Sermon Notes

September 17, 2017 
#3 in our series: Let’s Be Friends – learning how our Evangelical Friends roots can lead us

Jesus said, “I call you friends”, John 15:5

Today’s message: The Rest of God

Quote-

“In a culture where busyness is a fetish and stillness is laziness, rest is sloth. But without rest, we miss the rest of God: the rest he invites us to enter more fully so that we might know him more deeply. “Be still, and know that I am God.” Some knowing is never pursued, only received. And for that, you need to be still. Sabbath is both a day and an attitude to nurture such stillness. It is both time on a calendar and a disposition of the heart. It is a day we enter, but just as much a way we see. Sabbath imparts the rest of God—actual physical, mental, spiritual rest, but also the rest of God— the things of God’s nature and presence we miss in our busyness.”  ― Mark Buchanan, The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath

 

Friends Roots:

 – “Evangelical Friends believe that they are required to be conscientious and wise stewards of every part of life (I Corinthians 4:1-2; I Peter 4:10). ‘Sabbath’ & The Lord’s Day…  for rest of body and mind from the week’s labours. (Deuteronomy 5:12-15; Isaiah 58:13-14).  Evangelical Friends ‘Faith & Practice’ publication, item #324, 325
 
September 10, 2017
#2 in our series: Let’s Be Friends – learning how our Evangelical Friends roots can lead us 

Jesus said, “I call you friends”, John 15:5

Today’s message:

What about Communion?

Quote– “While many find that communion with cup and bread can be a very meaningful outward testimony of what God has done spiritually within, we do not believe that communion is necessary for salvation nor an absolute requirement for all Christians. It is, rather, a public witness to the saving power of Jesus and a public witness of one’s faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord (Ephesians 2:8-10).”   Evangelical Friends ‘Faith & Practice’ publication, item #263

 
September 3, 2017
1st in our series: Let’s Be Friends – learning how our Evangelical Friends roots can lead us

 

Jesus said, “I call you friends”,

John 15:5
Today’s message:

      What about Baptism?

 

 
August 27, 2017
With Eyes of Faith
 
Text:   
Matthew 5:38-42

 

Introduction

The purpose of theology (the knowledge of God) is to draw us closer to Him and to change the way we live.  So often church-going people discuss theology but seem to completely side step applying it to the way they live. Both what Jesus taught and how He lived are interconnected and both are equally important.

 

Look to the Book

     Matthew 5:38-42
  1. Jesus’ words strike at the very core of human selfishness, summoning us to value others above ourselves in concrete and consistent ways
  2. Jesus Challenges Our Desire for Personal Vindication

Conclusion

The greatest issue facing the world today, with all its heartbreaking needs, is whether those who are identified as “Christians” will become disciples – students, apprentices, practitioners – of Jesus Christ.

~ Dallas Willard, The Great Omission

 
August 20, 2017
Mirror, Mirror

 

Text:   

James 1:19-25

Introduction

Most advice, although it comes from a sincere heart, can be conflicting to say the least.  Whether you get it from a best-selling author, your boss, or your neighbor.

Does that mean we conclude with the thought that I’m better off on figuring out my own journey, or is there a trusted source to live my life by?

 

Giving it some thought (James 1:22-25)

  1. Looking in the mirror
  2. Seeing the truthful reflection and doing something about it brings freedom

Putting it into practice

James 1:19-20

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

 

Conclusion

Whether you’re currently in a season of change or your life is stable, there’s something you can do now that will set you up for success then. Become a doer of God’s Word. Apply what you hear. Not only does application make all the difference now, it will prepare you for the future.

 
August 13, 2017

THE STORY #31

A New Beginning  

(the big Reveal)

Text:   

Revelation 1-5; 19-22

 

The essence of today’s message is that God has a fantastic personal plan for us – a new and perfected life that won’t be corrupted by selfishness or evil ever again. God wants as many who will receive His gift of forgiveness to live with Him, and He wants our salty and luminous lives to help others get to Heaven too.  There’s a Big Reveal coming, better than we can imagine!

 

  • Jesus among us, the lamp-stands:  Revelation 1, Matthew 5
  • Helping us help others – Jesus encourages his bride: Revelation 2&3
  • Wedding reception invitation: – going? who are you taking? Revelation 19:9

Application & Take Out – for home: 

Take time to ponder your personal hopes for heaven – don’t let your old ideas or stereotypes limit how what God tells us in Revelation births deep hopes and wishes.  Is there someone you’d like to see there, something you’d like to live-out perfectly?

God is working out His big story in small ways here toward the time that His people will live with Him without barriers. Life here (earth) is really a time for us to practice for heaven – so what can you do daily to stay close, stay salty – stay ‘hot’, and have a dynamic friendship with Him?

It’s a serious and sobering reality that all people will spend eternity in one of two ways: heaven or hell – how does Revelation spur you to share the love of Jesus with others in your life?
 
August 6, 2017

THE STORY #30

Purpose Built (Paul’s Global impact)

Text:   

Acts 20-23; 27-28; Ephesians 1 – 6; 2 Timothy 1-4

 

The essence of today’s message is that God wants us to hold onto Him – using the power – love – and self-discipline of the Holy Spirit. We are not alone to live out the purpose and work He’s sharing with us. 

 

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 

2 Timothy 1:7

 

  • Endurance:  2 Timothy 1:7-12
  • Racing to the Finish: 2 Timothy 4:6-8
 

Application & Take Out – for home: 

The apostle Paul used three images in his second letter to Timothy – soldier, athlete, and farmer, to paint how we are to live as believers (2 Timothy 2:1-17).  This week, read and meditate about these portraits and reflect how you can learn and apply it to your own relationship with Jesus.

 
July 30, 2017

 

THE STORY #29

Paul’s Mission

Text:   

Acts 13-14;16-20; Romans 1;3-6;8;12;15; 1 Corinthians 1;3;5-6;10;12;13;15-16; Galatians 1;3;5-6; 1Thessalonians 1-5

 

The essence of this message is that Paul’s Mission is Y’all’s Mission – and what the Holy Spirit was doing in and through the first believers is our Story too. Assembled together the church is Jesus, and we are to think like Jesus, act like Jesus and love others like Jesus loves them.  – actually, let Jesus live thru us.

 

  • The church is the body of Christ in the world. 1 Corinthians 12
  1. We are commissioned to go as witnesses to _____ Acts 1:8
  2. God wants all people in all places to hear ____ Romans 1:16

 

  • God raised up a point leader, Paul, to help take the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
  1. Saul was an unlikely candidate. Acts 9  
  2. Even Saul, who became Paul, was amazed that Jesus chose him as a missionary to the ends of the earth. I Corinthians 15:9

                                   

Application & Take Out – for home: 

  1. Most of us are gentiles. If you are a follower of Christ, somebody told you about God’s plan, and that took a “missionary.” Think back to the very first missionary who approached you, invited you, and lived out their faith in front of you.
  2. The book of Acts is our story. This is where we fit into God’s story. Acts is still being written today. We have the same commission on our lives as they had on theirs – to be witnesses in the power of the Holy Spirit. We are intended to do that until we breathe our last breath, or until someone chops our head off, which is exactly what happens to Paul next week!
  3. Our mission as a church is to be Jesus in OUR Jerusalem, in OUR Judea, in OUR Samaria. May we be like the church at Antioch, sending out missionaries
 
July 23, 2017

 

Special guests from Teen Challenge

Hearing how lives are changed in Christ. 

July 16, 2017

 

THE STORY #28

New Beginnings

Text:   

Acts 1 – 10, 12

Out of the overflow of their lives together, they began to meet the needs of each other and the people around them.  Their offer of care was ‘different’.  It was also, unconditional.

  • Who’s Acting? The Apostles or the Holy Spirit?    
    • More than mere ‘belief’ Luke 24:49
  • Different – ‘so that we_____________’:   2 Corinthians 1; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

 

Application & Take Out – for home: 

Jesus was clear that our source of power to share His life-saving message is the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). Indeed, the people experienced this when the Spirit came on them (Acts 2:1-4); likewise, Peter was filled with the Spirit and ‘proclaimed’ the message with boldness (Acts 2:14-40).

How have you experienced the Holy Spirit filling you, moving you, and giving you nudging and strength to share the message and love of Jesus?

Perhaps you’ve felt like
sharing Christ
(witnessing), or ‘evangelism’, was separate from ‘real life’ or a ‘program’ we need to learn or get into.  Please pour over 2 Corinthians 1 and consider how God has met you – helped you, taught you, in the tough times – and consider His ‘purposes’ for others in that.
 
July 9, 2017

 

Jesus’ Resurrection

Text:   

Matthew 27-28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 19-21

“They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!” 

Psalm 22:31

The Cross and Resurrection are absolutely – THE most important accomplishments for humanity – for us personally.  Sinless eternal life, renewing hope TODAY, and the transforming work within – ALL & ONLY because of Jesus’ victory over Satan, Death, and the grave. Unearn-able & Available – Do you believe it?

