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“The Scepter of Judah” (Genesis 49:8–12)

Pastor Cameron Jungels

Eastside Baptist Church

Sunday AM, December 10, 2017

 

Genesis 49:8–12 (NIV)

8 “Judah, your brothers will praise you; your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons will bow down to you. 9 You are a lion’s cub, Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness—who dares to rouse him? 10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his. 11 He will tether his donkey to a vine, his colt to the choicest branch; he will wash his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes. 12 His eyes will be darker than wine, his teeth whiter than milk.

 

  1. Like Judah, the coming Messiah would be preeminent among his brethren.

 

  1. Like Judah, the coming Messiah would be a victorious warrior.

 

  1. From the tribe of Judah, the coming Messiah would be a ruling King.

 

  1. The reign of Messiah will be a time of unparalleled peace and prosperity.

 

  1. This coming Messiah would redeem us from our sins and cleanse us of our iniquities, that we might be God’s people.

 

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A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World
By Paul E. Miller

“Prayer Journaling: Becoming Aware of the Interior Journey” - Chapter 32

  • Journaling is a historic Christian practice.
  • Life is a journey, a spiritual adventure. Writing down the adventure as it happens gives us a feel for our place in the story God is weaving in our lives.
  • Many of us rush around without much conscious knowledge of the pilgrimage God is leading us on. Writing in a prayer journal helps us take stock of our location on the journey.

Aware of Self

  • As we walk with the Shepherd, we become aware of our true selves.
  • The spiritual pilgrimage is the discovery of self in relationship to God, which leads to a lifestyle of repentance.
  • You can’t walk with the Shepherd and not begin to change. His presence allows us to take an honest, interior look.

Journal for a Year

  • Journaling allows us to discover the story that God is writing in our lives. Instead of rushing through life, it allows us to pause and reflect.
  • Write down areas of your life that the Word and the Spirit reveal to you that need sanctification.
  • Journal the spiritual journey (ups and downs) of your progress in that area and see how God is working.

Morning Prayer Journal

  • Starting the day with prayer and journaling can help us slow down and reflect on our own hearts and where we need to pay particular attention throughout that day.
  • The key is being honest about what we are feeling and then letting Scripture speak to our hearts. By being honest, the real me will be talking. We don’t have to try or pretend to be good.
  • When we look at our life through the lens of Scripture, we seldom lose our way. We can be real, but we don’t get lost in our feelings.
  • You don’t have to write well to keep a prayer journal, nor do you have to be consistent.
  • It is just a written version of childlike praying, except more organized. Begin with what’s on your heart, what’s bugging you, what you are thankful for. If you are real before God, then everything else flows.
  • The act of writing out your worries, joys, and prayers helps you focus and keeps your mind from wandering. But the best part is that over time you will begin to see patterns of what God is doing, to pick up the threads of a story.
  • If we see our lives as a pilgrimage, then it becomes an integrated whole. It makes sense.

“Real-Life Praying” - Chapter 33

  • Prayer is where we do our best work—as a husband/wife, father/mother, worker, and friend.
  • We can manage our whole lives—everything that we are—through our daily prayer time. It will shape our loving, parenting, working, etc.
  • We don’t need a praying life because that is our duty. That would wear thin quickly. We need time to be with our Father every day because every day our hearts and the hearts of those around us are overgrown with weeds.
  • We need to reflect on our lives and engage God with the condition of our souls and the souls he has entrusted to our care or put in our paths. In a fallen world, these things do not come automatically.

“Unfinished Stories” - Chapter 34

  • The stories that God is weaving in our lives do not always have an ending that we can see. They appear to us as unfinished stories.
  • As we abide in God, he usually shows us what he is doing. But sometimes he doesn’t.
    Job never new why he suffered.
  • We will all have unfinished stories from time to time. We must remember that, ultimately, it is God’s story, not ours.

Israel’s Agony

  • The people of Judah who returned from captivity returned to just a small remnant of what the kingdom of David and Solomon had been before.
  • The prophets prophesied a future time of glory coming, but the people of Judah of that day died without ever seeing it. God’s story was moving forward but at his pace.

The Weaving of God

  • The way God answered the hopes and prayers of the weeping Judahites in Psalm 137 is mind-boggling.
    • He created a new Israel that included Gentiles as well as Jews.
    • He destroyed the temple and gave them Jesus, “God with Us.”
    • The captivity saw the rise of synagogues, the pattern of the local church.
    • The Old Testament Scriptures were completed and collected during this time in captivity and shortly thereafter.
    • With the kingdom and temple destroyed, the Word of God became more precious.
    • God cleansed Israel of its mixture with other religions.
    • The dispersion of the Jewish people served to advance the church in its early years.
    • Israel was purified of outward idolatry.
    • God was weaving a spectacular tapestry through the suffering of Israel. Without the Babylonian captivity there would be no Israel, no cross, no Christianity, and no Western civilization.

Not Your Story

  • The more distant we are from a story, the less we know what God is doing.
  • It’s not our business to know or have all the answers to someone else’s story.
  • Just as it was not Peter’s business what God decided to do with John’s life (John 21:22).
  • Peter only needed to keep his eyes on Jesus and follow him. His story would be different than John’s.

“God Know What He Be Doing”

  • “Well, izz hard, but, you know, God know what he be doing.”
  • God is not a ‘cosmic Santa’ who will always give us what we ask for.
  • Through trials, God bids us to choose: Do we believe, or do we not? Will we be bold enough to love, daring enough to serve, humble enough to submit, and strong enough to acknowledge our limitations?
  • Can we surrender our concern in things that don’t matter so that we might devote our remaining days to things that do?”

Come Quickly, Lord Jesus

  • Some stories aren’t tied up until heaven.
  • Living in unfinished stories draws us into God’s final act, the return of Jesus.
  • As the people of faith in Hebrews 11, many will die before the promises are fully fulfilled. But we, like they, are looking forward to a better city, a heavenly one, when God’s story will be complete.
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“The Living God Leads His People” (Exodus 13:17–22)
Pastor Cameron Jungels
Eastside Baptist Church
Sunday PM, November 26, 2017

Exodus 13:17–22 (NIV)

17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.

19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the Israelites swear an oath. He had said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place.” 

20 After leaving Sukkoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. 21 By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. 22 Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.

1. God leads his people in his way, because God always knows which way is best (17–18).

2. God fulfilled his promises and demonstrates that he is always faithful to help his people (19).

3. God is always present to guide his people (20–22).

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“Life under the Law” (Romans 7:13–25)
Pastor Cameron Jungels
Eastside Baptist Church
Sunday AM, November 26, 2017

Romans 7:13–25 (NIV)

13 Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.

14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

 

Who is this passage referring to and what does it mean?

The two dominant views of the passage are that it is either referring to a mature believer in their struggle with sin (Paul in his present status as a mature believer) or to an unbeliever in their moral struggle to do right in an unregenerate state (Paul in his pre-conversion life).

I believe the passage is best understood as referring to a person’s struggle with sin under the law of Moses. Thus, it refers to Paul’s or Israel’s struggle to obey God’s law in the power of the flesh without the aid of the indwelling Holy Spirit. So, the debate is not properly framed around whether the person in question is a believer; the debate is better framed around the question of whether the person is operating under the administration of the old covenant (under law) or under the administration of the new covenant (in the Spirit). Chapter 7:7–25 describes the life of a person struggling to obey God under the old administration of the Mosaic law without the help of the indwelling Spirit who is the gift of God to those under the new covenant.

