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Archive for the ‘Bible Study’ Category

As many of you know, Trey Pearson of the Christian music group, Everyday Sunday came “out of the closet” yesterday. Once you get into social media, there is a firestorm of commentators from every side of the conversation spitting out Bible verses to support their personal feelings and beliefs. The sad part is, for the most part, they are taking verses out of context and painting conflicting and sometimes hateful pictures.

So, with this in mind, I thought I would dig out this study we did a little while back at digs into the topic in an honest and complete manner. Enjoy!

“This is not your normal sermon on homosexuality….

`Few topics divide the world and the church like homosexuality. For that matter, few things divide the church like the same topic.

The issues within the GLBT community effect our politics, views, and most of all… personal lives. Many have been hurt, driven to anger or just fall away over past hurts and experiences and the divide deepens.

At The Shepherd’s Fellowship, we believe in 100% love and 100% truth. Can this also apply to the conversation of homosexuality? Be part of our study and see what you find as we dig into a hot button but critical study.”

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Knowing God’s Will

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As I write this post, I feel a sense of urgency to do so. I’m not sure if it’s because we are coming into spring or if other factors are contributing but so many people around me right now are seeking God’s will on one thing or another. The concern I have is when they are sharing with me, it appears we far too often are making these decisions by what makes sense to us, what seems comfortable, or off an emotional impulse which can lead us to very rough situations or being ineffective.

So many times people tell me that they have made a big decision to do something, release something, or enter into a relationship with someone and the reasons make sense logically but leads to bad places.

I have seen people quit ministry because they didn’t enjoy it like they used to. Instead of accepting that ministry is work as much as it is a blessing, they assume God is releasing them instead of calling them to lean into Him to persevere.

I have seen people date or marry someone because they were tired of being single and didn’t want to be 40 and “alone”. They compare themselves to their friends who are married and end up in shallow and at times, abusive relationships.

I have even seen this lead to people questioning God because they thought they were following Him. However, they made a bad choice because they didn’t follow what the Bible says on seeking God’s will. Yet, they still want to blame God when they didn’t even really consult him beyond a passing prayer.

So, if you have a decision to make and you want God’s best for you, let me share with you Romans 12:2.“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” 

First, stop thinking with worldly logic. One of the main tricks is to get your personal wants and what others want out of the picture so they don’t cloud things up. Now, I’m not saying that advice from other mature Christians is not of value. A matter of fact, Psalms tells us that there is wisdom to seeking strong advisors who are God centered. However, many of us feel overwhelmed by what our friends, in-laws, book authors and others feel. Those who think like the world should not be your main voices into your seeking.

To transform your mind and have it renewed takes the Holy Spirit. Once you accept Jesus as leader and forgiver in your life and truly follow Him, you will get into His Word, adopt His heart, and follow His ways.Submitting the “American Dream” to the cross of Jesus Christ will allow you to see things from a Godly viewpoint instead of the world’s view.

Once this worldly clutter is removed, then you can test and discern what God’s will is. This takes a little work. This takes prayer, discussion, and study. This is not easy but is part of the process.

Most of us wish we could just get a note from God telling us what to do next but He wants us to be more mature than that. He desires for us to walk in faith, testing what His will is by seeing a particular option is good, acceptable, and perfect (according to God’s will and not your own).

However, many people I talk to make rash decisions. When it comes to “testing to discern”, they see it as resistance instead of holy work. They see it as God closing a door. They look at and follow circumstances leading to more bondage instead of freedom.

If God is leading, He will at times leads you to the uncomfortable, the challenging, and directions unexpected as He grows you into maturity. If you are in submission to that, He will lead you to some awesome places.

If it’s your leading, you will take the easy road, find leaders who make you feel comfortable, and become consumed by your circumstances. You will be ineffective and walk rocky paths.

As Paul shares with us in Colossians 3, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you“, “seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God“, and  “set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

God has better for you than you could possibly imagine. Stop limiting Him by restricting Him to your plans.

http://www.theshepherdsfellowship.org

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Have you ever found a baby bird that had fallen from it’s nest and tried to nurse it to a healthy life? It’s possible but not easy.

Once the baby bird has lost it’s way, often times the mother bird abandons it to the elements, leaves it unprotected from predators, and suffers it to starve for provision.