 

  • The Easter Story as you know it: Friday – Sunday Matthew 27

 

  • Jesus’ REMEZ from the cross: Jesus hints to us, the flow from memorized, prophetic scripturePsalm 22 (it’s really about Him)

 

  • Jesus knew the plan: ‘forsaken’ = You NOT forsaken (a gift to accept)

Psalm 22:24, “For he has not despised or scorned, the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.”

 

  • We-The-People yet to be born… Ps 22:31 – it’s our victory song, He has done it! Let’s declare it.

 

Take Out – for home: 

Where in your life are you feeling the sting of Lower Story (earth only) pain but at the same time experiencing Upper Story joy?  How does Jesus’ resurrection and the assurance or your own life after death, bring hope and strength in life’s tough times? *Before Jesus ascended, He called his followers to specific tasks (Matthew 28:16-20). What did Jesus call them and onto us, to do? What is God’s part – What is our part?
 
July 2, 2017

 

THE STORY #26

The Hour of Darkness  

Text:   

Matthew 26-27; Mark 14-15; Luke 22-23; John 13-14,16-19

Introduction

Do you see the beauty of the cross? If you don’t, you’re missing the great doctrine of substitution. This is the marrow of scripture, the heartbeat of the Bible. Don’t reduce God into that one who does us petty favors, gets us promotions, increases our paychecks, and finds us parking places. Do you understand the immensity of this gift? What God has done for you offsets any difficulty you may ever have for the rest of your life. He cherishes you.

 

Look to the Book

~Matthew 27:41-42.

What happened on the cross that makes the cross such a big deal?

In The Story, we find an answer to this question!

  1. The assessment of Jesus’ death on the cross by the religious leaders was correct.
  2. The cross reveals both the holiness of God and the severity of sin.
  3. God’s holiness operates from God’s love.

 

Application

Where does that leave us? It leaves us knowing that His sacrifice is a sufficient one. Your merits do not enhance it, and your mistakes do not diminish it. The sacrifice of Christ is total, unceasing and accomplished. Christ finished the task of salvation. It only falls to us to accept it.

 
June 25, 2017
:
THE STORY #26, 

Jesus, the Son of God

 
Text:   Matthew 17,21; Mark 8-12,14; Luke 9,22; John 7-8,11-12

 

Jesus wants to know ‘who we say He is’ – because it helps us connect living real life with our deeper grips on God.   Aside from who others think Jesus was or ‘is’ – how do you respond to His key question to us in this chapter of your Story?

  • Let Jesus show you His _______________________.  Mark 8:27-29
 
  • Let Jesus show you ___________ identity in  __________.  Matthew 16:18

 

The Son of God who lives – lives in you!  

1 John 4:15
 

Take Out – work on this @ home: Wow, Ch 25 of 31 – are you still engaged, still reading THE STORY?  See above, the text components to our topic this week – it’s super rich, and a 25-minute investment to the Ch 25 and give the Lord time to speak encouragement, direction, and truth to you for this week.  You know all sorts of people (precious, valuable people) with any version of who Jesus is. *Make a commitment to read the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) and journal the things Jesus said about Himself. Then, ask the Holy Spirit to help you gently and graciously paint an accurate portrayal of Jesus those people you encounter who are missing key details – most likely unique to what modern society, or their church experience (if any, and sometimes easier without) has misled them.

 
June 18, 2017

THE STORY #24, No Ordinary Man 

Text:   Matthew 5-7,9,14; Mark 4-6; Luke 10,15; John 6 

Jesus the carpenter begins construction on our new residence in the ‘kingdom to come’ – in the second of three years in ministry before the cross – a year of popularity – before opposition.

 

Today’s message is focused on Jesus’ wisdom and teaching – setting Him apart as unlike any other guys. We are wise to build our lives on His teaching & ways.

  • If Jesus is in your _____, you don’t need to be ______ of storms:       Mark 4:38-40

 

  • If you want to _______ on ________ you have to get out of the ________.   Matthew 14:27-29

 

  • If you don’t come ___________, you’ll __________ apart.             Matthew 14:13& 23

 

Take Out – work on this @ home: 

Jesus told stories about a lost coin, a lost sheep, and a lost son. In each case, when the lost thing was found, a celebration followed.  The message is this: ‘a person coming to faith in Jesus ignites a party in heaven’.  Plan a party with some Christian friends for the express purpose of celebrating the fact that you are followers of Jesus.  Take turns sharing how God brought you to faith in Him – and the people He used in the process.  You might read Luke 15 at the party.

Have you ever tried a Supper Six, or Dinner Ate (8) – a great way to connect and encourage others – and practice the spiritual discipline of ‘hospitality’

 
June 11, 2017
:

THE STORY #23

Jesus Begins His Ministry

Text: Matthew 3-4,11; Mark 1-3; Luke 8; John 1-4

 

Religion is always about “What” – what we’re supposed to do or stop doing…    but when Jesus launches His personal ministry and calls people to have a relationship with him (‘follow’ Him) – it’s all about “Who” He is.

 

Today’s message is focused on Jesus’ authority over our spiritual enemy – and Jesus’ practical model for us:

  • Satan – the central problem:  serpent (Gen. 3:14; Rev. 12:9; 20:2)

tempter (Matt. 4:3; 1 Thess. 3:5); enemy (Matt. 13:25, 39); evil one (Matt. 13:19, 1 John 2:13–14); prince of demons (Mark 3:22); father of lies (John 8:44); murderer (John 8:44); roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8); deceiver (Rev. 12:9 GWT); dragon (Rev. 12:7, 9; 20:2)

  • Jesus “appeared to destroy the works of the devil” 1John 3:8 ESV
    • Showdown in the desert: Matthew 4:1-11 – Jesus is Supreme!
  • “We are not ignorant of his (Satan’s) schemes” 2 Corinthians 2:11
    • Satan will:
      • Attack _________ spots first (Matthew 4:2)
      • Raise questions about ______________ (Matthew 4:3)
      • Tell you to ‘show off’ in _________ (Matthew 4:5-6)
      • Promise ___________________ (Matthew 4:8)
    • We should:  
    • a. Pray – be intentional, get intense  
    • b. Fight with Scripture: (Matthew 4:4,7,10)

 

“God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters.”

(Ephesians 6:17-18 MSG)
 
June 4, 2017

THE STORY #22, The Birth of the King

Text:   Matthew 1-2; Luke 1-2; John 1, Colossians 1

June is an ordinary time of the year to celebrate Christmas – but ‘ordinary’ is how God came to be ‘with us’. God came in the flesh then as Jesus, now He comes in the flesh through us – ‘ordinary’ people, by the Holy Spirit.

  • ‘the Word became flesh’ was good missionary language, John 1
  • God wanted to ‘dwell’ with us – “Immanuel” (with), Matthew 1:23
  • God still wants to dwell – among ‘others’ – In Us, Colossians 1
    • The ‘church’ is the 2nd ‘incarnation’ = in-the-flesh
  • Christ – in – You = is a Christmas ‘present’ – of himself for others
  • How can the Word be ‘present’ through you?

Take Out:   Read both John 1 and Colossians 1. 

Consider Colossians 1:27, “For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.”

The Christmas message is full of ‘riches and glory’ – what are they really?  What ‘riches and wonder’ does our Lord offer the world? 

Who might find hope, peace, comfort, or release because of your ‘dwelling or presence’ in their lives this week? 

 
 
May 28, 2017

Rebuilding: Walls & Lives

Text: Ezra 7, Nehemiah 1-2, 4, 6-8, (Malachi 1-4) 

The cycles of life find us in places and times that we need to ‘rebuild’ – today’s message comes during a time when God’s people had so much to celebrate after a very focused time of repairing and defending what God gave them.

  • The Old Testament’s final act – Ezra & Nehemiah go home to help
  • Intimacy & Personal Space are key to God’s help – “God’s hands on”
  • Respond with Prayer – remind yourself who God is in your situation
    • Respond with confession & ownership
    • Act with corrective behavior – ‘turn back, turn around, repent’
  • Focus – fight discouragement, attack, and distractions –
  • Share God’s Story – for understanding: (3 min challenge)
  • Celebrate – Separated – a ‘happy anniversary’

Take Out:  

What ‘project’ are you working on right now – perhaps there is some rebuilding that needs your attention and God wants to help.  Note how Ezra, Nehemiah, and other God-followers took hours and days with God in prayer before they acted – and then His provision followed = something happened in prayer!

Be prepared to focus, be strategic about the spiritual battle –

put people in place for protection – and work under God’s blessing – He wants to provide victory.

Take time to understand God’s message –

and make time to explain it to someone else – ask God to lead the process – but take time like Ezra, to study, know it – and then share it.

