Wednesday, June 30, 2021

A Heart of Stone

 Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Acts 9:3-5

A Heart of Stone

In reading through Acts, we read about a man named Stephen that was stoned for standing up for his faith in Jesus and trying to spread the truth to others. Saul was a man who hated the early church and Christians. He makes his first appearance in the Bible at Stephen’s stoning.  He was of Benjamite lineage and Hebrew ancestry. His parents were Pharisees and Saul was possibly in line to be a member of the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin was the Jewish Supreme Court made up of 71 men who ruled over Jewish life and religion. He held the coats for the people who stoned Stephen and persecuted Christians relentlessly.  Everyone around him would have admired his zeal for Judaism, but the life he was living was nothing like Jesus' life.  

One day Saul was traveling from Jerusalem to Damascus for the purpose of seeking out Christians and taking them to jail.  Suddenly there was a bright light all around him, blinding him, and he fell to his knees as he heard a voice speaking to him. The voice he heard was God asking Saul why he was persecuting Him. Saul was completely shocked at this strange light and this strange voice who seemed to know him. He asked the voice who he was, and the voice replied I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. The condensed version is that Saul was blind for three days while a home in Damascus. His eyes were closed, but his heart was opened, and He believed. He became a Christian – the very group of people he had made his life’s work to destroy. After three days, Jesus sent a man to find him, and pray for his eyesight to be restored. His eyesight was restored, and he was baptized. Immediately he began to proclaim Jesus with even more fervor than he denied him with. 

It is hard to believe that God would redeem a man who hated and killed Christians. But he did. Saul’s salvation was just important to God than yours and mine. That is the most wonderful news about our loving and merciful God. Here are some things we can learn from Saul’s experience. 

Your Past Does Not Matter To God – Saul was an evil person. Some envied him because of his “religion,” but his heart was stained with murder, rebellion, and hatred for God and His church. God loved Saul anyway and only wanted him to come to salvation. He didn’t care about his past. He already knew everything about Saul’s life anyway. Satan uses and leverages our past against us but God washes it away when we become His children. It doesn’t matter who you were or what you have done, if you will accept His gift, you will be His child. 

Your Current Circumstances Do Not Matter To God – Where were you when you heard the Gospel and knew you needed Christ? Saul was on his way to find Christians, take them to jail, where they would eventually be put to death. Not many of us can say that. It doesn’t matter where you are at this moment, it matters where you are headed after this moment. Repentance is completely turning away from your sin and to God. God takes us the way we are, right now. No matter how much of a mirey mess we are stuck in, God can swoop us out and lift us up to new life. No one is ever too bad or sinful or too far gone for Him. He is almighty God and can handle everything. He has all authority in Heaven and on Earth! (Matthew 28:18

Saul really did have a heart of stone, but God melted it with His love. If a man who hated Christians and the church – and God too – could be saved, then we all can! Saul’s story is so great because it is such a beautiful testimony to us of God’s love, sacrifice, and mercy for us. God can save anyone and use anyone, but only after we have surrendered it to Him.

And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, He is the Son of God. And all who heard him were amazed and said, Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests? But Saul increased all the more in strength and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ. 

Acts 9:20-22

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

At All Cost

Tuesday, June 29, 2021 

Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word. Acts 8:4

At All Cost

As we have been reading through the book of Acts, we have seen how the Holy Spirit is moving and empowering the community of the early church. They have really embraced the words of Jesus from Chapter 1 telling them that they would be His witnesses to the ends of the earth. 

Of course, not all who heart the Gospel are open to accepting it. Stephen was a deacon in the early church. He was a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit…full of God’s grace and power. Acts 6:5 He was a passionate believer who took spreading the Gospel very seriously. Some of the men in the synagogue disputed him, making false accusations and rousing people against him. When given the chance to defend himself, Stephen instead stood up for his faith and the truth of Jesus and used the opportunity to actually tell them what was wrong with their hearts and way of living. He finally ended by saying that they resist the Holy Spirit    they hear the truth but resist the Holy Spirit.   

