Back to the Path of Our Sermon Series

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Highland Family, this week we return to our Sermon Series: “Worry, Worship and The Word of God.”  We will be addressing the concern of finances, which you've submitted.  James Jordan and I will be tag-teaming this sermon topic.  James works for Operation Hope, which is an organization that serves to help educate anyone needing direction regarding financial matters. He is also a member of our Finance Team. This Sunday, James will be offering helpful direction and insight on handling personal finances and addressing financial issues with a Biblical approach. It’s going to be so helpful!

I look forward to seeing you.  I am so honored to be able to serve the you, Highland Tribe.

Blessings and love,

- Rob

Easter Sunday

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Highland family,  

I am so excited to celebrate Jesus with you tomorrow.  We will exalt the One, Jesus, who paid it all. While our service schedule is the same, we will be celebrating Easter as we gather. I look forward to seeing you.

I also want to thank all who serve each Sunday, especially Easter Sunday.  From our van-drivers to dishwashers and everyone in-between. thank you so much for all you do.

See you tomorrow,

- Rob

Tackling Temptations to Worry

Tomorrow, we will begin looking at how to respond to the heavy concerns that tempt us to worry. These concerns were gathered from those of you who turned into me one of those temptations.  We will begin with the temptation women often face: Being unable to bear children.  The sermon format for each of these topics will consist of:

1. How to handle the matter through our prayer life.

2. How God's Word directs us on this given matter.

3. How our understanding of our relationship with God impacts our capacity to fear and to believe that the Lord cares for us.  How Satan strategically comes against our confidence in our relationship with the Lord.

4. I will then take questions on this topic from those present.

5. We will then pray over those who might be tempted to worry over this concern at this time (Not calling anyone up; praying over this matter corporately).

I love you. I count it a joy to serve you.  See you tomorrow.

- Rob

 

Worry or Worship II

Knowing that within us that we have this capacity to believe and to fear, and that we face valid concerns, a simple question is posed to us all: “Do we believe that God cares for us?” We often hold to these distant truths we hear in the church, such as: "God loves us." However, to say that He cares for us is extremely personal. To believe that He cares for us is to look to Him when things are bad for us. To believe that He would care enough about us when things are bad in our lives denotes a personal trust that we have placed in our Lord. To believe that God cares for us means that we will cast upon him our nagging cares and concerns, and that we are confident He will listen and respond.
As Peter tells us, “We must humble ourselves before the Lord, casting all of our cares upon Him, because He cares for us.” When we humble ourselves to the mighty hand of God, allowing Him to take on our cares, He will listen and respond.  But the question remains: “Do you believe God cares for our concerns?” Do you believe that he will listen and respond? To believe this means that you and I will bring to Him and entrust Him with the most vulnerable and broken parts of oursevles; you believe that He desires to be the One you entrust during your darkest hours.

  

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Using the illustration above, when we're submitted to our Lord (who is love), He then pours Himself (The Holy Spirit) into these capacities within us, which consumes our capacity to fear and to believe.  This then results in our worship of Him.  

In our submission (our enduring humility) to Him, we must remain resolved through every season; hence, we must have confidence that God cares for us, even when we have “nagging” concerns, remaining under His loving care.

How does this work? Let’s look at the illustration piece by piece.  First, let’s look to Belief.

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Notice that in this letter that John makes a distinction between knowing that God is love and believing that God is love.  To know is to accept a truth; to believe is to entrust that truth - a critical difference. To believe means that His spirit consumes our capacity to believe, meaning that we abide in Him, and He abides in us.

Now, let’s look at the other side of the system: Fear.

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When we are submitted to the hand of God, He fills our capacity to fear and the result is that 'perfect love casts out fear.'  So, when we fear concerns, it is because He has not been afforded the opportunity to consume our capacity to fear, but our Lord desires to do so, for our good and His glory.

A practical example of this would be found in the book of 2nd Chronicles in chapter 20, verses:1-12. In this section of Scripture, King Jehoshaphat is informed that he will soon be attacked by 3 neighboring armies.