Finally –

prepare special time to celebrate God’s goodness – perhaps invite others for a meal, just to fellowship in the atmosphere of remembering how good our great God has been to you.
May 21, 2017

THE STORY #20

The Queen of Beauty & Courage

Text:

Esther 1-9

Today’s message is all about learning to speak up on things that really matter and in the words of our main character today, “If we perish, we perish.”

 

What can we learn from this story today for our lives?

  • God has placed you in the position of influence.
  • You must know when to keep your mouth shut.
    • In Matters of Preference (Romans 14:1-9)
    • To People who won’t listen (Matthew 7:6)
    • When you’re angry (Proverbs 15:1; James 1:19)
    • Judging someone’s motive (1 Corinthians 4:1-5)
    • When you don’t know what you’re talking about (Philippians 2:3)
    • You must know when it’s time to speak up (Psalm 82:3-4)

 

Conclusion:

What position of influence has God given you right now? What does he want you to say? I say to you what Mordecai said to Esther – “And who knows but that you have come to your position for such a time as this?

 
May 14, 2017

THE STORY #19

Returning Home

Text: Ezra 1-6; Haggai 1-2; Zechariah 1,8

“I am with you, says the Lord!”     

“So, the Lord sparked the enthusiasm of the governor of Judah,

And the enthusiasm of the high priest,

and the enthusiasm of the whole remnant of God’s people. “

     Haggai 1:13,14

 

Guide for Notes:

  • God wants to help – even make a way: Ezra 1:1-4
  • Going Home means making some changes: Ezra 3:3
  • Expect discouragement – SO – be careful to follow God’s direction: Ezra 4:3
  • Be careful of distractions – BE open to Correction: Haggai 1:3-9

Application: C.S. Lewis wrote, “If you put first things first, we get second things thrown in; but if you put second tings first, we lose both first and second things.”

  – sounds like something a Mother would say… but it’s really the root of God’s heart for our attention to His love and care for us.

Even after God provided a way home, and blessed their new steps to ‘rebuild’, his family got distracted, discouraged, and finally ‘stuck’ – until God reminded and prodded them on. Do you need to ‘rearrange’ your passions in competition with God? Perhaps He is trying to get your attention. If so, now’s a great time to listen and lean-in… image leaning toward the perfect ‘motherly-heart’ of God.  He loves you, and is with you.

 
May 7, 2017

THE STORY #18

Aliens of Influence, Living in Exile

Text:  Daniel 1-3, 6, Jeremiah 29-31

 “Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbours. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behaviour, and they will give honor to God on the day he visits us.”     1 Peter 2:12

Guide for Notes:

  • Exiles with Excellence and influence: Daniel 1:4
  • Three Culture-Conflicts: Diet, Public Worship, Private Worship: Daniel 1, 3, 6
  • Living to influence Neb & Darius: John 17:14-19
    • Of the World
    • In the World
    • For the World

Application:

It is in the dark places that light shines most brightly. What are some of the ways we can be part of our culture and still not compromise? 
*Why is it valuable and even

essential for Christians

to understand and function within our culture if we are to bring Jesus’ message and love to this world?
*

Where is one place in  your life that God wants his light to shine through you?

 
April 30, 2017
Today’s message: THE STORY #17

The Kingdom’s Fall – the fall of Judah

Text:

2 Kings 21, 23-25, 2 Chronicles 33, 36, Jeremiah 1-2, 4-5, 13, 21, Lamentations 1-3, 5, Ezekiel 1-2, 6-7, 36-37

 

“For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”.  Ephesians 2:10

 
April 23, 2017
Today’s message:

THE STORY #16

The Beginning of the End – hearing God thru Isaiah

Text: 2 Kings 17-19, Isaiah 3, 6, 13-14, 49, 53 

“I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands”    Isaiah 49:15-16

Notes:

  • The Northern Kingdom (10 tribes) fall to the Assyrians – why?
    • ‘there were no good kings in Israel”
  • The Southern Kingdom (Judah) has mixed leadership = consequences
    • God speaks thru Isaiah:
  • Learning from Isaiah:  

*Isaiah was the prophet who saw God, saw the future, and foresaw the Messiah*

  • Isaiah saw a Great God: Isaiah 6:1-3
  • Isaiah foretold a Great Future: Isaiah 11:6-11, 14:1-2, 65:20
  • Isaiah counted on Supreme Saviour: Isaiah 53

 

Digging deeper:

God gave Isaiah assurances in a season of incredible upheaval and change – what changes are you in the middle of – what help does God want to bring you now?  Isaiah models a view of God’s greatness and God’s great plans that put our current problems and anxieties into the proper perspective – how big are your problems right now? How big is your God today in comparison?
 
April 16, 2017

THE STORY #15

God’s Message

– prophets to resurrection

We are just lightly touching on THE STORY this week, so please check out these texts and plan to dig deep in your mid-week Lifegroup. Text:  (THE STORY 1Kings 18,19, 2Kings 6:8-23)

Resurrection Sunday:

Mark 16:1-7; Matthew 27:62-64; Mark 8:31,9:31,10:34; John 20:9; Psalm 16:8-10, Psalm 22; Luke 24:25-26; Matthew 28:18-22

 

Starting with Moses and all the Prophets, Jesus explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself       

Luke 24:25-26

 

Notes:

  • Jesus’ message was clear but even his first believers misunderstood
  • Jesus emphasized God’s messengers of old – the prophets
    • What the prophets said: Gen 3:15, 12:3, 12:1-18, 49:10, Deuteronomy 18:15, Ruth 4:4-9, 2 Samuel 7:12-16, Isaiah & Jeremiah
    • Even the messiah’s resurrection prophesied: Psalm 16:8-11, Psalm 22
    • Hosea ‘buys’ back his unfaithful wife: Hosea ch 1-3 (we are the unfaithful lovers that Jesus paid for)
  • Jesus, ALIVE with an ongoing mission & message:
    • Life & Purpose after the resurrection: Matthew 28: 18-22, 2 Corinthians 5
  • How will you live? -see Romans 8:11-15

 

Celebrating His Life spent for us – now available for us by his resurrection:

“Do this to remember me’ – see Luke 22:19, Matthew 26:26-30
 
April 9, 2017

THE STORY #14

A Kingdom Torn in Two

Text: 1 Kings 12 – 16

Jesus said

, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”        

Luke 11:17

 

Notes:  Focus on the ‘lower story’ of God’s family – dividing:

  • Solomon’s divided heart led to splitting the nation in two:
  1. Israel, the Northern Kingdom, included 10 tribes, and was ruled by Jeroboam.
  2. Judah, the Southern Kingdom included two tribes, Judah and Benjamin, and was ruled by Rehoboam.
  • Solomon’s divided heart was passed down, having long term effects: 1 Kings 14-15 Division derails the greater purposes of Israel – to reveal God’s presence, power, promises, and plan.

“No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”   1 John 4:12

  • In God’s ‘upper story’, He keeps His old promise to David, and raises up Asa, who leads with an undivided heart for God, and removes the idols (even deposes his own grandmother because of her ways)

 

Application: Spiritual compromise is a major theme of concern to God, resulting in multi-generational consequences – that intensified following Solomon’s divided heart to worship something ‘as well as God’.

Ask yourself, better – ask God, “are there any ‘idols’ in my life.. even little ones?” Can you see potential for a divided heart, or division develop in your family – even God’s family because of your ‘idol(s)?  If so, what can you do to remove them?
 
April 2, 2017

THE STORY #13

The King who ‘Had it All’

Text:

1 Kings 1-8, 10-11, 2 Chronicles 5-7, Proverbs 1-3, 6, 20-21

“Let love and faithfulness never leave you, bind them around your neck,

    write them on the tablet of your heart”   

Solomon’s Proverb (3:3)

 

God shines the spotlight on both Solomon’s success and failure that we might contrast how even the ‘wisest of the bunch’ can drift into decline when the best and most important things are neglected or substituted

. Solomon experiences a ‘slow fade’.

 

Guide for Notes: Focus on the ‘lower story’ of Solomon:

  • God invites Solomon to ask for anything – Solomon chooses ‘wisely’, 1Kings 3:5
  • Solomon completes a grand plan & grows in popularity, 1Kings 6-10
  • Solomon let’s his heart get ‘divided’ and the Kingdom suffers too, 1Kings 11

** Drift & Decline in one area of Solomon’s life affected his whole being, life-style and influence – and ultimately his outcomes & legacy.

Application:

Like a frog in the pot on the stove, Solomon didn’t wake up to his drift away from God’s heart and ways – is there an area of your life drifting and lacking your attention? Notice the changes of posture in Psalm 1, an interesting transition – how can this passage guide you under the influence of the Holy Spirit this week?
 
