Skeptics Welcome — I Want To Believe, But… Week 1

The general belief about Christians is that they are mindless robots believing what they are told to believe.

God welcomes skeptics and doubters

God loves you just the way you are, but He refuses to leave you that way.
– Max Lucado

The Bible is full of skeptics, people that God still used in spite of their doubts!


Why would God welcome all these skeptics?
Isaiah 1:18
Philippians 2:12-13


Jesus spent a lot of time with imperfect people:
Luke 5:29; Luke 19:2-5; Matthew 11:19; Matthew 9:11; Luke 15:2

Today is Easter, the day we remember Jesus’ resurrection on the 3rd day after His death on the cross for our sins! But it was also day for skeptics: Mark 14:50; John 18:26-27; Matthew 26:16; John 20:24-25; Matthew 27:19; John 19:6-12; Luke 23:39-43; Mark 15:39

Don’t let skepticism lead you away from belief. Healthy skepticism will lead you toward truth, whatever it is.


I want to give you 4 invitations:

1st, to check out a new website, iwanttobelievebut.com where you can ask any question you wish.

2nd, to return the next few Sundays on this journey of seeking answers for your questions and doubts.

3rd, to tell God you’re listening if He has anything to say to you or to show you this week. I dare you!

4th, follow this link and me know if you make a decision, whether to follow Jesus or even to just keep looking.

The Rest of the Story — The Mission is Why

Tasks and mission are two different things.
Complete the tasks but stay focused on the mission.


NOAH

Genesis 6:18
Some people are always working on the boat, the tasks. They never get the mission.

Noah forgot the mission was about saving his family. He built the boat but forgot to lead his family!


DAVID

I know David got it because he wanted to bring the ark back Jerusalem – twice! And he wanted to build God a temple.

But there was that one night he forgot the mission. 2 Samuel 11

And don’t forget about Adonijah. 1 Kings 1:5-6

David led an entire nation to God but not his family.

I am convinced our #1 mission field is the family God gives us.

The Mission is about people!


MOSES

Exodus 16:3 
The reason people complain is they don’t get the mission!


CALEB

Tasks are about today
Mission is about the future!

Numbers 14:24
Caleb never bellyached over food. In reality he tried to tell Israel they were about to inherit more food than they could eat, if they would just have faith in God.

Joshua 14:6-12
Being on mission with God is a team sport. Living for yourself leaves you all alone when the battles come.

You may not be perfect in tasks or efforts.
But aim for perfection on mission!

The Rest Of The Story — Miriam, Aaron and Me

MIRIAM

The oldest of 3 siblings, Exodus 7:7

Watched infant Moses in his basket hiding place, Exodus 2:1-8.

Led the celebration of deliverance from Egyptian army, Exodus 15:1-21

Was part of the leadership sent by God. Micah 6:4

BUT she questioned Moses’ authority. And God answered. Numbers 12

Miriam became distracted by someone else’s calling instead of staying focused on her own.
WHEN YOU BEGIN DOING WHAT YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT FOR RECOGNITION, YOU’LL DESTROY THE PASSION!

AARON

Was made a prophet by God to assist Moses, Exodus 7:1

Given great honor! Exodus 28:1-3

Stood between the living & dead! Numbers 16:47-48

He was confirmed by God by a miracle, Numbers 17:1-10

BUT Aaron wanted Moses’ place!
Perhaps he grew tired of playing 2nd fiddle to little brother.
NEVER FORGET THE AWESOMENESS OF YOUR OWN PERSONAL CALLING!

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”


When we are not operating in our calling there is confusion, competition, jealousy, frustration, resentment, and more. Something important doesn’t get done, we work in our own power and ministry doesn’t receive our best.

But when we do operate in our gifts and callings there is fulfillment, peace, teamwork, collaboration and usually success. Amazing things get done, things fit, we work in God’s power and ministry gets our best effort!

