Sunday Morning 8/28/11

Posted by Sherry

STANDING IN THE GAP

Ezekiel 22:23-31

CBC 8/28/2011 SM

  • Ministry has many faces
    • taking water to thirsty firemen
    • riding in a patrol car giving spiritual direction
    • giving CPR to an unconscious Deacon
    • holding & praying for a family that has just lost a loved one
    • helping someone make “ends meet”
    • that’s “STANDING IN THE GAP”
  • Ministry is usually not seen by everybody
    • no personal praise
    • no pay check at the end of the week
    • some times taken for granted & not appreciated
  • Ministry has to begin in our heart
    • only God can see in there
    • a boiling passion that spill over on the needy & sometime undeserving
    • a vibrant, active and never ceasing prayer life that bombards heaven’s gates with intercession for the hurting
    • a courage to charge the fires of destruction in the lives of people with nothing more than good intentions & God on your side.
    • a strength to fill sandbags of wisdom to build a levee against the rising tide of immorality

23And the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

24Son of man, say to her, You are a land that is not cleansed nor rained upon in the day of indignation.

25There is a conspiracy of [Israel's false] prophets in the midst of her, like a roaring lion tearing the prey; they have devoured human lives; they have taken [in their greed] treasure and precious things; they have made many widows in the midst of her.

26Her priests have done violence to My law and have profaned My holy things. They have made no distinction between the sacred and the secular, neither have they taught people the difference between the unclean and the clean and have hid their eyes from My Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.

27Her princes in the midst of her are like wolves rending and devouring the prey, shedding blood and destroying lives to get dishonest gain.

28And her prophets have daubed them over with whitewash, seeing false visions and divining lies to them, saying, Thus says the Lord God--when the Lord has not spoken.

29The people of the land have used oppression and extortion and have committed robbery; yes, they have wronged and vexed the poor and needy; yes, they have oppressed the stranger and temporary resident wrongfully.

30And I sought a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none.

31Therefore have I poured out My indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; their own way have I repaid [by bringing it] upon their own heads, says the Lord God.

  • Ezekiel understood that
    • God wanted someone to “Stand In The Gap”, to intercede for His wayward people
    • Ministry of intercession is still vital today
    • God is calling Men, Women, Boys & Girls to Christ-like Ministry

OUR COUNTRY DESPERATELY NEEDS US TO STAND IN THE GAP

  • corruption in Judah, like in America, reached from top to bottom in society
    • political leaders were lost in corruption
    • peoples hearts had turned to stone
    • “feel good” spirituality” w/ out any moral demands
    • leaders willing to do whatever to maintain their personal power
    • people who have lost sight of what it means to care for each other as neighbors
    • getting ahead at the expense of others is the norm
    • sacrificing the family for selfish pleasure
    • only one cure for that...JESUS CHRIST
    • how can they hear without someone to tell them? That someone is YOU!

GOD IS SEEKING PEOPLE WHO WILL STAND IN THE GAP

  • Apathy & Complacency rules the land (Nobody cares)
    • God always brings discipline to the children He loves
    • He has consistently sought for people who would stand firm for Him
    • Abraham w/ a warning for Sodom & Gomorrah
    • Moses stood between and angry God & a disobedient Israel...and God spared them
    • Paul declared he would give up his own salvation if Israel would come to faith in Christ
    • Can God find people like that in the membership of Central Baptist, Prescott?
    • Someone who will stand in the gap in town?
    • Someone who will stand in the gap at the School House?
    • Someone who will stand in the gap during a drought? (3,524,304 reasons it might not be raining...amount gambled away on lottery tickets in Nevada Co. last 12 months, instead of depending on God for our resources!)

JUDGMENT FALLS ON THOSE WHO REFUSE TO STAND IN THE GAP

  • God leaves no doubt...if no one cares about God & seeking Him first...judgment comes with a vengeance
    • unconcern for God
    • apathetic attitude towards church
    • lack of interest in praying for the lost in the altar
    • soul winning & spirituality on the back burner behind recreation, rehearsals & redneck activities
    • and the old song says, “WHO SENDS THE RAIN?” DUH!!!
    • Many are mistaken about Judgment
    • it’s not reserved until the end of time
    • it’s not just for the lost and those rejecting a relationship w/ Jesus

1 Peter 4:17For the time [has arrived] for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will [be] the end of those who do not respect or believe or obey the good news (the Gospel) of God?

