Unwrapping Gifts for SHEPHERDING

Starting this Sunday, Jan. 14th! (2)Remember our three major goals in this sermon series on Spiritual Gifts: First, we want you to know what spiritual gifts are.  Second, we want you to discover which spiritual gifts you possess.  Third, we want you to decide how to use your spiritual gifts!

We are using this site for our Spiritual Gifts tests (please put Whitney Friends Church and whitneyfriends@gmail.com in the info box): Adults and Youth.

We worked hard to bring a better quality sound to the LIVE Facebook streaming and while there are a few places with some static (we will try our best to figure that out) the sound quality improved significantly!

Gifts of Shepherding include: administration, apostle, leadership, pastoring, and teaching.  Watch the video for the message Pastors Joy and Roy tag-team preached!

#SpiritualGifts #tagteampreaching

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Unwrapping Your Spiritual Gifts

Starting this Sunday, Jan. 14th! (5)Pastors Joy and Roy are tag-team preaching this series and we are looking forward to seeing how this works out.  In addition, we are streaming the message portion of our worship service LIVE on Facebook!  The sound quality this first week leaves much to be desired, and for that, we are sorry!  We fixed some things for the next week.

Romans 12:4-8-1 Corinthians 12: 1-11; 27-30-Ephesians 4:11-13- and 1 Peter 4: 10-11

We have three major goals in this sermon series: First, we want you to know what the spiritual gifts are.  Second, we want you to discover which spiritual gifts you possess.  Third, we want you to decide to use your spiritual gifts in the service of the Lord.

The Spiritual Gifts Tests we are using are below.  Please enter Whitney Friends Church and our e-mail (whitneyfriends@gmail.com) in the information area.
Adults: http://www.kodachrome.org/spiritgift/

Youth: http://www.kodachrome.org/spiritgiftyouth/

#SpiritualGifts #tagteampreaching

Anna’s Voice of Hope

Through Advent, we have heard many voices of Christmas – voices filled with the Holy Spirit.  The voices of Mary and Joseph’s obedience to God; Elizabeth’s prophecy concerning Mary and her unborn child, the voice of John the Baptist pointing others to God; the magi who studied God’s prophecies took a risk to seek Jesus out; and today, we read that Simeon and Anna prophesied when Joseph and Mary went to the Temple for their purification.

Voice of (1)How many of us have (or have had) favorite television shows that ran for several seasons?  Little House on the Prairie?  Friends?  Beverly Hillbillies? Bones?  Captain Kangaroo? MASH?  Hee Haw?  Gun Smoke?  The Lawrence Welk Show?  Yes, we used to have a wait an entire week to watch the next episode and we had summer months to wait for the next season… you know, life before Netflix!  Well, in t.v. series, talk, Simeon and Anna are featured in one episode of a long series and are never mentioned again.  If you happen to watch this episode, it is full of spoilers for future episodes. (A spoiler is an element that reveals any plot elements which threaten to give away important details concerning the turn of events of a dramatic episode, usually fiction).

Luke 2:22-38

We know from these passages that Simeon was:

  • Righteous and devout
  • Looking forward to the consolation of Israel
  • The Holy Spirit revealed things to him – we know that he would not die before he had seen the Messiah; Holy Spirit rested on him and guided him.
  • He obeyed the Holy Spirit’s promptings.
  • He recognized Jesus as the Messiah.
  • He never gave up or lost hope that the Holy Spirit’s promise would take place. What he had been waiting for was fulfilled and his work here on earth was done. Once it did, he was ready to die.

We learn these “spoilers” from Simeon:

  • He is God’s salvation, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, that’s us; and for glory to God’s people, Israel.
  • He will be the cause of many falling –
  • He will be the cause of many rising –
  • He will be opposed –
    • We cannot be neutral when it comes to our decision regarding Jesus. We surrender TO him or we fight him.

