Uncategorized

On Your Mark, Get Set pt.3

Bulletin

Good afternoon…  And yes it is good.  I have to be transparent and share a praise with you.  I have been praying for some breakthrough in my life in a certain area and God has given me victory this week.  I know I will still have to punch the devil in the teeth, but God’s grace has seen me through.  So, yes it is a good day!

Carrying on with this theme of spiritual disciplines I wanted to get a little more technical today.  The last two days have been great and I have encouraged you all to simply be still and take a little time to just read the Word.  Today I want to piggy back off of yesterday and give you some help when it comes to actually studying God’s Word.  Reading is great but sooner than later you need to begin to dig deeper.  One way I try to visualize it would be dig-deeplike taking a scalpel and dissecting the pages as I try to get to the very meat of what God is wanting me to know.  Almost like looking past the written word to the inspiration through which it was written.

I am a firm believer that I am not the smartest guy in the room and that many others have incredible knowledge way above mine.  Therefore, today I want to share an article I recently read that will help you dig deeper into God’s word.  So, read on…

 

The following article is from http://www.biblestudytools.com and was published on March 5, 2015 by Jim George, Th.M.

One of the noblest pursuits a child of God can embark upon is to get to know and understand God better. The best way we can accomplish this is to look carefully at the book He has written, the Bible, which communicates who He is and His plan for mankind. There are a number of ways we can study the Bible, but one of the most effective and simple approaches to reading and understanding God’s Word involves three simple steps:

Step 1: Observation—What does the passage say?
Step 2: Interpretation—What does the passage mean?
Step 3: Application—What am I going to do about what the passage says and means?

Step #1: Observation

Observation is the first and most important step in the process. As you read the Bible text, you need to look carefully at what is said, and how it is said. Look for:

Terms, not words. Words can have many meanings, but terms are words used in a specific way in a specific context. (For instance, the word trunk could apply to a tree, a car, or a storage box. However, when you read, “That tree has a very large trunk,” you know exactly what the word means, which makes it a term.)

Structure. If you look at your Bible, you will see that the text has units called paragraphs (indented or marked ¶). A paragraph is a complete unit of thought. You can discover the content of the author’s message by noting and understanding each paragraph unit.

Emphasis. The amount of space or the number of chapters or verses devoted to a specific topic will reveal the importance of that topic (for example, note the emphasis ofRomans 9 and Psalms 119).

Repetition. This is another way an author demonstrates that something is important. One reading of 1 Corinthians 13, where the author uses the word “love” nine times in only 13 verses, communicates to us that love is the focal point of these 13 verses.

Relationships between ideas. Pay close attention, for example, to certain relationships that appear in the text:

—Cause-and-effect: “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things” (Matthew 25:21).

Ifs and thens: “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

—Questions and answers: “Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty” (Psalms 24:8).

Comparisons and contrasts. For example, “You have heard that it was said…but Isay to you…” (Matthew 5:21).

Literary form. The Bible is literature, and the three main types of literature in the Bible are discourse (the epistles), prose (Old Testament history), and poetry (the Psalms). Considering the type of literature makes a great deal of difference when you read and interpret the Scriptures.

Atmosphere. The author had a particular reason or burden for writing each passage, chapter, and book. Be sure you notice the mood or tone or urgency of the writing.

After you have considered these things, you then are ready to ask the “Wh” questions

Who? What? Where? When?

Who are the people in this passage? What is happening in this passage? Where is this story taking place? When in time (of day, of the year, in history) is it?

Asking these four “Wh” questions can help you notice terms and identify atmosphere. The answers will also enable you to use your imagination to recreate the scene you’re reading about.

As you answer the “Wh” questions and imagine the event, you’ll probably come up with some questions of your own.

Asking those additional questions for understanding will help to build a bridge between observation (the first step) and interpretation (the second step) of the Bible study process.

Step #2: Interpretation

Interpretation is discovering the meaning of a passage, the author’s main thought or idea. Answering the questions that arise during observation will help you in the process of interpretation. Five clues (called “the five C’s”) can help you determine the author’s main point(s):

● Context. You can answer 75 percent of your questions about a passage when you read the text. Reading the text involves looking at the near context (the verse immediately before and after) as well as the far context (the paragraph or the chapter that precedes and/or follows the passage you’re studying).