We must not forget what we are called and gifted to do and why we are doing it!

If we forget that everything we do is ministry, reaching someone for Jesus, creating places for people to meet with God, encouraging those who struggle, strengthening marriages, discipling kids & teens, then we’re just making coffee, telling Bible stories, giving hugs, playing music & singing songs!

Everyone has something awesome to do for Jesus!

Click here to find a place to serve at 29:11?

The Rest of the Story — Servant Leader

More important than ability, talent and intelligence is attitude.
Moses was a leader who led for the purpose of serving!

Hebrews 11:24-25
Exodus 2:11-12

We should be men and women of such integrity that even when people disagree with our actions they never question our motives.

Exodus 2:16-17

No matter the details,
it is always the right time
to do what is right!

The events of Exodus 32:9-14 and Number 14:11-20
were the real test of Moses’ motives!


The life of Moses, this servant-leader, was a foreshadow of what Jesus would do for us:

A people in need of deliverance,
God sends a deliverer,
he stands in the gap,
serves everyone and
leads those who will follow.


Jesus gave another example of a servant-leader in the story of the Good Samaritan.
The “leaders” ignored the man in need!
The Samaritan noticed and did something!

He approached the man in need
He supplied for the needs
Gave up his seat, his place of comfort
Put up his own finances
Expected to help further!


Mark 10:45

  • We are called to lead others to Him. We do that through serving!
  • Serving comes before leading.
  • As followers of Jesus, we are all called to serve one another!

 

It’s not about me

The Rest of the Story — Awesome Faith

Romans 12:3

Matthew 17:19-20

PEOPLE WITH AWESOME FAITH ARE THOSE WHO LIVE THEIR FAITH!
– They make decisions based on their faith, or I should say they don’t make decisions outside their faith.
– They don’t need someone to remind them every week or ask them “have you prayed about it?” Their faith matters in everything.
– And that was the difference in the lives of people like Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Caleb, Ruth, David… need me to go on?

Half a truth is often a great lie. – Benjamin Franklin

This is why it is important to not take something online as fact. And it is important to not read portions of the Bible out of context. Always seek the whole story!

Half the truth is that Israel was in trouble with God much of the time.

But why does God keep coming back? Because God has an unquenchable desire to bless! And that’s The Rest of the Story!


NOTE THE CYCLE IN JUDGES
3:7, 11 And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. They forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth … .(God sends Othniel to deliver them) … Then the land had rest forty years.

3:12, 30 And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD … (God sends Ehud to deliver them) … and the land had peace for eighty years

4:1; 5:31 And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD … (God sends Deborah & Barak)  … Then the land had peace forty years.

6:1; 8:28,33 The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD… (God sends Gideon) … the land had peace forty years …. As soon as Gideon died, the people of Israel turned again and whored after the Baals…
Autopilot is a dangerous way to live your life. Culture infiltrates our thoughts and our morals. If you don’t pay attention, close attention, your morals will change, even as a Christian. Constantly choose to live your faith!

James 1:14-15

Joshua 24:15-23 selected

 

Make the hard choices.
Look around. What needs to go? Dump the distractions! Delete the doubt!
Consider your “Friends”
What do the people around you challenge you to do and be?
Do they have a high or low opinion of marriage?
Here is a rule of thumb: who is influencing whom?
Media, music, hobbies & activities, etc.
Do my choices positively or negatively influence me?
Do they feed my spirit and its desires or my flesh and its desires?

Joshua 24:25-27

The Rest of the Story – Law of Grace?