Mary is given is glimpse into her own future, through the life of her Son and what his life (and death) will do to her, when Simeon addresses her specifically, “and a sword will pierce your own soul, too” (v. 35b).  Not sure any parent ever wants to hear those words regarding their child.

From these three verses in Luke, we are given a surprising amount of information on Anna:

  • She was a prophet – a prophet was a religious person who sought to give the mind and will of God on some specific issue. What was Anna’s “issue?” Verse 38 tells us it is the “redemption of Jerusalem.”
  • Priest – worship = ministered
  • her tribe (Asher) and family (Phanuel)
  • Widowed after seven years of marriage and never remarried.
  • her advanced age; she is an 84-105 year old Jewish woman.

Luke goes a long way to validate the ministry of Anna.  He pairs her with Simeon and gives them equally significant roles.  He calls her a prophet.  Certainly Simeon was a prophet as well, though he is not called that in Luke’s gospel.  Clearly, he prophesies, which is what prophets do, but Luke makes a point to call her a prophet.  Luke tells us that “She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day.”  The word that is translated “worshipped” (NIV), and in other translations as “ministered” is a word commonly used to speak of a priest ministering at an altar – latreuo.  Anna is both a prophet and a priest.  She is the earliest scriptural example of a female minister of the gospel!

Anna was well-known as a prophetess. “To be acknowledged as a prophetess was a great honour and distinction given her among the Jewish people, especially from the High Priest and Teachers of the Law, who recorded her in their religious history. This was not an ordinary notability.”  The significance of Anna’s testimony, however, is not merely that she recognized Jesus as the Messiah, but that she then went to spread the good news. Like the women who would bear witness to the Resurrection many years later, Anna shares the wonderful news with all who would listen.  Hers was a voice of hope!

Consider these queries in light of this message of hope:

Does your inward faith turn outward? Do you pray for your friends and associates and for those engaged in spreading the Gospel? Have you examined your beliefs and prepared yourself to share them, with sensitivity and humility, as the Holy Spirit leads?

#Advent2017 #AnnatheProphet

The Wise Still Seek Him

Quick fact: Nowhere in the Bible does it say there were three; early Biblical scholars came up with the number because of the number of gifts presented.  These men were wise, not just because they were educated, but also because of the way they put their knowledge into practice. It is important for us to consider how it was that the revelation of the Christ was made known to three men from a foreign land who journeyed many miles following what they hoped was a sign that would lead them to someone that would not only change their lives, but their world. And it is important for us to do this, not just for historical or religious purposes, but because of what we can learn from them today.

  • The magi were people who studied.
  • Keen observers of the world around them.
  • They took a risk and ventured into unknown territory to seek confirmation.
  • They were willing to ask for directions…
  • They responded with gratitude.
  • They remained attentive and vigilant.

In a western novel by Dan Arnold (2016) entitled “Alta Vista,” the sheriff goes to church to listen to the new preacher who he recognizes as a notorious gunman.  This is what he hears as he goes in (paraphrased):

.so you see when God is at work, there is always change.  Just as he changed Moses from a Prince of Egypt into a sheepherder and changed him again into the leader of His people and the Law Giver, He changed His chosen people from slaves in Egypt into a prosperous nation.  God changed David from a lowly shepherd boy into the King of Israel.  He changed others from dead, back to living.  He even changed Jesus, His own son to become like us in the form of a little bitty baby, born of a virgin.  He changed Saul, a man whose only life goal was to see Christians persecuted, into Paul, an Apostle and one of the greatest saints in the Bible.  I’m here to tell you that He changed me, and He can change you.

“I know some of you are aware, I was a bad man.  I don’t mean just another ordinary sinner like everybody else, oh no.  I was hellbent.” 

“But God, who is rich in mercy and loves us all more than we can imagine, had a plan for my life.  He has a plan for your life too.

Listen to me now!  God is all about changing people’s lives.  He has a plan and He wants you to experience His love and gentle leadership.

