Weekend Worship – Oct 17-18, 2020

Scripture Reading/Lectura bíblica:  Matthew 22:1-14/ Mateo 22:1-14

Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.

“Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’

“But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.

11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless.

13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

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Jesús también les contó otras parábolas. Dijo: «El reino del cielo también puede ilustrarse mediante la historia de un rey que preparó una gran fiesta de bodas para su hijo. Cuando el banquete estuvo listo, el rey envió a sus sirvientes para llamar a los invitados. ¡Pero todos se negaron a asistir!

»Entonces envió a otros sirvientes a decirles: “La fiesta está preparada. Se han matado los toros y las reses engordadas, y todo está listo. ¡Vengan al banquete!”. Pero las personas a quienes había invitado no hicieron caso y siguieron su camino: uno se fue a su granja y otro a su negocio. Otros agarraron a los mensajeros, los insultaron y los mataron.

»El rey se puso furioso, y envió a su ejército para destruir a los asesinos y quemar su ciudad. Y les dijo a los sirvientes: “La fiesta de bodas está lista y las personas a las que invité no son dignas de tal honor. Ahora salgan a las esquinas de las calles e inviten a todos los que vean”. 10 Entonces los sirvientes llevaron a todos los que pudieron encontrar, tanto buenos como malos, y la sala del banquete se llenó de invitados.

11 »Cuando el rey entró para recibir a los invitados, notó que había un hombre que no estaba vestido apropiadamente para una boda. 12 “Amigo —le preguntó—, ¿cómo es que estás aquí sin ropa de bodas?”. Pero el hombre no tuvo respuesta. 13 Entonces el rey dijo a sus asistentes: “Átenlo de pies y manos y arrójenlo a la oscuridad de afuera, donde habrá llanto y rechinar de dientes”.

14 »Pues muchos son los llamados, pero pocos los elegidos».

Confession/Confesión:

Merciful God, You made us in Your image, with minds to know You, hearts to love You, and wills to serve You. But our knowledge is imperfect, our love inconstant, and our obedience incomplete. We refuse to go where You lead us. We fail to grow into Your likeness. Have mercy upon us. Forgive us and free us from our sin. We ask in the gracious name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Dios misericordioso, nos hiciste a tu imagen, con mentes para conocerte, corazones para amarte y deseos de servirte. Pero nuestro conocimiento es imperfecto, nuestro amor inconstante y nuestra obediencia incompleta. Nos negamos a ir a donde nos lleves. Dejamos de crecer a tu semejanza. Ten piedad de nosotros. Perdónanos y líbranos de nuestro pecado. Te lo pedimos en el misericordioso nombre de Jesucristo. Amén.

Pause for 2 Minutes of Silence/ Pausa por 2 minutos de silencio

Pause for 1 Minute of Silence/ Pausa por 1 minuto de silencio

The Our Father (slowly pray this)/El Padre Nuestro (reza lentamente esto)

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

Padre nuestro que estás en los cielos, santificado sea tu nombre. Venga tu reino, Hágase tu voluntad en la tierra, como en el cielo. Danos hoy nuestro pan de cada día. Y perdona nuestras ofensas, como perdonamos a los que nos ofenden. Y no nos dejes caer en la tentación, sino líbranos del maligno. Para ti es el reino, el poder y la gloria para siempre, Amén.

Saturday Sabbath 10/17/20

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 Minutes)

Scripture Reading & Devotional:

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world-the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life-is not from the Father but is from the world. 17And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. –1 John 2:15-17

Excerpts from Stop Loving the World by William Greenhill (1598-1671), edited by Joel Beeke and Jay T. Collier; © 2011 Reformation Heritage Books

What “the world” means:
“World” refers to the visible heavens and earth, with all the creatures in them, as they came from the hand of God. Genesis 1:1 tells us, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” And after that, we are told of particular things that were created. In the New Testament, we are told that “all things were made by him,” and that “he was in the world, and the world was made by him.” The world, and all things in it were made by Christ”  (pg 3).

“World” means customs, manners, worship, and fashions of the world. Romans 12:2 says: “Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed.” The world here refers to the ways of men, the worship of men, and the ways of men in the worship of God, elsewhere called “the traditions of men” (Colossians 2:8) (pg 4).

“World” means the pomp and splendor of the world, which Satan makes use of to further his kingdom and interest as well as to hinder the kingdom and interest of Christ. It is the abuse of the glory and greatness of God’s creation, the excellencies and gifts of men, the profits and pleasures, and the honors, the comforts, and the contents of the world. Galatians 6:14 Paul says “But far be it from me that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world” (pg 5).

