Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Once Upon a Time … In Real Life. Parables of Jesus Kingdom Accounting (Luke 12: 13-21, 41-48; 14:25-35) ---- --------------------------------------------------- Pastor David says that our Christian life has some similarities with how to be successful while hunting: 1) plan and prepare. 2) make the effort needed. 3) report any harvest. In our Christian life, we need to live with great faith and EFFORT and need to count the cost of being a disciple. Luke 14: 26 tells us to hate our mother and father, which means that our love of others shouldn’t compare to our love of God. We need to discipline ourselves to love Jesus more than anyone and anything else in our lives. It is a false gospel to say that all God wants from us is our sin. God wants us to die to ourselves and be 100% surrendered to him. Life is hard, but if we are surrendered to God, when life overwhelms us, we can follow and trust Him even when we don’t understand what is happening. Are we willing to be open-handed to God with our kids, our spouse, and our stuff? We are blessed and wealthy compared to so many and we need to be willing to let it go. We do not need to make a vow of poverty. Money isn’t bad, but God values people. It is our mindset that matters. We need to be truly willing to let things go, be ready for service and live in the reality of Jesus’ return. (Luke 12: 35-40). Luke 12: 13-21 is a parable about a rich fool who stores up treasures for himself but is not rich towards God. Jesus came to give us life, not arbitrate about stuff on our behalf. The American Dream tends to take us away from being effective in our Christian life. Young people want to hang out with the young and active and older people want to kick back and take it easy. It is silly to not use and value people who have trained their entire life. God says that those who pile up treasures are foolish. Are we willing to love God more than our stuff? We will have to give an account. How much does God require of us? Everything! We need to sell out to following Jesus. To live rich towards God, we need to obey his commands and follow the Great Commandment: serve God, make disciples, do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. We are all on a mission trip. We should live our lives consistent with the way of Jesus Christ, disciple people, and hold all we have with an open hand. Practical take-ways to be ready for Jesus’ return: -- Get rid of greed. This was the rich fool’s problem. -- Put aside power trips. -- First Jesus, then our families. To love our families most, we must love Jesus best. -- Stay surrendered from our stuff
Monday, August 17, 2015
Once Upon a Time … In Real Life. Parables of Jesus The Kingdom Come in You (Luke 15) ------------------------------------------------------- The context of the parable of the lost sheep, coin, and son is that the Pharisees and scribes were upset that Jesus not only accepted, but also welcomed and ate with “sinners”. Paul did not presume upon God. Instead, he saw himself as the servant or slave of God. We are not equal to God. It is God who initiates calling us His child and His friend. God is at work in the life of each believer to transform us into who He made us to be. We ALL matter to Him. Our role is to love and serve the Lord. God is the seeker, and we are the sought or the others. The Seeker cannot abide that the lost are lost, and he rejoices when he finds and rescues someone who was lost. God is not against us, He is FOR us. God is about restoration… building His family and His kingdom. Are we self-righteous and full of ourselves? Do we under-estimate ourselves and are filled with loathing? Or do we see things as they really are? Our attitude toward our sin should always be the same. We should weep and mourn, and turn away from it, but then, we should put the shame and guilt behind us and rejoice in God’s forgiveness and love. We should look clearly at where we started from so that we can clearly see what we are becoming. Application points: -- View ourselves humbly, but not without worth -- Consider that God seeks us, even though we’ve wandered off. He wants us to have a repentant heart. Repentance is confessing our sin and turning away from it and toward God. -- God’s goal is redemption and restoration. We need to welcome who God welcomes.
Sunday, August 9, 2015
Once Upon a Time … In Real Life. Parables of Jesus Kingdom Communication (Luke 11:1-13, 18:1-8) ------------------------------------------------------- We sometimes struggle with how to live as a child of God in the world today. We exist to have a relationship with Him and share His message, and He sustains us. Even when we go through trials, we should focus on the eternal (2 Cor 4:16-18). We pray to the eternal, holy, infinite God, and He knows us better than we know ourselves. He wants to hear what we have to say, but also knows that we struggle to believe that prayer does any good. To help us remember what God has already done for us, we should engrave His unshakeable and eternal gift in our minds. Jesus told two parables: Luke 11: 5-13 – Here, Jesus used the model prayer: worship; surrender; request/confession of reliance; confession; application; and plea. Then he told a parable, and admonished people to ask, search, and knock. The parable tells us that, just as we who fail do things for our children, how much more will God do for us? It tells us that we are not an inconvenience to God. Luke 8: 1-8 – A widow keeps going to a judge on the take because she needs justice. The judge eventually wears down. Unlike this judge, God will swiftly grant justice. In this fallen world, life is hard. We need to engrave what God has already done for us on our mind and heart so that we remember that God will do the best thing for us in every situation. Prayer is not about getting God to do what we want. It is about worship, praise, intercession, and bringing our requests before God. It is about knowing that He is the only One who can do anything about the situation. We need to pray always and not get discouraged. We need to keep calling the God of so much more. Application points: -- Let urgent and pressing need drive persistence in prayer. -- Don’t despair; the dynamic of prayer is different than other conversations. Prayer is not ineffective. God absolutely hears you. -- God is better than we are at our best. If you’re writing your troubles in stone and blessings in sand, try switching it up. Let’s remind ourselves of what God has already done, and that we can trust Him with our current situation.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Once Upon a Time … In Real Life. Parables of Jesus (Two-for-One) ------------------------------------------------------- Pastor Dave shared two parables about the return of Christ from Mt 25:1-30. Part 1: Parable of the 10 Virgins ------------------------------------------ In Biblical times, the bride would wait for the groom at his family’s house. Then, bridesmaids would circle him with torches and escort him to his bride. In this parable, the groom was delayed. When he arrived to meet with the bridesmaids, 5 of them were ready with the oil that they needed and 5 were not. If the 5 that were ready shared their oil, they would not have had enough light to escort the groom to his bride. When the foolish bridesmaids were finally ready, it was too late. This parable shows that those outside of God’s family do not get to come in after Christ comes again. We need to live ready for Jesus’ return Application points: -- Don’t sleep on Jesus. Nobody knows when Christ will return (Matt 24: 36-44). Stay alert! -- It’s been a while and sometimes it’s hard, but keep living in the light of Jesus’ return. -- This is personal, and your true identity is at stake. You are a child of God. Being ready for His return means that we need to live and do what he told us to. Part 2: Parable of the Talents ---------------------------------------- God expects some things from us, not because we want to perform for him, but because of who we are. We can’t do all of God’s work alone, and it would be easy to feel like a failure. God asks us to act justly, love faithfully, and walk humbly with Him (Micah 6:8). We should live our daily life with ALL belonging to God. We don’t know all that we can do, but God does. He gives us our talent and capacity, and entrusts us with people, life, minute, hours, and days. We need to be faithful with what God gives to us. He doesn’t set us up for failure. And remember, He not only calls us, but also equips us. Application points: -- God knows you; He is way more than fair. (We don’t want “fair.” We want to hear Him say that we are a good and faithful servant. -- Give your best. God is worth it. -- Never forget to who it all belongs. Receive your reward from Him. -- Trust God that he is your solution, not your problem. It all comes down to who doesn’t know the Master – who doesn’t know Jesus. As a child of God, the greatest joy in life is not “our” success, but instead to be faithful to Him. God blesses the faithful. We are to be a voice of hope in a dark world. Our job is to tell people about Jesus, even if they don’t want to hear it. Be inspired that He KNOWS us, and still entrusts us, and equips us to do His work.