2nd Kings 5:1-16

1 Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favor, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper. 2 Now the Syrians on one of their raids had carried off a little girl from the land of Israel, and she worked in the service of Naaman’s wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”

4 So Naaman went in and told his lord, “Thus and so spoke the girl from the land of Israel.” 5 And the king of Syria said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.”

So he went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing. 6 And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you Naaman my servant, that you may cure him of his leprosy.”

7 And when the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Only consider, and see how he is seeking a quarrel with me.”

8 But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come now to me, that he may know that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9 So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.”

11 But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage.

13 But his servants came near and said to him, “My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14 So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

15 Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and he came and stood before him. And he said, “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel; so accept now a present from your servant.” 16 But he said, “As the Lord lives, before whom I stand, I will receive none.” And he urged him to take it, but he refused.

1 Thessalonians 5:14-18

Paul writing on behalf of the leadership group he is part of (the whole letter is from the plural) to the body that is the local church in Thessalonica. This passage near the end of the letter, is a guide to some basics of how we are to live as Jesus Christ’s body; the local church known as Midtown Church.

This morning let it serve to encourage us to a lifestyle that glorifies God as members of Christ’s body, the local church.

14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.

  • What is the warning and why do we bother?
  • You can’t encourage someone who is disheartened if you don’t know they are hurting
  • The weak need to be real that they need help, admitting they are that they are weak
    • Romans 12:3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
  • ‘Making Sure’ This should be an agreed upon cultural norm: NO responding to evil with evil
  • With in the family / body we do what is best for individuals AND the whole body

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

  • We are to live with joy! How do we do that? Big picture we live surrendered lives to Christ
  • To do that WE PRACTICE!
  • Practicing always being Joyful
  • Practicing continuous Prayer
  • Practicing being thankful no matter what
  • This is how we are to BE as members of Christ’s body

I encourage you to serve our body in ways that create harmony, not disruption. I encourage you to get emotionally involved in the life of you fellow body parts, patiently helping those you can. I encourage you to not respond to wrong with more wrong but rather to seek what is good for everyone, thinking of the good of the entire family that is the membership of Midtown church!

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Biblical Church Culture

This is document meant to synopsize aspects of The Old and New Testament Scriptures as they pertain to the current church age and to specific bodies of Christ. Our desire here at Midtown Church is to have a Biblical Church Culture, and by culture I mean concrete actions, lifestyle, practices; what we actually do, not ideas, theories or intentions. (Culture does not consist of ‘intentions’, it consists of action, deeds, relationships, practices, habits, rituals, and words spoken face to face) These paragraphs communicate standards, values and practices that are expressed in norms and values and behaviors that mark our ‘Biblical Church Culture’.


Having surrendered our lives to God’s grace as followers of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and having been publicly baptized as a testimony of our love and submission to Him, we, the members of Midtown Church, purposefully and joyfully enter into this covenant with one another, affirming our God-given leadership, in common unity as a family in the Lord. Together before Christ Our Lord, God The Father and The Holy Spirit, as members of Midtown Church we covenant:

  • ‘Christ-Given Unity’
  • A surrendered life is a prerequisite, each member’s response to God’s Grace
  • Baptism is a common declaration
  • We covenant together by choice with purpose and joy
  • In submission to Christ we submit to HIS body
  • John 17 / Ephesians 4 / Philippians 1

Article 1:

Together before Christ Our Lord, God The Father and The Holy Spirit, as members of Midtown Church we covenant: To affirm by action, word, presence and heart, The Midtown Church Statement of Belief. And in unity of belief we will identify as ‘Life-long Disciples of Jesus Christ’ and actively pursue sanctification.

  • ‘Body Member Identity’
  • Our complete agreement on the ‘Biblical Essentials’ found in our Statement of Belief
  • The identity of a disciple means it permeates every aspect of your life (Goal)
  • The active pursuit of sanctification requires showing up and growing
  • John 13 / John 17

Article 2

Together before Christ Our Lord, God The Father and The Holy Spirit, as members of Midtown Church we covenant: To live out our valuing of the gatherings of this body by our consistent attendance in our Sunday Activities as well as other gathering prioritized by the Leadership, fully participating in the discipleship journey of our church body, including mentoring and small groups.

  • ‘Body Presence’
  • 1st you value being here by prioritizing it in your life, then you live that out
  • Sunday matters! Members of Christ’s body figure out how to be here
  • Gatherings prioritized by the leadership means the stuff we are all doing together
  • Hebrews 10 / Romans 12 / Psalm 133

Article 3

Together before Christ Our Lord, God The Father and The Holy Spirit, as members of Midtown Church we covenant: To Biblically practice the sacraments of Immersion Baptism and The Lord’s Supper. To be dedicated to the prayerful, consistent study and application of God’s Word, and the Spirit-Led praying for others and ourselves.

