To Circumcise or Not to Circumcise, That is the Question! * Pastor Jerry Ghirardo

To Circumcise or Not to Circumcise, That is the Question!

Joshua 5:1-8

August 5, 2018

1. After the Israelites crossed the Jordan, God REINSTATED the act of circumcision.

Joshua 5:2-3 - "At that time the Lord said to Joshua, 'Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites again. So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath Haaraloth."

Joshua 5:4-5 - "All those who came out of Egypt - all the men of military age - died in the wilderness on the way after leaving Egypt. All of the people that came out (of Egypt) had been circumcised, but all the people born in the wildernessduring the journey from Egypt had not."

The Israelites now ready to enter the promised land were to identify themselves again with the sign of God's covenant. The Lord wanted them to remain separate and not to be influenced by those who followed other Gods.

2. Circumcision is the sign of the ABRAHAMIC covenant between God and His people.

Genesis 17:10 - "This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep; Every male among you shall be circumcised."

Genesis 17:12 - "For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised..."

Romans 4:11 - "And (Abraham) received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised."

Circumcision was an important outward sign that identified the Israelites with Jehovah. It signified that they were consecrated, i.e., set apart for God's purposes in a special relationship with him.

3. When Christ came, He ushered in a NEW COVENANT, which required a circumcision of the heart.

Romans 2:28-29 - "A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew because he is one inwardly, and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, bu the Spirit, not by the written code."

Even in the Old Testament, we gain an understanding that circumcision should be much more than than an outward sign.

Deuteronomy 10:15-16 - "Yet, the Lord set his affection on your forefathers and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations, as it is today. Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer."

Deuteronomy 30:6 - "The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live."

Hebrews 8:10 - "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts."

Often God would initiate things in the Old Testament that would be a foreshadowing of things that would not be completely fulfilled until after Christ came to establish the New Covenant. Circumcision is one such example. Sacrifice for the covering of sins was another.

4. To circumcise or not to CIRCUMCISE - that is the question.

Acts 15:1 - "Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers, 'Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.'"

Acts 15:6-21 - Thanks to the Godly wisdom shared by Paul and Barnabas as well as Peter and James, the Council at Jerusalem resolved this issue by declaring that circumcision was not required for salvation.

Galatians 5:6 - "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love."

Moving Out With Reverence and Obedience! * Pastor Jerry Ghirardo

Moving Out With Reverence and Obedience!

Joshua 4:14-24

July 29, 2018

1. The Lord expects us to REVERE our leaders.

Joshua 4:14 - "That day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel, and they revered him all the days of his life, just as they had revered Moses."

1 Timothy 5:17 - "The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching."

I Thessalonians 5:12-13 - "Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you."

2. The Lord's plan involves specific STEPS at the right TIME.

Joshua 4:15-18 - "Then the Lord said to Joshua, 'Command the priests carrying the ark of the Testimony to come up out of the Jordan."

Romans 5:6-8 - "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly."

Galatians 4:4 - "But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons."

3. The unfolding of the Lord's plan reveals His POWER and AUTHORITY.

Joshua 4:24 - "He did this so that the people of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful."

1 Corinthians 6:14 - "By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also."

2 Corinthians 13:4 - "For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God's power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God's power we will live with him to serve you."

Jeremiah 10:12 - "But God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by wisdom, and stretched out the heavens by his understanding."

Psalm 33:8 - "Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the earth stand in awe of him. For He spoke it and it was done..."

4. The Lord requires us to FEAR Him.

Joshua 4:24 - "and so that you might always dear the Lord your God."

1 Samuel 12:24 - "Only fear the Lord and serve Him in truth with all your heart, for consider what great things he has done for you."

Proverbs 9:10 - "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."

Proverbs 14:27 - "The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life."

Psalm 128:4 - "How blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways."


A Healthy Appetite * Visiting Pastor Joel Fritz

Developing A Good Appetite

Joshua 14:6-15

July 22, 2018

1.) We all have appetites for things.

