Southside's Blog

Southside is a loving, vigorous, and growing congregation in Shelbyville, Tennessee. Our vision is toward the future: Our Children, Our Ministry, and Our Outreach. Our goal is to embrace all people in our hearts and fellowship as we strive together to support Christ’s mission on earth.

Forsaken Advice

What should I do when someone forsakes sound spiritual advice and suffers the consequences? Do I say, “I told you so!” and leave the person to suffer? Do I pretend nothing happened and enable them to keep making poor choices? Do I ignore them? When certain people scorned Paul’s advice and wound up in a storm that left them in grave danger, Paul did not simply say, “I told you so!” He did not enable them to continue to make poor choices. Nor did he ignore their pleas. Let’s pick up the text to see what he did.

Acts 27:21-26 “Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul stood up among them and said, ‘Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss. Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. But we must run aground on some island.”

The situation was dire, but Paul knew that God was still involved. When people don’t heed sound spiritual advice there are consequences. However, to repudiate them, to enable them, or ignore them is not right. Like Paul, we need to help them see their mistakes and learn from them while helping them to move forward.

 

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How does Jesus's Resurrection Impact the Christian?

Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). There are mounds of Biblical and extrabiblical evidence for the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (I am happy to discuss this with you further.) For now, I want to briefly share some of the impact of the resurrection on believers.

1.  Our faith in Jesus Christ is based on His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

2.  Our baptism (by immersion) into Christ is based on the resurrection of Jesus (Romans 6:1-7).

3.  Our attitude, behavior, and speech toward others (Colossians 3:1-11).

4. Our salvation from our sins (1 Peter 1:3-5).

5. Our hope for Christians who have already died (1 Corinthians 15:16-18; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14).

6. Our patience and perseverance through suffering (1 John 2:15-17).

 

The resurrection of Jesus Christ impacts my life completely (or at least it should)!

 

 

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What Held Jesus to the Cross

And those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him. “HE TRUSTS IN GOD; LET GOD RESCUE Him now, IF HE DELIGHTS IN HIM; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” (Matthew 27:39-43)

Jesus did not come down from the cross, even though the mob and the leaders of Israel challenged him to do so.He remained on the cross despite every reason to come down. Despite the physical pain, the emotional anguish, the anger and frustration, he remained on the cross.

Jesus was not held to the cross by a Jewish mob, the leaders of the Jews, Roman law, a lack of power, nor the nails.

It was not the nails that held Jesus to the cross! He had “prints from the nails” in his hands (John 20:24-25). He had the power to remove the nails.God could have provided him with “more than twelve legions of angels,” (Matt. 26:53). He had the power to still the storm, feed the multitudes and raise the dead. He COULD have removed the nails.

The crowd could not have killed Jesus if He had not allowed it to happen. “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.  I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” (John 10:17-18) 

It was the will of God that put Him there and kept Him there. The entire aim of His life on earth was to do the will of His Father. John 4:34“My food”, Jesus said, “Is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” John 5:30“By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.” John 6:38“For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” 

The plan from eternity was for Jesus to die upon a Roman cross. “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Eph. 3:10-11) “This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.” (Acts 2:23) The will of God held Jesus to the cross.

Our sins held Him to the cross. Paul writes, in Galatians 1:3-4—that the Lord Jesus Christ gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age. Peter writes, in 1 Peter 3:18 -- “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit.” "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Cor. 5:21) Our sins kept Him on the cross.

Love held Him to the cross. John 15:13“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Revelation 1:5“…To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood.” Galatians 2:20—“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Ephesians 5:2“And live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Love held Jesus to the cross.

Not the nails, not the crowd, and not even Rome could hold Jesus to that cross!  It was his choice to stay!

There is no better way to honor the sacrifice of Christ than to sacrifice yourself. Not on a cross, but by giving your life today and everyday to the work of the Lord.

Love, 

Tim (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

 

 

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Reading up to the Death, Burial, and Resurrection

Easter Sunday is coming on March 31. On that day, I will be preaching from Colossians 3 about what it means for us to be raised with Christ (baptism plus His resurrection victory). To get our minds thinking more about what Jesus said about what he would go through, and to revisit His sufferings, I invite you to read along in these passages each day, starting this Sunday, March 24. 