Below are some arguments put forward for the two different views:

1. Arguments for Romans 7 describing the experience of a believer in Christ (including a mature believer, such as Paul in his present experience).

a. The “I” is autobiographical and most naturally refers to Paul.

i. Response: the “I” does refer to Paul but not just to Paul. It also includes the experience of any Israelite under law and even to some degree the experience of Adam in the Garden of Eden when confronted with God’s good commandment.

b. The verb tenses shift in verse 14 to the present tense. While verses 7–12 are primarily in the past tense, the verbs from v. 14 on are in the present tense. Therefore, a transition must have occurred beginning in v. 14. In verses 7–12 Paul must be describing his past experience before conversion, and after v. 13 is describing his present experience as a believer.

i. Response: The switch to the present tense is not in itself conclusive. It is common in narrative descriptions to use a present tense verb to describe the scene from the perspective of the narrator. If Paul is employing a narrative framework to describe the personal struggle of someone (including himself) under the law of Moses, it would not be out of place to employ a present tense verb. It makes the description vivid and personal. So, the present tense can be understood in a literary, narrative way that fits in the passage with Paul’s purpose, but it does not necessarily prove that Paul is referring to his present state as a believer in Christ. The present tense of the verbs needs to be subservient to Paul’s overriding concern in the passage, and this concern is to show the powerlessness of the flesh to obey God while under the reign of the law of Moses.

c. The very positive comments of the “I” in describing his desire to do good or obey the law seems to point to a regenerated person. It is hard to imagine an unbeliever saying that he delights in God’s law.

i. So, we have statements like this:

1. The law is holy, righteous, and good (12).
2. The law is spiritual (14).
3. What I want to do (obey the law) (15).
4. I agree that the law is good (16).
5. I have the desire to do what is good (17).
6. I don’t do the good that I want to do (want to obey the law) (19).
7. I want to do good (21).
8. In my inner being, I delight in God’s law (22).
9. Thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ (24).
10. In my mind, I am a slave to God’s law (25).

ii. However, we also have seemingly contrary statements that do not fit the perspective of a believer:

1. Sin sprang to life and I died (9).
2. I am unspiritual (14).
3. I am sold as a slave to sin (14). Compare with Romans 6:6–7, which says that we have been set free from sin and are no longer slaves to sin.
4. What I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do – describes a conflicted, double-minded person (15).
5. Good itself does not dwell in me, in my flesh (18).
6. The good that I want to do I cannot carry it out (can’t do good) (18).
7. Another law at work in my mind is making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work in me (23). Compare with Romans 8:2, which says that believers are set free from the law of sin and death.
8. In my flesh a slave to the law of sin (see 8:2).

iii. Response: The debate cannot be solved by comparing these statements, because they are in conflict. The good statements do not fit an unbeliever, but the bad statements do not fit a believer’s perspective either. The answer must come from the context and purpose of what Paul is doing. If we understand that Romans 7 is from the perspective of the law, then the positive statements can be understood as coming not from any unbeliever but from a God-fearing Jew under the law. Paul, the Pharisee, could agree with all of the positive statements about God’s law in chapter 7, but he did not have the power to carry it out in his flesh without the aid of the Holy Spirit. So, the struggle is chapter 7 is not descriptive of an unbeliever per se, but the struggle of someone under the law of Moses who has a desire to obey it but does not have the ability.

d. The passage seems to fit our personal experience as believers in our struggle against sin and the flesh.

i. Response: We want to be careful to not interpret Scripture in light of our own experience or our own perceived experience. We want to interpret the text with an understanding of the historical and literary contexts and then reading and interpreting the words themselves (lexical, grammatical) in a way that Paul and his original readers could agree with. Christians do have an ongoing battle with sin and our desires. Christians are not perfect, and diligent effort must be applied to grow in holiness. Paul himself said in Romans 6 that since we are free from the power and reign of sin we must offer our bodies to God and righteousness. This is an imperative that flows from the indicative reality of our new life in Christ. We find numerous exhortations in the Scriptures for believers to pursue diligently with great effort a life of holiness in the power of Christ through the Spirit. I agree that there is a struggle with sin in chapter 7, but it is a struggle that is being fought under law, and the law has been coopted by sin to multiply sin and transgressions to leave the sinner condemned to death. Chapter 7 describes a struggle with sin that cannot be won. The struggle is the flesh vs. sin under the reign of law, which is why the passage ends in defeat and despair (v. 24). The Christian’s struggle is vastly different. It is not a struggle that ends in despair and defeat. Why? Because it is a pursuit of righteousness away from sin in the power of the Holy Spirit not in the old way of the written code.

2. Arguments for Chapter 7 referring to Israel’s/Paul’s experience under the law of Moses.

a. The earlier references to the law in Romans:

i. The righteousness of God comes to believers apart from law (3:21).
ii. A person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law (3:28).
iii. The law brings wrath (4:15).
iv. The law actually increases transgressions (5:20)
v. The believer is no longer under the law, but under grace. Therefore, sin can no longer be the master of a believer (6:14).
vi. Believers have died to the law and now belong to Christ (7:4).
vii. Under the law, our sinful passions bore fruit for death (7:5).
viii. Believers have been released from the law and now serve in the new way of the Spirit (7:6).

b. The structure of Romans.

i. Romans 6 and 7 are extended “asides” to deal with potential objections to Paul’s argument that we are no longer under law but under grace (5:20).
ii. 7:7–25 is a defense against possible misunderstanding after Paul’s definitive statement in 7:1-6 that we are no longer married to the law and are now married to Christ.
iii. 7:5–6 are key to understanding 7:7–8:17.
iv. 7:5 is life under law – unregenerate experience described (7:5).
v. 7:6 is life in the Spirit – regenerate experience described (7:6).
vi. 7:7–25 is an elaboration of 7:5.
vii. 8:1–17 is an elaboration of 7:6.

c. The contrast between 7:14–25 and 8:1–17 is so dramatic that it is difficult to believe that the experience described is that of a Christian in both cases.
d. Nowhere does 7:14–25 mention life in Christ or life in the Spirit. It is always in reference to law. Chapter 8 refers to the Holy Spirit 19 times. The “I” that attempts to but fails to keep God’s law lacks the resources of the Holy Spirit. This is vastly different than the experience of the believer with the Spirit in ch. 8.
e. The description of the person in chapter 7 who delights in God’s law is not a believer in Christ in the Spirit, but a devout Jew or moral person who desires to do what is right but who lacks the resources to do it. Verse 22 – in my inner being I delight in God’s law – is the description of a pious/God-fearing Jew under law. So, the portrait in 7:14–25 is not true of all unbelievers; it depicts a person who delights in God’s law but cannot keep it. (Paul as a Pharisee; David; etc.).
f. But doesn’t Paul say that he was blameless with regards to God’s law (Philippians 3)? Yes, but surely Paul didn’t consider himself as sinless. In terms of exterior performance, he was blameless in the eyes of other people. But they cannot see his coveting, which he describes in 7:7–12. Remember the rich man who came to Jesus who said that he had obeyed all the commands of God since his youth, but he could not part with his wealth. He was guilty of coveting just as Paul describes his coveting in ch. 7. Coveting is the perfect example command, because in many ways it encapsulates the whole law. A covetous person is not worshiping God and God alone with no other gods before him. Also, a person coveting is not truly obeying the commands to not steal, commit adultery, etc. So, coveting is a disobedience of the two great commands to love God and neighbor. Life in the flesh under the law without the Spirit is powerless to transform the heart and cure it of coveting and thus of breaking God’s law.
g. The whole argument of the larger section of Romans is that Christians are no longer under law; we have been married to another (Christ). Thus, 7:7–25 cannot be describing a person in Christ in the Spirit because everything said is in relationship to law. But the NT believer in Christ has been set free from the law. The burden of this whole section is to show how believers are not under law but under grace, while at the same time not disparaging God’s good law. God’s law is good, but we are not. The problem is that we are powerless to obey it. This powerlessness leads to the desperate lament at the end of the passage (7:24). Our only hope from this desperate situation is Jesus Christ and his life-giving Spirit.