Christians are not of this world. We are chosen out of this world by Jesus.

Jesus said, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”   John 15:18-19

Christians will not love the world.

To love the world is to highly esteem it, holding it in a high account. In Luke 14, when men were invited to the great feast, held their farms, their oxen, their wives, and the things of the world in higher account than the things of Christ (pg 5).

We love the world when our thoughts are fixed on the world. What a person loves, their thoughts are much upon. We meditate most on the things we love (pg 6).

Men are said to love the world when they desire the world. What men and women love, they desire much. Love is a desire to be united with the thing loved (pg 7). This love encompasses the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the pride of life.

Love for the world is found in setting the heart on the things of the world. Psalm 62:10 warns us: “if riches increase, set not your heart upon them” (pg 7).

We are said to love the world when we employ most of our strength in, on, and about the things of the world (pg 8).

We are said to love the world when we watch all opportunities and occasions to get the things of the world: to buy cheap and sell high; to get great estates, houses, lands, and things of that nature (pg 9).

Men love the world when they favor the world the most. When they favor the things of the world in their discourses, they are in love with the world. Christ tells you, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34). When the world is in the heart the heart loves it (pg 12).

A man loves the world when he mourns and laments for the things of the world that are taken from him. That which we love, we mourn over when we lose it. (pg 14)

The world, with all of its enticements to love it, is powerful. We cannot overcome this power in our own strength, but Jesus has overcome the world.

The will of the Father is that we believe in Him and Jesus Christ the great overcomer of the world who He has sent. The world is passing away, but those who do the will of God abide forever.

I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

Question to consider: Which word or phrase stands out to you. What might God be saying to you?)

  1. Examining your life, would you be recognized as one who is not of this world; as one who is utterly devoted to Christ?
  2. What do you think about most of the time? What occupies your mind most of the time?
  3. When you turn to Jesus, He will give you the strength to set your mind on things above and resist the temptations to love the world. Have you turned to Him today?

Prayer:  Conclude with Silence (5 Minutes)

The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

Sacred Spaces – 10/15/20

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 Minutes)

Scripture Reading & Devotional:

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. –Romans 8:1

“Men like you can never change.”

Condemnation changes everything.

It stems from a crime. It removes freedom. It changes the trajectory of a life.

For more than 20 years, “Confrontation” has been my favorite song from the musical Les Miserables, the redemption story adapted from Victor Hugo’s book of the same name. The protagonist, Jean Valjean, has served 19 years in prison for stealing bread. His past conviction has marked him for life and he has hidden his criminal history to try and make a life for himself.

In the song, Valjean, now a successful businessman and mayor, encounters a policeman, Javert, who has been hunting him for years. In the beautifully written duet, the two men – criminal and lawman – sing over each other with the lawman repeating the powerful line, “Men like you can never change.” He makes clear what Valjean’s condemnation means: his identity, his future, everything, is defined by his condemnation.

This week’s Fighter Verse brings us to a key moment in Paul’s letter to the Romans. Looking back over the previous seven chapters, Paul assures his readers that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Why do Christians need to hear this? We have been “set free from sin” and have received eternal life, the “free gift of God” (Romans 6:22-23).

Put simply – we need to hear this encouragement because life this side of heaven is hard.

More times than I can count in the last few months, we have received messages from friends and family that have involved stories of hopelessness, powerlessness, or anxiety. Cancer. High risk pregnancies. Conflict at work. Strained marriages. There is a lack of peace. There is a deep sense of the brokenness in our sin-stained world.

But here in Romans 8:1, Paul reflects on the beauty of the work of redemption, even in light of the continuing impact of sin this side of heaven, and says: “Now! No. More. Condemnation.” Without a shadow of a doubt, the condemnation has been removed. No matter how things may appear. No matter how we feel about the past, no matter what we see in the present, those who are “in Christ Jesus” are free from condemnation. We’re not on the run anymore. Our future is secure.

That’s the heart of this battle over condemnation. Those who trust Jesus face a daily struggle to trust that Christ truly has removed our condemnation. That God has permanently altered our future.

This verse is the foundation of the powerful verses to come. We can be assured of our lack of condemnation because our justifying God gave up His Son to death so that there would be no charges against God’s elect (Romans 8:33-34). We are not and will not be condemned. Christ is at the right hand of the king. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

Walk in that truth, Christian. Run with abandon in that blood-bought reality. Know that the king has declared you innocent because of the work of His Son. You are not and will not be condemned.

Question to consider: Which word or phrase stands out to you. What might God be saying to you?)

