Legacy assignments for Feb. 5

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LEGACY ASSIGNMENTS FOR JAN. 29 – FEB. 4

Joseph of Egypt (pg. 46)

Timing is Everything (pg. 58)

Moses (pg. 75)

 

Joseph of Egypt:  Genesis 50:25

What symbols in your life will point future generations toward the God in whom you have placed your faith?

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Related scriptures:  Gen. 30-50; Ex. 1:1-10, 13:19; Joshua 24:32; Acts 7:9-14; Heb. 11:22

 

Timing is Everything:  Exodus 1-12

Moses’ spiritual journey went from one of willfulness (“My will be done”) to willingness (“God, your will be done”).  When God called Moses to lead his people out of slavery in Egypt, the chosen leader reluctantly responded (see Ex. 3-4).  The journey was long and trying, but Moses always had God on his side.  Here are some of the lessons Moses learned along the way:

  • God’s timetable isn’t always like ours (see Ex. 5:22-23), but it’s the only one that counts; he knows when the time is right (see Ex. 12).
  • Faith is forged in real life.  Moses learned about God through his life experiences and as he led the Israelites (see Ex. 5 and 12).

 

Here’s a situation in which I struggled with God’s timing, including what I learned from that experience…

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Related scriptures:  Eccl. 3:1-11, 8:6; Gal. 4:1-7

 

Moses: Exodus 3:10

What skills and knowledge are you using today that you learned earlier in life?

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Related scripture:  books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy; Acts 7:20-44; Heb. 11:23-29

 

 

Devotional thought

How important is forgiveness?

Joseph had received big dreams for his future.  In the first one, his brothers would bow before him.  In the second, even his father and mother would bow.  As we know, Joseph spent years in slavery due to the evil, jealous brothers’ actions.  We are not told much about Joseph’s thoughts while in slavery.  We know he remained faithful to God and God blessed him everywhere he went.  However, it is interesting what he named his firstborn son: Manasseh, meaning “God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.”  The second son he named Ephraim meaning, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”  These choices show a step toward forgiveness.  Thoughts of his brothers must have plagued him, because it is only after being elevated out of prison and Manasseh’s birth that he was able to “forget his father’s household.”

Genesis 42 gives the account of Joseph’s brothers coming for food, and when they bow before him, he suddenly remembers the dream!  As the story unfolds, Joseph completely forgave them.  This opened the way for God’s plan for Israel to become a nation to be ushered in.  The clan of Israel needed to be isolated from outsiders and grow together as a nation versus being spread out all over the place with each son taking his family in different directions and melting into the pagan world of their time.

Think on your life.  Are there areas that you forgave that resulted in blessing?  Have you ever struggled with forgiveness?  How did you overcome?

Please post your thoughts.  Your experiences may help another person who is struggling.

Pastor Joyce

 

Prayer Focus

Change.  As a church family we’ve experienced a lot of it over the last few months.  We’ve added a service time and made a shift in our approach to serving in ministries.  We’ve also been blessed, week after week, to welcome guests many choosing to continue in worship with us.

Change has many facets – change may be intentional or accidental; change can be anticipated or unexpected; change can come as a result of disaster or a result of boon; change can generate fear or change can produce blessing.  As we devote our hearts to the Lord in prayer today, I challenge you to focus on this last facet of change: fear versus blessing.  There is an adage that states “the only constant in life is change,” as followers of Jesus Christ we must be able to respond to this “constant” with attitudes and with actions that produce blessing.

I once read a quote that stated something to this effect, “Prayer may not change things for you, but it sure changes you for things.”   Maybe personally, you or your family is dealing with change, or maybe you’ve just come through some changes, or maybe that change still sits on the horizon.  Whatever the change in your life may be and however it may look, instead of praying for God to change things according to your will, ask that God would use change to change you according to His will.  For in His will is perfect blessing!

In His grip,

Pastor Beau

Legacy assignments for Jan. 22-28

Click here to view or print the assignments to discuss in Engage groups on Wednesday, Jan. 28.

Sermon reflection

Another Look At The Vineyard – John 15:1-3

“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” (John 15:2).

Chapters 15 through 17 occurred as the Lord and His disciples were walking on their way to the Garden of Gethsemane. On the way, they passed through the vineyards that surrounded the city. Perhaps Jesus stopped in the midst of a vineyard, took a vine, and used it as a means of illustrating to His disciples the great secret He had been seeking to impart to them in His discourse in the upper room, the most fundamental and basic secret of Christian life – “I am in the Father and the Father is in me” [John 14:10].

