10/25 Series: Family at its Best Proponents or Adversaries 1 John 2:18-29
Proponents or Adversaries, are they for you or against you? Hopefully in whatever family setting you are in: the family you live with, church family, sport family, club, or organization, that they are for you. They want your best and the best for the ‘family’. They are proponents. On the other side are adversaries, those who are against you, wanting you to fail, fall short of the goal. Not only you but the team, family, group that you belong to. How do we know that they are wanting our best? Basically, it’s Doing the Right Thing that Pastor George talked about with our young people. To do for the group and each other what’s right, good, and true.
Jesus want’s that for his family, the family of God. This week’s Bible passage in 1 John 2:18-29 begins with the section of verses 18-27 giving a Warning Concerning Antichrist. That’s a 10-verse warning. The remaining 2, verses 28-29 are to us Children of God and what we are to do regarding the coming of the antichrist. I do believe that John wants to get our attention regarding times of the antichrist. We all agree that antichrists are the adversaries. As Pastor George said anti means against. They are against Christ. John is our proponent as we read from 1 John where he wrote in verse 28 “And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.” To have confidence even when the going is going to get tough, we are to abide in Christ. Pastor George told that we are to get to know Him, this Jesus in the Gospels. Is He growing stronger in you? Are you maturing in your faith? The more you know the more confidence you have to stand strong. The scripture says abide in him. Abiding, until the end of the age, until his coming again. Pastor George reminds us that the living God now living in you, in the temple, is in each of us. We are God’s temple. The living God, now living in you, living through you. We are to be light, living daily with the joy and happiness from abiding in him, to shine for our Lord, being a proponent of Christ makes family at its best.
In Right Now Media this week we listened to Doug Sherman at a conference where he talked on the subject of Trading Up. A Different Way to Do Life with God where he said, a life centered around Him daily; the relationships and the work we do, doing it for His glory and our joy is how we are to live. He made this statement, “The trajectory of your whole life is determined by one single thing, the image of God that you live your life by”. He says most have an image of a small God. That he only cares about spiritual things, that God is not interested outside the Church. Another RNM video this week addressed Talking with God by Adam Weber. Adam begins with saying that we’re all living in crazy town with more to do than what fits into the day, which we all can agree to. He then states prayer shouldn’t feel like a daily chore. That something changes when prayer is no longer just another thing in the day. Doug Sherman also addressed this thought in saying, you’re not too busy, your God is too small. Doug goes on to say, God is a real person, and he is always present. It’s no value to know God is always present if you don’t live God is always present. Adam Weber stated that the longer we talk with God the more we fall in love with him. When we talk with God, we find a friendship that God wants with us. Adam says God enjoys short, simple, honest, spur of the moment prayers. Say what you mean and mean what you say. A quick hello is better than nothing at all. There is no need to impress in our prayers, he just wants to be with the real us, he wants a relationship with us. How can we get to know God better? The Bible is a conversation starter where God speaks personally to us, says Sherman, we learn of him and where we learn to want to live our life knowing a passionate Holy Father. Jesus says, I invite you to see me clearly, I stand at the door and knock, hear my voice, know it, open the door and I will come in. This is Jesus’ desire.
