Celebrate: God’s Worship

getinthegame_layersWe were made to worship. We “get in the game” spiritually when we worship God. Giving, reading God’s Word, and telling others about Jesus are all aspects of worship. Today, we will look at John 4 and see all that worship celebrates.

Sovereignty not Self
John 4:23-24 says, “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” Real worship is not optional. The Holy Spirit puts the desire in you. It is not about you; real worship is all about God!

God is Spirit. He is not “a” spirit, one among many gods. He is Spirit with a capital “S”. He is the one and only God, invisible and eternal. Worship is our response to the revealed greatness of God.

Truth not Tradition
The end of verse 24 says that we must worship in truth. The Bible is not up for vote. Earlier in this chapter, we read how Jesus, a Jew, met with a Samaritan woman. The context is hunger, thirst, racial and gender prejudice. Jews would not normally go through Samaria; they stayed away from those people. In regards to prejudice, you may say, “Well, that is the way I was raised.” You were raised wrong! The Bible is the final authority for faith and practice.

Feeling not Formality
We also read in verse 24 that we must worship in spirit, with a lowercase “s”. “In spirit” means that we must feel something when we worship. “In truth” means we must know something when we worship. “In spirit” means that we must worship with our heart. “In truth” means that we must worship with our head. “In spirit” means we worship with doxology. “In truth” means we worship with theology. Whatever the expression, it is not empty. Biblical worship is verbal (“Amen,” “Glory,” “Hallelujah,” etc.) and it’s visual (clapping, kneeling, dancing, etc.). It is personal and it is an expression of who God is. Is God dull, boring, cold, impersonal, or dead? Then why should worship be?!

Presence not Preference
Another thing that worship celebrates is the presence of God, not personal preference. It is not about your seat or your parking place! Worship is not about a place, but about a person. That person is Jesus, not you!

Look at John 4:25-26: “The woman said to Him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming’ (who is called Christ). ‘When He comes, He will tell us all things.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am He.’” Can’t you see it? God says, “I am He! I am here!” In the Old Testament, His presence was the cloud and the fire. He was shade in the day and heat at night. God knows what you need. The goal is for people to leave church saying, “We have been in the presence of God!”

Relationship not Religion
Finally, worship celebrates our relationship with Jesus. The woman at the well admitted her sin. There is no conversion without confession. Jesus was patient with her. She left her water pot and her old lifestyle and God used her to win an entire village. In John 3, Jesus told Nicodemus, “You must be born again.” One of these people is a man, the other a woman. One a Jew, the other a Samaritan. One moral, the other immoral. It took just as much grace to save one as the other. Have you believed for yourself? Do you have a relationship with Jesus? Have you been born again? Are you celebrating God’s worship?

Connect: God’s Word

getinthegame_layersWe have been in a series called “Get in the Game.” It takes teamwork to win games! When we study God’s Word and together we connect people to God, to other people, and to service, that is a “W” in the win column! 2 Timothy 3 gives a number of ways that God’s Word equips us to win.

Connection
In 2 Timothy 3:10-12, we read of the persecutions all Christians will face. Life is hard! The Christian life was never meant to be lived alone. Verses 1-9 of this chapter warn us to stay away from false teachers. Then, we read that we are to gather with true believers around God’s Word. When working, another can help carry the load. When you fall, another can lift you up. A cord of three strands is not easily broken!

Continuation
Verse 14 says, “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them….” The 40 Days of Prayer is over, but don’t stop having daily devotions. Continue! False teachers will tell people what they want to hear and compromise God’s Word to draw a crowd. Continuing in His Word helps us detect these things. In Acts 2 we read of the first church. Verse 42 says, “they continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine and fellowship,” and verse 46 says, “continuing daily with one accord in temple….” Don’t give up!

Conviction
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (v. 16). The word is “all.” The Bible is Inspired. It is a living book that gives life. It breathes the very breath of God. The Bible is Infallible. Psalm 19:7 says that God is holy and cannot lie; it’s His character. His Word will never lead you wrong. The Bible is Inerrant (Prov. 30:5). The original copies were without error. The Bible gives Illumination. The Holy Spirit is our teacher. He leads and guides into all truth. Everything that God wants us to BE and DO is found in this book.