Main Idea: If you try to justify yourself by keeping the law, you will fail. If you try to sanctify yourself as a believer by keeping the law, you will fail. The only hope that we wretched, dead, miserable human beings have is the redeeming work of the Lord Jesus Christ who justifies us through faith and then gives us the indwelling Holy Spirit who makes us righteous in a way that the law could never achieve.

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“Sin’s Use of the Law to Bring Death” (Romans 7:7–12)

Pastor Cameron Jungels

Eastside Baptist Church

Sunday AM, November 19, 2017

 

Romans 7:7–12 (NIV)

What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”  But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead. Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. 11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.

 

 

19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.  20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God's sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.  21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. (Romans 3:19-21, NIV)

 

13 It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.  14 For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless,  15 because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.  (Romans 4:13-15, NIV)

 

13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone's account where there is no law.  14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.  (Romans 5:13-14, NIV)

 

20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,  21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  (Romans 5:20-21, NIV)

 

14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.  15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!  (Romans 6:14-15, NIV)

 

4 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.  5 For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death.  6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code. (Romans 7:4-6, NIV)

 

  1. The Law of Moses is holy, just, and good.

 

  1. Though the Law of Moses is holy, just, and good, it has had the effect of making the condition of sinful people even worse.

                       a.  The Law reveals our sin.

                     
                        b.The Law arouses sin and increases transgressions.
 
                       
                        c.The Law condemns the sinner to death.

 

  1. Our only hope for deliverance is through the grace of Jesus Christ.

 

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A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World
By Paul E. Miller

“Prayer Work” - Chapter 30

  • How often do we pray for difficult people?
  • We do our best to “live at peace with all men” and be kind to them, but have we ever prayed that God would change them?
  • Do we believe that God is in the business of changing lives?
  • We could write up a prayer card with the name of a person that is particularly hard on us and pray the Scriptures over that person. Then we wait and see what God does!
  • If we pray for God to “soften” someone or give someone patience or to humble them, God may answer our prayer by bringing difficulty and suffering into that person’s life.
  • If Satan’s basic game plan is pride, seeking to draw us into his life of arrogance, then God’s basic game plan is humility, drawing us into the life of his Son.
  • The Father can’t think of anything better to give us than his Son.
  • Suffering invites us to join his Son’s life, death, and resurrection. Once you see that, suffering is no longer strange.

Working Your Prayers

  • If God does answer our prayers for that person by humbling them through suffering, are we ready to roll up our sleeves to serve them?
  • God will often provide opportunities for us to “work” our prayer request.
  • God may involve us personally in our own prayers, often in a physical and humbling way – teaching us to be a servant.
  • God told his disciples to pray that the Lord of the harvest would send out laborers, then he sent out the ones he just told to pray! (Matt. 9:37ff.)
  • In Jesus’ parable of the growing seed, there is a three-step pattern:
    • Planting
    • Waiting
    • Working the harvest
  • It doesn’t occur to us that our prayers may follow the same pattern.
  • First, it doesn’t occur to us to plant the seed of thoughtful praying because we may think that difficult people don’t change.
  • Second, if we do pray, we don’t watch and wait. We want the answer now.
  • Third, we don’t recognize the harvest when it comes, and we forget that reaping the harvest involves our participation.
  • Too often we end up reversing the pattern and attack the problem first.
  • We confront the person over their behavior, then the relationship disintegrates, then we pray after nothing else has worked.
  • By then we’ve often concluded that the person can’t change, and prayer doesn’t work.
  • But what really doesn’t work is us.
  • Our “prayer doesn’t work” often means “you didn’t do my will, in my way, in my time.”
  • Only by praying and watching do we realize the unlikely connections God makes in the kingdom.
  • God may answer our prayers for another person by involving us in their lives as a humble servant in the midst of their suffering.
  • Suffering opens the door to love. Suffering reaps a harvest of real change.

“Listening to God” - Chapter 31

  • How do we discern the leading of God or the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives?
  • When we commune with God in prayer are we sensing God’s direction or just our own thoughts?

Two Dangers

  • “Word Only” – Not listening to the Spirit.
    • If we focus exclusively on God’s written Word when looking for God’s activity in our lives but don’t watch and pray, we’ll miss the unfolding story of his work.
    • We’ll miss the patterns of the Divine Artist etching the character of his Son on our hearts.
    • The Spirit personalizes the Word.
    • If we believe Scripture only applies to people in general, then we can miss how God intimately personalizes his counsel to us as individuals.
    • We can become deists, removing God from our lives.
    • But everywhere in Scripture we see God speaking to us with a personal touch, prompting us to obey and love.
    • Seeing the finger of God in our circumstances, creation, other Christians, and the Word keeps us from elevating our thoughts to a unique status. God is continually speaking to each of us, but not just through our intuition.
    • Seeing God’s activity in the details of our lives enhances the application of God’s Word. We actually undermine the impact of God’s Word if we define God’s speaking too narrowly.
    • What is at stake here is developing an eye for the Shepherd.
    • We need to tune in to our Father’s voice above the noise of our own hearts and the surrounding world—what C. S. Lewis called “the Kingdom of Noise.”
    • “Watch and Pray.”
    • Don’t pray in a fog. Pray with your eyes open. Look for the patterns God is weaving in your life.
  • “Spirit Only” – Elevating Human Intuition
    • There is a danger in thinking we hear God speak.
    • When people call their own thoughts or feelings “God’s voice,” it puts them in control of God and ultimately undermines God’s Word by elevating human intuition to the status of divine revelation.
    • Unless Scripture guards and directs our intuitions, we can easily run amok and baptize our selfish desires with religious language.
    • The danger is in elevating our own thoughts (what we can mistakenly think is the leading of the Spirit) to the level of biblical authority.
    • The problem is that the Holy Spirit comes in on the same channel as the world, the flesh, the Devil.
    • The Lord does lead—we just need to be careful that we aren’t using the Lord as a cover for our own desires. If we frequently interpret random thoughts and desires as “God speaking,” we can end up with some very unbiblical and immoral plans – not God’s will at all.
    • An overly mystical view of God speaking to us can end up with us just listening to the darkness of our own hearts.
  • To correctly discern when God is speaking to us, we need to keep the Word and the Spirit together.
  • The Spirit personalizes and applies the written Word of God to our lives.
  • Without the written word, “being led by the Spirit of God” can turn into us doing what we want to do. What they “hear” from God might be masking their self-will.
  • Without the Spirit, the written Word can become dry and impersonal, with no personal application leading to a life of listening and repentance.
  • Listening to and obeying God are so intertwined in biblical thought that in the Hebrew they are one word, shamar.
  • Under the cover of being obedient to the Word, Word Only folks can be rigid.
  • We need to guard against rationalism as much as we need to guard against emotionalism.
  • The Word provides the structure, the vocabulary. The Spirit personalizes it to our life.
  • Keeping the Word and the Spirit together guards us from the danger of God-talk becoming a cover for our own desires and the danger of lives isolated from God.

