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“The Word Priority” (Billy Russell, 08/23/20)

“The Word Priority” (Billy Russell, 08/23/20)

August 25, 2020

Mission Forward- “The Word Priority”

                                        (Ps.119:105-112; Jn.15:1-8)

 

       Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path...Your statutes are      

     my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart.” (Ps 119:105, 111 NIV)

 

Life is a journey. We all need helpful guidance along the way. Who directs you along life’s path? Who is your guide? We all need light to guide us in the darkness. Let’s help each other entrust and invest in the Word Priority.

 

Psalm 119 is... (cf. Ps.1 &19)

     A wisdom song, known as the “Giant Psalm” (T. Longman) for its length.

     It is also known for its depth, teaching about knowing God, His Word, &

         honoring Him by trusting His Word, and living by its truths.

     An acrostic Psalm (cf.111,112) following the letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

     There are 22 stanzas of 8 verses for a total of 176 verses.

     8 synonyms (D. Kidner) reflect the beauty/purpose of God’s Word.

     Today, we’ll only explore the truths from one stanza (verses 105-112).

 

Help from Jesus to study the Psalms & OT

     Jesus quoted the Psalms more than any other OT book (22,31,110,118).

     Jesus knew, loved, sang, and memorized the Ps./OT (e.g., Lk. 4:14-21).

     Jesus used truths from God’s Word against temptation (Mt. 4:1-11).

     Jesus knew God’s Word is true and eternal (Mt. 5:17-19).

     Jesus is the Word (Jn.1:1ff). Life happens connected with Him (Jn.15:5).

 

I need God’s Word to be my guide for...

     Illumination- in the light or dark it guides/directs (v.105; Jn. 8:12).

     Instruction- humility to learn: right/true/pure/best (v.108; Mt. 11:29).

     Insight- The Word impacts how I see & live life (wisdom); especially in

           struggles, sufferings, danger, and days of evil it protects, reminds,

           and redirects (vv.107-110). Complaints & wisdom together (L. Allen).

 

I need a plan to practice getting God’s Word into my life everyday.

     My heritage (v.111)- legacy happens when the Word impacts my days.

     My heart (vv.111-112)- the Word brings joy from relationship w/ God.

     My resolve (v.106)- a cherished desire to publicly honor the Lord (oath).

     My reward (v.112)- committed to walk by faith, until it’s sight (Heb.11:6)!

“The Worship/Cross Priority” (Billy Russell, 08/16/20)

“The Worship/Cross Priority” (Billy Russell, 08/16/20)

August 25, 2020

Mission Forward “The Worship/Cross Priority”

                                              

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (Col. 2:13-15, NIV)

 

 

Mission Forward calls us to the priority of worship and the cross of Jesus.

We’ve come to worship by celebrating the Lord’s Supper together. The cross of Jesus calls us to a grateful, sacrificial, and communal life together. The unity of our love for Jesus leads us to love one another likewise.

 

We worship as a response to God’s rescuing love for us in Christ.

     “God made you alive with Christ” (v.13)-

     “He forgave us all our sins...” (v.13)-

 

Our worship is an outpouring of praise from grateful hearts to God.

     God “cancelled the charge of our legal indebtedness” (v.14)-

            “which stood against us...” -

            “and condemned us...”-

     God “has taken it away”... How? “nailing it to the cross” (v.14)

             “disarmed the powers and authorities...” (v.15)

             “made a public spectacle of them...”

             “triumphing over them by the cross.”

    

Our worship reflects that God loves us, and we love Him, and we love one another in Christ.

     We follow the Way of Jesus together through sacrifice and joy.

     Our love reflects a unity of fellowship in the Spirit.

     How grateful we are for life together in Christ!

    

“The Love Priority” (Billy Russell, 08/09/2020)

“The Love Priority” (Billy Russell, 08/09/2020)

August 12, 2020

Mission Forward - “The Love Priority”

 

                                “Above all, love each other deeply,

                  because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8, NIV)

 

As we endure these pandemic days together, how can we best focus our ministry priorities in order to be Mission Forward? We can align our lives and ministry today with the love priority of Jesus as Peter reframed it for believers enduring various trials in the 1st century church.