“After this, the Moabites and Ammonites, together with some of the Meunites, came to fight against Jehoshaphat. People came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast number from beyond the Dead Sea and from Edom has come to fight against you; they are already in Hazazon-tamar” (that is, En-gedi). Jehoshaphat was afraid, and he resolved to seek the Lord. Then he proclaimed a fast for all Judah, who gathered to seek the Lord. They even came from all the cities of Judah to seek Him. Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem in the Lord’s temple before the new courtyard. He said: Yahweh, the God of our ancestors, are You not the God who is in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand, and no one can stand against You.  Are You not our God who drove out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel and who gave it forever to the descendants of Abraham Your friend? They have lived in the land and have built You a sanctuary in it for Your name and have said, “If disaster comes on us — sword or judgment, pestilence or famine — we will stand before this temple and before You, for Your name is in this temple. We will cry out to You because of our distress, and You will hear and deliver. Now here are the Ammonites, Moabites, and the inhabitants of Mount Seir. You did not let Israel invade them when Israel came out of the land of Egypt, but Israel turned away from them and did not destroy them. Look how they repay us by coming to drive us out of Your possession that You gave us as an inheritance.  Our God, will You not judge them? For we are powerless before this vast number that comes to fight against us. We do not know what to do, but we look to You” (2 Chronicles 20:1-12).

  • Concern: “After this, the Moabites and Ammonites, together with some of the Meunites, came to fight against Jehoshaphat. People came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast number from beyond the Dead Sea and from Edom has come to fight against you; they are already in Hazazon-tamar” (that is, En-gedi).”
  • His Response: “Jehoshaphat was afraid, and he resolved to seek the Lord.”
  • His belief that, out of His love, God would care for them cast out his fear.
  • This revealed his worship. 

May we submit to the hand of God, because He can (and wants to) care for us.  Jehoshaphat believed that God cared for Him and allowed the Lord to consume his capacity to fear, so that he could operate out of His unshaken belief that the Lord would protect them through it all.

 - Rob

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Worry or To Worship?

To worry is a choice we make. Though we have valid concerns that arise within our lives, we do not have to give way to anxiety regarding those present concerns.  So, though tempted, we do not not have to give way to worry.

Worship, however, is not a choice. We are designed to worship. We will bow our knee and exalt someone or something.   The question for each of us then becomes, will we worship our fear or worship our Creator?

Taking a little closer look, I hope that as Christians we can begin to see that we are designed to worship, not worry. Pulling up the hood and taking a glance at the inner make-up of our soul, this is what you might see - three cups that have the capacity to be filled.  As we make choices to fill the “Fear-Cup” and “Belief-Cup”, they then merge together, filling our capacity to worship. Out of this system flows our thought-life, our desires, our relating, our outlook, etc…  When we allow concerns to overtake us in worry, these worries then fill our “Fear-Cup.”  This then results in challenging and eventually limiting what’s in the “Belief-Cup.”  It’s at this point, as we give way to anxiety, and fear begins to fill our mind, that we find ourselves lifting up our fears and worshipping them.

We see this how this plays out practically in 1 Samuel 13, when Saul is awaiting the prophet, Samuel, to arrive at Gilgal to make the offering.

“The men of Israel saw that they were in trouble because the troops were in a difficult situation. They hid in caves, thickets, among rocks, and in holes and cisterns. Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul, however, was still at Gilgal, and all his troops were gripped with fear. He waited seven days for the appointed time that Samuel had set, but Samuel didn’t come to Gilgal, and the troops were deserting him. So Saul said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” Then he offered the burnt offering. Just as he finished offering the burnt offering, Samuel arrived. So Saul went out to greet him, and Samuel asked, “What have you done?” (1Samuel 13:6-10).

Saul had valid concerns.

  • He was concerned that his men were deserting him out of their fear.
  • He was concerned that Samuel was not coming.
  • He was concerned about his vulnerable position at Gilgal.
  • He was concerned about his personal reputation.

Instead of worshipping God, he gave way to worry, which altered his beliefs.

  • His worries caused him to question his belief in the Lord.
  • His worries led him to question if he could trust Samuel, and the Lord, to be faithful.
  • His worries caused him to doubt that God cared for him.

His actions revealed what he truly worshipped.

  • He exalted (worshipped) his worries.
  • He took matters into his own hands, instead of humbling himself to the hand of God.

Let's reflect back on the verse this Topical Series hinges upon: "Humble yourself to the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time” (1 Peter 5:6a).  Placing this verse into practice means exalting the Lord at all times, which reveals our worship is to Him.

Perhaps, if Saul had rallied his troops with a resolved trust in the God of Israel, the God who created the heavens, yet bound Himself into a covenant with the people he was anointed to lead, Saul's history might read a little differently today.

- Rob