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WoodsEdge Community Church 01/18/2015
Jesus In The Gospel Of Luke Series
Luke 12:1-12
Jeff Wells

If we walk honestly and rest in God’s deep grace and loving provision, we need fear no one else, and God’s Spirit will give us the very words to say as we speak up for Him.

Click here to Listen to Sermon: Fearless In His Love

My Notes from Jeff’s message

  • Authenticity: Be real, no masks (Luke 12:1-3)
    • Matt 26:38 Jesus was real. He confesses that he is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of wanting to die. He asks for the help of his disciples.
    • When do you put on a mask to impress others rather than being yourself and being real?
  • Fear: Fear God, not people (Luke 12:4-5)
    • “Either we fear God and nothing else, or we don’t fear God and fear everything else.”
    • What is God saying to you about your fears?
  • Love: God is compassionate, tender and gentle (Luke 12:6-7)
    • The one you should fear most, cares about every detail of your life. God loves you personally.
    • “When we live in the love of God, we begin to pay attention to people the way God pays attention to us.” John Ortburg
    • When did you last experience the overwhelming sensation of the personal, tender love of God?
  • Stand Up Boldly for Christ (Luke 12:8-9)
    • Reality: If we don’t acknowledge Jesus, he will not acknowledge us.
    • Talk with Jesus about areas where you resist speaking up for Him.
  • Unforgivable Sin (Luke 12:10)
    • Blasphemy is about the life-long rejection of the Holy Spirit’s witness to Jesus.
    • If you have not accepted the Holy Spirit’s testimony of Jesus, will you do that now?
  • Depend on the Holy Spirit (Luke 12:11-12)
    • The Holy Spirit lives in us to guide us in all situations.
    • Ask God to reveal where you need to depend more on His Spirit this week.

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Five Studies to use with this message

Studies written by Lisa Crum
These studies have not been reviewed or approved by WoodsEdge.

Authenticity:  Galatians 2:11-13

Read from the beginning of Galatians to grasp the tone and background.

What was Cephas (Peter) doing before the people came from James (Judean Christians) [v12]? What does Peter do when these Jewish Christians arrive [v12]? Why? How does this impact other Jewish Christians living in Antioch [v13]? How have you experienced a similar situation? Listen to God’s loving, gentle response to you about times you feel you change or simply keep quiet to fit in or appear to be something you are not?

Fear:  Esther 4:1-16

Find time to read the entire book of Esther if you are not familiar with this story.

Why are the Jews so distraught [vv 7-8]? What instruction does Mordecai give his niece, Esther [v8]? Why does she not want to follow his instructions [v11]? How does Esther respond after Mordecai addresses her fears [vv13-16]? Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal a recent time you were in a position to make a difference but chose to do nothing because of fear? What is the worst thing that could happen to you if you faced that fear? What is the best thing that could happen if you followed the leading of the Holy Spirit?

Love:  John 4:4-30,39

Before reading the questions below, read the passage a couple times. Wait for God to ask you questions or highlight verses to discuss with him.

Based on what you read or already know about Samaritan’s and Jews at the time, how do you picture the woman – personality, tone, dress? How does Jesus surprise her (more than once)? What was most impressive to the woman and the townspeople [vv 29,39]? Why is this significant to the woman and the townspeople? How do you feel about Jesus knowing everything you ever did? Sit in his presence for a bit and drink in the love he has for you even knowing everything you have done. Worship him in Spirit and in truth.

Be Bold for Jesus:  Acts 4:13-20,29-31

Read from the beginning of Chapter 3 to grasp the context of this passage.

What amazes the Jewish leaders about Peter and John [vv13-14]? What do the leaders do about Peter and John’s teaching [vv17-18]? How do Peter and John reply to this warning [vv19-20]? In light of the threats, what is the prayer of the believers [vv29-30]? What are your prayers when faced with threatening situations? Pray the prayer in verses 29-30 for yourself. If you have not had threats, replace “threats” with “fears.” Now, go out and expect opportunities to speak the word of God boldly.

Depend on God: Exodus 33:1-6,12-20

Chapter 32 reveals God’s anger at the Israelites because they made an idol and bowed down to it.

Why are the people mourning in chapter 33 [vv1-6]? Why is it important that God’s Presence go with Moses and the Israelites [vv15-16]? Jesus tells his disciples in John 14:15 that the Father is giving them the Spirit of truth to be with them and in them. How important is that to you in your everyday life? How would your day be different if you began by telling God that you only want to go where His Presence is evident with you? Try it. When you pray for God’s guidance, be sure to wait for his answer. Plan breaks throughout your day or put reminders on your phone to stop and notice God’s Presence with you. Seek his guidance in all circumstances.