Correction
Verse 17 tells us that the Bible “is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness….” It tells us how to do right. Doctrine is what to believe, or what is right. Reproof is what is not right. Correction is how to get right. Training/instruction is how to stay right. Jesus used the Word of God to defeat Satan. The Word of God is the Sword of the Lord. We need to get a good grip on His Word! The goal is not information but transformation.

Completion
The second half of verse 17 says, “that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Why is your Bible sitting on a shelf collecting dust? Why is it you read blogs more than your Bible and you read Facebook more than Faith’s book? Get in the game. Discipline your mind. Vance Havner said, “Find a Bible that is falling apart. It probably belongs to someone who isn’t.”

It is not WHAT we know, it is WHO we believe.

Conversion
You are not saved by believing the Bible. The demons believe and tremble. Verse 15 says, “and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” It is not WHAT we know, it is WHO we believe. I am not believing in something I am believing in someone – Jesus Christ. It is not religion. It is a relationship. We love these pages ultimately because we love a person!

Get up 15 minutes earlier this week. Spend time with Him by reading His Word. Before you know it, it will be 30 minutes, then 1 hour. Then, you’ll find He wakes you up! It’s that good.

Communicate: God’s Witness

getinthegame_layersPeople who love football talk about it all week! They plan their entire day around Game Day. What do you talk about? You talk about what is important to you. You can’t help but talk about what you love. When you hear, see, and experience something you have to tell somebody! Another way we can “get in the game” when it comes to the Christian life is to talk about Jesus.

Incarnation
In John 1, we read that God became flesh and dwelt among us and that John the Baptist told this same story over and over. “The next day John… said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God… (v. 29)! “Again, the next day, John… said, ‘Behold the Lamb of God!’” (v. 35-36). He was a witness; he simply told what he saw. Every football team has a Game Plan. For Christians, that plan is found in Acts 1:8 – “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

The number one reason we exist as a church is to bring people to Jesus. He changes lives, communities, and the world. We are not responsible for the results, but we are responsible for the witness.

Identification
Another thing we read in John 1 is that the disciples followed Jesus. Jesus followers are not ashamed to identify with Jesus. I love “Miss” Tammy. She makes me so proud. I am not ashamed of her! Some people claim to follow Jesus but they are ashamed to talk about Him to their friends. To follow Him is to identify with Him. John brought Andrew to Jesus. Andrew’s witness was only 5 words, yet it had powerful results. It was simple and spoken. You may never preach a sermon, but you can talk to people where they are. Speak their language- speak mom, speak mechanic, speak text messaging, etc.

Invitation
Look at the pattern in John 1. John the Baptist preached and Andrew was saved. Andrew went and brought his brother Peter to Jesus. John found his brother James. Jesus called Philip to follow Him. Philip shared his testimony with Nathanael. Each individual was invited by someone else. It was contagious. Have you ever noticed when one person comes to Jesus their friends start coming to Jesus?

There is only one way to be saved, by faith in Jesus Christ, but there are a variety of ways for people to hear. Where you live, work, or go to school is your mission field. Make a list of names of individuals you know need Jesus Christ, and pray for them. God changes people through prayer. Then, spend time with them. Invite them to dinner or a sporting event and build friendships, which can open the way to talk about Christ. Remember, don’t preach. Listen and be a good friend. We scatter the seed, and we water, but God brings the increase!

Inclusion
Philip told Nathanael in John 1:46 to “come and see.” Jesus gave the same response in John 1:39, “Come and see.” It took time. Nathanael had questions. People have honest questions. In verse 48, Jesus tells Nathanael, “when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Before Philip thought about Nathanael, Jesus saw him. Before you talk to someone, Jesus sees them. The only thing we can take to heaven with us is people. Who are you talking to and inviting?

You were not created to sit on the sideline.

