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And As They Say - The Rest is History

Saturday, January 13, 2018

I remember the day very well. Sitting in the Detroit airport with Emilea on my way back from the 2011 Florida College lectures, I received a phone call from one of our shepherds. He said, “You better dust off your passport, because beginning this year we are going to send you around the world following up with the preachers we support across the globe.” I was excited. The thought of meeting new Christians and visiting new places always intrigues me. 

We decided to visit Colombia first. I had never been to South America. All I had heard about Colombia was drug cartels, jungles, the equator, and hot weather. I remember the morning I flew out to Bogotá. I had no idea of what to expect. I was nervous. Our shepherds had me coordinate the trip with Royce Chandler and Wayne Galloway, whom I had never met. They would arrive a day later. I didn’t know the man who would pick me up at the airport. I had to look through the crowd for a person holding a sign with my name. I knew about three Spanish words. It was all very intimidating.

A few days after my arrival, I flew to Manizales with Wayne Galloway. When I first met Jaime Restrepo inside the tiny airport with the shortest runway ever created on top of a mountain, little did I know how our friendship would blossom. From that first visit, I learned a great deal about the Colombian work and Jaime’s part in it. When I came home, I suggested that Kettering should concentrate on helping with the work in Colombia on a larger scale. Our shepherds embraced the idea. And as they say, the rest is history. 

In seven years, our footprint there has grown significantly. I’ve made six trips. Jason & Sadonna Schofield have made at least three. Greg Morrison went down a year ago. We now support seven men in the field. We’ve visited congregations throughout the country. We encouraged the Cali church to establish elders. We’ve helped young preachers get established. Tens of thousands of your dollars have gone there for benevolence and ministry support. And now, we’ve invited Jaime to work here with us during 2018. I couldn't be more excited to have him as a partner here locally. I know you’ll receive him warmly today. If you don't know him, after you meet him you’ll be glad you did.

- Matthew Allen

God's Masterpiece

Friday, January 12, 2018

Sunday Scripture Reading: Jeremy Price
Sunday Song Leader: Jim Rutter
TEXT: Ephesians 2.4-10

Ephesians 2.8-9 has been called the hallelujah chorus of our salvation. Our salvation is all about God’s plan and God’s activity. It is all through Jesus. It’s personal. God did it all for you. 

This is so amazing, especially when we consider that we chose sin over God’s good way. Despite this our becoming victims because of our own bad choices did not prevent God from moving with mercy and love. God moved us from Satan’s realm to His own. Just as Jesus lives forever and reigns triumphantly, so do God’s children continue in spiritual life and triumph over the old life of human failure.

And more than that, now God is at work in us, making us His masterpiece of grace. You are His workmanship. You are someone special who is valuable and important. Now, because of Jesus, your life has purpose and direction. Now, you live inside a real hope of something eternal. 

On Sunday we will do two things:

  1. Examine Ephesians 2.4-6; 8-9 and learn about the present reality of our salvation.
  2. Examine Ephesians 2.7, 10 and discover how we are each God’s personal work of art.

As you get ready for worship, be thinking about these questions:

  • Read 2.4-5. What do those who choose God receive? Read 2.3. What do those who do not choose God receive?
  • Why is it so important to understand that your salvation is a present reality?
  • What does it mean to have been delivered and transferred?
  • What does it mean to you to understand you are God’s treasured possession?
  • According to 2.10, what is the purpose of good works?

The Reality of Your Salvation

Saturday, January 06, 2018

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

- Ephesians 2:4–7, ESV

These words are some of the most powerful inside the New Testament. Here Paul goes out of his way to remind us that our salvation is entirely due to God's grace, love, mercy, and compassion. We need to hold on to this and keep it in our mind. Your relationship with God is all according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved, Ephesians 1.5b-6.

During the month of January we will continue our focus on God’s eternal plan. Whereas Ephesians 1 describes an overview of God’s scheme of redemption, chapter 2 tells us how God took the initiative to save, why God decided to save, and the result salvation provides. Very simply, Ephesians 2 is a description of God’s tactical plan to supply us with resurrected spiritual life, forgiveness, grace, and union with Him. 

I hope you are excited to spend the next few weeks diving into Ephesians 2. Make time each week to read the chapter over and over. Let the reality of what Paul describes sink inside your mind. Allow this knowledge to cause you to wake each day with a clearer understanding of your spiritual identity. You can take your spiritual life to the next level. Are you ready? Let’s go!

- Matthew Allen

Alive Together With Christ

Friday, January 05, 2018

Sunday Scripture Reading: Jim Grushon Jr.
Sunday Song Leader: Dru McLaughlin
Text: Ephesians 2.1-7

Ephesians 1.10 could be described as the theme of the epistle where Paul talks about God’s plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In chapter 2, Paul goes into detail on how God made it all happen. It tells us God moved with swift urgency to save mankind from spiritual disaster and His wrath. It describes how God took the initiative. It tells us why God decided to save. And it tells us the result of the salvation God provides.

Your salvation involves God’s activity, His grace, love, mercy, and compassion. And, your salvation is all about Jesus. It’s a result of God’s work, not your own. 

On Sunday examine key phrases in our text that describe:

  • 2.1-3 - our former condition.
  • 2.4-7 - what God did in saving us. 

As you get ready for worship, be thinking about these questions:

  1. How would you describe what it means to be spiritually dead?
  2. What are sins and trespasses?
  3. What is worldliness? Who runs the world? How does it affect us?
  4. What is the difference between mercy and grace?
  5. What do you think it means to be seated in the heavenly places?

We Have Obtained an Inheritance

Friday, December 29, 2017

Sunday Scripture Reading: Jason Pratt
Sunday Song Leader: Roy Pyle
TEXT: Ephesians 1.11-14

In Ephesians 1.10 Paul says our salvation is part of God’s plan to one day unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. What a glorious thought! 

What will happen when this occurs?

We’ll receive our inheritance, 1.11. The fact of our receiving it is so sure that Paul writes as if it has already occurred. God always keeps His promises. This may sound strange in a world where almost every day we live inside broken promises and betrayed trust. Everybody makes promises, but not everybody keeps them. Politicians lie. The government lies. Advertisers lie. Employers and employees lie. Family members lie. But there is one person how makes promises and never breaks them, and that’s our God! For He who promised is faithful, Hebrews 10.23.

This fact is what makes our text in Ephesians 1.11-14 so bright. The person who is in Christ can live with full assurance that there is an inheritance waiting to the praise of His glory. 

On Sunday, we discuss three things:

  • 1.11-12 - The grounds of our inheritance.
  • 1.13-14a - The guarantee of our inheritance.
  • 1.14b - The goal of our inheritance.

As you get ready for worship, be thinking about these questions:

  1. To whom are all spiritual blessings made available?
  2. Read Ephesians 1.3-14. How many times the words In Him, before Him, or in the beloved is used. What is the importance of this?
  3. Is there anything in 1.12-13 that emphasizes our personal responsibility in salvation?
  4. What did it mean to be sealed during Paul’s day?
  5. As we move into 2018, why is it important to understand who you are?

Displaying 101 - 105 of 191

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