Worship Shaken Not Stirred

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Pastor Steve Thomas

Isaiah 6:1-8

Worship Shaken Not Stirred_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

  • Read Isaiah 6 two or three times. What words or phrases stand out to you?
  • How dose God’s revelation in Isaiah 6 challenge some of our culture’s assumptions about God and human goodness? Read Ephesians 2:1-16. What are parallel themes?
  • Isaiah was given this vision “during the year King Uzziah died”. The emphasis is upon the historic circumstances. What do you suppose the relationship was between the timing and the content of Isaiah’s vision?
  • Read Revelation 1, 4-5. These are visions of the resurrection Christ written for us to realize His preeminence and position over all creation. Where do you need to see this vision in your life circumstances?
  • Jesus taught the Holy Spirit moves as freely as the wind (John 3). We can’t corral the Holy Spirit, yet we are dependent upon the Holy Spirit to encounter God. Would you commit to pray every Sunday morning for the next 6 months: 1) “God, show yourself to me as I come to worship you… Encounter me” and  2) “God, show yourself to your people when we gather to worship you… Shake us.” How will you remind yourself?

 

Encountering Christ

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Pastor Steve Thomas

Acts 2:41-47

Encountering Christ_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

  • Read Acts 2:41-47 three of four times.
  • Read John 6:25-51. Who is involved in this passage?
  • According to Jesus, what was motivating the people looking for Jesus? How do you see this reflected in the 1 Corinthians 11 passage?
  • What was the purpose of the “bread from heaven” given to the people in the wilderness? How does Jesus bring the meaning of this “bread from heaven” to its fullness?
  • Paul warns the church in Corinth not to take the Lord’s Supper lightly, but rather to realize the gravity of this meal. What are some ways you could take the bread and juice in an “unworthy” manner?
  • What is the difference between being “unworthy to take” and “taking in an unworthy manner”? How does the significance of the meal itself address this distinction?
  • Spiritual Exercise: Set a reminder on your phone, or write one in your day planner, for the Saturday before our next communion Sunday (3/2).  Think about how you could take some extra time that Saturday night (or Sunday morning) to intentionally prepare to encounter Jesus at His table and let Him minister life and grace to you.

 

Making Connections

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Pastor Steve Thomas

Acts 2:41-47

Making Connections_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

  • Read Acts 2:41-47 three or four times.
  • In Acts 2:42, what were the Christians continually working at in their lives? Is there one of these areas you need to recommit to consistently practicing?
  • What do you thing about the principle: Something you have to open up eyes to help people hear the gospel?
  • What is one action you can take this week to become more involved in reaching those who do not know Jesus?
  • Jesus’ ministry includes word and deed, proclamation and demonstration, as the means of bringing people to a new relationship with God. The church is now the Body of Christ, so how should our mission be shaped by “word” and “deed”? How do we help people be saved and see God (c.f. Acts 16; 1 John 4:12)?
  • Spiritual Exercise: In prayer, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you toward either a place to serve those outside the church, or to specific people in your life who do not yet trust Jesus as their Savior. Respond in obedient faith and pray that God would give you open doors to talk about Jesus and opportunities to show God’s love.

Making Connections

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Pastor Steve Thomas

Acts 2:41-47

Making Connections_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

  • Read Acts 2:41-47 three or four times.
  • In Acts 2:42, what were the Christians continually working at in their lives? Is there one of these areas you need to recommit to consistently practicing?
  • Luke uses the Greek word koinonia to describe the first century church. Study this word, often translated “fellowship” or “partnership” at studylight.org or biblehub.org. What is something you learned about being in koinonia?
  • Think about and expand on this statement: It is impossible to love the Christian life in isolation from other Christians. True? False? Why?
  • Jesus’ ministry included word and deed, proclamation and demonstration, as the means of bringing people to a new relationship with God. The church is now the Body of Christ, so how should our mission be shaped by “word” and “deed”? How do we help people be saved and see God (c.f. Acts 16; 1 John 4:12)?
  • Spiritual Exercise: Pray that the Holy Spirit would draw you to put into practice in your life this week one of the following exhortations to koinonia: Romans 12:10, 16; 14:13; Galatians 5:13; Ephesians 4:2, 32; 5:19,21; Colossians 3:16; 1 Thessalonians  4:18; 5:11,15.

 

We Are Many On Mission

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Pastor Steve Thomas

Psalm 78:1-7

We Are Many On Mission_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

  • Read Psalm 78:1-7 a few times and skim the entire psalm one time.
  • What words make an impression on you? How come?
  • What do you think is the purpose of the psalmist? Who is he addressing?
  • Focus on Psalm 78:7. Why is this verse significant? What does it look like for someone to “put their hope in God”?
  • Our vision statement calls us to help people connect to Jesus. How have you experienced someone helping you connect with Jesus in the past?
  • What is a story you think of from the Gospels where someone connected with Jesus? Why do you love this story?
  • Spiritual Exercise: Pray that God would put a person on your heart, someone who fits the idea of “next generation” for you. Ask the Lord to give you a Bible verse or story to share with them to encourage their putting their hope in God. If appropriate, share a story of God’s work in your life to encourage them.

 

Toning (Not Tuning) Our Worship

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Pastor Steve Thomas

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Toning (not tuning) our worship_Sermon Notes

Spiritual Act of Worship

Reflect and pray for a day or more on these commands. Determine which of the three you believe God is asking you to focus on at this time in your life?

For the next ______ months I will focus on ___________________________.

  • Look up verses which use this word (rejoice, pray, give thanks). Many Bibles have a key word index in the back. Read through the verses waiting for one to speak to you. Write it down. Memorize it. Try doing this once a week.
  • Write a memorable short prayer expressing your desire to grow in obedience to the command you mentioned above. Pray it throughout your day.
  • These commands represent part of “God’s will” for believers. How can you avoid legalistic thinking and resentful duty obedience in keeping them? What must stay at the forefront of your thinking? (c.f. 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5; 5:23-24)
  • How would obeying this command impact your life?
  • Brainstorm ways to keep fresh and active in pursuit of greater obedience to this goal. (Resources. People. Goals. Retreats. Etc.)
  • What is your plan to begin each morning remembering to “practice”
    this command? What will you do to keep aware of this command throughout your day?
  • If you want, consider separating 2019 into thirds. Use each third to focus on developing obedience to one of the three commands.

 

Advent: Joy

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Pastor Steve Thomas

Ruth 4

Joy_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

  • Read the book of Ruth. Pay close attention to the blessings and prayers of the characters. Re-read chapter 4. What are the two major scenes in chapter 4?
  • How has God brought about restoration to Naomi and Ruth? Think specifically–what was lost, prayed for, and brought to them by God?
  • Who can you relate to in this chapter? How come?
  • What seems to be the central focus of the author? Is it Ruth’s love story? Naomi’s happiness? Or something else?
  • What do you learn in this chapter about how to reflect God’s character in the world?
  • Where do you see joy emerging in the story? How is joy responsive?
  • Spiritual Exercise: Both Boaz and Ruth display gratuitous hessed (loving loyalty) even though it would have been reasonable to act differently. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you a specific opportunity in which you can choose to act with gratuitous hessed. Trust the Lord. Act in faith.

2018 Advent Reading: Joy

Advent Reading_Joy

 

Advent: Love

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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 Reading_Love