Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sermon Notes...A Lot: Blessed Burdens

Text...Genesis 13 and 14:1-16
Scriptural Springboard...Genesis 13:5a "Lot, who was traveling with Abram,"

Introduction: Life will unexpectedly heap circumstances (beyond your control) upon you, that cause you to exhibit strength that you didn't know you had.

Transition: Everyone has a lot! Lot is more than a person, lot is pressure. Pressure to be, to become, to behold, to bear a burden...

Exposition: When dealing with 'A Lot' keep these principles in mind...
1) If the relationship is going to survive, you need space (Genesis 13:5-9) Lot, who was traveling with Abram, had also become very wealthy with flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, and many tents. 6 But the land could not support both Abram and Lot with all their flocks and herds living so close together. 7 So disputes broke out between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot. (At that time Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land.) 8 Finally Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not allow this conflict to come between us or our herdsmen. After all, we are close relatives! 9 The whole countryside is open to you. Take your choice of any section of the land you want, and we will separate. If you want the land to the left, then I’ll take the land on the right. If you prefer the land on the right, then I’ll go to the left.”
*Sometimes you have to feed people with long handled spoons.
*No animosity is harbored, this arrangement just isn't working out.
*Our connection has blessed you financially, but what have you learned from me about faith that will sustain you?
2) A sinful spot isn't a good place to stay (Genesis 13:10-13 & reference 14:1-16) Lot took a long look at the fertile plains of the Jordan Valley in the direction of Zoar. The whole area was well watered everywhere, like the garden of the Lord or the beautiful land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 Lot chose for himself the whole Jordan Valley to the east of them. He went there with his flocks and servants and parted company with his uncle Abram. 12 So Abram settled in the land of Canaan, and Lot moved his tents to a place near Sodom and settled among the cities of the plain. 13 But the people of this area were extremely wicked and constantly sinned against the Lord.
*It's crap that keeps the grass green; sin was beneath the soil.
*When you change connections, you change consequences.
*Thank God for bailouts for those in bondage!
3) You can't hear God with a lot around (Genesis 13:14-18) After Lot had gone, the Lord said to Abram, “Look as far as you can see in every direction—north and south, east and west. 15 I am giving all this land, as far as you can see, to you and your descendants as a permanent possession. 16 And I will give you so many descendants that, like the dust of the earth, they cannot be counted! 17 Go and walk through the land in every direction, for I am giving it to you.” 18 So Abram moved his camp to Hebron and settled near the oak grove belonging to Mamre. There he built another altar to the Lord.
*Who or what is around you, that's keeping you from hearing God's voice?
*The way you handled that 'lot' let's God know that you can handle a who 'lot' more!
*Stay faithful and blessings will follow you. The burden is just to remind you that you still need God!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sermon Notes...When Helping You Is Hurting Me

Scriptural Text...1st Samuel 3:11-14 (New Living Translation)  Then the Lord said to Samuel, “I am about to do a shocking thing in Israel. 12 I am going to carry out all my threats against Eli and his family, from beginning to end. 13 I have warned him that judgment is coming upon his family forever, because his sons are blaspheming God and he hasn’t disciplined them. 14 So I have vowed that the sins of Eli and his sons will never be forgiven by sacrifices or offerings.”

Introduction: When mentally and emotionally healthy, humanity has the general proclivity to help when they see others in need. Being of service isn't a bad thing, except when the provider or the recipient doesn't have good sense. Often the provider doesn't recognize that at some point they cease being of help and become an enabler and a crippler. They're so hyped by helping, that they need to be needed and just can't stop. On the other hand, the recipient doesn't know they've been crippled and are taking advantage of the provider's good will and mercy.

Transition: There's no clearer portrait of helping other people, that in turn hurts the provider of help, than the story of Eli and his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas...

Exposition: In hindsight, let's learn from Eli's mistakes of enabling and crippling his sons. He was helping them but it was hurting him...

1) Ignoring the truth won't change it...1st Samuel 2:22 " Now Eli was very old, but he was aware of what his sons were doing to the people of Israel. He knew, for instance, that his sons were seducing the young women who assisted at the entrance of the Tabernacle."
-God is watching how you're going to handle this. Your ailments (which everyone has) aren't a pass on being responsible.
-Past good has no bearing on present evil.

2) Allowing people to keep what they don't deserve or didn't earn is detrimental...1st Samuel 2:23-25 "Eli said to them, “I have been hearing reports from all the people about the wicked things you are doing. Why do you keep sinning? 24 You must stop, my sons! The reports I hear among the Lord’s people are not good. 25 If someone sins against another person, God can mediate for the guilty party. But if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede?” But Eli’s sons wouldn’t listen to their father, for the Lord was already planning to put them to death."
-When it comes down to self preservation or helping someone with a hard head, that's a nonnegotiable! I choose me!
-Sometimes it's family that's the most trifling! However, friends may not have your blood but they can have your heart. Reference 1st Samuel 2:26 " Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew taller and grew in favor with the Lord and with the people."

