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making the connection | September 13, 2020

September 15, 2020

I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.

– Philippians 4:10-18

Take some time to reflect on what it means to be a mature believer and a mature church. Use the questions below to help guide your thoughts:

Mature believers are:

  • Affirming of other people (verse 10)
    • Are you affirming of others? Are you self-centered or others-centered? Do you struggle with jealousy? How can God mature you in this area?
  • Content (verse 11)
    • Are you content? Are you a thermostat or a thermometer? Are you at peace in Christ’s sufficiency? Is your contentment based on your circumstances or your relationship with Christ? How can God mature you in this area?
  • Flexible (verse 12)
    • Are you flexible? Do you struggle with needing to be in control? Do you need to have things just so? How can God mature you in this area?
  • Confident in Christ (verse 13)
    • Are you confident in Christ? Is Christ enough for you? Do you know your identity in Christ? How have difficult times built your maturity? How have difficult times revealed your immaturity? How can God mature you in this area?

A mature church is:

  • A compassionate church (verses 14-15)
    • Are we a compassionate church? How do we show the love of Christ to others? What is our reputation in this community? How can we be known as people who genuinely love and are compassionate to everyone in our community? How do we become conduits of God’s grace?
  • A generous church (verses 16-17)
    • Are we a generous church? Matthew 6:21 says, “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Where is our treasure? What does that say about our hearts? How can God mature us in this area?
  • A church that shows sacrificial commitment (verse 18)
    • Are we a church that shows sacrificial commitment? Do we do what we say we’re going to do? Do we maintain commitments even when it isn’t convenient? How can God mature us in this area?

 

praise set:

Open the Gates (© All Essential Music (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC), Fellow Ships Music (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC), HBC Worship Music (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC), Jingram Music Publishing (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC), Not Just Another Song Publishing (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC), So Essential Tunes (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC), Vertical Church Band Publishing (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC), and Remaining portion is unaffiliate, performed by Vertical Worship, written by Jon Egan, Andi Rozier, Jess Cates, Jacob Sooter, and Jason Ingram, CCLI #7105437)

Who You Say I Am (© 2017 Hillsong Music Publishing (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing), performed by Hillsong Worship, written by Ben Fielding and Reuben Morgan, CCLI #7102401)

Reckless Love ( © Heritage Worship Music Publishing (Admin. by Bethel Music Publishing), Richmond Park Publishing (Admin. by Bethel Music Publishing), Bethel Music Publishing, and Remaining portion is unaffiliated, performed by Cory Asbury, written by Caleb Culver, Cory Asbury, and Ran Jackson, CCLI #7089641)

Blessed Assurance (© 2013 Sony/ATV Tree Publishing, performed by Elevation Worship, written by Chris Brown and Mack Brock, CCLI #7011451)

Glorious Day (© 2Sean Curran Publishing Designee, sixsteps Music, Sixsteps Songs, Worship Together Music, worshiptogether.com songs, Fellow Ships Music, Hickory Bill Doc, So Essential Tunes, performed by Passion featuring Kristian Stanfill, written by Kristian Stanfill, Jason Ingram, Jonathan Smith & Sean Curran, CCLI #7081388)

Bible Reading Plan | Devotion for the week of September 6, 2020

September 14, 2020

Weekly reading: Ephesians 3-6; Luke 1
Passages referenced: Ephesians 3:14-21

14For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. – Ephesians 3:14-21

I always appreciate the prayers in Paul’s letters. Especially this one in Ephesians 3. Maybe that’s because it shows us the passionate hope behind Paul’s teaching, encouraging, and correcting. We see the reason that he’s writing to believers. Paul’s prayer here reminds us that the Spirit is at work in us, strengthening us and that Christ dwells in our hearts through faith. He also wants us to understand Christ’s love more – that it is our foundation and is more generous and significant than we can comprehend. He reminds us that God is so great – beyond what we can even understand – and He is at work in us and through us.

