SERMON NOTES (Nov 22, 2015): Thanks for His Amazing Grace - Acts 27:21-35

I.           God gave INSTRUCTION for our survival. (See vs 21 & 25)
EXP - “you ought to have followed my advice” vs. 21. “it will turn out exactly as I have been told.” vs. 25
Paul believed God’s Word was sufficient for life.
Thank God for His Word!
Thank God for His teachers and preachers!

II.         God called for INTERCESSION for survivors. (See vs 24)
EXP – “God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.” vs. 24
Paul believed God had given him a great responsibility.

Mayflower Compact – Nov 11, 1620: “Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic”

Thank God for your intercessory ministry!
Thank God for your friends, neighbors, family!

III.       There’s no RESERVATION apart from trusting His hand. (See vs 29-30, 32)
EXP – “Fearing that we might run aground somewhere on the rocks” vs. 29 “Sailors were trying to escape from the ship” vs. 30 “the soldiers cut away the ropes of the boat and let it fall away” vs. 32
Paul wouldn’t accept an alternate plan outside of God’s Word

In the last year of his life, an Illinois pastor asked A.Lincoln, “Do you love Jesus?”: “When I left Springfield I asked the people to pray for me. I was not a Christian. When I buried my son, the severest trial of my life, I was not a Christian. But when I went to Gettysburg and saw the graves of thousands of our soldiers, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ. Yes, I love Jesus.”
National Thanksgiving Day – A.Lincoln – Oct 3, 1863: “To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. …. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

Thank God for His perfect plan!
Cut off your escape plan! God doesn’t need a plan B!

IV.       God supplies for our PRESERVATION until we land. (See vs 34)
EXP – “take some food, for this is for your preservation” vs.34
Paul believed his trip would meet its destined end.

Thanksgiving Proclamation – G. Washington – Oct 3, 1789: Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an  opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be… And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; …and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Thank God for preserving us to the day we arrive home in heaven!
Enjoy the trip, discerning what is temporary and what is eternal!
Praise the Lord although the ship is wrecked that you are saved!

SERMON NOTES (Nov 15, 2015): Thanks, But No Thanks - Rom 1:18-32

I.                    Refusing Thanksgiving Leads to Physical Dishonor (Rom 1:24)
Understand Thanksgiving (Physical Action):
        - Obedience (Rev. 3:10)
        - Worship/Walk in Spirit (Gal 5:16)
        - Godliness/Holiness (2 Pet 2:9)

See James 1:14-16:
Temptation-> Desire-> Sin-> Death=> Dishonor
                        THE LIE OF EVOLUTION: origins

II.                    Refusing Thanksgiving Leads to Emotional Degradation (Rom 1:26)
Understand Thanksgiving (Emotional Response):
                                - Jesus’ Desire in Me (Rom. 7:17-21)
                                - Motivation to Please God (James 4:1-3)

        Emotional Degradation -> Family Dysfunction-> Societal Destruction
THE ATTACK ON THE FAMILY: infrastructure
III.                  Refusing Thanksgiving Leads to Mental Depravity (Rom 1:28)
Understand Thanksgiving (Mental Capacity):
        - Reasonable Worship (Rom. 12:1-2)
        - Peaceful Thinking (Phil 4:8-9)

        - Illuminated Cognition (Ps 119:105)

SERMON NOTES (Nov 1, 2015): Vision of Mission - Acts 15:36-41;16:6-10

Vision of Mission
Acts 15:36-41; 16:6-10
I.                    Mission and Methodology (15:36-41) CONFLICT
·         Sometimes Differences in Methodology are opinions that arise so that ministry can be expanded. (Paul & Barnabas Disagreement)
·         EXP: “said to” Paul as initiator/leader vs. Barnabas former leader; “Barnabas wanted”- desire over strategy, John Mark cousin. “Paul kept insisting” – Mark’s desertion in Pamphylia (see Acts 13:13), refusal to go forward (maybe persecution –see Acts 13:50); “sharp disagreement” politics of Jerusalem Council, Peter’s vision vs. circumcision; Separation B & M to Cyprus (B’s home country) vs P & S to Asia Minor.
·         Not every strategic conflict is bad.
·         ILL: Church conflict – way to handle conflict.
·         Vision quantifies Purpose.
·         APP: 4 Ways People Handle Conflict-
o   Circumvention – go around; avoid
o   Competition- fight
o   Compromise – give in
o   Collaboration to discover purpose
§  Desensitize (Worship & Pray), Deliberate (Word & Pray), Decide (Work & Pray)

II.                  Mission and Results (16:6-8) COUNTING
·         Sometimes Attempts are made but the Metrics show no tangible results. (Spiritual Opposition)
·         EXP: “Phrygian, Galatian, Asia, Bithynia” “Holy Spirit-forbidden” “Spirit of Jesus did not permit” Jesus stood in the way of Paul’s plans. Did this mean that Barnabas was right?
·         Not every spiritual opposition is demonic.
·         ILL: Story of Tamara in Bryansk – 6 months.
·         Vision qualifies Effort.
·         APP: Know that where you are is NOT where you are going to be. Sometimes the lesson is in the WAITING.

III.                Mission and Devotion (16:9-10) CONCLUSION
·         Sometimes in the midst of devotion, God gives fresh Vision. (End of the Road in Troas)
·         EXP:  “Troas” “vision” “to Paul” “night” “he had seen” “we sought” “called us”
·         Not every Troas is a dead end.
·         ILL: Ministry dead ends: 800 IMB Missionaries returning to USA coinciding with huge wave of increased immigration from unreached people groups?
·         Vision clarifies Opportunity.
·         So what do you do when you reach your very own personal Dead End?