Next Week: A Huge Emphasis On Evangelism at Church of the Highlands

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Church of the Highlands Family,

 

Starting this Sunday, we will have a HUGE emphasis on evangelism at Church of the Highlands.  So, what are we doing?

 

  • This Sunday (July 20), 4–6pm: Hit the Streets (Door-to-Door Evangelism).  We have a mission group of 70 coming from South Carolina to help us knock on doors all over our community this Sunday afternoon.  We need to have a great turn-out from our Highlanders this Sunday to knock on doors and invite people to the evangelistic gatherings we have the rest of the week.
  • This Monday–Friday (July 21–25), 8:30–12:30: VBS.  VBS is a major time to see people come to Christ.  If you haven’t already done so, pre-register your kids at TheHighlands.cc/VBS.
  • This Tuesday and Thursday (July 22, 24), 6–8pm: Evangelism Block Parties.

o   Tuesday, 6-8pm, David & Lisa Ellis’ House

Neighborhood: Flagstone

7414 Flagstone Drive, Ooltewah,TN

 

Thursday, 6-8pm, Darren & Paula Knuckles’ House

Neighborhood: Hamilton on Hunter North

7225 British Road, Ooltewah, TN

  • Friday of Next Week (July 25), 7pm: Glow Party and Friday Night Service at the church.
  • Sunday (July 27), Baptisms in the church pool after the 10:45 service.

 

Church of the Highlands kicked-off January 20, 2013, and since then we have baptized 56 people.  That is a lot of people who have come to Christ in just a year and a half!  My prayer is for us to see a TON more people come to Christ and get baptized this week.  Pray with me to that end.

 

All for Jesus,

Pastor Jeremy

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This Week at Church of the Highlands

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My Wonderful Church Family,

 

There are three key things I look forward to telling you about in my letter to you this week: inviting people, summer giving, and our new constitution & by-laws.

 

Inviting People

Last Sunday, we had seven families fill-out connection cards, and we had two families join the church.  You are doing a great job inviting people to Church of the Highlands!  After people visit our church and fill-out a connection card, we make sure those people are called, receive multiple handwritten notes, and receive personal emails.  I want you to know that after you invite someone and they actually come, that we have a solid follow-up process.

 

So, be comforted in knowing that 110% effort is given by our staff and some key volunteers to follow-up with your friends who visit our church.  If you haven’t invited someone in a while, do so TODAY!

 

 

Summer Giving

Last week, we surpassed our weekly budget, right in the heart of the summer.  I am so proud of you.  If you are out of town for this holiday weekend, please make sure you give online and catch-up with the sermon on our media page.

 

New Constitution & By-laws

Since we re-planted a year and a half ago, we need to have an updated constitution & by-laws to reflect who we are as a Church of the Highlands family.  Our deacons encouraged me to lead the way in writing this, along with John Hain and Richard Vaupel (two of our deacons).

 

After a couple of months, we finished the constitution & by-laws.  I met with our staff about them, then our deacon officers.  They all felt good about it.  Last night, we had a deacons’ meeting, and the deacons officially voted (unanimously) to approve the new constitution & by-laws.

 

Now, the final step in this process is to have the church vote for this.  In order to keep printing costs down, we will provide a sign-up sheet this Sunday morning so that anyone who wants to read the proposed constitution & by-laws will receive a copy via email.  If someone does not have email or internet, we will mail a physical copy to them.

 

On July 16th, 7pm, in the Dream Center, we will have a church-wide town hall meeting to have open questions and discussion about the new constitution & by-laws.  If you want to discuss it privately, please contact me through the church office and we can set-up a time to talk about it.  I want to make sure my leadership is transparent and gives you opportunity to ask any questions you’d like—publicly or privately.

 

On July 30th, 7pm, in the Dream Center, we will have a church-wide vote on the new constitution & by-laws.  There will be no discussion prior to voting on this on July 30th as that opportunity was given privately throughout the month of July and publicly on July 16th.

 

Praise the Lord for all that is going on here at Church of the Highlands!

 

All for Jesus,

Pastor Jeremy

This Week at Church of the Highlands

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Praise the Lord for all the people who have received Christ and been baptized in the last week at our church!  We had four teenagers receive Christ at our church last week, two adults received Christ in our services last week, and we baptized eight people in the lake last Sunday.

 

BAPTISM: Surpassing 50 Baptisms

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As we baptized all of those people last week, we surpassed the big 50 mark of people baptized since we started Church of the Highlands!  We have now baptized 56 people since January 20, 2013 when we launched this amazing church!

