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FELLOWSHIP @ THE NEIGHBOURHOOD BAR
Research that shows the more friendships a person has in a congregation, the less likely they are to become inactive or leave. I once read about a survey of 400 church drop-outs who were asked why they left their churches. Over 75% of the respondents said, “I didn’t feel anyone cared whether I was there or not.”
These are shocking results, especially as church should be one of the most caring places in the world!
The neighbourhood bar is possibly the best counterfeit there is to the fellowship Christ wants to give His church. It’s an imitation, dispensing alcohol instead of grace, escape rather than reality, but it is a Permissive, Accepting, and Inclusive fellowship. It is Unshockable. It is democratic. You can tell people secrets and they usually don’t tell others or even want to. The bar flourishes not because most people are alcoholics, but because God has put into the human heart the desire to know & be known, to love & be loved & so many seek a counterfeit at the price of a few beers.
1 John 2:15-2:17
1 Kings 3:16-3:28
2 Corinthians 9:12-10:1
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ILLUSTRATION… Discipleship Journal, 11-12/92
A recent survey of Discipleship Journal readers ranked areas of greatest spiritual challenge to them:
5. (Tie) Anger/Bitterness
5. (Tie) Sexual lust
Survey respondents noted temptations were more potent when…
they had neglected their time with God (81 percent)
and when they were physically tired (57 percent).
Resisting temptation was accomplished by prayer (84 percent), avoiding compromising
situations (76 percent), Bible study (66 percent), and being accountable to someone (52 percent).
AGAPE LOVE, THE HIGHEST FORM OF LOVE, IS REFERENCED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT 137 TIMES AS A VERB AND 116 TIMES AS A NOUN.
How valuable is salt? 40 million tons are required each year to fill our needs. Homer called it divine. Plato called it a "substance dear to the gods." Shakespeare mentioned salt 17 times in his plays. Perhaps Leonard da Vinci wanted to send a subtle message about purity lost when he painted "The last Supper." In that painting an overturned salt cellar is conspicuously placed before Judas. In ancient Greece a far-flung trade involving the exchange of salt for slaves gave rise to the expression, "...not worth his salt." Special salt rations were given to Roman soldiers and known as "Solarium Argentums" the forerunner of the English word "salary." Thousands of Napoleon?s troops died during his retreat from Moscow because their wounds would not heal--their bodies lacked sal...
Numbers of the Bible”
The number one is for God. We must begin with number one or we cannot have number two or any other number. Mathematically speaking we cannot get anywhere without the number one. We must begin with God.
The number two is for man. Man as an individual. God made man and Christ is “called the second man.”
Three is the number for the Trinity. God is a triune God; Father, Son and Spirit. The atmosphere, which we live in, is a trinity of oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen. The tabernacle was a trinity with its court, holy place, and Holiest of Holies.
The first chapter of Revelation is full of trinities of Truth.
V. 2 – The Word of God, The testimony of Jesus, All things that He saw.
V. 3 – Read, Hear and Keep.
V. 4 – Which is, Which was, and Which is to come.
V. 5 – The Faithful Witness, The First begotten of the dead, The Prince of the kings of the earth.
V.5, 6 – Loved us, Washed us, Made us kings and priests.
V. 7 – Every eye shall see him, They also which pierced him, All kindreds of the earth.
V. 9 – Tribulation, Kingdom, Patience
V. 18 – I am He that liveth, Was dead, Alive for evermore.
V. 19 – Things seen (Past), Things which are (Present), Things which shall be (Future).
Who would dare to contradict the trinity as these Ten appear in one chapter alone, chapter one of Revelation. Certainly no Spirit filled believer or student of scripture would not affirm its validity.
Four is the number of humanity as a whole. There were four men in the Ark, four men in the fiery furnace, four on the mount of Transfiguration. The four points of the compass comprise the whole of humanity in all the earth.
Five is the number for grace – grace accepted or grace rejected. There are five wise and foolish virgins.
The number six is the number for evil. A man with six toes and six fingers is called a wicked man in the Bible. Nebuchadnezzra’s image was sixty feet high and six feet in circumference and six musical instruments called the people to worship. The number for the Anti-Christ is six hundred sixty-six. This is set forth the trinity of evil, the climax of wickedness, and the culmination of iniquity. There can not be anything worse than 666.
Seven is the number for perfection. This number is frequently mentioned in scripture: seven churches, seven stars, seven heads, seven horns, seven eyes, seven Spirits of god, the seven branches of the candlestick.
In Judges, the seventh book of the Bible, there are seven departures from God; seven times the people repented and seven times Jehovah delivered his people from their enemies.
Eight is the number for that which is New. There are eight beatitudes which set forth something entirely new. Everything good in this sinful world owes its presence and existence to the Word of God. The resurrection of Christ and of many of the saints took place on the eighth day. Here indeed and in truth was something new.
Ten is the number of completeness. Jacob’s wages were changed ten times, which sets forth complete disappointment outside the will of God and his Promised Land. Eliezer, the servant, took ten camels with him when he started from home in order to obtain a bride for Isaac. God gave his people Ten Commandments. Daniel and his three friends were proved ten days and at the end of the test were ten times better than the others. Christ gave the parable of the ten pounds and ten talents. Christ healed ten lepers. The dragon of Daniel and Revelation had ten horns, which represent ten kings. The tenth or the tithe is the Lord’s.
GOD WORKS IN THREE’S (foundations of grace) death, burial, resurrection; (the kingdom of God) righteousness, peace, Holy Ghost ;( the greatness of God) was, is, is to come ;( three manifestations of God) Father, Son, Holy Ghost ;( in him we) live, move, have our being ;( now abideth these) faith, hope, love
The third of the threes are always sovereign ….the first two are always humanistic
A New Evangelical Movement: Rick Warren recently sent an open letter to President Bush saying, “I deeply believe that if we as evangelicals remain silent and do not speak up in defense of the poor, we lose our credibility and our right to witness about God’s love for the world. Endorsed by Billy Graham and John Stott the letter was sent to more than 150,000 evangelicals nationwide. Last fall The National Association of Evangelicals urged members to begin addressing global poverty and all its related ills. (Religion Journal.com 6/13/05)
Love is a very popular word in our society.
2,652 book titles regarding “Heaven,”
10,304 for “Money,”
16,765 for “Sex,”
18,818 for “God,” and
30,066 for “Love.”
Love is one of th...
“Prayer humbles us by reminding us of our place in creation. Prayer strengthens us by reminding us that God loves and cares for each and every soul in His creation. And prayer blesses us by reminding us that there is a divine plan that stands above all human plans.” (President Bush, National Day of Prayer 5/4/06)
According to current data 1 in 4 of us is depressed, some verging on a clinical diagnosis, Psalm 42 holds the answe to spritual depression, praise God, seek him worship him in the storm, in the crashing waves of hopelessness and love will rescue you, he did me.