You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it. Acts 7:51-53

This made the men enraged and they instantly cast him out of the city and had him stoned. Stephen was one the first deacon ordained in the early church and sadly he was the first martyr.

The truth sometimes hurts, and these men certainly didn’t want to heart the truth. It enraged them to the point of killing Stephen. It didn’t stop Stephen. And after his death, it didn’t stop the church either. Even though the death of Stephen started an outbreak of persecution led by Saul, who’s goal was to destroy the church. In chapter 8 of Acts, we read how members of the early church were even being hunted and jailed - But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. Acts 8:3  Still, they would not stop spreading the Word. 

It must have been exciting to be a part of this community of believers and watch first hand the work of the Holy Spirit. Even though they were empowered by the Holy Spirit, they have to be feeling a little fear at this point. I know I would be. The death of Stephen and other bad things that happened to the church actually gave more power and momentum to the spreading of God’s truth and the truth about Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross. They didn’t give up to play it safe. They didn’t even lay low for a while. They scattered, and they scattered the Gospel when they went. They were not shaken by circumstances or difficulty. Just as we have to do in our lives today, they saw every unforeseen and hard thing as an opportunity to turn it for God’s glory and advance His kingdom. Are you willing to be scattered like they were? A lot of us are not even sharing Jesus in our every day lives, let alone willing to be scattered by God for His Kingdom’s sake and His glory. The day may come again where we, as Christians, have to make that call. We have already experienced some persecution. If it were to get to that point where we had to take a stand, and our lives might be in danger if we do, I hope we will all remember Stephen and the early church community and their unshakable faith in our Holy and Righteous God.  


How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?  Romans 10:14

Monday, June 28, 2021

From Polluted And Stagnant to Embraced and Alive

 Monday, June 28, 2021

It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Ephesians 2: 1-3 MSG

From Polluted And Stagnant to Embraced and Alive

Yesterday we heard a powerful sermon from Sam about how God saves us from a dead life of sin and gives us eternal life in Him. He didn’t have to do this. He could have left us, stagnant in our fowl sin, but He didn’t. Because He loves us so very much, He rescued us and gave us new life in Him.  What a great story we have to share with world.

The version of Ephesians 2:1-3 from the Message definitely paints a very vivid picture for us of the stagnant life of sin that we live in until we realize our need for Christ. We all come into the world as sinners. The wages the sin is death, but God did not leave us dead in our sin, or to have to pay that debt ourselves. He provided a way for us to be raised to life, out of the death of sin. 

The scripture above says that we are mired in the stagnant life of sin. Isn’t that the best description of a life of sin? Mired and stagnant. Mired means being entangled or hindered. Sam Nobles said in his sermon Sunday that when we are in sin we are not stuck. Mired is not the same thing. It means that when we get caught up in sin, it will pull us away from God – or hinder us from moving back to Him. Sin will entangle us making it even harder for us to get away from it. It will cause us to be stagnant, not moving at all but just sitting in the big mess we created. When we look to the world, we world to find answers about life, we will only find what leads us away from true life. Everything the world offers us will lead us to death. Our lungs will be polluted with unbelief as we breathe in what the world tells us – what we read on social media, what we watch on YouTube.  The world will tell us to do what we want to do instead of what honors God, so we exhale disobedience. This is perhaps living as far away from God as we can go - completely ignoring His commands and denying His goodness and salvation. This is choosing to live opposite of His words. If someone did this to us, we would probably walk away. We surely would not sacrifice our only Son to save their life! God, in His immense mercy and incredible love embraced us instead of leaving us where we were.

Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah. Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus.  Ephesians 2:4-7 MSG

God, in His immense mercy and incredible love for us saved us. He breathed life – real life – into our dead souls. He took us from the lowest, most wretched place on earth and lifted us up to the highest place on earth as His children. He gave us a new life with a clean slate. All our debt was paid by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Not only did He give us new life in an instant, but He also gave us an inheritance of eternal life in heaven with Him. 