Cultivate a Listening Heart

  • There is nothing secret about communion with God. If we live a holy life before God, broken of our pride and self-will, crying out for grace, then we will be in communion with God. It is really that simple.
  • You can’t listen to God if you are isolated from a life of surrender that draws you into his story for your life.
  • There is a tendency among Christians to get excited about “listening to God” as if they are discovering a hidden way of communicating with God that will revolutionize their prayer lives.
  • This subtly elevates an experience with God instead of God himself. Without realizing it, we can look at the windshield instead of through it.
  • The problem isn’t the activity of listening, but my listening heart. Am I attentive to God? Is my heart soft and teachable?
  • The means of communication is secondary to a surrendered heart. Our responsibility is to cultivate a listening heart in the midst of the noise from our own hearts and from the world, not to mention the Devil.
  • The interaction between the Divine Spirit and my own spirit is mysterious.
    David captures this mystery in Psalm 16:7—“I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.”
  • Is David’s heart talking to him, or is God giving him counsel? The two are impossible to separate.
  • Tuning in to your Father’s voice has a hard-to-pin-down-but-nevertheless-real quality.
  • We don’t have the capacity to analyze this interaction.
  • The counsel God gave David is inseparable from David’s active pursuit of God: “I have set the LORD always before me” (16:8).
  • The counsel from God doesn’t function like a fortune teller; it is inseparable from a humble seeking after God.
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“Redemption and Remembrance” (Exodus 13:1–16)

Pastor Cameron Jungels

Eastside Baptist Church

Sunday PM, November 12, 2017

 

Exodus 13:1–16 (NIV)

13 The Lord said to Moses, “Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether human or animal.”

Then Moses said to the people, “Commemorate this day, the day you came out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery, because the Lord brought you out of it with a mighty hand. Eat nothing containing yeast. Today, in the month of Aviv, you are leaving. When the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Hivites and Jebusites—the land he swore to your ancestors to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey—you are to observe this ceremony in this month: For seven days eat bread made without yeast and on the seventh day hold a festival to the Lord. Eat unleavened bread during those seven days; nothing with yeast in it is to be seen among you, nor shall any yeast be seen anywhere within your borders. On that day tell your son, ‘I do this because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that this law of the Lord is to be on your lips. For the Lord brought you out of Egypt with his mighty hand. 10 You must keep this ordinance at the appointed time year after year.

11 “After the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites and gives it to you, as he promised on oath to you and your ancestors, 12 you are to give over to the Lord the first offspring of every womb. All the firstborn males of your livestock belong to the Lord. 13 Redeem with a lamb every firstborn donkey, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem every firstborn among your sons.

14 “In days to come, when your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ say to him, ‘With a mighty hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 15 When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the Lord killed the firstborn of both people and animals in Egypt. This is why I sacrifice to the Lord the first male offspring of every womb and redeem each of my firstborn sons.’ 16 And it will be like a sign on your hand and a symbol on your forehead that the Lord brought us out of Egypt with his mighty hand.”

 

  1. Redemption: (vv. 1–2, 11–16): God has rights over his people and they are to be consecrated to him because he paid the price to redeem them.

 

  1. Remembrance: (vv. 3–10): God’s mighty acts are to be remembered and celebrated by his covenant people.

 

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“Free from the Law” (Romans 7:1–6)

Pastor Cameron Jungels

Eastside Baptist Church

Sunday AM, November 12, 2017

 

Romans 7:1–6 (NIV)

7 Do you not know, brothers and sisters—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives? For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him. So then, if she has sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man.

So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

 

  1. The Principle: Death releases a person from his obligation to legal demands (v. 1).

 

  1. The Picture: The principle is illustrated by the analogy of marriage. Death releases a spouse from the marriage vow and its legal obligation (vv. 2–3).

 

  1. The Point: We died through our union with Christ and his death on the cross and resurrection from the grave. Therefore, we are no longer bound to the Law and its demands and penalties. We now belong to Christ to live for God (v. 4).

 

  1. The Practice (vv. 5–6)

   a.  Our Past Practice: In the past, while in unbelief, our practice was to be in the bondage of the Law, which magnified sin, which results in death (v. 5).

   b.  Our Present Practice: In Christ, in the present, we are free from the bondage of the Law and are now free not to serve ourselves but to serve God through the indwelling Holy Spirit. The indwelling Holy Spirit fulfills and replaces the Law’s function in our lives and accomplishes it more perfectly and effectively (v. 6).

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A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World
By Paul E. Miller

Praying in Real Life: Part 5

“Using Prayer Tools” - Chapter 28

  • Why do most people write down their schedules, but most Christians do not write down prayer requests?
  • The bottom line is we don’t write down our prayer requests because we don’t take prayer seriously. We don’t think it works.
  • Paul prayed for many churches and individuals by name; he likely had an extensive prayer list.
  • Using a written system to pray for people helps us to connect to their lives and be genuinely interested.

Disabled by the Fall

  • We are not normal children learning how to pray; we are disabled by the Fall.
  • We have a disorder that hinders our ability to talk with God.
  • Written aides help us talk with God.
  • Some feel that using a written system makes prayer “less natural,” but this is based on a false romantic idea that if it doesn’t feel “natural” then it isn’t real.
  • We think spiritual things—if done right—should just flow. But if you have a disability, nothing flows in the beginning.
  • Prayer will not feel “natural” at first, but we must persist, especially during the learning stages.
  • Prayer journals and prayer cards are a couple of systems that can guide our prayer lives.

Be Careful of Systems

  • Systems can be useful, but if we are not careful they can also become rote and robotic, desensitizing us to God as a person.
  • We can easily become mindless or wooden as we pray.
  • The other side of the coin is to be suspicious of all systems, thinking that it quenches the Spirit.
  • But we all use systems with things that are important to us.
  • So, well designed systems have a place in our prayer lives, as long as we don’t allow them to make our prayer lives wooden or robotic. They need to be able to flex along with real life.
  • “Life is both holding hands and scrubbing floors. It is both being and doing. Prayer journals or prayer cards are on the ‘scrubbing floors’ side of life. Praying like a child is on the ‘holding hands’ side of life. We need both.”

“Keeping Track of the Story: Using Prayer Cards” - Chapter 29

Guidelines for Prayer Cards

  • The card functions like a prayer snapshot of a person’s life.
  • Linger over a prayer card for only a few seconds while praying.
  • Put the Word to work by writing a Scripture verse on the card that expresses the request for that particular person or situation.
  • The card doesn’t change much over time. Every once in a while, add another line.
  • It’s not necessary to write down answers to prayer. They will be obvious and remembered since the cards are seen almost every day.
  • Putting a date to the prayer card is optional.

Prayer Cards vs. List

  • A prayer card focuses on one person or area of your life.
  • It allows you to look at the person or situation from multiple perspectives.
  • Over time, it helps you to reflect on what God does in response to your prayers.
  • You begin to see patterns, and slowly a story unfolds that you find yourself drawn into.
  • A list tends to be more mechanical.
  • We can get overwhelmed with the number of things to pray for.
  • Because items on a list are so disconnected, it is hard to maintain the discipline to pray.
  • Having only one card in front of you at a time keeps you focused, and you can concentrate on that person or need.

Prayer Cards for Family

  • Have a separate card for each member of the family.
  • Have specific requests for various areas of his/her life – physical, spiritual, academic, career, etc.
  • Write Scripture for one ore more of the prayer areas to pray God’s Word for them.
  • Have “big” and “small” prayers.
  • See how God writes the story and answers your prayers over time.

People in Suffering

  • It is easy to get overwhelmed in praying for the needs of those in suffering, especially when the diagnosis isn’t clear or there is no end in sight.
  • Don’t just tell people that you are “praying for them” but add them to a card dedicated to people going through suffering.
  • You will be better connected with them and can follow up.

Non-Christians

  • Have at least one card for non-Christians that you are praying for.
  • Pray for specific areas of their life, or areas where they are struggling with the claims of the gospel.
  • Watch how God may draw them to himself over time, using a variety of different circumstances in their lives.

