Celebration Sunday - Psalm 100 (Billy Russell, 03/10/2019)

March 13, 2019

Thankful For What He's Done, Ready For What's Next...

Courageous: Courage to Confront Pride - Daniel 5:1-31 (Billy Russell, 03/03/2019)

March 8, 2019

                                                  Courageous

                                     “Courage to Confront Pride”

                                                (Daniel 5:1-31)

 

Daniel 5 records the courage to speak truth to the proud and powerful. This chapter is famous for the handwriting on the wall scene. Though many years have passed, God speaks again through Daniel, who interprets the writing, revealing God’s imminent judgment on the king.

 

Overview:

     The Book of Daniel is... the revelation of the sovereignty of God in

                                           action (on display)!

     Sovereignty is... the gracious rule/reign of God over His Kingdom, and

                                 in our lives.

     Courage is... acting on my belief in a sovereign, trustworthy, gracious   

                            God! (Courage = Devotion + Obedience)

 

Courage to outlast... endurance reflects devoted obedience.

     (5:1-12)  Daniel @ 80+ has outlived his captors, but not his calling.

          Party- temple items to toast the gods- disregard/disrespect for God!

          God is omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, and just!

          Handwriting scene- chaos, queen intervenes, sends for Daniel.

     

Courage to be available... willingness to serve whenever needed.

     (5:13-16).  The king reminds Daniel he’s still in exile (v.13)!

                       The king has heard of, but doesn’t know Daniel (vv.14,16).

                       The king sets up the challenge (v.15).

 

Courage to confront... with God’s truth when necessary as His emissary.   

     (5:18-28)      Royal hx lesson: you knew it, but no humility (v.22)!

                          “... you set yourself up against the Lord of Heaven” (v.23).

    “But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life...” (v.23).  

    [Powerpoint here the four word phrase first (v.25), then interp. (v.26)]

 

Courage to humbly serve... take no pride/joy in the downfall of others.   

     (5:17, 29-30)                     God brings swift justice to the king!

                                               Only go confront, if God is sending you.   

                                               Humble yourself.

                                               Serve God’s purposes solely.

Courageous:Courage to Humbly Speak Truth - Daniel 4:1-37 (Dave Becker, 02/24/2019)

March 8, 2019

Courage to Humbly Speak Truth

(Daniel 4:1-37)

In Daniel 4 we encounter Daniel’s courage to humbly speak truth even when that truth is difficult to hear. In this moment we are given an interesting view of Daniel’s courage as this passage of Scripture is written entirely from Nebuchadnezzar’s perspective. Daniel interprets the king’s alarming and troubling dream by telling him that the Most High has spoken against him and will act against him until Nebuchadnezzar acknowledges that God is sovereign over the kingdoms of men.

 Overview:

     The Book of Daniel is... the revelation of the sovereignty of God in

                                           action (on display)!

     Sovereignty is... the gracious rule/reign of God over His Kingdom, and

                                 in our lives.

     Courage is... acting on my belief in a sovereign, trustworthy, gracious   

                            God! (Courage = Devotion + Obedience)

 

  • All will know that the LORD is sovereign over the kingdoms of men!
  • Courage to humbly speak truth comes from (vv. 4-18):
    • The certainty that God has spoken
    • The clarity of God’s mission
    • The confidence of God sovereignty
  • Courage to humbly speak truth is marked by (vv. 19-27):
    • A compassion for others
    • A conviction for God’s sovereignty
    • A compelling call to repentance
  • Courage to humbly speak truth results in (vv. 28-37, 1-4):
    • The ruin of those who proudly resist God’s sovereignty
    • The rejoicing of those who who humbly embrace God’s sovereignty
    • The recognition of all that the God is sovereign

Courageous: Courageous Friends Who Live By Faith - Daniel 3:1-30 (Billy Russell, 02/17/2019)

February 19, 2019

                                                  Courageous

                            “Courageous Friends Who Live by Faith”

                                                 (Daniel 3:1-30)

 

Daniel 3 demonstrates courageous faith in action. It pictures a definitive faith decision. It is by no means a cute children’s story. This Scripture teaches us to live like God can be trusted. Despite the very real threat of death, Daniel’s three courageous friends exercise an amazing faith in God!

 

Overview:

     The Book of Daniel is... the revelation of the sovereignty of God in

                                           action (on display)!

     Sovereignty is... the gracious rule/reign of God over His Kingdom, and

                                 in our lives.

     Courage is... acting on my belief in a sovereign, trustworthy, gracious   

                            God! (Courage = Devotion + Obedience)

 

                            Courageous Friends Who Live by Faith

 

Courage to stand- when everyone else bows.

       (3:1-12)             Humble confidence despite challenge.

 

 

Courage to speak- when everyone else is dutifully silent.

      (3:13-18)            Response deepens the drastic action of faith.                           

                                 Profession of faith clarifies faith’s practice.

                                 A steadfast trust in God regardless of the results.

                               

Courage to die (or live)- whether God graciously rescues (or not).

       (3:19-23)                    A singular devotion/obedience to honor God.

                                          Living by faith pleases God (Heb.11:6; 34!)

