God Joins Us as Brothers Through Jesus

Our pastor, Mateen Elass, shared these verses today in his sermon. We are celebrating Pentacost one week last because of last weekend’s holiday. God joins all of us together, regardless of our background or ethnicity, through his Son, Jesus. Praise God for his grace!

For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death. (?Ephesians? ?2?:?14-16? NLT)

Lay Hands on Each Other And Pray

As believers we are called to lay hands on each other and pray, in good times and in bad.

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (?James? ?5?:?13-16? NIV)

Unity in Christ

These were our devotional scripture passages shared by Pastor Matt Jones at tonight’s session meeting at our church:

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (?Ephesians? ?4?:?11-13? NIV)

God Never Abandons Us

These are our sermon verses today, which are important reminders about God’s faithfulness:

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters…

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” ) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (?Romans? ?8?:?28-29, 35-39? NLT)

Participating in God’s Divine Nature

I pray God would fill me with His Holy Spirit, as Peter described, to escape “the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (?2 Peter? ?1?:?3-4? NIV)

Give Thanks 

This morning at Men’s group following verses and discussed things for which we are thankful.

Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” (?Luke? ?17?:?17-19? NIV)

Things I’m thankful for:

  1. My wife and marriage
  2. My children and the chance to help them grow up, to be present in their lives
  3. Opportunities to rely fully on God and His provision

God Created the Universe

I love the way the author of Hebrews explained how we understand God is the creator and author of the universe:

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. (Hebrews 11:3 NIV)

And also in Colossians we read:

For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. (Colossians 1:16 NIV)

Narrated Sketchnote of Genesis 1:28 sermon by Jen Howat

These are my sketchnotes of a sermon on March 8, 2014, by Jen Howat at First Presbyterian Church of Edmond, Oklahoma. Jen preached on Genesis 1:28:

Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” (NLT)

I created these sketchnotes on my iPad using the free app “Forge” by Adonit and the black pencil stylus by PaperFiftyThree. I imported the final image into the iPad app “Explain Everything” to create this 3 minute narrated sketchnote version.

For more information about sketchnoting check out my eBook single on “Visual Notetaking” as well as my public resource page on visual notetaking / sketchnoting on ShowWithMedia.com.

Zechariah Did Not Believe (initially) #sketchnote

I am flying tonight from Oklahoma City to Raleigh, North Carolina, to share three presentations at their statewide educational technology conference. I started re-reading the Gospel of Luke tonight, and was reminded of our church’s presentation of the musical “One Incredible Moment” as I read the story of Zechariah. I don’t think I remember the story of Anna, which also is shared by Luke in the second chapter:

There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. (?Luke? ?2?:?36-38? NIV)

I am practicing my sketchnoting skills (feeble as they are) with a new iPad stylus (the Paper53 “pencil”) and the iPad app Paper53. I don’t like it as well as ProCreate, but since it is free (ProCreate is not) and I’m sharing a presentation on visual notetaking this week, I decided to practice a bit. I can’t get the “undo” function of the app to work, so some of the unintended smudges I made on this drawing persist. I do like the watercolor brush though, and will likely use it more in some Sketchnotes I’ll make at the conference this week.

I pray God will give me faith to believe in the truth and goodness of his promises, and not doubt them as Zechariah did when the angel Gabriel foretold the birth of his son, John.

Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.” (?Luke? ?1?:?18-20? NIV)

Considering an Endowment Fund for Our Church

To start our church session meeting this evening, our pastor shared a devotional focusing on these verses from Matthew 6:25-24. We are hearing a presentation from a subcommittee that has proposed the creation of an endowment fund for our church. When this was brought up for a vote a few weeks ago at our annual congregational meeting, some members expressed concerns that creating an endowment fund might not follow Biblical directives regarding the use and stewardship of the congregation’s funds.

“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? 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? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 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? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

This endowment is NOT intended to take the place of our operating budget or existing stewardship programs. As a result of congregational concerns, a presentation has been created to explain the rationale and proposed setup / operating procedures of this endowment fund.

Here are a few key points from the presentation:

Endowment Gift / Types:

  • Undesigated: Bequests received which are not designated for a particular purpose or restricted in any way
  • Missions, Evangelism, Outreach
  • Scholarships: First preference for active members, either high school graduates or those seeking advanced degrees
  • Christian Life Development: Youth program expansion, camp scholarships, leadership training, etc.
  • Music, Worship, Arts: Enhance the worship experience
  • Building: Provide capital improvements, repairs, equipment, etc.

I liked these comments from one of our elders at the meeting:

Our tax laws were not around during the time of the 1st century church.

Also:

Many of us are [financially] worth far more dead than we are alive.

There are stories being shared of members of our church who gave to endowments for other area churches in the past in their will/trust, rather than to our church, because this giving option was not available at our church. I know a little about the value of endowments because of the work my dad has done with our local community foundation in Manhattan, Kansas.

This is the current, proposed flowchart for how the church endowment would work.

1 2 3 46