Sin Is A Disgrace To Any Nation

I came home from Church today and sat down to read the news paper. I was disgusted by what I read concerning the white supremacist rally that took place in Charlottesville, Va. What is shocking is to realize that we fought a war to overthrow a government in Germany that believed in white supremacy and viewed other races as inferior and even worthy of eradicating altogether. The Germany of today will not even allow a Nazi salute in public without taking action against it. Racism has no place in American life and culture. We must stand united against any form of racism. It has no place in a world where God created all people  in his image.

We must understand however, that the image of God in us has been tainted by sin, and there is only one solution for sin...the gospel of Jesus Christ. We should not be surprised that sin can effect a human soul so thoroghly that one would believe their race superior to others, but we can boldly proclaim that Jesus died on the cross so that the sin that can lead to such egregious demonstrations that happened yesterday could be overcome, and the racial hatred that was demonstrated could be replaced by a love for each other and a racial unity that demonstrates something quite different; hearts changed by the gospel and local churches that live out that reality. We are all inwardly capable of such sinful thoughts and beliefs. Only the gospel can forgive our sin and compel us to honor the image of God all fellow humans share together.

The Power Of A Story

We are confronted every day, more and more often, with a challenge to maintain our distinctive beliefs in the Word of God. It's not uncommon to find sincere Christians who abandon sound biblical truth because they are confronted with a story that is so emotionally appealing that they abandon truth because they feel they need to 'follow their heart'. This article by Tim Challies is very helpful in preparing us for the 'stories' we will inevitably hear, and be help us be a biblically discerning people. Please read it!

Thanks...Lynn

Beware (and Embrace) the Power of Story - Tim Challies
August 8, 2017   #culture #sexuality SHARE
There’s a new gospel in town, and it has recruited cadres of evangelists. This new gospel heralds peace with God and man, it proclaims enlightenment through acceptance. Yet it’s not acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, but acceptance of a new morality, the embrace and endorsement of what Christians have long understood to be forbidden. It’s a popular and powerful gospel and someone is going to proclaim it to you very soon. They will proclaim it and call for a response.

Argue theology and Christians will dig in, tell Christians stories and they will cave in.
A recent article at the ultra-popular lifestyle site Lifehacker provides a guide for its proselytizers. The title aptly describes its goal: “How to Talk with Religious Conservatives about LGBT Rights.” Apologetic in nature, it is meant to train people to persuade others to embrace this new gospel. Speaking honestly and as one of those religious conservatives, I consider it an effective bit of writing. If I was going to try to persuade religious folk to put aside their existing convictions to embrace new ones, it is exactly the article I would write. At its essence, it discourages persuasion through arguments and encourages persuasion through narrative. Argue theology and Christians will dig in, tell Christians stories and they will cave in.

As Christians we love stories. In fact, at Grace Fellowship Church we just celebrated a number of baptisms and each person was asked to share the story of how they came to Christ. James and Moon told how they had been Jehovah’s Witnesses, but came to understand they were involved in a cult. Ryan and Maria told how they had been raised in Christian homes and eventually been faced with whether or not they themselves believed what their parents had taught them. Ragu, raised in a Hindu home, had been handed a Bible and alone, in its pages, had found Christ. Jola told of being raised in a religious home but one in which he never once heard the gospel. All six gave testimony to God’s work in their life. They encouraged us not merely with the fact that they are Christians but with the story of how they became Christians. It was powerful. It was beautiful.

We tell such stories to encourage believers and to persuade unbelievers. Our stories serve as ministry to the saved and evangelism to the lost. They add flesh and experience to what may otherwise be mere theology, mere ideas. Ultimately, we hope these stories will lead others to investigate and accept the great story God is telling in and through his world.

This new gospel is hijacking the power of story and Christian respect for story in order to achieve its goals. “I find stories are a lot more compelling than arguments,” says James Martin. “One of the stories I like to tell people is about a gay friend of mine named Mark. Mark was in a religious order and left. He ended up marrying his partner, with whom he’s been together for 20 years. One of the things he has done is care for his partner through a long-term serious illness. I often say to people, ‘Is this not a form of love?’ I just ask that question. So I think it’s less about argumentation than it is about stories, more about what Pope Francis calls a ‘culture of encounter.'”

