Useful- In this Together

10/13/2019

God also has intense purposes for His church. The gathering of baptized believers is the go to tool in the hands of God to accomplish His work and win the victory against the gates of Hell. Each one of us is called in accordance to how we were created by God to serve Him alongside one another. Just like the disciples in the Gospels, they were unique and hand-picked by Christ to accomplish great things. The disciples needed to abandon their own desires and uses for gifts and abilities and brings these things with them as they followed Christ. The church is a group of people who have done this as well. We have left our own individual plans and purposes in and of themselves for the sake of joining, with our lives, alongside one another, the great purposes of God. But what becomes of the church when it is distracted from the purposes it was meant for? How destructive is the gathering of sinful people when their attention and focus is on something other than the God-given mission? I believe it was this exact situation that sparked the anger of Jesus more so than any other story recorded for us in the Gospels. The difference is the difference between the house of prayer and the den of thieves. I pray God will enlighten us, as a united Church, to the schemes of the Devil and give us the strength to, alongside one another, “stand firm in the Lord”. Truly we are able to do this better together than on our own.



Going Deeper:

1) One line or verse that stood out by the power of the Holy Spirit and why it was significant?

2) What is one area in your life that needed the message today?

3) Specifically, how has God given you more than enough to accomplish what He is asking you to do? What dangers exist, like the Jars filled with wine, (Jeremiah 13:12-13) to take what God has given and waste it on things not productive?

4) Has there ever been a time when a brother or sister in Christ needed to hold you up because you were too weak to stand on your own? How important is it to the mission of God for His church for believers to act this way? (1 John 2:10-11)

5) Do you think it is possible for the church to become as distracted from its purpose as the temple was in the days of Jesus in Mark 11:15-19? What causes this and what can be done to protect against it?

Andrew Cantrell
Useful- Pursuing Righteousness

10/2/2019

God’s purpose for every disciple of His can be summarized in a general way like this, “For us to live the full life given by and in Christ to glorify God in all things and help lead others to do the same.” I believe this is God’s intent for your life, this is our purpose statement, and while accomplishing this will look different individually based on who we are and how God knit us together, we will only accomplish God’s purposes as we remember this goal as we do all things. Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:22 to flee youthful passions or civilian pursuits. These are defined as the corrupted motivations and practices of our old self before God enlisted us into His service. Then Paul says, pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace, and a pure heart. We are to be focused on doing this daily as we live our lives as disciples, we must focus on this as a soldier does his mission, as an athlete does the prize, and as a farmer does his crop. I believe in order to properly flee the corrupted things of our old self that distract us from our usefulness in God’s hands we must first know the correct things to run towards, or “pursue” as Paul puts it. In this second part of our discussion on being useful we go deeper into the things God’s Word tells us to pursue so it can be said about us what 2 Timothy 2:21 says, we are “ready for every good work”.


Going Deeper:

1) One line or verse that stood out by the power of the Holy Spirit and why it was significant?

2) What is one area in your life that needed the message today?

3) What are some specific things you are needing to “flee from”? Are there any corrupted, deceitful things of the past that are currently distracting you from God’s purposes? What hope do we have that Jesus is still working restoration and accomplishing His purposes in our lives? (Romans 8:37-39, Ephesians 2:10)

4) What is one Truth or wise teaching from Colossians 3:12-17 and 4:2-6 or anywhere else you have read that you recognize as something to aim for, or work towards, in your pursuit to accomplish the purposes God has for your life?

5) Do you agree your usefulness and purposes were planned out before you were born? (Psalm 139:13-16) What are some abilities and passions God has given you and how can you use these things to tell others about Christ and grow His Kingdom? (answering this question will help you greatly in discovering your usefulness)

