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Spiritual Family

Friday, September 22, 2017

SUNDAY SCRIPTURE READING: Jim Grushon
Sunday SONG LEADER: Roy Pyle

TEXT: Romans 16

In this chapter, Paul is speaking about his relationship to the people he interacted with in his ministry. Paul loved them dearly. He was accountable to them and he depended on them. This chapter is full of warm affection, respect, and loving care. These are real, meaningful, and powerful relationships where each party was making the maximum positive impact on each other. 

As you think about our local body of Christians, could you write a letter of commendation for your fellow saints? What would that look like? What are some positive things you can say about your spiritual loved ones here? It is important to consider because we need to be looking for ways to strengthen the bond we have with Christ and with each other. Sunday’s lesson will teach us how by seeing the need to:

  • Commend accomplishments.
  • Acknowledge people.
  • Express affection.
  • Confer blessings on one another.

As you prepare for worship this weekend, please ask yourself these questions:

  1. Who are some people here you could “commend” for their service in the Lord?
  2. What can you learn about the valued service of women as you read this chapter?
  3. Why do you think acknowledging the actions of others is so vital to the Lord’s work?
  4. How can we apply Romans 16.16a in today’s church?
  5. How can God work through people to “confer blessings” today?

When You Face Temptation

Monday, September 18, 2017

Recently, I preached a series of lessons from Ephesians 6.10-17. This is where Paul is wrapping up the letter to the Ephesians. He began by writing about the marvelous salvation we have been given. God lavished His grace on us (1.8). God made us alive together with Christ (2.5). Our new life is a product of God’s work, not our own (2.8-10). All of this is according to His incredible plan which has been revealed to us through His apostles (3.9-10). He has endowed us with great power (3.20).

Since all these things are true, we have been called to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which we have been called (4.1). We are expected to live inside our new identity (5.8-10) and to be filled with the Spirit (5.18-21). 

We need to know our spiritual walk will not be easy. In fact, we should expect resistance from:

  • Our flesh, Galatians 5.17.
  • The world, John 15.18-19.
  • Satan, Ephesians 6.11-12.

So what do we do? How can we win on a day-to-day basis? How can we stand firm as Paul directs in Ephesians 6.13? Here are five helpful suggestions I recently ran across in my sermon prep:

  1. Remember that Satan has already been defeated. Through His work on the cross, Jesus has dealt a mortal blow to Satan. Jesus came to destroy Satan’s work, 1 John 3.8.
  2. Remember that the power that defeated Satan is dwelling in you. He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world, 1 John 4.4b. Look again at what Paul writes in Ephesians 3.20. Are you accessing this power?
  3. Realize that you can successfully resist Satan. 1 Peter 5.8 begins with two admonition: Be sober-minded and be watchful. The adversary is real. His intention is real. Therefore, when he comes, resist him, firm in your faith (5.9). You can resist by not giving him an opportunity (Ephesians 4.27). What does that passage imply? If Satan has gained opportunity over you, it is because you failed to resist. So, don’t be outwitted by Satan and don’t be ignorant of his designs,  2 Corinthians 2.11. 
  4. Flee the temptation. Flee youthful temptations and pursue righteousness…calling on the Lord with a pure heart, 2 Timothy 2.22.
  5. Bring every thought into captivity, 2 Corinthians 10.5. We need to allow our mind to be controlled by the will of God. It has been said that there are no shortcuts to effective, victorious Christian living. If you’re going to win, you must have a mind that has been given over to the word of God so that your thinking and feelings are controlled by spiritual truth.

You can win against temptation. What is your battle plan going forward?

- Matthew Allen

When God's People Pray

Friday, September 15, 2017

SUNDAY SCRIPTURE READING: Dave Pennington
Sunday SONG LEADER: Jason Schofield

TEXT: 1 Thessalonians 5.11-26

The early church was focused on prayer. The church in Thessalonica is a great example. They had truly converted from paganism to Christianity. They were excelling in love. They had a stake in each other’s lives. Theirs were real and personal relationships. A common characteristic they all had was prayer (5.17). A healthy prayer life and an abundant faith go hand in hand. 
In our lesson on Sunday, we’ll focus on the enormous power of prayer. We’ll examine James 5.13-16. In the first part of verse 16, we see the importance of prayer and fellowship. The idea is that we maintain a relationship with other believers, where we are always praying for one another. 