He knows that Christians are well-stocked with Bible verses sufficient to counter any new idea. But he also knows that Christians are unequipped to counter the power of a good story. Just as we use story to persuade others, story is being used to persuade us. One common refrain among those who have changed their theological convictions in this area is, “But then I met…” or “But then my grandson told me…” or “But then my friend told me about Mark.” Now we are no longer slinging Bible verses back and forth, but being told, being shown, being forced to pass judgment on real people. Here’s how he says it: “If person is closed-minded, or is not listening, there’s not a whole lot you can do. But I tend to believe that people are open to experiences. So a closed-minded person who suddenly discovers that his son is gay or her daughter is a lesbian is really forced to look at that differently, because they’re confronted with a person instead of a theory, and with an experience instead of a category.”

A strong story can overcome weak convictions just about every time.
As we consider our culture’s widespread acceptance and celebration of this new gospel, we need to ensure we do not focus so heavily on theology that we leave ourselves unequipped when it comes to story. It is one thing to know and be able to recall relevant Bible verses, but another thing altogether to hear a story or even to witness one. Experience is a powerful persuader. A strong story can overcome weak convictions just about every time. Generals will tell that a good battle plan is one strong enough to withstand first contact with the enemy. In a similar vein, convictions have to be strong enough to withstand first contact with a friend—or a child or a grandchild or anyone else we love who has a story to tell.

If we are going to respond well to the new cultural ethos, we need to know God’s Story—his plan for humanity, sexuality, and marriage. We need to be fully convinced about why it matters so much. We need to be willing to suffer loss to uphold it. Ultimately, we need to know that for stories to be good and true and beautiful, they must align with the Story that is ultimately good and true and beautiful. We need to know and tell the better Story.

 

BIG Announcement!

Please welcome Luke Friedly as our new Pastoral Intern.

 Our pastoral internship is a twelve month plan designed to provide a broad range of pastoral opportunities and experiences in order to discover and develop pastoral gifts and skills that will prepare the intern for future pastoral ministry.

Luke grew up on Colorado, the oldest of seven, where God saved him at the age of 19. His Christian walk was always accompanied by a desire to know Christ and share him with others.

A desire for pastoral ministry has been on his heart for most of his Christian walk.  Luke has been on a long and steady theological journey, seeking God and His Word, which led him to study and complete his Master’s in Biblical Studies at Westminster Seminary in Escondido.  It has also led him to be a part of Sovereign Grace Church here in Pasadena where he feels closely aligned with our beliefs and practices.

We are excited to have Luke serve here as a pastoral intern and look forward to a fruitful twelve months of learning, growing, and serving together. 

Make sure you find him on Sunday and welcome him to the team!

Do You Need Help Reading Your Bible?

Part of Christian discipleship is regularly reading our Bibles. Do you ever find yourself wondering what to read? Do you lack interest or desire? CJ Mahaney has written an article on the Desiring God website that will "create an excitement in your soul for reading the Bible."

"Listen, if you read just one book this year, along with your Bible, make it this book, because this book will make all the difference in creating an appetite for reading the only book that matters." - CJ Mahaney

Take a few minutes to read CJ's comments about a book from John Piper: "Do You Need Help Reading Your Bible?"and then go buy the book! 

Reading the Bible Supernaturally: Seeing and Savoring the Glory of God in Scripture 

Walk It Out Wednesday: Psalm 123- Finding Mercy

Finding Mercy

 

In our Psalms of Ascent - Journey to Joy, we are on Psalm 123. This psalm gives us a set of skills in faith, looking to God in a pride-filled world. Listen to the sermon HERE.

Receiving God's mercy is exactly what you need for your journey.