 

JONAH: New Series Starts Sunday

Also, I encourage you to come to church this Sunday as I kick-off our five-week series thru the book of Jonah.  I encourage you to click here to download a commentary I have written on this wonderful minor prophet book.  Also, in this free download, you can read my personal translation of the book of Jonah from Hebrew to English.  This commentary is very technical and deep.  It will help you to study this book in greater depth in your personal time with God to prepare you for when I teach it weekly on Sundays.

 

GIVING: Summer Well Spent and Greater Things

Please continue to faithfully give to our general budget over the summer as well as give toward our Greater Things capital campaign to make it possible to build our new worship center atop our property, alongside Highway 58 (see the video below).  Remember, you can always give online.

 

I love you, church family!

 

All for Jesus,

Pastor Jeremy

What House of Cards, Jerry Seinfeld, and Dan Patrick Are Teaching Me About the Future of the Church

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The internet.  Isn’t it awesome?  If you need directions to soccer practice, go online.  If you need a word defined, you wouldn’t dare pick up a physical dictionary any more.  If you want to sell your old furniture, the easiest way is to post it on the interwebs.

 

Yes, the internet has changed the world.  Aren’t you grateful that Al Gore invented it?

 

The future of television is online.  Just look at how Netflix’s House of Cards is taking our culture by storm.  Jerry Seinfeld has his new comedy show, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, and it is only available online.  My favorite sports media personality, Dan Patrick, is about to launch Sports Jeopardy, and it is an internet TV show.

 

The future of the church is online.  Whether you like it or not, leveraging the internet to make disciples is vital to the future of the New Testament church.

 

I recently spoke with my former professor, Dr. Elmer Towns, about this subject and he shared with me about a congregation in suburban Dallas (Corinth, TX), Glory of Zion International Ministries, averaging 1,500 residential attendees every weekend and another 30,000 online.  They have 5,000 internet house churches with 2 to 25 in attendance.  They baptize and take communion in their homes, and worship online with the overall Glory of Zion Church.

 

Look at LifeChurch.tv with their well-attended online campus.  Christ Fellowship Church in South Florida averages 20,000 people on their physical campuses each weekend, and received an average of $4 in online giving from each of their web attendees.

 

The purpose of this post is not to argue the ecclesiological or theological perspectives of local physical congregations vs. internet churches (or a hybrid).  The point is that whether you like it or not, this is the future of the church and the Church.

 

I think in just a matter of a few years, the idea of a satellite dish dangling on the side of your house in order to watch TV will seem antiquitous.  All TV will be online.  The aforementioned TV shows are prime examples of this.  Churches better acclimate to how the internet is changing the world while not compromising the truth of the Scriptures.

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Buried Alive: Sermon Summary

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Baptism is one of the most beautiful things we do in the Christian life.

 

Baptism has two meanings: literal and figurative.  Literally, baptidzo means “to immerse.”  The figurative meaning is “to be identified with.”

 

Baptism is not merely symbolic; it is incredibly extravagant.  It’s a God-moment that we get to share with him.

 

Baptism is a public declaration of the love I have in me for my God.

 

Romans 6:1–4

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

 

1. We Die with Him

 

All followers of Jesus believe that Christ died for them.  However, we also died with Him.

 

Romans 6:5–6

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.

Galatians 2:20a

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.

 

Paul, throughout the Pauline epistles, talks about how before salvation we are slaves to sin.  In Romans 6 he explains why he uses this illustration.

 

Romans 6:19–22

19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. 20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.

 

During times of slavery in America, freedom was very rare except in the case of death.  During slavery, many slaves felt the only way to escape slavery was via death.  What a horrible thought.

 

God didn’t ask us to beat sin; He asked us to die to it.

 

2. We Are Buried with Him

 

Romans 6:4a

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death . . .

 

Colossians 2:11–12

11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.

 

Baptism is a human burial.  It puts our bodies in an environment that cannot sustain life.  We are buried with Him in baptism.

 

Charles Spurgeon

“While the man is indoors the passers-by do not know that he is dead; but when the funeral takes place, and he is carried through the streets, everybody knows that he is dead. This is what baptism ought to be.”

 

 

My wife is an RN, and I’ve heard her tell many stories of people who were dead and brought back to life with a respirator.  However, I’ve never heard of a person besides Jesus who was dead and buried, and was then walking around a few days later.

 

Burial certifies the reality of death and baptism is the public demonstration of that burial.

