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Sunday Recap for 12/10 Big Picture Question: Who is the King of God’s people?

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Sunday, December 10, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at Luke 2:8-13.

Luke 2:8  And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

We attempted to answer this Big Picture Question:

Who is the king of God’s people?

And we found these three answers to our Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question:  Who is the king of God’s people?

  • The Ender of Fear
  • The Cause of Good News
  • The Bringer of Peace

The Ender of Fear

Luke 2:8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10a And the angel said to them, “Fear not,

An angel appears to lowly shepherds and the glory of the Lord fills the sky.  Rightfully, sinful shepherds fear in the face of God’s glory, but the angel declares, “Fear not!”  Why don’t they have to fear?  Because Christ is born.  The king of God’s people is born and will enable sinful men and women to be in the presence of the glory of God and not be destroyed.

The Cause of Good News

Luke 2:10b “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

The good news of Jesus is that the savior of people’s sins, Christ (the Messiah), and the Lord and King of God’s people is born – a good news of great joy!

The Bringer of Peace

Luke 2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Those who have faith in Jesus are those with whom God is well pleased.  For all of those who have that faith, then they will enjoy peace with God and have the ability to be at peace with others.

Big Picture Question:  Who is the king of God’s people?

Truth:  The good news of King Jesus brings a fearless peace between you and God.

Application:  Live fearlessly knowing that the good news of Jesus is that He was born to bring you into peace with God.

Action: Find an area in your life where you are struggling with a faithful, but peaceful, choice.  Pray for God’s grace to faithfully make that choice. 

Sunday Recap 12/03: Who is the King of God’s people?

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Sunday, December 3, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at Isaiah 9:1-7 as a part of our “Seeking a Better (King)dom” series.

1 But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.  3 You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy, they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. 4 For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. 5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

From those scriptures, we attempted to answer this Big Picture Question:

Who is the King of God’s people?

And we found these three answers:

  • The Redeemer of Anguish
  • The Bringer of Light
  • The Establisher of Peace

The Redeemer of Anguish

Isaiah 9:1 But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

The image of crossing over the Jordan was common language to the people of Israel.  It signified walking into blessing and the promises of God.  The coming Savior was going to bring that to them:  the end of gloom and a new and glorious way.

This is akin to when God rescued His people from slavery in Egypt.

Exodus 2: 24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.

When God’s people anguish and moan, God responds by being faithful.

Bringer of Light

Isaiah 9:2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.  3 You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy, they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. 4 For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. 5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. 6a For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder

The promised Savior, deliverer, king will be born as a child.  His government will find no end.  He will bring the people out of spirit darkness.  Ultimately, He will bring His people into the spiritual light and circumstantial light.  Jesus, born as a child, would do this.  For His people.

Establisher of Peace

Isaiah 9:6b And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

God is zealous to save His people.  So much so, He sent His son Jesus to bring peace and uphold justice by dying for their sins and rising again to new light.

Big Picture Question:  Who is the King of God’s people?

Truth:  Jesus is the King who redeems the anguish of His people by bringing light and peace to their lives.  

Application:  Live knowing that your heart finds its hope from anguish and conflict in Jesus your king.

Action:  Partner with the church to both demonstrate and proclaim Jesus’ birth as the deliverance and hope that this world desperately needs.  Bring us ideas of outreach and service.

Sunday Recap for 11/26 Big Picture Question: How does God renew His people?

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Sunday, November 26, 2017, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 11:12-15

12 Then the people said to Samuel, “Who is it that said, ‘Shall Saul reign over us?’ Bring the men, that we may put them to death.” 13 But Saul said, “Not a man shall be put to death this day, for today the Lord has worked salvation in Israel.” 14 Then Samuel said to the people, “Come, let us go to Gilgal and there renew the kingdom.” 15 So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the Lord in Gilgal. There they sacrificed peace offerings before the Lord, and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly. 

