Are you Thankful?

Are you thankful?          

Pastor Tyrone preached a powerful message this Sunday on the thought, “Are you Thankful?”  Below are the text, notes, and questions for reflection.

 Text: Luke 17:11-19 NLT

11 As Jesus continued toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. 12 As he entered a village there, ten men with leprosy stood at a distance, 13 crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

14 He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.”And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.

15 One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!”

 16 He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.17 Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine?

 18 Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.[c]”

 Leprosy in Biblical times

Leprosy was a skin disease and those who had it were excommunicated from society.

 "The person with such an infectious disease must wear torn clothes, let his hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of his face and cry out, 'Unclean! Unclean!' As long as he has the infection he remains unclean. He must live alone; he must live outside the camp" (Leviticus 13:45-46).

 

 Healing happens when we do what God instructs us to do.

  • The ten lepers cried out to Jesus and asked Him to have mercy on them.

  • Jesus instructed them to go and show themselves to the priest because it was the priest’s job to look over the lepers and determine if they could be re-admitted into society.

  • As the lepers obeyed the instructions of Jesus, they were healed.

  • When they obeyed the word of the master, leprosy began to disappear.

  • Every step of obedience that they took made their situation improve.

  • The lepers operated in FAITH as they began to take steps to get to the priest. They didn’t argue with Jesus and tell Him it didn’t make sense to go and show themselves to the priest when they were clearly still lepers.  They moved in faith and Jesus responded to their faith and healed them.

  • When we operate in FAITH, when we lean and depend on Jesus, miracles happen!

  • When we follow Jesus’ instructions our situation improves

Reflection Question:  Are you in a difficult place right now?  Have you obeyed the instructions God has given you?  Are you focused on being BOTH a hearer and doer of the word? Do you find that you wait until it makes sense before you obey?

 

Giving thanks vs. being thankful

All ten lepers were healed but only one decided to come back.  This one leper realized that Jesus wasn’t obligated to heal him. This realization made this leper return and he didn’t just say “thank you,” his actions demonstrated thanksgiving.

  • There is a difference between saying thanks and being thankful

  •   Many say thanks, but how many of us live in such a way where our actions demonstrate that we are thankful.

  •    Anyone can say thanks, but my life should exhibit gratitude to the one who has given to me the gift of life

  •     Difference between thanksgiving and thankful living!

Reflection Question: Take inventory of your recent actions.  Are you in the habit of  JUST saying “thank you” or do your actions demonstrate that you are truly thankful for all that God has done?

 

A thankful person walks in humility!

Philippians 2:3-4 gives us the perfect definition of Humility: a willingness to put others before yourself; not looking out only for your own interest but consider others as well. A truly humble person is also filled with thanksgiving because they recognize that all the glory belongs to God.  They didn’t make things happen on their own.  The one leper who returned demonstrated true humility when he came back to demonstrate how thankful he was.

  •   This leper demonstrated true humility when he returned and threw himself at Jesus’ feet.

  •    This leper did not think he was too good to come back. He realized that he didn’t get healed because of his own merits, it was only because of the grace and mercy of God. He took the time to humble himself before the one who showed him mercy.

  •     When we are humble, we don’t try to take credit for what Jesus has done nor do we ignore it, we come back and show how thankful we really are.

Reflection Question:  Have you been taking credit for things that God has done by not coming back to tell God thank you and living a life that demonstrates thanksgiving?

 A thankful person knows how to give thanks, how to praise God!

  • Saying thanks is a form of WORSHIP!

  •    You cannot say you are thankful and not express it through praising God.

  •     In verse 15 of the text, the lepers make a loud request to be healed.  After he received his healing, one leper came back with a loud voice of thanksgiving!

  • His “thank you” was louder than his request.

  •   His prayer led to his praise. My prayer should always lead to my praise.

Reflection Question:  Do you only spend time asking God for things or do you also spend time giving prayers of thanksgiving?

