When the Hebrew slaves were gathered at Mount Sinai, one of the covenant ordinances they agreed to was to celebrate three annual feasts: "Three times you shall keep a feast to Me in the year" (Exodus 23:14). The three feasts were the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering (Exodus 24:14-17). For four decades while the Hebrews were in the wilderness, the feasts were logistically "easy" since the Tabernacle was always with them.


When the nation moved into the Promised Land, keeping the feasts became more complicated since the nation was spread out geographically—the movable Tabernacle was replaced by the permanent Temple in Jerusalem. Therefore, three times each year the Jews had to journey to Jerusalem to "keep the feasts." Because Jerusalem was located on a mountain, the phrase "up to Jerusalem" became common (it occurs 28 times in Scripture). Therefore, "ascending to Jerusalem" was part of the life of every Jew.


As Jews journeyed to Jerusalem, they would sing psalms (songs) to celebrate their faith and prepare them for the joyous experiences of the festivals. It was a time filled with excitement and anticipation.

READ: Psalm 24 – Read it slowly; ponder on the key words. Re-read verses 3-5.

This psalm asks, “Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place?”

In my understanding, the psalmist is asking, “Who will decide to seek God? Who wants to abide in his presence?”

In verse 4 the psalmist answers that question by implying what is necessary to make this decision and experience what is desired. 

In verse 5 the psalmist tells us about those who have made the decision to seek God and who have prepared themselves in this way – They will receive blessings from the LORD.


Tell the LORD that you love him and you desire to experience his presence in powerful ways this year.

Ask the LORD to impress upon you anything you need to do to prepare for these experiences.

Ask the LORD to show you his favor as you seek him.

10/1/2017 Message Notes

10.1.2017   The ULTIMATE Advocate – 1 John 2:1-6

Introduction: Rich Nichols, director of the United Advocacy Group, talked about the work of an advocate. An advocate works on behalf of someone, to help with what is being required of them.
1 John -- Three themes in this letter – fellowship, truth and love. Touched on in Ch1; integrated in 2:1-6.

Here, in the first six verses of chapter two, John not only assures us that the demand of God's righteousness has been satisfied by the finished work of Jesus, but he also assures us that even when we sin, and we all do, God still loves us and has made provision to restore the fellowship that is hindered by sin.
Note 3 things John tells us about the work of Jesus, as an advocate,  to make us righteous…

1.Jesus works to make us right with God – He is the advocate for our sin(s). (v1,2)
A.He clearly says in verse on that his purpose for writing is so that we will not sin. It is important to understand that he is not saying that we will live in sinless perfection.

The verb translated, "sin" is in the aorist tense. This tense speaks to a specific point and place in time. It is not ongoing action. The imperfect tense speaks of incomplete or ongoing action, but the aorist tense speaks of a one-time event or action.

John wants us to know… wants us to avoid even the smallest of things which would negatively impact the fellowship we have with God and with one another. So the grammatical clues clearly show us that he is not espousing a doctrine of sinless perfection, but then there is an instructional insight.

B.Look at the second part of verse one, "And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."

John realizes that as Christians there are going to be times when we stumble and fall, when we step back into sin. And when we do, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
This is the personal advocacy of Christ. When we sin, and folks we do sin, God has provided a way for us to reconcile that fellowship, it is through Jesus Christ, who is the atoning sacrifice/payment/propitiation for our sins.

C. (v2) The word, "atoning sacrifice/propitiation" means appeasement or satisfaction. It means the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross satisfied the demands of God's justice. We are probably more familiar with the term "atonement.". Sin cannot go unpunished; on the cross Jesus paid the price for our sins, and if we, by faith, place our trust in what Jesus did on the cross, He will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Remember, John is writing to assure us that we have an advocate with the Father, who is Jesus. Because Jesus was perfect and without sin, He was an acceptable sacrifice for our sins and His sacrifice was sufficient to pay the price, not only for our sins, but for the sins of the whole world.

