Tag Archives: John 3

Leadership 101 – 2-Part Series

Week 1 – Leadership 101

Sermon Outline:

ALONE WITH GOD

John 15:5 – I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. [ESV]

TOGETHER WITH OTHERS

Luke 22:25-26 – Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves. [NLT]

Philippians 2:3-4 – Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. [ESV]

SELAH

Psalm 90:12 – Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. [NIV]

 

Breakout Session Questions:

1) Read Mark 1:35, Luke 5:16, and Matthew 14:23. What do these passages say about the rhythm of prayer? How does time with God help you to better lead those you are called to lead? How can you be more intentional with your time with God?

2) Read Philippians 2:3-4. What does it mean to count someone more significant than yourself? Why is this an important quality for a leader? How can you be intentional to look out for the interests of others?

3) Personal Reflection: Rest is important. Do you have a Sabbath day, a day when you don’t work but you rest with God? If not, consider why you have not made this a priority.

Week 2 – Leadership 101

Sermon Outline:

Ephesians 4:14-16 – Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. [NIV]

Stay HUMBLE

John 3:30 – He must increase, but I must decrease. [ESV]

Colossians 3:17Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. [NASB]

Act in LOVE

1 Corinthians 16:14 – Do everything in love [NIV] (1 Corinthians 13)

Protect your MORAL AUTHORITY

1 John 3:18 – Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. [NASB]

SERVE Others

Matthew 20:26-28 – It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” [NASB]

Breakout Session Questions:

1) Read Matthew 23:1-26. In verse 3, what does Jesus say to the people? What would the behavior of the Pharisees and scribes do the people they were leading? In verse 4, we read of the heavy loads that are put on the shoulders of people—loads the leaders would not be willing to carry. What can we glean from this as a leader? Verse 13 is harsh. What does it say? What does that mean? Verses 23-24 speak of the giving of the scribes and Pharisees. How does this poorly reflect a leader? Verses 25-26 speak of the clean outside and the dirty inside. What does this mean for a leader?

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Overflowing Love

When the word overflowing comes to mind, I always think of the disasters that occurred over the years. The pots on the stove that overflowed while cooking, creating a huge mess. The clog toilet that overflowed. One of the biggest things that comes to mind is the time the creeks, lakes, and rivers overflowed during the flood and we saw people paddling down the streets, and houses and roads devastated by flood waters. Something that overflows is excessive and unable to be contained.

Now think of overflowing love. This is a love that pours out of us in excess. It is outrageous. It is uncontained. It is something that comes from God. Remember, God the Father loved us so much that He sent His one and only Son (John 3:16). Jesus Christ commanded us to love one another just as He loved us (John 13:34). The Holy Spirit poured out to all believers produces fruit, and love is the first mentioned (Galatians 5:22).

God’s love is described as unfailing, unconditional, and eternal. God’s love is overwhelming, immeasurable, and relentless. The Spirit of God can help you to love deeper and wider. Pray for the compassion, love, for a heart for people. Ask the Spirit to help you to love like God loves. Pray that your love with overflow. May this love be excessive. May this love be outrageous. May this love pour out everywhere you go and point everyone you encounter to the One Who is Love.

“I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.” – Philippians 1:9 [NLT]

The Road

The other night I left the van windows open. It’s so easy for me to overlook as I’m not sitting back there. Of course it rained that evening. Thankfully it did not rain inside the van. I did not learn my lesson. Last night, I left the van windows open again. This time, the outcome was different. At the end of the day, I understand that it is not good for me to keep the van windows open at night. Perhaps practicing this bad behavior does not have any consequences most of the time, but there comes the moment when the downpour arrives.

We live in a world where most people believe that every road leads to God. I won’t argue that statement. I agree. Every road leads to God. At the end of your life here on earth, you will in fact meet God. For some people, this meeting will not be pleasant. Judgment arrives. After all of those evenings of leaving the van windows open without much consequence, the final judgment comes. And without Jesus Christ, the road leads to hell. Why? Because every road does NOT lead to heaven. Only through Jesus Christ do you receive the free gift of salvation. Only through the grace of God do you receive eternal life. This is why they call the road to heaven a narrow road.

Today, consider how you are living your life. Consider also the lives of those around you. You can leave the van windows open every night, but one day the downpour will arrive. Don’t wait for the downpour. Close the van windows at night! Ask Jesus into your heart. Begin to do life with Him and then write His Word on your heart. Treasure His commands. Embrace His presence.

