El Bethel

“Jacob and all the people with him came to Luz (that is, Bethel) in the land of Canaan.  There he built an altar, and he called the place El Bethel, because it was there that God revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother” (Genesis 35:6-7).

I find it intriguing that upon Jacob’s return to Bethel he renames the same place (also known as Luz) El Bethel.  This happens following the disasters of Genesis 34, which were a result of he and his families’ living too close to the world.  This time Jacob calls on his family to dispose of their idols.  It seems to me that many times God’s children experience a touch of God in their lives as Jacob did the first time he was in Bethel while running from his brother.  Though these times are powerful and though they allow for promises that God wants to fulfill in our lives, they are also conditional on our obedience.  Bethel (House of God) only became El Bethel once Jacob let go of all other idols (dependencies).   Knowing the House of God is good! But, like Jacob, we must know the God of the House.  To know Him requires full surrender that comes from recognizing that any self-reliance will only bring disaster and hardship for our families.   Trusting in God fully, and obeying fully, will allow us to realize God’s full plan for us and our families.  To know the God of the House is indeed marvelous.

Pastor Scott


Click here to view a printable version.



The Rest of the Story (pg. 949)

Getting Out of the Boat (pg. 953)

God’s Surprising Ways (pg. 42)


The Rest of the Story:  Matthew 11:28-30


Many people spend a lifetime searching for rest for their souls.  They turn to careers, relationship or possessions for satisfaction, but those things don’t provide true peace.  In contrast, Jesus welcomes us, saying, “Come to me.”


At these times in my life, I turned to Jesus and found the rest I needed:








During these times of conflict, I found it difficult to find rest in Christ:









Related scripture:  Ps. 23; Is. 40:28-31; 1 Peter 5:7-11



Getting Out of the Boat:  Matthew 14:22-36


It took a lot for Peter to step out in faith when Jesus called him out of the boat.  Peter was fine until fear and doubt began to creep in, causing him to lose his focus and sink into the water.  It was his Savior who saved him from being overtaken by the waves.


These life situations threatened to overwhelm me:





Here’s how Jesus “reached out his hand and caught [me]” (verse 31):








Related scriptures:  Prov. 3:5-6; Is. 43:1-7; Jonah 2:1-10; Heb. 12:1-3



God’s Surprising Ways:  Genesis 37-50


Early in Joseph’s life, God revealed to him in dreams that he would be used in a special way.  Soon thereafter, however, Joseph was betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery and taken to Egypt.  He could have become bitter and lost his faith.  He could have doubted God or been angry with him.  Instead, Joseph remained faithful and honest.  He later confidently told his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Gen. 50:20)


Let me tell you about a similar time in my life.  Everything seemed to be going wrong, but God was working in surprising ways that I didn’t understand or expect…





What I hope you can learn from my experience…







Related scripture:  Is. 55:8-9; Rom. 8:28-35-39; 2 Cor. 1:8-11; James 1:2-4

Engage Groups

Engage Groups tonight at 7PM. Hebrews cafe will be open at 5:30. If you have not yet enrolled in one of the Engage Links stop by the cafe’ to learn more about the options available to you.

For those who enrolled last week,

please return to the location of your links group upon arrival.

Tuesday, January 14 Prayer & Fasting Focus – Praying Scripture


“But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4).

These words of the apostles provide us with a succinct description of the apostolic ministry as viewed by themselves. That ministry had two principal parts: (1) prayer, and (2) the Word of God. It would appear that they viewed prayer and the Word of God as of equal importance. That the two ministries are closely bound together is evident. Much prayer without the guidance and balance of the Word of God will produce mysticism. Much study of the Bible without prayer produces a mechanical, academic approach to the Scriptures— something that is all too evident in our day.

The following ideas suggest something of the relationship that exists between the Bible and prayer. These matters are handled in more detail elsewhere in this book.

A.  The Bible is the BASIS of all prayer.

1. All we know about prayer that is distinctively Christian is found in the Bible.

2. All we know about the God to whom we pray is found in the Bible. A knowledge of God is vital to a warm, effective prayer life. Scripture shows that those who have been mighty in prayer were those who knew God well.

3. Prayer flows out of accurate doctrine. The doctrines of Christianity are found in the Bible.

B.  The Bible is the DIRECTIVE for prayer.

1. The necessity for prayer is stated and implied.

2. The various kinds of prayer (petition, inter­cession, thanksgiving, confession, etc.) are outlined in the Bible.

3. The conditions for effective prayer (faith, praying in the Spirit, in the will of God, etc.) are laid down in the Bible (see John 15:7).

