1. Sermon - John 3:1-9; 19:38-40
    Daniel 6:1-14
    A Decision or A Commitment? – Am I Holding Back?

    Not On Our Terms
    A fan will follow Jesus only as long as it doesn’t require risk or significant change.
    WARNING! Following Jesus WILL affect every area of your life.

    Luke 9:23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me

    An Extreme Makeover
    Jesus calls us, with Nicodemus, to come out of the darkness to be identified.
    As a committed follower of Jesus, you are called from darkness to be light.

    John 3:2 [Nicodemus] came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

    The Mark of a Follower
    Like Nicodemus, we are called to public acts of affection and devotion to God.
    It is necessary for Jesus to interfere with your work, your relationships and your finances.

    Daniel 6:10b “Three times a day [Daniel] got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.”

    Questions
    1) As a Pharisee in the Jewish culture, Nicodemus was held in high esteem. Why, then, would he go to visit Jesus at night?
    2) Jesus doesn’t waste time on small talk. How does he engage Nicodemus from the beginning? Why might Jesus take that approach?
    3) From what he said to Jesus, it is fairly obvious that Nicodemus comes to Jesus as a fan. “For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.” Put yourself in Nicodemus sandals. Is Nicodemus risking much in this encounter with Jesus?
    4) Fast forward to Jesus death. Nicodemus comes forward to help bury Jesus. Is he “all in” with this move?
    5) Tracing your own walk of faith, what part of your life is “all in” and what is not? Can you be a follower if every part of your life is NOT “all in?”
    6) Nicodemus stepped out of the dark when he helped bury Jesus body. Is there a correlation between your life and Nicodemus? How would you most honestly describe it? What changes are needed in your life for you to be a follower?

    # vimeo.com/106204965 Uploaded 22 Plays 0 Comments
  2. Sermon - Luke 7:38-45
    Ruth 1:6-16

    Simon the Pharisee - Intimacy or Information?
    What am I missing?

    From Information to Intimacy
    A fan can be rich with factual knowledge of Jesus, but still not know Him.
    A follower has an intimate, deep relationship.

    Luke 7:48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

    Go where you otherwise would not go.
    You can’t get from information to intimacy without risk!
    “If you’ll never dare to be at risk, you’ll never mature spiritually” (Joyce Meyer)

    Luke 7:37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 

    God wants to know you
    Jesus wants your undivided intimacy. He wants to know you.
    The only way for that to happen is by complete self-denial.

    Luke 9:23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me

    QUESTIONS
    1) Simon invited Jesus to his home. What forms of social etiquette did he neglect to follow?
    2) Put yourself in the woman’s sandals. What do you think it took for her to enter Simon’s home, much less wash, kiss, and anoint Jesus feet?
    3) Have you ever cried so much that you could have washed someone’s hands…even your own? What caused those tears?
    4) The woman, no doubt, had heard Jesus preach and made a commitment to follow Him before entering the house. Where would you say her level of commitment was?
    5) Through daily reading of our Bible and prayer we have the opportunity to strengthen our intimate relationship with Jesus. What specific steps are you going to take to strengthen your own relationship with Jesus? (Avoid using the word “try.”)
    6) Do you know OF Jesus or do you really know Jesus intimately?

    # vimeo.com/106872978 Uploaded 77 Plays 0 Comments
  3. Martin Luther based his stand ON Scripture as he stood up to the Roman Catholic Church.
    Our current understanding is often distorted by rationalization of our current circumstances.

    John 8:33

    We live in a time when Christianity’s foundation is suspect because of serious erosion of our cultural and political environment.
    Not responding to this changing environment, has had and will continue to have grave consequences in the not so distant future.

    John 8:37

    Knowing the Truth gives freedom. Finding that Truth in Jesus is the only way to be truly free.
    “The only way for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.”

    Psalm 46:1

    Qs

    Jesus was speaking to his own people, the Jews; Jews who “had believed in Him” (v31). Why do you suppose that Jesus gave them something to think about in v 31, rather than immediately challenging them?

    Looking at v. 35, name at least three different times in their history that the Jews / Children of Israel were slaves or at least under the rule of an outside government.

    In light of the fact that they were indeed held captive as a nation under several different circumstances, do you see in our place as Christians in the United States, that we are as blind as they? Is the change so gradual that we are simply conditioned to it? (Take for instance, what is allowed on TV now as opposed to 10 years ago; 30 years ago; 50 years ago. I encourage you to, also, think outside the arena of TV))

    Taking our lead from Martin Luther, what would you say is God’s challenge for us to move for change in our current cultural and political circumstances as individuals? As the Church? As a community?

    What plan would you devise to implement such change? (Remember that this would be a God-pleasing process.)

    # vimeo.com/110192763 Uploaded 11 Plays 0 Comments
  4. # vimeo.com/110810543 Uploaded 8 Plays 0 Comments
  5. Sermon - Nov 9:

    Jonah Chapter 2
    Luke 22:39-42

    Jonah: A Reluctant Follower
    It's Not My Problem

    From the belly of that great fish, Jonah cried out in repentance.
    At the lowest places of life, we turn to God for deliverance.

    Job 1:21 And [Job] said …

    Even in repentance our prayers can be all about us … self-centered … egocentric.
    Saying all the right things doesn’t guaranty the outcome we prefer.

    Jonah 2:1-2

    Commitment and follow-through are the result of self-examination and humble self-awareness.
    God rarely takes us immediately away from the circumstances from which we wish to be delivered.

    Matt 6:10 “Your will be done.”

    Questions

    God certainly got Jonah’s attention when Jonah found himself in the belly of the fish. How surprised would you think Jonah was when he found himself alive?

    It appears, at this point, that Jonah went right to praying. In reading Jonah chapter 2, talk about the tone of Jonah’s prayer. What was going through his mind?

    When we pray at times of distress, depression or grief, our prayers include a lot of “I or me” emphasis. What do you see as God’s reaction to that attitude? How might that change the outcome that we thing we need?

    Jonah was still confronted with going to Nineveh. As you read his prayer, do you see any change in his heart?

    Talk about a time when God left you in a difficult circumstance, maybe for a long period of time (possibly years). What did you observe about God’s timing? Did it change you?

    # vimeo.com/111569921 Uploaded 9 Plays 0 Comments

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