And we attempted to answer this Big Picture Question:

How does God bring renew His people?

And we found these 3 answers to our Big Picture Question:

  • Forgiveness
  • Community
  • Worship

Forgiveness   

1 Samuel 11:12 Then the people said to Samuel, “Who is it that said, ‘Shall Saul reign over us?’ Bring the men, that we may put them to death.” 13 But Saul said, “Not a man shall be put to death this day, for today the Lord has worked salvation in Israel.”

The people of God defeated their enemies with Saul’s leadership.  Prior to the battle, some men didn’t want to follow Saul.  Now that they are victorious, some want to execute those who were not faithful to Saul.

But through the work of the Spirit, God leads Saul to declare that no one would die, but instead they would be forgiven.

How ironic would be that on a day when God shows His grace and forgiveness that the people of God didn’t who it to one another.

Renewal begins by celebrating the grace and forgiveness of God.

Community

1 Samuel 11:14 Then Samuel said to the people, “Come, let us go to Gilgal and there renew the kingdom.”

Samuel, the spiritual leader of God’s people tells the people to return to Gilgal to worship and renew the kingdom.  Gilgal is right beside Jericho.  This was the area that Joshua called the people of God to renew their covenantal vows in Joshua 8.  As the people of God embrace forgiveness they extend that grace to one another in community through covenantal renewal.

Worship

1 Samuel 11:15 So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the Lord in Gilgal. There they sacrificed peace offerings before the Lord, and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.

As the people return for covenantal renewal, they declare Saul to be their king and worship at Gilgal.  They make peace offerings with God and with each other.

When we are renewed, we worship together.

Big Picture Question:  How does God bring renew His people?

Truth:  God renews His people as they experience His forgiveness through worshiping communities.

Application:  Live today knowing that each gathering of Evident Grace moves you closer to one another and closer to God.

Action:  Pray that worship at Evident Grace is a renewal process that draws you closer to God and closer to one another.

Sunday Recap 11/19: Big Picture Question: Will God defend a sinful believer?

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New technologies metaphor. Isolated on white

Sunday, November 19, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 11:1-11:

1 Samuel 11:1 Then Nahash the Ammonite went up and besieged Jabesh-gilead, and all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, “Make a treaty with us, and we will serve you.” 2 But Nahash the Ammonite said to them, “On this condition I will make a treaty with you, that I gouge out all your right eyes, and thus bring disgrace on all Israel.” 3 The elders of Jabesh said to him, “Give us seven days’ respite that we may send messengers through all the territory of Israel. Then, if there is no one to save us, we will give ourselves up to you.” 4 When the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul, they reported the matter in the ears of the people, and all the people wept aloud.

5 Now, behold, Saul was coming from the field behind the oxen. And Saul said, “What is wrong with the people, that they are weeping?” So they told him the news of the men of Jabesh. 6 And the Spirit of God rushed upon Saul when he heard these words, and his anger was greatly kindled. 7 He took a yoke of oxen and cut them in pieces and sent them throughout all the territory of Israel by the hand of the messengers, saying, “Whoever does not come out after Saul and Samuel, so shall it be done to his oxen!” Then the dread of the Lord fell upon the people, and they came out as one man. 8 When he mustered them at Bezek, the people of Israel were three hundred thousand, and the men of Judah thirty thousand. 9 And they said to the messengers who had come, “Thus shall you say to the men of Jabesh-gilead: ‘Tomorrow, by the time the sun is hot, you shall have salvation.’”

When the messengers came and told the men of Jabesh, they were glad. 10 Therefore the men of Jabesh said, “Tomorrow we will give ourselves up to you, and you may do to us whatever seems good to you.” 11 And the next day Saul put the people in three companies. And they came into the midst of the camp in the morning watch and struck down the Ammonites until the heat of the day. And those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together.

We attempted to answer this Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question:  Will God defend a sinful believer?

