Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day!

I am very thankful for the friends and family in my life that have so bravely served our country. I am thankful for God's hedge of protection on my friends and family members that have recently served. Thank you God for keeping Matt, James, David and Brent safe and bringing them home to their family and love ones.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Blue Ridge Mountain Writer's Conference

I had a wonderful time at the Blue Ridge Writer's Conference this past week. I was able to meet Jerry Jenkins of "The Left Behind" Series and Todd Starnes of Fox News.
One of the best classes that I took was with Vonda Skelton. She is a fabulous speaker and taught us all the tricks of the trade. The most exciting part of the conference was that my Bible study, "The Waiting Womb", won 3rd prize in the Bible study category. God is so good to me and this week was a wonderful time of encouragment.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Rocky Soil

Title: “The Rocky Soil”

Theme: The second soil is the rocky soil where the seed is planted and develops shallow roots. The plant is easily burned up or blown away by the elements. This seed represents a shallow faith based on the circumstances of life. When circumstances are good in the person’s life they are willing to say they believe in God. God is providing what they want so they believe. When circumstances change and life is challenging or their faith is tested they quickly walk away from faith because they believe the lie that God should demonstrate his love by giving them an easy comfortable life. This faith will not stand the test of time and this seed represents the person who walks away from faith because they don’t get what they want in life. However true belief in Christ always points to hope. What may appear hopeless and helpless can be God’s greatest work in our lives. The cross is not the end! After the cross there is the resurrection!

Scripture: Matthew 13:5-6, 20-21
“Others fell on the rocky places where they did not have much soil and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun had risen they were scorched and because they had no root they withered away.”

“The one on whom seed was son on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives I with joy, yet he has no firm root in himself but is only temporary and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word , immediate he falls away.

1. What did the seeds that fell on rocky places do immediately?

2. What did the sun do to the seeds?

3. Why were the seeds scorched?

4. What do the seeds that fell on the rocky places represent?

5. How are the roots of these seeds described?

6. What happened to the man who face persecution because of his faith?

This second group of seeds is like those that people who hear the gospel, they quickly have a major life change, but the "high" of their new found salvation quickly goes away and they are back to their old life. This is why it is so important that the church provides opportunities for new Christians to deepen their roots of faith. Adults and Youth can benefit from classes that teach them how to study the Bible in an in-depth manner. Children could benefit from discipleship classs and programs such as AWANA.

7. What are some ways that you deepen your faith?

8. Who helped you strengthen your faith?

9. How would you be willing to serve the local church in order to deepen the
faith of new Christians?

Other Texts: Romans 8:38, James 1:2-4, John 19:30

Romans 8:38
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities nor things present nor things to come nor powers nor height nor depth nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

10. List the things that can not separate your from the love of God?

11. Can we ever be separated from the Love of Christ?

This verse should be encouraging to new and old believers, that no matter what they have done or may do, once they believe in Christ…NOTHING…can separate them. There are many sects of Christianity that believe that you can loose your salvation. But this verse clearly shows that once you are saved, your are always saved.

James 1:2-4
“Consider it all joy, my brethren when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

12. When you face a trial how should you look at it?

13. What does the testing of your faith produce?

14. Why is it important to strengthen your faith?

John 19:30
“Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said IT IS FINISHED! And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.”

15. What did Jesus say on the Cross?

16. How does this give you hope?

When Jesus was on the cross, dying for your sins and the sins of the whole World, his final words were IT IS FINISHED. This is encouraging to Christians, in knowing that once we have believed in Christ and accept Him in our lives…IT IS FINISHED. Our salvation is based on what Christ did on the cross not on what we have or have not done.

Spontaneous Baptism

Responding to Redemption
Spontaneous Baptism

Read text: Acts 9:10-18

1. In Damascus, what was the name of the disciple that received the vision
about Saul’s conversion?

2. Where did God tell Ananias to go in his vision?

3. What was Ananias’s initial response to the vision?

4. Why was Ananias afraid of Saul (now Paul)

5. What mission did God have planned for Saul?

6. Did Ananias follow God’s instructions that were given to him in the vision?

7. What happen to Saul’s eyes when Ananias touched him?

8. Once Saul could see again, what was the first think that he did?

In one of the greatest stories of redemption in scripture we see Saul, the persecutor of the church, saved by the grace of Jesus Christ. No one is beyond the reach of God=s redemptive power. It does not matter who we are or what we have done, redemption is available to all! Saul=s immediate response to being redeemed and set free was to step out on faith and be baptized. Baptism shows
the world that we have been redeemed!

9. Would you have had the guts to go talk with Saul, if you were fully aware
of all the “sinful acts” he had done?

10. Is there someone in your life right now that you feel is “too sinful” to
be saved?

Why is Baptism so important to a Christian?

Baptism is one of the two sacraments of Christ that we as New Testament Christian practice. What is a sacrament? A sacrament is a tradition, practice or visual that represents the grace of Jesus Christ. The two sacraments that are practiced in the Christian faith are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper represents to us the death of Jesus. The bread stands for Jesus’ flesh that was pierced and the wine/grape juice represents the blood that Jesus spilt while he was on the cross. Baptism represents the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. During baptism, when a person is standing in the water, this represents his live before Christ. The person is dirty and unclean. As the person is dunked under the water this represents the person dying to his old life of sin and death. Then as the person is raised up out of the water, it represents the person’s new life in Christ, cleansed from his sin.

Read Text: Acts 8:26-40

1. Where did God tell Philip to go?

2. Who did Philip meet on the road?

3. What was the Ethiopian reading?

4. What did Philip tell the Ethiopian?

5. What was the Ethiopian’s response?

One important piece of information about salvation and spontaneous baptism is seen here in the passage about Philip and the Ethiopian. Even though the Ethiopian was immediately baptized after his salvation, Philip had already thoroughly explained the meaning of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ to the Ethiopian. The Ethiopian understood what salvation meant and it was not a rushed into decision. The Ethiopian heard the truth of Jesus and His free gift of salvation. The truth was explained to him by someone who was already walking in the truth. Finally the Ethiopian responded to the truth and the explanation, and was baptized.

6. If you have accepted Christ’s salvation, have you been baptized?

7. Tell about your baptism