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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. 3:00pm - 5:30pm

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Thurs. 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Two Dreams of Deliverance

Matt. 2:7-15

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 studied Joseph’s dream where he learned Mary was going to give birth to the Messiah. We discovered that it was a dream of declaration explaining to Joseph, Mary had not been unfaithful to him, and that he was to continue with his plans to marry her. Today I want to share with you 2 other Christmas dreams that show us how a sovereign God cares for His children. Let’s look at: TWO DREAMS OF DELIVERANCE!

  1. The Magi Delivered Matt. 2:12. We studied the doctrine of God’s sovereignty/ providence in Oct. Here is a perfect example of what God’s sovereignty looks in real life. It is important to remember that Matt. wrote his gospel to prove beyond any doubt that the Man, Jesus was God’s Christ, the Messiah, The Savior of all who will receive Him as Savior. As you read through it, notice how many times Matt. says, “as it was written through the prophets, or this was to fulfill what the Lord has spoken by the prophet.” In ch. 2 this part of the account is not about Jesus’ birth, but it ultimately reveals is the conflict between the Magi and Herod the king. The point here is that these government officials from two ungodly nations that once were Israel’s taskmasters, knew that a man was to be born, in Israel, Who would be born King of the Jews. Not born to become king, but born already being The King! God does two things that are significant. First, He directs the wise men away from Herod. It is certainly possible they honestly thought Herod wanted to know where the Christ Child was so he could worship Him. A sovereign God Who knows the thoughts and intents of every heart knew Herod, left to follow his own evil heart, would kill the Messiah. So God appeared to the wise men in a dream telling them to leave the country another way. Have you ever stopped to consider where, when, or how God has directed you to keep you from falling into the hands of your enemy the devil who wants to destroy you? Have you taken time to thank Him for leading you in the paths of righteousness; or for being with you in the midst of the furnace; or upholding you with His strong right hand? You should thank Him all day, every day for His providential care and protection to you! The second significant thing God does is delay Herod’s discovery of the Wise men’s departure. Here is a truth for you to remember: God never directs us into anything without giving us time to accomplish it.
  2. God directs Messiah’s family to safety. 2:13. I find it interesting that one could say here—God delivered the Deliverer! God protected Christ as a baby, so Christ could then accomplish all He came to accomplish. Want to hear something amazing? The same thing is true of you! We don’t know how long it was between v. 12, 13! We do know that God appeared to Joseph telling him to take his family to Egypt to keep Jesus alive. This brings us back to the question: what are you willing to do to follow God’s direction in your life? Do things like effort, inconvenience, hardship, expense, even an entire change of life and lifestyle give you pause when it comes to total submission to God’s will for your life?

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

Christmas Dreams

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. When you hear the words Christmas dreams, what comes to mind? Sleigh bells ringing? Children singing? Trekking to Grandma’s house? Tech toys? Perhaps the ideal, albeit yet-to-happen, Christmas? Do you dream of family traditions? Perhaps you dream of world peace. I saw an article that said 58% of us would be happy to get world peace for Christmas. World peace will be a gift, but not for Christmas! It will only happen when Christ returns to earth to establish His millennial kingdom. But even that is not eternal peace! Eternal peace comes with the New Earth and Heaven! There are 5 dreams associated with Matt’s account of The Incarnation. They teach us how God’s providence or Sovereignty is always working on our behalf, often when we don’t even realize it is working. Let’s consider the 5 Christmas dreams recorded in Matthew’s gospel:

  1. THE NEED FOR THE DREAM! God often visited people through dreams. *God, His Angel (Pre-incarnate Christ), or an angel of the Lord was sent to do a specific task or deliver a specific message for God. The dream could be a warning, as in Gen. 20; instruction, as in Judges 7; it could be for comfort and reassurance; or revelation. So what was the necessity of the dream here? A. Joseph and Mary were in a life-threatening dilemma. From a purely human perspective, this is now a no-win situation! She is found to be pregnant during the engagement, which is cause for her to be stoned to death! Lev. 20:10. B. God must meet with Joseph to show him the right way to proceed. Every once in a while, God allows us to come face-to-face with circumstance/or a situation so magnanimous that only He can lead us out of it alive! It is important to take note that Joseph was not making a hasty, rash, irrational decision. The ESV uses the word “resolved” which is the word Matt. used. It means deliberate, conscious, rational thought resulting from deep soul searching. Let’s consider:
  2. THE NATURE OF THE DREAM! Notice V. 20, what’s the first word? BUT! I’m so glad God invented the whole concept of the word “but!” The nature of the dream was first reassuring to Joseph, because God came to him in his time of need, not afterward! God comes to Joseph when Joseph has come to the end of himself! Joseph has made all his choices, and has used up all his resources from within himself. So what happens? Joseph’s dream is also a “revealing” dream. I find it interesting that almost every time God or His angels come to people the first words are “do not fear.” Here is something you should remember: the presence of God always brings the fear of God! You must remember God will never ask you to do anything you can’t do, but He will often ask you to do things that are extremely difficult! Why is that? Because God knows you can accomplish what He wants, but He needs to teach you that you are able!
  3. THE END OF THE DREAM! When Joseph awakens, he does what the angel instructed him to do and takes Mary as his wife. So was that the end the hard stuff? The angel explained to Joseph and Mary what was going on, and they obeyed, so they lived happily ever after!
    I seriously doubt that happily ever after part! It is important to notice Matt’s statement in v. 25. It is written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to eliminate all doubt that Jesus Christ was anything but God in the Flesh, and that Joseph was not His father! So beloved, no matter where you are in your Christian life, understand that God has planned for you to be more than just yourself. If God is calling you to Himself, the worst thing you can do is not go! Wake up and follow the God who has called you to Himself.

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

The Degree to Which We Are to Give (Part 2)

Matt. 25:14-30

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 the biblical concept of service is what you deserve and are entitled to receive from me! We also learned that giving of ourselves to God is our reasonable service to Him because we belong to God by right of creation; because He redeemed us; and because all good things come to us from God. Now let’s consider…

  1. SELF-GIVING IS OUR RESPONSIBLE SERIVCE! We are in Matt. 25:14. Jesus is continuing His explanation of His return to earth and establishing His kingdom. In this parable of the talents there are many lessons to be learned. Today we are focusing on the truth that every Christian is responsible to give themselves to God. You will notice the master calls his servants, and in trusts them with His property. One of the first lessons that you want to learn in being responsible in your service to the Lord is the gospel is God’s property and you are accountable to Him for it. In fact, this entire parable verifies that. The question is, which servant are you? You are both responsible and accountable to God for all He gives you! You are responsible and accountable to God for only what He gives you! Got it? Only what God gives you and in the amount He gives it to you! You will never have to give account for what someone else has! Now let’s see that
  2. SELF-GIVING BRINGS US REWARD FOR SERVICE! Go to Mark 9:38-41; 1Cor. 3:12-15; now Col. 3:23, 24. Nowhere does God ever teach that his people are to work for Him, or serve Him pro bono! However everywhere Scripture teaches us *God’s reward comes to us on God’s terms! Go to Mark 10:29, 30; now 1 Cor. 9:26, 27; now Heb. 10:32-39. Here we learn that God’s rewards are given to us for self-denial! I think God is the originator of the idea of saving the best till last. If we are willing to give up self and allow God to reward us on His terms we will discover that! God’s greatest reward to his children is Himself! A truly redeemed heart knows that nothing or no one anywhere is better than God. As Paul told the Romans, “what shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things.” So it comes to this – to what degree do we give to God? That question is answered with this question – to what degree do you want to receive from God? Jesus gives us the answer to both questions, and it is recorded in Luke 6:38 “give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over will be put into your lap.” Now here’s the answer to the question— “for with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” We might say it this way today – however much you give is how much you will receive. In eternity past God made His choice – and it is significant! Now – it’s your turn to choose!

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

The Degree to Which We Are to Give (Part 1)

2 Cor. 8:1-11 

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. Probably until the rapture people will continue to ask the question, “exactly how much am I supposed to give to God?” Asked most people who’ve been around church for at least some part of their life and they will probably tell you – it’s supposed to be a tithe or 10%. If you ask a student of the Bible they will tell you the tithe or 10% was the OT rule; but the NT rule is to give to God as God has given unto you. One writer says it this way, “the financial burden of God’s work has always been shared among God’s people. In the OT, this was mainly by compulsory tithes; in the NT by voluntary contributions.” We studied earlier this month the Biblical doctrine of giving to God eventually involves every area of our life and lifestyle. Someone has said, “The giving of one’s self is the submission of the self to the will of God, in thanksgiving and service.” God, being the gracious God He is explains to us why: SELF-GIVING IS OUR REASONABLE SERVICE TO HIM!