Another video that is very worth your while in watching from this week is Daniel: Things to Come, by Tommy Nelson. He is referencing the book of Daniel, doing a study on living with the end in mind, finding our place in the journey, all the while living for today on purpose and in peace. Antichrist, the end times, the time when Christ will come again to make all things right with God, and what needs to occur before that happens, is a study that should interest everyone. It’s prophecy. Things foretold, future. Tommy says that prophecy is given for a moral reason, a life change. Prophecy of the end times is revealed knowledge given to John who wrote Revelation, and to Daniel as written in the Book of Daniel. He explains the antichrists, those adversaries, who are against Christ. To begin Tommy Nelson gives nine reasons on living the Christian life, on purpose and in peace even in knowing of this prophecy of the end times. What we already know is *Comfort* in death or in life, when the end times come, we will all see Jesus. Believers will be caught up (raptured) together with Him in the clouds *Reverence* a fear of the Lord. For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ. We are not judged for our sins, but if we did good for God’s glory and pleasures or light doing for my glory and my pleasures *Privilege* we know where history is going, prophecy; our lives are for God, his glory, his purposes *Hope* the hope of the believer is the coming of Christ, always be looking for it. *Purity* we will be like Him, our moral code. *Preaching* there will be a judgement for all men. There is a heaven. There is a hell. We should be preaching this. *Purpose* we are fellow workers with Him, to be about His purposes. *Perseverance* Keep on keeping on. One day the bad guys are gonna show up, but we know the last word is God’s. Always remember a vision of the other side that radically affects us.
Claiming these purposes and living them out as proponents, so that when the antichrists come, the adversaries come, even in our daily living, we can stand firm, stand secure, stand on the promises we know are true. As Pastor George prayed, Life’s best for us is to pursue Him, love as he loved us, to live by that and share the same encouraging love with the others in our lives. To see clearly, to pursue what we know to be right, good, and true. We are to share the Good News throughout our ‘families’ that brought us together. To be a proponent of all He is, shown throughout our whole life.
Larry and Darlene
10/18 Series: Family at its Best – Living with the High Beams On 1 John 2:7-17
High Beams – on our vehicles it’s a bright light. Some flashlights or lamps or a dimmer switch on the wall give options for the brightness desired with high being the brightest. When we read Living with the High Beams on does this mean so that we can see where we are going, or so that we can see what’s around us? Is the High Beam for our benefit? In the scripture passage at the end of verse 8 it reads “…the true light is already shining.” Already shining, well then, I don’t need to turn it on. Pastor George referred to the book of John chapter 8 verse 12 “Jesus spoke to them saying, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” It’s this light, Jesus, the light of the world, that we are to illuminate, with the high beams on. It’s this light that Pastor George referred to when he said, light casts away darkness, light brings hope, light makes fear run out the door, light comforts. I want this light, you want this light, everyone needs this light so as not to be in darkness, right? They can get it just as we did. How did you get this light of the world? Did the light draw you in? Did someone show you the light? Did love find the way to the light for you? How are those yet in darkness supposed to find this light of hope and comfort and so much more?
In our scripture passage in verse 7 we read of the old commandment (to love one another) that you had from the beginning. Jesus lived the expression of this commandment. He is love. Verse 9 and 10 reads, “Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.” Love, where love abides there is light. Living with the High Beams On is turning up the love that comes out of us. Kind of like living inside out so that our heart of love shines brightly, unhindered, loving as Jesus loves us. Why? For one so that while in and from the darkness they can know light, and two my high beams shining so I don’t stumble while walking through the darkness. The world is darkness, and we are not to love the world. Our scripture passage in verses 15 and 16 tells us, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him For all that is in the world-the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life-is not from the Father but is from the world”.
The Right Now Media options for this week took us into situations of the world. Patrick Kelly spoke at a conference that we viewed on Light in the Dark. He talked of a time he attended a rock concert where he experienced the smell of drugs and witnessed people who were living a different lifestyle than him. Two different cultures and values. He spoke of our co-existence. He said a believer can be effective without changing the culture at all. We are called to love people where they are, of reaching people in their culture with our influence. We should focus on the bigger issues of their life, the need for Jesus Christ, he said. Jesus had a heart to redeem people. We need that same heartache for those living in darkness.
Sarah took us to a different world experience. Her illustration in Right Now Media shared with us of being A Light at an Unethical Job. She thought she had the job of her dreams until she was asked to do what she knew was unethical. She struggled. She said everyday presented her an opportunity to be light. To do life in the circumstances that she found herself and still be a light for Christ in how she interacted with people. Her co-workers often questioned her about the happiness that she lived daily. I live Jesus, He gives me hope she told them. She prayed that she would honor God in her work, she prayed for the Holy Spirit to give her the strength needed to talk with the owner. Faith is foundational, says Sarah, we are just vessels that He is using. She said that she could not compromise what she knows to be right and true. She did talk with the owner and left her dream job.
