I hope that you are enjoying our Advent series as much as I am.
I love this time of year. Christmas is my favorite holiday. I love looking at Christmas lights with the family. I love watching Christmas movies with my boys. I enjoyed watching my family make Christmas cookies. I also like any excuse to drink coffee or hot chocolate.
Don’t forget that we will have a Facebook video about Peace this week and then we will end our Advent series on Christmas day. Our service will begin at the normal time. If you know of anyone whose church is not having services this Sunday, feel free to invite them to our service. This would also be a good time to invite your friends, family members, neighbors and co-workers to FaithPoint. We want everyone to hear about Jesus.
Here are the notes from the sermon on Sunday:
The text for this sermon comes from: Philippians 4:4-9 The title for this sermon is: Fight for Joy. This is week 3 in our Advent series.
We see in this Scripture that we are called to rejoice. Always. Consistently and constantly. Always. Joy. It is not an emotion. It is a fruit of the Spirit.
The Concise Dictionary of Christian Theology says, Joy – A sense of satisfaction and delight that is not affected by circumstances.
Where does this satisfaction and delight come from?
We see that joy is different than happiness. Happiness is based on our circumstances. When circumstances are good, we are happy. When circumstances are bad or do not go the way that we expected, our expression changes very quickly.
You are not responsible for what happens to you but you are responsible for how you respond to what happens to you.
You can have joy in tough times. You can have joy in the midst of the storm. You can have joy no matter what your trial or test may be because – the joy of the Lord is your strength.
Nehemiah 8:10: The joy of the Lord is your strength.
Jesus is the reason for your joy. Joy is not found in a thing. Joy is found in a Shepherd. Joy is found in our Sustainer. Joy is found in a Noble, Holy, Righteous, Majestic, King. Joy is found in our Savior. Joy is found in Jesus.
Jesus is our satisfaction. Jesus is our delight. Jesus is our joy.
Let’s connect some verses.
Matthew 22:37-39 – You can love God, love others, and love yourself because the joy of the Lord is your strength.
Luke 9:23 – You can take up your cross and follow Jesus daily because the joy of the Lord is your strength.
1 John 5:1-3 You can delight in obedience because the joy of the Lord is your strength.
Psalm 119:11 You can hide God’s word in your heart because the joy of the Lord is your strength.
Romans 12:2 You can have your mind transformed because the joy of the Lord is your strength.
Psalm 139:23-24 You can pray this prayer because you are not irritable, resentful, or rebellious in conforming to the image of Jesus because the joy of the Lord is your strength.
Joshua 1:9 You can be strong and courageous because the joy of the Lord is your strength.
James 1:2-4 You can find joy in the midst of trials and be steadfast in the faith because the joy of the Lord is your strength.
What brings joy to the life of a Christian?
Ephesians 1:4 – You were chosen before the foundation of the world
Ephesians 2:10 – You are God’s masterpiece chosen and given things to do that He has called you to accomplish
Romans 5:8 – Jesus died for you.
1 Corinthians 15:4 – Jesus rose from the dead.
Romans 8:11 – The same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in you.
Colossians 3:3 – Your life is hidden with Christ in God.
John 10:28 – Jesus said that no one can ever take you away from Him. You belong to Jesus.
All of these things are true whether you believe them or not.
All of these things are true whether you have joy or not.
I encourage you to find your joy in Jesus so that you can believe that all of these things are true.
However, you have to fight for joy.
The Bible says that you have an enemy. The devil that masquerades as an angel of light. He is called a liar. He is called a thief. He is called a lion that roaming seeking Christians to devour.
All of his tactics are the same from the beginning of time. He does not change them because of their effectiveness. All of his tactics are designed to steal, kill, and destroy.
Steal your joy.
Kill your hope.
Destroy your peace.
The devil is going to hurl things at you in full force. He is going to launch attacks on you because he wants to mess you up.
James 4:7 Put up a fight.
If you want to keep joy, you have to do things that are going to plant it, cultivate it, and harvest it. You have to plant the fruit of the Spirit if you want to reap it.
You have to be aware of things, circumstances and situations that are designed to kill your joy. When you lose joy – the devil has won that battle. He stole your joy.
Through Jesus you can take it back. Just snatch it right out of his hands.
Renew your focus.
Fix your eyes on Jesus.
Ask God to show you how He has blessed you and ask Him to open your eyes to see it.