 A thankful person blesses God wherever God blesses him.

There are many suggestions as to why the other 9 did not return. Some say the other 9 were thankful but they were just waiting until the right time to express that gratitude. Some say the other 9 were waiting until they got into the Temple to give God thanks. However, the one who returned was willing to bless God in the very place that God had blessed Him!  He was not going to wait for the “perfect” scenario or place to offer thanksgiving!

  •  God blesses many of us and we don’t give Him the thanks that He deserves right there and then.  We feel that we can’t give God thanks unless we are in the sanctuary and the choir is singing our favorite song. 

  •    Wherever God displays his power is where I am going to display my praise!

Reflection Question:  Is it easy for you to bless God in the same place that he has blessed you?

  A Thankful person returns to the Lord, even when they don’t want anything!

The one leper who returned received what He wanted from God, but he still returned to say thank you. We must have the same mindset of returning to God even when we have received what we wanted.

  •    God wants us to come to Him even when we have received what we wanted.

  •     Many come to God to get from Him but not to be with Him.

  •     He wants to be in fellowship with us

  •     When things are well, I should still run to God!

  •     Our mindset should be, “God you have been so good to me and I have to come back to be with you, just to worship you!”

  • Thankful saints come to church even when they don’t want anything from God.

  • Thankful saints STILL pray when all is well, and there is no pressing need.

  • Thankful people STILL press to read and study the bible even when they are not in a fire.

Reflection Question:  Do you only run to God when you want something?

 A Thankful person gets closer to the Lord!

  • Initially his leprous condition kept him distant from Jesus, but when he came back to say thank you, His praise put Him at the feet of Jesus!

  • Our praise brings us into God’s presence, praise makes us closer to God!

Reflection Question:  Do you feel distant from God?  Have you considered offering up thanksgiving to Him to get into His presence? Is it difficult for you to offer thanksgiving to God?

 

 

 

 

Going After Progress

Pastor Tyrone taught on the thought, “Going After Progress,” and used Philippians 3:10-14 as his text.  The notes are below.

 Philippians 3:10-14 NLT

 10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!

12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,[a] but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

 Pressing: move or cause to move into a position of contact with something by exerting continuous physical force. To continue in one's action.

 GROWTH is a sign that we are in good health. When our children were infants, we had to take them to the doctor every month.  The primary reason was to measure their growth, and a lack of growth was reason for concern. Growth was an expectation, not an exception. 

The same is true for our walk with God.  He expects growth from His children. It is problematic if we remain in the same place.  Our understanding of God’s word should deepen. As time progresses, we should know more than “Jesus wept.”

·        Our faith and knowledge of God should grow with time.

·       We must get out of shallow waters and launch into the deep.

·        Our trust in Him should increase causing doubt to be a thing of the past.

 How do we measure our growth in God? Notice I didn’t say, how do measure our growth in church, nor our growth in religion, but how do we measure our growth in our relationship with God? Our ability to press will determine our level of growth. Are we pressing?

 In this text, Paul writes to the church in Philippi telling them that since he has not crossed the finish line, that he has to keep on pressing, he must keep on growing.  The same is true for us today.

 Obstacles that keep us from pressing/growing in God

1. Your past- past sinful behavior, mistakes and relationships can hold us hostage. We need to leave these things in our past and press forward. Don’t allow condemnation for past sins to hold you, repent and press ahead!

 2. Past progress/victories –Earlier on in Philippians 3:5-6 Paul lists his resume from the past.  He says if anyone has a reason to boast, he certainly does.  He was, “circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.” However, he realizes that those things mean nothing.  Paul recognizes that there is something greater that is before him if he presses.  That greater is the finished line, the prize in Christ that is awaiting him.

 It is easy to highlight our victories, religious activities and accolades from the past and become complacent. While our past accomplishments may have been great, there is still greater in front of us.  We must hunger for more of God and press to the finish line.

