Sermon notes from 9/16/18 – “The Light of the World”

“THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD”               John 8:12

Jon Daniels

CWBC – 9/16/18

 INTRO – 9/11/01 was a DARK day for America. Darkest day I’ve ever experienced as a citizen of US. Probably true for most of us here today. Some of you who are a little older may remember the assassination of President JFK, & the DARK time that brought to our nation. The space shuttle disasters were DARK times in our land.

8/29/05 was another DARK day for America. Hurricane Katrina crashed ashore on the Gulf Coast, wreaking havoc & wrecking lives in New Orleans, the Ms Gulf Coast, & many other places.

Darkness continues to hover over our land as babies continue to be legally murdered by abortion, as homosexual marriage becomes the law of the land, as school shootings, church shootings, & crime in all forms continues to happen. Darkness continues to hover over our land as our major cities continue to implode due to crime, drugs, immorality, & corruption. Darkness continues to hover over our land as sexual immorality in every imaginable form happens in every city, every town, & every rural area. Darkness continues to hover over our land as once strong churches & denominations that used to faithfully preach the Gospel now water it down so they won’t offend anyone or cause anyone to feel uncomfortable in any way.

All of us here today can look back on our own lives & see some very DARK times in our lives – times when death has invaded our lives suddenly; sickness has entered into our lives in an unwelcome way; our sinful choices have brought pain, misery, & destruction; families have been ripped apart in a multitude of different ways. We feel like the psalmist when he said in Ps. 43:3b – “…Why must I wander around in darkness, oppressed by my enemies?” Col. 1:13 tells us that we have been “rescued from the domain of darkness,” but sometimes, we have to confess that we find ourselves stumbling & fumbling around back in that domain again, either due to our own foolish choices, or due to the ravages of living in this fallen world.

Lots of folks are scared of the dark, so they need a nightlight to be shining when they go to bed. The darkness brings a sense of uncertainty & foreboding danger, so we carry flashlights w/ us. The darkness can obscure or hide obstacle in the roads we travel on, so our vehicles are equipped w/ headlights. We are constantly looking for ways to dispel the physical darkness in our lives by installing floodlights on the outside of our homes. We call the power company when the streetlight goes out in front of our home b/c we don’t want that darkness to be in front of our house.

EXPLANATION – When Jesus made the powerful claim that He is the light of the world, it was a great claim w/ a great promise.

Context: Feast of Tabernacles or Feast of Booths – One of the 7 feasts the Jewish people observed to remind them of God’s deliverance out of Egypt. Listen to what one commentator said about this feast & about the significance of Jesus’ announcement as the Light of the World: “On the first night of Tabernacles and apparently on each night of the feast except on Sabbath, the worshipers awaited the signal of the special lighting of the festive golden lamps of Tabernacles in the court of women. The lamps were intended to remind worshipers of God’s leading the people of Israel through the wilderness at night by a pillar of fire. The lighting of lamps also signaled Israel’s recommitment to the God of light, and it was accompanied by festive music of the Levites and special dancing by chosen men of piety (m. Sukk. 5:1–4).

Jesus’ words of announcement in this context would have sounded like an outrageous claim to the ears of the Pharisees. He went beyond the usual religious assertions of enlightenment and actually claimed to be the luminary itself. Moreover, he claimed to be the light “of the world,” a role reserved for Yahweh, the Creator (cf. Gen 1:3), who was regarded as superior to all deities including the sun god of the Gentiles. But that was not all. Jesus picked up the theme of the wilderness wanderings and proclaimed for those who followed him that they would not walk in darkness but have the light of life. To anyone familiar with the exodus story and the celebration of Tabernacles, Jesus was identifying himself clearly with the God who gave Israel this Feast of Tabernacles.[1]

APPLICATION – In a world that is growing darker all the time, Jesus is the Light of the world.

THE PERVASIVENESS OF THE DARKNESS – Obviously, the reason that there is a need for the Light of Jesus is b/c of the pervasive darkness that is all around us. “…Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness…” Isaiah 9:2 – “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness, a light has dawned.” (NIV)

Word “darkness” is used throughout Scripture to describe the works of man.

  • Refers to the condition of those who don’t know Christ as Savior. John 12:46 – “I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.”
  • Symbolizes being unprepared & unwatchful – 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 – Paul talking about the 2nd coming of Jesus. Verse 4 – “But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief.”
  • Those who are without Christ love the darkness. John 3:19 – “…God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.” (NLT)

– THE DARKNESS OF IGNORANCE – America has a literacy problem, but it’s not just that almost 14% of the adult population cannot read. It’s a biblical illiteracy problem. Tons of people have such little understanding of the Bible & its life-changing truths.

Psalm 119:105 – “Your word is a lamp to my feet & a light to my path.”

Psalm 119:130 – “The teaching of your word gives light, so even the simple can understand.”

– THE DARKNESS OF SIN – No doubt our lives are overwhelmed w/ darkness when we give in to temptation & sin.

John 1:5 – “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

John 3:19-20 – “This is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed.” (CSB)

Romans 13:12 – “The night is nearly over, and the day is near; so let us discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” (CSB)

– THE DARKNESS OF ANXIETY & FEAR – How many of you would say that anxiety & fear brings a heavy darkness into your life? Been there? Are you there right now?

Proverbs 4:18 – “But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.”

But that path grows dark when our lives are filled w/ anxiety & worry & fear.

– THE DARKNESS OF DESPAIR – That overpowering sense of desperation, despondency, & discouragement that settles in on us sometimes.

Some of those who came to Jesus for help were in a state of deep despair – parents whose kids were sick & dying; people w/ lifelong debilitating health issues; people whose lives were wrecked by the consequences of sin – all languishing in the darkness of despair.

Psalm 30:10-12Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me! O Lord, be my helper! You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!”

But it’s hard to do this when we are consumed w/ the darkness of despair.

THE DARKNESS OF DEATH – All of us have experienced the pervasive darkness that death spreads over our hearts. Grief brings a sense of darkness to our hearts. Loss brings a sense of darkness to our hearts. But Jesus brings His light & life into those times.

John 1:5 – “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”

 

THE PROMISE OF THE LIGHT – It’s really simply & tremendously profound: Believe in Jesus & follow Jesus, & you’ll have the light of life. The darkness will be dispelled & conquered, & you will have all the light you need.