 

What is our priority? “before (above) all things, love each other...”

     There is something (“love”) more important than other things.

     There is a Now priority that is “before” or “above” others. (imperatival)

     Love for one another is above all (cf. Jn.15:12, 17; 1 Cor.13; Gal.5:13f).

 

What is most important in trying days of struggle and difficulty?

     A sacrificial, self-denying, others-focused commitment (“love”- mutual).

     We follow the Way of Jesus together to “love one another” (Jn.13:34).   

     How we love one another is our witness in these days (Jn.13:35).

 

What does that kind of love look like in action? “love each other deeply”

     “Deeply”= “earnestly, fervently, intensely, strenuously, constantly,

          vigorously; stretching out/straining (Vaughan)

     Only time in NT (cognate, cf.1:22)- pic of a horse taking off into a gallop

     Love is active, not passive- get after it! “Intensely w/ determination” (PP)

                      “steadfastly pursued...persists despite difficulties” (K. Jobes)

Why love one another like this? “because love...” (reason to love)

     To what end? “because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (Jms 5:20)

     OT connection (cf. Prov.10:12; 17:9)- “Because as God’s word says...”

     Jesus connection- this covering love is not atoning; only Jesus provides

           atonement for sins (Mk.10:45). Covering love= enduring/patient love

     This kind of love comes from a common forgiveness, and it models:

                *mending relationships (Eph.4:32)- “to forgive and forgive again”

                *carrying burdens, (Gal.6:2), and

                *bonding unity between us (4:9-11; Eph.4:1-3)-serving/hospitality

     You will only love like this when you have received loved like this!

     When you’ve received love like this, then love like this too!

     “Above all, love one another deeply...it covers over a multitude of sins.”

“Because of Jesus - Everyone has access to the mercy of God” (Mike Pitts, Guest Speaker 8/2/20)
“Together for the Gospel” (Mike Knight, Guest Speaker 7/26/20)

“Together for the Gospel” (Mike Knight, Guest Speaker 7/26/20)

August 7, 2020

Together for the Gospel

Acts 13:1-5

 

Despite all of our differences… we have to continue to be united by behind our common mission… the living out and the telling of the gospel of Jesus.

 

“Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.  So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them.”

– Acts 13:1–5 (ESV)

 

The gospel breaks down barriers.

 

“Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.”

– Acts 13:1 (ESV)

 

“These men would have been trained from birth to despise the other men on this list, to feel superior to the men on this list, to position themselves as more intelligent and more intrinsically valuable than the other men on this list.” – Matt Chandler

 

The gospel reconciles people.

 

The gospel brings us together.

 

“While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting… “ – Acts 13:2a (ESV)

 

“In many ways, the church at Antioch is a ‘model church’ – the kind of example our churches should strive to emulate. It is a church with a plurality of gifted leaders who zealously and selflessly serve the Lord. It is a multi-ethnic church reflecting the fact that the gospel is not just for one particular group. And it is a church of people who worship the Lord with sincere hearts, sensitive to the leading of the Spirit, and obedient to the Lord’s directives.” – Clinton Arnold 

 

The gospel sends us out.

 

“Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.  So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them.” – Acts 13:2b-5 (ESV)

 

To what work has Jesus called you… in this unique moment… in this season of your life?

 

Together for the Gospel

“Peter & Cornelius: When the Spirit Breaks Down Barriers in Ministry, Pt.2” (Billy Russell 7/19/20)

“Peter & Cornelius: When the Spirit Breaks Down Barriers in Ministry, Pt.2” (Billy Russell 7/19/20)

August 7, 2020

Shaken & Sent to the Nations

“Peter & Cornelius: When the Spirit Breaks Down Barriers in Ministry, Pt.2”

                                            (Acts 10:1-11:18)

 

Luke tells the dramatic story of Peter’s A-ha! moment when he really gets that God wants even the gentiles (non-Jews), like Cornelius and crew, to experience the grace of the Gospel. What biases and barriers might God need to break down for you, so that others might hear the good news of Jesus through you?

 

          Lessons on Diversity & Ministry for the 21st Century Church

 

God shows no favoritism (10:34-36)- He is holy/just, w/o bias/prejudice.