And while this prayer is specifically Paul’s for the believers in Ephesus, it can be our prayer today as well. It can be our prayer for the church – specifically WCC, the believers we interact with frequently, the churches in our community, state, and country, and for believers all across the globe. It can be our prayer for ourselves as well.

Just like Paul prayed for the Ephesians, don’t you want to grow in your understanding of God’s power, Christ’s love, and the Holy Spirit’s presence in your life? Then, personalize this prayer. Pray it for WCC. Pray it for the other churches and believers in your life. And be sure to pray it for yourself as well. – Sarah Neel

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen me with power through his Spirit in my inner being, so that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith. And I pray that I, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that I may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all I ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within me, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

making the connection | September 6, 2020

September 8, 2020

True

Noble

Right

Pure

Lovely

Admirable

Excellent

Praiseworthy

If we want to experience joy and peace, we have to follow Paul’s advice in Philippians 4:8. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

And if we want to think about things that are true, noble, right, and pure, we have to be intentional. We have to take action. If we want to be able to recall and meditate on things that are lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy, we have to make sure we’re spending time in God’s Word. When we get into God’s Word, it gets into us. When we fill our minds with the truth of who God is and who we are in Christ, we will be able to recall that truth when we’re feeling anxious or angry or are struggling with something.

If you need motivation or encouragement in filling your mind with God’s truth, here are a couple of suggestions:

Equipping the Church
Join us for a new course on the book of Galatians starting Wednesday, September 9. Through large group teaching and small group discussion, we will dig into God’s Word and grow in our understanding of grace, salvation by faith, and the freedom we have in Christ. For more info or to sign up, visit: https://warsaw.cc/events

Bible Reading Plan
When we spend time in God’s Word, we grow in our understanding of who He is and who we are in Christ. Join us in reading through the New Testament this year with our Bible Reading Plan. We’re reading five chapters a week, and right now, we’re in the book of Ephesians. Find out more info at: https://warsaw.cc/bibleplan

And remember, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” – Philippians 4:6-9

praise set:

All the Earth (2014 © Word Music, LLC (a div. of Word Music Group, Inc.), HBC Worship Music (Admin. by Sony/ATV Music Publishing), Not Just Another Song Publishing (Admin. by Sony/ATV Music Publishing), Open Hands , performed by Vertical Church Band, written by Andi Rozier, Jason Ingram, Jonathan Smith, and Meredith Andrews, CCLI #7035179)

Way Maker (© 2016 Sinach (Admin. by SLIC Inspire), performed by Leeland, written by Osinachi Kalu Okoro Egbu, CCLI #7115744)

How Great Thou Art (© 1998 Music: IQ Music Limited, performed by Shane & Shane, written by Phil Baggaley, Neil Costello, Adolph Edgren, Mark Edwards, and Carl Gustav Kine, CCLI #4035406)

Give Me Jesus(© 2000 Word Music, LLC and Dejamesolo Music, performed by Nick Stanton, written by Fernando Ortega, CCLI #3295728)

making the connection | August 30, 2020

August 31, 2020

1Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends! 2I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life. 4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  – Philippians 4:1-7

From this passage, we are told to do a few things “in the Lord.” In verse one, we’re told to “stand firm in the Lord.” Verse two tells us to “be of the same mind in the Lord.” And verse four challenges us to “rejoice in the Lord.”

Stand firm in the Lord – persevere, hold fast. Whatever may come, stand firm in the Lord. Do not attempt to stand in anything else – not your past or present, not anything you’ve done or anything others have done, and not in your future hopes. Stand firm in nothing but the Lord.

  • Do you struggle to stand firm in the Lord? Why do you think that is the case?
  • What steps could you take to grow in perseverance and trusting the Lord to be your foundation?

