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This morning I want to follow an impression from the Lord, and it has to do with a very familiar passage of scripture. There are so many things we do because they look good or they are convenient at the time, but in the long run they prove to be a waist of our time, energy and even our money. What is it we need to build-up our lives and those around us; to make *things better for ourselves, our families, communities, and even the church? Proverbs 24:3 (ESV) By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established. Wisdom and understanding are key to building and from which things are prepared, set-up, and applied. Where do we get this wisdom and understanding? So, this morning I want us to be ones who *move forward in confidence all because we are sure of our1b.foundations.
This morning I want to look at something that has affected me all my Christian life, partly because of who I am as a personality, and partly because of what I spoke on two weeks ago as a young man “Desiring what’s real.” I believe Jesus, in His appearing, in His teaching, and especially in His death and resurrection calls each and every person into the depth of who God is; in the knowledge of who He is, in the understanding of what He is about, and particularly into a relationship with Him that recognizes, as our topic this morning indicates, that only he *has the answer to our thirst. Yet it is from that very thirst that we find refreshing. Isaiah 55:1 (ESV) “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
2.  Read: John 4:7-25 (ESV) Pray for understanding and delivery
Today's topic is abouy Real Community.
This morning I want us to look at something that affected me deeply as a young man coming to faith in Jesus, but not only me, I believe we all are looking for something real. Desiring what’s Real, is more than an observation, more than simply stating the obvious, it is a way forward. I knew I was going to speak on something around this topic this morning, but I didn’t know that I would be truly impressed by a conversation that took place in my monthly literary group this week. C.S. Lewis said in the book Mere Christianity “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” This gets right to the point. We desire something more, therefore we know there is something more. Something richer, deeper, truer. Not conditioned or conditional Whether that be in our personal lives or in the world around us – there is something we desire that is generated from outside of this natural world and even engages our imaginations.
This morning, we linked a few things together in a deposit of what I believe is so critically important to who we are, not simply as Christian people, but as human beings, who have found the reality of who they are and what they are for, all because the author of life, Jesus *has come and enlightened us to that truth. 1a.Acts 3:15 (ESV) …the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead… Colossians 1:15-17 (ESV) He is the image of the invisible God…by him all things were created…through him and for him…and in him all things hold together. All of *life is from Him, and His death on the Cross, bridged the gap that exist between God and humanity. Why? 1b.Because you matter to God.
This morning I want to look at a phrase that was highlighted to me this week and I believe many of us need to hear and remind ourselves, as well as for some to discover why everything’s going to be alright. I’m sure you’ve heard this at some time in your life, or have even told others going through something, or unsure of their present or future, that everything was going to work out and going to be alright. Why we think we know this or believe it’s true, is a bit of an enigma but nonetheless we say it anyway. Yet, is there a confidence we can have that is more than wishful thinking? More of a fact? An assurance that goes beyond circumstances and situations no matter what they look like, or how bad it seems?
With the start of a new season I want us to reflect and prepare ourselves to catch the wind of what God wants to do in our lives both individually and corporately. Like a surfer paddling out to catch a wave. David D/sledge hammer to one wall to motivate the start. What I want to deposit this morning are four “P” words you may find helpful in moving forward in fulling your God given potential. As John says in 3 John 1:2 (NKJV) I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.
Acts 26:1-23 New International Version (NIV)
26 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.”
So Paul motioned with his hand and began his defense: 2 “King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews, 3 and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.
4 “The Jewish people all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. 5 They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that I conformed to the strictest sect of our religion, living as a Pharisee. 6 And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our ancestors that I am on trial today. 7 This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. King Agrippa, it is because of this hope that these Jews are accusing me. 8 Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?
9 “I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to opposethe name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities.
12 “On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic,[a] ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’
15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’
“ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to
This week we focused on our story. We allowed God to speak to us through some of the later chapters in Acts. It's powerful to know that there is power in our stories. In reflection to God, we realize that we are made in the power and love that comes through in our stories. As we grow in our identities, we know we have more to us. There are no small stories. We all have people the Lord has set up for us to share with that will become powerful through the intention of who we are. Who we were before the Lord, and then after. God our Father has allowed us to come near to His heart to becomed transformed before Him.
This morning we continue our summer series from the book of Acts in the Bible. Acts tells us how the story of Jesus continued after His death and resurrection through the Holy Spirit in the midst of the newly formed church. Not only that, it gives us some indication of the things we are experiencing and may expect as we walk out this life of faith as God’s People. *This morning we see the church enacting and others recognizing them as The Way, as Jesus described Himself in John 14:6 (ESV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Read: Acts 19 -21 (ESV) Pray for understanding and delivery