View each week's notes and follow along with Pastor Blackburn's message.
A Savior is Born
Where are you Christmas?
1. Busyness (The Innkeeper) Luke 2:6
2. Familiarity (The Religious Leaders) Isaiah 31:4
3. Fear (King Herod) Matthew 2:3; 2 Timothy 6:21
How Not to Miss Christ This Christmas
1. STOP filling my life with less important things. Psalm 39:6; Psalm 46:10; Proverbs 10:27
2. LOOK closely at why Jesus came. Matthew 2:8; Jeremiah 29:13
3. LISTEN to the good news of Christmas. Luke 2:10-11; John 10:10; John 3:17
For a New Life at Christmas…
STOP! 1 Peter 2:24 (NCV)
LOOK! Isaiah 45-22 (NLT)
LISTEN! 2 Corinthians 6:2 (TEV)
Positive Action = Trust
1. Be careful to trust God. Isaiah 31:1.
When the people of God were faced with war, insecurity, looming disaster, eminent failure, and crushed dreams, it appeared that many of them wanted to retreat to Egypt. They thought they needed to fight fire with fire. Isaiah said, “Woe to those who put their faith in Egypt and their resources.”
Our world places security in man’s wisdom, strength in the inner man, peace in doing good deeds, security in wealth, and security in man’s job. Because of that, we have created a faithless society with less need for the supernatural. God’s counsel is the only advice we need.
2. God will not ignore man’s distrust. Isaiah 31:4.
We are the Church, the Bride of Christ. Joshua 24:19(b) “…He is a holy God; He is a jealous God…” God wants us to run to Him when we’re in need, call on Him when we’re in panic or despair, seek His wisdom and guidance, and rely only upon Him. God sees our “not trusting Him” as distrust. Psalm 55:22 (The Message); 1 Peter 5:7, 8 (The Message).
God declares that every man who does not trust Him will:
- Be Destroyed
- Be Disappointed
3. God will preserve those who trust Him. Isaiah 31:5.
Isaiah shares that those who run to Egypt will be disappointed or destroyed. Those who remain in Jerusalem, and place their trust in God, will
- Be Delivered
- Be Cared For
- Have Their Needs Met
- Be Protected
God honors faith and perseverance. God operates in the supernatural.
- He doesn’t need weapons.
- He doesn’t need horses.
- He doesn’t need an army.
- He doesn’t need history.
All He needs is one person who chooses to stand up and say,
- I know what it looks like.
- I know there isn’t much hope, but I choose to trust and believe in God.
Practice What You Believe
Romans 8:28-31; Pastor Blackburn
God has given each of us faith. Faith is so important that God declares we cannot please Him without faith. Faith is that which is “seen” and “felt” in our hearts well before it becomes a reality.
1. God works for our good. Romans 8:28(a)
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him…”
Three things God does for us as He works for our good:
- He prevents. Psalm 91:1-4
- He protects. Psalm 91:7
- He preserves. 1 Kings 19:18
When we walk in faith with God, He moves mountains, stays the hand of evil, makes the crooked paths straight, binds the hand of short supply, and works on our behalf, for His glory. Malachi 3:11, 12.
2. You are part of a divine plan. Romans 8:28(b)
“…who have been called according to His purpose.”
The faith walk starts with love that is passionate and cannot be contained by boundaries, discouragement, pain, or apathy. It is a love that is beyond belief and understanding.
Example: Joseph. Genesis 45. God had a divine plan for Joseph and his people.
3. Be sustained by God’s power. Romans 8:31
“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
Our lives in Christ, through faith, and our purpose in life, have the seal of anointing and adoption upon them. Because it is spiritual, which notes an eternal value, we will face opposition – doubt, fear, frustration, and demonic interference.
Hebrews 11:36, 37. Hebrews 11:39-40 “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”
Hebrews 12:1, 2(a); Genesis 45:5. God is knocking on your heart with a fire that cannot be contained. It is love and faith that is of supernatural existence.
- God is working for your good.
- You are part of a divine plan.
- He will sustain you by His power.
Slaying Giants, Part 3
Proverbs 29:25; Pastor Blackburn
“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”
1. What the fear of rejection does to us
Allows others to manipulate us.
Causes us to conform to peer pressure.
Keeps us from speaking the truth.
Prevents us from giving and receiving love.
Causes shyness and loneliness.
Produces depression and unhappiness.
