"If we're not careful, we send the message that to BE a part of the church you've got to have it all together." -Neil McClendon
This week we welcomed back guest speaker Willie Bolden from DTS-Houston.
We must follow God’s example
Genesis 3: 8–21
1. God brings hope to the hopeless.
2. God brings community to the outcast.
3. God redeems at great personal cost.
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
When we were utterly helpless,
Christ came at just the right time
and died for us sinners.
And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”
Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
And the Lord God made for Adam
and for his wife garments of
skins and clothed them.
“…the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.”
“We owe Christ to the world—to the least person and to the greatest person, to the richest person and to the poorest person, to the best person and to the worst person.
We are in debt to the nations!”
1. We are forgiven.
2. We are delivered.
3. We are becoming.
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” - 2 Corinthians 5:21
"Jesus did everything necessary to secure your redemption and your forgiveness. Your past, present and future sins have already been paid for." -Neil McClendon
"If we don't want our students to graduate from the church when they graduate from high school, then we can't have our adults retire from the church when they retire from work." -Geoff Whitten
1. Who am I prideful towards?
Here are two ways to know if you are prideful/haughty:
a) We are more aware of what everybody else is doing that we are of what we are becoming
b) I cannot celebrate my success so I celebrate other people’s failure
2. What is beyond me?
Three calibrating realities about the unknowable:
a) Knowledge is one of the things that separates God from his creation
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” -Isaiah 55:8–9
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” -Deuteronomy 29:29
b) Not knowing is part of the human experience.
“For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part: then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love." -1 Corinthians 13:9–13
c) Not knowing makes faith necessary.
3. How is my soul?
Nine needs of the soul…
1) a keeper
2) a center
3) a future
4) to be with God
"Jesus is at the center of it all." -Neil McClendon
1. Waiting for the Lord is a learned behavior, v. 1
“Our perspective on waiting is one of the stronger ways our society is out of stride with the biblical worldview.” -David Mathis
“But they that wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” -Isaiah 40:31
“From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him.” -Isaiah 64:4
2. God’s deliverance is evangelistic by nature, v. 3
3. Learn from your experiences, v. 4–5
4. Sin reveals how I relate to God, v. 6–8
Three ways people relate to God:
"When we stop trusting in God there is no limit to what we will trust in." -Neil McClendon
Text: Psalm 95
1. Worship is about how we approach God’s presence, v. 1-2
2. Worship is motivated by God’s nature, v. 3-5
“The really wonderful moments of joy in this world are not the moments of self-satisfaction, but self-forgetfulness. Standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon and contemplating your own greatness is pathological. At such moments we are made for a magnificent joy that comes from outside ourselves. It is about the greatness of God, not the significance of man. God made man small and the universe big to say something about himself.” -John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life
Two reasons we must hold on to a God-sized view of God:
a) to properly humble man
b) to facilitate worship
“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord, or what man show him his counsel? Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust. Lebanon would not suffice for fuel, nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering. All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness. To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him?” -Isaiah 40:12-18
3. Worship involves intimacy, v. 6-7
“Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable…”
4. Worship starts and stops in your heart, v. 8-11
The Importance of Easter
1 Corinthians 15:1–11
1. The death of Jesus is real, v. 3
“And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” So also the chief priest, with the scribes and elders mocked him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. “He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, “I am the Son of God.” And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.” -Matthew 27:39–44
"In most world religions today, you demonstrate your love & allegiance to your God by sacrificing yourself. Yet the bible teaches us that God demonstrates His love for us by sacrificing Himself."
2. The death of Jesus was necessary
“For while we were still weak, at the right time christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” -Romans 5:6–8
3. The Bible is reliable, v. 4
4. The resurrection is verifiable, v. 5–9
b) the five hundred
* untimely born
* least of the apostles
* I persecuted the church
5. Grace is available, v. 10–11
“Grace is the merciful kindness by which God, exerting His influence upon souls, turns them to Christ and then keeps, strengthens and increases them in the Christian faith.”
