Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Community News 1/15/18

Day5 Week1 Matthew 6:25-34; John 13:1-17; Acts 20:35; 1 Peter 4:8-10; Mark 10:44-45


Maybe the most compelling reason to serve is because of Jesus' example. Time and time again we find the God of the Heavens and the Earth, the creator of the Universe, the Alpha and the Omega doing things like washing people's disgusting feet. Jesus' life certainly sent one message, if not anything else: He was there to serve.

Many times people end up at churches thinking that everything that happens there is for THEM. This is an immature way of viewing church. When God begins to change your life, you quickly realize He was never a consumer and He didn't mean for you to be either.
Christians who have been in church for years are often not at church to wash someone's feet - they're just there to eat.

And that's fine, but you can't do that and claim to follow Jesus. To follow Jesus, we must do what He did, and what He did was serve. His consistent message, as we'll read in these next few passages, was not one of self-promotion or pride but of servanthood and humility.

Jesus served and we follow Jesus. This is why we serve.



                                                                                                                                       Adapted From: Spiritual Gifts - 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Community News 1/11/18

Day 4 Week 1 1 Samuel 8; 1 Peter 2:13 - 25



In today’s study we will consider the difference between a Title and a Tendency.


In I Samuel 8:1 - 5, humanity grew weary of God’s “invisible” Triune theocracy. They demanded of Samuel that he provide them with a physical king . Though this grieved God, he indulged the people’s desire for a “visible” king and tasked Samuel to anoint this new King.


The life of Samuel is pivotal in Israel’s history. Even as a child, Samuel was given his own ephod -- a garment normally reserved for a priest as he ministered before the Lord in the tent of meeting at Shiloh where the Ark of the Covenant was kept (1 Samuel 2:18; 3:3). He was known as a priest. He was also known as a prophet, as he anointed the first two kings of Israel. He was also the l ast in the line of Israel’s judges (their role of kingly leader), and was considered by many as the greatest Judge (Acts 13:20).


Samuel represents the first human authority accountable as a prophet, priest and king. Triune. When the people had grown weary of God’s leadership, he allowed humanity to settle for imperfect human regimes. However, through Samuel, he still intervened to guarantee that earth’s leadership structure would still remain Trinitarian.


In the New Testament church, God’s leadership style is still Trinitarian, in that elders, deacons, and deaconesses are clearly to oversee the church in a multiple leadership structure, for its own protection, shepherding, and growth in truth and maturity. Whereby, the father, mother, and children are still what constitute a family structure. In “Title,” these positions carry their labels, but in “Tendency” we all are inclined to carry out our roles, or types of ministry and service, in either a more priestly, prophetly, or kingly way.


You may have the title of parent, sibling, employee, or various other professional, ministerial, or family titles, but you have a tendency, just like our God, to carry out your work in a specific way.  In
today’s study, consider your own tendencies.


                                                                                        Adapted From: Spiritual Gifts - You Version   

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Community News 1/10/18

Day3 of Week 1 1 Timothy 2:8, 1, 3 - 7,2,9 - 15; 1 Timothy 3:7,1,3 - 6,2,8 - 13; 1 Timothy 3:7,1,3 - 6,2,8 - 13; Titus 1, Titus 2, Titus 3



From the beginning, God designed the roles and functions of his children to repr esent his threefold nature. Three primary functions — each given a — emerge in the Old and New Testament.


A King in the Old Testament was seen as the anointed representative and mediator of the judicial and executive power of God among his people. The King wa s a judge. He would initiate, carry out, or forbid decrees, policy, religious practice or action in an effort to lead his kingdom. Jesus is our King in submission to the Father.


The Priest was an advocate or representative who presented himself on behalf of another. He interceded on behalf of the people of God, instructed them in ways of righteousness and holiness, and was God’s representative. Jesus is the only High Priest today, though Christians are referred to as “the priesthood of believers.”