And we found these three answers:

  • Yes, by His Spirit
  • Yes, by the dread of the Lord
  • Yes, by His people   

God uses His Spirit

1 Samuel 11:11 Then Nahash the Ammonite went up and besieged Jabesh-gilead, and all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, “Make a treaty with us, and we will serve you.” 2 But Nahash the Ammonite said to them, “On this condition I will make a treaty with you, that I gouge out all your right eyes, and thus bring disgrace on all Israel.” 3 The elders of Jabesh said to him, “Give us seven days’ respite that we may send messengers through all the territory of Israel. Then, if there is no one to save us, we will give ourselves up to you.” 4 When the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul, they reported the matter in the ears of the people, and all the people wept aloud.

5 Now, behold, Saul was coming from the field behind the oxen. And Saul said, “What is wrong with the people, that they are weeping?” So they told him the news of the men of Jabesh. 6 And the Spirit of God rushed upon Saul when he heard these words, and his anger was greatly kindled.

The people of God are desperate.  Their enemy beat them, and the conditions of surrender were to have their eye gouged out.  Word gets to King Saul, and the Spirit of God moves on Him.

This is the Spirt of God moving for a specific task like we see with Gideon in Judges 6, with Samson in Judges 14, and with Zechariah 2 Chronicles 24.

For the believer, we have John 14:16 I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

God uses the dread of the Lord

1 Samuel 11:7 He took a yoke of oxen and cut them in pieces and sent them throughout all the territory of Israel by the hand of the messengers, saying, “Whoever does not come out after Saul and Samuel, so shall it be done to his oxen!” Then the dread of the Lord fell upon the people, and they came out as one man. 8 When he mustered them at Bezek, the people of Israel were three hundred thousand, and the men of Judah thirty thousand. 9 And they said to the messengers who had come, “Thus shall you say to the men of Jabesh-gilead: ‘Tomorrow, by the time the sun is hot, you shall have salvation.’” When the messengers came and told the men of Jabesh, they were glad.

The dread of the Lord falls on the people, and the become unified in action.  The dread of the Lord is a rightful fear and recognition of the holiness of God.  It has two reactions.  For the non-believer, it is being stricken with a fear and a hardening of the heart.  For the believer, the dread of the Lord moves you to action and unity.  Our action is repentance and obedience, and as God does that in His people, we are unified.

God uses His people. 

1 Samuel 11:10 Therefore the men of Jabesh said, “Tomorrow we will give ourselves up to you, and you may do to us whatever seems good to you.” 11 And the next day Saul put the people in three companies. And they came into the midst of the camp in the morning watch and struck down the Ammonites until the heat of the day. And those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together.

God uses His people as an act of defense for believers.  He has called believers into the church.  You are not saved alone.  Don’t feel up to the task?

2 Peter 3:14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.  15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother

Your God has this character.

Psalm 78 says, “38 Yet he, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often and did not stir up all his wrath.  39 He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and comes not again.

Big Picture Question:  Will God defend a sinful believer?

Truth:  God does not abandon sinful believers.  Instead He defends them through a Spirit-filled dread that motivates His people.

Application:  Live knowing that God will defend you while using your experiences to make you more like Himself.

Action:  Pray that the Holy Spirit would enable you to both be more like Jesus and to encourage another Christian to do the same. 

Sunday Recap for 11/12 Big Picture Question: What happens when we judge by appearances?

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Sunday, November 12, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 1:17-27:

17 Now, Samuel called the people together to the Lord at Mizpah. 18 And he said to the people of Israel, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all the kingdoms that were oppressing you.’ 19 But today you have rejected your God, who saves you from all your calamities and your distresses, and you have said to him, ‘Set a king over us.’ Now therefore present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and by your thousands.”