Daily Bible Readings

Sun: Matt. 20:17-19; 26:6-13

Mon: Mark 10:33-34; 14:1-11

Tues: Luke 22:37-53

Wed: John 16:16-22; 18:1-11

Thurs: Matt. 27:11-66

Fri: Mark 15:1-47

Sat.: Luke 23:1-56

If you would like to discuss them, learn more about Jesus, or discuss more about how to become a follower of Jesus Christ, please reach out to me: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Sincerely,

 

Tim Gunnells

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Psalm 15: A Prayer Reflection

I remember translating this passage from Hebrew in one of my Hebrew Reading classes a few decades ago. The professor did not tell us where it came from so we would look at it and translate it with fresh eyes. As it came to light, word by word and phrase by phrase, it took on a power I hadn’t noticed before.  Who may abide with God indeed?

O Lord, who may abide in Your tent?
Who may dwell on Your holy hill?
He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness,
And speaks truth in his heart.
He does not slander with his tongue,
Nor does evil to his neighbor,
Nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
In whose eyes a reprobate is despised,
But who honors those who fear the Lord;
He swears to his own hurt and does not change;
He does not put out his money at interest,
Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things will never be shaken.
Psalm 15

O Lord, the thought of living with you and spending time with you is overwhelming. I cannot even fathom how it is possible.

I try to live a life of truth and openness. I strive to be a person who is whole and complete. I want to live right with You and people but I can’t do any of it without You.

Keep me from talking bad about people and injuring them with my words and thoughts.

Teach me to honor those who honor You. Keep me from defrauding anyone and complaining about anyone doing me wrong (in my estimation).

Never let my tongue be still when innocent people suffer.

I want these principles, Your principles, to be my guide.

Amen

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Enemies of Spiritual Passion

If you are a Christian, you are part of the Church. If you are part of the Church, then you are the Bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:22-32). Just as we can lose the passion for our earthly spouse, we can also lose our passion for our heavenly one, Jesus.  

Kenneth Boa, in his book, Conformed to His Image (Zondervan, 2001), points out some natural enemies of spiritual passion:

  1. Unresolved areas of disobedience.  You know God wants you to do something for Him, but you continually push Him aside. James says, “Therefore, to him who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin (James 4:17).” Maybe it’s time to truly give your life over to God in serving Him. Or, maybe you are caught up in a sin that you refuse to give up.
  2. You have stopped intentionally seeking Him. Your hunger and thirst for God is gone. Indifference has set in. It is time to ask God to awaken us to Him again.
  3. Erosion in spiritual disciplines.  When spiritual disciplines like prayer, bible study, time in solitude with God, and fellowship with other believers take a back seat to other things in life, it is natural for our spiritual passion to wane.
  4. External obedience.  Are you more concerned with conformity to rules, moral behavior, and duty than with imitating Jesus? External obedience without internal affection falls short of obeying God from the heart (Jeremiah 31:33; Ephesians 6:6).
  5. Loving truth more than Christ.  Keep reading….don’t give up on me. Some students of God’s Word can easily fall into the trap of loving the content in the Bible more than the Source of that truth.  Doctrine and theology are worthy pursuits, but not when they replace the pursuit of knowing and becoming like Jesus. Some of us can quote a lot of Scripture and not look anything like Jesus.
  6. Elevating service and ministry above Christ.  Fellowship, serving those in need, and telling other people the Gospel message are all essential parts of being a disciple of Christ. However, if we elevate those things above becoming intimate with Jesus then they become empty actions.
  7. Greater commitment to institutions than to Christ.  Does your activity with the church or some other organization occupy more time than your devotion to Jesus? It is easy to get more passionate about causes than to be passionate about Christ.
  8. A merely functional relationship.  Are you in a relationship with Christ only for what you think He can do for you? Do you follow Him because you want help with your marriage, your career, or your health? We have to grow beyond the gifts-above-the-giver mentality if we hope to be spiritually passionate. What if you got nothing in return for serving Jesus other than forgiveness of sins? 

Love for God can truly be threatened by these enemies.  If any of these hit home, then I would encourage you to take some time to examine your life, pray to God about it, and seek out a spiritually passionate person to help you reignite your passion for Christ.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart;

Try me and know my anxious thoughts;

And see if there be any hurtful way in me,

And lead me in the everlasting way.” (Psalm 139:23-24)

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Jesus is Worthy to be in First Place

Jesus is the Supreme One and He is worthy of our devotion. The Apostle Paul writes, 

 

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. (Colossians 1:15-20)

 

Why is He worthy to be First Place? Here is the list:

  • He is the King of His Kingdom.
  • He is the Savior of our sins.
  • He is the image of the invisible God.
  • He is the firstborn of all creation (meaning the one with all authority).
  • He is the creator of all things. 
  • He is the sustainer of all things.
  • He is the head of the body, the church.
  • He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead.
  • He is the fullness of all things.
  • He is the reconciler of all things.

