One Without a Guide, A Foster Care Focus

Audio from special guest speaker Wayne Naugle on Sunday morning September 18th, 2018.

Wayne is the founder of Families4Families, a non-profit private foster care agency, whose mission is to place children in loving Christian foster homes and provide excellent support for the foster families themselves.

Families4Families (F4F) works directly with DFCS to place children, they offer full training and support to become a foster/adoptive family. F4F has partnered with the Church of Joy to help raise up foster families to help meet the critical need in our district.

Join us at Joy on Sunday September 30th from 4-6pm for a Foster Care information session, where F4F will answer every question you have concerning fostering, adoption, respite care and support. This is the first step!

F4F will also be offering IMPACT training classes at Joy: October 19-21 / November 2-4. These are the required training hours to be approved to house foster children. More info on these sessions will be provided at the information meeting.

The Gospel of John Week 3

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning September 9th, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.

John 1:1-4 NIV
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

John 1:14 NIV
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Review from Last week:

JOHN comes out in chapter 1 with POWERFUL statements. Before we look at these statements we need to understand how John is framing these proclamations.

The Bookends:

An inclusio is a literary device where the writer states a theme or idea at both the beginning and end of a story. It's intended to introduce and conclude a main point. Everything in-between is to be read with the inclusio theme in mind. When you think of inclusio, think bookends.


Inclusio Theme: God is present with us in the person of Jesus Christ

1:18, 22-23

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about:…

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).


18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

We find inclusios in each of the gospels. Let's look:


Inclusio Theme: The identity of Jesus-- He is the Son of God

1:1 The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God,...

15:39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”


Inclusio Theme: The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah fulfills what was promised in the Old Testament


1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.


44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.


John’s inclusio theme: Anyone who puts their faith and trust in Jesus will receive eternal life.


Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.


Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

BELIEVE (to trust in, have faith in) HIS NAME. Not in the name of some pagan god, but the one revealed in truth.


In Jewish thought, a name is not merely an arbitrary designation, a random combination of sounds. The name conveys the nature and essence of the thing named. It represents the history and reputation of the being named.

This is not as strange or unfamiliar a concept as it may seem at first glance. In English, we often refer to a person's reputation as his "good name." When a company is sold, one thing that may be sold is the company's "good will," that is, the right to use the company's name. The Hebrew concept of a name is very similar to these ideas.

An example of this usage occurs in Ex. 3:13-22: Moses asks God what His "name" is. Moses is not asking "what should I call you;" rather, he is asking "who are you; what are you like; what have you done." That is clear from God's response. God replies that He is eternal, that He is the God of our ancestors, that He has seen our affliction and will redeem us from bondage.

John’s inclusio is all about revealing who Jesus is and the fulfillment of us believing in Him and the work He did.

The first name John calls Jesus is THE WORD:


1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

I. Let’s unpack this: Jesus - The Word

A. So as John began his gospel he begins by telling us that “In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God.”

>Therefore, Jesus’ existence didn’t begin at his earthly birth, but was from the beginning.

B. But in addition to just being there in the beginning, Jesus was an agent of creation.

1. John declared that “Through him all things were made, without him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:3)

2. Paul said the same thing about Jesus in Colossians 115-17, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

Did you catch all that? “For by him all things were created…He is before all things.” Both things point to Jesus’ eternal nature.

3. The writer of Hebrews began his letter with these words, HEBREWS 1:1-2, (ESV) “1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”

4. So from those verses, we discover that Jesus’ pre-existence precedes the creation of all things.

C. Not only do these New Testament passages speak of Jesus’ role in creation, there is evidence in the Old Testament as well.

1. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

2. The Hebrew word for “God” that appears here is the word “Elohim.”

3. It is a plural noun meaning “Mighty Ones,” a family of Mighty Ones, acting as one.

4. God has chosen to express His personal nature in terms of a family relationship of equal personalities equaling the one God.

5. That’s why in Genesis 1:26 we read, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image. In our likeness…’”

6. In Genesis 3:22 after the fall of man we read, “And the Lord God said, ‘The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil.’”

7. And in Genesis 11, we see that after the flood the people were all staying in one place and pride was becoming a problem, so God said, “Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” (Gen. 11:7)

8. So we see all these instances when God is describing himself in the plural.

9. The Father and The Son and the Holy Spirit were there in the beginning making man in their likeness, and disciplining humankind when they needed it.

D. Jesus made numerous other statements during His ministry that pointed to his pre-existence.

1. In John 6:62, (ESV) Jesus asked: “Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?”

>Where had Jesus been before he came to earth? He had been with God.

2. In John 8:58, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Before Abraham was born, I am!”

>If Jesus had been born thousands of years after Abraham, how is it that he was existing before Abraham was born?