20 Then Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, and the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. 21 He brought the tribe of Benjamin near by its clans, and the clan of the Matrites was taken by lot; eand Saul the son of Kish was taken by lot. But when they sought him, he could not be found. 22 So they inquired again of the Lord, “Is there a man still to come?” and the Lord said, “Behold, he has hidden himself among the baggage.” 23 Then they ran and took him from there. And when he stood among the people, he was taller than any of the people from his shoulders upward. 24 And Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see him whom the Lord has chosen? There is none like him among all the people.” And all the people shouted, “Long live the king!”

25 Then Samuel told the people the rights and duties of the kingship, and he wrote them in a book and laid it up before the Lord. Then Samuel sent all the people away, each one to his home. 26 Saul also went to his home at Gibeah, and with him went men of valor whose hearts God had touched. 27 But some worthless fellows said, “How can this man save us?” And they despised him and brought him no present. But he held his peace.

We sought to answer this Big Picture Question:

What happens when we judge by appearances? 

And we found these 3 answers:

  • The Good
  • The Bad
  • The Ugly

The Good

1 Samuel 10:17 Now, Samuel called the people together to the Lord at Mizpah. 18 And he said to the people of Israel, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all the kingdoms that were oppressing you.’

Even when our desires are based on what “looks good” or even what the world says is “good”, God is faithful.  He was faithful to the people of God from Abraham, through the Patriarchs, through slavery in Egypt, through Moses, through Joshua, and He is still faithful even though His people have rejected them.  God is faithful to you as well.

The Bad

1 Samuel 10:19 But today you have rejected your God, who saves you from all your calamities and your distresses, and you have said to him, ‘Set a king over us.’ Now therefore present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and by your thousands.” 20 Then Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, and the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. 21 He brought the tribe of Benjamin near by its clans, and the clan of the Matrites was taken by lot; eand Saul the son of Kish was taken by lot. But when they sought him, he could not be found. 22 So they inquired again of the Lord, “Is there a man still to come?” and the Lord said, “Behold, he has hidden himself among the baggage.” 23 Then they ran and took him from there. And when he stood among the people, he was taller than any of the people from his shoulders upward. 24 And Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see him whom the Lord has chosen? There is none like him among all the people.” And all the people shouted, “Long live the king!”

The people of God wanted a king like the nations, and they got one:  cowardly king who hides in the baggage and has no heart for God.  The people of God gather to be accused by God and receive their king.  They looked out at the world and got exactly what they wanted.  Friends, when we judge by appearances and ask God for what we want, sometimes, God gives us those things to bring us back to Him.

The Ugly

1 Samuel 10:25 Then Samuel told the people the rights and duties of the kingship, and he wrote them in a book and laid it up before the Lord. Then Samuel sent all the people away, each one to his home. 26 Saul also went to his home at Gibeah, and with him went men of valor whose hearts God had touched. 27 But some worthless fellows said, “How can this man save us?” And they despised him and brought him no present. But he held his peace.

The people of God have their king, and they are already fighting.  Some follow the king, and the worthless men don’t.  Whenever our desires are run by outward appearances, there are always disagreements as to what that should be.  The people have the king they want, and they are already fighting.

If appearances were what we should be drawn to, then we would have no hope as Christ went against all expectations.

Isaiah 53:2b-3 He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.  He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

And there is nothing about the believers of Jesus that should draw people to ourselves.  If that was the case, we would boast.  Instead, what should draw others to us is only Jesus.

I Cor 1:26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

Big Picture Question:  What happens when we judge by appearances? 

Truth: Judging by appearances causes us to forget God’s faithfulness, trust our wisdom, and walk away from God’s best in our lives.

Application:  Live knowing that you are called by God to imitate His love as you trust His leadership and love others.   

Action:  Stop categorizing people as worthy of hearing the Gospel or not.  

Sunday Recap for 11/5 – Big Picture Question: What do we learn about God’s character in our struggles?

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Sunday, November 5, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 16:1-5:

1 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ And invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. And you shall anoint for me him whom I declare to you.” Samuel did what the Lord commanded and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling and said, “Do you come peaceably?” And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

We attempted to answer this Big Picture Question:

What do we learn about God’s character in our struggles?