  • His light will reveal truth to you.
  • His light will illuminate your path & show you the way to walk.
  • His light will guide you all the way to heaven where there is no darkness.
  • His light will wipe away the darkness & chaos in your life.
    • I have a friend who fell this summer & suffered a concussion. Lingering effects. “Apocalyptic headaches.” His words: “This is the bleakest place I’ve ever been in…”
    • Was able to encourage him today w/ the truth that Jesus, the Light of the world, will wipe away the chaos in his life.

 

THE PLAN FOR THE LIGHT

 The plan is that we are to believe in the Light, follow the Light, & BE the Light.

BELIEVE – Salvation comes through believing in the Light.

  • Acts 16:31 – “Believe in the Lord Jesus & you will be saved…”
  • John 12:36 –“While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”

FOLLOW – Daily walking w/ Jesus means that we will be walking in the light.

  • 1 John 1:5-9 – “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

BE – As we follow Christ daily, we will let His light shine through our lives for others to see Him in us.

  • Matthew 5:14-16 – “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
  • Old hymn: “Let others see Jesus in you, let others see Jesus in you. Keep telling the story, be faithful & true. Let others see Jesus in you.”

[1] Borchert, G. L. (1996). John 1–11 (Vol. 25A, pp. 295–296). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

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Sermon notes from 9/9/18 – “The Bread of Life”

“THE BREAD OF LIFE”              John 6:35

Jon Daniels

CWBC – 9/9/18

 INTRO – Bread has gotten a bad rap in our society today. Used to never think about whether or not I ought to eat bread. Just ate it. It was normal. It was good. It was good old white bread, “light bread.” Wonder Bread & Sunbeam were the best. Stick to the roof of your mouth when you made a sandwich w/ one of them.

Nowadays, seems that nobody wants to eat bread. Definitely not true in Peru. Had bread & lots of it at every meal. Large bowls filled w/ different types of rolls. In fact, a couple of our breakfasts were nothing more than rolls w/ jelly, & maybe a little butter or peanut butter. Don’t think they know anything about low carb diets in Peru.

But back in here in the States, Keto diets, low-carb or carb-free diets – all that stuff is making folks feel guilty for wanting to eat a good old PB&J these days. Feel like you’ve committed a crime if you grab the breadsticks at Olive Garden, or some cornbread w/ your turnip greens (whoever heard of eating turnip greens w/out cornbread!), or a biscuit w/ your eggs & bacon.

I’m announcing today that it is time for bread to be put back into its rightful place in our lives! Eat & enjoy! Get those carbs going again! Grab the light bread & make that sandwich! Grab the rolls today at lunch as you eat your fried chicken. Grab that awesome garlic French bread as you eat your spaghetti. Go out to Broad Street Bakery & sample their sourdough, their focaccia, their pumpernickel, their rye, their jalapeno cheddar brioche, their French baguettes. Bread has returned!!!

EXPLANATION – Open your Bibles or your Bible app & John 6:35 (page 892 in pew Bible).

John 6:35  (ESV)

35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

Over the course of His teaching ministry, Jesus made some very significant statements about who He was. Seven of those statements are known as His “I Am” statements. We are going to look at each of those statements over the course of the next couple of months. And today, we are focusing on this one from John 6:35 where Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life.”

He had just performed one of His most well-known miracle the day before – the feeding of the 5,000. Let’s recap what happened in that miracle – John 6:1-14.

Jesus used this incredible moment – a life-changing moment for sure for those who experienced it – to move into an even more life-changing moment when He proclaimed that He was the Bread of Life, & that whoever came to Him would never hunger or thirst again.

Jesus was a Master Teacher. He, like any good teacher, knew how to take real-life situations & occurrences & use them to teach & reveal spiritual truth to His listeners & His disciples.

–       Used a little child to teach His disciples about true greatness – Matthew 18:2-4 – “At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.'”

–       Used a Storm in Matt. 8 to teach His disciples about having faith in Him – “Why are you afraid, you of little faith…” (v. 26)

–       Used the stones in the hand of the men who were waiting to stone the woman caught in adultery to teach them about taking a look at the sin in their own lives before they condemned her – John 8:7 – “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

He knew that the majority of these folks were coming to Him simply b/c they had seen the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 & probably wanted some more bread. But He also knew that this would be the perfect opportunity to let them know that there are much more important things in life than physical food. So He used the analogy of the bread since it was “fresh” on their minds & moved right into the foundational truth that we all need to know today – Jesus is the Bread of Life!

 

APPLICATION – In a world that is hungry for meaning & purpose, Jesus is the Bread of Life.

There’s no doubt that Jesus is making it abundantly clear to the listeners in that day & to us today that He alone can satisfy the deepest hungers in our lives. All of us are hungry & are going to look for ways to satisfy our hunger. The TV commercial for the candy bar may say that “Snickers Satisfies,” but that’s only a temporary satisfaction. Jesus Christ is the source of TRUE satisfaction – spiritual satisfaction. He alone can give us the spiritual nourishment we need. He alone is the Bread that can feed our great hunger, the hunger for meaning & purpose & direction in life that gnaws & gnaws away in our inner being. There is no other source that will satisfy our deepest hunger. Only Jesus Christ can do that, & He WILL do that for each of us today if we will let Him.

3 different places here in this passage that speak to Jesus being the Bread of Life. And in each of these places, we see 2 things: Proclamations & Promises.

v. 35 – “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, & whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

THE PROCLAMATION“I am the bread of life”

THE PROMISES“whoever comes to me shall not hunger, & whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

v. 48-50 – “I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness & they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it & not die.”

THE PROCLAMATIONS“I am the bread of life…This is the bread that comes down from heaven”

THE PROMISE“…one may eat of it & not die.”

v. 51 – “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever…”

THE PROCLAMATION“I am the living bread that came down from heaven.”

THE PROMISE“…he will live forever.”

These Proclamations:

SET JESUS APART – Not just any bread, but the Bread of Life, the true Bread, the Bread of God. There’s no other Bread like Him.

  • All of His “I AM” statements are for that very purpose – to show that Jesus is different from any other god this world has. He’s the ONLY God who came TO us to save us. All of His “I AM” statements set Him apart. “I am…”
    • The Light of the World
    • The Door
    • The Good Shepherd
    • The Resurrection & the Life
    • The Way, the Truth, & the Life
    • The True Vine

SHOW HIS DIVINITY – Jesus isn’t man’s bread – He’s God’s bread. He’s the Bread that comes down from God. Look at v. 33 & v. 50-51.

