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Field Notes

Thoughts, musings and directions for shepherds of FFC

Trusting Dad – Pastor James Gallaher

As we begin to prepare to observe 40 days of Sabbath rest as a church, it’s important to understand what “Sabbath” really is.  When it comes down to it, Sabbath reminds us to, above all, trust God.

Hebrews 4:9-11 says that there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God:

“So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.”

Most people’s understanding of Sabbath rests completely on Exodus 20:8, leaving us with an incomplete picture of what Sabbath really is intended to be.

Paul speaks to this in Colossians 2:16-17

Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day— things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

The Colossians were holding on to what was a shadow of what God had intended when the fulfillment had already been given.

They had long lists of rules on how to exactly keep the Sabbath – things they could do and things they could not do.

Today, we set rules around Sabbath such as what day of the week the Sabbath day is supposed to fall on.

We often view the Sabbath as a way for man to get to God, however man was not made for the Sabbath, but Sabbath was made for the man (Mark 2:23).

The Sabbath was given after man was created – it was given as a gift to man, a gift that was never intended to stop or be confined to a set of restrictions.

Sabbath is not about rules, but relationships.  Rules weigh people down.

But He said, “Woe to you lawyers as well! For you weigh men down with burdens hard to bear, while you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers.

Luke 11:46

Jesus came not to give us a set of rules to put around gifts like the Sabbath but to replace the shadow of what Sabbath could be with a relationship, fulfilling what sabbath really mean.

Seven times we read about Jesus removing the shadow and replacing it with a relationship. 

John 5 – Pool of Bethesda.

Luke 13 – Healing of a crippled woman.

The point of Sabbath was always to remove the burden.

We are always aiming to “try harder,” but the reality of Sabbath is not to try harder but to trust more, which by the way, leads to doing less.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”

Matthew 11:28

The way that we demonstrate trust in the Lord is by giving to Him all of the burdens that have been placed on us, exchanging the shadow for the real thing.

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Questions:

  1. What has been your understanding of Sabbath, and how might that understanding reflect the shadow but not the real thing?
  2. What burdens are you carrying, either placed on you by others or yourself, that you are going to give to Jesus as we focus on sabbath this summer?
  3. Where in your life do you need to trust God more?
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Suffering’s Potential

As we wrap up our series on the topic of Transformation, it is important to take another look at perhaps the most well-known verse on the topic:

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Romans 12:1-2

We are told not to conform, but to be transformed.

To conform is easy and does not cost anything. I am not changing myself, but retooling to fit new circumstances.

To transform involves dying to myself, my desires, and my plans to become something new.

The difficult truth to hear, though, is that transformation does not happen in the happy times, but in the difficulties in life. 

Two things that are requirements for transformation:

  1. Trials and suffering

Two promises we need to believe and hold on to if we have any hope of being transformed.

  1. God’s grace is sufficient for today.

Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

You look at someone else’s situation and think that you could never make it through what they are going through, but if it were you, you would be able to.  His grace is sufficient for whatever trial you are going through right now.

2.    He will get us through the trial

 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

1 Corinthians 10:13

God’s Word says a lot about trials and suffering:

James 1:2

Romans 5:3

1 Peter 4:12-13

To willingly endure trials and suffering requires that we believe that God maintains a purpose for all suffering.

Beware of an aversion to suffering, for it’s possible that you are overlooking the very thing that God is using to transform you.  What we believe about suffering 100% determines what we do with it.

2. Perseverance – To remain under

a man who desires to be transformed must be willing to “remain under” trials in order to follow God’s way.

James 1:4

James 1:12

Galatians 6:9

We must make the choice to remain under the circumstances we find ourselves in for the greater promise that awaits us in a transformed life.

And remember: Suffering was never intended to be dealt with alone – we are to “bear one another’s burdens.”

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Questions:

  1. What trials are you going through today, and how do you think God is using them to produce transformation within you?
  2. Spend time praying for one another. Specifically focus on asking god to produce transformation in our lives through the trials we are going through.

