The Unusual Road to Redemption

Minister Joseph Lewis preached part 3 of our Road to Redemption Series. The title of his message was, “The Unusual Road to Redemption.” The text and sermon notes are below.

Text: Matthew 1:18-25 NLT

18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement[h] quietly.
21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus,[i] for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: 23 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel,[j] which means ‘God is with us.’” 24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. 25 But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.

 An Unusual Road to Redemption

 un·u·su·al

not habitually or commonly occurring or done.

remarkable or interesting because different from or better than others.

Main Points

 Unusual Courage - Fear Not

●       Joseph is engaged to Mary which in this day was a strong commitment before the consummation of their marriage.

●       It was and still is highly unusual to become pregnant before this happens even more unusual and offending to bear someone else's child while engaged.

●       Joseph first course of action was to do the common or usual thing which was to divorce her but because he loved her and knew what the common penalty for this action was he elected to do so quietly.

●       While contemplating this an angel appears to Joseph in a dream. The first thing he says is “Joseph, Son of David’”..

●       Before you can receive impartation, revelation, or instructions sometimes God has to remind you who you are.

●       A few weeks ago Pastor Ty shed light on a genealogy that is often overlooked in Matthew. This segment known as the House of David is critical to today's understanding of what was to come next

●       Do not be afraid...now with the embracing of who he is and who’s he is, listening to his next critical assignment which is to take Mary as his wife without fear. Fearing what?

  1.        Social status, ridicule, rejection, judgment, loss of livelihood, family acceptance, their lives

●       This dream is an unusual sign that precedes an unusual path to redemption. Anika spoke last Sunday about having a willingness to receive the new. However, it also requires patience and discipline to not only accept the new but to operate in the new.


Unusual Sign - Gods reveals his plans in unusual ways
 

●       Road trip signs reassure us of our end destination, it confirms where we are and where we are going. In the case of Joseph, it confirmed the situation he was in and what God was about to do through Mary and ultimately through Jesus.

●       Signs help us to keep things in perspective and they bolster our faith.

●       ( Verse 23 parallel to Isaiah 7 ) King Ahaz faced a great threat and receives an unusual sign but lacked the faith to receive the sign that God gave.

○       “This invasion will never happen;
    it will never take place;
8 for Syria is no stronger than its capital, Damascus,
    and Damascus is no stronger than its king, Rezin.
As for Israel, within sixty-five years
    it will be crushed and completely destroyed.
9 Israel is no stronger than its capital, Samaria,
    and Samaria is no stronger than its king, Pekah son of Remaliah.
Unless your faith is firm,
    I cannot make you stand firm.”

○       Later, the Lord sent this message to King Ahaz: 11 “Ask the Lord your God for a sign of confirmation, Ahaz. Make it as difficult as you want—as high as heaven or as deep as the place of the dead.[e]”

12 But the king refused. “No,” he said, “I will not test the Lord like that.”

13 Then Isaiah said, “Listen well, you royal family of David! Isn’t it enough to exhaust human patience? Must you exhaust the patience of my God as well? 14 All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin[f] will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).

●       He most likely rejected this sign because it was not a usual sign of victory. His perspective did not allow him to understand what was happening. He instead makes a deal with the Assyrian government for protection. Little did he know that the usual course of action led to his demise and the capture of his kingdom.

●       Instead, God who is all knowing, directs the sign to not only King Ahaz and Judah, but to the entire the House of David.

●       God can still bless you in spite of your past decisions, disobedience, stubbornness, and pride. He will fulfill his promise (Davidic Covenant) through your children or descendants and cause your name to be counted among great men..even Jesus

●       If you receive a sign from God ask him what it means or let God reveal to you who you can trust with your sign….don't just resort to human knowledge or proven methods.

 

 Unusual Relationship - God With Us

●       It was not uncommon to have other gods during the times of the prophets. In fact, it was widely accepted to build multiple altars to multiple gods “as many as the streets of Jerusalem are the altars you have set up to the shameful thing” (Jeremiah 11:13)

●       What was uncommon was to have a God (Yahweh) who wanted to commune with us, to walk with us, talk with us, tell us that we are his own. To protect us, heal us provide for us. The interaction between Moses and Yahweh was the template to what God wanted to fully accomplish through Jesus

●       Jesus number one priority which is stated in verse 21 is that he came to save us from our sin. This fact is further validated in the first of Jesus’s last words “Father forgive them….”

