Advent: Love

Download

Pastor Russ Richmond

Ruth 3

Love_Sermon Notes

Digging Deeper:

  • Read the whole story of Ruth. What are the Acts and Scenes it breaks down into?
  • Each Act has a big decision a key character makes, on which the rest of the story hinges. What are the four decisions of the book? What do we learn from each one?
  • What admirable qualities do you see in Ruth and Boaz in chapter 3?
  • What is risky about Naomi’s plot 3:1-5?
  • How do the stories of Lot and his daughters (Genesis 19:35-36) and Judah and Tamar (Genesis 38) tie into Ruth 3?
  • How do you see God and His loving friendship in the actions and happenings of our story?
  • When have you been awakened to the love of God towards you? How has God confirmed His love to you?
  • How can someone have their eyes opened to the “breadth and length and height and depth” of the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:18-19)? How about you?

2018 Advent Reading: Love

 

Advent: Peace

Download

Pastor Steve Thomas

Ruth 2

Peace_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

  • Read the book of Ruth. Re-read chapter 2. Sketch an outline of the chapter separating the chapter into scenes around narration and dialogue.
  • What is the narrators’ purpose in providing you information in 2:1?
  • What role does providence play in Ruth chapter 2?
  • How do you relate to Ruth in this story? How about Boaz?
  • Look up the Hebrew word shalom (Peace) in Vines O.T. Dictionary and then watch this video on “Peace”. What is one thing you learn about biblical peace?
  • Ruth experiences God’s giving fullness–shalom–to her through Boaz giving her a place, protection, and provision. How has Jesus restored shalom to you in like fashion? What is yet to come?
  • Spiritual Exercise: Reflect on Psalm 36. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal if you are seeking refuge under the shadow of God’s wing or something/someone else. Where are you looking for peace? If you have been seeking peace from someone/something other than Christ, repent and return to Christ’s person and work, knowing how great is His love and endless His mercy.

2018 Advent Reading: Peace

Advent Reading_Peace

 

Advent: Hope

Download

Pastor Steve Thomas

Ruth 1

Hope_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

  • Read through the book of Ruth. Re-read chapter 1 paying attention to the characters, plot, and dialogue. Note all the “turning” words.
  • Watch this video for an overview of Ruth. What themes do you begin to see in chapter 1?
  • Read Deuteronomy 32. Where do you see this chapter informing the context of Ruth 1?
  • How would you describe Naomi? How can you relate to her?
  • How would you describe the difference in hope between Orpah and Ruth? How do you relate to them?
  • Paul prays for the eyes of our hearts to be opened so we can know (by experience) our hope. How do hope and heart relate? (Ephesians 1:18)
  • How does the author of Ruth give glimmers of grace to fuel our hope?
  • Spiritual Exercise: As you read Ruth 1, ask yourself how this chapter can encourage or exhort you in your life today. What would it look like for you to “return to Bethlehem” in your life?

2018 Advent Reading: Hope 

Advent Reading_Hope

Growing: Forgiving’s Freedom

Download

Pastor Steve Thomas

Colossians 3:1-14; Matthew 18:21-35; Luke 15:11-32

Forgiving is Freedom_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

  • Read Colossians 3:1-14. Identify the statements or phrases that are facts/truths, past completed actions and ongoing actions.
  • Fill in this blank: According to Colossians 3:1-14, I am supposed to actively work at ________. Fill in as many responses as you can find. What are the reasons you have to work at these?
  • Lewis Smedes writes, “forgiveness happens when we rediscover the humanity of the person who hurt us, surrender our right to get even, and revise our feelings toward the person we forgive” (The Art of Forgiving). What correlations do you see between Paul’s clothes metaphor (Colossians 3:12-14) and Smedes’ understanding of forgiving?
  • Is forgiving something you will yourself to do or must you feel like it? How do you discern when to “forebear” and when to “forgive”?
  • Spiritual Exercise: In a time of prayer, read either the prodigal son story (Luke 15:11-32) or the unforgiving servant story (Matthew 18:21-35). Reflect on one of those passages and let the Holy Spirit impress the love and grace of God upon your heart. Is there someone you need to begin the heart work of forgiving? How will you start this work this week?

