The Truth about Adoption

Truth Book of James

James 1:27-2:1: “Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained from the world. My brothers and sisters, do not show favoritism as you hold on to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.”

In this passage, James is saying that part of believing and embracing the love of Jesus is that we are automatically going to have a desire to extend that love to others.

3 Aspects of Adoption 

  1. Adoption’s History
    It is important to understand that the people who first read the words of James lived on a different continent, spoke a different language, and had different norms and practices from us.
  1. Adoption’s Significance
  • Adoption is one of those incredible pictures God has given us in family life that helps us understand what He has done for us and how He sees us.
  • God doesn’t just save us, but He takes us into His family as children and heirs (J.I. Packer)
  • If you have placed your faith in Jesus, God has not only said that you are forgiven. He has also said, “I love you. You are my child, and I want you to share in my inheritance.”
  1. Adoption’s Response
  • Respond by extending love to those who feel disconnected from the love of God
  • Respond in a direct way by literally caring for orphans
  • Respond by really embracing the adoption that we have received in Jesus Christ

Be encouraged today that we are co-heirs with Christ and our position as adopted sons and daughters of the living God of heaven is unshakable and irrevocable.

Discussion Questions

  1. Even though we have faith in Jesus, why do we sometimes show favoritism?
  2. How do you know that God loves you?
  3. Why do we struggle to believe and accept God’s love for us?
  4. How do we extend love to those who feel disconnected from the love of God?
  5. How is God calling you to have a role in adoption?

Politics and the Christian

Scripture Passage: Mark 12:13-17

Mark tells the story of an occasion when the Pharisees and the Herodians tried to get Jesus to align with a political system. Rather than giving them the answer they wanted, Jesus challenged them to render to Caesar what belonged to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.

As Christians we should keep in mind three things when considering the political landscape and how to engage with those with whom we disagree. As we engage with others when should demonstrate humility and listen to others.

Three Rules for Political Activity as a Christian

1. Acknowledge the complexity of political issues.
We cannot pledge allegiance to a political party.
There are often many issues we all care deeply about.
We must listen to other people and their perspective.

2. Don’t worship the government.
The government is not responsible to uphold our faith.
There is no perfect political candidate.

3. Remember your King.
Jesus is King, not a political candidate.
Our greatest need is not an external need, it is internal and only solvable by our King.

Think About It
• Have you ever thought about the complexity of political issues? How can you better grow in understanding of those complexities?

• Have you ever found yourself indirectly worshiping the government or a political candidate as the solution to problems?

• Which kingdom keeps you awake at night and do you talk most about?

• How well do you listen to other Christ followers with different views? How can you better respect and love those who may see differently on political issues?

Jesus and the End Times

Scripture Passage: Matthew 24

According to the Scriptures, Christ will return. Prophecy is an often talked about topic and often looked at incorrectly.

When is the return of Christ? This is a question we all would like to have answered.

When will He return?  Scripture doesn’t tell us the day but it does give us some signs that point us to the return of Christ.

The Bible points of signs that indicate the season of Christ’s return.

  1. Cults | There have always been cults that easily deceive people and turn them away from Christ. The explosion of cults has taken place in the 20th Century.
  2. World Politics | Wars and Rumors of wars. Kingdom against Kingdom. During the 20th Century over 100 million people have died in wars.
  3. Natural Disasters | The Bible says there will be earthquakes, famine, floods, plaques. These have happened for years but the intensity has increased year after year.
  4. Christian Persecution | over 200,000 people annually suffer for their faith in Christ. Persecution of Christians is rampant around the world.
  5. Apostasy | The church is declining around the world. Never would we have thought that churches would accept homosexual ministers, same sex marriages.
  6. Breakdown of Society | America has become the moral polluter of the world. For example the movie “Gone with the Wind” was held up because the movie had a curse word in it. Recently a movie from Hollywood, “The Wolf of Wall Street” has one particular curse word 506 Times!
  7. Proclamation of the Gospel | Finally some good news. In all the horrific signs of His coming there will be the proclamation of the Gospel. Never before has the Gospel been proclaimed to so many people. Over 90% of all the people in the world have access to the Bible in their language.