Fearless In His Love 20150118 PDF

People, God Loves You!

Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19

At the end of the children’s sermon, our son Austin took the microphone from the pastor and spoke with authority, “People, God loves you!” Who is this boy? was not just a question from others in the congregation. I was asking the same thing. After his surprising affirmation of God’s love, Austin stepped forward and spoke a hope-filled prayer.

We received several comments that day. I have treasured the experience for years but I suspect few from the congregation remember it. Those who do, may only remember the boldness of a cute little boy but I wonder what God was doing in our midst through that little boy. Within a few years, the building was empty and up for sale.

It was not religious leaders or wise men who spoke the night Jesus was born. It was shepherds who “spread the word concerning what had been told them.” Luke says all who heard what the shepherds said were amazed, but not Mary. She was more than amazed. She treasured the whole experience including the words and actions of these men who came in from the fields to see her son.

I wonder what happened with all those people who were amazed at what the shepherds told them. Did they go see the baby Jesus or just make nice comments about what they heard? How long did they remember what was told them?

Bethlehem was a busy place in those days. Whether they were thrilled to reunite with family or irritated by the inconvenience of the census, most were probably too preoccupied with life to treasure in their heart the reality that was in their midst. The Savior they had been expecting for generations was being counted in their family line.

What is on your mind this Christmas season? Are you preoccupied with buying gifts, counting party guests, and doing what our culture expects? Are you amazed enough with the birth of Jesus to stop what you are doing, see this thing that has happened and spread the word of this great joy that is for all people?

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11

People, God loves you! May you treasure that truth and let it overflow from your heart all year long.

 

Published on ChristianDevotions.us 12/29/2010

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
Luke 1:30-34

I laughed when I read Mary’s response. How funny it is when God invites us to participate in something unbelievably amazing and we are stuck on “what did you say about me?” or “I can’t do that, I’m (fill in the blank).”

Read the passage again. How much does the angel say about Mary? How much does the angel say about Jesus? It’s as if Mary heard the first part and didn’t hear anything about Jesus.

Mary may not understand the significance of what the angel said is about to happen but she does not run away from it. She reveals her knowledge and trust in God in what is known as “Mary’s Song” (Luke 1:46-55).

When God invites you to participate with him, don’t get stuck on your position in life. Trust his position and his word.

Read Luke 1. What has God invited you to do with him lately? When you catch yourself saying I can’t to God, listen again for the more exciting part of what he is inviting you to do. Then say out loud, GOD CAN!

Shalom

Check out YouVersion free app for Christmas Reading Plans

Have you ever been afraid to pray? Not the fear of praying out loud in a group but afraid to enter into conversation with God. Most of us haven’t. In fact, studies show that 90% of U.S. adults pray. Even those who aren’t sure God exists pray to “cover all the bases.”

We tend to think of prayer starting when we begin talking to God. How would your approach to prayer be different if you viewed prayer as a conversation initiated by God? In Nehemiah 8–10 we see that praying faithfully began when the people “listened attentively” to the reading of scripture.

In this passage, the people respond to scripture with emotion and actions. Chapter nine includes what we would more typically call prayer but there is a twist. Instead of making a request of God in their time of great distress, the people make a commitment to God.

While the commitment is to obey carefully all the commands of God, three specific areas are emphasized in Nehemiah 10: marriage, the Sabbath and taking care of the house of God.

In praying faithfully, our first commitment is to be one with God as in a marriage relationship. Observing the Sabbath means we trust that his ways will meet the needs of this marriage. And, by listening attentively to God, we recognize that faithfulness involves assuming responsibility to care for his priorities and values above all else.

It’s easy to shoot up prayers to God, “covering all the bases,” hoping he will do what we ask. You don’t even have to believe in God to do that. It takes courage to listen attentively and be faithful to one whose priorities and values are so different than the world around us.

Do you have the courage to pray faithfully? What does that look like for you personally? Read Nehemiah 8–10. What similarities and differences do you see between this prayer in Nehemiah and your prayers? How might this perspective change the way you enter into prayer in your Bible study group?

 

Published in WISC Newsletter 2/15/2012 Find WISC on Facebook

Cheerful Giver

Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:7

I am the baby. My spot in the station wagon was front seat, between mom and dad. Those were the days when seatbelts, in the models that had them, were usually shoved out of sight. In a family of seven, assigned seating in the car was just one practice that kept things on schedule.