The last verse says that God has us where He wants us - with all the time in the world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Not only does He rescue us, redeem us, adopt us, and give us eternal life, but He wants to shower us with blessings, now and for eternity. What a gracious, forgiving, and incredibly loving Heavenly Father we have. Every day remember what He has done for you and share that story with others so they can have the new life you have in Him. 

Sunday, June 27, 2021

From Death To Life

 From Death To Life 

Ephesians 2:1-5

The spirit of mankind is dead, and there is no way for it to be resuscitated through good works, religious activities, or keeping rules. The only way for a person to be raised to life is to be 
born again.


I.     A Person Without Christ Is Spiritually Dead

·       Dead, not trapped

·       Dead, not weak

·       We were sinners from birth, children of wrath, unable to change our position, leaving us completely hopeless.

II.     A Person With Christ Is Made Alive

·       Grace means more than God making your salvation possible. Grace is God saving you.

Christ raises the dead to salvation.

·       Salvation is a miracle, a divine action of raising the spiritually dead, and Christ does it by His Word

·       When our Lord speaks, those who are spiritually dead hear His voice, and those who hear His voice live

·       When Christ speaks, He brings a new heart, a new mind, and a new spirit — the Bible calls this the newbirth

All believers have the same testimony – you have been made alive by Christ Jesus.

·       No one will ever be “a little bit saved.”




Faith at Home

·    What does it mean to be spiritually dead? Made alive in Christ? 

·    Share your testimony with your children. If they are already saved, guide them in thinking about their own testimony. 

Friday, June 25, 2021

When Satan Sees An Opportunity To Divide

 Friday, June 25, 2021 

In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. Acts 6:1

This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. So the word of God spreadThe number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith. Acts 6:5-7

When Satan Sees An Opportunity To Divide 

In Acts chapter 6 we see how the Holy Spirit is still at work building and growing the early Christian community. As they grew, they were starting to have some difficulties as Satan began to attack them a little more fervently. We know that Satan doesn’t attack unless there is a threat to him. When he sees someone or a church or an organization that is powerful for the kingdom of God, you can bet that it won’t be long before he tries really hard to bring it down. Now the new Christian community was going to have to learn how to walk through these issues with the grace and mercy a Christian is supposed to have. Satan loves nothing more than to destroy a Christian fellowship or community. 

Among the early community, there were the Hellenistic Jews and the Hebraic Jews. The Hellenistic Jews embraced Greek culture and regarded the Hebraic Jews as traditionalists. The Hebraic Jews embraced Jewish culture and were mostly from Judea. The conflict was that the church regarded their responsibility to help widows very seriously. Normally the temple authorities organized the distribution to the widows, but it seemed to the Hellenistic Jews that their widows were not being cared for as well as the Hebraic widows. 

As in any church, it is impossible to please everyone, and someone or some group inevitably gets overlooked. It was not necessarily intentional. But when you have two groups that differ in opinion just a little, an accidental slight may be seen as purposeful. But Satan will take an accidental slight every time he can and use it to stir conflict and discontentment in the hearts of believers. 

The apostles decided to have the church pick seven deacons to help with the care of the widows. It was the perfect opportunity for a church split, but they worked together to solve the problem, despite their differences. This also provided a way for others to serve by adding the seven deacons. 

It is easy for the people of a church to get distracted by disagreements. Every church will have people that don’t agree 100% on everything. Satan looks for ways to get into our churches and divide the congregation, and if we are focusing on each other and what we don’t agree about, then the work of the Kingdom is going undone. (Satan’s goal) If we are thinking more about how unhappy we are with what is going on at church or with how things are done, then needs are going unmet. (Satan’s goal) It is hard, because we are human, and we have very human feelings. When we let our feelings get in the way of ministry, the Kingdom work suffers, and Satan scores a point. 

And the word of God spread…
Because this situation was handled with wisdom and sensitivity to those who were offended, a potentially divisive issue was defused, and the gospel continued to spread. This is a good example for us to stay focused on God’s work and not our own desires about how things should go. When we work together for solutions, God’s work will get done, and His people will be blessed. 

