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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Arrows: Living Toward the Target

Notes: Arrows: Living Toward the Target
Psalm 127: 1-5
Pastor Levi Lusko
Dec 28, 2014

Levi is telling us about going to Glacier National Park where he was preparing if he ran across a Grizzly Bear. His dad asked when they should put it on the bear repellant. You don’t put it on, it is like really strong mace.

He said you can have something like the bear repellent and not know how to use it. Levi said just because we have children it doesn’t mean we know what to do with them.
Psalm 127:1-5New King James Version (NKJV)
127 Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.
2 It is vain for you to rise up early,
To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows;
For so He gives His beloved sleep.
3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.
7 Take Away Truths for the New Year:
1. Children are a blessing, not a burden.
If you have a child you have been rewarded.
We have so much more responsibility with children, yet life is so much greater with them.

Blessings are easy to mix up with burdens because they are both heavy.

When God gives you a child, He is giving you a platform unparalleled like nothing else.

Your children can learn who God is because of you, or in spite of you.

Faith is the key to seeing it as a blessing. 

2 Corinthians 4:18 NKJV
while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

With parenting, the days are long but the years are short.

Don’t miss the beauty because of the mess that is right in front of you.

2. There are lots of different arrows, but only one target.

In real arrows there are over 180 different kinds of arrows. Just like kids, there are lots of different kids.

All the kids will grow up to be lots of different things, but there is only One Target that they are aiming to attain.

Kids have lots of different attitudes and love languages, but we must get them all on the same path to Christ.

Matthew 6:33 NKJV
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 

There is nothing more important than to get your children aimed towards Christ. 

We can not make them follow Christ, but we can do everything we can to give them the opportunity to know Christ.

If you do not, then you will never have the peace that you did all you can do to get your children to Heaven.

Joshua 24:15b NKJV
But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Many say: as for me and my house we will:
play soccer
get straight As
go to an ivy league school 
etc. etc.

There is no such thing as an atheist, everybody puts something ahead of everything else.

Levi says he feels led to tell us about this subject because when he lost his child at such a young age he has the hope of seeing her again.

3. Arrows can extend your reach.

Ephesians 3:20 NKJV
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 

Ephesians 2:10 NKJV
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

What is more important than your children knowing they have a higher calling?

Deuteronomy 28:10 NKJV
Then all peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you. 

We do not punish our children, we are to discipline our children. Discipline your children because you love them and keeping them on the correct path.

4. They Can’t Know What You Don’t Tell Them.

Deuteronomy 6:7 NKJV
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 

You don’t teach kids only during formal times, you teach them about Jesus throughout the day.

We should use all of life as an opportunity to teach our children. We are meant to help and shape our kids into followers of Christ.

If you don’t teach your kids about life, someone else will.

Proverbs 20:15 NKJV
There is gold and a multitude of rubies, But the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.

Charles Spurgeon said: 
"Men cannot quite forget the teachings of a holy fireside; they may somewhat, but not utterly. The seed may lie buried long in dust, but the day will come when under other circumstances the hidden life will germinate. A verse of an old familiar hymn may lead the man of eighty to the Saviour, though he learned it when a child; the holy text, which like bread was cast on the waters, shall be found again after many days. I believe in the Holy Spirit, and in his sacred care for divine truth. He will not permit the word of God to fail; his holy influence, like the rain and the snow, shall not return void to heaven; it shall water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud. It is ours to continue blessing youth with holy and godly instruction, and God will crown our efforts to the bringing of his banished ones to himself."

5. They Can’t Follow What You Don’t Show Them.

When kids are young they do what you tell them, when they get old, they do what you showed them.

Your children shouldn’t ask if they are going to church.

The greatest gift you can give to your kids is to be present.

45% of homes in America are single parent homes.

Strong Dads, Strong Daughters a book Levi recommends.

Girls with dads present are more satisfied with themselves, and many many more positive life experiences.

If you are a dad in the home, know that you are a hero to someone.

6. Stance Matters. Plant Your Feet and Stand Firm.
To shoot an Arrow accurately, you need your feet and your bow anchored.

If you want to know how to run your house, you need to plant your family in God’s house.

You must be prepared for the trial that you are not yet in.