Church, this is why we are here! You were not created to sit on the sideline. You were created to take the field, to share the Gospel, to press on toward the prize. We were made for this! Get off the bleachers and get in the game!

Contribute to God’s Work

getinthegame_layersSunday was such an exciting day at Liberty! I love football season and we started a new sermon series called Get in the Game. The game of football is highly indicative of the Christian life. Most people watch from the sidelines. Few ever really get off the bleachers and get in the game! One of the ways we can take part in God’s work here on earth is to financially contribute to it. You may ask, “Preacher, why should I give tithes and offerings to the local church?” Here are a few reasons for you.

Scriptural
Tithing is biblical. It’s the First Principle. Giving God the first hour of every day, the first day of every week, and the first dime of every dollar is not easy; but, when God is first in your life, everything else falls into place. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” When God is not first in your life, everything is out of order. Jesus is preeminent. God is first in the universe. He can’t accept second. When we tithe, we are saying that Jesus is Lord of all, Lord of everything we have. In Sunday’s sermon we surveyed the many scriptures in the Old and New Testaments about tithing.

Simple
Tithing is also simple. What is a tithe? It’s a tenth, or 10%. If God gives 10, you give Him the first and you get to keep the other 9. It’s a great deal! It’s simple math. If a student made $1,000 for the year, the tithe is $100. If a widow on Social Security makes $1,000 a month, or $12,000 for the year, the tithe is $1,200. If a person makes $100,000 per year, an annual tithe is $10,000. Would you rather have a blessed 90% or a cursed 100%?

Supernatural
God can make 90% go further than you can make 100% go. How did He use 12 men, then 120 in the Upper Room, then 3000 at Pentecost to get the Gospel to us and the whole world? He works in ways far beyond what we can ask or imagine! He is supernatural!

Sacrificial
Exodus 13:14 says, “So it shall be, when your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What is this?’ that you shall say to him, ‘By strength of hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” In the days of Moses, when a sheep had a baby lamb, the father would get a knife and cut its throat. Children would grow up saying, “Dad, we are supposed to be raising animals, but all these years you always kill the firstborn. Why? That just does not make sense!” To which the father would reply, “Son, there was a time we did not have any animals, any land or any money. We used to be slaves. We were in bondage, but God redeemed us and gave us everything we have now.”

In the same way, we need to tell our children, “Mom and Dad were not always a Christian, but God with a mighty hand, redeemed our lives and gave us everything that we have now. Therefore, we gladly give to God.”

When I pay the bills, the tithe is first. It is set aside holy to the Lord, and then comes the rest.

If you’d like to “Get in the Game” and contribute to God’s work by giving to Liberty, we’ve made it easy for you! You can click here to give online, you can give during the offering time on Sundays, or you can text “Libertylive” to 77977.

Would you declare with me that from now on you will put Jesus first in your life?

40 Days of Prayer | Day 40

day40SEND FORWARD6 …who have borne witness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well… 3 John 1:6 NKJV

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” 4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. 5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:1-8 NIV

It all comes down to our obedience to the Lord and what He’s called us to do.

You’ve made it! Today is day 40! Yesterday we began to bring this journey to a close, concluding that the ultimate way to go, step, reach, look, and send forward is to obey. It all comes down to our obedience to the Lord and what He’s called us to do.

In today’s passage, Isaiah has a vision in which he sees the Lord. In the first few verses he recognizes the Lord’s holiness. Do you recognize the Lord’s holiness? Pause for a minute and reflect on who God is. In verse 5, Isaiah recognizes his own sinfulness, especially compared to the Lord. Think for a minute about all that our holy God has done for you and all the ways He has made you new. In the last few verses, Isaiah, now cleansed and forgiven, readily answers the Lord’s call. Are you answering the Lord’s call?

“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few” (Matt. 9:37 NIV). When the Lord asks who will go, will you? When He asks who will give, will you? When He asks who will serve, will you? When He asks who will share, will you? Oh, that our response might be that of Isaiah’s, “Here am I. Send me!” May we know the sweet goodness of the Lord and may we offer all that we are, and all that we have, in worship back to Him!

