Humbug – Bob Cratchit, Hope

Bob Cratchit was clerk for the meanest miser in town, perhaps the world. He worked 12-hour days filled with abuse from his merciless employer while grossly underpaid. He earned the equivalent of $100 in today’s funds for 60 hours of work! Dickens writes of the Cratchit family:

They were not a handsome family; they were not well dressed; their shoes were far from being water-proof; their clothes were scanty; and Peter might have known, and very likely did, the inside of a pawnbroker’s. But, they were happy, grateful, pleased with one another, and contented with the time…

But on the first Christmas night, hope was born!

Think it was different then? It was probably worse.

Matthew 4:16

A time of triple oppression

Matthew 23:2-4
Matthew 2:16
Luke 2:1

A promise fulfilled

Malachi 4:5
John 1:6-7

But ONE thing changed everything! Israel’s situation, Bob Cratchit’s and yours!

[ctt template=”3″ link=”s3Hif” via=”no” ]On the first Christmas, ONE THING changed EVERYTHING![/ctt]

It only took the birth of One to bring hope.

John 1:5
Isaiah 9:6-7

Jesus is Hope!

Humbug – Messages from Another World

Humbug: nonsense or gibberish

“Jacob,” he said, imploringly.  “Old Jacob Marley, tell me more.  Speak comfort to me, Jacob!”
“I have none to give,” the Ghost replied.  “It comes from other regions, Ebenezer Scrooge, and is conveyed by other ministers, to other kinds of men.”

Jacob Marley knows good tidings of comfort and joy come from another world! But Scrooge?

But there was nothing on the back of the door, except the screws and nuts that held the knocker on, so he said “Pooh, pooh!” and closed it with a bang.
———————————————————
“Humbug!” said Scrooge; and walked across the room.
———————————————————
“It’s humbug still!” said Scrooge. “I won’t believe it.”


Prophets, angels and a star, all messages from another world, announced the birth of Jesus!

Isaiah 7:14, Micah 5:2, Luke 2:9-14, Matthew 2:2

Check out Tim Chaffey’s article on the fulfilled prophecies of the birth of Jesus


 

The danger of not believing in something beyond yourself is a life like Scrooge.
Without God’s moral compass there is no right & wrong,
it doesn’t matter how we treat one another,
there is no reason to live each day as an investment in a better tomorrow.

Creation, law, eternity, purpose—These four things are written within each person’s heart.

God’s truth written in nature: Romans 1:20, Job 12:7-10, Psalm 19:1-4

God’s truth written on our hearts: Jeremiah 31:33, Hebrews 8:10, Hebrews 10:16, 2 Corinthians 3:3

Why we need connection to this other world:

  • Like Scrooge we need a strong dose of reality. We are not the center of the universe, other people matter.
  • So we don’t end up like Marley, missing what life is really all about.
  • We need to be reminded that we are spiritual beings.
  • We need a shove. Most of us rarely change direction without a brutal wake-up call.
  • We need consistent direction and challenge. We often do not follow through on our good intentions without consistent connection to and reliance upon the Spirit of God. We don’t just need to hear a sermon but connect with the Spirit of God that wants to speak to us through the sermon. We don’t need to just read the Bible but to connect with its message.

The Men Who Tried to Kill Christmas

Scrooge: a mean or miserly person, a spoiler of Christmas

There have always been Scrooges:
Haman in Esther 3:5-6
Pharaoh in Exodus 1:22
Cain in Genesis 4:8

But why?
For Haman see Esther 3:5
For Pharaoh see Exodus 1:9-10
For Cain see Genesis 4:7

These holes in our lives leave us on the outside looking in and we try to fill them with other things. But we can’t work more overtime, buy another “toy,” have another drink or try another hookup and fill the emptiness of living without God!

 

The first Christmas villain? Matthew 2:1-16

There will always be those who try to kill hope. The question is what are we going to do about it!

As long as there is a George Bailey doing the right thing,
as long as all the proverbial Whos in Whoville keep celebrating anyway,
as long as there is an Abel who follows God,
a Jochebed saying “Not my family!”,
an Esther who seizes opportunity,
a Joseph determined to be the father that God means all dads should be,
the hope we have in Jesus will never die!

