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11/30 Philemon

Paul writes this personal letter to Philemon from prison.  Paul asks Philemon to take back Onesimus who just recently became a Christian.  It would appear that Onesimus was at one time a slave belonging to Philemon.  Paul asks Philemon to accept him as a brother now.

15Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back for good— 16no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord.

How many times do we know someone as one thing, only to find out that after they become a Christian they are now something else.  That we can no longer view them as we once did.  Now they are just like us, a brother or sister in Christ.

November 30, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

11/29 Titus 3

Chapter 3 reminds us what we were at one time.  Hopefully we no longer allow passions and pleasures to lead us astray.  So many people today hate.  It really would not be right for any Christian to hate another person for any reason.  Hate the sin not the sinner.  But because God saved us through His Son were should no longer be like we were before.

3At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

As Christians we now have eternal life.  Since we have eternal life wouldn’t it be great if we could share that wonderful news with those who do not?

November 29, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

11/27 2 Timothy 3-4

Paul charges Timothy in Chapter 4 with several things.  First, always be prepared to preach the Word.  Second, be prepared to correct, rebuke, and encourage with great patience and careful instruction.  I think sometimes the last part of that can be the hardest.  Being careful and patient are not always strong traits for many of us.

1In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

Then Paul warns of things to come.  Soon the truth of the gospel will be altered into something less, something watered down.  It will be changed to meet human standards.  It will become what they want it to be instead of what is really is.  The truth will no longer be taught.   We seen this in many different denominations today.  Hold fast to the truth, because it is the only path for the true Christian.

November 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

11/26 2 Timothy 1-2

In chapter 2, Paul goes into great deal about words and how we use them.  Not to quarrel because it brings no value.  Or godless chatter because it makes us more ungodly.  These are important concepts because in today’s world it seems that all we do is quarrel.  About sports, politics, and other non important issues.

14Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.

Again starting in verse 22-24 Paul warns us to stay away from those things that we did when we possessed less wisdom.  Instead we should look to those things listed here, righteousness, faith, love and peace.  And whatever you do avoid stupid arguments about stupid topics.  If you want to be known as a servant of God, avoid arguments.

22Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.

I doubt that you could we one soul to Christ by trying to out argue someone.

November 26, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Rich Toward God (Part 4 of 5)

November 25, 2009

Nothing cute about this one boys and girls, buckle up because this week is a serious ride.  In the sermon this past Sunday, the preacher spoke about Paul finding contentment in all things in life, good and awful (Philippians 4:11).

A synonym for God’s providence is divine provision; but I don’t think those two words resonate in our minds, or lives, the way God intends them to. He desires to divinely provide for us. Providence is how God orchestrates everything to accomplish His purposes. Let me show you what that means by contrast.

There are two ways God can act in the world: by miracle and by providence. A miracle has no natural explanation. In the flow of normal life, God suddenly stems the tide and injects a miracle. Then He sets the flow back in motion, just like parting the Red Sea until His people could walk across and closing it up again. Do you think it would be easier to do that—to say, “Hold it, I want to do this miracle” and do it—or to say, “Let’s see, I’ve got 50 billion circumstances to orchestrate to accomplish this one thing”? The latter is providence. Think, for example, of how God providentially ordered the lives of Joseph, Ruth, and Esther. Today He does the same for us. He’s done the same for me in bringing my wife and me together, bringing Northside and my family together, and by bringing Lebron to the Cavs.

Contentment comes from learning that God is sovereign not only by supernatural intervention, but also by natural orchestration. And what an incredible orchestra it is! Appreciate the complexity of what God is doing every moment just to keep us alive. When we look at things from that perspective, we see how silly it is to think we can control our lives. When we give up that empty pursuit, we give up a major source of anxiety.

Paul was content because he had confidence in the providence of God. That confidence, however, never led him to a fatalistic “It doesn’t matter what I do” attitude. The example of Paul’s life throughout the New Testament is this: Work as hard as you can, give to those in need, and be content that God is in control of the results.


November 25, 2009 Posted by | Zach | | 1 Comment

11/24 Timothy 1-3

Paul in his letter to Timothy writes in Chapter 3 what many churches today have labeled as the qualifications of Elders.  In looking at these I feel that qualification is the wrong term to describe these.  Characteristics is a much better and more appropriate term to use.  While Elders should exhibit these characteristics in their lives, to say that these are all that they need in order to be qualified to lead the church would be a huge mistake.  The most important qualification needed for being an Elder is not even listed here.  This one qualification if it does not exist in the person should cause all to stop and pause.  Do you see what is missing?

1Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. 2Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5(If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.

If anyone wants to lead the church then they must emulate Jesus, they must be a Shepherd.  Jesus was the Good Shepherd and if we want to lead then we need to become one also.  If they want to lead they must care for the people of the church.  If they want to lead they must care for the hurting members.  If they want to lead the church then they need to oversee  what is taught.  I am sure that the job of an Elder is the most difficult there is in the church.  But hey if it was easy everyone would be doing it.

