Waiting and Hoping Message Introduction

Today we begin a new message series called “Christmas Brings Hope.” Of course, we’re not talking about the Christmas holiday per say, but about what it represents, the birth of Christ.

We live in a world that has a lot of hopelessness in it. Sin has brought many problems into the world. Many people fill hopeless and anxious in the light of the increase in terrorism. Economic problems, employment issues, relationship difficulties all cause stress and hopelessness. Why do people turn to various addictions such as alcohol, drugs, gambling and sexual perversions outside of marriage? Why do people harm themselves and others? Why do people commit suicide? Because they feel hopeless. The problems they face seem too big to overcome. So they seek to escape their problems with sin that destroys their lives and the lives of those around them.

Where can we find hope in our world today? The Bible tells us that outside of Jesus Christ, there is no lasting hope.

Ephesians 2:12 (NIV) remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.

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Today, we conclude our message series on Spiritual Warfare. Next week, we begin a new message series called “Basic Training.” If you and I are to engage in spiritual warfare, we need Basic Training as soldiers in the Lord’s army. Invite a friend to our new Basic Training series beginning next week.

Our message today is entitled “Standing Firm.” The Bible teaches that spiritual warfare will intensify as the return of Jesus Christ draws nearer. Although, there have certainly been instances of difficult spiritual warfare down through the centuries, I believe that it is safe to say that world-wide, we are currently in the most intense spiritual warfare in the history of the world.

Today, as never before, the world is connected into a common culture via the communication channels of the internet. The spread of both good and evil through the networks of the world occurs at light speed. The opportunity to influence myriads of people now is available to anyone with a message to send, whether for God or for Satan. So, what can we expect regarding Spiritual Warfare in the last days? I just want to remind you that the Bible teaches that the last days are the time from Jesus’ resurrection until His return, so we are now currently living in the last days.

2 Timothy 3:1 (NIV)  But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.

Terrible times means troublesome, hard and violent times. So, no the last days will not bring in a state of paradise and peace on earth, until Jesus Himself returns. These terrible times will mean times of increasing spiritual warfare for those who are alert and following their commander in chief, Jesus Christ.

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We are currently in a message series on Spiritual Warfare. Jesus’ ministry on this earth was all about spiritual warfare. When you read the Gospel accounts, you find Jesus confronting demons and evil spirits on every other page.

Acts 10:38 (NIV2011)  how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

In this verse, Jesus’ ministry is summarized as “healing all who were under the power of the devil.” In Jesus’ ministry healing of the sick and casting out of demons were often intertwined. When Jesus set someone free from the power of Satan, they were healed. Jesus’ ministry of spiritual warfare was continued by the early church as recorded in the book of Acts. Yet, today, churches seldom speak of demons and setting people free from the power of the devil. In fact, most people today do not believe that Satan and his demons are real.

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Defeating Worry Introduction

Today, we’re concluding our message series “Need Direction?” In this series, we’ve been talking about how to get God’s guidance for our lives. We need God’s guidance in order to make right decisions and stay on track with God’s plan for our lives.

Today, our message is entitled “Defeating Worry.” We’re going to be talking about worry in the context of making decisions. First last answer the question “What is worry?” Worry is anxiety, concern or even fear of something bad happening in the future. We don’t worry about the past or the present, we worry about what may happen in the future.

So, people may worry before making a decision. Will I make the right decision? If I don’t make the right decision, what will happen in the future? People may worry after making a decision. Will this decision work out in the future? You can even make a decision based on worry. Since I am worried about X, I will make a decision to minimize my worry about X.

Worry is the polar opposite of faith. Faith looks to the future with hope and anticipation of good things happening. Worry, on the other hand, looks to the future with fear and anxiety of bad things happening. What does the Bible say regarding worry? The Bible tells us as believers, as people of faith, that we should not worry, but have faith.

Philippians 4:6 (NLT)  Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

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http://www.youtube.com/embed/GVT-8-FKVLk Happy Mother’s Day! We’re glad that you’re here today to reflect on God’s gift of mothers. Everyone here has a mother, no exceptions. Today is a day to give thanks to God for the mothers that He has given us in His wisdom. Some here today are mothers and others will be mothers in the future. A mother’s love for her children is a picture of God’s love for His children. Today, we want to say thank you to all the mothers that are here today. Thank you for the sacrificial love you have demonstrated in raising your children. Father, thank you for each mother represented here today. Thank you for the children you have blessed them with the opportunity to raise. For those who still have children at home, give each mother strength and wisdom to raise those children for you. For those whose children have already left home, we pray that those mothers would continue to pray for and encourage their children to walk in your ways. For those mothers who have grandchildren, we pray that they would pass on a godly heritage to their children’s children. We thank you for the love each mother has for her children and how it reminds us of your love for us. May we honor our mothers today as we give thanks to you for creating them. In Jesus’ name we pray Amen.

Proverbs 31:30 (NIV)  Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

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