7. Arrows Are a Weapon and This is War.

The Christian life is not a play ground it is a battle ground.

F.W. Boreham said: "When God sees that in this poor old world a wrong needs righting or a truth needs preaching or a benefit needs inventing, He sends a baby into the world to do it.”

Raise a child that knows the Lord and let them Shine the Light of the Gospel into this dark world.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Red is the Color of Christmas

Notes: Red is the Color of Christmas
December 24, 2014
Pastor Greg Laurie
Harvest OC

The color of Christmas is red because it is the color of Jesus' blood.

Greg thinks we make the story of Christmas too beautiful. The birth of of Jesus is not a rag to riches story but a riches to rags story.

2 Corinthians 8:9 NKJV
[9] For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

God came to us in skin as a human. Jesus Christ was born to die so we might live.

Philippians 4:4-5 NKJV
[4] Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! [5] Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.

There are lots of songs that celebrate Jesus' life. Greg is saying that one of his favorite Christmas songs is White Christmas.

We can have a white Christmas, free of sin, because of Jesus Christ's red blood.

Isaiah 1:18 NKJV
[18] "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.

Titus 2:14 NKJV
[14] who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

God came to this earth to cleanse us of all our sin. He went to the slave market of sin and purchased us all.

Most gifts we forget about after Christmas ends, do you even remember what you got last year?

He is reminiscing about a bike he had as a child.

We don't seem to realize the value of the gift that Jesus Christ gave to us.

Everyday that passes we come closer to redeeming this great gift.

The gift is not just knowing that Jesus Christ is God or He died for us. The gift is eternal life.

If we really know what God gave up for us, how could you deny the gift He gave you?

No assembly required, no batteries required...God's gift is even easier than that.

Christmas is not about presents we give each other, it is about His presence in our lives.

When you accept Jesus Christ, He will dwell in you. That is the greatest gift anyone can ever receive.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Don’t Lose Jesus This Christmas

Notes: Don’t Lose Jesus This Christmas
Sunday, December 21, 2014 — 10:00 a.m
Pastor Greg Laurie
MUSICAL GUEST: Shane and Shane

Greg is talking about who we know that are not yet believers. We need to invite them to church on Christmas. A study showed, must people would go if someone invites them on Christmas.

The message today is in Luke 2. 

He has started the message out by talking about the bad things that have been going on in this world. The angels came to us and offer good tidings 2 thousand years ago and they still are wishing that upon us.

Longfellow wrote how sad the holidays were for him. He had lost his wife in a fire.

I heard the bells on Christmas day, was written by Longfellow and how he thought about all the sad things and knew the only hope for men is through Jesus Christ.

Greg is now telling us about Louie Zamperini and the book or movie Unbroken. The movie is only going to cover the story until Louie comes home from the war. The book covers his conversion and faith in Christ.

What got Louie’s attention by Billy Graham was when Billy asked if anyone remembered a prayer that God had answered. Louie remembered when he was on a raft in the ocean and prayed to God and God did save him. Louie was saved then and he says immediately cured of PTSD.

Greg is telling an anecdote about a little boy that was in trouble for losing God…it was funny.

The story was to show us how we can seem to lose God in the holidays. But even though we may lose God, God will never lose us. The holidays are for the celebration of Jesus.

Numbers 6:24-26 NLT ‘May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.’

God is very interested in your life. He came down from Heaven to walk among us.

We know a lot about Jesus’ birth and ministry but not his childhood.

Jesus Speaks with the Teachers
41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. 42 When Jesus was twelve years old, they attended the festival as usual. 43 After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn’t miss him at first, 44 because they assumed he was among the other travelers. But when he didn’t show up that evening, they started looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they couldn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem to search for him there. 46 Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions. 47 All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.” 49 “But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they didn’t understand what he meant. 51 Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart. 52 Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.

God came to walk among us, fully God and fully man. Christ was God, not because He was virgin born, He was virgin born because He was God.

Joseph was the unsung hero of the Bible. Joseph is hardly mentioned in the Bible but had such a crucial part in the Birth. God chose Mary and He chose Joseph to be His own father. 

When God was born as Jesus did He have all knowledge or did He grow into that knowledge. We believe He was a baby and learned things as any child would. That is the experience He wanted for Himself.