 
March 26, 2017THE STORY #12

The Trials of a King

Text:

2 Samuel 11-12, 18-19; 1 Chronicles 22,29
~II Samuel 7-11 & Psalm 32, 51

Introduction:

We are exploring God’s story from Genesis to Revelation. And here’s why this journey through scripture is so important- Number one- God’s story isn’t finished yet. It didn’t end with the last page of the Bible. He could’ve chosen to end it there but he didn’t. And number two-You have a role to play in His story.

 

Life Lessons on how to deal with Sin from David

  1. David first chose concealment.

Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Proverbs 28:13

  1. David ultimately chose confession.
  2. Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion, blot out my transgressions. b. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
  3. David brings a broken hallelujah.

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. (Psalm 51:17 NIV)

Conclusion: Maybe a broken hallelujah is

all you have to offer today. God’s message to you-It’s all

you need.
 
 
March 19, 2017 
 

THE STORY #11

From Shepherd to King

Text:

1 Samuel 16-18, 24, 3; 2 Samuel 6,22; 1 Chronicles 17; Psalm 59

Ch.11 THE STORY

 

“The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.

       

1 Samuel 16:7

 

Guide for Notes: Focus on the ‘lower story’ of David:

  • A tough ____________ 1 Samuel 16:1, Judges 21:25
  • A surprise ___________ 1 Samuel 16:6-11
  • A great ____________       1 Samuel 16:12
    • God picks the _____________ nobody notices:

Romans 8:31, Isaiah 43:1, Romans 8:37-39

 

 

Application: Read: Romans 8:31, Isaiah 43:1, Romans 8:37-39   

God says He is ‘for’ you, has paid for you, has ‘called’ you, and even more – that you are (more than) a ‘conqueror’ –

Do you believe that?     Do you agree with God?

   What do you call yourself – how do you talk to you?

Answer:

  Am I for me?_____ How so? __________________________________

Am I against me?_______  How so? ____________________________________

How will you practically believe what God says about you this week?

If these are new words and ideas to you – perhaps you first need to have things made right between you and God – forgiveness & a fresh start through Jesus – now’s a great time to ask Him to forgive and make you new.

 

David’s story begins while Saul is still Israel’s first king,(close to 1025 B.C.),

part of ‘Movement #2’ THE STORY OF ISRAEL:

Digging Deeper:

 What do you learn from David’s heart in these honest and passionate cries to God: Psalm 59; 2Samuel 22:1-7,47; and Psalm 18 ?  Take time to read Ch 12 of THE STORY. 
 
 
March 12, 2017  THE STORY #10

Standing Tall, Falling Hard

Text: Samuel 1-4, 8-13, 15,

Ch.10 THE STORY

But the people refused to listen to Samuel,

“No!” they said. 

“We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles”.

       

1 Samuel 8:19

Guide for Notes: Focus on the ‘lower story’ of Saul:

  • Saul: Tall & ___________ 1 Samuel 9:2,5,21,10:6-9,22; pg. 136-137

 

  • ____________ & Mighty 1 Samuel 911:6-13,13:6; pg 139

 

  • Too _____ to ____________, too _________ to ____________
  • 1 Samuel 13:9-13-14, 15:3-14, 17,28, 1Peter 5:5; pg.142-143

 

Application: Saul’s story is a cautionary tale, illustrating It is possible to be ‘too big’ for God – BUT not possible to be ‘too small’ for God.

Note two signs of a ‘haughty’ heart:

  1. Too busy to worship God 2. Too big to obey God
Saul once replied when held accountable in the midst of busyness and disobedience,

“I accomplished God’s plan to the letter!”

Is your pre-occupation with your ‘life’ (even ministry) have you operating a version of God’s will – without Him, really, in a modified way that you need to justify?

 

Hannah, Samuel, and Saul’s stories are set in the time of the Judges (close to 1000 B.C.), part of ‘Movement #2’ THE STORY OF ISRAEL:

Digging Deeper:  What was God’s desire (and Samuel’s message) about the people’s want

for worldly Kingly leader? – see 1 Samuel ch 8, THE STORY p.135-136. Do you believe that God still lets people have their own way (on occasion), even when it was not His desire and plan for us? Why? How so in your life?  Take time to read Ch 11 of THE STORY. 
 
 
March 5, 2017

THE STORY Ch 9

Faith of a Foreign Woman

Text: RUTH ch 1-4, Ch 9 of THE STORY

“spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer of our family” 

Ruth 3:9

Guide for Notes: three scenes

in the ‘lower story’ for Naomi & Ruth
  • Life gets ‘bitter’ (Mara) – Ruth 1:20-21, pg.122

 

  • Gleaning for more (in Bethlehem)– Ruth 2:13; 3:3-4

 

  • Ruth & Naomi’s future is redeemed – Ruth 3:6-9; 4:5

 

Application:

  Jesus, your kinsman-redeemer.

How can we become today’s Boazs to ‘outsiders’?

Aligning yourself with God’s ‘upper story’, what do you want him to make better, from your ‘bitter’?

 

Naomi & Ruth’s stories are set in the time of the Judges (1300 B.C.), part of ‘Movement #2’ THE STORY OF ISRAEL: Summary:  God builds a brand-new nation called Israel. Through this nation, He will reveal His presence, power, and plan to get us back.  Every story of Israel will point to the first coming of Jesus, the One who will provide the way back to God.

 

Digging Deeper:

 Did you know that the ‘kinsman-redeemer’ of tradition, did not increase his own estate by ‘covering over’ and helping someone in need – it was selfless. Think ahead through your week ahead, and imagine one or two acts of compassion or grace that  you can extend to someone in need, perhaps a person feeling marginalized, living outside of favour or being noticed.  Please take time to read Ch 10 of The STORY.
 
 
February 26, 2017
 

THE STORY Ch 8

A few good Men… and Women

Text:

Judges 2-4, 6-8, 13-16, Chapter 8 THE STORY

GOD’S STORY, ‘Movement’ 2 THE STORY OF ISRAEL:

Movement summary:  God builds a brand-new nation called Israel. Through this nation, He will reveal His presence, power, and plan to get us back.  Every story of Israel will point to the first coming of Jesus, the One who will provide the way back to God.

 

“another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what He had done” 

Judges 2:10

 

 

Digging Deeper:  Have you noticed any spiritual ‘life cycles’ in your journey with God? God gives us the mini-series of His relationship with his family the Israelites, so that we can see ourselves in the story, and make adjustments to the ways we related to Him ‘in this generation’. Through the book of Judges, there are 6 cycles, each with 4 acts or movements: SIN – CONSEQUENCE – TURNING TO GOD – and DELIVERANCE. Are you living in a destructive part of a cycle?  If so, it’s time to turn (repent) to God for oneness and help.  Ask for help, let a friend know where you are at – these are spiritual struggles and God will be ‘with you’ directly and through community if you will ask and trust for help.

*Share with thanksgiving how you are doing in turning to Him or experiencing victory –

this is key.

For this week:

 Read Ch 9 of THE STORY, read about the faith of a foreigner, a woman from outside the circle, in the OT book: Ruth 1-4
 
February 19. 2017

THE STORY Ch 7

The Battle Begins

Text: Chapter 7 THE STORY Joshua 1-2, 6, 8, 10-11, 23-24

GOD’S STORY, ‘Movement’ 2 THE STORY OF ISRAEL:

Movement summary:  God builds a brand-new nation called Israel. Through this nation, He will reveal His presence, power, and plan to get us back.  Every story of Israel will point to the first coming of Jesus, the One who will provide the way back to God.

“Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon I have given you—as I said to Moses.”  Joshua 1:3

Digging Deeper:  Read Joshua 1:1-11 and answer, What did God call his people to do as they prepared to enter the promised land?

Has God brought to your attention an area of your life where you have ‘given in’ and stopped ‘swimming against the current’ of our culture? Even though you care, you may feel like you are being swept downstream. Ask God to help you commit to doing His will, get into the battle, and connect with others in the fray. Find a friend who will pray for you, encourage you, and hold you accountable.

For this week:

 Read Ch 8 of THE STORY, read about a “few good men & women” in the OT chapters: Judges 2-4, 6-8, 13-16
 
February 12, 2017
 
Today’s message:

THE STORY Ch 6

WANDERING

Text:

Chapter 6 THE STORY

Numbers 10-14, 20-21, 25,27  Deuteronomy 1-2 4, 6, 8-9, 29-34

GOD’S STORY, ‘Movement’ 2 THE STORY OF ISRAEL:

Movement summary:  God builds a brand-new nation called Israel. Through this nation, He will reveal His presence, power, and plan to get us back.  Every story of Israel will point to the first coming of Jesus, the One who will provide the way back to God.

 

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying,

This is the way; walk in it.” 

