Sunday Evening 10-28-2012

Posted by Sherry

"Go Fish" 
Mark 1:14-20 
CBC 10/28/12 SN
INTRO: Cozumel dive: swam into a giant school of fish...
14 Now after John was arrested and put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the good news (the Gospel) of the kingdom of God,
15 And saying, The [appointed period of] time is fulfilled (completed), and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent ([a]have a change of mind which issues in regret for past sins and in change of conduct for the better) and believe (trust in, rely on, and adhere to) the good news (the Gospel).
16 And passing along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon [Peter] and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net [to and fro] in the sea, for they were fishermen.
17 And Jesus said to them, Come after Me and [b]be My disciples, and I will make you to become fishers of men.
18 And at once they left their nets and [[c]yielding up all claim to them] followed [with] Him [[d]joining Him as disciples and siding with His party].
19 He went on a little farther and saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who were in [their] boat putting their nets in order.
20 And immediately He called out to them, and [[e]abandoning all mutual claims] they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and went off after Him [[f]to be His disciples, side with His party, and follow Him].

In verse 17, Jesus makes clear the meaning of his call to believe the gospel when he says,  "Follow me and I will make you fish for people." 

We are given no background information regarding the quick response of the disciples.

We are not told if the Simon, Andrew, James and John had previously heard Jesus preach if they were primed to make this life changing decision. 

We are only told that Jesus saw them and called out to them,  "Follow me." 

And what happened?  They responded. 

These men seemed to understand this call to be an invitation to become disciples of Jesus. 

Regardless of their understanding or lack of it, these men made a radical and immediate decision  that changed their lives forever. 

They left their daily work,  dropping their nets  abandoning their established livelihoods. 

The text makes it clear that James and John walked away from their family ties. 

We cannot help but be amazed and impressed with the immediate and radical commitment that Jesus inspired in these fishermen. 

How can we as the church duplicate that "drop-everything kind of discipleship?" 

Jesus does not call any of us  to a casual discipleship. 

As Dietrich Bonhoeffer pointed out in his book, The Cost of Discipleship, Jesus does not call us to cheap grace. 

He calls us  to costly discipleship. 

In a way  there is a paradox of our faith. 

On the one hand, grace is free  and cost us nothing. We cannot earn it. 

But on the other hand,  it costs us everything. 

Our Lord expects us to commit  all that we are  and all that we have.

One theologian has called it a paradox between  "absolute gift and yet absolute demand." 

Maybe we are too quick to hear the absolute gift, and fail to hear  the absolute demand. 

We want the grace  yet too often ignore the costly discipleship. 

The men in our Gospel text immediately knew that Jesus did not invite them to become spectators. 

Rather he wanted them to join him in proclaiming the Good News.

That the Kingdom of God is at hand. 

He makes this clear when he says, "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men. To fish for people." 

Jesus used wonderful terminology to make this kind of discipleship clear to them. 

He picked up on the images of their own vocation.

"I will make you fish for people." 

Fishing for a living in the 1st century was a lot different from the kind of fishing most folks know today, But there are still lessons to be learned from this great analogy of Jesus.

When we understand Jesus words, we will know that the Christian Church is the worlds largest fishing society. 

Our commission by Christ is to  Go Fish! 

To bring men and women into the kingdom of God. 

Many churches sit around bragging about the days when their boat was full of fresh fish. 

They look nostalgically to the days when the main purpose of their church was fishing,  to reach others for Christ. 

So  what does it mean  to go fishing  with Jesus? 

First of all, you are supposed to enjoy fishing. 

It is not to be something that fills you with fear, frustration or dread. 

The fishing analogy can help us to see the joy when lives are changed by the power of Gods love. 

But before we can enjoy it, we have to get out in our world and go fish. 

Fishing is telling your story. How Jesus brought you from here  to Here 

When we begin fishing then and only then can we really understand the joy of the catch and work on becoming better fishermen. 

Some folks are filled with fear,  Yet  others are filled with anticipation of a great catch. 

But all followers of Christ will have to get their hook wet before they can understand what it really means to: Go fish. 

Beloved Learn to enjoy sharing your story. Learn to enjoy fishing  by fishing. 

The second lesson is: we need to go where the fish are.

The reason many fishermen have an empty net is they do not go where the fish are.

Too many people try to fish by sitting in the boat No pole No net  and expect the fish to come to them. 

It just does not work that way. We have to go to them. 

Thirdly we have to use the right bait. 

Now the fishermen in Jesus day usually used a net, which probably has some valuable lessons as well.