The pilgrim's journey to finding God's mercy:

1. Look up

  • Pride always brings our eyes down on ourselves, placing our desires and feelings at the center of the universe, creating it's own gravitational pull
  • Pride sings songs of descent
  • Lifting up our eyes to the God who is enthroned in the heavens
  • God is above- it's not just about space but about his nature. He is above in rank, honor, authority and glory. He is uncreated and our creator.

2. Wait on God

  • Once we see God in His rightful place, we find our posture before Him - as humble servants.
  • The recipe for waiting on God contains: patience, endurance, anticipation, expectation, faith, keeping watch, staying on your guard, attentiveness, ready to act, always willing to obey. 
  • Waiting on God is actually full and busy activity; one of the hardest things a Christian is called to do. 

Waiting on God is a readiness and willingness to obey God .   

3.   Receive Mercy

  • Not simple rule - instead we get these deep and difficult commands like believe, trust, depend, wait, rest, and receive. 
  • We serve by receiving
  • To look up to God is to wait on God – to wait on him is to serve him – to serve him is to receive from him. 
  • "Have mercy!" - This is the word that means stoop down and show kindness and grace to us. 
  • Receiving mercy (grace, kindness, favor) from God is the antidote to the weariness that comes from living surrounded by pride.

The sum of God’s mercy is Christ to us and for us. 

 

Application:

  1. How are you finding yourself weary, worn down, or even "fed up?"
  2. What's going on in your life that's reminding you that this isn't our home?
  3. Where are you tempted to look down?
  4. How does your understanding of "waiting on God" match/differ with the biblical definition?
  5. What are some concrete ways you can: Look Up, Wait on God, Receive Mercy?
  6. Where are you in need of God's mercy? Share with your community group specific ways they can pray for you.

 

Psalms of Ascent: Psalm 122- Worship

Last Sunday, Bill Fisher spoke on Psalm 122. If you missed it - or just want to listen again, click HERE.

The purpose of these psalms is to draw us spiritually closer to God and Psalm 122 is specifically about our worship. The writer of Psalm 122 is considering the worship of God’s people as they gather together to glorify Him.

MAIN POINT: God is calling us to joyfully worship Him in communion with Christ’s church and find that through our worship He gives us peace and security.

1. Where we should worship

  • OT- Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, the dwelling place of God
    • The Presence of God left the temple on the day of the crucifixion, but His Presence entered the followers of Christ on the day of Pentecost!
  • NT-God’s Presence entered into the members of Christ’s church and changed our worship forever!

2. How we should worship

  • Corporately, in community and diversity
  • Joyfully

3. The result of our worship is peace and security

  • Peace (shalom) Cornelius Plantinga, Jr. helps us grasp the hugeness of this peace:  “In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight—a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts fruitfully employed, a state of affairs that inspires joyful wonder as its Creator and Savior opens doors and welcomes the creatures in whom he delights.  Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be.”
  • Security (shalvah) -“is a prosperous tranquility.”  

APPLICATION

How do we go about growing in our worship?  

  • First, answer the call to worship.
    • This psalmist is a portrait of the disciple of Christ who is obedient to worship God as he prescribes.  
      • Hebrews 10:25 says—“not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
    • Remember, we grow in our ability to worship as we worship.
  • Second, put Jesus Christ before you each day.
    • Read your Bible regularly in order to get the picture the Christ we worship in front of you.
  • Third, learn the words to the songs that we sing.
    • This may seem trivial.  I know that they’re up on the screens.
    • Knowing the songs will allow you to close your eyes and lift your hands and be in God’s presence!
    • Speak them if you can’t bear to sing (but I encourage you to sing anyway!)
  • Fourth, pray for your church.
    • This seems like the nearest New Testament equivalent to praying for the peace of Jerusalem.
    • Pray for the “shalom” of this church or your own home church.
    • Your heart for God’s people will grow as you pray for them individually and as a body.
  • Lastly, trust God.
    • The world, Satan, our own hearts make up all sorts of reasons for us to stay at home on Sunday morning.
    • The Old Testament Jews were called to leave there homes and towns to go to Jerusalem to worship God three times a year. 
      • How would they earn a living?
      • Who would protect their land from enemy attack?
    • God’s promised them in Exodus 34:24, “no one shall covet your land, when you go up to appear before the Lord your God three times in the year.”
    • God promised to protect them as they worshipped Him.
    • There are a few things that should legitimately keep you from worshipping with the church, but they’re few.  And, praise God, for most of us they don’t come up very often.
    • Worship God with the church and trust him to allow you to deal with life’s problems later.