  • Parents shape our appetites when we are young.
  • This tends to become what our appetite expects as we grow up

2.) The complainers who caused such delay in reaching the promised land, held lingering     appetites for the provided food of slavery.

  • Their appetites conflicted with God's plan
  • Their appetites also conflicted with their own freedom

3.) Even at the age of 85, Joshua is just as ready to take the promised land as he was 40 years prior.

  • This is evidence of Joshua's continued appetite for God's work.
  • His appetite was developed through Moses's guidance and his own spiritual experiences.

4.) Let us move from apathy and toward God's appetite for His will!

"The road from apathy to God's appetite is paved with empathy."



A Stroll Along The Covenant Trail! * Pastor Jordan Rodgers

A Stroll Along The Covenant Trail!

Genesis 15:9-11

July 15, 2018

1. Understand that you have to have FAITH to please God.

Galatians 5:5 - "For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope."

2. Abraham the father of FAITH.

Genesis 12:1-3 - "The Lord had said to Abram, 'Go from your country, your people and your father's household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."

Genesis 15:1 - "...Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward."

Genesis 15:6 - "Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness."

Genesis 5:9-11 - "So the Lord said to him, 'Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.' Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half. Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away."

3. Where the phrase CUT A DEAL comes from.

4. Walking the COVENANT walk.

Who walked the walk in Abraham's place? (Jesus' presence)

What did the smoking firepot and blazing torch represent? (Jesus' shekinah glory)

Psalm 119:105 - "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path."

5. How do you think we should RESPOND to this?

Remember What The Lord Has Done! * Pastor Jerry Ghirardo


Remember What The Lord Has Done!

Joshua 4:1-13

July 8, 2018

1. The Lord wants us to set up MEMORIALS to remind us of what He has done.

Joshua 4:2-3 - "Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight."

Joshua 4:7 - "...These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever."

Exodus 12:14 - Passover and Festival of Unleavened Bread: "This is a day for you to commemorate, for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord - a lasting ordinance."

Luke 22:7-20 - The Last Supper: "...And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them saying, 'This is my body given for you, do this in remembrance of me.'"

2. Remembering what the Lord has done helps us to APPRECIATE Him.

Joshua 4:8 - "So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan...and they carried them over with them to their camp, where they put them down."

Joshua 4:11 - "and as soon as all of them had crossed, the ark of the Lord and the priests came to the other side while the people watched."

Joshua 4:23-24 - "For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Read Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God."

Psalm 103:2-4 - "Praise the Lord, O my soul; and forget not all his benefits - who forgives all your sins and heals all of your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion..."

3. Remembering what the Lord has done helps us to build our FAITH.

Joshua 4:10 - "Now the priests who carried the ark remained standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything that the Lord had commanded Joshua was done by the people, just as Moses had directed Joshua."

Psalm 77:11 - "I will remember the deeds of the Lord, yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago." Then the psalmist cried out to the Lord for help.

Joshua 4:12-13 - "The men of Reuben, Gad and the Half tribe of Manasseh crossed over, ready for battle, in front of the Israelites, as Moses had directed them. About forty thousand armed for battle crossed over before the Lord to the plains of Jericho for war."

4. Remembering what the Lord has done helps us to pass on our faith to future GENERATIONS

Joshua 4:6-7 - "In the future, when your children ask you, 'What do these stones mean?' tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord."

Joshua 4:21 - "In the future when your descendants ask their parents, 'What do these stones mean?' tell them Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground."

1 Chronicles 16:8 - "Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done."


Crossing the Jordan! * Pastor Jerry Ghirardo

Crossing the Jordan!

Joshua 3:9-17

July 1, 2018

1. To move out, we must COME to the Lord and LISTEN.

Joshua 3:9 - "Joshua said to the Israelites, 'Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God.'"

John 8:47 - "Whoever is of God hears the word of God."

Isaiah 55:3 - "Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live."