It is hard for people to believe that His family could of lost Him like they did in this story. His parent’s had to scold Him for disappearing. 

Luke 2:48 His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.” 

We like to blame God for reaping what we sow. Like a marriage failing or dealing with addiction. It is all things we do to ourselves and look to God after with blame and also for help.

How do we lose Jesus at Christmas:
  1. We lose Jesus when non-essentials replace essentials.
  2. We lose Jesus when work replaces worship. - Luke 10:38-42New Living Translation (NLT) 38 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me. 41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Revelation 2:4-6 NLT - “But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches. But this is in your favor: You hate the evil deeds of the Nicolaitans, just as I do.

If you want to get back to Christ then you need to Remember, Repent and Repeat.

You can’t be a solo Christian, you need the Church and the people of the Church and the Church needs you.

Matthew 18:20 NLT - For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”

You can lose sight of Jesus but He will never lose you.

For many, Christmas is a birthday party for someone that they forgot to invite to the party.

Jesus was not born as a human to give us a reason to go shopping or buy gifts. 


Jesus was born to die for us.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Valor Christmas Koinonia Message

Notes: Valor
Tuesday December 16, 2014
Verses and short messages by several pastors or group leaders about the Christmas story.

1. Pastor Greg Laurie:

Matthew 1:18-25 NKJV
[18] Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. [19] Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. [20] But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. [21] And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins." [22] So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: [23] "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which is translated, "God with us." [24] Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, [25] and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.

Joseph is an unsung here in the Bible. He seems to be often forgotten. 

Let's not forget that the scriptures call Joseph a righteous man.

Gabriel ascended upon Mary. Joseph was called upon as well.

There are many attacks that Mary went through and Joseph remained there with her.

God was chosen to lead the family of Jesus Christ.

God chose me to be the leader of my family. I need to look at it that way. Men have a critical part to play in our homes.

2. Pastor Brad Green

Luke 1:26-32 NKJV
[26] Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, [27] to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. [28] And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!" [29] But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. [30] Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. [31] And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. [32] He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.

Brad said he thought that Gabriel always seems to get the good gigs.

He was in the Bible four times, two times he appeared to Daniel and the to Zachariah letting him know John the Baptist would be born and then to Mary.

Letting her know that Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior would be her Son.

3. Pastor Ron

Luke 2:1-7 NKJV
[1] And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. [2] This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. [3] So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. [4] Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, [5] to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. [6] So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. [7] And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

He says the Lord will never ask us to show the kind of faith that the Lord required of Joseph.

We may not all be called to preach or do something specific but we all need to do our part.

Ron was talking about how when he tells people he's a pastor how he gets so many different responses. He tries to respond to them as the Lord calls him to each time. Even when it is not comfortable or at a time he wants to.

4. Tim Harding

Luke 2:8-9 NKJV
[8] Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. [9] And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.

The first Noel that we sing references these verses.

1 Timothy 3:16 NKJV
[16] And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.

God didn't appear to kings but to shepherds. 

Jesus Christ was born to one day tell us "it is finished"

5. 5th Speaker

Luke 2:10-14 NLT
[10] but the angel reassured them. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. [11] The Savior-yes, the Messiah, the Lord-has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! [12] And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger." [13] Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others-the armies of heaven-praising God and saying, [14] "Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased."

He is talking about how these men were the first people to know Jesus would be here.

He is talking about how the good tidings are for all of us. 

His cousin came out of brain surgery today where they removed a plum size tumor from his brain. He said it has been amazing how his cousin has been having peace during this time as he has put his faith and fate in God's hands.

6. 6th Speaker

Luke 2:15-20 NLT
[15] When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, "Let's go to Bethlehem! Let's see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." [16] They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. [17] After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. [18] All who heard the shepherds' story were astonished, [19] but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. [20] The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

He said that these shepherds did what most would probably not have done today. These men didn't argue or debate but went there quickly.

These shepherds were clearly not kings and Jesus Christ was not born in a palace. Yet they were the ones that were given the knowledge.

7. Pastor Mike Jonker

He is talking about how important it is for us as Christian men to set Christian traditions for our families.

He said one of the things they do is read the Christmas story from Matthew or Luke before opening gifts or eating.