College and Career Ministry: Cultivating Community

This past Sunday, about 35 people from the College and Career group gathered in the Coffee House for a perfect lunch for a hot afternoon: grilled bbq chicken, pasta salad and watermelon.

As a response to many of the singles in the church voicing a desire for more community, Rick is spending the summer talking about the topic and, this Sunday, gave a practical talk on "How to Cultivate Community."

After noting that our church-wide Community Groups are designed specifically for this purpose and encouraging each person to join one, Rick gave some specific advice on how one can grow in cultivating community by reaching out and being more "other focused."

Here are a few of his points:

1. Build Rapport with People

  • Be warm and friendly.  
  • Be interested not interesting.  
  • We have two ears and one mouth for a reason.
  • Ask questions.
  • If you do not share an interest with someone, try to learn why they are interested in it.
  • Be open minded.
  • When meeting new people it is important to try to understand how they see things so you can find middle ground.
  • Listen.
  • Try to really hear what they are saying.
  • Pause before responding.
  • Ask questions for clarity.

2. Take Initiative

  • Invite a friend or two to join a Bible Study
  • Offer to connect with someone over coffee.
  • Reach out to people when you think they need it.
  • Offer to pray for and with someone.
  • Don’t wait for help when you need it, ask.
  • Ask for prayer.
  • Be a good communicator.
  • Follow up with people.
  • Try to be clear and specific.
  • Be responsible.
  • Be a person of your word.
  • Be on time.
  • Be kind!

If you missed the meeting, ask Rick for his outline - it has many more details - AND -check out the LINK to find a community group that you can join!

 

Evaluation and Planning

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Every year around this time, Ron and Lynn set aside several days to "walk the walls" of the church, evaluating and praying over every aspect of our church, asking God for wisdom in planning for another year.

They start their time with praying for every member and regular attender and move on to recounting evidences of grace and growth in the life of the church. It's a regular reminder of the joy and privilege of being under-shepherds.

Would you, as the congregation be in prayer as well for them? Please pray that God would grant them wisdom, discernment and clarity as they evaluate, plan and strategize for more fruitfulness in the coming year.

 

Psalms of Ascent: 121- PROTECTION

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PSALM 121

There are two words that describe every Christian:

  1. Disciple: not just learning academically - but apprenticing alongside a craftsman to acquire skills of faith.
  2. Pilgrim: leaving one place on a journey to another place. Saying "no" to one thing in order to say "yes" to another.

We are on a journey - we are in between two places and the journey is filled with danger. Psalm 121 tells us where we can go for protection as we are on this journey.

Where do we go for help?

  1. looking to the hills can symbolize looking to anything else besides God for help. The Israelites built idols on the "high places." 
  2. the Psalmist entreats us to look to the LORD - who made heaven and earth.

What Does God Protect Us From?

"To have God as your protector is not a guarantee of no trouble- but a promise that no trouble can ever separate you from his love. His grace can never be diluted, his love never diverted.God’s protection is protecting our faith and secures our future. "

  1. From losing our footing - the small stumbles along the way.
  2. Sunstroke - prolonged exposure to trials
  3. Moon - God never sleeps - he always cares. Day and Night

We are on a journey. We need to know who we are and where we are going. We are disciples and pilgrims sojourning to a heavenly city. We need protection - not from our idols and pseudo gods but from the LORD - maker of heaven and earth. 

APPLICATION

  1. Do you see yourself as a disciple? as a pilgrim? How are you growing in your skills of faith?
  2. Who is discipling you? Who are you discipling? If you answer "no one" to either question, what step can you take to remedy that?
  3. Which of the 3 categories are you currently needing protection in? (losing your footing / prolonged trials / feeling like God doesn't care)
  4. Where are you tempted to "look to the hills" - to other gods / methods of salvation?
  5. Use your discussion in community group to pray for one another in this area.