       He is gracious to all who seek Him- He saves indiscriminately!

       He sends His people to share the Gospel- for the good of others!

 

Cornelius... a Roman Centurion stationed in Caesarea has a divine vision.

     He is a gentile, seeker, awaiting whatever God has to say through Peter.

     He is has a reputation of compassion and generosity to those in need.

     He is the recipient of Jewish prejudice in need of God’s grace.

     He is waiting on a believer to work thru the barriers.

 

Peter... has long held prejudice towards gentiles (religious/ethnic)

     His perspective is greatly skewed, though he thinks it’s right.

     He is called to repent and turn to the truth.

     He is charged to go with the gospel to someone who needs grace.

     He is the messenger of good news to people who need Jesus!

 

God shows no favoritism (10:34-36)- He is holy/just, w/o bias/prejudice.

       He is gracious to all who seek Him- He saves indiscriminately!

       He sends His people to share the Gospel- for the good of others!

 

What about you? Applications, attitude adjustments, redeeming actions

     What long held bias/prejudice must you lay down for the gospel?

     How has God been redirecting your perspective to see people as He

          does? (Imago Dei - dignity, worth, value of each person, every life.)

     We must repent/turn from the prejudice, racism, bias which keeps us

          from gospel work.

     We are not God’s favorites! He loves all equally! What great grace!

Philip & the Ethiopian: When the Spirit Breaks Down Barriers in Ministry, Pt.1 (Billy Russell 7/12/20)

Philip & the Ethiopian: When the Spirit Breaks Down Barriers in Ministry, Pt.1 (Billy Russell 7/12/20)

August 7, 2020

Shaken & Sent to the Nations

    Philip & the Ethiopian: When the Spirit Breaks Down Barriers in Ministry,       

                         Pt.1 Acts 8:4-8; 26-40; Is.53:7-8; 56:4)

 

Acts 8 tells us about the “shaken and sent” days of the early church. Persecution scattered believers away from Jerusalem. Philip and his family fled to a city in Samaria, where they began sharing the gospel. During these shaken days, where and with whom is the Lord sending you to share the gospel? What lessons on diversity and ministry can we learn from the early church for our ministry together today?

 

            Lessons on Diversity & Ministry for the 21st Century Church

God uses people already engaging in ministry (8:4-8).

     God looks for ready and available people for ministry opportunities.       

     Philip was “loving people and solving problems” as a table-waiter (6:5).

     Philip was displaced and dispersed by persecution in J-town (8:4-5).

     God uses people who flex, adapt, and keep on moving forward.

     Philip was making good lemonade from the lemons dealt to him (8:6-8).

          He left Jerusalem, sharing Jesus as he went to the next place (8:6).

          He was mightily used as a healer, exorcist & preacher of the Gospel!

 

God looks for “whenever, wherever, however” people (8:26-27).

     A divine messenger directs Philip. He is open & immediately obedient.

     He’s doing a good work in Samaria, but is otherwise, reassigned.

     Philip’s heart: “Speak Lord for your servant is listening” (1 Sam. 3:9-10).

 

The Spirit empowers us to overcome barriers for the Gospel (8:27-35)

     Ethnic- a Greek and Ethiopian (European/African)

     Personal- Ethiopian is a eunuch; Philip, a father of 4 girls (Prophetess’)

     Financial- Philip’s walking (“Mike & Ike taking a hike”); Ethiopian riding!

     Linguistic- language challenges require interpretation/explanation. They

               are multilingual reading Hebrew (Greek- LXX?), speaking Greek.

     Vocational- Ethiopian is a Queen’s treasurer/servant; Philip’s a table

                        waiter/evangelist on a knight’s errand for the King!

     Spiritual- Ethiopian: gentile, God-fearer, a seeker; Philip knows Jesus!

 

Action Steps: Check your default setting: heart/mind ready to obey/go?!   

  (8:31, 35, 40) Get active in ministry. Be serving someone in Jesus’ name!

                        Show someone the Way- tell the good news about Jesus!