He asked do we have Christ centered traditions for our families?

Galatians 4:4-7 NKJV
[4] But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, [5] to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. [6] And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" [7] Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

God gave us His Son as a gift and that is what we should worship at Christmas time. That is the gift we should care about.


We need to make sure this is the message of Christmas. God's gift to us, not our gifts.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Three C's of Life

Notes: The Three C's of Life
Matthew 7
SPEAKER: Pastor Greg Laurie
MUSICAL GUEST: Marty Goetz
SERIES: God Came Near
Sunday, December 14, 2014 — 10:00 a.m. 

Jesus Christ is a solid foundation that helps the Christian survive the storms of life. In today's message, Pastor Greg Laurie speaks from Matthew 7 on the three C's of life.

Greg is talking about all the things of Christmas and how we spend so much time shopping.

1. It's not about Christmas it's about Chrsit.
2. Not merriment its the Messiah.
3. Not about good tidings but God.

Mary stepped up as she was asked to be the Niger of the Messiah. She had to bare the reputation of being an immoral woman.

Joseph responded to the calling as well.

We face hundreds of choices everyday ourselves. Our days can be overwhelmed.

The three C's: challenges, choices and consequences.

The Bible is filled with people making the right and wrong choices.

Moses, Joseph, Daniel all made right choices.

Adam, Saul, Judas, Pilot all made wrong choices.

The Bible says there are two roads we can take in life, one is narrow and one is wide.

There are two choices of where we can spend eternity. Heaven or Hell.

Matthew 7:13-14 ESV
[13] "Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. [14] For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Matthew 7:21-27 ESV
[21] "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. [22] On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' [23] And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.' [24] "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. [25] And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. [26] And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. [27] And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it."

This scripture shows that there will be followers of Christ and posers right next to each other following Christ.

There will always be real believers and fake believers.

1. just because you say "Lord, Lord" doesn't mean you are a true believer.

The men in this message are not your typical nonbeliever's. They call on the Lord, yet they are not real believers.

To be a real Christian, you must believe in His virgin birth. If He was not, then He was not the Messiah and His dying for our sins would not have mattered.

You must personally believe.

Even demons know Christ is God. They are afraid of Him.

Matthew 7:22 NKJV
[22] Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'

The devil can imitate certain miracles. Those would be false miracles. The anti-Christ will perform false miracles.

Matthew 7:23 NKJV
[23] And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'

One who practices lawlessness from the Bible is a fake.

1 John 3:6 NKJV
[6] Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.

It does not mean you won't sin, but you won't habitually commit the same sin.

A true Christian will build his house on the correct foundation. The foundation is the most important part.

Greg is talking about the leaning tower of Pisa. How it will eventually collapse.

Greg advices not to build your foundation on a church, your relationships or your beliefs.

You must build your foundation on Christ or it will not remain.

Matthew 13:20-21 NKJV
[20] But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; [21] yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.

He is talking about dieting and how we all discover in time, that we have to eat less and exercise more.

It is the same with the Christian life. We will find we need Christ and His word.

If you build your life on Jesus Christ you will be able to withstand what ever comes your way.

Greg relates how he lost his son and how Christ is what helped him tolerate that loss. It is painful but he gets through it.

In suffering we can turn to God or turn away from him. 

Character is not made in crisis it is revealed.

Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV
[13] "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. [14] Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

If you want to build your life on the right foundation then you need to get on the right road.

You are not to be narrow minded, you need to narrow your mind to focus on Christ.

You could sum all the religions in a simple way. One leads to Gods grace and the others lead to men's accomplishments. There is God's Grace and life or men's works and death.

The narrow road that leads to life is not the popular way today, but it is the only way.

Greg is talking about the Donner party. How over 40 of them died. He said they ended up in that place because a man told them of a short cut that killed them all.

There is no short cut in life or to Heaven.


God can redeem your life no matter where you are right now. Just because you have made bad choices up to this point does not mean you have to keep making them.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Home Field Disadvantage

Notes: Home Field Disadvantage
Mark 6:1–6
Pastor Levi Lusko 
Thursday, December 11, 2014 — 7:00 p.m.

Dominic Bali will be here next Thursday.

