Provision Not Preference

Deuteronomy 21:17

The firstborn son inherited a double portion because he also inherited the responsibility for the family. This role as head of the house is not an authoritative blessing but a serious responsibility!

The double portion blessing was God showing His love for the whole family, not just the firstborn.

Definition of Firstborn: first brought forth

So firstborn denotes someone who came before others, thus it would also denote those who are born-again, who become Christians before others in their family, their circle of friends, etc.

Hebrews 12:23-24

And in the New Testament sense, as firstborns, all Christians have a right to a firstborn double portion!

The Prodigal Son.

Luke 15:11-24
We all receive the first blessing, the blessing of life and all it comprises.

If we live out that first blessing to our selfish desires and passions there remains no more blessing.

When the younger son returns home he has no RIGHT to any blessing. He has already received and wasted all that is due him. But he receives forgiveness, position, authority and family!

God’s way is not about preference, it is about provision!

In Jesus we get the chance to grow, to become more and receive more than we ever could on our own!

“I think we all go from being the younger brother to the older brother in the prodigal son story.” Jason Daye

A King, a Warrior and a Prophet

The king, Ben-Hadad

The warrior, Naaman

And the prophet, Elisha

2 Kings 5:1-17

Naaman learns at least three things:
1.  Obedience is important whether we understand or not and whether it makes sense to us or not,
2.  Pride and selfishness can keep us from obeying,
3.  God really is able to help and wants to!

A King, a Warrior and a Prophet – but the most important person in the story was someone else!

Unexpectant People

They weren’t expecting Him right now.
They weren’t expecting Him right here.
They weren’t expecting Him this way.
So they really weren’t expecting Him at all. They had hope, wishes, expectations, but they didn’t expect Jesus.

…like Herod

His expectation? I think it shows in his response. Matthew 2:1-16

[ctt template=”3″ link=”dy09_” via=”no” ]People without hope tend to destroy the hope of others.[/ctt]

Think what his kingdom and rule could have been. He could have been like David. 2 Samuel 6:12-23

[ctt template=”3″ link=”o7y4J” via=”no” ]People with hope are hopelessly contagious![/ctt]

…like the rich leader

Luke 18:18-23

He wanted to change his eternity but wouldn’t change his “right now.”

It’s easier to commit to tomorrow than to the “right now”
It’s easier to commit to dropping 15 lbs over the next few weeks than it is to say no to dessert right now.
It’s easier to commit to changing the world than actually doing something about it right now.
It’s easy to say we want our family, spouse, kids to get closer to God, but on Sundays…?

…like Pilate

John 18:33-19:16

It wasn’t just an arrest, the Savior of the world was in his house – and he missed it! Jesus was in his house!

While the religious leaders demanded Jesus be put to death, Pilate didn’t just hold the fate of Jesus in his hands, Pilate held his own eternal fate in his hands!

Pilate did not expect to be in the presence of the Son of God that day

…like people all around us today

Hope is simply having a confident expectation.
If we want to change our future we must be willing to change our “right now.”
Because we hold our own fate in our own hands!

An Unexpected Way

No birth announcements, no social media – no fanfare?
Luke 2:13-14, Matthew 2:1-2

Why did nearly everyone miss it?
– No one was really paying attention. They were anxiously awaiting but not paying attention! Are we?
– Everyone was caught up in or distracted by their own stuff. Are we?
– Everyone already had Jesus figured out. Do we?

[ctt template=”3″ link=”157Tq” via=”no” ]If we aren’t careful, we’ll have it all figured out and miss what God is actually doing![/ctt]

When we come to Jesus we have to abandon most of what we think about God
John 17:25-26

God is Loving
Romans 5:8

God is Selfless
Philippians 2:6-8

God is Accepting
John 3:16

God is Forgiving
Luke 23:34

Jesus shows up in our problems!
On the sea, at a funeral, at Peter’s house, at the well in Samaria, etc., to people who needed Him.

After all, “Savior” is His middle name!

