Sunday Morning 2-24-2013

Posted by Sherry


GOD’S EXPECTATION FOR THE CHURCH 
Acts 2:40-47 (NKJV)
CBC 2/24/13 SM

What are your expectations for CBC?
What is the expectations from our sister associational churches?
What is the community expectations?
None of those are important as what GOD’S EXPECTATIONS for us are!

As a church, God has expectations from us too. 
He is interested on how we conduct our lives and express our potentials in doing His will. 
But what does God expect from churches? 
What does God expect from Central Baptist Church, Prescott as we exist? 
TEXT:Acts 2:40-47 40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” 41 Then those who gladly[a] received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church[b] daily those who were being saved.

A. GOD EXPECTS US TO BE A LEARNING CONGREGATION (v. 42a) And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine

  • “devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching.” 
  • “devote” as to set apart for a special use or service or to dedicate. 
  • also means to give up oneself or one’s time, energy to some purpose, activity or person. 
  • early believers gave up themselves to the study of God’s Word through the apostles.
  • A growing church is a church where members are willing to give up a portion of their time and energy for the study of God’s word.
  • the study of God’s Word and being a Christian cannot be separated. 
  • May it be public or private, personal or corporate, Christians will and should study the Word of God. 
  • The Spirit of God who lives within us is the Spirit of Truth. 
  • He will initiate the study of God’s Word and help us understand the truth. 
  • Why is it essential that we become a learning congregation? 

These statements reveal two major reasons for becoming a learning congregation:

1. MATURITY (1 Peter 2:2) as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,

  • One reason why we never make or choose the right decision is due to lack of knowledge or understanding. 
  • The Bible says that the inability to distinguish right from wrong is a sign of immaturity.
  • As the believer understands the truth and practices them, then it will lead to personal growth. 
  • Changes will take place and character will be strengthened. 
  • If the church is filled with illiterate believers, then, they will easily stumble and give up.
  • Immature behavior will destroy us. 

ILL. Maturity is the ability to do a job whether supervised or not; finish it once started; carry money without spending it; and … bear an injustice without wanting to get even. —Fred Cook, quoted in Lloyd Cory, Quote Unquote


2. MINISTRY (2 Timothy 3:16-17) All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

  • The study of God’s Word will help us understand the work of God 
  • – how it is done and what are the resources available to us. 

  • Equipped – to complete, fully furnished. 
  • Implies the provision of all the things requisite for a particular service, action (e.g. to furnish a house, a car equipped with overdrive).

• Teaching – concerning the things of God and the duties of man.
• Rebuking – reprove; to express disapproval of something done or said; in other words the Scriptures is our basis for approving or disapproving something done or said.
• Correcting – restoration to an upright or right state; correction, improvement of life or character. (E.g. straightening a deformed hand)
• Training – conveys the idea of the whole training and education of children, which relates to the cultivation of minds and morals.

If you have the Spirit without the Word of God, you blow up.
If you have the Word of God without the Spirit, you dry up.
If you have both the Spirit and the Word of God, you grow up.


B. GOD EXPECTS US TO BE A CARING CONGREGATION (v. 42, 46)

“They devoted themselves to the fellowship.”

  • Koinonia or fellowship connotes the idea of being partner, sharer, associate and participant. 
  • Because believers share in something or someone in this context God and blessings, we should be committed to each other. 
  • Despite our differences and difficulties, our common bond should be the basis for staying together and overcoming barriers. (
  • I John 1:3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.

  • The early believers devoted themselves to fellowship.
  • “devotes” literally means to continue steadfastly and wait on.
  • Applying to fellowship, it means to adhere to one another, to be steadfastly attentive to one another, to persevere and not to faint in relating to each other.