●       This name that Joseph was to name this unborn child conceived by the Holy Spirit was to be called Jesus but Isaiah mentions that they will call him Emmanuel which means “ “God with us”

●       So now not only do we have a God who wants to commune with us in spirit but now also in the flesh. This personal relationship which is a combination of a spiritual indwelling and physical embodiment is the totality of the phrase “God with us”

●       This unconventional path to redemption was and still is the will of God to accomplish in our lives

●       God wants to do something Unusual in your life. It will take Unusual courage, an awareness of unusual signs, and an unusual relationship that brings you into God's perfect will of redemption.

Reflection Questions:

What are some unusual signs that the Lord has given you on your road to redemption? Have you demonstrated unusual courage and followed those signs or have you operated in fear?

Redeemed From Shame

I had the honor of speaking this Sunday. Below are the text and notes from my message, “Redeemed from Shame.”

Text: Joshua 2:1-17

Shame Defined : a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior. Embarrassed or humiliated

Causes for shame

  • Shame can be caused by our own sinful choices or the sin others have committed against us (abuse, harsh words, etc.)

Main Points

 God pursues us in our shame. He’s always looking for ways to cover our shame.

  • The spies went to Rahab, she didn’t go to them.

  • The first shameful experience took place in Genesis 3 after Adam and Eve sinned.

  • God pursues us in our shame, Adam was hiding and God came after him.  Notice that even after they sinned, God still came to talk to Adam.

  • Shame will cause us to run away from the very one (God) we should be running towards.

  •  We not only run away from God after doing wrong, we also run away from His people.  We may stop attending church after we have sinned because we are ashamed of our choices. When you sin, that’s when you should run to church to be covered, to receive encouragement, to have the saints intercede on your behalf. 

By product of shame

  •  Shame can cause you to walk in fear

  • Shame can cause you have a very low self esteem and make you continue to do things that devalue your worth (i.e. sexual promiscuity, remaining in an abusive relationship because you feel you deserve it and cannot do better)

We do things to try to cover or mask our shame

  • Some turn to alcoholism or drug use to numb the memories associated with the shame.

  • Some are workaholics and think that if they keep busy they wont have to sit to think about how ashamed they feel.

  • Some may be people pleasers, saying yes to everything because they don't know their worth and think if they say yes then they will be loved by everyone.

  • Some are slanderers and think that if they slander others they can deflect the shame they are carrying.

How to get delivered from shame?

  • It starts with receiving the gift of salvation that is made possible through the blood of Jesus Christ.

  • In Joshua 2:17 a scarlet rope is mentioned as the means for Rahab and her houselhold being saved. This is symbolic of what the blood of Jesus does for us and a foreshadowing of what Jesus would do on the cross. We see a similar foreshadowing during the first Passover in Exodus 12 when the people were given instructions to smear the blood of the killed animal on their doorpost. The death angel would then pass over any door that had the blood on the doorpost.

  • We also see this demonstrated in Genesis 3:21 after Adam and Eve sinned. The Lord clothe them with animal’s skin. An animal had to first be sacrificed and its blood was shed so that they could be covered. In the same way, Christ’s blood was shed on the cross for our sins to be forgiven and for us be covered!

  • Jesus bore our shame on that cross.  He was willing to be publicly humiliated, spat on and beaten for me and you so that I don’t have to hold on to shame.

  • As a child of God, shame is not my inheritance, FREDOOM IS!

 

God not only delivers us from shame but He also promotes us. 

  • He is a God of multiple chances

  • Rahab was not only spared but she was living among the Israelites, she didn’t come as an outsider, she was invited in as part of the group. (Joshua 6:25)

    • Rahab was redeemed from her from her past.  Her past didn’t disqualify her from her prosperous future.

    • We can accept that we are forgiven but somehow we think that God forgives us but that we are automatically disqualified form a bright future.  Not so, there is room for you at the table!

