The tears started coming when I hit brokenness. Holy Spirit is a beautiful song, and I have sung it hundreds of times, but never with tears in my eyes. However, when we sang the line in the chorus, "Your glory God is what our hearts long for, to be overcome by your presence Lord. To begin to understand why I would say that, we first need to agree on something. It is healthy for us to be dissatisfied in our relationship with God. If He is infinite, then we can be infinitely learning who He is, and uncovering more beauty, grace, love, justice, etc. And most importantly, we must agree that He has not called us to be in a long distance relationship with Him.
He is always wanting us to draw near to Him. James "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Take just a second and paint a picture in your mind of what this looks like. Where are you? Where is the Devil, and where is God? Here is how it plays out in my mind. My enemy is circling me , and with every pass, he steps between me and God who is at my right hand.
Now things are getting interesting, and I hope that you can feel the tension. However, we still need to ask some good questions about these passages to paint a clearer picture. That is why I cried. I simply realized that He has shown up. He is there every week, but there are many of us who just come to church because that is what we always do on Sunday. He is simply asking that we resist , and press against the distraction and the monotony of our schedules just enough to remember that He is there, present with us in that moment.
That we would just lean into that truth a little bit, and He will do everything else. That is why I read Psalm 18 in the middle of the song. Here David goes on and on about the miraculous way in which God has saved him, when all he did was to call to Him! He really does fight for us when we are helpless because He likes us.
He actually likes us. Why is presence important? Because God wants to be near you. God actually wants to be present with His children in the same way that I want to be around my kids. Wyatt is really funny! He told me a joke today that went like this I don't know about you, but I want to be around comedy gold like that as much as possible.
And Logan just said "Da Da" for the first time on Sunday. The best thing about a 7 month old saying "Da Da" is that he will only say it if he is happy. If he is sad or tired or pretty much any other unpleasant emotion, the boy is calling for "Ma Ma. We have a father who wants to be around. Please don't ignore that fact. Please don't assume that He doesn't want to make Himself known to you. Just take a second on Sunday or this week as you are reading scripture and simply say aloud, "I'm here.
I did, and I will tell you now that it was not safe. I ugly cried in front of people. We were also live streaming so it is now the internet for the rest of my life, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. This is not safe, but I am telling you now, I am pressing into Him again because He is good.
He is worth it. This week I learned that a Fulani pastor whom we support has made the decision to move his family out of Djibo, a town in northern Burkina Faso. This was hard for me to hear. Let me tell you why. Djibo is a small town in northern Burkina Faso where the dominate people group are the Fulani.
The Fulanis are a nomadic tribe that spans multiple countries in West Africa. For most Fulani, to be Fulani is to be Muslim. The Fulanis were one of the first groups in Africa to convert to Islam, and their nomadic ways have allowed the religion to spread to new areas over many generations. The couple set up a medical clinic and surgical hospital in Djibo and served faithfully for over 40 years. This is the only clinic of its kind in a region of about 2 million people. On January 15, Ken and Jocelyn Elliott were kidnapped. Ken has remained on our prayer list now for over a year.
Occasionally we pray for him in our services on Sundays or Wednesday evenings. Maybe some of our members still pray for him. But my fear is most of us have forgotten. Sometimes I forget. You see I bring this up because it shows the shortness of our prayer memories. Sometimes in one season we pray intensely for a person, or a ministry, or a region. And then we forget. I remember because the pastor whom our church has sponsored for years is moving out of Djibo in fear.
He is fearful for the safety of his family. Who continues to preach the life-saving message of the gospel in Djibo? Ken Elliott? Jocelyn Elliott? My friend? None of those witnesses remain in this city. So will you pray? Will you pray for the gospel of Jesus to be proclaimed in Djibo? Will you pray and earnestly ask God to bring people to Himself in this area? Will you pray for Ken? Will you pray for the ministry to Fulani believers in Burkina Faso? Will you pray specifically for this family being uprooted out of their home because it is no longer safe for them?
What else has touched your heart and one time and then been forgotten? What other forgotten prayer requests need to be remembered? I have done something that I have always said that I would not do, I have gone back to school. I am a firm believer that we should always be learning and sharpening our skills, particularly the ones that we can use to advance the Kingdom, so I have hopped into a series of online courses on worship, songwriting, worship tech, etc.
