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INTRODUCTION – Read Matt. 2:13-23

I. A word about Angels
A. One of their ministries to us is to help us in our decision making when there are things endangering us that we are oblivious to and there is no way we could know what is coming down the road or around the corner. Four times in the first two chapters Joseph receives direction through dreams via angels. 1:20 “behold an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream;” 2:13 “behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream…”; 2:19 “behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph..” 2:22 “and being warned in a dream..”

Now these four messages occurred over a couple of years, so do not hear me saying you should be receiving messages from angels on a daily basis. But I do believe the more you and I are engaged in the ministry of the gospel, the more we will experience the ministry of angels. Continue reading Angels, Joseph & Mary, Fulfilled Prophecy, King Herod & Families – Matt. 2:13-23

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March 26, 2006
INTRODUCTION – While I am not an expert by any means in reaching the lost for Christ, I have been involved in that work to some extent for over 30 years. Not only have I been personally involved in this work, but I have read as much as I could about others’ experiences reaching the lost, or coming to faith in Christ. Two conclusions I have come to over these years can be seen in a very familiar story in the Bible that most of us know, but perhaps – we have not seen all that God wants us to see. So if you would – please turn in your bible to Matthew chapter 2. As we look at the first 12 verses of this chapter, I want to focus on two principles regarding evangelism that are crucial for us to understand and believe – if we are going to be increasingly meaningfully and effectively involved in this great work. Continue reading Believing God for His Work Among the Lost – Matthew 2:1-12

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March 5, 2006

INTRODUCTION – Last week I shared three things we need to put in place – if we want to be used by God and chosen for God sized tasks like Joseph was…
Read Matt. 1:18-23
Review 3 points

I. We need to be a whole lot slower in responding to or sizing up the circumstances of life. We often draw wrong conclusions based on what we can see with our natural eyes. As far as Joseph could tell, his wife had been unfaithful to him and while he could drag her to the elders and possibly get her stoned (not the marijuana kind), instead he chose to quietly divorce her, which seemed noble to him and to others, but still was not the action God had in mind.

God help us not waste so much emotional energy in 2006 reacting to things that end up not being what they seemed. He will if we cry out to Him and learn to live in a greater sense of dependency upon His divine interventions in our lives. Continue reading Obedience and Usefulness – Matthew 1:24, 25

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Feb. 12, 2006

INTRODUCTION – As I have grappled over the last two months for proper perspective about our ministry and focus as a church for this new year, I have found myself several times pulling out the prophetic word that the Holy Spirit gave Dutch Sheets on January 5th. There are 16 points in this 3 page word. Most of you have read it. I don’t want to take the time to read it now. But one thing is clear from this word: The year 2006 will be a pivotal year for the mobilizing of the army of God to fulfill His purposes on the earth.

God’s heart and intent is that every member of every congregation be an effective, productive and fruitful soldier in this army. To help mobilize or equip us for that – He has given us His precious word that is full of both precept and example.

This morning I want us to meditate on one of those examples as found in Matt. 1:18-25. This is the story of how God prepared Joseph to be the earthly father or caretaker of His precious Son – the Lord Jesus Christ. Just as God the Father looked down on this earth to find a man that He could entrust the stewarding and shepherding of His Son to; I believe He is looking down now to find men and women and young people that He can entrust the proclamation of His Son to. As I have meditated on this passage, I’ve found four principles that are crucial for us to be the kind of people that God can entrust such a treasure to. Continue reading How God Prepares and Shapes a Man to Steward the Treasure of His Son – Matt. 1:18-25

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Feb. 12, 2006

INTRODUCTION – Last Sunday we began our series in the gospel of Matthew. My sense is that this gospel is to be our launching pad in this new year for exploring our theme of “Pursuing the King and His Kingdom”. As I have been wrestling with the latter half of chapter one this week and thinking through the book and our pursuit as a whole, it seems prudent to me that we be willing at times to stop and strengthen our foundation when we come across a subject in this gospel that might not be as strong and vibrant in our life together as it ought to be.