This is a most interesting passage because it says that Christ died for the sins of the whole world. This is not a message of universalism (which says that everyone will be saved)..., which is not consistent with the rest of scripture.
John 3:17-18 says: "For God did not send the Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned; but anyone who does not believe has been condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the One and only Son of God."

2.Jesus works to make us right with one another -- He relates to us for faithfulness and obedience. (v3,4)

Verse three can be translated like this, "By this are we knowing that we have come to know Him."
Classical Greek used two words which are translated into the English word "know." One word, "oida" speaks of knowledge which was gained by abstract learning. The other word, "ginosko" speaks of knowledge attained through personal experience.

In both instances here in verse 3, the word used is "ginosko," knowledge gained through personal experience. But there is a difference in how the words are used.

In the first instance the verb is in the present tense, which speaks to ongoing action. Thus, we are continuing to know, or we are knowing. What are we knowing? That we know Him. This second usage of the word is in the perfect tense which speaks of completed action.
This is of extreme importance. Don't miss what is being said here, "By this are we knowing that we have (completed action) come to know Him." This speaks to the certainty and finality of our salvation experience. We have come to know Him, it is a completed action. It's not going to be undone or redone, it is already done.
So, says John, there is something that shows us or demonstrates for us the reality that we have come to know Him. What is it?

One thing and one thing alone measures our faithfulness: Obedience.
The word translated, "keep," simply means to observe, or in this case, to obey.
How hard is this: If we say we have come to know Him but do not keep His commandments, we are liars and the truth is not in us.
Again, not everyone who says Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he that does the will of the Father.
There were those then, as there are those today, who claimed to be Christians. Loudly and boldly they professed to be Christians; but there was an inconsistency, a discrepancy or a contradiction between what they said and the way they lived.
Listen folks, Jesus said it clearly, by their fruits you shall know them. Simply claiming to be a Christian won't cut it. The measure of our faithfulness is obedience. If we are truly part of the faithful, if we are truly part of the family, if we are truly in fellowship with God, it will be evident in the lives we live. We will walk in obedience to Christ.
What I love about 1st John is that you don't have to be a biblical scholar to get what it is saying. It's so very simple. If you love Jesus you will keep His commandments. If you say you love Him but don't keep His commandments, you are a liar and the truth is not in you.
But, in contrast to the hypocrite who professes one thing and practices another, John goes on to tell us what our lives will look like if we keep the commandments of our Lord.

3.Jesus works for our maturity – He loves us to grow us. (v5,6)
There are always those who claim to have spiritual maturity, but do not. There will always be those who pretend to be grown up in Christ, but are not. So John says, here are two clear evidences of a mature Christian life.

Two evidences of maturity in our walk with God :
A. Completion of His love
Mature love manifests itself in obedience.
The context of this passage suggests that John is talking about the love we have for God. No doubt John recalled what he recorded Jesus saying in his gospel.

In John 14:15 Jesus says, "If you love Me, you will keep my commandments."
And in John 14:23 Jesus says, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; My father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him."

What does it mean to love Jesus? I mean, do we love Him simply because He died to save us from our sins? Do we love Him simply because He is God? Or do we love Him because He first loved us and gave Himself for us? Do we love Him for who He is or because of what He has done?

The Greek employs the word "agape" here, which speaks of a selfless, others oriented kind of love. What this text is saying is that the person who loves Jesus like they should is no longer living for themselves, they have abandoned themselves, and they are living for Him and for Him alone.

How can we say that we love Him if we are not allowing Him to live His life through us? How can we claim to love Him with our lips if we demonstrate that we do not love Him with our lives?
Thus John says that if we really know Him, His love has been perfected in us. That is to say, it is lacking nothing, it has come full circle, accomplishing all it intended to accomplish and has changed us to the point that our lives are different than they were before.
And that's what He speaks about in verse 6…

B. Conduct of our life 
This is how we know Him. The one who says he remains in Him should walk just as He walked. 1 John 2:6
That is to say, we will live the way He lived, we will bear the mark of Christ in our lives to the degree that others will see our Savior in us. To "Abide in Him" is another way of saying that we have exchanged our life for His, that we have died to self and that He is living His life through us. If that is the case, then our lives will look like His life.