It has been wonderful and exciting to refresh a lot of what I already know, as well as to be challenged with new ideas and opinions. One new idea that I had never considered before was this: "The whole book of Acts is basically the human race trying to figure out what to do with God within us. I like that a lot. We so often forget, or deemphasize the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and that one phrase challenged me. It is simple, yet complex, and everything within my doctrine tells me it is true, but it seems to wonderful to be reality. The truth is that we know God lives in us through the Holy Spirit, but sometimes it is easier to pretend otherwise.
That is why I wrote the song "Within Us. At first glance, it is more about the cross than it is about the Holy Spirit, but He is there. Without the cross, we have no access to God Heb. However, because Jesus defeated sin, death, and the grave, we can now have access. The Holy Spirit is more than that though.
He is in us. He doesn't just load up his spiritual shopping cart with our praise and prayer and transport it to the Father, he does life with us. And when we listen to Him, he directs our attention to the Father, and causes us to praise.
That is why I wrote these words:. To you, and you only, be power and glory! Your presence is with us in this place. How beautiful is His presence? We praise Him. I hope that God uses these songs to enrich your life and to direct your heart to Him. Feel free to listen and download any of these songs to keep with you on your phone or whatever.
I also recorded a newer and cleaner version of One Cry. Here is that audio as well. We must remember what God the Father, through writings He inspired, said about the coming of His only Son. John 1 reminds us He is the light that lights every man, and the glory that existed before anything was created. Philippians 2 reminds us that he set aside his position in the heavens to restore mankind into fellowship with the Godhead.
The glory he set aside in order to take on human form would not be his again until his ascension, after which he appeared to His disciples. This appearance to his disciples was a taste of the promise that they too one day would be with him in a glorious existence. What we celebrate this Christmas is not just a baby in a manger but a king on the throne who will come again to restore us to the glory we were created with, before sin marred the communion He made man and woman to enjoy in the garden.
While we sing songs of Christmas and enjoy the time with family and as the gathered community, the Body of Christ, let us remember what we were made for. That is one of the implications of Christmas. God became a man so that in Christ, man could enjoy the relationship God intended between the Godhead and us John , Eph God Himself, it is not! How God thinks of us is not only more important, but infinitely more.
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Indeed, how we think of Him is of no importance except in so far as it is related to. The promise of glory is the promise, almost incredible and only possible by the work.
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To please God Certainly we must respond to that offer of love and salvation. But the worth, the delight He assigns to His creations, is what matters. Philippians , Titus One way to demonstrate these gifts of peace and joy is to be thankful for our salvation. It is easy when we have celebrated many Christmases to focus on the birth story. We would do well to remember He was fulfillment of hope, even as some failed to recognize it. Jesus did not enter history without a context; his entry as a baby was part of the salvation story God had begun from ages past among His own people.
One way to be thankful this Christmas is to thank Him for providing a deliverer for Israel, and thus, for the Gentile world. It was a preview of the obedience of Christ, in suffering and dying for our sin, cleansing us from sin. Hi, my name is Matthew Gunn. The book is called The Existence of Light: A Layman Attempts Theosophysics and it discusses what it actually means to hold a literal interpretation of Genesis, which is usually termed the Young Earth Creation view of life, the universe, and everything else.
Links for ebook purchase are here and here. I understand that. You might have even lost all interest in going to the event or ever picking up the book, so allow to not start there and see if that will help ease your mind. This book began as an idea I had while reading a book titled Death by Living by N. In it, one of the things he discusses is the nature of time. Because human suffering is due to human sinfulness and depravity, we most often view death as the final and greatest punishment for our wickedness. Otherwise you may move on. However, in Death by Living , Wilson blew apart my theological box, turned my theological table, and firmly place the shoe on my other theological foot when he said,.
Time is a kindness…. Mortality is a consequence of sin.
But it is also a gift. A mercy. A kindness. Death is grace. This seemed entirely unfair to me at first. I know people and have read news stories about people to whom death did not come kindly, easily, or quickly. Would the person dying of a disease prefer to live if it meant eternity with that disease? With that imperfection? Your imperfections, your failures, your heartache, your loss, your struggle. Would you like these things forever with a heaping side of vanity and never ending dissatisfaction with all that is under the sun?
Or might I interest you in our soups? I realized that death, in all of its ugliness and pain and devastation is a mercy that keeps us from living eternally as the hurting and hurtful people that we are by nature. It is also grace to the believer who will not only end their suffering here but, through death, go on to live a whole life in the presence of God--the undoer of all ills and the satisfaction we can never quite find while here on Earth.