3. John the Baptist had said that Jesus preceded him even though Jesus was born after him, “This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’” (John 1:30)

4. In John 17:5 Jesus said, “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”

>Obviously, Jesus knew where He had been and what His glory had been like.

E. Paul helps us understand this truth:

When Paul looked at where Jesus had been and what he gave up to come down here, he declared, (Philippians 2:5-11) “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

1. Jesus was God and was with God, but he willingly gave up that position and lowered himself and became obedient to death on a cross.

2. But after leaving His heavenly place, God exalted Him back to that highest place.

F. From all of this evidence, can there be any doubt about Jesus’ eternal pre-existence? I don’t think so!

1. So His story did not start with His birth, like ours does.

2. His story has no beginning, because He has no beginning.

G. Now you might be thinking, “Ok, V, Jesus is eternal, but what does this have to do with me?

1. What is the significance of Jesus’ pre-existence?

2. Well, let me tell you it is a big deal and has immense implications.

II. The Significance of Jesus’ Pre-existence.

A. First, and Foremost, Jesus’ pre-existence proves that He is God.

1. As God we know that we can trust Him and that His promises are true.

2. As God we know that He has the power to help us and save us.

3. I think you would agree with me that this is pretty important stuff!

B. Second, Jesus’ pre-existence shows that He cares for us.

1. Our God is not a god who, as the deists claim, created the world, wound it up and set it off into space to run without God’s attention.

2. No, our God is a God who takes an intense interest in His creation.

3. Our God is a God who loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son.

4. If Jesus did not care, He would never have come to earth, leaving the glory of heaven.

5. And he certainly would not have subjected himself to the abuse and suffering of crucifixion, if He did not love us.

6. Our eternal God stepped into time and space so that we might know Him, and inherit eternal life through Him.

7. He really does love us and his kindness ought to lead to our repentance, and our reliance on Him.

C. Third, Jesus’ pre-existence means that there is a plan.

1. Jesus came from glory and wants to bring you and me into that glory.

2. Jesus said in John 17:24, “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.”

3. The love of God and plan of God have been in place since before the creation of the world.

4. Peter explained that plan in 1 Peter 1 with the following words, “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.” (1 Peter 1:18-20)

5. God’s plan was in place for a long time. It was an expensive plan and a loving plan.

6. John wrote, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10)

7. And this life that God wants to give us is more glorious than any of us can imagine.

8. 1 Corinthians 2:9 reads, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”

9. And how wonderful and exciting is that?!!!


A. So as we strive to see Jesus ever more clearly, we begin with a glimpse of His pre-existence.

1. Before He ever put a foot on this earth, He was alive and well.

2. He was reigning with God in all their Glory.

3. He was creating and sustaining all things.

B. His pre-existence is so important because it proves He is God, shows that He cares for us, and means that there is a wonderful plan.

C. As John completes the opening to his Gospel, he says, “In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” (John 1:4-5)

1. Jesus, indeed, is the life and light of men.

2. But sadly, so many people resist the life and light that Jesus offers.

3. Let’s be sure that we are not among that group of people.

4. Let’s allow the life and light of Jesus to come into our lives, and save us and transform us.

5. John wrote, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)

6. Won’t you put your trust in Jesus and become a child of God? There’s nothing better!

Further Bible Study on John:

CRU has developed a great 12 week study on The Gospel of John. Dig deeper, grow stronger, and bring God glory.

The Gospel of John Week 1

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning August 26th, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.

1 Kings 8:27 NIV
27 “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!

Solomon asked this question as he dedicated the temple.
"Will God really dwell on earth?"
This is a good question, indeed!

1. God had dwelt with Israel-
God’s glory had dwelt in the Tabernacle: Ex. 40:34
The Israelites finished the tabernacle as instructed by Moses… Once completed:

Exodus 40:34-36 NIV
34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

2. God dwelt with His people in the Temple:

1 Kings 8:10-11 NIV
10 When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the Lord. 11 And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled his temple.

3. But God’s glory departed from Israel because of their disobedience:
Ezek. 9:3
Ezek. 10:4, 8
Ezek. 11:22-23

Ezekiel 9:3 NIV
3 Now the glory of the God of Israel went up from above the cherubim, where it had been, and moved to the threshold of the temple. Then the Lord called to the man clothed in linen who had the writing kit at his side

Ezekiel 10:4-8 NIV
4 Then the glory of the Lord rose from above the cherubim and moved to the threshold of the temple. The cloud filled the temple, and the court was full of the radiance of the glory of the Lord. 5 The sound of the wings of the cherubim could be heard as far away as the outer court, like the voice of God Almighty when he speaks. 6 When the Lord commanded the man in linen, “Take fire from among the wheels, from among the cherubim,” the man went in and stood beside a wheel. 7 Then one of the cherubim reached out his hand to the fire that was among them. He took up some of it and put it into the hands of the man in linen, who took it and went out. 8 (Under the wings of the cherubim could be seen what looked like human hands.)