“For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” – Matthew 7:14 [ESV]

“For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 [NIV]

 

 

 

Freedom for Everyone

It really upsets me when I hear people say that God sends people to hell. The truth is that hell is a choice. People choose to go to hell because they don’t want a life with Jesus—Who is in heaven at the right hand of the Father. God “wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth” (v. 4). In 2 Peter 3:9, we read that “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise… instead He is patient… not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (NIV).

Jesus Christ gave His life as a sacrifice—to purchase freedom—FREEDOM FOR EVERYONE. In John, we read that God loved the entire world, everybody, that He gave His one and only Son and everyone who believes in Him will not perish (3:16). God loved the entire world. Jesus purchased freedom for everyone.

Hell is a choice. Heaven is a choice. You have a choice. Jesus Christ paved the way for you to have these two options, instead of it ending at the wages of sin being death. There are two options. You decide. Everyone chooses for themselves. God wants you to choose freedom. He wants you to choose heaven. He wants you to choose life. He wants you to choose Jesus. But He loves you so much, He’s given you the choice. It’s the only way for you to truly love Him, to truly have freedom, to truly have life. You decide.

“Who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth… He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.” – 1 Timothy 2:4, 6 [NLT]

Examine your Heart

Holidays are seen as a time to celebrate. I notice; however, that we do certain things on holidays and then poof, we stop doing the things when the holiday period is over. This past week, I witnessed some of my neighbors putting out flags to celebrate. They never have flags out, but they put them out for a few days and then back inside they go, likely packed away for the following year. Yet, there are others who keep their flags out every day of the year. During the winter, we celebrate Christmas. Some people get all of their decorations out and attend church for the season, and then go back to the old grind when they pack everything away when the season is over.

Holidays certainly give us more time to spend with family and friends to celebrate as we have extra time off from work and school. However, as we remember and recognize certain days, it should not change how we feel and live each and every day. I wonder sometimes why we live in such a packed up, scheduled in increments, society. Why do we only show patriotism during certain days? Why do we “show love” only on the 14th of February, like the rest of the year is different? Why do we only consider Jesus and celebrate His birth only for a season?

Decorate as you wish. Remove and unpack as you wish. Nonetheless, examine your heart. Is your heart a heart devoted to Jesus each day, or do you only consider Him during the “holiday season”? Is your heart one that loves others each and every day, or do you select specific days to be loving? May you celebrate Christmas every day, recognizing that God’s one and only Son was born so He could live a life free of sin and die a sinner’s death, to be buried and then rise on the third day so that we could have eternal life. May you rejoice in Him daily! May you remember that there is no better moment to rejoice and remember what He has done, than this very moment! Thank you Jesus!

“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” – 2 Corinthians 13:5 [ESV]

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 [NIV]

The Headphones

Parents understand the word sacrifice. Most parents do for their children before they do for themselves. Parents sacrifice time, money, and energy. If you and your child both need to get an eye exam, chances are the kid will get taken to the eye doctor first. When it is time for a new pair of shoes, you realize your kid needs a new pair so you put your shoes on the “wish list.”

This week, I noticed my daughter Jess struggling with her headphones. She saved up money for new headphones that were not an improvement to her half broken old headphones. She returned to using the old headphones for half the time. I had the same headphones that I used for work. I decided to switch my good headphones for her broken ones. She was so grateful and she didn’t understand why I would take her broken headphones in exchange for good headphones.

I am not mentioning this to make you think highly of such sacrificial parenting. The truth is, when she noticed the sacrifice and I had to explain to her what it meant to sacrifice as a parent, I was reminded of the greatest sacrifice, the Lamb of God. I was reminded of the sacrifice our Heavenly Father made by sending His Son to die for my sins, for your sins, so that we could no longer suffer the wages of sin, but instead have Eternal Life. I only gave headphones. His sacrifice we should remember each day. Thank you Jesus!

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 [ESV]

My Enemy

When the prophet Elijah met with Ahab, there is an exchange that speaks volumes. Ahab says to Elijah, “So, my enemy, you have found me!” He is called an enemy. Elijah an enemy? He is a prophet of the Lord. He was used by God to raise someone from the dead. He predicted a drought. He is used by God to confront the prophets of Baal when God reigned down fire. God spoke to him outside a cave with a low whisper. Elijah is taken up to heaven with chariots of fire and horses of fire. Elijah an enemy?!?

The word Ahab spoke—enemy—in Hebrew means adversary, enemy, and foe. Why did Ahab use this word? Why did Ahab see Elijah as an enemy? Look at Elijah’s response; it says a lot. He said, “I have come because you have sold yourself to what is evil in the LORD’s sight.” Truth. Elijah spoke truth. That is what made him an enemy. Evil hates truth.