Donnie Smith in his training video, Be Light in the Midst of Disappointment, talks of much the same disappointment that Sarah experienced. Life hits everybody. We’re not perfect and we do not live in a perfect world. People are watching us, said Donnie. He went on to say, our confidence in rough times proves our faith to friends, co-workers, or whomever may be in the middle of disappointment with us. He said we are to be careful about emotions getting expressed that aren’t Godly. We have a personal God, it’s through our rough circumstances we have the opportunity to glorify God. He said in faith we need to stand firm in that I’m not losing any confidence of God’s ability through this situation. To have the confidence that I know God is right there in the midst of disappointment with me.
Are you actively shining the light with high beams on in the culture of darkness? Are you using high beams from the light of the world-Jesus, in those unethical situations we encounter? Do you stand firm with high beams shining when you would rather cry out in the midst of disappointment? Pastor George asked us Sunday, how do you live your life that others are watching? It’s easy to forget that others are watching us. It is within our work family, school family, sports family, church family that we are being watched. Are we radiating a good example of the love we know? To radiate His Love, His ways, His life so that others will want to know Him who we know. Pastor George encouraged us to let your light shine, let others see your good works, see your actions and reactions so that our response to all things might glorify God. He assured us that Jesus helps us to see things better and those around you find it easier to walk when they have light showing the way . It happens best when we are living with the High Beams On!
Larry and Darlene
10/11 Series: Family at its Best - Who Stands Up For You 1 John 2: 1-6
Pastor George asked our young people, Who are people that protect you? While first to be mentioned is family, he asked about friends? Of course, we hope that a friend would come to our rescue when a need arises. Pastor George then referenced Proverbs 18:24 that says... “there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother”, which he said is referencing God. God our friend to our rescue. We all can be one of those friends too, said Pastor George.
Our scripture passage for this week is from 1 John 2: 1-6. titled Christ Our Advocate. Verse 1 says, “…but if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous.” In sin we are guilty without just payment to a holy God. In the passage we have the assurance of an advocate. An advocate is one that pleads the cause of another as before a judicial court, someone to plead in favor of. Jesus is our advocate. Through Him our sin is forgiven, making us right and sinless before God. This we know, Who Stands Up for You? Jesus our advocate. Sure, is wonderful being in the family of God knowing we have our advocate to save and redeem us back to being worthy, in the presence of a Holy God, our friend. This passage ends in verse 6 with “whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”
To be an advocate and a friend, who walls in the ways of Jesus, is the kind of human being I would want to stand up for me in my time of need. Pastor George outlined for us on what this means and just How did Jesus walk? 1. He awoke early to pray. 2. He walks slowly through the crowds. He touched them in love and fellowship. 3. He showed compassion, as sheep without a shepherd. 4. He spoke in lovingly truthful ways. 5. He celebrated with others, he came to serve and not to be served. To walk in the same way in which he walked we pray, Give us the strength Lord to do as you, walk through other’s lives, Amen.
This week we viewed two videos in Right Now Media each addressing being one with God and one with another Christian brother/sister. First viewed is titled ONE-Why True Biblical Unity is Essential by Tom Kraeuter. This series focused on the prayer of Jesus in John 17:11 “And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.” ONE goes to the very nature of God, say Tom Kraeuter, Perfect Love, Perfect Community, Perfect Unity. He goes on to say, part of believing in Christ is believing in His church and His body. There is no such thing as Christianity without community. There is the need for connection, need for fellowship, we need each other. We learned that He gathers us together because of our differences, we need everyone in the Body of Christ. Kraeuter spoke of Biblical Community. It’s not easy, a church has flaws. 1 Peter 4:8 says “…above all keep loving one another earnestly, deeply, love covers a multitude of sin.” Listening through this video we learned that the Spirit of God builds unity. We are the Body of Christ right now. We are the containers, the expression of Him here on earth. What should the Body of Christ look like? One, working together the way God wants us to, under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, doing life with others in unity and diversity.
