Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Power of God

By David Morris

Maybe it’s the boy in me, but I’ve always enjoyed seeing raw power on display. Whether it was my dad lifting objects I hardly thought possible, a tank steamrolling over everything in its path, or just a good old-fashioned explosion of something. Power awes me.

As I was reading 1 Corinthians 1:18, however, I was struck with what Paul said the power of God is. What comes to your mind when you think about the power of God? Do you wish you could see it on display? Do you long for a powerful God to show Himself in your life? Maybe you wish you could see God’s power in signs and wonders, or maybe a brilliant display in nature. Paul emphatically declares that you can know and see God’s power on display. Here’s how: “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 

Notice Paul does not say the cross is the power of God. He says the word of the cross is the power of God. The declaration of the cross, the Gospel message, the pronouncement of the sacrificial death of Jesus—this is the power of God. If you want to see the power of God most clearly on display, then listen to the word of the cross. This verse echoes the same thought of Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” 

Notice too that this display of God’s power is not universal. The cross message is only God’s power to those who are being saved. Unbelievers cannot hear about the crucifixion and see God’s power in it, nor can they experience that saving power. God’s power is on display in the Gospel only for believers. If you cannot see God’s power in the Gospel, you cannot know His salvation. If you do see His power in the Gospel, you cannot stop marveling.
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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Greatest Commandment

by Andy Muxlow

Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
God’s clear and simple command is a refreshing reminder of our primary call as believers. In Matthew 22:37, Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6 when asked by the Pharisees which is the greatest commandment in the Law. We are to genuinely love God with everything we have and in everything we do. Does all our ministry activity begin out of a love for God or has any root of legalism and routine robbed us of serving Him? It is important to ask ourselves the simple question “Why do we do what we do?” Our motives are of utmost concern to our Lord. Our heavenly Father sent His Son to pay for our sins on the cross. Let this reality drive us to live out our love for Him from renewed hearts.

This pure command of Scripture should be on our minds throughout the day. It should be a part of our daily conversation with our children and our meditation in the normal activities of the day. What a gift from our gracious God! It makes it difficult to have a bad day.

So, the question you might ask is “How do I do this?” I believe the answer is in the command. LOVE GOD with all your heart, soul and might. As you walk in the Spirit, God will enable you to obey His commands and He will receive all the glory. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey me.” I pray you will be refreshed in your love and devotion to our Christ and His wonderful saving grace.
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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hear and Do? I Gotta Take Notes!

by Garth Gaddy

If you are like me, you struggle when it comes to remembering the specifics of what is said during a sermon, particularly after a day or so. Left to my brain power alone I will likely remember the topic and scripture reference, but after a day I struggle to recollect the main point and content details. Come Wednesday at GraceGroup, I recall very little without reminders. For that reason, I take notes during our pastors’ sermons.

Our goal is to be hearers and doers of God’s Word (James 1:22-25). To hear and do implies application. This requires knowledge of the passage and message, and subsequent conversion to application. It’s a chain with two links: knowledge and application. We can’t just know and not apply. That would be disobedient to God’s Word. But we also can’t apply unless we know. Note-taking helps to cement the knowledge in our brains. As we hear and write, the teaching takes on not only an aural but also a visual component. It is also a mechanism for review prior to GraceGroups so that we come prepared to share how God’s Word is applicable to us.

Our pastors’ teaching is very note-friendly. They make it easy for us by repetitively giving the main point and list of sub-points at the beginning, sometimes using alliteration. Pastor-given application may be included after each sub-point or all at the end. If you are not accustomed to note-taking and find it difficult, don’t get frustrated. Start slowly, trying to capture the main point, the sub-points and some application. Work up from there to additional content as you get better. Remember, though, to seek the Holy Spirit’s leading in how God’s Word applies to you.

I keep all my notes in spiral notebooks on my bookshelf at home. This adds the side benefit of having an archive. On more than one occasion I have forgotten the details of a sermon that I needed for discussion. At these times, my note archive really comes in handy.

I have found that note-taking is essential for me to be a “doer” of God’s Word, and very likely it is for you too.
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