“Resolving an Ethnic Ministry Matter” (Billy Russell 7/5/20)

“Resolving an Ethnic Ministry Matter” (Billy Russell 7/5/20)

August 7, 2020

                                   Shaken & Sent to the Nations

                     “Resolving an Ethnic Ministry Matter” (Acts 6:1-7)

          

In the early church an ethnic ministry matter arose about equal care and provision for Hebraic and (neglected) Grecian widows (Acts 6:1-7). The apostles entrusted resolution of the ministry matter to the people. The best qualified problem-solvers (table-waiters) were appointed, which aided in the overall advance of the Gospel. What lessons on diversity and ministry can we learn from the early church for our ministry together today?

 

           Lessons on Diversity & Ministry for the 21st Century Church

 

Conflicts happen (6:1-2)- even in good, growing churches.

     Issue: Equal care and provision between ethnic widow groups.

                It was a touchy ethnic ministry matter being poorly handled.

 

God uses His people to solve ministry problems together (6:3-4).

     “Love people, solve problems.” In ministry there are always people to

          love/serve & problems to be managed. Get the order correct!

      Pastors and people collaborate to address ministry opportunities.

      Shared leadership model- delegation & trust meet ministry challenges.

           Jesus leads His Church. He is the head (Col. 1:18; Eph. 5:25).

           Leaders lead/care on behalf of Jesus (1 Peter 5:2; Eph. 4:11-12).

           Leaders equip and encourage others to lead/serve in the Body.

           The Body affirms & the leaders commission them to serve the Body.

 

                                              

Resolution creates capacity for continued ministry growth (6:5-6)-

     The right people- full of the Holy Spirit, faith, and wisdom.

     The right thing- meeting a pressing need.

     The right way- diligently attacking the problem, and not the people.

     The right resolution- a growing ethnic tension is resolved & it leads to...

 

 

Gospel advance (6:7) - Way to be mission forward!

     The Word works- “So the word of God spread.”

     Disciples disciple- “The number of disciples... increased rapidly.”

     People are changed by the Gospel- “... and a large number of priests

                                                                became obedient to the faith.”

“Pentecost- The Spirit Given to the Nations” (Billy Russell 6/28/20)

“Pentecost- The Spirit Given to the Nations” (Billy Russell 6/28/20)

August 7, 2020

Shaken & Sent to the Nations

             Lessons on Diversity & Ministry for the 21st Century Church

                   “Pentecost- The Spirit Given to the Nations” (Act 2:1-12)

 

The Church was born multi-ethnic from its first day! This is God’s will and His intentional grace. The Church is a witness to the unlimiting grace of God still being poured out by the Spirit upon the Nations through the preaching and living of the good news about Jesus. What lessons can we learn from the early church on diversity & ministry for our church today?

                                               

Pentecost is... a celebration of the Theophany & Law given @ Mt. Sinai.

  (Gk. “50”)       1st Fruits- Feast of the Harvest (God’s provision)-2nd of 3.

                        “It’s a day God got the world’s attention” (Steve Ger)!

     The known world of the time was gathered in Jerusalem for Pentecost,

           50 days after Easter. The Spirit, as Jesus promised from the Father

           (Jn.16:7-15), was observed, heard, and experienced that

           providential day by the nations (Joel 2:28-32/Acts 2:16-21)!

 

See the Miracle beyond the Miracle: Sure the languages, but they only

     serve God’s people getting God’s message (The Gospel) to the people!

     Luke geographically lists 15 ethnic groups represented as receiving the

            Spirit that grace-filled day (2:9-11).

     These tongues were distinct languages, enabling people groups to hear

            the gospel in their heart language (2:6-7).

 

                           Macro Lessons on Diversity & Ministry:

Humility- Acknowledge the wisdom of God in giving us His Spirit.

Unity-     Be unified around the gospel (heard in people’s heart languages).

Diversity- Embrace appreciation of diversity as God’s design in ministry.

 

 

                           Micro Lessons on Diversity & Ministry:

Humility-  Life finds purpose in ministry together for the Gospel.

Unity-       Clarity around a clear Gospel focus, presence, and power.

Diversity- The Lord chooses different over same to embody the Gospel.

                  Let us embrace being diverse & diversely gifted to serve God’s

                  grandeur purpose, so people receive the gospel of Jesus!

Galatians 6:14 (Dave Becker, Guest Speaker 6/21/20)

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