The story of Nadab & Abihu

  • Their father Aaron was Moses’ brother & the first priest of Israel!
  • Called by God to the top of Sinai, by name! Exodus 24:1, 11
  • Priest #2 and #3! Exodus 28:1
  • But the most notorious part of their story is their death! Leviticus 10:1

The story of Hophni & Phinehas

They received a lot of grace! God gives us direction, warnings, etc, but allows us to choose our path.
Deuteronomy 30:19

“The truth about grace might seem positive at first glance, but in order to embrace it, we have to come to terms with our need for it. And that means acknowledging our own depravity.”
-Brandon Cox

The truth: God is holy and without Him we are depraved, corrupt and immoral

Isaiah 64:6

Isaiah 6:5

Romans 5:20

Romans 6:23


Three hard, incontrovertible facts

Forgives
Ephesians 1:7

Renews
Titus 2:11-12

Helps
Matthew 6:11

Heals
Matthew 6:12

Empowers
1 Corinthians 10:13

Keeps
2 Timothy 1:12

 

So why does God seem so different in the Old Testament than He is in the New Testament?
Malachi 3:6

Make Change – Banners

Signal Banners were posted on a high place 
Isaiah 18:3, 11:12, 5:26, Psalm 60:4, Jeremiah 4:6
Isaiah 31:9
Isaiah 59:19

The metaphor of “lifting a standard” for making an armed resistance is common in Isaiah.

Tribal Banners which the Israelites camped under and marched behind
Numbers 2:2
Deuteronomy 11:18-21

7 Prayers I am praying over my church in 2017:
1. Remind us, it begins right here!
2. Help us take our commitment to finance and otherwise support our mission more seriously
3. Help us reach the next 180 who need to know Jesus
4. Lead each one of us to Own Our Growth
5. Lead us to welcome discipleship from one another
6. Open more doors in more communities and bless us with the necessary means to reach them!
7. Give us greater impact in our communities in 2017



What banner is over your house or family? 

Psalm 74:4 

Declare over your house, we are:

Overtaken by blessings – Deuteronomy 28:2

Strong not weak – 2 Corinthians 12:9

The head not the tail, above not beneath – Deuteronomy 28:13

The lender not the borrower – Deuteronomy 15:6

No longer slaves but children and heirs of God – Galatians 4:7

Not under bondage – Romans 8:2

Not fearful but of sound mind – 2 Timothy 1:7

More than conquerors – Romans 8:37

More powerful than our enemy – Luke 10:19

Followers of God – Joshua 24:15

His chosen – 2 Chronicles 29:11

Forgiven – Romans 4:7-8

A house full of joy and peace – Romans 15:13

Healed – 1 Peter 2:24

Safe – Proverbs 18:10

A family with a future and hope – Jeremiah 29:11


Psalm 20:1-5

Make Change -Truth

Romans 1:16-25

“post-truth” – relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.


The problem with facebook: everyone is an expert.

So truth becomes transitory. Love (or anything else) is whatever I decide it is today.

The “victimless” lie: the things I do in my private life don’t hurt anyone else.

Three Truths

1. The world is already teaching your kids about sex
Parents must be proactive or they will become the aftervoice

2. The porn industry is after your kids
Parents must continue to discuss sex or lose the privilege
of being the source of information and advice

3. Parents still have the greatest influence 
The younger we start the conversation the more likely it is to continue

The truth about Marriage

What matters is commitment, but we spend all our time on the symbols and ignore this most important aspect of marriage!

What constitutes marriage in the eyes of God.

Matthew 19:4-6

So what do we do?

Finally, and perhaps most important, personal integrity requires the power of No. The ability to say No is an essential element of one’s moral compass. Without it, we are merely agreeable pleasers, the Pillsbury doughboys of morals and values.

– Judith Sills, PhD

Homo sapiens occupies a peculiar position in the animal kingdom. This peculiarity manifests itself in man’s relationship both to his own body and to the world. Unlike the other higher mammals, who are born with an essentially completed organism, man is curiously “unfinished” at birth. …human beings are capable of doing and thinking genuinely new things. This is the capacity of saying no…

Peter Berger

In the next 163 hours of this week we must live what we say in these first 5 hours!

1. Resolve where truth is found

2. Don’t go along with “whatever”

3. Act based on truth