  • He’s the Bread that comes down from heaven itself, from the very household of God.
  • The origin of the true Bread of Life is God Himself.

SEAL THE DEAL – No eternal life apart from Him. No meaning & purpose in life apart from Him. This Bread of Life does at least 4 things:

  1. Nourishes or sustains life
  2. Satisfies
  3. Energizes
  4. Creates a desire for more & more

 

The Promises are:

CLEAR – Jesus makes it abundantly clear that this Bread is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY to have eternal life, & ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY to live the Christian life.

  • Matthew 5:6 – “Blessed are those who hunger & thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” 

CONCISE – “Concise” means “expressing or covering much in few words; brief in form but comprehensive in scope”

  • “shall not hunger”
  • “shall not thirst”
  • “not die”
  • “live forever”

CRAZY GOOD – Man, does it get any better than this promise – “Eat this bread & live forever!”

  • Charles Stanley – “Although the Lord is beyond our comprehension in so many ways, He sent us His Son in human form to be a living expression of Himself and His name. In the person of Jesus Christ, we see both the greatness and love of God for us. The Father loved us enough to send His Son into the world for our salvation, and Jesus demonstrated His love by dying on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. What an awesome God we have—the great I Am.”

CONCLUSION – You’re dying of hunger. I have a loaf of bread that I’m holding out to you. What’s your response? You have to step forward, take it, & eat it. That’s what is offered to you today.

“Bread of Life? Jesus lived up to the title. But an unopened loaf does a person no good. Have you received the bread? Have you received God’s forgiveness?” (Max Lucado)

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Sermon notes from 9/2/18 – “John 3:16”

“JOHN 3:16”

Jon Daniels

CWBC – 9/2/18

 INTRO – Read these verses w/ me:

  • 23rd Psalm
  • Philippians 4:13
  • Romans 8:28
  • Proverbs 3:5-6
  • Matthew 6:33

JOHN 3:16

Max Lucado interview: “What is it about that verse that has made it so beloved for so long?

Lucado: I think it’s simple: hope. We need hope. There’s nothing worse than to live a life of despair. For a person to have no hope just sucks the blue out of every sky. John 3:16 is a passage that articulates that hope real simply – the book of Romans articulates the hope, the story of Abraham articulates the hope. If you just want one sentence, a simple description: God loves, God gave, we believe, we live. There it is.”

DAYS OF HOPE – We are attempting to share the HOPE of Jesus w/ our community in a powerful way, possibly in the most significant way we ever have as a church. People need hope. Such despair in our world. Such discouragement. Such depravity. Such desperation. And the only answer is found in Jesus & the hope that He alone can bring to a person’s life.

One of the reasons that I think it’s so important for you & me to go on mission trips outside of our small, normal, limited Bible Belt world is that is helps us see that reality of the lostness of our world. Lima, Peru – city of 10 million people. Such a heaviness there. Such darkness. I am reminded of the reality of heaven & hell, & how John 3:16 is the only answer for our world.

Hundreds & hundreds of sermons preached on this verse. I, myself, have probably preached on it 25-30 times. Believe it’s important to do that at least once a year. Bring us back to the foundational reality of why we do what we do – our motivation.

3 simple points for this verse:

  • The PURPOSE of this verse
  • The PROMISE of our God
  • The POTENTIAL for our lives

THE PURPOSE OF THIS VERSE:

TO TELL US ABOUT THE LOVE OF GOD

  • Unconditional
  • Unending

TO TELL US ABOUT THE GIFT OF GOD

  • Unmerited – Eph. 2:8-9
  • Free – “the free gift of God”

TO TELL US WHO CAN BE SAVED

  • Anyone, anywhere, at anytime
  • Witnessing to people in Peru
  • Carlos in San Ramon
  • Tammie – witnessing to a person who had spent week in the jungle w/ a shaman
  • Ellie – led 2 JW’s to Christ
  • YOU can be saved today!

TO TELL US HOW TO BE SAVED

  • BELIEVE – “Oh, I’ve always believed in God. I’ve always believed in Jesus.”
  • “believe” – to entrust; to put faith in; to trust
  • That’s it! Believe that what God said He would do, He has done. When you believe His Word & you call out to Him, He saves you. It just seems too good to be true for some many people. They think that there’s got to be more to it than that. Surely, I’ve got to do something else. Nope! You get saved by believing in Jesus – PERIOD! It’s not “believe AND be a good person” – “…AND go to church” – “…AND get baptized…” It’s believe in Jesus & you will be saved! The other stuff comes as you begin to grow in your relationship w/ Jesus – the fruit of your life. And fruit grows at different rates for different people.
  • 1 John 5:11-13 – “And this is the testimony that God gave us eternal life, & this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you have know that you have eternal life.”

THE PROMISE OF OUR GOD:

One promise in this verse: the promise of ETERNAL LIFE

If we will believe, He will save us forever.

Saved & secure forever – Eternal life is not eternal life if we can lose it.

THE POTENTIAL OF OUR LIVES:

PERFECT ASSURANCE

PERFECT PEACE

PERFECT FREEDOM – “Libre Soy” – “I am free!”

PERFECT TOOL FOR WITNESSING – How many of you have this verse memorized? Then don’t tell me that you don’t know how to witness.

  • Tillie Burgin – “Just hover around John 3:16.”
  • Don’t overcomplicate it. Just share the truth of John 3:16.
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Sermon notes from 8/19/18 – “Are We Willing to Put In the Hard Work?”

“ARE WE WILLING TO PUT IN THE HARD WORK?”

2 Timothy 2:14-19

Jon Daniels

CWBC – 8/19/18

 

INTRO – Evangelist Greg Laurie article: “Uncomplicating Evangelism.” Asks question: “What’s your biggest hurdle to sharing the Gospel?” He said we overcomplicate this thing called evangelism, & need to look at the Who, Where, Why, & When of evangelism.

WHO is called to go into all the world & preach the Gospel? Answer: We are! All of us. The Great Commission is not just for pastors, evangelists, & missionaries. It’s for EVERY Christ-follower.