● Cross-references. Let Scripture interpret Scripture. That is, let other passages in the Bible shed light on the passage you are looking at. At the same time, be careful not to assume that the same word or phrase in two different passages means the same thing.

● Culture. The Bible was written long ago, so when we interpret it, we need to understand it from the writers’ cultural context.

● Conclusion. Having answered your questions for understanding by means of context, cross-reference, and culture, you can make a preliminary statement of the passage’s meaning. Remember that if your passage consists of more than one paragraph, the author may be presenting more than one thought or idea.

● Consultation. Reading books known as commentaries, which are written by Bible scholars, can help you interpret Scripture.

Step #3: Application

Application is why we study the Bible. We want our lives to change; we want to be obedient to God and to grow more like Jesus Christ. After we have observed a passage and interpreted or understood it to the best of our ability, we must then apply its truth to our own life.

You’ll want to ask the following questions of every passage of Scripture you study:

● How does the truth revealed here affect my relationship with God?
● How does this truth affect my relationship with others?
● How does this truth affect me?
● How does this truth affect my response to the enemy, Satan?

The application step is not completed by simply answering these questions; the key is putting into practice what God has taught you in your study. Although at any given moment you cannot be consciously applying everything you’re learning in Bible study, you can be consciously applying something. And when you work on applying a truth to your life, God will bless your efforts by, as noted earlier, conforming you to the image of Jesus Christ.

…. So Hope there you have it.  Grab a journal and begin to dig deep.  The richness of His word will inspire you to great things if you’re willing to do the hard work of study.  If you have a hard time with interpretation find someone to help.  I am alway willing to sit and study with you.

Be blessed and have a beautiful day…

ThAbIt – PG

Standard
Uncategorized

On Your Mark, Get Set pt.2

 

Bulletin

Did you get some quiet time yet?  I hope you engaged with yesterday’s challenge to find some time for solitude in your life.  Honestly, I did not get much yesterday myself as we had a house full for the National Championship Game.  Did you watch the game?  It was a nail biter all the way through.  Even if you did not have a dog in the fight it was a great game.  Being that I live no more that thirty minutes from the Alabama line there were plenty of flags flying high this morning.  Every time I watch these amazing athletes it reminds me of how incredibly dedicated they are.  If you pay attention, many of the top athletes are also great students in the classroom as well.  Their lives are centered around prioritizing what’s most important.FullSizeRender (2)

I shared the story of a former student of mine last Sunday.  I am so proud of this man for the things he has accomplished and will accomplish.  When most kids were home or hanging out with friends Tyler was on the practice field kicking and punting for hours. Because of the hours of practice, sweat and blood he is now kicking for Notre Dame and I’m hopeful to watch him on Sundays in a few years.

We all have heard these kind of stories before. Who will be telling your story?  You do know that God has created you for greatness, don’t you? This whole sermon series and articles are meant to help you engage at a deeper level of spiritual discipline.  Those guys who played so hard last night did not just jump on the field and play.  What you saw was the culmination of years and countless hours training for that very day.

As we continue to dig into the spiritual disciplines this is how we train for the moments God uses us to change lives.  Yesterday we talked about solitude and today I thought about the simple action of reading God’s Word.  You say, “Yea, yea I’ve heard that a million times!”  I feel the same way, but isn’t it always the simple things we know that become the hardest to do?  As we forge ahead please don’t get overwhelmed at all that God expects from you.  After church the first Sunday of this series a seasoned runner reminded me that people don’t start by running a marathon but a mile.  I know how these things go. You start feeling guilty because Pastor Greg said we need to read the Bible more and all I can get through is a chapter before my head is swimming.  So, that’s where we start this conversation…

It’s not about how fast or far you run, but just the fact you are up and moving is victory in itself.  My first challenge to you is simple – to begin.  To pick a moment in your day and open up your Bible or app and simple begin.  Don’t even get bogged down in this moment of where you start, just begin.  Pick something like John, one of the Apostles or proverbs and go.  I’m not even asking you to be a Bible scholar and pull out the Bible dictionary or concordance.  No, I want you to just read.  I love to read.  I have to admit I’m a sci-fi, dystopian, stuff blowing up kind of guy.  I like action, adventure, thrillers and leave all those mushy stories to Becky.  If you pick up God’s word you quickly find those same genres all throughout.  We read of battles, wars, conflict, adventures and yes ladies there is lots of mushy stuff.  In addition there is life, hope, love and truth.  Wow, have you ever thought of it that way?  Being a long time Bible student I used to look at the Bible as just information.  “I need to know this stuff just so I can defend my faith!”  While that is true lets not lose the beauty of the stories, drama, poetry and love we see cover to cover.

