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The Liberating Truth God Has Created For You

Saturday, February 02, 2019

I recently came across a transcript of a sermon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached during September 1956 in Birmingham, AL. King was 27. The Stanford University archive where I found his material says the Birmingham bus boycott had been going on for about 10 months. Pressure was beginning to mount. Critics charged that King was asking for too much and stirring up unnecessary trouble. Blacks believed that white people would never change and that the inherent racism in the state’s laws would perpetually remain in place. It would probably be easier to, …just give up

King appealed on his listeners to draw from their resources of strength and hope. He says, “And we can cry out to the nation, ‘We can do it because we know that as we walk, God walks with us.’” For King, there was no other choice but to reject the critics’ beliefs as untrue. Instead of limiting himself to what the majority believed, he chose to govern his life by the liberating truths that said change was possible, the time was urgent, and his people could experiencea better future.

While not yet complete, King’s vision has moved toward reality in our nation. Our country has certainly been blessed because of his resolve and courage. This would have never come about had King limited himself to the idea that things could never change.

What thoughts do you have that are holding you back? What challenges do you face in life that you have or are about to give up on, thinking your situation will never change? How often do you tell yourself that you’re just different — that hardly anything ever works out right for you — while everyone else continually enjoys success? Do you ever think that your circumstances will prevent you from making real, lasting improvement? In many cases, our self-talk simply reinforces outright lies or half-truths about who we are and what we can do.

Who will you listen to: God or your own self-talk?

What you think matters. How you look at the world, others, and yourself is vitally important. For as one thinks within himself, so he is, Proverbs 23.7. Christians enjoy a great blessing in that they have been recreated, 2 Corinthians 5.17. You have a new identity, Romans 8.16. And you are an active participant in the process of allowing God to transformyour mind, Romans 12.2, through the word of God, Colossians 3.16. Now, you live with power … the same power that raised Jesus from the dead resides within you and is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that (you)ask or think,Ephesians 3.20. 

This is the liberating truth that God has created for you. Listen to it, repeat it to yourself often, and live by it. When you do, you’ll not only be a blessing to yourself, but others as well. He who believes in Me, from his innermost being will flow rivers of living water, John 7.38.

What Do You Believe About Yourself?

Friday, February 01, 2019

What Do You Believe About Yourself?

Over the last few months we discussed the importance of planning for the future. Looking ahead at the culture and its effects on Christian families can certainly make us nervous. As we began 2019, we've encouraged you to spend  more time in prayer and personal reflection. 

What areas of your spiritual and personal life need improvement? All good preparation begins with self-examination. 

Once self examination is complete, it's time to build a plan. During February, we want to help you develop a spiritual life plan that will help you navigate this world and be prepared for the one that is to come. Today, we'll begin the journey by challenging you to think about what you believe about yourself. We'll learn:

  1. What you think matters.
  2. There are two types of thinkers.
  3. What limiting beliefs are.
  4. How to upgrade your beliefs.
  5. How to revise your beliefs.
  6. See how Christianity begins by transforming your mind.

As you prepare for Sunday’s worship, please be thinking about these questions:

  • What fact does Solomon reveal about our heart in Proverbs 4.23?
  • What does the term limiting belief mean to you?
  • How often do you find yourself struggling to get over your circumstances?
  • What limiting beliefs did Moses display in Exodus 3.10-4.13?
  • How did Paul encourage the Ephesian church to get past any limiting beliefs? (Ephesians 1.18-23; 3.20) 

The Waters Will Not Transgress His Command

Monday, January 28, 2019

In today’s sermon, I will point to a very interesting passage that talks about the boundary of the sea being set by God: I placed the sand as the boundary for the sea, a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass; though the waves toss, they cannot prevail; though they roar, they cannot pass over it, Jeremiah 5.22. This is not the only passage that speaks on this matter.

  • Psalm 104:9: You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth. This references God’s work at creation, Genesis 1.9-10. The same is true for Solomon’s writing in:
  • Proverbs 8.28b-29: He established the fountains of the deep, when he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth.
  • Job 38.8-11: Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb, when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors, and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?