Ezekiel 11:22-23 NIV
22 Then the cherubim, with the wheels beside them, spread their wings, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them. 23 The glory of the Lord went up from within the city and stopped above the mountain east of it.

For many years God was silent. His glory did not appear. Then the marvelous thing happened.

4. The Glory of God came to His people again, in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ.
The writers of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) have given us “snapshots” of our Lord’s life on earth. Though the Gospels give us a good picture of the life and ministry of Jesus, we still don’t know it all, even John said this:

John 21:25 NIV
25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

There is still much that we do not know... I will say this, there is more here in the Gospels than we will have time in our life to understand and live out.

A Quick Comparative Look:

Matthew wrote with his fellow Jews in mind and emphasized that Jesus of Nazareth had fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies and that He was the Messiah.

Mark presented the Servant, ministering to needy people.

Luke wrote his Gospel for the Greeks and introduced them to the sympathetic Son of man.

But John had a different focus and purpose. The Holy Spirit inspired his words to be for both the Jews and the Gentiles. John presented Jesus as the Son of God.

We know that John had (non-Jews) Gentiles in mind as well as Jews, because he often “interpreted or ("which means") Jewish words and customs for his readers: (a few examples)
John 1:38, 41-42
John 5:2
John 9:7
John 19:13, 17
John 20:16

John 1:38-42 NIV
38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” 39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon. 40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).

John 5:2 NIV
2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades.

John 9:7 NIV
7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

John 19:13 NIV
13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha).

John 19:17 NIV
17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).

John 20:16 NIV
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

John’s emphasis to the Jews was that Jesus not only fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies, but He also fulfilled the types.

TYPES: Typology is a special kind of symbolism in Jewish writing. (A symbol is something which represents something else.) We can define a type as a “prophetic symbol” because all types are representations of something yet future. More specifically, a type in scripture is a person or thing in the Old Testament which foreshadows a person or thing in the New Testament. For example, the flood of Noah’s day (Genesis 6-7) is used as a type of baptism in 1 Peter 3:20-21.

John uniquely reveals Jesus as:
>The Lamb of God (this is language regarding the sacrificial lamb)
>Jesus is the Ladder from Heaven to earth (John 1:51/ Gen. 28)
>Jesus is the New Temple (John 2:19-21)
>Jesus gives new birth (John 3:4)
>Jesus is the one lifted up (John 3:14)
>Jesus is the bread of God that came down from Heaven (John 6:35)

The first three Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) major on describing EVENTS in the life of Christ, John emphasized the MEANING of these events. For example, all four Gospels record the feeding of the 5,000.

SEE: (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:31-44; Luke 9:12-17)They all read about the same way…

Matthew 14:13-21 NIV
13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” 16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” 17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. 18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Mark 6:31-44 NIV
31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” 32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. 35 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. 36 Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?” 38 “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.” 39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.

Luke 9:12-17 NIV
12 Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.” 13 He replied, “You give them something to eat.”They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.” 14 (About five thousand men were there.)But he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 The disciples did so, and everyone sat down. 16 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. 17 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.

John start out by telling you the event as well: John 6:1-25

John 6:1-25 NIV
1 Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2 and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. 3 Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4 The Jewish Passover Festival was near. 5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. 7 Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” 8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. 12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. 14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. 16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 17 where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. 18 A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. 19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. 20 But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” 21 Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading. 22 The next day the crowd that had stayed on the opposite shore of the lake realized that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with his disciples, but that they had gone away alone. 23 Then some boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus. 25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

But John does something that the other Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) did not do: John emphasized the MEANING of these events. See John 6:26-35

John 6:26-35 NIV
26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” 28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” 29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” 30 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.” 35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Last thought for this morning:
There is one MAJOR theme that runs throughout John’s Gospel: Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and if you commit yourself to Him, He will give you eternal life (John 20:31).

We will explore this truth as we unpack the amazing book.

Next week we will look into the first chapter at the seven names and titles of Jesus that identify Him as eternal God.

Spend some time in John this week. Start by praying… enjoy reading it… don’t get bogged down in list and comparisons yet. Just read it and soak it in.

Romans 10:17 NIV
17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.


True Spiritual Grit

Audio from Associate Pastor Josh Carpenter on Sunday morning August 19th, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.

Are you relentless in your pursuit of Christ, even in the face of adversity? Let's talk about what it means to have True Spiritual Grit.