Dying to Self

In light of our ongoing study of transformation, this past Sunday we asked the question “how does the Holy Spirit partner with us in transformation of our character and our life?”

The answer: Through dying to self – the key to finishing your race well is to die to self today.

Die before you die.

Our entire walk with the Lord consists of thousands and thousands of choices we must make on a daily basis – choices to say “no” to myself and “yes” to Him.  We are to decide to follow Him not just as Savior, but also Lord.

The principle is clear and found in John 12:24 – 

“Truly, truly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

It is a collection of little deaths to self that free us to live life God’s way.

For those who have asked God to use them, the School of Dying to Self is the course of study, and the classes in this school are called trials 

Trials are not a hindrance to great faith; trials are the process of great faith.

Look at any life of great dedication and faith and you will find a testament of trials and a life dialog of dying to self.

Transformation begins with dying to self, and yet there are so many thoughts that consume us that let us know that we have not yet embraced dying to self.

3 common statements that let us know that we need to die to self:

  1. My problems are greater than others.

1 Corinthians 10:13 says –

No temptation has overtaken you that is common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

2.   This is persecution from others, not God’s perfection process at work in me.

Every event in life promises an opportunity to learn the most important lesson on this earth – 

“I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” – Galatians 2:20

3.   This might work for others but it hasn’t worked for me, and never will.

“ And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” -Romans 8:28

God causes every little death to self to create new life in those who love Him and are loved by Him.

Virtually all giants of the faith died to self and now live eternally:

  • the art of Lillian Trotter
  • the poetry of Amy Carmichael
  • the writing of F.B. Meyers

We will never produce fruit that remains unless we embrace the little deaths that occur in the School of Dying to Self.

When our life is buried in the good soil of God’s plan, not our own self interest, real fruit is produced.

For when I die to self, He lives through me.

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Questions:

  1. What are some of “little decisions” that are in front of you that are going to require you to die to self?
  2. What does it look like to die to self in the different areas of your life (marriage, kids, church, etc.)

Transformational Prayer

If you read the stories of transformation in the Bible, whether transformation of a person or a situation, nearly all of them have one thing in common – someone prayed.

Biblically, transformation is almost always preceded by transformational prayer.

3 characteristics of transformational prayer – prayer that God will use to transform us and those around us.

The people of God had been shown God’s favor from the beginning, yet because of a slide down into disobedience, God had to discipline them by sending them into exile for 70 years to Babylon.

Daniel was one of those exiles. He had caught the eye of the king and served steps from royalty during his captivity. It was towards the end of the captivity that he prayed fervently for his fellow people to be returned back to Jerusalem. It is in the couple of verses leading up to that prayer that we learn what transformational prayer looks like.

in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes.

Daniel 9:2-3

3 characteristics of transformational prayer

  1. Transformational prayer begins from a place of knowing God’s heart – Daniel 9:2

Daniel knew God’s heart for the situation they were facing because he knew God’s Word. We should know God’s Word, but Jesus told us about another way, in addition to the Word, that we can know God’s heart.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

John 14:26

One of the Holy Spirits roles is to bring to our mind the things that Jesus spoke, and Jesus only spoke that which originated from the heart of the Father.

Prayer should not become something we do just to check a box. We should be constantly paying attention to who or what the Holy Spirit put’s on our minds, and then be diligent to pray.

Who is it, or what situation is it that you keep thinking about at the most random times? Those are not random thoughts, but the Holy Spirit stirring you up to pray.

2. Transformational prayer is both often and immediate – Daniel 9:3

The first thing verse 3 tells us is that Daniel committed to a season of prayer.  It was not a one and done.  We read only one of the prayers in Daniel, but the language here suggests that he was committing himself to a season of intense, specific prayer. Transformational prayer is not a one-time thing, but a commitment to a lifestyle of praying.

