Thursday, January 29, 2015

Matthew 3: Notes on God's Plan

Matthew 3
Notes on God's Plan

GOD’S PLAN – 1). God had John prepare the way for Jesus. (v.3) In many ways, John’s life is a shadow of what we are to be like today. We are to be a voice for God in a desert-like place, living in uncomfortable cultural surroundings, but preparing the world for the return of Christ. 2). John declares that God will cut down every one of us that does not bear fruit. (v.10,12) Not only was this a warning for the leaders present that day, and also a warning for all of us who have followed and read this story It’s also a prophecy of the future end of time, when God will judge men. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Exodus 4 - Notes on Leadership

Exodus 4
Notes on Leadership

LEADERSHIP - 1). Moses had a staff in his hand. (v.2,3) When he threw it on the ground, it became a snake. Moses used his staff to help him shepherd the sheep, but he when he threw it on the ground God made it something totally different. God can take the tools of our leadership and use them for incredible purposes if we allow him to guide our use of them. Though we may feel like accomplished leaders with plenty of knowledge and answers, we still must release whatever is in our own hands and let God lead the way. 2). God did wonders through Moses so that the Egyptians would know God had appeared to him. (v.5) They would know who Moses was and what he was capable of. They would know the works he had done were not by his own power. God wants to use us in mighty ways so that people will recognize Him as the source of our strength. 3). Moses was instructed to take some of the Nile River water and pour it on the ground, and God would turn it into blood. (v.9) This was his response if they didn’t listen to him after the first two signs. This was a sign for the Egyptians that they lacked the power to stand up to God. The source of their life was the Nile River, and God turned it to blood, taking away it’s ability to meet the people’s needs. Moses showed the Egyptians who they really were without God; opposed to God. As leaders we must help people realize what position they truly find theirselves in, and how desperate they are for a touch from God. 4). God will help us speak and give us words to say. (v.12) As leaders, we go to minister according to God’s plans. He will guide us in all of our decisions, even the very words that come from our mouths, so that we accomplish His purposes. Our biggest task isn’t to do everything right, it’s simply to stay out of God’s way.We are never alone in our pursuit of His call; He empowers us as we go. 5). God brought Moses’ brother Aaron into the situation. (v.14) After Moses’ final question, God said that Aaron would help out, and he was already on his way. God already planned for Moses and Aaron to be a team. There are many times when we must stand alone for God. But God would desire that most of the time we work together for His glory as a team with other leaders committed to His cause. 6). Moses would be Aaron’s leader in their assignment. (v.15,16) Though working side by side, God still set up a leadership flowchart. Moses would lead because God chose him to and God would empower him to do so. We must work in teams and set up our leaders accordingly. 7). Moses would be like God to Aaron. (v.16) This might seem blasphemous but God was showing how close He planned to be to Moses. God would speak to Moses personally, God would speak to Aaron through Moses. God needs leaders that will be His mouthpiece so He can continue to encounter people and help change their lives, just like God did with Moses at the burning bush. 8). Finally, God reminded Moses to take the staff with him so God could use it to do His wonders. (v.17) God gave Moses a tool to get the job done. We must recognize what our God-given tools are in ministry today, and take them with us wherever we go.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Ephesians 3: Notes on Attitudes

Ephesians 3
Notes on Attitudes

ATTITUDE - 1). Paul assumed that they knew about his testimony. (v.1) He had already written briefly about it in the letter and he was going to use it as a launching pad for the material coming next, but then he realized that maybe everyone didn’t know who he really was. We must fight the urge to assume that everyone knows our motives and knows where we’re coming from. Proper communication will keep us from offending people and leaving others behind. 2). Paul was a servant of the gospel. (v.7) He knew that He wasn't in charge; He followed after God's will.  He was blessed with God's grace and God's power, so He realized that He served God, rather than the other way around. 3). Paul considered himself the lowest of all God's people. (v.8) He wrote over half of the New Testament and was probably a bit of a ministry celebrity at that time, but he still was humble. It's important  that we understand however successful we become in ministry, we should remain humble and direct the praise to God. Part of God’s grace to us is allowing us to remember our mistakes so we stay humble no matter how successful we seem to become. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

2 Timothy 3: Notes on Relationships and Family

2 Timothy 3
Notes on Relationships and Family

RELATIONSHIPS - 1). We should have nothing to do with people who claim to be Christians but deny God’s power to change their lives. (v.5) Not only will it encourage them further if we surround ourselves with them and acknowledge them, but it will tempt us to go the same route. We must stay away from anyone that will bring us down in our relationship with Jesus. Our friends become a good picture of our future. 2). Paul reminded Timothy of Jannes and Jambres, who opposed Moses. (v.8) This was a story that was very old, but with a valuable lesson to learn - there will always be those people who that aren’t happy and may work against you. We shouldn’t be surprised and we shouldn’t try to cater our efforts to them; rather, we need to continue to do what God has called us to do and trust Him with the results. 3). People don’t go far when their folly is clear to everyone. (v.9) When people don’t have integrity, they may put on a good show for a time but it won’t last. Eventually, mistakes will be made and their true character will be revealed. 4). We must be people that choose to live according to the standards of God’s Word. (v.16,17) When our leaders teach us or correct us, it is because they find that standard in the Bible. It’s teachings prepare us and equip us to live right and please God. We should come together often to read the Bible and learn from it’s teachings.
FAMILY - Timothy was wise in the Scriptures since he was an infant. (v.15) His family raised him right. The Word of God was planted in his heart at a young age. We should prioritize ministry to children, even very young kids, so that we can teach them the basics of Christianity early in life.