  1. We belong to God by right of creation! Read Duet. 32:6; Ps. 100:3; 119:73; Rev. 4:11. We need to understand to a much higher degree than we do, that the only reason we exist is because God willed and wants us to exist. This goes back to the Providence or sovereignty of God, and His divine will. The reality of life is that if all God did was bring us into this world and gave us only our breath, the gift of life would be enough for us to worship, honor, and appraise Him for our entire life. It is the arrogance of sin that causes us to believe God owes us! It is also the reality of life that all God owes us is hell. Because God gave us life by creating us, plus all the other benefits we received from him is reason enough to give ourselves to Him in-service
  2. We belong to God because He redeemed us! Read Rom. 14:7, 8; 1 Cor. 3:16, 17, 19, 20. As much as we need to understand much more than we do – that we belong to God because He created us, we also need to understand much, much more than we do that we belong to Him because He read deemed us! So the question is this: considering that you exist because God wants you to, and that you belong to God because He wanted to redeem you – right this very moment where you are how valuable is your salvation to you? The real answer to that question is that both you and God know the real answer to that question! Finally, self-giving is our reasonable service to God because:
  3. ALL GOOD THINGS COME TO US FROM GOD! Read Deut. 8:18; 1 Chron. 29:14; John 3:17; Matt. 7:7-11; Acts 17:25; 1 Tim. 6:17; James 1:17.Here’s the thing Beloved, everything about you, everything about your life, whether you perceive it as good or bad, negative or positive, is from God! Now listen! Even if you perceive something as negative in your life, God has allowed it to touch your life for a positive reason. How do I know that? Because God tells us that He works all things, all things together, for our good! So why is self-giving a reasonable service to God? The Scripture teaches because we belong to him by right of creation; we belong to him because he redeemed us; and all good things are given to us by God for all good reasons! It is only reasonable that we should give ourselves in totality to the God who has already given all for us.

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

The Desire to Give

Psalm 40:1-8

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 God’s decree that all Christians are to give. The first step in giving is to give our entire beings to God so He is free to make us into the image of Christ. Today we are going to look at the desire to give. I find grace to be one of the most amazing things God shares with us. Nothing about grace is demanding, and nothing about grace takes for itself. What does grace have to do with the desire to give? Everything! Every facet of grace is saturated by desire, never by demand. Demand is Law! David is one of the best examples of a man with a desire to give to God, and others, so let’s let him help us answer the question!

  1. GOD’S MINISTRY 1-6. It is important to notice that this Psalm begins by revealing why and how God was able to minister to David. *If you want to learn how to receive God’s most abundant blessing then do as David did and “wait patiently for the Lord.” The 2nd and 3rd words of this psalm are 2 words we don’t like to hear because we live in an instant society and culture. The picture here is like a thoroughbred race horse in the gate! Did you ever see one just stand there half asleep not caring if the gate opened or not? No! Those horses are anxious, jittering, and snorting! They know that gate is going to spring open and they will unleash all their power and accelerate to full throttle as hard and fast as they can! They want to run! Now, could that same picture be used to define you as you wait on the Lord to minister to you? Are you so excited and eager to find out what God’s amazing grace has in store for you next that you just can’t stand it until He reveals it?The other 21st Century problem with the way David waited on God was that David waited patiently! Wait was the action David took in regards to God’s work in David’s life, and patiently was how David waited on God. David didn’t care how long it took, He was willing, in his heart, to wait on God, as Paul told the Philippians, “Who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” David wanted/desired God’s work, God’s way in his life. Is that the desire of your heart? If you want to be on the same page as God it must be!
  1. DAVID’S MESSAGE 4-5. David responds to God’s great goodness toward him by telling us what does not please God, then what goes straight to God’s heart as a sweet smelling savor! The wrong approach to God’s goodness. V. 6 Read 6a. God does not delight in performed rituals—no matter what they are, or what purpose the giver intends in giving them! Now look at the right way to view the relationship between you as God’s adopted child and Your Redeemer. David recognizes and teaches us that God does delight in and expect from each of His children personal responsibility exhibited in a desire to obey God! So the question is simple: do you find your greatest delight in giving to God not 10% of what you have to give, but giving Him 100% of you? This will help you answer that question: why would you not give all to Him Who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?