Friends

  • We won’t regularly pray for friends if we do not write them down and make it a part of our life of prayer.

Building a Deck of Cards

  • Some cards can be prayed through daily; others can be rotated one or two cards a day.
  • It doesn’t have to become overwhelming.
  • Use prayer time to write them out over a period of time. Slowly build your prayer cards.
  • Begin with a partial card and add items over time.
  • The hardest part of writing out prayer cards isn’t the time; it’s our unbelief.
  • We seldom feel unbelief directly—it lurks behind the feelings that will surface if we start to write prayer cards.
  • We might be skeptical at first or feel like it is unnatural.
  • In reality they will help us to be regular and personal in prayer.

Get Dirty

  • Prayer is asking God to incarnate, “to get dirty” in your life.
  • Take Jesus at his word; ask him; tell him what you want; get dirty – in the nitty gritty of life.
  • Don’t fall into the trap of busyness.
  • “If you try to seize the day, the day will eventually break you. Seize the corner of his garment and don’t let go until he blesses you. He will reshape the day.”
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“The Lord’s Passover” (Exodus 12:43–51)

Pastor Cameron Jungels

Eastside Baptist Church

Sunday PM, November 5, 2017

 

Exodus 12:43–51 (NIV)

43 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “These are the regulations for the Passover meal:

“No foreigner may eat it. 44 Any slave you have bought may eat it after you have circumcised him, 45 but a temporary resident or a hired worker may not eat it.

46 “It must be eaten inside the house; take none of the meat outside the house. Do not break any of the bones. 47 The whole community of Israel must celebrate it.

48 “A foreigner residing among you who wants to celebrate the Lord’s Passover must have all the males in his household circumcised; then he may take part like one born in the land. No uncircumcised male may eat it. 49 The same law applies both to the native-born and to the foreigner residing among you.”

50 All the Israelites did just what the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron. 51 And on that very day the Lord brought the Israelites out of Egypt by their divisions.

 

  1. It is the Lord’s Passover.

    1. The Lord is the covenant-maker and keeper.
    2. The Lord is the deliverer-redeemer.
    3. The Lord is the law-giver: It is the Lord who establishes the ordinances and traditions for the memorial of Passover.

 

  1. The Passover was to serve as an opportunity for worship, for remembrance, and for thankfulness for the Lord’s deliverance of his people from slavery.

    1. The Passover was reserved for members of the community of God’s people.
    2. The Passover was to be observed in a particular way so as to set it apart as a holy and sacred rite for God’s people.
    3. The entire community of God was to participate in the Passover meal.

 

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“Free Slaves” (Romans 6:15–23)

Pastor Cameron Jungels

Eastside Baptist Church

Sunday AM, November 5, 2017

 

Romans 6:15–23 (NIV)

15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

  1. Christians are living in a new era and are citizens of a new kingdom.

 

  1. The salvation-historical then/now.

 

  1. The salvation-experiential then/now.

 

  1. Then: You used to be slaves of sin and bound for death.

 

  1. Now: You are now slaves of righteousness bound for eternal life.

 

Summary: We are now part of the era and kingdom of grace, but being under grace instead of Law doesn’t mean that we are free to sin or free to indulge in lawlessness. Being under grace means that we are now citizens of a new Kingdom with a new Lord. It is to this gracious and righteous King Jesus that we now owe our loyalty and obedience. Let us serve him as willing servants, because the benefits are joyous and eternal.

 

Main Idea: Jesus sets us free to serve God in righteousness and holiness.

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A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World
By Paul E. Miller

“Hope: The End of the Story” - Chapter 26

  • Hope is a new idea in history, a uniquely Christian vision.
  • The gospel is Good News. Because God broke the power of evil at the cross, we can, along with Sarah, look at our cynicism and laugh.
  • Tragedy doesn’t have the last word. God saves the best for last.
  • The infinite God touches us personally. We can dream big because God is big.

Dreaming Big

  • I have prayed for humility, and it dawned on me that God was answering my prayer.
  • I would have preferred humility to come over me like magic. Instead, God teaches humility in humble places.
  • What I thought was a stone was really a loaf of bread.
  • Our prayers didn’t float above life. Our family was focused on both the reality line and the hope line.
  • Praying was inseparable from working, planning, and good old-fashioned begging.

Willing to Be Enchanted

  • As we wait and pray, God weaves his story and creates a wonder.
  • Instead of drifting between comedy (denial) and tragedy (reality), we have a relationship with the living God, who is intimately involved with the details of our worlds.
  • We are learning to watch for the story to unfold, to wait for the wonder.
  • If you wait, your heavenly Father will pick you up, carry you out into the night, and make your life sparkle. He wants to dazzle you with the wonder of his love.
  • To see the marvel of the stories that our Father is telling, we need to become like little children.
  • C. S. Lewis was characterized by a willingness to be enchanted—his delight in laughter, his willingness to accept a world made by a good and loving God, and his willingness to submit to the charms of a wonderful story.
  • God delights in turning our tragedies into comedies.

“Living in Gospel Stories” - Chapter 27

  • What we think are mistakes and frustrating situations are opportunities for the kingdom of God to show up in our lives. It is always that way with the kingdom. It is so strange, so low; it is seldom recognized.
  • It looks like a mistake, but later we realize that we were in the middle of God’s story.
  • The downward journey is a gospel story. Humility comes before exaltation.

Gospel Stories

  • My trip with Kim was a gospel story. I gave up a piece of my life for Jill. In the gospel, Jesus took my sin, and I got his righteousness. That is how gospel stories work. Jill gets a restful weekend, and I get a stressful one. Whenever you love, you reenact Jesus’ death.
  • Gospel stories always have suffering in them. American Christianity has an allergic reaction to this part of the gospel. We’d love to hear about God’s love for us, but suffering doesn’t mesh with our right to “the pursuit of happiness.” So we pray to escape a gospel story, when that is the best gift the Father can give us. When I was sitting on the plane thinking, Everything has gone wrong, that was the point when everything was going right. That’s how love works.
  • The Father wants to draw us into the story of his Son. He doesn’t have a better story to tell, so he keeps retelling it in our lives. As we reenact the gospel, we are drawn into a strange kind of fellowship. The taste of Christ is so good that the apostle Paul told the Philippians that he wanted to know “the fellowship of sharing in [Jesus’] sufferings” (Philippians 3:10, NIV).
  • Living in a gospel story exposes our idols, our false sources of love.
  • When our idols are exposed, we often give up in despair― overwhelmed by both the other person’s sin and our own.
  • But by simply staying in the story, continuing to show up for life, even if it seems pointless, the kingdom comes. Poverty of spirit is no longer a belief. We own it. It describes us.
  • Repentance, in a strange way, is refreshing.
  • When we remove our false selves, repentance creates integrity. We return to the real source of love―our heavenly Father. We become authentic.

Enjoying God’s Story

  • If we stop fighting and embrace the gospel story God is weaving in our lives, we discover joy.
  • If we pursue joy directly, it slips from our grasp. But if we begin with Jesus and learn to love, we end up with joy.

Meaning to Suffering

  • Gospel stories give meaning to suffering.
  • Looking at suffering and tragedy through the lens of the gospel helps us to see the redemptive value of suffering.
  • God brings grace and freedom through suffering.
  • This view of life requires a firm confidence in the sovereignty of God. God is the weaver of stories.