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Joy and Victory Comes by Believing and Obeying

 Thursday, June 24, 2021 Submitted by Donnie O’Fallon

Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.” Acts 5:9

Joy and Victory Comes by Believing and Obeying

As we have been reading through Acts as a church, we have seen how the infant Church of God was aflame by the Anointing Spirit of God upon these new believers. We are told in earlier chapters of Acts that, “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” The message of the Gospel was being preached and people were responding. The church was ministering to its members needs by some selling property, giving the proceeds of the sale to God through the Church of Jesus Christ and the distribution of needs to individuals by Peter, the church’s leader. (See ACTS 4:32-37) They had all things common, and they shared life together. 

One couple who was a part of the early church was Ananias and Saphira. (ACTS 5:1-11) They seemed to be doing as others were doing – but not really.  They pretended to a greater degree of Christian devotedness than they really possessed!  It was a tremendously evil thing in the sight of God. They lied about the money when Peter asked, but the Spirit of the Living God knew, and they immediately fell dead. At that moment, the “CARRYING COMMITTEE,” did their job, they carried out the corps of one and then the other. I am glad that Committee no longer functions in the church. How about you?

We are told Ananias, “Sold a possession and kept back a part of the price.” The point is this - the Spirit of our unselfish God, was working in such powerful way in early believer.  They gave as needs were revealed, and they held everything they had as a trust from God to be used as a blessing to other people. We have come to know this as “Reciprocity.” Reciprocity is the mutual dependence on the action and influence of others toward one another. Here is how it works! When, I have a need in my life, and you see that need, then out of the abundance that God has blessed you with, you give to meet that need in my life. Reciprocally, when I see you or someone else with another need, I am to give as God has blessed me, to meet yours or other’s need. It is a “pay-it-forward” lifestyle. 

The basic theme of the signs and wonders in Acts was that God was at work in the hearts and lives of His children and the church. God is dynamic, not static, He is always on the move. God had just sent His Holy Spirit at Pentecost. These new believers were answering the impulse of love, learning to walk in the light and they were being energized by His Spirit. What God is showing us in this text is that He was dealing with the sin of idolatry and hypocrisy as revealed in actions and attitudes of Ananias and Saphira. This story teaches us about how important truth is to God, and how hypocrisy is like wearing a mask. God held them accountable for their attitudes, their activity, and their actions as he does with all his children. Remember - lies comes from “the father of all lies,” Satan, who sought to kill the fire of the church. Gods Spirit prevailed. He came to convict men of sin, righteousness, and judgement. The Spirit of God shines a light on the truth in our world, in our lives, and in our hearts. 

“We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him,” (Acts 5:32).


Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Born Losers

 Wednesday, June 23, 2021 Some material taken from Father’s Day Is No Joke by Sam Nobles

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  Ephesians 2:8-9

Born Losers

Sin is one of those things in life that puts us all on level on the same playing field a couple of times in life – at birth and at the foot of the cross. We are born losers – sinners - all of us. The sin nature does not take long to rear its ugly head in the lives of our children. It is unmistakable. It is the double image that Sam Nobles was talking about this past Sunday. We are created in the image of God, yet also in the image of man. As a result, we are alienated from God by our sin nature.

Being born into a good Christian family, being at church for every service and Bible study, volunteering for every VBS or event or being a kind person, your whole life will not get you into heaven. No matter how good you are during your time here on earth, we are all sinners in need of a Savior, just as we were at birth. 

Sin is the great leveler, and since we are all sinners by nature and practice, we all 
stand on a level playing field before God – no one measures up
– Sam Nobles

No matter how good we are, sin separates us from our Holy God. If we are sinning, we are going the opposite way from God, against His ways. We are creating the distance between God and ourselves with our sin. Even after we become Christians, sin can continue to separate us from God’s fellowship. Repentance is the only thing that will lift the barrier and restore the relationship between us and God. Until we actually cut sin completely out of our lives, it will continue to eat away and destroy as much as it can. It is a living enemy, working against us and our relationship with God. 