  1. What brokenness are you seeing in the world that is causing you to doubt that your condemnation has been removed?
  2. What practical steps do you need to take to cast your anxieties about those things on Him, knowing He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7)?
  3. How should the truth that you are not “on the run” anymore change your life today?

Prayer:  Conclude with Silence (5 Minutes)

The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

Sacred Spaces – 10/14/20

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 Minutes)

Scripture Reading & Devotional:

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. 6He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. 7On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. [8Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.] –Psalm 62:5-7 [8]

It was a jolting surprise to discover, on studying the verses above, that this passage is a thumbnail sketch of my life – read on and see if it isn’t one for your life too! For David’s prayer is a pattern for us all, showing us how to walk through life with our God – and why! He stresses three mighty commands to himself and to his people:

  1. “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence.”
  2. “Trust in Him at all times, O people.”
  3. “Pour out your heart before Him.”

He also pens a bountiful list of reasons why any Christian would turn to this God on a daily basis to gain what David had gained. He proclaims that God is:
his Hope,
his Rock,
his Salvation,
his Fortress,
his Steadiness and Strength (I shall not be shaken),
his Glory,
his Refuge,

These are not easily won descriptors by David. His life has been a nightmare of living a mere step away from sudden extinction…he fought battle after bloody battle for Saul, was doggedly pursued by Saul whose sole purpose was to kill him, and then, as the King of Israel, he constantly defended his people against their numerous enemies. David lived in crisis for the major part of his life. As He writes this great passage of commendation to God, he reminds himself with wisdom born of constant experience, “Wait for God, for God alone, O my soul! God alone can defeat Saul…God alone can win the battle. Wait for His direction; wait for His Word for the right time to act. Wait on God for light as to the best strategy; wait for God to reveal His perfect will in all matters. Be patient; wait!”

Then David, loving God and loving his people, urges them, “Trust in Him at all times, O people.” This isn’t just a good idea that David proposes…this works!!!! God honors faith. When you trust in God, you can count on His absolute faithfulness to intervene in whatever situation you meet!

Lastly, David counsels them with the key instruction, “Pour out your heart before God.” We know by reading his magnificent psalms that David does pour out all the griefs that weigh his heart down…not whining to himself, or bemoaning his fate to a friend, but silently, alone, pouring it all out to his Father, God Almighty. David then declares that He has found God to be all things to Him because He has sought Him as his Refuge, Hope, Salvation, Rock, and Fortress, his Strength and his Glory!

Can we shake the familiar ink and paper off these verses and understand that they live – that they can be taken hold of and wielded to provide us a joyous existence of hope and confidence? Brothers and sisters, David’s words are true and powerful! We have to DO them! We must pour out our love and concerns to our God, we must trust Him, implicitly, and we must wait for Him to direct and to provide – He becomes the protective, provisional resource for us that He was for David.

Looking back over 7 decades of trusting Jesus Christ, I can see that this is exactly how God has faithfully helped and delivered me. Every word David wrote above is wise and true! They reveal God’s immense commitment, passion and jealous love for His own! I know you can say the same of Him!!! May God give us a hunger for Himself that will drive us to seek and trust our LORD as Psalm 62 instructs!!

Question to consider: Which word or phrase stands out to you. What might God be saying to you?)

THREE “IFS” — ONE CHALLENGE

If you want to love your Savior more intensely, pour out your heart to Him!  Gratitude for His provision will send your love soaring.

If you want to press on to know Him more completely, pour out your heart to Him! You will get to know Him in ever-increasing dimensions – as your unshakeable Rock, as your mighty Fortress, as your complete Refuge, as your powerful Savior, as your unfailing Strength!

And if you want to glorify Almighty God, pour out your heart to Him – and then share with others the remarkable deeds that He will do for you!

Prayer:  Conclude with Silence (5 Minutes)

The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

Sacred Spaces – 10/13/20

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 Minutes)

Scripture Reading & Devotional:

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. 4In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? —Psalm 56:3-4

If you’ve ever had a panic attack, you know it is not just the run-of-the-mill kind of fear. Are you afraid to speak in front of a group? Or afraid of financial failure? Panic attack fear is not like that. It is irrational–dark, debilitating, and very difficult to describe. Years ago, when little was known about the cause of panic attacks, I lived with this fear. One moment I would be basking on the beach of well-being and without warning be hit by the tsunami of overwhelming, crushing fear. The wave would rise up out of what I thought were peaceful waters and come breaking in, stripping away all sense of security. The panic would tear at my soul and leave me grabbing desperately for an anchor.