Silences our sharing about Christ.
2. How to overcome the fear of rejection
Put God in first place.
Psalm 27:1; Psalm 119-39-42; 2 Timothy 2:15
Put people in their place.
Isaiah 51:12; Galatians 1:10; Romans 8:31
Put yourself in the proper place.
Psalm 8:5; Ephesians 1:4; 2 Corinthians 10:18; Psalm 27:10
Slaying Giants, Part 2
2 Timothy 1:7; Pastor Blackburn
Last week, we said that we are to stand up and remember that God knows where we are. This week, we’re talking about how to overcome fear.
There is some fear that should not be overcome; it’s not always a bad thing. Matthew 10:28. Jesus said that we are to live with one eye on eternity, with the awareness that life does not end at the grave and that we have no promise of the next breath. Constructive fear keeps us alert and helps us deal with the realities of life and eternity.
Then, there’s destructive fear, which nips at your emotions and mindset and does everything it can to paralyze you, keeping you from being happy and joyful. 2 Timothy 1:7. God wants us to conquer those debilitating, paralyzing worries that plague our lives.
1. It’s important to know the origin of our fears.
2 Corinthians 10:5
2. It’s imperative that we expose lies about our fears!
John 8:44; Psalm 15:2; Psalm 46:1; Psalm 34:4; Joshua 1:9
“God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Edge Of Eternity," Part 1
1. Death Is Definite!
"Each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him." Hebrews 9:27–28 (NLT)
2. Our Body And Soul Will Become Detached!
"Don’t be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the one who can destroy both body and soul in hell." Matthew 10:28 (GW)
Those who believe in me will have life even if they die. And everyone who lives and believes in me will never die." John 11:25b–26a (NCV)
3. We Will Face Judgement!
"People are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment." Hebrews 9:27 (NIV)
The Great White Throne Judgement
"Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books." Revelation 20:11–12 (NIV)
"Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire." Revelation 20:15 (NIV)
The Judgement Seat Of Christ
"For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat." Romans 14:10b (NIV)
"We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad." 2 Corinthians 5:10 (NIV)
"The quality of each person’s work will be seen when the Day of Christ exposes it. For on that Day fire will reveal everyone’s work; the fire will test it and show its real quality. If what was built on the foundation survives the fire, the builder will receive a reward. But if anyone’s work is burnt up, then he will lose it; but he himself will be saved, as if he had escaped through the fire." 1 Corinthians 3:13–15 (TEV)
Love Lifted Me
The church at Ephesus was active but deficient in love. Matthew 23:27 (NIV). May we learn from this church and discover how the Spirit would have us respond.
- Someone has moved.
- Remember your beginnings.
- Repent and change.
1. Someone has moved. Revelation 2:4 (NIV)
Ephesus was a commercial, political, and religious center for western Asia. The temple of Diana was located there. Diana was the goddess of fertility. Paul labored there for three years and built a strong church. As a result, many who once worshipped the goddess now had turned to Christ. It caused many who supplied silver to those who offered sacrifice to Diana, to lose trade and money. This church was great, but something happened. They moved away from God. They became too busy, full of pride, consumed with making money, and complacent.
They were still full of good works. They made money and they tithed. They prayed, but without compassion. It was the prayer of the Pharisee, "Help me, Lord, I'm worthy." God spoke to John on the Isle of Patmos and said, "I see your works. I see your perseverance. I know you have not become weary. What's the problem?" They had become divided. They had lost their first love. They were bankrupt in passion, and they were building a house on sinking sand. Matthew 7:26, 27 (NIV).
2. Remember your beginnings. Revelation 2:5a (NIV)
On every surveyor's map, you will see three letters - P.O.B. It means simply, "Point of beginning." In other words, every part of the accuracy of the survey is dependent upon where the starting point was located. John said, "Remember the height (the beginning) from which you have fallen." He challenged them to remember the:
- Thrill of knowing the truth.
- Joy of being liberated from selfish bondage.
- Happiness of being guilt-free.
- Passion of loving so much, it dominated their actions.
- Privilege of close fellowship with God.
God spoke through Isaiah in Isaiah 1:18 (NIV). This church is challenged to return to the point of beginning and this would enable them to find a treasure now buried in sinful ways.
Example of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-24:
- Had all he needed,
- Was heir of his father’s estate,
- Left for greener pastures,
- Came to his senses.
