Sunday, November 1, 2015

Loving The Hell Out Of People

First Sunday Sermon (November): Wrap-up from Hospitality Series & Communion

Text: Rom 12:1-21 (Congregational Reading)

Message Title: (Loving The *Hell Out of People!)

Message Aim: To teach us that serving others is an act of faith that God will have our backs and that God will send others to fend for us. When we only look out for ourselves, we forfeit the gift of God’s promise to accompany us Himself, as well as to give us great community.

*Regina believed he loved her…he offered her something…at a great price…sure he was abusive…but her was a provider and he was consistent

*Mike was an honor roll kid ~ could fare well at school ~ at home, well,… his parents were dope addicts and he learned to run drugs at an early age and got caught up in the lifestyle himself. He felt he’d be judged by people if they really knew who he was. The streets didn’t judge.

*According to Luke 7 A woman was a woman who had many men.. she new how to please…she was “hospitable” …she came up behind him while he was teaching… poor expensive oil on his feet, cried over his feet until there were wet with oil and water. (Oil & Water don’t mix) ~ Luke 8 talks about women who support Jesus.


Yet they say to each other, 'Don't come too close or you will defile me! I am holier than you!' These people are a stench in my nostrils, an acrid smell that never goes away.

Romans 12 

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.


Romans 12 (Highlights)
  • (offer bodies as a living sacrifice) True Worship
  • Rise above worldly approaches
  • Don’t think more highly of yourself; think of yourself with sober judgment. 
  • We are one body with many members
  • we belong to each other************************************************************


Key verses:

v. 3 One of the great stumbling blocks to to loving God and others is our lofted sense of self. Romans tells us:

  • don’t compare yourself other others; that ain’t the final examen

  • When you compare you have 3 choices:

  • 1. You’ll be satisfied with yourself (No!) ~ if you were, you wouldn’t have compared in the first place
  • 2. You’ll come up lacking and work to overcompensate and bypass the process that creates maturity, balance, key relationships, gratitude and partnering with God.
  • 3. You’ll come up superior and exalt yourself and immediately feel the pressure to maintain that lofty perception ~ you’ll take your eyes off of God and become your own source of greatness. #dangerous 

  • We must compare yourself the amount of faith that God has given you ~ potential


For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 


✔When grace is not allowed to identify us as redeemed; rescued, chosen, loved, Fathered, etc., we then look for other things to “mark us.”

✔When we live under God’s banner, but not under His commission, we’re imposters.

✔Humans tend to see other humans as people to emulate, surpass, avoid or control… 

Good deeds alone don’t make us right with God; because good deeds are often manipulative and came come with strangling strings attached…

However…when God has touched our eyes with Grace, we see people the way he does; hence we love and serve them with His heart of compassion ~ hence conjuring his presence — anointing.

True service ~ true worship ~ as recognized by God ~ is proof to Heaven that we have seen the light. (There’s no way around this.) True Litmus test!


Challenge: Let’s be a community! Let’s love the hell out of people!!
a. join a small group
b. press out on Wednesday for communal meal and study
c. join a service team and build relationships 
d. join our ministry that feeds and accommodates homeless families
e support young girls who are survivors of sexual abuse
f. support our hospitality team by doing their efforts and creating space to connect & fellowship.

g. find out how you work with me to walk alongside Meadowood leaders,  families and myself as we structure a revitalization plan together.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Neighborliness (Pt. 1)

Neighborliness [near*dweller] (What issue are trying to address with this series? #Disconnect)

Neighborliness 
•Table ( prop)
•What blessings have we forgone?
•Hagin conference in Iowa & eating alone
  • Ms. Louise Dunlap
•Kevin D. Rose & 8th grade party (he waited for me to get ready)


Hospitality: The friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.

Dictionary.com
The quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.


“When Christ relinquished Himself from ALL godly power, prestige and accompanying benefits ~ what did he do to  to assert influence in the world he’d created?”


Philippi was a city in Eastern Macedonia (Modern Greece); was a prosperous town and the first church on European soil. An interstate highway from the east to Rome crossed through Philippi; had been a mining town for gold and silver; Thus a city that was rich in political and historical background.


Phil 2.1-11 (Words/phrases/Concepts that jump out):
  • Whatever ever you’ve received ~ you should offer
  • Imitate Christ’s attitude (didn’t use position of power for just himself)
  • Downward mobility (The Father exalted Christ after doing so)
  • Humble yourself: Not thinking you’re better than you really are

This is our way of doing what Christ did in his incarnation (Phil 2)


*Essentially, then, the Mosaic laws demand both compassion and justice to be guaranteed for the foreigner because God loves the sojourner ( Deut 10:18 )

Who is my neighbor?