“Here am I. Send me!”

APPLICATION
– Think about what the Lord is calling you to do. Does He want you to tell someone about Him, to give to His work on earth, to serve in a Connect Group or volunteer position? Offer yourself to Him now and commit to do exactly what He asks.
– Pray for the services this morning at each Liberty campus. Pray for those who will be making commitments to the Forward initiative. Pray that they would trust God enough to obey. Thank Him for His promise to “throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it” (Mal. 3:10 NIV).
– Thank God for this 40-day journey. Pray that He will use it in your life and in the life of our church for many years to come. Pray that Liberty would always be moving Kb>forward and that we would always do whatever it takes to send the Gospel forward for generations to come. Pray for the vision God has given us of reaching Hampton Roads and beyond with the Gospel.
– Pray that many people from Hampton Roads would come to know Jesus because of our obedience. Pray that their eyes and hearts would be opened to His truth and that they would respond to His invitation.

40 Days of Prayer | Day 39

day39SEND FORWARD6 …who have borne witness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well… 3 John 1:6 NKJV

23 but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you. 24 But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward. Jeremiah 7:23-24 NIV

It’s hard to believe our 40-day journey is coming to a close. We’ve read and prayed so much about going, stepping, reaching, looking, and sending forward. Prayerfully the Lord has done a new work in your heart and you are excited to move forward in all that He has called you to do.

Only those who “do well” will hear Jesus say, “Well done.”

Being excited is a great thing! So is being willing and wanting and hoping to move forward. Now, we actually have to do and live out the work that He’s done in our hearts. Only those who “do well” will hear Jesus say, “Well done.”

Today’s verses are a powerful way to summarize this prayer journey. In this passage, the Lord is clear on what is necessary to move forward, and that’s obedience. In Luke 11:23, Jesus says, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” (NIV). There is no place for neutrality. There is no option to stand still. We are either going forward and are helping to accomplish the Lord’s mission, or we are moving backwards and are hindering it.

Every word we say and every decision we make is an opportunity. Which way do you want to go? Will you obey and move forward or will you chose your own way and go backward? Will you live in such a way that you hinder the cause of Christ or will you help launch it forward with all that you have?

It is a privilege to get to be a part of the Lord’s work. May we do whatever it takes to keep going, stepping, reaching, looking, and sending forward!

APPLICATION
– Spend some time praying about specific ways you need to obey in order to send the Gospel forward. Commit to follow through with what the Lord has spoken to your heart during this prayer journey. Ask Him to help you keep moving forward.
– Thank God for a church who desires to move forward to send the Gospel forward for generations to come. Thank Him for His work in and through our church. Thank Him that He has given us a practical way to be involved in His activity here on earth.
– Pray that our church would always obey what the Lord has called us to do. May we be quick to offer what is required in order to accomplish His work.
– Pray that many would commit to taking part in the Forward initiative at Liberty. Pray that the Lord will use it far beyond our imaginations!

40 Days of Prayer | Day 38

day38SEND FORWARD6 …who have borne witness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well… 3 John 1:6 NKJV

And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. 5 And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 NIV

As we have seen the past several days, there are a variety of things the Lord uses to send the Gospel forward– hospitality, generosity, technology, etc. We have also seen that it is a privilege to be a part of the Lord’s work! The believers that Paul was writing to in 2 Corinthians 9 were filled with “eagerness” to help (2 Cor. 9:2 NIV). The Israelites in Exodus 35 brought so much to contribute to the Lord’s work that Moses had to tell them to stop. Today we read that the people in the Macedonian churches “urgently pleaded” with Paul to share in service to the Lord’s people, even in the midst of “a very severe trial.” We can certainly learn something from these examples!

Our God is hope for the hopeless, truth for the confused, righteousness for the sinner, and a light for those lost in darkness.

