saw that the man had faith to be healed.  Paul called out to him, “Stand up on your feet!”  The man jumped up and walked! The people were so amazed they proclaim Paul and Barnabas gods and wanted to make offering to them. They called Barnabas and Paul Zeus, but Paul turned the glory back to God! Acts 14:14-15 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: 15 “Friends, why are you doing this?  We too are only human, like you.  We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God… They didn’t play into the God complex or allow others to worship them, like I saw some doing in the 80s.

 

NEXT LIFE STEP:  This week I will evaluate my life and repent if I have been taking God’s glory or credit for God is doing. 

Life App Group and Family Devotional Application

  1. What are the Three G’s to Beware of?
  1. Why do you think the lure of money pulls so many people into sin? Do people trust God or money?
  1. The standards for Sexual Purity are clearly laid out in the Bible, why do very few people seem to care?
  1. Why is it so important to always give God the glory and to take no credit ourselves?

What were the Biggest Scandals in the 80s?

During the 80s, Janet and I quickly realized that we needed to know and experience Jesus’ Resurrection Power in our lives! But as we were trying to represent Jesus in a real world, trying to live according to the standards in the Word of God, here came the Scandals. So, we had to deal with that too, well known, highly visible Christians were messing up and making all of us look bad!

Surly there was a way to live with integrity? Right? Well, let’s talk about it this Sunday!

Join us at 9 or 11 a.m. as we continue , “Jesus In The 80s.” You will also receive one of our favorite items from the 80s!

Also, don’t forget we are in our Five Week CHOOSE LIFE CHALLENGE. If you attend every event during JESUS IN THE 80s, you will receive a CHOOSE LIFE T-Shirt! Keep track on your communication card each week.

We are on Spring Break so no Wednesday night service tonight! Enjoy this time with your families and don’t forget to sign up for a Life Group! You can sign up online at https://believers.infellowship.com/GroupSearch.

 

 

 

JESUS and WE  “We Choose to Do Life Together.” Sermon Notes  Believers Statesboro 04-02-17

When you or I are in a relationship with God it’s easy to talk about ‘Jesus and Me’.  We want you to have a strong relationship with Jesus, and we are encouraging you on an individual level to CHOOSE LIFE!

But my walk with God is not just about ‘Jesus and Me’, it’s also about Jesus and We!  And there are certain things that can never get accomplished with just ‘Jesus and Me’, it’s going to require “Jesus and We”.

In this series, we are focusing on our shared relationship with Jesus, “Jesus and We”.

More specifically we are looking at what We, at Believers Church, can choose to do together.

NEXT LIFE STEP:  I will memorize the five We Choose statements between Jesus and We:

WE CHOOSE TO BELIEVE.

  • Because we believe God is our partner, we choose to make our plans BIG.
  • Because we believe, we choose to think big and not insult God with small thinking.
  • Because we believe, we choose to take risks and not insult God with safe living.

WE CHOOSE TO BE SPIRITUAL CONTRIBUTORS NOT CONSUMERS.

  • The church does not exist for us.
  • We are the church, and we exist for the world.

WE CHOOSE TO LIVE A LIFE OF GENEROSITY.

  • We choose generosity because we truly believe it is more blessed to give than to receive.
  • Choosing generosity is not just what we do, being generous is who we are.
  • We choose to plan to be generous and stand firm in generosity.

WE CHOOSE TO BE INWARD AND OUTWARD FOCUSED.

  • We don’t just WANT to reach people for Jesus… we MUST reach people for Jesus.
  • We choose to do anything short of sin to reach people who don’t know Jesus.
  • We choose to reach people no one is reaching, so we’ll do things no one is doing.

WE CHOOSE TO DO LIFE TOGETHER.

Last year we did a whole series called “Better Together,” and Better Together is not just a nice sounding thing that we say. It is what we truly believe and experience here at Believers Church.  Therefore, We Choose to Do Life Together.  It is our choice and privilege.

NEXT LIFE STEP: How Much Do I Do Life With Others

Very Seldom       1        2        3        4        5        6        7         8       9        10         Very Often

We Choose to Help Each Other Find Strength in God.

King David began as a shepherd 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 hiding in the wilderness. Jonathan, Saul’s son, rose, and went to David to help him find strength in God.

1 Samuel 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)

We all need Godly friends; it’s vitally important, but more than we need friends, we need God.

Friendship brings strength into our lives, but first and foremost we need to find our strength in God.

At this low point in David’s life, he needed a friend, but he needed God more!

Jonathan, a true friend, helped David find that strength.

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.  We need to Choose to Do Life Together, and choose to help one another find our strength in God.

  • We do that in a corporate setting and worship events, Sundays and Wednesdays.
  • We attend “The Big Three” (Believing Couples, Men Who Believe, Inside Out Ladies).
  • We join Life Groups – Groups based on common interest and felt needs.
  • We serve together.

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

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

Life Groups and church in general is designed to help you find those friends, so that you can be strengthened in the Lord.

NEXT LIFE STEP:  Today, I will list my true friends that help me find strength in God.

We are proactively helping each other find strength in God.

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 Samuel 23:16  And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God.  Jonathan went to David.

David is hiding out from one place to another in the wilderness of Ziph about 30 miles south of Jerusalem.  Jonathan traveled those 30 miles to find him.  Jonathon risked the wrath of his father and the armies of Saul to go and find David.  Why?  He wanted to help David find strength in God.

Do you have reliable friends that will do that for you?

Proverbs 18:24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. 

