Sunday, December 31, 2017


Definition:  so then, consequently, for this reason, so it naturally follows, etc.

The word 'therefore' is used often in scripture!!! 
(1)  446 times in the NIV
(2)  plus places it's clearly implied - Deut. 6:4
(3)  plus places otherwise translated - Eph. 4:1
Usage of the word has dropped over 50% in modern times.

Scripture uses this word/concept A LOT!!  - explicit & implied

Compare to faith - 270 times,  Salvation - 122 times, eternal & everlasting - 152 times, heaven - 422 times.
These are foundational words, yet 'therefore' used more than each of these.

???So???  when something is THAT repeated in Scripture:
#1.  it's important - (there is a reason for repetition!
#2.  We ought to take note!!!  lest we forget.

The use of "therefore" typically follows this pattern:

#1.  A statement of fact

#2.  followed by a 2nd statement of:  instruction, promise, warning, explanation, exhortation, declaration

#3.  joined by the word - "therefore"  (or a synonym)

THIS           therefore            THIS  
(is true)                                  (is also true)
(you know)                            (be sure of this)
(has taken place)                    (this is what follows)

Old Testament examples:
Psm. 46:1-2
Prov. 4:7
or, on the other hand, 2 Chron. 28:1-5, Jer. 2:7-9
(note:  extensive use in Isa., Jer., Ezek. - example:  the exile)

New Testament examples:
Matt. 10:16
Mark 13:32, 35
Matt. 28:18-19
Rev. 1:18-19
Classic example = Eph. 4:1 - 3 previous chapters - this is what we know about Christ
                                      last 3 chapters - this is how we should live.  Connected by "therefore"

So??  Relevance?  Application to us?  Lessons here?

#1.  Our actions are consequential   (causal world)      
What we do MAD (makes a difference)
What we don't do MAD 
BOTH MAED - make an eternal difference

This  therefore  this = causes, results in, brings about , naturally follows!  - not only in physical world but in spiritual world as well.

Note the use in: Isa., Jer., Ezek. - are more 'therefores' than in any of the other books.  "Therefore, this is what the LORD says"

On one hand, not everything we experience = result of own doing.
However,  much is!  (problem is more than think, admit, own up to)

#2.  Our actions are consequential BOTH WAYS!!    Can result in good things as well.
(summary verse) - Gal. 6:7-10 
This = true of individual, true of group  (therefore it matters who you hang with)
True in physical world, true in spiritual world.

#3.  We tend to downplay this  
Do we forget?  ignore?  overlook?  deny? 

#4.  God does NOT downplay this  

Closing scripture, thoughts:  1 Cor. 10:11-12, Heb. 2:1,  2 Pet. 1:19 = Remember, pay attention, take note, take heed!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Praying in the Spirit of Advent

Advent - a coming/ an arrival ---- (of significance)

Traditionally = 4 Sundays before Christmas ...
            1)  celebrate His 1st. coming - John 1:1, 14 - Christmas, incarnation, manger, shepherds, etc.
            2)  anticipate His 2nd. coming - Matt. 25:31
AND   3) call upon Him to come NOW - (visitation)
Point is more than his Presence, but = Active Presence - Judges 6:12-13 - as He came 2000 years ago, and as He will come back.

Advent Prayer = As You came in the past, and as You'll come again, so Lord, visit us now - make Yourself known, do a mighty work.

Example:  Psm. 5:1-5, 11-12 - Psalms = song prayers.  Not formal prayers but praying in the spirit of Advent.
Advent prayer typically expresses:

(1)  Recognition of who God is - personal, caring, All mighty
(2)  confusion (perplexity, bewilderment) as to why Hi doesn't act (intervene)
(3)  confidence that He will come (and act) in the "fullness of time" - just the right time

This is the heart of Advent Prayer - whether for yourself, another individual, people group
Psm. 7:1-2, 6-9, 10:1-3, 10-12 -- Advent-type prayers

Some Themes of Advent Prayer:

LORD, come Now and......
(1)  Deliver  your child, your people .... from oppression, evil, injustice, persecution, fear, jealousy, depression,  Examples:  drugs, alcohol, Satan's influence, etc.

(2)  Establish Justice - which = "set things right"

(3)   Bring healing - physical, emotional, relational, social, racial, political - Matt. 11:2-6 - "this is what I came for!"

In lieu of deliverance, justice, healing....
(4) grant strength, grant comfort, grant assurance - Acts 4:29-31

(5)  Shed light (advent vs. darkness) - Isa 9:2, 2 Cor. 4:4

(6)  Grant Salvation - so many need to be saved

(7)  Effect transformation - in my life, church family

(8)  Expand Your Kingdom - Example:  Lord's prayer:  "thy Kingdom come, thy will ....."