  • ‘Common Basics’
  • Immersion Baptism: Jesus did it, each of us should do it.
  • The Lord’s Supper: Jesus commanded we do this every time
  • Matthew 3 / Mark 1 / Luke 3 / Acts 2
  • Matthew 26 / Mark 14 / Luke 22 / John
  • 1st Corinthians 11 / Ephesians 6 / 2nd Timothy 3

Article 4

Together before Christ Our Lord, God The Father and The Holy Spirit, as members of Midtown Church we covenant: To prioritize being a part of communicating the Biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ in humble cooperation with God’s Spirit in every sphere of our lives.

  • ‘Shared Purpose’
  • We exist to be the ongoing presence of Jesus Christ
  • ‘Holistic Gospel Declaration’…
  • Spirit led living
  • Matthew 10 / Luke 4 / Acts 5, 8, 9 & 17 / Romans 15 / Colossians 4
  • Jeremiah (19 references…) 20:9 ‘God’s Word is a fire, I can’t keep in me’

Article 5

Together before Christ Our Lord, God The Father and The Holy Spirit, as members of Midtown Church we covenant: To practice with our actions, words and attitudes, loving other members by considering others’ needs and perspectives more important than our own, following Christ’s example.

  • ‘Consideration’
  • The practice of caring for people, consistently matching intention with action
  • We will never consider other member’s needs if we don’t know the other members
  • Christ put the needs of the members of His Body before His own needs
  • Philippians 2 / Romans 12:3 / James 4 / Deuteronomy 8

Article 6

Together before Christ Our Lord, God The Father and The Holy Spirit, as members of Midtown Church we covenant: To pursue intimacy in our relationships with other church members, living all of our lives together in brotherly/sisterly love as exemplified in Scripture. To value and practice transparency and openness in our relationship together.

  • ‘Relational Health’
  • The ‘One Anothers’ of Scripture
  • Transparency and openness requires equal commitment and shared sacrifice
  • Healthy relational intimacy comes from real unity of action, belief and attitude
  • Intimacy takes time and trust (Consistent demonstration of commitment)
  • John 13:34-35 / Romans 12 & 13 / 2nd Corinthians 13 / 1st Peter 3

Article 7

Together before Christ Our Lord, God The Father and The Holy Spirit, as members of Midtown Church we covenant: To exercise ‘Spirit-Given Tender Care’ for each other, with the goal of faithfully encouraging, instructing, and admonishing one another in truth and love; guided by The Spirit through The Scriptures. Going out of our way to be slow to take offense, quick to reconcile, sharing burdens and joys with tangible humility and love.

  • ‘Biblical Conflict Resolution’
  • God’s principals for interpersonal issues
  • Recognition of our shared identity and condition
  • We need Jesus to teach us how to encourage, admonish and instruct in healthy way
  • Giving up our rights to everything as Jesus’ disciples, we should be hard to offend
  • Tangible humility and love is the way of Christ / our honoring of HIM
  • Ephesians 4 / 1st Thess. 4 / Hebrews 10 / 1st Peter 1 / 1st John 4

Article 8

Together before Christ Our Lord, God The Father and The Holy Spirit, as members of Midtown Church we covenant: To generously and consistently give financially to the general fund of Midtown Church, as well as to approved designated budget items, based on Scripture and an informed understanding of Body Undertakings.

  • ‘United Generosity’
  • 10% of your net income is a good starting place, give it to your church body
  • In unity we agree how everyone’s shared sacrifice will be used (no ‘pet’ giving)
  • We agree to be informed about what the financial priorities of the church are
  • 1st Corinthians 16 / Malachi 3 / Mark 12 / Luke 20

Article 9

Together before Christ Our Lord, God The Father and The Holy Spirit, as members of Midtown Church we covenant: To serve the church body and our neighbors in humble and repentant representation of Our Lord Jesus Christ, informed by Scripture and empowered by The Holy Spirit who indwells us equally.

  • ‘Servant Attitude’
  • The opposite of demanding and entitled
  • We all serve each other in The Body because we are all vessels of God’s Spirit
  • We don’t serve from our own resources; rather we are empowered by God’s Spirit
  • Philippians 2 / John 13 / 1st Peter 4 / 2nd Corinthians 5 & 8

Article 10

Together before Christ Our Lord, God The Father and The Holy Spirit, as members of Midtown Church we covenant: To actively work together (collaborate with and encourage fellow members) to advance Christ-centered ministry in our church and other Christ Affirming Entities for the purpose of identifying and cultivating our spiritual gifts as we discover and practice them.

  • ‘Body Ministry’
  • There is no ‘My Ministry’ only ‘Our Ministry’ or Christ’s Ministry or Church ministry
  • The use of the gifts God has given us is not optional,
  • Matthew 25; the parable of the talents / Hebrews 13 / Ephesians 2 / Ephesians 4

Article 11

Together before Christ Our Lord, God The Father and The Holy Spirit, as members of Midtown Church we covenant: To submit in unity to the authority of The Midtown Church Body, as led by Our Elder Team, in all matters that are Biblical, align with our Statement of Belief, Our Church Constitution, By-Laws and this Covenant.

