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Quirky, Good Questions (3 of 4)

April 28th, 2010

From: Chelsea

Hi Pastor Zach. One more question that came up tonight in my Bible reading: Why the heck did Rebekah want Jacob to receive Esau’s blessing?  Did it come down to strictly favoritism? (On a side note, I was flabbergasted last week in my time with God when I found that Abraham married again. This is like a soap opera!)

It is clear that Rebekah and Isaac were playing favorites.  In Genesis 25:27-28 it says, 27 When the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the field, but Jacob was a peaceful man, living in tents. 28 Now Isaac loved Esau, because he had a taste for game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.

Sadly Jacob would not learn from this and would later on show favoritism to Joseph over his other sons.  That would lead to such hatred within the family that the brothers would beat Joseph and sell him into slavery. It really makes you think that if mom or dad see sibling rivalry, maybe one of their children assumes that favoritism is being shown.

The family of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob really is a soap opera. God is honest with us in His Word. He reveals the true nature of each person and their families. We may be tempted to ask, “Why would God choose to use people who act in such a way.” The answer is that he uses me, and my life is up and down also. It is by His grace we are saved. It really is not in what we do. God loves, covers, cleanses, and forgives all because of what Jesus has done, not what we do.

Zach

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April 28, 2010 Posted by | Zach | | Leave a comment

Help, I’m stressed out! (Part 4)

April 27, 2010

Why preach this series?

A good friend of mine recently mentioned that these sermon topics sure were “depressing”. And in jest said, that ought to really make people want to come to church!  After one of my blogs on the sermon series “Help, I’m stressed out!” I received these 4 comments from different people online:

1. Sounds like my kind of series LOL! Seriously, this will be very helpful to a lot of people, lets pray they are there to hear it …

2. I can’t wait! It’s sometimes hard to cast your burdens on Jesus, but once you do you realize…He only gives you what you can handle..nothing more nothing less.

3. I need these sermons. With my fathers passing in January, I have struggled with always wanting to be in control which is the main cause of my stress. I have been a very fortunate  single parent for years stress 1, my mother needs a care giver daily stress 2, I decided to go back to school to further my education for job opportunism stress 3, & my fathers passing turned my world upside down taking care of life insurance policies, changing, SS benefits & pension to my mothers name, the list goes on.. all of which I took on knowing my mother couldn’t. Had I not been a Christian I just don’t know how I would have gotten through it. Through this I have learned once again God really is in control & if my faith was stronger I would let go & my stress levels wouldn’t be what they are. Sometimes we need reminders & I look forward to these up-coming sermons.

4. Heard your sermon today — seemed as if you were talking to me! God Bless you as you are helping all of us. I know he guides you hour by hour.

So, maybe these sermon topics really will cause people to want to come to church! I hope so, there is so much in the Scripture that helps us to deal with life issues, as well as, prepare us for the next!

Robin

April 27, 2010 Posted by | Robin | , | 2 Comments

Your Wisdom?

April 22, 2010

Last year I had the privilege to listen to Ben Merold, great minister that took more than one church from small to mega, speak about his personal time. It was then that he challenged each of us to read a chapter in the book of proverbs as part of our devotion time. Now daily I read a chapter a day for the month, one to thirty one. As I have been journeying through them, they are all filled with challenges regarding wisdom. Most of the book of Proverbs was written by Solomon though towards the end of the book a few extra writers joined in.

So here is my thought, what if you were asked to write, not a chapter, but a sentence in this book. What would you write? Would it be something that was passed down from generation to generation? Simple thoughts like don’t stick your tongue in a light socket? Or could it be what God has challenged you through your journey in your relationship with Him? If you could let me know some of your thoughts, your wisdom making moments from your life, and comment them down so we all can see how God is working in your life.

Have an amazing day, see you on Sunday,

Mark

April 22, 2010 Posted by | Mark | | 2 Comments

Quirky, Good Questions (2 of 4)

April 21, 2010

From: Scott

Good morning Zach! I’m confused in my Bible reading for the day! Why did Zipporah circumcise Moses’ son and throw the foreskin at him and say “you are the bridegroom of blood!” Is it because he neglected to circumcise him and she had to do it. Is that why God is angry at him?