And we found these 3 answers to our question:

  • God struggles with us.
  • God calls us to obedience.
  • God calls us to worship.

God struggles with us.

1 Samuel 16:1 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.”

God comforts Samuel.  Samuel is grieving King Saul’s sin, and the impact it is having on the people of God.  The Father comforts Samuel.  The ultimate example of this is Jesus’ struggle with us as He brought comfort through His life, death, and resurrection.

God calls us to obedience.

1 Samuel 16:And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ And invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. And you shall anoint for me him whom I declare to you.” Samuel did what the Lord commanded and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling and said, “Do you come peaceably?”

Samuel is afraid that if he anoints David as king, Saul is going to want to kill him.  But God calls Samuel to be faithful and obedient.  God’s commands are expressions of His character.  When we obey, we get to know God better and become more like Him.

God calls us to worship.

1 Samuel 16:  And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

What does God command Saul to do?  Worship.  We cannot forsake worship in our struggles because it is there we meet God.

Truth:  God struggles with us in our troubles as we obey and worship Him.

Application:  Live knowing that God works in our struggles as He calls us to love and obey Him.

Action:  Prioritize public worship during your struggles so as to see God and the expression of His character (the church) more clearly.

Sunday Recap recap from 10/29 where we looked at the Big Picture Question: How does God equip us for the task to which He calls.

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Sunday, 10/29, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 10:1-16:

1 Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on his head and kissed him and said, “Has not the Lord anointed you to be prince over his people Israel? And you shall reign over the people of the Lord and you will save them from the hand of their surrounding enemies. And this shall be the sign to you that the Lord has anointed you to be prince over his heritage. 2 When you depart from me today, you will meet two men by Rachel’s tomb in the territory of Benjamin at Zelzah, and they

will say to you, ‘The donkeys that you went to seek are found, and now your father has ceased to care about the donkeys and is anxious about you, saying, “What shall I do about my son?”’ 3 Then you shall go on from there farther and come to the oak of Tabor. Three men going up to God at Bethel will meet you there, one carrying three young goats, another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a skin of wine. 4 And they will greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you shall accept from their hand. 5 After that you shall come to Gibeath-elohim, where there is a garrison of the Philistines. And there, as soon as you come to the city, you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with harp, tambourine, flute, and lyre before them, prophesying. 6 Then the Spirit of the Lord will rush upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man. 7 Now when these signs meet you, do what your hand finds to do, for God is with you. 8 Then go down before me to Gilgal. And behold, I am coming down to you to offer burnt offerings and to sacrifice peace offerings. Seven days you shall wait, until I come to you and show you what you shall do.”

9 When he turned his back to leave Samuel, God gave him another heart. And all these signs came to pass that day. 10 When they came to Gibeah, behold, a group of prophets met him, and the Spirit of God rushed upon him, and he prophesied among them. 11 And when all who knew him previously saw how he prophesied with the prophets, the people said to one another, “What has come over the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?” 12 And a man of the place answered, “And who is their father?” Therefore it became a proverb, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” 13 When he had finished prophesying, he came to the high place.

14 Saul’s uncle said to him and to his servant, “Where did you go?” And he said, “To seek the donkeys. And when we saw they were not to be found, we went to Samuel.” 15 And Saul’s uncle said, “Please tell me what Samuel said to you.” 16 And Saul said to his uncle, “He told us plainly that the donkeys had been found.” But about the matter of the kingdom, of which Samuel had spoken, he did not tell him anything.

We attempted to answer this Big Picture Question:

How does God equip you to thing for which you are called?

And we found these 3 answers:

  • He anoints us
  • He gives us a new heart
  • He gives us a voice

He anoints us

1 Samuel 10:1 Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on his head and kissed him and said, “Has not the Lord anointed you to be prince over his people Israel? And you shall reign over the people of the Lord and you will save them from the hand of their surrounding enemies.

