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

Advent: Peace

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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

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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