When we boldly stand for the truth, we will find ourselves to be seen as the enemy. It doesn’t mean we are in the wrong, but that we are shining a light—the Light—in a dark world, a world that hates the light. John 3:19-20 states: “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed” [ESV].

“’So, my enemy, you have found me!’ Ahab exclaimed to Elijah. ‘Yes,’ Elijah answered, ‘I have come because you have sold yourself to what is evil in the LORD’s sight.’” – 1 Kings 21:20 [NLT]

How the Mighty Have Fallen

In 2 Samuel 1 we read about the death of Saul and Jonathan at the hands of the Philistines. David is told this news and he lamented. He writes this long lamentation that says “how the mighty have fallen” three times (vs. 19-27). It is such a beautiful collection of words as a tribute for these men. As I read through this passage, it is easy to see how David wanted to honor these men; however, it also can serve as a reminder—“How the mighty have fallen.”

No matter how strong we are on our own, we will fall. No matter how much we achieve, we will fall. No matter how high up the ladder we climb by our own human standards, we will fall. We will fall. But that’s not the end of the story. It’s only a small smidgen of life. God has promised us life and life in abundance (John 10:10). His Word says that if we believe in Him, we will have everlasting life (John 3:36). We may fall but we will rise with Him. On His shoulders He carries us home (John 6:40).

You can trust in the promises of God for He is faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9). He is true. He is the Promise Keeper. Each of us will fall again and again, but with each sin we are covered by the blood of Christ. Each of us will one day breathe our last breath, but that last breath of air is not the end. Oh how the mighty have fallen— but oh how the children of God will live forever with Him rejoicing together, singing “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty who was, and is, and is to come” (Revelation 4:8 NIV).

“I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.” – John 5:24 [NLT]

A Valentine from God

Valentine’s Day is not a day single people usually like to observe. When you don’t have a Valentine, the day seems pointless—or even like a slap in the face. Valentine’s Day can be a day people feel even more alone because they hear about all of the flowers, candies, and fancy dinners enjoyed by friends and acquaintances.

For me, Valentine’s Day was just another day. I went to work and was at a vantage point where I saw what people were buying their Valentine for later that evening. So many people poured into the store seeking out flowers and candy. Roses. Chocolates. Hours passed. Then someone came up to me with a single carnation. We didn’t sell single carnations. The lady handed me the carnation, smiled and said, “Everyone needs a Valentine.”

I looked down at the slip of paper attached to the flower. It was a church outreach with John 3:16 written along with their church information. I smiled and placed the flower to the side. You see, some people might consider themselves alone on Valentine’s Day, or any day for that matter, but you always have a Valentine. For God so loves you. You are never alone. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not on Valentine’s Day. You are loved.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 [NIV]

A Choice

Everyday is filled with choices. When we wake up in the morning, we choose what clothing we will wear. We choose what breakfast we want to eat. We have so many choices that we make all day long. The Bible says that God chose us. We are His chosen people. Colossians 3 says that we “have been chosen of God, holy and beloved.” In 1 Peter 2, it says, “you are A CHOSEN RACE, a royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION” (v. 9). So we are chosen. But it doesn’t end there. We must make a choice too. Now most people think our choice is to simply accept Christ, know and believe John 3:16, and we have done what was necessary.

It is important that we take the first step, pray to God and accept Jesus into our hearts. At the same time, it doesn’t end there. Each day we have a choice. Each day we are met with different options, difficult situations, and everything requires a choice to be made. You might not believe it, but even how you eat makes a statement. Are you eating properly and taking care of the body you were given, or are you just eating whatever comes your way?

Moses made a choice, a choice that some people would find difficulty in making considering his situation. He was at the very top, the son of the Pharaoh’s daughter. Imagine being in such a high position. Even so, he stepped down and assumed the role God had for him. It was a greater role, but it was a hard path to take in life. He endured hardship, pain, suffering. It wasn’t the life that he could have lived had he not made the choice to follow God’s will.

Jesus also left His high position, was born as a vulnerable baby in poor conditions. He endured all of the world‘s sin out of love for His Father and to submit to the will of God. God made this great choice so that we could have life once again with Him. We may not have the strong faith like Moses. We may not see the value of each choice we make; however, the choices are there. Today, make the choice to live intentionally. Be intentional when you make decisions. You have the freedom of choice, such power to decide. Each decision has an outcome. Seek out God’s will and ask the Holy Spirit to help you be intentional with your choices. In doing so, you will see what a difference choices can make in life.

“By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to endure ill treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.”
– Hebrews 11:24-26 [NASB]