Sunday, September 30, 2012

Designed, Defined, Assigned and Aligned

Sermon Title: Designed, Defined, Assigned and Aligned
Lesson Scripture: St John 17.13-23
Background Scripture: St John 17

Slide #1 (set): Roots
  • Gee Church
  • Gee stones
  • Gee Rd

Slide #2: Understanding Spiritual heritage can spark a movement, a revival and a new creation. Bible examples of this:

☞John 17 (listening):
  • Prayer
  • “I have revealed to them your word”
  • “They are yours”
  • “I am coming to You now...”
  • “protect them and make them one”
  • “I protected them and kept them safe”
  • “The world has hated them because of your word”
  • “They are not of the world any more than I am!”* (They are not owned by it!....They are NOT defined by the world)
  • “Protect them from the evil one in this world...” (how?)
  • “Sanctify them through truth...your word is truth”
  • “I send them like you sent me”
  • “I pray for those who’ll hear their message and be in us.”
  • “May they be one as we are one”
  • “I want those who’ve you’ve given me to be with me...”

  • Jesus has protected them (from what? Loss of identity, idolatry, worldliness)

Key cultural norms or contextual info to translate:
  • Jesus was headed to his death and was preparing disciples for life after his crucifixion

  • Jesus stays here until Judas shows up to betray him

Key insights to unpack:
  • This is a prayer

  • Jesus is about to leave (die) and asks for help for us (prays for us to have community with the Father)

  • Asked the Father to sanctify us through truth

Sanctify: Consecrate; make holy; “Assign a special usage and purpose to...”

Truth: The Message of God

Key references to expound:
  • What “word” was Jesus was referring to?

Slide #3: Jesus gave his followers the Father’s Word

Sanctify: Consecrate; make holy; “Assign a special usage and purpose to...”

Truth: The Message of God

Charter Meaning and Definition
  1. (n.) An instrument in writing, from the sovereign power of a state or country, executed in due form, bestowing rights, franchises, or privileges.
  2. (n.) The letting or hiring a vessel by special contract, or the contract or instrument whereby a vessel is hired or let; as, a ship is offered for sale or charter. See Charter party, below.
  3. (n.) An act of a legislative body creating a municipal or other corporation and defining its powers and privileges. Also, an instrument in writing from the constituted authorities of an order or society (as the Freemasons), creating a lodge and defining its powers.

Ratify this thing, Father:

rat·i·fy/ˈratəˌfī/: Sign or give formal consent to (a treaty, contract, or agreement), making it officially valid.

Slide #4: Challenge

  • Read John 17 (tonight)
  • Gather with believers who can strengthen you
  • Invite people to celebrate and learn with you
  • Fast & quiet yourself in order to seek God’s will for you & your community
  • Act: Pray, Use Yellow Card, Pit Stop, Bible Study, Get Plugged In
  • Expect the unimaginable from God for your life, family and community

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Scripture Is fulfilled in Your Hearing Today.

Slide #1
Sermon Title: Scripture is Fulfilled Today
Bible Text: Genesis 15:1-7; 9-19 NIV
Background Scripture: Luke 4:14-21
Series: The Truth About Truth

Slide #2
Key things we will learn about today:

  • God’s Covenant with Abram
  • God’s faithfulness to the covenant
  • The centrality of God’s faithfulness to this covenant throughout scripture
  • Jesus’ fulfillment of the covenant promises
  • Scripture’s role in understanding our covenant with God via Jesus Christ

Geneses 15

  • God speaks to Abram in Genesis 12

  • Abram questions the goodness of God’s blessings without an heir

  • God revisits him again in Genesis 15 and asks for an offering/sacrifice

  • The animals are cut in two & The smolder pot moves in between the 2 halves 
    • This is an ancient covenant method (2 parties walk thru the carcasses as a promise that the same thing will happen to each other if they break the covenant)

  • God is already showing us that He MUST keep the covenant because we aren’t not able to. This is why God died for was the promise He made to Himself, on our behalf, to show us His love.