Isaiah 30:21

  • Israel’s ‘Road Trip’ with God
    • ‘take a look’ @ Kadesh: Numbers 13 & 14
    • GPS Numbers 14:8-9 “The Lord is with us…but___”

 

  • Passing your Driver’s Test:
    • Asking for directions:

 

  • Don’t be driven by fear

 

  • Remember others are in the car with you. Numbers 14:33 (‘your children…)

 

Digging Deeper:

 When God’s family stopped to ‘take a look’, ten out of twelve spies let their minds focus on the obstacles (Numbers 13:26-33, The Story p.75). What ways do you get stalled or frozen by fear, and fixate on the obstacles rather than our God who can and wants to help you ‘overcome’?  Ask God where you are ‘off course’ today, and ask Him to help you respond to His ‘recalculate”!  Confide in one or two believers who routinely trust God and demonstrate faith in Him moving forward; share your story and gain counsel.

For this week:

 Read Ch 7 of THE STORY, read about Joshua in the OT chapters: Joshua 1-2, 6,8, 10-11, 23-24
 
February 5, 2017

 

Today’s message: THE STORY Ch 5

New Commands – New Covenant

Text: Exodus 19-20, 24-25, 32-34, 40  

GOD’S STORY, ‘Movement’ 2 THE STORY OF ISRAEL:

Movement summary:  God builds a brand-new nation called Israel. Through this nation, He will reveal His presence, power, and plan to get us back.  Every story of Israel will point to the first coming of Jesus, the One who will provide the way back to God.

 

“The Law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming – not the realities themselves.”

Hebrews 10:1-4

  • God ‘comes down’ vs. ‘up there’
    • Creation, Moses and Israel, Immanuel, the Church
  • God terms, an ‘occupancy agreement’ – 3 Essentials:
    • Guidelines available: how to treat God and each other
      • Exodus 20:1-7 The Ten Commandments
    • ‘Room wanted’, Exodus 25, the Tabernacle
    • Method of Payment – God requires ‘atonement’
      • Personal access available. Hebrews 10:1-18
      • Pray like Moses, “Show me your glory”

 

Digging Deeper:  Are you part of God’s modern ‘tabernacle’ ways? Do you live with the full assurance that you have accepted full payment for all your sins? Meditate on Hebrews 10, open your heart to God, and respond with deepened thanksgiving – OR – believe and receive his ‘atonement’ for the first time – and tell someone ASAP. 

For this week:

 Read Ch 6 of THE STORY.  Read Matthew 5:17-48 and look for how Jesus’ teaching from the TEN brings life and hope. What did you get from this?? 
 
 
January 29, 2017

Deliverance

Text: Exodus 1-7, 10-17

THE STORY Ch 4

“The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you.”

 Exodus 12:12  

GOD’S STORY, ‘Movement’ 2 THE STORY OF ISRAEL:

Movement summary:  God builds a brand-new nation called Israel. Through this nation, He will reveal His presence, power, and plan to get us back.  Every story of Israel will point to the first coming of Jesus, the One who will provide the way back to God. 

  • God’s new nation in danger: the barrier of slavery
    • God saw this coming, Genesis 15:12-14
    • The Call, Exodus 3:11-14
  • God reveals Himself – 3 key ways
    • His name: YHWH ‘I AM WHO I AM’
    • His power against the gods of Egypt, Exodus 7-13
    • His plan (in the 10th plague) ‘the shedding of blood’ Exodus 12:12-13
  • The Redemption: Jesus in the Passing-over.. John 1:29; 1Corinthians 5:7
    • We all need the blood on the doors of our souls
    • Responding to the call for Deliverance:
      • Receiving Deliverance: YOU or another?

 

Digging Deeper: We all have a way of resisting God’s call, to meaningful service or even to ‘deliverance’ (salvation).

What things are you sure you could never do – where are the places you tend to resist God? Think about this deeply, open to God’s speaking – and leave your answers before Him, one by one. Admit your fear and resistance and ask for courage to follow God – ‘faith’ in action.

For this week:

 Read Ch 5 of THE STORY
 
 
January 22, 2017

 

Joseph: from slave to Deputy Pharaoh

Text: Genesis 37,39, 41 – 48, 50   THE STORY Ch 3

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28

 

GOD’S STORY, ‘Movement’ 2 THE STORY OF ISRAEL:

Movement summary:  God builds a brand-new nation called Israel. Through this nation, He will reveal His presence, power, and plan to get us back.  Every story of Israel will point to the first coming of Jesus, the One who will provide the way back to God.

  • God’s Providence: What about the valleys? “But God” 50:20
    • He sustains everything
    • He ‘uses’ everything
      • God is always sovereign
    • 22 vs. 71 – Joseph’s years:
      • What helped Joseph forgive?
    • Responding to the ‘harm’ in your life:
      • New relationship with Jesus, today’s a good day
      • Align yourself to God’s purposes – Romans 8:28
      • Bolster your faith in His Providence

Digging Deeper: Avoiding pain comes naturally

– and it often occupies much of our talking with God, BUT – what you think about how God may want to use the struggles, pain, and hardship as tools to accomplish His will in and through us?

For this week:

Forgiving someone who has really hurt us, is one of the hardest things for us. This week, read Genesis 50:15-21; Matthew 6:9-15; & 18:21-35. Pray for courage, meditate on Romans 5:8, and ask God for deeper understanding of His grace so that you can extend that grace to others.  Read Ch 4 of THE STORY
 
 
January 15, 2017

Today’s message: God builds a Nation 

Text: Genesis 12-13, 15-17, 21-22, 32-33, 35 Romans 4, Hebrews 11 THE STORY, Ch 2 

“a smoking fire pot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram”

Genesis 15:17-18

  • THE STORY in five movements: – get the ‘Share the Story App’

1.Garden  2.Israel  3.Jesus  4.Church 5. the New Garden

Movement # 2 begins:  God builds a brand-new nation called Israel. Through this nation, He will reveal His presence, power, and plan to get us back.  Every story of Israel will point to the first coming of Jesus, the One who will provide the way back to God.

  • How can I know? “But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, how can I know?” Genesis 15:8
  • Faith factor: “against all hope” – Abraham believed, did not waiver, was strengthened, gave glory to God.  Romans 4:18-21
  • Anatomy of God’s promise – “the Lord made a covenant”

 

Digging Deeper:

Get so much more out of our study by pre-reading Chapter 3 of THE STORY ahead of time.  Participate in a’ Lifegroup’ (mid-week study); work through the Group Study Guide (working on questions ahead of time) – which is available here @ PF, or through your local book store.

For this week:

Abraham did not hold back, but offered God what meant most to him, their own son. Make a list of 7 things/people/priorities that mean a great deal to you. One by one, offer them to God – practice freely offering back to the one who gave you everything you have.  Read Ch 3 of THE STORY
 
January 8, 2017

Today’s message:

The Beginning of Life as we know it  

Text: Genesis 1 – 8, THE STORY, ch 1

“When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees”  Genesis 3:8
  • THE STORY in five movements: – get the ‘Share the Story App’
    • Garden, Israel, Jesus, Church, and the New Garden
  • Movement 1 – the story of the Garden: Genesis 1- 11
  • The Beginning of Life as we know it:
    • Creation
    • Fall
    • Cain & Abel
    • Flood
    • Babel 

Digging Deeper:

Please commit yourself to pre-reading each week’s chapter ahead of time.  Participate in a mid-week study, a Lifegroup – see back for times and details. Work through the Study Guide – which is available here @ PF, or through your local book store.

For this week:

Meditate on the depth of God’s love for people, and wonder about why He would keep pursuing us after we have rebelled, and rejected Him. *What can you do to celebrate the good news that God pursues YOU, even when you are not embracing his vision for your relationship together
 
January 1, 2017

Today’s message:

             Walk Of Obedience

Text: 1John 1:5-10  

 

“if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin”    1John 1:7

Our guest, Nick Chesnes, grew up right here at Pelham Evangelical Friends Church until eight years old, the oldest son of Pastor Matt & Janice Chesnes. Nick is a junior at Malone University in Ohio studying Pastoral Ministries.

 
December 25, 2016

Message:

A Call to Praise –  

“the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen…”

                                    Luke 2:20  

  • Story: Luke 2:1-20

God using the ‘ordinary’ to highlight the extraordinary:

God sends Himself in the midst of hustle & bustle, and financial strain.

  • Behind the curtain – God share’s a picture with us that gave the angels cause to Praise:
    • Imagine these scenes:
      • Isaiah 6:1-7,“His robe filled the temple”
      • Revelation 4:1-11,“He was-is-and is to come”
      • Revelation 5:1-14,”every creature worshiped”
    • Notes & Leadings:

Quote: “these angels, having been associated with Christ in heaven before His incarnation, knew something about His glory, riches, and majesty.”

William Hendrickson, Biblical scholar
 
 
December 18, 2016

Message:

A Call to Praise –  

“the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen…”  Luke 2:20  

  • Story: Luke 2:1-20

God using the ‘ordinary’ to highlight the extraordinary:

God sends Himself in the midst of hustle & bustle, and financial strain.