The Old Testament Prophet proclaimed a divine revelation that was beyond challenge or question. Their role apparently was different from that of the New Testament prophet in that New Testament prophecy is to be evaluated, not simply accepted as totally true and to tally false (1 Thess. 5:19 - 21). In almost every use of the word prophet, or forth teller (one who stands before the people, not a future teller), in the New Testament, we see it referencing not the prophets present in New Testament times, nor in our day, b ut the prophets of the Old Testament, and the predictions they made of the coming events of Christ. Jesus is the New Testament Prophet that every prophet of the Old Testament foretold.


In the New Testament we have new “Titles.” Scripture is very clear that elders, deacons, and deaconesses are appropriate titles for those that children of God, saints, and ministers (servants) are correct titles for the people of God. The leadership of God is still plural in the leadership of the elder (the father figure), the deacon (the son and servant figure), and the deaconess (the helper and holy spirit figure). The function of Christ’s work today is still to provide health, equipping, and edification to his Body. The church es edification and strength is not entrusted to us so that we can come to grips with strength in the work, person, and embodiment of Christ and the Trinity.



Adapted From: Spiritual Gifts - You Version   

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Community News 1/9/18

Day 2 of Week 1  1 Corinthians 12; Romans 12:3 - 12; Ephesians 4:11 - 16

Trinity

In the beginning God … created …

With the sheer force of a tidal wave God’s voice spoke. With the sound of a cataclysmic bomb God’s works were done. With a joyful exclamation mark, God pronounced that everything he created was “good.” Have you ev er wondered what would motivate our God to use his “supernatural abilities” to act?

Consider for a moment that our God is not just One, but Three. He is a community. He is in friendship. He is Love. His communal enjoyment within himself motivates him to ex tend joy beyond his borders into making all that we know and love in creation. A desire for community and friendship is woven into the very fabric of the world because we have a relational God.

Consider in addition how interactive Adam and Eve’s language i s before they sinned. Take a look for yourself. Everything is spoken in terms of “we.” After Eve and Adam fell into sin, the language changes to “I, and me.” The fall of human kind broke our sense of community with God and each other. It severed friendship s, and imprisoned us from ever really tasting the fullness of self - less love.

Whereas Christ lives, breathes, comes, dies, rises, ascends, leads, and intercedes over all within community, we tend to isolate, individualize, and shape all we know through a lens of selfish narcissism — “I and me” are at the center of our universe. Christ’s life, truth, and power, however are pressed out onto the earth in a community shape, and many times we just miss it because his image is “one to another.”

This impacts how we think of the “Spiritual Gifts” and their use and purpose. We tend to read 1 Corinthians 11 - 14 and think about spiritual gifts as supernatural abilities. Individual. On the other hand, Paul has a Trinitarian understanding of the gifts, or as we believe the y are more properly translated, the “Spiritual Ministries.” The works he speaks of are collective. Community. We.

Our spiritual “gifts” are creative works, and responses to God’s love, and they will flow from how we view ourselves within God’s Trinitarian world. If we view ourselves in the pride of individualism, our gifts will be seen as superpowers. If we find ourselves “in Christ” — with the Father, by the power of the Holy Spirit — our motivation for our work will take on a different shape. It will change e verything!


Adapted From: Spiritual Gifts - You Version   

Monday, January 8, 2018

Community News 1/8/18

DAY 1 OF WEEK 1
1 Corinthians 2:1 - 4; 1 Corinthians 2:11 - 16; 1 Peter 2:21 - 24; Philippians 2:1 - 5


Serving not Spectacle


There are over 270 gifts mentioned in the New Testament alone. Due to this fact, it is our belief that “spiritual ministry” is the best translation for “gifts” in Paul’s letter. Certain gifts might “drive” us, but they can be used in millions of different ways. This changes how we view our “gifts.” Rather than viewing them as our “possessions” — that we own them for our forever use — we now see that God gives and takes gifts away graciously as he desires, so that we can fulfill the ministries/services he has c alled us to at any given point in time. This encourages a person to hold a posture of SERVANT rather than of ENTITLEMENT. Rather than a person looking to their gifts to determine what the needs of the people are — which is a more of an inward and selfish ap proach — the person now looks outward at the needs around them to determine how they can best serve the body together as a ministry.