John 6:67-68 - "You do not want to leave too, do you? Jesus asked the twelve. Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."

2. God will often orchestrate things so that only HE can RESOLVE them.

Joshua 3:13 - "And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord - the Lord of all the earth - set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap."

Exodus 14 - The Lord directed the Israelites to meander near the Red Sea until they were hemmed in by Egyptians. Then God miraculously parted the Red Sea.

Deuteronomy 10:21 - "He is your praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes."

Jeremiah 32:27 - "I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?"

Matthew 19:26 - "With man this is impossible but with God all things are possible."

3. Crossing the Jordan will require greater FAITH than you have had before.

Joshua 3:15 - "Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during the harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water's edge, the water upstream stopped flowing."

Joshua 3:17 - "The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground."

2 Corinthians 5:7 - "For we live by faith, not by sight."

Hebrews 11 - "And by faith..."

John 11:40 - "Then Jesus said, 'Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God.'"

1 John 5:4 - "For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith."

Final Preparation - Ready to Move Out! * Pastor Jerry Ghirardo

Joshua 3:1-8

June 24, 2018

1. As we move out, God wants us to seek him EARLY.

Joshua 3:1 - "Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan."

Mark 1:35 - "Early in the morning, when it was still dark, Jesus got up and went to a solitary place. where he prayed."

This past Monday, the Lord woke me up at 3:00 am to start preparing the message.

2. God will be WITH us and He will move out AHEAD of us.

Joshua 3:2-4 - "After three days, the officers went throughout the camp, giving orders to the people: 'When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.'"

Joshua 3:6 - "Joshua said to the priests, 'Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of all the people.'"

Joshua 3:8 - "Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant, 'When you reach the edge of the Jordan's waters, go and stand in the river.'"

Exodus 25:8 - "Then have them make a sanctuary for me and I will dwell among them." (The Lord's presence was in the ark of the covenant.)

3. God is holy and He wants us to be HOLY.

1 Peter 1:16 - "Because it is written, 'Be ye holy, for I am holy.'"

Joshua 3:4 - "But keep a distance of about two thousand cubits between you and the ark, do not go near it."

Exodus 25:22 - "There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the covenant law, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites."

Joshua 3:5 - "Joshua told the people, 'Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.'"

4. God affirms and encourages His LEADERS.

Joshua 3:7 - "And the Lord said to Joshua, 'Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel so that they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses.'"

Exodus 33:17 - "And the Lord said to Moses, 'I will do the very thing that you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.'"

Hebrews 13:17 - "Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you."

Jeremiah 3:15 - "Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding."

Moving Out Always Requires Faith * Pastor Jerry Ghirardo

Joshua 2:1-24

June 17, 2018

1. Moving out requires WISDOM.

Joshua 2:1 - Joshua secretly sent two spies out to gain intel about Jehrico, and they entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab.

James 1:5 - "Do any of you need wisdom? Ask God for it...But when you ask God, you must believe." (Faith and wisdom are connected.)

2. You don't need to be PERFECT for God to use you.

Joshua 2 - God chose Rahab a prostitute to help the Israelites conquer Jehrico.

Hebrews 11:31 - "By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcome the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient."

Matthew 1:5 - "Rahab is listed as one of Jesus' ancestors. She was the wife of Salmon (one of the two spies) and the mother of Boaz, who married Ruth.

3. Moving out requires FAITH.

Joshua 2:9 - "I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us." Rahab believed in the Lord even though she was not an Israelite.

Joshua 2:19 - "We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt..." Rahab believed in the Lord based upon the evidence of what the Lord had done.

Joshua 2:4-6 - Rahab risks her life to hide the spies. Her courage and faith in the Lord led to her protection and the salvation of her family.

4. Moving out leads to the SALVATION of others.

Joshua 2:12 - "...Please swear to me by the Lord...that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them - and that you will save us from death." Rahab's faith helps her to save her whole family.

Joshua 6:23 - "So the young men who had done the spying went in and brought out Rahab, her father and mother, her brothers and sisters, and all who belonged to her. They brought out her entire family and put them in a place outside the camp of Israel."