WHERE are we to preach the Gospel? Answer: Everywhere. Mark’s Gospel – “Go into all the world & preach the Gospel.” Let’s personalize that & say “Go into all of YOUR world…” – YOUR family, YOUR workplace, YOUR classroom, YOUR sphere of influence.

WHY are we to preach the Gospel? Answer: B/c God’s primary way of reaching people is through other people. He could do it in other ways, & sometimes He does. But His primary plan is to use YOU & ME to reach our world for Christ!

WHEN are we to preach the Gospel? Answer: All the time! Be ready all the time. Never know when the Holy Spirit is going to open the door for you to share w/ someone.

I want to add one more: HOW – How do we do evangelism? We do it by WORKING HARD doing the Lord’s work of sharing the Gospel.

So question is: Are we willing to do the hard work? God wants to grow His Church, & it takes hard work on our part. Are we willing to do the hard work?

 

EXPLANATION – Open your Bibles or your Bible app to 2 Timothy 2:14-19 (page 995 in pew Bible).

2 Timothy 2:14-19 (ESV)

A Worker Approved by God

14 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 16 But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. 19 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

 

2 Timothy is very personal letter from Apostle Paul to young pastor, Timothy. Paul’s final writing. Martyred for his faith after he finished writing this letter. Ray Stedman said this about 1 & 2 Timothy: [1 Timothy] has to do with the ministry of the church itself — its character and its nature, its function in the world. [2 Timothy] centers around the message that it has to convey — the great theme is the gospel, and Timothy’s relationship to that gospel. (https://www.raystedman.org/new-testament/timothy)

The great theme of 2 Timothy is the Gospel, the Good News about Jesus, & Timothy’s relationship to that Gospel. It’s our job as the Church to spread that Good News as far & wide as we possibly can. God wants to grow His Church, & the way that He will do that is when His people take this job seriously & get busy doing the hard work of the Gospel. There are 3 truths that I want to share w/ you today:

 

HARD WORK – First of all, let’s just say it & make it clear to everyone here: God’s work is hard work. It just is. It always has been & it always will be.

  • It takes time.
  • It takes energy – physical, emotional, mental, spiritual.
  • It takes money.
  • It demands a high level of commitment.
  • It can be disappointing & discouraging at times.
  • It is not popular or politically correct.
  • Opposition to God’s work is growing more & more overt & intense.
  • It can be risky & dangerous.
  • It will cost us a lot, even our own lives.

Think about some of the people in the Bible who did God’s work:

  • Noah
  • Moses
  • Nehemiah
  • The disciples
  • The Apostle Paul
  • Timothy

It’s obvious – God’s work is hard work. BUT IT IS SO WORTH IT! When we join God in doing the hard work of the Gospel, we get to experience some amazing things!

  • See people’s lives changed for all eternity! 4 men saved just this past Wed. night at Mission Byram & 2 people saved yesterday!
  • See believer’s grow in maturity as they start praying, start studying the Bible, start fellowshipping w/ others & worshiping the Lord w/ their church FAMILY, & start serving the Lord!
  • See broken bodies healed, broken lives put back together, relationships reconciled & restored!
  • See prayers answered!

And the amazing thing of it all is that God lets US be involved w/ Him in His work of the Gospel!

HARSH REALITIES – v. 14, 16-18 – One of the reasons that the work of the Gospel is hard work is b/c of the opposition that we will inevitably face. We have an enemy who hates Jesus, hates the Gospel, & hates the Church. And Satan will stop at nothing to oppose & hinder the work of the Gospel.

Opposition outside the Church is on the rise. Groups & organizations are actively at work to discourage Christians in the workplace, in government positions, & in their school classrooms from being outspoken about their faith in Jesus. Lawsuits are threatened & filed against Christians all the time.

But even worse than the outside opposition to the Gospel is the inside opposition to the Gospel. And that’s what Paul was advising Timothy to watch for & deal with.

Satan is a very clever & devious enemy. Jesus called him a liar & the father of lies. If you think you’ve got him completely figured out, you’ve got another thing coming. His attacks against us are many-pronged & multifaceted – he undermines the truth of the Bible; he tempts us w/ popularity & acceptance; he lures us w/ the love of money; he diverts our attention away from the Gospel & our calling to make disciples; he instills fear in our hearts & paralyzes us w/ worry & anxiety; he polarizes & divides us inside the church by utilizing gossip & factions & cliques & hidden agendas.

Timothy had to deal w/ people inside the church quarreling & running their mouths in “irreverent” ways. “Quarrel” literally means, “word battles.” They were choosing sides within the church & fighting w/ each other. When divisiveness gets into a church, the result is disunity in the church, disruption of fellowship between members in the Body, & destruction of our witness in the community. Paul said that the outcome of these types of battles in the church is catastrophic. It “ruins the hearers.” That Greek word for “ruin” is literally the word for “catastrophe.”

Heard of a church that had an argument over putting up a Christmas tree in the church. One group said not to do it b/c of the pagan origin of trees, so to put one up would be to yield to pagan rituals. Other group said it was an innocent tradition that they had done since childhood & would do no harm. That group got a tree, decorated it, & put it up in the basement of church. Other group got tree, dragged it out of church. First group dragged tree back into church. Fight erupted, spilled into parking lot, & the police had to be called. The next day, the story of the fight at the church was all over the local newspaper.

Satan loves this kind of stuff. He also loves stuff like Hymanaeus & Philetus were doing, spreading their “irreverent babble” & false teachings “like gangrene.” (v. 17) He loves bringing catastrophes inside churches through division & disunity. He loves it when people inside the church are led more & more into ungodliness. He loves it when people inside the church “swerve from the truth.” (v. 18). He loves it when people inside the church have their faith upset. He loves this stuff b/c he knows that THIS is the kind of stuff that will halt the progress of the Gospel in any community. Which leads to the last point:

HEART FOR GOD – v. 15 – Handling these moments of opposition & potential disunity in the church calls for us to have a strong heart for God, to be a hard worker for God, & to be a faithful handler of God’s Word.

Paul challenged Timothy to “do your best to present yourself to God as one approved.” What a great challenge for us! All of us need to work hard to develop a heart for God & live a life that is dedicated to the Lord, consecrated to Him, set apart & different from the ways the world says we ought to live. Our lives ought to be characterized by diligence & discipline. Johnny Hunt: “I have learned as a leader that most of the things I’m good at, I got there through discipline.”