He has a plan for your life, but he won’t force it on you.  He’s inviting you today.  New life is free for the taking, but you have to reach out and accept the gift.  If you deny Him and his free gift, he’ll let you go on in your sin.

The Bible says ‘the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.’  It is a free gift, but you have to accept it and receive it.  A free gift does you no good if you never actually receive it.

 Now, I know some of you are sitting there thinking that you are already saved, but if God isn’t changing you, maybe that’s because you don’t really know him.  Maybe for some of you, today is the day; this is the moment of salvation.  You have to make a decision.  I’ve decided to follow Jesus.  How about you?

What a powerful sermon, in a secular, fictional book!  When I heard this, this sentence jumped out at me, “if God isn’t changing you, maybe that’s because you don’t really know him.”

What has and is he doing in our lives?

Pastor Joy closed with these these questions:

First:  Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior?

Second:  If so, what is He doing in your life?  How is your life changing?  Is He making a difference in your life?

Third: Do you need to make any changes? 

#Advent2017

She is Chosen!

Theme_Week_4

Luke 1:26-38

Yet, despite the difficult road, despite her very life being on the line—she was still chosen to bear the Son of God, and she still said yes. She still chose the path of radical discipleship, even knowing the great consequences that could come from her simple phrase, “May your word to me be fulfilled.”

 

 

  1. She would have grown up learning stories of the Messiah, hearing about and longing for a day when her people would be free.   Her very name indicates that she grew up in a religious household and was named for Miriam the prophetess.  Her betrothal followed the religious custom for marriage at the time, which meant that she and Joseph were already in a covenant together.  The stories of her youth and her day-to-day existence came crashing together in the moment with the angel.
  2. Being a simple religious girl, she may have wondered about why she was chosen, but she was still chosen.  Her name was incredibly common for Jewish girls.  Her family doesn’t seem to be even worth noting in the text.  Nothing we are told about her implies there was anything extraordinary about her at all.  And yet, she was chosen—in spite of her ordinariness. The scripture does not praise her extraor­dinariness but, rather, her faithfulness to the call of God on her life.
  3. We are also chosen to bear the Son of God to the world.  Not in the physical, giving-birth sense but in the ways we interact with others. We show others Jesus when we show compassion, grace, and love to the world around us.  We are chosen—not because we are extraordinary but, in spite of all of that, because we are the beloved of God.  The task of discipleship for us comes at a cost as well. It may not mean stoning or death, but it could lose us friends and loved ones. Yet we are called to be faithful.

To tell the story in today’s language, an angel of God appeared to this clearly mature and devout teenager, saying: “Greetings, you are favored so highly! The Lord is with you.”

Mary, clearly freaked out by this visit and what it might mean, is immediately uneasy. So the angel attempts to comfort her, “Wait, don’t freak out, Mary. God is super pleased with you. So pleased, in fact, that you’re going to become pregnant and give birth to a baby boy! When he’s born, call him Jesus. This kid is going to be very important, the Son of the Most High. God will even put him on the throne of David, to reign over your people forever. His kingdom will never end!”

“Hold on one second there, angel,” Mary replied, “How is that even possible? I’m still a virgin.”

“The Spirit of God will come to you — that’s right, the very power of the Most High will come over you. The holy child will be called the Son of God!”

Mary answered the angel, saying:

“I am the servant of the Lord. Let it happen just as you say.”

Let’s not forget that Mary had a choice in the matter.  She had to make a decision… and so do we.  Will you say yes to God?  He’s asking you to be different, to do radical things, to be set apart.  What’s your answer?  Mary was not given time to spend discerning if she should say yes.  She trusted God.  Do you?

#LongExpectedJesus #Advent2017

He is Here!

Theme_ChristmasFrom our candlelight service on Dec. 23rd:

John 3:16-21

One of Pastor Joy’s favorite Christmas songs is, “The Babe in the Manger.”  The chorus reads,

The Babe in the manger was God’s only Son, who came to the world to die. The Babe in the manger could never have done the work of His God on high.