It is not just about resisting or putting up a fight. It is about surrender.
Submit yourselves to God. Surrender.
True joy is found in surrender to Jesus.
If you want true, everlasting joy, surrender your life fully to Jesus. Relinquish control and walk in the freedom that Jesus gives you and your joy will multiply.
May your cup be filled to overflowing.
I am so excited that we just celebrated our 5th birthday together as a church. As I look back from where we started, I praise Jesus for where we are now and where I believe that He is taking us. I have never been more excited to be your pastor.
It is a joy to lead you. Thank you for letting me teach you the Bible. I love helping you grow in your knowledge of God’s Word and progress in becoming more like Jesus.
Meditate on these verses this week:
Do not be surprised brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.
1 John 3:13-14
Here are the sermon notes from Sunday:
The text for this sermon comes from: Acts 19. The title of this sermon is: The Gospel Changes Cities, A Message of Hope.
FaithPoint is 5 years old today! We praise Jesus that we have been together as a faith filled family for 5 years.
- We have studied the Book of Acts
- We have studied the Psalm 1 man
- We have studied the Proverbs 31 woman
- We have looked at misconceptions of what people in our city think about God, Jesus, the church, and the Bible and we saw how Scripture responds
- We talked about finding your person of peace and pouring your life into them
- We even looked at the gospel through the theme of superheroes
All for the purpose of strengthening and equipping you to reach others.
Well, the time has come to change things up.
To change the culture of a city and the surrounding cities, you first have to change the culture of the church.
So, I would like to share with you where FaithPoint is headed over the next 5 years.
We are going to start by looking at Acts 19.
Paul preaches in the synagogue in Ephesus. Some people repented and turned their whole lives over to Jesus. Others became stubborn and continued in their unbelief. They became uncomfortable and started speaking evil of the Way before the congregation. They started mouthing off to the church and so Paul moved and took the church with him. He continued to pour into the people by teaching and reasoning.
People were being healed from being sick and incurable diseases.
This is no different than what James says in James 5:15-16
“And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
Where does that power come from? The same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in you!
1 John 5:14
“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.”
“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
People starting having a reverent wonder and awe of Jesus that people in Ephesus didn’t even have of their own stupid god, Artemis. Christians came confessing sins, and getting rid of all things that held them in bondage.
You want to talk accountability – they burned everything they were enslaved to…in front of everybody.
People started getting uncomfortable. A significant number of people were getting saved. They were listening to Scripture and obeying. So much so, that they stopped spending their money on sinful things and this impacted the economy. Business owners who made their business in sinful things became frustrated because they are now losing money.
Paul did not say anything against the business owners. He did not call for a boycott. He didn’t even gossip or talk bad about their god that doesn’t even exist. He just kept preaching Jesus.
You should have a holy discontent in your spirit.
- Does it bother you that you work with lost people?
- Does it bother you that you have friends that go to church that are not plugged in to their church?
- Does it bother you that you know people that don’t think church is important?
- Does it bother you that there is an adult pornographic store in Warner Robins?
- Does it bother you that there are wiccans, pagans, and sorcerers in Warner Robins? – There is a “magic store” on the same street as this hotel in which FaithPoint has its services.
- Does it bother you that there is a strip club and a Hindu temple in Byron?
- Does it bother you that there is an Islamic chapter that holds meetings in Centerville?
- Does it bother you that Macon has the largest adult pornographic store this side of Atlanta?
- Does it bother you that Georgia is the hub of sex trafficking in the south?
If none of these things bother you – you need to see if your worldview lines up with the Bible.
If you feel overwhelmed – than this is an area of unbelief in your life. Your Shepherd, Jesus, is the Redeemer King. KING. How long is this crap going to run rampant? How long are we going to let this mess keep going on our watch without doing anything about it?
Our city, surrounding cities and our state are in need of truth and hope.
Matthew 12:21, “And in his name the Gentiles will hope.”
Jesus is the hope of the world.
Not the next governor.
Not the next president.
Not Oprah, not drugs, not YouTube, not Dr. Phil, not Netflix, not your work, not a spouse, not kids, and definitely not money.
Jesus. Jesus is the hope of the world. He always has been and he always will be. Jesus is enough.
2 Corinthians 1:7, “Our hope for you is unshaken.”
The world cannot say that. Their view of hope changes with whatever direction that the wind blows.
The church is the center of hope. If people cannot find hope at a church, they are not going to find it anywhere else.