  • ‘Biblical Leadership’
  • Biblically Qualified Elders & Deacons
  • The Authority is held by the Body, exercised by and through the Elders
  • We each submit to the body as we submit to Christ
  • Ephesians 5 / Hebrews 13 / Luke 22 / Hebrews 13

Article 12

Together before Christ Our Lord, God The Father and The Holy Spirit, as members of Midtown Church we covenant: To respectfully question in reverent order, all matters and practices of the church that are not being led in accordance with Scripture, our Statement of Belief, Our Constitution, By-Laws and this Covenant.

  • ‘Biblical Accountability’
  • The leadership of the church is accountable to members
  • The Body is responsible to ensure the leadership is doing what we have agreed to
  • 1st Timothy 5 / Acts 15 / 1st Corinthians 1


Our membership covenant is a synopsis of our Biblical Church Culture. It is a summary of God’s Word pertaining to the function of Christ’s Body. It is what we agree to do together as Jesus Christ’s church, standards, beliefs, norms, attitudes and practices. The more Biblical our church culture, the more God is glorified!


Learn the Covenant and the Scripture behind it, work through any questions you have and then practice the actions and attitudes prescribed by it.

Discipleship Is Looking For God

We continue to celebrate Jesus’ Birth, and I want to encourage you to look at this coming year through the lens of Christ. What this means is putting Christ in the foreground of you view so you do things with Him in view. If we live with a continuous view of who Christ really is our future will be bright. Christ came to be the light of revelation for all the nations. This text gives us two big ideas as to how we are to biblically follow Christ. Being on the lookout for what God is doing. Being obedient while being on the lookout. 4 examples of how we are to be as followers / disciples of Christ: Joseph, Mary, Simeon and Anna.

Matthew 2:21-40

21 Eight days later, when the baby was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel even before he was conceived. 22 Then it was time for their purification offering, as required by the law of Moses after the birth of a child; so his parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.

  • Named & Circumcised on the 8th day (today is the 8th day…imagine)
  • 41 days from birth they take the 10 mile walk from Bethlehem to Jerusalem
  • Star is still up there…they just do the next thing they know they should do
  • The way they looked to the future is by letting God continue to lead

23 The law of the Lord says, “If a woman’s first child is a boy, he must be dedicated to the Lord.” 24 So they offered the sacrifice required in the law of the Lord—“either a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

  • This is an example of a clear command from God and a timely obedience to it
  • They saw something special was going on but didn’t seek special treatment

25 At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him 26 and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.

  • Scripture gives this man high praise
  • Not just waiting but eagerly awaiting…
  • God promised him he would see the Messiah before he died

27 That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, 28 Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying, 29 “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. 30 I have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared for all people. 32 He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”

  • Divine Appointments: They happen when you are looking for the Messiah
  • Holy Spirit Guidance (Simeon) and Basic Obedience (Mary & Joseph)
  • Simeon recognizes Messiah because of his consistent walking with the Lord
  • He knows that this baby is going to be the salvation of all nations
  • He is the light that will help everyone see God!
  • Total Recognition of four Spiritual Realities
  • Jesus IS God’s salvation
  • God gives Christ to all kinds of people
  • Jesus is A Revelation of what God is all about
  • Jesus is EVERYTHING to God’s people, the Spiritual Israel

Living In Light of Christ means you are on the lookout for what God is doing
33 Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. 35 As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”

  • 1st the shepherds now this…
  • Simeon blesses them then makes the pronouncement to Mary:
  • This child will define who rises and who falls
  • Even though He is a sign from God He will face much opposition
  • He will cause many to get real, but all of that reality will be painful for Mary

36 Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. 37 Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four.

  • She is called a Prophet where Simeon is not…
  • She had lived a lifetime of devotion (Set Apart)
  • Made the most of her situation & trusted God had her where He wanted her

She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. 38 She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.

  • She was persistent in her pursuit of God, an example of Spiritual Consistency
  • She lived in God’s presence looking for what HE was doing
  • When she saw God at work she told others who were intentionally seeking

39 When Jesus’ parents had fulfilled all the requirements of the law of the Lord, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. 40 There the child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was on him.

  • They knew what was expected of them and they did it!
  • That is what God expects from us: once we know what He wants, we do it!

Four people looking for God

Four people with incomplete pictures of what God is doing

Four people willing to do what it takes to see God

In your life as a disciple we can be like the examples given in Scripture

Application Suggestions:

Be like Mary & Joseph; while the info is still making sense, focus on obedience.

Be like Simeon: when you know what God wants, be on the lookout for the how, where and when.

Be like Anna, when you know how, where & when to be for God, be on the lookout for what.

Be on the lookout for The Spirit’s scheduling of ‘Divine Appointments’.

Be persistent in your looking for God and His revelation

These are Be-Attitudes of Christ’s Disciples

Matthew 2:1-18

1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, 2 “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”

3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet: 6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; for from you will come forth a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’”

7 Then Herod secretly called for the magi and determined from them the exact ]time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.”

9 After hearing the king, they went on their way; and behold, the star, which they had seen in the east, went on ahead of them until it came to a stop over the place where the Child was to be found. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.