A second video watch is titled The One-Another by Tony Evans. Here is what he says about Biblical Unity: first is our relationship with the Lord that is crucial in Biblical Unity. The gospel is about love, God – Us – One Another. We are about making His name great. Our unity is a sign to the world that Jesus is our Savior. From Biblical Unity comes Biblical Community, the one-another. Tony Evans states that God wants to see more of you with others because that is what the church is about. The one-another experiencing God together. Tony goes on to say, the thing that should mark God’s people is not what they do for themselves but what they do in the family of God connected to others. It’s that horizontal love, Biblical Love. The law of Christ is the law of love says Tony. He goes on to say, everyone should be an encourager or an encourage-e, to support them or be supported in faith.
Pastor George talked of this love on Sunday. To love God is to love others. Truly the love of God is made complete by your actions. He says to ask ourselves, does this show the love of God? The love of neighbor? If no, then don’t do it. We as the Body of Christ is to care for them, walk slowly, listen, what do they need? It’s showing love, grace, compassion.
Tony Evans gave Biblical Love this definition: a decision to compassionately and righteously seek the well-being of another, a decision whether or not it’s accompanied by an emotion. Tom Kraeuter says we are to put on the shoes of the intercessor Jesus Christ, and cry out for another in prayer, surround them with love, to care richly for one-another. The I’ll stand up for you in times when you find it hard to stand, kind of love. Tony Evans also says as Christians we are to comfort one another. God has a ministry in your pain. We go through our affliction so that I can comfort you in your affliction. It’s our ministry to others and God’s ministry to us. Whatever you want God to do for you, do for someone else. Be a comfort in your comforting says Tony. But in all, Tony states, do it in the spirit of gentleness, giving the truth in love. To care for the person through the least amount of pain possible.
Christian Unity begins with Biblical Unity under the Lordship of Jesus, which flows into Biblical Community with one-another through Biblical Love, keeping us strong in our faith in the good times and the not so good times. In Christian Unity the mission field is working. We at times need another to stand up for us before the Lord in prayer, to stand up to us in our sin, to guide us back, to stop looking at the pain but to keep the eyes on Jesus, to stand with us through the good time and not so good, so that we do not lose faith but instead so that our faith can be strengthened. It’s brothers and sisters keeping you pointed towards Jesus. Being family at its best, is a relationship with others, with a common goal, and desire to not lose any of its members along the way, doing what it takes, even when it means to stand up when a need arises.
Larry and Darlene
10/4 Series: Family at its Best…..Full Exposure 1 John 1: 5-10
This week’s message is titled Full Exposure. When I think of sunlight passing through a prism, it gives full exposure of the many bands of color characteristic of a rainbow. Prism’s differ in their angles of glass that make up the prism. It’s the angle by which a beam of light is bent, when it enters glass, that exposes differences from one color to the next. The light, sunlight, is a white light that is refracted or separated into its different colors as it shines through the prism. Complicated in its process but simple in that it’s letting the light shine through the different bents, angels, size of the glass, to display bands of color characteristic of a rainbow. It’s Full Exposure. We can liken that same theory to our lives. It’s taking our bents of sinful ways, our angles of experiences in our life, our glass of individualism, and letting the Light shine through us as we display His beauty to the world around us. Let’s take a look at what we can do to beautifully expose our life’s prism.