Luke 15:17 (NIV). What did he decide to do about his plight once he remembered his beginnings? He went home! Luke 15:18-20 (NIV). Far too often it takes a real pig pen to cause us to remember the blessing of our first love's beginning.
3. Repent and change. Revelation 2:5b (NIV)
God gave the door of grace a shove open and shoved the road map back to the beginning:
- return to your first love.
- re-establish God's place in your heart.
Revelation 3:20 (NIV). True repentance is an admission of wrong, change of actions, and pursuit of God. Jeremiah spoke to the people of Israel in Jeremiah 35:15 (NIV). God gave this church a consequence if they did not repent:
- "I will remove the lampstand from its place."
- "Hear what My Spirit is saying."
In other words, if you do not, “I will remove My Spirit, anointing, and divine favor from your presence.” He also stated that if they would repent,
- He would restore them.
- He would place them in high favor.
Revelation 2:7 (NIV)
- Stay close to God.
- Keep Godly passion alive.
- If you move, repent and seek God's grace!
"Truths to Live By" Part 4
Controlling My Anger
Proverbs 29:11 (LB)
1. Resolve to control it.
“A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.”
Proverbs 29:11 (LB)
2. Realize the cost.
“A hot-tempered man...gets into all kinds of trouble.”
Proverbs 29:22 (LB)
“Hot tempers cause arguments.”
Proverbs 15:18 (GN)
“People with hot tempers do foolish things.”
Proverbs 14:17 (GN)
“The fool who provokes his family to anger and resentment will finally have nothing worthwhile left.”
Proverbs 11:29 (LB)
3. Restrain my mouth.
“If you keep your mouth shut, you will stay out of trouble.”
Proverbs 21:23 (NLT)
4. Reflect before reacting.
“A stupid man gives free rein to his anger; a wise man waits and lets it grow cool.”
Proverbs 29:11 (NEB)
“A man’s wisdom gives him patience.”
Proverbs 19:11 (NIV)
Ask myself: Why am I angry? What do I really want?
How can I get it?
5. Release my anger appropriately.
“If you become angry, don’t let your anger lead you into sin.”
Ephesians 4:26 (GN)
“Keep away from angry, short-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them...”
Proverbs 22:24 (NLT)
6. Return good for evil.
“Never pay back evil for evil to anyone...never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God...overcome evil with good.”
Romans 12:17-21 (NLT)
7. Request God’s help.
“Lord, help me control my tongue; help me be careful about what I say.”
Psalm 141:3 (NCV)
“Whatever is in your heart determines what you say.”
Matthew 12:34 (NIV)
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart...”
Colossians 3:15 (NAS)
"Truths to Live By" Part 3
Anything I trust or value more than God is an IDOL.
“For your own good…don’t sin by making an idol in any form.” Deuteronomy 4:15-16 (GN)
I. What happens when I trust anything else more than God?
1. I am disappointed.
“…those who make idols are disillusioned…”Jeremiah 10:14 (GN)
“Of what value is an idol? For he who makes it trusts in his own creation.” Hebrews 2:18 (NIV)
“The poor, deluded fool is trusting something that can give him no help at all. Yet he cannot bring himself to ask: is this thing, this idol…a lie?” Isaiah 44:20 (NLT)
2. I am degraded.
“…you were controlled by dead idols, who led you astray.” 1 Corinthians 12:2 (GN)
“Those who make idols end up like them. So does everyone who trusts them.” Psalm 115:8 (GWT)
II. Why don’t I trust God more?
Because I don’t really know God.
“Those who know the Lord trusts Him…” Psalm 9:10 (NCV)
III. Why should I trust God completely?
1. Because He is the truth.
“We can completely count on Him, for it is impossible for God to lie.” Hebrews 6:18 (LB)
“God will continue to be true even when every person is false.” Romans 3:4 (NCV)
2. Because He loves me.
“We know how much God loves us, so we have put our trust in Him…because God’s perfect love drives out fear.” 1 John 4:16, 18 (NCV)
3. Because He is in control.
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love god and are called according to His purposes for them.” Romans 8:28 (NLT)
4. Because He will help me.
“Trust the Lord with all your heart, and don’t depend on your own understanding. Remember the Lord in all you do, and He will give you success.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NCV)
“Jesus says, ‘Don’t be afraid. Just trust Me.’” Mark 5:36 (NLT)