But we still miss it…

Like the woman at that well, John 4:5-30

Like the disciples in that boat, Luke 8:23-25

Seeing something to fix instead of seeing a God-opportunity

Like with Christmas—I’m a grandad and I want my grandkids to have toys, experiences, fun.

Most of all I want my grandkids to have Jesus!

I can’t afford to be a source of distraction, I must be THE one pointing the way toward Jesus!

Unexpected Places

PLACES JESUS WAS EXPECTED

Jerusalem?
Luke 2:11

Impressive, grandiose, pretentious palaces? It may surprise you, and should, that Jesus was never invited to the High Priest’s home. The first time Jesus, the Son of God, the King of Kings entered a palace?
Mark 15:16, John 18:28

No palaces for Jesus.
He was born in a stable.
He died between two thieves.
And then laid to rest in a borrowed tomb.
Luke 2:6-7, 23:32, Matthew 27:59-60

If Jesus was an average modern day pastor where would He spend His time?
Luke 4:16

 

PLACES JESUS WAS NOT EXPECTED

Jesus spent the bulk of His time in “Unexpected Places”:
In a cornfield, on hillsides and in villages like Jericho, Capernaum and Nain.
Often in busy streets or by a well outside of town.
Both in gardens and in the wilderness.
At a pool in Bethesda, by the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee often.
From the Mount of Olives to Mt Hermon.
In many people’s homes like Simon Peter, Simon the leper, Zacchaeus, several unknown and in Lazarus’ home many times.
He joined in His first public celebration at a wedding in Cana and had His last meal in a borrowed room with those who would die for their faith in Him.


Church is the only place most people expect to find Jesus.

Jesus isn’t even welcome in many places outside of “church.”

Yet we live in the unexpected places! And if I’m there then so is He!

We are also called to display the love of Jesus in the unexpected places of this world!

“Unexpected Places” are unexpected opportunities!


Jesus didn’t just come to serve and minister in the expected places. Jesus went to the Unexpected Places – and He sends us there, too!

In what unexpected place is Jesus reaching out to you, wanting to help you, could He help you? Maybe it’s some place you haven’t even thought about, or your doubts have grown too large to believe anymore. Remember, Jesus specializes in Unexpected Places!

Ready or Not

A Parable – Matthew 25

This story is about an upcoming event

This story is about the Kingdom of Heaven  

This story is about JESUS returning   

 

Because Jesus is returning that gives us HOPE!
We know God is doing something—history is headed somewhere.
And if you are following Jesus, then you’re a part of that!



THEY MISCALCULATED THE TIME.        

MATTHEW 24:45-51

By focusing on Jesus, we take the focus off of ourselves and leave the focus where He put it—on those who don’t know Him yet.


THEIR PRIORITIES WERE OUT OF WHACK      

They were either misinformed about the magnitude of the upcoming event, or just didn’t regard it with enough importance.

LUKE 14:28-33

LUKE 10:30-35

He gave…
– His stuff
– His sweat and effort
– His care
– His time
– His money

We all have something to give — and you don’t get to take it with you.

“This earth is the little isle; eternity the ocean round it; on this shore we have been cast. There is seed; but the mines of gold attract us. We spend spring and summer there; winter overtakes us in our toil; we are without the Bread of Life, and we are lost. Let us then value all the more the home which holds the treasures that no one can take away.” —D.L. Moody (read the whole quote here)

Are your priorities out of whack?          

Are you ready to play your part?

 


The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ – Matthew 25:8&9

There are some things you have to get for yourself.

Story

Prayer is not a last resort but a first line of attack
Philippians 4:6

Neighbors are important
2 Kings 2:1-15


Dream Big”

[ctt template=”3″ link=”11dof” via=”no” ]If I dream as big as I can handle then it’s not really a dream and I don’t need God![/ctt]

There is a difference in a closed door and a delay:
1. Does it line up with God’s Word?
2. Is there consistency of direction from God?

