Love God, Love Each Other

Sunday Lesson Notes from September 26, 2021

“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” - Galatians 5:6

Read Galatians 4

The background of the book is that the Gentiles were being forced to become Jewish (being circumcised!) before becoming Christians. Paul wanted them to be free from any obligations that did not include Christ.

Read Galatians 5:1-5

What does Paul mean by “freedom?” What did he want them to be free from?

  • They were to be free from human standards and obligations
  • Think about Adam and Eve in the garden! They were free to enjoy God’s creation. God wants us to all be free to love Him through Christ

It’s easy to try to go back to our roots of doing various things to feel good with God. But God wants us to rely on Jesus’ words, not our own human efforts.

Yoke: they control animals, they enslave

Read Galatians 5:6

What does it mean to have “faith expressing itself through love?”

  • Everything in God’s commandments is actually supposed to be helping us love each other and God better
  • This is why Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God and to love your neighbor
  • Faith is not enough, our faith compels us to love. Faith is where it starts and brings us to beautiful, loving action.

Read Galatians 5:13-26

Read and reflect. Find ways to love those in your life to express your faith.

Waiting for Lazarus

Sunday Lesson Notes from September 19, 2021

Have you ever been between a rock and a hard place? What are you going to do when God is silent?

Read John 11

Why did Jesus let Lazarus die?

  • God was able to be glorified by raising Lazarus from the dead
  • It can be easy to discount things as being coincidental instead of realizing it’s definitely God
    working and giving love to the people
  • What do we do when we face problems? --> We want to fix it! But sometimes God waits before “fixing” the problem

What passages in the Bible show how God waited to fix things?

  • In Matthew 6, Jesus tells us not to worry
  • In Exodus 14:14, Moses says that God will fight for us but we need to be still
  • In Genesis 50, Joseph didn’t become second in command to Pharaoh for at least 20 years! He was 17 when taken into slavery and second in command around age 31

It can be easy to feel abandoned in these times. It takes a tremendous amount of trust in God to say “not my will but Yours be done” the way Jesus did when He went on the cross.

What does it mean when Jesus says He is the resurrection and the life?

  • it relates to the end of times when Jesus will resurrect us and give us new life
  • also it says the way to access resurrection and life is through Jesus

Why do you think Jesus wept?

  • He had great empathy for the people there
  • God wants us all to be brutally honest with Him, and share our hearts with Him. By the end of our prayers and journaling, we can feel resolved with God and realize that He was with us the whole time.
  • What are you going to do when God is silent?

Light and Darkness

What convinced you that you needed to be called out of living in the darkness and enter into living in the light?

Read Romans 1:21-23; 1 John 2:9-11; 2 Corinthians 6:14

  • What does it mean to live in “darkness”?
    • Living a life without the presence of God
    • Not having a full understanding of who God really is
    • Having “ eyes” but not seeing
    • Not knowing where you are going in life because you are without direction

Read John 3: 19-21; John 8:12; Colossians 1:9-14

  • What does it mean to live in the "light"?
    • Living in the light involves knowing Jesus and following his example
    • Understanding the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross
    • Choosing to return to the presence of God and to stop hiding and keeping secrets in our lives
    • As disciples, after spending time with Jesus, we are able to shine our light onto others
    • When we live in the light we grow, like green plants that require sunlight; without light they shrivel up and die
    • Jesus came to bring truth and light into our lives, can we handle having our lives exposed and in the light?

Read 1 Peter 2:9-10

  • As disciples we were called out of darkness to live in the light of God
  • We are a royal priesthood, a holy nation and God’s special possession when we live and seek to stay in God’s light
  • What convinced you that you needed to be called out of living in the darkness and enter into living in the light?

Perhaps you saw the truth about yourself and found a better way to live

Perhaps you realized you can handle the strain of living without God, too many issues in the world to deal with

Perhaps your relationships with friends and family are non existent or abusive

Maybe you realized just going to church on Sunday and living poorly during the week was shallow and unfulfilling

  • God has called us all to live in the light. We do not have to give up hope because God has already rescued us through his Son Jesus if we accept the rescuing. 
  • God is transforming you right now and remaking you so that you can be physically ready to enter into his kingdom in Heaven.

Peter and John Sharing Their Faith

Sharing our faith is much more than inviting someone to church, or even proclaiming the good news; it’s the entirety of our lives as followers of Christ. 

Sunday Lesson Notes, September 5, 2021

Read Acts 3:1-26

What are some main points in this passage?