  • It takes discipline to get up 15-20 minutes earlier in the AM to have your quiet time.
  • It takes discipline to exercise on a regular basis to take care our bodies, the temple of the Holy Spirit.
  • It takes discipline to stay faithful to your Church FAMILY – faithful in worship; in service; in giving.
  • It takes discipline to read your Bible, to study it, to memorize it.
  • It takes discipline to learn how to share the Gospel & to do it.

That heart for God leads to being a hard worker for God. God doesn’t call us into a relationship w/ Him to put us on the sidelines. We are saved to served! We are born again to bring glory to Him by serving Him! We are brought out of spiritual death into spiritual life so we can serve Him! A lazy Christian is a disobedient Christian. When we are working hard for the Lord & doing the things He has called us to do, we won’t have the time nor the desire to get involved in squabbles & quarrels.

And one of the main things we ALL must work hard at is handling God’s Word in the right way. To “rightly handle” God’s Word means that we will cut it straight, like plowing a straight row, or cutting a straight board, or sewing a straight seam. Every carpenter works w/ the motto, “Measure twice. Cut once.” Saw a tshirt that said, “Measure twice. Cut once. Cuss a lot. Buy more wood. Cut again.”

You & I need to work hard at carefully studying the Word of God. But just like the carpenter cuts after he has measured, you & I need to go to work after we’ve studied. No house ever got built b/c the carpenter just went out & measured a bunch of wood. He had to cut it, then nail it up & frame it up to build the house.

You & I need to work hard at studying the Bible. We need to measure it & let it measure us. But we can’t stop there. We’ve got work hard at putting the Word of God into action every day of our lives. That’s how God will grow His Church here at CWBC! As more & more of His people here begin working hard at studying & obeying the Word of God, His Church is going to grow – deeper in spiritual maturity, & bigger in numbers as we share the reach out to our community more & more, & Gospel w/ more people.

So, are we willing to put in the hard work? If we really want to see God’s Church here grow, are we willing to put in the hard work?

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Sermon notes from 8/12/18 – “Are We Willing to Get Outside the Box?”

“ARE WE WILLING TO GET OUTSIDE THE BOX?”

Mark 2:1-12

Jon Daniels

CWBC – 8/12/18

 INTRO – What does it mean to get outside the box, or to think outside the box?

Wikipedia has this to say about “thinking outside the box”: Thinking outside the box is to think differently, unconventionally or from a new perspective. This phrase often refers to novel, creative and smart thinking…To think outside the box is to look further and to try not thinking of the obvious things, but to try thinking of the things beyond them. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thinking_outside_the_box)

When it comes to doing the work of the Church & sharing the Gospel in our world today, it’s going to take some thinking outside the box. Wednesday night in REFRESH, we were fervently praying for “Days of Hope” (slide). Tammie Miller specifically prayed that we as a church would get out of the box. Like we said last week as we began this series, “Grow Your Church, Lord,” the MESSAGE of the Gospel never changes, but the METHODS of sharing the Gospel w/ our world will continually change. Our world grows more complex – people’s lives grow busier – worry, anxiety, & pressure grows larger – which is why we’ve got to keep thinking outside the box on ways to get the life-changing Good News of Jesus to our lost & dying world. And that thinking outside the box MUST lead to us as God’s people moving outside the box! We’re going to see today in Scripture how God used some guys who were outside the box thinkers & doers.

EXPLANATION – Open your Bibles or your Bible app to Mark 2:1-12 (page 837 in pew Bible).

Mark 2:1-12 (ESV)

Jesus Heals a Paralytic

And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

Gospel of Mark – my favorite Gospel – shortest of 4 Gospels. Most action-packed of 4 Gospels. Words “immediately” & “at once” are used repeatedly throughout the 16 chapters of this book. Here’s what theologian A.W. Pink said about that:

“In all, this [Greek] word is found no less that 40 times in Mark’s Gospel. It is a most suggestive & expressive term, bringing out the perfections of God’s Servant [Jesus] by showing us how He served. There was no tardiness about Christ’s service, but ‘straight away’ He was ever about His ‘Father’s business.’ There was no delay, but ‘immediately’ He performed the work given Him to do. This word tells of the promptitude of His service & the urgency of His mission. There was no holding back, no reluctance, no slackness, but a blessed ‘immediateness’ about all His work. We should all learn from this perfect example which He has left us.” (Christianity.com/jesus/is-jesus-god/the-gospels/mark-the-gospel-of-immediacy.html)

3 things we see here about these 4 outside-the-box guys in this amazing story:

They knew their friend had a desperate need.

Don’t know details of the man’s paralysis. Maybe from birth. Maybe an injury. Broke his next in a fall. Maybe a degenerative disease.

Whatever it was, it put him in:

  • A desperate condition
  • A dependent condition
  • A discouraging condition.

They knew that Jesus had divine power to heal.

Jesus had 3 main components of His earthly ministry: teaching, preaching, & healing. Matthew 9:35 – “And Jesus went throughout all the cities & villages, teaching in their synagogues & proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom & healing every disease & every affliction.”

Back up to Mark 1:21-28 – healed man w/ unclean spirit. Mark 1:20-31 – healed Simon’s mother-in-law of a fever. Mark 1:32-34 – healed many people of sicknesses & demon possession. Mark 1:40-42 – healed a man who had leprosy. So these friends knew that Jesus was already doing some outside-the-box stuff in His healing ministry & showing his divine power over diseases & demons before they ever brought their paralyzed friend to see him.

They knew that they were the designated means to get their friend to Jesus.

They were God’s “go-to” guys to get this paralyzed man into the presence of the Healer who could heal him of his physical sickness. And they knew that, b/c of the crowd in the house already that day, they had to think outside the box to get their buddy to Jesus. But more importantly, they were God’s “go-to” guys to get their friend into the presence of the Savior who could heal him of spiritual sickness. They may have thought that they were just the stretcher-bearers for their friend, but God had much bigger plans. Jesus didn’t just heal his body; He healed his soul – v. 5 – “…when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’”

APPLICATION:

So, here are some questions for you to consider:

  • How many of you have a friend who has a desperate need in their life right now:
  • How many of you know that Jesus has the divine power to meet that need?
  • How many of you know that YOU are God’s designated means to bring your friend to Jesus?