Acts 12 also emphasize the power of people praying together. The early church united together and offered continuous and fervent prayers. The results were enormous. Hearts blending together petitioning the Lord can have tremendous power.

On  Sunday, our lesson will cover:

  1. The enormous power of prayer
  2. The early church made it a point to pray together
  3. They accomplished some incredible things when they prayed together
  4. How this applies to the Kettering family.

As you prepare for worship this weekend, please ask yourself these questions:

  • How strong is your personal prayer life?
  • How often do you take advantage of praying for others? With others?
  • Read Isaiah 56.7. What does this passage mean to you?
  • What is the principle in Ecclesiastes 4.12? How can we apply it to today’s lesson?
  • What factors make the early church such a great example in the area of prayer? What can we do to improve?

Blessed a Hundredfold

Friday, September 01, 2017

SUNDAY SCRIPTURE READING: George Long
Sunday SONG LEADER: Dru McLaughlin

TEXT: Mark 10.17-31

The section we’re studying on this weekend focuses on the rich young ruler and Jesus’ response to how he rejected Jesus’ answer to his question. Jesus addressed his attitude toward himself: he didn’t see himself as a law breaker. Jesus also challenged him as to who and what god he served. When commanded to sell everything, give it to the poor, and come follow Jesus, the man went away sorrowful, 10.22. To this, Jesus turns and focuses on his audience and says that it will be difficult for a rich person to get into the kingdom of God. Then he repeats himself more generally and says it will be difficult for a person to get into the kingdom. To this Peter replies saying he had left everything to follow Jesus. Then Jesus says, 

Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
 

What does Jesus mean when he says receiving a hundredfold now? What Jesus is saying is that when you receive Him in salvation, you get the church. You get to be a part of a glorious body of people who will love you, surround you with help and encouragement, and help you get up when you fall. 

When we go through this passage on Sunday, I want you to see what a privilege and blessing it is to be a part of God’s family.

As you prepare for worship this weekend, please ask yourself these questions:

  • How strong is my personal connection to the Kettering family?
  • How much do you think about your fellow companions in the congregation throughout the week? How much are you with them?
  • What type of people make up your closest associates and friends? People of the world or the church?
  • Can you see just how richly God has blessed you?
  • What are some ways you can focus on those blessings more regularly?

Pleasing God

Friday, August 25, 2017

SUNDAY SCRIPTURE READING: Tommy Ray
Sunday SONG LEADER: Jim Rutter

TEXT: John 8.12-30

What was it about Jesus’ character that made Him such an effective servant? How did He spend every day of His life on earth living this out? What can we do going forward to become more like Him and truly live out what it means to be His disciple?

This year, we’re focusing on discipleship, following Jesus, or becoming like Jesus. As we do, we need to focus on the importance of being a servant. On Sunday, we’ll focus on John 8.12-30. In the text, it is about six months before His crucifixion. Jesus is in  the temple during the Feast of the Tabernacles. The conflict with the religious establishment is growing. Some people are believing in Him, recognizing He is the promised Messiah. The majority is not.

When we go through this passage this weekend, I want you to see some major, essential points, from a positive and a negative, and how this applies to being a true disciple.
We will: 

  1. Examine the conflict with the Pharisees.
  2. See four quick ways that people die in their sin, which sets up the ultimate contrast to:
  3. Jesus’ selfless devotion to His father.
  4. Finally, we’ll learn how this all applies to us.

As you prepare for worship this weekend, please ask yourself these questions:

  • What did Jesus mean when he said He was the light of the world?
  • What is so deadly about unbelief? What can it lead to if it is not dealt with?
  • Why did the Jews react to Jesus so negatively? What warning does this serve to us?
  • Read 8.28-29. What three statements does Jesus make?
  • Which one of these stands out to you most? Why?

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