I was newly born again in Christ when I had my first panic attack, and I came to realize that it is possible for fear and faith to occupy the same mind–“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.” When David wrote Psalm 56, he expressed his fear and his trust in God in the same breath. As a new believer, I was just beginning to understand the depth of my sin and the power of the cross of Christ to deliver me. And as He is faithful to do with all of His children, God put me in the school of learning to trust in Him–no matter what. He began the work of growing my dependence upon Him through panic attacks that drove me to Him and His Word. These were sweet times of such joy–of being sheltered in the secret of His tabernacle (Psalm 27:5), feasting on the bread of His word, and learning depths of His covenant I never would have known without this suffering. He is true and faithful! “This I know, that God is for me” (Psalm 56:9). And when the tsunami wave of fear came rushing in, He stood with me in it, holding me firm in the anchor of His promises. “In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.”

“Be gracious to me, O God” (Psalm 56:1). When I think back on the years of living with panic attacks, I am amazed at the sufficiency of God’s grace. His grace is more than enough. My life in Christ, and the glory I desire to bring Him, is not dependent upon my strength, but on His power that, in ways I cannot fully understand, is made perfect in my weakness. I will gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Corinthians 12:9).

May Christ’s power rest on us. We do not need to look far to find reasons to fear in our world today. But God is always teaching us to trust and depend on Him completely, to not be afraid, to remember that neither life nor death, our own weaknesses and strengths, the power of flesh and blood or the spiritual forces we cannot see–none of these can ever separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Whoever believes in Him will never perish, but have everlasting life. “What can flesh do to me?” (References: Romans 8:38-39; John 3:16; Psalm 56:4)

Question to consider: Which word or phrase stands out to you. What might God be saying to you?)

1. Make a chart this week. On the left side of the chart list the things that cause you to panic, worry, or fear. Then on the right side, can you list a corresponding promise in God’s Word that will anchor you and strengthen your faith in Christ? (to say with David “in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.”)
2. Meditate on the promises of God that you discover correspond to your fear; preach them to your fear-ravaged soul, and He will give you His power to glorify Him in all things, even in your fears and weaknesses.

Prayer:  Conclude with Silence (5 Minutes)

The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

Saturday Sabbath – 10/10/20

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 Minutes)

Scripture Reading & Devotional:

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.—Romans 12:1-2

Have you ever watched God do something that was so completely and obviously out of any one’s control, that He in His kindness, alone can get credit for?

In November 2014, God graciously gave me an opportunity to donate one of my kidneys to my brother-in-law, Travis. Travis is married to my husband’s sister, so we are not related by blood. This makes me being compatible truly amazing because it is said the odds are 1 out of 100,000 people that are not related, are a match. To get the full picture of this, I imagine a large sports arena like the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas which seats 80,000. Add 20,000 more people, stick me in the middle and, wow. Kidney matching is no small thing.

Yet, God, our Great Creator, knew when He knitted Travis in his mother’s womb, and me in mine, that this day would come. His wise, sovereign hand had been working all along, bringing us together for His glory.

Throughout the detailed testing process of becoming a living donor and seeing if my kidney was compatible with Travis’s, God kept me in perfect peace as I kept my mind “stayed on” Him, looking expectantly at what He would do and trusting Him with the outcome. (Isaiah 26:3-4)

People would often ask me if I was nervous about giving one of my organs away, and in those moments the Holy Spirit would bring previously memorized Scripture to mind reminding me that God knows the number of our days, when as yet there are none of them (Psalm 139:16) and I do not need to be afraid.

During my recovery when the days seemed long and I wasn’t feeling the best, renewing my mind with God’s Word helped me fight discouragement. Travis and I would encourage each other with truth and marvel at God’s amazing works. And just as God can renew our bodies by whatever means He chooses, His Word renews our minds, giving us fresh glimpses of His faithfulness and grace.

The world tries to convince us that we should live for ourselves in the here and now, but as God gives us eyes to see Him, we begin to understand that the most sacrificial offering of all time was given by God Himself in Jesus Christ… and that leads us to worship.

There are some things that you just can’t keep to yourself. This is one of them. Psalm 105:1-2, “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.”

May He be praised.

Devo By Amy Bell

Question to consider: Which word or phrase stands out to you. What might God be saying to you?)

  1. What kind of decisions are you called to sacrifice according to God’s will?
  2. Are there areas of your life that have been subtly shaped or conformed to the world’s way of thinking?
  3. Are you renewing your mind with the Word of God, praying, meditating on, and memorizing to help you now?

Prayer:  Conclude with Silence (5 Minutes)

The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.