The Messenger: Pastor Davis
Text: Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
Jesus marks the beginning of his divine assignment, his ministry, with his baptism by John the Baptist. (Matthew 3: 13-15)
What are the prerequisites for a divine assignment/mission/purpose:
- Be pure in heart and without sin: John the Baptist called people to repentance. He told them to turn away and be baptized – turn away from their sins to face a new direction. God has a plan, and He has miracles that he wants to do through you, but you have to be on the road to Sanctification/Holiness. God’s sanctifying grace shapes us more and more into the likeness of Christ. One cannot be in holiness and still be on the other side. The process of being holy is not easy, but it can be done.
- Be Spiritually Committed: Have a made-up mind to Follow and GO… and be obedient. Jesus was commit-ted even though he had moments of doubt and trepidation. But He finished his Divine Assignment – He finished his mission!
- Be Totally Submitted.: There are many who would rather be served than to serve. God is saying: “I am looking for someone who is willing to give themselves away to me.” If God calls you, God will equip you! God is just waiting on you to walk the road of Holiness, be Spiritually Committed and be Totally Submitted, and He will see you through to the com-pletion of your Divine Assignment/Your Mission
Pastor Davis is asking you to be committed to the mission and vision of our church in 2019. This is an exciting time to be a part of what God is doing! Do not be afraid of the task ahead. Though trials be great and the way seems hard, it is in the will of God. Say to your-self:
“I expect. . .the supernatural intervention of God! I expect a miracle!”
The Messenger: Pastor Davis
Text: Matthew 2:1-12
The Magi came from the east to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? King Herod sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. The Magi had a mind-changing experience after they saw Jesus and left a different way. (Matthew 2:1-12)
Luke 5:37 tells the story of old and new wine skins. “And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined.” In other words, when you get ready to do something new, do not attach it to something that is old lest you ruin the integrity of both things.
As we enter 2019, God wants us to seize the opportunity to see every day as an opportunity to experience God. We should not walk into the new year with the same mindset and attitude of last year. How do we change our mindset and be blessed?
- Recognize that you need to change your ways.
- Make a vow to follow Jesus Christ every day.
- Let God’s will be your will; spend time with God.
- Stop seeking counsel from people who do not know God.
- Study, read the bible and have faith.
- Stop being self-centered; it’s about God not about you.
- Seize the opportunity; stop doing the same things over and over, expecting to get a different result.
Let’s all try something new! Seize the moment! Embrace the new things that God has in store for us, and walk by faith! “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2) T
The Messenger: Pastor Davis The Message:
Text: Ecclesiastes 3:1
We do not live a life of random events. We serve a God of seasons, and every aspect of our lives is like a season. There is a reason for the seasons and a purpose for the process. You may not understand today or the next day, but eventually God will reveal why you went through what you went through. God has it under control. “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
Sometimes, we get into things and do not know how to get out of it. We have to learn how to number our days and decide “what stuff to worry about and what stuff not to worry about.” We may never fully under-stand what God has planned for us, but our attitude toward life changes when we learn to see good times and bad times as opportunities to grow closer to our Heavenly Father. As we go through the seasons of life, the valleys of despair and the mountain tops, we must put our trust in God. Knowing that God is in control should bring us hope. When we face rough times, we’ve just stepped into a new season. There is a purpose for the process. We just have to get back in God’s rhythm, get back in step with God, and He will help us overcome every obstacle.
When we have the right rhythm and get in step with God, we recognize and appreciate that each season prepares us for the next season. We become more loving, more thankful and more hopeful.
Do you feel the music? Are you in rhythm?
Scripture: Revelation 1:4-8
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
God is absolutely the beginning and absolutely the end. Everything that is originates ultimately in Him. And everything will somehow end with Him. Before Him, there was nothing. The name of God used most often in the Hebrew Bible has two meanings:
- Yahweh (Lord, Jehovah) – God is the first and the beginning – doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves
- Adonai (Ruler, commander, and master) – Emphasizes that God is in charge of His creations and His people
God ordained everything in this world in five days. However, when He created man, He did not “speak out” as He did for his other creations. Instead, He “formed“ man and gave us freewill to obey Him. Unfortunately, egocentrism or self-centeredness, has invaded our church community. Everything is directed to our own personal needs and interests. We are disobedient, disloyal, fickle, creations of God. We forget that before Him there was nothing. Even though we disobey Him, there is always a blessing still waiting for us. We need to praise Him, magnify Him and glorify His name, and not get caught up in what God’s done for us, but who God is. True knowledge of God’s goodness, greatness, and grandeur begins with humility.
We must always honor His goodness, greatness, and grandeur!
In the text, Moses gives his farewell address to the Israelites, people he had led for forty years, who were in Moab and about to engage in war with the Canaanites. He knew that he would not accompany the people into the Promised Land, and he wanted to remind them of their duty to God. He spoke to them about the importance of loving and obeying God. His advice to them was to stay faithful and obedient to God. He rejoiced about their increasing numbers, and he was ambitious about the goals of Israel. However, he knew that he could not manage the children and rule the new nation by himself. So, he advised them to hold an election to choose new leaders, and to use the scriptures as a guide for deciding who to select. “Choose wise and discerning and experienced men from your tribes, and I will appoint them as your heads.”(v. 13)
Like the Israelites, there is trouble in our world today. Everything our forefathers worked and died for seems to be eroding. Moses told the Israelites that their hope rests in choosing godly people who will do the will of the people and bring them together not tear them apart. Today, our hope also rests in choosing godly men and women to be our leaders – people who are guided by wisdom, discernment, and integrity – individuals whose skills have been tested, see justice and inequality, and are guided by wisdom. There’s trouble in our world. Vote for God. Have conviction for the God in you. Strive for personal convictions that are grounded in scriptural truth that provides boundaries for living a godly life. Trust in the Lord no matter what!