 

Who’s the 4th guy and why?  When Jesus shows up He saves the day!

       (3:24-30)    An angel (maybe Gabriel or Michael?)/ “son of the gods”?

                         A Christophany - a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ.

              Jesus appearing in the OT- times where God is “seen” refer to

              Jesus (e.g., Gen.18:1; 32:30; Josh.5:13-15; Is.6/Jn.12:41; et al).

              If Jesus, why now? Revelation of God on display! (Col.1:15)

              It’s just like Jesus to show up and save us! (Mt.1:21-22; Mk.10:45)

Courageous: Courage to Be God’s Ambassador in a New World - Daniel 2:1-49 (Billy Russell, 02/10/2019)

February 12, 2019

                                                 Courageous

                  “Courage to Be God’s Ambassador in a New World”

                                                (Daniel 2:1-49)

 

Daniel 2 teaches us about God revealing His coming Kingdom. We can seek God and ask for help to serve Him well in the face of overwhelming crisis. He gives us courage to serve and speak as His ambassadors.

 

Overview:

     The Book of Daniel is... the revelation of the sovereignty of God in

                                              action (on display)!

     Sovereignty is... the gracious rule/reign of God over His Kingdom, and

                                 in our lives.

     Courage is... acting on my belief in a sovereign, trustworthy, gracious   

                            God! (Courage = Devotion + Obedience)

 

                             Courage to be God’s Ambassador

 

Keep your head... when others are losing theirs. (-Kipling; Paul, 2 Tim.4:5)

      Problem- Neb’s crisis gives D. opportunity for ministry (-Baldwin, 85).

  1. is “calm and confident” in the face of Neb.’s verdict (-Longman, 78).
  2. knows what he needs to do to address this challenge.

      Problems require a pathway, a process to follow towards resolution.

 

 

Humbly bow your heart... pray/seek God’s wisdom when things get hard.

     Process- turn to God for help (wisdom/mercy) in desperate times.

     “Only God’s wisdom can reveal the mysteries of life.” (-T. Longman, 73)

 

 

Lift your voice in praise! Honor God as He responds to your request.

     Praise- take the time to ascribe praise and glory to God!

     Recognize from where your help comes (Ps.46:1)

 

 

Speak up as God’s ambassador... Speak truth with courage and humility.

    God intervenes, interacts, and is actively involved in His world.

    God reveals to D. what He is going to do. D. bears witness to God!

    God is bringing His Kingdom and Daniel announces it to Neb.

Courage to Make the Best of a Bad Situation - Daniel 1:1-21 (Billy Russell, 02/03/2019)

February 5, 2019

 

                                               Courageous

                       “Courage to Make the Best of a Bad Situation”

                                              (Daniel 1:1-21)

 

“The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego. But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel...” (Dan.1:7-9).

 

Daniel teaches us courage to trust God even in bad situations. Our God is faithful, sovereign, and gracious! He gives us strength and courage to face the challenges of life as we learn to trust Him no matter the circumstances.

 

Overview:

     The Book of Daniel is... the revelation of the sovereignty of God in

                                              action (on display)!

     Sovereignty is... the gracious rule/reign of God over His Kingdom, and

                                 in our lives.

     Courage is... acting on my belief in a sovereign, trustworthy, gracious   

                            God! (Courage = Devotion + Obedience)

 

God causes and permits events, which challenge our faith (1:1-7).

     The events in the text were not caused by Daniel (not his fault).

     The events were caused by God (as promised) and permitted by Him

          for His plan and purposes yet to be revealed.

   

Courageous living is faith in action despite challenges (1:8-16)!

     Daniel determines to trust God despite his bad situation.

     Daniel sees an opportunity to retain his identity and devotion.

     Daniel resolves to excel and make the best of his bad situation. Why?

 

Because God is sovereign you can risk being courageous (1:17-21).

     Daniel does not know what is to come, but passes the devotion test!

     Daniel entrusts his life into the sovereign hands of God.

     Daniel does his best to be prepared for whatever comes his way next.

     Will you risk being courageous for yet to be seen godly purposes?

     Do you entrust your life into the gracious hands of a sovereign God?

Walk This Way “Help Wanderers Return” (James 5:19-20) Billy Russell, January 27, 2019

January 30, 2019

                                               Walk This Way

                                       “Help Wanderers Return”

“My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19-20)

 

James teaches us to participate in a ministry of restoration. We have the privilege and responsibility to help Wanderers return to the Way of Jesus.

 

Wandering happens (5:19)- James says wandering is not only possible,

     but probable (v.19 is a 3rd class conditional sentence). Believers can go

     astray from the Way (as a matter of discipleship, not lose salvation).

 

Why does wandering happen (5:19)? “wander from the truth”

      Untethered- (un)intentional neglect the Word, worship, fellowship.

      Hurt- broken relationships; loss, bad church experience; tragedy

      Transitions- move, new job, marriage, children; promotions; travel

      Immaturity- too much world, too little Jesus; distractions, detours,

                         undisciplined, hobbies; limited faith foundation.

      Unanswered questions- life/death, justice/injustice; where is God?