November 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

11/22 2 Thessalonians 3

Finishing up the book of 2 Thessalonians today.  Paul asks for prayer from the Thessalonian church.  He asks that they pray for rapid growth in the church and in his ministry.  He also asks for prayers of protection.

1Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. 2And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. 3But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 4We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. 5May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.

I think that this would be a good week to spend in prayer thanking God for all He has blessed us with and also for those who work in the ministry.  Please pray for the Northside Staff this week.

November 23, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

11/22 2 Thessalonians 2

In chapter 2 we learn that God has chosen us first.  One would think that if we choose God, He willingly accepts us.  But there had to be at some point a decision made by God to choose us.  Without His decision, all the efforts we make to choose Him are largely a waste of  time.  If I chose to be your friend and yet you refuse to be my friend, nothing I do will ever matter, will ever change your mind.

13But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.

So to boil this down to a simple concept.  God chose you first.  You are now allowed to choose Him right back.

November 22, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

11/21 2 Thessalonians 1

Praying for others is one of the kindest acts that you can do.  Paul reminds them that he is praying for the Christians in the Thessalonian church.  Paul prays that they will act according to their faith and that God will bring them to fulfillment.  It is also important to note that he asks that in all that they do that Jesus will be glorified.

1With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. 12We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sometimes when we don’t really know how to help someone, the answer is prayer.  Pray that God comforts and heals and that He opens the door for you to be there for the person in need.

November 21, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

11/20 1 Thessalonians 4-5

Just a quick note about the end of 1 Thessalonians.  Paul writes about Christ’s return in chapter 5 and how it will happen.  He states that those Christians alive at that time will meet up with Jesus in the sky and then spend forever with him.

16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the 1dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18Therefore encourage each other with these words.

In Chapter 5 he reminds us that know one know the time that Jesus will return.

1Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.

November 20, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

11/19 1 Thessalonians 1-3

Paul starts the book of 1 Thessalonians by writing about spreading the Gospel which is his mission given to him by the Lord.  Each time Paul describes their efforts to share the message with others by different means.  One could believe that by repeating this theme, he is showing them the importance of doing the same.

Chapter 1

4For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.

Chapter 2

1You know, brothers, that our visit to you was not a failure. 2We had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition. 3For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. 4On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.

Chapter 3

1So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens. 2We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God’s fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, 3so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we were destined for them.

Using the power of the Holy Spirit, using help from God, and sending others to spread the message are all methods that even today, we can implore to achieve the same results as Paul.  Allowing the Holy Spirit to empower us to speak boldly or lifting up the lost to God in prayer are certainly within our means to do.  Raising up evangelists and sending them around the world through our financial support also is within our reach.  It would then appear that God wants us to respond to His Great Commission.  What exactly are we doing to fulfill it?

November 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Rich toward God (Part 3 of 5)

November 18, 2009

From God’s perspective, it doesn’t matter how much money you have right now. You may have a mountain of cash, or you may have enough to get buy. Either way, we’re called by Him (told by Him, asked by Him) to use what He’s given us to praise Him and help others in every area of our lives.

Since God is so invisible to me sometimes, and since I’m such a visual learner, it’s going to have to take some discipline to realize that every dollar I earn comes from God. He’s given me my talents, He’s given me my vocation, He’s given me every cent I make. Therefore, He should be the decider of every cent I spend. We should at least run it by Him, don’t ya think?

I remember one vacation my family and I took when I was around 10 years old. We went to visit Grandma and Grandpa out in Colorado. About a half mile from my grandparents’ house was a baseball card store that I was addicted to. And when I say addicted, I mean I snuck out one night to see if they might be open at three o’clock in the morning.

They weren’t open.

But I spent all the money I had saved up over the summer ($80, which is a lot to a third grader) at that baseball card store. I kept that store in business…….then Sunday came. My mom reminded me before church to be sure I had the $10 I promised to give to God. I didn’t have $10; I just had a bunch of baseball cards. My mom turned into a tattle tale and told on me to my dad. In righteous anger, my dad popped another vein in his forehead and asked me to show him all the baseball cards (and candy) I had purchased. I did, and my father took the most valuable card I had and asked me what I think I should do with that very valuable, collector’s item: a 1985 Pete Rose baseball card. I knew what I had to do – I set it in the offering plate at church.

Because I didn’t even think that every dollar I was spending was God’s anyway, it never occurred to me that I should’ve saved a percentage of my (His) earnings to give to Him. And in the end, because of my selfishness, God received what I thought was valuable anyway. When we leave this earth, God’s going to get whatever we have selfishly tried to attain anyway, wouldn’t it be more fulfilling to team up with God and give while we’re here?

Even though I failed my father that horrible summer of 1991, I have learned that failing my heavenly Father hurts more, and so He decides how I spend, invest, save, and give when it comes to money.


November 18, 2009 Posted by | Zach | | Leave a comment