Faith at Work: Faith Working Through Joy * Pastor Bill Sy * James 1:1-4 * 1/7/2018

1.) Joy in SERVING for the Lord

  • James 1:1a "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ"
  • Matthew 13:55-56 "Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary, and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon...Aren't all his sisters with us?
  • John 7:5 "Even his own brothers did not believe in him"
  • 1 Corinthians 15:7 "He appeared to James, then to all the apostles"
  • Acts 1:14 "They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers"
  • Galatians 1:19 "I saw none of the other apostles--only James, the Lord's brother"
  • Acts 15:6,13 "James spoke up: 'Brothers, listen to me'" (Acts 12:17; 21:18)
  • James 1:1a "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ"

2.) Joy in SCATTERING for the Lord

  • James 1:1b "To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations" (1 Peter 1:1)
  • Acts 8:1b "On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea an Samaria" (Acts 1:8 "You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria")
  • Acts 8:3 "Saul began to destroy the church...and put them in prison"
  • Acts 8:4 "Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went"
  • Matthew 10:23 "When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another"
  • Acts 11:19-20 "Those who had been scattered by the persecution...began to speak the good news about the Lord Jesus"
  • Acts 11:21 "The Lord's hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord"

3,) Joy in STRUGGLING for the Lord

  • James 1:2 "Consider (count) it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds" (Romans 6:11 "Count yourselves dead to sin but alive in Christ")
  • 2 Corinthians 10:5 "We take captive every though to make it obedient to Christ"
  • James 1:3 "Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance"
  • James 1:4 "Perseverance (endurance, patience, steadfastness) must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything"
  • Hebrews 12:2,4 "Keeping our eyes on Jesus...who for the joy set before him, endured the cross...Consider him...in your struggle against sin"

Dig Deeper:

(1.) What do we know about James? How does that encourage you about some people in your life who need the Lord? What does James call himself? How are some ways that God is challenging you to be his servant?

(2.) What does it mean to be scattered? When has God put you somewhere so you could share the gospel?

(3.) How can we find joy in trials? What does God produce from our trials? What struggle are you facing now that needs our prayer?

 

Joy Through the Rest of Time! * Pastor Jordan Rodgers * Philippians 1:12-26 * 12/31/17

1.) Philippians 1:12-14

"Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly."

2.) Romans 8:28

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

3.) Philippians 1:15 - 18a

"It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense for the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether form false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

4.) Philippians 4:8

"Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."

5.) Philippians 1:18b-26

But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet, what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.

The Perfect Christmas Gift! * Pastor Bill Sy * Luke 2:1-7 * 12/24/17

1.) Jesus comes as a GIFT

  • Isaiah 9:6 "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given"
  • John 3:16 "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son"
  • 2 Corinthians. 9:15 "Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!"
  • Ephesians. 2:8 "It is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God"

2.) The gift must be RECEIVED

  • John 1:10 "He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him"
  • John 1:11 "He came to his own, and his own did not receive him"
  • Luke 2:7 "She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."
  • John 1:12 "To all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God"
  • Colossians 2:6 "Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him"

3.) When the gift is received, joy comes in the TELLING

  • Luke 2:17 "When the shepherds had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child"
  • Luke 2:28, 36-38 "Simeon took him in his arms and praised God...Anna...was eighty-four...she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all"
  • Acts 4:20 "We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard"

Dig Deeper:

(1) Why is it important to understand Jesus as a gift?

(2) When or how did you receive the gift of God?

(3) Who could you tell?

The Perfect Christmas Visitor! * Pastor Bill Sy * Isaiah 9:6 * 12/17/17

Isaiah 9:6 "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

1.) Jesus comes as our Wonderful COUNSELOR

  • Psalm 139:1-3, 6 "O Lord, you have searched me, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you understand my thoughts from afar...my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways...Such knowledge is too wonderful for me"
  • Isaiah 11:2 "The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him - the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power (might)"
  • Isaiah 28:29 "All this also comes from the Lord Almighty, wonderful in counsel and magnificent in wisdom"
  • Romans 11:34 "Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?"
  • Mark 7:37 "They were overwhelmed with amazement: 'He has done everything well'"
  • Psalm 73:23-24 "You hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel"
  • Isaiah 48:17 "I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you (to succeed, to profit), who directs you in the way you should go"