If I had to somehow put the Bible in a single literary genre it would have to be a romance story.  Each and every word on it’s pages is one truly romantic story between God and His people. I encourage you to find a comfy chair, grab a blanket, definitely some coffee and begin.

ThAbIt – PG

 

Resources

These are a few of the websites I use on a regular basis as I read and study

www.blueletterbible.com (this site has every study resource you will ever need)
www.biblegateway.com

Books

How To Read The Bible For All It’s Worth

 

Standard
Uncategorized

On Your Mark, Get Set pt.1

Happy Monday to you all.  I have been trying to get this post done all day… but it’s one of those Monday’s.  My prayer for you is that this week will be filled with God’s blessing and opportunities for you to expand His kingdom.  We are in the middle of an incredible series that has been pushing us all to the limit.

BulletinI’m all about pushing the limits of our faith.  We need to press hard this year by putting Jesus first and running hard in his calling for our lives.  Yesterday’s message was all about getting set to run.  Getting in shape to actually step up to the line starts well before the gun is about to go boom. It’s time to get off the couch and put those training shoes on and get in shape.  One of the training tools we have is spiritual disciplines.  You’ve heard and are well-acquainted with some of these like: prayer, fasting, Bible study, giving, and serving.  But there are so many more that we could focus more on like: confession, solitude/meditation, journaling, worship, submission…  There are so many ways to engage God that it really does become an exciting journey.  This week we will pull some of these disciplines out and dig a little deeper.

51hs2cALpAL._SX335_BO1,204,203,200_
First of all, if you are a reader may I suggest a golden nugget?  This book was required reading during my college days and has been a friend ever since.  Get a copy and begin reading as we start this journey together.

Get it on Amazon Here

Today I want to simply encourage you with the discipline of solitude.  It may shock you that I didn’t start with a biggie like prayer or reading the Bible.  For most of us we become so busy with the activities of faith that we forget to just sit and breath in His presence.  For me, when I take time to just sit, breath and contemplate his goodness I can read and pray with more fervor.  I guess we can’t talk about solitude without tapping into meditation as well.  These two are so closely related that we hardly can do one without the other.

We often see Jesus intentionally wondering off by himself to these solitary places.  I say intentional because that’s what is was.  It was designed within Him to get away from all that would distract so that He could commune with His Father.  The Gospel of Mark describes it this way:

And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.
-Mark 2:35

Notice when Jesus designed this time into His life.  It was during a time when nothing else would interrupt this quiet time.  How often do we fail in our disciplines only because we try to squeeze it into an already packed schedule.  It may be necessary for you to create a time in your life where nothing else could possibly interfere.  That could be:

  • “Very early in the morning”… as did Jesus
  • Very late at night… “said me never,” but that may be for you
  • Lunch break (go to your car, take a walk, find a bench)
  • During your commute

It’s all about putting Jesus first and designing this time in your life.  When it comes to solitude I just like to sit, breath and enjoy what God has done and created.  I love the outdoors, so this is usually where I take it all in.  How about you?  Share below where and when you enjoy your times of solitude with God.

So today find a place to

BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD -Psalm 46:10

ThAbIt – PG

P.S. (in case you don’t know, this is something I have done for a long time)

  1. “ThAbIt” = “Think about it” (I have often closed my blogs this way)
  2. “PG” = That’s Me!!! (Pastor Greg)
Standard
Uncategorized

Passion for the Harvest

If you have been around Momentum lately you are well aware of what makes us tick.  Mo was born out of an incredible hunger to reach the thousands in our community living apart from Christ.  Yes, that’s what gets out blood pumping!  So recently we have revisited the roots of our church by asking one simple question…  Are we truly burdened for the lost?