Romans 11:17 - "As a wild olive shoot, you were grafted in among the others." Rahab and her family were grafted in to the Israelites and become part of the covenant relationship between God and the Israelites. In the same way, we gentiles have been saved by the sacrifice of Christ and grafted in to the family of God.


Moving Out Also Means Helping Out * Pastor Jerry Ghirardo

Joshua 1:10-18

June 10, 2018

1. Christianity is a TEAM sport!

When we move, we move out together.

Joshua 1:10 - "So Joshua ordered the officers to go through the camp and tell the people to get ready."

Ecclesiastes 4:9 - "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up."

2. Moving out involves HELPING OUT!

When God blesses you, he expects you to bless others.

Joshua 1:12-14 - Joshua reminded the Israelites that they were to help one another until they had all taken possession of the Promised Land.

Galatians 6:2 - "Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."

Hebrews 6:10 - "God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them."

3. Helping out involves SACRIFICE.

Numbers 32:17 - "But we will arm ourselves for battle and go ahead of the Israelites until we have brought them to their place."

Hebrews 13:16 - "And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased."

4. Helping out requires OBEDIENCE.

Joshua 1:16 - "Then they answered Joshua, 'Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we fully obeyed Moses so we will obey you."

Joshua 22:1-3 - "...You have done all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded, and you have obeyed me in everything I commanded. For a long time now you have not deserted your fellow Israelites but have carried out the mission the Lord your God gave you."

Joshua 22:5 - "But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you:  to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul."



Lessons from the Desert (part 4) * Pastor Jerry Ghirardo * 6/3/2018

Be Strong and Courageous

Joshua 1:1-19

1. When we are following the Lord, nothing will be able to STAND against us!

Joshua 1:5 - "As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will never leave you nor forsake you."

2 Kings 6:16 - "Elisha said, 'Don't be afraid, those who are with us are more than those who are against us.'"

Psalm 27:1 - "The Lord is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear?"

2. The Lord commands us to move out and to be STRONG and COURAGEOUS.

Joshua 1:6 - "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land..."

Joshua 1:7 - "Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go."

Joshua 1:9 - "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid...for the Lord your God goes with you wherever you go."

Psalm 31:24 - "Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord."

I Corinthians 15:58 - "Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor is not in vain."

3. To gain new ground in the Lord, we have to follow all of SCRIPTURE.

Joshua 1:8  - "Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful."

Hebrews 4:12 - "For 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..."

Luke 11:28 - "He replied, 'Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it."

2 Timothy 3:16 - "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness."

Lessons from the Desert (Part 3) * Pastor Jerry Ghirardo * 5/27/2018

God is Testing Us and Preparing Us!

Deuteronomy 8:1-18

1. God TESTS those He loves!

Exodus 20:20 - "Moses said to the people, 'Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.'"

Deuteronomy 8:2 - "Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years to humble you and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands."

Hebrews 12:6 - "Because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son."

2. God continues to REFINE us!

Psalm 66:10-12 - "For you God tested us, you refined us like silver...we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance."

Jeremiah 6:29 - "The bellow blows fiercely to burn away the lead with fire, but the refining goes on in vain."

I Peter 1:6-7 - "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."

3. God goes to remarkable lengths to GIVE us His values.

Romans 5:3-5 - "Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character and character hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."

James 1:2-4 - "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature ad complete, not lacking in anything."

Deuteronomy 8:3 - "He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live by bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord."

Through this process of SANCTIFICATION God prepares us for life and ministry.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 - "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God."

2 Corinthians 3:18 - "And we all...are being transformed into his image with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."

Hebrews 13:20-21 - "Now may the God of peace...equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen!"


Lessons from the Desert (Part 2) * Pastor Jerry Ghirardo * Deuteronomy 8:1-18 * 5/13/2018

1. God is WITH us (Immanuel)

The greatest revelation in all of Scripture is that the God of the universe became a man so that he could redeem us and be with us forever.