  • Commitment to the Messiah implied commitment to the Messianic community, that is, the church. 
  • This commitment to the Messianic community includes commitment to overcome difficulties and differences with one another. 
  • Whose responsibility is this? 
  • In verse 44, it says, “all the believers were together and had everything in common.
  • Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.” 
  • Here we can see that it is everyone’s business to address difficulties and differences and to meet a particular need. 
  • Why is this necessary? 
  • A strong partnership, association or fellowship attracts other participants to become investors. 
  • Why do people join fraternities and social clubs? 
  • What attracts them to participate? 
  • It is the strong bond that those groups demonstrate. 
  • People do not want to be identified with weak and unstable associations. 
  • How can we demonstrate that kind of quality? 
  • Philippians 2:1-4 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? 2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
  • 3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

  • The strength of our fellowship is not our personal ideas, opinions, nationality but our common relationship with God through Jesus Christ. 
  • Our common relationship with God should cause us to be humble toward one another.
  • Each must be willing to set aside his personal interest and uphold the interest of the community. 
  • Every time we come for fellowship, let look after our community interest. 


C. GOD EXPECTS US TO BE A WORSHIPING CONGREGATION (v. 42, 46-47)

“They devoted themselves to the breaking of bread and to prayer… Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.”

  • Their fellowship was expressed not only in caring for each other, but in corporate worship too. 
  • Moreover, the definite article in both expressions suggests a reference to the Lord’s Supper on the one hand and prayer services or meetings on the other. 
  • There are two aspects of the early church’s worship, which exemplify its balance.

  1. It was both formal and informal
  • it took place both in the temple courts and in their homes (v. 46), which is an interesting combination. 
  • These are necessary to cause personal and corporal growth. 
  • The church is the visible spiritual image of Christ. 
  • He is the head and we are his body. 
  • Every time we congregate ourselves, we are letting the world know that Christ is indeed alive through this people.

  1. It was both joyful and reverent
  • There can be no doubt they have their joy, for they are described as having glad and sincere hearts (v. 46). 
  • Worship is our response to God’s graciousness and love. 
  • Because it is their response to God’s graciousness and love, they do it regularly, voluntarily, promptly, gladly, and sincerely.
  • “The world can be influenced to salvation by our sincere worship. 
  • To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, 
  • to feed the mind with the truth of God, 
  • to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, 
  • to open the heart to the love of God, 
  • to devote the will to the purpose of God”.—William Temple

  • Has today’s worship become a duty more than a response to God’s graciousness?
  • Some of his people are struggling to get up every Sunday, and give their best in worshiping God. 
  • Every time we come to this place to worship God, 
  • worship Him through our singing, praying, giving, listening and meditating on His word.


D. GOD EXPECTS US TO BE A WITNESSING CONGREGATION (v. 43,46)

“And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

“After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.” (Acts 4:31-33)

  • The first Jerusalem Christians were not so preoccupied with learning, sharing and worshiping, that they forgot about witnessing. 
  • For the Holy Spirit is a missionary Spirit who created a missionary church. 

  • Many people take the letter “C” out of the “Great Commission,” ending with the “Great Omission.” 
  • A very slight change in spelling, but a very serious change in meaning.

  • The book of Acts is governed by one dominant, overriding and all controlling motif.
  • This motif is the expansion of the faith through missionary witness in the power of the Spirit. 
  • From these earliest believers in Jerusalem, we can learn vital lessons about local church evangelism.

  1. They were filled with Holy Spirit. 
  • The Holy Spirit empowered them and gave them boldness in testifying about our Lord Jesus Christ. 
  • Let us ask God to filled us with His Holy Spirit. 

  1. They preached the Word of God. 
* They learned the Word of God and share it to others. 

  1. They continued to testify about Christ. 
  • How long are we going to witness to others about Jesus? 
  • As long as there are unbelievers and Christ has not return yet, we must share the word of God. 
  • The church that stops sowing the seed which is the Word of God will stop growing. 

  1. The Lord added people daily. 
  • They did not organize a yearly mission emphasis. 
  • No, just as their worship was daily, so was their witness. 
  • Praise and proclamation were both the natural overflow of hearts full of the Holy Spirit.
  • And as their outreach was continuous, so continuously converts were being added. 
  • It is a way of life for the early believers.

Success in witnessing is simply taking the initiative to share Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, then leaving the results to God.—Bill Bright

CONCLUSION

the key toward healthy living aside from exercise is having a balanced diet. 