“The ability to persevere in pursuing a future goal over a long period of time and not giving up… it's having stamina. It's sticking with your future, day in and day out, not just for a week, not just for a month but for years, and working really heard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like a marathon not a sprint.” - Angela Duckworth, PhD. Professor of psychology, The University of Pennsylvania

You may not find the word 'grit' in your Bible, but you'll see true grit in the language used.

1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV
58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Matthew 24:12-13 NIV
12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.

God's Word is full of examples of real people with real grit:
◦Noah spends decades building a huge ship as he waited for God’s wrath to be poured out on the earth.
◦Abraham and Sarah lived like strangers in a foreign land, waiting a quarter century for God's promised child to be born.
◦Jacob serving his devious uncle Laban 20 years waiting for God’s promised inheritance.
◦Joseph languishing in an Egyptian prison as he waited for God to make him a ruler, even over his brothers.
◦Moses leading the stiff necked Israelites in the desert 40 years waiting for God’s promised land (and not getting in himself!).
Don’t forget Gideon, Samson, David, Samuel, the Prophets, Mary, the Disciples, Paul Read Hebrews 11

Examples of Jesus' true grit
◦Matthew 4:1-2 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
◦Matthew 8:20 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
◦John 15:18 If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.
◦Luke 22:42-44 Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

1. A disciple of Christ must possess true spiritual grit.

1 Peter 4:12-13 NIV
12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

The days ahead hold many trials.
Verse 12: "Do not be surprised..."
Greek: xenizō
To stay as a guest, to be lodged also to be shocked

Instead be armed with the mind of Christ.

1 Peter 4:1 NIV
1 Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.

A mindset of Faith in God vs. a mindset of Entitlement

1 Corinthians 15:10 NIV
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.

2.True spiritual grit is grown in us.

What generates perseverance in us?

James 1:2-4 NIV
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Spiritual grit grows in adversity.


1 Peter 4:14-16 NIV
14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

A type of grit can grow by choosing to live apart from God's way. Suffering because of ungodliness doesn't grow perseverance, it's pain that's wasted.

Psalm 66:10 NIV
10 For you, God, tested us;you refined us like silver.

We're only saved from the fire, by walking through the fire.

Hebrews 12:7-8 NIV
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.

3. True spiritual grit gets results.

Endurance despite opposition
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NIV
8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

An example of denying self
Matthew 16:24 NIV
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

A strong finish to our race
2 Timothy 4:7 NIV
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Consider this one week devotional from the YouVersion Bible App:

The Thrill of Generosity

Audio from Associate Pastor Josh Carpenter on Sunday morning July 29th, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.

The words thrill and generosity aren’t often paired together. How could giving be considered exciting?

2 Corinthians 9:6-15 NIV
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written:“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;their righteousness endures forever.” 10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

2 Corinthians 8:2 NIV
2 In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.

This is what we do: God's people give above and beyond with joy in our hearts. Why? Because God has given generously to us!

2 Corinthians 9:6-7 NIV
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

1. The thrill of doing work

2 Corinthians 9:8-9 NIV
8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written:“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;their righteousness endures forever.”

Colossians 3:17 NIV
17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Genesis 18:1-8 NIV
1 The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. 2 Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground. 3 He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by. 4 Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. 5 Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant.”“Very well,” they answered, “do as you say.” 6 So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three seahs of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread.” 7 Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. 8 He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.


2. The thrill of giving my wealth

2 Corinthians 9:10-11 NIV
10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

Matthew 25:23 NIV
23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

3. The thrill of sharing my wisdom

2 Corinthians 9:12-13 NIV
12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.

A Need for Spiritual Revival

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning July 22nd, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.

Psalm 1:1-3 NIV
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,and who meditates on his law day and night. 3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.

Last week my dad’s church had nightly revival services. His twin brother was the guest speaker each night. From last Sunday night to Thursday night, the families of Westminster Baptist Church gathered at 7pm, sang songs, heard some good singing by different ones, mom and dad, uncle Ron and aunt Joyce, then Uncle Ron preached followed by a closing song.

Many of us have been to revival services like this through the years, even gathered at Mt. Zion campground a couple of weeks ago.

Why? What is the purpose in these services that we call REVIVAL?

Now some may say in these churches, “Well we’ve always done it and it’s what we do in July.” Maybe, but why?

What is the purpose for REVIVAL?

One resource I read said it this way:

Revival refers to a spiritual reawakening from a state of dormancy or stagnation in the life of a believer. It encompasses the resurfacing of a love for God, an appreciation of God's holiness, a passion for His Word and His church, a convicting awareness of personal and corporate sin, a spirit of humility, and a desire for repentance and growth in righteousness. Revival invigorates and sometimes deepens a believer's faith, opening his or her eyes to the truth in a fresh, new way. It generally involves the connotation of a fresh start with a clean slate, marking a new beginning of a life lived in obedience to God. Revival breaks the charm and power of the world, which blinds the eyes of men, and generates both the will and power to live in the world but not of the world.