  • Peter and John healed a beggar and everyone was amazed.
  • Peter reminded them that the healing was from God's power and faith in the name of Jesus who they believed was literally alive and still with them in spirit
  • Peter reminded the Jews in this passage that they were actually personally responsible for Jesus’s death and out of ignorance they unknowingly killed the Son of God
  • Peter advised them that they needed to repent, turn from their sinful mindsets and actions, and turn to God
  • Peter and John were on their way to the temple to pray and to encourage the Jews that would be there. It was customary for the Jews at this time to pray every three hours, from sunrise to sunset. 
  • Peter and John used this opportunity to share Jesus with the beggar and healed him. As the beggar was clinging to them, they noticed the large crowd that was gathering and used it as an opportunity to share the good news about Jesus.
  • Peter and John were on their way to meet needs and sharing the good news of Jesus was another natural incident in their lives as they went on their way
  • Peter advised them as a  nation, they needed to repent in their thinking and this would also lead to individual repentance
  • When we repent and turn to God, God wipes out our sins, like an inkblot wiping out words on a page

Read Acts 4:1-36

What are some main points in this passage?

  • Peter and John were arrested for healing the beggar. They were brought before the Sanhedrin, the Jewish religious leadership group that did not believe in resurrection
  • The Sanhedrin members threatened Peter and John to stop preaching about Jesus but they refused and stated it was more important to obey God
  • The Sanhedrin let them get away with it because large crowds of people witnessed the healing and were praising God as a result. 
  • Peter reminded them that Jesus rose from the dead after he was killed and that this was foretold by their prophets
  • He advised that salvation was found in no one else but Jesus
  • They knew their scriptures and were prepared to share the news about Jesus with anyone that would listen
  • It is important to remember to read your bible each day and anchor your thoughts throughout the day in those scriptures. This will help you to remember to share Jesus as you go along in your day.
  • Internalizing who Jesus was and how he lived and how his disciples lived will help you to live and walk as Jesus did
  • Peter and John shared Jesus by telling the other believers what had happened to them.  Sharing our faith is much more than inviting someone to church, or even proclaiming the good news; it’s the entirety of our lives as followers of Christ. 

“A Message from Jesus”

Sunday Lesson Notes from August 22, 2021

We usually have one thing in our life that we can feel helpless about. Remember to bring that thing to Jesus.

Read Mark 9:17-29

  • Jesus is able to fix difficult problems even when we can’t
  • Jesus was calm and confident, He knew he could help in this situation
  • Jesus was becoming known as someone we can go to for healing
  • There was an amazing lack of faith in Jesus’s ability to help

The father in this text was willing to do anything in order to help his son. However, he was unable to change the situation on his own. Jesus and his disciples were known to heal people, but in this particular instance the disciples were not able to heal the boy. After a single conversation with Jesus the son was healed. The disciples then asked Jesus why they were unable to heal this boy. Jesus answered them that this healing was only possible through prayer. When we pray, we tap into the power of the creator. Our very own words in prayer have the ability to do amazing things. We were created in God’s image. God created the universe by speaking. When we speak in prayer God can answer those prayers resulting in amazing things too!

  • Jesus had recently come back from the transfiguration and he found his disciples arguing and not praying and not having faith. It was so bad that they couldn’t even heal people. Jesus was gone for only a little while before his disciples lost faith.

Do you pray about hard things in your life or fret and give up?

  • We usually have one thing in our life that we can feel helpless about, remember to bring that to Jesus
  • Jesus said a really outrageous statement: everything is possible for him who believes!
    • What are some other really outrageous statements that Jesus made in his lifetime?
    • Examples: the only way to God is through Him; Hate your mother and father or you cannot be his disciple; forgive others 77 times and the list goes on and on

Read John 2:18-22

  • Jesus’s words are powerful. Our words are powerful in prayer. We are made in God’s image and therefore we have access to these powerful words. 
  • Jesus left God to come here to this earth to be with us. He allowed himself to be crucified so we could have a relationship with God. He defeated death so we can too!

The Soils

Have you ever been invited to something that you thought would be boring, but you went anyway and had a great time?