1 Peter 1:3-9
1. Our Hope is sure, v. 3
2. Our Hope is steadfast, v. 4
3. Our Hope is secure, v. 5
4. Our Hope is refined, through suffering, v. 6-9
1. The big picture existed long before I got here.
2. Hearing makes you responsible for doing. v.2
3. Our obedience is affected by how we think of it. What if "obedience" is simply an invitation? v.2–6
4. Obedience is most needed in the public square. v.7–9; 12–17
5. I can trust God for what is next. v.10–11
"Can you obey in the moment and trust God for what comes next; do you know enough about Him to believe that He created you for a relationship with Him that leads to obedience?" -Neil McClendon
1. The Bible holds the Christian to a higher standard, v. 17
“You have heard that it was said to those of old. You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgement. But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brothers has something against you, leave your gift there before the alter and go. First, be reconciled to your brother and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.” -Matthew 5:21–26
2. The Gospel is by nature non-conforming, v. 20–24
3 The Gospel is by nature clarifying, v. 25–32
How to have hard conversations:
a) speak the truth
b) be angry but also be intentional
c) don’t create space for the devil
d) talk to not just about
e) don’t grieve the Spirit
f) raise it up
g) reflect back
Questions to ask before having a hard conversation:
1. Am I clear on my biblical responsibility towards this person and this conversation?
2. Have I prayed about this, for this and for the other person?
3. What is my desired outcome?
4. Am I open to hearing as much as I am speaking?
5. Can we leave the conversations with a plan to move forward with our relationship?
1. GOD TESTS US FOR A PURPOSE, v. 1
Temptation has as it’s goal exposing your weakness or leading you into wrong action. The goal of testing is to prove the quality of something.
2. GOD UNDERSTANDS WHAT HE IS ASKING, v. 2
3. HE ALSO UNDERSTANDS THE MAGNITUDE OF WHAT HE IS DOING
“The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land that you se I will give to you and to your offspring forever.” -Genesis 13:14
“And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, So shall your offspring be.” -Genesis 15:5
“Speak now in the hearing of the people, that they ask, every man of his neighbor and every women of her neighbor for silver and gold jewelry.” -Exodus 11:2
“And the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out to meet Ahaz you and Shear-jashub your son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Washer’s Field.” -Isaiah 7:3
4. OBEDIENCE IS AN ACT OF WORSHIP, v. 3–5
5. GOD TELLS A BIG STORY, v. 6–8
6. GOD IS STILL TELLING HIS STORY, v. 9–14
2 Corinthians 4:1–6
a) inclusion: it is part of
b) integration: it is inseparable from
1. The mercy of God
• Ephesians 2:1-5
2. We do not lose heart
3. To tamper with God’s word
4. Those who are perishing
5. The god of this world (Satan)
6. Blinded the minds of unbelievers
7. But Jesus Christ as Lord
• 1 Thessalonians 4:2–8
8. For God...
• Genesis 1:1–3
• 2 Peter 1:19–21
"The American Christian does not proclaim "Jesus is Lord"—but instead, we proclaim ourselves, because we know there are key areas in our lives where He is not Lord." –Neil McClendon
2 Samuel 16: 5–14
1. Criticism is a universal experience, v. 5
Criticism is defined as any judgment made about you by another, which declares that you fall short of a particular standard. -Alfred Poirier
2. Criticism is often times a veiled attempt at control, v. 2
3. Criticism is personal, v. 7-8
If you would like to get better at receiving criticism here are some questions to ask yourself:
• How do I typically react to correction?
• Do I pout when criticized or corrected?
• What is my first response when someone says I’m wrong?
• Am I overly noble when criticized?
• How well do I take advice?
• Are people able to approach me to correct me?
• Am I teachable?
• Do I harbor anger against the person who criticizes me?
• Do I immediately seek to defend myself?
• Can my spouse, parents, children, brothers, sisters or friends correct me?
4. Criticism is an opportunity for self-evaluation, v. 9-13
“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! Do not let my heart incline to any evil, to busy myself with wicked deeds in company with men who work iniquity, and let me not eat of their delicacies! Let a righteous man strike me—it is kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it. Yet my prayer is continually against their evil deeds.” - Psalm 145: 3–5
Two questions to ponder:
1) If I continually squirm under the criticism of others, how can I say I know and agree with the criticism of the cross?
2) If I typically justify myself, how can I say I know, love and cling to Gods justification of me through Christ’s cross?
5. Criticism reminds us of our humanity, -v. 14
“And the king, and all the people who were with him, arrived weary at the Jordan. And there he refreshed himself.” -v. 14
“And the king…”
“…and all the people who were with him…”
“…arrived weary at the Jordan.”
“And there he refreshed himself.”
"What do you believe about God and yourself that informs the way you respond to criticism? Do you feel like you always have to have it all together?"
Better…Parenting Part 2
• This section on ownership parenting vs. ambassador parenting is from the book "Parenting" by Ted Tripp
II. How Do We Do This?
Two types of parenting:
1) Ownership parenting: shaped and influenced by what parents want for their children and from their children
2) Ambassador parenting: shaped by what God wants to do through us in our children
The difference in these two parenting styles manifest itself in four ways:
1. Identity: where you look to find your sense of who you are
Owners: look to kids for identity, self-worth and affirmation of their parenting.