Secondly, Daniel’s first response to the revelation God gave him was to pray. He didn’t say that he would pray, or ask how he could pray (both good things), but he simply prayed.

What if our knee-jerk reaction to a situation was to pray?

3. Transformational prayer is expectant prayer – Acts 3

The Bible is full of examples of prayer that exceeded what the person praying could have ever expected:

  • Daniel prayed for his people to return to Jerusalem – what he didn’t fully know was that the rebuilt city would set the stage for the biggest rescue operation ever to take place.
  • Hannah prayed for a son.  What she didn’t know was that that son, Samuel, would be the one to anoint David king of Israel, and that it would be from the line of David that God would bring forth the Messiah.

When we pray, are we expecting that God can do exceedingly, abundantly, beyond all that we could ask or think? (Ephesians 3:20)

Acts 3:1-10 tells a story of a man paralyzed from birth who was sitting outside of the temple gates, begging for some money to get him through to the next day.

Peter and John walked by, and verse 5 says that he “expected” something from them.

The problem was that he expected far too little. He expected that they were just going to give him a couple of coins.

He expected something to just get him by for the day, but what the Lord had for him was healing that would totally transform his entire life forever.

When we pray, we need to be expecting that God is capable of doing far more than we could ever wrap our minds around.  

Closing:

In all of our talk about transformation, we have established that:

  • we need to be men and women of the Word.
  • We need to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • We need to be in relationship with other people.

What if, with all of that in place, the final ingredient to serious transformation occurring around us is that we become a people who simply listens to the Holy Spirit, and prays often, immediately, and expectantly?

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Discussion:

  1. What has the Holy Spirit put in front of you to pray for? Could be a person, situation, nation, etc.
  2. Spend time now praying for those things…don’t wait.
  3. Commit to entering into a lifestyle of prayer with those around you.  
  4. Join our prayer warriors team on Sunday morning at 8:00am for 30 minutes of intercessory prayer.  

“Transformational Relationships” by Pastor James Gallaher, May 13, 2018

Opening Scripture:

Matthew 6:31-33
   Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Many people think that if they get enough of these things their worry will go away. The problem is that it never solves the problem which is why this principle is so important.

Seeking first the Kingdom puts everything in perspective.

Philippians 4:11   Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.

Contentment for Paul wasn’t found in what He had or did not have but in trusting first in the One who cared for him.

It was out of this relationship that all of the other necessities for contentment flowed.

We first encounter this at the beginning.

Genesis 2:18-23   Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

Perfect environment, perfect provision, and perfect relationship and yet still missing that vital part. Adam had everything but he was still alone.

This should make all of us stop and ask ourselves if what are we pursuing will have any effect on what we are seeking.

King David found himself in a similar position except that he had none of the comforts that Adam had. David was being pursued by King Saul only to find himself alone in a cave, and he writes these words.

Read Psalm 142    

“No one regards me, no one cares about my soul…”

So God responds:

1 Samuel 22:1-2   So David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam; and when his brothers and all his father’s household heard of it, they went down there to him. Everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him; and he became captain over them. Now there were about four hundred men with him.

Have you ever felt like this? 

But God always knows what we need and out of this came 3 men who walked closely with David.

2 Samuel 23:13-17   Then three of the thirty chief men went down and came to David in the harvest time to the cave of Adullam, while the troop of the Philistines was camping in the valley of Rephaim. David was then in the stronghold, while the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem. David had a craving and said, “Oh that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem which is by the gate!” So the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines, and drew water from the well of Bethlehem which was by the gate, and took it and brought it to David. Nevertheless he would not drink it, but poured it out to the Lord; and he said, “Be it far from me, O Lord, that I should do this. Shall I drink the blood of the men who went in jeopardy of their lives?” Therefore he would not drink it. These things the three mighty men did.

We cannot overlook the fact that God provided exactly what David needed because of his response to God. These are the same men who in 1 Samuel were distressed, in debt, and discontented. 