God expects us to have a balanced church life. 
Some of us are only interested in worship and ignore fellowship. 
Others enjoy too much fellowship and weak in learning God’s Word. 
While some are too knowledgeable about the Word of God but fails in relating to fellow believers. 
We must have a balance church life to meet God’s Expectations

1. Be a learning congregation
2. Be a worshipping congregation
3. Be a caring congregation
4. Be a witnessing congregation

Sunday Morning 2-17-2013

Posted by Sherry


FORMULA FOR REVIVAL
2 Kings 18:1-8
CBC 2/17/2013 SM

INTRO: (v1-3)  Hezekiah became King of Judah
He was 25 years old...
term lasted 29 years (54, my age)
patterned his ministry after someone who had been successful...King David

TEXT: 1 Hezekiah son of Ahaz began to rule over Judah in the third year of King Hoshea’s reign in Israel. 2 He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother was Abijah,[a] the daughter of Zechariah. 3 He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, just as his ancestor David had done. 4 He removed the pagan shrines, smashed the sacred pillars, and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke up the bronze serpent that Moses had made, because the people of Israel had been offering sacrifices to it. The bronze serpent was called Nehushtan.[b]
5 Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before or after his time. 6 He remained faithful to the Lord in everything, and he carefully obeyed all the commands the Lord had given Moses. 7 So the Lord was with him, and Hezekiah was successful in everything he did. He revolted against the king of Assyria and refused to pay him tribute. 8 He also conquered the Philistines as far distant as Gaza and its territory, from their smallest outpost to their largest walled city.

TURNAROUND v4

TRUST v5

TENACITY v6

CONCL: v7-8
Lord was with Him
Hezekiah successful in everything he did
  • revolted against king of Assyria & refused to pay tribute (and got away with it)
  • conquered the Philistines (from smallest outpost to largest walled city)

Sunday Evening 2-10-2013

Posted by Sherry


PRAISE THE LORD
Psalm 150
CBC 2/10/13 SN
corporate worship never intended to be passive!
“praise the Lord” to King David was an ecstatic expression of unbridled joy!

we praise what we prize

WHERE?
v1 sanctuary (temple)
  • we are the temple now...
  • extends to the mighty heavens - EVERYWHERE

WHY?
v2 for WHAT He has done
  • acts of power - champion & victories He has won
  • benefits of His acts of power - forgiveness, grace and salvation
  • restored relationships
  • victory over sin (Freedom) we discussed last SN
  • renewed health
  • answer to specific prayer request

v2b for His surpassing Greatness
  • no one can fathom His greatness
  • His understanding
  • His wisdom
  • His creativity

HOW?
v3-5 loud and boisterous
  • describes an incredible praise band
  • trumpet, harp, lyre, tambourine, dancing, strings, flute, clash of resounding cymbals
  • (piano in honkey tonk before drums....FYI)
  • Israelites used 3 types of instruments
    • wind
    • string
    • percussion
  • when you’ve been set free from captivity you have no problem playing a tambourine and dancing...just ask Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister after the Red Sea experience
  • resounding cymbals - translated (the clamor of joy)
    • God wants us to clamor with joy
Spurgeon wrote: “awaken the sleeping, startle the indifferent w/ sounds loud and high proclaiming the glories of the Lord.”

WHO? (discussed this morning) everybody, everywhere w/ everything we’ve got

Sunday Morning 2-10-2013

Posted by Sherry


Breathing equals Praising
Psalm 150:6 (AMP)
CBC 2/10/2013 SM

INTRO: The devil is intent on robbing God any way he can.
One method is to trick the church into “Muted” worship.
Withholding our uninhibited praise to God for all He has done for us.
However it happened, some churches have embraced unscriptural, DEAD worship.
A Corpse is DEAD or LIFELESS, not reverent. (don’t confuse the terms)
The Bible not only condemns this course of action 
It gives us the true course we are to set when worshipping our God in our text.