The question comes from Exodus 4:24-26 where Moses is on his way to call for Pharaoh to let the children of Israel go. On the way, the text says that God sought to kill Moses until Zipporah circumcised their sons.

The reason that God was going to kill Moses is because Moses, while going through outward obedience, was not being inwardly obedient. He did not follow the commandment given to Abraham in Genesis 17. In Genesis 17:40 it says that anyone who is not circumcised has broken the covenant with God and is to be cut off from the people. Moses knew this and for some reason (maybe because of his wife) he ignored it. God would not allow him to come to the people of Israel without fulfilling the covenant of circumcision. This is an important lesson for us.  We need to truly be committed to being completely obedient to God in our lives. Inside and out. Sundays and Mondays. In private and in public. In word and in deed.

Zach

April 21, 2010 Posted by | Zach | | 1 Comment

Help, I’m Stressed out! (Part 3)

April 20, 2010

I’m Just Devastated!

Life comes at you fast! Sometimes life hits you hard!  We are in our third week of looking at stress in our life!  This coming week we will look at being devastated! There may be times that you are sailing through life, everything is going great, and all of a sudden something comes along and knocks the wind out of your sails.  Sometimes life can hit you so hard that you can become completely devastated!   I looked up the word devastated in an online dictionary and thesaurus. Here’s the result!

dev·as·tate (dv-stt)

tr.v. dev·as·tat·ed, dev·as·tat·ing, dev·as·tates

1. To lay waste; destroy.

2. To overwhelm; confound; stun: She was devastated by the rude remark.

devastated

adjective shattered, shocked, stunned, overcome, crushed, overwhelmed, distressed, gutted (slang), dazed, knocked sideways (informal), knocked for six (informal) He was devastated by the news of his friend’s death.

Have you ever felt like that?  Truly life can be hard sometimes. We can be so distraught over things that happen that can’t seem to pick up the pieces and go on!  This Sunday, we will address the stress in our life, when we are devastated and what to do about it.  Until then, keep this Scripture in mind!

2 Corinthians 4:8-10; 16-18 (NIV)

8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Pastor Robin

April 20, 2010 Posted by | Robin | , | Leave a comment

The Search for the Meaning of Life (Part 2 of 2)

To Play Your Part, Know Where to Start

“For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible,…everything got started in Him and finds its purpose in Him.” –Colossians 1:16 (Message)

Contrary to what you’ve been told and what you want to believe–it’s not about you. It never was and it never will be. The reason why the search for the purpose has eluded so many is because we look in the wrong places. We look for it in our career, our family, our friends, our peace of mind, our dreams and no matter how hard we try it leaves us feeling empty and lost. Why? Because we start with looking within ourselves instead of looking to God. Why do you exist? You were born by God’s purpose and for His purpose. Until we grasp this nothing in life will make sense. You didn’t create yourself, so how can you possibly know what you were created for! You only exist because God wills you to exist. Only the one who created who knows what your purpose is. Your starting point for discovering the purpose of life is turning to God.

Through God we can discover life’s meaning and with it out origin, identity, purpose, significance, and future. Most self-help books offer this about finding life’s purpose: consider your dreams, set goals, aim high, be disciplined, believe  in yourself, and never give up.  While these suggestions more times than not lead to success, they still miss the purposes for which God created you for. Even if you reach all your goals and find success by the world’s standards you still wouldn’t find what you’re looking for. Money, fame, possessions, accomplishments can’t fulfill the longing for meaning in your life and God made it that way so we find true satisfaction only in Him. Follow this link to keep reading

April 19, 2010 Posted by | Guest Post Kyle Jackson | Leave a comment

“I”

April 15, 2010

So how many electronic devices are out there that are all about me? My kids and my bride have a “I” device for their music enjoyment. The other day I saw a “pad” that is all about “I” so where do we go from here? First of all you see the connections of life no longer becoming personal, they are texted, twitted, facebooked, buzzed, and all the other it is all about me. Of course I twit, facebook, and write a blog to express the thoughts and ramblings that I have. I, you know it is all about me, have a thought and you need to hear about it. I am worth your time. So who am I and why do I deserve to be heard and at the same time why do I want to be left all to my self?

