Great Expectations in 2013

Psalms 30:1-5

[v.1] I will extol thee, O Lord; for thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me.

[v.2] O Lord my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me.

[v.3] O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.

[v.4] Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.

[v.5] For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

Did you make a New Year’s resolution? Before you answer that let me take a crack at guessing…… (1)To grow closer to God and expect great things from him in 2013 and (2) get in better shape (mostly physically). Odds are I’m correct about this. I recently went into a LifeWay book store and found many books on sale, mostly the ones that will help one to grow in his relationship with God. Unfortunately no text books were on sale :-( My reason for going). Other stores follow the trend by lowering prices on Gym membership, exercise equipment, and weight equipment. All because ……???? Yep you guessed it, they are well aware of the New year’s resolutions trend.

 

I too would like to do both of the above. Originally I thought getting in better shape was definitely going to be the harder of the two. But I was wrong!  After deep thought, I realized that the only thing stopping me from getting in better shape physically is me! But the only thing stopping me from growing closer to our father in heaven is Satan. In Psalms 30:1-5 David reminds us that in order to expect great things from God we must:

 

  1. Verse 1:Extol the Lord for what God has done in your PAST! (glorify or lift him up ON PURPOSE!)
  2. Verse 4: Sing and give Appreciation for what he done for you and through you in 2012 Present! (This is an imperative sentence! Not an option God commands us to sing and praise his name!)
  3. Verse: 5: Trust God and Expect Great things! Future! (Joy comes in the morning!, God has never let us down!)

After a long day of work or playing we always fall flat on our beds. Trusting that the mattress, box spring, and frame will support us. Sometimes we fall hard because we have no energy, sometimes we politely sit and then lay. Never having any doubt. But after some time (this varies) eventually the bed will give. And then it’s time to get another one. The bed starts off really soft and comfortable but end up raggedy. God is the Same all the Time! He’s ready to catch you when you’re tired! He wants yall’s relationship to be top notch. He his kept you safe in you past, protecting you presently, and is ready to do something mighty with you in the future. Just trust him the way you trust your bed.

 

2012 was a year of Change at Desire Fellowship. Nevertheless we are still giving him the praise for the weeping season, trusting God and Expecting Great things and joy in 2013!

 

Oscar~

deep prayer mode

Lately Desire Fellowship has been in deep prayer mode. One of the prayer requests of the church is that we would be patient and steadfast regardless of circumstance, trusting and believing God in all things. That’s extremely tough to do. We all love to receive the security and blessings that God provides, but being patient and staying on the path that God has paved for us is the tough part. In a recent sermon we looked at a story that can be found in 1 Kings 17:1-24. Elijah the prophet was living during a time when king after king continued to do evil in the eyes of the Lord and serve other Gods. So one day the prophet spoke…. “There will be no rain or dew falling from the sky for the next few years because of the wrongdoing of the kings and the Israelites.” But there was one clear problem that I saw with this…. that this would even impact Elijah himself since he had to live in the land, and his water supply would also be cut off! But despite the tough circumstances, as long as Elijah continue to do the work God had called him to do and continue to trust God, God provided. A brook that is only supposed to be filled when there’s water present became Elijah’s constant water supply. The ravens, who are consumers, would instead deliver Elijah meat twice daily like a waiter! God was supplying Elijah’s needs in the most strangest scenarios because Elijah continue to do the work that God had called him to do regardless of the circumstances. And then one day the brook dried up, and the raven’s delivery service had stopped. Most people would give up and think “God is failing me!” It was just another test of faith! It was just to see if Elijah would continue to trust God. Elijah was instructed to go to Zarephath, one of the most populated places in the region. With the huge number of people the drought had to be more severe! And this is where God wanted Elijah to go! But Elijah doesn’t quit or give up. He continues to trust that God will provide in all things and heads over to Zarephath. Upon arrival he connects with a woman and immediately, because she becomes connected to Elijah she’s blessed with more food and water than she and her son had ever had since the drought! Elijah’s faith even brings her son back to life later in the story. Please join with us as we pray for patience and steadfastness in spite of circumstance – that we would, like Elijah, keep our hands on the plow and trust that God will provide!

