Friday, January 29, 2016

Jesus Is Love - January 31st

Message notes on a sermon by Pastor Guenther based on 1 Corinthians 12:27-13:13
What did the Beatles say was all a person needs? What do you think they meant by that?
I. To Us Unloving Sinners
The Corinthians were all very gifted. But what was the problem with the way they were using those gifts?
How could the Corinthians be truly great?
What gifts has God given to you? To those in the pew around you?
Yet, how do we often misuse those gifts?
Try putting your name in the blanks. How well do you do?
_________ is patient, _________ is kind. _________ does not envy, _________ does not boast, _________ is not proud. _________ is not rude, _________ is not self-seeking, _________ is not easily angered, _________ keeps no record of wrongs. _________  does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. _________  always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. _________ never fails.
And, of course, what do we deserve for the loveless way we misuse our gifts?
Try the exercise above but put Jesus’ name in the blanks. Rejoice in everything he did for you!
What does his great love for us move us to do for him?
II. Through Us Forgiven Believers
What completes all of the gifts we have in Christ?
Christ’s love for us moves us to love him. Our love for him moves us to love others. How?
Evaluate the gifts that God has given to you. How can you use those gifts, big or small, to serve others?
List some specific actions you will take this week to show your love for your Savior by showing love to others…
This week I will show love to __________ by…
This week I will show love to __________ by…
This week I will show love to __________ by…

Lesson 1:  1 Kings 17:7-16
Lesson 2:  1 Corinthians 12:27-13:13
Gospel:  Luke 4:20-32

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Jesus Changes Things: Jesus Changes Broken Homes into Faith-Filled Families - January 24th

Message notes on a sermon by Pastor Ewings based on Genesis 38:1-27
God has always intended that our homes be a little piece of Heaven on earth.  He wants our families to be a fertile ground for every good virtue as His children grow and nurture one another in their walk with the Lord.  But not every family is like that.  Not even believers in Christian homes can make the claim that every moment spent under our roofs has been Heavenly.  In many cases, our homes have been filled with brokenness and hurt where family members have wounded one another. But Jesus changes things.  He comes into our broken lives and broken homes to bring healing and restoration. Just take a look at the lives of a family from long ago!
Judah: the son of Jacob and brother of Joseph, he left his family to live by a friend of his.
Hiram: a man from Abdullam who was Judah’s best friend and companion.
Shua: Judah married the daughter of Shua and had three sons.
Tamar: She was the wife Judah found for Er.
Er: the firstborn son of Judah who was wicked so the Lord killed him.
Onan: Onan was the second born. According to custom, the deceased man’s brother was required to have children by the surviving wife if the man and the wife had not had children to carry on their line. Onan did not want to have a child by Tamar, since the child would not be his and probably because his inheritance from Judah would be lessened. So he kept Tamar from conceiving.
Shela: This was the youngest son of Judah. By custom, Judah should have given him to Tamar, but Judah didn’t because he was afraid for Shelah’s life.
This chapter contains details which probably would never have found their place in sacred Scripture had it not been to exhibit the full links of the chain that connects the genealogy of the Savior with Abraham.  The final part of the story provides the significance of the whole account. God gave Tamar twins, and the line of Judah continued because of her. The very same Judah mentioned in these verses is the forefather of Jesus Christ Himself.  In the disreputable character of the ancestry who figure in this passage, we have proof that Jesus made Himself nothing. Yet, He came into the world to change families like Judah’s and to change families like yours. 
As we examine the character profiles of this family, we are clearly shown by this story that Judah’s role in the ancestry of the Savior didn’t come because of his personal piety and sinlessness. The fact that the Savior was willing to count such people in His line shows that He came to save sinners like us.  The ancestors of the Savior were sinful and needed the same Savior we do

Lesson 1 - Genesis 38:1-27  
Lesson 2 - Colossians 3:17-25
Gospel - Matthew 10:34-42

Friday, January 15, 2016

Jesus Changes Things: Jesus Changes Enemies into Friends - January 17th

Message notes by Pastor Ewings on a sermon based on Genesis 45:1-15
Backstabbing.  Betrayal.  Jealousy.  Judgment.  Lies.  Deceit.  Trickery.  Treachery.  Hate.  Hurt.  Disapproval.  Disdain.  Rivalry.  Revenge.  Arrogance.  Anger.  Enemy.
Do you suppose Joseph meditated on these words during the two decades that he spent removed from his family and dead to them?  Joseph’s own brothers, his very flesh and blood, had treated him as their enemy.  He had every reason to be filled with anger and rage and to seek revenge.  He had every reason to go to war with them and seek their very lives.  Yet, the Joseph we meet up with in this lesson has been changed.  the results we see aren’t the impact of that well-known phrase: “time heals all wounds.”  His faith has lead him to forgiveness.  His hatred has been replaced with love.  What a beautiful spiritual lesson!  Joseph’s brother Judah thought that Joseph was actually dead (44:20), and therefore, that he himself was guilty of murder.  What he did not realize was that Joseph was alive—and was his savior!  His love for his brothers saved their lives.  What a picture of Jesus Christ!
How many of these qualities have we harbored in our hearts?  There have been people in our lives who have wounded us much like Joseph’s brothers.  In some cases, we have legitimate reasons to treat others like our enemies.  In others, we have no reason to justify the hate that we have held on to.  In the same way, there are people whom we have wounded, friends we have treated like enemies.  Jesus reveals the new attitude of merciful love His disciples will have towards everyone, whether or not they have been wronged.  May Jesus change our lives so that we can reveal to one another—enemies and friends alike—the forgiving love of Jesus!

Lesson 1:  Genesis 45:1-15a
Lesson 2:  Romans 12:9-21
Gospel:  Luke 6:27-36

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Jesus Changes Things: Jesus Changes Slaves to Sin into Sons of God - January 10th

Message notes on a sermon by Pastor Ewings based on Titus 3:3-8
Change can be one of the most challenging things we deal with in life.  Some changes are welcome.  From time to time, we like a change of routine or change in scenery.  Some changes can be either for the good or bad like a change in plans or a change in a relationship.  There are other changes that we seek to avoid at all costs.  The changes that can be especially difficult for us are the changes where we stand on the outside looking in; we don’t have a say in the matter. 
In our reading from Titus today, our God speaks to us of the changes He makes in our lives.  We were truly powerless to change ourselves—we were slaves to sin.  Trapped by the enemies of foolishness, disobedience, malice, passions, pleasures, envy and hatred, there was nothing we could do to escape on our own.  Our God had mercy on us and changed our lives for eternity. 
What a difference the kindness and love of God has made in us! God is the One Who effected the biggest change in our lives. He freed us from the chains of sin and the prison of hell and made us His children and heirs of the kingdom of Heaven. This means that today we can draw on His riches; and when He comes, we will share His wealth and His kingdom forever. 
Salvation came not only because of God’s kindness and love, but also because of His mercy. We did not save ourselves; He saved us. How did He do it? Through the miracle of a new birth, the work of the Holy Spirit of God. What is the result of this kindness, love, mercy, and grace? Hope! Our God gives you hope for today and hope for the future.  See how Jesus has changed your life forever!

Lesson 1:  1 Samuel 16:1-13
Lesson 2:  Titus 3:3-8
Gospel:  Luke 3:15-17