2.) Jesus comes as our Mighty GOD

  • Psalm 24:8 "Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle"
  • Zephaniah 3:17 "The Lord your God is with you (in the midst of you), he is mighty to save (a victorious warrior). He will take great delight in you...he will rejoice over you with singing"
  • Matthew 28:18 "All authority (power) in heaven and on earth has been given to me"
  • John 3:35 "The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands"
  • Colossians 1:17 "In him all things hold together"

3.) Jesus comes as our Everlasting FATHER

  • John 10:30 "I and the Father are one"
  • John 17:21 "Father, you are in me and I am in you"
  • 2 Corinthians 6:18 "I will be a father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters"

4.) Jesus comes as our Prince of PEACE

  • Isaiah 9:7 "Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end"
  • Luke 2:14 "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests (with whom he is pleased)"
  • Ephesians 2:13-14 "You who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace" (Micah 5:5 "He will be their peace')
  • Isaiah 55:12 "You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace"

Dig Deeper:

Share how you have experienced Jesus in each of the Isaiah 9:6 titles. Pray for those who need to know him in any of these ways!

The Perfect Christmas Exchange! * Pastor Bill Sy * Luke 2:8-10 * 12/10/17

1.) Exchanging my shame for His GLORY

  • Luke 2:8 "There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night"
  • Luke 2:9 "An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified"
  • 1 Corinthians 1:27-28 "God chose the foolish...the weak...the lowly... and the despised"
  • 2 Corinthians 4:6 "God...made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ"
  • Psalm 34:5 "Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame (no shadow of shame will darken their faces)"
  • Luke 2:20 "The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen"
  • Psalm 115:1 "Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness"
  • Psalm 86:12 "I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever"

2.) Exchanging my fear for His JOY

  • Luke 2:10 "But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people"
  • Psalm 112:7 "He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast (secure, fixed), trusting in the Lord"
  • Psalm 56:3-4 "When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid"
  • John 15:11 "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you"
  • John 17:13 "I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them"

3.) Exchanging my sins for His SALVATION

  • Luke 2:11 "Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord"
  • Luke 1:46-47 "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior"
  • Matthew 1:21 "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins"
  • Luke 1:77 "Give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins"
  • Luke 2:16 "They hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby"
  • 2 Corinthians 6:2 "Now is the day of salvation"

Dig Deeper:

(1) Why do we feel shame? How does the glory of God change us? How can we bring glory to God?

(2) Why does joy come from the good news? How does praise help us deal with fear?

(3) What keeps people from receiving salvation? Who can you pray for that needs to know of salvation through Jesus?

The Perfect Christmas Place! * Pastor Bill Sy * Micah 5:2-5 * 12/3/17

1.) God chooses Bethlehem though it is INSIGNIFICANT.

  • Micah 5:2a "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah"
  • Colossians 1:27-28 "God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things."
  • Luke 1:46-48 "He has been mindful of the humble (lowly) state of his servant"

2.) God uses Bethlehem to fulfill his PURPOSE.

  • Micah 5:2b "Out of you (Bethlehem) will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times"
  • Philippians 2:13 "It is God who works in you to will and to act according to fulfill his good purpose"
  • Psalm 57:2 "I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me"

3.) God gives Bethlehem peace as they await his ARRIVAL.

  • Micah 5:3 "Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth"
  • Galatians 4:4a "When the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman"
  • John 7:42 "Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David's descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived? (Luke 2:1-4)
  • Psalm 130:5 "I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope"
  • Micah 5:4-5 "He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be their peace"
  • Isaiah 40:11 "He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart"
  • Micah 7:18-19 "Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression...You will again have compassion on us and hurl all our sins into the depths of the sea"

Dig Deeper:

(1) What about Bethlehem can you relate to? When have you felt like the words of 1 Corinthians 1:27-28? Why is God drawn to the lowly?

(2) What was God's purpose for Bethlehem? How has God given you a sense of purpose?

