Tag Archives: acts

Tea Tosser

My son is quite the tea tosser. What is a tea tosser? One who tosses tea! I am a coffee drinker, but even more so, I am a bigger tea drinker. One of my mugs is black so it is not as easy to distinguish if the mug is completely empty when the beverage is closer to the bottom of the mug. When my son had seen my mug sitting on the counter top and it appeared to be empty, he thought he would be funny. He grabbed the mug and attempted to juggle it around. Needless to say, he dumped my tea all over the place. We had a good laugh. He truly thought the mug was empty. The joke was on him, as was the tea!

Many times, things are not like they appear. We look at the outside of a person, but we do not see the heart. We see outward actions, but we do not know the inward motives. The Lord looks at our heart. No matter how hard we try to disguise ourselves, how much we pretend to be something we are not, God sees. He knows how much tea is in the mug, and He knows how pure and how deceitful is the condition of your heart.

The Bible tells us that the heart is the most deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9). It is clear our hearts are in need of some deep cleansing. Thank God, He has the perfect cleaner to get that accomplished (Titus 3:5). Our heart is purified by faith and cleansed by the Spirit (Acts 15:9). Ask the Lord today, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10 NIV).

The Tip

My daughter went out to eat for her first sit down dinner with a group, where she was then required to take care of her own bill and tip accordingly. She was well prepared for the trip and was excited to have some time to spend with her friends dining out. When it was time to pay the bill, my daughter figured out the tip like I taught her using a simple math trick. She rounded up as well, something else I taught her. Hey, I like my kids to be equipped.

My daughter was ready to pay, but then a few people questioned the tip she was leaving. You aren’t leaving that amount are you?!? That’s too much. A few gasped at the thought. But she was determined to bless the person with a good tip like she saw in action so many times. Nonetheless, there were more gasps and some people telling her it was too much to give. Just an FYI, it was only $5 for a $15 meal; it wasn’t something outrageous. Even so, she didn’t give the tip she planned. She listened to her friends who told her it was too much, and followed their instructions to get change and leave precisely the exact percentage down to the penny as best she could get.

Often during tip time, people do what reminds me of doing a duty, giving what had to be given by society’s terms. Like paying union dues or a gas bill. My daughter felt bad that she caved in. I told her that for the next meal, she can say she wishes to bless the person and just give what is placed on her heart. This was the first time she was in this situation, and with her innocent eyes, she hasn’t witnessed people trying to tip the minimum. All she sees is an outpouring of generosity. Today, stand bold. Don’t allow the people around you to dictate your actions. God is generous, more generous than anyone. You will never out give God. Truth. If the Spirit leads you to bless someone, whether it be a nice tip, some cash, a gift card, some manual labor, etc., listen. We are blessed to be a blessing. And it’s such a blessing to be a blessing. This world is a dark place. We are called to be the light. Don’t hide it. Shine it. Be the difference. Show the love.

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” – 2 Corinthians 9:7 [NIV]

“And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” – Acts 20:35 [NLT]

 

Flowery Hand Soap

I am very particular about things. Some say I have OCD, but the doctor said it is only OCD tendencies. When it comes to scents, I like to stick with vanilla and honey or like ocean mists. Typically, the flowery scents attack my nose. Today I asked my daughter to pick out two hand soaps. I did not realize what I was getting myself into by giving her control of the hand soap selection. When I saw what she picked, after we were already home, I cringed at the one bottle. It was a flowery scent.

When I asked her why she selected the flowery hand soap, she said she didn’t look at the scents for the hand soaps. She did not consider scent at all. She selected the hand soap by picking up what was “pretty.” She thought the soap she selected—which she also noted was “special edition” – looked nice. Sadly, the smell leaves more to be desired.

In life, we often make decisions by the looks of things, including our decisions on the people with which we engage. We pass judgment. We turn our noses. We engage with people who look like us. We sometimes avoid people who look a certain way, whether it be due to lack of knowledge, a fear issue, or something else. We read what happened when God’s people wanted a king. They were given a king—King Saul. This man was the one who looked like a king. We later find out that though Saul looked like a king, he certainly was not someone who would lead his people in the right way. But then comes along David. He was a man after God’s own heart. He did not look like a king, but he sure had a heart for God. King David allowed God to do awesome things through him. He continued to keep His eyes fixed on the Lord. Today, be open to how God wants to use you.  Be ready to receive anyone God sends your way!