 

3. We Are Raised to New Life

 

Acts 2:24

God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.

 

Romans 6:5

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

 

1 Peter 2:24

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

 

Colossians 2:12

having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.

 

2 Corinthians 5:15, 17

15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.  17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

 

Galatians 3:26–27

26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

 

Colossians 3:9–10

Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

 

In God’s redemptive plan, burial always follows death.  Resurrection always follows burial.

 

The onus to live this new life is not on your power to perform it; it is on the power of God who gives new life.

 

Here are my two questions for you:  Have you received Christ?  Have you been baptized?

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5 Simple Steps for Men to Lead Family Devotions

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Last Sunday I taught about the need for men to serve as spiritual leaders in their homes.  One of the ways to do this is through a time of “daily family devotions.”  Basically, that means the man of the house needs to lead his family through reading the Scriptures to his family, explaining what that passage means, and praying over his family.

 

It is not as if you follow the formula of three easy steps and “POOF” you have a godly family.  Depending on the age and number of kids in your house, you’ll need to tweak and contextualize this process for your own family.

 

Here are five simple steps for men to lead their families in devotionals:

 

1. Prioritize a Specific Time

 

Your work schedule and the schedule of your wife and kids may effect what time you need to do this, but the bottom line is to set aside some time daily.  Breakfast or right before bed-time are the most typical times for this.

 

2. Determine What You’re Going to Read and Teach

 

You could choose to read through the Bible together using one of the many YouVersion plans, you could concentrate on finding examples of families in the Scriptures, or you could simply march through a book of the Bible together slowly and methodically.

 

If you’re just starting this, I encourage you to pick a book of the Bible and buy a commentary for that particular book at your local Christian bookstore.  Read through the passage you’re teaching, then read the commentary, then you’ll be ready.  It shouldn’t take long to do that.

 

3. Round Up Your Family and Remove the Distractions

 

Turn off your TVs, iPhones, iPads, computers, and every other electronic device that is a distraction.  Trust me . . . everyone can live without them for a few minutes.  This is the hardest part of the entire family devotional experience.  Doing this is like herding cats . . . especially at first.

 

4. Lead Your Family in Devotions

 

- Pray for the beginning of the devotion.  If possible, make it brief as the kids may still be wired.

- Read your biblical passage for the day/night and then explain what the passage means.  On Sundays or Mondays, it may be good to simply teach the same text/topic that I (or whoever is your pastor) taught in his Sunday morning message.  Teach from your Bible and sermon notes.  At the end of explaining that passage and/or topic, ask this question: What does this passage mean to your life?

 

5. Ask for Brief Prayer Requests

 

Ask the kids and your wife to share prayer requests.  This also opens the door to have your whole family share about their day.  This is good family communication time before solid prayer time.  If the conversation starts to devolve into random chatter, rope them back in to sharing prayer requests.  Then, journal those requests and pray over them.  A family prayer journal will be something you’ll really enjoy reading in the years and decades ahead of you.

 

Conclusion

 

Men, it is up to you to lead your families.  I hope that you’ll follow this simple process of family devotions to become the leader and family God wants you to be for His glory!

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God’s Guidance for Fractured Fathers

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Yesterday, I taught a message about “God’s Guidance for Fractured Fathers” from 2 Samuel 18:24–33.  The story of David’s life is a perfect example of poor fatherhood, and I hope you and I can learn from his mistakes.

 

The Scripture teaches David was a “Man After God’s Own Heart.”  His successes were well known—from rural shepherd—champion—king.

 

However, he also failed.  He failed to bridle his lust and committed adultery with Bathsheba, and later arranged the murder of Uriah.

 

Yet, David’s greatest failure was as a Father.  The Bible records David reaping the bitter fruit of his failure.

 

I hope you can learn with me about FIVE FATAL FLAWS OF DAVID AS A FATHER.  Take inventory of your own life and commit to succeeding rather than failing as a father.

 

1. David Failed to Follow God’s Plan

 

David married an unbeliever, a pagan “Michal.”

 

Deuteronomy 7:3, You shall not intermarry with them, [pagans] giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons,

 

David established his marriage on shaky ground.  A marriage without the dynamic of a spiritual relationship is on shaky ground from the beginning.

 

If you marry a child of the Devil you’ll have trouble with your father-in-law!  For those of you still seeking a partner for your life, if God wills you to have a spouse, here is some clear biblical advice: Be the right person and you’ll find the right person.