 It is important to note that religious activities are not synonymous with growth in Christ. There is a difference between being in church and being in Christ.  God desires for us to be in relationship with Him.  This means that our worship should not be restricted to church attendance and activities.  God never intended for church to be the primary and only place of worship. Worship should start in the home, and not restricted to Sunday. As a matter of fact, true worshippers’ worship during the week and church is just a culmination of what they have been practicing during the week. 

How is my growth in Christ measured?

1.     My willingness to sacrifice

a.      How much do I give up for God’s will to be accomplished in my life?

b.     Jesus said, if anyone wants to follow me, they must deny themselves, and pick up their cross daily. That is a true sign of a disciple of Christ.

c.      How much do I sacrifice for Jesus?

d.     How much am I willing to say “no” to myself and my selfish ambitions and say “yes” to the will of God?

e.      Do I give of my time, talent and treasure to God or are they all used to fulfill my own agenda?

f.       Am I willing to be inconvenienced for the sake of Christ? 

2.     Do I share Christ with others or am I ashamed?

a.      All believers have been called to fulfill the Great Commission, to go and make disciples of all nations (Mathew 28:19).

b.     Share our testimony, not just in words but through our actions.

c.      You don’t need to have a degree in theology to share Jesus

d.     Sharing Christ is not limited to answering people’s questions or even sharing our testimony. It also includes our action, our ability to forgive, our ability to love, etc.

e.      We share whatever we are excited about and if we are embarrassed about something, we keep it to ourselves. Mark 8:38 reminds us that if we are ashamed of Jesus before men, He will be ashamed of us before His father. 

3.     Am I committed to studying the life of Christ?

a.      How much time do we spend studying the bible?

b.     It is impossible to grow in God without studying His Word.

c.      We must be intentional about setting aside time to daily study the word of God.

d.     Commit scriptures to memory.

e.      Knowing the Word builds our faith, gives us wisdom and hope.

f.       Word of God will increase your appetite for more of God

g.     Word of God will deepen your ability to discern truth

h.     Word of God will give you joy

i.       Word of God will give you a backbone not a wishbone

j.       Word of God will give you a greater understanding of your purpose

k.     Word of God provides direction.

 4.     Silent time to pray and to hear His voice.

a.      Prayer is crucial!  We cannot grow without having that time to speak to God and waiting to hear His response.

b.     Prayer is a great expression of our faith in God and our love for Him.

c.      Prayer changes situations

d.     Prayer changes us. Wrong mindsets and attitudes are changed in prayer.  The more we pray the more we reflect the image of God.

e.      Prayer helps us to hear the voice of God amid so many voices.

f.       The devil knows how powerful prayer is and that is why he resist us in this area.

g.     Don’t just pray when you need something.  Don’t use prayer only as a means of getting something from God or getting us out of trouble.  He wants to be in constant fellowship with us.

h.     It is good to make it a habit to get into prayer before we start our day.

Before all the business and clutter closes in on us, we should spend time with God in prayer.

 

5.     Show the love of Christ?

a.      John 13:35 tells us that the world will know we are followers of Christ by the way we love each other.  John 3:16 tells us that God loved the world so much that He sent His son to die for their sins.  We are called to demonstrate the love of Christ, even to those we deem as unlovable.  We are called to love those who may not look, or act like us.

b.     Our growth is measured by our ability to walk in love, not by our church attendance or even our ability to just quote scripture.

c.     1 Corinthians 13:13, says that the greatest is LOVE!

d.      How can we claim to be in union with a loving God and be mean and selfish?

e.       The Lord will reveal ways for us to show HIS LOVE, just ask Him.

 

6.     Am I submitted to Christ?

a.      Submit: accept or yield to the authority or will of another person.  Submission is simply surrendering our all to Christ and yielding to His authority.

b.     In Matthew 10:39 Jesus says, “If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.”

c.      Am I completely submitted to God in all areas of my life, or do I pick and choose based on what is convenient and comfortable?

d.     Am I giving my entire life to Him?