But most fishermen today like to use a bait of one type or another. 

But you have to use the right bait. 

If you are fishing for crappie, you would not use top water crank baits. 

If you are fishing for bass, you should not use stink bait that is best for catfish cruising along the bottom. 

Now we have to be careful with this bait analogy.

We are not trying to trick people, so that we can feed on them.

Rather we have to find what it is that interests others, and use that as a means of encouraging them to come into the Kingdom of God.

We are not trying to lure people to their death  but to lead them to a new life in Jesus Christ. 

We must met people at their needs. 

Which could be as simple as friendship. Someone who cares. 

It is taking the time to build a new relationship or to deepen a relationship with those that God has put into your life.

Jesus called his disciples to:  Follow him.  Go fish.

We are quick to hear the first part to follow him, but not the second. To Go Fish. 

This story will help illustrate our call.. 

On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur there was once a crude, little, life-saving station. 

The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat  but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea. 

And went out day and night tirelessly searching for the lost. 

Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding area, wanted to become associated with the station.

To give of their time, money and effort for the support of its work.

New boats were bought and new crews trained.

The little life-saving station grew. 

Some of the members of the station were unhappy that the building was so crude and poorly equipped.

They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea. 

They replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in the enlarged building. 

Now, the life-saving station became a popular gathering place for its members.
And they decorated it beautifully and furnished it exquisitely. 

Fewer members were now interested in going to sea on lifesaving missions, so they hired life-boat crews to do this work. 

The life-saving motif still prevailed in this clubs décor,  and there was a symbolic life-boat in the room where the club initiations were held.

About this time a large ship wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in boat loads of cold, wet and half-drowned people. 

They were dirty and sick and some of them had black skin and some had yellow skin. 

The beautiful new club was in chaos. 

So the property committee immediately had a temporary shower erected outside the club where victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up  before coming inside. 

At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership. 

Most of the members wanted to stop the clubs life-saving activities because it was a hindrance to the normal social life of the club. 

Some members though insisted upon life-saving as their primary purpose  for they were still called a life-saving station. 

But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save lives,  they could begin their own life-saving station down the coast. 

Which They Did. 

As the years went by, this new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old. 

It to evolved into a club,  and yet another life-saving station was founded further down the coast.

History continued to repeat itself, and if you visit that sea coast today, you will find a number of exclusive clubs along the shore. 

That is a fairly graphic tale of folks  who forgot what they were originally called for. 

Sadly far too many Churches especially in the developed nations have become this way. 

It is as if we reason that Jesus did not really mean it when he said,  "Go fish." 

If we are to be conformed to the image of Christ.

If we are going to be mature in the faith we must  "Go Fish". 

We must have a heart for the lost. 

If we are conformed to the image of Christ how can we not share the Good News! How can we not: Go Fish?

No back-up strategy?" 

Jesus... "I have made no other plans. 

I am counting on them!" 

The same call Jesus extended to Peter, Andrew, James, and John, 
He extends to everyone who has received His call to salvation. 

Remember who you are in Christ. You are a Fisher of Men  a Fisher of People. 

Jesus states in the Gospel of John that you should Love one another  as I have loved you. 

That makes sharing your life in Christ  That makes Fishing so much easier.

Love gives us the desire to introduce others to our Lord & Savior. 

I believe the opposite of Love is not Hate, , it is Fear.

And it is fear that keeps us from stepping out and doing the right thing. 

It could be the fear of how we are perceived  the fear that we might be considered different.

Remember our Lords words:  

"Fear Not"! I am with you always even to the end of the age. 

Beloved  Jesus is counting on all who call him both Savior and Lord to "Go Fish" . Jesus is counting on you!

Be courageous  stand firm in the faith.

Yield to Jesus, offer to him all that you are.  

and let him take you from glory to glory. 

Sunday Morning 10-28-2012

Posted by Sherry

John 13:31-35 
CBC 10/28/12
INTRO: Jesus is facing the closure of His earthly ministry.
Not much time left to “give another devotional” (my pet peeve”)...
What He says now must be to the point
It must be accepted and put into immediate practice.
Every moment and every word counted...

After dinner he took his chance…and said: 
“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, love one another.” 
This question…simple and genuine…cuts to the core of HOW he loved…
HOW he wants us to live and love…today and everyday…
Here’s what Jesus meant when he commanded us
“Love one another…AS I HAVE LOVED YOU.” 

  1. Leprosy Love of Jesus…
    1. first thing Jesus does coming off the greatest sermon ever given…the sermon on the mount? 
    2. Visits, touches, and cures the most outcast person of his culture…a man with leprosy…who are the lepers in our lives?