God wants to settle our minds and keep them settled
1 Corinthians 14:33
Isaiah 26:3

[ctt template=”3″ link=”099l2″ via=”no” ]When you follow God and something doesn’t work out God is teaching you something. Embrace what you learn about the process and about yourself or prepare to repeat the process![/ctt]

Genesis 22:1-18

In any endeavor there are 3 possibilities: I’m either going to win or lose or learn

2 Kings 13:14-19

2 Chronicles 29:11


Don’t stop!

  • Keep praying, because not everything is willing to be subject to God’s authority
  • Keep tithing, keep God as your partner, because He protects the harvest
  • Continually praise God as an acknowledgement of His blessings
  • Maintain the integrity of the harvest
  • Stay in the right neighborhood
    Jeremiah 29:5

 

Everyone Can Do Something

Upcoming outreach dates
Nov 18 – Food Boxes packed for school families
Nov 21 – Thanksgiving Dinner prepared for Ala Child’s Home
Dec 2 – Kentucky Christmas Blessing deadline

In the New Testament we learn
everyone is the temple of God, 1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19
everyone is a priest, 1 Peter 2:9
everyone is gifted, 1 Corinthians 12:7, Ephesians 4:16

No one is tasked with doing it all, or even too much. God made it simple, low enough that it isn’t a burden, high enough that it requires commitment. And God makes it work!


Tithing is a baseline, and means a tenth

Genesis 14:20, Leviticus 27:30-32, Deuteronomy 14:22, 2 Chronicles 31:5-6, Nehemiah 13:11-12, Matthew 23:23, 1 Corinthians 16:2

Psalm 24:1

Malachi 3:8


Tithing is about giving your first

Firstfruits in OT
Genesis 4:3-4, Proverbs 3:9-10, Deuteronomy 26:2, Exodus 34:26

First day of the week in NT
1 Corinthians 16:2

It’s an attitude that says “God is first!”
The first day, first hours of the week.
Not myself, my family, my friends, my hobbies, etc.
The first of my increase, not the last or the leftovers.
You want to be more blessed in your life? Make God first, not just figuratively or verbally but in reality!


Consistency is key in any success!

Any investment will bring blessings and miracles into THE HOUSE

Heaven is being populated and hell is being plundered by your offerings. That’s why giving is a spiritual act—because when you give, people get saved.
Robert Morris

But a consistent tithe investment brings blessings and miracles to your house.


The Whole Tithe

Malachi 3:10

I don’t know how much blessing you can count on at 5% but I do know this:  When you give 10% you can count on God 100%!

The House

Malachi 3:10-12

It begins with the house

At least 4 things happen when we invest in miracles.



1. “That there may be food in My house”

[ctt template=”3″ link=”K1058″ via=”no” ]We “eat” today because someone gave last week, and the week before, etc! Our kids eat, our friends eat, even those who don’t follow Jesus can eat today![/ctt]

Then God encourages a test!



2. Immeasurable blessings

[ctt template=”3″ link=”RS0mu” via=”no” ]God’s ability to bless you is beyond imagination![/ctt]

God isn’t wasteful. In John 6:12 Jesus said, “Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted.”


3. Protection of your harvest

Galatians 6:7 and many other verses remind us that whatever we plant we will receive in harvest.

But the parable Jesus tells in Luke 8:4-8 also reminds us that many things can happen to the harvest.

Deuteronomy 28:38-40
This would happen to the harvest if Israel didn’t keep its partnership with God, because He is Lord of all harvests!

To the rich who gain their wealth in ways contrary to what God says is honest and just: Micah 6:15

Haggai 1:6-8
This was when Israel neglected their responsibility to THE HOUSE.

Yet in Malachi 3:11 God says to those who test Him with their tithes that He will not allow their harvests to be lost!



4. Conspicuously blessed!

[ctt template=”3″ link=”5debu” via=”no” ]We don’t serve a “just enough” God. He’s a “more than enough” God![/ctt]