(3) How long did Israel wait for the Messiah? When have you waited for God? What helps us as we wait? Read Hebrews 10:35-39. How is the Lord giving you peace as you wait? Pray for Jesus to bring peace to those who are waiting.

Ther Perfect Christmas Tree * Pastor Bill Sy * 11/26/17

The first week of Advent:  HOPE

1.) Jesus is the perfect Christmas tree that stays ALIVE

  • Isaiah 11:1a "A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse (father of King David)."
  • Job 14:7 "There is hope for a tree: If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail."
  • Isaiah 53:2 "He grew up...like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground"
  • Revelation 22:16 "I, Jesus...am the Root and the Offspring of David."

2.) Jesus is the perfect Christmas tree that bears FRUIT

  • Isaiah 11:1b "From his roots a Branch will bear fruit."
  • Matthew 2:23 "He went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene."
  • Matthew 3:10 "The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down." (Matthew 3:8 "Produce fruit with repentance.")
  • John 15:2 "He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful."
  • Psalm 92:12-13 "The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green."

3.) Jesus is the perfect Christmas tree that draws OTHERS

  • Isaiah 11:10 "In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him."
  • John 12:32-33 "'When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.' He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die."
  • Romans 15:2 "The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope."

Dig Deeper: 

(1) What do you know about your family tree? How is Jesus like a tree?

(2) What fruit did Jesus bear? What is the Lord doing in your life now to make you more fruitful?

(3) How does Jesus draw people to himself? Pray for Jesus to draw others to himself through the Lighthouse!

A Thank You Goes a Long Ways! * Pastor Jordan Rodgers * 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 * 11/19/17

Memory Verse of the Week:

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

1.) Psalm 100:1-5

"Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations."

2.) Genesis 1:1-2

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

3.) Colossians 1:15-17

"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."

4.) 1 Corinthians 3:16

"Don't you  know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?

 

JONAH: Running WITH God! * Pastor Bill Sy * Jonah 4:1-11 * 11/12/17

1.) I run with God in his TIMING (Jonah 4:1-5)

  • Jonah 4:1 "Jonah was greatly displeased (upset over this change of plans) and became angry." (2 Kings 14:25 - Jonah prophesied the boundaries restored)
  • Jonah 4:2 "O Lord, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee."
  • Jonah 4:3 "Now, O Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die."
  • Jonah 4:4 "Have you any right to be angry?
  • Psalm 37:7-8 "Be still before the Lord (rest in the Lord) and wait patiently for him; do not fret...Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret"
  • Jonah 4:5 "Jonah went out and sat down...There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city."
  • Psalm 130:5 "I wait for the Lord...and in his word I put my hope."

2.) I run with God in his STRENGTH (Jonah 4:6-8)

  • Jonah 4:6 "The Lord God provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy (grateful) about the vine."
  • Jonah 4:7 "The next day God provided a worm, which chewed the vine so that it withered."
  • Jonah 4:8 "God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah's head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die."
  • Isaiah 30:15 "In quietness and trust is your strength."
  • Isaiah 40:31 "Those who hope (trust, wait) in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary."

3.) I run with God in his COMPASSION (Jonah 4:9-11)

  • Jonah 4:9 "God said to Jonah, "Do you have a right to be angry about the vine? 'I do,' he said, 'I am angry enough to die.'"
  • Jonah 4:2 "I new that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity."
  • Jonah 4:10-11 "You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned (have compassion) about that great city?" (Pray for God's compassion for the lost!)
  • Matthew 9:37-38 "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."

Dig Deeper:  Read Jonah 4:1-11

(1) What is surprising about this last chapter? Compare Jonah's attitude with Luke 15:10. What helps you overcome anger and fretting? When have you waited for God's timing?

(2) When have you experienced a "worm" or "scorching wind"? How has God given you strength?

(3) Who in your life needs to hear of God's compassionate love? Pray for them and be available!

JONAH: Running FOR God! * Pastor Bill Sy * Jonah 3:1-10 * 11/5/17

1.) I run for God because he gives another OPPORTUNITY (Jonah 3:1-2)

  • Jonah 2:9-10 "But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the Lord. And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited (spit) Jonah onto dry land"
  • Jonah 3:1-2 "Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: 'Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.'"