We need REVIVAL. Our lives need revival. Our homes need revival. Churches need revival. Christians throughout this community, and across this land need revival.

God, through His Holy Spirit, calls us to revival in a number of situations. Christ's letters to the seven churches reveal some circumstances that may necessitate revival. In the letter to Ephesus, Christ praised the church for their perseverance and discernment, but He stated that they had forsaken their first love (Revelation 2:4-5 4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place).

Many times as the excitement of acceptance to Christ grows cold, we lose the zeal that we had at first. We become bogged down in the ritual, going through the motions, but we no longer experience the joy of serving Christ. Revival helps restore that first love and passion for Christ. The cares and worries of life can beat us down, leaving us emotionally, physically, and spiritually exhausted. Revival can lift us up to new hope and faith.

Sometimes in life we don’t walk the right path, or delight in the God’s Word. We don’t enjoy talking with Him or worshiping Him. We don’t study His Word, learn His Word, meditate on His Word.

The result, we are like a tree planted by the streams of water but we fail to drink. We wither and we don’t prosper.

Years ago I took CPR and and became a CPR/EFR instructor. In Emergency First Response training, it prepared you for situations where you may find someone lying unconscious and needing assistance. SO you go over, assess the situation, call 911, if know heart beat and their are not breathing you start CPR. If you have a AED you hook the up and press the button waiting to see it they need to be shocked back to bring their heart back into rhythm. This person needs REVIVAL. To be brought back to life.

Have you ever felt that way? Maybe not where your heart has literally stopped, but where you feel you need a Spiritual shock to restart your passion. Maybe you feel this way right now.

-God wants your to know Him. Walk with Him, Live in Him. He wants to strengthen you with His presence and His Word.

-God has provided streams of living water for us to drink from.

-Notice in verse 3 (Ps. 1) it did not say “STREAM” but “STREAMS”

-There is so much for us to drink from it pours over us like a great cascading river.

(All the water flowing over Niagara falls is noting compared to God’s provision of living water.)

So how can we be revived?

Some may think we need a revival service. Well, there's nothing wrong with that. But the provision for revival can be fulfilled in our daily walk.

1. It starts with REPENTANCE. (Getting on the right path)

We walk toward what our eyes focus upon. Jesus gave us the direction of His focus when He was teaching His disciples how to pray and focus their lives:

Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV) “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

2. Acknowledge who owns the day, in see it a provision and a blessing.

Mathew 6:11 Give us today our daily bread.

-In Exodus God told Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt so that they could go and worship Him. But the people grumbled, grew weary, became like those trees that didn’t drink from the streams of living water. They simply wanted physical provision and nothing more.

-God wanted them to a people that had faith in Him. To know that man does not live by bread alone, physical food, but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

-He wanted them to be strong and find nourishment in His presence, in His way of life, in His precepts. That is why He told Joshua in Joshua 1:7-9 (NIV) 7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’

Jesus echos the same for us in Matt. 6:33

Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV)
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

CLOSING Thoughts:

As you leave here today and start your week. Read and reread this passage. Meditate on it. Think about the need for spiritual revival in all the areas of your life. Where do streams of living water need to flow into your life. As God reveals them to you, redirect your walk toward Him. Drink from His living water.

John 7:37-38 (NIV) 37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”

Start your day off in God’s presence, talk with Him, worship Him. Open His Word. I good place nourishing book to read is John. Read it and reread it. Meditate on it. Ask God to help you be nourished in Him.

Moved with Compassion

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning June 24th, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.

Colossians 4:5-6 NIV
5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

In our summer series "Live to Share" we are studying and exploring - What does it really look like to make the most of every opportunity we have to share Christ's love and care for others in such a way that they see and feel God's love?

Sharing God's love can place us at the crossroads of self centered actions or Christ centered actions. The deciding factor could be - COMPASSION. Do you have it for others around you? It is as simple as this...

Compassion Defined:
-sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it
-motivates people to go out of their way to help the physical, mental, or emotional pains of another.
The origin of the word helps us grasp the true breadth and significance of compassion. In Latin, 'compati' means "suffer with." Compassion means someone else's heartbreak becomes your heartbreak. Another's suffering becomes your suffering. True compassion changes the way we live.

Jesus showed us how to live. For 3 1/2 years His public ministry portrayed love and obedience in action.
1. Matt. 9:35-36
2. Matt. 14:13-14
3. Matt 15:32
4. Matt. 20:30-34
5. Luke 7:12-15
6. John 11:33-38

Matthew 9:35-36 NIV
35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Matthew 14:13-14 NIV
13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Matthew 15:32 NIV
32 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”

Matthew 20:30-34 NIV
30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” 31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” 32 Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. 33 “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” 34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.

