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A Jesus Who is The Light
Sermon Discussion

Opening Question: Have you ever warned someone or been warned by someone about a dangerous situation that was about to happen? What was the response or outcome?

Observation questions:
*Anything stand out? What are some questions this text raises in your mind?

*This week we are looking at some of Jesus’ teachings. What’s going on in this situation? What's the context? Who are these teachings directed towards?

*What is Jesus’ demeanor in this passage? How would you describe his choice of words?

*What are some of the warnings Jesus gives in this passage?

Interpretation questions:
*Why does Jesus call the eye “the lamp of the body?” (An eye that is healthy describes a spiritually healthy way of looking at things. A bad eye, or evil way of looking at things, results in a life full of moral and spiritual darkness.)

*Why do you think Jesus addresses the people the way that He does? What would be your response if someone spoke to you this way?

*Why does Jesus say that it’s what’s on the inside that matters?

*Verse 46 says that the lawyers hold the people to higher standards than the scripture makes necessary and then do nothing to help them actually fulfill those things. Why is this dangerous? (teaches moralism and they aren’t shepherding and caring for the people God has entrusted to them)

Application:
*What are some of the ways in which you look at things that needs an adjustment?

*Living in the world of social media can be tough. There’s a constant pressure to have it all together, or at least seem like you do. What are some ways that you struggle with trying to appear like you have it all together? (vulnerability begets vulnerability here)

*What are some areas in your life that you need the “light of Christ” to shine in?

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This week pastor Duane touched on how the sin of pride can pervade every aspect of our spiritual lives. Here is an excerpt from C.S. Lewis' book Mere Christianity expounding on the subject. 


 

The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit: and the virtue opposite to it, in Christian morals, is called Humility. You may remember, when I was talking about sexual morality, I warned you that the centre of Christian morals did not lie there. Well, now, we have come to the centre. According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.

Does this seem to you exaggerated? If so, think it over. I pointed out a moment ago that the more pride one had, the more one disliked pride in others. In fact, if you want to find out how proud you are the easiest way is to ask yourself, ‘How much do I dislike it when other people snub me, or refuse to take any notice of me, or shove their oar in, or patronise me, or show off?’ The point is that each person’s pride is in competition with every one else’s pride. It is because I wanted to be the big noise at the party that I am so annoyed at someone else being the big noise. Two of a trade never agree. Now what you want to get clear is that Pride is essentially competitive—is competitive by its very nature—while the other vices are competitive only, so to speak, by accident.

Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone. That is why I say that Pride is essentially competitive in a way the other vices are not. The sexual impulse may drive two men into competition if they both want the same girl. But that is only by accident; they might just as likely have wanted two different girls. But a proud man will take your girl from you, not because he wants her, but just to prove to himself that he is a better man than you. Greed may drive men into competition if there is not enough to go round; but the proud man, even when he has got more than he can possibly want, will try to get still more just to assert his power. Nearly all those evils in the world which people put down to greed or selfishness are really far more the result of Pride.

 

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Sunday Preview

Sunday, November 19, 2017
10 am

Worship in Fellowship

Coffee and tea are available in our outdoor courtyard. We encourage you to come early and stay late to hang out with God's people.  

Worship in Music

This week Sheep Draw Trail will be leading us in worship. 

You can look forward to singing these songs! 

All Creatures
My One Comfort
Come as You Are
Hallelujah, What a Savior
Rejoice
In The Sweet By and By
 


Worship in the Word

This week we will be worshiping in The Word with a sermon by Pastor Duane Smets entitled A Jesus Who Is Worth Believing In.  This sermon will primarily be preached from Luke 12:4-21.  We encourage you to read the text beforehand to prepare your heart and mind to receive the word. 

Worship in Sacrament

Each week believers respond to God's Word by coming forward to The Lord's Table to receive Holy Communion. During this time there is always prayer available at the front of the sanctuary for those in need.  We encourage you to bring your needs to Jesus during this time and have Him meet you with His grace.