Each person is born with their individual bent or sin nature. It’s what we do with our bent(s) that characterizes us. The scripture reminds us in 1 John 1 vs. 8 “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”. So, there it is we all have sin. No need to hide the fact. We all have sinned and fallen short. We know sin is darkness. We know God is light. We should know that one cannot live in sin’s darkness if we want to be in God’s light. This we read also in verses 5 and 6 of our scripture passage. It’s confessing our sin, asking for God’s forgiveness that sets us free from the darkness. Verse 7 says “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” Walking in the light, His Light, in us, he removes the darkness. It says we have fellowship with one another, that’s a Partnership with a Purpose, right? To be right with God and to let his light shine through us.
When we are willing to live in full exposure, we become willing to let our bents be exposed to others. Max Lucado in his discussion series on God Uses Broken People says no matter what someone has done, God can still us them for His glory and to help others find forgiveness. God uses brokenness, say Max. We need to ‘come clean’ with God and to believe that He has forgiven us and that He still wants to use us, to change His world.
It can only happen through Jesus, says Joni Ortlund in her conversation on The Power of Forgiveness, also in the Right Now Media tool. All forgiveness she says, requires coming through the offenses with love. The Essential Elements says Joni is 1. Go to Christ, our suffering is important to him. Leave our pain and hurt with the Lord. 2. Go to the Word. Study what God says about forgiveness. Never avenge yourself says Joni, leave that to God. We need to find peace and forgiveness with the Lord first, for reconciliation. Ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness is powerful. It’s living in and by grace. Joni also said that if the cycle continues where we fall back into bitterness, anger towards another, then maybe one needs to question who God really is to them.
Pastor George outlined for us Sunday that 1. Remember Who You Are. We are part of the family of God, related by the blood of Christ. He paid it all, his life for ours. 2. Reflect The One Who Rescued You. We have already received His love. Pastor George reminded us that whoever keeps His Word, for others to see too, then the love of God is complete in us. We have this fellowship with one another and with God. 3. Recognize Problems and Solutions. In life, reveal ourselves and be honest with God. He is quick to love, to rescue us, to forgive, but we have to identify with the issue, says Pastor George. He also shared, don’t expect God to cover what you are not willing to uncover. Recognize the problem you are having and take it to God. It’s then that we hear gentle whispers of God…course corrections….into our lives.
Max Lucado in God Uses Broken People encouraged us to 1. Confession. Stop trying to hide guilt. God in his grace, will move you out from of the hold of sin and bitterness, to a new place of healing. He uses failures to teach us about himself. 2. Believe. Believe that he has forgiven us and wants us to change His world. Max says we are to surrender and trust.
In reading an article this week, it referenced Miss Manners. Mercy and Forgiveness – Miss Manners reminds us, are core elements of etiquette, of ‘correct behavior’. We learn that from our heavenly Father. Daily we receive His mercies, daily he showers us with His grace, daily we are forgiven of our bents. How do we respond to such acts of love? With correct behavior, with allowing the Son light to shine through our prism, with willingly opening ourselves to Full Exposure so that others can be helped through our experiences from sin to forgiveness. We are never more Christlike than when we forgive, when we live in His mercy and grace towards each other. There should be no more hiding, no more shame, no more guilt. It’s bringing all our hurts and pains into full exposure before the Lord, for Him to love on us, that’s Family at its Best. God family’s and our families, teams, groups, people loving the people where we belong. Let your prism shine beautifully in the Light!
Larry and Darlene
9/27 Series: Family at its Best – “A Partnership with a Purpose” 1 John 1:1-4
This Sunday begins a new study series titled Family at its Best. Family, those that belong to you. Family, those that you belong to. As we begin to study in this series we are taking that thought, widening it to say family also is a group of people, not related, but supporting of each other, could include but not limited to work family, school family, or a sports family, and church family too. Our focus begins “A Partnership with a Purpose” 1 John 1: 1-4.