Ambassador: not about what I need from you but based on what I understand about God, the Gospel truth and you.
* Salvation culture vs. Gospel culture
2. Work: what you define as the work you’ve been called to do as a parent
Owners: have to turn their children into something and they rely on their resources to do it
Ambassador: have to live as instruments in God’s hands in the lives of their children
3. Success: what you define success to be
Owner: work towards specific horizontal indicators such as academic performance, social acceptance, popularity, athletics as evidence of parenting skill
Ambassador: not about reaching goals but being usable and faithful tools in God’s hands because He alone is able to produce good things in your kids
4. Reputation: what tells people who you are and what you’re about
Owner: children are trophies, they enjoy parading their kids when they do well but are deeply embarrassed when kids sin and often withdraw from relationships when this happens
Ambassador: see misunderstanding and embarrassment as part of parenting and keep big Gospel goal of kids being “oaks of righteousness” in mind as they parents. God does the work and God gets the glory for who their kids become.
III. How Do We Become Parents God Works Through?
1. We ruthlessly and consistently return to the Gospel
2. We realize that we are raising a worshipper
3. We exercise discipline in our home
IV. Four Questions Every Parent Should Ask Their Kids
1. Do you trust me?
2. Do you feel like you matter in this family?
3. What need are you trying to meet with this behavior?
"Extreme behavior comes from a deeper need; seek to understand what that deep need is in your kids." -Neil McClendon
4. What are you learning about yourself these days?
"The biggest obstacle that keeps us from faithfully persisting and resting in God's efficiency is the distractions we've implemented into our lives and labeled as 'down time.' " -Wade Collier
John 15: 1–11
Three keys words from this passage:
1. Fruit: v. 1–2
a. Fruit = a visible evidence of an inner working power
b. When a branch is not bearing fruit, it needs to be pruned
c. I want what I am producing to look like Christ
d. We need to acknowledge the sufficiency of Christ and our insufficiency
e. We must rest in Christ
2. Abide: v. 4–11
a. Abide = faithful persistence
b. Matt. 7: 7–8; Jer. 29: 12–13
c. We have to discipline ourselves to spend time in God’s word and pursue Him. Many things will work at keeping you from spending time with God and resting in Him. When you have time to do only one thing what do you choose? Is it resting in him?
3. Commandment: v. 10
a. Commandment = a rule that must be obeyed
b. It is a command that we spend time of sabbath rest
c. Four sabbath practices:
1. ceasing: not only from work but also from productivity, anxiety, worry, possessiveness, and so on.
2. resting: of the body as well as the mind, emotions, and spirit; a holistic rest.
3. embracing: deliberately taking hold of Christian values, of our calling in life, of the wholeness God offers us.
4. feasting: celebrating God and His goodness in individual and corporate worship as well as feasting with beauty, music, food, affection and social interaction.
"We are incapable, but God is capable; and not only that—He is also willing." -Neil McClendon
"God intends that parents be the most spiritually formative people in a child's life." -Neil McClendon
"Is my relationship with God more about knowledge or power?" –Neil McClendon
1. We need a sense of belonging. -Acts 1:6–8
"Do you ever have a sense that there's more than what you're experiencing?
"If you're not careful, you'll succeed at everything you prefer, and fail at the one thing God requires."
2. We need to be tuned in to what God is saying.
• 4 ways God speaks today:
a) His word b) Prayer c) Spiritual authority
3. We need to never assume.
4. We need to ask good questions.
• Good questions to ask include:
a) What did you mean by that?
b) How did you come to that conclusion?
c) Is this something that you live by?
d) Do you ever wonder if there is more than what you currently believe?
e) What are the consequences if you are wrong?
5. We need to be gospel fluent.
"The spirit of God never tells the people of God to violate the word of God."
"Maybe the reason God hasn't changed the situation in your life is because you still haven't learned to say 'I trust you.' " –Dr. Willie J. Bolden
"Because you're not God, you can sleep—because He never does. Your refusal to sleep is your insistence on being God." -Neil McClendon
1 Kings 19:1–18
We know we're tired:
1. When we are scared.
2. When we choose aloneness.
"On the hill of some of our greatest victories will be our greatest fall."
• What is your most consistent fear?
3. When we lose perspective.
• Scared? Need perspective? Read Psalm 27.
When he loses perspective, he: a) evaluates b) decides c) compares
• Who do you compare yourself to?
4. When we're tired.
• Things to remember when you're tired:
a) God always has provision to get you where he wants you to be.
b) Get where you can experience God.
c) God still wants to speak to you.
d) God still has use for you in his plans.
e) God will always have a remnant.
