Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
We miss you all! But let’s not get too comfortable during this time. There’s still a race to be won. Let’s run it with endurance. Don’t stop seeking the Lord during this time. Wake up early and spend time in His Word and in prayer for your family and others and the world. Listen to some great worship music. Continue seeking Jesus. He wants to speak to us. The Lord is calling us to go deeper with Him and to reflect His glory in such a new and exciting way.
Keep Him your focus. We’re going to get through this time. When we get through this time, we are going to be stronger because we’ve been running the race with endurance. We get to strengthen one another as well.
Keep disciplining yourself to spend time with Him in the mornings or whenever is best. It can be the best time of your day. Do this individually, and with your family or the body of believers. Let’s keep connecting and encouraging one another. We’re going to get through this together.
Jay shares about some of the trials his family is going through right now. He and his wife have seen them as an opportunity to get focused and really cling on to Romans 5 – building character, perseverance and faith in the Lord. They are looking for the things that are “going right” in their life, instead of the things going wrong.
They have been spending more time in the word and in prayer, and letting go of anything that would keep them from really hearing from the Lord.
Trials come when we least expect it, but we can use them as opportunities to seek the Lord and grow in our faith.
This is an especially trying time in our country and world with the coronavirus. Let’s stay faithful in prayer, in our hunger for the Lord, and allow Him to protect us and lead us each day and bless us and our communities with His peace.
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Candlelight Services, Breckenridge – Christmas Eve 2019
Join us on Tuesday, December 24th for our Christmas Eve Service at Great Divide Calvary Church.
We have two family services (5 PM and 6:30 PM) with Christmas Carols, Worship Music, Scripture Reading and a special candlelight time, celebrating the birth of Jesus and this season of hope.
Times – 5 PM and 6:30 PM
Join us at Colorado Mountain College at 5 PM or 6:30 PM. Each service is one hour long.
Colorado Mountain College – 107 Denison Placer Rd, Breckenridge, CO 80424
A Child is Born
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
The Lord’s Supper is a place of intimacy and connection to the remembrance of Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection and the body of believers. The Corinth church was using the Communion table for the wrong purposes and Paul reminded them with his loving rebuke not to be unworthy or dishonoring to one another or the true meaning of Communion. He encouraged them to “examine themselves”, confess and reconcile so that they could receive Communion with the right hearts, therefore bringing edification to the body of believers.
1 Corinthians 11:17-18- “I hear there are divisions among you”
What were the divisions Paul heard about?
When the Lord’s Supper was celebrated in the early church, it included a feast or fellowship meal followed by the celebration of Communion. In the church in Corinth, the fellowship meal had become a time when some ate and drank excessively while others went hungry. There was little sharing and caring. This certainly did not demonstrate the unity and love that should characterize the church, nor was it a preparation for Communion.” – Life Application Bible Commentary
Paul lovingly rebuked the Corinth church of their actions and reminded them to focus on the real purpose of Communion.
1 Corinthians 11:27-32 “Examine your yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup”
:27 don’t take The Lord’s Supper unworthy-Paul was speaking to the church members who were participating in communion without thinking of its meaning. When he talks about “guilty of sinning against the body” he is meaning, that it does not honor the body of Christ. The word honor means to have great esteem or great respect for. Without this mindset or attitude toward the body of believers, there is division within one’s heart.
:28 this is why Paul says, “you should examine yourself.” Go make right what is wrong so there isn’t any division in your heart toward the body of Christ. This is why Christ died. He came to make us right by His sacrifice and covered our wrongs with His grace. So when we approach the communion table in remembrance of Him, we are reminded of His great love for us, so we should do the same toward others. Make right what is or has been wrong.
:31 “If we would examine ourselves, we would not be judged by God.”
:32 “Yet when we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined.”
The words judged and discipline here are not bad words – The word states that the Lord disciplines those he loves like a Father to a son.
“For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights” – Proverbs 3:12
Discipline is for time but there is purpose to build the believer back up afterwards.
“For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.” – Hebrews 12:10-11
There is sin in our hearts, division as for this context
The sin dishonors the body of Christ and the meaning of coming to the communion table
Examine yourself, confess your sin so the body of Christ is honored
Receive the loving rebuke of your heavenly Father for the purpose of receiving the Lord’s Supper with a clear heart
Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against you, and you alone, have I sinned…
“We are all sinners saved by grace. This is why we should prepare ourselves for Communion through healthy introspection, confession of sin, and resolution of differences with others. These actions remove the barriers that affect our relationship with Christ and with other believers. Awareness of your sin should not keep you from Communion but should drive you to participate in it.” – Life Application Bible commentary
Can you look inside your heart and ask, “Is there division that is separating me from the closeness that God desires to have with me? Are there any barriers inside me that I need to confess?” Take a moment to do that and journal through your thoughts or pray through them.
