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July 20, 2014 - On a Detour to our Calling - Genesis 12:10-20

posted Jul 22, 2014, 6:21 AM by Grant Garber

  • We want our lives to make a difference for others. We have been blessed to be a blessing.
  • What do you do when you get your life to what you thought was the right place, only to discover a famine?
  • Sometimes when you have hit a famine, you simply have to make a change or take a detour for a while.
  • No one who lives by faith can remain neutral on this holy business of being a blessing. You are either blessing or cursing those around you.
  • The times we are most tempted to doubt that God will bless us is when we don’t have clarity about life’s journey.
  • Trust, or faith, doesn't always bring understanding.
  • Trust casts us upon the love of God, which is the great blessing. And you don’t know if you have received this blessing until there is a reason to be anxious.
  • Wherever you are learning faith that is the right place for you to be.
  • You cannot be a blessing without having an altar of prayer where you sacrifice your fears in order to see that you are held by the love of God.
  • Even when we are lacking faith, God remains faithful to us. That is the source of our great hope.
  • You have to receive love to give it. And the only way to receive love is to trust it.

July 13, 2014 - Called to Be a Blessing - Genesis 12:1-9

posted Jul 14, 2014, 5:53 AM by Grant Garber   [ updated Jul 14, 2014, 5:54 AM ]

Main Thought
We are called not just to receive, but to be a blessing.
  • We all yearn for a sense of calling.
"The secret of human beings is the secret of their responsibility." ~Vaclav Havel
  • We all know about hard labor/knocking ourselves out/struggling with hope. The question we ask is, “What is my calling in this struggle?”
  • We have made an idolatry of our own generation, assuming that all of life’s meaning has to be found within our years. The ancients always understood themselves as part of a future that lived on.
  • Abram and Sari were settled in Haran, into a life without a future. The worst part is that their society had given up hope and chosen barren comfort and security.
  • For some reason, Terah had stopped his pilgrimage and settled at a place along the way. Perhaps you started out with a magnificent dream, but the demands of life have caused you to place your dream on a shelf in the closet of your soul.
  • The call of God kindled something that had almost died out in Abram’s soul --- hope.
  • You have to leave what is known to find hope.
  • Life isn't about settling. It’s about following the sojourner God who is on the move.
  • The Gospel has always been about leaving and cleaving ---  leaving what is known but barren, and cleaving to the holy promise of hope.
  • Whatever you have settled for, you have to leave to find the new place in life that God wants to show you.
  • Every call of God is built upon the foundation of being a blessing.
  • The altar is the place where we sacrifice what we have but cannot keep, in order to receive what only God can give but which we can never lose --- being a blessing.
Age of the Patriarchs

July 6, 2014 - The Questions Every Leader Has to Face - I Samuel; 28:3-7

posted Jul 7, 2014, 9:15 AM by Grant Garber

Question #1 – What do you do when your prophet dies?
    • You can try to hang on to all the things you learned, as if the prophet never died.
    • You can look for a new prophet.
  • There is always more of God’s truth to be learned from new prophets.
Question #2 – What will you do when God is silent?
    • David chose to trust in a God who isn't on a leash and doesn't always come when beckoned.
    • Jesus chose to stay on the cross.
    • Saul chose to respond to God’s silence by becoming so desperate he went to a sorcerer.
  • Our great temptation when we are disappointed with God is to listen to whoever is speaking.
  • We need to be good stewards of our disappointments from God.
  • It is easy to have “faith because of”. Real faith emerges as “faith in spite of”.
Question #3 – What are you going to do when it is time to stop leading?
  • Reasons we are tempted to hold on to leadership too long!
    • We grow accustomed to the privileges of being in charge.
    • Jealousy
  • Never cling to anything but your God.
  • Life is only lived well with open hands.
  • The point of your life is to worship/glorify God and enjoy Him forever!

Pastor Jim Spon | I Samuel; 28:3-7

June 29, 2014 - A Charismatic Leader - I Samuel 15:10-17

posted Jun 30, 2014, 6:52 AM by Grant Garber

Main Thought
The main distraction in leadership is fear.
  • You cannot know how to lead unless you are listening to what God tells you to do.
  • When we devote ourselves to reading Scripture, worship, and prayer, we are grounding life in the great tradition of faith. It is from this tradition that the leader finds holy visions for leading his/her people.
  • God doesn't need any of us to lead His people in the direction He wants them to go. If you won’t obey, there is always a young David waiting to take over for you.
Three kinds of leadership
    1. Traditional
    2. Legal
    3. Charismatic
  • The charismatic leader is bound not only to the people but also to God, who by grace pours His Spirit on the servant.
  • We make a lot of sacrifices in leadership trying to make people happy. We can even burn out trying to satisfy them. 
Why do we do that?
    1. We are afraid they won’t affirm us.
    2. We are afraid they won’t let us keep leading.
  • Because Saul was so desperate to stay in leadership, he listened to the voice of the people instead of God, and in that moment he ceased to be the charismatic leader.
  • You can’t lead the people if you are afraid of them.
  • If you step into leadership, you will eventually find yourself in worship, either with lament or with thanksgiving. It all depends on how carefully you listen to the Lord’s vision along the way.

Pastor Jim Spon | I Samuel 15:10-17

June 22, 2014 - Gideon Report

posted Jun 24, 2014, 5:53 AM by Grant Garber

Larry Snyder

June 15, 2014 - No Fear - Psalms 27

posted Jun 16, 2014, 4:53 AM by Grant Garber   [ updated Jun 16, 2014, 5:22 AM ]

  • Fear and being afraid are a very common theme throughout the Bible.
  • The source of David's confidence and stability was not his own strength—but God. 
  • David calls on all of us to trust God in our &mes of trouble.
  • We can be confident, like David, that our sins are forgiven, that God will not forsake us.
  • As Christians, we know that FAITH means that we BELIEVE what we CANNOT SEE.
  • We should have NO FEAR because we have been blessed with the security found in CHRIST ALONE.

