Sermon Blog - Entries from November 2013

    SunSundayNovNovember24th2013 Rejected Deity: Grateful Obedience
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged 1 Samuel 0 comments Add comment
    We’re coming to the end of our series “Rejected Deity” out of 1 Samuel.  We started off by seeing how no matter what we’ve done, no matter how far we’ve gotten away from God, He is always standing there, arms open, asking us to come home.  Everything God has done has been to provide a way for us to come back to Him.  Next, after the people of Israel made things right with God, we saw that when God’s leaders give a bad example of following Him, people look to worldly solutions to their problems.  For Israel, it was a matter of their priests & judges misbehaving.  But for us today, the scripture says that we are God’s leaders.  If you’re a Christian that believes even the basic fundamentals of faith the way we do, then you are part of less than 4% of the world’s population.  So when we misbehave, it has the same affect: it pushes people away from God to find answers from the world.  

    Well the solution the people of Israel wanted was to have their own king.  Even though this was a rejection of God, He allowed them to have a king but told them that a king would eventually be a bad thing for them.  In comes Saul.  He was selected to be king and at his own coronation, the prophet Samuel told the people of Israel that a human kingship at this time represented their rejection of God.  So Saul ran and hid.  Not only did he not feel qualified to be king, but who would want the job that represents Israel’s rejection of God?  But even though Saul was put into a bad situation, God said it was up to Saul whether or not he brought God honor and glory.  The same is true with us.  No matter what we’ve done to put ourselves in a bad situation, no matter what others have done to put us there, or even if we were born into a rough start – in the end it is up to us whether or not we choose to follow God and serve Him.  And at first we saw that following God is exactly what Saul did.  But then he was faced with a tough decision.  

    Last week we saw that he and his army were in a bad match-up against the Philistines.  They were so outnumbered that his soldiers began running away, hiding in caves, and some abandoning the war altogether.  He needed to do something to restore their faith but what he chose to do was actually an act of disobedience to God.  Now Saul wasn’t trying to openly defy God.  He was actually trying to worship God.  But because of his bad situation, he compromised what God said was right in order to try and do a good thing.  Sometimes it’s the same way with us.  We’re not trying to openly defy God, we just make small compromises that we think aren’t that big of a deal just to get us past the rough spot we’re in.  But it never works out.  Just as Saul was finishing up, Samuel arrived.  He told Saul that because of His disobedience, God would not allow his descendants to rule as king.  God still won the battle for the Israelites at that time, but Saul lost his ultimate war.  And that brings us to today.

    God’s punishment doesn’t always come quickly.  And just because God told Saul that his descendants wouldn’t rule as king, that didn’t mean God was going to remove Saul as king today.  What happened to Saul was still dependent on whether or not he chose to follow God.  So after Israel defeated the Philistines and drove them back to their homelands, now God was calling on Saul to settle an old judgment on the Amalekites.  But what we’ll see from Saul, when we aren’t content with what God has told us to do or what he has given us, then our lack of thankfulness can lead to our demise.

    1 Samuel 15: 1-3
    Exodus 17: 15-16
    Exodus 17:14
    Deuteronomy 25: 17-19
    1 Samuel 15: 7-22
    1 Samuel 15: 28-31
    James 1: 16-17
    1 Samuel 15:22
    Audio Pathway_2013_11_24.mp3
    SunSundayNovNovember17th2013 Rejected Deity: Best of a Bad Situation
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged 1 Samuel 0 comments Add comment
    As we continue our series called Rejected Deity, we jump forward a few years into the reign of King Saul.  Last week he began his rule by defying destiny.  Although Israel was destined to suffer because of their rejection of God for a human king, Saul still had every opportunity to be loyal to God and be a blessing rather than a curse.  In one of his first acts as king we saw him step out on faith and rescue the city of Jabesh out of the control of the Ammonites.  Saul brought joy to Israel and honor to God.  But the test of a person’s character doesn’t come when they succeed or times are good, it is truly tested when they face failure.

    In today’s sermon we see what Saul does when he’s faced with a battle that has an ever increasing chance of defeat.  We see what happens when help doesn’t arrive on the timeline he expects.  We see what happens when the people around him start to melt away in fear.  At times in our lives we are often faced with “no win” situations.  So what do we do?  It’s often said that we have to make the best of a bad situation, but what about if that means compromising something we know to be wrong?  Today we’ll see the Biblical teaching reinforced that whenever we do wrong to make the best of a bad situation, we may win the battle but lose the war.