So, I ask you the same question this morning.  Do you have a passion to sacrifice anything necessary to reach JUST ONE for Christ?  If not, there is possible a key component missing from your life…  proximity to the Father.  Without doubt proximity to the Father produces passion in your life.  If you find that you are lacking a passion for the harvest then maybe it’s a proximity issue.  It is possible that you need to make your way today into the presence of God and regain or attain for the first time a passion for what God is passionate about… the lost.

Take a minute and read Luke 15…  God the Father will do anything to search for one who is lost.  It is always heartbreaking to see on the news that a child has gone missing.  After such an event we always see the community coming together scouring the countryside for any hint of the missing child.  For days every inch of ground is turned over and every leaf is swept away in hopes of just a sign.  Would you do the same in search for one who is lost, not in a physical sense, but in an eternal one.  That’s what God did for me many years ago and He is in hot pursuit for you today.

If you desire to have this kind of passion for the lost begin to pray today for it.  Begin to call out in prayer those around you who are living apart from Him and He will birth in you a passion for the Harvest.  Then and only then will you sacrifice whatever necessary to reach the ONE…

Standard
Uncategorized

Read – Pray – Do

This is just a quick reminder to all of our Momentum Family about the challenge to read the book of John over the next 10 days.  Over the past weeks we have been digging into this new series “Reboot” with the idea that at times our lives need a fresh start.  The way to accomplish this and more importantly to maintain the life God designs is to live a life with Christ at the center.  So our mantra lately has been:

Read the Red, Pray for Power and Do What it Says!

Simply stated, but much harder to make a habit… right!?  The first challenge is to read the red or in other words to dig into the life of Christ in the Gospels.  As we grow in our knowledge of who Jesus is we should also pray for the power to do what it says….  and literally do what it says!

In an effort to get us kick started as a community to live Christocentric lives we are reading through the gospel of John over the next 10 days.  Here is the insert we had in the bulletin last Sunday to help you get started…  (We actually started on Monday, but join in today!)

 

Momentum Church always wants to be a church that reads the Word, prays about the Word, and does what the Word says. This week, we’re hoping to make the first step of that equation easier on you! We want reading the Word to be a part of your everyday life, so we want to encourage you to start a reading plan! Join us as we follow along with YouVersion’s book of John reading plan. It’s quick and simple to follow along, simply download the YouVersion app to your smartphone or tablet (you probably already have it installed if you have the bible on your device). When you launch the app, find the menu button and hit  “Plans.” Search for “John” and  join the 10 day reading plan! It’s that simple! The app can keep track of your progress and remind you to read if you fall behind! For those that don’t need an aid, we’re reading two chapters a day until the last day, and simply reading the last three chapters to finish up!

 
Check on Momentum’s Facebook page daily for encouragement during this short journey.
 
PG
Standard
Uncategorized

There is no way to follow Jesus without him intefering with your life…

This is specifically written for our Bible Study group on Weds. nights… but feel free to read on if you happen to stroll by…

We had great discussion last night and I wanted to hit on something that I know will make us all step back for a minute or two.  Two points, that really are an extension of each other were made by Idleman.

  • “There is no way to follow Jesus without him intefering with your life.”
  • “Following Jesus will cost you something.  Following Jesus always costs something.”

I was brought up in a church culture that taught me the very opposite.  The idea of God’s free gift of grace was given to me at no charge.  He made a way for me to have a relationship with him in such a way that it was almost like getting a “get out of jail free” card in Monopoly.  It was often followed up with, “it’s that easy, so what’s stopping you from accepting Jesus now?”

Ok, first of all.  Yes God’s gift of grace is free to us, but it cost Him dearly.  The fact that Jesus had to come and give his very life signals to us that it is more valuable than a free chicken sandwich card from Chic-fil-a… right!  And the whole notion that just beause we ultimately didn’t have to pay the due punishment for our sin (because Jesus did) doesn’t mean that were just using a buddy pass to fly into heaven.  To be a true disciple will cost you dearly.