It’s time for us as Christ-followers & as a Church to start thinking outside the box b/c we ALL have people in our lives who are in a desperate place in their lives right now & Jesus DOES have the power to radically & eternally change their lives. We need to start thinking outside the box b/c we ARE the means that God uses to bring others to Jesus.

As we move closer & closer to the “Days of Hope” services in Sept & Oct, there are 3 areas that I want to challenge you to think & move outside the box:

Get outside the box in Praying to God – Suggestions:

Turn off your phone!

  • Average person spends 40 mins a day just on FB. Add another hour for time on other social media networks. How many of you have checked your FB or some other social media since you’ve been at church today? How many of you have checked it since this service started?
  • But when it comes to teens – average about 8 hours a day on media.

Pray all the time – Believe that God is hearing your prayers & answering them.

Ask others if you can pray for them – people you know & total strangers

Alistair Begg sermon this week: “Loved ones, do you see how important it is that we pray? Some of us think that if we could talk for a month of Sundays we would fix everything. [But] If we could get on knees & talk to God for a quarter of the time, who knows how many of our friends & loved ones & family would be radically converted & changed?”

 

Get outside the box in Witnessing to Others

Salesman – doesn’t make $ unless he closes the deal. Many of us don’t witness b/c we have that same mindset when it comes to sharing Christ. Feel like we’ve failed if the person we are talking to doesn’t pray to receive Christ.

But that’s not the way it is. Our job is simply to share & leave the results up to God. We don’t have to beat ourselves up if we don’t “close the deal.” We sow the seeds – God brings the growth. I read an article this week that said this: “Christian witnessing is merely sharing our heartfelt faith in Christ – what He’s personally done to change our individual lives! We’re not called to argue or debate anyone into heaven. We’re merely called to share! As in the courtroom, we’re called to be a witness for the Gospel, not the lawyer, judge or jury… Leave that up to God!” (https://www.allaboutgod.com/christian-witnessing.htm)

BUT – we ARE called to share! So start thinking about & looking for ways to do that. “Days of Hope” is the perfect opportunity for you to take that first step in sharing the Gospel w/ someone. You inviting them to come to one of those services may just be that crack in the door that will lead to them asking more questions & you sharing your story of how Jesus changed your life w/ them.

Get outside the box!

  • Gas pump witnessing
  • Grocery store witnessing – cashier & other people in line w/ you
  • Doctor’s office witnessing
  • Coffee shop witnessing
  • Neighborhood witnessing
  • School witnessing – classroom, cafeteria, practice, break time, study sessions

 

Get outside the box in Giving to the Church

 We all like to make a good financial investment decision. We like it when the stock we bought goes up. We like it when the value of the house we bought increases. We like it when the investment in a good education translates into a good job.

But problem w/ all those investments is that they can all go south very quickly – the stock market can crash; the house can burn; the company we are working for can go bankrupt.

But there’s one investment that will never go south – that’s the investment that we have the privilege of making in the Lord’s work through His church. Giving our money in order that the Gospel can be proclaimed in our community is an investment that pays off w/ eternal dividends.

We need to be thinking outside the box in how we are giving to the Lord’s work, especially as we get closer to the “Days of Hope” services. ALL of us should be tithing faithfully (10% of our income) – that’s not the outside the box giving I’m talking about. That’s just basic, foundational obedience to the Lord for every Christ-follower. The outside the box giving I’m talking about is giving above our tithes so that these “Days of Hope” services will reach more people & impact our community in ways we’ve never impacted it before.

  • PushPay app
  • Special offering envelopes

 

CONCLUSION – Get your funnel out from last week’s sermon. The only way we are going to truly impact our community (56,000 in 15-min driving radius) w/ the Gospel is to start thinking outside the box, & then moving outside the box of our comfort zones. It starts w/ praying outside the box, witnessing outside the box, & giving outside the box. Will you commit to thinking & getting outside the box today?

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Sermon notes from 8/5/18 – “The Message & the Methods”

“THE MESSAGE & THE METHODS”           Rom. 10:9-17

Jon Daniels

CWBC – 8/5/18

INTRO – I’ve come to a conclusion. The letters “ough” are the strangest, most confusing letters in the English language when they are put together in a word.

Look at this sentence:

Although times were tough, the bough of the tree was bought & thrown through the window.”

  • How many different ways might this sentence be read?

So confusing if you don’t know the language! It’s hard to communicate effectively if you don’t know the language. And even when you do know the language, communication can still be difficult at times.

If there is anything that we as Christians & the Church must be able to communicate clearly, it’s the Gospel! We can’t confuse this message to the world. We’ve got to get it right.

Today, we are starting a short series of messages entitled, “Grow Your Church, Lord!” We will be thinking about what it takes for us to see God do a great work in this church, growing us deeper in spiritual maturity, larger in numbers, & stronger in ministry. It’s going to take a high level of commitment from all of us, hard work from all of us, & a heart that is totally on fire for the Lord!

Last Sunday, I asked, “How many of you want to see CWBC grow?” Every hand in here went up! So, were you serious about that? Are you serious about that today?

EXPLANATION – Today, we are going to look at Romans 10:9-17 (page 946). Turn to that passage in your Bible, or find it on your phone or iPad.

 

…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?[a] And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

The title of the message today is, “The Message & the Methods.” And those are the 2 points that I want you to see in this passage.

THE MESSAGE – The message of the Gospel is the unchanging Good News that God has provided the Way for us to be His child for all eternity. John 1:12 tells us, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…”

Let’s take a look at some good definitions of the Gospel so we can have a strong foundation to build on:

W.A. Criswell – The message from our Lord Himself is that Christ suffered and was raised from the dead and that remission of sins should be preached in His name to all people. That is the good news. That is the message. That is the gospel!

George Eldon Ladd (Baptist minister & seminary prof at Fuller Theological Seminary) – “This is the good news about the kingdom of God. How men need this gospel! Everywhere one goes he finds the gaping graves swallowing up the dying. Tears of loss, of separation, of final departure stain every face. Every table sooner or later has an empty chair, every fireside its vacant place. Death is the great leveller. Wealth or poverty, fame or oblivion, power or futility, success or failure, race, creed or culture — all our human distinctions mean nothing before the ultimate irresistible sweep of the scythe of death which cuts us all down. And whether the mausoleum is a fabulous Taj Mahal, a massive pyramid, an unmarked spot of ragged grass or the unplotted depths of the sea one fact stands: death reigns.