Repentance and turning away from our sin to a Savior full of grace, mercy, and redemption is the only way we can get sin out of our life. We have a good God who is kind and loves everyone. He does show goodness and kindness to His children, and to those that are not His children. This is the doctrine of “Common Grace,” that Sam talked about Sunday. Common grace speaks of the kindness of God toward all people –totally depraved and undeserving mankind. God does not release His wrath and destroy us but blesses us all – Christians and not. This is grace – but does not mean we are saved by this grace. Saving grace, that gives eternal life, is a gift given, but must also be received. 

We are all sinners – born losers - coming into this world. But by the mercy and saving grace of our Heavenly Father, we win the greatest prize ever when we are born again and freed from our hopeless, sinful condition. 


For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…Romans 3:23 ESV

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

One In Heart and Mind

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all. that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. Acts 4:32-35

One In Heart and Mind

Prayer - it is an open line to the God of this universe. It is a one-on-one conversation, or a communication between a group of people and the Lord. This coming together in prayer to God as a group, unifies us and brings us together as one. After Peter and John were released from jail and went to their friends and they all entered into a prayer meeting together, they were of one heart and mind. All the believers were one in heart and mind…They were unified in their praise and prayers to God, and that unity extended after the prayer was finished. They were a group working together to spread the gospel, and to take care of one another in the process. 

When we are filled with the Spirit, we act like the Spirit. We possess the nature of the Spirit, which is to glorify the Son. In glorifying the Son, in the nature of the Spirit, we will treat others the way the believers in this passage were treating each other - with love and care for one another. They were focused and unified in their purpose and filled with Holy Spirit.

What the best of teaching techniques and the best of inspirational preachers can't do, the Spirit of God can. We can pass on more to people by acting in the Spirit than a sermon can do any day. Real evangelism is not just witnessing, it is God sharing Himself through one person to another. This heartfelt and sincere care for people and their eternal destination will show.…And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all…God’s grace is exactly what we want to impart to a lost world. It is the draw of God’s grace that leads them to salvation. 

Those filled with the Spirit pour out the Spirit.

The natural process of things is to spill over when filled up. When it comes to the Holy Spirit, we don’t ever want to just be filled and stop right there. The Holy Spirit inside of us is wonderful, but the purpose of the filling of the Holy Spirit is to overflow that to others around us. He never intended for His Spirit to just fill us to the top and stop. The good news of His mercy and grace and the salvation He has given us, is not ours to keep to ourselves. It is His gift for all, and we are the ones to take it to others who need it. Along with other believers, we need to come together, with a single focus of spreading the gospel, and pray for boldness to carry it out as He has planned.  With a lack of knowledge of God and His love, the work of Christ, or the indwelling Spirt how can they believe? 

Power and Boldness to Walk Through Anything

Even though they had been threatened not to preach anymore, they didn't stop. They prayed louder, and for boldness to continue to preach the gospel. They prayed for the power and left the rest to God. They didn't pray for God to take the threat away. They prayed for power and boldness to walk through what God had planned for them. I think this is so important to mention because many times, our first request when faced with a threat or difficult circumstances is for God to take it away. They received power when they prayed - through contact with Him. Prayer is the channel, and we too can receive the power to have the boldness to reach others for Christ, and to face whatever comes. He takes care of the details and fills us with His Spirit so we can overflow to others. One on one with Him, and unified with other believers, when we come to Him in prayer, He empowers us to do His work.



Monday, June 21, 2021

A Father We Can Trust

 Monday, June 21, 2021 

The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. Psalm 28:7

A Father We Can Trust

Yesterday was Father’s Day and I spent a lot of the day thinking about all the fathers in my life. My own father has been gone for twenty-two years but I still miss him. There is so much of my life that he did not get to be a part of and that makes me so sad. He faced many challenges, such as addiction, but I never had to wonder how he felt about me. He often told me I was the “Apple of his eye,” and his actions never suggested anything different. 