 

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Jesus Deserves to be in First Place

In Colossians 1:18-20, the apostle Paul is trying to help the church at Colossae, and all of us today understand the place that Jesus deserves in our lives. He explains why Jesus and Jesus alone is to be at the top.

18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.

Why is He the head of the body, the church? Why will He have first place in everything?

The answer follows in verses 19 and 20.

19 For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

Jesus gave His life for all of us. He did not have to because it was required of Him. He did so because it was required for us to be saved.

He deserves to be the most important relationship in our lives.

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A Prayer Reflection on Psalm 111

Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart,
In the company of the upright and in the assembly.
Great are the works of the Lord;
They are studied by all who delight in them.
Splendid and majestic is His work,
And His righteousness endures forever.
He has made His wonders to be remembered;
The Lord is gracious and compassionate.
He has given food to those who fear Him;
He will remember His covenant forever.

He has made known to His people the power of His works,
In giving them the heritage of the nations.

The works of His hands are truth and justice;
All His precepts are sure.
They are upheld forever and ever;
They are performed in truth and uprightness.
He has sent redemption to His people;
He has ordained His covenant forever;
Holy and awesome is His name.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
A good understanding have all those who do His commandments;
His praise endures forever.
Psalm 111

O Lord, You are truly worthy of praise from all people!

I will say thanks to You in front of everyone I meet, without any reservation; whether they acknowledge You or not.

Your works are so great that there are many who doubt that You exist because they cannot fathom a being capable of such creative wonders.

Your righteous deeds, Your redemptive power, Your creative grace has never been forgotten in all the history of the earth.

You are grace and compassion, and You show it by Your care for those You honor You. When we show grace and compassion to others, we are simply being like You.

You never forget a promise.  Your works are truth and justice and Your rules to live by will never be wrong.

You buy back those who turn from their slavery to sin, and You never forget those who love You.

To say that Your name is holy and awesome is not enough for You, but it is the most I have to offer with words from my lips.

May all my decisions emanate from a reverent respect for You and Your teachings.

Your praise will not end.

Amen and Amen

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Becoming More Like Jesus

Being a follower of Jesus Christ, a Christian, is more than just going to church, saying you believe in Jesus, or reading your Bible every day. The goal for every Christian should be to become more like Jesus. Following Him is to become like Him. I like what James Wilhoit says about Christian spiritual formation:

“Christian spiritual formation: (1) is intentional; (2) is communal; (3) requires our engagement; (4) is accomplished by the Holy Spirit; (5) is for the glory of God and the service of others; and has as its means and end the imitation of Christ.” – James C. Wilhoit, Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered: Growing in Christ through Community, 23

I must want to become more like Jesus. I must realize the need to be part of a church family striving for the same goal. I must remain connected to Jesus, and allow the Holy Spirit to work on me to produce fruit. I must seek to honor God through my service to Him and my love for others.

 

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Upcoming Teaching from Tim Gunnells

It is a new year and I will be doing some Sermons and Bible Studies to help strengthen our faith and our walk with Jesus each day.

Starting this Sunday evening, I will begin a Bible study focusing on an overview of the Old Testament. This will last a few months. It is intended to help us understand God's big story and how we fit into it.

On Wednesday, January 17, I will begin a study in our auditorium class on Wednesday evenings on the Book of Daniel. There is a lot in Daniel that is valuable to both our understanding of the Old and New Testaments and how we should respond to the challenges of the culture.

Starting Sunday, January 21, I will begin a sermon series on Sunday mornings at 10 am from the Book of Colossians called:  Christ, Church, and the Christian. We will be looking at Christ's supremacy, the Church's importance, and how we should live as Christians in this world.

Please join us in person or online!

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4 Spiritual Commitments for 2024

 

This past Sunday I suggested that the New Year is a great time to make some spiritual commitments. We need to be focused and committed to living out the Greatest Commands (Matthew 22:36-40).

The 4 Spiritual Commitments for 2024 I encourage every person to make:

  1. Commit to Spending Daily Time with God.
  2. Commit to Worshipping Regularly with the Church.
  3. Commit to Expressing Love for Other People.
  4. Commit to Giving Back to God.

If you want to watch the sermon, please check out our YouTube page for the Southside Church of Christ in Shelbyville, TN.