I am not knocking the wave of electronic media and devices that make it happen. I just was thinking if Jesus twitted his whole ministry and never left the comforts of Heaven, or never started it because the next “I” device was about to be released so He could approach His ministry in a whole new way. It would have failed because the apostles needed to see His examples and love. In 54 characters Jesus would be able to tweet: “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” How many would actually get up and do it? I need an “I” in my life, but the “I” that I need is not found in circuits and wires and a battery. It is not lacking a full charge and is not searching for a signal—full bars all the time. What I need is found in the relationship that I have with Jesus Christ. He is the greatest I that has lived on earth. My connection to Him can not be found greater or magnified or made more personal by any device or any other way. Be near Him by being near one of His, personal relationships are a vital part of your ministry. Live your life out loud, and let others see it.

Mark

Reminder: “It is tax day!”

April 15, 2010 Posted by | Mark | | 2 Comments

Quirky, Good Questions (1 of 4)

April 14, 2010

It is so awesome to continually hear from people from the Northside family who are reading through the Bible. So many of us read through our Bible text and then check it off our to-do list for the day. These people are reading their Bibles and are stopping to ask questions. I know that what we are seeing happen on the Sundays is a direct result of us seeking Him together.

Here are some interesting questions that have come in from the people in our search reading their Bibles:

From: Lisa

Hey Pastor Zach, Genesis 38, in my Bible, talks about a TEMPLE PROSTITUTE? I would really like some explanation on this.  How in the world can there be a temple prostitute? That is crazy! I thought in that culture if your face and head were covered it meant you were NOT a harlot.  Did I miss something in the reading?

We do not want to mix up the temple that is being referred to here with the Temple that would be built by Solomon in honor and worship of God. This time in Genesis pre-dates the Temple built by Solomon. Many cultures did use sex as a form of worship. This idea gave birth to “Temple Prostitutes”. These people who would sell themselves to temple goers who wanted to use sex as an act of worship. This is what is being referred to here. This also would be something that Paul deals with thousands of years later with the Corinthians where Temple prostitutes, both male and female, existed.  In 1st Corinthians 7, Paul is dealing with the Corinthian Christians reaction to these prostitutes. They had condemned all sex calling it evil because of these prostitutes.  The Corinthian Christians ask for Paul’s view on sex and he lets them know that sex only in marriage is a gift from God.

In Corinth the prostitute would be known because she did not cover her head.   At this time in Genesis the prostitute would wear a veil and seek to allure men to her in that way. Pretty sneaky but isn’t  the devil always devious?

Zach

April 14, 2010 Posted by | Zach | | Leave a comment

Help, I’m Stressed out! (Part 2)

April 13, 2010

Lots of people are all stressed out, you know! A study done by the American Psychological Association in partnership with the National Women’s Health Resource Center and iVillage.com showed that nearly 47% of all Americans are worried about how much stress they have to deal with. Not only are we stressed, but now we’re stressed out about being stressed! The people in the study that indicated that they lived with a high level of stress!

We all have stress!  Last week, we talked about being stressed out by the pressures we all face of daily life and what to do about them.  Sometimes, these pressures we face cause us to “worry”, which is our topic for this week.  Did you know the Bible has a lot to say about worry.

Mat 6: 25 – 34 (NLT) 25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God[d] above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

That’s easier said than done isn’t it?  This Sunday, we’ll look at why we’re stressed out with worry and what to do about it!  So, until then, how about let’s just do what that old country song says, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy!”

Pastor Robin

April 13, 2010 Posted by | Robin | , | Leave a comment

The Search for the Meaning of Life (Part 1 of 2)

The Perilous Paths on the Pursuit of Purpose

“We were meant to live for so much more
Have we lost ourselves?
Somewhere we live inside
Somewhere we live inside”Switchfoot Lyrics

What is the meaning of life? It’s the one question that has been discussed and speculated across the ages, cultures, societies, and social classes above all the others. Dr. Hugh Moorhead, a philosophy professor at Northeastern Illinois University, once wrote to 250 well-known philosophers, scientists, and intellectuals across the world asking them “What is the meaning of life?” Some offered guesses, some admitted they made up the purpose of life, and others were honest enough to say they were clueless. A few even asked Professor Moorhead to write back and tell them if he discovered the meaning of life! Today more than ever the question resonates across our society. In TV shows such as LOST, Flash Forward, and Heroes. It’s humored in movies such as Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and pondered in movies such as Forest Gump. Books such as The Purpose Driven Life and The Secret also have tried to tackle this overwhelming dilemma before us. Before we look discover the answer to this incredibly imposing question, first let’s look at the different ways we try and fill our lives with meaning.