Luke 9:23  Then he said to them, “If anone would come after me (AKA be a “follower”), he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

Luke 9:59-60  He said to another man, “Follow me.”  But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”  Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury the dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Not to mention… Matthew 5:43-48, 7:1-2, 19:23-24; Luke 21:1-4; John 6:60-67; Philippians 3:7-11; James 1:22; etc, etc, etc…

Some mentioned last night some pretty big sacrifices you had to make in order to follow Christ.  Literally, some of you are being obedient to Jesus’ words in Luke 9 above and had to sacrifice your family in the process of living out your faith.  When I hear your stories of sacrificing family, friends and popularity it makes me realize that I am in the room with the right people.

Becky brought up a good point at the end of the conversation that I wanted to make a few follow up comments about.  She brings us to the reality that it doesn’t always have to cost us in “outward” ways, even though it may.  What about the “inward” price we must pay to be a disciple.  How should God interfere with our lives and what should it cost us in the inward life?  This is sometimes harder than sacrificing outward things because of the nature of its intimacy and secret nature to us personally.

Paul, after comparing the sinful nature to life in the Spirit challenges all believers with this:  “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” -Galatians 5:24

The highest price we will ever pay in being a disciple is that of personal holiness.  To “crucify” our desires means to literally and wilfully kill that part of our person.  Death is never painless or comfortable, but necessary in the life of a disciple.  So, as you go about your week think on these things.

What part of my most inward self is Jesus wanting to interfere with this week?  Then you need to make a decision to just be a “hearer” of His truth or to be a “doer” (James 1:22).  Know that Becky and I are here to serve you along this incredible journey.  We were never meant to travel alone, so let us know how we can pray and keep you accountable as Christ invades every part of you lives.

PG

Standard
family, parenting, parents, Uncategorized

Who Are These Kids & Why Are They Calling Me Mom?

Have you ever felt this way?  If you are a mom I’m absolutely sure you have.  If you haven’t just set you watch because it will happen sooner than later.  Being a mom is not an easy task in any stretch of the imagination.  There are diapers to change, dishes to wash, band aids to apply and tears to wipe.  There were many times when my children were small that I totally felt like chopped liver as they would always run to mommy when a tender touch needed applied.  There’s something special in a mothers touch and voice that seems to make everything so much better.

I do know that we live in a broken world and not everyone identifies with having a mother that was always there for them.  Even if this is the case there are those who have spoken life into us through other relationships.  On days such as Mother’s Day I like to recognize other ladies out there who invest much of their lives to nurturing others.  These women who give so much when nothing is really required of them to do so.  Maybe you are a caregiver, mentor or just have influence on another.  In a way you have the same loving influence on others as a mother has on her child.

We see this so clearly in the story of Ruth and Naomi in the Old Testament.  I will be speaking on this passage Sunday, but wanted to give you a glimpse into one of the most beautiful stories of love and devotion in the OT.  Naomi and her family had to move away from their homeland because of famine and found themselves planted in the land of Moab.  Their two sons eventually got married and one of these young wives was Ruth.  In time Naomi’s husband dies as does her two sons leaving only Naomi and her two daughter-in-laws to survive on their own.  This was not a desirable situation given the time in history and the ruggedness of the people and culture.  Naomi gets word that the famine had passed and plans to return home.  Even though she strongly urges the young ladies to stay in their homeland, Ruth insists on following Naomi back to Bethlehem (Ruth 1:16-18).  This would be a place where Ruth would have no kin, no security and no promise of provision.  The trip from Moab to Bethlemem would have taken between 7-10 days.  It would have required them to cross the river Jordan and to climb the 2000 plus feet in elevation required to reach Bethlehem… and yet Ruth traveled on with Naomi.  (Read the entire story HERE)

In the end, you discover that you don’t have to be a biological mother to have the loving characteristics of a mom.  In many of our relationships with one another we have the opportunity to invest love, encouragement and hope into the lives of those around us.  Isn’t that the mark of a Godly woman anyway?  Read this beautiful description of what God calls a Godly Woman to be… Proverbs 31:10-31.

So, I write this just to say thank you to all the women (mother or not) in our lives that invest and fight for Godly relationships.  Whether you are a mother, daughter, friend, caregiver or mentor we salute your faithfulness to the Kingdom of God.  You are loved and we honor you as Boaz did Ruth for her faithfulness to Naomi (Ruth 2:11-12).

PG

Standard