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Swells: Lessons from the Psalms on Surviving Life’s Ups and Downs

swellsBridge Church tackled the book of Psalms in our summer series called Swells. We covered 8 major themes in Psalms including: Worship, the Word of God, Dealing with Difficult People, Dealing with Discouragement. Get the audio from this series HERE or by subscribing to our Podcast on Itunes. Here are a few highlights:

  • Two truths that stand out in the Psalms: God is bigger than anything I face & God is with me no matter where I am or what I’m going through.
  • Psalms reminds us that it’s OK to have lows in life. It’s actually NOT a sin to be discouraged or depressed. The very best of folks in this life, do. It IS a sin to go to the wrong place to heal discouragement & depression.
  • Our faith in God, not the surface waves of life ultimately define us.
  • There are only three kinds of people in life. People who are in the midst of a storm. People who just came out of a storm. People who are about to go through a storm.
  • there is POWER in the Word of God. We’re not just reading a good self-help book, we’re connecting with the Living God, through the means he chose to reveal himself to us.
  • When waves come, you need resources. And the earth’s resources will not be enough! You need strength inside. Strength from heaven.
  • John Bunyan said it well: “This Book (the Bible) will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this Book.”
  • D.L. Moody said, “The only way to keep a broken vessel full is by keeping the faucet turned on.” Keeping the faucet of God’s Word running repeatedly through your mind will clear out the garbage and keep you pure.
  • It’s OK to FEEL FRUSTRATED & FEARFUL. As long as you take those frustrations to the right place. We often think – “I shouldn’t have these feelings.” But feelings are a part of the journey toward experiencing God. We don’t waller in our feelings. That’s called sulking & doesn’t accomplish much. David kept moving, took his feelings to God, & expected God to do something about it.
  • If you’ve ever realized how badly you needed grace, you’re more likely to extend it to others.
  • People & our feelings will let us down. But God will be a shelter.
  • We can’t always say that bad things happen in our life are the consequences of sin, but sometimes they are. You will know. Sometimes bad things happen b/c we live in a bad world. Sometimes bad things happen b/c of other people’s bad decisions. Sometimes it’s just the natural outworkings of foolish decision making. Sometimes it may be discipline from God. God disciplines those he loves.
  • There’s great freedom in living a life of integrity & character, powered by God’s son.
  • Becoming a Christian is not an insurance policy from bad things. It IS an insurance policy against purposeless, meaningless life. We can be assured, that even the bad things that we can’t figure out are a part of God’s plan. And we can cry out to God for deliverance & be assured of His presence & that He will answer us.
  • Results of Trusting God should be greater courage, greater confidence, victory over fear, risk taking for God’s kingdom & for the sake of lost people!
  • Some of us never experience God’s protection, b/c we’re so focused on providing for our own safety & comfort. We learn to trust God outside of our comfort zone. “God doesn’t give you more that you can handle.” No! God always gives you more than you can handle, so that you can learn to trust him.
  • There’s never a place that worship should not break out in our hearts & minds. We should always be in awe of him. We should always be coming back to the truth – HE IS WITH ME! HE IS BIGGER THAN THIS!

Our God is Able #sermonnotes

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Last Sunday, Bridge Church started a new series called Our God is Able. We’ll be looking at how we should view God’s power & the difference that view should make in our everyday life. Here’s a few questions from the intro message to help challenge your thinking about our God who is “able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us” Ephesians 3:20.

>> If we serve an all powerful, ever loving God, who can do absolutely anything, why are we as Christians, often time powerless, fearful, hesitant, & uncertain?
>> “My God is Able!” Now, what would my life look like, if I really believed that?
>> Do I believe that God can overcome death & hell, but will struggle to help me with everyday life issues?
>> Do I believe that God can raise the dead, but helping me deal with that difficult situation is too tough a case for him?
>> Is something or someone in my life right now bigger in my minds eye than God & his power?
>> Can you’re life be easily explained apart from God’s hand & his work?
>> Do you have a category in your faith that makes room for God absolutely blowing your mind?

Get the first message in the series Our God is Able HERE or on Itunes. Join Bridge Church this Sunday for part 2 & a special Orphan Sunday emphasis. 10:30am at the Maritime Museum in Madisonville.

What Should I Wear? #devo

IMG_5312This is a key question to ask for those who want to be an effective witness for Christ. Are you serious? The clothes I wear impacts my impact on others? Well, maybe, but I’m talking about what ATTITUDE & DISPOSITION you wear everyday. In today’s world, your disposition & attitude are a tremendous opportunity for evangelism. People are so beat down & discouraged & negative. If they see the joy of the Lord in you, they’ll want to know what the heck happened to you. People of salvation should be the most joyful people around. We have ETERNAL LIFE! Direct access to the God of the universe! The promise that Jesus is living in us & is with us ALWAYS! & so much more. I’ve met a few people that have said to me “I’m a Christian” & I thought about responding to them with, “Well, you better tell your face about it.”