David did something that many people miss, he trusted in God’s provision and adjusted his focus. Scripture tells us what the conditions of these men were, but David chose to focus on something different. 

Philippians 4:8   Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

You choose what to focus on and what you focus on makes things bigger. It’s like looking at things through a magnifying glass. 

David chose to magnify the things in them that brought out their best. He focused on what the world had missed.

Understand the power that you have to magnify things in other people, both good and bad.

Matthew 6:33   But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Too often people seek first the things they believe will bring joy instead of seeking the One who is joy. It always begins with our relationship with Him.

One problem I see is that a lot of people don’t love themselves. This is were Jesus’ words change the game.

John 13:34   A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

Christ always sees and believes the best for us. Will we love others the same way?

David could have turned those away who came to him and remained alone in that cave. Instead, he chose to seek God’s presence and chose to trust in God’s provision.

You may be seeking happiness, hope, or relationships. Seek Him first. God hears your need and has what you need. 

It is time to trust and take a risk in letting others come along side of you.

Shift your focus on those around you and magnify the good things you see in them.

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Questions:

  1. What does seeking God first, even before you worry, look like?
  2. How would your life change if you applied Phil. 4:8 to your daily life?
  3. If you are really seeking God first, how will your life look different this week?

“Transformational Worship” by Pastor Dennis J. Gallaher, April 29, 2018

What changes a person’s life? What makes some people faith-filled and others lackluster?

The greatest difference is worship.

Worship is a bending of the knees and the heart. A love act reverently kissing the feet of the One who saves us.

Worship is the pursuit of God on His terms, in His place. Worship is the celebration of who God is. Worship denies the flesh and commands the soul to focus on who God is and what God has done.

We were created to worship; it is the universal need of every human being to worship the God of all creation.

Worship is not the singing of songs, although if you worship, you will sing.

Worship is not raising your heads or falling on your knees, although if you truly worship you will do that and more.

Worship does not require the gifts to be used, the songs of the Spirit, or dancing before the Lord, though all of that and more are outcomes of Spirit-filled worship. 

Worship is the celebration of who God is. 

Opening Scripture:
1 Chronicles 16: 23-34
   Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day. Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples. For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; He also is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before Him, strength and joy are in His place. Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; bring an offering, and come before Him; worship the Lord in holy array. Tremble before Him, all the earth; indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved. Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; and let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.” Let the sea roar, and all it contains; let the field exult, and all that is in it. Then the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the Lord; for He is coming to judge the earth. O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting.

The word “lovingkindness” is one of the most important things you need to know if you are to enter into transformation worship. This word is used over 30 times to describe the character or core essence of our God.

Psalms 103:17   But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children.

Psalms 100:5   For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.

Read Psalms 136:1-26. Notice the refrain,For His lovingkindness is everlasting.”

It is not what He chooses, it is what He is. It means to bend or bow down. When we bow and kiss forward, we worship.

God is bending toward us. Worship is not our way. The problem is that you are not bending toward God.

His everlasting lovingkindness is not just a character quality but is God’s position toward those who worship Him.

1 Corinthians 6:19   Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

Here Paul is not speaking to an individual, he is speaking to the church. He wants to fill His temple (His church) with His glory.

The whole church needs to be present, to be holy, and to lean forward and kiss the One who saves us.

The whole church needs to bow our hearts and fulfill our destiny as worshippers of the One true God.

When we do, the glory of God will come down and the everlasting love of God will fill us.

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Questions:

  1. What does worship look like for you?
  2. What motivates you to worship?
  3. What keeps you from worshiping God?

“God’s Temple” by Pastor James Gallaher, April 22, 2018

Opening Scripture:
Haggai 1:2-6
   “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘This people says, “The time has not come, even the time for the house of the Lord to be rebuilt.”’” Then the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house lies desolate?” Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, “Consider your ways! You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes.”

Israel had lost its sense of urgency for rebuilding the temple.