 

2. David Failed to Fulfill God’s Position

 

The Scriptures teach that the Father/Husband is to be the head of the house.

 

David permitted his wife and servants and babysitters to serve as the head of his household.  He never took an active role as the leader of the family.  His son had no real father figure.  David was a great leader in his monarchy, but failed his family.  He may not have abdicated his throne, but he did abdicate his home.

 

Today, many fathers have dropped out.  They turned over the reins of the family to someone else.  The earthly father in the home is to be a representative of God the father.

 

3. David Failed to Facilitate God’s Punishment

 

Another failure by David as a father is that he failed to discipline his children.  His leniency led to tragedy.

 

Amnon raped Tamar.  Absalom then took care of his sister.  However, David did nothing to punish Amnon.

 

Davis should have acted—Absalom did and murdered Amnon.  Once again, David did nothing.  This lack of discipline from David led to his son, Absalom’s continual rebellion, law-breaking, and overall rejection of authority.

 

This failure by David flies in the face of the teachings of Ephesians 6:4…

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

 

A. Be A Devoted Dad

 

Ephesians 6:4 says “do not provoke.”  Children are not to be nagged constantly.  Badgering your kids and perpetually finding fault in them is unwise and unbiblical.

 

Children are not to be discouraged by unreasonable demands.  They’re not to be crushed by harsh criticism, but are to live in an atmosphere of love.

 

Disney World ought not be the happiest place on earth; the home should be.  The father and his role as leader sets the tone of devotion and discipline to develop a culture of home as the happiest place on earth.

 

B. Be A Disciplinary Dad

 

Ephesians 6:4b, bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord

 

Proverbs 13:24, Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.

 

Proverbs 29:15, The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

 

Proverbs 22:15, Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.

 

4. David Failed to Furnish God’s Pattern

 

David did not set the proper example.  His affair with Bathsheba is an example of this.

 

Exodus 34:7, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”

 

David’s children repeated the sins of their father.  Men, if you are a drunk, your kids will more likely be drunks.  If you verbally abuse your wife, your son will be more likely to verbally abuse his wife.

 

5. David Failed to Function As God’s Priest

 

The father is to serve as the spiritual leader of the family.

 

A priest has two functions:

  • Face the Altar: Present people to God
  • Face the People: Present God to the people

 

Fathers, your number one ministry should be to your family by presenting God to your children and presenting your children to God.

 

How do you do this?

 

A. Present God to Your Children

 

Deuteronomy 6:6–7, And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

 

Dads, lead your kids to Christ!

 

B. Present Your Children to God

 

Hebrews 7:25, Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

 

We present our children to God by intercessory prayer.  How many of you are interceding for your family?  Lead your family in intentional times of prayer.

 

What we need is FATHERS who will model the word of Joshua 24:15 . . .

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

 

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Be A Faithful Church Member This Summer

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There are a lot of exciting things going on here at Church of the Highlands!  Our four summer interns start one week from Friday, and I can’t wait to introduce you to them.  Our Student Ministry’s AXIS Camp is Monday–Friday of next week, and it will be an awesome time worshiping Jesus in Myrtle Beach.  Our VBS is July 21–25 and it will be INCREDIBLE!  Also, we’re in the midst of our “Summer Well Spent” giving challenge to receive $125,000 in the 11 weeks of May 25–August 3.

 

I urge you to ponder the role you play in our church as a faithful member.  God needs you here at The Highlands and has you here for a purpose.  As your pastor, I need you, too.

 

In order to be a faithful church member, I’d love to see you doing several things, especially during these summer months:

 

  • Faithfully Pray: Pray for our community, Church of the Highlands, and for me as your pastor and our staff.  Pray for our “Greater Things” capital campaign.  Most importantly, PRAY FOR REVIVAL!
  • Faithfully Attend Church: It is easy to become too loose in skipping church and our activities in the summer-time, but I encourage you to be faithful so you can grow more in your faith.
  • Faithfully Attend A Community Group: Get plugged-in by growing deeper with Christ and others in the church by joining a Community Group.
  • Faithfully Give: Even if you’ve never given before, faithfully tithe and give over and above the tithe for special offerings.  Remember you can always give online!
  • Faithfully Serve: We are looking for VBS volunteers, Student Ministry volunteers, and some help with our homeschool ministry.  Find a place to serve, and call the church office to learn more details.

This Sunday, I’m preaching about “God’s Guidance for Fractured Fathers” from 2 Samuel 18:24-33.  Please read the text in advance and prepare your heart via prayer and meditation.  I can’t wait to see you this Sunday—Father’s Day!