Levi is here, telling us a story about running to his car in the snow and jumping in he holes of foot tracks that someone laid in front of him. He said that is like what Greg has done for him in ministry.

Faith is something that God has put the power of in our own hands. God will put it in you as far as you trust Him.

Expectation determines experience! 

Levi said this is one of the most frightening stories in the Bible. Mark 6: 1-6

He says when we read the Bible we need to make sure we understand it.

Mark 6:1 NKJV
[1] Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him.

Jesus Christ had just left Capernum. 

There is a sign over the gates of Capernum today that say Jesus Home Town. We know that Jesus Christ is not actually from there.

Levi is giving us a back story of Mark 6 by going through Mark 5 quickly. Showing all the miracles Jesus Christ had done before he went home.

You will not see in God more than you believe. In chapter 5 the people believed and they saw amazing miracles.

Nazareth is Jesus Christ's home town and that is where he went in chapter 6.

After a season on the road these were home games.

Mark 6:1-6 NKJV
[1] Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. [2] And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, "Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! [3] Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?" So they were offended at Him. [4] But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house." [5] Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. [6] And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.

They say you can never go back. Once you leave you will always fill a bit of nostalgia when you go back. The past always seems a little better then the current.

It's always hard to go back.

Mark 6:6 NKJV
[6] And He marveled.....

That is hard to imagine that Jesus was astonished by something.

The only other time he marveled was...Matthew 8:10 NKJV
[10] When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, "Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!

Jesus was referring to how great this mans faith was.

Levi says if you want to get someone's attention like marveling them, then do things that they love and hate.

He "marvels" over people's faith and their absence of faith.

Despite these stories are opposites they both have in common that Jesus gave them both what they wanted.

5 take away truths from this message.

1. God wants to bless you.

He had preached in Nazereth before.

Luke 4:28 NKJV
[28] So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,

This was not good.

Luke 4:29 NKJV
[29] and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff.

The last time he was in Nazereth they wanted to kill Him, yet He went back anyway. Because he loved them and wanted to bless them, just like He wants to bless you.

Psalm 84:11 NKJV
[11] For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.

Ephesians 1:3-4 NKJV
[3] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, [4] just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,

Gods blessing's through Christ Jesus are there for the taking and limitless through your own faith in Jesus.

2. God wants to make us a blessing to all people.

Levi says Jesus' favorite type of math is multiplication. Many think that God is into subtraction, taking from us. Jesus only asked for all of one persons money in the Bible. Yet in the Bible He gives much more then most have ever had.

God is not teaching us prosperity doctrine, He is teaching us generosity.

There is spiritual fruit in giving to Gods Kingdom.

Levi is talking about being a rich man or a poor man. He is saying that Gods blessings are not like pie, where as you have more than others have less. He gives more to those that give more.

Faith is the key to it all.

Faith hits the gas peddle and unbelief hits the brakes.

Because they didn't have faith... Mark 6:5 NKJV [5] Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.

Unbelief removes blessings from you.

Mark 6:6 NKJV
[6] And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.

This text tells us what is amazing to Jesus is not the same as what impresses us.

Save a mans soul and he is set forever. 

That is why this was not impressive to Jesus.

3. Those with the greatest access are in the biggest danger.

The people of Nazereth were jealous of Him. Familiarity can breed contempt.

Nazareth had Jesus for thirty years yet He could do no miracles for them.

Levi is talking how lucky we are as a church to get to see so many come to faith.

4. The curse of knowledge must be consciously compensated for constantly.

Like working so hard in your business that you lose the custom experience.

The key is gratitude. You foster all things with a heart of gratitude.

You should never let the miracles of Jesus be just another day.

5. The life you are born to live is surrounded by an atmosphere of faith.

He is talking about how fans have been proven by a Harvard study to raise a teams chance of winning.

We need to make sure to cheer on our Savior Jesus by being His biggest fans!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

In Search of Captain Cornelius

Notes: in Search of Captain Cornelius 
Valor
Dec 9, 2014
Acts 10
Pastor Mike Jonker

Pastor Mike is talking about how we all run across someone that can't believe we became a Christian.

We are are talking about Acts 10 tonight and how God works on two fronts in this story. God works in limitless circumstances at all times. This story is about Cornelius, Peter and the message of God.