Be of the same mind in the Lord – be of one heart, be unified. Recognize that this unity is only possible because of Christ, not because of anything you have done or can do. Ephesians 4:3-6 challenges us to “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

  • How do you struggle with being unified in the Lord with other believers? Why do you think this is something you wrestle with?
  • How could you grow in this issue? What do you need to let God do in your life to grow in unity with others?

Finally, rejoice in the Lord – recognize that true joy only comes through our relationship with Christ. It is contingent upon His presence and independent from all the things here on earth. Our joy isn’t reliant on our past or present circumstances. It is found in Him alone, and nothing can take it away. Remember, “…nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39

  • Do you struggle with rejoicing in the Lord? Do you feel you lack true joy? Why do you think this is a struggle for you?
  • What could you do to cultivate more joy in your life? How can you shift your thinking to be more aware of God’s presence and respond to Him in rejoicing?

praise set:

God So Loved (© 2019 Andrew Bergthold Designee (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing), Capitol CMG Genesis (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing), Capitol CMG Paragon (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing), We The Kingdom ASCAP Designee (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing), and We The Kingdom Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing), performed by We the Kingdom, written by Andrew Bergthold, Ed Cash, Franni Cash, Martin Cash, and Scott Cash, CCLI #7138599)

Forever Reign (© 2009 SHOUT! Publishing, Sony/ATV Timber Publishing, Windsor Hill Music, and West Main Music, performed by Hillsong Worship, written by Jason Ingram and Reuben Morgan, CCLI #5639997)

The Blessing (© 2020 Music by Elevation Worship Publishing (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC) and Remaining portion is unaffiliated, performed by Elevation Worship, written by Chris Brown, Cody Carnes, Kari Jobe, and Steven Furtick, CCLI #7147007)

making the connection | August 23, 2020

August 24, 2020

“A real Christian is an odd number anyway. He feels supreme love for One whom he has never seen, talks familiarly every day to Someone he cannot see, expects to go to heaven on the virtue of Another, empties himself in order to be full, admits he is wrong so he can be declared right, goes down in order to get up, is strongest when he is weakest, richest when he is poorest and happiest when he feels worst. He dies so he can live, forsakes in order to have, gives away so he can keep, sees the invisible, hears the inaudible and knows that which passeth knowledge.” – A.W. Tozer

As Christians, our lives look different than those of the people around us. As Tozer points out, just about everything we do and believe is the opposite of what seems logical. That’s because we’re living as citizens of heaven, not of earth. Because nowhere in the Bible are we called to live like the people around us and nowhere are we promised that this world and life in it will feel normal. This world is not our home. And we need to be ok with that tension we feel as people living here while longing for our true home.

Jesus’ words in John 16-17 remind us of this tension we feel and the reality of the upside-down kingdom of God. We are citizens of heaven living here on earth right now. When we look at Philippians 3:17-4:1, we are reminded of how to live in that tension.

17Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. 1Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends! – Philippians 3:17-4:1

There are four lessons we’re focusing on from that passage. First, we need to live in community with one another within the body of Christ. We also need to cultivate relationships with people far from God. Next, we need to be clear about our citizenship. And lastly, we need to stand firm in the Lord. Take some time to reflect on those four lessons from Philippians 3:17-4:1 using the following questions:

  • When you look at your life, how do you see that you need others? What does Christian community look like in your life? Who acts as a mentor for you? Who are you mentoring? How could you grow in this area?
  • How are you engaged with the world? What kind of relationships do you have with people far from God? How are you guilty of hibernating or separating yourself from the world? How could God stretch you in this area?
  • Do you have a clear understanding of your citizenship? Do you live more like a citizen of heaven or of earth? Why? What could you do to better live in the reality of your true citizenship?
  • What does it mean to stand firm in the Lord? Do you stand firm in Him, or do you try to stand on other foundations? How do you need God to work in your life to strengthen your trust in Him?