There are many different kinds of fathers out there but they all have one thing in common - they are human. Some fathers are so bogged down in sin and strongholds that they sacrifice their relationship with their children to the idols that control their lives. Sadly they don’t realize it until it is too late sometimes. Some have fathers that are abusive, physically, verbally, or both. Some fathers have good hearts and love their children but fail to meet their needs. Some have fathers that are their rock, their first call, their safe haven.  ALL fathers, like the rest of us, have faults and weaknesses because of their humanity. If you have no father, or a broken relationship with your father, or if you are a father who is in need of a heavy dose of grace, we have a Heavenly Father that will love us, give us grace, and who we can trust. He fills all the voids in our lives. He fills in every gap and gaping hole left by others. 

Our Heavenly Father that is the one and only answer for everything. Someone recently told me that they knew that there was only one answer for all the problems in their life. Before they could answer, I said, ”I know - it’s our Heavenly Father!!” That was not the answer he was going to give me. Our Heavenly Father is the answer for every hurt, every failure, every complicated mess, every no way-out situation we get ourselves into, and every failed attempt. He is our rock, our first call, and our safe haven forever. He will be our soft place to land that never lets us down. You will exhaust yourself searching for someone here on earth to be that person. Some may fill some of these voids but no one will fill all these roles consistently and faithfully forever.  Even the greatest of fathers cannot do for our hearts what only our Heavenly Father can do. They definately enhance His work in our hearts. God still takes failures and turns them for His glory and our good. So, if you have a failed relationship with your earthly father, there can still be healing and good that comes from it. 

If Father’s Day left you feeling sad and empty, run to the Father - the Heavenly Father who can fill the empty. He is trustworthy. He is a Father that will never let you down or leave your side. As the scripture says, He is our strength and shield and our hearts can trust Him. Trust in Him, give thanks for Him and praise Him today.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. 

Isaiah 26:3


Sunday, June 20, 2021

Father’s Day Is No Joke

Father’s Day Is No Joke

Genesis 5:3 

You were created in the image of a holy God, but you were also born in the likeness of sinful man. It is this paradox that forms the basis of our identity as human beings. Jesus Christ is the only person capable of offering a solution to the human condition.  

Every human being on planet earth lives with the enigma of the double image: Made in the image of God; born in the likeness of Adam

 I.Sin Is Inherited At Birth

·  Sin separates people from God.

There is no doctrine more repugnant to the natural mind of mankind than knowing you are a sinner in need of a Savior.

·  Sin is a destructive power.

Sin is more than a list of things you have done wrong

II.Sin Leaves Us In Need Of A Savior

·  Common grace restrains sin. 

·  Common grace explains how a man can be totally depraved and yet still commit acts that are, in some sense, “good.” 

·  Common grace is not saving grace.

Faith At Home Questions
What is sin and what is grace?
Will “doing good things” be enough to get us into Heaven?

Friday, June 18, 2021

Real Religion

Friday, June 18, 2021

REAL RELIGION Submitted by Donnie O'Fallon

In Acts 3, Peter and John are going to the Synagogue to pray in the ninth hour. While going, they saw a beggar at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful asking for alms of those entering the Temple. Peter and John looked at him and said, “look at us”, and he did expect to receive something from them. Then Peter said to him in Acts 3:6-8, I have no silver or gold, but what do have I give to you In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, rise up and walk! He took him by the hand the right hand and raised him up and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and he entered the Temple with them, walking and praising God.

When we find Jesus, we have found Real Religion!” This “Real Religion” can only be found in a Real Relationship with Jesus. My friend, finding the Real Jesus will put a smile on your face; a song in your heart; a bounce in your step; and a fire in your soul!

Illustration - A drowning man was pulled upon the beach, his wife was fighting her way through the crowd of on lookers, asked, what are you doing? The EMT said, “were giving him artificial respiration.” To which she replied, “Artificial nothing, I want him to have the real thing.” To many have settled for something less than the REAL THING. 