Isaiah 7:14 - "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel."

Matthew 1:22-23 - "All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 'The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel' - which means 'God with us.'"

Exodus 33:14 - "The Lord replied, 'My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.'"

Isaiah 8:10 - "Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted; propose your plan, but it will not stand, for God is with us."

2. God promises to PROVIDE for all our needs. (Jehovah Jireh)

Deuteronomy 2:7 - "These forty years the Lord has been with you, and you have not lacked for anything."

Exodus 16:4 - "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'I will rain down bread from heaven for you.'" God supernaturally provided manna and quail to nourish the Israelites for 40 years in the desert.

Deuteronomy 8:1-18 - Moses' admonition to never forget the Lord and how he has provided for the Israelites every day for 40 years..."He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land...He brought you water out of the hard rock. He gave you manna to eat in the desert."

Philippians 4:19 - "And my God will supply all your needs according to his riches in Christ Jesus."

Matthew 6:26 - "Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow nor reap...and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?"

3. God wants us to RELY on Him for everything!

Psalm 62:8 - "Trust in Him at all times - you people pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge."

Jeremiah 17:5-8 - "Cursed is the one who trusts in man...But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord."

Zechariah 4:6 - "'Not by might, nor by power; but by my Spirit' says the Lord Almighty."

Ephesians 3:20 - "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be all the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen."

Lessons from the Desert * Pastor Jerry Ghirardo * Matthew 4:1-11 * 5/6/2018

In the past couple of years, the Lord has done some remarkable things at the Lighthouse. He has brought two churches together to become a new church that has greater potential, greater strength, and greater opportunities to carry out the Great Commission. This past season has been a time of merging together, a time of getting to know each other by worshiping and serving Christ together and a time of putting a solid foundation in place to expand our ministry efforts for the future.

During this formative time, the Lord has been actively preparing us for this next season. The Lord has great things in store for us and for this community!

1.) The Spirit is LEADING us!

The first thing to recognize is that the Spirit of God is leading us wherever we go.

Matthew 4:1 - "Then Jesus was led by the Spirit of God into the desert to be tempted by the devil."

Exodus 13:21 - "By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light..."

Hebrews 13:5 - "For God has said. 'I will never leave you or forsake you.'"

Joshua 1:9 - "Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

2.) The Lord is always HUMBLING us and TESTING us!

Luke 4:1-2 - "Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days and at the end of them he was hungry."

Deuteronomy 8:2 - "Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years to humble you and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands."

Galatians 1:13-16 - "The Lord set apart the Apostle Paul and trained him in the Arabian desert for three years."

3.) Drawing closer to God is always a START for taking the next steps in God's plan.

James 4:8 - "Come near to God and He will come near to you."

Jeremiah 29:12 - "Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."

In all three of the examples that we will be studying, God was using this time in the desert to accomplish very important purposes in the lives of His people and in each case this desert experience was essential in God's plan to prepare His people for great spiritual victories.

Look to Jesus! * Pastor Bill Sy * Hebrews 12:2-3 * 4/29/18

Hebrews 12:2-3 "Fixing our eyes (look to, keep our eyes on, give attention to, focus) on Jesus, the author (source) and perfecter (completer) of our faith. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

- Look:  To turn attention from other things and to something else (Matthew 14:30/Peter)

- Look to Jesus:  Seek him always, speak to him continually, read his word daily

- Psalm 25:15 "My eyes are ever (always, continually) on the Lord."

1.) Look to Jesus for SALVATION

  • Acts 4:12 "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved."
  • Matthew 1:21 "Give him the name Jesus, because he will save people from their sins."
  • John 4:42 "We know that this man really is the Savior of the World."
  • 2 Timothy 3:15 "The Holy Scriptures are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus."