11 And after they came into the house, they saw the Child with His mother Mary; and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And after being warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way.

13 Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to kill Him.” 14 So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt. 15 He stayed there until the death of Herod; this happened so that what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet would be fulfilled: “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”

16 Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent men and killed all the boys who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi. 17 Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: 18 “A voice was heard in Ramah, Weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; And she refused to be comforted, Because they were no more.”


• It would have been so hard to make something fit as perfectly as it does. This chapter has 4 of the over 300 prophecies Jesus fulfills.

• In the Mormon bible, Joseph smith had to write additional verses at the end of chapter 50, at the end of genesis. He could not find ripe prophecy for the taking, to be interpreted to predict him.

• The reason this is important, is there are more prophecies in the Bible that have not yet been fulfilled. Christ says he is coming back. Much like Herod back then, Satan is not a legitimate king. Satan is troubled, because his dominion over this earth and over us has come to an end.

• The announcement of Jesus as foretold hundreds and even thousands of years ahead of time, gives us confidence in the words of God.

• We can be Herod and all of Jerusalem. Or we can be the magi.

• Jerusalem was perfectly content to sit around and ignore what God was doing around them. They averted their eyes from the star above because it was in their short-term best interest.

• Herod could have gone with the Magi, instead of paying lip service. The bible does not tell us of anyone who goes with them.

• The wise men were seekers, looking for the truth. They went to great lengths, sacrificing earthy possessions and a great deal of time. And when they found the Christ, they fell to the ground and worshiped.

• It did not matter that the magi were foreigners. They were not the religious leaders of the day; they were not Gods chosen people. They were far away from God, but God drew them to Him.

• When David was running from King Saul, his followers consisted of similar outsiders

• 1 Samuel 22:2 “And everyone who was in distress and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul gathered to him”

• David gathered the downtrodden, the rejects, and built-up a following. 1,000 years later Jesus would do the same thing, the religious establishment was content, already worshiping themselves and their wicked ways, they refused to look up, or make a 6-mile journey to Bethlehem.

• Sometimes we can feel like Jerusalem, thinking we’re on the inside of God’s plan. It can be easy to think of ourselves as a pretty good person who was raised in a Christian home, that we go to church, have religious friends. God shows us that isn’t enough.

• Make the trip to Bethlehem. Give what you have, and fall down before him.

Ways we can apply this text

• When God reveals himself, take time a figure out what he’s telling you.

• There is tension between taking time to listen, and to act when he tells you!

• Drawing near to God and serving Him takes obedience and sacrifice

• Study the Old Testament, it will enrich our understanding of who God is and what He has done.

Isaiah 9:6-7

For a Child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace. On the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness, from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of armies will accomplish this.

Advent: Hope, Peace, Joy & Love. It is all about God glory, and this is part of the back story… We celebrate the Advent of Glory, God’s ultimate glory: JESUS CHRIST!

Living this life for God based on who HE IS, not circumstances

The story of this glory is full of revelation about God and about US! The Biblical narrative is about the preparation that went into the preparation for the advent of our Lord! This greatest of all stories has quite a back story, we refer to it as the Hebrew Scriptures or The Old Testament. The back story has lessons for us if we desire to be used by God for HIS glory. Part of our celebration of Advent and Christmas is learning about God and about ourselves. The back story of God’s ultimate glory is all about humble people who believed God was who HE says HE is. That is who Zach and Beth were…

Luke 1:5-25 & 39-45

5 In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6 Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. 7 But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.

  • They were righteous in God’s sight yet childless
  • The culture at that time saw children as a blessing from God
  • Since they had no child their neighbors would view them as disobedient to God

8 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.

  • Priests lived all over Israel and would travel to Jerusalem to serve a period
  • A group would serve for a week and some would get to do special things
  • Worship and prayer took place durning the ceremony of burning incense
  • Incense symbolized the prayers and praise going up to God (pleasing aroma)

11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.

  • We can’t comprehend what it is like to see an Angel (it always causes fear)
  • There is a difference between feeling afraid and BEING afraid
  • More than 200 times in scripture God says: ‘Do not be afraid’
  • A child, and specifically a son, must have been a focus of Zach’s prayer life
  • The answered prayer will be a great joy for Zach & Beth that many will share in
  • The child that the Angel is foretelling will be great in the sight of the Lord
  • Notice the distinction between being great to people & being great to God
  • Jesus confirms his cousin John’s status in Luke 7:28
    • I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

  • Aspects of the Nazarite Vow regarding alcoholic beverages
  • Filled with the Holy Spirit even while still in the womb (must be a person)
  • We will explore this term ‘Filled with The Holy Spirit’ later in the text
  • He will lead Jews to reconnect with God (lots of disconnection is present)
  • He is to set the stage for the coming of the Lord
  • How to find God: Gratitude for what HE gives & desiring HIS wisdom
  • These 2 PRACTICES (giving God gratitude & seeking God’s wisdom) Biblical paths to God

18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” 19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

  • Zacheriah asks the question we all ask: ‘How can I be sure of this’
  • This is an expression of our desire for control
  • Even those who are righteous in God’s sight can doubt revelation from God
  • Gabe says: Look I am an Archangel, I hang with God and do HIS business
  • You can be sure of what I tell you because I am a projection of God’s will
  • As a lesson, Zach is struck speechless until the birth of the child
  • My guess is that he never doubted God again…or maybe he did (only human)

21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.

