It’s Complicated – Blending Differences, February 28, 2021

  • Genesis 21:9-10 “Now Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, mocking. Therefore she said to Abraham, “Drive out this maid and her son, for the son of this maid shall not be an heir with my son Isaac.
  • Genesis 27:41-45a “So Esau bore a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him; and Esau said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob. Now when the words of her elder son Esau were reported to Rebekah, she sent and called her younger son Jacob, and said to him, “Behold your brother Esau is consoling himself concerning you by planning to kill you. Now therefore, my son, obey my voice, and arise, flee to Haran, to my brother Laban! Stay with him a few days, until your brother’s fury subsides, until your brother’s anger against you subsides and he forgets what you did to him.”
  • Genesis 33:4 “Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.” 

Tactics for Healthier Relationships 

Galatians 5:18-21a “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these.”

Acknowledge the power of the flesh.

  • James 4:1 “What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members?

Rely on the Holy Spirit.

  • Romans 8:5-6 “For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.”
  • Romans 8:26 “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”

Discipline your mind.

  • Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Exercise spiritual control.

  • Galatians 5:22-24 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

It’s Complicated – Restoring Relationships, February 21, 2021

Acts 15:36-40 “After some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brethren in every city in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” Barnabas wanted to take John, called Mark, along with them also. But Paul kept insisting that they should not take him along who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. And there occurred such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus. But Paul chose Silas and left, being committed by the brethren to the grace of the Lord.”

2 Timothy 4:11 “Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service.”

Sacrifice of Personal Rights

  • 1 Corinthians 6:1-2,7 “And how dare you take each other to court! When you think you have been wronged, does it make any sense to go before a court that knows nothing of God’s ways instead of a family of Christians? The day is coming when the world is going to stand before a jury made up of Christians. If someday you are going to rule on the world’s fate, wouldn’t it be a good idea to practice on some of these smaller cases? These court cases are an ugly blot on your community. Wouldn’t it be far better to just take it, to let yourselves be wronged and forget it?” (The Message)

Be clothed with humility.

  • 1 Peter 5:5 “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Be obedient to God’s Word.

  • Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”

Follow the example of Jesus.

  • Philippians 2:3-8 “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Leave the outcome to God.

  • Romans 14:10-13a “But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written, “AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.” So, then each one of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore, let us not judge one another anymore.”
  • 1 Chronicles 28:9 “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts.”

It’s Complicated, Order Out Of Chaos, February 14, 2021

Colossians 3:18

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 

Support the Mission

Colossians 3:19

Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. 

Agape Her

Colossians 3:20-23

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. Bondservants (employees), obey in everything those who are your earthly masters (boss), not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,

Whatever you do, do it for God first and for men second.

Order out of Chaos

  1. Sonship
  1. Home 

2a. Spouse

2b. Children

2c. Work

  1. Church

Genesis 1:27-28

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 

It’s Complicated – Relationships, February 7, 2021

Relationships are hard – How do you find the right one? 

Listen to wisdom

  • Genesis 24:1-4 “Now Abraham was old, advanced in age; and the LORD had blessed Abraham in every way. Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he owned, Please place your hand under my thigh, and I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I live, but you will go to my country and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son Isaac.”

Don’t commit with an unbeliever.  

  • 2 Corinthians 6:14-15 “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial (Satan), or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?”

Character matters

  • Matthew 12:33, 35 ““Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil.”
  • Romans 5:3-5 “We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

Take your time.

  • Luke 14:28-30 “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, This man began to build and was not able to finish.”

Work to resolve differences.

  • Ephesians 4:26-27 “Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.”

Put Jesus first

  • Matthew 22:37-39 “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”
  • Exodus 20:3-4 “You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.”

Reminders – Spiritual Disciplines, What is a servant?, January 31, 2021

What is a servant?

Luke 22:24-27 “And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest. And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’ But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant. For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves.”

A Position of Insignificance

  • Matthew 23:10-11 “Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. But the greatest among you shall be your servant.”

Disrespect is normal.

  • John 13:3-5 “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 

The work is thankless & demeaning.

  • Luke 17:7-10 “Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come immediately and sit down to eat’? But will he not say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink’? He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.”

A servant of Christ has heavenly benefits.

  • Matthew 19:27-30 “Then Peter said to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?” And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.”

Jesus is our example.

  • Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
  • Philippians 2:5-8 “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
  • 1 Corinthians 9:13-19 “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.”

Reminders – Spiritual Disciplines, January 24, 2021

Understanding Generosity

It is relationship-driven.

  • 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 “Now, friends, I want to report on the surprising and generous ways in which God is working in the churches in Macedonia province. Fierce troubles came down on the people of those churches, pushing them to the very limit. The trial exposed their true colors: They were incredibly happy, though desperately poor. The pressure triggered something totally unexpected: an outpouring of pure and generous gifts. I was there and saw it for myself. They gave offerings of whatever they could—far more than they could afford! Pleading for the privilege of helping out in the relief of poor Christians.” This was totally spontaneous, entirely their own idea, and caught us completely off guard. What explains it was that they had first given themselves unreservedly to God and to us. The other giving simply flowed out of the purposes of God working in their lives.” (The Message)
  • John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”
  • Matthew 7:11 “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” 

It is a heart issue. 