2.) Look to Jesus for JOY

  • Hebrews 1:8-9 "About the Son he says, 'Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever...Your God, has anointed you with oil of gladness above your companions (pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else)."
  • John 17:13 "I say these things while I am still in the world, so they may have the full measure of my joy within them." (Jeremiah 15:16 "Your joy")
  • Psalm 118:24 "This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."
  • Isaiah 55:12 "You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands."
  • Psalm 51:12 "Restore to me the joy of your salvation."
  • John 3:29-30 "The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom stands and listens for him, and is overjoyed to hear the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must increase; I must decrease."

3.) Look to Jesus for STRENGTH

  • Acts 1:8 "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses."
  • 1 Timothy 1:12 "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength." (Acts 1:8)
  • Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."
  • Romans 5:5 "God's love (agape love for others) has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."

Dig Deeper: Read Hebrews 12:1-13

(1.) What does it mean to keep our eyes on Jesus? What are some ways you do that? How do we look to Jesus for salvation?

(2.) What are some of the ways that Jesus gives us joy? What are some things that rob us of Joy?

(3.) When has Jesus given you power and strength?

Faith Working Through Truth * Pastor Bill Sy * James 5:19-20 * 4/22/18

James 5:19-20 "My brothers if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins."

1.) Only the truth of Jesus SAVES us

  • James 5: 19 "My brothers if one of you should wander from the truth..."
  • John 8:31-32 "If you continue in my word, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
  • Ephesians 4:21 "Truth is in Jesus."
  • Ephesians 1:13 "You heard the word of truth (believed) the gospel of your salvation."
  • John 17:17 "Your word is truth."

2.) Before the truth can work through us, it must work IN us

  • James 5:19 "My brothers if one of you should wander from the truth...someone should bring him back."
  • Psalm 119:176 "I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant."
  • Psalm 51:10-11 "Create in me a pure (clean) heart, O God, and renew a steadfast (right, loyal) spirit within me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation."
  • Psalm 51:13 "Then I will teach transgressors (sinners, wanderers) your ways, so that sinners will turn back (return) to you."
  • Luke 22:32 "I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."

3.) When the truth changes us, then God can use us to RESTORE others

  • James 5:20 "Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins."
  • 1 Peter 2:25 "You were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer (Guardian) of your souls."
  • Galatians 6:1 "If someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourselves, or you may also be tempted."
  • Proverbs 11:30 "He who wins souls is wise."
  • Daniel 12:3 "Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever."
  • Philippians 2:15-16 "In a crooked and depraved (warped) generation, you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out (hold on to) the word of life."

Dig Deeper: Read James 5:19-20

(1.) What does it mean to wander from the truth? What spiritual wanderers have you known? How did they get off the path? How can the truth set us free?

(2.) Read Psalm 51. Who wandered? What did God need to do in him? How is God's truth working in your life?

(3.) Who has God used to reach you? When has he used you to reach others? Pray for our church to shine bright!


Faith Working Through Praying * Pastor Bill Sy * James 5:16-18 * 4/15/18

1.) We pray in RIGHTEOUSNESS

  • James 5:16 "The prayer of a righteous man is..."
  • Romans 3:10 "There is no one righteous, not even one."
  • Luke 18:9 "Some were confident of (trusted in) their own righteousness."
  • 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 5:19 "Through the obedience of one man many will be made righteous."
  • Isaiah 53:11 "My righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous (he will justify many, make many righteous), he will bear their sins."
  • Romans 5:17 "Receive God's abundant provision of grace and the gift of righteousness."
  • Job 29:14 "I put on righteousness as my clothing."
  • Ephesians 6:14 "Stand firm...with the breastplate of righteousness in place."

2.) We pray with EFFECTIVENESS

  • James 5:16 "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."
  • James 5:17 "Elijah prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three-and-a-half years."
  • James 5:18 "Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops."
  • 1 Kings 18:41-44 "There is the sound of a heavy rain...Go and look...There is nothing there...Seven times...a cloud as small as a man's hand is rising."
  • James 5:16 "Pray for each other."
  • Acts 1:14 "They all joined together constantly in prayer."