It reminds me of a proverb in the Bible. Proverbs is a collection of sayings from King Solomon who had asked God for wisdom which is displayed in these eternal truths.

As I skimmed through Proverbs 27, I came across verse 8 that says….

“Like a bird that strays from it’s nest is a man who strays from his home.”

Often times, people find themselves feeling like they have fallen out of the nest. They are lost, exposed, and hurting with similar feelings to the baby bird fallen to the ground.

As I did a quick study of some of the reasons birds stray from their nest, it struck me that it’s similar of how people stray from home (a life with Christ).

Weather – Storms and unexpected wind currents often times will knock a young bird right out of it’s home in the same way the storms of this life can do to us. A move, job loss, family member passing, addiction and other challenges leave us feeling lost and beaten.

Inexperience – Juvenile birds making their first migration without the lead of a mature bird often times undershoot or overshoot their destinations. Sometimes, we too head boldly on a path without instruction, mentorship, or God’s map to find where He was leading us all along.

Wanderers – Some types of birds have been known to simply be wanderers and undertake destinations that are not within their normal environments. In the same way, we sometimes look for places that are not ours but it just seems the “grass is greener on the other side”. These situations can show up as marital affairs, shortcuts that lead to failure in the work place, or going against God’s ways to obtain something we want in the moment.

Whatever the reason, falling out of the “nest” leaves us feeling just as hungry, lonely, and abandoned as the infant robin alone on the ground. However, the good news is God does not abandon us there like a mama bird does to her young. He is just a whisper away willing to offer you forgiveness, direction and provision when you lean back into Him to find mercy and grace abounds!

In Matthew 23: 37, Jesus refers to himself as a mother hen who longs to gather her chicks (you and me) under her wings (for protection, love, and care) but that often times, we are unwilling.

Will you choose to not “stray” but “stay” with the Lord? Trust me, it’s much better in the nest.

Pastor Tom Hypes
theshepherdsfellowship.org

(If you have a topic you would like Pastor Tom to blog about, feel free to drop all ideas to tom@theshepherdsfellowship.org)

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Words

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,but the mouths of fools pour out folly.”
Proverbs 15: 1-2

A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” Proverbs 15:4

The lips of the wise spread knowledge; not so the hearts of fools.” Proverbs 15:7

The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lordbut gracious words are pure.” Proverbs 15: 26

The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.” Provers 15: 28

The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.” Proverbs 15: 33

A small sampling from Proverbs 15 reminds us how powerful words are. We may still remember the chant “stick and stones may break my bones” but we know words have more power than we wish they held. We are losing the art of gentle words in our culture and at times, even in the life of Christians and the church.

If you find you are having a problem with your words, may I suggest a few things…

Understand it’s a heart issue

Sometimes we try to justify ourselves by saying “That’s just who I am” or “I’m just like my mom (or dad)” and continue on. While we can have in our personalty certain tendencies that lead us to be critical or negative, it doesn’t mean it’s ok. Your words still alienate, separate, and crush others at times. If we roll with our earthly tendencies and don’t work them into submission to God’s ways, we continue a cycle that impacts others and ourselves.

Understand you are hurting others

You might think you are direct and others should appreciate it but I can’t tell you how many people come to me for life counseling because the anger, hurt, or weight they are feeling because of someone in their life dumping on them in unloving ways (again, often times Christians).

If you find that you enjoy the emotional release of unloading on others, there’s a good chance you are hurting them.

If you find that you enjoy talking about frustrations and grips with others to people other than the ones you struggle with, there’s a good chance you are hurting the person outside the loop and the one within it.

If you find that you need to tear others down to build yourself up, your just hurting everyone including how others see you.

Understand things can turn around

You have the chance to earn others seeing you different. You may not be aware but you may have some nicknames you would rather not know about. However, by following the proverbs above, you can be know as an “encourager”!

Some of the words above can be foreign to us in our speech … soft, gentle, and pure. However, through discipline, taking a breath and speaking with the Spirit’s lead; you too can be righteous and ponder what words (and heart) to embrace. It just starts with humbling yourself, leaning into the ways of God and letting Him raise you up.

