Exemple

Exceedingly

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4

Last week we looked at the passage in Acts 16 where Paul and Silas were beaten, flogged, and thrown into the inner cell. But lest we think that was a onetime event 2 Corinthians 11 tells us Paul endured this kind of flogging 5 times, three more times beaten with rods, and stoned once. All of these were meant to take you to death’s door, and were needless to say very painful. All of this torture Paul endured meant he had wounds on top of scars. His body barely healing between events. This same text also tells us that he was shipwrecked three times, spent a day and a night floating in the open sea, and faced every kind of danger. He has also gone without food, sleep and found himself cold and naked. All for the sake of the Gospel. And yet, he gives this command to rejoice. This command to rejoice comes approximately 27 years after Paul’s conversion so Paul has had more than a few difficult circumstances by the time he gives this command to always rejoice.

What does Paul mean when he says rejoice? The word in Greek can actually be translated as “rejoice exceedingly.” The structure is also a command. You could state it this way, “be rejoicing exceedingly all the time, rejoice exceedingly.” So this isn’t a onetime event nor is it something that we do when we feel like our circumstances will allow it. This is to be a way of life, a posture of heart. Always aligning our heart with that of Jesus. His Kingdom is bigger than our circumstances. Rejoicing isn’t just giving lip service to nice platitudes, but a heart that is deeply focused on Jesus and His kingdom coming. Our circumstances, as difficult as they are, can pass in an instant. But Jesus is always and forever good and true. Rejoice!

Read More →
Exemple

Rejoice Through it All

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4

Paul gives us this simple but firm command to rejoice, and not just sometimes but always! But has Paul lost his mind, has he not endured any difficult circumstances? Some would argue that given their life’s circumstances there is no way they could rejoice. Therefore, Paul must not have experienced anything similarly difficult. So, let’s take a minute and look at Paul’s life. In Acts 16 Paul and Silas are stripped naked, beaten, then severely flogged. Flogging would have ripped hunks of flesh off their bodies. This would have left them covered in gapping, open flesh wounds, and at death’s door. The point of the flogging was to let “fate” determine whether or not they lived. Then Paul and Silas are placed in the “inner cell” with their feet fastened in stocks. The inner cell could be described as a cistern or even septic tank. It would have most likely been below ground level and holding waste water or other waste material. Now imagine all that dirty water and waste getting into their open wounds. How do Paul and Silas respond? In verse 25 it says that at about midnight they were praying and singing hymns to God. The reason they were singing at midnight is you can’t sleep when you are in that much pain and locked in stocks. They certainly had every right by the world’s standards to be in pretty foul moods. Not the time or the place you would expect to be rejoicing. But that’s exactly what they did, rejoice! How, how could they do that at such a time? Because they had been with Jesus, they had seen Jesus. They know what Jesus is about to do and what Jesus had called them to. They had their eyes, their,
hope, and their trust completely on Jesus.

In the midst of whatever difficult circumstances you are facing, keep your eyes completely on Jesus. What we are facing is not as difficult as what Paul went through or what Jesus went through on the cross. But Jesus, (and Paul) have been there and know what we are going through. Keep your eyes on Jesus and follow Paul’s command to rejoice! The story in Acts 16 ends with God breaking open the prison with an earthquake. Rejoicing on earth brings the resources of heaven.

Read More →
Exemple

Safety is Leaning Toward Failure

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my
witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Acts 1:8

Edwin Friedman in his classic work A Failure of Nerve says this, “If a society is to progress, then safety can never be allowed to become more important than adventure.” His premise is that when a society becomes more concerned with playing it safe, not taking risks, over protecting the status quo then that society will not progress and therefore begin to fail. Because it is in risk taking, adventuring, pioneering, and innovation that a society moves forward. I believe the same is true of Christianity and the church. We have not done a very good job of living out the Great Commission Jesus gave us. We have played it safe rather than going on the great adventure that Jesus has invited us into. In this passage in Acts chapter 1 Jesus says He will empower us with the Holy Spirit, not for our own benefit but to empower us to be His witnesses. Then Jesus calls us not just to the familiar (Jerusalem) but to ones very different than us (Samaria). Jesus also says that we are to go the ends of the earth. Jesus has called us to a great adventure. He has called us to people who might be considered enemies, he has called us to travel to strange places, to eat strange food, to experiences different cultures, all to be His witness. But what happened? We are still Jerusalem! The same holds true for the church. Many churches don’t want to do anything to offend or disturb the regulars. They don’t want to do anything to offend or put off the occasional visitor who wanders in. So, churches grow slowly an anemically.

The problem, in both cases, safety. We fall into the trap of playing it safe. Not taking risks, not going on adventure, not daring greatly, not innovating. Jesus empowered us with the Holy Spirit, He told us not to fear. Now it’s time to adventure with God.

How do I start? This doesn’t mean you have to book a plane ticket to some distant place. It starts at home. The harvest is plentiful all around us, there are people different than us all around us. Start with prayer, give your fears to Jesus, and give Him permission to take you out of your play-it-safe zone. Start with having a conversation with someone different than you. Start with experiencing a culture different than your own (There are ethnic neighborhoods and restaurants all over Chicagoland). The ends of the earth have come to us.

Let’s not see it as the Great Commission, but rather let’s live it out as the Great Adventure, daring greatly. The greater the adventure, the greater the reward. Let’s lean away from safety and toward adventure, to be His witnesses. God actually created us for adventure! Take the safety belt off and adventure with God, empowered with the Holy Spirit.

Read More →
Exemple

Kingdom Life

Our Next kingdom Life is Wed Dec 6th. Dinner starts at 6:00pm and worship and teaching begins at 7:00pm.
From Disciple Making Movements we will be talking about finding the person of peace.

Read More →
Exemple

Please join us as we welcome Amit A. Bhatia, (PhD, Intercultural Studies). He has spent more than 20 years bridging the gap between academia and the church. Throughout seminary he served as a pastor in several different multi-ethnic congregations, and is currently serving as Director of Outreach at his church in Lincolnshire, IL. As a Christian of Hindu background, Amit consistently engages people from other faiths with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Fully committed to training Christians for ministry, Amit currently teaches part-time in the Christian Ministries department at Trinity International University, specializing in courses on missions, world religions and culture.

Dr. Bhatia will Share his testimony; give a brief understanding of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Sikhism, Judaism; and then simple pointers about connecting with and evangelizing non-believers.

Read More →
Exemple

Africa Presentation

This Sunday Aug 14th Amy and I will do a presentation on our recent missions trip to Mozambique. The presentation will start at 1:00pm.

Read More →
Exemple

Kingdom Life on Wed Nights

Kingdom Life will resume on Wed Sept 14th. Dinner starts at 6:00pm with worship and teaching starting at 7:00pm. Come join us!
The rest of the schedule is:
Sept 14th
Sept 28th
Oct 12th
Oct 26th
Nov 9th
Nov 23rd
Dec 14th
Jan 11th
Jan 25th
Feb 8th

Read More →

Check Us Out!


Sunday service 10:30am
We’re located in Crystal Lake, IL at 7105 Virginia Rd. #18

Get Directions »

Give Online