Not only may you confess that sin to God himself, but when you are able, by the sincere grace and strength of God, will you commit to reconciling your differences with that person or people?
Are you a person that is able to receive the discipline of God as a good thing?
Is there evidence of unforgiveness in your heart that is keeping you from the power and influence of fellowship with God or other believers and the real purpose of the Communion table?
Oh, Lord may you pour out your Spirit upon us, that we have eyes to see our sin and hearts to recognize that it is separating us from You. Let see where we need to confess our differences with others and give us the grace and strength to make right what has been wrong.
Let us not be unworthy or dishonoring to your Communion table. May we be a people who desire unity among the believers, even if it means personal sacrifice. May You be honored and glorified through us. Amen
Giving is an exciting part of being a believer and part of a church body. The heart of a giver is to bless more than to receive. The motive of a giver is to uplift others and see the joy of God’s provision work to his glory. The discipline of a giver causes spiritual growth and maturity as they surrender control and fear for lack of provision. God asks us to be a people who accept the scriptural challenge of testing him in our giving and see if He won’t cause our households to overflow.
:33 I have never coveted anyone’s silver or gold or fine clothes.
Paul was satisfied with whatever he had
Paul’s main aim was to do God’s work
:34 You know that these hands of mine have worked to supply my own needs and even the needs of those who were with me.
Paul was a tent maker by trade
He worked his skill to care for his needs so he wouldn’t be a burden on others and to care for the needs of those whom served with him
NKJV- “provided for my necessities”
:35 And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’
“Constant example”- Paul is saying that if your needs require you to work outside of the ministry, then use the skills he has given you. Working a job outside the ministry is not the priority, it is a means to an end. Paul’s tentmaking didn’t change the fact that he was there to “help those in need” by sharing the gospel.
Paul’s heart was to work hard so you can take care of your needs and continue in the priority of doing God’s work
Example- Pastor Jimmy knew he and his family were called by God to serve Summit County and plant Great Divide Calvary, so they worked in the community while also planting and maintaining the church.
Reference scriptures –
2 Cor. 9:6-10
What do you have to give? God has given us all we need for life and godliness. He has provided us with resources to bless others with. Can you give of your time, your possessions and/or your finances?
The Lord loves a “cheerful” giver. This is a heart condition not a obligation. We should give from the joy in our hearts because God has given to us. What does it mean to be a cheerful giver according to 2 Corinthians 9:6-10? What does the spirit of generosity look like in your life?
Read Malachi 3:8-10. In what area does God ask you to “test” him in?The NKJV says, “try me,” and then we are challenged “to see” if God won’t work on our behalf.
Look at Proverbs 3:9-10 and write down what you can do and what God will do for you.
Giving should be exciting, it should be a joy. How does the enemy rob you of your joy in being a giver? Pray for God to remove fear, selfishness and control from your heart so you can experience the excitement of giving.
If you are a part of a church body, how can you “help those in need” as Paul referred to in Acts 20:35? How can you look at your resources that God has given you and use them to bless your church body? Pray over that and if you’ve never been a giver in this arena before, ask God to change your heart for it is “more blessed” to give then to receive. Watch and see what God will do.
Lord, if we have never been people who give of our resources, may You change that in our hearts. Reveal to us the joy of giving. Let our hearts take joy in being generous with all that you have blessed us with. If we are the people giving out of our last denarii, than do as your word says and bless the heart of giving from a lack of resources.
May the discipline of giving cause growth spiritually and physically. Examine our hearts in giving and if we are a people who need to control where our giving goes, than give us freedom of heart and allow us to trust you and not man. Oh Lord provide for us in all areas, change our hearts concerning giving and fill our households with the joy of giving.
Protect us from our enemy stealing our joy in this area of our Christian walks. Let us be a people who embrace the spiritual discipline of giving for “it is more blessed to give than receive”.
Goodbyes are necessary for maturity and growth. Though they be hard, it is good. Paul is preparing the elders in the church of Ephesus for him to no longer be present, leading them day in and day out. Now, he is commissioning them to take the reigns and go as he has taught them, but he encourages them to not be detoured by the false teachers that will come and try to distort the truth they share. Paul entrusts them to God who will grow them in grace and build them up.