  • Behind the curtain – God share’s a picture with us that gave the angels cause to Praise:
    • Imagine these scenes:
      • Isaiah 6:1-7,“His robe filled the temple”
      • Revelation 4:1-11,“He was-is-and is to come”
      • Revelation 5:1-14,”every creature worshiped”
    • Notes & Leadings:

Quote: “these angels, having been associated with Christ in heaven before His incarnation, knew something about His glory, riches, and majesty.”

William Hendrickson, Biblical scholar  
 
December 11, 2016

Message:

A Call to Protect –  

“While Joseph thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream…”  Matthew 1:20 

  • Story: Matthew 1:18 – 25
  • Distressing to Blessing –

 Joseph meets God’s angel in a dream

  • Notes & Leadings:

Quote: “the call to protect and a responsibility from God to Joseph should indicate the depth of his godliness and character. Surely God would not entrust His own Son into a family where the father was not totally committed and faithful to Him.”

John MacArthur
 
December 4, 2016

Message:

Partnering with God – for Christmas  

“I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:5-6

  • Story: Luke 1:26-38, Gabriel meets with Mary
 
November 27, 2016

Message:

A Sabbath heart

– Part 2 The Rest of God

“Come to me all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28

  • What is Jesus offering? Rest from what?
  • Thinking like God – about Sabbath, and everything
  • Rest or Leisure…
  • Chronos & Kairos
  • Following the scent of ‘eternity’ in our hearts, Ecclesiastes 3
 

Take Home: Proverbs 14:8 says “The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.”

  The wisdom of the wise is to give thought to their ways – they think about where they’re going – but the failure of fools is deception – they keep lying to themselves.  It is wise to ask, “does this path I’m walking lead to a place I want to go, will I have the peace only God can provide?”

This week, consider your ways – that is wise ‘sabbath’ practice – not just a day, but a way thru your days and hours.   Specifically: consider your thoughts and attitudes, the patterns of them, their shape and drift. Plot where they are taking you.  Take your thoughts captive and submit them to obedience in Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5)             Begin with  “search me, O God, and see if there be any wicked way in me” (Ps.139)    Invite the Holy Spirit

to search and reveal one habitual thought, one attitude of the heart, that is misleading you, perhaps from: shame, pride, temptation to judge others, insecurity, tendency toward envy, rivalry or quarrelling.  

Whatever it is, ask God to change your mind – renew your mind – and keep this request fresh, “lead me in the way everlasting” Ps 139:24

 
November 20, 2016
Message:

The Rest of Godstopping to number our days

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” Psalm 90:12

  • Catnaps: God’s invitation to stop –
  • Purposeful and Driven
  • Jesus’ schedule: John 11:1-44; Matthew 11:1-11; John 3:8; Acts 10:36,38
  • The number of our days:

Take Home: “The world of the generous”, Eugene Peterson translates Proverbs 11:24, “gets larger and larger; / the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller” (The Message).    Jesus teaches through the parable of the talents that keeping, preserving, and protecting can become composting

instead of growth and multiplication.  So it is with our lives, and the days that make up our lives – giving ourselves freely & generously to the Lord, first (2 Cor. 8:5) opens us to surrender to His purposes by the leading of the Holy Spirit.

How are you responding these days, this Fall, ‘pre-Christmas’ with the time and days our Lord is giving you? Do you have room to grow in your ability to give yourself to Him in a way that you are purposefully paying attention to His shepherding, leaving room for surprise, interruptions, and rest? 

In God’s economy, you may have to ‘waste’ some time to really redeem time. 

Challenge/Encouragement

: This week, try giving the gift of yourself first to God and then to others. Be generous with time. See if your world isn’t larger by this time next week.  Give thanks to the Lord for His work in your offering and share the story with another believer for their delight.
 
November 13, 2016
– 

Testimony:

  Sweets from Nepal

Pastor Mathew shares from his missional sabbatical, in Nepal and Romania.

 

“A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul”

Proverbs 13:19

 

Notes for prayer or follow-up:

 

November 6, 2016 Jeff Aitken

Locked up Lessons… A walk through Philippians

Week 6, PSST…I’VE GOT A SECRET

Philippians 4:2-23

INTRODUCTION – Christian Worship

We’ve sung. Now we’ll study. Then we’ll go and apply. It’s all worship. In fact, it all only becomes worship if/when we make it to the application stage.

GETTING DEEPER

       Philippians 4:2-9
  • FAMILY STRESS.
  • PARTY PEOPLE!
  • PROMOTING PEACE.
  • FINDING THE GOOD.
  • GOD WITH US.

Philippians 4:10-20

  • REJOICING IN THE LORD
  • THE HEART OF GIVING THANKS
  • CONTENT IN CHRIST
  • THE HEART OF GIVING

SO WHAT?

#1: A Reality Check – Do I see ample evidence of gentleness or “sweet reasonableness” in my life?

#2: Praying with gratitude is a key discipline when dealing with anxiety.

#3: A heart and mind that knows God’s peace is fuelled by an exceptional thought-life.

#4: All good Bible study should move us beyond understanding to application or we are fighting against the thrust of the Bible itself.

#5: Language in the church can be borrowed from secular as well as religious paradigms (e.g., business, philosophy, art, etc.).

 

CONCLUSION 

“Never read a Bible verse” (Greg Koukl).

Small Group Questions

  1. Take time to review this week’s message. What things in the message most challenged or encouraged you?
  2. Read our key passage (Philippians 4:10-20), in various translations if possible.

A)What verse or idea stands out to you the most? Why?

  1. B) In this letter Paul regularly partners “joy” or “rejoicing” with being “in the Lord”. How do you think generic celebration and rejoicing are different to celebrating and rejoicing “in the Lord”? Try to think of concrete examples. What has been your experience of each?
  2. C) What things tend to increase your anxiety and decrease your contentment? Material desires? Financial worries? Work responsibilities? School challenges? Family dynamics? Romantic relationships? Friendships? Computer problems? Hidden sin?
  3. D) What practical steps could you take to practice the secret of transcendent contentment in that area of your life?
  4. E) What aspects of worship (music, prayer, praise, giving, study, service, etc.) do you tend to think of first when hearing or using the word “worship”? What forms of worship do you tend to be most drawn to? Why?
  5. F) What forms of worship do you tend to be weakest in? Do you have a plan to strengthen your weakness? If so, what?

SO WHAT?… Take time to pray simple prayers of praise to God. Then, talk to God about the specific ways you plan to worship him this week.

 

October 30, 2016 Jeff Aitken

Locked up Lessons… A walk through Philippians

Week 5, For king & Commonwealth!

… Philippians 3:12-4:1

INTRODUCTION

A mid-point review of the theme being developed in the letter. “In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now…” It’s amazing what God can do in and through a group of people who are partnering together, humbly serving others, united around mission. ~Darryl Winger

GETTING DEEPER

       Philippians 3:12-4:1
  • EARLY CHURCH MODELLING

(With a look back at Phil 2:1-11).

  • ENEMIES OF THE CROSS
  • FOR KING AND COMMONWEALTH!
  • STANDING FIRM

SO WHAT?

#1: Unity is strengthened and furthered when we focus on Jesus.

#2: Spiritual growth requires honesty, authenticity and humility.

#3: Spiritual development does not happen by accident. We need to be intentional and determined in pursuing our goal of becoming like Jesus in all aspects of our lives. We invest our energy and our time.

#4: Christ-followers are not to be simply “waiting for heaven”, but actively living and serving in a way that manifests the Kingdom of God now.

#5: We need to practice active forgetting to develop in our relationship with Jesus and becoming increasingly like him. We tend to either idolize (achievements) our past or let it paralyse (failures) us.

CONCLUSION

What are you looking at? Isaiah 43:18-19; 42:3

 

Small Group Questions

  1. Take time to review this week’s message. What things in the message most challenged or encouraged you?
  2. Read our key passage (Philippians 3:12-4:1), in various translations if possible.
    1. What verse or idea stands out to you the most? Why?
    2. Paul describes Christ as taking hold of him. Look up Acts 9:1-16; 26:15-18; Col. 1:24-29 to understand his sense of purpose. Discuss main points of why Christ took hold of Paul.
    3. Share among yourselves your own sense of what God desires to do in and through you.
    4. In verse 14 Paul puts his past in perspective. What are ways you have found to put your past (positive and negative) in perspective?
    5. Paul uses athletic imagery to encourage spiritual growth. See 1 Cor. 9:24-27; Hebrews 12:1-11, as well. What are principles indicated in these passages and images that encourage growth?
  3. How can we encourage one another in this race we are all engaged in? How can we foster openness so we can support and pray for one another?
  4. What needs to be actively forgotten in your life? Pray for God’s grace to resist bringing this into the present so that it no longer shapes your present or future. Pray for each other.
 