”The night before Jesus’ death, he was with his disciples in the Upper Room after just finding out who is about to betray him. He has just fed his betrayer, Judas, who then leaves the room.
“When he was gone, Jesus said…“My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come…“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:31-35)
Jesus had a mission. He never came to stay, and he never lost sight of his purpose. He identified his disciples as his disciples, and wanted them to keep God as a firm foundation in the center of their lives.
Today, we worry about the current state of our world and the disasters that frighten us, as well as the many personal issues of concern in our own lives. We worry so much that we have forgotten who we are and whose we are. We have pushed God aside and have let our issues define us. We must always remember that the Gospel is the birth, the life, the death, the resurrection, and the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ. We must fix what’s wrong with our life and love one another as God loves us. In this crazy world, keep the main thing the main thing. Don’t become distracted. Don’t forget who you are. Know where your source is. Come back to God because God is your center.
All of us have suffered some kind of injustice or prejudice. Think about a time when you have felt abused and hurt because of what someone said to you or about you. In the text, James takes note of the power of the tongue. Words are powerful and can steer us one way or another. In verses 3-6, James compares the tongue to three illustrations of power: “It’s like the bit in a horse’s mouth that allows you to make a horse turn in any direction. It’s like a rudder of a ship that can cause disaster if you fail to guide the ship correctly. It’s like a forest fire that was started by the flick of the ash from a cigarette.” We must be careful of the efficacy of the tongue because the tongue reveals what is in a person’s heart. James says a destructive tongue has the following five characteristics: condemn-ing, controlling, consuming, corrupting, and compromising.
The Bible says to be careful in judging others. Do not go looking for faults in others or condemn them. Do not judge, gossip, slander or fan the flames. We should be careful to guard our hearts because they may become infected. We need to recommit ourselves to building our house together and work together rather than apart. Recommit yourself to honoring the Lord in every area of your life. When your heart is full, you start saying what is in your heart, and what we say affects others. Try loving each other. Carefully guard your heart. Do not let your spirit and heart be compromised. Listen to what you say out of the fullness of your heart. Decide from this day on that you must do things differently. Find ways to deflect arrows of evil. Hurt people hurt people.
Whoever said, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me,” ___ Lied! Starting today, “Watch Your Mouth!”
In the text, Jesus went to the region of Tyre seeking rest for himself and his disciples. Tyre was a Gentile region where Jews were worried about ceremonial uncleanness and referred to Gentiles as dogs, and perceived women as even lower than dogs. Jesus went into a house hoping to be hidden from the crowds. However, he could not be hidden. When Jesus is in an individual, he cannot be hidden because when God is in you, you cannot help but let your light shine.
An unknown Gentile woman, who heard about his miracles, immediately came and fell at his feet. “She was a Greek and of the Syrophoenician race. She begged Jesus to drive the demons out of her daughter.” (v. 26) Jesus told her, “First let the children eat all they want, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” (v. 27) She heard him, but she replied, “Even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” (v. 28) When Jesus heard her response, he was moved. God admires people who do not give up but go after what they want. Jesus told her to go home. When she arrived, she saw that the demons had left her daughter.
Jesus attempted to convince the Jews that there were no distinctions among foods or among people in terms of their acceptance by God. Do not stop praying, asking, and going after what you want. Know that God can do anything but fail. All of us are dogs. Who let the dogs out? God did!
In the text, the Pharisees and Jesus were having a difference of opinion. They were fed up with Jesus always going against tradition. They asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?” (v. 3) Jesus called them hypocrites because they had “let go of the commands of God and were holding on to human traditions.” (v. 8) He believed that the Pharisees had taken ceremonial tradition to the extreme and become disillusioned and no longer sought hope. The Pharisees needed a soul makeover. They needed to ask God for a clean heart. “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” (v. 6)
“Give me a clean heart so I can serve Thee Lord fix my heart so that I may be used by Thee For I’m not worthy of all these blessings And I will follow Thee.”
Pastor Davis reminded us that, even today, we see how certain traditions in the various denominations and churches are practiced and protected as strongly as if they were pure biblical doctrine. We talk about sins of the church but not sins of the spirit. When your heart appears to be broken, it needs to be healed because an empty heart leaves room for the enemy. We tend to fill our hearts with anything, including evil thoughts that defile us. It’s not what goes in us that defiles us, but our motives. God demands that we act right because we represent God. What we do matters.
Fill my cup, Lord; I lift it up Lord; Come and quench this thirsting of my soul. Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more. Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole.
In the text, Joshua, the son of Nun and 110 years old, speaks to the leaders and elders of Israel in a message of farewell in the valley of Shechem. As they enter the Promised Land, he reminds them that all they have and all that they are has come to them from God. He tells them that God led them out of the wilderness, brought them across the Red Sea, and gave them water out of rock when they were thirsty. He wants them to remember and remain loyal as they now make choices and commitments that will shape their future. He challenges them to serve God exclusively and put aside the gods that their fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Joshua gave them three challenges:
- Fear the Lord and have a healthy respect for who God is.
- Put away false gods and do not make worldly things into gods; only worship God.
- Serve the Lord with sincerity. Don’t do things to gain God’s favor; don’t lose the substance of godliness.
Joshua said to the people, “If serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, choose this day whom you will serve. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (v. 15)
Pastor Davis reminds us that fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. The Bible is our standard for living. We have to train up young people so that they know God and teach them the things we learn from God.
Joshua wanted the people to serve God with authenticity. The grace we receive is unmerited favor. We do not deserve it and we cannot earn it. The grace of God is freely given. All we have to do is receive it, and trust God.