 

Look Up - An Encouragement for the Journey

Recently, we spent a week in Kings Canyon National Park. As we drove in to the canyon, we saw towering sequoias, the white, roaring Kings river, cascading waterfalls and majestic snow capped mountains. While driving along, our playlist beckoned us with song after song with repeating lyrics:

"Come on my soul, it's time to look up; come on all you sick and weary, lay your burdens down; come to the table; lift up your face"

Again and again, we were beckoned to life our eyes, lift our faces, lift our souls. What a wonderful invitation we received at the beginning of our vacation! And, God met us with his presence during our time away.

But - we don't have to drive to the mountains to receive this incredible invitation from God. We have it on Sundays when we gather for corporate worship. We have it right here. Right now. In this place. With these people. We don't have to go searching for God in the mountains - he's here in the valley too!

God's spirit is inviting us to lay our burdens down, lift up our faces and souls and LOOK UP to Him - to commune with Him.

Micah 7:7 - But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.
Psalm 123 - To you I lift up my eyes- my eyes look to the Lord our God.

We look to God:

  • the One who hears us in our distress and delivers us
  • the One who rescues us from our enemies
  • the One who saves, sustains and empowers us

I believe God's spirit is inviting us to LOOK UP / to lift up our eyes, our faces, and our souls.

Do you feel too weak to lift your face? He's got you covered! Psalm 3:3--He is also the "lifter of our heads!"  What a gracious God we serve! 

 

 

 

Psalms of Ascent- A Roadtrip with Jesus.

Psalm 120

Luke Friedly started us out on our journey through the Psalms of Ascent. If you missed the sermon - or would just like to listen again- click HERE. Luke did an excellent job walking us through the introduction to these songs and delving into the first one.

There are three things necessary for a successful summer road trip: traveling with good people, going to a great place with a first class playlist. The Jews took an annual trip to Jerusalem's temple with their friends and family and sang Psalms 120-134 along the way, lifting their eyes and hearts to God. These songs will serve to reorient our hearts and provide strength for our journey.

Summary of Psalm 120 - "In my distress I called to the Lord and he answered me." The psalmist finds himself in distress because of lying enemies and is calling out to the Lord for deliverance.

Two types of lies that we face (and the enemy behind them is the same--Satan who tries to destroy our faith)

  1. lies and malicious gossip from enemies
  2. lies we believe that are destructive to our faith

We call out to God in our distress - and he answers us and delivers us. But, sometimes, we don't get the deliverance we expect. During those times we need to realize that God answers our distress with a promise - that His grace is sufficient.

APPLICATION QUESTIONS: [listen to the message again]

  1. Reflect on how God has rescued you in the past. Share with someone an example of God's faithfulness to you in your distress and how he has rescued you. If you haven't experienced rescue yet, what promises in God's word are strengthening you in your wait? If you don't know any promises, share with your community group - they can help strengthen you by sharing scriptures and promises with you.
  2. Are you currently in distress? Take some time now to cry out to the Lord for deliverance. Share with your community group so they can pray with and for you.
  3. Are you currently experiencing lies - from within / from without; either about you or inside you (lies that you are believing that are holding you captive). Identify any lies that might be affecting your faith and growth in the Lord and bring them into the light of God's word.

Worship Matters Video Intensive Training

"In 2008, Bob Kauflin wrote Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God, in which he sought to connect a biblical theology of worship with what worship leaders actually do on Sundays. Through the book, Bob builds congregational worship on biblical principles that transcend cultures, generations, and ethnic groups.

Given the encouragement that’s come in response to the book, Bob has recorded a 12-session training course as a supplement to Worship Matters. In this video series he teaches through a broad range of topics, from practical guidance on putting songs together, growing in spontaneity, and planning a service to spiritual topics like humility, comparison, and idolatry. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more practical, engaging, and pastoral tool for worship leaders, pastors, and anyone involved in music ministry in their local church.