  1. Leftovers Love of Jesus…
    1. on two occasions, Jesus fed masses and made sure there were leftovers! 
    2. He didn’t ask for food stamps or demand proof of membership…
    3. he fed them all and said, “I’ll always have more than you need…more love that is!” 
Who is starved for love in our lives?

  1. Tough Love of Jesus…
    1. the rich young man who claimed to have kept all the commandments asked Jesus what else he needed to do…
    2. JC said, sell your possessions, give the money to the poor and follow me…
    3. the guy bailed out. 
    4. Too tough…but true. 
    5. JC wanted him to get rid of anything that stood between them... 
    6. Who needs to hear the tough truth about what stands between us and God in lives?

  1. Blind Love of Jesus…
    1. the exchange between Bartimeaus, the blind guy inspires me every time. 
    2. Just when people who were embarrassed by Bart were telling him to leave Jesus alone…
    3. that Jesus had more important things to do…
    4. Jesus said, “Come here Bart…
    5. their opinion of you matters not to me!” Who are we embarrassed of?

  1. Unlikely Love of Jesus…one of my favorites. 
    1. No one was more unlikable than shrimpy little Zaccheus. 
    2. He was the Roman Tax collector who enforced the Roman tax by cruising around with a couple of thugs. 
    3. Zach kept his own share…
    4. he bought his friends with it. 
    5. No one liked him…
    6. but Jesus called him out of that tree and had dinner with him. 
    7. Can we count the number of people in our lives that we don’t like?

  1. Look-in-the-Mirror Love of Jesus…
    1. Few accounts as vivid as the woman caught in the act of adultery…
    2. Jesus standing between the woman and the gathered crowd with fists full of rocks ready to stone her to death…
    3. Jesus says…”Look in the mirror…
    4. who is without faults throw the first one.”
    5. How quick are we to judge others without inspecting our own lives first?

  1. Stinky Feet Love of Jesus…
    1. as gross as our feet get from time to time…
    2. it can’t be anything compared to first century feet when they had no socks, shoes, paved roads, carpeted floors, showers, or baths…
    3. as bad as they were Jesus cleaned them by hand… 
    4. humbling himself to servant of all. 
    5. When was the last time we humbly served someone in our lives?

  • When Jesus said, “In the same way I loved you, love one another” he meant all of these things…
    • Leprosy Love, 
    • Leftovers Love, 
    • Tough Love, 
    • Blind Love, 
    • Unlikely Love, 
    • Look-in-the-Mirror Love, 
    • Stinky Feet Love…and much, much more…that’s just seven instances!

  • His greatest act of love was yet to come…
    • stretching out his arms on the cross he said, “I love you this much.” 

  • The GOOD news…(Gospel)…the message of love that... 
    • hugs lepers, 
    • feeds strangers with leftovers, 
    • tells the tough truth, 
    • is blind to the opinions of this world, 
    • embraces the unlike-able, 
    • judges self-not others, and 
    • humbles itself in servanthood to all. 
    • I deeply desire the day when I don’t have to apologize to strangers who say to me on a plane or in the mall or on the golf course “I’ve lost interest in my faith…I can get judgment, exclusion, self-righteousness, and hypocrisy from my office and co-workers, why would I go to church for that?” 
  • Look for places and people in your life that are calling for the love of Christ
    • let the world know we are Christians
      • not by our words
      • not by our bumper stickers
      • not by our jewlery
      • BUT BY OUR LOVE (action word!)

COPchurch: Dealing With Fear

Posted by Sherry

Sunday Morning 10-21-2012

Posted by Sherry

We Possess the Choice to Rejoice
Philippians 4:4-9 
CBC 10/21/2012
INTRO: How do we survive tragedy?
How do we adjust to our loved one being in heaven instead of at home with us?
How do we cope as a church when a beloved member is called home to heaven?
How do we live this life that we are being called to? 
How do we daily live this joyous Christian life? 
Paul gives us three principles:
***First Paul informs us in Philippians that we have a choice to rejoice – 
Yes, Joy is a choice.

• We are not a victim of the circumstance

• If we believe God, then He is our Guide, not fate, not some kind of uncontrollable force.

Paul says we can be joyful IN THE LORD.

• In other words, the source of this joy comes from God. (P) There’s a huge difference between happiness and joy.

• Happiness depends upon happenings or circumstances. 
When we watch a comedy or attend a party, the circumstance may bring about happiness.

  • Joy, the Bible informs us is part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. 
  • True joy is a gift, a gift from God.

