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Sun. 9:30am - 10:30am

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Sun. 10:45am - 11:20am

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Wed. 6:30pm - 7:30pm

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Thurs. 6:00pm - 7:30pm

God’s Cure for Anxiety (Part 1)

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1 Peter 5:6-11

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country  103.7 FM just after 8am. Peter’s final exhortation to his readers again points them upward to God, and outward to others. He reminds them that humility is the foundation upon which both favor and blessing from God are established. In this paragraph Peter deals with two of the Christians most besetting nemeses, namely humility and anxiety. Do you know humility is actually a characteristic of God? Do you also know that anxiety is in fact, condemned by God? A person cannot embrace humility and anxiety together! Why? Because they contradict and counteract one another.

  1. OUR DECISION! V. 6 Look carefully at how Peter begins. He says “humble yourself.” Here is a truth you must learn humility is not something we do – it is what we become! True Biblical or Godly humility begins deep within the human heart. Humility is what happens when a spiritually dead heart realizes that The One and Only God has extended to it an invitation to redemption and adoption into God’s family.  True Godly humility begins to develop its self in our heart when we say in our heart God, and all things God, must be the starting point of my life. The interesting thing is humility cannot be taught it can only be imparted by The Holy Spirit! If anyone says “let me show you how to be humble,” – they are no longer humble! Lewis Sperry Chafer says, “to become conscious of humility is its utter ruin.” Get it? Now consider
  2. OUR PROTECTION IN HUMILITY! V. 6 In the context of our current passage “under” means something, or in this case, Someone over, above, higher than, with greater authority! And in this case the something is the mighty hand, and the Someone is God Himself!  The prerequisite to God’s protection is humility. And the divine humility we receive from God; 1st is 100% free of self determination, self desire, or self exultation: and 2nd is totally consumed with, and concerned for the other person at the highest possible level. Now notice that Peter teaches us that our decision to allow God to protect us under His mighty hand provides for us:
  3. OUR REWARD!  As I study the Scriptures I find it interesting that in most cases God desires to provide for His adopted children all those things people pursue in this life! The only way to lasting exultation, recognition, and reward is by the way of humility.
  4. OUR PATIENCE IN HUMILITY!  V. 6 Patience is one of those Christian virtues true Christians want; and most of the time they are so excited about getting it they wanted right away! Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. Here’s the simplest way I know to keep all this in its proper perspective. You focus only on what God asks you to do as he His adopted child – and let Him take care of everything else! Isn’t that deep and profound? With all of your heart you must want God to be the only sovereign ruler in your life. When that becomes the only desire of your heart, God then, gives you all the other desires you need so He can exalt you. Try it – you’ll see!

If we can help you answer your spiritual questions, call us at (574) 643-9419.

Peter’s Instructions to Church Leaders

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1 Peter 5:1-5

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country  103.7 FM just after 8am. There is an old saying, “as the leadership goes, so goes the organization.” For the most part that’s true! However, we must remember that when we come to the matter of the local church as presented in the NT, the ultimate leader is perfect; because the ultimate leader is the Lord Jesus Christ, God in the flesh. Unfortunately, the organization has not yet reached the perfection of its Leader. We will someday but haven’t yet. Let’s consider first Peter’s exhortation to the elders. Notice Peter’s exhortation was first:

  1. PERSONAL!  Peter refers to himself in 3 ways. He is a “fellow elder. Peter was well known and established as an Apostle. It is interesting to note here Peter does not refer to himself as an apostle, but rather as a co-elder. Peter also identified himself as a witness to the sufferings of Christ. Third, Peter identified himself as a partaker in the glory that is to be revealed. Peter is speaking of a time future – the glory that is going to be revealed. Throughout this entire letter Peter has talked about future glory that will follow current suffering. An exciting truth is that you and I will all get to share in that future glory Peter is addressing here. As the songwriter has correctly said, “oh what a day of rejoicing that will be!” Now notice that Peter’s exhortation is:
  2. POIGNANT!  V. 2, 3  Peter does not mince his words nor does he pull his punches when addressing the elders concerning their leadership responsibilities. He tells them they are to shepherd God’s people. If a person had never in his or her life read the Bible, and read these verses they would immediately understand the congregation of the true NT local church does not belong to the elders – it belongs to God. Two very familiar verses that teach exactly that are found in 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20. Also read 1 Cor. 3:17; Psalm 119:73; Ephesians 2:10; and Colossians 1:18. Beloved, here is something we don’t often think about. Just to be saved is a high and holy privilege that originates in the heart of God, and solely by His mercy and grace God calls us to be His adopted children. The Holy Spirit inspired Peter to teach us that those who lead do so as shepherds and overseers.  Now notice Peter’s exhortation was:
  3.  PROMISING! V. 4. Peter has taught that the shepherds who have oversight of God’s flock are there because God calls them there to be about His business, which is guiding the church to spiritual maturity.The promise is to those leaders who have been faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ and His way of ministry, will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. Just exactly what the crown of glory is will remain a mystery until Jesus Christ reveals it. Finally, notice that Peter’s exhortation is:
  4. PROTECTIVE! V. 5Here is another place where God’s divine wisdom in creation is being brought to the forefront. This is also another place where a library of information has been written on the word “younger.” The word “younger” in this, and many other passages, has a twofold meaning. First, Peter is addressing all those who are younger in chronological age. Second, “younger” refers to those who are less experienced and knowledgeable in their spiritual understanding. No matter what your position or title in your family or your church family– Peter has told you, you are you are ultimately responsible and accountable to God for properly administering God’s grace to you in all its various forms.