Prize for pressing

 Finally, we must remember that there is a reason to press.  There is a reason to pursue growth.

The last part of the text (Philippians 3:14) reminds us that there is a prize awaiting us when we press, when we pursue progress.  That prize is the privilege to spend eternity with our savior.  KEEP PURSING PROGRESS, THE END PRIZE IS WELL WORTH IT!

Going After Your Purpose

Pastor Tyrone preached on, “Going After Your Purpose,” and the text was 2 Timothy 2:20-26. In this message he reminded us that God has a purpose for each of us to be used for His glory. In order for that purpose to be fulfilled, we must turn from wrong and then pursue what God considers to be right.

1st Point: Know your value! verse 20 

20 In a wealthy home, some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use. 21 If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.

 In the above passage, Paul makes an analogy of your home being filled with multiple utensils. He makes a clear distinction between the expensive and cheap utensils. As believers, we must know our value and realize that God sees us as valuable. He wants to use us as special utensils.

Reflection Question: Take inventory of your actions. Are you operating as a pure/clean/special vessel? Do you understand your worth, or are you operating as a cheap utensil?

2nd Point: Pursue purity  verse 21

21 If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.

The Master mentioned in the above verse is God the Father. He is looking for people that He can use for His work. In order for the Master to use us, we must pursue purity! Purity positions us to be used by God! We must pursue purity in our thoughts, our actions, our motives. Purity begins in the heart and Proverbs 23:7 reminds us that, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he!” The late Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Margaret Thatcher, said the following which confirms what is stated in scripture. She said,

 Watch your thoughts for they become words. Watch your words for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become habits. Watch your habits for they become character. And watch your character for it becomes your destiny. What we think, we become!

If our heart and our thoughts are not pure, it is difficult to pursue purity in the other areas of our lives. There is a battle going on for our minds. Saturating our minds with the word of God helps to win the battle. Reflect on the passages below that remind us what we are to think on and how we are to renew our minds.

Philippians 4:8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

§  Romans 12:1  I beseech[a] you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your [b]reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

·Fight for purity in your mind, words, actions, habits, character, choices, and ENTERTAINMENT.

 Fight for purity in your RELATIONSHIPS!

o   Fight for purity in my body! Don’t give it to just anyone!

3rd Point: Guard yourself – run from anything that stimulates youthful lust  (verse 22a)

22 Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts.

Lust is wanting the forbidden thing. We are not to walk or jog but RUN from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Our culture presents many things to stimulate youthful lusts! We are to shun these things. Be mindful of what we take in. Import pure so we can export pure. Simply put, garbage in garbage out!

Reflection Question: Are you pursuing purity? What are your areas of greatest struggle to maintain purity? We encourage you to find scriptures that address those areas and commit them to memory and also receive the grace of God to live those scriptures out.

 4th Point: Go after your purpose by pursuing holiness  (verse 22b)

Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace.

Righteous living is synonymous with holiness. Holiness simply means to be set apart. God tells us that we are to be holy because He is holy. As we seek to get closer to God, we will embrace holiness as our identity.

Reflection Question: Do you embrace the idea of holiness? What are some ways that you can practically pursue holiness in your everyday life?

 

5th point: Pursue Faithfulness! (verse 22b)

Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace.

Faithfulness speaks to both your ability to trust God and your consistency in serving Him. Faithfulness goes beyond our words and spills over to our actions. If we lack consistency and are filled with doubt than we are not faithful.

 6th point: Pursue love! (verse 22c)

22 Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace.

Love is not restricted to a feeling but instead it is a commitment. The love that we are asked to pursue is cross form – horizontal (our neighbor) vertical (our God). We are called to demonstrate love through the way we live and how we treat those we we encounter, even the unlovable. Reflect on the following verses about love.·

Matthew 22:37 “Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

Matthew 22:39 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

Deuteronomy 6:4-7 “Hear, O Israel: [a]The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

John 14:15 If you love me, you will keep my commandments!