Consider for a moment how many of the overt displays of “spiritual gifts” today produce spectacles not servants. New Wave sp iritual teaching tells us to keep searching for the next endowment of power for ourselves. Give me, give me, give me! We have assumed that the overwhelming generosity of God is like a supernatural PEZ dispenser — doling out sweet after sweet to satisfy our b elly.



It is our opinion that this individual - ability - alcoholism has become more an addiction of the flesh than a catalyst for vibrant service, sacrifice, love, and obedience to Jesus. Consider today’s verses on power, and consider God’s intended desired e nds for power. Is the power of God something that is overt, flamboyant, obnoxiously demanding and loud, or is it something far more humble — like a cross?



Adapted From: Spiritual Gifts - You Version

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Community News 12/21/17

DAY 4 OF WEEK 2

Isaiah 57:15
The Christmas Song

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,
Jack Frost nipping at your nose,
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir,
And folks dressed up like Eskimos.

If there’s one song that has the “Christmas Spirit” it’s this one. It makes us think of a scene from a Norman Rockwell painting. Or maybe we imagine carolers coming to our doors while we offer them some tasty, mulled apple cider fresh off the stove. We attend parties at friends’ houses and services at church. Let’s not forget about being all bundled up on Christmas morning with our families while the most beautiful snowflakes fall to the ground. 

And then in the midst of our Christmas illusions, our children storm into the room yelling “Mom!” or “Dad!” because someone hit them, or because one of them use the other’s pellet gun without asking, or because one of the neighbors took their basketball away, or because they fell off the zip line. Oh, for the love of all that is good and right in the world, can we not stay in our little piece of Christmas paradise just a tad bit longer? 

That’s life, isn’t it? No matter how perfect we try to paint the canvas of our lives, there will always be something extra put on it that wasn’t in our minds when we dreamed it. Something that cramps our perfect picture. Something that breaks our heart.

A relationship that ended.
A loved one who died prematurely.
The betrayal of a friend.

Did you know that God isn’t surprised by the interruptions in our lives? In fact, nothing surprises Him. Don’t mistake bad things happening in your life as His loss of control. No, this is not about His ability but about His sovereignty. 

While we may wish that bad things would never happen in our lives, they will happen. Jesus said we’d have trouble (John 16:33), but He also promised that He’d calm us in the midst of it (John 14:16). So, no matter where we are in life, whether we expected to be on the path we are on or not, rest assured, that our God can make broken things beautiful. 

Friend, we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who’ve been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). Press on and trust in the One who will never let you down.

Questions:
How have you seen God in control in the midst of life’s interruptions?

Adapted From:  Carols A Christmas Devotion - You Version

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Community News 12/20/17

DAY 3 OF WEEK 2


Psalms 46:10

Still, Still, Still

Still, still, still, One can hear the falling snow.
For all is hushed, The world is sleeping
Holy Star its vigil keeping
Still, still, still, One can hear the falling snow.


Still, still, still… These words do not seem to have a place in the hustle and bustle of a busy life, especially at Christmas time. Parties, presents, and projects usually have us in a frantic frenzy as we rush from one event to the next. Often, before we know it, Christmas day has come and gone. Only then do we realize that, despite our good intentions, we never experienced the peace that comes from truly relishing in God’s amazing love for us.

Isn’t it interesting that God commands us to “Be still”? Do you think it’s because He knows we sometimes have a hard time doing it on our own? 

What happens when we actually take time to be still? The answer lies in Psalm 46:10…”Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth”. When you are still before God, you better understand that whatever you are facing, whatever your day has been like, you can completely rest in the fact that God is God. He’s awesome and amazing and sovereign. He loves us more than we can imagine and He’s got things under control. 

Spend time today purposely pursuing stillness in different moments. Perhaps you could wrap up in a blanket & head outside for a peek at the stars, wondering what that holy star looked like, the one that signaled Christ’s birth many years ago. Maybe take a minute to watch your young child sleep and wonder as you gaze at that sweet face, what Mary and Joseph thought of their newborn son. Open your Bible, read a favorite Scripture…then sit and wait.

Question:

What truths resonate in your soul about Christ as you take time to be still before Him?

Adapted From:  Carols A Christmas Devotion - You Version