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
-Edmund Burke

Christmas is not merely the birth of a baby. It is the moment the Son of God came to this earth. So Christmas is the birth of hope, joy, peace, love, grace, purpose, power, freedom, new life!

Romans 4:24-25, 10:9-10, Acts 16:31

Do You Hear What I Hear?

1 TIMOTHY 4:1

ROMANS 10:17

MATTHEW 14:29

JOHN 10:1-6

 

WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR HEARING


1. RECOGNIZE THE STRUGGLE!

WHY IS THERE A STRUGGLE AT ANY TIME…
EQUAL STRENGTHS..

 

2. READING GODS WORD

2 TIMOTHY 3:16-17

– GODS WRITTEN WORD VERIFIES GODS SPOKEN WORD!
– IT IS RELATIONAL
– IT IS INSTRUCTIONAL
– IT IS CORRECTIONAL
-IT IS DIRECTIONAL

3. PRAYER

– SPEAKING TO GOD
– HEARING FROM GOD
– 2 WAY COMMUNICATION!

4. SERVICE

JAMES 2:26 – FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD…!

 

1 KINGS 19:12

ISAIAH 30:21 

MATTHEW 4:4

Stinkin’ Blessed 3 – Thanks-Giving

WHY WE GIVE

We see a need and we are Stinkin’ Blessed

The more we become like Jesus the closer we copy Him, like the churches in Macedonia who saw needs in Jerusalem

Matthew 10:8

We know the result, we understand the relationship between our giving and others being ministered to

Exodus 23:15, 34:20, Deuteronomy 16:16

2 Chronicles 31:6-10

We want to be obedient

[ctt template=”3″ link=”808bB” via=”no” ]If you consume all the seed, you have gathered your last harvest.[/ctt]

Malachi 3:10

We own the mission, we believe in it, we know why we give

It’s about being part of a church
that doesn’t just say it’s not about me but lives it in their planning, events and giving,
that isn’t over busy doing things we like but making decisions and doing things that reach out to the unconnected,
that doesn’t just say everyone has something awesome to do but works hard to give them the opportunity to do it,
that isn’t just about the few hours on Sunday morning but also the other 163 hours of the week!

Acts 1:8

 

Bunks for Cuba

So Stinkin’ Blessed – Share the Blessing

2 Corinthians 3:2-3

We are Church 29:11’s letter of recommendation!

“Giving is about generosity.
Generosity opens up the soul. Generosity connects me with God.
When I give away what I’ve worked so hard to earn, I begin to understand the Gospel. I begin to experience the heart of God as He sees His son dying on a cross for the sin He did not commit.
Generosity is the key to the treasure chest of joy. When I give, I experience just a taste of heaven.”
 – Geoff Surratt

What is Paul speaking, even to us, in 2 Corinthians?

2 Corinthians 8:4

[ctt template=”3″ link=”6afSa” via=”no” ]As we become more like Christ we will be more filled with generosity.[/ctt]

Verses 6-14

[ctt template=”3″ link=”di0yn” via=”no” ]If you have needs, pray you can be so blessed that you can be a blessing to others, not just a recipient.[/ctt]

Verses 9:2-8

[ctt template=”3″ link=”2S4Un” via=”no” ]If we sow generously and cheerfully we’ll reap generously, enough for us and to share. [/ctt]

An orphan spirit

Joseph Mattera’s article on the Orphan Spirit

We say we’ll begin giving when we get caught up financially, when it doesn’t take faith. And we’ll serve when we have more time or a convenient time.
But that’s from an orphan spirit, one that doesn’t believe God is going to follow-through on His promises and take care of us!

An orphan spirit creates selfishness, jealousy, greed, insecurity, competition and distance between adults and children and finds its identity in “things.”

1 Corinthians 3:1-3

1 Corinthians isn’t really about communion just like 2 Corinthians isn’t really about money. It’s that they haven’t yet allowed the Spirit of God to transform them through the Gospel!