Luke 7:12-15 NIV
12 As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” 14 Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.

John 11:33-38 NIV
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.“Come and see, Lord,” they replied. 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” 38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.

What did Jesus understand about their (our) suffering that made Him compassionate?-

Hebrews 4:15-16 NIV
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

This identification of one's suffering and feeling as your own goes echos back to what God told Israel. God told Israel to remember their days of suffering and be compassionate to the sojourner, the marginalized, the outcast. Remember that you too once suffered as slaves.
Deut. 5:15
Deut. 15:15
Deut. 16:12
Deut. 24:18-22
Ex. 6:6

We too need to remember our suffering and our deliverance:
Ephesians 5:8
Titus 3:3-5
Col. 1:21-22

Ephesians 5:8 NIV
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light

Titus 3:3-5 NIV
3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

Colossians 1:21-22 NIV
21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—

What inhibits us from showing compassion?
1. Matt. 24:12 (We can grow cold and cynical)
2. Matt. 7:1-5 (Judge wrongly & inappropriately) - Examine yourself - 2 Cor. 13:5
3. Judges 2:10-15 (Forget who we are and whose we are)

Lessons from the Tamarisk Tree

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning June 17th, 2018. The Church of Joy in Williamson, Georgia.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.

When you read the Bible you find that it has a great deal to say about fathers. You will find many teachings and many directions and many words of guidance. One particular action done by a father has recently struck me and has had a powerful effect on me.

Genesis 21:33-34 NIV
33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the Lord, the Eternal God. 34 And Abraham stayed in the land of the Philistines for a long time.

The back story and scene:

Genesis 12:1-9 NIV
1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. 2 “I will make you into a great nation,and I will bless you;I will make your name great,and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you,and whoever curses you I will curse;and all peoples on earthwill be blessed through you.” 4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there. 6 Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him. 8 From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord. 9 Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev.

Abram(ham) went to Egypt for a while during a great famine but later returned with Lot his nephew. The had to part because of how large their flocks were growing then:

Genesis 13:14-18 NIV
14 The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. 16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. 17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.” 18 So Abram went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he pitched his tents. There he built an altar to the Lord.

This is the area where Abraham planted the Tamarisk tree.
So Abraham plant a tree, what’s the big deal?

It appears that Abraham did not simply plant any tree upon arriving in Beersheba. He planted special tree to bring comfort and relief to the one who would live in the harsh desert environment. To a Bedouin or a Jew of the Middle East, the saying is this, “you don’t plant a tamarisk tree for yourself, you plant it for generations to come”. SO what is Abraham saying in planting this tree? I believe He is saying: “Okay, I believe you God. This is my land and for generations to come, my family is going to be here.”

How much of what we do in life is done for just ourselves? Our comfort, our profit, our satisfaction?

Do we do anything to bless or plant a seed for the generations that are to come? Is there anything that you are currently involved in that will outlive you?

We need to plant seeds of faith. A Godly heritage of walking with God is greater than any earthly possession.

Again I encourage you to plant good seeds of faith, water it, work it…your family needs to:
>Hear you pray, see you pray
>See you and hear you worship God
>See you and hear you read the Bible.
>See you and hear you be compassionate and share God’s love with others
>Be part of your walk with God. They need to see you walking “in step” with the Bible.
>Be with you are you come to church. Being part of the Body of Christ, encouraging, equipping and walking out life together is a gift that God has blessed us with in the Church.

Abraham knew the harshness of the desert climate. He knew that other generations would have to face the same heat, trials and desert challenges. So he planted the Tamarisk tree to bring the relief and comfort. He cared about their future

What are you planting, growing and working on that will help and bless your family for generations to come?

Overcoming Fear

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning May 27th, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.

Wouldn't it be great if life was perfect - no problems, worries, challenges, issues or pain. But it isn't. We face various trials along the way. God's Word gives us encouragement, strength and life changing truth to handle the pitfalls we face.

James 1:2-4 NIV
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Life's pitfalls have a way of changing us. Sometimes the overwhelming pressure of the problem seems like more than we can handle. I've seen great men of God make decisions that they normally would not have because their perspective was tainted by stress and fear. I have seen many seek God's wisdom, find power in His presence and overcome the adversity stronger and more mature. God is at work in us, so He can work through us.

One of by-products of pitfalls is fear.
-Fear of the unknown.
-Fear of failure.

When we are faced with more than we can handle, feeling overwhelmed, we can become quite fearful. We all have had those moments... the wind and the waves of the storm crash on us.