Parenting is a wonderful, fun, challenging, and at times frustrating thing. It is a great honor and responsibility that God has given us children and He has given us plenty of help in the Bible on how to do that well.  

The Resolved Church pastors care a lot about our kids and the parents who are raising them, so we took time out on a Saturday to walk through the Bible’s teaching on parenting centering on four “C’s”: 

Connection, Consistency, Correction, and Compassion.

If you were not present for the training, would you please take some time out to watch each of the sessions? We believe they will not only be helpful but will reap long-term benefits in your home.

Love,

Pastor Duane 

 

 

 

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MIRACLES
C.S. Lewis

Below is an excerpt from C. S. Lewis' book entitled Miracles. Here he describes in very poetic terms the most glorious miracles of existence. The incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. 


In the Christian story, God descends to reascend. He comes down; down from the heights of absolute being into time and space, down into humanity; down further still, if embryologists are right, to recapitulate in the womb ancient and pre-human phases of life; down to the very roots and seabed of the Nature He has created. But He goes down to come up again and bring the whole ruined world up with Him. One has the picture of a strong man stooping lower and lower to get himself underneath some great complicated burden. He must stoop in order to lift, he must almost disappear under the load before he incredibly straightens his back and marches off with the whole mass swaying on his shoulders. Or one may think of a diver, first reducing himself to nakedness, then glancing in mid-air, then gone with a splash, vanished, rushing down through green and warm water into black and cold water, down through increasing pressure into the death-like region of ooze and slime and old decay; then up again, back to colour and light, his lungs almost bursting, till suddenly he breaks surface again, holding in his hand the dripping, precious thing that he went down to recover. He and it are both coloured now that they have come up into the light: down below, where it lay colourless in the dark, he lost his colour too. In this descent and reascent everyone will recognise a familiar pattern: a thing written all over the world. It is the pattern of all vegetable life. It must belittle itself into something hard, small and deathlike, it must fall into the ground: thence the new life reascends. It is the pattern of all animal generation too. There is descent from the full and perfect organisms into the spermatozoon and ovum, and in the dark womb a life at first inferior in kind to that of the species which is being reproduced: then the slow ascent to the perfect embryo, to the living, conscious baby, and finally to the adult. So it is also in our moral and emotional life. The first innocent and spontaneous desires have to submit to the deathlike process of control or total denial: but from that there is a reascent to fully formed character in which the strength of the original material all operates but in a new way. Death and Rebirth—go down to go up—it is the key principle.

 

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A Jesus Who is the Greatest
Sermon Discussion
[Luke 11:27-32]

Who comes to mind when you think of the greatest person who has ever lived? Why?

I. Seeking Signs
-Jesus is the greatest because He gives us life.
-How do you define success? Why?
-Jesus was succeeding by the worlds definition; yet seemed not to care about that. He seemed more concerned about why they were following Him. The crowds were seeking signs, and Jesus condemned them as evil. Why do you think He said this?
-Why do you think we tend to be fascinated by the supernatural and the fantastic?
-Jesus didn’t want to have people desire what He could do, but He Himself. What Jesus did was to point to relationship with Himself. Why might this be hard to accept or live out in our lives?
-How do we tend to fall into this trap in modern Christianity today? How do you find yourself falling into this trap?

II. Seeking the Son
-Jesus brings up 3 key people: Solomon, the Queen of Sheba, and Jonah. What do you think Jesus is doing by referring to these people? What is Jesus trying to communicate here?
-How does Jesus want us to seek Him?
-Jesus is greater than King Solomon. What do we look to in this world for wisdom or riches?
-Jesus is greater than Jonah. What do you look to in this world to save you and to help you in life? The resurrection of Jesus is the proof of Jesus being the Son of God and the true savior of mankind. It is that which sets us apart from the rest of the world. How does the resurrection give us life? How does it give us hope in the midst of life?
-The resurrection is the true sign of Jonah

III. Seeking a Savior
-Why does Jesus bring up the reality of the coming judgement for those who reject the sign that Jesus gives us of resurrection?
-What comes to mind when you read about Gods judgement? What is this meant for us to do in us?
-Who are we to seek for salvation from this coming judgment?
-How does the reminder of this judgement push us toward relationship with Christ?