THE POINT
When we live in the knowledge that
we are sons and daughters of God,
we don’t have to fight for our blessings.
So we don’t have to hoard them either.

So Stinkin’ Blessed – The Widow’s Might

Mark 12:41-44

The power of your giving is not inside your wallet but inside your heart.

It’s easy to say let the rich, powerful and talented do it or use the excuse that our help won’t matter or make a difference.

But we were all created as unique individuals with an awesome purpose!

Giving is proportional

Giving is proof of faith in God

Whatever excuse we use, we might as well be saying, “As soon as we do not have to do it by faith, we’re going to start giving.”

Giving is a partnership, with God!

Philippians 4:10-19

Giving is ministry

Our giving does more than provide Sunday services. Our giving enables outreach like the Great Pumpkin Bash, year-round benevolence and enables us to bless over a dozen needy kids at Christmas!

Where do you want to see harvest?

[ctt template=”3″ link=”Keet8″ via=”no” ]Everyone should attend a church they brag about. You should attend and support the church that you want to help fulfill its mission![/ctt]

Power week 3 – Living It

1 Chronicles 29:11

Stop walking like you’re lost, talking like you’re defeated, praying without hope, planning without expectation!

2 Chronicles 29:11

Psalm 29:11

Jeremiah 29:11

[ctt template=”3″ link=”28kyn” via=”no” ]With God there is no accident, coincidence or luck. There is a plan![/ctt]

How will God execute the plan? Not by dreaming, hoping and talking, but by acting, doing—by His power!

Romans 10:17

Genesis 1:2


Survey a few instances of the power of God in the Bible:

Genesis 12:1-3

1 Kings 18:42-45

2 Kings 6:8-12

Luke 4:14 and Acts 10:38

[ctt template=”3″ link=”0527e” via=”no” ]People must first see His love in us before they will receive His power for themselves![/ctt]

Mark 1:30-31

Luke 19:30 and Luke 22:7-13

Acts 2:38-39

Acts 23:11 and Acts 27:24

1 Corinthians 12:7-10

God has already done everything needed and entrusted it to us!

Where is God? Power, week 2

A few weeks ago in D.C. Dava and I saw the thousands of graves at Arlington cemetery, the constant reminders of slavery, the horrors of the Holocaust museum, then returned home to news about human trafficking and the Las Vegas shooting.

What if God has already done everything needed to bring peace into this world? And then entrusted it to us?

John 9:4-5, Matthew 5:14

So maybe the real question should be “Where are we?“ Perhaps the world isn’t such a dark place because God seems absent, but perhaps it’s because we are!

We want and need God’s power in our lives
               Luke 10:19
               Mark 16:15-18

But if we want to walk in God’s amazing power we must also walk in the power of love!
               John 13:35


What is the purpose of God’s power?

We see several places in the New Testament where people wanted Jesus to perform miracles like parlor tricks. Surely this isn’t the purpose of God’s power!

Jesus gave His disciples power in Luke 10 (see above) when He sent them to prepare His way, to reach those who had not yet heard of Him, to bless and heal.

The power Jesus spoke about in Mark 16 (see above) was part of the Great Commission, it was about reaching the world!

Luke 14:21-23

John 1:12


The Great Pumpkin Bash on October 31st!

5 obvious whys…

Feed a hungry child

Give busy families a safe place to be together

Let kids see their parents laugh for the first time in months

Be the example to an abusive parent

Be Jesus to our community!

4 deeper whys…

1. This is who we are as 29:11, part of what we see as our unique calling. Most of the time in the church world we’ve done events for ourselves and invited the community to join us. This is an event we host for the community, for their needs, for their families.

2. This is what it took to reach us and it will take the same selflessness to reach others! If you are a Christian today it’s because someone put you ahead of themselves!

3. This is how Jesus did it. He didn’t just preach about & forgive sin. Jesus met people’s needs, sometimes by teaching, sometimes by blessing, sometimes by healing & sometimes even feeding them!

4. This selfless serving is the most effective means of connecting people with Jesus. Remember the old saying, “People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.”

John 14:10-17

SIGN UP TO SERVE AT THE GREAT PUMPKIN BASH