  • The Messiah’s death is proof that God is so committed to His love for us that he’d uphold His own covenant (with us) that required His death---we didn’t ratify that first covenant ..He did.

  • God came to Moses (as a tool) to keep Him promise to Abraham...a promise that Abram didn’t ask for.

  • Sinai came to remind the people of their heritage and God’s call to them to be his people and He’d be their God.
Luke 4

  • After 40 day of fasting and prayer Jesus went to Nazareth, his hometown

  • Jesus returned in power and the people praised him

  • Nazareth was considered a place that was ignorant of the Law and to be filled with radicals and sinful people.
    • Jesus threatened to expose a reputation they no longer wanted to be known for.

  • It was his custom to go to synagogue, today he reads Isaiah 61

  • Freedom was preached:
    • Spirit is on me
    • Jubilee (freedom after 50 years)
    • Recovery of sight
    • Set prison free
    • Set the oppressed free & declare the year of the Lord’s favor
    • (Political, economic and social liberty)

  • Jesus presented a radical side of God

  • Jesus declared that he was the fulfillment of scripture and Isaiah’s prophecy

  • “Don’t we know him?”

This Scripture was fulfilled and all were amazed...

Isaiah 61

  • Ancient text that foretold of Messiah’s arrival to fulfill scriptural promised from God to his people and the world.

  • Let’s look at Jesus’ claims:
  • The Spirit in upon me...
  • ..In order to preach the gospel to the poor (poor often are open to God)
  • preach liberty from oppression which cause pressure, fear, dread (vis a vis control over demonic forces)


  • Quote: Physician heal thyself & that Prophets are not accepted at home

  • Widows in Israel in elijah’s time...he was sent to Zarapheth in the region of Sidon 

  • Naaman the Syrian was healed.

  • They became furious and drove him out of the town to throw him off the cliff.

[Jesus references this period was a low time in Israel’s history and rejection of God was rampant. God moved his works of mercy outside the nation to the region of Gentile.]

The idea that Jesus is also reaching outside the people of israel was offensive! They rejected Jesus because of who He accepted.

Demons knew that he was Messiah! They had to be silenced.

They didn’t know truth:

  • The truth was that God made promises to Israel that it would be God’s chosen people SO AS TO bring the entire world to God. They were so caught up with being special that they forgot God’s purpose for calling them.

Jesus’ work in Capernaum reflects upon the Covenant of God so beautifully:
  • Messiah would come thru Jewish bloodlines
  • Messiah would trump demonic forces
  • Messiah would bring the entire world to God
  • Messiah would break oppression and bring good news to the poor and downtrodden
Jesus basically taught the Jews that they couldn’t grasp who He was because they didn’t understand the OT. It was the OT scripture that recorded God’s word re: the coming Messiah.

☞Where do I want to end up with this sermon?
We need to understand scripture in order to really take advantage of God’s gifts to us. Scripture speaks of Jesus as God’s fulfillment of His promise

By better understanding our covenant relationship with God we become better messengers and ministers of that covenant! We aren’t fully living if we don’t understand the faithfulness and lovingkindness of God.

Slide # 3 (End of sermon)

☞Challenges/Next Steps
  • Pray Ephesian 3:16-19 repeatedly over yourselves and your family this week.
  • Make a commitment this week to learning how to study the bible. (“I’m committed to learning more about how God sees me and my world through His message.”)
  • If you don’t understand the message of scripture you’re either making wrong decisions about faith or you’re making no decisions at all...which is bad.

Slide #4

Questions to ponder this week:

1. Who would you be if there was no interruption (due to trauma, mistakes, depression, pride, lack of confidence) of your purpose? Scripture helps you become that person.

2. What are you waiting for that is already accomplished?

Slide #5

Closing Prayer: Ephesians 3:16-19 NIV

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

What Is Truth?