Unseen Connections

  • We should be on the lookout for unseen connections.
  • To see a gospel story, we need to reflect on how seemingly disparate pieces are connected.
  • The best place to pick up the unseen connections of our designer God is in disappointment and tension.
  • Unseen means that there are no visible, causal links. As we bring God’s mind to our stories, we can see his hand crafting connections behind the scenes.
  • Nothing in the modern mind encourages us to see the invisible links binding together all of life. We have no sense that we live in the presence of a loving Father and are accountable for all we do.
  • We need to remember by faith that this is My Father’s World.
  • Everything you do is connected to who you are as a person and, in turn, creates the person you are becoming.
  • Everything you do affects those you love.
  • All of life is covenant.
  • Imbedded in the idea of prayer is a richly textured view of the world where all of life is organized around invisible bonds or covenants that knit us together.
  • Instead of a fixed world, we live in our Father’s world, a world built for divine relationships between people where, because of the Good News, tragedies become comedies and hope is born.

 

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A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World
By Paul E. Miller

“How God Places Himself in the Story” - Chapter 24

  • When we are in the middle of the desert, we feel like God is absent.
  • We long for God to show himself clearly, to make sense of the mess.

The Canaanite Woman

  • Jesus’ interaction with a Canaanite woman and her needy daughter are instructive for us in our understanding of how God is present in the midst of our story.
  • Jesus is aloof, ambiguous, even demeaning to this Canaanite woman. Why?
  • Jesus draws out the full measure of her sincerity, humility, and faith.
  • If Jesus were a magic prayer machine, he’d have healed this woman’s daughter instantly, and we would not have discovered her feisty, creative spirit.
  • Likewise, Jesus’ ambiguity with us creates the space not only for him to emerge but us as well. If the miracle comes too quickly, there is no room for discovery, for relationship.
  • The waiting that is the essence of faith provides the context for relationship.

Another Woman & Her Needy Daughter

  • God left Jill in confusion in order to grow her faith, her ability to connect with him. To become like a child, Jill had to become weak again.
  • Jesus’ ambiguous interaction with both Jill and the Canaanite woman is a mini-course on prayer. God permitted a difficult situation in both of their lives, and then he lingered at the edge.
  • If he were at the center, if they had had regular visions of him, they would not have developed the faith to have a real relationship with him.
  • When God seems silent and our prayers go unanswered, the overwhelming temptation is to leave the story—to walk out of the desert and attempt to create a normal life.
  • But when we persist in a spiritual vacuum, when we hang in there during ambiguity, we get to know God.

Mary Magdalene in a Mini-Desert

  • Jesus stands at the edge of the story, unwilling to overwhelm her so that a richer, fuller Mary could emerge.
  • He allows her pain to continue for just a moment so Jesus the person could meet Mary the person.
  • Many of us wish God were more visible. We think that if we could see him better or know what is going on, then faith would come more easily.
  • But if Jesus dominated the space and overwhelmed our vision, we would not be able to relate to him.
  • Everyone who had a clear-eyed vision of God in the Bible fell down as if he were dead. It’s hard to relate to pure light.
  • When we suffer, we long for God to speak clearly, to tell us the end of the story and, most of all, to show himself.
  • But if he showed himself fully and immediately, if he answered all the questions, we’d never grow.
  • Jill was profoundly changed in her twenty-year wait. If God had instantly explained everything to her and healed Kim, that change would not have taken place.
  • No one works like him.

“Praying without a Story” - Chapter 25

  • What happens when you don’t have a sense of your life as a story being told by your Heavenly Father?
  • We don’t like the messiness of unanswered prayer—or answers that are different from what we requested.
  • A distraught heart makes us uneasy, but it reveals the mystery of prayer.

Reflecting on the Story

  • Prayer doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Prayer interacts with all the other pieces of our life. The praying life is inseparable from obeying, loving, waiting, and suffering.
  • If we don’t get passionate with God in the face of disappointment, like the Canaanite woman, then cynicism slips in, and our hearts begin to harden. We begin a living death.
No Story Story
Bitter Waiting
Angry Watching
Aimless Wondering
Cynical Praying
Controlling Submitting
Hopeless Hoping
Thankless Thankful
Blaming Repenting

Another Story of God’s Weaving

  • God responds to our prayers in the context of the story he is weaving with our lives.
  • If we do not recognize the presence of the story or realize that God is writing one, then our prayers will just be isolated, individual requests. We won’t see how everything is being woven together for the purpose of our growth in faith and holiness.
  • There is a significant difference between making an isolated prayer request and praying in context of the story that God is weaving.
  • The answer to prayer is inseparable from repenting, serving, managing, and waiting.
  • Most of our prayers are answered in the context of the larger story that God is weaving.

Living in our Father’s Story

  • Living in our Father’s story means living in tension.
  • To live in our Father’s story, remember these three things:
    • Don’t demand that the story go your way (surrender completely).
    • Look for the Storyteller. Look for his hand, and then pray in light of what you are seeing.
    • Stay in the story. Don’t shut down when it goes the wrong way.
  • This last one, staying in the story, can be particularly difficult. When the story isn’t going your way, ask yourself, What is God doing? Be on the lookout for strange gifts.
  • Sometimes when we say “God is silent,” what’s really going on is that he hasn’t told the story the way we wanted it told.
  • He will be silent when we want him to fill in the blanks of the story we are creating. But with his own stories, the ones we live in, he is seldom silent.
  • To see the Storyteller we need to slow down our interior life and watch.
  • We need to be imbedded in the Word to experience the Storyteller’s mind and pick up the cadence of his voice.
  • We need to be alert for the story, for the Storyteller’s voice speaking into the details of our lives. The story God weaves always involves bowing before his majesty with the pieces of our lives.

Watching for the Divine Artist

  • We can see the Divine artistry of God in the story he wrote for Joseph’s life.
    Joseph’s life was marked by suffering and disappointment, but God was writing a story.
  • Joseph has not given in to bitterness and cynicism; instead he discovers the gracious heart of his God, grace he extends to those who have harmed him. Forgiveness flowed.
  • When confronted with suffering that won’t go away, we instinctively focus on what is missing, such as betrayal in Joseph’s story, not on the Master’s hand.
  • Often when you think everything has gone wrong, it’s just that you’re in the middle of a story.
  • If you watch the stories God is weaving in your life, you, like Joseph, will begin to see the patterns. You’ll become a poet, sensitive to your Father’s voice.
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"The Exodus" (Exodus 12:29-42)
Pastor Cameron Jungels
Eastside Baptist Church
Sunday PM, October 22, 2017

Exodus 12:29–42 (NIV)

29 At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well. 30 Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead.

31 During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the Lord as you have requested. 32 Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also bless me.”

33 The Egyptians urged the people to hurry and leave the country. “For otherwise,” they said, “we will all die!” 34 So the people took their dough before the yeast was added, and carried it on their shoulders in kneading troughs wrapped in clothing. 35 The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. 36 The Lord had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.

37 The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Sukkoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children. 38 Many other people went up with them, and also large droves of livestock, both flocks and herds. 39 With the dough the Israelites had brought from Egypt, they baked loaves of unleavened bread. The dough was without yeast because they had been driven out of Egypt and did not have time to prepare food for themselves.

40 Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years. 41 At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the Lord’s divisions left Egypt. 42 Because the Lord kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt, on this night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honor the Lord for the generations to come.