These realizations led me naturally to the next logical step: physics. Oh, please tell me about the thrilling world of physics! I will leave further explanations of the physics for the actual presentation. I hope it will suffice, then, for me to say that shortly after reading Death by Living , I began an investigation into the concept of time and took an astronomy elective in school that talked about planets, distances, energy, matter, and our perception of these things.
I was told that there were stars billions of lightyears away and a cosmic microwave background which indicated that the world was at least Needless to say, that data and its evolutionary implications conflicted more than a little with my morning devotional. What I found is that regardless of the numbers we ascribe to the scale, Creation and Evolutionary cosmology agree on several things: both describe a beginning that can only be described as miraculous whether you attribute the miracle to chance or the love of God , a movement from disorder to order, and an agreement on the selfish nature of man.
In this world, lying is never off the table. Stealing, rape, murder, and other questionable acts are not a question of morality, but of payoff. In this world, where we are no higher than the animals, the only thing that separates us from those animals is our ability to do and create things that make us think that we are somehow above them. How much of human action is predicated on fear and selfish reasons. Do we not back-bite?
Bark and growl at one another? Take advantage, overpower, and deceive? The argument, instead, is always against God Himself for allowing these things to happen. I realized that both Atheistic and Christian explanations posit the ability of humankind to reduce itself to animal status. The difference is that one believes that we began as nothing more than animals and will continue to be so, while the other believes that we did not start here, nor are we meant to stay here. This is not to say that I have no other qualms with the Evolutionary worldview, rather this is the first and only one I can engage with in this space.
But Christianity, believes that that has only and ever pointed to the savior we find in Christ. And in Christ, we found a rule change and a role change, from an old system of sinfulness and death by our own wills to a new system of righteousness and life, flagshipped by Christ.
However, I will leave that discussion for my presentation on the 21st. And so, I hope to see you there. Over the last 6 months or so, a theme has surfaced in a number of Tim Chaney's sermons. It is not usually the focal point of the sermon, but rather a thread that has been woven into the fabric of the last few series. If you listen back, you might be able to uncover a slow and steady admonition. He has challenged us over and over again to move from an attitude of somber remorse, to an attitude of victorious warriors and co-heirs with Christ.
We as a church are guilty of being so overwhelmed by our sin, our family issues, our country, our finances etc. We need a paradigm shift. We need the church to be a more than a crutch that gets us from Sunday to Wednesday and back again, but rather a catalyst that causes us to thrive in life. Change will not happen because Tim is the pastor, or because we have hired two other yahoos to do the stuff of ministry here at Fellowship.
The change will happen because the Holy Spirit will move and the people of God will respond. Think about this, someone in China is battling cancer, and it is no different than someone battling cancer in the United States. In Europe, depression is no different than it is here in the good 'ole U. Anger is the same, jealousy is the same, sexual immorality is the same. They are the same because the enemy uses the same tools no matter where he attacks.
He is unified in his attack. Jesus himself said, "A Kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. We as a church [both globally and here at Fellowship] need to make sure that we are unified against this enemy. We need to know how to use worship as a weapon against the enemy. Because if the enemy's goal is to dishonor God, then when we bring honor to Him, we are doing damage to Satan's agenda.
So let's talk practical battle plans. Your heart is not something you can ignore. If you come into contact with a situation where God is clearly moving, and you come away unchanged, the first thing you need to do is to take stock of where your heart is. As a general rule, whatever you spend your time and money on is what your heart is invested in. How much of your heart is surrendered to Christ? How are you willing to let God change the way you do battle for Him? You do not have an excuse. You need to sing.
I know this is weird coming from the worship pastor and can seem self-serving, but I am telling you, this is so important in spiritual warfare. There are multiple examples I could use, but I will limit myself to two examples of this. Jesus of course, rebukes them and sends them into a heard of pigs. We have a nonbiblical understanding of how spiritual warfare takes place. We assume because we cannot see what is going on physically, that we should be able to "do battle in our minds. As the worship pastor, of course I want you on a personal level to get something out of the music section of our worship service, but ultimately that is not the goal.
We are at war. There is a big misconception that it is ok to "worship God in your heart. You see, it is not about being a good singer, or about what people think around you, but about proclaiming truth over yourself AND over the person sitting next to you. Even if you don't "feel it" on Sunday morning, it is important to not allow the enemy to shut you up.