Going to Learn a New Worship Word - HALLELUJAH or ALLELUIA
def. - (Hbrw) praise ye the Lord
Let’s practice...Hallelujah
(all the young people together - Hallelujah
(all the young adults together - Hallelujah
(all the adults together - Hallelujah
(all the Sr. adults together - Hallelujah
(all the Saints in the Sanctuary - HALLELUJAH
* a’int that something...the roof DIDN’T fall in
It’s a Bible Word, we find it in our text

ILL: LJ & I walk on the H.S. track sometimes during baseball practice.  Now it’s just PRACTICE, mind you. The coach is pitching, nobody has on a uniform, but when the batter hits the ball all sorts of PRAISING & ENCOURAGING takes place.  At first U might mistake it for confusion or a commotion B/C it just erupts out of nowhere, but it’s not.  It’s praise & encouragement. (offense encouraging the batter to make it to base & the defense is encouraging other’s to get him put out.  



Psalm 150:6 Let everything that has breath and every breath of life praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!)

NOTICE: 
Only the “breathing” are asked to praise the Lord,
The DEAD are exempted from the process.

NOTICE:
“Let everyone that has breath...praise the Lord”
If you are in this worship service and breathing...THAT MEANS YOU! 
“Whosoever”...

NOTICE:
the very “breath” that you are enjoying right now comes from God
very prideful, disrespectful & irreverent to refuse to use that breath to praise God

NOTICE:
Selfishness & Pride are the root cause of refusing to Praise the Lord
  • more concerned of what you want than what God is asking for
  • more concerned of how you will appear before others, than how you appear to God

NOTICE:
Praise is an expression of LOVE
Are you so calloused as to not express love to the one who:
  • died for you
    • came back from the grave for you
    • conquered Hell for you
    • paid your sin debt
    • protects and guides you every day
    • preparing a place for you for all eternity?

NOTICE:
  • Let every breath of life praise the Lord
    • not just the breath you use SM during worship service
    • the breath we use the other days and nights of the week
  • A breath that launches hurtful words, or evil sayings is disrespectful to the God who gave us that breath.
    • We have betrayed God’s interest, which is love and fellowship

Closing verse of the Psalms can be view as:
  • a desire 
    • that should be held by every true believer
  • a prayer
    • adequately communicating our appreciation for God’s care, Christ’s work and the Holy Spirit’s conviction, protection & guidance
  • an exhortation
    • this is proper worship service etiquette
AS A DESIRE
  • Realizes the glory due to God
  • The expression of the Christians nobility in the Heavenly Family (worship)
  • The mindset of the heart with which to evangelize the world
AS A PRAYER
  • seeking the downfall of every superstition 
  • the universal spread of the truth
  • the conversation of every soul
AS AN EXHORTATION
  • it is plain
  • it is pertinent (relevant)
  • it is pure in it’s piety (the very definition of how God views reverence)
    • reverent - deep respect for someone or something
    • after reading God’s instruction for worship in Psalm 150...
    • it’s disrespectful to not use our breath to praise Him
    • it’s disrespectful to not praise Him loudly with the available musical instruments
    • it’s irreverent to not praise God w/ voice & instrument in His sanctuary (v1)
    • it’s irreverent & disrespectful to cross our arms & set our jaw because we’ve added instruments of praise (some mentioned here, cymbals)
    • When we refuse to worship using our breath or playing an instrument we’ve been given the talent to use we have just OPENLY DEFIED THE GOD ALMIGHTY!!!
  • it is complete in it’s love (action)
    • praise is a testimony that we have something personally to CHEER about
CONCL:
  • possibly you don’t cheer b/c you’re not a part of the team
  • lost w/out Christ as your Savior
  • living trapped in a life that offers nothing but slavery & turmoil
  • a Poser that doesn’t have that well spring of living water gushing from your soul
INV:
You can change that today...

Meet The Staff- Paul Byford

Posted by Sherry

My name is Paul Byford and I'm so excited to join the staff of Central Baptist Church. I've been working with youth since 2009 and while it is one of the toughest jobs I've ever had, it's also the most rewarding. I'm very passionate to see teenagers owning their faith and showing Jesus to the world. Statistics say that most teenagers never step foot in church again after graduating high school. I don't like that statistic and want to do all I can to change it. 