  • The people gather at the temple for these daily sacrifices.
  • The incense burning only took a couple minutes, what was the hold up?
  • He was able to communicate that something had happened with gestures
  • Why is Zach disciplined and yet Mary will not be?

23 When his time of service was completed, he returned home. 24 After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. 25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”

  • Once he is reunited with Beth they conceive
  • Perhaps she thinks she is pregnant but waits to be sure (no ultrasound)
  • It is a good practice to be sure of what God is doing before we declare it
  • Beth recognizes that God has in this act declared HIS favor for Zach & Beth
  • Since the disgrace was removed that means it must have been there
  • People had judged what God thought of Zach & Beth based on circumstances
  • People who serve God suffer; it is part of the deal
  • Their years of suffering through childlessness prepared them for this

Then Gabriel visits Mary (Luke 26-38)

Guess what Mary, you are going to give birth to God!!!

You will have a child even though you are a virgin, even your relative Beth (cousin or aunt) who was thought to be barren has conceived, because God can do anything!

39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

  • Right away (at that time) Mary goes to see the one person who will understand
  • Once Mary (and Jesus) were in Beth’s (and John’s) presence sparks fly!
  • John in her womb was already ‘Filled with The Holy Spirit’; now Beth is also
  • What does ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’ mean?
  • Luke uses this term ‘Filled’ here and in the book of Acts

42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

  • When ‘filled’ with the Holy Spirit she speaks with His voice
  • The filling of the Holy Spirit always results in God being glorified (Acts 4 & 13)


God’s favor is not equal to earthly prosperity. In Scripture, God’s eternal grace is not always displayed in earthly circumstances. This ‘long-suffering’ couple is used to birth the greatest human ever…God’s blessings are not denoted by worldly success.

Zach & Beth are model servants, observing God’s Word blamelessly for decades, even though their dreams of a family go unrealized. God will refine willing vessels by hardship and faithful obedience, and then use them for HIS glory!

As spiritually mature as Zach was, he still doubted God’s messenger; all of us humans doubt. Obedience over time lays the groundwork to overcome doubt. This season is given by God to encourage us, even when we doubt. It is hard to doubt when you rejoice!

God fills HIS people with HIS Spirit creating focus and connection to participate in what HE is doing.

This text is just a chapter of the story of how God HIMSELF came to earth without comfort, acceptance or accolades. HE was unappreciated, un-thanked and to many, HE seemed cursed not blessed! The ONE who appeared to this world as most despised is in fact, the definition of blessing, the definition of love, the definition of Grace and Mercy and Forgiveness!

HE did not strive for a successful career or family or empire or office or travel or the accumulation of things …. He was born into lowliness and died in lowliness… for you and I. Born in a cave! Killed on a cross! That you and I might be united with God! Might we surrender our lives more fully to HIM today!

And THIS SEASON we get to celebrate this REALITY, God with us! Not just today but for weeks!


What circumstances in your life keep you from fully obeying and serving the Lord?

When you have doubts about God how do you go about alleviating them?

What are the eternal blessings that you count on to get you through tough times?


When we focus on what God has done and what He is doing, HE will lead us to belief in HIS favor for us. Let us intentionally celebrate HIM this Christmas and rejoice in our belief in God’s grace to us in Christ.

Advent Scripture


Isiah 40:3-5 A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”


Isaiah 53:5 “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

Romans 8:24-25 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.


Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Galatians 4:4-5 “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”

Luke 2:13-14 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”


Luke 2:10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

Isaiah 55:12 For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Psalm 5:11 “But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, so that those who love your name may exult in you.”

Philippians 4:4-5 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.


John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

John 15:13 ”Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

1 John 4: 7-10 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.



Father, just as You sent John the Baptist to prepare the way for Jesus, help me to clear the path in my heart, too. Show me the distractions in my life that block me from all-out worship of You this Advent. Lord, I await Your coming! As I celebrate the first Advent––the first coming––I look toward the day where I will see You face to face. I imagine what it will be like. Give me a heart, Lord, that looks for Your coming on a daily basis. Help me to live my life where I’m constantly seeking Your presence. My offering to You today is my righteous life for I know I am only clean because of Jesus. Show me today how I need to be refined, purified, forgiven. Give me the strength to ask for forgiveness and to then change my ways. Amen


God, as I head into December, I want pause and remember all that You’ve done in my life, my family, and community. I praise You because You are the God who saves. You are Immanuel, God with us. I thank You that my hope is in You, not in circumstances or people. Because I hope in You, I am confident that You will fulfill Your promises to Me. Remind me today of what truly matters. Fix my hearts on You. Help me to see how You are working in the middle of my waiting. Draw me closer to You this Christmas season, and prepare My hearts for the fulfillment of Your promises. Amen.


Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Thank You for you caring, and thank You for promising to give me your peace. Please guard my hearts and mind with Your peace. You know the things that have been weighing me down with worry, anxiety, or fear. Lord, please help me fix my mind on You instead, and on Your Spirit. Thank You for promising to bring me life and peace. Amen


Heavenly Father, Thank You for the joy that entered the world when Jesus was born. You have given us pure joy by becoming God with us. Lord, sometimes it’s difficult to live joyfully, especially in difficult or busy seasons. Please purify my heart this Christmas season and remind me that You’re in control. Help me to consider it joy when I experience trials of any kind because I know You’re creating something beautiful and eternal. Enable me to fix my eyes and heart on You, fill my soul with renewed strength, courage, and hope. Lord, you are always worthy of being praised – and I want to joyfully worship You! Amen


Lord, thank You for loving me so much that You gave Your Son for me, even before I loved You. Thank You for inviting me into Your family. Thank you for the sacrificial display of your love for me on the cross. Thank you for enabling me to surrender my life to you love. Help me to live a life that sacrificially display the love you have placed in me by your Spirit. Please help me to love others as You have loved me Father, please help me to see every person the same way that You see them. Help me love them the way that You love them — even when that love is not returned. Please show me how to walk continually in Your love, that perfect love which casts out fear. Amen.

Prayer Points

Pray for openness to the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

Pray for attentiveness to what truly matters, without being distracted by trivial things.
Pray for opportunities to learn something new.
Pray for discernment of how God would like you to set your priorities.

Pray for the ability to focus on biblical priorities consistently to fulfill His purposes in your life.
Pray for the grace to be able to rest, become aware of God’s presence, and enjoy it.
Pray for strong relationships with other people in the bond of a loving community.
Pray for peace in all situations, no matter what the circumstances.
Pray for freedom from all that burdens you – past mistakes, fears, destructive habits, hurts and more.
Pray for joy and a sense of humor.
Pray for confidence in God’s love for you and trust in His power to work things out for the best in your life.
Pray for a clear mind and the ability to clearly communicate what you value to others.
Pray for purity so you can grow as a person and encounter God more fully.

Pray for a genuine awareness of God’s grace in your life and the humility to extend grace to others.

How does history become ‘accepted’? What has been the process of consensus building around event to the point where we call it ‘historical fact’? History is recorded in various ways over time, with the dominant narrative of events undergoing periods of fluidity…until consensus is reached and affirmed, and reaffirmed.

The hebrews Scriptures (Holy Writings) were preserved, copied with supernatural care and circulated throughout the Mediterranean in paleo-Hebrew 1000 B.C. – 500B.C. Around 500 BC. the Aramaic alphabet was adopted for the Hebrew language in the time of Nehemiah and Ezra, returning exiles from Babylon. This enabled literate people in that area of the world to read the Hebrew scriptures. Around 300 B.C. The first five books of the O.T. were translated into Greek and less than 100 years later the Septuagint version of the Hebrew Scriptures began circulating throughout the Greek speaking world. From there they were translated into many languages for the last 2000 yrs. These events in Joshua happened around 1400 B.C. For about 3400 years, the historical information of the Hebrews scriptures was known in agreement with other historical sources to be undisputed, universally accepted as historical fact.

Through out Scripture, the listing of people and places is how God embeds verifiable historical information into HIS Holy Writings. The significance of Chapter 12 is the documenting of God’s work through HIS people as to how God could conquer an entire region.

Joshua Chapter 12

1 These are the kings east of the Jordan River who had been defeated by the Israelites and whose land was taken. Their territory extended from the Arnon Gorge to Mount Hermon and included all ‘The Land’ east of the Jordan Valley.

  • This is the conquest of the portion of the promised land led by Moses
  • These conquests are described at the end of the book of Numbers, chapter 21

2 King Sihon of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon, was defeated. His kingdom included Aroer, on the edge of the Arnon Gorge, and extended from the middle of the Arnon Gorge to the Jabbok River, which serves as a border for the Ammonites. This territory included the southern half of the territory of Gilead. 3 Sihon also controlled the Jordan Valley and regions to the east—from as far north as the Sea of Galilee to as far south as the Dead Sea, including the road to Beth-jeshimoth and southward to the slopes of Pisgah.

  • Arnon George is east of the southernmost part of the Dead Sea
  • The Jabbok River meets the Jordan river where the city of Succoth is

4 King Og of Bashan, the last of the Rephaites, lived at Ashtaroth and Edrei. 5 He ruled a territory stretching from Mount Hermon to Salecah in the north and to all of Bashan in the east, and westward to the borders of the kingdoms of Geshur and Maacah. This territory included the northern half of Gilead, as far as the boundary of King Sihon of Heshbon.