    1 Samuel 12: 13-15
    1 Samuel 12: 20-25
    1 Samuel 13: 1-9
    1 Samuel 13: 8-14
    James 4:17
    Psalms 119: 1-4
    Audio Pathway_2013_11_17.mp3
    SunSundayNovNovember10th2013 Rejected Deity: Defying Destiny
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged 1 Samuel 0 comments Add comment

    Last week we read the story of Israel rejecting God’s rule, partially because of immoral behavior from Israel’s spiritual leaders.  This week we will see Saul chosen as king.  But how would you like to be chosen as king after what we learned in 1 Samuel chapter 8?  Samuel told Israel that eventually an earthly king will exercise his rights.  That means he’ll take their possessions as his own and tax their earnings, land, food, and cattle.  He’ll force men & boys to fight in his army and force women to serve in his palace.  Some he’ll take as his slaves.  And God won’t step in to stop the king that Israel asked for in His place.  So who would want to answer that Help Wanted ad?  But even though Israel was destined to suffer because of their choice it didn’t mean that Saul was destined to be that type of king.  Saul started with every opportunity to be a king, a man, that honored God and served Him well, even though his was placed in a bad situation.  We have that same opportunity.  No matter what situation we’ve been born into, pushed into, or found ourselves in, we get to choose whether or not to give into “destiny” or to defy it.

    On Veteran’s Day our story opening story of defying destiny is very appropriate.  If you don’t know of the Doolittle Raiders, it’s a tale of changing momentum in WWII.  Months after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, these pilots staged an unlikely raid on Japan itself.  While most didn’t expect success or much of a survival rate, out of 80 men on the crew, 3 died in the attack, 3 were caught and executed, and 1 more died in a Japanese prison.  But even more amazing than the survival of 73 crewman were the results:  even though they didn’t destroy much in the way of sensitive targets, it changed morale both in Japan and the US and it forced the Japanese to recall their aircraft carrier force back home from being in the Indian Ocean.  These men were destined to fail but they defied destiny.  Your life is never out of your hands.  You always have a choice on what to do next. 

    1 Samuel 9: 15-17
    1 Samuel 10: 1-27
    1 Samuel 11: 11-15
    Psalms 138: 6-8 

    Online Stories About the Doolittle Raiders
    http://www.doolittletokyoraiders.com/
    http://www.doolittleraider.com/

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/11/10/world-war-ii-surviving-doolittle-raiders-make-final-toast/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doolittle_Raid

    SunSundayNovNovember3rd2013 Rejected Deity: Dual Betrayal
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged 1 Samuel 0 comments Add comment

    As we continue our series called Rejected Deity, last week we began with a very hopeful message from God:  “Time to Come Home”.  No matter what we’ve done or how far we’ve run away, God always has his arms open for us to come home to Him.  Not only is that message to us, but it was His continual message to the nation of Israel.  His promise to them was always the same.  If they followed God, He would bless and protect them.  But today and for the next few weeks we will look at the story of how Israel rejected God’s leadership which led to the reign of King Saul. 

    I’ll explain why I’m calling this message “Dual Betrayal” but we start by seeing how immoral leadership by so-called spiritual leaders can lead to a rejection of God.  One of the main reasons people give for rejecting Christianity are Christians that behave badly.  Then when you look at how Christian leaders are viewed, you see a double standard.  We’ve all seen the stories of Christian leaders who fall, or even just basic moral leaders who fall.  If you don’t embrace morality, then people defend your sins, however if you ever try to stand up for morality then you get knocked down over and over again after you slip up.  But Christians can’t complain about that.  Less than 4% of the world’s population agree with what we believe about the most basic doctrines of who Jesus was and what it takes to get to heaven.  That means we are His leaders here on earth.  The most basic Christian is a worldwide ambassador for Jesus.  We need to realize how important our responsibility is as we see the Israelites reject God for an earthly king.

    1 Samuel 8: 1-22
    Matthew 7: 1-2
    1 Corinthians 8:9
    1 Timothy 4:12
    Hebrews 13:5
    Audio Pathway_11_03_2013.mp3

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