He is coming again!  Are you ready?

The Truth About Mercy

Truth Book of James

Scripture Passage: James 2:8-12

We each receive an invitation from God to have a personal relationship with Him. Pastor Ryan spoke from James 2:8-12 about some reasons people don’t accept this invitation.

1. “I don’t trust the source.” – Is the Bible true? The reliability of the Bible is proven true over and over. We are encouraged to do some homework on our own to understand how we know it is true.

2. “I don’t need a Savior.” – People often think they are “good enough” on their own. Verse 10 and I John 3:4 make it clear that even one sin is enough to separate us from a holy God. So what is sin?

  • Breaking God’s Law
  • Not Doing What You Should Be Doing (Omission)
  • Not Living By Faith
  • Our Lack of Belief

3. “I’m not worried about God’s judgement” – All sin requires punishment. God IS a loving God and He offers mercy to everyone, but we must choose to accept it.

4. “I’m not worthy of God’s love.” – Verse 13 tells us that mercy triumphs over judgment. God loves us no matter what we’ve done.

Salvation and freedom from sin are free gifts God offers each of us. Have you accepted his grace, mercy and forgiveness?

Discussion:

  • Share your salvation story.
  • Can you think of any other reasons people might turn away from God?

The Truth about Temper

Truth Book of James

Scripture Passage: James 1:19-20

An NBC News poll conducted recently among a national sample of 3,257 indicated that Americans are basically all furious about something. 68% of us are either angry once a day or multiple times a day.

Were you furious about something this week? Did you lose your temper or hold it in? Have you had an argument with someone more than once in the last month? The reality is that all of us deal with anger. Today’s Bible passage shows us how to deal with conflict and anger in a healthy way.

1. Attentive Listening

Am I giving my full attention? Even when we are multi-tasking we can still only devote our full attention to one thing at a time.
Am I seeking the whole story? If we take the time to really hear where others are coming from, you’ll have more credibility when you bring your thoughts to the table.

2. Responsive Speaking

Ryan and his wife Lana shared “The Seven C’s” to keep in mind when dealing with conflict:

  • Don’t Confuse – Address one issue at a time
  • Don’t Compare – “Why can’t you be like ____?”
  • Don’t Condemn – Beware of absolutes like “You always…” or “You never…”
  • Don’t Command – Don’t end by force
  • Don’t Condescend – Passive aggressive comments just provoke
  • Don’t Challenge
    • “Just try that and see what happens!”
    • “I Dare You!”
    • “I’ll show you what a bad husband looks like!”
  • Don’t Continue
    • Don’t burry hurts (showing avoidance)
    • Don’t store up hurts to bring up later

3. Honest Assessment

We do in reality have the ability to limit our anger, but often the solution is more than just faking that we’re not mad. When we allow God to search our hearts, we will often find some deeper underlying stresses or hurts that are expressing themselves in anger.

Discussion Questions:

  • Describe how you felt the last time you were speaking with someone and it felt like they weren’t listening.
  • Which one of “The Seven C’s” do you struggle with the most?
  • Share a time when God has healed a wound or hurt in your life and how it affected your interaction with others.

The Truth about the Truth

Truth Book of James

Scripture Passage: James 1:21-25

This morning, we continued our James study by looking at James 1:21-25. Pastor Rush stated, “For all of life, there are right ways and wrong ways to use things. To make the most of what you have you need to use it the right way. Otherwise you’re missing out on the total benefits and may even find yourself getting frustrated because something isn’t working quite right. “

Here were three ways we can become not just a hearer of the Word, but a doer of the Word.