“And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’” – Acts 13:22 [ESV]

Christmas Past Message

 

Look Back – Remember what God has done

Joshua 3-4 – REMEMBER WHAT GOD HAS DONE

Remember personal experience 

Remember to share faith John 21:25

NO ONE CAN TAKE AWAY YOUR TESTIMONY- IT IS YOURS ALONE

Look Back – Remember past events and old life

Dwell on past sins – missing old life – longing for what was

2 Corinthians 5:17Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Leave your old self behind – put on new self (Ephesians 4:17-24)

Old self – “the flesh” is hostile to God, for it does not submit to the law of God, nor is it able to do so (Romans 8:6-7) – old self is all about us

Lot’s Wife – Genesis 19, Luke 17:32-33Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it

Harboring unforgiveness towards others / holding grudges

FORGIVE means to NOT TALK ABOUT IT and to NOT THINK ABOUT IT

Forgive just as Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:13)

FORGIVE LIKE IT NEVER HAPPENED

Forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. (Matthew 6:12)

Guard your heart – Proverbs 4:23

Pray for themBut I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. (Luke 6:27-28)

Look Back – Remember Past Mistakes

Romans 3:23 – All fall short of the glory of God

Everyone makes mistakes:

  1.  Abraham fled to Egypt because of drought (Genesis 12-13)
  2. Moses killed Egyptian (Exodus 2) & struck rock in anger (Numbers 20)
  3. Peter denied Jesus THREE times (Mark 14:66-72)

Today’s Passage: Conception and Birth of Jesus – Matthew 1:18-25

“Verse 21 – “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

Nathan Rebukes David – 2 Samuel 12:1-14

  • David – man after God’s heart (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22).
  • David commits adultery & plans murder to cover up sin (2 Samuel 11).
  • David’s repents – TRUE REPENTANCE – David’s prayer – Psalm 51

Knowing if it is a sin

  • Sin is going against God and His Word. Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. (1 John 3:4). Know God’s Word. Know His Commands. READ BIBLE & PRAY – REQUIRES AN ACTIVE, INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP
  • Believers have His Spirit (the Spirit of God) to teach (Ephesians 1:17) and convict (John 16:8)

You must admit sins

  • To be healed (James 5:16)
  • To get another chance (Proverbs 28:13)
  • To be changed (Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5)
  • To share with others

Your sins are forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ

  • Declare with your mouth and believe in your heart (Romans 10:9)
  • While you were dead in sin He forgave ALL our sins (Colossians 2:13)
  • The debt was cancelled – Jesus nailed it to the Cross – paid in full (Colossians 2:14)
  • He blots out our transgressions (Isaiah 43:25)
  • He will not even remember our sins – acts as if they never happened – forgives as far as the east to the west (Psalm 103:12)

Confession isn’t necessary for forgiveness – Jesus finished that once for all – but it is important

There is NO ONE between you and God.

  • Jesus encourages us to confess to the Lord (Matthew 6:12, Mark 11:25, Luke 11:4)
  • We were given an Advocate with the Father – Mediator – Holy Spirit (1 John 2:1)
  • We should reach out to Him daily for a spiritual washing (1 John 1:9)
  • We should confess to each other because it’s beneficial to the body (James 5:16)
  • Not only do others realize we all struggle, but there is ACCOUNTABILITY. We all need an accountability partner who will SPEAK TRUTH.

Philippians 1:6 – He will complete the work He began in you – TRUST

Shipwrecked

Jonah [Jonah 1-4] and Paul [Acts 27]

“Where [God] is, tragedy is only provisional and partial, and shipwreck and dissolution are not the absolutely final thing.” – William James

Acceptance of God

Paul was all about joy, so joyful to take the message of Christ anywhere – even wanted to build on a new foundation and reach those who haven’t heard

“And Paul said, ‘I would wish to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains.’” – Acts 26:29 [NASB]

Jonah angry that God showed mercy – Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh because He knew God would have mercy – Jonah had a covering from Lord and then it died and he got angry, had mercy on plant but not happy with mercy God showed to those who he didn’t believe deserved it.

“But the Lord said, ‘You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?’” – Jonah 4:10-11 [NIV]

JOY OR ANGER

Boldness for God

Both knew what to do on the ship. Jonah slept & kept silent until late – Paul tried to vocalize what to do Are you vocal or quiet?

“Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” – 2 Corinthians 3:12-18 [NASB]

SPEAK UP OR KEEP SILENT

Closeness to God How close are you to God? “Come close to God, and God will come close to you.” – James 4:8a [NLT] Always moving toward or moving away. Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh (Jonah 1:2-3) – Paul wanted to go to Rome (Acts 19:21)

“The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” – Psalm 145:18 [ESV] “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them. – John 14:21 [NIV]

CLOSE OR DISTANT

Message Outline

Bible Study Questions

Bible Study Questions – Leader Guide

Bible Study Questions:

Shipwrecked

[Jonah 1-4 & Acts 27]

Tonight we discussed two different people (Jonah and Paul) who both were called by God to deliver His message. Fully understanding our calling from God requires a lot more than biblical knowledge.