1. God reveals his power and demonstrates his justice (vv. 29-30).

2. God is faithful to his promises (vv. 31-36).

3. God delivers his people (vv. 37-42).

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“Dead to Sin, but Alive to God” (Romans 6:6–14)
Pastor Cameron Jungels
Eastside Baptist Church
Sunday AM, October 22, 2017

 

Romans 6:1–14 (NIV)

6 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

1. Can we keep sinning because God’s grace is so bounteous? No! (vv. 1–2)

2. Why can’t we keep sinning in light of God’s abundant grace? (vv. 3–11)

a. As believers, we have been united with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection (vv. 3–5).

i. God’s action: We died with Christ and will be raised like Him (vv. 4a, 5).
ii. God’s intention: That we should live a new life (v. 4b).

b. In union with Christ, we have died to sin and have been made alive to God (vv. 6–11).

i. God’s action: Our old self was crucified with Christ (v. 6).
ii. God’s intention: That we should not serve sin (vv. 6–7).
iii. God’s action: We know that we will live with Christ (vv. 8–10).
iv. God’s intention: So see yourselves in Christ Jesus as dead to sin but alive to God (v. 11)

3. God’s abundant grace does not give us permission to use our bodies however we like; rather, it teaches us to use our bodies to serve God and his righteousness (vv. 12–14).

a. Do not let sin reign (vv. 12–13a).
b. Offer yourselves to God (vv. 13b–14).

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A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World
By Paul E. Miller

“Hebrew Laments”: Relearning Desert Praying - Chapter 22

Understanding Laments

  • An ancient, long-forgotten way of praying.
  • A very biblical way of praying.
  • Laments are prayers for the desert: the times when we are living in the gap between reality and hope.
  • A lament connects God’s promises with our problem and gives voice to the seeming discrepancy between what God has said and what is actually happening in our lives.
  • The emptiness of the desert drives the power of a lament.
  • A lament doesn’t flee the desert (in denial); it fights the desert through prayer and faith.
  • The bleakness of the desert emboldens lament.
  • Laments might seem disrespectful in the way we voice our complaint to God, but in fact they are filled with faith—a raw, pure form of faith that simply takes God at his word.
  • There is no such thing as a lament free life.
  • If you are not lamenting, then you are not loving well. You haven’t allowed your heart to be broken by anything.
  • If you don’t lament over the broken things in your world, then your heart shuts down into cynicism.
  • Cynicism leads you away from God; lament pushes you into God’s presence.
  • Not lamenting leads to unbelief. You succumb to reality and lose hope.
  • One of the sure signs that we have wandered from God is if we stop lamenting.
  • We think laments are disrespectful; God says the opposite. Lamenting shows you are engaged with God in a vibrant, living faith.
    We live in a deeply broken world. If you aren’t lamenting to God, then you are slowly becoming cynical.

Nuclear Praying

  • We are confused by lament sometimes because we associate it only with grieving.
  • So we think of lament prayers in the same category as funeral dirges—a form of grieving with no expectation that anything will change.
  • By far, most laments are not prayers of surrender, grieving what cannot be changed, but a call to arms.
  • Lament prayers are the spiritual warfare equivalent of “going nuclear.”
  • You have no other option, so you reach for your most powerful weapon—your ability to cry out to the living God for help.
  • Lament draws us deeper into a praying life, because we pour out our hearts fully and authentically to God.
  • God often answers our laments in ways we don’t expect.

“Understanding How Laments Work” - Chapter 23

  • Why do laments feel so strange?
  • Laments were not strange to the ancient Israelites. The scriptures are filled with them. In fact, they even sang them.
  • The influence of Greek stoicism has subtly crept into our thinking.
    Stoicism resigned itself to the chaos of the world and didn’t have any hope for it getting better.
  • The Jewish and biblical worldview sees the world as broken but with the hope of transformation by God.
  • The Israelites lamented because they longed for a better world, the way the world was supposed to be.
  • They believed in a covenant keeping God, one who keeps his word.
  • That’s what makes laments so direct and “in your face.”
  • A lament connects God’s past promise with my present chaos, hoping for a better future.

A Template for Laments

  • Isaiah 63-64 as a pattern:
    • Many laments begin with an emotional dump.
    • Laments believe in a big, sovereign God. Isaiah believed so strongly in God’s sovereignty, he blames God.
    • After the initial passionate overflow, Isaiah connects the reality of Israel’s desolate state with the hope of God’s power. He believes in a God who is near, acting in time & space.
    • Isaiah remembers God’s previous acts of power: you’ve done this before, do it again!
    • Laments are full of faith affirming the greatness of God: “no eye has seen a God besides you…”
    • Laments drive us to patiently endure and wait on God.
    • Laments point us to repentance. God is not the problem, we are.
    • Isaiah submits, pleading with God to act on their behalf.
    • Isaiah begins the lament naked before God, pouring out his heart.
    • Then he reinterprets those feelings in the reality of God.
    • In a kind of spiritual pilgrimage, he begins feisty, in God’s face, then he slowly reveals his faith and his heart.
    • Isaiah’s faith drives the lament.
      • God is sovereign and can do something.
      • God is love and wants to do something.
      • God is a covenant-keeping God and is bound by his own word.
    • Isaiah doesn’t stop asking because he doesn’t stop believing.
    • Like Jacob, he wrestles with God. He doesn’t accept the status quo.

Thinking a Lament

  • Laments are passionate, but they are also well-reasoned arguments.
  • Isaiah begins by making a case that God is all-powerful.
  • He argues with God based on his past dealings with Israel.
  • Isaiah then moves to confession, knowing that God is bound to act when his people repent and confess.
  • He argues based on the honor of God’s name connected to Jerusalem.

Are Laments Disrespectful?

  • That’s the wrong question. The question is, “What is on your heart?”
  • What is driving the lament?
  • What is so striking about biblical laments, is that God almost never critiques them. He delights in hearing our messy hearts.
  • At the end of the book of Job, God honors feisty Job with his demanding laments and rebukes the three friends who have been critiquing Job.

Cautions with Counterfeit Laments

  • Be careful that laments don’t slip into complaining.
  • What’s the difference?
    • A lament is directed toward God; complaints are often directed toward others.
    • A lament is faith; a complaint is rebellion.
    • A lament submits.
    • A lament always circles back to faith.

What does it feel like to pray a lament?

  • Often it is our anxieties that fuel lament.
  • We take our cares to a God who hears and acts.
  • Take hold of God and pull.
  • Pray the psalms back to God.
  • As we finish lamenting, we are quiet. There is nothing more to say or do—so we wait.
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“The First Passover” (Exodus 12:1–28)
Pastor Cameron Jungels
Eastside Baptist Church
Sunday PM, October 15, 2017

Exodus 12:1–28 (NIV)

 

12 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 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. 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. The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire—with the head, legs and internal organs. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.

12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.

14 “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance. 15 For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day hold a sacred assembly, and another one on the seventh day. Do no work at all on these days, except to prepare food for everyone to eat; that is all you may do.

17 “Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. 18 In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day. 19 For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. And anyone, whether foreigner or native-born, who eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel. 20 Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread.”

21 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. 22 Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. None of you shall go out of the door of your house until morning. 23 When the Lord goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.

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?’ 27 then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.’ ” Then the people bowed down and worshiped. 28 The Israelites did just what the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron.

"Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29, NIV)

1. God liberates his people and gives them a new beginning (1–2).

2. God redeems his people by means of sacrifice (3–11).

a. The sacrifice is chosen (3).
b. The sacrifice is representative (3–4).
c. The sacrifice is blameless (5).
d. The sacrifice is prepared (3, 6) [10th day selected/14th day slain].

4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. (Galatians 4:4-5, NIV)

e. The sacrifice is slain (6).

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. (Leviticus 17:11, NIV)

f. The sacrifice is expiatory (7, 21–22).
g. The sacrifice is redemptive (8–11) [leads to deliverance].
h. The sacrifice is propitiatory (12–13, 23).