Here was a man Lame from birth, some 40 years old. Levitical Law prohibited a deformed person from entering the Temple.  His friends would bring him to, The “BEAUTIFUL GATE,” just outside the Temple. Also called, “The Corinthian Gate.”  The great wooden gate was overlaid with silver and gold panels facing the East. The sun would rise out of the East over the Mount of Olives, and it would burst aflame with brilliance almost blinding you with its beauty. So, it became known as “The Beautiful Gate.” But this beggar was on the wrong side of a beautiful life, crippled with no hope of ever entering. For those who gave to those like him, it was believed there would be given special merit to them. Peter and John said, “all we have to give you is, Just Jesus.” And that was enough. He needed a Real Touch from God. There are multitudes who are spiritually crippled, waiting for a REAL touch from God, to have a beautiful life, and exigences REAL RELIGION. Those in the Temple witnessed this, “Touch from God,” through Peter and John in the Name, Power and the Authority of Jesus.” Peter preached boldly saying to those who witnessed this transformation, “this same Jesus that you denied, delivered up, crucified, buried and was resurrected as he said… Peter simply stated, HE’S BACK.” THE MIRACLE THAT CONFRONTED THEM, those that day caused several to experience, Real Religion. 

THAT WAS THE MESSAGE THAT CONVERTED THEM! Peter preached the message of a Crucified, Risen Christ and, as a result of his preaching, literally thousands were saved. Peter said, “He was shown alive by many infallible truths…” He Preached A Risen Lord (15); He Preached A Residing Lord (16); He Preached A Redeeming Lord (17-19), therefore Repent. He also Preached A Returning Lord (20-21). The outlook on Earth, from my perspective, seems somewhat bleak but the up look of heaven is bright. You do not have to stay on the wrong side of the gate! Arise and be healed in the name above all names. That name is Jesus!

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Two Special Gifts

 Thursday, June 17, 2021

So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about 3,000 people were added to them. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers. Then fear came over everyone, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as anyone had a need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude, praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved.

Two Special Gifts
In Acts Chapter 2 we see the beginning of two very special gifts that God gives us. The first is the Holy Spirit. It came just as Jesus promised in Chapter 1, and the second is the gift of the fellowship of believers – the church. 

The Holy Spirit - Jews from every nation were gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of Pentecost. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. Acts 2:2-4 The Holy Spirit came on them all as tongues of fire over the top of all of them! I imagine that was a pretty exciting time! This is the gift Jesus had promised the Disciples. The Holy Spirit is the presence of God in our lives.  Jesus had to go so He gave us the Holy Spirit to be with us in His absence. Along with His presence, the Holy Spirit brings us power to do things, like witness, in the name of Jesus. When we have the Holy Spirit in our hearts, we will produce fruit – or evidence - of Him in our hearts. He will change us and the world around us will notice. 

The First Church The very first church was made up of Jews in Jerusalem and then spread to others.  Thousands of Jews that were there for the Pentecost heard the gospel and around 3000 of them were saved and joined together with the others. They actually sold their possessions and donated the money to the church for anyone who had need. They lived life together, all the while devoting themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship as they met together daily. Every day more people were saved and joined their fellowship. 

The church is the body of Christ of which we are all members, and He is the head. All of us are important to the work of the church and to the body. The church is more than just an institution - more than just a building. The church in Acts experienced life together, and the best churches today do the same. They learned together (equipping the saints) and they grew together. Most of all they walked alongside each other, prayed together and for each other, discipled each other, and lifted each other up when needed. They were there for each other - a spiritual family.  

Another purpose as His church is to know Him and make Him known. Unified, we represent and reflect Him to the world. Together we can fulfill the Great Commission, because introducing others to Christ is the greatest purpose we have. 

God takes each of us, with different personalities and gifts, and unifies us as a single body, and equips us to care for each other and reach the world. God never meant for us to live the Christian life alone, but rather surrounded by the loving community of the church, where we will discover our own purpose in life, and in the fellowship of believers. 





Wednesday, June 16, 2021

An Important Message for Everyone

Wednesday, June 16, 2021 Some material taken from Parenting With Purpose Part 2 & Andy Brady

I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord.  But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord. 1 Corinthians 7:32-35

An Important Message for Everyone

Although in our current sermon series our focus is on parenting, all of the principles Brother Van is presenting are basic to the Christian walk – for everyone. Truths are universal for all who are pursuing Christ.  In the weeks ahead we will focus on the value of truth, handling emotions, the importance of responsibility, benevolence, the power of words, spirituality, and forgiveness. These are areas we all need to learn more about and grow in, no matter what our age or season of life. 