(9)  Execute judgment - on sin, evil, wickedness

(10)  MAKE YOURSELF KNOWN - as in Advent 1 & 2


(1)  Recognition of need - ie:  (a) things are not OK.  (b)  we need God's intervention.  If everything is fine, no need to prayer - Advent praying recognizes need is bigger than us.

(2)  Confidence in God - (a)  His personal concern   (b)  His Sovereign Ability

(3)  Crying out - Ex. 3:7-8, Judges 3: 7, 9 - Compare 2 Chron. 7:14 - crying out

(4)  Self-preparation - because when He comes , what shape are you in??  Example:  Isa. 6:5 - hence - the message of John the Baptist.  He may choose to use you!!

(5)  An attitude of submission - to His will, wisdom, plan ... Hab.  1:2-6, 12, 3:16 - not my will but Yours

(6)  A spirit of cooperation - ie:  if He intervenes, are you willing to work with Him to accomplish this?  Examples: Moses & the Exodus,  Apostles and the Great Commission

(7)  Recognition of Christ - because this is more than a generic call to a generic god.
This IS a cry for God to Act ... through His Son, Jesus Christ - specifically

Know this;  when He doesn't act, He is still with us.  He will never leave us or forsake us!!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Understanding Advent

ADVENT - (literally) = a coming, an arrival, a visitation - usually notable/significant  (Latin word - Adventus)
Someone or something of consequence.

Within Christianity - 1)  the coming of Christ
                               2) to Save (deliver from oppression) - something we desperately need

(formal Advent  = weeks leading to Christmas  (lead up to a big event)

Old Testament Jewish notion -- looked for..
  (1)  an Anointed One (a man/ from  God)
  (2)  to deliver from earthly oppression  (oppressors)
(so ... Luke 2:10-11 - "a Savior who is Christ", ie:  Messiah - one like Moses - come to save)

This = long awaited, highly anticipated - Deut. 18:15 - prophet like me.  (This because of many prophecies.  Have found 127 specific Messianic prophecies in over 3,000 scriptures)

BUT - God's plan = Different!!! - Matt. 1:21 - "save from their sins" - Thus, most of the Jews missed it. 
Our #1 problem is sin!!  He came to save us from it!!

So ..... when He came it was:
1)  An incarnation - Matt. 1:23  John 1:1, 14 - descriptive name - Immanuel, ie:  God with us

2)  A Descent  (contrast Religion generally = reach up to God)
Jesus = Bridge Builder - God came down and built the bridge.  Jesus came down to mankind - Kenosis - Phil. 2:6-8

3)  An eternal deliverance - (soul) - not just physical deliverance
(does not exclude worldly deliverance!!) - He delivers from these things as He chooses!

So .... ADVENT =
1)  Celebration of His Coming - example:  Christmas

2)  Anticipation of His Return - (2nd. coming) - as He came the 1st. time, will come again only in all His glory.  Matt. 24:30-31, 25:31 - will come in His resurrected body, Titus 2:13

Add  2 other comings  - to be noted, celebrated, anticipated...

3)  His Coming into your heart (being born again, saved, etc)  - contrast: "glad you're around" vs "welcome in"

Rev. 3:20 - you know who I am, you know why I'm here.  You must make a decision.
John 3:1-7, 16-19

4)  His (occasional) Visitations
 When He comes to deliver you - from oppression, oppressor - examples:  physical? mental/emotional? spiritual?
unto freedom FROM that oppression/oppressor - examples:  relief, satisfaction, comfort, joy, confidence, etc.    He is the deliverer!!

NOTE:  the gap - from the promises to the Coming - (1500 years +)
Compare:  the gap - from the promises to the 2nd. coming!!   2 Pet. 3:3-4, 8-1

So, you're response to 1) 1st. coming? 2), 2nd. coming?
3) His invitation to come to you!!  Personally?
4)  His willingness to visitation?  - Don't wait

Monday, December 4, 2017

Team Leadership

Series = Re-Thinking Leadership (a Biblical View)

Covered 4 styles of Leadership - Upfront - most recognized
                                                - Stealth - most overlooked
                                                - Servant - most applauded in New Testament - promoted by Jesus
                                                - Shepherd - nurturing, caring, compassion - most needed???

TEAM LEADERSHIP  - the most effective style!!!

Examples here at OBC - (1)  4th of July jobs list - requires leaders for each crew/task
                                    - (2)  Wednesday night AWANA/Youth - need a leader for each team

Often used illustration:  (3)  geese - fly in V formation - can fly 70% further that way than a goose on its own.
Each goose adds to the lift of the air.