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Characteristics of Resilient Disciples

We are commanded by Jesus in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) to "go and make disciples". As we can see from the Book of Acts, the early disciples took this direction seriously and taught people about Jesus, how to get forgiveness through Him, and how to live for Him daily to change other people's lives. Yet, throughout the last 2000 years of the Church's existence, we have often watered down what true discipleship is and made it simply to show up for worship occasionally. That is not healthy and it is not Biblical. There is more to being a disciple of Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul writes these words to Titus, as recorded in Titus 2:11-14:

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

David Kinnaman and Mark Matlock, in their excellent book, Faith for Exiles: 5 Ways for a New Generation to Follow Jesus in Digital Babylon, discuss 5 key characteristics of resilient disciples in the 18-28 age range. I will just list them here and come back and write about each one in separate blog posts.

  1. They have an intimate relationship with Jesus.
  2. They have developed the muscles of cultural discernment.
  3. They have forged meaningful, intergenerational relationships (in the Church).
  4. They have trained (and they practice) vocational discipleship.
  5. They have curbed self-centered tendencies and engage in countercultural mission.

I should ask myself if I have these characteristics. Am I a resilient disciple of Jesus?

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Please join us this Sunday at Southside!

The clocks turn back this weekend and we will get an extra hour of sleep. It is a chance to start something new that will impact your life forever for the good. I am talking about coming to a Sunday School class and then staying for worship at the Southside Church of Christ in Shelbyville, TN. 

We have new classes starting for all ages this Sunday, including a new Young Adult class for those who are 18-25 years old. We have Sunday School at 9 AM and Worship at 10 AM. We would love to see you and get to know you!

Please come!

 

Sincerely,

 

Tim Gunnells, Minister

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Talking with God

Some of us view prayer as a chore. We don’t enjoy doing it, but we do it anyway to keep the air clear. We assume that God will be satisfied if we go through an occasional prayer ritual. However, prayer should be the combination that unlocks the door to all the riches of the kingdom of God. Lack of understanding about the purpose of prayer and failure to pray are barriers that keep that door shut. On the other hand, the consistent practice of prayer will open wide the door of God’s work in our lives.

I want to share some things that might help us:  1) The Purpose of Prayer, 2) The Motivation for Prayer, 3) God’s Answers to Prayer, 4) The Promises of Prayer, and 5) Different Aspects of Prayer.

THE PURPOSE OF PRAYER

  • Through prayer, we learn to converse with God.
  • As we talk with Him, we get to know Him more personally.
  • Soon we will discover that we have the power we need to do whatever God asks of us.
  • What kind of power results from prayer? John 14:12-14
  • What is a major reason for not receiving answers to prayer? John 16:24
  • Sometimes we don’t even bother to ask God for the things we want, and then we complain when we don’t get them. In an average week, how much time do you spend in personal prayer?
  • Do you feel like you are spending enough time in prayer, or would you like to spend more?

 THE MOTIVATION FOR PRAYER

  • Why should we pray? For what should we ask? Are there conditions that you must meet to obtain an answer?  What are the results of prayer? 
  • Until we answer some of these basic questions, we may not be motivated to pray. Here are some Scriptures that help answer these questions:

John 15:7-11

James 5:13-16

2 Chronicles 7:14

Matthew 6:5-13

Matthew 26:41

GOD’S ANSWERS TO PRAYER

  • God wants to give us the things we need as we pray for them. But prayer is not like a quarter spent in a vending machine to automatically get what we want. God wants us to have what will be best for us. 
  • Prayer involves: 1) Putting ourselves in the position to know God, 2) receiving what God has to give us, and 3) doing what He wants us to do.
  • When we ask God for something, He will respond to our request in one of three ways:
    1. He might say Yes.
      1. When we pray for something according to God’s will He promises an affirmative answer. He loves us and wants to answer yes to our requests.
      2. 1 John 5:14-15
    2. He might say Wait.
      1. God always has a good reason for not giving us what we ask for right away. We may not always understand why He chooses to let us wait, but we can be sure that He is doing what is best for us.
      2. James 1:2-4 gives one reason God might have us to wait.
      3. Psalm 27:13-14 tells us what our attitude should be while we wait.
    3. He might say No.
      • Just as good parents must sometimes say no to their children’s requests, God must also refuse our prayer requests from time to time.
      • God told David no when He asked to build the temple because David had shed too much blood in his lifetime (2 Chronicles 22:7-10).
      • 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 -- God said no to Paul.
      • James 1:6-8 gives one reason that God sometimes says no.