Instead of expounding this passage today, I want to strengthen our foundation in one of the subjects it introduces to us – and that subject is the subject of angels. The word “angel”appears six times in Matthew; the word “angels” 13 times. If you wanted to study angels in the gospels, Matthew or Luke would be the books to study (Luke has a few more references than Matthew). Mark and John hardly have any comparatively speaking.
If you wanted to study angels in the whole Bible you would find around 300 references to angels scattered across 34 books; 165 of those in the New Testament.

Because in the month of December I spent a lot of time studying the events surrounding the birth of Christ, I kept encountering the mention of angels. About that same time, one night I did something that I rarely do – I read one of Anne’s emails from the Elijah List that gave a review of the book “Open My Eyes Lord” – a practical guide to angelic visitations and heavenly experiences by Gary Oates with Robert Paul Lamb. While I wasn’t familiar with those authors, I was struck by the many endorsements of people I respect, and intrigued by the excerpts from the book in this review. Then I did something more rare than reading an email from the Elijah list – I got on the phone and ordered the book! Continue reading Angels & the Kingdom of God – Matthew 1:18-25

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February 5, 2006

INTRODUCTION – The apostle Paul in his writings spoke very emphatically about the relevance of every word in this book.
For instance in Romans 15:4 he said, “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
In his second letter to Timothy – ch. 3:16 he wrote, “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;”

Nowhere is this claim to the relevance and inspiration of every word in this book tested more than when – in your bible reading – you come across a genealogy. The temptation often for most of us (if we’re honest) is to skim through if not totally skip genealogies to get to the passages that mean something. Continue reading The Genealogy of Jesus Christ the King – Matthew 1:1-17

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October 16, 2004
I. His Example
A. Events of momentous decision in His life/ministry: His baptism – Luke 3:21; Before He started His ministry – Matt. 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-12; When being distracted from His mission – Mark 1:35-38; Selection of 12 – Luke 6:12; Mount of Transfiguration – Luke 9:29; Last Supper – Matt. 26:27; Gethsemane – Luke 22:39-46; on the cross – Luke 23:46. Continue reading Prayer in the Life and Ministry of Jesus Christ

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INTRODUCTION – It would be foolish of me to pretend this morning that I am anything near an expert on mothering. First of all I have never been a mother. Second I have never truly given myself to diligently research the subject – – except for the week before Mother’s Day every year for the last 10 or so. But because I have tried to read up on it at least during those weeks, I have begun to notice some trends. And one of those trends is the tendency Americans have to measure a mom or define motherhood by her actions or activities. If I were to ask the average American what a good mom looks like they would probably come up with a list similar to this one that I found in a book on the family: Continue reading Motherhood from the Beginning

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March 2, 2003

INTRODUCTION – The reality & danger of discouragement – our nation is deeply divided over the war; our economy is in the pits & some say will get much worse if we go to war; warnings from the state dept. and the prophets re: terrorist attacks or other kinds of disasters; then at the local level – – friends/brothers/sisters letting us down; God not showing up, seemingly not answering our prayers – allowing our difficult circumstances to continue; discouragement of not seeming to be making an impact for Christ

The disciples’ deep discouragement

Jesus had repeatedly said that He was going away (7:34; 8:21; 12:8, 35; 13:33)
And that He would die (12:32,33)
That one of the 12 was a traitor and would betray Him (13:21)
That Peter would disown Him three times (13:38)
That all the disciples would fall away (Matt. 26:31)
The cumulative weight of these revelations must have been devastating to these men who had given up everything to be a part of Jesus’s growing movement to establish the kingdom of God

How can we beat discouragement?? John 14:1-3

I. Jesus expects us to guard over our heart and beat discouragement. Vs. 1a This is a command! Fret not, it leads to evil doing – Psa. 37
Prov 4:23 “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it – flow the Springs of life.”

Increasingly today Americans are watching what they eat, lowering their cholesterol, exercising regularly to protect their hearts.

As important as this is, taking care of our spiritual heart is even more important.