2.) I run for God because he gives the desire to OBEY (Jonah 3:3)

  • Jonah 3:3 "Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh."
  • Psalm 51:10-13 "Create in me a pure (clean) heart, O God...Do not cast me from your presence...Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit...Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you."
  • Philippians 2:13 "It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose (giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him, to obey)."

3.) I run for God because he gives words to SPEAK (Jonah 3:4)

  • Jonah 3:4 "On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: 'Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.'"
  • Exodus 4:12 "I will help you speak and will teach you what to say."
  • Ezekiel 2:7 "Speak my words to them whether they listen or not"
  • Luke 12:12 "The Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say"
  • Romans 1:16 "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes"

4.) I run for God because he gives hope for CHANGE (Jonah 3:5-10)

  • Jonah 3:5 "The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth."
  • Jonah 3:8 "Let everyone call urgently on God (cry mightily to God). Let them give up their evil ways and their violence."
  • Jonah 3:9 "Who knows" God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish."
  • Jonah 3:10 "When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he threatened."
  • Acts 20:21 "Turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus."
  • Ezekiel 36:26 "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone"

Dig Deeper:  Read Jonah 3:1-10

(1) Who are others that God gave a 2nd chance? See Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Peter; who else? When has God given you another opportunity?

(2) What helps you obey God?

(3) When has God given you the opportunity to speak for him?

(4) When have you seen God change someone's heart? Who do you need hope for, that God can change them?

JONAH: Running TO God! * Pastor Bill Sy * Jonah 2:1-10 * 10/29/17

Highlights of chapter 1:

  • Jonah 1:3 "But Jonah ran away from the Lord...He went down" (downer!)
  • Jonah 1:9 "I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of Heaven" (remember who you are, child of God, know the word to know your identity!)
  • Jonah 1:17 "But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights." (God's provision not punishment!)
  • Matthew 12:39-40 "As Jonah was three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."

1.) We run to God's WORD (Jonah 2:1-2)

  • Psalm 119:50 "My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise (word) preserves (revives) my life."
  • Psalm 50:15 "Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor (give glory to) me" (Psalm 46:1 "God is a very present help in trouble")
  • Jonah 2:1-2 "From the inside of the fish, Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said, 'In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me.'"

2.) We run to God's PRESENCE (Jonah 2:3)

  • Palm 139:7, 9, 10 "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?...If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast (firm grip)."
  • Jonah 2:3 "You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me"

3.) We run to God's SANCTUARY (Jonah 2:4)

  • Jonah 2:4 "I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple."
  • 1 Kings 8:38-39 "When a prayer or plea is made by anyone...spreading out their hands toward this temple, then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive and act."

4.) We run to God's MERCY (Jonah 2:5-6)

  • Psalm 144:7 "Reach down your hand from on high; deliver me and rescue me from the mighty waters"
  • Jonah 2:5-6 "Seaweed was wrapped around my head...I sank down...but you brought my life up from the pit, O Lord my God."

5.) We run to God's GRACE (Jonah 2:7-10)

  • Jonah 2:7-8 "Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs (turn their backs on all God's mercies)."
  • Hebrews 4:16 "Approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need"
  • Jonah 2:9-10 "But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the Lord. And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land." (Psalm 50:14)

Dig Deeper:  Read Jonah 2:1-10

(1) What are some promises that help you run to God? How has he reached down to you?

(2) How are you responding to God's mercies?

JONAH: Running From God! * Pastor Bill Sy * Jonah 1:1-17 * 10/22/17

1.) We run from God when we are BITTER (Jonah 1:1-3)

  • Jonah 1:1-2 "The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: 'Go to the great city of Ninevah and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me'"
  • Jonah 1:3 "But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord"

2.) We run from God when we are FATIGUED (Jonah 1:4-6)

  • Jonah 1:4 "Such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up"
  • Jonah 1:5 "Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep" (tired physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually)

3.) We run from God when we are FORGETFUL (Jonah 1:7-9)

  • Jonah 1:8 "What do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?"
  • Jonah 1:9 "I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of Heaven, who made the sea and the land"
  • 2 Kings 14:25 "The word of the Lord, the God of Israel, spoken through his servant Jonah son of Ammitai, the prophet"