Saul was anointed, which in this context means set apart for God’s purpose.  He was anointed to be king.

We too have an anointed King in Jesus.

Acts 10:38 God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.

And we receive our anointing to obey and work for Jesus because of what Jesus has done.

2 Corinthians 2:20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. 21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

Additionally to anointing, God equips you as He gives you…

He gives us a new heart

1 Samuel 10:9 When he turned his back to leave Samuel, God gave him another heart. And all these signs came to pass that day.

Saul’s new heart was a heart to be king.  A few moments ago, he was a donkey hunter.  Now he will be the king of God’s people.

Christians have a new heart as well.  That new heart transforms us to care about and seek to obey God’s laws.

Ezekiel 36: 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules

God also equips us as…

He gives us a voice

1 Samuel 10:14 Saul’s uncle said to him and to his servant, “Where did you go?” And he said, “To seek the donkeys. And when we saw they were not to be found, we went to Samuel.” 15 And Saul’s uncle said, “Please tell me what Samuel said to you.” 16 And Saul said to his uncle, “He told us plainly that the donkeys had been found.” But about the matter of the kingdom, of which Samuel had spoken, he did not tell him anything.

Colossians 4: 2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. 3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— 4 that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. 

The first opportunity that Saul had to speak, He failed.  We have an opportunity to succeed.  Here is how.

Our voice is equipped through prayer.

Colossians 4:2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. 3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— 4 that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.5 Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

Big Picture Question:  How does God equip you to thing for which you are called?

Truth:  God’s equipping is an anointing that gives you a new heart, eager to speak of the mercies of Christ.

Application:  Live knowing that God’s Spirit of anointing gives you a new heart and voice to proclaim Jesus’ mercy to yourself, the church, and this community.

Action:  Mature your faith in Jesus today by taking a step of faith in a relationship, knowing that you are equipped to do the thing of which you are most scared.

Sunday Recap for 10/22 – Big Picture Question: How is God at work and redeem even the most mundane of moments?

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This past week, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 9, and we answered this Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question:  How does God use and redeem even the most tedious of moments in our lives?

And we found these 3 answers to our question:

  • God works in family life.
  • God works in church life.
  • God works in your persona life.

God works in family life.

1 Samuel 9:1 There was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, a Benjaminite, a man of wealth. 2 And he had a son whose name was Saul, a handsome young man. There was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.

3 Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, were lost. So Kish said to Saul his son, “Take one of the young men with you, and arise, go and look for the donkeys.” 4 And he passed through the hill country of Ephraim and passed through the land of Shalishah, but they did not find them. And they passed through the land of Shaalim, but they were not there. Then they passed through the land of Benjamin, but did not find them.

How more mundane is it to have to hunt down lost donkeys for your dad?  Well, that’s the story of how God brings about the monarchy that eventually brings about David and Jesus…donkey-hunting.

We often wait and hope for God’s work in the large moments of life – nothing wrong with that.  But God is also present in the small moments of life.  Here, we see God present in something trivial to bring about something great.

God works in church life.

1 Samuel 9:5 When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant who was with him, “Come, let us go back, lest my father cease to care about the donkeys and become anxious about us.” 6 But he said to him, “Behold, there is a man of God in this city, and he is a man who is held in honor; all that he says comes true. So now let us go there. Perhaps he can tell us the way we should go.” 7 Then Saul said to his servant, “But if we go, what can we bring the man? For the bread in our sacks is gone, and there is no present to bring to the man of God. What do we have?” 8 The servant answered Saul again, “Here, I have with me a quarter of a shekel of silver, and I will give it to the man of God to tell us our way.” 9 (Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he said, “Come, let us go to the seer,” for today’s “prophet” was formerly called a seer.) 10 And Saul said to his servant, “Well said; come, let us go.” So they went to the city where the man of God was.