 THE PROMISES OF PRAYER

  • God’s Word provides hundreds of promises about prayer. But they won’t mean much to us if we don’t apply them to specific areas of our life. As we look quickly at 4 scriptures, think about how they apply to you.

Matthew 7:7-8

James 1:5

Philippians 4:19

Philippians 4:6-7

 DIFFERENT ASPECTS OF PRAYER

5 basic types of prayer:

  1. Praise—Hebrews 13:15
  2. Thanksgiving—Psalm 118:1
  3. Confession—Proverbs 28:13
  4. Petition—John 16:23-24
  5. Intercession—1 Timothy 2:1-2

I would be happy to talk more with you about any of these things. You can contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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Jesus Redeemed Us to Give us Purpose

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds." Titus 2:11-14

 

The Apostle Paul gives instruction to the Christian disciple here that we must take to heart and apply to our daily living. Grace brings salvation to us, but we must receive it, and in receiving it, we must be different than we were before our salvation. How so?

  • We must reject worldly desires.
  • We must embrace the righteousness of God.
  • We must use our minds to make good choices.
  • We must embrace the ways of Jesus.
  • We must realize that we belong to Jesus.
  • We must decide to do good things (godly things) each and every day.

Jesus saved us to live different lives now to make a difference in the lives of people. He sure has made a difference in mine!

 

 

 

 

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Learning to Study the Bible on Your Own

I have been preaching a series of lessons on Growing Closer to God. Last week, I talked about "Learning the Word" and in the bulletin, I shared information from Barry St. Clair that I have found useful.

Blessings,

Tim Gunnells

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Creating a Bible Response Sheet in Your Journal

 Date:

  1. Passage:
  1. Title:
  1. Key Verse:
  1. Summary:
  1. Personal Application:

2 Steps to Making a Personal Application (Barry St. Clair)

 

Step 1 -- Look For:

  1. Promises to claim.
  2. Attitudes to change.
  3. Challenges to accept.
  4. Sins to confess.
  5. Commands to obey.
  6. Actions to take.
  7. Examples to follow.
  8. Skills to learn.

Step 2 – Answer these questions with specifics:

  • How can I make this passage personal?
  • How can I make it practical?
  • How can I make it measurable?
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Four Responses to the Worship Assembly

FOUR RESPONSES TO THE WORSHIP ASSEMBLY

A. A Sense of God's Presence (Isaiah 6:1-4). God is everywhere and not confined to buildings made with hands. When we worship we should be convinced that "Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place!" The presence of God should change our response to congregational worship. We should be filled with a deep respect for the holiness, the majesty, the joy, the power of the Almighty God in our midst.

B. The Conviction of our Sinfulness (Isaiah 6:5). The closer we get to God the more we are aware of our sinfulness. The brighter the light, the more the wrinkles show. Maybe that's why the great Apostle Paul referred to himself as the "chief of sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15).

C. A Joyful Reminder of God's Grace (Isaiah 6:6-7). Worship should motivate us to repent of sin, but it must not stop there. We should leave rejoicing in the knowledge that if we have submitted to Christ then "the blood of Jesus … purifies us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).

D. The Inspiration to Serve (Isaiah 6:8). Instead of an instinct to criticize, the worshiper should leave with an incentive to share the truth with the lost and to minister to the hurting in the world. Peter Marshall once prayed before the Senate, "Lord, we thank you that we can come to you just as we are. But remind us that we dare not leave as we came." The Sign over one church door: Enter to worship - Depart to Serve".

Conclusion:

1. Congregational worship is not just something that we attend, but it involves our hearts and our minds as we acknowledge the presence and holiness of God.

2. Congregational worship is a reflection of the transformed life, aimed at bringing glory to God, producing awe and joy, and encouraging us. As in Isaiah's experience, Worship should give us….

  • A Sense of God's Presence
  • The Conviction of Our Sinfulness
  • A Joyful Reminder of God's Grace
  • The Inspiration to Serve

3. Congregational worship is a vital part of the Christian life and a part of the future growth of the church because these things tend to be naturally evangelistic. I want to encourage you to: 

  • Be committed to worshiping God every day in your life. 
  • Be committed to being present at every opportunity to worship God study the Scriptures and fellowship with believers! 
  • Be mindful of the influence that your presence brings.
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4 Reasons for the Worship Assembly

"Worship is more than just singing a few songs, performing a few rituals, and enduring a sermon. We come to experience the presence of God, to acknowledge his authority in our lives, and to worship Him as our Creator." (Bob Russell)

Psalm 95:6-7

"When we worship God we acknowledge that there is a Creator who has authority over us and to whom we are accountable. We humble ourselves in his presence and praise him for his goodness. We renew our pledge to obey his commands and seek his honor." (Bob Russell)

4 REASONS FOR THE WORSHIP ASSEMBLY

1. Worship is a natural reflection of the transformed life! (Romans 12:1-2) Do we worship one hour a week, and not the other 167 hours a week? Worship is the transformed life that we offer to God - not just a few songs on Sunday! When we assemble we are here to honor God and to recharge our batteries so that we can live for Him all week.