  • Raphaites: Giants like Anakites, (11:21-22) & Goliath. Og had 6 fingers & toes
  • Bashan was a region that was called that in 1400 B.C. (Bible & other sources)
  • 732 BC city of Ashtaroth in region known as Bashan conquered by Assyrians
  • Then Assyrians made the Northern kingdom of Israel pay tribute (2nd Kings 15)
  • Then they conquered & deported population (2nd Kings 16 & 1st Chronicles 5)
  • Scripture is grounded in verified history (Accounts were verified for centuries)
  • History was a oral record alongside the written (99% of people illiterate)

6 Moses, the servant of the Lord, and the Israelites had destroyed the people of King Sihon and King Og. And Moses gave their land as a possession to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh.

  • Reuben, Gad and Manasseh ASKED FOR THE LAND
  • Good land for livestock…
  • They would be the 1st of the tribes to be exiled (1 Chronicles Ch. 5)

7 The following is a list of the kings that Joshua and the Israelite armies defeated on the west side of the Jordan, from Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon to Mount Halak, which leads up to Seir. Joshua gave this land to the tribes of Israel as their possession, 8 including the hill country, the western foothills, the Jordan Valley, the mountain slopes, the Judean wilderness, and the Negev. The people who lived in this region were the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

  • Geographic look at the territory conquered
  • Listing of people groups that were largely destroyed (remnants on coast & hills)

These are the kings Israel defeated: 9 The king of Jericho. The king of Ai, near Bethel. 10 The king of Jerusalem. The king of Hebron. 11 The king of Jarmuth. The king of Lachish. 12 The king of Eglon. The king of Gezer. 13 The king of Debir. The king of Geder. 14 The king of Hormah. The king of Arad. 15 The king of Libnah. The king of Adullam. 16 The king of Makkedah. The king of Bethel.

  • The listing of the kings is a social / political look at what was conquered
  • Not all the cities conquered were initially occupied
  • Not all of these Kings were previously mentioned

17 The king of Tappuah. The king of Hepher. 18 The king of Aphek. The king of Lasharon. 19 The king of Madon. The king of Hazor. 20 The king of Shimron. The king of Acshaph. 21 The king of Taanach. The king of Megiddo. 22 The king of Kedesh. The king of Jokneam in Carmel. 23 The king of Dor. The king of Goyim in Gilgal 24 The king of Tirzah. In all, thirty-one kings were defeated.

  • Kings not mentioned before may have been defeated in Ch. 11:16-18
  • 33 kings in all…The KING of 33 kings…the KING of all kings: Yahweh!


The land promised to Abram by God had people occupying it. God had HIS people devote these people to destruction in order to fulfill HIS promise. It happened and God wanted us to know it happened. For centuries this information was attested to as historically accurate. (not necessarily complete)

Moses and Joshua were commanded by God to devote these kingdoms according to to HIS plan. The listing of physical territory and each ‘king’ is a display of historical verifiability for generations to come with specific geographic and political information. This victorious God-Given conquest is part of the identity of HIS people, then and now.

At this point God’s people begin to occupy The Promised Land, but it is not a completed conquest of all the territory promised to Abram. Up to this point there has been unified obedience under Joshua (except 1st battle of Ai).

BIG Themes of the Book of Joshua:

  • Obedience fuels the miraculous
  • God’s People can possess what God promises them
  • God’s People are strong & courageous when they trust HIM
  • The value of our faith in God is found in our acting on it
  • Disobedience leads to disaster
  • Leadership matters to all of us
  • God always fulfills His Promises


Why is it important for a follower of Christ to embrace the Historicity of the Hebrew Scriptures?

How does YOUR historical understanding of all Scripture influence your life as a disciple of Christ?

Which ones of the seven themes listed above do you fully resonate with? Which ones do you not fully agree with?


God has embedded history into Scripture and The Scripture contains verifiable history for us to see HIM at work in HIS Story. Might we grow in our practice of applying historical context to our understanding of God’s Word.

Obedience Leads To Maturity

Practice: praying before during and after Biblical preaching; asking God to use what is being said to convict, educate and inspire you. Ask God to keep you from thinking about other people’s need to hear what is being preached, ask HIM to focus you on your need.

There is really no application in this text for those who have not Biblically converted to Christ Following…and the message is a bit redundant…That is odd because God should realize we are smart enough to get it right if we are told once… seriously!

Big Picture: God provided a way for HIS people to quickly and definitively conquer the peoples HE decided to destroy. Joshua leads the united Israel to accept what God provides and do as HE commands. That is what we sign up for when we give our life to Jesus Christ…it is not ours anymore. As God provides whatever our job is to obey.

The conquest of the land promised to Abraham by His descendants has been fully orchestrated and accomplished by God…just like the rest of all human history! As His people we are to use the documented record of these events to learn, to gain insight, to mature spiritually…Why do we mature spiritually? To REPRODUCE! How is spiritual maturity measured? Those who are mature reproduce healthy, maturing disciples.

At the core of spiritual maturity is obedience to what God commands. It is the map, the road, the vehicle, the journey and the destination: Obedience! This passage shows God bringing about the destruction of thousands using the obedience of HIS people. As HIS people there are lesson for us if we yield to God’s Spirit and obey.