11 As they went up the hill to the city, they met young women coming out to draw water and said to them, “Is the seer here?” 12 They answered, “He is; behold, he is just ahead of you. Hurry. He has come just now to the city, because the people have a sacrifice today on the high place. 13 As soon as you enter the city you will find him, before he goes up to the high place to eat. For the people will not eat till he comes, since he must bless the sacrifice; afterward those who are invited will eat. Now go up, for you will meet him immediately.” 14 So they went up to the city. As they were entering the city, they saw Samuel coming out toward them on his way up to the high place.

Saul has been gone 3 days looking for donkeys, and a young woman helps him.  So, he wants to get help from Saul, the prophet.  This is more so of how the church works than the large events.  People helping each other find their way, a pastor giving encouragement…God is present and at work through the church.

God works in your personal life.

1 Samuel 9:15 Now the day before Saul came, the Lord had revealed to Samuel: 16 “Tomorrow about this time I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince over my people Israel. He shall save my people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have seen my people, because their cry has come to me.” 17 When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord told him, “Here is the man of whom I spoke to you! He it is who shall restrain my people.” 18 Then Saul approached Samuel in the gate and said, “Tell me where is the house of the seer?” 19 Samuel answered Saul, “I am the seer. Go up before me to the high place, for today you shall eat with me, and in the morning I will let you go and will tell you all that is on your mind. 20 As for your donkeys that were lost three days ago, do not set your mind on them, for they have been found. And for whom is all that is desirable in Israel? Is it not for you and for all your father’s house?” 21 Saul answered, “Am I not a Benjaminite, from the least of the tribes of Israel? And is not my clan the humblest of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why then have you spoken to me in this way?”

22 Then Samuel took Saul and his young man and brought them into the hall and gave them a place at the head of those who had been invited, who were about thirty persons. 23 And Samuel said to the cook, “Bring the portion I gave you, of which I said to you, ‘Put it aside.’” 24 So the cook took up the leg and what was on it and set them before Saul. And Samuel said, “See, what was kept is set before you. Eat, because it was kept for you until the hour appointed, that you might eat with the guests.”

So Saul ate with Samuel that day. 25 And when they came down from the high place into the city, a bed was spread for Saul on the roof, and he lay down to sleep. 26 Then at the break of dawn Samuel called to Saul on the roof, “Up, that I may send you on your way.” So Saul arose, and both he and Samuel went out into the street.

27 As they were going down to the outskirts of the city, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the servant to pass on before us, and when he has passed on, stop here yourself for a while, that I may make known to you the word of God.”

God is active and at work in our lives.  Here we see Samuel bring Saul in, give him a place at the table, give him good, and give him a place to stay.  Simple acts that bring about the monarchy that would lead to Jesus.

Big Picture Question:  How does God use and redeem even the most tedious of moments in our lives?

Truth:  God working in the mundane moments of your personal, family, and church life is not about Him making Himself known.  It is about you opening your eyes to what God is already doing.

Application:  Live knowing that each moment of your day is designed to draw you closer to God and to enable you to love others.

Action:  In your next trial, ask yourself, “How is God working in my life with this, and how is God calling me to love others in this?” 

Sunday Recap for 10/15, Why should we listen to wisdom from others?

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Sunday, October 15, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 8:10-22

10 So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him.

11 He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. 12 And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. 15 He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. 16 He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. 18 And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

19 But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. 19b And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” 21 And when Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the Lord. 22 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey their voice and make them a king.” Samuel then said to the men of Israel, “Go every man to his city.”

We looked at this Big Picture Question from that passage.

Why should we listen to wisdom from others?

  • It an be wisdom from God
  • Forces us to sift our desires
  • Yet, God doesn’t reject us when we don’t

It can be wisdom from God

1 Samuel 8:10 So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him.

11 He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. 12 And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. 15 He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. 16 He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. 18 And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.” 19 But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel.