“Apart from the gospel of the kingdom, death is the mighty conqueror before whom we are all helpless. We can only beat our fists in utter futility against this unyielding and unresponding tomb. But the good news is this: death has been defeated; our conqueror has been conquered. In the face of the power of the kingdom of God in Christ, death was helpless. It could not hold him, death has been defeated; life and immortality have been brought to life. An empty tomb in Jerusalem is proof of it. This is the gospel of the kingdom.”

Alistair Begg – Here’s the gospel in a phrase. Because Christ died for us, those who trust in him may know that their guilt has been pardoned once and for all. What will we have to say before the bar of God’s judgment? Only one thing. Christ died in my place. That’s the gospel.

Kevin Hamm“The Gospel is good news! The bad news is that we have all sinned & fallen short of Gods glory. Good news is Jesus paid the penalty for our sins w/ His perfect, precious blood. Acts 3:19 – ‘Repent & turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.’”

Fred Luter – “The Gospel is the Word of God given to the people of God so that we can be Light & Salt in a dark, low-sodium, salt-less society.”

Ken Smith“The Gospel is when your faith discovers grace – it becomes a part of your life! The Gospel in a nutshell – knowing you are forgiven. It is not what you do; it is responding to what has been done!”

Don Wilton“The Gospel of Jesus Christ is God’s precious gift to our searching world. It is the only means by which all people can have a full & meaningful life through the forgiveness of sin & the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.”

When we look at v. 9-13, we find these awesome components of the message of the Gospel – and these components NEVER CHANGE!

  • CONFESS – to admit; to acknowledge; to say the same thing
  • BELIEVEto trust & put faith in
  • CALL – “ask for help” – You are helpless! ONLY God can help you & save you!

 

THE METHOD – The MESSAGE of the Gospel never changes. The METHOD of spreading the Gospel is constantly changing. Just think about CWBC & some of the things we’ve done over last 10 years to spread the Gospel:

  • FAITH evangelism training,
  • Plan of salvation is on our church website,
  • Team Impact,
  • Mission trips all over the world,
  • Mission Byram,
  • Country Oaks,
  • Block parties,
  • Gospel sung about & preached in every corporate worship services,
  • Evangelism bracelets,
  • God & Country Day,
  • Front foyer coffee bar,
  • VBS,
  • Kids’ camps,
  • Youth camps,
  • DNow,
  • Wild game dinners,
  • One of our LG’s goes downtown to feed the homeless,
  • Revivals,
  • Billy Graham “My Hope” videos,
  • “Tell Someone” witness training during Life Groups a few months ago,
  • “I Can Only Imagine” – parking lot of Vowell’s in Nov.
  • “Days of Hope” services in Sept. & Oct.

But no matter which of these methods we implement, v. 14-17 make this one thing clear:

You’ve got to GO, & you’ve got to TELL, so the lost can HEAR! Read these verses w/ me again.

  • v. 14b – “…And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”
  • v. 15 – “And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
  • v. 17 – “So faith comes from hearing, & hearing through the word of Christ.”

 

APPLICATION – Let’s get practical w/ our application. Look at these words:

  • Community
  • Crowd
  • Congregation
  • Committed
  • Core

Each of you has a paper funnel. Want you to write these words on it, beginning, w/ the word “community.” Keep it in your Bible. Bring it back to worship w/ you all throughout this month.

Community – Mark 16:15 – “Go into all the world & preach the Gospel to the whole creation.” The lost who are in the 56,000.

Crowd – Matt. 9:36 – “When He saw the crowds, He was moved w/ compassion b/c they were harassed & helpless, like sheep w/out a shepherd.” Attending corporate worship. Hearing the Gospel.

Congregation – The folks in this group have made a commitment to Christ & to His Church. The word “congregate” means “to come together; to assemble.” Move them from the crowd into a small group Bible study.

Committed – The MESSAGE of the Gospel has impacted this person’s life through the power & working of the Holy Spirit, & the place their faith in Christ. Begin their lifelong walk w/ Jesus Christ through spiritual disciplines.

Core – Moving deeper in spiritual maturity & commitment. Stronger grasp on the things of God. Faithful in studying the Word of God – faithful & growing prayer life – faithful to the Church FAMILY – faithful in serving the Lord – committed to doing ministry.

COMMISSIONED – This is the foundation of it all for us as Christ-followers! We must truly accept & live out the Great Commission to “Make disciples.” We all KNOW it, but how many of us are LIVING it?

DAYS OF HOPE – NOT FOR YOU IF YOU’RE ALREADY SAVED!

  • August – PRAYING that true Revival breaks out in the Church!
  • Sept & Oct – Then PRAYING that Spiritual awakening happens among the lost!

 

CONCLUSION – In Nashville Fri & Sat. Downtown at Ryman Auditorium Fri night for Dave Barnes concert. Afterwards, came out into the streets around Ryman. Packed w/ people drinking, partying, music blaring from the bars & clubs. Felt like French Quarter in New Orleans.

Then went to an area called 12th Avenue South. Similar to Fondren. Again, people everywhere – shopping, eating, drinking coffee, etc.

Both places – overwhelmed w/ a sense of heaviness at the lostness of our world.

But that’s not our community. What about here? Byram – South Jackson – Terry – Raymond – Florence – Clinton? Overwhelmed w/ the lostness of our community?

  • Go to Byram Middle School
  • Drive through South Jackson
  • Go to ballgame at Hinds
  • Walk through Wal-Mart in Byram or Clinton
  • Do door-to-door FAITH Opinion Poll surveys in apartments here in Byram

Realize the lostness of our community! Pray for revival to come to CWBC, so that we will then go into our community w/ the unchanging message of the Gospel, & see many people come to know Christ!

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Sermon notes from 7/29/18 – “The Power of Praying Parents”

“THE POWER OF PRAYING PARENTS”

1 Thess. 5:17

Jon Daniels

CWBC – 7/29/18

INTRO – How many of you struggle w/ scripture memory? Well, here is one you can memorize today: 1 Thessalonians 5:17 – “Pray without ceasing.”