There is something extremely special about being a part of the Lord’s work here on earth. Our God is hope for the hopeless, truth for the confused, righteousness for the sinner, and a light for those lost in darkness. When we get to play a role in someone experiencing His salvation, it is awesome! Not only are individual lives changed, but marriages are restored, families are mended, relationships are reconciled, and hope is launched forward for generations to come.

Though on our own our righteousness is like filthy rags, God still allows us to bring our time, our resources, and ourselves as offerings to Him. He works in us and through us, and allows us to experience His presence and His power and to play a role in others experiencing it as well. Wow!

What is holding you back from being a part of God’s work? There is no greater cause to give your time, money, and life for than the cause of Christ! Do you want to play a role in sending His Gospel forward?

APPLICATION
– Thank God that He allows you to be a part of His work. Thank Him for giving you money, resources, time, and talents that you can offer back to Him in worship. Ask the Lord what He would have you to give in order to send His hope forward.
– Praise God for His work through Liberty. Praise Him for how He has used our church to bring many to Him. Pray that He would continue that work and that we would be quick to offer all that we have to Him, so that His purpose may be accomplished.
– Pray again over your commitment card for the Forward initiative. If applicable, talk to your spouse and decide together what commitment you will make on Sunday.
– Pray for the continual spreading of the Gospel. Pray that the people in Hampton Roads would know the hope, truth, righteousness, and light that He offers.

40 Days of Prayer | Day 37

day37SEND FORWARD6 …who have borne witness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well… 3 John 1:6 NKJV

4 Moses said to the whole Israelite community, “This is what the LORD has commanded: 5 From what you have, take an offering for the LORD. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the LORD an offering of gold, silver and bronze; 6 blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; 7 ram skins dyed red and another type of durable leather; acacia wood; 8 olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; 9 and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece.
10 “All who are skilled among you are to come and make everything the LORD has commanded: Exodus 35:4-10 NIV

God has specific plans for you. We’ve read that several times over this prayer journey. He has uniquely gifted you and has a path marked out for you that is totally different from everyone else’s… and it’s a good one!

Throughout Scripture, we read of specific tasks that God has given to groups of individuals as well- conquering Jericho, rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem, building the temple, etc. In today’s passage, the Lord through Moses instructed His people to build a tabernacle, a place for His presence to dwell. Just like the people we read about yesterday, the Israelites could not wait to be a part of this work. “Everyone who was willing and whose heart moved them came and brought an offering to the LORD for the work on the tent of meeting…” (Ex. 35:21 NIV). We read that the men and women brought all kinds of materials to be used for this cause. We also read that they used the skills God specifically gave them toward the work. So much so that Moses had to tell them to stop bringing offerings (36:6-7)!

There is nothing like being a part of God’s activity here on earth!

The Lord has given Liberty the specific task of changing lives, communities, and the world for Jesus Christ. For this season, He has called us to use technology to send the Gospel forward through Liberty Anywhere and our new Ministry Platform, and to continue sending the Gospel forward through our Hampton, Harbour View, and Greenbrier Campuses. In the future, we plan to send the Gospel forward through new campuses in order to reach the 1.7 million people in Hampton Roads. What resources and skills do you individually have that you can offer to this work of the Lord? There is nothing like being a part of God’s activity here on earth! It is such a privilege! Are you eager to offer what you have to this life-changing mission?

APPLICATION
– Praise God for allowing you to be a part of His work here on earth. Thank Him for the privilege of getting to serve Him and of getting to offer your resources to Him. Pray about a specific offering that you will make to God’s work through the Forward initiative.
– Thank God for His calling on Liberty. Thank Him that He has strategically placed our church here and now for a specific reason. Pray that God’s hand would forever be on our church! Pray that we would be a people quick to offer everything we have to the tasks He has called us to.
– Pray that the Gospel would continually be sent forward through you individually and through our church. Pray that God would use us to bring many to Himself. Pray that more Connect Groups would be formed and more campuses would be launched in order to share the Good News of Jesus.