4.) We run from God when we are GUILTY (Jonah 1:10-12)

  • Jonah 1:12 "I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you"
  • Psalm 32:5 "I acknowledged (confessed, admitted) my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity (guilt). I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.' And you forgave the guilt of my sin"
  • 1 John 9, 7 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins...and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies (cleanses) us from all sin"

5.) We run from God when we are UNAWARE (Jonah 1:13-17)

  • We are unaware of God's power, presence, and provision
  • Jonah 1:15 "They took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm"
  • Jonah 1:16 "At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to th4e Lord and made vows to him"
  • Jonah 1:17 "But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights"

Dig Deeper:  Read Jonah 1:1-17

(1) What are some of the reasons people run from the Lord? When have you experienced any of these?

(2) What may Jonah have been afraid of? How is God helping you with your fears? When have you felt spiritually tired?

(3) What had Jonah forgotten? What important things do we forget?

(4) What do people do when they feel guilty? What do you do?

(5) What were they unaware of? How has God made you aware of these things in your life?

BLESSED to Keep on Praying! * Pastor Bill Sy * Ephesians 6:18-24 * 10/15/17

  • Ephesians 6:18 "Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests...always keep on praying"
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:17 "Pray continually (without ceasing)"
  • Luke 18:1 "Jesus told his disciples...that they should always pray and not give up (lose heart or become discouraged)"
  • 1 Chronicles 5:20 "They cried out to God during the battle. He answered their prayers because they trusted in him"
  • Romans 12:12 "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction (troubles), faithful (continuing instant) in prayer (keep on praying)"

1.) Prayer increases our concern for OTHERS

  • Ephesians 6:18 "Always keep on praying for the saints (all the Lord's people)"
  • Romans 12:13 "Share with God's people who are in need"

2.) Prayer increases our spread of the GOSPEL

  • Ephesians 6:19 "Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel"
  • Ephesians 6:20 "I am an ambassador in chains"

3.) Prayer increases our mutual ENCOURAGEMENT

  • Ephesians 6:22 "That you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you"
  • Romans 1:12 "That you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith"
  • Hebrews 10:25 "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more"

4.) Prayer increases our love for JESUS

  • Ephesians 6:24 "Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love"
  • 1 John 4:19 "We love because he first loved us"
  • John 21:17 "Jesus asked him the third time, 'Do you love me?'"
  • John 8:42 "Jesus said to them, 'If God were your Father, you would love me'"
  • John 16:27 "The Father himself loves you because you have loved me"

Dig Deeper:  Read Ephesians 6:18-24

(1) Why is prayer included with the section on the armor of God? How is prayer a form of battle?

(2) How have you grown in prayer for needs beyond yourself? What can we pray for when we pray for others? See Ephesians 1:17-19.

(3) When have you experienced encouragement? How have you been an encourager?

(4) How can we grow in love for Jesus? Pray that praying would increase among us!

BLESSED to Put on the Full Armor of God! * Pastor Bill Sy * Ephesians 6:10-17 * 10/8/17

  • Ephesians 6:11 "Put on the full armor of God"
  • Romans 13:12 "Put aside (cast off) the deeds of darkness (wild living, drunkenness, immoral living, quarreling/strife, jealousy/envy) and put on the armor of light"
  • Romans 13:14 "Clothe yourselves with (put on) the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh (sinful nature)"
  • Zephaniah 3:17 "The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves"
  • Deuteronomy 20:4 "The Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory"
  • 2 Chronicles 20:15 "Do not be afraid or discouraged...For the battle is not yours, but God's"

1.) Jesus is my belt of TRUTH

  • Ephesians 6:14 "Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist"
  • John 14:6 "I am the way and the truth and the life"

2.) Jesus is my breastplate of RIGHTEOUSNESS

  • Ephesians 6:14 "with the breastplate of righteousness in place"
  • Jeremiah 23:6 "This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness"

3.) Jesus is my footwear of the gospel of PEACE

  • Ephesians 6:15 "and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace"
  • Ephesians 2:14 "He himself is our peace"