3) Crazy actions lead to captured anointing...1st Samuel 4:19-22 " Eli’s daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant and near her time of delivery. When she heard that the Ark of God had been captured and that her father-in-law and husband were dead, she went into labor and gave birth. 20 She died in childbirth, but before she passed away the midwives tried to encourage her. “Don’t be afraid,” they said. “You have a baby boy!” But she did not answer or pay attention to them.21 She named the child Ichabod (which means “Where is the glory?”), for she said, “Israel’s glory is gone.” She named him this because the Ark of God had been captured and because her father-in-law and husband were dead. 22 Then she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the Ark of God has been captured.”
-The greatest hurt of all, is the removed presence of God from your life. NO ONE is worth the absence of God!!!
-Don't be so attached to people that you can't let them go, so that you can go with God!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

YOU Matter to Us!!!

So it's a gloomy Saturday in Middle Georgia. That's a mere indication for you to be lazy today and enjoy the slow pace. I'm asking you to rest today and come to worship tomorrow to be revived. At both the 9:45 (Bloomfield Chapel) and 10:45 (Café Grace) morning experiences, I'll be teaching about 'When Helping You, Is Hurting Me'. I'm convinced that this message will be confrontational and transformational.

I'm playing with you to bring someone with you in the morning. There are people in your house, love right next door or consider you to be a strong influence in their life's. Bring them with you! Don't miss out on the fellowship, pastries and the non-judgmental environment. It just won't be the same without you there, because YOU Matter to Us!!!

*We are the most caring, covenant community of Christians the world has ever seen!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sermon Notes...Pentecost: Let's Go Back to the Old Time Way

Acts 2:1-2 (New Living Translation) "On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. 2 Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting."

Introduction: In some facets, the church has departed from the trueness of what it means to be Christian. This is not a conversation of tradition versus contemporary, but about effectiveness (doing the right things) versus efficiency (doing things right).

Transition: Pentecost occurs fifty days after Easter (when Jesus was crucified). It's a time of celebration and became the birthday of the church. The church was following the instructions of Jesus, and the promised blessing of the Holy Spirit came upon them. Because of their preparation and patience, they received power...

1...Preparation: The reality of our position is predicated on our investment. What are you willing to do, to be more than what you are right now?
-Physical Presence (Acts 1:14a, 1:15a)
-Unified Understanding (Acts 2:1)
-Prayer Posture (Acts 1:14a)

2...Patience: If you can't wait, then you can't win! Waiting is key because it's the wait that keeps you safe from enemies, that would easily destroy you because your not ready.
Acts 1:4-5

3...Power: The old time way of growth and development, is telling people about Jesus on their level.
Acts 2:2-11, 41

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Sermon Notes...Dear Mama

John 19:26-27 (New Living Translation) "When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” 27 And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home."

Introduction: In 1996 in a bloody Las Vegas street shooting, Tupac Shakur. His mother, in an unnatural act, buried her son. In 1995, Tupac released a single in honor of his mother, titled 'Dear Mama'. He recalls the relationship that they had, that turned into an instant classic.

Transition: Make no mistake about it, mother's matter. They matter for birth and life. Jesus in our text, teaches us that we ought to express that mama is appreciated, even in our own life struggles...

Exposition: How can we express appreciation for mama?

1) With Presence
 Absence in adversity is an atrocity

2) With Provision
Mother's aren't meant to be a burden but a blessing

3) With Protection
Some friends have to become family, so they'll have a heart to help when you can't

Conclusion: For mother's past, present, distant and those who aren't biological but are doing the work, we pray blessing upon and give thanks for your strength, commitment and wisdom. Amen.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Sermon Notes...Faith Formation: I Didn't Come to Play, I Came to Slay

First Samuel 17:1-51 (verses 48-51) "As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him. 49 Reaching into his shepherd’s bag and taking out a stone, he hurled it with his sling and hit the Philistine in the forehead. The stone sank in, and Goliath stumbled and fell face down on the ground. 50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with only a sling and a stone, for he had no sword. 51 Then David ran over and pulled Goliath’s sword from its sheath. David used it to kill him and cut off his head."

Introduction: There's a distinct difference between mortal strength and divine power. Strength is merely a resource that boasts of what it can do, but it's finite (severely limited) and fragile (easily broken). However, power is the source of strength that's infinite (without restraint) and ingenious (incredibly innovative).

Transition: Beyoncé has entertained us with the single Formation. She has intrigued us with her reveal of the album Lemonade on HBO. But now let's search the scriptures, not to be entertained or intrigued but to be empowered...

Exposition: If you don't want to PLAY anymore, here's three principles to help you SLAY...

1...Slay with your SERVICE (verses 12-31)
-Anointing doesn't make you any less of a servant, but more of a servant.
-Excellence is key to slaying, even in what feels like menial tasks (shepherd of dad's sheep/brother's errand boy).

2...Slay with your CONFIDENCE (verses 32-40)
-Don't shortchange your ability in God/Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ..."
-Don't go to battle with wearing weights; especially not someone else's weight.

3...Slay with your PURPOSE (verses 41-51)
-Live out your life's intent without fear...verse 41
-While your haters are talking, just keep walking out your destiny...verses 42-43
-To slay is to be smart...verses48-49
-Always finish what you start...verses 50-51