October 23, 2016

Jeff Aitken

Locked up Lessons… A walk through Philippians

Zeal for Real

…Phil 2:12-3:11

“Learning to believe what doesn’t at the moment feel true is an essential part of being a Christian,” 

~NT Wright

INTRODUCTION

With the example of Christ front and centre, Paul returns to practical instruction for his readers regarding unity. Demonstrating thoughtful leadership, he encourages what is best in them as peers and friends rather than chastising them.

GETTING DEEPER

  • Our “salvation” is presented as an ongoing process that is:
  1. our shared responsibility
  2. inspired and empowered by God
  • The “fear and trembling” that should be part of our lives can mean:
  1. panic and terror
  2. awe and wonder
  • Three ironic labels:
  1. “DOGS”
  2. “EVILDOERS”
  3. “MUTILATORS OF THE FLESH”

SO WHAT?

#1: The New Testament records an amazing reworking and renewal of a religion that had lost its way, clinging to the letter of the law and missing the Spirit. Christians should not focus on this as a rebuke of Judaism per se, but should ask the ongoing question of how these rebukes and challenges apply to the Christianity of our day.

#2: In the Bible, “fear and trembling” is always the immediate response of someone who becomes suddenly aware of God’s personal presence. At first it may mean “panic and terror”, but God helps people shift into “awe and wonder”. What is central to this experience is awareness of God’s presence, which seems to be Paul’s main thrust. What are you doing to increase your ongoing awareness of God’s presence?

#3: Just because God gives us symbols to help us remember and understand deeper truths (e.g., circumcision, baptism, communion) doesn’t mean we should treat the symbols as sacrosanct. For God, it is never about the external symbol, but the internal reality.

#4: Think of the psychological security we can experience when our only boast, our only pride, is in Christ. Ego fades, along with fear, insecurity, worry, and nervousness.

Small group

Read our key passage (Philippians 3:1-11), in various translations if possible.

  1. a) What verse or idea stands out to you the most? Why?
  2. b) Paul seems to think that resisting the temptation to turn faith into a religious system is an ongoing issue for Christians that must be held in view and resisted at all times. What are some ways you see Christians today turning relationship into religion?
  3. c) Paul’s story is a reflection of the story of Christ. Compare this passage with 2:5-11. His life is cruciform. Could you tell your own story in a cruciform way? Why or why not?
  4. d) Paul’s great passion was to “know” Christ. How do you experience this relationship?
 
October 16, 2016

Michael Piett

John 5:1-15

The title “Do you want to get well?”

 
October 9, 2016
by Jeff Aiken

Locked up Lessons… A walk through Philippians

Week 3, Bible College…Year ONE!

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.

~Philippians 2:1-11

 

INTRODUCTION

THE BIBLE IS CLEAR ON…

-The centrality and uniqueness of Christ        -The expected character of a Christ-follower

-Basic Christian ethics                                                        -Our lives as living sacrifices of worship

-God as Creator and Sustainer of life                              -God’s tremendous love for us

-Our responsibility for our own obedience and growth

 

GETTING DEEPER

Philippians 2:1-11

Using The Bible The Way It Was Intended

#1: We should use Scripture as its authors (and Author) intended.

#2: We must value scripture as the connection of right theology and right living.

#3: Christian unity is not an abstract goal, but the result of our common focus on our central cause.

 

CONCLUSION

2 Corinthians 2:8-9 (NIV)

I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. Another reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything.

Small group

  1. Take time to review this week’s message. What things in the message most challenged, puzzled, or encouraged you?
  2. Read our key passage (Philippians 2:1-11) in various translations if possible.
  3. a) What verse or idea stands out to you the most? Why?
  4. b) In verse 1, Paul bases his call to unity on four assumed Christian experiences. (The word translated “if” could also be translated “since”.) Then in verse 2 Paul calls his readers to four results that he holds them responsible to manifest. In verses 3-4 Paul paints a more detailed picture of what the church should look like. Keeping these factors in mind, brainstorm examples of things that would make Paul’s joy complete if he were to visit our Church
  5. As a group, take time to pledge your cooperation to making the things you discussed in #2 above a reality. Discuss practical ways you might be able to encourage each other and hold each other accountable in these areas. Submit this to God in prayer.

 

 
October 2, 2016
by Janice Wooster

Message: Chasing Foolishness

  • What Does the Bible Say About Fools and Foolish Living?
  • The Source of all Wisdom is _______________________________.
  • Jesus, the ultimate example of fear of God and perfect love working together

 “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

Martin Luther King Jr.
 
 
September 25, 2016
by Jeff Aitken

Locked up Lessons… A walk through Philippians

Week 2, Life or Death

Philippians 1:21-22 (NIV)

21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 

If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!

INTRODUCTION –

Love is the will to work for someone’s good. This choice will always lead to the increased well-being of both the one who is loved and the one who loves; no exceptions. Since love is work, the essence of non-love is laziness.

~ M. Scott Peck, Psychiatrist

GETTING DEEPER

Philippians 1:12-30

#1: Suffering is not a sign of being abandoned by God. 

#2: We are called to stand firm in the self-sacrificial love of Jesus

#3: The Christian life is meant to be lived shoulder-to-shoulder with other Christians, learning how to work together for a common cause

#4: Military imagery, like business imagery, can be helpful to understand the Christian life. The problem comes when we fail to translate the metaphor!

CONCLUSION

-Privilege of Trusting in Christ

-Privilege of Suffering for Christ

Small group

  1. Take time to review this week’s message, sharing as you go those things that most challenge, puzzle, or encourage you.
  2. Read Philippians 1:1-11 in various translations if possible.
  3. a) What verse or idea stands out to you the most? Why?
  4. b) Do you tend to think of yourself primarily as a saint or a sinner? Why? What impact does your self-assessment have on your life?
  5. c) Notice that Paul is completely confident regarding God’s work in and through the Philiippian believers, yet he still prays diligently for them. What lessons do we learn about the nature and purpose of prayer from this?
  6. d) Are there things you could implement in your Home Church to increase your experience of koinonia (partnership, fellowship, shared experience)?
 
September 18, 2016

By Jeff Aitken

Locked up Lessons

A walk through Philippians

In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. ~ Philippians 1:4-5

INTRODUCTION – Where It All Began Acts 16:9-40

GETTING DEEPER

Philippians 1:1-11

#1: Churches are families where leaders are first of all family members. Positions of authority are never our primary identity.

#2: The Gospel is a methodically, doggedly unswervingly relational message about a thoroughly relational worldview. It is all about ongoing vertical and horizontal loving partnership.

#3: Christians are called to live in tune with suffering – globally and locally, personally and socially, emotionally and practically – so that we see suffering as opportunity. Certainly, whenever intense suffering comes to us, we will not be surprised by it.

#4: We should learn to see everything that happens to us, positive and negative, as a strategic opportunity to advance the Gospel.

#5: Our ethics should rise out of the soil of discerning love.

CONCLUSION – Are You Seeking The Highest Good?

Small group

  1. Take time to review this week’s message, sharing as you go through things that most challenge, puzzle, or encourage you.
  2. Read Philippians 1:1-11 in various translations if possible.
  3. a) What verse or idea stands out to you the most? Why?
  4. b) Do you tend to think of yourself primarily as a saint or a sinner? Why? What impact does your self-assessment have on your life?
  5. c) Notice that Paul is completely confident regarding God’s work in and through the Philippian believers, yet he still prays diligently for them. What lessons do we learn about the nature and purpose of prayer from this?
  6. d) Are there things you could implement in your Home Church to increase your experience of koinonia (partnership, fellowship, shared experience)?

 

 
September 11, 2016

By Mathew Bradbury

Message: ‘Life-group’ essentials, valuing:

  • Biblical model:
    • Exodus 18, Jesus’ 12, Book of Acts
  • Pelham Friends – ‘growing bigger & smaller’
    • Acts 2:42
  • Three Reasons: God’s good model; Personal; Flexible
  • Three Things Life-groups do:
    • Teaching – God’s truth studied & applied
    • Fellowship – build one another up
    • Worship – focus on Jesus; communion

Digging Deeper

: John Ortberg writes: “God uses people to form people. That is why what happens between you and another person is never merely human-to-human interaction—the Spirit longs to be powerfully at work in every encounter.”  What do you think of these ideas: the goal of Life-groups is to create environments where Spirit-driven, life-giving experiences can flourish. While the type of group or study can help promote a positive environment, the real things that promote a healthy environment for flourishing are prayer, support, service, confession, worship, accountability, conflict resolution, social gatherings, and simply doing life together. The objective ultimately is to help (you) people engage in relationships that help them become more like Christ. Spend time building an environment that allows true relationships to flourish, where Jesus’ instructions, like John 13:35 can be cultivated, for our sake – and the for our world He loves.
Please get plugged into a ‘small’, Life-group this Fall, Schedule is below.
 