Andrew Cantrell
Useful in the hands of God

9/29/2019

“As the loincloth clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me”(Jeremiah 13:11). God’s people were to remain closely connected to God and in so doing they would be incredibly useful for God in all the purposes He had in mind to work through them. Clinging to God in this way involves both parties, Israel did not have a problem assuming and practicing the obligation upon God to go wherever Israel went, but when it came to Israel’s obligation to have God ONLY as their God and do all He commanded, they did as they pleased instead. While this did not destroy God’s relationship with His people completely, it did destroy their usefulness with respect to the purposes and plans God intended for them. I believe in our lives today we have the assurance of our salvation, if we are in God’s hand there is no force strong enough to pluck us out of it. Yet even so the devil is active in our lives to destroy our usefulness in the hands of God for His purposes. Anything that distracts us from God and all His work to make us who He wants us to be is an enemy to our ability to be used for Kingdom of God purposes. I pray as we dive deep into this very important topic God would open our eyes to and remove all the things serving as hindrances to our ability to be used by Him. I pray the Holy Spirit would move us to take drastic measures and bold steps to overcome these things and begin to join God in His work here as one body, the church, to see the lost saved, taught, and multiplied.

Going Deeper:

1) One line or verse that stood out by the power of the Holy Spirit and why it was significant?

2) What is one area in your life that needed the message today?

3) What specifically has the devil used to attack your usefulness in the hands of God? Even though we may have fallen short of our usefulness, what hope do we have that Jesus is still working restoration and accomplishing His purposes in our lives? (Romans 8:37-39, Ephesians 2:10)

4) What is one Truth or wise teaching from Colossians 3:12-17 and 4:2-6 or anywhere else you have read that you recognize as something to aim for, or work towards, in your pursuit to accomplish the purposes God has for your life?

5) Do you agree your usefulness and purposes were planned out before you were born? (Psalm 139:13-16) What are some abilities and passions God has given you and how can you use these things to tell others about Christ and grow His Kingdom? (answering this question will help you greatly in discovering your usefulness)

Andrew Cantrell
The Spoiled Loincloth

9/22/2019

One of the sweetest realities of what we call “the gospel” of Jesus Christ, or the good news about what Jesus’ life has accomplished on our behalf, is that even though there rages an intentional rebellion against God and all He is doing, this rebellion will never overtake the work God has done and will do in redeeming sinners such as I. We talked about this a little bit last week by focusing on God’s intense love for His people even in the midst of the coming disaster, but the reality is God is victorious, Jesus is Lord, and He is a great Savior. The work of redemption God has done cannot and will not be undone. This means all of the schemes our enemy deploys against us are for the purpose of attacking our usefulness. If he cannot affect our eternal salvation, and he cannot, he will go after the very uses and purposes God has for us to fulfill while we are still here. Unfortunately, the devil is extremely effective at distracting believers from these purposes. God does not merely redeem, he redeems on purpose. We have not just been saved we have been set free to get to work and accomplish “usefulness”. Through the worship of other gods and their selfish pursuits Israel and Judah have become “good for nothing”. God makes this point through the image of a spoiled loincloth(Jeremiah 13:1-11) that His people everywhere would do well to notice. I pray we would be wise to the attacks of these type and would be able to overcome through the power of the Holy Spirit that we may be found useful for His Kingdom in light of the freedom we have been given.

Going Deeper:

1) One line or verse that stood out by the power of the Holy Spirit and why it was significant?

2) What is one area in your life that needed the message today?

3) Do you understand the points made explaining the loincloth and what God was doing by telling Jeremiah to do what he did?(Jeremiah 13:1-11) Like the loincloth being useful to the person to do all kinds of work, in what ways has God created you to be useful to His Kingdom? How can your gifts be used to do lots of work here in His church?

4) How has the Devil attacked your "usefulness"? What are any specific areas that he always finds success at getting you to back away from what you know are the things He has called you to do for His Kingdom?

5) What things do you see in Exodus 12:1-13 that are directly connected to Jesus and his life, death, and resurrection? Even though we may have fallen short of being the "loincloth" that God made us to be how does Jesus accomplish this in Isaiah 11:5 on our behalf?