-Oscar

Notes: “Authentic Christians” – Sunday, January 2, 2011

The word Authentic means several things…. Credible, real, accurate, legit and pure are just a few. All are ways in which the Church should be.  The Church is made up of a body of believers that should be working toward those same tendencies. When someone visit a Church their minds may be wondering about a lot of different things such as how was worship, How was the sermon, and so on. One thing that a person shouldn’t  be wondering about is how authentic the Church is. (Its members, leadership, prayers and so on.) I thought since it was a new year we should spend more time taking about becoming more authentic both indivually and as a body of believers.
First week’s sermon title was Authenic Lives or Authenic Christians. 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12. In this passage we looked at how we should live in order to please God. Every day that should be our aim. What can I do today to please God? And by constantly reminding ourselves and living our lives to please God we in fact become better husbands, wives, brothers, pastors, coaches, etc. I used the story of buying on item getting one free. Everyone loves that deal. When women see it their eyes light up. It’s always Big and well displayed so you can take advantage of the Buy one get one free sale. Well that’s kind of how it is with God. If we lived to please him then everyone else around us get these men or women aiming to please God around them for free.

Church Notes: September 26, 2010

Genesis 8: 1-15

Sermon Title-God’s Faithfulness

Though the ark had rested safely, Noah was waiting for the Lord to tell him what to do. He waited forty days…
- Sometimes we have to just trust God’s faithfulness. Even after he delivered Noah from the flood the promise he made to Noah wasn’t complete, and God’s faithfulness is always COMPLETE!
After being confined to the ark for over a year, he and his family must have been desperate to get back onto dry land, but they waited for God’s directions.
-(Rom 10:17) Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
  • We have to remain faithful in God’s words…. That’s how God speaks to us!
-Noah’s family was taken care of for over a Year! By God…… A YEAR! Totally depending on him.
  • How many times do you think they felt discouraged or let down?
And then one day they sent out the dove and when it came back with vegetation!
  • How do you think they felt?
  • Would we allow ourselves to just trust God and rejoice when we see the dove coming, showing a sign of God’s faithfulness?

Church notes: September 19, 2010

September 19, 2010

Sermon: What Did Jesus DO? (Part Two)

Passages: Mark 1:21-27, Matthew 5:20Matthew 6:19-24,

Mark 6:2-3, Romans 1:1-7

Notes:

1 Timothy 4:7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.

Have we been training ourselves? How can we be training ourselves?

In Mark 1:21-27, Jesus is teaching in the synagogue, and the people were amazed at the authority of his teaching. Not only this, but a man possessed by an evil spirit is present and he cries out in v. 24, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!” At this outburst, Jesus sternly commands the spirit to be quiet and come out of the man, and the spirit obeys his command. The people are even more amazed at his authority.

-What gave Jesus this authority that set him apart from the other teachers? The Holy Spirit’s power was at work in him; his life was not words or teaching alone, but his heart was right before God, and he set himself apart to do the will of his Father. The evil spirit did not recognize him because of what he was teaching or his actions, but because of the power of God that was at work inside him.

In Matthew 5:20 Jesus explains this further: unless our righteousness SURPASSES that of the Pharisees and teachers of the law, we will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

-The Pharisees and teachers knew the law backwards and forwards, and prided themselves on keeping it to the fullest. Jesus reminds us that no matter how hard we work to keep the law, it will be impossible for us.  We must surrender to him and trust in HIS power to work in us.  This is what enables us to live a truly holy life, for his glory and not our own.  This is what will set us apart for him.

In Matthew 6:19-24, Jesus is teaching further about how we are called to live apart from the ways of this world. He first instructs us to store up our treasures not on earth, but in heaven. Next he gives an illustration of the eye as the lamp to the body: if our eyes are good, our whole bodies will be full of light — but if our eyes are bad, our whole body will be full of darkness. Verse 24 reminds us that “No one can serve two masters.”

-Where am I storing up my treasures? Am I listening to the world’s direction on what is important/necessary for this life: money, a certain job, a relationship, a car, etc? Or am I trusting God to provide for my needs, and focusing on serving and following him in every area of my life?  Are my eyes “good” or “bad”? In order for our eyes to be “good”, they must be focused on God, the Father of Light.  After we trust God and set ourselves apart for him, focusing our eyes and our hearts on him, we will see how he provides for our earthly needs.  (See Matthew 6:32-34) We must choose one way or the other. We can not live for Christ half-way. Who will I serve today?

In Mark 6:2-3, Jesus is again teaching in the synagogue. This time, he was not in Capernaum, he was in his hometown — and was not as well received. People knew him here, they knew his family, knew him as a carpenter — and they took offense that he would teach with such wisdom, authority and power.

-Am I afraid of my past, that those who know me will try to hold it over my head as I step out to set myself apart for Christ? Or, is there someone I am unwilling to listen to, learn from or be in fellowship with because of what I know about his or her past, or what I think I know by way of other people’s gossip? Christ was without fear of this world or what others may have wrongly thought of him. He trusted and obeyed his Father everywhere that he went, regardless of the response of those around him.