Growing: Transforming Our Fears

Download

Pastor Steve Thomas

Psalm 121; Philippians 1:27-28; 2:12-13; 4:4-7

Transforming Our Fears_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

  • Read Philippians 1:27-28. What is Paul’s controlling though for the Philippians?
  • Read Philippians 4:4-7. What are the commands? What are the facts?
  • In the context of Paul’s writing and the recipients reading, why would knowing the facts in vv. 4-7 be so important to obeying the commands?
  • How might fears (or anxieties) threaten Paul’s desire in Philippians 1:27?
  • How do worship and prayer work to alleviate our fears?
  • Spiritual Exercise: Set aside time to pray, asking the Holy Spirit: “Where is fear rather than faith controlling me?” Write a short prayer including affirmations of God’s greatness and goodness, acknowledgment of your fear, and request for God’s help to act in humble courageous love. When next face with this fear, stop and pray this prayer, then act in faith.

Growing: Transparency

Download

Pastor Steve Thomas

1 John 1:5 – 2:1

Transparency_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

  • Study 1 John 1:5 – 2:1. Use Vine’s Dictionary of the New Testament to look up “light” and “darkness”. How is John using those words in v. 5 and how is this slightly different in v. 6-7?
  • What do you think it means to “walk in the light” or “walk in the darkness”? Why can this not mean to live without sin?
  • Do you think John saw being “in the light” as something to fear or something to find? Why? How does knowing the gospel affect our fear?
  • How does this passage speak to the need for transparency? What is gained as we live transparently with God and each other? How have you experienced this?
  • What qualities would a community of people have in which transparency was celebrated and safe?
  • Study 2 Corinthians 1:1-11 as a case study for transparency. Where do you see Paul being transparent? How did this benefit Paul and his readers?
  • Spiritual Exercise: Pray Psalm 139:23-24. If the Holy Spirit shines light into your heart and exposes a sin or struggle, identify a trusted friends, full of grace and truth, to whom you can confess the sin or share the struggle. Set up a meeting and go “walk in the light”.

 

 

Growing: Renewing Our Minds

Download

Pastor Steve Thomas

Romans 12:1-2; Colossians 3

Renewing Our Mind_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

  • Read Romans 12:1-2 and Colossians 3. Circle or note any words which have to do with our thought life.
  • How would you describe the way Paul begins both Romans 12 and Colossians 3?
  • How does Romans 12 connect with Hosea 6:6, Psalms 40:6-8 & Psalms 51:16-17?
  • Paul calls us to offer our “bodies as living sacrifices.” What does this mean? What dies? What lives?
  • Colossians 3 commands us to put to death certain things, rid ourselves of things, and stop doing things. What type of things are these?
  • What type of things are we to “put on” (Colossians 3:12)?
  • How do we put these things on (Colossians 3:1-4, 10, 15-17)? How does thinking play into this putting off and putting on?
  • Spiritual Exercise: Read through Colossians 3 again thinking about your present life and relationships. Ask the Holy Spirit to call to your mind habits of this age which need to be taken off and a new habit of a renewed mind that He wants you to put on. How will you set your mind on the things above and act in obedience to the Holy Spirit’s leading?

Growing: The Fight for Identity

Download

Pastor Steve Thomas

Philippians 2:12-13; John 12:3-6; Ephesians 1; 1 Timothy 6:12; John 8:31-32

Fighting For Identity_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

  • Read John 13:1-6. What is happening? What does Jesus know about Himself? What does this enable Him to do?
  • Read Ephesians 1. In your Bible or on a piece of paper, write down as man answers as you can to this statement… In Christ I am____.
  • Where do you see parallels between Jesus knowing His identity and you knowing your identity from Ephesians 1?
  • From your study on Ephesians 1, what are two or three of the “I am” statements which speak the most to you at this moment in your spiritual life?
  • Which of the faulty foundations for identity can you identify with either now or in the past? (Ex: Performacnce, People, Possessions, Power, etc.)
  • Spiritual Exercise: This week look up Neil Anderson’s “Who I Am In Christ” list. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to one of these categories and statements that you need to memorize and work out in your life.