    • John 3:17 reminds us that God did not send His son to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved!

  • Rahab was delivered and then given the opportunity to be a wife and a mother. The things that shame perhaps told her that she could never have and be, God gave it to her in a loud way! She ends up in the genealogy of Christ in Mathew 1 but it doesn’t stop there! We see her name in Hebrews 11, also known as the hall of faith.  How did she end up there?  Here you have Abraham, the patriarch of the faith, Moses the deliverer, Noah the one who was righteous and was saved, and then you go down to verse 31 and there is Rahab the prostitute.  HOW DID SHE END UP THERE!  Listen you belong, don’t let people make you feel that because of your past, because you didn’t grow up in a  Christian home, because you don’t have the same resume as they did, that God cannot use you.  Don’t let them make you think that you don’t belong.  YES YOU DO! The blood of Jesus makes it possible for us to break free from our pass and have a seat at the table!

It’s not our past that disqualifies us, its our unwillingness to receive the new that Jesus wants to do in us.

  • 2 Corinthians 5:17: If any man is in Christ, He is a new creation, old things are passed away, all things have become new (Rahab’s story testifies to this fact)

  • The next time the devil reminds you of your past remind him of his future. Revelations 20:10 says that he will be cast into the lake of fire. The devil has no chance to be redeemed but he knows that you do.

  • Don’t be a hater. Don’t hold people’s pass over their heads like the devil does.

    • Make sure we are not excluding the very ones God wants us to include. God’s heart is to go after the one

      • The one who Is lost

      • The one who is broken

      • The one who is a liar

      • The one who is a cheater

      • The one who is an abuser

       When God gets the one, he forgives him and promotes him!

  •      Don’t make church into a country club for the elite or at least the ones that look like it but make it a family gathering for the broken people who have been redeemed and accepted!

Tell your redemption story.  In others words testify of what God has done and how he delivered you. 

  • Your testimony will have an impact on others. Share your testimony!

  • Rahab was the mother of Boaz. Boaz was Ruth’s kinsman redeemer. Ruth was a foreigner. 

  • Rahab must have told her story to her son Boaz.  Boaz didn’t despise Ruth, he was probably aware of his mother’s testimony of being a foreigner among the Israelites. Boaz probably heard of how God redeemed his mother’s life and thought if God can do it for my mother, he certainly can do it for Ruth. 

  • Don’t be afraid to tell your story of how God has delivered you.  Has the Lord redeemed you, then speak up and tell others He has redeemed you from the hands of the enemy (Psalm 107:2).

  • One of the best ways to know you are delivered from shame is your ability to share where God has brought you from.

 

The Fab 5. Road to Redemption Part 1

Pastor Tyrone preached from the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1:1-17. In this message, “The Fab 5,” he focuses on the story and lessons learned from the 5 women listed in this genealogy. Below are the text and notes.

  Text: Mathew 1:1-17

This is a record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah, a descendant of David and of Abraham[a]:

Abraham was the father of Isaac.
Isaac was the father of Jacob.
Jacob was the father of Judah and his brothers.
Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah (whose mother was Tamar).
Perez was the father of Hezron.
Hezron was the father of Ram.[b]
Ram was the father of Amminadab.
Amminadab was the father of Nahshon.
Nahshon was the father of Salmon.
Salmon was the father of Boaz (whose mother was Rahab).
Boaz was the father of Obed (whose mother was Ruth).
Obed was the father of Jesse.
Jesse was the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon (whose mother was Bathsheba, the widow of Uriah).
Solomon was the father of Rehoboam.
Rehoboam was the father of Abijah.
Abijah was the father of Asa.[c]
Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat.
Jehoshaphat was the father of Jehoram.[d]
Jehoram was the father[e] of Uzziah.
Uzziah was the father of Jotham.
Jotham was the father of Ahaz.
Ahaz was the father of Hezekiah.
10 Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh.
Manasseh was the father of Amon.[f]
Amon was the father of Josiah.
11 Josiah was the father of Jehoiachin[g] and his brothers (born at the time of the exile to Babylon).
12 After the Babylonian exile:
Jehoiachin was the father of Shealtiel.
Shealtiel was the father of Zerubbabel.
13 Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud.
Abiud was the father of Eliakim.
Eliakim was the father of Azor.
14 Azor was the father of Zadok.
Zadok was the father of Akim.
Akim was the father of Eliud.
15 Eliud was the father of Eleazar.
Eleazar was the father of Matthan.
Matthan was the father of Jacob.
16 Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Mary gave birth to Jesus, who is called the Messiah.