The church is God’s chosen method to deliver the message of the gospel to our broken world.
Over the next five years we want to build your gospel centered arsenal.
We are going to pray for you by name that your boldness, courage, and faith be increased mightily. We are going to pray that Jesus is made much of in your life. Jesus must increase and you must decrease.
We are going to give you articles and videos to share so that you can have a gospel centered presence on all of your social media channels. Watch our Facebook pages.
We encourage you to open your homes to friends, family and co-workers to have gospel centered conversations.
We encourage you to take notes so that you can be better equipped to share with others what God is teaching you.
All of the sermons are going to be point blank. We want to kick unbelief in the face. We want to call out the fire inside you. You are called to be the city on a hill. We want your light to shine so bright that it is blinding. It would be like looking straight into the sun.
We encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and walk in faith. Be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
We want to attack anxiousness.
We want to destroy doubt.
We want to fight fear.
We want to take the war to worry.
We want to lay the smackdown down on sin.
We want the church to be on the same page. We want to be united in what we believe.
Doctrinally and theologically
We also want to encourage you to pass out invite cards.
How long will we pass out invite cards?
- Until Strippers, Starship, the Hindu Temple, the Islamic chapter, and the “magic store” are gone.
- Until Macon no longer has the largest adult pornographic store this side of Atlanta.
- Until Georgia is no longer the hub for sex trafficking in the south
- Until somebody that you never met invites you to FaithPoint
We will do whatever it takes to
- Make disciples
- Train men
- Develop pastors
- Send missionaries
- Plant churches
1 Timothy 4:10,
“For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.”
Until you stand in front of Jesus and are overcome by the light of His glorious grace.
I LOVE OUR CHURCH!
Happy Birthday FaithPoint!
If you liked this post, please like and share. If you would like to share what God has done in you and through you the last five years, or you would like to share your thoughts on this post, head over to my Facebook page and continue the conversation.
I would like you to meditate on this quote this week while you are enjoying your time of study in the Bible.
“Before and behind all the relations of God to man, as we now learn them from Christianity, yawns the abyss of a Divine act of pure giving – the election of man, from nonentity, to be the beloved of God, and therefore (in some sense) the needed and desired of God, who but for that act needs and desires nothing, since He eternally has, and is, all goodness.” – C.S. Lewis
Here are a few announcements that you need to remember:
- FaithPoint Men, our book discussion is Tuesday evening at the Wendy’s in front of Target. We will be discussing the next challenge of leadership. See you there at 6:30.
- Wednesday is First Wednesday, we are going to be celebrating with an Italian style supper. Please bring an Italian style dish and we look forward to seeing you this Wednesday.
- Sunday is Mother’s Day. We look forward to celebrating with you.
- If you have a smart phone, please remember to check in on Facebook each Sunday. You will extend your reach and impact when you check in to FaithPointCC.
Here are the notes from the sermon on Sunday:
The text for this sermon is: Proverbs 4:20-27. The title of this sermon is: Ponder the Path of Your Feet.
How do you focus on what you believe to be important? Did you listen to your teachers when you were in school? Did you listen to your parents when they tried to communicate important things to you? Did you listen when they gave you “the talk?” Or did you acquire the skill to tune out what you didn’t want to hear and only listen to what you wanted to hear?
We do that in the church!
In Genesis, God created everything and he called it good. Every animal, every star, every planet, every plant and tree, every grain of sand, every rock, everything ever created by God responds to his majesty and holiness in complete obedience…..except us.
Mankind is the only created beings that have the audacity to listen to the Creator of the Universe and then turn around to his face and say, “No.”
How many times have you read the Bible, listened to a pastor, heard something at a retreat or conference and you knew that the Holy Spirit was speaking to you? You knew that the Holy Spirit wanted to do work in you and calling for a response and you refused to respond?
The Bible calls that hardening your heart. It is the worst sin that you can commit next to blaspheming the Holy Spirit.
It is also extremely stupid.
In the words of the amaetur theologian, Shania Twain, “Don’t Be Stupid.”
Proverbs 4:20 – 27
Vs 20 Solomon says to pay attention. Focus.
Vs 21-22 If Scripture is truly your highest authority, you will do whatever it takes to keep it in front of you always. Solomon has already said to keep these things around your neck and use them as a garland or crown on your head. Here he is telling us to not let them escape from your sight and to keep them within your heart.
