Sunday Summary – Jacob Bell, “On the Road with Jesus”

This week was so complex that I had not taken the opportunity to write on this blog. Still, it is cathartic for me to review Sunday, and it creates a historic archive for our church and my ministry.

Pastor Jacob Bell preached for the first time at CIL, and he was so well prepared and clear in his communication. What a heart for God that came through his message titled “On the Roadway with Jesus.” Jacob is only 25 years old, but his wisdom and maturity come through in his life and this message. I anticipate great things through his ministry.

WATCH the service by clicking below:

We need covenant relationships

We instinctively long for covenant relationships. What is this? It’s a sacred agreement between two parties. This covenant takes away the fear of abandonment. I wish I would have learned this principle earlier in life. It would have saved me from sin, mistakes, and the destruction of meaningful relationships.

An example of this is Jacob and his father-in-law, Laban. Their poor relationship turned into a covenant relationship.

Genesis 31:44 (CSB)
“Come now, let’s make a covenant, you and I. Let it be a witness between the two of us.”

Genesis 31:49 (CSB)
… “May the Lord watch between you and me when we are out of each other’s sight.”

Covenant requires trust. Both the Lord and the covenant watch over the two parties when they are apart. None of us have been perfect in this, but we can live with this understanding and aspiration from this point forward.

To listen or watch my sermon on this, watch here:

People of conviction

This statement was in my notes today but did not make it in the sermon. Still, I think it is important to consider:

If there is never a time when a conviction conflicts with someone you like, then you probably are not living as the Lord’s servant.

“For am I now trying to persuade people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” – Galatians 1:10

The right mountain for the right Kingdom

We learned on Sunday from Hebrews 12 that the Kingdom of God is no longer in the realm of fear, intimidation, and separation. The symbol of the Kingdom of God is not the first mountain, where even Moses was afraid.

“Instead, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God (the heavenly Jerusalem), to myriads of angels, a festive gathering, to the assembly of the firstborn whose names have been written in heaven, to a Judge, who is God of all, to the spirits of righteous people made perfect (Hebrews 12:22-23).”

A festive gathering!

The Kingdom of God is enjoyable!

It is for everyone.

It is not too hard.

This joyful realm happens when we die to ourselves and let Christ resurrect within us.

Rules or People?

When Jesus healed a woman who had been sick 18 years, the leader of the synagogue (the Senior Pastor), was angry because of the breaking of sabbath rules. In that case, rules were more important than people.
 
Jesus demonstrates to us a different way of valuing individuals.
 
I hope we all keep looking to Jesus as our standard of care. While rules can be necessary, a useful one enhances the common good without restricting human flourishment.
 
The Kingdom of God is a renewing reality.
The Kingdom of God is about renewing people!

People of the present and future Kingdom

“The kingdom of God” is a big theme for Jesus.
In the ESV translation, “kingdom” is mentioned 126 times in the Gospels.
 
What is the Kingdom of God?
The Kingdom of God is the reign of God.
 
Through Jesus,
The kingdom is already here.
The kingdom is not yet fully here.
 
So as God’s people, we are what Michael Green wrote:
 
“…people of the future living in the land of the present.”
 
That’s us!

The Fire We Need

The best you is the sanctified you.
 
Still, the very thing we need – the sanctifying, transforming, purifying work of God – seems to be the one thing we are trying to avoid.
 
Let the fire of the Lord purify you.
When He changes you, everything gets better.
 
The fire we need is the eyes of Jesus (Rev. 1:14)

The next 5 months

Following up on Sunday’s sermon, I encourage you to evaluate the five months ahead of you.
 
What is going to happen in these environments?
 
– Occupation
– Relationships
– Entertainment / hobbies
 
Invite God to walk with you through these environments this coming season.
 
No pressure. Just walk with Him.

Sermons on Joy can be tough to hear

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This Sunday (December 16) we will focus on the Advent theme of Joy as we prepare for Christmas!

Here are some thoughts about joy that may not make Sunday’s message:

– When one is suffering from depression, messages on joy often feel very painful.  For those under this cloud, we acknowledge your pain and remind you that there is a company of past and present saints who understand the paradox of living the Christian life while suffering from this condition.

– Even in the most dire of circumstances, there can be odd moments of joy.  The fall of 2003 was one of the darkest periods of my life after losing both my dad and grandmother and having a very unexpectedly sick newborn. Yet during that season I still enjoyed good meals, meaningful conversations, and touches of friendship.

– As much as we are able, we should choose joy.  Life is harsh and pain is unavoidable.  So, laughter and enjoyment under the Lordship of Christ reflects His glory to our world.