  • God looks for a people who will care
    • committed to intercession
    • stand in the gap
    • seek His face first & let Him fill in the schedule
    • spend 3.5 million dollars on necessary improvements in our county & city
    • if God can’t find those people, CONSEQUENCES FOLLOW

CONCL:

  • When God looks down on us what does He find?
    • people who care enough to get involved?
    • to intercede for the fallen
    • a spiritual army ready to do battle?
    • or a bunch of folks too busy to take a stand in the gap
    • stuck in like at the connivence store trying to strike it rich & gambling our communities future away
    • for the record...if you average the numbers the scholarships only amounted to $4,000/student...not much money when you walk in the gates at Fayetteville!
    • It’s time somebody stand up and declare, “SOMEONE CARES!”
    • “SOMEONE WILL PRAY FOR YOU”
    • SOMEONE WILL PLEAD YOUR CASE”
    • “SOMEONE WILL LOVE”
    • “SOMEONE WILL GIVE”
    • “SOMEONE WILL FIGHT”
    • “SOMEONE WILL WORK”
    • “AND THAT SOMEONE IS ME!”

Sunday Morning 8/21/11

Posted by Sherry

WHERE GOD’S POWER FLOWS

Acts 3:1-10

CBC 8/21/11 SM

Don’t ya just love to see God at work?

you know.....MIRACLES to us, commonplace to Him

1NOW PETER and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour (three o'clock in the afternoon),

2[When] a certain man crippled from his birth was being carried along, who was laid each day at that gate of the temple [which is] called Beautiful, so that he might beg for charitable gifts from those who entered the temple.

3So when he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked them to give him a gift.

4And Peter directed his gaze intently at him, and so did John, and said, Look at us!

5And [the man] paid attention to them, expecting that he was going to get something from them.

6But Peter said, Silver and gold (money) I do not have; but what I do have, that I give to you: in [the [a]use of] the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!

7Then he took hold of the man's right hand with a firm grip and raised him up. And at once his feet and ankle bones became strong and steady,

8And leaping forth he stood and [b]began to walk, and he went into the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.

9And all the people saw him walking about and praising God,

10And they recognized him as the man who usually sat [begging] for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement (bewilderment, consternation) over what had occurred to him.

  • “Cripples” weren’t good enough to go inside temple
    • must have had cripple confused w/ the type of sacrificial animal (w/out spot or blemish)?
    • Remember, God is not willing that any (person) should perish!!!
  • Notice Peter made the man “Look At Them”
    • don’t hold head down in shame...
  • Notice Peter’s honesty
    • we don’t have any money
    • God always gives us what we need
    • money is not the answer to every problem
    • God’s power is the answer to all problems
  • Notice the man (over 40) is miraculously healed
    • raises this question...”In what kind of environment does God’s power flow?”

GOD’S POWER FLOWS WHERE HE IS

  • Temple supposedly the “house of God”
    • if God’s presence was @ the Temple how could a cripple set on the steps for 40 yrs and nothing happen???? (HINT: God wasn’t there!)
    • Veil of Temple torn in half when Jesus died on the cross
      • man had access to Holy of Holies
      • God moved...(from the stone temple to willing and receptive hearts of men, women, boys & girls
      • Evident God was living in Peter & John
      • side bar: Is he living in you???
      • unlike everybody else who turned their head, Disciples looked intently at the man & told him to look at them. (undivided attention)
  • “Who” or “What Cause” are you passing by and turning your head?
    • someone of another race or religion?
    • a “Cause” you don’t feel qualified for?
    • could it be AWANA?
    • We are God’s hands and feet. It was God touching that man through Peter’s hand

GOD’S POWER FLOWS WHERE THERE IS EXPECTANCY v4-5

  • Expectancy - to wait for something in suspense
    • being treated different by these two the cripple was waiting in suspense...
    • he was EXPECTING SOMETHING!!
  • What did you come to worship service EXPECTING?
    • many don’t come expecting anything
    • exactly what they take home, too
    • they’re simply going through their preference fueled motions to satisfy their conscience
  • Shouldn’t we come in “suspense”
    • expecting to hear God speak to us
    • expecting to see God move
    • expecting to be changed
    • expecting to walk in a spiritual cripple and leave leaping & jumping excited about Jesus
  • God wants us to come to Him with expectancy
    • otherwise what’s the point for God?
    • He created us for an intimate fellowship & relationship based on our free choice to love Him or reject Him
    • Heb. 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for He who comes to God must believer that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
    • FAITH is taking the first step when you can’t see all the staircase...MLK
    • We can expect God to Direct our life
    • We can expect God to save us out of dire circumstances
    • We can expect God to provide
    • We can expect God to heal (physically & spiritually)

Hudson Taylor’s life motto: “Attempt great things for God, EXPECT great things from God!”