 

Sunday afternoons or evenings 

 

 

 

Young Adults (Grade 12 – age 25) – connecting with MERGE

 merge.welland@gmail.com, or Merge Welland on Facebook

Every Tuesday, 7:30-9:30pm

 

Pelham Friends Youth Meeting at PF Youth Centre – Bible Studies and Fun Events! 

For more information contact Jenni May at jmay@pelhamfriends.ca

 

1st & 3rd Mondays

@ 7:00pm

Starts Oct 3rd

 

Contact Janet and Laverne Tritton  (905) 892-5162 or jltritton@hotmail.com 

Meeting at Janet & Laverne Tritton’s: 1150 Maple St., Fenwick

 

2nd & 4th Tuesdays  @ 7:00pm

Starts Oct 11th

 

Contact Alex & Bonnie Hamilton  905-734-4905

Meeting at Helen & James Shannon’s:  1091 Quaker Road, Fonthill

 

1st & 3rd  Thursdays @ 7:00pm

Starts Oct 6th

 

Contact Lyse Edwards 289-897-8581

Meeting at Lyse & Ken Edwards:

2 Cherrywood Ave, Fonthill

 
 
September 4, 2016

Message:

Emotions under the influence (Spirit’s)

  • Emotions move us
  • Jesus felt – our perfect example
  • Work those emotions: exercise & discipline
  • Under His influence and care – The Spirit @ Work
  • Examen prayer; one structure to test:

 

Digging Deeper:

What do these words from St .Augustine bring to mind for you?:

“Emotions are the feet of the soul. They either move us closer to God or carry us farther from Him, but without them we will go nowhere?”

 

Given that Calvary (the cross) is the love of God in action, how do you think things may have been different if God the Father had merely loved us with pity and deep regret for our miserable condition?  God, who is love, expresses emotion. What emotion(s) would you expect God the Father feels, or has felt for us about our (your) tragic, human condition?

 

Given that our emotions are a gift, and will be perfected in our complete healing during our home-going to heaven; what do you hope for, or expect your emotions to be like once ‘in glory’?  – Yes ,that was a set up question for this one: Given that today, the Holy Spirit is at work ‘sanctifying’, refining, perfecting, transforming, those parts of us we give over to His influence, – what fruit do you imagine possible in your emotions, with the Spirit’s reign and power?

 

August 28, 2016 

Message: The Fruit of the Spirit is Love

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control” Galatians 5:22 & 23

*Love is essential

– John 13:35, 1 Corinthians 13

*Experiencing Love

– Galatians 5:22-23

            Types of Fruit

            ‘Pairings’

*Love applied

– try a ‘smoothie’

Digging Deeper:

Study  1 Corinthians 13, and note how Love is the greatest, and the ways it makes the difference in your life now. If love never fails, what is our problem?

Consider and note the benefits of each type of fruit in Galatians 5:22-23, and explain how they complement each other in pairs and can work together with the Spirit’s active coaching and empowerment.

List the current situations, relationships, or things you are dwelling on, that could use a specific ‘smoothie’ blend of God’s love, the fruit of His Spirit at work.

*How can you better connect with the Lord this week so that the fruit in your life is His, and not by your striving or trying?

 
 
August 21, 2016

    Message: The Spirit of Unity

“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.  Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.  For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.” Ephesians 4:2-4

Digging Deeper:

Study 1 Corinthians 15 and see how the people moved toward each other, ‘cooperating’ in the Lord for body change, AND fruitful impact in their community.

What do you observe in the case study in Acts 6:1-8?:

 
August 14, 2016

Message: Deep Sea Discoveries

 “God is with me and watches over me wherever I go”, Genesis 28:15

Notes:

*God KNOWS me!                  Psalm 139:1

 

*God HEARS me!                  1John 5:14

 

*God STRENGTHS me!        Psalm 28:7

 

*God LOVES me!                   1John 4:9

 

– AND-

 

God SENDS me!

      Romans 10:14-15
 

August 7, 2016

Message: Our Glocal Church

 

Pelham Friends is partnered in Nepal & Romania through our movement networks: Evangelical Friends Eastern Region (EFC-ER) & Evangelical Friends Mission (EFM)

 

Pastor Matt and Sophia (daughter) will join local churches in their contexts to learn and encourage, first in Nepal, and then Romania, flying this September.

 

Notes:

EFC-ER’s collaboration:

 

EFM’s collaboration:

 

Sophia & Matt’s endeavours:

 

Ignite the Hope, our collaboration:

 

 
July 3, 2016

Hidden with Christ

Text: Colossians 3:3

  • Filled with the Spirit review: Ephesians 4:22-24, 5:18, Romans 5:5, 2Tim 1:7
  • Paramountcy & the stewardship of Self
    • Case study – Joshua tore his clothes; Joshua 7:6
  • Hiding our eating, zeal, talk, & tempers: Is there a difference?
    • Case study – Jesus (John 18) and Paul’s (Acts 23) responses
  • Time to Hide

Digging Deeper:

Trying to determine the line between holy (sanctified) and sinful and be an exhausting ‘religious’ entrapment. Hidden with Christ in God suggests complete surrender and relational intimacy.  Take some time with the Lord, surrender the elements of your SELF (interests, appetites, speech, eating, sensitivities, etc) and renew your placing of all those good elements of yourself under his umbrella of protection and shepherding.

 
June 26, 2016

“If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.”

 1 Corinthians 13:3 

Message:    Loving Under the Influence (of Jesus)

  • Love is a Choice
  • Love is Risky
  • Love is Actively Engaged
  • Love is Vulnerable

Take Away:

Almost 2,000 years ago Jesus was asked, what is the greatest commandment?  He answered,

to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind.   Because our love for God must be sincere; not just by the words we speak, but because we have engaged and connected our souls.  In order to really engage and connect our souls we have to make God our #1 priority.  That means everything else takes a back seat.  Now the second part of Jesus’ answer to the question of what is the greatest commandment was this – to love your neighbour as yourself

.  That includes loving those who don’t deserve it, and loving the way we would want to be loved.  That can be really difficult sometimes, but if we make God our #1 priority, loving people in all their messiness becomes a lot easier.  Think and pray about this question – Where’s your heart?  If it`s not where it should be ask God to help you re-prioritize so you can accept His love and then be better able to pour it out into others. 
 
June 12, 2016
“Be filled with the Spirit”  Ephesians 5:18b

Fighting for Fullness 

Texts: 2 Timothy 1:7; Romans 5:5; Ephesians 4:22-24

  • Possessing the Spirit VS ‘Filled’ by the Spirit
  • Obstacles & Barriers – how we block and resent His presence
  • Receiving the Spirit, again:  Opening the door, perpetually Revelation 3:20
  • Identified by the Spirit, cleansed by the Spirit, for the Spirit:
    • What clutter or furniture needs to go to make room for His filling:
    • ______
    • ______
    • ______
Digging Deeper: The Devil operates in the shadows – those hidden and dark places in our lives. Secret sins (resentments, habits, goals, and more) flourish in the shadows, and we often hold onto and protect those secret sins – which can ultimately define us.  How does God want to help you put off – clean out – that which is taking up space, and even blocking the working and filling of His Spirit in you?  Are you ready for a spiritual Diwali?

Remember that God himself, Jesus in the flesh like ours, also battled with the human will (which He made for us) and understands the need to fully surrender to His power and purposes for the very best outcomes (Luke 22:42). Noting your unique (feels that way) struggles, imagine how the road ahead could be better if the matter(s) was settled and you traded His will for yours. Lets imagine the great possibilities He would work in our lives with the fullness of the Spirit inhabiting places we have protected from Him. 

 

Resources:This series is based, in part, on Everett Cattell’s

The Spirit of Holiness, revised in 2015 with excellent contributions by Wayne Evans (our current EFC-ER Superintendent = pastor to our family of churches, and church leaders). Please also see F.B. Meyer’s The Secret of Guidance

, with excellent practical helps on gaining the comfort, counsel, leading, and empowering of the Holy Spirit.

 

June 5, 2016

Series: The Spirit of Holiness

 

Message: Salvation is Now

“Now is the day of salvation”. 2 Corinthians 6:2

 

  • Why Holiness? – Introducing our series.
  • Living in the Now; Romans 8:1
  • The Cross for our Now; 2 Timothy 3:12
  • Maintaining the ‘glow’ of salvation
    • Right relationships
    • Victory over temptation
    • Devoted time alone with God
    • Sharing an inviting message
  • Now in the Spirit – power, love, discipline, 2 Timothy 1:7

Digging Deeper – personal & Life-group study:

God called himself “I Am who I Am”, Exodus 3:14, pointing to His always being in the Now. When you tell your story of life with God – your witness, how much of your story is based in the current working of God in your life? Take a moment and list: the lessons God is currently teaching you and passages of scripture that are feeding you; what you have been praying about recently and the answers you are seeing; what changes and growth you are experiencing; how are you embracing & applying the cross in the now? Wrestling with these questions helps capture a snap shot for your now with and in the Lord.