Andrew Cantrell
The Beloved of God's Soul

9/15/2019

We have spent many weeks looking at the destruction coming to God’s people as prophesied by Jeremiah. God has made it clear that the circumstances are such that what is required most is disaster that cannot be escaped. The Lord continues to answer Jeremiah’s complaint in chapter 12 and as He does we are given the opportunity to focus on something incredible that is True about God’s people among the devastation and disaster coming. Seeing clearly what God says here I believe this Truth is incredibly important for us to see and realize today. Looking closely at the words used by God here reveals how God feels about His people. He uses language such as, “the beloved of my soul”, and while he goes on to talk about his harsh actions against His people the point God makes is NOT that he ceases to feel this way about them. Rather, as God sends them among their enemies and as he allows the land to become devastated He does so while continuing to view them as His prized possession, his “pleasant portion”. This is brought forward clearly in the warning He gives to the nations who are taking His people over. God always accomplishes His purposes in the lives of those who are truly his from a position of great love for them. He may do this with uncomfortable things but even so, I pray nothing, including the temptation of the devil, will be able to tell you He feels differently about you.

Going Deeper:

1) One line or verse that stood out by the power of the Holy Spirit and why it was significant?

2) What is one area in your life that needed the message today?

3) Have you believed the devil's lie that your life circumstances reveal how God feels toward you? (believing if things are good God loves me, if things are bad he does not), If so, how did believing this lie effect your faith? How does believing the Truth of Galatians 3:28-4:7 (and Jeremiah 12:7-8) effect your faith?

4) Do you think "sown wheat and have reaped thorns" (Jeremiah 12:13) is still a problem today? Have you ever tired yourself out but profited nothing? What do you believe needs to be done to protect or even turn away from this?

5) Do you understand how it is possible for God to know about and even allow destruction, sin, and temptation while at the same time holding the one who does it accountable for what he has done? (Jeremiah 12:14-17 and Luke 17:1-4) What is offered as the way to prevent causing others to sin AND the remedy for this if it was to happen in verses 3-4 of Luke 17? How does this work?

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Believing What is True

9/8/2019

Jeremiah is now walking through a life-threatening situation and as the statement, “Do not prophesy in the name of the Lord, or you will die by our hand” shows, Jeremiah was being threatened because of His connection to the word of God given to him. We must remember God was using Jeremiah here to tell the people the Truth, they have sinned and are far from the God who brought them out of Egypt during a time when many false prophets were saying the opposite, everything is fine, God is pleased. At this point Jeremiah turns to God because He believes. If we contrast this act with God’s people who turned to other nations and other gods when they were threatened we see the hard reality, what we believe is the only way to affect matters of the heart, and more importantly, only believing the Truth about God and His son Jesus Christ can truly bring redemption to the heart which is necessary for Salvation. As John 3:16 and 1 John 5:5 says, whoever believes in Jesus the son of God has eternal life and has overcome all the evil conspiracies and schemes that exist in this world because of the power of the devil. If the battle is one of the mind, I pray we are able to understand what is necessary to have and maintain correct believing because this is what Truly matters. I pray God would give us the ability to see him, believe him, and seek him with all our hearts. -Pastor Andrew

Going Deeper:

1) One line or verse that stood out by the power of the Holy Spirit and why it was significant?

2) What is one area in your life that needed the message today?

3) What stands out to you the most about the pictures into David and Daniels hearts in Psalm 51:16-17 and Daniel 9:17-19? Do these verses help you at all understand what God desires and what is required for salvation?

4) Can you think back on the very hard questions you have asked God or maybe a pastor? What was the response to your questions from whom you asked them? What hope do we have that God is approachable even with our toughest questions? (Hebrews 4:14-16, Ephesians 3:11-13)

5) In what ways could the "friendly" words of today's world not be what you and I need to hear like was the case in Jeremiah 12:6? Praise God that He is willing to tell us the Truth, what we need to hear, instead of what might be merely for our comfort. Do you agree?

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The Consequence of an Incorrect Focus

8/31/2019

In Jeremiah’s day God’s people for the most part had been physically redeemed (brought out of Egypt), but lacked the necessary, inner-most, life affecting circumcision of the heart that God has been seeking all along. Redemption from God is no redemption at all unless we understand it to be redemption from our greatest problem. The Nation of Israel saw God as a physical war winner, a physical slavery end'er", and a physical blessing bringer but when Jesus came He taught of our deepest need being Spiritual re-birth (John 3). Among all the good redeeming work God is doing in the day of Jeremiah there still remained a conspiracy to overthrow God because the focus of the people were on their own physical blessings rather than a spiritually transformed heart freed up to accomplish all God desires, especially that detailed in Micah 6:8. How relevant is this understanding even today? Do we see in God’s word an inspiring book of phrases or do we see it as our only lifeline to walk now that our heart has been transformed? Does God’s word frustrate us when it challenges what we are doing or do we see such work as the mercy of God to guide us in the right direction? When Jeremiah complains to God about the men of his hometown threatening him because of the Words of God, God gives him hope and declares to us all, God is our defender as we continue to walk in obedience to God’s word. -Pastor Andrew

Going Deeper

1) One line or verse that stood out by the power of the Holy Spirit and why it was significant?

