Peace in Difficult Times

Ken is preaching a message on Sunday January 27, not to be missed, How to Pursue God When Life Hurts.

This broken world is filled with problems of every sort. Life can hurt. Life is not fair. Inundated with challenges from multiple directions, we can be tempted to settle for short-term fixes. If we want God’s best, we need to stop, take time to seek His wisdom, and allow God’s peace and perspective to permeate our thinking. We may have no understand of why we are hurting, or why we are in this particular circumstance, but will that affect our pursuit of God?

Where do we seek answers? Where are you desiring a more permanent solution instead of temporary relief? Where do you need to seek not just what works but God’s perspective?

The Pursue series has only begun, but this lesson will likely hit home for many people. Will you be with the gathered church this Sunday? Catch up on the series by viewing the other messages. Seek the wisdom of God and see life from his perspective. This is a great verse…

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.— James 3:17-18

Chase the Promise

Part Two: Chase the Promise (Jeremiah 29:10-14)

60% of Americans make resolutions… wanting to be better. 1 diet, 2 exercise. Both require a plan. Listen to the director or coach. The thing we chase after require a plan. That which we long for, we need plans to pursue. All of God’s plans may be discovered in his promises. He will fulfill his Word. The date: 605-537 BC with the Jews in exile, and God raised up Jeremiah to remind them of his promise. How?

Live like His promises are true (chase the promise) by,

1. PRIORITIZING what God says Over POPULAR THOUGHTS of Man (Jeremiah 29:10) Consider this…

1) There are false voices that come against his Word. The negative voice had already arisen, Hananiah. The question became, “Who spoke for God?” Who will you believe? See Jeremiah 28:15-17, the damage was done, so Jeremiah wanted to remind the people of what God said. False voices can sound authoritative, influential, even rational, it made sense to the people. According to Jeremiah 29:2, Hanaiah seemed to speak for the LORD. People don’t really change, because we always like to hear the popular news, not the hard stuff.

2) Only God’s Word can defeat or correct those false voices or narratives. Universalism, how can a God of love say there is only one way to heaven? There are good people of other faiths. I’ve done too much to be forgiven. Some things are just impossible in my life. “Our future is as bright as God’s promises.” Adonia Judson.

2. TRUSTING in God’s PERSONAL PLANS for You DESPITE PRESENT CIRCUMSTANCES (Jeremiah 29:11).

1) Don’t give up on God. (Jeremiah 29:1-7) Thousands of God’s people were taken captive, but he is still with you, not limited by the walls of the Jerusalem. Move forward in faith and trust.

2) Don’t stop listening to God. (Jeremiah 29:8-9) Take all others thoughts captive. (2 Corinthians 10:5)

3) Don’t stop waiting for God’s plan to be fulfilled. (Jeremiah 29:15) When you are busy, the waiting does not seem like waiting. The report about time delays at baggage claim, down to 1 minute walk and an 8 minute wait. They still had complaints so they moved baggage claim about 8 minutes away, and the complaints stopped.

3. APPROACHING worship as the PRIVILEGE OF A DIVINE relationship and not as an OBLIGATION OF RELIGION (Jeremiah 29:12).

Call to me, come to me, pray to me – worship in the temple. The profile of worship in the temple. For us, it is a profile of a worshiper.

Do you hunger for God’s presence? Fellowship with a holy God. Do you see worship as a privilege? Are we dependent on what God says?

4. Seeking God FROM SINCERITY and not OUT OF A SPIRITUAL IDEAL (Jeremiah 29:13).

This is in covenant language. We have something to do. Seek him with our whole heart, not casually or with our mouth only. But how?

  1. We have a personal relationship with Jesus.
  2. We yearn for fellowship.
  3. We seek in all the promises given. Living as they are confirmed.
  4. We follow Jesus. Our first love, Savior, and Lord.

In 2014, there were treasure seekers, in the Rockies, and many died in search of it. The wealthy man claims to have hidden it well, but people still risk their lives to find it. Wives and children have lost their loved ones for a treasure that many don’t believe exists. One widow said that it was vanity to give your life for a “greater good,” is a greater good hidden treasure?

Tozer said it was the greatest paradox of the soul, pursing the One who loves and pursues you.

Questions for further study:

  1. Why was it important for the exiles to know that God planned to prosper them and not to harm them?
  2. What kind of prophet (false or true) told the people what they wanted to hear while requiring nothing of them in return?
  3. What emotional reaction would most people have if asked to pray for the prosperity of their captors?
  4. How do you think God would have us pray for our country?
  5. Why does God want us to seek Him with our whole heart?
  6. What does it mean to you to seek God with your whole heart?