4.) Jesus is my shield of FAITH

  • Ephesians 6:16 "Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one"
  • Psalms 3:3 "You, Lord, are my shield around me"

5.) Jesus is my helmet of SALVATION

  • Ephesians 6:17 "Take the helmet of salvation"
  • Isaiah 12:2 "God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation"

6.) Jesus is my sword, the SPIRIT

  • Ephesians 6:17 "and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God"
  • Revelation 19:13 "He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God"

Dig Deeper:  Read Ephesians 6:10-17

(1) What have you had to put aside, so you could put on the armor of light? What would it look like to be clothed (Romans 13:14) with Jesus? What battles has the Lord fought for you?

(2) How does Jesus fulfill all the aspects of spiritual armor?

(3) How are you putting on the full armor daily? Pray to stand firm!

 

BLESSED to Take the Sword of the Spirit * Pastor Bill Sy * Ephesians 6:17 * 10/1/17

Ephesians 6:17 "Take the...sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God"

1.) STUDY the word continually

  • 2 Timothy 2:15 "Study (be diligent, work hard, do your best) to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles (divides, explains, teaches) the word of truth."
  • 2 Timothy 3:14-17 "Continue in what you have learned...you have known the holy Scriptures...be thoroughly equipped" (John 8:31-32 "Continue in my word")
  • Luke 8:13 "The ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing (trials, temptation) they fall away" (Colossians 2:7 "Rooted...strengthened in the faith as you were taught")
  • Psalm 119:11 "I have hidden (treasured) your word in my heart that I might not sin against you"
  • Colossians 3:16 "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly"

2.) APPLY the word purposefully

  • Isaiah 55:10-11 "As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it"
  • Hebrews 4:12 "The word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart"
  • John 18:10 "Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, cutting off his right ear" (2 Timothy 2:15 "Correctly handle the word of truth")
  • Psalm 149:4-6 "The Lord takes delight in his people...Let the saints rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds. May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands"

3.) SPEAK the word boldly

  • 2 Corinthians 4:13 "I believed; therefore I have spoken"
  • Ephesians 6:19 "Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will boldly (fearlessly) make known the mystery of the gospel"
  • Acts 4:29 "Enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness"
  • Acts 4:31 "All filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly"
  • Joshua 1:8 "This Book of the Law (Bible) shall not depart from your mouth"
  • Isaiah 49:2 "He made my mouth like a sharp sword"
  • Ephesians 6:17 "Take the...sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God"
  • Matthew 4:4, 6-7, 10 "It is written"

Dig Deeper:  Read Ephesians 6:17

(1) How is the word like a sword? How do you keep studying the word?

(2) What are some of God's purposes for his word? When have you mishandled the sword?

(3) How did Jesus use the sword of the Spirit? How has God given you boldness to speak? Pray for more boldness to speak God's word.

 

BLESSED to Take the Helmet of Salvation (Pt 2) * Pastor Bill Sy * Ephesians 6:17 * 9/24/17

Ephesians 6:17 "Take the helmet of salvation"

  • Last week:  Romans 7:19-24 "Waging war against...my mind"
  • Psalm 140:7 "Lord, my strong deliverer, you shield my head in the day of battle"
  • 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds...and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ"

Salvation (Jesus saving us from our sins - John 1:29, 4:42, 1 John 2:2) has 3 aspects:

1.) I have been saved from sin's PENALTY which is justification

  • Romans 6:23 "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord"
  • Romans 4:25 "He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification"
  • Ephesians 2:8 "By grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 6:17 "Take the helmet of salvation")

2.) I am being saved from sin's POWER which is sanctification

  • Romans 6:14 "Sin shall no longer be your master (rule or have power over you)"
  • Romans 6:22 "You have been set free from sin and have become slaves (servants) of God, resulting in sanctification (holiness) and in eternal life"
  • Galatians 1:3,4 "The Lord Jesus Christ, gave himself for our sins to rescue (deliver) us from the present evil age (this present evil world)"
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:13 "Salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth"
  • 1 Peter 2:2 "Crave pure spiritual milk (of the word), so that by it you may grow up in your salvation"
  • Philippians 1:6 "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus"

3.) I will be saved from sin's PLAN which is glorification

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:8 "The hope (confident expectation) of salvation as a helmet"
  • Titus 1:2 "The hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised"
  • 1 John 5:13 "These things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life"
  • Romans 8:17, 18 "So that we may also be glorified with Him...our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us"
  • 1 Peter  1:5 "The salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time"
  • Titus 2:13 "We wait for the blessed hope--the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ"
  • Romans 13:11 "Our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed"

Dig Deeper:  Read Ephesians 6:17

(1) How were we saved in the past? When did you realize that in your life?