2) What is one area in your life that needed the message today?

3) Can you think of anything today that at one time was "beautiful with good fruit" but now has been destroyed by disobedience to God (sin)? How can we be a part of making it beautiful again?(Jeremiah 11:16-17)

4) Through what Jeremiah is experiencing in verses 18-23 he faces things much like what God was going through. How have the hard things you deal with been similar to what God has to put up with every day from humanity?

5) How have the words of 1 John 4:4 encouraged you over the years? God doesn't just leave us in the world with its evil, but He promises two things. He will be with us, and He is greater than the evil. What can believing these things do to your faith moving forward?

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A Covenant Child of God Among Rebellion

8/23/2019

Allow me to refresh your memory from a while back. 25 and 26 are very important verses from Jeremiah chapter 9, they give us the piece of information that makes sense of everything God is saying now in Jeremiah chapter 11 verse 9. God declares his judgment on those who “are circumcised merely in the flesh” but yet remain “uncircumcised in heart.” This fact describes the need for a new covenasnt, a new agreement. At this point God has brought the nation of Israel out of Egypt which means they have been redeemed but the redemption is merely in the flesh. God has saved them from a physical slavery and death, and made them a physical nation, establishing between them a covenant of works. As purposeful and wonderful as all these actions were they left an unfinished work of circumcising or redeeming that which reaches far beyond the flesh, namely, our hearts. In the context of Jeremiah 11, among the intentional rebellion and conspiracy against Him, God saw that it was necessary to bring an inescapable disaster upon His people. I believe it is because of this purpose. Only through this disaster will those only redeemed in the flesh be separated from those who are redeemed in the heart. I pray this same separation would take place in our hearts this morning as we worship and study God’s Word. -Pastor Andrew

Going Deeper:

1) One line or verse that stood out by the power of the Holy Spirit and why it was significant?

2) What is one area in your life that needed the message today?

3) From Jeremiah 9:25-26, comparing anyone only experiencing a physical redemption, like being rescued out of Egypt, but have not had their hearts redeemed with anyone who lives out Micah 6:8 from a redeemed heart what differences do you find? Where are you in this comparison?

4) As hard as the destruction described in Jeremiah 11:11-13 sounds can you think of anything beneficial that would come out of God doing this to His people? Have you ever benefited in this way from something difficult in your life?

5) Do you agree with the claim "if you are not actively fighting against evil and the Devil in your life, then most likely you are conspiring with it" why or why not? (1 John 10-13)

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A Covenant Child of God

8/16/2019

From last week, 2 Chronicles 36:15 says God was motivated by his compassion to be persistent in sending his messengers to His people. Nothing has changed in this regard as displayed clearly through Jesus Christ who is the epitome of God’s compassionate love, yet as we also saw in Jeremiah 10:25 and Romans 1:18, the wrath of God is against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, against anyone who refuses to know the Lord or call on His name. As we read Jeremiah chapter 11 we see a clear indication of how God chooses to relate to those whom He has redeemed to be His children. The language used here leaves no doubt God deals with His people through contract, agreement, or covenant. Likewise, the New Testament contains verses confirming this same relationship is God’s desire. While we may understand the term covenant and what type of document it is from other experiences we have faced, I assure you we have never experienced a contract or covenant like the one described here offered by God. God meets our complete and total surrender to him with terms and conditions that are based on His faithfulness and not our own. His contract depends on his righteousness, or just actions, and not on our efforts and attempts to be good. Yes, the New Covenant spoken of by the Prophets of old, established and mediated by Jesus Christ, and on the table right now for any sinner who would repent, is a covenant of grace. A covenant where the work is finished and where even the obedience demanded by God is a result of the work He accomplishes in our hearts. I pray these things would be made clear to us all this morning and we would be humbled to the point of repentance. -Pastor Andrew

Going Deeper:

1) One line or verse that stood out by the power of the Holy Spirit and why was it significant?