Mike Nottingham | Psalms 27

June 8, 2014 - The Calling of a Leader - I Samuel 10:17-27

posted Jun 9, 2014, 6:08 AM by Grant Garber

  • The calling of a leader isn't really to lead. It is to seek the Lord who alone can lead people to a future filled with hope.
  • Very often in the Bible we find God accommodating to the less-than-stellar ideas of His people. He doesn't insist on His own will for us but stays with us even when we walk down the wrong road, and finds ways to redeem our mistakes for our salvation. It is always about the grace of God.
  • Throughout the Bible, the leaders God calls almost never apply for the job. They are all reluctant.
Why do we try to hide from the call of God?
  1. We feel inadequate.
    • The people who look big in their own eyes are never chosen by God.
    • God didn't call you to leadership because He needs your help. God has no needs. He chose you simply to be His willing instrument.
  2. We had other plans.
    • If you are just chomping at the bit to be a leader, you will be of little use to God. That’s because God wants leaders who don’t need to lead.
    • If we can’t walk away from being leaders, we were never serving God.
  3. Our fear of conflict.
    • God’s appointed leaders always face opposition. And the greatest opposition comes not from the external enemies but from the people the leader is trying to serve.
    • If you are making everyone happy, you aren't leading.
    • Saul couldn’t save anyone. Neither can you or I. Only the Spirit of the Lord can save.
    • If you are in leadership and you don’t seek the Spirit of the Lord, you will be overshadowed by the spirit of your enemies.
    • It isn't hard to start well, but history will evaluate your leadership by how you end.
    • Leadership is never about what you do. The real job of a leader is to always search for what God is doing in the hard times and especially in that dangerous moment to your souls when the times are good.

Pastor Jim Spon | I Samuel 10:17-27

June 1, 2014 - Where Is Our Samaria? - John 4:1-15

posted Jun 2, 2014, 9:47 AM by Grant Garber

  • The need to travel through Samaria is more of a divine necessity than a physical requirement.
  • We all have our Samaria(s): A place we try to avoid.
  • Our Samaria(s) are sometimes...
    • Physical places
    • Something deep within us we try to ignore
    • A combination of the two. Our internal Samaria identifies an external Samaria and encourages us to take the long journey of avoidance.
  • Christ chose to enter His Samaria.
  • At the well, Christ was interacting with an unpopular person of an unpopular community.
  • Jesus entered Samaria to bring someone to Himself so that she, as unworthy as she appeared, might live in the truth with the reality of her Messiah who quenches an eternal thirst. 
  • Where is our/your Samaria?
Pastor Jim Spon | John 4:1-15

May 25, 2014 - The Credentials of a Good Shepherd - John 10:11-18

posted May 28, 2014, 8:15 AM by Grant Garber

  1. What did Jesus mean by identifying Himself as the “Good Shepherd”?
    • Jesus made the most elaborate of claims --- asking disciples to forsake houses, lands and family for His sake.
    • On what authority, by what power, did He make His claims?
    • Jesus made all His demands by virtue of His claim to be the “Good Shepherd”.
    • As the “Good Shepherd” Jesus loves and cares for us as individuals.
    • He knows our names.
    • He knows our distinctive characteristics.
    • He knows our needs.
  2. What evidence did Jesus offer to substantiate His claim to be the “Good Shepherd”?
    • The evidence was in His willingness to go to any length to protect the sheep.
    • We learn the true meaning of His words when He suffers on Calvary and is resurrected on Easter morning.
    • His words not only testify to His credentials as the “Good Shepherd” but as the obedient and pleasing Son of God that He was.
  3. What response should you and I make to the credentials of the “Good Shepherd”?
    • “If” Jesus is the “Good Shepherd”, “then” the sheep ought to follow Him.
    • Is He your Shepherd?

Pastor Jim Spon | John 10:11-18

May 18, 2014 - The Doctrine That Makes a Difference - Luke 24:36-49

posted May 19, 2014, 7:22 AM by Grant Garber

  • The Synopsis of the Four Gospels shows their similarities in content, order and presentation. Such similarities are inevitable. After all, they are all recounting the events in the life of the same person, Jesus Christ.
  • The Gospels are eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ life, and as such, each offers its own individual perspective.
  • Why would Luke and John record the same post resurrection appearance of Jesus? Because the resurrection is so critical to our faith!
  1. The resurrection made a difference in the disciples’ outlook.
    • The resurrection of Jesus replaced their disappointment with hope and their doubts with conviction.
  2. The resurrection made a difference in the disciples’ understanding.
    • What a difference it makes when our minds are open ~ when we aren't seeking to prop up some preconceived notions but we are open to understanding the whole truth.
    • Men and women who have closed minds are seeking to comprehend the universe that God created without even acknowledging that God is alive and well and working in their midst.
    • Understanding exists on many different levels but it is never entirely complete until we have a relationship with the One who puts all of life into its proper perspective.
  3. The resurrection made a difference in the disciples’ behavior.
    • What was grasped by their minds was made a part of their actions...as it almost always is. After all, what we believe determines what we do.
    • The difference in their behavior was that this frightened group of believers became “witnesses” to the entire world.
    • The change in their behavior wasn’t of themselves. The power to make it happen was from “on high”.

Pastor Jim Spon | Luke 24:36-49

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