Do you sense that you’re connected to what God is doing in the world today? When you’re disconnected/unplugged from God, life begins to rattle. -Neil McClendon
2 Kings 6: 8–23
• We are capable of living in the supernatural.
Those who live an intimate life have a sense of:
1. I'm being used by God. v. 8–10
• The disconnected life begins to rattle, causing:
a) dissatisfaction of most things b) consistently angry c) rarely joyful
2. They're known by the enemy. v. 11–14
3. They're able to see what God is doing. v. 15–17
4. Their prayers get answered. v. 18–19
• Live a life produced by prayer!
• Be connected to what God is doing!
5. They live outside of what comes natural. v. 20–23
• The life we want to live isn't produced by exertion, but submission.
• What's the one thing you need to eliminate from your life so that you won't go back to it?
"There’s something that God enjoys about you; when you learn to enjoy that about yourself, your life will never be the same." -Neil McClendon
Definition of praying: (verb) The actual physical exertion of my thoughts, fears, emotions, understanding, sins, requests and willingness to and towards God.
3 forms of prayer:
• One of the more intimate expressions of prayer
2.) Musing: a period of thought or reflection
“I want you to have a prayer life AND a life that is produced by prayer.”
4 things Paul prays for the believers of Ephesus:
1.) Growing knowledge
• Is my relationship with God ruled by knowledge or necessity?
• In your relationship with God, do you still feel enjoyment?
“The closer you get to God, the more clearly you see yourself. And that’s sometimes disconcerting.”
2). Intimate hope
“If I understood what God is calling me to, what in my life would I be more hopeful about?"
3). Rich inheritance
• Do you think God gets something out of his relationship with you?
• How do you think God sees you these days? Learn to see yourself the way God sees you.
4.) Great power
• Do you understand the power available to you as a child of God? Do you realize this power is designed to be experienced and enjoyed?
• There’s nothing about you that you’re going to inform God about…He already knows.”
• There’s something that God enjoys about you; when you learn to enjoy that, your christian life will never be the same. You’re not tolerated, you’re not endured—you’re enjoyed.
• Challenge: If you read one book this year, read “Knowing God” by JI Packer.
"What does God sound like in your life right now; is your joy complete?" -Neil McClendon
The Progressive Nature of the Incarnation
- 1 John 1:1
“That which was from the beginning” –v.1
• Don’t think about Jesus in terms of the manger, but in terms of eternity.
• “Our response to God and the gospel today and everyday doesn’t add to His being or take away from it.”
“That which we have heard” –v.3
• What does God sound like in your life right now?
• What does the life of Jesus communicate to us about God?
• If we could do it all on our own, why did Jesus have to come?
• God sent down a “person”; He was here before we got here, and He will be here when we’re gone.
• God existed, you heard about Him; now you begin to proclaim the good news.
• You were created by God to experience fellowship.
• "I don’t care how much pot you smoke, whiskey you drink, or how much of money you burn on your addictions; God came to fellowship with you and there is joy waiting for you."
• Is your joy complete?
• "There is a completeness that comes from obedience that you don’t get from anywhere else."
• "There is a fullness to your joy that God seals when you make known what has been revealed to you."
“Jesus didn’t come for people who have it all 'sorted'; so if you’re messed up, screwed up, and feeling hopeless—you’re the type of person Jesus came for.” -Neil McClendon
"There are behaviors that only love explains; and there is a kind of love that only forgiveness explains." -Neil McClendon
What happens to your “joy” level when things in your life don’t go as planned; how do you respond when life goes “off script?” -Rick Callahan
Luke 1:26-55 (ESV)
Anawim = “the poor ones” - the “pious poor” or the “faithful poor.”
“For He has looked on the humble estate of His servant.” (1:48)
“Greetings, O favored one! The Lord is with you.” (1:28)
Mary is “greatly troubled.” (1:29)
Mary experienced the supernatural reality of joy despite things not going as planned.
What happens to your joy level when things don’t go as planned?
Maybe God is using our detour, interruption, or problem to get our attention to draw us to Himself where He can infuse us with the joy that evades us when we try to control or escape?
“For nothing will be impossible with God.” Luke 1:37
“I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38
Wonder, Joy, and Adoration
“My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior… Luke 1:46
How is this response possible?
1) God is with her (v. 28)
2) “Nothing is impossible with God.” (v. 37).
How do we access this joy that transcends circumstances?
Prayer of surrender
Find your “people”
Celebrate Recovery slide
Divorce Care slide
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I say rejoice!” - Philippians 4:4
"Are you at peace with God? Are you at peace with your fellow man? Are you at peace with yourself?" -Neil McClendon