GOD’S POWER FLOWS WHERE HIS AUTHORITY IS RECOGNIZED

  • Peter & John didn’t put this man on the prayer list
    • there was a need for the people inside the Temple to see an object lesson that God didn’t reside inside the walls, but in receptive human beings.
    • they commanded the man by the authority of Jesus Christ (the ones in the Temple had crucified Jesus remember), to stand up and walk

Matt. 28:18 Jesus says, “ALL authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”

  • We are commissioned to “Go ye therefore...” by the highest authority...that of Jesus!
    • God’s power flows where His authority is recognized
    • quit turning down jobs based on your experience, education or comfort
    • start making a difference in this old world by acknowledging the presence of Jesus in your heart (because you invited Him in), and working under his authority and by His power!

GOD’S POWER FLOWS WHERE HE WILL RECEIVE THE GLORY v8-10

  • cripple was healed so that God might be honored and people would know Jesus was truly God’s Son
    • king Saul lost the throne because he sought glory for himself.
    • king David was given the throne because he was a man after God’s own heart

CONCL: Where Does God’s Power Flow?

Where HE is

Where there is EXPECTANCY

Where HIS AUTHORITY is recognized

Where GOD ALONE WILL RECEIVE THE GLORY


Sunday Morning 8/14/11

Posted by Sherry

CHARGE! GET GOING AGAIN

Lamentations 3:40-42

CBC 8/14/11 SM

I’ll give you the definition & you give me the word

“to live again”, “to bring back to life or consciences”

resuscitate or revive

  • AED not a pleasant experience
    • u fall down in public
    • your upper body is exposed
    • you are SHOCKED w/ electrical current
    • you hopefully wake up
    • sometimes you die

Apply to the Church:

  • process by which spiritual life & power of God through His people is brought back to full strength
    • deal w/ deadness in the church
    • return to spiritual health & vitality
    • restoring spiritual life & power w/ in Christians IN THE CHURCH
    • 152 on a list by the door who aren’t participating...lost power...
    • R they spiritually sick?
    • R we spiritually sick for not checking on them?

Charles Finney, “revival is the renewal of the first love of Christians, resulting in the awakening and conversion of sinners to God...”

GOD’S DESIRE FOR US

  • for members of His church to examine ourselves and realize where we are spiritually
    • realize we are apathetic
    • realize we are complacent
    • realize we have been less than faithful to God
    • admit that we have been less than 100% sold out for God
    • see our need to fall on our knees before God
    • to confess our sinfulness & shortcomings
    • turn back to God in true brokenness
  • God wants to recharge us to full power
    • to have the strength to minister to those around us
    • to be a testimony to the powerless of true transformation
    • to create an appetite in the community for the power of God

TEXT: Lamentations 3:40-42

40Let us test and examine our ways, and let us return to the Lord!

41Let us lift up our hearts and our hands [and then with them mount up in prayer] to God in heaven:

42We have transgressed and rebelled and You have not pardoned.

THIS IS ABOUT ME

  • not about people we know who need to straighten up
    • backslidden Bill
    • lost Leanne
    • dirty Dan
    • let’s start another program
    • let’s start a support group
    • let’s get an evangelism committee going
    • I’ll devote my time, talent & treasure to reviving someone else, BUT DON’T MAKE ME LOOK @ MY OWN SPIRITUAL LIFE!
    • don’t hold my life up to the Light of God’s holiness & purity
    • don’t make me look at what I’m doing today
    • how I’m living my life as compared to the sacrifice Christ made for us

MOST CHRISTIANS WILL DO MOST ANYTHING TO AVOID LOOKING AT THEIR SELF v40

  • we’re afraid we’ll need to make some adjustments
    • need for revival is not THEM OUT THERE
    • revival is for US RIGHT HERE
    • examine ourselves
    • test ourselves
    • return to the Lord our God

WE NEED RESUSCITATING

  • revival is for “our” good
    • God has a formula for recharging to get going again

2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

  • God doesn’t “default” on His promises
    • I WILL hear...
    • I WILL forgive...
    • I WILL heal...
    • “IF” (conditional prerequisite)
    • ...we humble ourselves
    • ...we pray
    • ...we seek God’s face
    • ...we turn from our wicked ways

SELF-EXAMINATION

  • Expository Dictionary of Bible Words says there is “pain” involved w/ self-examination & confession of sin
    • honestly evaluating our conduct & attitudes against the plumb line of God’s Word

Jeremiah 23:29 “Is not my word like fire,” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?”

Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword it penetrates even to the dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

HUMBLING OURSELVES

  • It’s a process outlined in the book of James
    • submit ourselves to God’s control
    • resist the devil & he will run away
    • come near to God & He comes near to us
    • wash your hands sinners
    • purify your hearts you double-minded
    • grieve, mourn & wail for your sin
    • change your laughter to mourning
    • humble yourselves before the Lord & He will lift you up

WHO WANTS TO GO THROUGH ALL THAT?

  • sadly in our “care-free” lifestyle, not many
    • Word pierces our soul SM too painful to come back SN
    • Word convicts us of our lazy lifestyle & we have to wait a few Sunday’s before we can come back to church
    • Word exposes our sin and shortcomings and we hide like Adam & Eve in the bushes
    • Word reveals the changes we need to make and we grumble b/c we DON’T LIKE CHANGE
    • Word becomes something we want to stay away from instead of embrace
    • Word is the way to heaven, but many have chosen the easy road to Hell, church membership papers in hand all the way down

INV: What about you?

  • R U willing to do what it takes to be Recharged so we can get going for God?
    • do you care about your own place in eternity?
    • do you care about living in a Godly community instead of one infested with sin & crime?
    • do you care about America? R U Willing to sacrifice for our great country?

Altar is open!

Sunday Morning 8/7/11

Posted by Sherry

PASSION OR PROMISE

Hosea 3:1-5

CBC 8/7/11 SM

Background Definitions:

Passion -

Intimacy -

Commitment - Promise

1THEN SAID the Lord to me, Go again, love [the same] woman [Gomer] who is beloved of a paramour and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins [used in the sacrificial feasts in idol worship].

2So I bought her for [a]fifteen pieces of silver and a homer and a half of barley [the price of a slave].

3And I said to her, You shall be [betrothed] to me for many days; you shall not play the harlot and you shall not belong to another man. So will I also be to you [until you have proved your loyalty to me and our marital relations may be resumed].

4For the children of Israel shall dwell and sit deprived many days, without king or prince, without sacrifice or [idolatrous] pillar, and without ephod [a garment worn by priests when seeking divine counsel] or teraphim (household gods).

5Afterward shall the children of Israel return and seek the Lord their God, [inquiring of and requiring Him] and [from the line of] David, their King [of kings]; and they shall come in [anxious] fear to the Lord and to His goodness and His good things in the latter days.(A)

Footnotes:

Hosea 3:2 Hosea bought Gomer back after she had become a slave. The combination of fifteen pieces of silver and a homer and a half of barley totaled the standard price of a slave (30 pieces of silver).

SCARY STATS:

  • divorce granted every 26 seconds in America
  • 52% of all marriages end in divorce
  • 60% of all remarriages end in divorce
  • 75% of all male Law Enforcement officers...
  • 95% of all female Law Enforcement officers...

WHY? & WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?

Marriages end for all kinds of reasons.

  • Two common reasons:
    • incompatibility
    • “we just don’t love each other like we used to”

Thornton Wilder, author - “I married you because you gave me a promise. That promise made up for your faults. And the promise I gave you made up for mine. Two imperfect people got married, and it was the promise that made the marriage. And when our children were growing up, it wasn’t a house that protected them; and it wasn’t our love that protected them - it was that promise.” (Quoted in Grow Up! How Taking Responsibility Can Make You A Happy Adult, published by Golden Books.)

RELATIONSHIPS ARE BUILT ON A PROMISE NOT A PASSION

  • when passion (the fire) goes out or dims...when intimacy (physical, emotional & spiritual) isn’t happening, PROMISE (commitment) holds it all together
    • not ur love that sustains ur commitment
    • it’s ur commitment that sustains ur love