2) What is one area in your life that needed the message today?

3) How does seeing the "contract" language used in Jeremiah between God and His people challenge your understanding of the relationship you have with God today through Jesus? (Jeremiah 11:1-8)

4) What is necessary for us to become a child of God, or as Jesus put it, one of "my sheep"? Share from your own testimony about this being true about you. (John 10:27, 6:44)

5) How does keeping the commandments of God connect to our love for him? (John 14:15)

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Correct our misaligned steps Lord

8/9/2019

Verses 23 and 24 of chapter 10 bring up the shockingly true reality that though we have the ability to take steps it is God who directs those steps. At the top of our priority list of things to deal with in our lives should be anything we are doing, saying, or striving for that is not aligned with the will and commands of God. Similarly to the 2 year old just learning to walk but walking towards the street, the consequences of walking towards something God is guiding us away from because we do not yet understand the dangers could be a matter of life or death. God clearly teaches his people here to be highly acquainted with these two practices, first, the practice of understanding and submitting to the direction of God, and second, the practice of humble repentance and acceptance of God’s loving correction. Do not be misled this morning! God’s correction is not an act from His wrath but his grace. There is an action of God that is accomplished for his purposes of justice and righteousness becoming more of a reality in our lives and this action is not equivalent to the intense destruction that awaits those who know Him not and refuse to call on His name. We can be wildly led astray when we consider these two actions equivalent. I pray once again clarity is accomplished as we continue to study the one and only True God. -Pastor Andrew

Going Deeper:

1) One line or verse that stood out by the power of the Holy Spirit and why was it significant?

2) What is one area in your life that needed the message today?

3) How have you seen God direct your steps before? (in the far past or recently)

4) Explain the wrath of God and why we deserve it.

5) How does Jesus Christ save us from this and what does that mean to you?

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There is Only One True God

8/2/2019

We have been discussing the foolishness of idolatry, or trusting and worshiping any created thing instead of the Creator. God says creation is all the proof needed for His people to understand there is but one only living and true God and we shall worship Him alone. “The gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens.” (Jeremiah 10:11) Everywhere in Scripture God reveals himself as the one and only God. This revelation is called “monotheism” and it challenged all belief held by the Nations in the days of the Israelites of old, and continues to challenge many beliefs today. Every command of God to forsake everything or everyone else and worship Him only is not from the perspective of an egotistical dictator, but rather a loving Father who is teaching us the Truth about the world and how it was created. There IS only one True living God and as such He alone is due our worship, devotion, and trust. This fact requires another fact to be true, any circumstance or situation of putting our faith, devotion, and worship on anything else cannot be called anything less than idolatry. The serious words of Jeremiah 10 are mean to open our eyes to this reality. I pray you and I would search our hearts and leave here today more devoted to God as he reveals Himself to be than we were when we entered here. -Pastor Andrew

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Creator, God

7/11/2019

Even our best attempts to imagine the power on display at the Creation of the world will fall incredibly short because we lack the capability to understand something outside of our experience. As human beings we only have the ability to study what we observe right in front of us and cannot fathom the moment everything we see came into existence. It was a mightier power than any storm, waterfall, or earthquake. It was more precise as any computer, surgery, or work of art. At the hand of God all the wonders of the earth and the heavens came into existence, intricately woven together in full majesty all for the glorious worship of God. Among the comparison in Jeremiah chapter 10 we find that nobody or nothing else can rightfully claim the act of creation as their own and in knowing this we see yet more evidence supporting verse 6’s claim, “There is none like you, O Lord”.