Acceptance of God

1) Accepting God for Who He is includes accepting that He is merciful. What is mercy?

2) How does mercy differ from grace?

3) How do Paul and Jonah differ in their degree of acceptance of mercy?

4) Do you find some people more difficult to show mercy?

5) Read Jonah 4:10-11. What do you think God telling us?

Boldness for God

6) Paul knew what to do on the ship and he spoke up. When is it easy for you to speak up and to be bold for God?

7) Jonah slept and was silent about the truth until he was approached by others. What keeps us from stepping forward and speaking up?

8) Has there been a moment in your life when you kept silent? How did you feel?

Closeness to God

9) Who determines how close we are to God?

10) What are we supposed to call on Him in?

11) What does John 14:21 tell us about the results of calling upon God?

12) What keeps you moving away from God? Toward God?

Acts: Proclamation

[Acts 8:26-40]

Peter and John were proclaiming the Good News. It disturbed people and they were put in prison. Annas the high priest and Caiaphas questioned them. They spoke of Jesus and the salvation only possible through Him. They were commanded to not speak or teach in the name of Jesus.

They responded:

As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” – Acts 4:20 [NIV]

  • “We cannot stop telling” [NLT]
  • “We cannot stop talking” [GW]
  • “There’s no question – we can’t keep quiet” [MSG]

Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch

1) Obedience

Told to “Rise and go toward the south” (v. 26) “he rose and went” (v. 27)

2) Spirit Led

Ready to listen to God’s instruction – an angel of the Lord said (v. 26)

3) Specific Instructions

Spirit said go over and join this chariot (v. 29)

4) Concern for Others

Concerned about others understanding

“Do you understand what you are reading?” (v. 30)

5) Wait for the Open Door

No I need help – BOOM – DOOR OPEN

Begins with Isaiah passage and then speaks about the Good News of Jesus (v. 31)

6) Don’t stand in the way

What prevents me from being baptized?

Nothing (v. 37-38)

7) Don’t miss a beat

Spirit of Philip is carried away

His service is done – Onward and upward (v. 39-40)

This is one of the 4 part Acts series:

Acts: Prayer

Acts: Possessions

Acts: Persecution

Acts: Proclamation

As an Angel

In 1 Samuel 29, we read of Achish telling David that he is “blameless in (his) sight as an angel of God.” Those are some kind words for David. Even so, the Philistines were going off to battle, but they didn’t want David to go with them. They were concerned that he would become an adversary if he accompanied them.

In verse 3, we read, “I have found no fault in (David) to this day” (ESV). Though “the lords do not approve” Achish recognized David as “honest” and “found nothing wrong” (v. 6 ESV). David was a man with a good reputation. He was trusted by those who knew him.

Today consider the words one would say about you. Would people say you are honest? Would people find any fault with you? Would they speak kind words? We are to please God rather than man (Acts 5:29). As we live a life pleasing to God – obeying His Word and following His will, we too will be on the receiving end of kind words. People will take notice as you rebel against the world, as you live differently than what the world says. Stand up for the truth and you will stand firm.

“And Achish answered David and said, ‘I know that you are as blameless in my sight as an angel of God. Nevertheless, the commanders of the Philistines have said, ‘He shall not go up with us to the battle.’” 1 Samuel 29:9 [ESV]

Acts: Persecution

Acts Series: Persecutions

… everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” – 2 Timothy 3:12 [NIV]

Bold Speech + Truth = Persecution

“When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he fell asleep.’” Acts 7:54-60 [NIV]

We must obey God rather than men

Apostles had to appear before Sanhedrin to be questioned by high priest. Reminded them of orders to not teach in name of Jesus. Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than human beings! (see Acts 5:29)

— GOD DELIGHTS IN OUR OBEDIENCE —

Standing Ovation from Jesus

“’Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’” – Acts 7:56 [NIV]

Stoning of Stephen = Spread of Persecution = Spread of Gospel

“Saul was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen. A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria.” – Acts 8:1 [NLT]

— GOD USES EVIL FOR GOOD –

Blessed are those Persecuted for Righteousness’ Sake

“You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom. Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit Me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.” Matthew 5:10-12 [MSG]

What to do when facing persecution:

BE SUBMISSIVE

Acts 4:3 Peter and John were arrested – didn’t fight back

“Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you.” – 1 Peter 2:20 [NLT]

BE SPIRIT-FILLED

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” – Acts 1:8 [ESV]

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” – John 14:12 [NASB]

BE BOLD IN TRUTH

“Pray that I’ll know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time – Ephesians 6:19b [MSG]

Acts 4:24b-31 [ESV] “And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, ‘Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,

‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers were gathered together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed’—

for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to Your servants to continue to speak Your word with all boldness, while You stretch out Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of Your Holy Servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.’