If we can help you answer your spiritual questions, call us at (574) 643-9419.

Winning Souls from the Soul (Part 2)

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Proverbs 11:30

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country  103.7 FM just after 8am. Last week we learned that everything about the true Christians life is represented as fruit/or the product that originates within the Christian’s heart. When that “fruit” is good it is what God uses to draw other people to Him. When the fruit is bad it repulses the ungodly and unsaved pushing them away from Christ. The concept reminds us of Jesus teaching recorded by Luke in his Gospel, chapter 6:43-46. Our focus this week is on the second half of the verse found in Proverbs 11:30 – “he who wins souls is wise.” Let’s consider how these two principles: 1. fruit providing life, and 2. the wisdom of winning souls fit together. Let’s start with: 

  1. WISDOM! Baker’s Encyclopedia of the Bible defines wisdom as a capacity of the mind; wisdom is a special capacity necessary for full human living. Wisdom can be acquired through education and the application of the mind. Even while we are sinful human beings, we have been given the mental capacity to understand our hopeless and helpless situation, and our need for a Savior.  We also have the mental capacity to reason that God has offered us hope in His redemptive plan for the human race. Wisdom also means that every person who accepts God’s gracious gift of salvation is for the rest of their earthly life responsible to the God who saved them for learning to live a life in harmony with His laws. Let’s take this one step further. The wisdom we have is one of God’s communicable attributes. That means wisdom is one of God’s characteristics that he has shared with us, as created in His likeness and image. God’s wisdom means – God always chooses the best goals and the best means to those goals. A true Christian has learned by personal experience, and understands from within their heart that God’s way is always the best way to the best outcome. Now, here is an interesting byproduct of the wisdom of God. We actually begin to understand the wisdom of:
  2. CAPTURING SOULS! Solomon uses an interesting Hebrew word here that is translated “wins” in the NIV; and is translated “captures” in the ESV. In this context the word Solomon used means to *“gain or win it especially through effort; to captivate and hold the interest of; to take according to the rules.” You will notice that none of these 3 definitions suggests winning is an event. Each is a process that requires continual effort, continual focus, and a clear understanding of the rules that must be followed. Beloved, every person who calls themselves a Christian ought to desire from their heart to be a tree of life. The fruit we produce on a daily basis from our daily lives ought to be that which captivates and captures all the souls around us whether they be walking with the Lord and encouraged to do so in perseverance because of our example. Or whether they be ungodly or unsaved, and convicted and convinced that repentance is both their key to redemption and a life of blessing. May our prayer be that of David’s recorded in Psalm 86: 11 – “teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.”

If we can help you answer your spiritual questions, call us at (574) 643-9419.

Winning Souls from the Soul (Part 1)

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Proverbs 11:30

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country  103.7 FM just after 8am. There is an old adage among Christians that says you should share Christ with someone around you every day. The first thing that comes to mind is trying to lead someone to the Lord – which for some reason makes most people uncomfortable. So the question is are you sharing the Christ of the Bible with them in such a way as to cause them to want to know Him as their Savior – or does your life and lifestyle give them more reasons to avoid a personal relationship with Christ as Savior? Let’s consider first:

I. THE FRUIT OF THE RIGHTEOUS! Solomon says the fruit of the righteous is a tree of life. When you read a statement like that in your own quiet time – what does it mean to you? What do you think of? Understanding such a statement will cause you to grow spiritually, because it will draw you deeper into the Word of God, and at the same time draw you closer and deeper into the God of The Word!

So what is the fruit of the righteous? In the OT fruit can mean produce as used in Gen. 1:11; Fruit can also mean crops or what is harvested as in Dt. 7:13; Sometimes fruit means the young of a successive generation as in Dt. 28:4, Fruit also means results as used in Isa. 3:10; Finally, fruit can be translated deed or the natural or logical result of what has been done as in Prov. 1:31. Now here’s the interesting thing about all of this, all of these words are used in some form or other throughout the NT to describe character traits or qualities that identify true Christians. Galatians 5:22 tells us that we are to produce the fruits of the spirit; Gal. 6:7 = what we sow, we reap; Eph. 6:4 = don’t provoke your children, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord; Rev. 22:12= I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done; Rom. 12:19— vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.