His beautiful analogy has helped many Christians understand the relationship God wants them to know. When He said, “I am the true vine,” He did not mean true in contrast with something false, but rather real, genuine, as opposed to a mere copy or symbol. As Jesus held this vine and its branches in His hand, He indicated that this was the copy. He was the true vine from which true life is received.

The purpose of this vine is to bring forth fruit. A vineyard is planted not for ornamentation but to produce grapes, to bear fruit. This is the point our Lord makes in the story. All through this account His emphasis is upon the fruit. So the question arises, What does this fruit stand for in our lives?

The figure of the vine is used many times in the Scriptures. These disciples would immediately think of several places where it was used. One is in Isaiah 5: “The vineyard of the LORD Almighty is the house of Israel” (Isaiah 5:7a). Israel was that vine. As Isaiah tells us, God cleared out the rocks in His vineyard and hedged it about. He built a tower; He protected the vineyard and cared for it. He did everything possible to cause it to produce grapes. But when He came into His vineyard and looked for grapes, He found instead sour, tasteless grapes. Isaiah tells us what that represents in verse 7: “The vineyard of the LORD Almighty is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are the garden of his delight. And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress” (Isaiah 5:7).

God came looking for justice and righteousness; instead, He found oppression, cruelty, exploitation, and indifference to the needs of others. It is evident from this parable that the fruit that God expects of the vine is moral character or, as described in Galatians, the fruit of the Spirit. The life that is in the vine produces fruit that Paul describes in Galatians 5 as love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control. The fruit, in other words, is Christlikeness. And our Lord is indicating that the very purpose of the vine is to produce such fruit.

Lord, teach me to abide in You so that I can bear the fruit of Christlikeness.

 

Jan. 26 sermon handout

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Exalted by God

Tomorrow’s reading connects in one specific way.  In each case, God exalted someone.  In Genesis 41, after all the suffering Joseph went through, his faithfulness paid off.  He never gave up on God because he wasn’t getting what he wanted.  David states in Psalm 40 that he waited patiently for the LORD and He inclined His ear and heard his cry.  He brought him out of a pit designed to destroy him.  The result of his waiting faithfully through the hard times was seeing God’s mighty hand set his feet on a solid rock.  In Matthew, we see Jesus being elevated in front of Peter, James and John on the Mount of Transfiguration.  He hears His Father’s voice audibly saying, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.”

Can you share with us a time when you waited and trusted God during a hard time in your life and you were rewarded?

Pastor Joyce

Come to Me

Today, as you commit yourself to a time of fasting, consider focusing your prayers on the words of Jesus from Matthew 11 – “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (verse 28).  Specifically, consider the opening words of our Lord and Savior, “Come to Me.”  Charles Spurgeon preached from this text, this way:

Come.” It is not “Learn,” it is not “Take my yoke“—that is in the next verse, and is intended for the next stage of experience – but in the beginning the word of the Lord is, “Come unto me,” “Come.”  A simple word, but very full of meaning.  To come is to leave one thing and to advance to another.  Come, then, ye laboring and heavy laden, leave your legal labors, leave your self-reliant efforts, leave your sins, leave your presumptions, leave all in which you hitherto have trusted, and come to Jesus, that is, think of, advance towards, rely upon the Saviour.  Let your contemplations think of him who bore the load of human sin upon the cross of Calvary, where he was made sin for us. Let your minds consider him who from his cross hurled the enormous mass of his people’s transgressions into a bottomless sepulchre, where it was buried forever.  Think of Jesus, the divinely-appointed substitute and sacrifice for guilty man.  Then, seeing that he is God’s own Son, let faith follow your contemplation; rely upon him, trust in him as having suffered in your stead, look to him for the payment of the debt which is due from you to the wrath of God.  This is to come to Jesus.  Repentance and faith make up this “Come“— the repentance which leaves that place where you now stand, the faith which comes into reliance upon Jesus.

As you craft your legacy, remember it is built day by day and minute by minute; every godly legacy begins and is sustained with the ongoing invitation to “come to Jesus.” 

Today and always, may your every prayer of repentance, your every prayer of faith advance you towards your King and His rest!

In His grip,

Pastor Beau

Jan. 19 sermon recording

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