The choice that changed everything

Nehemiah 9:17

Central Theme:  Man choices to sin and God chooses to be gracious.

A ream of paper has 500 sheets–not more and not less.  A foot is 12 inches–not more and not less.  There are many absolutes in our lives.  There are a couple of absolutes that totally changed mankind.  First, since Adam’s sin, we all choose to sin; and God always chooses to be gracious and forgive. Have a member read Nehemiah 9:17. 

I.     Tell the story of the fall and sin of mankind.

A. Eve ate the fruit and Adam followed.

B.  They were tricked by Satan.

C. God made them leave the garden but he chose to love them and forgive them.

II.     God will always choose to be gracious and loving to you.

A. We must desire God‘s love and his forgiveness.

B.  We don’t always think we need God.

III.     The ways we reject God.

1.  We decide that we can handle everything ourselves.

2.  We work toward being independent of God

3.  We want to please people rather than God

3.  We disobey God‘s laws.

A. There are unintended consequences to all of the bad choices that we make.

IV.     We should never forget that God will always show his love and graciousness to us.

Conclusions:  Each of us chooses to sin but God chooses to forgive us all the time.

God chooses to Make the World for Man

Genesis 1:1and 26A

Central Theme:  God choose to make the earth for mankind.

Introduction–Bring a basket that you have made.  This is a basket that I made.  I did not create it because I had some material to use.  I took reed and string and made it.  To create something, you must have nothing and make something from nothing.  God created the earth; but he made man from the things he had created.

I.     Have a member Read Genesis 1:1 and 26A.

A. God chose to make the earth, the sky and all creation from nothing but his Word.

              B. Then as the crown of his creation, God made a man.

C. From a man, he made a woman.

II.     Why did God choose to create the earth?

A. I believe that the Lord made earth for man.

B.  He made man for himself–He wanted a friend.

C. Tell about studying Timothy and discovering that God wanted to be my friend.

D. That changed my life.

III.     People like to argue about creation.

A. There is no reason to argue truth.

B.  Some scientists say that the idea of a God who created earth was silly.

C. However, as more and more real facts are uncovered, more and more people are agreeing that the earth was created

1.  God created the universe for man and man for himself.

2.  Give your life to Jesus in response to God’s great gift.

Conclusion–God created the earth for man and man for himself.

God can give us the power to go

Acts 1:8–Teacher Appreciation

Central Theme:  God wants us to tell people about Jesus not matter where we are.

Introduction–I can tell where I have been last week by the receipts in my pocketbook.  Pull out a couple of receipts and tell about where you were.  Even if I did not have these receipts to remind me and as a record, God knows what I was doing.  He has a record.  Every place I go I need to realize that God was with me and there were people there who are hurting.

                  Have a member read Acts 1:8.

I.     Tell the story of Paul and Barnabus

A. They were missionaries who went from place to place starting churches and telling people about Jesus.

B.  There are several books written by Henry Nowen, a Catholic priest who went to live with mentally challenged people.

1.  Everyone loves these books.

2.  But there are not many people who are like our teachers, Sam, Danielle, and Dan.

3.  They have gone to live and work with people who are mentally challenged.  Then they come each Sunday to teach you about the Lord.  All of our teachers are people who take your well-being seriously.  Doing what our teachers do will change people‘s lives.

4.  It will change the people they serve and their own lives.

II.     God wants us to reach to others and help them.

A. We can reach out to our family.

B.  We can reach out to our friends and people we know on the bus or the van.

C. We can reach out to the professionals who work with us.

A. They have lives and they hurt sometimes too.

B.  Pray for them.

III.     We may not be able to go to foreign countries; but we can pray for the people who are working with us.

A.  Sometimes they are giving up much to help us.

Conclusion      We should be willing to go and willing to pray for those who are ministering to us.

God will give us the power to confront

Acts 17:30

Central Theme:  We are able to confront others because God gives us that power.

 Introduction–Have your label out of your dress and have someone come up and tell you about it.  Ask:  Has this ever happened to you?  Paper caught on you shoe?  Tell about the woman who had toliet paper hanging from her dress as she walked through the airport.  No one told her.  Telling people bad things is hard but Paul contronted people when they were wrong.  Have a member read Acts 17:30.