 

 7th point: Pursue your purpose by pursuing peace! (verse 22 d)

22 Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace.

My ability to walk in peace shows that I belong to God. Peace is taking the highway and not yielding to the flesh. We must remind connected to God through prayer and the reading of His word to produce this fruit of the spirit. Pursuing peace is mandatory for the believer. Read and reflect on the passage below.

Hebrews 12:14 Pursue peace with all men, as well as holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.

8th point: Pursue worshipping with other believers (verse 22 c).

22 Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.

Fellowshipping with others who have a pure heart is a form of worship. When we attend church and come together with our brothers and sisters in Christ, this is pleasing to God. Hebrews 10:25 reminds us that we are not to neglect coming together with other believers. This coming together should go beyond the building on Sunday. It speaks of building community and connecting with other believers. This is not to say that we cannot speak to unbelievers. However, we must be intentional in our connections and not lose sight that we are called to be a light and share the good news with the lost when we connect with them.

Going After The Blessed Life

This Sunday, Pastor Tyrone taught on, “Going After the Blessed Life,” his third message in the “Going After the One” series. As we focus on going after the lost, we must remember that for the lost to prosper and be blessed, they must choose the life God has offered by obeying His commands. He reminded us that a blessed life is not about the things we have but it comes from being obedient to God and following His commands.

He preached from Deuteronomy 30: 11-20. In these verses, Moses gives a “pep talk” to the 2nd generation of Israelites at the plains of Moab. This second generation was born in the wilderness and heard their parents accounts of how Yahweh had delivered them from Egypt. In these verses, Moses recounts Israel history, reminds them that God’s commands is within grasp, and that He has called them to make a choice that will determine the course of their future.

Deuteronomy 30:11-14

11 “This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you, and it is not beyond your reach. 12 It is not kept in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go up to heaven and bring it down so we can hear it and obey?’ 13 It is not kept beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear it and obey?’14 No, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it.

Point 1: Avoid making excuses!

In the above scriptures, Moses is telling the people they have no excuse to disobey what he is going to share and ask them to do. He tells them that it is not beyond their ability to accomplish.

Sometimes God calls us to do things and we make excuses as to why we cannot do it, but God is reminding us just like He reminded the children of Israel through Moses that what He is calling us to do is not too hard. If he calls us to it, His grace will make it possible for us to accomplish it. We must be willing to get rid of the excuses and complaints that it is too hard. Embrace the grace that God has given to do His will.

Reflection Question: What has God called you to do? Are you constantly making excuses as to why you can’t do it? Do you believe that God’s grace makes it possible for us to accomplish what He is asking us to do?

Deuteronomy 30:15-16

15 “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. 16 For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.

Point 2: Choose to go after the commandments of God.

The children of Israel were given a choice between life and death, prosperity and disaster. It was not automatic, they had to choose. The blessings of the Lord were contingent on the children of Israel choosing to obey His commands. When we love the Lord, we are more inclined to obey his commands and God does reward obedience. Expecting God’s blessing without obeying God’s commands is as foolish today as it was in the days of Moses. 

Reflection Questions: Our choice between life and death is demonstrated through our actions and not just our speech. Take inventory on how you are living your life? Are you obeying the commands of the Lord? Have you been declaring that you love God but have been disobeying His commands? What does John 14:15 say?

Deuteronomy 30:17-18

17 “But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, 18 then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy.

Point 3: Disobedience leads to destruction

In Deuteronomy chapter 29, Moses reminds the people that they were surrounded by idolatrous and detestable nations. He warns them not to take part in their practices and turn their hearts away from God. It is made clear in the above verses that there would be consequences if they choose to turn from the one and true God and give their worship to another. In Exodus 34:14, God makes it very clear that His name is jealous and that His people are not to worship any other God.