17 All those listed above include fourteen generations from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the Babylonian exile, and fourteen from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah.

 Purpose of Gospels: Why are there different accounts? Differ in structure, chronology

1.     No gospel is meant to give you an exhaustive list about Jesus

2.     Each Gospel writer had a target audience and a specific agenda.

a.      Matthew clearly writes to a Jewish audience to authenticate Jesus as the Messiah

  • Matthew links Jesus to Moses!

  • Matthew wants the Jews to know that Jesus is a prophet just like Moses but even greater! 

  • Matthew begins his gospel differently than other gospel writers

 3. Starts with the genealogy of Jesus Christ because genealogies were IMPORTANT to the Jews. For the Jews, your destiny was often determined by your genealogy

  • Couldn’t be priest if you couldn’t trace lineage to the tribe of Levi

  • Couldn’t be King if you couldn’t trace back to David

  • Couldn’t be a Jew if you couldn’t track back to Abraham.

4. In order to understand the redemptive work of Jesus, I must understand His genealogy. Must understand where he came from, must understand his kinfolks

  •       Mathew includes the names of 5 women in the genealogy of Jesus(Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, Mary)

  •      This went against the Patriarchal male dominated society of the time.  To demonstrate your importance, one typically linked himself to the men not the women! Women were considered as property and weren’t deemed as very important.

  • By listing these 5 women, Mathew demonstrates that there is no way to tell the story of God’s grace if you don’t include the women!

The 5 women that Matthew included in Jesus’ genealogy did not have the best resume!

·       None of them were considered successful according to the culture’s standard

·       All of them had some scandal attached to them

1.     Tamar (Genesis 38). Tamar played the harlot and slept with her father in law Judah and conceived twin sons, Perez and Zerah. Both her sons became ancestors of King David and Jesus!

2.      Rahab (Joshua 2). Rahab was a prostitute that helped the two Israelites spies as they spied out Jericho. Her life was spared and she married an Israelite, Salmon.  From their union came Boaz. Their son Boaz married Ruth and became the father of Obed, the grandfather of Jesse, and the great-grandfather of King David.

3.     Ruth (Book of Ruth).  Ruth was Moabite/foreigner who followed the advice of her mother in law Naomi.  She married Boaz and had Obed.

4.     Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11).  Bathsheba was the wife of Uriah who slept with King David. Bathsheba conceived a child but the child died. David and Bathesheba had 4 children, one of them was King Solomon.

5.     Mary (Luke 1).  Mary was a teenage girl engaged to be married to Joseph but ends up getting pregnant before she got married. People must have thought she was crazy when she shared what the angel told her in Luke 1:35, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. that she conceived after the Holy Spirit

 

5 Fabulous Points

1. God can save anybody!

2. God can use anybody!

3. God can work through anything! God can work in any situation!

4. God can redeem my story!

·       God can redeem any story!

o   Once Jesus enters on our resume, things can change!

5. God can change the course of my destiny! God can give anyone a testimony!

 

1st POINT: God can save anybody!

  • We must be careful not to disqualify others because of their past mistakes.  God wants to save and redeem! Don’t disqualify others from the goodness of God.

 

2nd Point:  God can use anyone!

  • God can use anyone.  It doesn’t matter what people think or say about you.

  • God picks people that others may think are unqualified

  • God picks and uses flawed people to show forth his glory

  • People will try to disqualify you based on your flaws!

  • People will try to disqualify you based on your past!

  • Why does God use flawed folks? Because that is all he has to choose from, we are all flawed!  All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God! (Romans 3:23)

  • I am not perfect or without sin, but God chooses to still use me.

3rd Point: God can work through anything!