If we accept Him not only as Savior but also as the Lord then, we can expect this joy to permeate our life.

• The Holy Spirit dwells in us and gives us this joy.

Joy comes from God who lives in us, not from what’s happening outside of us.

Remember Paul is in prison when he writes this letter. 
• If we understand his predicament, his circumstance then he is obviously and understandably not happy.

Paul himself is in prison and his future uncertain. Yet he says, rejoice! Have Joy!

Joy is not just emotion. 
It is a choice; 
it is an attitude an attitude towards life.
What you give, you will Receive, 
If you are seeking joy then give joy. 

When I have a lack of joy in my life I make a decision and choose to pass joy on to others and it becomes contagious. 

Have you exceeded anyone’s expectations? 
Have you treated everyone fairly? 
Have you brought joy to someone? 

• Paul did not look at himself and his predicament

He was always looking to God, trusting Him to lead and provide.

• You can look at a half-filled cup and thank God that you have some water to drink. 

Or lament why you have only half a cup and not a full one. (victim mentality)
It’s a choice. 
It’s your attitude.

  • You can choose to think always about your weakness
  • about what you DO NOT have
  • or you can rejoice and be filled with joy for what you do have

  • Don’t see the thorns among the roses. 
  • Rather be thankful that among the thorns there are beautiful roses.

Habbakkuk: 3:17-19 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. 

The words "I will" revealed Habakkuk’s belief that he could choose his response - 
either to sink into despair 
or to rejoice in God’s presence and power. 

  • His decision to rejoice wasn’t a denial of hardship or sorrow. 
  • We will have times of sorrow and grief. 
  • Even Jesus wept.

  • But sorrow cannot knock us down. 
  • We can rely on God the Creator of the Universe the great I am.

Our attitude towards life is important. 
We can trust God, even in hardships.

• The choice to rejoice is ours every day. 

  • To refuse to choose is itself a choice. 
  • And we let the circumstances overwhelm us and rob us of joy.

Fanny Crosby wrote over 8000 hymns (Blessed Assurance, Praise Him Praise Him, To God Be the Glory). She lost her sight when she was only 6 weeks old. She lived into her nineties, composing thousands of beloved hymns. 

On her 92nd birthday she cheerfully said, "If in all the world you can find a happier or more joyous person than I am, do bring him to me. I should like to shake his hand."

***Joy is a Choice and 2nd You are Blessed
I want you to understand, truly understand how blessed you are this morning.

If you woke up today with more health than illness, you are more blessed than tens of thousands of people who will not survive the week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 20 million people around the world.

If you attend a church service without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death, you are more blessed than almost three billion people in the world.

If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you can read, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world.

Beloved you are blessed, so very blessed. We take way, way too much for granted. You and I are blessed in ways we may never fully comprehend on this side of eternity.

***Joy is a choice, You are blessed and lastly, Paul tells us: We must, We must Commit ourselves to PRAYER. 
Prayer, a personal time with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. 

My Yoke is easy and my burden is light saith the Lord. 
If your yoke is heavy, if your burdens are weighing you down then you have the wrong yoke around your neck. Release these burdens cast them to the Lord.

• Only when you can entrust your worries to God, can you experience True Peace, Spiritual Peace, His peace.

Now, there is nothing wrong with having concern, we all have our concerns. 

  • It is when your concerns own you, when they burden you down. 
  • That is when the spiritual death spiral begins! 

That is, they move from concerns and become worries, worries that impact your very being. 
You think about them all the time. 
And You are under their bondage.

This story helps to portray this bondage:
ILL: There was a man was walking down road with a large sack of potatoes on his shoulder. 

It was so heavy that he had sweat on his brow / a man pulled over in a pickup truck and offered him a ride / he climbed into the passenger side, but kept sack on his shoulder / after a while the driver looked over and said, “put that sack on the floor and relax” / he replied, “no sir, I’ll not do it…it’s enough that you’d carry me to town, I’m not gonna ask you to carry these taters too!”

And that’s just what we do to the Lord sometimes. 
We are carrying a burden the Lord never intended us to carry…but we are hard headed and we seem to insist!

When we had a question at school, we would give it to a teacher.
When we are sick and helpless, we give control over to a physician.
When there is a legal problem that we cannot solve, we give it to a lawyer.

When in life we face difficulties when we have burdens, we need to pray and entrust them, to give them to God.

Paul tells us very clearly, let them go. Give them to God.

• Prayer is actually an expression of our faith in God and His promises in Scripture. An expression that states we trust him and His word.