2. Worship is aimed at bringing glory to God! (Psalm 29:2, Revelation 14:7)

3. Worship is an emotional response! 

*A Sense of Awe (Isaiah 6:1-5) As we acknowledge the presence of God we are moved to a deep sense of awe and respect and even a genuine dread at the thought of being in the presence of someone so holy and powerful.  Awe is a sense of wonderment and respect. (Psalm 8:3-9). 

*A Sense of Joy. We should be both filled with a sense of awe - and glad and sincere hearts! Psalm 100

4. Worship Inspires the Worshiper!  (Hebrews 10:24-25) Have you ever gone to church when you didn't feel like it? Many times that feeling goes away as you are surrounded by those who are worshiping God in the assembly!

I encourage you to come and worship with us every Sunday morning at Southside!

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Three Ways We Can Live Out the Greatest Commandments

All the words written in Scripture have a purpose and value, but some are certainly more applicable to daily living. For instance, when I was translating from the Book of Numbers in my Hebrew Reading class several years ago, I was literally translating numbers. The chief of this tribe brought this many silver bowls, and many other items, and one after another they brought the same number. When I began to translate some of the Psalms, however, there was a sense of awe and reverence that came over me. The language is different. While all words have meaning, some have more practical meaning for life than others.

So, when I read Matthew 22:36-40 and see Jesus answer a profound question; I pay even closer attention than I did to the number of silver bowls. One is a fact; the other is a foundational principle for living.

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matt. 22:36-40, NASB)

When Jesus speaks, everyone should listen. Here he tells us plainly that all of the commandments, and by extension the entire Bible up to this point, hang on these two commandments. They can be summed up as Love God and Love People. So, how do we live out these commandments?

This is not an exhaustive commentary on how to live out these commandments, but the three basic principles I am suggesting will supply a pathway for growth in living out the commandments to love God and love people.

1. Solitude. While corporate worship is vital to spiritual health, so is individual time with the Lord. There are several examples in Scripture of Jesus being in solitude with the Father. The same goes for Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Elijah, John, Peter, Paul, and on and on. If Jesus and these spiritual giants needed to be alone with God, then why am I not setting aside regular time for it? Just 15 minutes of undistracted time alone with God each day can make a big difference in your relationship with God, and with other people. Longer periods regularly will be transformative.

2. Sacred Reading. Reading the Bible for the sake of gaining knowledge and insight is important, very important. I have read through the entire Bible from cover to cover multiple times. I love to do it, and it has been vital to my growth. At the same time, I have spent a week on a short Psalm or in the Beatitudes or some other short passage. I have meditated on them, prayed over them, and used them as guides to prayer. When I do this, I am not seeking head knowledge I am looking to be transformed more into the likeness of Jesus Christ. When I read short passages and savor every word to be changed from the inside out, I approach Scripture in a more sacred way. The Bible is not an ordinary book for pleasure alone or to prepare for an assessment. The Bible is written for our transformation, and we must approach every moment with it as sacred. Sacred reading will help us to love God and love people.

3. Service. If you haven’t spent time in John 13 lately, you may have forgotten a vital example Jesus set for us. This is where He washes His disciples’ feet, including a man who would betray Him to His death. In the passage, he sets the example and always says very directly that serving others is part of serving God. Some people aren’t easy to serve. Some people annoy us, mistreat us, talk down to us, and even betray us, but we must look to serve those most of all. We can serve in small ways, like putting our shopping cart away or picking up litter in the bathroom. We can serve in big ways, like aiding after natural disasters or caring for the sick. The bottom line is service is a way to show that we love God and love people. It should be what we do all day long. There is no shortage of opportunities to serve; we just need to open our eyes.

To recap, we can better live out the greatest commands to love God and love people by pursuing these 3 things consistently: solitude with God, sacred reading of Scripture, and serving our fellow human beings. 

Blessings,

Tim

*You can reach me to discuss this post, or anything else, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..*

 

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