Forgetting about their captivity, Israel had become complacent with their newfound freedom and prosperity. The Babylonian captivity had purchased a resurgence in Israel’s pursuit of God. Traditions had been reestablished, and they had recommitted themselves to worship.

It’s interesting how much the church seems to thrive in times of great difficulty; perhaps it’s why God tells us to rejoice in struggle and not to fear difficulty.

We see this same trend in our lives:  tremendous effort and focus on God in the difficult times and a slow fade when the struggle has passed. The pressure eases and without the urgency for the things of God we quickly forget the promise, the commitment and the desires made in the difficult times.

It wasn’t just that they neglected the temple, it was that they had preferred other things.

vs. 3-4   Then the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house lies desolate?” Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, “Consider your ways!

The Jews were not without resources or time, they were without commitment.

Life creeps in and distractions take away our focus, time becomes short, and we loose sight of the greater purpose.

Haggai wasn’t criticizing nice houses or them improving their lives, he was pointing out that they were doing it to the detriment of the temple. They had preferred their desires to those of God.

vs. 5-6  Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, “Consider your ways! You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes.”

They were missing the blessing of God because their desires had become more important than God’s desires.

What happens in your heart will effect every other area of your life.

Matthew 6:33   But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Haggai follows with this:

vs. 7-8   “Consider your ways! Go up to the mountains, bring wood and rebuild the temple, that I may be pleased with it and be glorified,” says the Lord.

The temple was in ruins, but God had already provided for the construction. 

Too often we make life harder that it is. Where God leads, God provides. Often the time and resources needed to fulfill God’s call are already there, we just have to commit to His leading.

Haggai records that the people were moved, changed their ways, and rebuilt the temple.

vs. 12-15  Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him. And the people showed reverence for the Lord. Then Haggai, the messenger of the Lord, spoke by the commission of the Lord to the people saying, “‘I am with you,’ declares the Lord.” So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God, on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month in the second year of Darius the king.

It is good to be where God is and to be apart of what He is doing.

Haggai 2:9   ‘The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and in this place I will give peace,’ declares the Lord of hosts.”

I believe we are at a time of seeing the latter glory become greater than anything we have ever seen, but it will only come whenwe return the kingdom to its rightful place in our lives. When building the kingdom becomes our ultimate priority, “consider your ways.”

Let us begin to rebuild the kingdom that we might experience His blessing and see His glory.

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“Discipleship” by Pastor Jarrod Albergaria, April 15, 2018

Opening Scripture:
Matthew 4:18-22
   Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.

When we think about the word discipleship, we most likely think first about the disciples. In the original Greek, disciple means “to learn.”

Everyone should be being discipled by someone.
Everyone should have someone they are disciplining.

3 Truths About Discipleship:

  1. Discipleship is about following.
  2. Discipleship is about show me, not tell me.
  3. Discipleship should result in us being transformed into the image of Christ.

How discipleship works best in God’s Kingdom:

  1. “Follow Me”

a.  Discipleship today looks a lot more like meet with me than it does like follow me.
b.  Jesus was clear that being a disciple of His is more than a meeting; it requires us to give of ourselves in submission and to follow Him with our lives.

Following someone requires something out of us. The disciple left their homes, jobs, and families. It will cost us our time, energy, and our lives.

Luke 9:23-24   And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.”

Matthew 8:18-22  Now when Jesus saw a crowd around Him, He gave orders to depart to the other side of the sea. Then a scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Another of the disciples said to Him, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead.”

These were not recommendations. They were the marks of true disciples. If we are going to call ourselves disciples of Jesus we have to follow Him, and it will cost us.

2)  Discipleship is about show me, not just tell me.

a.  The disciples walked with Jesus as He began His ministry, and what they saw changed their lives.

Matthew 5:9   Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

In Matthew 9  Jesus healed a paralytic, healed a woman, raised a girl from the dead, healed 2 blind men, and cast a demon out and healed a mute man.

When someone shares their life with us we get to experience it not just hear about it.

3)  Discipleship should result in us being transformed into the image of Christ.