• I remember a wall plaque that read, "Why pray when you can worry?" 
But those words remind us the real truth: "Why worry when you can pray?"

Corrie Ten Boom shared this truth, "Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength." (Repeat)

• "Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face; and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace."
We are called to fix our affection on things above not on things of the earth. 

What we must feed our minds with is God’s truth – Paul instructs us: "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."

Are you feeding life’s struggles are you feeding your concerns and turning them into worries and burdens or are you rejoicing and choosing joy?

Give them all, give them all, give them all to Jesus
And He will turn your sorrows into Joy.

Beloved Choose Joy, 
You are blessed and are called to be a blessing. 
His Yoke is easy and His burden is light, 
go to Him in prayer he will turn your sorrows, he will turn your burdens, He will turn your life into joy.

Cozumel 2012 #2

Posted by Sherry

Choir Rehearsal

Posted by Sherry

COPchurch:Make Some Worry Free Time

Posted by Sherry

Cozumel Video

Posted by Sherry

Cozumel 2012

Posted by Sherry

Sunday Evening 10-14-2012

Posted by Sherry

More than Fellowship: Understanding Koinonia 
Acts 2:41-47 
CBC 10/14/12 SN
What do you expect to gain from a small group?
What do you expect out of this church?

What should this small group expect from you?
What should this church expect from you?

41 Therefore those who accepted and welcomed his message were baptized, and there were added that day about 3,000 souls.
42 And they steadfastly persevered, devoting themselves constantly to the instruction and fellowship of the apostles, to the breaking of bread [including the Lord’s Supper] and prayers.
43 And a sense of awe (reverential fear) came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were performed through the apostles (the special messengers).
44 And all who believed (who adhered to and trusted in and relied on Jesus Christ) were united and [together] they had everything in common;
45 And they sold their possessions (both their landed property and their movable goods) and distributed the price among all, according as any had need.
46 And day after day they regularly assembled in the temple with united purpose, and in their homes they broke bread [including the Lord’s Supper]. They partook of their food with gladness and simplicity and generous hearts,
47 Constantly praising God and being in favor and goodwill with all the people; and the Lord kept adding [to their number] daily those who were being saved [from spiritual death].

  • Are you familiar with the word “FELLOWSHIP”?
    • An infant not touched regularly by human hands can suffer a fatal abnormality known as “failure to thrive” syndrome
    • that can happen in our spiritual lives as well
    • I’ve been asked, “Why don’t the young adults seem more committed to our church”
    • According to our text, one possibility is that there is not enough interaction between our older members and our younger members.
    • I’ve noticed @ our “eating meetings” older members sit with their long time friends to the exclusion of the younger members...every single time.
    • the only way to “connect” the younger members is to include them in your circle
  • v42 devoting themselves constantly to the instruction and fellowship of the apostles, to the breaking of bread [including the Lord’s Supper] and prayers.
    • fellowship here is - a sharer, companion, a partaker & participant in communion
  • v43 a sense of awe (reverential fear) came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were performed through the apostles
    • that’s the “by-product” of genuine “fellowship”
  • v44-45 And all who believed (who adhered to and trusted in and relied on Jesus Christ) were united and [together] they had everything in common;45 And they sold their possessions (both their landed property and their movable goods) and distributed the price among all, according as any had need.
    • Notice some important words...
      • united
      • together
      • common
      • sharing
      • ...that’s fellowship!
      • I’m not sure we’re not shooting ourselves in the foot when we promote an early service for the sole purpose of being “SEPARATE” from the younger members because their worship preference & style doesn’t suit our taste...
  • True Fellowship
    • when we demonstrate genuine caring for each other
    • when we notice and meet each other’s needs
    • it’s beyond saying, “I care for you”
    • Fellowship means we “take action”
  • v46 And day after day they regularly assembled in the temple with united purpose, and in their homes they broke bread [including the Lord’s Supper]. They partook of their food with gladness and simplicity and generous hearts,
    • being of one mind...
    • doesn’t mean we all have the same preference
    • does mean we are all united in one purpose...longevity of CBC as the Lord’s church in Prescott, AR, fulfilling the great commission.
    • maintaining a singular focus to serve God and serve each other
    • our motive for being here is to PLEASE GOD...and leave ourselves out of it.
* Greater LOVE hath no man than this, that a man LAY DOWN his life for his friends...
  • (sometimes we must lay down our preferences for the cause of Christ...)
    • why don’t they lay down their preferences???
    • b/c they’re going to be here longer than you are and the longevity of the church is dependent on them and not you
    • the benefit is this...
John 13:35 “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”