Mike was telling us about going to the USC v Notre Dame game for the first time last week.

He is saying how that was such a different perspective to see the game live, that is how acts is, showing how God was actually working in these peoples lives as they came to Christ. 

These two men one was a follower of Christ and one was a seeker. God is always working no matter where we are in life.

Acts 10:1-8 NKJV
[1] There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, [2] a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. [3] About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, "Cornelius!" [4] And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, "What is it, lord?" So he said to him, "Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God. [5] Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter. [6] He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do." [7] And when the angel who spoke to him had departed, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier from among those who waited on him continually. [8] So when he had explained all these things to them, he sent them to Joppa.

Cornelius was a Captain, he had power and influence and power. He was in charge of Ceasaria. 

At some point Cornelius had turned from the polytheistic gods from Rome and turned to the one true God of the Bible. He was a follower of God but not yet of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ said He is the only way to the Father. 

Romans 2:12-16 NKJV
[12] For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law [13] (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; [14] for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, [15] who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) [16] in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.

Cornelius had been true to the light he had received. 

It was said, no man is received on the basis of his morality. Man is received by their fear of God and the Cross.

Mike says he finds when people start talking about others it is usually a diversion from their own sins.

Jeremiah 29:13 NKJV
[13] And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

The Bible says God knows your name and all the details of your life. 

God knows every detail and with us in every little moment, yet He still loves us.

Does God hear all of our prayers like He heard Cornelius. Mike asked are we all praying like Cornelius does?

Mike says sometimes God will only do things when we ask. 

Billy Graham says Heaven is filled with answered prayers that we never even asked for.

Mike is talking about Ceasaria and who built it. It has a big harbor and a theater and all kinds of cool stuff. He says it is right on the edge of Tel Aviv. They got to go to the house that Peter was supposedly at.

Mike was talking about prayer and asked if we all get hungry or sleepy when we go to pray. He said prayer is time of warfare and we will constantly be attacked at those times.

Mike is talking about how Peter is Kosher and all the things he wouldn't of been able to eat. How all those things were in his vision.

Acts 1:8 NKJV
[8] But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

God is preparing Peter to meet Cornelius, God is always working on us at all fronts. We can trust that God is always working on us.

Mike is talking about when he first came to Christ when he was 20 years old. He said the first people he shared the gospel with were his friends, that would of been surfers and jocks.

He said he slowly got compassion for people, not just for the people that were like him.

Acts 10:22-23 NKJV
[22] And they said, "Cornelius the centurion, a just man, one who fears God and has a good reputation among all the nation of the Jews, was divinely instructed by a holy angel to summon you to his house, and to hear words from you." [23] Then he invited them in and lodged them. On the next day Peter went away with them, and some brethren from Joppa accompanied him.

Little by little God was changing Peter, he was inviting the Gentiles to stay with him already.

Mike says God doesn't want us to close the doors and circle the wagons. There are always people moving in around us. The Christian should be the best at interacting with others.

To do that we need to be anchored in Gods love. God wants to save all. How is God going to deal with our hearts.

Acts 10:24 NKJV
[24] And the following day they entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them, and had called together his relatives and close friends.

Cornelius brought his family in to hear the Gospel. 

We need to be there listening to the Gospel for ourselves and for our families. We need to be leading by example. We have to make the things of God important.

Acts 10:34-43 NKJV
[34] Then Peter opened his mouth and said: "In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. [35] But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. [36] The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ-He is Lord of all- [37] that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: [38] how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. [39] And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. [40] Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, [41] not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. [42] And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. [43] To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins."

The message is that:
1. God shows no partiality.
2. Peace comes through Christ.
3. Jesus Christ is a good God and loves us and died for us.

Jesus Christ is the only answer to sin and death.

We have that message to deliver to those around us. Are we going to allow God to use us?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Nonbelievers Favorite Verse

Notes:  The Nonbeliever's Favorite Verse
Matthew 7
Pastor Greg Laurie
SERIES: God Came Near
Sunday, December 7, 2014 — 8:00 a.m.

Greg is talking about his favorite verse. He says that it is hard to pick a favorite verse, because he has many.

He says that the non believers all seem to have a favorite verse. 