Think about Peter in Matthew 14:30. Peter steps out of the boat while it is out in the Sea of Galilee. He walked on the water toward Jesus in the middle of a storm. But,...

Matt. 14:30 NIV
30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’

What happened to Peter?
He took His eyes off Jesus and felt the wind and waves crashing on him.

Victory comes when we are with Jesus.

So how do we overcome fear, doubt, trials, problems?
- Go to God, cry out for understanding & wisdom
- Know that the "what if's" of the problem could take you further into anxiety, stress, depression, and fear. (Proverbs 3:5-6). The "what if's" are normally us, leaning to our own understanding.

Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him,and he will make your paths straight.

So what does it look like to overcome fear?
-Submit and embrace God's Word for your life and your situation.

Here are a few passages to reach out for, hold on to and find peace in. When we walk in His truths, our paths are not so jagged, rough or tough - He makes our path straight.

Isaiah 41:10 NIV
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;do not be dismayed, for I am your God.I will strengthen you and help you;I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Psalm 56:3 NIV
3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.

Philippians 4:6-7 NIV
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 1:7 NIV
7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

God desires to work in you so He can be known through you. The process of maturing in His ways and walking in His truth requires humility, repentance and prayer. For we are His people, called by His name and He desires to heal us and empower us so that His provision of love, salvation and life are known in a world full of pitfalls, problems and pain. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Your Place at The Table

Audio from Associate Pastor Josh Carpenter on Sunday morning April 15th, 2018.

What is the significance of sharing a meal together?

To look forward, let's first look back:

Many mealtime customs described in ancient Biblical writings are still practiced by those living in the lands the Bible describes. In a harsh environment like the Near East, hospitality was and is valued.

◦ Meals can affirm Kinship, friendship and good will. Genesis 31:33-54

◦ Meals can acknowledge one’s status. 1 Kings 17:8-16, 2 Kings 4:8-11

◦ Meals would be used to recognize a peaceful disposition and a commitment to non-aggression. Genesis 26:26-33

More meals in the Text:

◦ Abraham is blessed by Melchizedek Genesis 14:17-20

◦ Abraham and Sarah are visited by three significant guests. The birth of Isaac is announced over a meal. Genesis 18:1-15

◦ A yearly calendar of seven major feasts and a weekly day of rest commanded for a people who had spent 400 years in bondage. Leviticus 23

The importance of the family table in Jewish culture:

A quotation from the Jewish Talmud (a Rabbinic discussion of Biblical text) after the destruction of the Second Temple by Rome:

“And now that we no longer have the Temple in Jerusalem and its altar to bring about atonement for sin, a person’s family table gains reconciliation and forgiveness.”

Today's research on the physical, mental and emotional benefits of regular family meals:

◦ Better academic performance

◦ Higher self-esteem

◦ Greater sense of resilience

◦ Lower risk of substance abuse

◦ Lower risk of teen pregnancy

◦ Lower risk of depression

◦ Lower likelihood of developing eating disorders

◦ Lower rates of obesity

How can God use our Dinner Tables?

• Make your table a place of Remembering

Luke 22:14-19 NIV
14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

Why do we remember? So we can proclaim! We see what God has done in our past, to keep moving forward.

Exodus 12:24-26 NIV
24 “Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants. 25 When you enter the land that the Lord will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. 26 And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’

What would children do around the table at Passover? They would ask: "Why do we celebrate?". A time to recall what God has done!

A professor and neuroscientist at Vassar University in NY claims “Taste memories tend to be the strongest of associative memories that you can make,”

When our 20-somethings recall a taste/smell from their childhood, will they remember the Word of God being spoken at the table?

• Make your table a place of Mending

An impersonal text or social media message can't repair our broken relationships.

Psalm 23:5 NIV
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

◦ Arabic meeting of reconciliation: Sulha A meal is shared between two parties, they would break bread and agree that the offense is finished.

John 21:7-9 NIV
7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.

◦ Greek word: anthrakia (a fire of coals)
Only used twice in scripture: John 21 and John 18. Peter stands beside a fire of coals after his first denial of Jesus. We remember the day we were restored from our sins, will we use our table to extend the same to others?

• Make your table a place of Invitation

Matthew 9:10-11 NIV
10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

Jesus is often smeared and criticized for his eating company. He was called a drunkard and a glutton.

The motives of his accusers attempting to compare his life with an unruly son: Deuteronomy 21:18-21. When the elitists saw a table full of people without hope, Jesus saw a table full of those on the outside who needed to be brought in.

See his interaction when invited to a Pharisee's home to eat: Luke 14:1-14

• We have a place setting at God’s Table

Exodus 24:4-11 NIV
4 Moses then wrote down everything the Lord had said.He got up early the next morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain and set up twelve stone pillars representing the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 Then he sent young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as fellowship offerings to the Lord. 6 Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and the other half he splashed against the altar. 7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the Lord has said; we will obey.” 8 Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.” 9 Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up 10 and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli, as bright blue as the sky. 11 But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.