What Is Truth? (John 18)

Bible Background: Background of Scripture

  • God gave Moses His Law and offered His Covenant with His people on Mt. Sinai. It was never meant to merely be a list of rules, but grounds of the Covenant.
  • It was never to leave their mouths, hearts or minds.
  • God’s people were given history and law

  • OT/NT were converted to chapters & verses many years ago 
  • Pentateuch: (Law/Torah) were converted by ancient Hebrews in 54 sections (to be reach each Sunday at the synagogue)
  • These sections were later broken into 669 sections of unequal length
  • The prophets were divided likewise into passages
  • Early Latin/Greek bibles were divided similarly (NT as well) under different names/titles
  • Cardinal Hugo published a bible in 1250 AD that we broken into chapters with some already fixed since 1059 AD
  • Chapters were broken into verses around 1550s when Robert Stephens introduced Greek bible. 1st English bible with verses was in 1560 (Geneva Bible)

  • I’m sure these people had good reasons for doing this, but it helpful in understanding the truest meaning of passages.

  • KJV for example, writes each verse as a chapter so you have no idea where the actual chapters start or end, hence it’s difficult to grasp the concept that’s being developed in scripture.

  • This has caused our understanding to be fragmented.

  • I don’t engage in mission or inner-city ministry because a single verse says so...I do so because the Story of God portrays God as a Missionary God Who is committed to pursuing those who are disenfranchised, less that and underprivileged.

Sermon Title: What Is Truth? John 18:36-38
36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” 38 What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.

John 17:17 Amplified Bible (AMP)

17 Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth.

  • A working knowledge of OT scripture is needed in order to appreciate all that Jesus has accomplished for us.

(It’s helpful to know Romeo & Juliet to really appreciate West Side Story or the Iliad to fully appreciate Oh Brother Where Art Thou?)

☞John 5:38-40 (CEV) The folks Jesus’ engage didn’t understand Truth.

38 You have not believed his message, because you refused to have faith in the one he sent. 39 You search the Scriptures, because you think you will find eternal life in them. The Scriptures tell about me, 40 but you refuse to come to me for eternal life.

Truth is arrived from the Greek word Aletheia (Al-ay-thi-a)...which is derived from the work True (not concealing). 


  • We need to study in order to hear what the hearers of this message heard when it was spoken to their ears.

  • The God Who was only seen as a historical fact, was now living among His people and they didn’t recognize him as God the Son/Messiah.

  • God the Holy Spirit lives among us and we don’t even recognize it because it isn’t our music or worship style; it isn’t similar to our ethnic style; it is uncomfortable it produces angst in us.

  • Jesus’ death was for everyone as was his resurrection (which is why Luke HAD to be written because he, the outsider Gentile, spoke of the Magi, the Good Samaritan, Simon the Pharisee, The mistreated Greek widows, The Samaritan Revival and Cornelius! (Luke properly contexualizes Mark’s message to the new Jewish world)

☞God is offering us illumination! People have read scripture and have objectified it for millennia and their lives have remained unchanged.

☞God has revealed Christ and wants to do so in our hearts. He will use Scripture to do so...

  • Not scripture that we manipulate for our own good
  • Not scripture that we use to prove our own points
  • We are being called to read scripture that’ll read us and show us the nature of Christ.

Classic Pentecostals love the Spirit (Inspiration & Power)
Classic Evangelicals love the Word (Order, Authority and Historic)
→They both should lead us to Truth and not away

We need to a grasps of the word of God and to be grasped by it...
We need to grasp the Holy Spirit and to be grasped by it...

John 20:30-31 (CEV)
Why John Wrote His Book
30 Jesus worked many other miracles for his disciples, and not all of them are written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you will put your faith in Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God. If you have faith in him, you will have true life.
John 21:25: 

Jesus did many other things. If they were written in books, I don’t suppose there would be room enough in the whole world for all the books. (Last verse of John’s gospel)

Word = Sums whole message of God
Truth = Revelation of that message

What is the bible? 
  • God’s rules & expectations?
  • Our job description?
  • History book
  • Or is it a revelation of God’s attributes, qualities, attitudes, desires, expectation & provision????