If there is any verse that characterizes a parent’s prayer life in regards to their children, it ought to be this one. Many of you can probably testify that this pretty much sums up the way you pray for your kids, or at least it feels like it you’re praying w/out ceasing!

When God gives you a son or a daughter, He gives you the awesome responsibility & assignment to bring that child up in the “nurture & admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).

I love this prayer that Ann Voscamp wrote entitled, “A Prayer for Sons”:

Lord, let there still be a few good men.

Sure, in the end, there’s a small chance we’d like no rings through nostrils or studs through tongues or ivory plugs through earlobes, but the only mattering part is that he’s pierced by Your love, marked by grace, run through with mercy and one untiring sense of humor. A world tilted as wild as this one needs a little bit more of that.

May he always know True North.

And the way to the laundry basket and the stove and wide open big sky.

Please, Lord, please —  only a minimal number of broken bones and emergency rooms?

But always a heart bit tender and broken so Your love and light can leak out. May the good lines in the books and the movies always make him liquid a bit, the way poetry can water the hard and forgotten places.

When there are guys trying to score, may he remember that real men win by going last and putting others first.

May he be one of the real men who are dead to all ladders, who always go lower, to the least and the lonely and the lost. Everyday.

May he love babies toes and old ladies and loud laughing and unlikely underdogs and Jesus.

Make him one of the Real Men braving the Truth — Because if Christ is The Truth — then where there is Truth, there is Christ, and why ever be afraid of the Truth? 

Make him one of those Real Men who knows how to simply say sorry, how to serve without applause, and how to give grace — because Grace isn’t some soft, ethereal notion. Grace is a verb, it’s a noun, it’s a thing, it’s concrete, it’s like air. Just try living without it.

Make him one of the Real Men fighting injustice — because he knows the peace of Christ.

Make him one of the Real Men taking peer pressure  – because it only makes him stronger in Christ.

Make him one of the Real Man taking responsibility for his body. Responsible men — are response-able. Make this his job. A woman has her’s. Have him focus on his. Real Men don’t focus responsibility on the women staying “pure” because none of us are pure but focus on the men not pressuring — because no one tries to crush a diamond. 

Let Christ captivate him and not the glossy magazine covers of the Walmart checkout. Because Real Men don’t objectify alluring women. Real Men edify all women.

Make him one of the few men saturated by the Book, who doesn’t care whether that’s cool or not, because the absolute bottom line is: Unless a man looks to Jesus, a man doesn’t know how to treat a woman.

May he never stop looking to Jesus.

May he feel what he feels, may he wear his heart be on his sleeve, may his life plant a million seeds of happiness before he’s planted.

And may his face always be willing to face the wind, may his knees always be willing to bend, and may every one of his steep inclines, incline him more toward You.

This world needs to more than a few good men to tilt and lean a lot more wildly like that.

In the name of the Son who will never leave our sons…

Amen.

(https://www.incourage.me/2013/07/a-prayer-for-sons.html)

EXPLANATION: We may not be a talented writer like Ann Voscamp, but we must be a person of prayer, & if you have kids, a parent of prayer. So what does it mean to “pray without ceasing?” If we are commanded to do this, how do we do it?

Obviously, does not mean to be in a constant prayer posture of head bowed, eyes closed, hands clasped.

The command to “pray without ceasing” shouldn’t intimidate us – it should motivate us. It should motivate us to deepen our dependence on God in every area of our lives, specifically in our family’s life as we conclude this series on “Fighting for Your Family.”

Praying without ceasing means that all throughout our day – EVERY DAY – our hearts are to be in tune w/ the Spirit of God at work in our lives, so that when we being to entertain thoughts of anger, bitterness, lust, worry, anxiety, pride, or anything else that does not honor God, we will quickly turn to the Lord in prayer. It means that we will live our lives w/ a God-consciousness & God- awareness that He is actively involved in every area of our lives at all times. It means that we will walk w/ the Lord so closely that we will know when He prompts us to pray for someone when He brings their name to our minds. Praying without ceasing is the normal practice of prayer in the life of a Spirit-filled Christ-follower. And if you are a parent, it certainly should be your normal practice of prayer for your children.

“If you learn to pray without ceasing, you will find the sweetest, most intimate communion that a human can experience. You will be surprised at its refreshment and joy. Amazed at its consistency. Stunned that it is so personal. Awed by how perfectly God knows what you need.” (Bill Elliff)

APPLICATION: You don’t need to be a perfect parent. But you do need to be a praying parent. Look at this verse – say it out loud with me – “PRAY WITHOUT CEASING.”

The Activity – “Pray”There are a lot of things that you can pray about for your kids. You’ve got some specific things going on right now that you’re praying about. Here are 3 things that EVERY parent should pray for their kids:

  • For a Personal relationship w/ Jesus (salvation)
  • For a Passion for the Lord (His Word & His work)
  • For Protection from the enemy’s attacks

The Frequency – “without ceasing.”

  • Always pray & never give up – Luke 18:1
  • Keep on asking. Keep on seeking. Keep on knocking – Matthew 7:7-8
  • It’s obvious that Jesus Himself practiced having regular, consistent times of prayer to His Father.
    • Mark 1:35 – early in the morning
    • Luke 6:12 – prayed all night
    • Matthew 14:23 – after heavy time of ministry (feeding the 5,000)
    • Matthew 19:13 – prayed for the little children
    • Matthew 11 – when his friend, Lazarus, had died
    • Matthew 26 – in the Garden of Gethsemane

The Intensity

  • “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” – James 5:16
  • “Cry”
    • Psalm 30:2 – “O Lord my God, I cried out to You, and You healed me.”
    • Psalm 34:17 – “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.”
  • “Plea” – Psalm 86:6 – “Lord, hear my prayer; listen to my plea for mercy.”
  • “Plead” – Psalm 30:8 – “To you, O Lord, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy.”
  • “…keep on praying” – Ephesians 6:18
  • “…be faithful in prayer” – Romans 12:12
  • “…devote yourselves to prayer” – Colossians 4:2

CONCLUSION: So, now it’s time to put it into practice. It’s time for us to pray for our kids. If you aren’t a parent, then pray for any kids who are in your life – nieces, nephews, friends’ kids.

PRAYING WITHOUT CEASING STARTS TODAY!

  • Your commitment to be a faithful person of prayer starts today!
  • Your commitment to be a powerful parent of prayer starts today!
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