 

praise set:

Graves into Gardens (© 2019 Maverick City Publishing Worldwide (Admin. by Heritage Worship Publishing), Bethel Music Publishing, and Remaining portion is unaffiliated, performed by Elevation Worship, written by Brandon Lake, Chris Brown, Steven Furtick, and Tiffany Hammer, CCLI #7138219)

Open the Gates (©  All Essential Music (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC), Fellow Ships Music (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC), HBC Worship Music (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC), Jingram Music Publishing (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC), Not Just Another Song Publishing (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC), So Essential Tunes (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC), Vertical Church Band Publishing (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC), and Remaining portion is unaffiliate, performed by Vertical Worship, written by Jon Egan, Andi Rozier, Jess Cates, Jacob Sooter, and Jason Ingram, CCLI #7105437)

10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) (© 2011 Thankyou Music, Said And Done Music, sixsteps Music, and SHOUT! Publishing, performed by Matt Redman, written by Jonas Myrin and Matt Redman, CCLI #6016351)

Jesus You Alone (© 2018 Highlands Creative Publishing (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.), performed by Highlands Worship, written by John Larson, Nicole McLean, and Jesse Reeves, CCLI #7120418)

 

 

 

Bible Reading Plan | Devotion for the week of August 23, 2020

August 24, 2020

Weekly reading: 2 Corinthians 12 – Galatians 3
Passages referenced: 2 Corinthians 12:9-10;
Galatians 2:19-20; 2 Samuel 22:33

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

It’s hard to think about our weaknesses as anything but negative. The world tells us that we are “less than” if we show any kind of weakness or we don’t measure up to its view of success. However, as Christians, we should not only accept our weaknesses but actually embrace them. When we’re at our weakest, we have the opportunity to truly magnify the strength of the Lord. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:10, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

As I walked through a difficult season of trying to have children, I was reminded over and over of the Lord’s strength. During a time of loss, it was His power within me that helped me move forward and continue trusting in His plan. It’s in the moments of struggle that we’re reminded of how great God is and how completely we need that strength that only comes from Him. In our human nature, we are weak and sinful. But, with the Holy Spirit living and acting within us, we are a representation of the Lord’s power and strength.

The apostle Paul, a man who endured many hardships and trials of his own, was the prime example of living out God’s strength. He was challenging believers to live by faith in God and not to be slaves to the law. It was his reminder that Jesus died to free us from the law that should challenge all of us today. We aren’t called to please men and to follow a set of rules and regulations perfectly. We are set apart by the grace and redemptive love of Christ, and we are called to live by faith in Him.

“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:19-20

Let’s challenge ourselves to live fully in faith to our Lord and the grace we were saved by. We are “all one in Christ Jesus” and have His power living in us. We can put our full trust in God and remember that we have a source of strength within us that will guide us through anything we face. As 2 Samuel 22:33 reminds us, “It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.”Brooke Price

making the connection | August 16, 2020

August 18, 2020

12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16Only let us live up to what we have already attained. – Philippians 3:12-16

It’s tempting to keep looking at or thinking about what is behind us. But we need to retrain ourselves to stop doing that. We have to keep the past in the past and not bring it with us as we strain toward what is ahead. Regardless of how big or recent something was, it belongs behind us. And we need to remember to look at things from a rearview mirror to have the proper perspective on things – to keep things in their correct size and place.

And the reason we do all this is that we want to “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called [us] heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (verse 14) But we need to remember that we aren’t striving for something the world would consider a prize and in our style of doing things. We should be pressing on towards God’s prize for us and doing so in God’s style.

In verse 16, Paul challenges us to “live up to what we have already attained.” That means we just need to live up to who God says we are and what God has asked us to do. So what does that mean in your life? That answer will be different for each of us because we’re all at different points in our relationship with Christ and our faith journey. So take some time now to think through the questions below to help you figure out exactly what this looks like in your life.

  • Who does God say you are?
  • What truths from God’s Word remind you of your identity in Christ?
  • What has God called all of us to do or be?
  • What has God called you specifically to do or be?
  • What has God invited us to be a part of?
  • How has God gifted you to join Him in His work?