Someone needs to hear your voice speaking truth and encouragement, and they are more than likely sitting next to you in the worship center. I won't take time to write out this whole passage, but take a minute and turn there. We can clearly see that David is a man who does not care what people think of him when he worships, and more than that, God doesn't care about dignity in worship, just authenticity he punishes Michal with barrenness for trying to shame David .
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Now, what I am not saying is that we should all don linen ephods, which are glorified whitey tighties, and dance around this Sunday. What I am saying is that your emotions are part of you. There is not a single person that in a meaningful relationship with another human being, has not felt anything. We claim daily that our relationship with God is the most meaningful and important relationship in our lives, and yet on Sunday morning, there is a definitive limit to what is ok to feel. Much less to act on those emotions. I can hear the alarms going off in your head even now as I write.
We are not supposed to be controlled by that! Keeping your arms by your side when God is calling you to lift your hands in surrender is emotionalism. I agree that you can't worship God just based off of your feelings, but we need to discover what it is to unlock our emotions and cause us to feel like worshiping. People of our church dictate the reality of the importance of our God by how they express themselves during worship.
When my son shoots a ball into his little basketball goal, I don't go up to him and say "I want to tell you how good that was, but it is just not part of my personality to tell you that. I am either going to act and tell him how great he did, or I am not going to do anything. If I do nothing, it communicates something to my son. It tells him that he is not important enough for my attention. Is God important enough? We are more concerned with excess than we are with lack.
When I read Jesus' words, He is more concerned with lack. Are we doing enough? Are we lukewarm?
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Are we going to return to our first love? Love is a mind-altering drug, and causes us to act. Our emotions can really help us to capture the reality of who God is. It is impossible to gain a sense of wonder without emotions, and every person in scripture who walks away from a glimpse of God's Glory walks away in wonder. We claim adoption as sons and daughters, we claim co-heirs with Christ, we claim unlimited access to the Father, we claim that he pursues us, we claim Christ's death for us, we claim the Holy Spirit within us. What more could we ask for from God before we will go to battle for Him in His own house?
Let us stand up this week and make a bold proclamation that we will be the ones to bring honor to Him. The end of the year always brings both reflection and anticipation. Looking back we reflect on both the victories and the losses of Looking forward we anticipate what could happen in Unfortunately, for many of us, looking back can be a painful enterprise. As we reflect backward, all of the could-have-beens come into focus and the should-have-beens wound us afresh.
The losses exper i enced over the last year suddenly seem to have healed less than we once thought. The pain throbs like it once did. Looking forward, however, seems to be a much more exciting exercise. Perhaps will be better, brighter, more profitable, more fulfilling.
For me, I always find the new year exciting. I enjoy pondering the possibilities and dreaming of the potential blessings to come. Spiritually, I believe looking back and looking forward is an essential discipline for each of us. We must never forget what lies behind us, both in terms of blessing and trial, and we must always look expectantly forward to what lies ahead. For me an unexpected and well-known story in Scripture helps bring the beauty of this discipline into focus.
Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and d e vout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been r e vealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,.
Luke I think God intentionally gives us very little information about Simeon. We know he was righteous; he was devout; he knew the Scriptures and was anticipating the coming Messiah and restoration of Israel; and he was filled with the Holy Spirit.
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The Spirit of God filled Simeon at a point in salvation history in which that was not common. We see the same thing to be true of Elizabeth and Zechariah in the Christmas narrative, but they seem to me more important to the story, at least from our perspective. But the child does not just fulfill a personal promise. Simeon recognizes that God has once again proven himself faithful to his people. For him salvation is not just a past memory or a future expectation; salvation is literally in his hands.
But the salvation was not just for them either. Third, he anticipates the blessing God has prepared for the future. He knows the Scripture well enough to see the basics of the plan. He listens to the indwelling Spirit carefully enough to see the role of both Israel and the Gentiles in this plan. And he knows the character of God well enough to speak with boldness that this plan will come to fruition. How might we adopt this discipline as we prepare for the new year? Start small. What has He done in to bless you, provide for you, answer your prayers, open doors, resolve conflict, heal wounds?
Now go deeper. What about the last five years? Or the last ten? Or your entire life? In what unexpected ways has He come through for you? When did He bring light into the darkness of a painful situation? In what ways can you recount all of His faithfulness?
God wants us to tell others about what He has done, not just for all people but for us individually. People around you want to hear your story. What story are you not telling them? How is where you are right now a product of the blessings He has provided? Where would you be without His salvation? Have you taken these things that are now true of you for granted?