(2) How are we being saved now?

(3) What does it mean to be saved in the future? What is Christian hope? Pray for boldness to speak of God's salvation.

BLESSED to Take the Helmet of Salvation (Pt 1) * Pastor Bill Sy * Ephesians 6:17 * 9/17/17

Ephesians 6:17 "Take the helmet of salvation."

1.) There's a war going on in my MIND

  • Psalms 140:7 "Lord, my strong deliverer, you shield (cover, protect) my head in the day of battle."
  • Romans 7:19-25 "I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do.... For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind.... Who will rescue me from this...? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

2.) The Lord gives me power through my THOUGHTS

  • 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds... and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ"
  • Ephesians 6:17 "Take the helmet of salvation"

3.) My thoughts are renewed by God's WORD

  • Romans 12:2 "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind"
  • Philippians 2:5 "Have the same mindset (mind, attitude) as Christ Jesus"
  • 1 Corinthians 2:16 "We have the mind of Christ"
  • Colossians 3:10 "Put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator"
  • Colossians 3:16 "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly"
  • John 15:3 "You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you"
  • Ephesians 5:26 "The washing of water by the word"
  • Ephesians 4:23 "Be made new (renewed) in the attitude of your minds"
  • 2 Timothy 1:7 "God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind (a saved mind, self-discipline, self-control, under the control of Christ)"
  • Romans 8:5-6 "Those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires...The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace"
  • Philippians  4:8 "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things"
  • 2 Corinthians 4:15 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day"

************************************************************************************************************** Dig Deeper:  Read Ephesians 6:17

(1) Why do we need to wear a spiritual helmet? Where is the spiritual battle going on in us?

(2) When have you needed to take thoughts captive? How do you put on the helmet of salvation?

(3) How do you allow the word to change your thinking? What helps you think the thoughts of the Lord? (Isaiah 55:9-11)

BLESSED to Take up the Shield of Faith * Pastor Bill Sy * Ephesians 6:16 * 9/10/17

Ephesians 6:16 "Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish (quench, put out) all the flaming arrows (fiery darts) of the evil one"

1.) Faith grows when it soaks up the WORD

  • Romans 10:17 "Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Christ)"
  • Ephesians 5:26 "The washing with water through the word"
  • Proverbs 30:5 "Every word of God is flawless (true, pure); he is a shield to those who take refuge (put their trust) in him"

2.) Faith works through LOVE

  • Galatians 5:6 "Faith works (expressing itself) through love"
  • 1 Peter 4:8 "Love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins"
  • Ephesians 4:16 "From him (Jesus) the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work"
  • Hebrews 10:25 "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more"
  • Philippians 1:27 "Stand firm in one spirit, striving (fighting) together as one for the faith"

3.) Faith stands regardless of the RESULTS

  • Ephesians 6:13 "Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand"
  • Daniel 3:17-18 "The God we serve is able to deliver us...but even if he does not...we will not serve your gods"
  • Job 13:15 "Though he slay me, yet will I hope (trust) in him"

4.) Faith looks to JESUS

  • Hebrews 12:2 "Looking to (fixing our eyes on) Jesus, the author (source) and perfecter (finisher) of our faith"
  • Colossians 3:3 "Your life is hidden with Christ in God"
  • Galatians 2:20 "I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me"
  • Psalm 3:3 "You, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head (the lifter of my head)"

Dig Deeper:  Read Ephesians 6:16

(1) What are some of the flaming arrows you have experienced? How have you taken up the shield of faith? How do you keep your shield ready?

(2) When have you needed others to join shields with you?