To be faithful means to just show up, to be present
v. 27 “ I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know”
Paul was faithful to speak the full counsel of God
“full counsel”- sound doctrine, verse by verse, chapter by chapter, not avoiding the difficult parts of scripture
NOTE: Sound Doctrine-
2 Timothy 4:3-4, it’s not popular, it’s boring, it’s irrelevant is what culture will tell you today.
It doesn’t always make you happy but if received, it will make you holy
2 Timothy 3:16-17- All scripture is inspired by God
v. 28 “Feed and shepherd God’s flock- his church…over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as a leaders”
Elders, husbands, fathers and community leaders- be devoted to upholding character and integrity in your living.
Feed and shepherd- Reference- Ezekiel 34:11-16, what does a shepherd look like and do?
Holy Spirit appointed- called by God, equipped for the task
v. 29-30 False teachers
Their goal is to distort the gospel message and divide the fellowship of believers
2 Peter 2:1
1 John 4:1-6
v. 31 “Watch out!!”
My constant watch and care over you- Paul’s care was daily, with much suffering and tears.
Proverbs 27:23 (GDC’s vision and philosophy of ministry)
v. 32 “Now”- depicts a commissioning of sorts as Paul will no longer be present with them
Paul entrusts the elders to be built up by the Holy Spirit and by grace
Paul has given the elders a strong foundation in truth, his goodbye is the space God will use to grow them in grace
Reference- Revelation 2:2-5, Concerning the church in Ephesus, they needed grace as they had become dull and lost their first love.
Are you a believer that is devoted to sound doctrine or do you seem to wander from the truth to feel happy, entertained possibly forsaking truth at times to tickle your ears?
Challenge- Read the Bible for one month without any other outside influence and see what God will reveal to you.
What does a shepherd look like based off of Ezekiel 34:11-16? What does that look like for your life, in your marriage, household or workplace?
From the reference scripture above, list the characteristics of a false teacher.
What is Great Divide Calvary’s vision based off of Proverbs 27:23? Who is your flock or sphere of influence to put your heart into caring for (NLT)? What will that look like for you on a day to day basis?
Have you become dull in your walk with the Lord? Do you need to turn back to your first love and repent? Pray for renewal and closeness with God again.
Lord, you are in the business of doing new things. You give and take away. You allow goodbyes in our lives intentionally for growth. May we be a people who receive goodbye as an opportunity for your Spirit to build us up and equip us for every good work. Give us a heart to care for our flock. May we be students of the full counsel of God so we are able to speak sound doctrine to others. May we be a people who desire truth even when we are not entertained or happy. Give us discernment over the messages taught to us. May your Spirit help to guard us from false doctrine. Lord, if we have grown dull in our walks with you, return us to our first loves. Keep us close to your heart.
Before Paul moved on, he called all the leaders to meet with him, and by sharing his life experiences, encouraged them to have determination of heart in sharing the gospel message of faith and repentance not matter the cost.
v. 17 Paul sent/called for the elders of the church at Ephesus, asking them to come and meet him
Elders- Titus 1:6-9, elder qualifications, notice that most of the qualifications involve character, not knowledge of skill. It is important to have leaders that can preach God’s Word, but more importantly, to have those who can live out God’s Word and be examples for others to follow.
Leaders- 1 Thess. 5:12-13
NIV- Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.
NKJ- And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake.
NLT- Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work.
NOTE: May we be a people who are full of love and grace to give to our leaders as they seek to please the Lord in their work, on our behalf, because they love and care for us.
v. 18 you know in what manner I lived among you
v. 19 serving the Lord with:
v. 20 I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear publicly or in your homes
Paul never gave up, he never quit
Paul preached in different ways to fit different audiences
But the message never changed
NOTE: The gospel message will always remain the same but the methodology will change over time
v. 21 I have had one message…the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and having faith in our Lord Jesus.
This is what Paul taught
v. 22 bound by the Spirit…not knowing what awaits me
“bound”- constrained, tied
Ruth 1:16- Ruth was “determined” no matter the outcome, she was committed, devoted
v. 23 the Holy Spirit tells me…that jail and suffering lie ahead
ESV- imprisonment and afflictions
NKJ- chains and tribulations await me
v. 24 Paul considered life nothing unless he used it for God’s work
“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” (ESV)
“Butnone of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself,so that I may finish myrace with joy,and the ministrywhich I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” (NKJV)
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:58
Do you recognize the hard work of your leaders? How do you honor, in love the leaders among you?