Most common illustration - (4)  Marriage - most effective couples don't struggle with "who's the head?  in charge?"  They share the lead!

2 Notes from New Testament -

On one hand, (1)Jesus chose 12 - designated as Apostles whom He clearly was grooming as leaders 
However, He never designated 1 AS the leader!!!

(2)  Paul's analogy of the church as a body!  1 Cor. 12:12-17
Octavia Baptist Church is composed of __________ individuals.
                                       comprising 1 working unit!!

Purpose of OBC - CP2G - Connecting People to God - programs should be weighed in light of this purpose.
in that effort, WBT - ("we're better together")

On one hand, can't be all leaders without workers!
However, can "share the lead" - example:  the geese
AND we'll be more effective when we "TEAM LEAD" 

Another example - VFD at bad wreck - need:  medical, extraction, traffic, landing zone - each crew needs a leader.  All crews need to work together 

Question:  wreck example - who should be in charge of extraction?  medical?  landing zone? 
Answer = most qualified!!!

Hence  1 Cor. 12-14 is about Spiritual Gifts !!
Addresses ..... where are you best suited to SERVE?  and, where are you best suited to LEAD?

Series Wrap-up:

I.  Effective leadership (whatever form) requires (both)
    A.  Character
    B.  Competence
May begin to follow because of charisma, personality, enthusiasm, etc.   But, will continue to follow only if are showing competence.

II.  So:  The Christian Leadership Challenge:
      1.  step up - to the need, position
      2.   develop your Christian Character     
      3.  develop your Leadership Competence
      4)  Recognize your Divine Calling - He has called you to Make A Difference, to Connect People 2 God
Eph. 2:8-10, 4:11-16 - "we"

Back to beginning - Matt. 5:13-16

We are here to Connect People 2 God, therefore called to Make An Eternal Difference, and (clearly)
WBT - we're better together.

IF you are called to serve with in OBC,
1) this church needs you (or else you wouldn't be called!)
2)  You need this church!!  (body)

Closing Scripture:  Eph. 3:20-21

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Stealth Leadership

Series = Re-Thinking Leadership (a Biblical View)

Have looked at:  1)  Upfront - the most recognized style
                          2)  Servant - most promoted in Scripture - Jesus emphasized as most important  (the foundation on which all the other styles are built)
                          3)  Shepherd - easiest to understand and (perhaps most needed today!!

Today:  STEALTH Leadership  ( pastor's term) - most overlooked and least understood.
Definition:  leading inconspicuously, low profile, low key, 1/2 visible, influencing quietly - examples:  ship's rudder vs. ship's wheel      
Often called - leading from the rear 

Biblical example:  1)  Deborah - Judges 4 & 5  - Barak was the general, but Deborah the advisor
The husband may be the head but the wife is the neck!
                            2)  Jethro - Moses' father in law - Ex. 18
                            3)  Barnabas - Acts 4:36-37 - nickname = son of encouragement!! = descriptive!!
                                                - Acts 9:26-28 - Paul and disciple at Jerusalem
                                               - Acts. 11:19-24 - Gentiles @ Antioch
                                               - Acts 11:25-26 - Paul to Antioch
Barnabas - content to stand back and let Paul be the Apostle.
                            4)  Robert Sheffey - became circuit-riding exhorter (encourager, pray-er).  Never preached, never pastored, never ordained, never paid, never held and upfront position, but at his funeral, was attended by enormous crowd from all over the territory.  His influence was legendary.
                           5)  Ultimate stealth leader = Holy Spirit - John 16:13-14, 2 Pet. 1:20-21 - works to glorify the Father and Jesus Christ. 
Isa. 30:20-21 - (men?  or Holy Spirit? = "from behind you")


1)  Stealth Leadership is intentional leadership - not incidental, accidental influence.

On one hand, don't always get what we intend strive for, however, more apt to get it IF intentional!!!
Comparison:  apply to your kids, AWANA, Sunday School, public school, etc!!!

2)  Stealth Leadership is pointing and directing and then stepping back.
= A) helping others find (right) direction
   B) helping others become leaders!!

3)  You must acquire influence before you can exert influence.   Therefore, need for Servant!!  Shepherd!! Upfront leadership!!  whereby you gain influence, clout, a voice, a hearing!!

4)  If you would direct others in the WAY you must (first) know the WAY!!!  How will you direct in God's will if you don't Know God's will?
How can you counsel from God's Word if you don't know God's Word?
 Example:  John Maxwell's "Law of the Lid" - can only influence someone to your level.

Christian Application: = 1)  If you're not a Christian, how can you hope to develop Christians?
2)  If not a disciple, how can you hope to develop disciples?
3)  If you are not a mature believer, How can you hope to develop mature believers??