These passages represent the Biblical worldview when it comes to the matter of the sea and where it will be. God has fixed its position and we have no power to change it. Period.

While no Christian would ever condone pollution or abuse of God’s creation, we need to see the godlessness that is rooted in much of modern-day environmentalism. The idea that humans possess the kind of power necessary to destroy the planet is presumptuous and the height of selfish pride and exaltation. We are not the final authority. The earth does not belong to us: The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, Psalm 24.1. We are simply stewards of the planet. We are to work it and keep it, Genesis 2.15, and God brought us into a plentiful land to enjoy its fruits and good things, Jeremiah 2.7. Let’s be good citizens and stewards of God’s bountiful blessings.

But let us also rest in the assurance of God. Our world will never again be destroyed by water: Genesis 9.11, 15. The time and occasion of the earth’s destruction will be made only at God’s command, Matthew 24.36, and not anyone else’s, not even Jesus. When our Lord does return, the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, 2 Peter 3.10. When that day occurs, we’ll meet God and give an account for the deeds done in the body. Are you ready for that day?

— Matthew Allen

It's Not About the Numbers

Monday, January 21, 2019

On Facebook I recently mentioned some things about church growth where I preach.

It's such a blessing to walk in every week and greet our guests that come by, spend time visiting and getting to know new people, and teach/encourage our members.

Our growth isn't coming because we're focusing on numbers.

It's coming because people sense the atmosphere of warmth, expressed by love, care, and concern inside and OUTSIDE the building. Not just on Sunday ... but throughout the week.

It's coming because of our emphasis on strong preaching/teaching with purpose, planning, and relevance behind it. Our shepherds, deacons, and preachers are all committed to spiritual growth and development and you can see it all over the place.

It's coming because of our member's commitment to service. Whether it be plowing an elderly member's driveway, sitting with someone in the hospital, or putting things aside to listen when someone needs a bended ear, it happens every single day at Kettering Church.

It's the fulfillment of Ephesians 4.11-12: leaders equip .. saints serve ... all for the building up of the body.

It's coming because of our willingness to meet people where they are ... and help them address the real issues they face through encouragement and application of biblical principles in a spirit of grace and hope.

When you do these things, you don't have to focus on numbers. The numbers will take care of themselves.

If you haven't been to Kettering Church lately, drop by this Sunday. You'll be glad you did.

-- Matthew Allen

The Waters Will Not Transgress His Command

Saturday, January 12, 2019

The Waters Will Not Transgress His Command

In Sunday's sermon, I will point to a very interesting passage that talks about the boundary of the sea being set by God: I placed the sand as the boundary for the sea, a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass; though the waves toss, they cannot prevail; though they roar, they cannot pass over it, Jeremiah 5.22. This is not the only passage that speaks on this matter. 

  • Psalm 104:9: You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth. This references God’s work at creation, Genesis 1.9-10. The same is true for Solomon’s writing in:
  • Proverbs 8.28b-29: He established the fountains of the deep, when he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth.
  • Job 38.8-11: Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb, when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors, and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?

These passages represent the Biblical worldview when it comes to the matter of the sea and where it will be. God has fixed its position and we have no power to change it. Period. 

While no Christian would ever condone pollution or abuse of God’s creation, we need to see the godlessness that is rooted in much of modern-day environmentalism. The idea that humans possess the kind of power necessary to destroy the planet is presumptuous and the height of selfish pride and exaltation. We are not the final authority. The earth does not belong to us: The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, Psalm 24.1. We are simply stewards of the planet. We are to work it and keep it, Genesis 2.15, and God brought us into a plentiful land to enjoy its fruits and good things, Jeremiah 2.7. Let’s be good citizens and stewards of God’s bountiful blessings.

But let us also rest in the assurance of God. Our world will never again be destroyed by water: Genesis 9.11, 15. The time and occasion of the earth’s destruction will be made only at God’s command, Matthew 24.36, and not anyone else’s, not even Jesus. When our Lord does return, the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, 2 Peter 3.10. When that day occurs, we’ll meet God and give an account for the deeds done in the body. Are you ready for that day?

— Matthew Allen 

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