Matthew 7:1 ESV
[1] "Judge not, that you be not judged.

He says they say that to get believers off their back. He says they use that scripture out of context.

Th bible tells us to think and have opinions. We are to judge but not condemn and that is what that truly means.

Matthew 7:1-6 NKJV
[1] "Judge not, that you be not judged. [2] For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. [3] And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? [4] Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? [5] Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. [6] "Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.

1. As Christians we should be discerning not condemning.

We should think and speak the truth with love. 

People speak in love but not the truth all the time.

But not speaking in truth can not be love.

Proverbs 27:5-6 NKJV
[5] Open rebuke is better Than love carefully concealed. [6] Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

We should speak to each other openly, we need to judge each other. To judge means to point out the truth to one another.

1 Corinthians 6:2 NKJV
[2] Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

1 Timothy 4:1-2 NKJV
[1] Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, [2] speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,

He said people that say they don't care about doctrine... that they just love Jesus Christ. That is crazy, that is not possible, if you don't know doctrine then you might love a false Jesus.

1 Timothy 4:16 NKJV
[16] Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

Christians are to make evaluation and judgements.

He says there is a difference between judging and condemning. We are to judge not condemn.

Greg is telling a story of someone who invited a preacher over to help put up his roof. The man told the preacher he only invited him over to hear what he says when he hits his thumb with a hammer. Greg says that is a common idea among non believers to hope to see us slip up and turn us into hypocrites.


John 7:24 NKJV
[24] Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment."

2. We do not know the backstory of people, so we should not condemn.

Our desire should not be to condemn but to restore.

Galatians 6:1 NKJV
[1] Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.

You don't restore someone by painful attacks you do it by a gentle caring approach. No one would go see a doctor that would hurt them to help them. People want to know they are in caring hands.

3. The plank in your own eye is a dramatic illustration.

Matthew 7:3 NKJV
[3] And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?

This story is an amusing illustration story because it is using extremes. Jesus is basically describing sawdust in ones eye and a 2x4 in ours.

He said it is the same material, and many times it is easy to see another's sin when you are caught up in the same sin. It is easy to spot sawdust when you are looking at wood all day.

He is talking about the story of David and his sin with Bathsheba. 

2 Samuel 12: 1-9 So the Lord sent Nathan the prophet to tell David this story: “There were two men in a certain town. One was rich, and one was poor. The rich man owned a great many sheep and cattle. The poor man owned nothing but one little lamb he had bought. He raised that little lamb, and it grew up with his children. It ate from the man’s own plate and drank from his cup. He cuddled it in his arms like a baby daughter. One day a guest arrived at the home of the rich man. But instead of killing an animal from his own flock or herd, he took the poor man’s lamb and killed it and prepared it for his guest.” David was furious. “As surely as the Lord lives,” he vowed, “any man who would do such a thing deserves to die! He must repay four lambs to the poor man for the one he stole and for having no pity.” Then Nathan said to David, “You are that man! The Lord, the God of Israel, says: I anointed you king of Israel and saved you from the power of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and his wives and the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. And if that had not been enough, I would have given you much, much more. Why, then, have you despised the word of the Lord and done this horrible deed? For you have murdered Uriah the Hittite with the sword of the Ammonites and stolen his wife.
4. Some people just don't want our help.

Matthew 7:6 NKJV
[6] "Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.

He says sometimes you are trying to help people that don't want to be helped. Those people can get angry sometimes. 

Some nonbelievers think the message of the Bible is insanity.

1 Corinthians 1:18 NKJV
[18] For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

To those who feel this way you have to just walk away. 

John 2:23-25 ESV
[23] Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. [24] But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people [25] and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.

We don't always know people's hearts but Jesus always knows.

You can't know people's hearts, you have to be lead by the Holy Spirit. As Kenny Rogers says, you got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk away, know when to run. 

Greg saying how Jesus Christ didn't waste his time with Harrod but he did spent time with Pilote.

Greg is saying during this Christmas season we will have a lot of opportunity to spread the word of Jesus Christ.

He says the next time someone says judge not, lest he be judged. You can say, "that means to condemn not or you will be condemned. I am not condemning you!"  

You are to help lead others to Christ not condemn them!

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