The one who's hurting!
The one who'll inconvenience you!
The one who currently cannot do for themselves!

We/society says... We have too many problems! I say: we don't have enough good neighbors! 

God told King Saul: When you were small in our own eyes...

►Neighborliness is a dangerous concept: It suggests that we're tethered to someone near us~ and it's not someone we'd normally pick to be tethered to. 

►Neighborliness doesn't merely suggest that our success is linked to our response to someone's need~ oh no! Scripture suggest they its liked to our love for God!


►Neighborliness IS evangelism if we believe the one plants, one waters, but God gives the increase. We shouldn’t evangelize stranger ~ make the neighbors first!

►We’ve shared…and forced… our faith for eons. Let’s share our Love and Faith!


Next Steps ~

  • Acknowledge that you’re chosen and come take a seat at the Lord’s Table
  • If you don’t feel you know enough about Jesus to sit at his table ~ please talk with someone in back of the room
  • Pray to be more neighborly
  • Don’t leave until you visit the Next Steps Table in our Lobby and act out your neighborliness with a Life Group. Sign up!
  • Follow the fast guidelines and readings this week
  • Please fill out a communications card


Tethered (Neighborliness Pt.2)

An Untethered life is a dangerous life! (It was never meant to be lived alone.) We were each born tethered to someone.

*a flexible cable, pipe, or other line carrying essential services or supplies.

➣Our current worldview is jacked up with individualism. 
➣Our identity is shaped by community ~
➣The change that’s rendered by human contact, holy love, genuine concern, tangible compassion, is what I am referring to as hospitality.
➣Tethering is different that were altruism because of its aim

*FOL must be hallmarked by our hospitality! (FOD & biz community response)

Why is tethering important? The untethered is who he came for…

Joshua 2

Rahab:
  • Her house was part of the city wall
  • She recognized God in/on them
  • She knew their history
  • She acquired the Lord’s grace by her act of hospitality
  • She knew God’s actions and asked for a blessing/sign as a result

Rahab’s actions:
  • Her house was part of the city wall
  • tied scarlet rope
  • searched for 3 days


These men told Joshua about their promises:

22 Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, “Go into the prostitute’s house and bring her out and all who belong to her, in accordance with your oath to her.” 23 So the young men who had done the spying went in and brought out Rahab, her father and mother, her brothers and sisters and all who belonged to her. They brought out her entire family and put them in a place outside the camp of Israel.

24 Then they burned the whole city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the Lord’s house. 25 But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho—and she lives among the Israelites to this day.

Ahas:

➣Who saved who?
➣This prostitute held King David & the Heaven’s savior inside her
➣While you question someone’s worthiness of your time; you could actually be saving yourself, or someone you love.


Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse,

4. There are four women, and but four, named in this genealogy; two of them were originally strangers to the commonwealth of Israel, Rahab a Canaanitess, and a harlot besides, and Ruth the Moabitess; 

In Jesus Christ ~ strangers and foreigners are welcome. (He didn’t hide family skeletons)

By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.

In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?



➣Stop worrying about being tethered…go tether yourself to someone!

Power of Neighborliness: Acts 2/Acts (Pt. 4)

*Power of Neighborliness: Acts 2/Acts 4

*Less value is placed on people today, therefore, on relationships with people.

*technology can either allow us to connect more frequently or hardly at all.

*The warmth with which we meet and greet people says a lot about our faith. (Ppl come to FOL not knowing much about theology, scripture, church protocol, etc.)

*Neighborliness creates space for God to invade human space where people “neighbor" and are “Neighbored

************************************
Prior to The Good Samaritan, what was the litmus test for godliness? 
Answer: Legalism, rules, laws, sacrifices, appeasing God with religious fervor

Jesus chose neighborliness ~ using such strong language in order to stretch us beyond mere compliance and niceness. Jesus was convinced:

  • It would take the Holy Spirit to see God in each other
  • It would take the Holy Spirit to love God in each other
  • It would take the Holy Spirit to hold to each other

God is not going to let us mess up Heaven with pettiness, selfishness or disunity.

When neighborliness is established…it doesn’t matter who possesses the most, the newest, the best, etc., because needs will be met.

“Legacy of Love; Who’s Your Neighbor

*Again, Our love should not be limited to those who are just like us, but rather those who are near us and in need of support.