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Advent: Light Has Come
Devotional Guide

“I have come into the world as light, so that whoever
believes in me may not remain in darkness.”

- Jesus Christ, the Son of God
(John 12:46)

For most Americans, Christmas is a very special and festive time of year. It’s the number one gifts and shopping season of the year, a time where houses are decorated inside and out, and a time where families and close friends spend quality time together, all leading up to the apex day on December 25th.

Today, much is associated with Christmas which has little to do with its origins: the birth of Jesus Christ. Historically, followers of Jesus Christ have celebrated not just the one day commemorating His birth but given an entire month to reflect on the significance and goodness of God coming to earth in Jesus called, “Advent."

The word "Advent" comes from the Latin word Adventus, which is a translation of the biblical Greek word parousia, meaning "coming" "arrival" or “appearing". Everything in Christianity is made possible by the Advent of Jesus Christ into the world as a little human baby.

Julie Canlis in her book, Theology of the Ordinary, says this coming of God to us in Christ is, “God’s most fundamental blessing upon creation. In the incarnation, God took matter to Himself so that matter would forever be at home with God. In the body of a baby, the project of the new creation begins.”

In Christian history, followers of Jesus have used four candles, lighting one for each week of Advent during times they set aside to seek God and reflect on the goodness of Him becoming human for us. Each week focuses on a different aspect of His coming.

We have created a devotional booklet as a guide for you as an individual, with your significant other, and/or with your family during this Advent season. We encourage you to set aside some time to light the number of candles for the week and follow one of the week’s Advent guides. We’ve provided three guides for each week.

You can get our Advent Guide for FREE at the Connect Booth or R | KIDS desk with a suggested donation of $5.

Pastor Duane Smets

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WHAT IS IT TO BE REFORMED?
by Pastor Duane Smets

For some, to be "reformed" means to be a part of a church or denomination that subscribes to a certain creed, like the Three Forms of Unity or the Westminster Confession or the London Baptist Confession.  For others, to be "reformed" is more a statement about one's particular theological convictions.  Those distinctions can at times be helpful and at others be a hindrance.  The word's origin actually has its roots in Christian history.  

To Be Part of the Reformation Heritage
The Reformation was a historical movement of the church during the 16th century which resulted in the Protestant form of the Christian faith. To be reformed is to happily consider oneself as part of that historical tradition and the principles it recovered and emphasized. Here are a few good resources:

Reformation: A History by Patrick Collinson
The Unquenchable Flame by Michael Reeves
Why the Reformation Still Matters by Michael Reeves & Tim Chester

To Be A Fan of the Reformers
The Reformation happened because of the leadership of a few key figures, who ended up leaving a rich legacy of life and doctrine. Those who consider themselves to be reformed greatly appreciate these men, looking to them as godly examples (Heb 13:7) and making much use of their theological writings. These men chiefly include: Martin Luther (and his student Philip Melanchthon), John Calvin (and his student Theodore Beza), John Knox, and Thomas Cramner.

To Follow Reformed Doctrine
The Reformation highlighted key essential beliefs of Christianity. To be reformed means one follows and closely adheres to the doctrines the Reformation emphasized. These things include a conviction that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in the person and work of Christ alone, revealed in Scripture alone, all for the glory of God alone. These "five alones" are popularly known as the "five solas".  It's a God-centered orientation which cherishes the truths of election and predestination as being critical to the Christian faith.