 

All for Jesus,

Pastor Jeremy

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The Struggle of Comparing Yourself or Your Ministry with Others

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Next week, Southern Baptists will gather in Baltimore for their annual meeting, preceded by the SBC Pastor’s Conference.  I won’t be able to attend due to the fact that my wife is on the verge of giving birth to our second child.

 

I enjoy going to pastors’ gatherings, whether they’re focused on theology, leadership, missions, or whatever.  I do, however, struggle with something when I go to these kinds of conferences: comparing myself or my ministry with others.

 

I once heard Robert Morris preach on this subject, and took notes.  This post is a combination of my notes from Morris and my own thoughts mixed into one article.

 

1. The Situation of Comparing

 

A. It Makes You Feel Better or Worse Than Someone

Let me say it another way: You are choosing inferiority or pride.  When you compare your house to someone else’s house, you are either going to feel inferior or superior.  When you compare your job to someone else’s job, it is either worse than or better than.  If you compare your spouse to someone else’s spouse, you will come away feeling inferior or superior.

 

This is the problem of comparing.  My house is better.  My job is better.  My wife is hotter.  Or, my house is smaller.  My job is more stressful.  My wife is not as sweet.

 

B. It Makes You Angry Toward God

Look, God has everything under control, but you’re not acting like that when you compare.  You say things to the Lord like, “God, why are you blessing them, but not blessing me?”

 

You could talk with someone, and they say, “Man, this economy is crushing our business.  We’re really struggling.  How about you guys?” “No.  We’re doing pretty well.”

 

“Really?  Well, that confirms it.  That proves, God, that you don’t like me and you do like him.  That confirms some things to me.  We’re both plumbers.  He’s doing well and I’m not.  I must not read my Bible enough.  I’m not holy enough.  Because, God, your favor is more on him than on me.”

 

This produces anger and resentment toward God.  Not only do you resent God, but you resent yourself.  You say, there is something wrong with you and you hate yourself.

 

Jesus said, in Mark 12:31, to love your neighbor as yourself.  If you hate yourself, you hate your neighbor.  You can’t love your neighbor until you love yourself.  You can’t love others until you love the way that God made you.  But that’s how we are.

 

When something good happens to someone else, we often get so mad.  “Oh, really?  Your aunt died and left you $2 million?  Well, why can’t my aunt die?”  OR, when something bad happens to someone who has had a long-streak of good things going in life, we feel a little good about it.  “Really?  He was in a car wreck?  Is his face hurt?  Is it permanent?  Who wants to go to lunch?  I’m buying!”

 

C. It Gives Satan Influence in Your Life

James 3:14–16 (NIV)

14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

 

Comparison is based on the sin of envy.

 

Psalm 106 says they envied Moses and Aaron, and when they did, the earth opened up and swallowed them.

 

Mark 15 says that Pilate claimed that they delivered Jesus up for envy.

 

Right there, it shows that envy opens the door to rebellion.  When you begin to envy what someone else has, you are opening yourself up for the enemy to come in.

 

2. The Sin of Comparing

 

A. Lack of Acceptance

This is a lack of acceptance of who God made you to be.  Can I tell you something?  Nobody has the whole package.  If you see someone who is really smart, or really good-looking, they have something else wrong with them.  God doesn’t give the total package to anyone.

 

1 Corinthians 12:24–25

24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

 

Have you ever thought about this?  We, in church, can often compare ourselves with others in the church.  For example, if someone has a spiritual gift that is more in the spotlight than your spiritual gift, you could begin to think, “God loves them more than He loves me.”  That’s not true!  All of our spiritual gifts matter and are important in our church.

 

B. Lack of Identity

This is when we don’t really understand who we are in Christ.  God has a specific gift and purpose for you.

 

2 Corinthians 10:12 (NKJV)

For we dare not class ourselves [think of the classes we have, even in church] or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

 

When you compare yourself, it is unwise and not of God.  Going back to James 3:15, it is demonic.

 

As a general rule, jealousy has to do with people; envy has to do with things.  When those things come to work, James says that every evil work abounds.

 

This goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden.  Satan got Adam and Eve to compare themselves with God.  “God has something you don’t have.  If you eat this fruit, you’ll compare to God.”

 

C. Covetousness

Covetousness is selfishness and greed with a mask.  Here is another way to put it: “I want what she has.  I want her calling.  I want her anointing from God.  I want her family.  I want her husband.”  Basically, its you saying, “I want his life, because, God, I don’t like the one You gave me.  I want his wife because I don’t like the one You gave me.  I want his job because I don’t like the one You gave me.”