  • The parable of the good neighbor is Jesus’ way of challenging us to our very core.  It challenges:
    • What we believe about God (no respecter of persons)
    • Our so-called trinitarian theology (do we believe in the necessity of unity)
    • What we believe about the dignity of humanity (if we are a true reflection of God what does our lack of hospitality; lack of mutual respect; and our morbid obsession with being monolithically comfortable?)

  • Every whisper of the Spirit during prayer; every jot and tittle of God’s word during study; every theological and dogmatic insight must be tested against the anvil of unity and unconditional love! If that whisper—that insight—that dogma—does not propel us into the pain of another…emptiness of another…story of another…harms way of another…it is either not of God—other the hearer is NOT a follower of God.


*Power of Neighborliness: Acts 2/Acts 4 (Text & Context)

  • Create a visible place for the invisible presence of God to dwell

  • Godliness (Proximity and mixture of God & you)  breeds Neighborliness (Proximity and mixture of your and others) & Neighborliness breeds Unity e.g. selflessness; collaboration; interdependence; care, compassion; empathy; Presence of God; fruit! (A new creation that beckons the Holy Spirit!); When the Spirit falls…anything can happen!


  • God’s presence was in Eden; present in miracles; was not present in angels but referenced by angels; Christ broke into the our world and smuggled in the presence of God…

  • Hence, making it possible, feasible even…for God to dwell inside…and among believers!

  • Christ’s methodology for changing, healing and saving the world was through relationships.
    • God became an Only Begotten Son
    • He became a physical son, a brother, a student, an apprentice, a leader




‘Next Steps:

Luke 10:37 (NIV)
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

*What happens to us as we go & emulate God?

You may not be a great evangelist, however, can you be a good neighbor?


Galatians 6:10 (NIV)
10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.


*Scripture has taught us that when we’re kind to others, we have touched God.
(Matt 25; Hebrews 13.2 (Angels unknown); 


Hebrews 13:2 (NIV)

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Alex Gee: From anger to action : Wsj

Alex Gee: From anger to action : Wsj

Light From Above

While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:5)

By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place

And they will tell the inhabitants of this land about it. They have already heard that you, Lord, are with these people and that you, Lord, have been seen face to face, that your cloud stays over them, and that you go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.

“Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the wilderness. By day the pillar of cloud did not fail to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take.

*******

Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

  • There is a precedent for God’s ability and desire to lead (Exodus)
  • What does God respond to our crying or His timing (we cry and pray to line up with God is doing or is about to do!)
  • “He will guild you into all the truth” ~ guide us into it, but can’t make us follow.
    • God is obligated to make truth plain to us
    • This Israelites didn’t doubt the visual presence of the fire and cloud ~ they doubted if following was the best thing for them.


Remember: God is a great parent, however, his original children has constant contact with Him and and still they chose the alternative plan: death.
Closing Truths

  • Truth is subtle enough to elude our pride, yet strong enough to break our chains.

  • Truth is God’s perspective on life; reality is our perspective on life.

  • Truth is deniable but not avoidable.

  • Truth is where God lives, that’s why there’s light there.

  • It is in the light of truth where we are revealed for all of who we are; and truth is where God is revealed for all of Who God is. Unconditional love is true and it only exists in light because it only exists in God.

  • The enemy deceives because deception is truth’s only trap door

  • Christ came to reveal truth because we were trapped and blind and because Christ is Truth

  • Holy Spirit was given to us in order to reveal re-established truth in us by empowering us to pursue truth; enabling us to grasp truth; and encouraging us to invite others into truthful living.


The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.


Next Steps:

  • Open the blinds and let the sunshine in. Ask God for light today. Open you heart.
  • Get prayed over by a member of our prayer team
  • God to Welcome Center and ask for materials for new believers
  • Commit in your heart now to attend Adult bibles classes on Sunday or Wednesdays 
  • Recommit yourself to time for prayer and scripture reading/studywww.folmadison.org

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Capable Christians (Expecting Pentecost Series)



(Mini Series) Expecting Pentecost: 1.Power; 2.Glory; 3.Revelation 

These all drive purpose! These all promote humility!

The Lord said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. (Ex 4.21)

(OT figures experienced a phenomenon that allowed them to receive a grace and superhuman capability to perform exploits for God. However, it didn’t remain with them. Some of these characters were Moses, Gideon, Samson, David, etc.)

vs.