Read Mark 4:1-25

  • What measure is Jesus referring to? 
    • The more effort you put into something, the more you will get out of it. The more you invest your heart and time into Jesus, the more you will get out of your relationship with him. Jesus promises to give to you way more than you can give to Him: that is the measure that is "pressed down".
  • The Soils
    • In this passage, Jesus paints a picture, and asks you to look at it.
    • What you see here is Jesus's view of the world.
    • The measure with which you retain this worldview blesses you more than you expect.
    • The words and conversations of Jesus are kinetic and full of life. They grow and shape the world apart from your own efforts.
    • At any time in our lives, we can switch from one soil type to the next
    • We don’t have to remain in the condition of bad soils, we can put work into changing our soil
    • Good news, we can weed the paths, beat the paths to make it better soil
    • Good news, we have a whole lifetime to learn learn different lessons
    • Good news, the farmer already put the seeds in the soil, so we can make effort to change our situation, even if it takes time
    • When I engage with Jesus and put effort into it, I will get so much more out of my relationship with Jesus
    • God is generous and gives us the ability to make good judgements to strengthen our convictions about how we should live and allows us to take time to investigate Jesus further
    • God perseveres with us and helps us in every situation. We don’t have to quit because God is super generous with his love
    • Hosea 10:12- reminds us to take time to prepare in my life now. God uses every moment we are weak to strengthen us
  • Hearing Jesus’s Words
    • John 5:25- We live by hearing Christ and making sense of what He says.
    • Ephesians 3:2-6: How did the Jews learn about the mystery of the past? Jesus revealed it to them
    • Romans 16: 25-27: the mystery of Jesus was revealed to some, and not to others
    • Psalms 78:1-2: Mysteries from old will be revealed, some will hear and some will not hear
    • Mark 4: 11-12:He spoke in parables to allow those who really wanted to hear, will hear
    • In order to understand what Jesus was saying, you would have to go ask questions
    • Mark 4: 21-22: When we put effort into something, it shows
    • Although Jesus’s teachings are a mystery, he wants everyone to know what he has to say. He wants to proclaim who He is. He wants to have a strong relationship with each of us.
    • His foot is always on the gas, ours is on the brake.

Spending Time With Jesus

Sunday Lesson Notes from August 15, 2021

How has spending time with Jesus this week change your life in a positive way?

Read Luke 10: 38-42

  • Mary took time to listen to Jesus and it changed her life
  • Martha was full of distraction and missed out on something great, spending time with Jesus
  • God has already taken care of the “to do” lists in our lives therefore, we can take time to spend time with Jesus as we go along in our day
  • Mary sat at Jesus’s feet to learn, which was something against cultural norms for women in her time
  • Remember that sitting at the feet of Jesus is about allowing God to do His will through you. Our relationship with God is not about trying accomplish a list of things that we think God wants us to do, but it is really about allowing God to use us to do his will
  • Jesus is THE BEST example of someone who asked God to do His will through him
  • Spending time with  Jesus will help us to remember what is really important: things like taking care of widows, orphans or the foreigner among us; instead of performing religious acts to feel close to God
  • When we spend time with Jesus, we get to remember how righteous he was and learn about what God truly wants from us
  • Spending time with Jesus can also help us to enjoy the simpler things in life and see how Jesus is present in these everyday life events. For example, when we spend time taking care of our family members or providing for the needs of others, we can imitate Jesus and the way he did these things, naturally and with a righteous heart, as he went along his daily life.
  • How are you going to allow God to use you to do his will this week?

Celebrating Jesus Christ

Sunday sermon notes from June 27, 2021

Read Ephesians Chapter 1 and 2

The church members came together at a family's home and celebrated the Lord’s Supper together by sharing a meal, singing hymns, praying  and talking about Jesus together. Here are some points that were discussed about these two chapters:

  • Paul takes us back to the beginning of time and reminds us that we are chosen by God to do good deeds and God can use us to honor Him
  • God knew we would need Jesus, and because of what Jesus did for us, we will be seated with Him at the right hand of God
  • We are vessels of the Holy Spirit of God, so we should be careful about what we are “Putting into” our bodies and what “comes out” of our bodies. It is so easy to act like the world and forget who we really are

  • God has created all of us, one race, through Jesus we are one people
  • God allowed Christianity to be extended from the Jews to the Gentiles: which means: “the nations”, so everyone can be truly free
  • What are some good works that God has prepared for us to do as Christians?
    • Loving each other with the help of the Holy Spirit
    • We should reflect God in our community when we are together
  • Focus on the references to the trinity in these passages: See how God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are working together?
    • God orchestrated the entire event
    • Jesus intercedes for us to God
    • The Holy Spirit helps us to live in unity with each other and with God
    • God’s plan allows us to be saved from death and destruction and separation from him
    • The Holy Spirit is our seal of salvation