“Listen to your heart. For above all else, the Christian life is a love affair of the heart. The truth of the gospel is intended to free us to love God and others with our whole heart. When we ignore this heart aspect of our faith and try to live out our religion solely as correct doctrine or ethics, our passion is crippled , or perverted and the divorce of our soul from the heart purposes of God toward us is deepened.” John Eldridge & Brent Curtis in “The Sacred Romance”.

So how can we guard over our heart and beat this battle with discouragement??

2 things

II. Believe in or trust in the Lord – vs. 1
not your feelings, not your circumstances, not your doctrine or theology, not your church, not your heritage, but the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Specifically trust in His character/attributes & in His teaching/promises about life and the future, and His specific words, promises and prophecies to you

Ex. Of Wintston Churchill during the bombings

Interesting to me that Jesus commands them to trust in Him at a time when He has plainly told them He is going to be betrayed and killed.

Why this curious phrase, “believe in God, believe also in Me.”
Jesus often speaks of the oneness He shares with the Father.
He is also after specific intentional devotion to and faith in Him as the Son of God.

III. Place your hope in heaven, not in the things of earth. Vs. 2,3
Someone once said of some Christians that “they were so heavenly minded, they were of no earthly good.” I suppose what they were getting at is all some Christians think about is going to heaven and being with Jesus, and thus they have kind of a lame duck experience or impact on earth. They really don’t care about people around them. They really do not intend to help people come to faith in Christ and grow as His disciples.
I suppose this could be a problem with some people.

But a greater problem could be put like this: “They were so earthly minded they were of no earthly good.” You see if increasingly my hope is being in heaven with Jesus, then I can obey the Lord on earth and do His bidding, and it really doesn’t matter how it goes, how people treat me, what people think of me, … My joy and happiness and security is not wrapped up in that. My joy and happiness and security and especially my hope are wrapped up in the reality that I will soon be home with my Savior face to face and I receive at that time an inheritance that has been waiting for me

One of the things I did in preparing for this message is try to get a feel for how heaven affected the apostles.
Stephen – Acts 7:54,55
Paul – Romans 8:18 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
II Cor. 5:1-10
Phil. 3:20, 21 “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.”
Col. 1:3-5
I Thess. 1:9,10 “
Peter – I Peter 1:3-5

A. One of the things Jesus is doing in heaven is preparing a specific place for you vs. 2,3
This phrase “dwelling place” has the idea of permanence. Actually the home Jesus is preparing for you is your real permanent home. This place is temporary. That’s why the Bible calls us believers aliens or pilgrims or exiles. This really is not our home. We are truly just a passing through as the old hymn states.

A missionary returning to his church after ten years on the mission field was dismayed to find that he received no attention on his homecoming, while a returning war hero received a royal reception. While he was complaining to the Lord, the Lord spoke to him and said, “Don’t you understand? You’re not home yet!”

B. Jesus desperately wants you to be with Him in heaven vs.2, 3
Heb. 9:24 “For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;”

C. Jesus will soon come back to receive His bride to be forever with Him. Vs. 3
He is not going to leave us here. He has not forgotten about us or given up on us. He is consumed with thoughts of us.

CONCLUSION – March 3rd uncertainty –

COMMUNION – meditate on what Jesus Christ has reserved for you in heaven – thank Him and praise Him for that; thank Him that because of His spilled blood for you – the sin barrier between you and the Living God has been forever broken.

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August 14, 2002

NTRODUCTION – Romans 8:29 says, “For whom He (that is God the Father) foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren (and I think I can safely add sistren)”

In other words – God saved us and called us not just to give us a ticket to heaven, but also that we might become more and more like Jesus in every way while we live this life on earth. He wants and expects us to carry on the same kind of life and ministry that Jesus did while He was on earth.

One of the primary reasons we are studying the gospel of John together is because we have discovered that we cannot become like Jesus if we do not know what He was and is like. And we will not make that discovery unless we devote some serious time to that quest. Continue reading Lessons from the Raising from the Dead of Lazarus

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