  1. “Put On” the Word (“Take Off” the World)

James calls us to take off the old sinful ways – those “nasty clothes” – and clothe ourselves with Jesus. Pastor Rush said, “the only way we can recognize those old ways is through the truth of the Word.”

  1. “Take In” the Word

The Bible is like food. Again, Pastor Rush stated, “If we are going to be doers of the Word we have got to start seeing this as our source of life. That if we go without consuming this food we are going to starve. This is not just the vegetables I need to eat cause they’re good for me. This is a full course Banquet meal.”What this means is we must meditate on God’s Word, bring it into our hears and consume it.

  1. “Live Out” the Word

It’s interesting that James uses the analogy of the “mirror” in this passage. Pastor Rush mentioned, “So now James brings in this image of a mirror where we see our reflection. But this mirror of God’s word works differently than a regular mirror. We don’t just see our reflection as we ARE – we also see our refection as we SHOULD BE. The Bible has the power to do both at the same time. If you treat the Bible correctly, not only will you read the Bible; the Bible will read you!”

Let’s not make it a “hobby” to simply listen to sermons or read God’s Word and have no intention of being a doer of God’s Word.

Discussion Questions:

  • What about today’s sermon from Pastor Rush stuck out to you?
  • Which of the three points from today’s message is most difficult for you to do? Why?
  • What does salvation have to do with this passage in James? Why did James talk about salvation in this passage? Is there anything you need to be reminded of regarding your salvation?
  • Would you say you lean more towards being a hearer of the Word only or a more towards being an actual doer of the Word? Why?
  • What is one small step you can take today to become more of a doer of God’s Word than just a hearer?

The Un-Bold Servant

Scripture Passage: Mathew 25:14-30

The Parable of the Talents is among the most well-known of Jesus’ parables. The parable can also be regarded as a story about a man who lacked boldness. The kingdom of God needs people who are bold and fearless when God says to advance.

In this parable, a rich master entrusted his servants with financial resources to invest while he was away. However, instead of investing these resources, the servant who received one talent dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. He demonstrated fear and a lack of boldness.

God is calling for boldness. Therefore we must understand the factors that determine the measure of our boldness.

1. My Understanding of Biblical Boldness



Boldness is the confidence to act on God’s promises, maximizing the gifts that have been entrusted to us for His glory. Two of the three servants in the parable demonstrated this kind of boldness.

2. My Confidence in the Master’s Character

The servant who buried his talent believed a lie about his master. He believed the lie that his master was a harsh man. When we believe the wrong things about God, we are more likely to act in fear and not in faith.

3. My Anticipation of the Master’s Return

While the master was away, two of the three servants invested the resources entrusted to them in such a way that they would please their master upon his return. We are to live the same way — boldly investing the talents God has entrusted to us in order to advance His kingdom and bring Him glory.



4. My Comprehension of His Calling

The servant who lacked boldness was busy doing the wrong things while his master was away. His calling was to invest his master’s money, something he failed to do.

Think About It and Talk About It



• If you knew that Christ was going to return before the end of this year, what would you do differently?



• If you knew you could not fail, what bold thing would you attempt for Jesus?

The Timing of God’s Kingdom

Esther

Scripture Passage: Esther 8

Today Pastor Ryan continued to look at the story of Esther and how God is at work in what seems like coincidence. God’s timing in the book of Esther is perfect. In the same way, God’s timing in our lives is perfect and He has us exactly where he wants us when He wants it.

God’s timing is trustworthy and we see that from two principles in Esther.

  1. God conquers the coincidental.
  • God is working in coincidences if we have spiritual eyes to see.
  • Looking back in our lives there are many moments that we may label as coincidence that is God working in our live.
  1. God overturns the irreversible.
  • God overturns impossible situations that may seem like they have no hope.
  • God may put you in an impossible situation to lead others to the God who is getting you through it.

We closed with looking at three circles we have in our lives.