Words lead to broken marriages. Words lead to split churches. Words lead to failed friendships. Words lead to insecurity and loss.

Words lead to freedom. Words brings unity. Words heal old wounds. Words have power.

Use yours in the light of the Christ to honor Him and love others.

If we can help you with this in any way, please let us know.

Prayers and Blessings,

Pastor Tom Hypes
theshepherdsfellowship.org

 

 

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Are you going through a tough time right now? Does it seem while others have been celebrating a new start in a new year, you carry the same weight as you did last week?

Our troubles have all different details to them but in many cases, they have similar underlining themes – loneliness, finances, rejection, and at times … others are choosing to cause us hurt and harm.

David found himself in this kind of situation in I Samuel 23. In a season where the king, Saul was jealous and threatened; David found himself on the run for his life. Even though he was anointed by God to be the replacement of Saul someday, he did not want to do so by his own hand so he hid during this season of oppression and hurt.

While he was hiding, those around him saw an opportunity to put themselves in good graces with the boss by stabbing David in the back (Ever happen in your office?). They went to the King and offered to bring David to him.

During this time, David wrote a Maskil. We call it Psalm 54 in the Bible.

This is how it goes…

“O God, save me by your name, and vindicate me by your might.
O God, hear my prayer; give ear to the words of my mouth.
For strangers have risen against me;ruthless men seek my life; they do not set God before themselves. Selah

Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life. He will return the evil to my enemies; in your faithfulness put an end to them.


With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; 
I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good. For he has delivered me from every trouble, and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies.”

There our several things I love about David’s worship.

– He has no problem being honest about his hurt, pain, and struggles before God.

– He claims truths about God and states them. When he does, we see his focus moves from the circumstances to God.

– Then he busts into praise through faith knowing that God has the victory (We can have the same in our own prayer/ worship times).

At the same time, this specific psalm has some key points that you might want to reflect on if you are going through some struggles and want to have the same deliverance and peace that David had.

This psalm assumes you are a follower of Christ. While this phrasing is a “church age” one since Jesus had not come yet in David’s time, it is evident that David was a follower of God. So much so that even though he too was a screw up at times, even God called him “one after my own heart”

Are you a follower of Jesus Christ? The One who is the way to God? The One who offers grace, love, and purpose? If not, you can become so today by acknowledging Jesus as leader in your life, believing in your heart that he forgives you through his death and resurrection, and then following him. For more on that, please touch base with me at tom@theshepherdsfellowship.org

This psalm assumes the struggle you are going through is the fault of others who have evil intent. Our struggles are not always the fault of others. It can be our own bad choices. It can be a season God is leading us through to grow or discipline us through. Spend some time examining the cause so you know how to pray and act through them.

This psalm assumes you are leaning into the Lord for the solution. You can’t say a quick prayer and then go out swinging trying to get your way. Sometimes we need to give up our desire to get our way and submit before God and go His path.

This psalm assumes you are holding on to God’s promises. David was able to submit by holding onto the facts that God will end this issue, that God will deliver him from trouble, and that God will triumph. Are you holding onto these truths and following His lead to the fulfillment of them?

This psalm reminds us that the final outcome is not about us getting our way but to bring glory to and worship to God. The psalm ends with worship to what God has done and so will your story if you lean into Him today.

It may be a path but it is not a wall. You’re story continues today! What will the story look like tomorrow?

If we can help you in any way, please touch base with me or stop by and visit us at church. Blessings!

Pastor Tom Hypes
theshepherdsfellowship.org

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We launch into the Summer of Service together as we dig into Hebrews and the testimonies of the heroes of the faith! We will explore what what see in their lives that can make a HUGE difference in ours today!

Also, Amanda Sivey kicks off our Summer of Service overview and how you can be part of making a difference in the community around us this summer!

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The last couple months, we have been exploring different areas that empower of within the Great Commission as we mobilize into our callings.

This week’s message (while it serves also as a stand alone message) ushers us into the next steps as we come together. When we work together within the local church body, we work together in the Church as a whole, and partner with help ministries that make a difference in our community…. we start to see what God has started us towards during this season.

Some have moved in directions while some pulled back but either way, dig in for an encouraging yet honest look at moving beyond ourselves into impacting this world…. together.

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