Romans 1:1-7: an introduction to Paul’s letter to the Romans.

-Like Paul, let us remember that we are called to belong to Jesus Christ and set apart for the gospel of God. Not for looking good, not for leading a peaceful life, not for building a better community, but for the gospel of God, through him and for his name’s sake! As we train ourselves to be godly by setting ourselves apart for him and trusting in him without fear, he will be faithful to work all things out for our good. Am I trusting God in every area of my life today? Let’s fix our eyes on Him!

Church/Bible Study Notes: Sept. 12th & 14th

September 12, 2010

Sermon: What Did Jesus DO?

Passages: 1 Timothy 4:7, Luke 2:41-52, Matt: 3:13-17

Notes:

“Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.”

-1 Tim.4:7

-What does it mean to train ourselves to be godly, or what are some examples of the disciplines of a godly life?  Here are two examples in the life of Christ.

In Luke Chapter 2, we see Jesus at just 12 yrs. of age leaving his family to go sit in the temple courts with the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. In v. 49 he asks, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”

-Are we “in our Father’s house”? Are we pursuing the interests of our flesh, or focused on the things of this world rather than our Father’s business? We have to make the deliberate choice to place ourselves in our Father’s house.

Matthew 3:1-17

In this chapter Jesus goes and sees John in order to be baptized by him. At first, John protests, because he knows who Jesus is.  He says that he is the one who should be baptized by Jesus! But Jesus replied in v.15, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.”

-Jesus wasn’t concerned with appearances, or preoccupied with himself. Everything he did was in accordance with the will of his Father. He was willing to humble himself, God’s own Son, and be baptized by John, in order to “fulfill all righteousness”.

-Am I willing to be obedient to the Father, even if it means humbling myself, or placing myself under the leadership or authority of someone who may be “lesser” than me in some respect?

Following this act of obedience, the Holy Spirit himself descended on Jesus and the Father said, (v.17) “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

-Blessing follows after obedience, and God is always pleased with our steps of obedience, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem to us.

-In what areas of my life is God calling me to take a step of obedience to Him?  What do I need to throw off or remove from my life in order to be able to train without being hindered?

September 14, 2010, Bible Study

Passage: Joshua 2:14-24

Notes:

-we reviewed Chapter 1 and the 1st part of Chapter 2 for those who were here for the first time.  In verse 14 we have the 2 Israelite spies Joshua sent out into Jericho (part of the Promised Land) after being commanded by God to “be strong and courageous”, remembering God’s presence with him/God’s people always, and his promise to give them success wherever they went as they were obedient to him.  (Ch.1, v.7-9) Joshua began readying the people, as God instructed him, to go take possession of the land (Ch. 1, v. 11), which included sending out these 2 spies.  The spies encounter Rahab, a prostitute, who seems an unlikely candidate for God’s favor. But she has heard of God’s power, and come to believe that he is the One True God, to the point she is willing to risk her own life to protect the spies that have been sent by his people.

-v. 17-20 The spies agreed to spare Rahab’s life, along with her entire family, if she kept her word to them, keeping quiet about what she has learned of their plan. They told her to hang a red cord in the same window they escaped to freedom from, to remind them which house they were to pass over and spare in battle.

-Sometimes we need to look back to our “red cord in the window” and remember what God has done for us and how we have been set free.

-The LORD was pleased with Rahab’s faith, made evident in the actions she took, risking her life by turning against her country and placing trust in the God of Israel and his people.

-Her family would also need to have faith to be saved. V. 19 says that if any of them were to leave the house during the battle, their blood would be on their own heads. They would have to choose to put their faith in God’s ability to save them over their own ability to save themselves, or over their countrymen’s abilities to defend them against God’s people.

-In the same way, we must remain in “God’s house” to be saved. We need to make the choice of faith, telling God that we trust in him to rescue us and not in our own abilities or those of others in our lives.  What choices of faith do I need to make in my life in order to step back into “God’s house”?

-V. 24 The spies return to Joshua with the report that the LORD has already given the whole land into their hands, because everyone has already been stricken with fear of the Israelites.

-God has instructed Joshua not to fear, because fear would have prevented the Israelites from entering the Promised Land. This would have been foolish, because God had already promised it to them, and he had already been at work ahead of them, striking fear in the hearts of the people there.  In a sense, the battle had been won before it even began.

-Is there a place in my life that God has promised to me, but I am avoiding because of fear?

-Remember that he goes before us, he will never leave us or forsake us, and many times his work is unseen until we take a step of faith and obedience, trusting in his promise and his faithfulness over our own abilities or the abilities of others in our lives.