Let’s be honest, nothing else we make a habit of worshiping in our hearts is worthy of this effort. All our time, all our skills or gifts, and even our resources fully and rightfully belong to the Creator of heaven and earth. It is an honor to bring these things to Him as often as we do in our humble worship. Come let us bow down before our Maker and begin asking Him what do YOU want with these things you have given me? Instead of how can I use what I have to make a name for myself? -Pastor Andrew

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Truth by Comparison

7/5/2019

I hope we are challenged even today by the three symptoms given last week of a circumcised heart, namely, humble repentance of our wrongdoing, seeing God for who He is and desiring further growth in Him, and the Holy Spirit’s leading work in obeying God’s voice and commands. Jeremiah continues to teach us the Truth and chooses to do so in Chapter 10 through comparison between the false god’s of the Nations and the One True God of Israel. When our hearts truly have been given to God there is no room for any other object of our worship and when we look at the Truth the comparison of these false gods with our One True God there appears to be zero reason any of us should desire to place our worship on anything else. Yet even still all too often we are distracted by the waves crashing around our attempt to walk on water towards Jesus and the allure of the shiny objects of this world that catch our eye that we attempt to squeeze some other “god” in our hearts next to the active, wise, alive, and all powerful Creator of the universe. I pray the Truth from the comparison out of Jeremiah 10:1-10 will be just what we need to awake us to the fact that we are guilty this morning and cause a great surrender during this time when we need it most to once again circumcise our hearts to our Almighty God. -Pastor Andrew

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A Life On Mission

6/27/2019

There is still one more “symptom” of a circumcised heart we must discuss this morning and it comes at a God appointed time. The heart that understands who God is and what He has done for it will be focused and committed to accomplishing what God has wanted from that heart from the beginning. I believe the heart that is circumcised as we have been talking about in Jeremiah would believe that there is nothing more important to accomplish in life than what God desires to see happen. God has not been quiet or secretive about what He desires to be accomplished. He has been up front and clear about his mission and goal for our lives. I trust that we will see this mission for what it is today, namely, not optional, not burdensome or intimidating, not inconvenient, but instead it is the only avenue that leads to True meaning in life. God’s mission is self-satisfying and joyful as we are carried along in it by the Holy Spirit. We have found this to be true this week in our Vacation Bible School at Heller park. All God is looking for is heart that is obedient and open from its transforming circumcision and He has a tendency to take care of the rest. Oh that we would pray for God to awaken and transform our hearts in this manner so we can begin to live with His Kingdom as our goal and prize -Pastor Andrew

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Symptoms of a Circumcised Heart

6/20/2019

If you will remember back in Jeremiah chapter 4, in the middle of a His calling for repentance God pleads with His people to “circumcise themselves to the Lord” and “remove the foreskin of your hearts”. Even at this point in the Old Testament God is making clear to His people that His people are defined not through outward religious practices but rather the internal transformation of all that we desire, are motivated by, and long to see take place, the changing of our heart from death to life. Therefore the last verse of chapter 9 states that the ones who are merely circumcised in the flesh, in other words, the ones whose hearts are not transformed in this way, will be punished along the same lines as those who are uncircumcised at all. God’s Word does not leave us to our own effort in understanding what it means to have a circumcised heart. God gives us a clear indication of the symptoms of a circumcised heart and I believe He would desire we challenge our understanding of the condition of our hearts with these symptoms with the goal of being completely honest before Him. I pray we would be convicted if our relationship with God is merely customs and religious expressions instead of transforming acts from a circumcised heart. -Pastor Andrew

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Everything Praiseworthy is From God

6/13/2019

Perhaps you have begun to feel the weight of the Truth that has been spoken so far in Jeremiah’s prophesy. Truly understanding even something as simplistic as mourning being the proper response to the separation from God caused by our sin is significant enough to change the way we live. I believe what follows in verses 23-24 of chapter 9 are verses intended to get to the depths of the weight of all this Truth that has been shared. As God reigns we are His creation and as such we will never be greater than the Creator. Every praiseworthy and good thing we possess originated in and was given by our Creator God. Even deeper is the Truth that we did nothing to deserve or warrant these gifts from Him. We must be convinced that the greatest of praiseworthy things possible in our lives is our knowledge and understanding of God as He says He is. To the degree we have this we also have Truth. The more Truth we have the more we understand nothing else in this world matters in comparison. At the end of the day the only thing that will matter is the condition of our hearts. In this day nothing else will be of any importance, including for these Jews, their physical circumcision which fulfilled their law. Praise our God who perfectly practices love, righteousness, and justice. -Pastor Andrew