Remember the church does not exist for us.  We are the church, and we exist for others.

“Oh, I don’t need to join a Life Group”, some say, “I don’t need to be encouraged in God.  I’m doing just fine.”  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 Church and 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 proactively strengthen one another and help each other find strength in God?

  • Jonathan didn’t accidently meet David in Horesh (though sometimes 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.

NEXT LIFE STEP:  Today, I will list my answer to this question, “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 attend with the goal to strengthen others as well?

We Choose to Encourage One Another Daily.

Hebrews 3:12-14 See to it, brothers and sisters, 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 indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. 

If you have a lone ranger approach to your Christianity, and you don’t Choose to Do Life Together, you are on the slippery slope to 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. But the truth is you need to do life with others, you need to be encouraged daily!  It’s like oxygen.

“We should seize every opportunity to give encouragement. Encouragement is oxygen to the soul.”

George M. Adams

Choosing to encourage, edify, and build one another up should be an ongoing process.

1 Thessalonians 5:11  Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.  (I love how Paul, assumes that we are already doing it!)

Encouragement may involve protecting one another.

1 Samuel 23:17a  “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “My father Saul will not lay a hand on you…

1 Samuel 23:18 The two of them made a covenant before the LORD.  Then Jonathan went home, but David remained at Horesh.

A Covenant is a blood bond, saying, “I’ve got your back, I will protect you, and what’s yours is mine.” Jonathan was saying to David, “I will be loyal to you, I am devoted to you.”

Romans 12:10  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.  Honor one another above yourselves.

Encouragement involves meeting together.

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

We Choose to Do Life Together… We Choose to Meet Together.  We Choose Life!

NEXT LIFE STEP:  Today, I will begin to speak words of encouragement daily!

We Choose to Remind One Another of the Promises of God for Us.

1 Samuel 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 Samuel 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 (1 Samuel 16:12-13).  Jonathan tracked David down to tell him, “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 keeps His promises and one day you will be the king of Israel!

How did Jonathan know that God had anointed David to be the king of Israel?  Because they had become close friends, and they could share their stories, hopes and dreams with one another.

They probably went to the same church or were in a Life Group together! We need to be reminding each other of the promises of God! What has God promised He would do for you?

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 at Church and 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.  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!

Choosing to Do Life Together May Involve Serving Each Other.

1 Samuel 23:17 …You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you…

  • Jonathan could have seen David as a threat and fought for his right to the throne.  But, he humbled himself instead and chose to serve his friend.
  • Jonathan was not only willing to surrender his future kingdom to David without a fight, but also was willing to bow to him in faithful service

This reminds me of our friendship that we have with Christ Jesus.

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

Because Jesus loved me first and laid down His life for me, I now love Him and am willing to lay down my life for Him.  That’s true friendship.  That’s really doing Life Together!

We Choose to Do Life Together Because Jesus Will Show Up in A Big Way!

Matthew 18:20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

Jesus is saying, “Where two or three are gathered in my name I am with them.  I will show up!”

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

Jesus told us He would be with us always and we could count on Him, but if we want to really experience His presence, if we want to experience something that goes beyond what we experience when we are having our quiet time or praying alone, if we want to get as close to Him as we can get to Him…

We get together with two or more other believers who come together to do official Jesus business and Jesus will show up in an unmistakable and remarkable way.

That means when the church organizes and strategizes to gather together to do official Jesus business, He is there in our midst.

This is Jesus and We!

WE CHOOSE TO DO LIFE TOGETHER.

  • We Choose to Help Each Other Find Strength in God.
  • We Choose to Encourage One Another Daily.
  • We Choose to Remind One Another of the Promises of God for Us.
  • We Choose to Do Life Together Because Jesus Will Show Up in A Big Way!

NEXT LIFE STEP:  Today I will sign up for a Spring Life Group and truly experience JESUS and WE.

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

There are certain things that can never get accomplished with just ‘Jesus and Me’, it’s going to require “Jesus and We”.  At Believers Church “WE” are choosing to partner with “JESUS” and Choose Life.

We are making five bold proclamations of what we have chosen and will continue to choose to do together.

WE CHOOSE TO BELIEVE.

  • Because we believe God is our partner, we choose to make our plans BIG.
  • Because we believe, we choose to think big and not insult God with small thinking.
  • Because we believe, we choose to take risks and not insult God with safe living.

WE CHOOSE TO BE SPIRITUAL CONTRIBUTORS NOT CONSUMERS.

  • The church does not exist for us.
  • We are the church, and we exist for the world.

WE CHOOSE TO LIVE A LIFE OF GENEROSITY.

  • We choose generosity because we truly believe it is more blessed to give than to receive.
  • Choosing generosity is not just what we do, being generous is who we are.
  • We choose to plan to be generous and stand firm in generosity.

WE CHOOSE TO BE INWARD AND OUTWARD FOCUSED.

  • We don’t just WANT to reach people for Jesus… we MUST reach people for Jesus.
  • We choose to do anything short of sin to reach people who don’t know Jesus.
  • We choose to reach people no one is reaching, so we’ll do things no one is doing.

This week we will declare and talk about our last ‘We Choose’ Statement.

WE CHOOSE TO DO LIFE TOGETHER.

This is the essence of “JESUS and We”.  If we don’t do life together, there is no “JESUS and WE”!

Join us this Sunday at 9 or 11 a.m.

SAVE THE DATE Palm Sunday and Good Friday “Seven Last Words” a musical and visual experience.