The goal is to be a more fruitful disciple in the season you are in right now.

God’s best is not waiting for you in a different season, God’s plan for you is not waiting for a different season. Now is the time to set these principles into motion and decide what kind of walk you want with Christ. 

If you feel a void in your heart, it will not be filled by all the things you are waiting for such as a spouse or children. That void will only be filled by God, and then you pouring into others. Leverage this season to become an expert at friendship, service, love, grace, and boundaries. Love deeply now, no matter what God brings, loving deeply now will produce fruit. Our greatest calling – our only calling - is to pursue Christ and glorify Him. Everything else falls underneath that, and anything else we pursue more than we pursue Him, is an idol. 

In the meantime, we are all a part of a family - the body of Christ. All of us are equally important and we all have children in our lives – nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, children of friends. Use these tools to pour into the children in your lives. You never know when God may use you to influence and change the life of a child you know.

Families go through seasons. A single adult starts out as a family of one. Then a couple is a family of two. Children may come and the family grows. Then one day the children are all gone, and the family is back to just two. Many times we feel a big void when the last kid leaves home. No season is more important than another because God has a purpose and plan for every season of life. He has a purpose and plan for every family, no matter how many are in the family. 

Isn’t it true that no matter what season we are in, we are always thinking about the future? The really sad part of this is that not only do we miss God’s plan for us now, we also miss life going on around us. Focusing on what isn’t is good way to miss out completely on what is, and sometimes life amazes us. Trust God in the place you are in right now. Ask Him to lead you in discovering what your purpose is in this season. Don’t get distracted daydreaming about what you want Him to do in your life and miss what He is doing right now. 


Tuesday, June 15, 2021

The Promised Power of the Holy Spirit

 Tuesday, June 15, 2021

After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.  For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.  
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Acts 1:4-5; 7-8

The Promised Power of the Holy Spirit

The book of Acts is where we can find the beginning of the Church. When we read through Mark, we saw a snapshot of Jesus’ life and ministry. In Acts, we will see what happens next - after His death and resurrection. 

We begin with the disciples and Jesus after His resurrection. He spent 40 days with them learning more about the Kingdom as they were preparing to be His witnesses. They grew during this time and His presence was proof of His resurrection. Lots of people saw Him while during that 40 days. Twenty-five years later some of those people were still alive and Paul spoke of it 1 Corinthians 15:3-6: For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Jesus spent time with the Disciples during that time telling them what to do in His absence. Then, before He ascended, He said His final words to them - But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

In verses 3-5, Jesus told the Disciples that they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Jesus had previously spoke of this promise in John 14 - And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever -  the Spirit of truth. v16-17 This is Jesus telling them the promise of His Father of the Holy Spirit. When they received the Holy Spirit, they would receive power from the Holy Spirit right away. Not in 10 years, or 5 years, but right away. With this power, they were to be witnesses for Jesus. In the power of the Holy Spirit they would spread the news of the gospel in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. 

At this time, the whole Roman Empire was considered to be “the ends of the earth. ” How could the Church be established and the gospel spread so quickly? This could only happen with the power of the Holy Spirit - the gift from the Father. This power was the same power that powered Jesus’ ministry, including the miracles He performed. It was also the same power that rose Him from the grave. 

As believers, we often strive to do everything in our own power, including share the gospel of Jesus Christ. We forget, or fail to understand, that we have that same gift, or power from the Holy Spirit. We have been given this gift to rely on as the Holy Spirit’s power working through us to reach people for Christ and lead them to salvation. We don’t have to worry about not having the right words. His power is far greater and more effective than anything we could possibly do on our own. He has gone before us and prepared the way - softened hearts and made them open to hearing and receiving His good news. Trust Him to lead you in His power to share His gospel.



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