3. God delights in being remembered and celebrated by his people (14–20, 24–28).

6 Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch-- as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:6-8, NIV)

Main Idea: God’s redemption of his people is to be remembered and celebrated from generation to generation.

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“Dead but Alive” (Romans 6:1–14), Part 2
Pastor Cameron Jungels
Eastside Baptist Church
Sunday AM, October 15, 2017

Romans 6:1–14 (NIV)

6 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

1. The true preaching of justification by grace through faith alone often results in misunderstanding by those who would seek to abuse it for licentiousness (1).

2. But the grace of God does not give us a license to sin (2).

3. No, the grace of God has delivered us from the reign of sin and death and has brought us into the reign of righteousness and life (2b-5).

a. Our break with the old life of sin, judgment, and death is so complete that it can be described of as a death (2b–4).

i. What does “dead to sin” in Romans 6 mean? [See Tim Keller, Romans 1–7 for You.]

1. It does not mean (either wrong or insufficient or not appropriate to the context of Romans 6):

a. That we no longer want to sin or that sin no longer has any power or influence over us.
b. That we no longer ought to sin; sin is now inappropriate for the Christian.
c. That we are moving slowly away from sin; sin is weakening in us.
d. That we have renounced sin; at some moment we disavowed sinful behavior.
e. That we are no longer guilty of sin; our sins cannot condemn us for they are pardoned in Christ.

2. What “dead to sin” does mean in Romans 6:

a. We are no longer under the “reign”—the ruling power—of sin. Sin still has power, but it can no longer force its dictates on you.

b. And, our entrance into the new life of grace, righteousness, and life is so complete that it can be described of as a resurrection (4b–5).

Main Idea: Our union with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection means that sin no longer has power over the believer and is no longer welcome in the life of the believer.

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A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World
By Paul E. Miller

“Unanswered Prayer: Understanding the Patterns of the Story” - Chapter 21

Disappointment

  • Having specific prayers that are not answered in the way that we desire or expect is a challenge to our faith.
  • Prayer makes us more dependent and more vulnerable to disappointment.
  • The problem, however, is not with God but with our own expectations and the gap between those expectations and the story that God is weaving.

In the Desert

  • Living in the gap between expectation and reality can be like living in a spiritual desert.
  • Every part of our being wants to close the gap between hope and reality.
  • Trying to close the gap and escape the desert leads to either denial, determination, or despair.

Denial

  • Denial is the approach we take when we are filled with hope but we are in self-denial about the reality of the situation.
  • So, we close the gap between hope and reality by envisioning unreality.
  • We fail to come to grips with the true nature of the situation. We think it is not happening or it must be some mistake. But living in unreality doesn’t lead to spiritual maturity.

Determination

  • Some try to close the gap between hope and reality with sheer determination of will.
    You have faced enormous obstacles before and overcome them, and you are going to do the same with this.
  • You invest energy, money, time, resources into fixing the problem.
  • You seek to become the answer to your own prayer request.
  • But this often adds to the suffering.

Despair

  • Despair is the result of losing hope.
  • People close the gap between hope and reality by downgrading their hope to match the reality of the situation.
  • Stopping hoping is a way to minimize the hurt.
  • Despair removes the tension between hope and reality, but it leads to cynicism, which kills the soul.

Back to the Desert

  • Denial, determination, despair—these are not the way to live as people of faith.
    People of faith live in the desert—in the gap between hope and the present reality.
  • Abraham “in hope believed against hope” (Rom. 4:18).
  • Abraham did not ignore reality, but he trusted and hoped in God and his promises.

Life in the Desert

  • The hardest part of being in the desert is that there is no way out. You don’t know when it will end. There is no relief in sight.
  • God in his wisdom customizes deserts for each of us.
  • God led Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Israel, David, etc. into, through, and then out of the desert.
  • Jesus walked through the desert for us looking to the joy set before him.
  • Feeling like the Father has turned his face against you is the heart of the desert experience.
  • It’s very tempting to survive the desert by taking the bread of bitterness offered by Satan—to maintain a wry, cynical detachment from life, finding a perverse enjoyment in mocking those who still have hope.
  • But refusing Satan and trusting God is the path Jesus took, and so should we.

Thriving in the Desert

  • God takes everyone he loves through a desert.
  • It is his cure for our wandering hearts, restlessly searching for a new Eden.
    • He humbles us and breaks our will and our self-sufficiency.
    • He kills off our idols.
    • He leads us to helplessness that is so crucial to the spirit of prayer.
    • Suffering burns away the false selves created by cynicism, pride, or lust.
    • You stop caring about what people think of you.
    • The desert is God’s best hope for the creation of an authentic self.
    • Desert life sanctifies you. You don’t realize you are changing, but after a while you are different.
    • Things that used to be important no longer matter.
    • In the desert, you learn your real thirsts – what really matters.
    • The desert becomes a window to the heart of God. He gets our attention in the desert.
      You cry out to God so long and so often that it cuts a deep channel of communication between you and God.
    • Without realizing it, you have learned to pray continuously.
    • The best gift of the desert is God’s presence.

Desert Blossoms

  • In the desert, God humbles us and makes us more like his Son.
  • Unexpected outcomes and blessings come out of trials like desert blossoms.
  • Our lives can take unexpected turns and end up in much better places in the end because of the routes through the desert.

Kept from Harm

  • When we don’t receive what we pray for or what we desire, it doesn’t mean that God isn’t acting on our behalf.
  • Rather, he’s weaving his story.
  • “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in thanksgiving” (Col. 4:2).
  • Watchfulness alerts us to the unfolding drama in the present.
  • It looks for God’s present work as it unfolds into future grace.
  • Watch for the story God is weaving in your life.
  • Don’t leave the desert, until God leads you out of it.
  • “The best is yet to come.”
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“Final Warning” (Exodus 11:1–10)
Pastor Cameron Jungels
Eastside Baptist Church
Sunday PM, October 8, 2017

Exodus 11:1–10 (NIV)

11 Now the Lord had said to Moses, “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here, and when he does, he will drive you out completely. Tell the people that men and women alike are to ask their neighbors for articles of silver and gold.” (The Lord made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and Moses himself was highly regarded in Egypt by Pharaoh’s officials and by the people.)

So Moses said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the female slave, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again. But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any person or animal.’ Then you will know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. All these officials of yours will come to me, bowing down before me and saying, ‘Go, you and all the people who follow you!’ After that I will leave.” Then Moses, hot with anger, left Pharaoh.

The Lord had said to Moses, “Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you—so that my wonders may be multiplied in Egypt.” 10 Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh, but the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go out of his country.

1.    The LORD is just and will execute judgment on his enemies (vv. 1, 4–6).

22 Then say to Pharaoh, 'This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son, 23 and I told you, "Let my son go, so he may worship me." But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.'" (Exodus 4:22–23, NIV)

2.    The LORD is faithful and will completely fulfill his covenant promises (vv. 2–3).

13 Then the LORD said to him, "Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there.  14 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. (Genesis 15:13–14, NIV)

21 "And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed.  22 Every woman is to ask her neighbor and any woman living in her house for articles of silver and gold and for clothing, which you will put on your sons and daughters. And so you will plunder the Egyptians." (Exodus 3:21–22, NIV)

3.    The LORD is the one and only true God who puts to shame all false gods (vv. 4–5).

4.    The LORD is gracious and treats his people differently from the world (vv. 6–7).

5.    The LORD is righteous and will vindicate his people before the world (v. 8) .

6.    The LORD is sovereign and directs the events of history for the furtherance of his own glory (vv. 9–10).

Main Idea: The LORD displays his justice, faithfulness, uniqueness, grace, and glory by judging his enemies and rescuing his people.

 

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