Building Bridges

God longs for the day when we will see and treat people as He does. From the beginning, He made human beings in His image. Each person is of inestimable worth, created to live in life-giving relationship with others and work for the good of the world. But sin brought division, discord, and alienation from God and one another. Through Jesus, we have found forgiveness and reconciliation with God and we are being restored to God’s original purpose for life and humanity. God longs for all people to be reconciled to Him and with one another. How are you working toward and living out God’s vision and purpose?

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.— Matthew 5:9

This is why our very first key value is COMMUNITY. It is our desire so see people connected in community; connected to the family of God (salvation through Jesus Christ) and connection to King’s Grant (active membership and participation in our local fellowship).

Click here to read more about the vision of King’s Grant.

[ The top portion of this post is from the Lead Like Jesus devotional for January 21, 2019 ]

Centrikid 2019 Registration

This summer, join us at a CentriKid camp at Skycroft Conference Center in Maryland, July 22-26, where Lifeway Christian Resources facilitates all the activities (recreation, Bible study, worship, track times) so our children’s leaders can focus on loving your kids. Our sole purpose for camp is intentionally pouring our lives into your kids. In this atmosphere, we can go all out in pointing your kids to Jesus.

Four Promises for Another Exciting Week at Camp:

  • Every element rooted in Scripture
  • A safe place–physically, spiritually, and emotionally
  • Ministry through relationships
  • Kid-friendly programming

Don’t miss our 2019 theme: All Access, where kids will discover their all access pass to God through studying John 17:3.

God wants Himself to be known. He has given you an “all access pass” by revealing things about Himself throughout history as an expression of His love for you. God has revealed that He is the only true God, He’s not hidden, and He wants a relationship with you.  Here is a snapshot of where we’ll focus each day of camp:

  • Day 1: The God Who Reveals
  • Day 2: God Reveals His Name
  • Day 3: God Reveals The Way
  • Day 4: God Reveals His Power
  • Day 5: God Reveals What’s Next

KGBC Registration: we have 16 reservations, including up to 4 adults (ratio is 1 adult for every 5 kids). We need to secure our spaces, so if you desire to participate, register with Amy or Scott by Sunday February 10 by getting to us a check to cover the $50 deposit. The camp total is $300 but we have discounts available. We can take care of paperwork this Spring.

For More Information: find Amy or Scott with you questions.

Check out the Centrikid Video:

From Apathy to Intensity, Part 1

Jonathan Sax, a former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, “When it was hard to be a Jew, people remained Jewish, when it was easy to be a Jew, people stopped being Jewish.” Same for Christianity. We get comfortable, complacent, apathetic.

The church in the Revelation was commendable, but regarding what mattered most, they were lacking.

To whom was this written, the congregation? The angel, is it a messenger? A pastor of the church? Who is the one who holds the seven stars and walks among them. Jesus gives us a very clear message to the church and this message impacts our journey.

Good people doing good things (Revelation 2:2-3) Jesus acknowledged their behavior locked in a specific lifestyle. I KNOW YOUR LABOR, I KNOW YOUR PERSEVERANCE, which speaks to their unction and then their character.

Labor – you work to the point of exhaustion, the church was very busy.

Perseverance and endurance – your character, setting the evil straight, Acts 19 and the story at Ephesus, unbelieving Jews and the sons of Sceva, no brought in by their false testimony. Demetrius and his silver idol business, and they worked hard through it all. They do not grow weary. Good people doing good things.

George Zulu from Zambia interned with Ken, held a church calendar in his hands and said, “You people are busy. With all this activity, how do your people go out into the world and just be themselves?”

Good things making empty routines (Revelation 2:4) I have something against you. Always beware the “but” or “however,” which will nullify all that you have just heard or done.

Downward spiral toward apathy:

1) First is being settled. Active people get settled, and comfortable, on the couch. They became settled in their activity. Their busyness was affirmation they were righteous enough.

2) Losing sight of the main thing, their purpose, their mission. Apathy reflects a coolness and a loss of passion.

3) Sacrificing the best on the altar of good things. They thought they were a loving congregation but they lost their first love. Hard work and good doctrine is never enough to satisfy our sacrificing Savior (Matthew 22:36-40, John 13:35 – love God and loving others, then the world will know that we belong to Jesus).

1 John 4:2 – to say that I love God and not others makes God a liar. Hate is when we withhold love from someone.

Calvin and Hobbs illustration, good is not defined as just the absence of bad.