We have NOT created God...God has revealed God to mere mortals thru the person of Jesus Christ.

Revelation and Illumination are the goal of God in scripture. (The truth is unrelieved and our eyes are opened)

Jesus is Light & Truth

Stott: God speaks and acts via His word. His words are not mere speech, they are deeds.

Jesus taught that scripture testified of Him:

Abraham rejoiced to see my day (John 8;56)
Moses wrote of me (John 5.46)
Scriptures bear witness of me (John 8.39)
“Scripture is fulfilled in your ears” Luke 4.21
He taught them scriptures about himself Luke 24
Jesus taught that scripture converged on him (bear witness of him)

Scripture tells of God’s nature & love for us: (For examples)
  • Jeremiah 2.4 “What fault have y'all found?”

Jeremiah 2:4-6 (ESV)

Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the clans of the house of Israel. Thus says the Lord: “What wrong did your fathers find in me
    that they went far from me, and went after worthlessness, and became worthless?
Truth: God’s love for us is revealed to us in justice and mercy!

  • Justice is that God will not overrule our desires...if he honors our desires, He must also honor His promise to judge those actions of our said desires.

  • Mercy: That heart that we’ve witnessed in Jere 2.4 came to us to carry us out of the firestorm that we created. He bore the brunt of that punishment for those who are tired of missing the mark! Jesus came to reveal the nature of God’s heart because sin had blinded us.

Scripture is where the Truth about Jesus is revealed. It is the evidence.

The revealed Truth of God’s nature is that:

☞God is Creator, Provider, Covenanter, Guide, King, Parent, Protector, Rescuer, Restorer, Sacrificial Lamb, Savior, Conscience, Helper & Lord!

...Scripture tells us so! Scripture states it and the Holy Spirit will direct our minds to grasp it via illumination.

Challenging Thoughts:

Scripture is a means to an end. It isn’t the end. God of scripture is larger than words of scripture that describe Him ~ Dr. Winn Griffin (God’s EPIC Adventure)

Challenging Questions:

Can you afford to miss what God has been trying to say to you?

Can you count on God’s provision if you don’t acknowledge God’s guidance? Has that ever worked for God’s people in history?

Are you willing to ask God to give you the hunger and discipline to engage the message of God in scripture?

Are you willing to accept the joy of insight, purpose and transformation that come from  the understanding God’s understanding of you?

Leviticus 21:17-23
The Message (MSG)

16-23 God spoke to Moses: “Tell Aaron, None of your descendants, in any generation to come, who has a defect of any kind may present as an offering the food of his God. That means anyone who is blind or lame, disfigured or deformed, crippled in foot or hand, hunchbacked or dwarfed, who has anything wrong with his eyes, who has running sores or damaged testicles. No descendant of Aaron the priest who has any defect is to offer gifts to God; he has a defect and so must not offer the food of his God. He may eat the food of his God, both the most holy and the holy, but because of his defect he must not go near the curtain or approach the Altar. It would desecrate my Sanctuary. I am God who makes them holy.”

*This is an example of a passage of scripture that can be confusing if taken out of context. God NEVER meant to exclude followers. This process was offered to describe the holiness of God rather than discriminate against people will ailments. This passage points to the perfection of Christ and his ability to present us faultless before the Father via his own perfect righteousness.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sermon Title: True Light (Sermon Series: The truth about TRUTH)

Sermon Series: The truth about TRUTH
Sermon text: John 8:32
Sermon Title: True Light
Background Scripture: John 8:12-59

I just finished a great summer preaching series on MOMENTUM. The theme has underscored the great spiritual awakening and moving of the Holy Spirit that is happening all around us here at FOL. It is apparent to so many of us that God is up to something spectacular...and the new building project is only one part of that great something!