Where do you still need the light to shine and God to move? Use this time of reflection to petition God to finish what He has started in you. If all of your life is a story, then the most painful times come when chapters are unresolved. Ask God to finish your unfinished stories and bring your life to the resolution He has purposed, not the one you have planned. Anticipating Prepared Blessings. What brokenness might He heal? What pe r sonal failures might He redeem? What closed doors might He open?
How might He be moving in ways you have not yet recognized? How might He do immeasurably more than all you can ask, think, or imagine? To what dark corner of the earth might He be leading you to shine his light? Are you longing for that day? Are you anticipating the coming of the Bridegroom as a bride awaits the coming of her beloved? Are you longing for eternity and allowing that longing to shape your life now? What might God do through you if your eyes were constantly set on his coming consummation and the eternal weight of glory you are being prepared for?
May be a year of new blessing in part b e cause you see more clearly how God is moving around you. Our current sermon series takes place in 1 Peter. It only takes one read-through to realize that this book is mostly about suffering Christians. I think that it is hard to come to grips with the fact that God calls us to suffer, and even to suffer like Christ.
It is kind of a tough pill to swallow for me. Here I am, raised in a comfortable, Christian home, never hungry, never threatened to be killed for my faith, and fairly regularly encouraged to pursue my relationship with Christ. Now, I have certainly had my fair share of people bashing my faith, and calling into question what I believe, but I have had far more influences in my life to point me towards Jesus, than those who would be audacious enough to try and pull me away. That being said, I have experienced suffering.
Not in its physical manifestation, but in the form of broken relationships, loss, and disappointment. Christ suffered the cross, for our salvation and for us to enter His Kingdom, but his suffering was deeper than the physical as well. He grieved over his murderers. Jesus wept for Lazarus. Many times in the Gospels, we see the phrase "Jesus had compassion. We are called to suffer in this way as well. At first glance, the book of 1 Peter is a little bit depressing. However, in chapters , Peter gives us a key.
He takes some time to address his suffering audience with a reminder of their identity before he calls them to suffer well. I believe it is a mistake to skip forward to chapters 3 and following without making absolutely certain that we understand what came before. We are strangers and exiles. But we are also royalty, priests, children of God, God's people, and most importantly, holy. That is why I wrote this song. It is a reminder to myself that when things are tough, I am His. When I am overcome with grief, I am His child.
When I am overwhelmed, I am defined by what He says about me, and what He says about me remains true forever. Why would He do this for His children? I believe the answer is found in Dive headlong into that truth and mine its depths, just as we have been studying the other truths about ourselves, and you will suffer well. Media Live Stream blog Podcast. Romans —5 This is the fourth part of a four-part series, the first three parts have shown us: The Bible tells us that without God intervening in our lives, in our falleness, we cannot understand God or the world He has created Romans 3.
Now we see that… God is not just concerned with what we think or believe, real saving faith results in obedience Romans Romans is one of the longest and most complex books of the Bible. But what is it? Not faith that results from obedience. Evangelism is worship. Now the question is who? But is that right? Complete me. Romans The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
But now this miracle of illumination can happen daily… If we let it. As you reflect, will you embrace the miracle? Romans I preached that verse recently and was stunned. No one gets it. Not you, not me. No one. Not without Him. Plead the Blood May 7, Plead the Blood. A Story of Calling March 26, How did he come to this point?
By studying Romans chapter 1. So then the gospel that had so much power in verse 16 actually went like this: God is perfectly righteous and must punish the unrighteous. Man must be righteous in order to live. The way to receive righteousness is by exercising enough faith and righteous living in your day to day life. This good news is available to everyone regardless of ethnicity, sex, or background. This righteousness is received by faith.
Not Scripture is our only source of knowledge or authority. YES — Salvation comes only as a gift. Shame on you! Surely there is at least one wise person in your fellowship who can settle a dispute between fellow Christians. You are only hurting yourself with your anger. God has called us to settle our relationships with each other. What causes fights and quarrels among you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.
Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you. When my thoughts were bitter and my feelings were hurt, I was as stupid as an animal. A wise, mature person is known for his understanding. The more pleasant his words, the more persuasive he is. Do everything possible on your part to live in peace with everybody.
Work hard at living at peace with others. Christ did not indulge His own feelings… as scripture says: The insults of those who insult you fall on me.