Matthew 10:5-8  These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.”

They followed because they saw that they were transformed and were able to do the very things that Jesus did. Just as Jesus commanded.

They were commanded to:

    preach

    heal

    cleanse

    raise

    cast out

Your discipleship should result in you looking less like you and more like Jesus. We reflect God’s glory in everything we do.

2 Corinthians 3:18  But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

We can tell the story with our lives to the younger generations so that they don’t just hear us, but that they experience Jesus through the reflection that we give.
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Questions:

  1. Who is discipling you? 
  2. Who are you discipling?
  3. If you don’t have answers for these questions, commit to spend time this week to find   people to fill these areas.

“Transforming Generations” by Pastor Dennis J. Gallaher, April 8, 2018

Opening Scripture:
1 Thessalonians 2:8
   Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.

The essential element to transform generations:
1.  The message of Jesus is for every generation.

Psalms 145:13   Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Your dominion endures throughout all generations.

2.  The message is passed down; it is God’s method to pass from one generation to another.

Deuteronomy 4:9   Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons.

Psalms 71:18   And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, your power to all who are to come.

3.  The message is not informational but relational.

1 Thessalonians 2:8  Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.

It is best caught not taught.

Our vision going forward as a church must be to release from one generation to the next several generations a heart for the Kingdom.

The way we do that is not only through children’s ministry, youth ministry, and young adults, but through an older generation catching a vision and a passion to share the Gospel and our very lives with the younger generations.

Ezra 3:10-13  Now when the builders had laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests stood in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the Lord according to the directions of King David of Israel. They sang, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, saying, “For He is good, for His lovingkindness is upon Israel forever.” And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. Yet many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ households, the old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, while many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the shout of joy from the sound of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard far away.

There were two very different reactions on this great day of celebration:

    The old folks wept in despair.

    The young folks rejoiced in delight.

The older generation remembered the grandeur of Solomon’s Temple, which is still considered one of the great wonders of the world. They remembered the many things made of gold – the altar, the ark, the mercy seat. They remembered the Glory of God that rested on that temple and filled it; it was literally the house of God. And it would never be the same. It broke their hearts.

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There are those of us who remember the glory days. Days when the altars were filled with the lost, the spontaneous worship that was so common, the Scripture songs, the basic respect for the Bible and the church.

When you compare the past to today, you can easily miss the blessings of God’s presence and power today.

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The Gifts of the Present

The young people were rejoicing. They had only heard the old stories about the former temple. What they knew was what it was like to grow up in bondage and what it was like to have no place to call home. So, when they stepped onto that new foundation, they were elated because they had never seen anything like it before.

We have those same kind of young people today.

What they see is opportunity, safety, being an important part of something that can change their world.

But here is the problem…

Both of these groups squandered the opportunities God gave them. For 15 years, they build houses and businesses but ignored the temple. The foundation was good enough so they didn’t do anything else.

Those who had experienced what God did, failed to nurture and serve the younger generation.

Those who were so excited about the new things God was doing failed to bring it to completion.

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It is so easy for churches to get stuck here – the older generation remembering and the younger generation fine with things as they are.

But God wants us to complete what He has begun. He wants us to pass down, not just the Gospel, but our lives to the next generation.

Haggai the prophet comes on the scene and God speaks through him four great promises:

Haggai 2:3   Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? Does it not seem to you like nothing in comparison?

1.  vs. 4 – The promise of His presence

2.  vs. 6 – The promise of His power

3.  vs. 8 – The promise of HIs provision

4.  vs. 9 – The promise of His potential

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You can’t live out the blessings of God by looking backwards.

You can’t live out the blessings of God building for yourself.

But we can see a latter glory together if we join hands to build for the future generations.

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Questions:

  1. What is the problem of both groups in Ezra, and how does it relate to the church today? 
  2. Why do people get stuck comparing the old and the new?
  3. What is the older generation’s responsibility? The younger generation’s responsibility?

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