Wednesday, April 27, 2016

5 Simple Steps: Frustration

Here are five simple steps for dealing with frustrations in your life.

Ask yourself, "Did I cause it?" The Bible says, "A man reaps what he sows" (Galatians 6:7b NIV). We are frustrated by many things in life because we bring them on ourselves.

Ask yourself, "What can I learn from it?" Romans 8:28 says, "In all things God works for the good of those who love him." There are many bad things in the world, but all things work together. God can even take the negative and turn it into a positive if we let him. Use irritation as an opportunity to become more like Christ.

Thank God in the situation. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, "Give thanks in all circumstances." You don't have to be thankful for a bad situation, but you can be thankful in a bad situation. Frustration may be a blessing in disguise.

Turn the frustration into a funny, humorous event. The Bible says, "A cheerful heart is good medicine" (Proverbs 17:22). A sense of humor is God's antidote for anger and frustration.

Ask God to fill you with his love. Why? Because 1 Corinthians 13:5 says, "[Love] is not easily angered." Love is self-giving, not self-serving. We get irritated because we think everyone and everything has to revolve around us. Love concentrates on the other person.

Jesus faced constant frustrations, but he never got irritated. He always made time for people. We get so preoccupied with our own things that we forget that people are the priority in life.

***Thanks to Rick Warren for the insight!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sermon Notes...When Pain Persists

When Pain Persists
2nd Corinthians 12:7b-10 (New Living Translation) "So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Introduction: Pain plagues humanity in a variety of forms (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual). Two observations must be made: 1) That's life   2) Don't isolate yourself

Transition: Our text is a part of an interesting and possibly a confusing story. Paul is trying to explain (as best as his mind and mouth can) an experience either dreamed or had. He resolves that because of the experience, he received a persistent pain...

Exposition: When Pain Persists, consider the course of action that Paul took...

1...Consider the PURPOSE of the pain (verse 7)
God will allow (not cause) pain to persist in order to teach us humility. We have nothing to be proud about except being saved from our sins. Even in salvation, the we can't boast unless we're bragging on Jesus!

2...Consider PRAYING persistently about the pain (verses 8-9a)
Paul talks to the only person who can alter his condition. God responds to all three requests by simply saying that grace is all you need!

3...Consider being POSITIVE while in pain (verses 9b-10)
Your perspective matters. Don't allow persistent pain to make you pessimistic. This pain isn't your first rodeo and it won't be your last. So, fix your face and get your mind right and be confident in the fact that the great God lives within you and nothing in this world is a match for him!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sermon Notes...God Is Able

Ephesians 3:20 (New Living Translation) "Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think."

Introduction: Paul is tasked by God to carry the gospel to a group of people, who are not Jewish and are thought of as unloved by God. He proclaims the Good News, practices humility in his presentation and prays that they progress in God.

Transition: Romans 1:16 teaches us that the gospel saves, and it was given to the Jews first and also the Greeks. The declaration is that even though you may not be first, that God Is Able to bring Good News your way!...

Exposition: This text makes a trinity of affirmations, that deserve our attention...

1) God Is Able...That alone makes God worthy
Our worship is hinged on God's ability, not his action; his worth and not his work. If God doe's nothing at all, he's still worthy! So, our worship is a declaration that tells God "I know you"!

2) God Is Able...That absolutely makes God qualified
Sin is serious business, that requires a serious savior. So, stop giving God a hard time while he's working on you! Sin took down the smartest man: Solomon, and the sweetest man: David, and the strongest man: Samson, so don't think that it won't get you!

3) God Is Able...That amazingly makes God faithful
Since our thinking is finite, our requests are severely limited. So God hears our limited request and in his infinite wisdom, he overrides our ignorance and doe's exceedingly, abundantly above all that we could ask, or even think! Thank God that he doesn't just give me what I ask for, but he gives me so much more!

***Special shout out to Pastor Steve Wagers, for the insight on point 2 of the exposition.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Looking Foward

Good afternoon! As your pastor, it's my duty to care for you by ordering your spiritual life, in the teaching of God's word, covering you in prayer, keeping a progressive and holistic vision before you and by leading our faith community in the celebration of the sacraments (communion and baptism). I take those responsibilities extremely seriously and I'm working as strategically as I possibly can, to position us for stability. Like any good leader, I worry. You all have the joy of coming to worship without concern of what goes into making church work. However, church has business that must be addressed. That's why I'm writing to you today.

First, let me say that at this point, Grace Corner is in a great season of growth. We've been presented with the opportunity to embrace a Spanish speaking congregation, members who are working at opening a daycare center on our campus, house a progressive nonprofit community organization and open a short order kitchen on site. My point is, that opportunities are available for us to become a real community church, instead of a church in the community.

Second, church attendance matters! Your presence as a regular part of worship is what makes us close knit. A significant part of our church's DNA is fellowship. If you're frequently a no show, it gives us the impression that you don't want to be a part of this unique faith community. Come to church and make it not just a habit but a second home.

Third, when you come to church, be a real contributor. We gather every Sunday, to fellowship and eat together. The preparation for that often rests on the shoulders of 4 people. THAT'S NOT FAIR. Four people can easily become tired, even when they enjoy what they're doing. It's too many of us for the weight of preparing for Sunday to rest on 4 people. It's evident that you like what's going on at Grace Corner, because you keep coming back. So I'm asking you to contribute to our Sunday experience. Here's how: bring something for Café Grace, contribute $5 a month toward it if cooking isn't your thing, help set up for it by coming at 10 a.m., help clean up after worship for 15 minutes, volunteer for our growing children's church 1 Sunday per month, spend an hour 1 day a week to make sure the building is ready for Sunday. A little help goes a long way!

Last, everyone learns about something good because someone told them about it. I know that our Sunday experience is different from other churches, but that's the point! We 're a good kind of different! We are reaching a generation of people that needs our help, with honesty and non-judgmental love. I'm convinced after much prayer, that this I our purpose and they're our ministry targets. Here's a Walkerism for you: TRANSFORMATION BEGINS WITH AN INVITATION!!! Let the atmosphere draw them, let God work on them and let the fellowship be so sticky, that they can't get away!

We're on our way toward greatness. It's only possible though, with your consistent support. Thank you for stepping up your giving!!! That's major point of celebration. We're not saving any money at the moment, but thank God, that we're paying our bills with relative ease. Don't quit giving!!! You're the reason that ministry is happening...we just can't do it without you!!!

Loving you toward abundant life, your proud pastor...
Antonie E. Walker