We should be stuck with the book ends of this section of text….it starts with,

“Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people…..but they refused to obey the voice of Samuel.  Which we know is the voice of God.”

What don’t we see here?  We don’t see any dialogue or interaction with Samuel here, do we?  It really doesn’t matter at all what he said to them.  Their mind was made up and nothing was going to change it.  We need to realize that God often uses others in our lives to speak truth into ours and vice-a-versa.

Forces us to sift our desires

19b And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.”

As we are seeking wisdom out from those with greater experience and life than us it should bring us to a place a sifting our desires.   Asking hard questions about ourselves

Or said another way, if someone is speaking into our lives, our first response shouldn’t be to dismiss their words but to genuinely hear them…and then begin the process of asking hard questions about them.  Are these words true?  Am I in error?  Have I sinned? What our my motives/desires?  Are they good? Until we have done that hard work and come through it with a clear conscience that you have taken their words and examined them from every angle, there’s work to be done.

Yet, God doesn’t reject us when we don’t

21 And when Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the Lord. 22 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey their voice and make them a king.” Samuel then said to the men of Israel, “Go every man to his city.”

Through all this, and so much more – good and bad, as the history of kings unfold for Israel and Judah, God doesn’t reject his people.  He keeps his covenant, he keeps his promises even though his people, even though we, sin against him, reject his words, his wisdom.  Even though we seek to replace Christ as King in our lives in so many ways.

Ultimately, we know who the true King is, don’t we?  Jesus….In spite of all this stuff going on with God’s people…..He is still sending his son to live for them, to die for them, and to be raised for them.  And this is true for you as well!

Sunday Recap for 10/8, What do we do when we want something good but for all the wrong reasons?

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Sunday, October 8, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 7:15-8:19.

1 Samuel 7: 15 Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. 16 And he went on a circuit year by year to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah. And he judged Israel in all these places. 17 Then he would return to Ramah, for his home was there, and there also he judged Israel. And he built there an altar to the Lord.

8:1 When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel. 2 The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba. 3 Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice.

4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah 5 and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” 6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. 8 According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. 9 Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”

We attempted to answer this Big Picture Question:

What can we do when we want something good but for all the wrong reasons?

And we found these three answers:

  1. Worship
  2. Pray
  3. Obey

Worship

1 Samuel 7: 15 Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. 16 And he went on a circuit year by year to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah. And he judged Israel in all these places. 17 Then he would return to Ramah, for his home was there, and there also he judged Israel. And he built there an altar to the Lord.

8:1 When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel. 2 The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba. 3 Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice.

Samuel was a good priest, leading the people in worship each year.  He offered sacrifices for their sins, and He judged their conflicts.  Unfortunately, he didn’t lead his family very well, and his sons didn’t follow in the leadership

If we want to understand our motives, we have to keep our hearts grounded in worship so as we don’t fall into mistakes like this where we value our jobs over our families.

Pray

1 Samuel 7: 4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah 5 and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” 6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord.

Samuel prays to God when the people demand a king.  What they want is good.  Why they want it is bad.  Prayer sifts through motives.  Here is a simple way to pray:

ACTS

A – Adoration.  Praise God for what you love about Him.

C – Confession.  Confess your sins to God and ask for forgiveness.

T – Thanksgiving.  Thank God for the things in your life.

S – Supplication.  Ask God for the needs of your life.

Obey

1 Samuel 7: 7 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. 8 According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. 9 Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”

Samuel is told to obey God.  God tells them people they can have the king they want, even if it is rejecting God.  We cannot understand our motives if we are not seeking to obey God.

Big Picture Question:  What can we do when we want something good but for all the wrong reasons?

Truth:  Worship and obedience purify your prayer’s motives.

Application:  Live knowing that God intends for your prayers to be purified by honest worship and intentional obedience.

Action:  Refine your desire through the accountability of someone who will be honest with you.

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