3.) We pray from WEAKNESS

  • James 5:17 "Elijah was a man just like us (as human as we are)."
  • 1 Kings 19:3,4 "Elijah was afraid and ran for his life...and prayed that he might die."
  • 1 Kings 19:4 "I have had enough, Lord...take my life."
  • 2 Kings 2:11 "A chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and...Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind."
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9 "My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness."
  • 1 Corinthians 2:3 "I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling."
  • Romans 8:26 "The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us."
  • Colossians 4:2 "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful."

Dig Deeper: Read James 5:16-18

(1.) How can we be righteous enough to have our prayers answered? How do we become right with God?

(2.) When have you sensed effectiveness in prayer?

(3.) How are we like Elijah? When have you felt weak and relied on God's strength? What steps can you take to be more devoted to prayer?

Faith Working Through Healing * Pastor Bill Sy * James 5:12-16 * 4/8/18

1.) Healing comes from the LORD

  • Exodus 15:26 "I am the Lord who heals you."
  • Acts 10:38 "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, who went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil."

2.) Healing comes to the DESPERATE

  • Hosea 5:15 "In their misery (trouble, desperation) they will earnestly seek me."
  • 2 Kings 20:5 "I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you."
  • Psalm 147:3 "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."

3.) Healing comes for the Lord's GLORY

  • Philippians 1:20 "Now as always, Christ will be exalted (glorified, magnified, honored) in my body, whether by life or by death."
  • John 11:4 "It is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it."
  • Psalm 69:29-30 "I am in pain and distress; may your salvation, O God, protect me. I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with giving thanks."

4.) Healing comes in God's WAY

  • James 5:15-16 "If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed."
  • Psalm 41:4 "Have mercy on me, Lord; heal me, for I have sinned against you."
  • Luke 22:42 "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done."
  • Matthew 9:12 "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. (James 5:14)
  • 1 Peter 5:9 "Resist the devil, standing firm in the faith, because you know your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings."
  • Psalm 103:2-3 "Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits (may I never forget the good things he does for me), who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases." (James 5:13 " Let him sing songs of praise.")
  • Proverbs 17:22 "A cheerful (joyful, merry) heart is good medicine."

5.) Healing comes in God's TIMING

  • Ecclesiastes 3:1-3 "There is a time for everything, and a season for every purpose (activity) under heaven...(time to be born, to die, to heal)."
  • James 5:8 "You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near."
  • Hebrews 10:35-38 "Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded."
  • Philippians 3:20-21 "Our citizenship is in heaven...The Lord Jesus Christ will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body."
  • Revelation 21:4 "There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain."
  • Romans 8:23 "We wait eagerly for...the redemption of our bodies."

Dig Deeper:  Read James 5:12-16

(1.) When have you experienced God's healing power?

(2.) Why do we often wait until we are desperate to seek the Lord?

(3.) How can God be glorified in your life?

(4-5) What are some of the various ways that God heals?

Faith Through Waiting * Pastor Bill Sy * James 5:7-11 * 4/1/18 * Resurrection Day!

1.) WAIT for signs of hope

  • James 5:7 "The farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains." (1 Kings 18:41-44 "a small cloud")
  • Mark 16:3 "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance to the tomb?"
  • Matthew 28:2 " An angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it."
  • Luke 24:5 "Why do you look for the living among the dead?"
  • Luke 24:6-8 "He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you...'The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.' Then they remembered his words."

2.) ASK for strength to persevere

  • James 5:8 "You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near."
  • Mark 9:24 "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"
  • Romans 8:11 "The Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you."
  • Ephesians 1:19-20 "His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as...when he raised Christ from the dead."
  • Ephesians 3:16 "I pray that...he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being." (Psalm 119:25 "Preserve, revive me according to your word.")
  • 1 John 2:14 "You are strong, and the word of God lives in you."
  • Colossians 1:9, 11, 12 "We ask God to fill you...with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, joyfully giving thanks."