Colossians 3:12-13 says, “as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, PUT ON a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.”

If you WEAR compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, forgiveness, you WILL stand out wherever you are today AND overtime someone will want to know how & why you’re different. (Check out THIS GREAT LIST of other things that the Bible says we should PUT OFF & PUT ON).

Even Christians who are experiencing less than joyful circumstances often will be recognized by the inner joy they carry. Joy is in believers, not because of what’s on the outside, but because of what’s on the inside. Like a bird that sings during a hurricane. His song reflects what’s inside, not what’s on the outside.

So, what are you wearing today? Put on Christ-like character & the joy of the Lord & get ready to make a difference!

This is a summary from part of Sunday’s message at Bridge Church. Get the audio here.

It’s NOT the End of the World. YET…

Well, October’s here & the world didn’t end after all. But we did get some great shots of the Blood Moon. (My favorite is attached from Mike Mezeul in Dallas. Taken every 10 minutes. Wow!)

Still we’re told in the Bible that Jesus will return like a thief in the night & bring an end to this world (Matthew 24:44), & we should wait expectantly for that day (Titus 2:13-14, Philippians 3:20). Then we’ll experience a new heaven & new earth where righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:10,13).

IMG_5312In last week’s Bible Study at Bridge Church, we looked at some of Peter’s advice to us concerning the end of the World found in 2 Peter 3:

  1. Be awakened by this truth – v. 1-2. Let it be like your morning coffee or shower. Everyday remember that life is short & tomorrow is not promised.
  2. Don’t be a scoffer. Take it seriously – vs. 3-8 A scoffer, takes lightly what he/she should take seriously. Heaven & hell are in the balance for many as they face the end of life or the end of the world. Don’t lose the weight of that truth from God’s word.
  3. Take advantage of God’s patience – vs. 9. God’s patience in not bringing about the end of the world or the end of our individual lives should tell us that we have more time to be a light & tell those around us about what he’s done for us in Christ. God’s patience should also serve as a reminder that he wants my friends, relatives, n
    eighbors to know Him before its everlasting too late.
  4. Let the Day of the Lord motivate you to godliness – vs. 10-12. If this is true “it is clear what sort of people you should be in holy conduct and godlines”.

Great advice for parents to leave with teenagers as they leave the house – “Don’t do anything that you wouldn’t want to be doing when Jesus came back.” Good thought for all of us as we think about the brevity of life & the truth from God’s word that one day this will all end.

Join Bridge Church this Sunday as we continue our study of the new testament book of 2 Peter. 10:30am at the Madisonville Maritime Museum.

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Time lapse photo taken by Mike Mezeul. Posted on a photography Facebook group that I’m in. See Mike’s work & get a print here: https://mikemezphotography.smugmug.com/Night-Sky/i-KpRzTb5/A

Four Words that Test My Faith in Christ

TESTED_PosterLast Sunday, our church wrapped up a long study of the New Testament book of 1 Peter called Tested, with FOUR WORDS that sum up Peter’s message & that can serve as a test of our faith in Christ:

1. CHANGED: Has there been a change in my life? Simon became Peter. A fisherman & failed follower of Christ became leader of the Gospel movement b/c of his relationship with Christ.1 Peter 1:3. You’ll not come in contact with Jesus & not be changed in some way.

2. SUBMISSION: Can I say that selflessness & servanthood toward God & others is part of my identity? 1 Peter 2:13,18; Matthew 20:28. Peter was known in the Gospel for his assertiveness & brashness. But he learned that in Christ, SUBMISSION was the greater value.

3. SUFFERING: If following Christ cost me something, would I still do it? 1 Peter 4:1. Suffering & Christianity are inextricable linked. Why? Peter reminds us that we’re not of this world, so we can expect to rub this world the wrong way. And we’re going against the flow of our fleshly nature & cultural norms, so sparks will fly when our identity in Christ meets these two.

4. READINESS: Am I ready with everyday discipline in my Christian life (1 Peter 1:13)? Am I ready to share the Gospel with others (1 Peter 3:15)? Am I ready to face temptation & the tempter who desires my destruction (1 Peter 5:8)?

Peter was concerned about READINESS b/c of his own failures:

  • In the Garden of Gethsamane he slept when Jesus as him to pray, so he tells us to “Stay awake” 1 Peter 5:8.  
  • When Jesus was arrested, he reacted by trying to commit murder, so he tells us to “Be sober” 1 Peter 1:13. 
  • He denied Christ three times even though he said he wouldn’t, so he tells us to “Be ready to give an answer” 1 Peter 3:15.

Great study & great book for our generation to study as we face more & more pressure because of our faith in Christ.

Find most of the messages at http://bridgenorthshore.podomatic.com/ or on our Itunes account.

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