CHAPTER 3 GOMER HAS HIT BOTTOM

  • bigger problem than an odd name
    • gone from hip world of adultery to the hell of prostitution
    • traded on the open sex market like a piece of common stock
    • Hosea has every legal & moral right to divorce her
    • under the OT law he could have had her stoned to death
    • Hosea isn’t about the “law”
    • Hosea is about “love”...God’s love
    • Following God’s instructions, he goes to the slave market & purchases this woman with whom he exchanged wedding vows
    • takes her home & says to her “I will be for thee” (U R my betrothed)
    • doubt Hosea “FELT” much emotion for her
      • wrecked his reputation
      • shamed him publicly
      • humiliated him in front of family
  • Hosea’s love wasn’t about “passion”, it was about a promise
    • not something we feel
    • it’s something we “DO” no matter how we feel
    • it must withstand:
      • insensitivity
      • neglect
      • betrayal
      • carnality
      • inconsistency of human emotions
      • personality changes
      • behavior changes
      • change in physical attraction
      • that kind of love can last a lifetime

LOVE IS A PROMISE THAT ENDURES (VS 1)

“TIMING”

  • “Then...” means after something had happened
    • confronted Gomer w/ her infidelity
    • issued ultimatum - give up affairs or get out
    • backed up ultimatum by letting her go
      • cut off financial support
      • cut off emotional support
  • steps weren’t taken in anger or as an act of reprisal
    • a loving, confident response to a serious problem in their relationship
  • didn’t try to hang on to her by
    • overlooking her affairs
    • manipulating her with guilt
    • making empty threats
    • “If U want to stay, I want U to stay - but with the understanding you end these affairs.”
    • “If U want to go, you may go, but things can’t continue like they are.”
    • Hosea didn’t give up on her, but was willing to give her up if that’s what she wanted.
    • Restoration didn’t begins until she had reached the point of brokenness.
    • She, like the prodigal son, had to reach the end of the road before she would see the value in returning home.

“TERMS”

  • safe to conclude that she was inwardly & outwardly broken
    • she no longer enjoyed her present condition
    • common prostitute sold to anyone willing to pay
  • NOTICE: she didn’t attempt to return to Hosea...WHY?
    • She Couldn’t
      • no longer free to make such choices
      • she was a slave, property of one who owned her
      • (ADDICTION....) Paul said he wasn’t giving himself to anything that had the potential of controlling him except Jesus Christ!
    • She Didn’t Know She Could
      • so much time & sin couldn’t imagine Hosea taking her back
  • Hosea, (like God), showed her a relationship was still possible
    • not on terms of her character
    • but on terms of his (His) commitment “according to the love of the LORD”
    • God is the source of that kind of love
    • doesn’t wait till we’re cleaned up to offer salvation, “While we were yet sinners...”
    • doesn’t wait till be come crawling back... “He came to seek & to save that which was lost.”
    • doesn’t have to do with God’s “feelings”... has to do with His promise to a couple in the first garden, “The Promise of Redemption”
    • God teaches us love is a promise, not a passion
    • Marriage is not about being “in love” but agreeing “to love”
    • Not something we feel...something we do no matter how we feel.

LOVE IS A PROMISE THAT PROCURES (GIVES) V2

“Sacrifice”

  • Price paid to buy back his wife...30 pieces of silver
    • Hosea didn’t have all the cash so he paid half of it in barley
    • imagine time to make ur house payment & U can only come up w/ half of it....takes every thing else U have to make up the other half

“Significance”

  • How was his wife brought home?
    • w/ an empty bank account
    • w/ an empty pantry
    • (signifies her worth)...
    • worth more to Hosea than anything he possessed
    • his love not based on her character, charm or charisma
    • his love based on commitment
    • she could expect more in the days to come

Romans 8:32 “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him so freely give us all things?”

  • we don’t earn God’s love or blessings
    • we are loved
    • Calvary & the cross prove it
    • He want to give us all things freely
    • We like Gomer, go outside the relationship looking for things that are of value to us
      • career not God approved
      • relationship “
      • addiction “


LOVE IS A PROMISE THAT SECURES V3-5

  • vow renewal...”You shall be betrothed to me for many days”
    • you won’t have to go outside this relationship to find:
      • love
      • acceptance
      • worth
      • anything else
  • past didn’t matter any more
    • they were going to be working on the future
    • only one rule....”LOVE HOSEA EXCLUSIVELY”
    • depend on Him for all her needs
    • he alone would be the source of her security
    • God’s desire is the same for us His children
    • be dependent on Him for every kind of need...
      • we are accepted & beloved
      • we are new creatures in Christ (new start)
      • cast our cares on Him (don’t have to go outside relationship for anything)
      • walk in newness of life not the shame of our past
      • He alone is the source of our security, we’re not hanging on to Him, He is hanging on to us.

CONCL:

I imagine she was overjoyed to be loved like that.