Parents have a way of repeating things that they know is important. Repetition is the best way for a kid to learn.
Bryson learned his sight words through repetition. Placing the words in front of him over and over and over helped him know how to say them and how to spell them. Because of that technique, he is ready to begin learning second grade sight words.
Repetition is how you come to know certain things, it is how you memorize stories, poems, Scriptures, it is how kids learn the alphabet and how to count. It is also how you convey information that you don’t want someone to forget.
Vs 23 Vigilance – The action or state of keeping careful watch for possible danger or difficulties.
I want to paint this picture. Your heart is a castle. The castle has guards at the gate and a tower. Inside the tower stands a watchman. It is the watchman’s job to be on the lookout for anything that might want to launch a hostile attack on the castle. If the watchman signals that an attack is coming, the guards immediately call the army to stand against the attack. However, not every attack is that noticeable. Ever heard of the Trojan Horse? The attack came from inside the castle. It was not an attack on the outside of the castle trying to break the drawbridge down to get in and slaughter everyone inside. The attack came from inside because they let it inside.
What are you letting into your heart that you know is not conforming you to the image of Jesus? What are you letting into your heart that you know may even be something that the Bible tells you to stay away from?
Think about that. Because we are headed to verse 25.
Vs 24 It is not what you say as much as how you say it. – We will come back to this in a later sermon.
Vs 25-27 Ponder the path of your feet. There are multiple paths. Only one leads to Jesus. The rest of the paths lead to destruction. What path are you walking on?
Your life is in the place that it is currently based on the path that you have walked.
You make decisions everyday that either push you closer to Jesus or further away.
Jesus did not say that the road to life was smooth and easy.
When you deviate from the path you begin to lose focus.
I LOVE OUR CHURCH!
If you liked this post, please like and share. If you would like to share how God is working in you or what you have learned during our time of Proverbs, please head over to my Facebook page and continue the conversation. Your story may be just what God uses to impact someone else this week.
Video is not new to pastors and churches. They use video to video blog and share church services. It is easy to record, edit and upload a video to YouTube or Vimeo and then post the video to a blog, website, or Facebook page.
You can watch videos from pastors and churches on apps for your smart phone and tablet. TV is another area of video. However, the costs associated with putting a church service on TV probably exceed what an average church would want to spend in this area.
Why pay for it when there are so many different free options.
There is a lot of conversations going on about what platform people are going to use the most. The Live Stream wars are here. You might be familiar with the following heavy hitters in this world of live stream video:
All of these platforms have potential and they all serve a purpose. They all offer a chance for the broadcaster to provide their content and communicate with their fans or followers.
I have been thinking about this new world of video and what benefits or drawbacks each of these platforms might have for pastors and churches that may want to use video to share their content.
I have enjoyed being a Periscope user but when Katch announced that they were going to have to shut down, that ended the ability of capturing Periscope content and embedding the videos on your blog or Facebook page.
I started thinking about how best to reach our community with video. I don’t want to leave Periscope but here is the kicker – none of my church members are regularly on Periscope.
YouTube is one option because you can record a video, share it on your YouTube page and then embed it wherever you want the video to be seen.
However, I am starting to lean towards one platform due to some things I learned from other people that I follow and trust.
Four of these platforms do not tell you where your followers and fans are located. They don’t allow you to know the average age of the person watching or commenting on your video.
This poses a problem if you are a pastor and you want to specifically target the community where your church is located.
One of these platforms is very new to the game. However, they allow targeting, so for a pastor and a church this is wonderful news. You can use video on this platform to reach potential visitors and possibly even explore new things.
Think about this:
- You could go a little deeper in the Scripture than time allows on Sunday.
- You could offer messages of encouragement and hope.
- You could share a little in to your personal or family life.
- You could share announcements and other events going on in the community or your local church.
- You could use this as a new way to explore online church.
- You could answer questions and pray for people.
The best thing about this particular platform is that you can reach exactly who you want to reach.
What platform is this?
Facebook live is the new live stream option for everyone. This is invaluable for churches and pastors. Your members are already on Facebook. This makes the most sense. You have the potential to reach everyone that likes your page and you can even take your marketing dollars and pay a few bucks and reach more targeted people in your community. You may even reach people that did not even know about your church until now.
So, I am going to experiment some with Facebook live. We will try some things like repurposed content, book reviews, family time, bible studies and discipleship. I would love for you to watch the videos and let me know what you think.