My wife, Chastity Byford, and I got married the summer of 2004. She is my partner in ministry, my biggest supporter, and my best friend. I graduated from Central Baptist College in Conway, AR with a BS in Bible with a minor in Youth Ministry. I love to play guitar, and music in general, video games, movies, fishing, camping, hiking, working on cars....typical guy stuff. While I don't have time to read much for pleasure these days, I love anything by Frank Peretti or Ted Decker.

God's got great things in store for our lives. We just have to learn to listen a little better sometimes. He never promised following him would be easy, but the eternal rewards far exceed any difficulty we may endure in this life. I look forward to getting to know you more while serving here at Central Baptist Church.

Sunday Morning 2-3-2013

Posted by Sherry


WHAT DID YOU SAY?
Hebrews 1:1-3 (AMP)
CBC 2/3/13 SM
INTRO:
ever miscommunicated?
ILL: ‘A man called his neighbor to help him move a couch that had become stuck in the doorway. They pushed and pulled until they were exhausted, but the couch wouldn’t budge. "Forget it," the man finally said. "We’ll never get this in."The neighbor looked at him quizzically and said, "In?"
NEVER USE THESE TWO WORDS INTERCHANGEABLY:
COMMUNICATE & INFORMATION
Communicate - give out
Information - get through
most good at “giving out”...
not all good at “getting through”
ILL:··· When Gerber first started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as here in the USA--with the cute baby on the label. Later they found out that in Africa companies routinely put pictures on the label of what is inside
since most people cannot read.
ILL:··· When Pepsi started marketing its products in China a few years back, they translated their slogan, "Pepsi Brings You Back to Life". The slogan in Chinese really meant, "Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back from the Grave."
ILL.··· And, then they found out why the Chevy Nova never sold well in Spanish speaking countries. "No Va" means "It Does Not Go" in Spanish....
ILL: notice was found in a newspaper:
··· ‘In our book, “Skydiving Made Easy”, please make the following correction: On page 12, cross out ‘ENTER ZIP CODE’ and write in ‘PULL RIP CORD’. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.’

Many times, Christians do not properly convey their message, either.

HEBREWS 1:1-2(AMP)

1 In many separate revelations [[a]each of which set forth a portion of the Truth] and in different ways God spoke of old to [our] forefathers in and by the prophets,
2 [But] in [b]the last of these days He has spoken to us in [the person of a] Son, Whom He appointed Heir and lawful Owner of all things, also by and through Whom He created the worlds and the reaches of space and the ages of time [He made, produced, built, operated, and arranged them in order].


1. GOD HAS BEEN TRYING TO GET OUR ATTENTION FOR A LONG TIME

God is “giving out” (trying to communicate)
our hard heart keeps Him from “getting through” (we miss the information)

From Beginning - God wanted us to FOCUS ON HIM
  • love Him
  • be obedient to Him so we wouldn’t get hurt

We keep FOCUSING on...
  • what He wanted
  • what We wanted
  • what We THOUGHT...
**we’ve hated the very people we’re supposed to love
**we’ve shunned people we’re supposed to be bringing to Christ
**we’ve coveted from the people we’re supposed to reach out to and give

God started out w/ “personal” fellowship time w/ Adam & Eve in the garden
  • seeking a very personal and intimate relationship
  • They like us...
  • * ignored what God wanted
  • * focused on what they wanted

God sent prophets & preachers to get the attention back on Him
  • the people killed or ignored the messengers 
God sent His Son 
  • the people killed Him also
Ephesians 2:4-6(AMP) 4 But God—so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us,
5 Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved ([a]delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation).
6 And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us [b]joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

 HEBREWS 1:3(AMP)
3 He (JESUS) is the sole expression of the glory of God [the Light-being, the [c]out-raying or radiance of the divine], and He is the perfect imprint and very image of [God’s] nature, upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power. When He had by offering Himself accomplished our cleansing of sins and riddance of guilt, He sat down at the right hand of the divine Majesty on high,

Anything we need to know about God...we find in Jesus
  • how He thinks
  • how He feels
  • what He looks like
  • what He acts like in any given situation
  • Jesus is fully God. 
  • He is one of the Holy Triune. 
  • He was at the beginning and He will be at the end. 
  • if we desire to be closer to God, we must first recognize that we need to have a personal and loving relationship with the Son.