40 Days of Prayer | Day 36

day36SEND FORWARD6 …who have borne witness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well… 3 John 1:6 NKJV

6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.” 10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 NIV

In addition to hospitality, generosity is certainly another way we can send the Gospel forward. Our passage for today is overflowing with promises and effects of being generous. In verses 6-8, we are told that if we give generously we will reap generously, that God loves a cheerful giver, and that He will bless abundantly those who give. Verses 10 and 11 remind us that the Lord will provide not just for our physical needs, but He will fuel our spiritual nourishment as well. What great promises!

Even beyond rewards and benefits for us personally, our generosity results in others praising the Lord.

Even beyond rewards and benefits for us personally, our generosity results in others praising the Lord. That is the definition of sending forward – doing something now that will launch the hope and love of Jesus Christ to others, even long after we are gone. Paul tells the church in verses 12 and 13 that others will praise God because of their generosity!

The passage concludes with Paul praising God for His indescribable gift. God is the ultimate giver. We are never more like Him than when we give. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave….” Praise God that He gave! Praise God for all that His gift means for us!

The believers that Paul was writing to were eager to give (2 Cor. 9:2). They understood the great implications of generosity! May we too understand, and may we generously give of ourselves to others, out of gratefulness for all that Christ has done for us. Through giving our time, our money, and our resources, may we play a part in sending the Gospel forward!

APPLICATION
– Praise God for His generosity towards us. Thank Him for giving His Son and for all that gift means to you. Ask God to help you live generously. Pray about what commitment you can generously make to the Forward initiative.
– Pray that our church would continue to be generous. May we be quick to support God’s servants and God’s work. May we be quick to give to those who do not know Christ.
– Pray for those you know who do not know Christ. Pray for an opportunity to share with them about the greatest gift there is.
– Remember to mark your calendars for the Wednesday night series Pastor Grant will be doing on Finances. It begins January 4 and will be a great opportunity to learn more about giving generously, even long after we are gone. Topics will include budgeting, financial planning, insurance, retirement, wills, trusts, leaving a legacy, etc.

40 Days of Prayer | Day 35

day35SEND FORWARD6 …who have borne witness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well… 3 John 1:6 NKJV

Acts 13:13-52

Every person is either helping to send the Gospel forward or is hindering the cause of Christ.

In the letter of 3 John, John commends Gaius for the hospitality he showed to his brothers in the faith by sending them forward to do the work of the Lord. Every person is either helping to send the Gospel forward or is hindering the cause of Christ. In this case, Gaius was a huge help!

Being hospitable means “receiving or treating guests or strangers warmly and generously.” There’s something special about being around a hospitable person! Feeling welcomed and loved by someone goes a long way.

Our passage for today gives insight into the time Paul and Barnabus spent in Pisidian Antioch. One Sabbath, they shared the message of salvation. The people invited Paul and Barnabus to speak further the next week (v. 42). We read, “On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord” (v. 44), and that “the word of the Lord spread through the whole region” (v. 49). Wow! What an effect an invitation had!

There are so many ways we can show hospitality in order to advance the Gospel. We can invite, host, provide, give, love, welcome, etc. We can be hospitable at home, at church, at the ball field, in a restaurant, or anywhere. As shown in today’s passage, because of the invitation Paul and Barnabus received, the Gospel was spread through an entire region! Does the way you treat people hinder or help the cause of Christ? Remember, there is no telling what the Lord has in store through one step of obedience!

APPLICATION
– Praise God again for the people before you who prepared the way for you to hear the Gospel. Thank Him for those who have shown hospitality to you along the way and have encouraged your walk with the Lord. Ask the Lord to use you in these same ways.
– Pray about the possibility of opening your home to host a Connect Group. If you are willing to host, call the church and let us know. You don’t have to lead in order to open your home.
– Pray that Liberty would be a hospitable church. Ask the Lord to help us always be warm and generous in the way we treat others. Pray that we would be hospitable when people come in our buildings, but also when we are out in the community.
– Pray that many people around Hampton Roads would be drawn to Jesus because of our hospitality. May we help and not hinder, the spread of the Gospel.