But you will receive *power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1.8)

*Strength; Adequate power (alludes us if we hoard it); *Personal Power (it was within their souls…it remained); Perpetual (endless supply) Power


Today’s Message: Capable Christians

*Power (ability, efficiency, and might)

  • This power transfuses us when the Spirit comes on us!
    • overshadows; overcomes; overwhelms; supersedes; overrides


Power: The ability of God to complete a task that has eternal benefits & repercussions 


However, many of us are merely capable…


Capability implies unrealized potential; Ability, on the other hand, implies possibility…

"John is able to read" means John can read without doubt, whereas "John is capable of reading" means John has all the necessary brain power and whatnot to be able to read but the question of whether or not he can read at the moment is left unsaid (although the fact that someone does say "John is capable of reading" probably means John can't read right now).

********************************

Again and again they put God to the test; they vexed the Holy One of Israel. Psalm 78:41NIV)

41 Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel. Psalm 78:41(KJV)

  • Limited (Pained. Scrap into pieces. Implies ending a process.)


  • What did Israel vex and how did they limit?
  • They vexed God by not realizing Who God was
  • They also vexed God…and themselves…by not realizing who they were
  • They didn’t pass the news of the Covenant (agreement) along to the next generation.

In a society where power and access are often hoarded, and shared only with those who benefit the causes of those hoarding it…God is pleading with us to share in His power!

His power! His purpose! To insure His desired outcomes!!

God’s wishes to accomplish A Divine Plan using your live…


Will you be able to complete the task or merely capable of great things?

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Justified Victory (Victorious Living Series)

Sunday, April 26
Theme: Victorious Living!
Message Title: Justified Victory
Message Focus: Victory is personal but never personalized
Message Text: Matthew 12:19-21 (NIV)

→Message Aim: Encourage a posture of victory that spills over to our everyday civic lives.

19 He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory. 21 In his name the nations will put their hope.” Matthew 12:19-21 (NIV)

15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” 16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” Matthew 14:15-16 (NIV)


7 The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern. Proverbs 29:7 (NIV)


➣├ľAnd while the church is a visible manifestation of God's kingdom, the church is not all of God's kingdom. God is concerned with making every realm of his creation whole.


Biblical justice involves making individuals, communities, and the cosmos whole, by upholding both goodness and impartiality. It stands at the center of true religion, according to James, who says that the kind of "religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world" (James 1:27). Earlier Scripture says, "The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern" (Prov. 29:7).

Only as we despair of ourselves and cling to Jesus can we participate in his work of restoring lives, the church, and the world by the Spirit of the Lord. We, the church, are to live now in light of Jesus' restoration of all things.

Both individual transformation and community transformation are part of restoring wholeness. While morality and immorality are birthed in the human heart (James 3:10-18), justice is centered in God's heart. We are to purify our hearts (James 4:8) whose desires lead us to sin. With transformed hearts, we are to extend God's justice to the poor, orphans, and widows, and to show no partiality.
#1 Original message to early church was one of hope in the victory which Jesus had won for them.

They preached the resurrection of Christ because of the victory it confirmed.

People who heard scripture (early times) were anything but comfortable. They were people in need of great comfort because of the hardship of life via persecution of faith and/or culture.

The Word of God and message of hope gave solace to people who’s lives and sanity were on the line.

Today, victory represents something else…

People (of faith) are comfortable and satisfied…we’re pursuing a temporal victory rather then eternal reward.

The message now isn’t “hold out, Jesus is coming back;” but rather, the message is, “let go, Jesus is coming back!

#2 Another trap is an insatiable desire for knowledge and no desire for application. Studying scripture for knowledge sake re: reverence for it’s author, audience or adherents. 

#3 Focus of Jesus’ Victory should:

  • convince us of our helplessness in saving ourselves
  • convince us of our chosenness by God
  • convince us of our righteousness, established by and confirmed in the risen Jesus Christ, hence creating a worthiness of victory as ratified by the Exalted Jesus Christ
  • Aw we worship Jesus, we affirm our God, Chris’t resurrection, Christ’s ascension, Our Intercessor, Our authority. 

The good news…or gospel…isn’t merely that Jesus died for the world any more than a bag of ingredients from the grocery store is a gourmet meal.

Next Steps:

  • Find out what scripture states about how injustice breaks God’s heart & find ways to help address a particular issue
  • Find out where God is at work and join in (Henry Blackerby)
  • God told Israel to remember its humble beginnings by helping others who are in similar situations. 
  • Pray for understand that you are vehicle for God’s solutions!
  • Take the next leap of faith in your faith journey