1 JOHN 5:12 (AMP) 12 He who possesses the Son has that life; he who does not possess the Son of God does not have that life.

Only way to Heaven is through a personal relationship w/ Jesus
don’t sit there & go through the “church” or “religious” motions...
God sees U as a “POSER”
Posers are more focused on how important they are...
rather than how important Jesus is to them
  • many make sure they “look godly”, but forget to make sure they are “godly”
  • Jesus is all about the “heart”
  • * nothing more He wants
  • * won’t settle for anything less

2. WE ARE THE VERY OBJECT OF ALL OF GOD’S LOVE

Biggest hurdle in walk with Christ...
  • the lie that we’re not worthy of God’s love
  • EPHESIANS 2:4 (NAS) “BUT BECAUSE OF HIS GREAT LOVE FOR US…’ 
  • We may not love or acknowledge God, 
  • but He loves us so much He will never give up on us.

JOHN 3:16
‘God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.’

JOHN 3:17
‘For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but to save the world through Him.’

JOHN 3:18
‘Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.’

*God is communicating (giving out)
*not sure we all have let that information get through to our hearts and minds

ILL: Are U like the woman who went into the post office and asked the window clerk for 100 stamps. The clerk asked the lady which denominations she would like and she blurted out, “Just give me 50 Baptist and 50 Methodists.” She had no clue because she never bothered to try and understand.

  • we can be busy LOOKING LIKE a good Christian
  • drop the pretense & actually start worshiping the Lord w/ our heart
  • only then will we really know we are saved and going to Heaven

3. WE ARE PRIDEFUL, AND PEOPLE OF PRIDE DO NOT ACCEPT GIFTS

LOGIC:
  • If we weren’t important...God wouldn’t have messed w/ us this long...
  • If we weren’t important...God wouldn’t have sacrificed His only Son...
  • If we weren’t important...God wouldn’t have put us in charge of this planet...
  • If we weren’t important...God wouldn’t bless us with His blessings...

Some feel the need to be in control to be comfortable...
  • they fall apart or distance themselves if they can’t be in control
  • keeping ALL THE CONTROL is to escort Jesus out the door...
  • Matthew: we can’t serve two masters...love one & hate the other
  • A hard heart allows Pride & Ego to say, “I must be in control”
  • Jesus can’t rule & reign in your life if you won’t turn the control over to Him
  • He can’t bless you with eternal life
  • He can’t bless you with an abundant life on this planet

ILL: A pastor once went to a barber to get a haircut. 
All through the haircut, the pastor wanted to witness to the barber, but the barber kept talking non-stop and gave the pastor no chance to interrupt.
Later, when the pastor was paying for the haircut, he asked the barber if he was a good man. 
The barber said he was. 
The pastor then asked if the barber believed in God, and the barber affirmed that he did. The pastor then asked if the barber thought he would go to heaven, and the barber said that he would because he was such a good man.
The pastor then told the barber that he could use a haircut, too. 
The barber agreed, but said that he had just been so busy he didn’t have a chance.
The pastor said, “Don’t worry, you have a few minutes now, so sit down and I will cut your hair for you.” 
The barber quickly told the pastor that he couldn’t do that because he wasn’t trained to do it.
The pastor assured the barber that he would truly do his very best to do it right, and the barber laughed at him and said, “You best is simply not good enough to do it right.” 
The pastor responded by saying, 
“That is right. 
And trying to be the best person you can is simply not good enough to get into Heaven.”

INV: Where are you RIGHT NOW in relation to Jesus? 
Are you the one who has total control over your heart? 
When is the last time you honestly spent any time really praying to get closer to Jesus?

Do you feel a bit antsy and uncomfortable as I talk about your relationship with Jesus? 
If you do, that is just God trying to get through to you. 
You now have the information and are fully accountable for it. 
What is your decision going to be? 
Are you going to submit your heart to Christ, or are you going to keep the control and go to hell? 
There are no other choices and there is no gray area.

I pray you make the right choice.