What are you bound to, and does it take priority over your relationship with God?
Would you say yes to God if you knew that suffering and jail were ahead of you?
In today’s culture, we see a lack of devotion and commitment. Why do you think that is?
Where are you called to remain faithful?
What do you hope your steadfast mindset will produce in you?
Father in heaven, we thank you for the example set for us through Paul’s life. May we do your work humbly. May we be faithful through the tears and trials.
May we have a heart for our leadership and may we be a people who care for them deeply with our love.
May we be determined to see people embrace salvation by recognizing their need for Jesus. Help us to live among one another in love and grace, seeking to reflect your heart.
Lord help us to be committed, determined people. May we lay aside all selfishness and seek out faithfulness for the purpose of producing spiritual fruit and maturity. Help us to love well. Help us to be bound to your Spirit in heart and mind. Let no trial or suffering move us from serving God.
After the riot in Acts 19, we see Paul taking his disciples and spending time encouraging them in Acts 20 before he left for Macedonia.
Scripture – Acts 20
v. 1 “Paul sent for the believers and encouraged them”
Encourage– speaking comfort, hope, being with them
“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Hebrews 3:13 (NIV)
You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. Hebrews 3:13 (NLT)
“but exhort one another daily…” (NKJ)
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:24-25 (NKJ)
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
Hebrews 10:24-25 (NLT)
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
1 Thess. 5:11
Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.
1 Thess. 5:14 (NLT)
v. 4 “These men who were traveling with Paul represented churches that Paul had started in Asia. Each man was carrying an offering from his home church to be given to the believers in Jerusalem. Having each man deliver the gift gave, it gives a personal touch and strengthened the unity of the believers. This was also an effective way to teach the church about giving because the men were able to report back to their churches the way God was working through their giving. Paul discussed this gift in one of his letters to the Corinthian church. (2 Cor. 8:1-21)” [NLT life application commentary]
Warning! This is a small rabbit trail…
Giving is a privilege and a biblical discipline (Proverbs 3:10-11)
Giving is a place where the Lord says test him and see what He will do for you (Malachi 3:10)
Giving is a biblical discipline, support the house of God (Nehemiah 10)
v. 7 “Paul continued his message til midnight..”- it was a long night of listening
v. 8 “many lamps in the upper room where they gathered”- the atmosphere was warm and low lit
v. 9 “in a window sat a certain young man named Eutychus”- the night and atmosphere caused him to feel drowsy and he fell asleep which caused him to fall from the window 3 stories, and he died
v. 10 Paul went and embraced him and encouraged everyone not to worry for Eutychus was alive
v. 11 So they went back to sharing in the Lord’s Supper, and Paul continued to share
v. 12 Eutychus was taken home and everyone was relieved
The people were not detoured from the almost tragic incident, but they remained focused on Paul and being together. Eutychus was brought back to life and the people were relieved! The Lord desires to bring us back to life. Awaken us!
How can you encourage someone this week? How can you bring hope and care to another?
What about you, what kind of care and hope or encouragement do you need? Ask the Lord to encourage you personally.
Be intentional with your time and take interest in another. What does that look like for you?
Do you support the house of God financially? Do you trust God to do as his word says, “I will open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that where will not be room enough to receive it.” Do you believe that God will fill you barns with plenty and cause your vats to overflow as it says in Proverbs? Receive the challenge to give and watch God work in miraculous ways on your behalf. Talk to one another about the blessings of giving.
When tragic things happen in your life, how do you handle them? Discuss and pray about remaining focused on Jesus and not allowing your circumstances to detour you.
Do you need to be awaken in Christ again? Do you need life brought back into your heart?
Father may we as church be marked by encouraging one another. May we be a voice that speaks comfort and hope to one another. Lord, know our unspoken needs of encouragement and speak to us personally. May we be a church who “puts our hearts into caring”(Proverbs 27:23) for one another daily. May we also care for our church and support the work you are doing through it in our community.
Give us the faith to trust you with our finances and let us know that you will bless us for our sacrifice. May we always be provided for and beyond.
Bless your house of worship, bless your this heart of worship and may we not allow tragedy detour us from you. Let us see your hands at work and in faith believe that that you will take great care of us. Lord, awaken us spiritually. Revive us in you. Let us not allow ourselves to spiritually separate from you. Keep us close to your heart and responding to your Spirit. Breathe life into our lungs and awaken us to righteousness.