C.  The Bible is the CORRECTIVE for prayer.

Reasons why prayer is often unanswered (sin harbored in the life, an unforgiving spirit, selfishness, ignorance, etc.) are revealed in the Bible.

D.  The Bible will often be the SUBJECT of prayer.

1. We are to pray for an understanding of the Word of God (see Ps. 119:18).

2. We are to claim the promises written in the Bible and to turn them into practice through prayer, as Daniel did (see Dan. 9).

3. We are to study the instruction and exhortations of the Bible and pray them into our lives. For example: “Lord, make this real in me.”

4. We are to grasp the information of the Bible and turn it into praise and thanksgiving. For example: the sure victory of the Christian, the return of Christ, etc.

E.  The Bible and its messengers will often be the OBJECT of prayer.

1. The Word of God is a “living” Word (see Heb. 4:12; I Pet. 1:23).

2. There is a sort of vitality in the Word itself (see Acts 6:7; 12:24; II Tim. 2:9).

3. What amounts to “activity” is attributed to the Word. It “increased” (Acts 6:7); “grew and multiplied” (Acts 12:24); and “is not bound” (II Tim. 2:9).

4. The Word of God is preached, taught, printed or distributed by the human instrument, and it is clear that the preacher, teacher, printer or distributor is to be the object of our prayers. But it is entirely in order to pray, not only for the human instrument, but also for the Word itself—that it might work with a full measure of quickening power (see Isa. 55:11; II Thess. 3:1).

F.  The Bible provides the INSPIRATION for the life of prayer.

1. In the Bible are recorded the lives and experiences of the men God used—all of them men of prayer. For example: Moses, Samuel, David, Paul, etc.

2. In the Bible is found the record of the greatest of all men of prayer, the Lord Jesus Christ. If we would truly claim Him as Lord and Master, we will be people of prayer.

G.  Conclusion.

1. A constant study of the Bible is essential for the nurture of the prayer life, and a consistent prayer life is essential for an understanding of the Bible.

2. A study of the Bible will produce a close walk with God; a close walk with God will include constant prayer that the Word will be filled with quickening power as it is given out by His messengers.

3. A study of the Bible will reveal the desperate need of a lost world; much prayer will produce vigorous messengers who move out into the world with the powerful Word.

W. Wiersbe

4. Suggestion: For TODAY’S  time of  fasting and prayer, pray through (or pray in) a book of the Bible. Choose one of the shorter New Testament books, such as Philippians or Ephesians, and take a small portion of it each day. As you read, at each truth concerning God, salvation, heaven, etc., pause and give thanks. At each exhortation concerning character or service, pray that the Holy Spirit will make that virtue real in your own life. This is one of the highest functions in which the Bible can be employed.


Jan. 12 sermon recording

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Jan. 12 sermon handout

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Corporate Prayer: Friday, Jan. 10

We invite you to Corporate Prayer tonight. 10 pm-3 am, in the sanctuary.  Come and go as your schedule permits.  Click here for details.

Legacy assignments for Jan. 8-14

Click here to view or print the Legacy assignments to be completed for Wednesday, Jan. 15.

Genesis 18:20-21 I thought God knew everything!

When God states in this passage that he is going down to see if Sodom and Gomorrah has done everything he was told, he is using anthropomorphic language.  He must communicate with man on levels man can relate to and understand.  It is personification; God relates to us in human terms.

Prayer – Overcome Distractions

Overcome Distractions

But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. — Matthew 6:6

Among the enemies to devotion none is so harmful as distractions.

Whatever excites the curiosity, scatters the thoughts, disquiets the heart, absorbs the interests or shifts our life focus from the kingdom of God within us to the world around us—that is a distraction; and the world is full of them. Our science-based civilization has given us many benefits but it has multiplied our distractions and so taken away far more than it has given….

The remedy for distractions is the same now as it was in earlier and simpler times, viz., prayer, meditation and the cultivation of the inner life. The psalmist said “Be still, and know,” and Christ told us to enter into our closet, shut the door and pray unto the Father.

It still works….

Distractions must be conquered or they will conquer us. So let us cultivate simplicity; let us want fewer things; let us walk in the Spirit; let us fill our minds with the Word of God and our hearts with praise. In that way we can live in peace even in such a distraught world as this. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.” (Set Of The Sail: Directions for Your Spiritual Journey, pp. 129-132)

Join us in prayer this Friday from 10PM-3AM as we seek the face of God.