  • We were dead in our sins until we learned what our sins were and became reconciled to God
  • We were slaves to sin, choosing to live a life of sinful patterns 
  • Jesus brings us back to life with his sacrifice for our sins. We have to be born again and raised to a new life in order to be saved. 
  • Our work as Christians is to continue to transform ourselves to become obedient to Christ, this is good work!
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Christ’s Love, Death Brings Life

Sunday Sermon Notes from June 6, 2021

Read 2 Corinthians 5:14 - 6:2

  • Christ's love compels us.
  • Jesus bore the punishment and guilt we earned for our sin.
    • He was separated from God.
  • Why are you convinced you should live for Jesus and not for yourself?
  • What is the love of Christ compelling you to do and to be?
  • Sometimes, when we chose to remove Jesus from the life we live now, we may feel worthless, full of anxiety, full of fear, stress, and we can make poor choices in our lives.

Read 1 Peter 2:21-25

  • When you are going through insults and suffering, to whom do you entrust yourself?
  • When Jesus was going through suffering, he entrusted himself to God
  • Who or what do you entrust yourself to when you are going through suffering?
  • Some examples may be: money, parents, friends, food, netflix
  • Jesus chose not to take matters into his own hands when he was suffering
  • Do you think you should be treated better than Jesus was treated?
  • How can Jesus' wounds provide healing?
    • Jesus suffered for us, he did not deserve it and did it for us anyway
    • This removes all the excuses we have not to respond to God reaching out to us
    • This should produce gratitude in our hearts
    • Healing from Jesus is true healing for our souls. He is able to help us to be reconciled to GOD and save us from our own destruction.
  • What is your response to Jesus bearing your sins on the cross?
    • God has a plan for you to die to sin and live for righteousness.
    • Death brings life.

Read Galatians 2:20

  • How do you connect with the truth that you are a sinner; you crucified Christ and don't deserve salvation?
    • You have received God's Grace, not what you deserve!
    • You are compelled by Jesus' love.
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Who is your Daddy?

Sunday Sermon Notes 6/20/2021

Read Matthew 22: 34-46

  • Why did they ask Jesus this question about commandments?
    • Were they pure hearted or just trying to cause an argument?
    • Was this the hot button topic of the day?
    • The very question exposed their intentions to trap Jesus
  • Have you ever been asked a trick question?
  • How did Jesus answer them?
    • Jesus used scripture from the Old Testament to respond to their tricks, it can be found in Deuteronomy 6:5, so they should have already known this
    • He was even able to rebuke them because they were not being loving toward Him as they were trying to trap him
  • Why did the Pharisees have a hard time understanding this?
    • They had a lot of head knowledge, but their hearts really were not about following Jesus
    • Remember the Rich Young Ruler: it was not just about money, his heart was not about following Jesus totally
  • Why did Jesus ask them about who the Messiah is?
    • This forced them to really look at the scriptures to get the answer that was true
    • It was really clear that David called the Messiah his Lord
    • Jesus was able to help them through their own reasoning when they said the Messiah was the son of David, when in fact, the Messiah was really the Son of God
    • They got the idea that the Messiah would be the son of David from 2 Samuel 7, when God promised David he would always have a son on his throne
    • The Pharisees were so caught up in their own understanding that they even missed when David referred to the Messiah as the son of God.
    • They had the son of God right in their midst and reduced how important he was 
    • Isn’t it really important to have a correct understanding of scriptures? It is so easy to miss out when you do not have this understanding, right?
  • Read through Psalm 110
    • David is writing this Psalm and stating that God said to Jesus: sit at my right hand
    • There is “royal” language used here to show that there would be a conquering of enemies and ruling of an empire in the future
    • This is a reminder, when God is in charge and does the ruling, everything goes well!
    • When we insert ourselves and remove God from the throne of our lives and decide to manage things, they don’t go so well, right?
    • Even David, started to rely on his army and his army was not able to deliver, only God delivers
    • As you read through this Psalm think of Jesus, it is an uncovering of who Jesus is and describes his purpose on this earth
  • Study out the account of "David taking a census"
    • What does this passage say about David's troops being "willing"?
    • How do the troops of the Son of Man differ from David's?  (Answer : They are properly redeemed, clothed, and willing and David's are not)
    • If David calls Jesus "Lord" in a familiar way with his use of 'Adonai', then how much more is there for us to know of Christ ourselves? (John 10:14-15)
    • The Pharisees failed to embrace Jesus as the Son of God and love Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength.  
    • Study the Psalm again and see what happens to the enemies of the Son of Man -now you know why nobody asked him any more questions.
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