Joshua 11

When Jabin king of Hazor heard of this, he sent word to Jobab king of Madon, to the kings of Shimron and Akshaph, 2 and to the northern kings who were in the mountains, in the Arabah south of Chinnereth, in the western foothills and in Naphoth Dor on the west; 3 to the Canaanites in the east and west; to the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites and Jebusites in the hill country; and to the Hivites below Mt. Hermon in the region of Mizpah. 4 They came out with all their troops and a large number of horses and chariots—a huge army, as numerous as the sand on the seashore. 5 All these kings joined forces and made camp together at the Waters of Merom to fight against Israel.

  • Jabin is singled out as the initiator, he gathers 8 groups against Israel; 160 sq. mi.
  • God gathers them, they don’t gather themselves
  • One large battle: faster, more efficient, greater display of God’s power

6 The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them, because by this time tomorrow I will hand all of them, slain, over to Israel. You are to hamstring their horses and burn their chariots.” 7 So Joshua and his whole army came against them suddenly at the Waters of Merom and attacked them, 8 and the Lord gave them into the hand of Israel. They defeated them and pursued them all the way to Greater Sidon, to Misrephoth Maim, and to the Valley of Mizpah on the east, until no survivors were left. 9 Joshua did to them as the Lord had directed: He hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots.

  • The ultimate confidence builder: when God says don’t be afraid we can obey!
  • God says how it is going to happen and that is how it happens
  • Joshua led them and they followed in doing exactly what God commanded

10 At that time Joshua turned back and captured Hazor and put its king to the sword. (Hazor had been the head of all these kingdoms.) 11 Everyone in it they put to the sword. They totally devoted them, not sparing anyone that breathed, and he burned Hazor itself. 12 Joshua took all these royal cities and their kings and put them to the sword. He totally devoted them, as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded. 13 Yet Israel did not burn any of the cities built on their mounds—except Hazor, which Joshua burned.

  • Hazor is burned, the other cities are left standing…they will be inhabited
  • We can Assume God told Joshua to burn the city of Hazor but not any others

14 The Israelites carried off for themselves all the plunder and livestock of these cities, but all the people they put to the sword until they completely destroyed them, not sparing anyone that breathed. 15 As the Lord commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua, and Joshua did it; he left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded Moses.

  • These cites are taken in an efficient way to enrich the Israelites
  • God wrote Scripture… God must be satisfied with the level of obedience
  • God says the obedience was total

16 So Joshua took this entire land: the hill country, all the Negev, the whole region of Goshen, the western foothills, the Arabah and the mountains of Israel with their foothills, 17 from Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir, to Baal Gad in the Valley of Lebanon below Mount Hermon. He captured all their kings and put them to death. 18 Joshua waged war against all these kings for a long time.

  • This entire land: The northern & southern parts of the promised land
  • The detail of the conquest seems quick, but it was a longer time then southern

19 Except for the Hivites living in Gibeon, not one city made a treaty of peace with the Israelites, who took them all in battle. 20 For it was the Lord himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that Joshua might devote them totally, exterminating them without mercy, as the Lord had commanded Moses.

  • All the other cities were inflamed with the desire to destroy the Israelites
  • God willed it and did it!

21 At that time Joshua went and destroyed the Anakites from the hill country: from Hebron, Debir and Anab, from all the hill country of Judah, and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua totally destroyed them and their towns. 22 No Anakites were left in Israelite territory; only in Gaza, Gath and Ashdod did any survive.

  • When the northern end of the promised land was secured Joshua went south
  • Mop up campaign of ‘Giants’ who were hiding in small groups in the hills
  • They didn’t join the original souther battle

23 So Joshua took the entire land, just as the Lord had directed Moses, and he gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal divisions. Then the land had rest from war.

  • This is the completion of the initial conquest
  • The ‘Land’ had peace
  • Only when God’s will is obeyed is there peace
  • Salvation is ‘Peace with God’


God moves the northern kings to assemble, then gives HIS people the assurance of HIS intention to go before them and destroy their foes. God gives HIS people what they need, our challenge is to move forward with confidence in HIM..

The city that leads the attack on Israel is made an example of. Except the Gibeonites, not one other group tries to make peace. Actively working against God is a place without peace.

Joshua follows the example of Moses: complete obedience, leaving nothing of all that the Lord commanded. Partial obedience is disobedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience.

Every moment is exactly as God wills it to happen and it is recorded specifically as HE desires. God’s control of every aspect of our world is redundantly taught in Scripture for HIS people’s benefit.

In response to God providing, HIS people are careful to do all that HE commands.


Is there an area where you have not obeyed God because you don’t think HE has provided the right situation? What needs to happen for you to obey?

Do you have a lack of peace in your life? Is there way you are working against what God has clearly commanded? (relationships / your role in the church / money) What is your response?

Have you fully embraced a Biblical Theology of God’s control? How is this embrace connected to your spiritual maturity?


As His people we get insight into what God wants us to do, generally and specifically, throught he continued study of scripture. Then we build a lifestyle of obedience; practicing humility and teachability so we can humbly teach others as we mature.