There are lots of ways to change the world--pick one!
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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Digging Deeper in the David Series




Sojourn Small Group Study



Message Series: David:  Lessons from the Life of a Renegade King
Session:  1
Title: The Nobody Nobody Noticed

INTRODUCTION
The life of King David is a remarkable study.  David is a central character of the Old Testament. One scholar said if he had to name a single Renaissance man in human history, somebody with extraordinary capacities on multiple fronts, David would be at the top of the list for all of humanity.  One of the reasons God gave us dedicated so many chapters of the bible to this one man, is to show us the inner workings of our soul and our creator.  Think about it--66 chapters devoted to the life of David in the Bible! 

BACKGROUND

The best backdrop to the life of David is to read the first 15 Chapters of First Samuel.  In the first 7 Chapters, you will meet the last Judge, Samuel, who becomes known as a "King Maker" because he anoints both Saul and David.  You will also meet the “Peoples Choice” for King, Saul, in Chapters 8-15.  David, mentioned by name for the very first time in I Sam. 16:13,  is then followed through the remaining chapters of I Samuel and II Samuel. 



UNDERSTANDING THE WORD

With Chapters 1-15 of I Samuel as background, read  I Sam. 16:1-3 and answer the following questions.  

         1.  Why is Samuel so fearful of going? 



         2.  Why would the people be nervous about the presence of Samuel? 



Now read the next 10 versus of I Samuel 16 (through verse 13) and discuss these questions.

         1.  What do you think God is specifically looking for in a King of his choice? Compare this with the people's choice of Saul in I Sam. 9:1-2. 




         2.  Why does God make Samuel go through this long drawn out process of 7 “nos”  before he reveals his choice? 




         3.  Why do you think David was not asked to be at the “Parade of Sons” (I Sam. 16: 6-11)?




         4.  Read I Sam. 1:13 again.   Now that David is anointed King, what predicament is he (and perhaps all of Israel) now in? 


BRINGING IT HOME

         1.   Can you think of any examples where external qualifications are more important than a persons heart?  What impact does television have on shaping our view of what is most important in life?  




         2.  Is God calling you to something and you're asking "how?"  How would you apply I Sam. 16:2-3 in your specific situation?




         3.  If you’re a parent, take a few moments and ask your son or daughter what are the three most important characteristics in a godly man or a godly woman.  What major influences do you see shaping their thinking?  



         4.   What other lessons or applications can you take away from I Sam. 16:1-13? 



PRAYER TIME

Spend some time praying with your group.   Spend part of your prayer time in “kingdom centered” prayer.  Kingdom center prayer  focuses on God’s work among the lost and marginalized of Greensboro, other parts of the world,  and the work of our local church community.  In other words, prayer that goes beyond our own needs.  As you pray, try and imagine  how God sees our world.  

MEMORY VERSE

Psalm 119:11 says to "hide the word of the Lord in your heart".  In other words, encouraging us to commit scripture to memory. 

For this week, try and memorize this verse and think about it throughout your week.  

For the Lord sees, not as the man sees; man looks at the outword appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”   I Sam. 16: 7 (ESV)



Remember that you can listen to this message series online by going to the podcast at www.sojourncommunity.org.

The Life of King David

This Sunday, September 25th,  we begin a series on the life of David.  David is a central character in the Old Testament.   One scholar said if he had to name a single Renaissance man in human history, somebody with extraordinary capacities on multiple fronts, David, would be at the top of the list for all of humanity. .

I believe that God gave us this living biography to show us the inner workings of our soul with that of our creator.  I am reminded again as I study David’s life, that I too am broken and in need of a Savior. That realization drives me to daily dependents upon Jesus who offers healing for our souls and the hope of a remarkable future. 

A great way to prepare for this study is to read the opening Chapters of First Samuel (chapters 1-15).  This will give you a great backdrop as you meet Samuel, the kingmaker and the very first king, Saul.  Saul was the people's choice.  Now God is looking for a man after his heart.  What characteristics make a godly man or woman?  

Praying for your time in His word,

Pastor Jeff

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Grace and Freedom

Nothing invokes passion like the images and sounds of freedom.  From William Wallaces's cry,  to the visceral reaction of cheering throngs today as Egypt’s ousted president, Hosni Mubarak, appeared this morning in court.  The bible talks a lot about freedom.  One of the hallmarks of the Spirit’s movement is freedom. It’s a mark of God at work. 2 Corinthians says that “[t]he Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

Just north of my summer quarters, a group of Moroccan protesters will be brought to justice for "incitement to break the fast in public" during Ramadan. As most of you know, during the month of Ramadan, Muslim’s are supposed to abstain from drinking, eating, smoking and sex from sunrise to sunset.

