HELPING YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY FIND GOD
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 1 Peter 3:15-16
THE LIE: That it’s all up to _____
Why? Because God loves your friends and family
The first church: And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:47
[God] has planted eternity in the human heart… Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT)
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns! Isaiah 52:7 (NLT)
Jesus said to his followers, “There are many people to harvest but only a few workers to help harvest them. Pray to the Lord, who owns the harvest, that he will send more workers to gather his harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38 (NCV)
Who are the two people you most want to ___________________?
1. Prepare your ____________
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.”
2. Prepare your ____________
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
Internal stages of answering tough questions:
“Good people think before they answer.” Proverbs 15:28a (NCV)
* Give Me an Answer by Cliffe Knechtle
* Edgewater’s “Hot Potatoes” teaching series from Summer 2008
3. Prepare your ____________
“But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”
WHY A CITY WOULD LOVE A CHURCH
This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:
“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Jeremiah 29:4-7
Beware of the temptation to long so much for ________________
that you never decide to seek the _______________ of where you live.
The first church:
Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need… praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:45,47
1. Believe that God has a _________________ for where you live.
This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon… Jeremiah 29:4
2. ___________ for your city.
Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper. Jeremiah 29:7b
3. Work for the _____________________ of your city.
Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Jeremiah 29:7a
Shalom = “welfare, prosperity, well-being, good things, peace”
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
WHY YOU NEED A CHURCH FAMILY
Then, even if I am delayed, you will know how to live in the family of God. That family is the church of the living God… 1 Timothy 3:15 (NCV)
“Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.” Acts 2:46
1. You need _______________ relationships.
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” Genesis 2:18a
Then [Jesus] chose twelve of them to be his apostles, so that they could _________________________. Mark 3:14 (CEV)
“Who are my mother and my brothers?” [Jesus] asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:33-35
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!…Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12
2. You need a place where you can ________________________.
Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you. 1 Timothy 4:14 (NLT)
3. You need a place where you can ___________.
Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:41-42
For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them. Matthew 18:20
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18
4. You need to belong to something _____________ than yourself.
Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans 12:4-5
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25
MAKING THE MOST OF WHAT YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN
“Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.”
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
1. God _______________ you with specific talents and abilities to help people.
“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property.” Matthew 25:14 (ESV)
“Christ gave those gifts to prepare God’s holy people for the work of serving…” Ephesians 4:12 (NCV)
2. God will hold you ________________________ to what He’s given you.
“Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.” Matthew 25:19 (ESV)
TYPES OF “SPIRITUAL” GIFTS
(1 Corinthians 12:4-11, Romans 12:6-8, Ephesians 4:11-13, Hebrews 2:4)
_____________ gifts: governments, giving, mercy, helps, pastoring
_____________ gifts: faith, word of knowledge, discerning of spirits, miracles, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, healing, word of wisdom, prophecy
_____________ gifts: evangelism, exhortation, teaching, apostleship, ruling/leadership
HOW DO I DISCOVER WHAT GOD HAS GIVEN ME?
1. Ask ____________________________ questions.
“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that.” Galatians 6:4a (The Message)
* Where have I seen _______________ in my life that other people have confirmed?
* What do I really ________________ doing the most?
2. Volunteer for ___________ opportunities…but try ___ opportunity at a time
HOW DO I HELP PEOPLE WITH WHAT GOD HAS GIVEN ME?
1. Enjoy ________________________________
“The man who received the $5,000 began immediately to buy and sell with it and soon earned another $5,000. The man with $2,000 went right to work, too, and earned another $2,000.” Matthew 25:16-17 (The Living Bible)
To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given…But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. Mt 25:29 (NLT)
2. Enjoy ________________________________
“He gave $5,000 to one, $2,000 to another, and $1,000 to the last-dividing it in proportion to their abilities…” Matthew 25:15 (The Living Bible)
3. Enjoy ________________________________
“You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much.” Mt 25:21 (ESV)
4. Enjoy ________________________________
The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant…Let’s celebrate together!’ Matthew 25:21 (NLT)
BEGINNINGS – Starting the New Year Right, Pastor John Fanous
Message 1 of 5: Centering on What Matters Most
Acts 2:41-47, January 4, 2009
CENTERING ON WHAT MATTERS MOST
Acts 2:41-17: Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
The Overall Theme: ________________________________
You shall have no other gods before me. Exodus 20:3
The Promise: In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success. Proverbs 3:6 (The Living Bible)
HOW DO I MAKE GOD THE CENTER?
Give God priority in 5 areas
Honor the Lord by giving him the first part of all your income, and he will fill your barn… Proverbs 3:9-10 (The Living Bible)
The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives. Deuteronomy 14:23 (The Living Bible)
And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus… Colossians 3:17 (NLT)
Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me. Psalm 50:15
Make every minute count…find out what the Lord wants you to do. Ephesians 5:16-17 (CEV)
Very early in the morning…Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1:35
Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble. Proverbs 13:20 (NLT)
The righteous should choose his friends carefully… Proverbs 12:26 (NKJV)
Remember the miracles [God] has done; remember his wonders and his decisions. Psalm 105:5 (NCV)
THE IMPORTANCE OF REMEMBERING GOD’S MIRACLES IN YOUR LIFE
Remembering God’s miracles is the key to ________________
When you become successful, don’t say, “I’m rich, and I’ve earned it all myself.” Instead, remember that the Lord your God gives you the strength to make a living… Deuteronomy 8:17-18a (CEV)
Remembering God’s miracles is the key to ________________
You may be thinking, “How can we destroy these nations? They are more powerful than we are.” But stop worrying! Just remember what the Lord your God did to Egypt and its king. Deuteronomy 7:17-18 (CEV)
How often in the desert they had spurned him, tried his patience in those wilderness years. Time and again they pushed him to the limit, provoked Israel’s Holy God. How quickly they forgot what he’d done, forgot their day of rescue from the enemy… Psalm 78:40-42 (The Message)
4 TIPS ON REMEMBERING GOD’S MIRACLES IN YOUR LIFE
1. Make it _____________________
Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. Joshua 3:15-16
2. Make it _____________________
“Go…into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you.” Joshua 4:5-6a
3. Make it _____________________
Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. Joshua 4:9
4. Make it _____________________
In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. Joshua 4:6-7
Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far has the Lord helped us.” 1 Samuel 7:12
Unfortunately, this sermon audio is not available due to technical complications.
THE RELEVANCE OF CHRISTMAS: ____________________________
“…they will call him Immanuel”-which means, “God with us.” Mt 1:23b
Christ is the exact likeness of the unseen God. He existed before God made anything at all, and, in fact, Christ himself is the Creator who made everything in heaven and earth… Colossians 1:15-16 (The Living Bible)
THE REALITY OF CHRISTMAS: _______________________________
“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son…” Matthew 1:23
JESUS’ BIRTH SITUATION WAS AT FIRST COVERED WITH _____________
And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. Matthew 1:19 (ESV)
The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. Genesis 2:25
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord… Genesis 3:7-8
WHAT ARE YOU ASHAMED OF?
Satan’s Shameful Cycle
- You experience something deeply _________________.
- You connect what happened with __________ you are.
- You become a ___________________ tormented by your past.
JUDAS: See Matthew 27:3-5
PETER: See Matthew 26:75
- You can’t change the ________________.
“While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again?'” 2 Sa 12:22-23
- Jesus can change your _____________________.
She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21
“Yet if you devote your heart to (God) and stretch out your hands to him, if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, then you will lift up your face without shame; you will stand firm and without fear. You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by… Job 11:13-16