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Truth in Love

6/6/2019

God can be trusted to always tell us what is true because he is Truth. Yet what God says is that his people have walked away from all Truth. If walking away from Truth truly moves us away from knowing God then we must understand the importance of living a life of honesty and Truth. We must be a people and a Church committed to forsaking all falsehood and embracing the Truth. Here is why this is hard. Truth, much like God, is an all or nothing reality. I am a man of complete Truth or I am a man of falsehood. I have either been truthful about that situation or, by leaving out even one detail, I have told what was false.  We must be willing to accept ALL Truth in order to fully benefit from it. Rather than only desiring it when it is comfortable for us. I pray the relationship we have with Truth or falsehood would be challenged by the Holy Spirit. That we would see that all of us have work to do in this area and that we would be courageous enough to begin studying and walking out God’s Word in our lives to grow in Truth. The motivation of God’s complete honesty comes down to the edifying and encouraging love of God that is meant to build us and place us in a context that we currently could not fathom. Come let us trust our Savior today enough to accept and practice his complete honesty in love.  -Pastor Andrew

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Know Truth, Know God

6/2/2019

Observe if you will the contrast God makes clear here in chapter 9. I have entitled our study through Jeremiah “Telling the Truth with a Heavy Heart” because this is exactly what God is doing through His prophet Jeremiah. God can be trusted to always tell us what is true because he is Truth. Yet what God says here in chapter 9 is that his people have walked away from all Truth. He says “falsehood and not truth has grown strong in the land”. The problem we run into when we begin to compare our sin to that of another is that we lose sight of the greater truth about sin, namely, all of it equally separates us from God. The beginning point of not knowing God here is the rejection of truth. Falsehood may not be at the top of our lists of critical or “big” sins but anytime I embrace something that is false I cannot at the same time embrace God because He is Truth. It is no wonder we read in these verses “and they do not know me, declares the Lord”. This shocking confession from God began in the hearts of His people when they began to reject the Truth and embrace falsehood. May we be a people among our families and in our communities who are committed to the Truth of the Bible and stand by it during all times and circumstances.  -Pastor Andrew

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Jesus Christ, Faith, and Repentance

5/23/2019

It is not a coincidence that we find the Scripture of Jeremiah’s prophesy still challenging us in a very relevant way today even though it was written and spoken to a Nation not our own in a time period much earlier than ours. We have not arrived at a more righteous age or a more spiritually awakened reality today than what has been experienced in past human history. Nor have we “moved on” as human beings from the struggles of the past as if we are able to master our sin on our own strength. The truth is human beings are prone to break the commands and laws of God and therefore we have the same realities true today that were true in Jeremiah’s day. In fact, the only reason we have not been given the exact same words of prophesy saying the nation from the North is coming is because we have been given the message of the New Testament instead! In light of this reality we all must stand amazed at how great our Savior Jesus Christ truly is. The difference in experience between God and His people in Jeremiah’s day and our own is not because we have changed, and it is not because God has changed, it is because the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ changes everything for those who believe in Him through faith. During our day, and all other days until Jesus comes again, the patience of God is on display for repentance to be true in our lives thus bringing salvation from an eternal separation from God.  -Pastor Andrew

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God Wants Figs and Grapes

5/16/2019

I believe one of the greatest evidences of our faith in Jesus Christ is that we have moved beyond asking “what do I want” into asking “what does God want” in the way we live our lives. This is taught all throughout Paul’s letters to the churches and it is seen clearly in the example of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. Asking “what does God want” today as we approach Jeremiah 8:13 reveals the answer is grapes and figs. Obviously not in their physical state as if God is hungry, but in a spiritual sense God has planted a vineyard in the world, of which you and I who believe in Jesus Christ are a part of, and He expects this vineyard to produce a crop. We are to bear fruit in our lives, this is the purpose of all the blessings God has poured into our lives. There is a stark difference between the fruit of grapes and figs and thorns and thistles. The difference is just as wide as our selfless acts that are used to expand the Kingdom of God and our selfish acts that are used to make much of us. Today is a day to be honest about the fruit of the vineyard God has planted here. Not for the purpose of trying harder to make something better happen with our lives because we know the words of Jesus, He is the vine those who abide in Him bear much fruit. I pray we would seek out with our whole hearts the vine today.  -Pastor Andrew

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