The sessions can be viewed consecutively or separately, depending on what serves you. Watching these videos with friends or the musicians at your church would be ideal, as you get to work through the content together. Outlines, transcripts, and subtitled versions in English (and Spanish, in the future) are available for download underneath each video.

We hope and pray this video series proves to be a helpful tool for you, your team, and your church in developing your gifts and increasing your love for our glorious Savior, Jesus Christ!" - Sovereign Grace Music

Click HERE to link to the Worship IntensiveTraining Videos.

The Kingdom Strikes Back

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A New Decree

In series in Esther, we are in chapter 8. [You can listen to the sermon HERE]. In chapter 8 - we see the Gospel message displayed in story form:

The Irrevocable Decree of Death - The Counter Decree of Life - The Window of Opportunity

The Jews, after receiving the death decree and the counter decree had a window of opportunity to prepare to "strike back." Astoundingly, many people during that time became Jews.

We can see our own story in Esther - we've been given the death decree because of our sin against a holy God. He, in his mercy, has provided a way of escape - through Jesus Christ's sacrifice. We've been given a window of opportunity - a chance to prepare for heaven and bring others with us.  This is how we "strike back" - not with human weapons - but weapons of walking in the Spirit, sharing our faith, being witnesses for Christ on the earth.

Questions of Application:

  • If you only had 9 months to live - how would you live differently?
  • What's on your "bucket list"? Are those things kingdom related?
  • According to the message, how are our spiritual weapons different from worldly ones? 
  • Where are you tempted to use weapons of this world?
  • What are the weapons of our warfare? How can you grow in using them? 
  • What's one thing you can do this week to "strike back" - for the Kingdom?

 

 

Men's Quarterly Event: ACT LIKE MEN

July 1st

8-11 @ SovGrace Church

On July 1st - we will be hosting our 2nd quarterly Men's Breakfast. We have invited Kevin Bryan, a pastor from Redeemed South Bay Church to speak.

Our theme is taken from 1 Cor 16:13: “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”

We will be discussing what it means to be the leaders and men of God that He has called us to be.

Join us Saturday, July 1, from 8-11 @ the church!

God's Sovereignty and Evangelism

Here's a quote that didn't make it into the Sunday Sermon in Esther, on God's sovereignty. It's from J.I. Packer's Book Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God.  I thought it might be helpful to fill out questions you might have regarding the subject.

“Evangelism, we have learned, is a task appointed to all God’s people everywhere. It is the task of communicating a message from the Creator to rebel mankind.

 The message begins with information and ends with an invitation. The information concerns God’s work of making His Son a perfect Saviour for sinners. The invitation is God’s summons to mankind generally to come to the Saviour and find life. God commands all men everywhere to repent, and promises forgiveness and restoration to all who do. The Christian is sent into the world as God’s herald and Christ’s ambassador, to broadcast this message as widely as he can. This is both his duty (because God commands it, and love to our neighbor requires it) and his privilege (because it is a great thing to speak for God, and to take our neighbor the remedy - the only remedy- that can save him from the terrors of spiritual death.)

 Our job, then, is to go to our fellow men and tell them the gospel of Christ, and try by every means to make it clear to them; to remove as best we can any difficulties that they may find in it, to impress them with its seriousness, and to urge them to respond to it. This is our abiding responsibility; it is a basic part of our Christian calling.”

Guitar Tutorials

Ever wanted to learn how to play some of the worship music you hear on Sundays? Want to brush up on skills so you can serve your Community Group more effectively?  

Sovereign Grace Music has several guitar tutorials available on their website: Sovereign Grace Music.

Here's one to get you started!

Click HERE to check out more!

We Need Pastors

Pastoral Training Class

 

Our mission of planting and building healthy local churches requires an ongoing supply of leaders and that is why we are excited about four men entering into our Pastoral Training Course:

  • Bill Fisher
  • Luke Friedly
  • Roosevelt Joshua
  • Steven Partnoff

This is a one year plan that is designed to accomplish two things: to help a man who “aspires to the office of overseer” (1 Tim. 3:1) discern his calling and to help prepare him for that role. 