Pastor George shared that within these groups there is an atmosphere, a feeling of family. Family isn’t a physical place although there could be a homestead, a town, a place that we call home where our family is, that connects us. Family is relationship. Family is partnership. When people come together, they are family in the sense of the word. Family should be the first to defend, the I got your back kind of thing, says Pastor George, it’s that support, encouragement that we value in family. We crave time together, it’s where we are loved and cared for. The question was asked Sunday, how do we as a body have that same attribute? As a body of believers, as New Life Church, and also of the greater church universal, can we have that same attributes of togetherness, support, love, same atmosphere, feeling of family? What calls us into this family relationship?
A Right Now Media video we watched this week from Chuck Swindoll, is titled God’s Family. God’s family is the church of the living God. Dare we say that God is the patriarch of this family? The Divine God, the one with no limits, an absolute, He who is our all in all. We share in the fellowship with God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. This week we viewed Session 1 on Fellowship, in the series 1 John: A Call to Authentic Faith & Sacrificial Community. In this Women’s Bible Study, they discussed this God. He is, from the beginning he was – He is, in flesh and blood he came to Earth, just as we are flesh and blood. This God, he is flesh and blood and also Divine, God/Man. In our scripture passage for this week 1 John 1:1 reads “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our own eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands…” John has passed on the message, a message based on a relationship, one that he says he had seen, felt, touched, heard, this Jesus. He was an advocate, being a voice, an influencer, a physical advocacy for another, for a real Jesus Christ, one he touched, heard, felt, had seen. He’s telling us Jesus isn’t an ideal, Jesus is a person. One that we as Christ followers’ partner with, in family. He who is our common cause, our purpose. Giving our support, the I got your back kind of defending, the encouragement towards this greater purpose. We heard on Sunday that anyone who does the will of God is my brother and my sister, we are heirs. This is what makes us family. We are brothers and sisters striving to do the will of God as he leads and guides us.
Verse 3 in this passage of 1 John 1 reads “…so that you too may have fellowship with us, and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus.” John wants all believers into this fellowship with him, and the Father. Pastor George said that fellowship means partnership. To have fellowship with each other we partner together. To have A Partnership with a Purpose, our partnership is not only with each other, but a fellowship/partnership with the heavenly Father. Phil Vischer, in his kid’s video Jellyfish on 1 John from Right Now Media shared that the fellowship we share is with God the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ. We find joy through fellowship with God, he says. It’s doing life together. Phil explained that it’s a hug kind of happy- to be the best kind of happy together. In the Fellowship series the ladies discussed to be the gospel in the flesh, that’s our purpose, and to make it a priority with your relationships. To be like John, an advocate, to model who Jesus is, having a heart to love the way God does. You know the Truth, be the light for one another. Pastor George says it’s taking the message of the cross, His love for us, making it a bigger and greater part of our lives, reach out into the world we live, work and play, with this joy that makes life complete. Our joy brings Him joy! It’s a partnership with a purpose. The partnership we know as members of God’s family that is for all who believe in Him. Living that love out within our physical family, our church family, and the other family groups that we are part of, for the sake of the group, for the sake of family.
Andy Stanley in his series Future Family, shared that in family there is what’s real and what’s ideal. Jesus points towards an ideal, but He did not condemn when people fell short of the ideal. Real life family at times loses site of the ideal. Andy calls it the complexity of family life. One bit of advice that he gave comes from Ephesians 5:21 “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” This calls us to be a servant to the people around us, says Andy. What makes for happy great families is a willingness to leverage all of oneself for an us. A what can I do for you mentality. Andy says that your life is to be a message, you were created to care. Christ’s love compels us to. Our great God to whom you are accountable, our relationships, are they grace filled? He extends grace to us daily. Are those relationships loved and cared for, in the ideal but also when life gets real? It’s who we are when we are partnering with others, with a purpose, in this Partnership with a Purpose it’s family at its best knowing Truth, fully loved, fully forgiven, fully redeemed, this is Family at it’s Best!
Larry and Darlene