I look forward to seeing how God is going to use pastors and churches to reach more people with live stream video.
If you liked this post, please like and share. If you would like to share your thoughts on this post or another post that you have read on this blog, continue the conversation on my Facebook page.
Meditate on this today: When the enemy attacks you, you know that you are moving in the direction that God wants you to go.
If you do not already know, our FaithPoint website is in the works. Our Coming Soon page is live. You can check it out at faithpointcc.org
I will update you when our new website is ready to launch. You will be able to check out our website for all info related to FaithPoint.
Here are the notes from the sermon on Sunday:
The text for this sermon is found in Genesis 48 The title of this sermon is: Blessing Your Children by Catechizing Them.
The Bible teaches in Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
The last thing that we would ever want for a child, is that they would hate church.
The best way to keep that from happening is to teach them to enjoy God and glorify God at an early age. You teach them that the Bible is the standard of authority. We rebuke and reject any tradition, rule, mindset, or law that goes against the Bible. The Bible is our highest authority.
Psalm 127:3 Children are a blessing.
Genesis 48:1-2 Joseph was told that Jacob was ill. This means that Jacob was close to dying. It is traditional that the Patriarch of the family bless the boys before he dies. It is always boys. Girls did not receive the patriarchal blessing.
Genesis 48:8-10 Jacob is introduced to Joseph’s sons. Jacob could not see well because age has weakened his eyes.
Genesis 48:11-14 The boys are presented to their grandfather. Joseph walks the boys over with the oldest on his left and the youngest on his right. The custom is that the oldest child is blessed by the right hand of the Patriarch. However, Jacob does something that is not immediately caught by Joseph. Jacob switched his hands.
Genesis 48:15-16 The blessing is given.
Genesis 48:17-19 Joseph saw what happened and was unhappy. He went to Jacob and tried to move Jacob’s hands but Jacob refused. Then Jacob tells Joseph that his younger son would be greater than the older son. How would Jacob know that? God reveals things to people that we may not see.
In our culture, we do not bless our children in this way. However, because the Bible teaches us that children are a blessing we have the opportunity to bless the blessing.
There is not a birthday gift or a Christmas gift that is better than the gift of the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures.
We should read and explain it to them in a way that they will understand. As they learn how to read, we should help them to learn to read and memorize themselves. Creeds and Catechisms are other ways that we can teach Scripture to our children. Essentially, we are teaching kids to hide God’s Word in their heart.
We want our kids to live according to the Bible as their highest authority. We want to help them learn the basic truths of the Christian faith and how we should live.
During the Reformation and Puritan eras, parents felt it was their responsibility to help teach the Scriptures and truths of the Christian life to their children.
Today, most parents have abdicated this responsibility to the pastor and the church. However, even today, parents should incorporate what the child is learning at church within the home. Ultimately, we want the parents to lead in teaching the Scriptures to their children.
Parents have a rare opportunity to talk with spiritual matters within the home. There is freedom and support in the home to talk about these things with each other.
It is important that children not be just receivers of Biblical truth but are taught how to learn, think and communicate them.
If you do not have children, you may be feeling left out. Don’t.
It takes a church to point a child to Jesus.
At every baby dedication the church makes a covenant to walk alongside parents and teach the Gospel story to every child. You also covenant to be faithful and help the parents to be faithful to teach every child and train them in the Scriptures so that every child may one day trust Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
The church covenants to help teach Scripture to kids and help them learn how to pray. We can ultimately walk through the Bible teaching the whole field of Biblical truth. Then, the blessing is, you get to do it again.
We don’t want to reach our kids’ heads with knowledge. We are praying for conviction by the Holy Spirit. We pray that He will use our teachings and songs, and creeds and catechisms and books and VeggieTales to drive our children to Jesus and He alone can draw them to Himself so that He can be their Lord and Savior. Then, we get to teach them to embrace the Bible as their highest authority.
You will probably not see immediate results in kids. It takes time. Proverbs 22:6 You are planting the seeds over and over again. You have to be both intentional and diligent.
We cannot do this alone. It takes Jesus working in us and through us and in our children by the Bible and the Holy Spirit.
Children are a blessing but it is also a blessing to be their parents and their church.
I LOVE OUR CHURCH!
If you liked this post, please like and share. If you would like to share your thoughts on this sermon or any of the other sermons in our Genesis series, head over to my Facebook page and start a conversation.