This Sunday afternoon begins our first of twenty-one meetings where these men will be reading a variety of materials and writing papers on various aspects of theological issues and practical pastoral ministry.  We meet together to discuss, encourage, pray, instruct, and challenge one another. 

The assignments are laid out as “The Pastor and. . .his calling, his role, his character, his household, his prayer life, his worship, and his theology (8 lessons), his preaching (4 lessons), and his counseling (2 lessons).

As pastors, Lynn and I are committing that when they complete this course, we will give them our assessment of their calling and where we see them in the process, along with some recommendation as their next step. Completing this course could lead a man into an ordination process or possibly to attend the Sovereign Grace Pastors College or some continued training and ministry experience in the church. 

Please pray for these men and for God to be at work in their hearts, giving us all discernment and grace as we seek to raise up more pastors. . .”for the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few.

God's Sovereignty and Our Responsibility

Esther

Speaks Up

Speaks the Truth

God remains in control.

Last Sunday, Ron spoke on God's sovereignty and human responsibility. Click HERE to listen to the sermon.

“Sovereignty” produces in our hearts security, hope, restfulness, and courage because we learn that even when we are not faithful - He remains faithful; and that no matter how dire the circumstances, God is still in control and fully able to accomplish his plans. 

But there are some pitfalls that we can easily slip into and get off track with regard to God's sovereignty.  If we are not paying attention we can easily lose our way. (Like coming up the N57 to Pasadena from OC and if we're not careful, we end up on the E 60 to Riverside!)

We can get off track in these areas:

  • prayer - thinking that we don't need to pray or that our prayers don't matter or aren't effective
  • sharing our faith - believing that it doesn't matter if we do or don't
  • obeying God's commands- not understanding the importance God places on obedience

And so, instead of the wonderful truth of God’s sovereignty filling our hearts with faith to act, faith to obey, we find our hearts growing dull and beginning to coast and the adventure of trusting God is gone. 

God’s sovereignty does not negate human responsibility. 

  • It does not take away the necessity of our obedience. 
  • It doesn’t take away from the urgency or the importance of our obedience.
  • It doesn’t take away from the genuineness of our obedience. 
  • It doesn’t negate the responsibility of the hearer.

The three things we learn from Esther:

  1. Esther speaks up (even though it's risky)
  2. Esther speaks the truth
  3. God remains in control

APPLICATION QUESTIONS:

  • What areas are you tempted to drift in regarding God's sovereignty? Do you find yourself just resigned instead of full of faith? How would you gauge your prayer life? Sharing your faith? Your obedience level?
  • What steps do you need to take to pray, share and obey in the areas you haven't been?
  • What difficult conversations are you avoiding because you are afraid of the outcome?
  • How could you apply this message to your friendships? your marriage? your parenting? your relationships at work or school?

 

Walk It Out Wednesdays

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Each week, we will be posting an installment of our Walk It Out Wednesday series. This will be a recap of the Sunday sermon with a link to the audio file.  Sometimes we'll feature a particular section of the sermon or focus on a quote you may have missed - but we'll always have some application questions to help you apply the message. You can use this for your discussion in Community Group or for your own personal discipleship.

We are committed to growing disciples - who obey and don't just listen. (James 1:22-25)
This is a tool for your discipleship in your relationship with Jesus. (John 14:15 and John 14:23)

So - come back every Wednesday to check out Walk It Out Wednesday - designed to help you live during the week what you hear on Sunday.

 

Mission Video- Croatia

Church Plant in Croatia

"The story of this church plant is also a story of our partnership in the gospel in our ecclesiastical union called Sovereign Grace Churches. Being part of Sovereign Grace means Christians are discipled, raised up and sent out for the mission to tell others about Jesus and his great sacrifice on the cross and resurrection from the dead! Our partnership gives us the opportunity to do this together--we get to see more local churches planted and established so that others can be transformed by Jesus the way we have been. May God encourage our hearts and fill us with a fresh vision for this purpose and our partnership. We can do more together than alone!"- CB Eder