Maintaining this great spiritual momentum will require intensifying our passion for God and godly character. The absolute best way for believers to do so is to develop the spiritual discipline of studying scripture. This month’s series will focus on what scripture says about scripture. How can we engage in spiritual warfare if we don’t know how to use our sword?  (Ephesians 6.17)

  • Greek work meaning book
  • Scripture: old testament written on special scroll paper
  • Was never meant be a collection of poetic essays & spiritual inspiration
  • John 20.30-31 Explains his gospel...establish Truth...not contain all of it. (How does this impact the way we study scripture?)

Martin Luther:
“The Bible is alive, it speaks to me, it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me.”

Mahatma Ghandi:
“You Christians look after a document containing enough dynamite to blow circulation to pieces, turn the world world upside down and bring peace to a battle-torn. But you treat it as though it is nothing more than a piece of literature.”

Truth is about getting to know God Almighty as our, loving and adoring Father who is relentlessly pursing humanity to have a personal, meaningful and eternal relationship. It is not about proving our points, saving our camps and damning others to hell.

  • The bible is a recording to the Universe’s greatest Love Story
  • It Chronicles God’s loving pursuit of a wayward group of people
  • This is witnessed through the following lenses:
    • Creation
    • Separation
    • Call of Israel to the people of God and light of the world
      • Exodus
      • Covenant
      • Building of a nation (Kingdom)
      • Exile/Return

  • Jesus (Arrival of the King/Redeemer)
  • Rest of the Story (Epistles show the gospel lived out in first century)
  • Our lives/ministries

8:11-52 (You will know the truth)
  • I am the Light.... (no more darkness)
  • “You are your own witness!”
  • Jesus: It is valid. Besides, the Father validates my claim...who sent me.
  • “Where is your father?”
  • Jesus: You don’t know me or my Father
  • Jesus: I am going away...
  • “Will he kill himself?”
  • Jesus: You are from below. You are of this world...I am not. You will die in your sins if you don't believe in me.
  • “Who are you?”
  • Jesus: When you have lifted up the Son of’ll know
  • Many put their faith in him. He challenged them to hold to his teachings
  • “We are have NEVER been slaves!”...they don’t know truth or history
  • Jesus: Anyone who sins is a slave. If you are a son, you are free.
  • Jesus claims that truth will make you sons but showing you the Father’s love and pursuit of us.
  • Jesus: You are trying to kill me because you have no room for my truth.
  • Jesus: You are doing works of your father...if God were your Father, you would love me. He sent me.
  • Jesus: Why can’t you understand what I am saying....because you are unable to hear and belong to your father the devil. You are of your father the devil...lies are his native tongue...he can’t speak truth (he can’t talk to you effectively if you now truth).
  • Jesus: Because I speak the don’t believe me.
  • If I am telling the truth...why can’t you hear it?
  • Jesus: Who belongs to God, he is what God says.
  • You cannot hear because we don’t belong to God
  • Jesus: whoever obeys my words will not see death
  • “You are a demon and a Samaritan”
  • Jesus: I honor your Father and you dishonor me
  • Jesus: Before Abraham was, I am!
  • They picked up stones to kill him.

Truth is about getting to know God Almighty as our, loving and adoring Father. It is not about proving our points, saving our camps and damning others to hell.


  • Jesus makes interesting connections about knowing Truth and godly lifestyles.
  • Jesus challenged those who believed in him to see if they really got it.
  • Jesus is Truth and the scriptures spoke of Him, but the people were blind and couldn't see the fulfillment of Truth right in front of them
  • Begin asking God for a hunger for Truth, a release of the fear of studying scripture, a love for scripture and eyes to see and respond to Jesus as he is revealed to you.
  • This is who Truth will change you life and the world around you. This is God’s secret weapon for transformation.


*Communion is the celebration of the story which culminates in the selfless sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf.

*Jesus had a good meal with bad people (Winn Griffin quotes)