  • Luke 6:35-38 “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”  

It demands faith.

  • Malachi 3:8-12 ““Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes,” says the LORD of hosts. “All the nations will call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land,” says the LORD of hosts.”
  • Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

It is a test of our obedience.

  • John 21 – Jesus to Peter; “Do you love me?  If so feed my sheep.”   

It yields an ROI.

  • 2 Corinthians 9:6, 8, 10-11 “Remember: A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop. God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.” (The Message)

Reminders – Spiritual Disciplines, January 24, 2021

Understanding Generosity

It is relationship-driven.

  • 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 “Now, friends, I want to report on the surprising and generous ways in which God is working in the churches in Macedonia province. Fierce troubles came down on the people of those churches, pushing them to the very limit. The trial exposed their true colors: They were incredibly happy, though desperately poor. The pressure triggered something totally unexpected: an outpouring of pure and generous gifts. I was there and saw it for myself. They gave offerings of whatever they could—far more than they could afford! Pleading for the privilege of helping out in the relief of poor Christians.” This was totally spontaneous, entirely their own idea, and caught us completely off guard. What explains it was that they had first given themselves unreservedly to God and to us. The other giving simply flowed out of the purposes of God working in their lives.” (The Message)
  • John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”
  • Matthew 7:11 “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” 

It is a heart issue. 

  • Luke 6:35-38 “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”

It demands faith

  • Malachi 3:8-12 ““Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes,” says the LORD of hosts. “All the nations will call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land,” says the LORD of hosts.”
  • Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

It is a test of our obedience

It yields an ROI

  • 2 Corinthians 9:6, 8, 10-11 “Remember: A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop. God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.” (The Message)

Reminders – Spiritual Disciplines, January 17

The Church

Matthew 16:13-19 “Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (ESV)

What is church?

A Place Established by Jesus Christ

  • “I will build my church.”
  • Ephesians 1:22 “And He (Heavenly Father) put all things under His (Jesus) feet and gave Him (Jesus) as head over all things to the church.”
  • Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”

A Place of Truth

  • For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock (foundation of truth) I will build my church.

A Place of Power

  • “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

A Place of Comfort & Encouragement

  • Psalms 65:4 “Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple!”
  • Psalms 122:1 “I was glad when they said to me, let us go to the house of the LORD!”

A Place of Instruction

  • Acts 11:25 “So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.”
  • Colossians 4:16 “And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea.”

A Place of Mobilization

  • Ephesians 3:7-10 “Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.”
  • Acts 1:4-5 “And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
  • Acts 2:1-4 “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

Reminders – Spiritual Disciplines, January 10, 2021

Why I Value the Bible

It is instructional. 

  • Psalms 119:1-2 “How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law (instruction) of the LORD. How blessed are those who observe His testimonies (warnings), who seek Him with all their heart.”

It forewarns me of the pitfalls of life. 

  • 1 Peter 5:8-9 “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”

It helps reform my life. 

  • Psalms 119:9 “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word.”
  • Galatians 5:19-21a “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.” (ESV)

It brings conviction of my sin. 

  • Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

It is a source of renewal. 

  • Psalms 119:107 “Revive me, O LORD, according to Your word.”

It is a faith builder. 

  • Romans 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Reminders-Spiritual Disciplines – Fasting & Prayer, January 3, 2021

Fasting defined: A voluntary withdrawing from food and/or drink, or any other fleshly appetite, for a specified period of time.

Fasting releases the power of God. .  

  • Mark 9:27-29 “But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose. And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, why could not we cast him out? And he said unto them, this kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” (KJV)

Fasting brings testing and temptation

  • Luke 4:1-2 “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry.” (NAS)
  • Luke 4:3-4 “And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE.’”).  
  • Luke 4:5-8 “And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’”
  • Luke 4:9-12 “And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here; for it is written, ‘HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU TO GUARD YOU,’ and, ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.’” And Jesus answered and said to him, “It is said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.’”
  • Luke 4:13-14a “When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time. And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit.”

Fasting reveals our heart’s motivation

  • Isaiah 58:3-4 “Why have we fasted and You do not see? Why have we humbled ourselves and You do not notice?’ Behold, on the day of your fast you find your desire, and drive hard all your workers. Behold, you fast for contention and strife and to strike with a wicked fist. You do not fast like you do today to make your voice heard on high.”
  • Isaiah 58:6-8 ““Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free and break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily spring forth; and your righteousness will go before you; the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.”

Reasons for fasting and prayer.

  1. For a spiritual awakening in Fort Wayne and the USA. 
  2. For GSC to experience a revival – a renewal in God. 
  3. For a hunger for prayer. 
  4. For a desire for the Word of God and the teaching of God’s Word. 
  5. For a commitment to Connection groups.