How can we identify with this text?

Jesus has established a new covenant with his blood. His blood has been sprinkled on us for the forgiveness of our sins. We now have a place at the meal!

Revelation 19:9 NIV
9 Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”

A place at God's table has been prepared for us. Have we prepared a place at our table for others?

Start a new nightly routine after dinner! Consider this family style devotional from and the YouVersion Bible app:



The Triumphal Entry (Palm Sunday)

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning March 25th, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.

Matthew 21:8-11 NIV
8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,“Hosanna to the Son of David!”“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”“Hosanna in the highest heaven!” 10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

1. The Scene
Why was Jesus and other devout Jewish men and even families going to Jerusalem?
- To celebrate PASSOVER:

- Scripture tells us in Deut. 16:16 that God commanded all Jewish males to appear before Him in Jerusalem. (in Jerusalem 2 Chr. 6:6).

Deuteronomy 16:16 NIV
16 Three times a year all your men must appear before the Lord your God at the place he will choose: at the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Weeks and the Festival of Tabernacles. No one should appear before the Lord empty-handed:

Palm branches were gathered at the Feast of Tabernacles.

- The Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) - the last feast God gave Israel looks forward to the Messianic Kingdom, when the Messiah will reign, when God will DWELL with man - when the Messiah will reign from the throne of David in Jerusalem.

- The Jewish people - at Passover - were waving branches and laying branches on the ground before Jesus… This was NOT how they celebrated Passover. (like celebrating July 4 fireworks on Christmas. You don’t typically do that)

- They were used 2 centuries before Jesus’ entry by the people who celebrated the victory of Judah the Maccabee in his victory over the Greco-Macedonian oppressors.

- The were also a powerful symbol of victory over oppression

In waving them upon Jesus entry into Jerusalem, they were announcing their belief that their King is here to overthrow Rome - thus they shouted: “Hosanna” which means - “save us” or as “God save us”

- Anytime we see such details: “Ask, why do I need to know this?”

- Jesus is aligning Himself with another story

- Compare 2 Samuel 15-18

- Jesus came as the SUFFERING SERVANT (Matthew 20:25-28)

4. THE DAY - THE TIMING.Why this day?
Why did Jesus choose this day to go to Jerusalem?
- Specifically: the 10th Day of Nisan
What is significant about “THIS DAY”?

- Lamb Selection Day

Exodus 12:3-5 NIV
3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. 4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats.

LAMB SELECTION DAY: Why lambs/goats?
Leviticus 17:11
Atonement: (at-one-with) to cover over, to reconcile. (God covered Adam & Eve’s sin)
For 4 days: Lambs were to be examined (tested) and (proven) to be without spot, blemish, defect

Leviticus 17:11 NIV
11 For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.

TEST 1 - The Chief Priest and Elders question Jesus about His AUTHORITY (Matthew 21:23-46)
TEST 2- The Pharisees and Herodians question His POLITICS (Matthew 22:15-22)
TEST 3 - The Sadducees question His THEOLOGY of resurrection (Matthew 22:23-33)
TEST 4 - The Pharisees question His THEOLOGY, this time asking which is the greatest commandment. (Matthew 22:34-40)

Matthew 21:23-46 NIV
23 Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?” 24 Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25 John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?”They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” 27 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ 29 “ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. 30“Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. 31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”“The first,” they answered.Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him. 33 “Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. 34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit. 35 “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. 37 Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said. 38 “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ 39 So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40 “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41 “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.” 42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “ ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’ ? 43 “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. 44 Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.” 45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. 46 They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.

Matthew 22:15-22 NIV
15 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?” 18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” 21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” 22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.

Matthew 22:23-33 NIV
23 That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. 24 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for him. 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. 26 The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. 27 Finally, the woman died. 28 Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?” 29 Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 31 But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” 33 When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.

Matthew 22:34-40 NIV
34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

JESUS IS THE SPOTLESS LAMB: He was found blameless - without blemish. YET - on the 14th of Nisan, at 9am in the morning, as the animal Passover lambs were being brought into the Temple to be slain, our perfect Passover Lamb was nailed to a wooden cross.
At 3 PM, as the last animal Passover Lamb was killed by the high priest in the Temple, Jesus cried out on the cross, “IT IS FINISHED” - and he died…

GUARANTEEING that we who ask Him for forgiveness of our sin, we who have trusted in Him for our salvation - will also be resurrected, have life and have it eternally with our Heavenly Father.
- Jesus is our Lamb of Atonement.
- In Him we are covered, restored, forgiven.