Attention to finances was another practice that made family life easier. I don’t recall ever hearing a lecture on the act of giving but I saw it every Sunday. My mother wrote the offering check. Then, with all the kids settled in the car, she handed the check to my dad for his signature. Whether they tithed or gave as they determined in their heart, I don’t know. But I do know the act of giving was passed on to me.

Even as a young adult doubting God’s existence, I gave to the church. When my paycheck barely covered expenses, I still gave to the church. My giving was out of instinct rather than devotion but I gave. When I married, my husband adopted this practice without hesitation.

Mom told me recently that her offering check routine was not intended to teach us to give. It was just the best time in the schedule to write it. It was part of her routine to have Dad sign the checks so that he would be equally involved in the family finances.

With the hurriedness of life, online finances, and children rarely in the adult church service when offering is received, it’s a little more difficult to pass on the act of routine giving. I can instruct my children to give from their allowance but I wonder how their attitudes toward money and possessions are being shaped without me knowing it.

How do I respond to the material needs of neighbors and friends? How do I respond when my kid’s friends are in our house at mealtime? What do they hear in my conversations relating to money? These are questions that God has brought to mind for me. Maybe there are others for you.

What do others see in your practices and routines? Do you give only out obligation or are you a cheerful giver?

 

Published on ChristianDevotions.us 3/1/2011

Settling for Suitable

The Reubenites and Gadites, who had very large herds and flocks, saw that the lands of Jazer and Gilead were suitable for livestock.
Numbers 32:1 NIV

If you don’t go, you won’t see it. Those are the words my husband felt God spoke to him as we made the decision to move 1,100 miles away. He has repeated those words to me several times over the last year.

Moving is difficult. It’s stressful and usually involves leaving the familiar to step into the unknown.

We’ve made five long-distance moves in 17 years. Our fourth move was not a place I dreamed about living but I was hoping we would not move again until our children graduated high school. After a couple of years, I was very comfortable with the idea of living there for the rest of my life. I had settled in. I was tired of moving.

Maybe that’s how the Reubenites and Gadites felt. The Israelites had moved around in the wilderness for over 40 years. God promised something great just on the other side of the river but sometimes, where we are feels good enough.

Reuben, the firstborn of Jacob, could have established his line as the most significant of the tribes of Israel but he lost that blessing early on. The Reubenites fall further from significance when they request to stay in the suitable land on the east side of the Jordan rather than cross over to the Promised Land. God did not destroy the Reubenites and Gadites for their request but eventually, the descendants of Reuben became insignificant to the point that they were hardly mentioned again.

The toughest decisions are not between good and evil. They are the tug-of-war between suitable and God’s best. God can work all things for good but if we are willing to move away from the comfortable, we can participate in something far greater than we could ever ask or imagine.

If you don’t go when God says go, you won’t see the best God has promised.

 

Published on ChristianDevotions.us 1/19/2014

The Heart of Prayer

Even now, declares the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Joel 2:12-13 (NIV)

I feel like a 24/7 help desk with a ringtone of “mom, mom, mom.” The barrage of questions comes at every age from preschool through the teen years. Inquiries may be humorous, puzzling, or just plain irritating. Why do they ask a question I’ve already answered? Why do they ask when they know my response? Why do they ask then not follow my directions?

In my more patient moments, God flashes images in my mind of questions I’ve asked Him. That’s when I realize this is more than questions and answers. It’s relationship. It’s confirming who they are in relationship with me and their significance in our family.

The questions are often, “can I have what I want?” They usually know the answer because they know me. But what fun it is to lavish my love on them by giving them more than they ask.

Other times they ask questions beyond their personal desires, to issues of the heart. I love these moments. It may last a few seconds or be an ongoing conversation over days or weeks. This is when I get to pour my heart into theirs.

I’m convinced that God loves our questions. He is always patient and longs to be in conversation with us because the conversation is so much more than questions and answers.

Whether our prayers are asking when we already know the answer, a request when God already knows what we want, or a life perspective in development; I imagine God delights in pouring His heart into ours. My kids know that throwing a tantrum gets them nothing. Rending their hearts opens a floodgate of grace and compassion. They may not hear exactly what they want or receive everything they ask for, but they will receive my heart.

Do you want God’s heart? Go ahead. Pray. Ask Him anything. Then open your heart and receive His.

 

Published on ChristianDevotions.us 4/10/2011
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