Reflection Question: Are you fully devoted to God or is your worship divided? Take inventory of your schedule and actions, do you find that you prioritize other things (job, money, relationships, quest for success) over your worship of God? Are the consequences worth it?

Deuteronomy 30:19-20

19 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! 20 You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

 

 Point 4: Choose to go after the gift of grace!

After restating the choice Moses tells the people what to choose. “Choose life,” he tells them, “so that you and your offspring may live.” The decision they made would not only impact them but also their offspring, just as their parents choice forty years prior had affected them.

Reflection Question: Before making decisions, do you stop to consider that your choices could have an impact on future generations?

Moses goes on to reiterate that choosing life is choosing YAHWEH, choosing to love and obey His voice. The Israelites would enjoy a blessed life in the land that God had promised to their forefathers; Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Promise Land was a gift of grace, it was not something they earned.

As ones who were once lost and are now found, we have the choice to choose the gift of grace that God has given us. We can choose life that is found only in Him. This blessed life is not one that we could ever earn, indeed it is a gift of grace!

It's Time To Come Home

Below are the main points from this Sunday’s message, It’s Time To Come Home, preached by Pastor Tyrone Jones. We encourage you to reread the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32 and reflect on the questions below

Point 1: The Father will let you go in order for you to grow (Luke 15:11-13)

The father in the story allows his son to go, He didn’t force his son to remain at home. In the same way, God wants us to obey Him but He doesn’t force us to do so. We are not robots, God has given us free will, Sometimes we think we are missing out and God allows us to go and experience all that we think we are missing.

Reflection Question: Can you think of a time that you stepped outside of God’s will, what were some lessons that you learned from that experience?

Point 2: The Father will allow you to lose everything to get the best thing (Luke 15:14-19)

i. The younger son wasted all his inheritance on prodigal living and there was a famine in the land. He found himself in a pig pen, and it was then that he came to his senses. It was in this place of difficulty that he realized how good he really had it in his father’s house. Difficulties can prove to be a blessing, they can bring us to our senses. When we experience great loss, our brokenness can bring us to know God, and He is our greatest gain!

Reflection Question; Have you experienced any difficulties in your life that brought you to your senses? Did those difficulties draw you closer to God, or pull you away from Him?

Point 3: The Father will allow you to come home even when you are not right! (Luke 15:20-32).

The father never gave up on his son. He saw him from afar and ran to meet Him. In that culture, Jewish men did not typically run. However, the joy of seeing his son caused him to violate all cultural norms. Even in his filthy state, the father received his son. This let’s us know that we don’t have to wait to get it right to come to God. Coming to Him is what makes us right. We can’t fix ourselves, come to God and allow Him to make you right.

The Father claimed his son and gave him a warm reception. Even though the son was still filthy the father receives him home and kisses him. He throws him a lavish party-this is a picture of what goes on in heaven when a sinner returns home (Luke 15:10). The father covers the son with the best robe, this is a picture of what Jesus did for us. His blood has covered our sins. He also gave the son a ring which symbolized authority and restoration, the father was not going to make him a slave, he received him as a son. The son returned home bare feet which was the custom for slaves in this setting. As yet another sign that he had been restored as a son and not a slave, the father gave his son shoes.

Reflection Question: Have you ever struggled with coming to the father after you have messed up? Why do you think that is? Have you received the love that the father has for you and His willingness to make you right? Read and reflect Romans 5:8.

Fast Wednesday October 3, 2018

As we pray and fast today, please join us as we petition the Lord for the following:


1. Since God is a Warrior, pray that we will take on that same posture against sin and compromise. Exodus 15:3; Deuteronomy 3:22, Rev 19:11-21

2. Pray that we will be obedient in fulfilling the Great Commission. Mathew 28:19

3. Pray that we would stay low and imitate the way Christ came and served here on earth. 1 Peter 5:5-6, James 4:6

4.  Pray that the LORD will supply all of our needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

5. Pray that the Lord give us the insight and creativity to reach our community. James 1:5