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

The Decree to Give

Prov. 3:9, 10

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. This is one of the most interesting and complex chapters in the entire book. It is the 3rd time Solomon has written “My son.” The 1st appeal in the book is an appeal for the person of God to live a separated life from evil. It is the doctrine of sanctification being taught in the OT. The second appeal to “my son” is in Ch. 2 and is an appeal to get wisdom. This 3rd appeal is teaches the true Christian to fear the Lord. In this chapter Solomon writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit teaches that in order to receive and enjoy the rich fullness God offers His adopted children, we must be willing to:

1. submit to God all that we are and all that we have; Notice the emphasis is on “all.” We must also follow Christ’s teaching to…

2. love/respect all other people; notice where the emphasis is again. Finally, we are to 3. Display an eagerness to dedicate ourselves to living exactly as God expects us to live as His redeemed. Let’s look at how Solomon teaches us God’s decree to give; that includes all of everything about your life.

 

  1. OUR PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY TO GOD! 9. Solomon uses an interesting word that is translated “honor.” The word literally means “heavy” and is used to symbolize or show how much a person actually loves and respects God. Remember Deut. 8:18— “Remember the Lord your God, for it is He Who gives you the ability to produce wealth.” So the question is: how “heavy” is your offering to God? Are you thinking about your financial giving? If you are, that’s ok, but that is not the emphasis of the verse. Financial giving is only part of the wealth God gives us. Remember that James 1:17 says “every” good gift is from God, so that includes all of everything about your life. *Your wealth is your entire life. Solomon clearly teaches that we are to honor God with all our wealth, not just the financial part of it. So now, how “heavy” is your offering to God? Now let’s look at…
  2. GOD’S PROFOUND REPSONSE TO US! 10 God tells us to give all our life to Him, and to give Him the first portion of all we produce as a test of our true confidence or trust in Him. For many returns to them far more than they give! Often when a Christian begins their week with proper intents and motives concerning worship, God returns to them an entire week of blessings touch all parts of their life. You have read the testimony of those who come on Wed. evening to pray. Any of them will tell you God has so enriched their lives because they give Him that time in worship and prayer, they find it harder to miss, than to be part of it! You will only understand that by experience!! No one who even casually reads The Bible will miss the truth that God requires His people to give. God is not asking us to do something He hasn’t first taught us by doing Himself. It’s that leadership by example thing! In giving you salvation and all that comes with it, God has given you more than you can give Him throughout eternity! Seriously, don’t you think it reasonable of God to ask you to give Him all your life in all its parts, so He can give to you in good measure, packed down running over, poured into your lap?

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

God’s Government (Part 2)

James 1:2-8

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 began studying how God governs or manages everything in creation. One of the most comforting thoughts is that God will always achieve His purposes in his creation and sin can never stop those purposes from being accomplished. Today I want to share with you three more truths from Millard Erickson’s outline about God’s sovereign control over all of creation.

  • GOD’S GOVERNING ACTIVITY IS UNIFYING! The heart of God and His love, grace, mercy, and His plan of redemption are all designed to draw a person’s life into harmony with God’s will. God has told us what we must do to live a life as He expects His adopted children to do. Go to James 1: read 2-8. James is explaining to us that at different times, places, and in various ways God intervenes in our life in such a way that we understand what we have to do to bring our life into harmony with His will. When we freely choose to submit to God, to follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit to do what God wants us to do, the way He wants us to do it, and at the time he wants us to do it – then the result is that what God wants for us, and what we want for us become harmonious or unified. If you will spend some time thinking about that you will discover how amazing it is; and you will also realize that God is constantly drawing you to Him. The interesting thing about God drawing you is the more He draws you to Him – the more you want to be drawn to Him!
  • GOD’S GOVERNING ACTIVITY IS UNHAMPERED! Here are a couple questions for you: is it okay with you that God knows some things you don’t? Is it also okay with you that you don’t or can’t understand everything God tells us in His Bible? The reality is that there are some things it’s just not necessary for us to understand. God’s sovereignty, and His governing of creation is one of the things we don’t need to understand. Proverbs 3:5, 6 is just one passage that tells us that very thing. The point is this: God knows exactly what He is doing at all times, why He is doing it, and exactly what He wants His activity to accomplish.
  • GOD’S GOVERNING ACTIVITY IS UNQUESTIONABLE! As with all things concerning God, nothing about His governing activity over His creation ever contradicts anything about His nature or character. For example, the old saying it is never right to do wrong to do right! When a person believes that God is leading them to follow a certain course of action, when all things are the way God wants them, He lets us know we are on the right track. And once you have experienced the providence of God in your life in this manner – you will understand what a comforting and amazing doctrine this is.

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