The Babe left the manger and went to the Cross to pay the wages of sin.  Your way of forgiveness is not by the Babe, but the Christ who died for your sin.

 

Christmas is a time of joy and laughter and tradition. It’s also a time of sadness, depression, loneliness, frustration, conflict, guilt, comparison…and every other possible emotion or experience.

 

 We’ve only heard part of the story tonight; we’ve heard “the birth story.”  And like our own birth stories, some are more exciting than others.  But those stories are just the beginning; so it is with Jesus.  This is just the beginning.

Praise the Lord!  He is here!!!!

#LongExpectedJesus #Advent2017

 

 

 

He is Light!

Theme_Week_3

 

Pastor Joy shared about darkness.  She shared about battling depression and darkness.  She shared how light makes a difference!  How light brings life (think plants)!

At one point, George Fox became so despairing that he lay in bed for days, having lost all hope.  BUT then, Fox experienced the first of his spiritual “openings,” from which came hope–“But as I had forsaken the priests, so I left the separate preachers also, and those esteemed the most experienced people; for I saw there was none among them all that could speak to my condition. And when all my hopes in them and in all men were gone, so that I had nothing outwardly to help me, nor could tell what to do, then, oh, then, I heard a voice which said, “There is one, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition”; and when I heard it my heart did leap for joy.

Fox also spoke of an “ocean of darkness,” as a metaphor that vividly describing what many people experience during depression–a feeling of drowning in an unending sea of despair.

But Fox also experienced an “ocean of light”–a sense of being buoyed up in a sea of divine love so intense it overcomes this feeling of isolation and hopelessness.  “I saw that there was an ocean of darkness and death; but an infinite ocean of light and love, which flowed over the ocean of darkness. In that I saw the infinite love of God.”

John 1:6-8; 19-28

  1. This promise of the Light coming is what John came to share with the people.
  2. The people knew darkness.  Remember, they hadn’t heard from God for a long time, and they were feeling desperate.  They knew suffering.
  3. We know darkness too.
  4. The light has come, and the light is Jesus. The promise of Advent, even though it’s already been fulfilled, helps us to live each day in hope and expectation of the kingdom of God at work in our world.

In this season of Advent, many of us walk through darkness in one form or another. Jesus wants to be a light for us, that we might know love, grace, and peace. We also are to shine the light of Jesus to those around us, that they might see the love of God through us.

What are some ways light can bring hope?  (Traveling and see lights in the distance…)

How has Jesus been a light to you or people you know?

How can we show the light of Jesus to others?

#LongExpectedJesus #Advent2017 #HeIsLight

Week 3: He is Light!

Theme_Week_3Week 3: He is Light
Key Scripture: John 1:6-8, 19-28

Day 15, Sunday, December 17:
Today’s Scripture Reading: John 1:6-8, 19-28
Additional Scripture Readings: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11, Psalm 126, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

Day 16, Monday, December 18:
Today’s Scripture Reading: Ephesians 6:10-17
Additional Scripture Readings: Psalm 125; 1 Kings 18:1-18

Day 17, Tuesday, December 19:
Today’s Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 2:9-22
Additional Scripture Readings: Psalm 125; Acts 3:17-4:4

Day 18, Wednesday, December 20:
Today’s Scripture Reading: Mark 9:9-13
Additional Scripture Readings: Psalm 125; Malachi 3:16-4:6

Day 19, Thursday, December 21:
Today’s Scripture Reading: Hebrews 1:1-4
Additional Scripture Readings: Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26; 2 Samuel 6:1-11; Hebrews 1:1-4

Day 20, Friday, December 22:
Today’s Scripture Reading: Psalm 89:1-4,19-26
Additional Scripture Readings: 2 Samuel 6:12-19; Hebrews 1:5-14

Day 21, Saturday, December 23:
Today’s Scripture Reading: John 7:40-52
Additional Scripture Readings: Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26; Judges 13:2-24

#LongExpectedJesus #Advent2017