 Download Lesson Outline

This is one of the 4 part Acts series:

Acts: Prayer

Acts: Possessions

Acts: Persecution

Acts: Proclamation

Acts: Possessions

[[Acts 4:32-37 ]]

No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. (v. 32b)

And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. (v. 33b-35)

At this time people would sell some property – brought all proceeds – not told you have to sell everything (voluntary not mandatory) Barnabas sold a field he owned to support the ministry – sharing without considering repayment

[[Acts 5:1-11]]

Ananias & Sapphira – Sold property but kept back part of the money

“Then Peter said, ‘Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.’ When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened.” – Acts 5:3-5 [NIV] The Holy Spirit Peter replied, Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” – Acts 2:38 [ NLT]

Quench or Grieve It

  • Quench—1 Thessalonians 5:19Do not quench the Spirit. (NIV) Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. (NLT) [[Suppressive / Destructive / Non-Unifying]]
    • Holy Spirit – Fire – Purifying / Enlightening / Enlivening – Don’t despise Spiritual Gifts
    • NOT ALLOWING HIM TO MOVE FREELY
  • Grieve—Ephesians 4:30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (ESV) [[“Lupe” – To cause grief / To offend]]
    • Lying, angry, corrupt behavior – actions, behavior towards God and others
    • ACTING OUT IN SINFUL MANNER

The Holy Spirit…

Counsels You (John 14:16)

Cleanses you (Romans 15:16)

Comforts you (2 Corinthians 1:3)

Empowers you (Romans 15:13)

Helps you when weak (Romans 8:26)

Gives you confidence (2 Corinthians 5:5-6)

Assures adoption in God’s family (Galatians 4:6-7)

Encourages you (Acts 9:31)

Gives you new life (Romans 8:11)

Gives you wisdom & revelation (Eph. 1:17)

Leads you to all truth (John 16:13)

Helps you pray (Romans 8:26)

Convicts you (John 16:8)

Strengthens & renews you (Ephesians 3:16)

Brings you reassurance (Romans 8:16)

Sanctifies you (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

Fills you (Ephesians 5:18)

Gives you joy (1 Thessalonians 1:6)

Helps you remember (John 14:26)

Dispenses God’s love in hearts (Romans 5:5)

 

Spirit leads into the Wilderness

“I suggest that many Christians… have never allowed them to be led by that selfsame Spirit into the wilderness. But those who would know the Spirit’s power and not just His presence must be tempted, tried, tested, and tempered, so that they might learn to live dependent on God and not on themselves.” – Oswald Chambers

1) Wilderness is a place of Separation Stripped down, out of comfort zone

2) Wilderness is a place of Grace God provides despite our sinfulness – Pillar of fire, Manna, Quail

3) Wilderness is a place of Revelation Opens your eyes to greater knowledge and understanding of God and His Word

4) Wilderness is a place of Preparation Correction, pruning, discipline

5) Wilderness is place of Choice With God – without God – a choice must be made

Download Outline PDF

This is one of the 4 part Acts series:

Acts: Prayer

Acts: Possessions

Acts: Persecution

Acts: Proclamation

Acts: Prayer

Acts: Prayer

[Acts 4:23-31, Acts 12:1-19]

1) Made In Faith

See Mark 9:14-29 –“I believe; help my unbelief!”

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” – Mark 11:24-25 [NIV]

2) Forgive Others

3) Abide in Him

To remain or abide in God means to obey His commandments. Love God. Love Others. (See John 15:8-12)

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” – John 15:7 [NASB]

“and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.” – 1 John 3:22 [ESV]

4) In Jesus Name

“You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!” – John 14:13-14 [NLT]

5) For God’s Will

“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” – James 4:3 [NIV]

“We are confident that God listens to us if we ask for anything that has his approval. We know that he listens to our requests. So we know that we already have what we ask him for.” – 1 John 5:14-15 [GW]

6) Persistent and Bold

Ask, Seek, Knock – Continuous (Not Single Request – Present Tense)

“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?” – Matthew 7:7-11 [MSG]

This is one of the 4 part Acts series:

Acts: Prayer

Acts: Possessions

Acts: Persecution

Acts: Proclamation