This is the first time in Morocco that a group of "non-fasters" appears in public to protest against the current law and call for the right not to practice Ramadan in public, observers note. They want to get rid of a law that "punishes every Muslim openly breaking the fast of Ramadan, before the “iftar” meal which marks the end of daylight.

The local branch of the Moroccan Council of Ulema (Muslim theologians), denounced the protests describing them as "agitators". Saying it was an"abhorrent act that defies the teachings of God” and deserving of “serious sanction."

The oppression of Islam and the desperation of masses of humanity searching for the true and living God is especially evident during Ramadan which began August 1. Millions about millions not even allowed to swallow their own Saliva as they try to please a god who offers no grace or promise of salvation.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Praying for an Impossible Calling

May I remind you of the incredible opportunity that lies before us?  You are part of a community that God is gathering called Sojourn.  He has placed us in the midst of one of the most exciting seasons in all of redemptive history, setting us in the midst of the nations.  Greensboro?  In the midst of the nations?  Consider this: there are approximately 100 native languages represented in the Guilford County schools. The other evening I stopped in at one of our Sojourner’s homes hosting a dinner for International students.  Their home was filled with students from all over the world including countries completely closed to the gospel.   This morning we are focusing on just one language group—our friends who speak the beautiful language of Spanish.

Hispanics are growing 6 times the rate of the U.S. population as a whole. They will add the largest number of people to the population through the year 2050. America now has the 3rd largest Hispanic population in the world. The birth rate is expected to more than double by 2050 at which time one in three births in this country will be Hispanic.  Hispanic immigration will be the largest contributor to the US population so that by 2050 it is projected that four out of every ten added to this country will be Hispanic. The explosive growth of the Hispanic community poses an enormous opportunity. As Latinos become part of our Sojourn family, we will be enriched by the sharing of culture, gifts and a shared passion for service.  This ministry not only reflects the heritage of this country, but the heart of God.

I continue to pray that God will set before us an impossible calling. One that only He could accomplish—one that only he could get credit for.  What will the early days of Sojourn best be remembered for?   Establishing a nice comfortable church or a community that risked everything for the once in a lifetime opportunity to be used by God to do something that will last for all eternity?   
                                  
~ Pastor Jeff

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Jesus vs. Religion: This Sunday at Sojourn Gathered

As we look this Morning at the last section of Colossians two (vs. 16-23), Paul warns us of a most sinister type of enemy that can rob us of the deep joy and peace that is ours in Christ.   Rather then enemies that are inherently bad, these enemies of our faith act like a spiritual vaccine, inoculating the heart.   These enemies are insidious, giving us a false sense that all is well, like the warmth felt by a man freezing to death.  Rather then a sign of life, it is illusion, designed to blind the heart and fool the mind.  The good news?  The same victorious theme woven throughout the versus of Colossians---Jesus.  I encourage you to read Colossians daily during this series and dwell on the truth that our peace and joy in life is directly proportionate to the extent our faith can grasp the full measure of God’s grace through Jesus.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Come Celebrate God with Us!!

If years were Chapters in a book, this week the Sojourn Community will celebrate the end of Chapter two!  The story of Sojourn is about Jesus and a community of people from all walks of life seeking to adjust their lives around His teachings.  We welcome you as you are---there are no prerequisites to being a part of our community.  So learn at your own pace.  Ask questions.  Seek. We believe you will find what you are looking for.  And the amazing thing, as we learn to relate to God, we will change.

We are so thank to you, our friends, who  put wind in our sails and cheer us on!  Any ministry "success" we might enjoy is simply the grace of God working in the midst of imperfect and ordinary people serving a very extraordinary God! 

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Church Inside/Out

Sojourners and Friends:

In a few weeks, Sojourn will celebrate its second year anniversary as a church!  For this reason, we are going to stop and pause for a few weeks to be reminded again, exactly what the church is and how we believe God is leading Sojourn to make a unique kingdom contribution. I encourage you to read through the book of Acts and re-live the birth of the New Testament Church.  The local church is always defined by that which it is committed. 

Here at Sojourn we are committed to being the incarnational presence of Jesus to the world around us.  Our guide is the bible.  Our center is Jesus.  Our ministers are you.  Our goal is to be the revolutionary church that God intended.  What seems radical must become normal. Our desire is to raise our sails and catch the wind of the Holy Spirit that will allow us to become everything God dreams for us.  We want to make God famous in our city and our world!  There are lots of ways to change the world---pick one!

Pastor Jeff