You see, to be like Jesus means that you'll have to take up your cross and follow Him... It means you'll have to deny yourself and do the will of the Father, regardless of the personal price. It means you'll have to say, not my will but thy will Lord. Being like Jesus means you'll have to love your enemies, to forgive those who trespass against you, to return kindness for evil and to pray for those who spitefully use you.

Many people want the glory of heaven but not the burden of obedience here on earth. They want the benefit of what Jesus did without the burden of living like He lived.

John makes it very clear. This is the way that you know that you know Him, if you love Him enough that your life has been changed so that you walk like He walked.

10/8/2017 Message Notes

10.8.2017    The Viewpoint – 2 Corinthians 2: 12-17
14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. (repeat)

Define: a viewpoint is… a perspective; a position from which you look at something.
Oswald Chambers once wrote about this verse…”This verse is to be the VIEWPOINT of those who follow Jesus! We must strenuously maintain God’s point of view in every day, every way, in every bit. NO outside power can touch this point of view!”
*As we live out this point of view we are to God’s glory.
-This is our purpose, amidst the different challenges of life, to live it out by faith.
-We are not here “in God’s showroom,” like a car on display, to just sit around and look pretty, BUT we are here to exhibit captivity to Christ, living out our faith amidst the struggles of life, to impact the world in a Jesus way.

CONTEXT: (2 Corinthians 2) – This isn’t Paul’s 2nd letter to them… He had written them and visited them a few times before to encourage, disciple and straighten out their problems.
Chapter 1- He had problems in Asia and was in fear of death, but he learned to trust in God, and God delivered him.
He was going to visit them in Corinth, but the Holy Spirit led him in another direction.
Problems in Corinth he addresses
*To this context he writes the encouragement of verse 2:14

1.Words such as VICTORY and TRIUMPH presume a conflict.
As we live out faith, we are in a conflict! 
-       Sometimes we battle with the world; sometimes the flesh;Sometimes the  forces of evil. Paul wrote to the Ephesians…We wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with powers and principalities in the spiritual realm…
-       Any child of God recognizes this
-       Paul’s testimony in Romans 7… “Sometimes I do what I do not want to do; sometimes I do what I hate… It’s the sin living in me.”

2.There are reasons it’s hard to live a life of victory.
-Some don’t put up much of a fight. They live defeated because they don’t claim/live out their victory.
-Some accept the lies of the faithless world… Instead of hoping, believing the promises of God.
-The Bible says, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you!”

3.While some don’t seem so triumphal, others always seem to live victoriously.
Here Paul says God does it – “causes us to triumph”
In 1 Corinthians 15 he says -- “through Jesus Christ our Lord”
*The key is found in abiding in Christ -- believing that Jesus works in us and through us to make it happen
-Abide in Christ through prayer, insights found when studying God’s Word, through the fellowship of believers

To maintain a victorious VIEWPOINT…
1.Recognize – Look to see/identify the battles, then understand from God how to procede
Ill: Team Talk – I always listen to the guys I coach… Their problems and concerns about life. On Friday they began to ask me questions about the Bible – God was working in their lives!

2.Battle – Fight the enemy – know the enemy and understand how to battle
Ill: Luncheon (help) – amidst the battle with my busyness and circumstances, God sent a friend to help
Ill: Bridgeton Police Substation – a mobile Police Station that can go to area hotspots, to address criminal activity

3.Hope – Live by faith with the certainty of victory
Ill: Baseball playoffs – Last night  Bryce Harper brings back Washington for the win, at the end!
*perseverance is the key – keep battling AND believing… There IS victory in Jesus!!!

Seabrook Christmas Party

The Seabrook Christmas Party attracted about 80 people out to celebrate. Dave shared God's word and everyone ate to their full. Donna cooked 2 turkey's and their was lots of fried chicken.

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