(3) When has your faith had to endure through hard times?

(4) What helps you to keep your eyes on Jesus? Pray for those who need the Lord to be their shield.

 

BLESSED to Wear the Armor of God; Feet Fitted with the Gospel of Peace * Pastor Jerry Ghirardo * Ephesians 6:15 * 9/3/2017

Ephesians 6:15 - The third piece of spiritual armor is "Feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace" This third weapon is inextricably related to the first two: the truth of God's word, and the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

1.) The gospel of Jesus Christ brings PEACE WITH GOD now and forever.

  • Colossians 1:20 - "and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross"
  • Colossians 1:21 - "Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight."
  • Romans 5:1 - "Therefore since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."

2.) The gospel of Jesus Christ provides us with the PEACE OF GOD now and forever.

  • John 16:33 - "I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
  • Philippians 4:7 - "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
  • We can have perfect peace in the midst of any adversity.

3.) The peace of Christ provides us with SECURE FOOTING in every situation.

  • The same gospel that provides us with eternal security, also provides us with a solid foundation to stand against the attacks of the enemy every day.
  • Roman military boots - (caligae) - innovative piece of armor with cleats or nails on the soles to help stand strong in battle without giving ground.
  • Christ not only provides the secure footing for us personally, but he is also the foundation for the church. Ephesians 2:20 - "Built upon the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone."
  • We can trust in Christ because he has conquered all things. Christus Vincit! 1 Corinthians 15:56-57. "The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

4.) Armed with the peace of Christ we are READY TO FACE every challenge.

  • Romans 8:6 - "The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace."
  • Isaiah 26:3 - "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you."

5.) Armed with the gospel of peace, we are READY TO TAKE ADVANTAGE of every opportunity to share the gospel message and the love of Christ.

  • 2 Timothy 4:2 - "Be ready to preach the word in season and out of season."
  • Isaiah 52:7 - "How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news."
  • Galatians 6:10 - "So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of faith."

 

 

BLESSED to Wear the Armor: Breastplate of Righteousness * Pastor Bill Sy * Ephesians 6:11-14 * 8/27/2017

The armor of God gives us spiritual weapons for victory over the enemy!

Ephesians 6:14 "Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place"

1.) Put on the breastplate of RIGHTEOUSNESS

  • God gives the armor but we must choose to WEAR it!
  • Ephesians 6:11, 13 "Put on the full armor of God...take up the whole armor of God"
  • Job 29:14 "I put on righteousness as my clothing"

2.) The righteousness is not my OWN

  • Righteousness is being right with God
  • Romans 3:10 "There is no one righteous, not even one"
  • Isaiah 64:6 "All our righteous acts are like filthy rags"
  • Luke 18:9 "Some who were confident of (trusted in) their own righteousness"
  • Titus 3:5 "He saved us, not because of righteous things (works of righteousness) we had done, but because of his mercy"
  • Luke 18:13 "God, have mercy on me, a sinner"

3.) By faith I receive the righteousness of JESUS

  • Isaiah 45:24 "In the Lord alone are righteousness and strength"
  • 1 Corinthians 1:30 "Christ Jesus, who has become for us...our righteousness
  • Romans 3:22 "Righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe"
  • Philippians 3:9 "Not having a righteousness of my own...but that which is through faith in Christ - the righteousness that comes from God by faith"
  • Romans 5:17 "Those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life"
  • Psalm 23:3 "He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness."
  • 1 Peter 2:24 "So that we might die to sins and live for righteousness"
  • 1 Timothy 6:11 "Flee (run away) from all this, and pursue righteousness"

4.) The righteousness of Jesus guards my HEART

  • Proverbs 4:23 "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it"
  • Isaiah 32:17 "The fruit of righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness (rest) and confidence (assurance, security) forever"
  • Philippians 4:6-7 "Do not be anxious (worried) about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God...will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus"

Dig Deeper:  Read Ephesians 6:11-14

(1) How can we wear the spiritual armor?

(2) Why do we need a breastplate?

(3) How do we receive and pursue righteousness? See Matthew 6:33

(4) What benefits do we receive when our heart is guarded? Pray for each other.