Tim Challies wrote a great piece showing the place of Reformed doctrine within Christian theology and how it compares with other ideas and movements: Reformed: A Definition.

Reformed creeds, like the Three Forms of Unity, the Westminster Confession or the London Baptist confession essentially provide a clearly articulated rallying base for the principles of reformed doctrine.  There are others but those three are the most well known and most subscribed to.

To Be Always Reforming
To be Reformed is not only a past tense reference but an ongoing present reality. Those who subscribe to reformed doctrine believe that remaining sin is a present ongoing reality for Christians (the doctrine of total depravity) for which the gospel is designed to address. Thus to be Reformed means that a person's heart and life is in a process of ongoing personal reformation. 

To be reformed then means to consider oneself as part of the historical movement of the Reformation, to subscribe the main theological tenants of The Reformation AND to be a person who endeavors to ever change and grow into the likeness of Christ.

For further study, R.C. Sproul has written a great book titled What is Reformed Theology.

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Delighting in the Trinity
Michael Reeves

"Why is God love? BECAUSE GOD IS A TRINITY.
Why can we be saved? BECAUSE GOD IS A TRINITY.
How are we able to live the Christian life? THROUGH THE TRINITY."


God is love": those three words could hardly be more bouncy. They seem lively, lovely and as warming as a crackling fire. But "God is a Trinity"? No, hardly the same effect: that just sounds cold and stodgy. All quite understandable, but the aim of this book is to stop the madness. Yes, the Trinity can be presented as a fusty and irrelevant dogma, but the truth is that God is love because God is a Trinity.

For it is only when you grasp what it means for God to be a Trinity that you really sense the beauty, the overflowing kindness, the heart-grabbing loveliness of God. If the Trinity were something we could shave off God, we would not be relieving him of some irksome weight; we would be shearing him of precisely what is so delightful about him. For God is triune, and it is as triune that he is so good and desirable. 

Christianity is not primarily about lifestyle change; it is about knowing God. To know and grow to enjoy him is what we are saved for. Nonetheless, getting to know God better does actually make for far more profound and practical change as well. Knowing the love of is the very thing that makes us loving. Sensing the desirability of God alters our preferences and inclinations, the things that drive our behavior: we begin to want God more than anything else. 

The triune nature of this God affects everything from how we listen to music to how we pray: it makes for happier marriages, warmer dealings with others, better church life; it gives Christians assurance, shapes holiness and transforms the very way we look at the world around us. No exaggeration: the knowledge of this God turns lives around.

Excerpt from Delighting in the Trinity by Michael Reeves

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Demon Possession

If you want to read a good book on Demon Possession, this is hands down the most thorough and sound book I know of. It is the result of a symposium on the subject, with contributing chapters from a range of well-educated scholars, edited by John Warwick Montgomery. You’ll walk away from this book with a widespread knowledge and exposure to a host of issues associated with Demon Possession including but not limited to: psychology, psychosis, paranormal studies, medical analysis, philosophical probability, historical perspective, theological and biblical data and numerous case documentations. Below is a brief excerpt from the book.

- Pastor Duane


 

Satan is the author of all that is destructive. The Christian's heritage is to be in the process of becoming whole, being conformed into the image of Christ. At what point in sin or suffering one crosses some line where he is now under demonic influence that can be relieved only by a special ministry of deliverance is very unclear. The Hippocratic injunction for physicians to do no harm should be considered very carefully by those who are engaged in deliverance. There is no doubt in my mind that Christians in the mental health field need to become more aware of the fact that we do fight a spiritual warfare and specific prayers for deliverance are in order in certain cases. However, it may well be that a person who confesses and repents of sin, who places himself under the lordship of Jesus Christ, praying for healing with prayer support from a Christian group, blocks demonic activity without even being aware of it. One thing is certain: We have an enemy who is a liar, deceiver, destroyer; but we have the victory in Jesus Christ, the God of Scripture.

Excerpt from Demon Possession