 

Covetousness is ingratitude at the highest level, with a fist in the face of God.

 

Colossians 3:5

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

 

You might say, “Well, how is covetousness idolatry?”  Its very simple.  An idol is anything that takes the place of God.  You look at what God gave someone else, and you want that thing more than you want God.  It becomes an idol.

 

I want that house.  Car.  Job.  Family.  That, then, becomes your idol.

 

Covetousness is what causes us to compare ourselves to other people.

 

We all want to receive blessings from God.  Could it be true that you not wanting God to bless someone else is what is stopping God from blessing you?

 

God wants to bless you, but He can’t because of your poor attitude when someone else gets blessed.  Instead of letting something rise up inside you and saying, “Why isn’t something good happening to me?” You should be the first person to encourage them and bless them for the blessing they’re receiving from God.

 

3. The Solution of Comparing

 

Romans 1:21–25

21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, [Remember that when you compare yourselves to others, you’re not wise according to 2 Corinthians 10:12] 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

 

They began to worship other things of this world and what other people had instead of what God was giving to them.  Verse 21 is where we can see the solution.

 

Romans 1:21

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

 

A. Honor / Glorify / Magnify God

When they stopped honoring God, they started to focus on others.  They transitioned from focusing on their Creator to creation, and that’s when they started to focus on satisfying the lust of their flesh.

 

Let me give you another word that may be used for “glorify” since we don’t use that word very often—MAGNIFY.  There must have been a time in your life, probably when you were a child, did you ever have one of these (hold up a magnifying glass).

 

What do these do?  They magnify.  We need to magnify God.  When you hear “glorify,” think “magnify.”  We want people to see how big He is.

 

Here is what we do, though: We magnify that guy’s jobWe make it bigger than what it really is.  We magnify his house, her family, her car.

 

When we magnify anything other than God, we are on the road to the sin of comparison.  Don’t magnify anything in your mind other than God.  When we do that, we’re in trouble.

 

I was watching a preacher on TV this past week, and I thought, “I wish I could preach as well as he.”  I caught myself comparing!

 

B. Be Thankful

You’ll never have a problem with gratefulness if you understand that nothing you have is deserved.  If you start to be more and more grateful, you will stop comparing yourself so much with others.

 

A lack of thankfulness opens the door to all kinds of evil in our lives.  A lack of thankfulness becomes habitual.  So, therefore, thankfulness is a habit.

 

C. Renew Your Mind

Colossians 3:2

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

 

Conclusion

We started this message by looking at Jesus’ conversation with Peter, and Peter looked at John and said, “Well, what about him?  Give John some bad news, too.”

 

I think Peter completely overcame his struggles with comparison.  Right before he dies, according to 2 Peter, as he was on his way to Rome, and he says, “I’m going to die the way Jesus said I was going to die.”

 

We know Peter died between A.D. 67–68, so he knew this truth from Jesus for over 30 years.  Now, the Bible doesn’t say this, but there are three historical documents that note that Peter was crucified upside down.  He said, “I’m not worthy to die in the manner our Lord died.”

 

Even in his death, he did not want to be compared to Jesus.  He said, “Don’t compare me.  I don’t compare.”

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The Kinds of People We Want to Come to Church of the Highlands

Posted on by Jeremy Roberts in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

At Church of the Highlands, everyone is welcome to learn about Jesus, receive Jesus as their God, then experience the joy that only Jesus gives.

We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, filthy rich, dirt poor, yo no habla Ingles. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying new-borns, skinny as a rail or could afford to lose a few pounds.

We welcome you if you can sing like Andrea Bocelli or like our pastor who can’t carry a note in a bucket. You’re welcome here if you’re “just browsing,” just woke up or just got out of jail. We don’t care if you’re more Catholic than the Pope, or haven’t been in church since little Joey’s Baptism.

We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome soccer moms, NASCAR dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems or you’re down in the dumps or if you don’t like “organized religion,” we’ve been there too.

If you blew all your offering money at the dog track, you’re welcome here. We offer a special welcome to those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, don’t work, can’t spell, or because grandma is in town and wanted to go to church.

We welcome those who are inked, pierced or both. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down your throat as a kid or got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake. We welcome tourists, seekers and doubters, bleeding hearts … and you!

(Most Portions of this welcome message are from Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Daytona, FL.)

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