Spend some time in prayer, thanking God for who He says you are and how He works in your life. Thank Him for the fact that we aren’t defined by our past. Instead we’re able to join Him in looking ahead and living in the truth of who we are in Him. Ask God to give you the willingness and boldness to say yes to what He is calling you to do.

Praise Set:

Found in You (© 2013 Leadworship Songs, Open Hands Music, Sony/ATV Timber Publishing, HBC Worship Music, Jingram Music Publishing, and Sony/ATV Cross Keys Publishing, performed by Vertical Church Band, written by Paul Baloche, Jason Ingram, and Andi Rozier, CCLI #7005969)

See a Victory (© 2019 Fellow Ships Music (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC), Music by Elevation Worship Publishing (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC),So Essential Tunes (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC), and Remaining portion is unaffiliated, performed by Elevation Worship, written by Ben Fielding, Chris Brown, Jason Ingram, and Steven Furtick, CCLI #7129060)

 Is He Worthy (© 2018 Jakedog Music (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.) and Remaining portion is unaffiliated, performed by Shane & Shane, written by Andrew Peterson and Ben Shive, CCLI #7108951)

Build My Life (© Said And Done Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing), sixsteps Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing), Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing),worshiptogether.com songs (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing), and Remaining portion is unaffiliated, performed by Passion featuring Brett Younker, written by Brett Younker, Karl Martin, Kirby Kable, Matt Redman, and Pat Barrett, CCLI #7070345)

Bible Reading Plan | Devotion for the week of August 9, 2020

August 11, 2020

BibleReadingPlan-promo(devo)

Weekly Reading: 2 Corinthians 2-6

Passage Referenced: 2 Corinthians 5:14-21

Your words are always in pursuit of some kind of kingdom. You are either speaking as a mini-king, seeking to establish your will in your relationships and circumstances; or you are speaking as an ambassador, seeking to be part of what the King is doing.  –Relationships: A Mess Worth Making

The force of this quote takes a moment to sink in. Some part of me wants to push back and argue that I’m not always seeking to establish my will or manage situations for my benefit. But, if I’m being honest, I have to admit this is fairly true. The current situation in our world turns up the volume on my sense that I need to fend for myself and watch out only “for me and mine.” The idea that the King is working out His will, even in the midst of a pretty polarized era, is mindboggling. It all leads me back to the importance of faith and trust. Will I trust that He is working all things out according to His good purposes? Will I have faith in the unseen, eternal God when the visible, temporary trials of this life scream so loudly?

We have to give each other permission in this season to step back and take a breath. There’s some business each of us needs to work through with God before we can effectively join what He is doing in our world. First, we’ve got to recognize that we are seriously tempted to speak and act like “mini-kings.” (Thank God He forgives us for our prideful attitudes!) Then, we have to have our eyes open to what He is about all around us as He reconciles people to Himself through the cross. Finally, we have to guard our tongues and choose to use the power of our words in the service of Christ and what He desires for all people.

As you work through the best way to live out your faith, read these words below from 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 and ask the Lord to use them to help sharpen your focus on and devotion to Him.

– Nate Metler

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. –2 Corinthians 5:14-21 (NIV)

making the connection: August 9, 2020

August 11, 2020

MTC new sizeBirth truth, Identity truth, and Growth truth (B.I.G.) are helpful ways of thinking about and understanding our spiritual lives. Birth truth refers to our salvation, that epochal moment when everything changed. Identity truth focuses on what God has done for us and who God says we are. And growth truth is about our walk of faith, our personal journey with Christ. The elements of BIG truth are found time and time again in God’s Word. And they can be very helpful ways of understanding what God is teaching us.

Todd introduced this concept on Sunday. But it’s really something that takes some time to understand and practice to be able to identify on your own. So take some time now to do just that. First, read through Philippians 3:1-11 below. After you’ve read the passage once, reread it while looking for the parts of the passage that refer to birth, identity, and growth truths. Use the prompts under the verses to help you study.

1Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith.

2Watch out for those dogs, those people who do evil, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved. 3For we who worship by the Spirit of God are the ones who are truly circumcised. We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort, 4though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could. Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more!

5I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. 6I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault.

7I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. 8Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ 9and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. 10I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead! – Philippians 3:1-11 (NLT)

Birth truth – what God’s Word says about salvation, the epochal moment when everything changed.

Identity truth – what God’s Word says about what God has done for you and who God says you are.

Growth truth – what God’s Word says about your walk of faith, your personal epic journey with Christ.

 

Sunday Service Praise Set:

Found in You

(© 2013 Leadworship Songs, Open Hands Music, Sony/ATV Timber Publishing, HBC Worship Music, Jingram Music Publishing, and Sony/ATV Cross Keys Publishing, performed by Vertical Church Band, written by Paul Baloche, Jason Ingram, and Andi Rozier, CCLI #7005969)

 

See a Victory

(© 2019 Fellow Ships Music (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC), Music by Elevation Worship Publishing (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC), So Essential Tunes (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC), and Remaining portion is unaffiliated, performed by Elevation Worship, written by Ben Fielding, Chris Brown, Jason Ingram, and Steven Furtick, CCLI #7129060)

 

Is He Worthy

(© 2018 Jakedog Music (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.) and Remaining portion is unaffiliated, performed by Shane & Shane, written by Andrew Peterson and Ben Shive, CCLI #7108951)

 

Build My Life

(© Said And Done Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing), sixsteps Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing), Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing), worshiptogether.com songs (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing), and Remaining portion is unaffiliated, performed by Passion featuring Brett Younker, written by Brett Younker, Karl Martin, Kirby Kable, Matt Redman, and Pat Barrett, CCLI #7070345)

making the connection: August 2, 2020

August 4, 2020

We were made to live in community. After God created Adam, He said that it wasn’t good for man to be alone and created Eve. (Genesis 2:18) From marriage to parenthood to siblinghood to friendships to all sorts of relationships, we were made to do life with others.

And the relationships we foster within the community of believers are even more special and important. We are called to worship and pray and serve alongside one another. The believers we read about in the book of Acts and Paul’s various letters, including the one to the Philippians, model that community for us.

In Philippians 2:19-30, Paul shows us a couple of examples of what this community can look like through his relationships with Timothy and Epaphroditus. For Paul, Timothy was sort of a kindred spirit. They had a deep, healthy friendship – the type of bond where you just get each other. And we can be encouraged and challenged by Timothy’s example of living like Jesus just like what Paul mentions a few verses before (Philippians 2:5-7). And then there’s Epaphroditus whom Paul considered the type of person that you wouldn’t want to go to war without – someone who risks a lot for you. By visiting Paul when he was imprisoned, Epaphroditus took on guilt by association. He embraced risk and danger for his friend Paul.

Paul’s relationships with both Timothy and Epaphroditus should serve as both an encouragement and a challenge for us. They are models for us to see what living in community and loving one another should look like. They also show the various types of relationships we find within community. But most importantly they remind us of what we already know: that we are to love others well. And in case we need a reminder of that challenge, in Matthew 22: 36-40, Jesus is asked, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

So here are some questions to ponder this week:

  • How are you loving God?
  • How are you loving others?
  • Who is a Timothy in your life? An Epaphroditus?
  • How are you a Timothy or Epaphroditus to others?
  • What is God calling you to do to grow in your love of Him and others?

Read & Study

Spend some time this week reading through the passage we covered on Sunday: Philippians 2:19-30. Use the following prompts to help you study the verses:

Observation: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? What does it say? What do I notice?

Interpretation: What are the key themes or truths? What is the writer’s intended meaning? What is the context? What questions do I have?

Application: How do I apply it? What are the implications in my life? What does this mean for me?