  •     According to the standards of man, the 5 women listed in the genealogy had something that would have disqualified them from being used by God.

  •   It doesn’t matter how ugly, messed up, or broken it is, God can still work through anything!

  • In the genealogy of Jesus, we see sexual scandal, deliberate disobedience, 70 years of exile, captivity, conspiracy to commit murder, the destruction of temple, etc.  However, God worked through all of that to bring forth the birth of Jesus! God can work through anything!

  • No matter what is going on or what is going wrong in my life, God can work through it for His glory.

  • When I repent, God can also work through my mistakes!

4th Point: God can redeem any story!

  •    God can move in ways that add value to the life that looked like it was worthless

  • After I put Jesus on my resume, I am NO LONGER Defined by my sin.

  • When I accept Jesus as my Lord, He redeems my story!

 5th Point: God can change the course of my destiny!

  • People may know your history, but only God can determine your destiny!

  • You may have been going down the wrong path, but when God redeems our life, the course of our destiny is changed!

How Do I Say Thanks?

Pastor Tyrone taught from Psalm 116, and the sermon title was, “How Do I Say Thanks?” Below is the text and sermon notes.

I love the Lord because he hears my voice
    and my prayer for mercy.
Because he bends down to listen,
    I will pray as long as I have breath!
Death wrapped its ropes around me;
    the terrors of the grave[a] overtook me.
    I saw only trouble and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
    “Please, Lord, save me!”
How kind the Lord is! How good he is!
    So merciful, this God of ours!
The Lord protects those of childlike faith;
    I was facing death, and he saved me.
Let my soul be at rest again,
    for the Lord has been good to me.
He has saved me from death,
    my eyes from tears,
    my feet from stumbling.
And so I walk in the Lord’s presence
    as I live here on earth!
10 I believed in you, so I said,
    “I am deeply troubled, Lord.”
11 In my anxiety I cried out to you,
    “These people are all liars!”
12 What can I offer the Lord
    for all he has done for me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
    and praise the Lord’s name for saving me.

14 I will keep my promises to the Lord
    in the presence of all his people.

15 The Lord cares deeply
    when his loved ones die.
16 O Lord, I am your servant;
    yes, I am your servant, born into your household;
    you have freed me from my chains.
17 I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving
    and call on the name of the Lord.
18 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
    in the presence of all his people—
19 in the house of the Lord
    in the heart of Jerusalem.

Praise the Lord!

 

Psalms 116: The psalmist is reflecting and thinking about what the Lord has done

·       The Psalmist declares that when we serve God, there are some BENEFITS!

 Benefit #1: God answers prayers!

·       A God that answers prayers is a BENEFIT.

·       Verses 1-2 I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!

·       God answer prayers even when we don’t know what to pray sometimes

·       God answered some of my prayers even when I messed up. He didn’t give me what I deserve.

·       God goes above my petition. (verse 7)

·       God does not do the bare minimum when He answers my prayers, He goes above my petition

·       Paul says, God does exceedingly abundantly above what I think

o   Ephesians 3:20 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,

·       When I ask God for a little, he goes above my petition!

·       When I ask for just enough, he gives abundance!

 Reflection question:  List at least two prayers that you prayed that God answered.

 Benefit #2: God shows me mercy! (Mercy is a form of kindness)

·       Verse 5: How kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours!

·       The Lord has been merciful towards me.

·       The Psalmist knows that he has messed up, he has fallen short, but God still forgave him!

·       He didn’t do right, but God!

·       We have been the recipients of mercy!

·       My resume is filled with mistakes, but the Lord didn’t give me everything I deserved!

 Reflection question:  How have you received the mercy of God in your life?

 Benefit #3: God has kept and protected me! (verse 6 & 8)

·       The Lord protects those of childlike faith;  I was facing death, and he saved me

·       He has saved me from death my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.

·       The Lord protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and he saved me. Let my soul be at rest again,  for the Lord has been good to me. He has saved me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.

·       .The Lord has kept me!

·       The Lord has delivered me!

·       God has been my protector!