Empty routines challenged by intense commitment (Revelation 2:5) Remember, Repent, and Return. This is easy to preach yet hard to apply.

Remember: how they travelled with Paul and went house to house and how the church was founded. Have I forgotten from where I started, and how far I have fallen?

Repent: turn away from mere activity and turn to your first love. Grief over our short comings is often not present. The deeper the sorrow, the deeper the repentance. A preschooler saying “I’m sorry” is not repentance. Am I going through the motions? It there no real emotion or feelings for God and for others?

Return: go back to when we first met. The intensity, love, passion, purpose. Jesus needs to be our motivation for good deeds.

Conclusion (Revelation 2:6) Nicholatians, evil people, promiscuous leaders, false teachers. “Don’t just hate what Jesus hates, love what Jesus loves!”

Mother Teresa quote: Gods love for you is infinite, your disregard for the church is finite, “focus on the infinite and allow it to overcome the finite.”


Questions for Further Study:

  • Why does love—even the most fervent and committed love—sometimes grow cold over time?
  • What are some mementos or heirlooms you are especially attached to?
  • What is something you remember loving dearly as a child that you eventually outgrew?
  • If Jesus were to write a letter to our church, what do you think He’d say?
  • If Jesus were to write you a personal letter, for what would He commend you, and in what ways would He correct you?
  • What do your actions say about who or what is most important in your life?
  • What do you think Christ meant when He said, “You have forsaken your first love”?
  • What does it mean to repent?
  • What about our faith are we prone to “outgrow”?
  • At what time in your life did you feel closest to God or the most dedicated to God?
  • How would you assess the health of your relationship with Christ right now?
  • What can cause us to lose our love for God?
  • How can we keep our commitment to Christ from waning over time?
  • Besides knowing all the right answers and doing all the right activities, what do we need for spiritual vitality?
  • In what concrete ways can you show today that Jesus Christ is your first love?
  • What is one step you can take this week to build the quality of perseverance in your faith?
  • What can you do or say to encourage a Christian friend to remain loyal to Christ?

Change of Heart and Mind

What a change occurred in Saul’s perspective after he met Jesus on the road to Damascus! Leaving on his journey, he was sure that what he believed was right. When Jesus’ voice pierced Saul’s heart, his whole worldview turned upside down. Everything Saul thought he knew had to be rethought: his understanding of truth, his worldview, his life mission. This encounter was just the beginning of his transformation from Saul the persecutor to Paul the apostle to the Gentiles. What difference has encountering Jesus made in how you live and lead?

As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. — Acts 9:3-5

We often see this passage only in the context of salvation (Saul’s conversion on the Damascus Road) but let’s broaden our understanding of Paul’s experience to being confronted with new truth, which forces him into a decision.

Let’s also make this personal. Active church people need to take the introduction of truth (let’s enter here the preaching of God’s Word on Sunday) and decide what to do with the challenge put in front of us.

Ken is preaching January through February on a topic that we can easily dismiss. Perhaps you will justify, “I am pursuing God because I attend church on Sunday.” When we assume this position, we can easily miss the very thing that the Holy Spirit wants to do in our lives. We each must pray and reflect on where we stand with Jesus to discover what God wants us to do and how he wants us to change.

I hope you will listen again to Ken’s introductory message on moving “From Apathy to Intensity” and see if God is speaking to you and challenging you to make some adjustment toward a higher level intensity in your faith.

[Part of this post is from the January 14 Lead Like Jesus devotional, and the image: SON OF GOD Movie, Scene 10/29 – Damascus Road; Paul (CON O’NEIL) sees Jesus (DIOGO MORGADO) and is thrown from his horse]

What is Your Vision for the World?

What is your vision for the world? Jesus clearly expressed His vision as He taught His disciples to pray: that God’s kingdom would come to characterize the world He created. He calls us to continue to pray that God’s “will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Is this your vision, too? How can you be part of bringing God’s kingdom to life in your spheres of influence today?

This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’” — Matthew 6:9-13

At King’s Grant, we are experiencing several events to help bring God’s kingdom on earth: Winter Shelter January 23-30, Ken’s January Bible Study on Desiring More (our journey toward personal holiness), the Pursue series (the intensity of our faith), Wednesday Life Groups this next semester (starting back January 30) and Billie Todd will be leading a Wednesday evening class on prayer beginning January 30 at 6:00. All this is designed to develop community, faith, and love.

Continue to pray for God’s will to be done in your life and in the life of the church.

[Part of this post is from the January 11 Lead Like Jesus devotional]