3.) INVITE others to wait with you

  • James 5:9 "Don't grumble against each other."
  • James 5:10 "As an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord."
  • John 20:19 "The disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear; Jesus came."

4.) TRUST the Lord for a blessed outcome

  • James 5:11 "We consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy."
  • John 11:25 "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live."
  • Job 19:25-27 "I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And...I will see God...How my heart yearns within me!"
  • Job 42:10, 12 "After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before...The Lord blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first."

Dig Deeper:  Read James 5:7-11

(1.) What signs of hope could the disciples have seen? What are some signs of hope in your situation?

(2.) When and how has God given you strength to persevere?

(3.) Who has been with you in your waiting? How has that helped?

(4.) When have you been blessed with a better outcome than you expected?

Faith Through Surrender * Pastor Bill Sy * James 4:1-5:6 * 3/25/18 * Palm Sunday

John 12:13 "They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, 'Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!'"

Jesus is King! (Zechariah9:9; Revelation 17:14; John 18:36-37)

James 4:7 "Submit (be subject to, yield to, surrender) yourselves, then, to God."

1.) We surrender our FAILURES (James 4:1-12)

  • James 4:1 "Your desires that battle within you"
  • James 4:2 "You do not have, because you do not ask God."
  • James 4:6 "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
  • James 4:7 "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee."
  • James 4:8-10 "Come near to God, and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up."

2.) We surrender our FUTURES (James 4:13-17)

  • James 4:13-15 "You who say, 'Today or tomorrow, we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead...say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we will do this or that.'" (A. 18:21 "I will come back if it is God's will.") DV/Deo Volente
  • Psalm 39:4 "Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be."

3.) We surrender our FINANCES (James 5:1-6)

  • Luke 12:19-21 "You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself? This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God."
  • James 5:1-3 "You rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded in the last days."
  • Proverbs 22:4 "Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth, and honor, and life."
  • Proverbs 30:8-9 "Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the Lord.' Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God."
  • Leviticus 27:30 "A tithe (10%) of everything...belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord."
  • Malachi 3:10 "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house...and see if I will not throw open the floodgates (windows) of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it."

Dig Deeper:  Read James 4:1-5:6

(1.) What does it mean for Jesus to be our King?

(2.) What parts of your future do you need to surrender?

(3.) How are you doing in surrendering your finances to King Jesus?

Faith Working Through Living Wisely * Pastor Bill Sy * James 3:13-18 * 3/18/18

James 1:5 "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."

Ephesians 5:15 "Be very careful, then, how you live, not as unwise but as wise."

1.) The Lord gives me wisdom to live PURELY

  • James 3:17 "The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure."
  • James 1:27 "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." (see website
  • Psalm 101:2b-3 "I will walk in my house with a blameless heart (I will live a pure life). I will set before my eyes no vile thing (I refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar.)"
  • 1 John 2:28; 3:3 "Dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming...All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure."
  • 2 Corinthians 7:1 "Since we have these promises, dear friends. let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting (becoming mature and complete in) holiness out of reverence for God."
  • Psalm 119:9-11 "How can a young person keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."
  • James 4:8 "Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded."

2.) The Lord gives me wisdom to live PEACEFULLY

  • James 3:17 "The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving."
  • James 3:18 "Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness."
  • Matthew 5:9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God."
  • Titus 3:2 "Be peaceable and considerate, and always gentle toward everyone."
  • Romans 12:18 "As far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."

3.)The Lord gives me wisdom to live PRODUCTIVELY

  • James 3:13 "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom."
  • James 3:17 "The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit..."
  • Psalm 92:14 "They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green."

Dig Deeper:  Read James 3:13-18

(1.) How does James describe the differences of heavenly and earthly wisdom? What struggles do you have with purity? What helps you live purely?

(2.) What steps have you taken to be at peace with others?

(3.) Describe the fruit of heavenly wisdom. How can you be productive for Jesus?