There are ten main false pursuits on the meaning of life that predominant in today’s society that we’ll briefly look over. A few things to keep in mind: 1)None of these 10 things listed are evil or wrong necessarily but when they become the purpose for our life they cannot give us the satisfaction and meaning we want out of life 2) Most of this paths intersect into other paths such as possessions and money or popularity and power. We will look at each one individually classifying what a person who pursues this path for purpose looks like and why it leads to a dead-end. Here then are the ten most pursued  perilous paths on purpose:

1.) Prosperous Possessions: The Purchaser is consumed with buying more stuff. Every new fad, fashion, technological advancement is there chief aim to acquire in life. They’re never satisfied is what they have;  it’s never good enough.  Randy Alcorn says: “Material prosperity can begin as God’s blessing, but when we treat it as a substitute for God, it becomes a curse.” We all want stuff. We see it, want it, buy it, insure it, display it, and compare it. Follow this link to keep reading

April 12, 2010 Posted by | Guest Post Kyle Jackson | Leave a comment

The Adoption

April, 8, 2010

On Wednesday this week I was talking with a mom of a newly adopted girl and was discussing how she is adjusting. There is such joy with this new life and the family that has taken on the responsibility to provide for her physically, emotionally, and spiritually and ultimately providing her with the love that she needs. They love her as if she is one of their own, because she is. On Easter I spent some time with my niece, recalling how this soon to be twenty year old was first brought into the lives of our family. She is amazing and wonderful and I can not imagine life without her. Both of these girls needed someone to love them and provide a home and a family to be there.

As I grew up, I could see that I needed someone to provide that for me and God adopted me a long time ago. He provided me with a love greater than I have for my own children. A love that started long ago, in Ephesians 1:4-5 “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.” We know that His love is amazing and great, but being reminded that it is His choice, that He chose us, makes a huge difference. God was willing to take me in and love me like His own. Today recall His adoption of you or if you want to be adopted by Him then let me know…we can get those papers together fast.

God Bless,

Mark

April 8, 2010 Posted by | Mark | | 1 Comment

Hard Questions the Church is Asking (7 of 7)

April 7, 2010

How does the Holy Spirit lead us?

Are the promises about the Holy Spirit that the early church experienced still available today? I typically hear from someone each week who are constantly being led by the Spirit to “do” this, or to “say” that. I kind of feel left out when I talk with these kinds of people. It’s like God is directing everyone’s life but mine. Why do some people speak so confidently about being guided by God through His Spirit while others never sense a thing?

When I sense God’s leading, I always submit it to God’s Word. I know, for sure, that if these two contradict then my “feeling” must be wrong. God’s Word is never wrong and is to be trusted. Throughout Scripture, the prophets and apostles reminded God’s people to test the Spirit’s leading against the Scriptures. They will never contradict.

I also submit myself to God’s community of believers (the church).  When I am convicted that the Spirit might be leading me and this fits squarely with the Bible, I ask more mature and faithful followers of God to help me discern the guidance of the Spirit. I have consistently found that God’s leaders are trustworthy and reliable sources of God’s direction. Especially when they know you well, they are able to accurately and powerfully speak truth into your life.

I’ve thought a lot about this issue, the Spirit’s leading. There are certainly times where people claim about God’s leading incorrectly. I am always concerned when God always promises people bigger and better things. The Bible seems to be weighted in the direction of the Spirit leading people through some pretty difficult times. Paul even says that it is the Spirit that told him that prison and hardship await (Acts 20:19-24). I want to hear more of these kind of stories, they seem more life-changing to me.

I still have more questions than answers on this issue, but I can confidently testify that God’s Word has never pointed me in the wrong direction. The Spirit is discernible in It’s people when we are seeking God’s direction in connection with His Word. And that’s reason enough to restart your quiet time with God.

Zach

April 7, 2010 Posted by | Zach | | Leave a comment