 Benefit #4: God has delivered me! (verse 16)

·       16 O Lord, I am your servant, yes, I am your servant, born into your household;
    you have freed me from my chains.

·       The psalmist reflects on how God delivered him from his chains that had him imprisoned.

·       Chains: things that had me tied up, that I was bound to that I couldn’t get free from on my own. God delivered me.

·       Chains: addictions, illicit lifestyle, drugs, alcohol, sexual immorality, destructive decision making, destructive behavior.

Reflection Question:  What chains has God broken for you?

 What shall I render to this God who has given me so many benefits?

·       Psalmist ask this question in verse 12, “How can I say thanks? What shall I render to this good God of mine?”

·       When I think of what the Lord has done, what can I do for that God?

 

 Ways to say thank you. How can I say thanks? What shall I give to God?

1.     Take the cup of salvation

a.      12 What can I offer the Lord for all he has done for me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
    and praise the Lord’s name for saving me.

b.     Take the cup of salvation

c.      In order to truly give thanks, I must take the cup of salvation

          i.     Accept the offer of salvation that has been made available to me and you!

          ii.     Drink from the cup of the forgiveness of sins

          iii.     Develop a relationship with the Lord

          iv.     Receive the offer of eternal life

          v.     Surrender my soul to the lordship of Jesus Christ

 

d.     Here is an analogy to make this point clear.  When you are invited to a home, you express gratitude by receiving what is offered. When someone makes a sacrifice for you, it is your responsibility to receive what they put on the table.

e.      The cup of salvation is when God put flesh on His son Jesus, and He walked this earth and eventually died a gruesome death on the cross for our salvation.

f.       Jesus offered his life for the propitiation of sins.

2.     Don’t just take the cup of salvation, but lift up the cup of salvation

a.      How do I say thank you Lord? How do I show that I am grateful?

b.     It is not enough to say the sinner’s prayer, we must lift up the cup of salvation

c.      12 What can I offer the Lord for all he has done for me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
    and praise the Lord’s name for saving me.

d.     Not enough to receive the cup of salvation but lift it up!

e.      When we lift something up, we make it visible.

f.       When we lift something up, it is not hidden.

g.     When we lift something up, everyone around us knows and can see it.

h.     When we lift up the cup of salvation, we ae not ashamed to let the world know that Jesus’ blood saved us and that He is our Lord.

i.       Lifting up the cup of salvation means that you are not a secret agent Christian and are not ashamed to let people know you are saved!

j.       Lifting up the cup is not just about you wearing a WWJD, fish symbol, or a cross.

k.     Lifting up the cup of salvation means you are going public!

l.       Lifting up the cup of salvation is how you are embracing the crucified life of Jesus. How you are denying yourself and living in a way that pleases the Lord.

m.    Lifting up the cup of salvation means you are not a chameleon!

n.     A chameleon blends into his/her environment

o.     We are called to be anti-chameleons for Christ. 

p.     We are not thankful if we are not lifting up the cup of salvation

3.     How do I say thanks? I’m going to call on the name of the Lord!

a.      The psalmist says I’m going to say thanks by taking the cup of salvation, lifting up the cup of salvation, and calling on the name of the Lord.

b.     One of the ways that I show my gratitude is to continually call on the name of the Lord in prayer.

c.      His testimony in verse 1 is that God answers his prayers, he recognizes the power in prayer.

d.     Prayer should be my first option, not my last.

 

4.     I will keep my promises to the Lord.

a.      14 I will keep my promises to the Lord in the presence of all his people.

b.     Keeping my promises is a way to say, “Lord I thank you!”

Reflection Question: What promises have you made to the Lord?

 

5.     I will offer a sacrifice of Thanksgiving

a.      17 I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord. 18 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people-19 in the house of the Lord in the heart of Jerusalem.

b.     Sometimes giving thanks is not easy to do.

c.      Sometimes giving thanks is a SACRIFICE.

d.     Sometimes life is so busy and so difficult that giving thanks is very difficult.

e.      Psalmist says that I’m going to thank him even if I don’t feel like it, even if things haven’t been working out, I’m going to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving!

Reflection Question: Do you only give thanks when you “feel” it?

 

 

 

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