II. THE FRUIT OF THE RIGHTEOUS! What is righteousness from—God’s viewpoint? Righteousness is one of God’s communicable attributes, which means it is part of His character that He shares with those who are redeemed. Grudem defines God’s righteousness as God always acting in accordance with what is right and is Himself the final standard of what is right. Because God is God, He is always righteous! So the question becomes when is a person righteous? From a human perspective righteousness is fulfillment of the expectations in any relationship, whether with God or other people.

I like the way one author connects the righteousness of God to the life of a righteous person when he says that which the righteous man says and does, is the result of his moral integrity. OR what the person really is in their heart. The truth is that both you and the Lord know what/who rules your heart! Now let’s consider:

III. A TREE OF LIFE! A student of the word might ask the question – how is the fruit of the righteous a tree of life? Look at it this way: fruit = tree. It is the fruit of the righteous that Solomon says is the tree of life. It is the fruit that propagates the tree.

If we can help you answer your spiritual questions, call us at (574) 643-9419.

It is Time for Judgment

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1 Peter 4: 12-19

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country  103.7 FM just after 8am. Peter begins this new section of his letter with that same idea reminding his readers their suffering and persecution is not punishment from God. Peter is reminding them that God is allowing the suffering to strengthen them through the testing and development of their faith. He is also reminding them persecution and suffering are a normal part of a truly Godly life in this ungodly world. Peter gives us 4 principles to remember concerning our suffering as Christians.

  1. OUR EXPRESSION WHILE SUFFERING! V. 12, 13. True men and women of God who walk with Him each day have come to know and understand from their daily quiet time and diligent study in The Word, that suffering of some kind is a normal part of the Christian life. The Lord Jesus Himself told us that men and women of God have experienced persecution and suffering of every kind imaginable throughout history. True men and women of God understand that how they express themselves reveals to all others their true inner attitude about living openly every day as a proper witness for Christ. Now look at
  2. THE EXPLANATION FOR OUR SUFFERING! V. 14. Throughout the OT God was constantly reminding his true worshipers and children who continually and consistently walked with him each day, that hardships and other difficulties were not punishment for them – but were in fact God’s way of making them stronger in their faith. The focal point Peter wants his readers to see is in the next part of the verse. For the true Christian insult is blessing! True men and women of God who have made a once for all commitment that they will, with all their heart, stand fast, and remained faithful to God, no matter what – are now blessed in this life with a taste of the glory, wonder, and overwhelming fulfillment that will be made known and felt in all its Divine fullness in heaven. Now let’s consider:
  3. AN EXAMINATION OF OUR SUFFERING! V. 15, 16.  You recall that several times throughout his letter Peter has made a clear distinction between suffering for properly representing Christ, and living a Godly and righteous life – and suffering for doing evil. In this verse he is summarizing the truth that all suffering does not qualify for us to receive God’s blessing nor His glory. We don’t often think about it, but the early Christians were no different than us. They had many of the same problems we do today within, and without of the church family. Finally, out of all this comes
  4. OUR EXPECTATION BECAUSE OF OUR SUFFERING! V. 17, 18. There are two certainties here that every true believer can expect in this life. Peter explains the 1st in v. 17 which is our suffering for purification! In v. 18 Peter presents the other side which is the suffering of separation. The question “what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” is rhetorical! The comparison between the sufferings of Christians now and the suffering of the ungodly later is not centered in this life, or what we know of suffering now. The comparison is between the infinite glory and exultation Christians will experience in the New Heaven and New Earth—and the infinitely excruciating condemnation and suffering of the ungodly and unsaved in an eternal hell!

If we can help you answer your spiritual questions, call us at (574) 643-9419.

Living Like Christ (Part 2)

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1 Peter 4:1-6

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country  103.7 FM just after 8am. Last week we learned from verse 1 that we must resolve in our hearts to suffer because we live the Christian life. We learned in verse 2 the reason we suffer is because we have changed our entire outlook on this life. Then Peter told us in first 3 the rationale for suffering is because we are expected to constantly and consistently move towards spiritual maturity. With that in mind, Peter then gives us:

IV. THE RESULTS OF SANCTIFICATION! vs. 4 Peter has explained to us in the first 3 verses decisions that are made privately within an individual’s heart. In verse 4 he is telling us when those private decisions to live a more Godly life take root in our heart – and begin to reveal themselves through our changed life and lifestyle – cause our ungodly and unsaved “cronies” then begin to malign us to for “going all churchy on them.” So beloved, those of you who have made significant deliberate choices to love and serve the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength – understand that the maltreatment in any form you are receiving from those who remain in the sin and sinfulness from which you have removed your self – is 1st a sure sign to you that the result of your sanctification is a real and showing; and 2nd  their condemnation, slander, ridicule, or other mistreatment have you is also a sure sign that the results of your sanctification– or your more Christlike lifestyle is convicting them. So be encouraged. Now notice:

V. THE REVIEW BY THE SAVIOR! vs. 5  One of the themes that keeps re-occurring throughout this letter is that the persecution, suffering, and ridicule are all only temporary and will end with this life. In just one sentence Peter the focus of his readers from the gloom of this world, to the glory of the next. Peter reminds his readers and us today, that even though it appears like, and the world wants us to think we are being shortchanged and missing out on all the “good things of life” – when we are, in fact, not missing them at all! Finally let’s consider:

VI. THE RIGHT OUTLOOK FOR THE SAINTS! vs. 6. Peter is telling us that because there is no apparent benefit to salvation, because Christians are not exempt from the effects and consequences of sin and sinfulness—so why bother? Now watch! What I just told you is what Peter is saying when he says that though (Christians are) judged in the flesh the way people/unsaved are. Or the unsaved say, you Christians suffer and die just like we do so there really isn’t any benefit to salvation. The real impact of the verse is in the final phrase, they might live in the spirit the way God does. Peter is once again pointing us toward heaven. We might say, because we are saved and God has helped us understand this life and physical death are not the end. Beloved, Peter told us back in 2:11 that we are to consider ourselves as strangers and aliens in this world, therefore, we are to abstain from evil desires that war against our soul. In this paragraph he gives us further reasons why we are to live in the manner as did our Lord, Jesus Christ. May it be the desire of our heart to live as Christ lived.

If we can help you answer your spiritual questions, call us at (574) 643-9419.

Living Like Christ (Part 1)

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1 Peter 4:1-6

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country  103.7 FM just after 8am. One does not have to read or study very far into this powerful little book to realize one of Peter’s themes is “living the Christian life is not easy.” That thought does not bode well with many in this culture and society where ease and comfort in living are center stage in almost every aspect of American life. Peter gives 6 principles that remind us we are to imitate Christ in all parts of our life, all the time, not just the easy parts some of the time. We will look at 3 this week, and 3 next week. Notice 1st he tells us to be:

  1. THE RESOLVE TO SUFFER! 4:1. Have you settled in your mind, and more importantly in your heart, that as a true Christian you are willing to suffer for living a life and lifestyle dedicated entirely to Christ during your time here on earth now?  In the NT suffering can mean several different things. Most often, however, it refers to the physical agony of the process of death; whether by torture, games in the arena at the Coliseum, or the most heinous, which was crucifixion. Suffering can also mean the emotional agony of torment. In this particular instance Peter is telling us – since Christ suffered in both ways during His ministry here – we should also be prepared to suffer emotionally throughout our life; but we are to be equally prepared to die if God so permits! Therefore, our only resolved is to be willing to suffer the agony of emotional torment. A pretty small price to pay don’t you think?
  2. THE REASON TO SUFFER! V. 2 The phrase at the end of v. 1 “has ceased from sin” should not be taken to mean sinless perfection! It means that the person who understands that living a proper and a godly life will cause them emotional agony from time to time. Therefore, that person has forever stopped or ceased to be affected by the lustof – and attraction for the sinful addictions of this life. Why? True Christians desire from their heart more than anything to please their Savior by carrying out God’s will. And the reason we do what Peter’s telling us to hear in versus 1, 2 is because of what he told us back in 2:21. Now let’s notice
  3. THE RATIONAL FOR SANCTIFICATION! V. 3.  If we were writing this today we might say “time to move on.” Here’s what Peter is saying: now that you have come to Christ for salvation, the time for you live like the unsaved is over. Peter use of the word “time” in both verses 2 and 3 makes them vividly contrast with one another. It’s like he is saying, “you spent more than enough time living a life of the ungodly debauchery of the Gentiles. Now that you are a Christian, you have no time to waste living as you did before.

Oh beloved, if we could only understand that magnificent truth! From God’s viewpoint any time in sin is too much time! It makes no difference what your chronological age is when you come to the realization you need a Savior! From the second you are born again, you have so few days left to prepare for all eternity! Every moment we spend in the garbage of our life before our salvation is a moment wasted in glorifying God for redeeming us from an eternity in hell. May God grant that all of us choose to spend all our time left here living for and in the will of our great God!

If we can help you answer your spiritual questions, call us at (574) 643-9419.