I.     Tell about how Paul went to Athens and told the people they were wrong.

A. They had all kinds of gods.

B.  Paul said, I want to tell you about the Unknown God–Jesus.

II.     Being able to confront is hard but it will help us grow.

A. Bring a pearl and a shell.

B.  A piece of sand gets in the shell and the little oyster trys to get it out.

C. When we have the courage to confront we help others.

III.     Sometimes we take liberties that we should not take–other times we are shy.

A. Don’t talk to strangers.

B.  Don’t be too quick to criticize others–that is not confronting.

C. Learn how to take criticism.

D. Reach out in love and tell people when they are wrong

Conclusion      Paul had the courage to confront.  We need to take a stand against wrong and be willing to be confronted when we are wrong.

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The Power of Courage

Acts 4:29

Central Theme:  God gives us courage to speak and do what is right.

Introduction–Bring one of your gardening books. Explain how much I love gardening and I find it easy to talk to people about gardening.  I like to share tips and information.  Explain how nobody is going to kill me for talking about my garden.  Immediately after Jesus died, arose and ascended into heaven, the church was people who loved Jesus so much that they couldn’t stop talking about Him even though it meant that they would be in trouble.  Have a member read Acts 4:29. 

I.     What would happen to you if you decided to tell every person you met about Jesus tomorrow?  Would that take real courage?

A. Would you be arrested?

B.  Would you be put in jail?

C. Would you be killed?  Would you need courage?

II.     In Acts 12:1-25, we read about a group of people who were so happy that they could not stop talking about Jesus.

A. The church leaders of the day got very angry and put their leaders in jail.

B.  James, the brother of Jesus, was killed.

C. But they had great courage.

III.     We know that Jesus has the power to change lives and we want to tell others about what has happened to us but we are afraid.

1.  God can give us courage and joy.

2.  Tomorrow ask God to give you one person who is hurting and needs your help.

A. Become their friend.

B.  Tell them about Jesus.

Conclusions:  We can make a difference in the world, one person at a time, if we have courage.  God will give us courage if we ask.

This is not an endorsement nor recommendation of this facility.  It is offered merely for information purposes.   I have not viewed these homes, nor do I have any connection to this organization.   I am simply passing on an email I received today. –Linda G. Howard

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In her late 20’s, Mindy pretty face is accented by her vibrant, chatty personality.  She lives alone in her own apartment.  Mindy is a new member of our Special Gathering.  We are a Christian program within the intellectually disabled community. Our mission is evangelizing and discipling the men and women who are developmentally disabled in our towns.

I’ve known Mindy over the years because she lived in a neighboring city; and she is an active part of the mentally challenged community.  Her past boyfriend is also a good friend of mine.  Each Sunday when she comes to our program, she has yet another story to tell about her family.

In Mindy’s tales of woe, she was the hero; and Mama or Grandmother, the villains. Because I provide her ride to our Sunday program, five of us arrive two hours early. And she helps us with our set up.  This means that for weeks, we heard about 2 hours of her tattling.  Her gossip set a negative tone for our meetings.  In the aftermath, it was hard to shake the atmosphere this fault-finding tone set, making worship difficult to enjoy.

One Sunday morning, before I picked her up,  I prayed about the situation. The Lord reminded me of how I would handle a similar activity had this happened when my children were younger.  I would wrap him or her in my arms and pray.  On the first indication of her gossiping tirade, I said, “Mindy, every time you talk about your mom or grandmother or anyone else, I’m going to pray that you will stop talking bad about other people.”

For about five or six weeks, she and I spent more time praying than doing anything else.  I would smile at her, open my arms and say, “Come here, girl.  We need to pray about that.”  She never resisted my embrace or prayer.  Slowly, her stories became fewer and fewer.

Even more, the atmosphere of our program returned to joyful expectation, rather than discouragement and fault finding.

Last week, she said to me, “I’m so proud of my mom.  She is going to start helping my grandma.”  She proceeded with every detail but the story was positive and uplifting.  I was proud of Mindy.  She has started to learn.

As we sat drinking coffee after the building was set up and I listened for the 15th time to how Mother was going to help Grandma, I was grateful for the power of prayer.  Also, I was reminded of the power of our words.  Mindy’s chatter was helping to set a positive expectancy for Special Gathering, rather than a pall of negative thoughts.

Now all I need to figure out is how do I keep her from repeating her stories 57 times.