  1. Context–This is where God has placed you in your life
  2. Circumstances–These are positive experiences, crisis, clarity from God, seasons of searching and other situations.
  3. Calling–This is unique calling and talents that God has given you and placed in your life

These circles lead us to divine appointments. God has led you to this context with these circumstances in your calling for such a time as this.

Questions:

  • How do we put on spiritual eyes to see God’s working in coincidence?
  • What are somethings that you have labeled as coincidence when God has been at work?
  • Have you ever thought a problem was too far gone to fix? When?
  • Has God ever brought you through a problem that you thought was too far gone? How did He work?
  • Spend some time thinking about your context, circumstances, and calling. What divine appointments are in front of you in your life?

Bible Truths About Same-Sex Attraction

Scripture Passage: 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Kingsland goes to many of the geographically “hard places” when it comes to missions. We are also willing to go to the “hard places” philosophically as well. The topic of same-sex attraction is one of those hard places. When it comes to this topic, some churches are so weighted on the side of truth that they express hatred. Others are so weighted on the side of grace that they forsake biblical teaching.

Forgotten Truths About Same Sex Relationships

1. Same sex attraction or gender confusion will not send you to hell anymore than heterosexuality or gender certainty will send you to heaven. 

Paul exhorted the Corinthian Christians to not continue to embrace the things they did before coming to faint in Christ. Jesus talked about denying ourselves in order to follow Him — and that includes the things Paul wrote about, including our ideas, ambitions, dreams, and even our sexuality.

2. Homosexuality goes against God’s plan. Homosexuality is mentioned eight times in the Scriptures (four in each testament), and lesbianism (homosexuality between females) one time. In no instance is it commended. It is always described as wrong and unnatural.

3. Each of us, regardless of our background or sexual preference, are invited to be transformed by Jesus. There are many situations where we can buy into the lie that we cannot change. 1 Corinthians 6:11 tells us otherwise — “And some of you used to be like this!” So some of those who had been redeemed, who were a part of the Body of Christ, used to be involved in same-sex relationships.

We have the best news on earth for anyone who is missing out on God’s design for their lives in any shape or fashion. Jesus transforms lives. Kingsland should be the safest place on earth to open up about feelings of same-sex attraction. We won’t win any popularity contests by saying that there’s a better way, but we’ll honor God by loving people and speaking the truth in love.

Mother’s Day Lessons from Mary and Martha

Scripture Passage: Luke 10:38-42

Every mother has a profound level of influence – and many moms are at times overwhelmed with the task of raising a family. The Bible gives us insight into how moms, and each of us, can navigate a busy existence.

The story of Martha and her sister Mary gives us insight into how to live a balanced life.



Lessons from Martha —

1. Anxiety | When Jesus visited her home, Martha was pulled in many directions. She was overwhelmed by preparations.

2. Irritability | Martha was visibly upset, especially because she wanted help from her sister, Mary.

3. Despair | Preoccupation with and anxiety over preparations can easily lead to despair because things might not get done.

Lessons from Mary —

1. Posture | Mary sat at the feet of Jesus when He visited her home. She submitted to His authority and sought to listen and to learn from Him.

2. Priority | Mary made it a priority to sit at Jesus’ feet. Priorities are the things we say yes to at the expense of other things which we say no to. People mistakenly think that their priorities are the things that they think are most important. Our priorities are actually the things we do!

3. Time | There is no substitute for time spent in the Lord’s presence with no interruptions. Mary found focused time to submit her mind intellectually to the Word of God.

Truths from the Word of God for mothers —

• You are blessed and surrounded by God’s favor (Psalm 5:12).

• You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).

• The Lord delights in you and He quiets you with His love and rejoices over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).

• You are God’s treasured possession (Deuteronomy 7:6).

• You have been called out of darkness and into God’s wonderful light to praise Him (1 Peter 2:9).

• God has lavished His great love on you and you are His daughter (1John 3:1)