                                             intellectual struggles; pride.

 

What Can We Do for Wanderers (5:19)? “Bring them back... turn them      

                                                                     from the error of their way.”

      We (re)invest in helping Wanderers return to the Lord.

      Relationships are of the utmost importance!

      Restoration ministry can help turn someone from “the error of his

              way” (notice the contrast to “the truth”).

 

Why are we interested in restoration ministry (5:20)?

     James closes strong with a declaration about life and forgiveness (v.20).

     “Save them from death...”

     “Cover over a multitude of sins.”

     

Restoration Ministry Questions: Do you know a Wanderer?

     What step can you take to bring them back? What level of contact?

     Who can you seek out & have a restorative conversation?

Who needs your prayers, love, and help?

Walk This Way “Pray in Faith” (James 5:13-18) Billy Russell, January 20, 2019

January 30, 2019

                                              Walk This Way

                                               “Pray in Faith”

                                              (James 5:13-18)

 

“Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.” (James 5:13-14)

 

James teaches us prayer is faith in action. We pray when we are in trouble, happy, sick, or when we sin. In other words, we pray: constantly, personally, and no matter the circumstances. God faithfully hears and acts in His wisdom, way, and timing to aide, rejoice, heal, and forgive.

 

 

Prayer is faith in action (5:13-18)- Prayer is relational (Mt.6:6-9).

     Between God and me.

     Between leaders and me.

     Between believers.

     James calls leaders to pray for those they shepherd and for believers to

            also pray in faith for one another.

 

 

Pray as a lifestyle (5:13-16)- when you’re in trouble, happy, sick or sin!

     Constantly-

     Personally-

     Regardless of circumstances-

 

 

 

Pray believing (5:16-18)- Trust your heavenly Father to hear and respond.

     James declares faithful praying is powerful and effective (v.16).

     James uses Elijah as an example/challenge to pray in faith (vv.17-18).

     Trust that God hears. He is a faithful listener.

     Trust God to act: to aide, bless, heal, and forgive (and so much more!).

     Trust God’s timing; believe He knows what is best when the timing is

right.

   

Walk This Way “Be Patient & Wait on the Lord” (James 5:7-12) Billy Russell, January 13, 2019

January 30, 2019

                                            Walk This Way

                               “Be Patient & Wait on the Lord”

                                            (James 5:7-12)

 

“Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” (James 5:7-8, NIV)

 

James calls believers to exercise the practice of patience as we await the Lord’s return. Patience is an activity of faith. It is the practice of trusting God until He acts. Patience is a spiritual discipline worthy of our practice.

 

 

Practice patience as an activity of faith (5:7)-

     Patience is faith in action.

     Patience is the act of trusting God through the trials of life.

          Even when you are ready to act for God.

          Even when you are ready for God to act for you.

 

Practice patience as an act of wisdom (5:8)-

     Waiting is wise. Waiting is an act of wisdom.

     The difference is: Upon whom are you waiting & for what reason?

     “Wait on the Lord” (v.8)- He is worth the wait!

     His promise of return is worth the wait (1 Thes. 4:13-18)!

 

 

Consider 3 examples of godly patience in action (5:7,10, 11):

     The farmer (v.7)-

     The prophets (v.10)-

     Job (v.11)-

 

God practices patience too (5:9, 11)!

     Even God waits! It is an expression of His character & promise keeping.

     His kindness is an expression of patient waiting (Rom.2:4; 2 Pet.3:9).

     As the ultimate Judge, God waits to execute judgement.

     God is the Merciful One. He waits on the rush to judgement.

     God is full of compassion. He waits on the rush to wrath.

 

Walk This Way “Practice Justice within Your Reach” (James 5:1-6) Billy Russell, January 6, 2019

January 30, 2019

                                 Walk This Way

                            “Practice Justice within Your Reach”

                                             

“Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you... Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty (James 5:1, 4).

 

Happy New Year! This month we’ll finish the book of James with a study of the truths from chapter 5. Do you want to honor God in the New Year? Then, do what is right when you have the opportunity (James 4:17).

 

How you use what God gives you matters.

     God is the Giver of good gifts, including our new life in Jesus (1:17-18).

     God expects us to walk in the grace of truth (1:19, 26).

 

 

Honor God with your life’s resources.

     Steward = manage, invest, watch over well.

     Steward well your time, energy, talents, wealth, and dreams.

     Steward well your opportunity for something else too: to live justly.

 

 

Steward well the practice of justice within your reach (5:1ff).

     How does James know of this injustice?

     James is motivated to speak up for what the Lord Almighty hears (5:4).

     What does James expect of the “rich people” he’s confronting (5:5-6)?

     Look into your life- how can you be just and fair in dealing with people?

 

 

God hears/sees how we see and treat people (5:1ff; cf.2:1-13).

     This prophetic warning (cf. Job 13:28ff; Amos 4:1ff) serves to motivate

          us to please the Lord from the depths of His blessings to us.

      James echos Jesus’ teachings (Mt. 6:19-21; Lk.12:15-21).

      How will you respond to the need for justice within your reach?

      How will you steward well what God has richly given you?