Pastor's Notes

Now I Know
First Baptist Church and The Lakefront Church – Venice, Florida
One Church – Two Locations
June 2, 2024

What you do not know is more significant than what you do know!

Genesis 22:1-14 (CSB) 4On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go over there to worship; then we’ll come back to you.” 6Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac. … , but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” 8Abraham answered, “God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” … 11But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” He replied, “Here I am.” 12Then He said, “Do not lay a hand on the boy or do anything to him. For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your only son from me.”

•We have a choice to prioritize God or someone else.

•Abraham placed following God’s Word as his top priority.

•You do not know what blessings are waiting for you when you prioritize God in your life!

Exodus 18:1-12 (CSB) 8Moses recounted to his father-in-law all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, all the hardships that confronted them on the way, and how the Lord rescued them. 9Jethro rejoiced over all the good things the Lord had done for Israel when He rescued them from the power of the Egyptians. 10“Blessed be the Lord,” Jethro exclaimed, “who rescued you from the power of Egypt and from the power of Pharaoh. He has rescued the people from under the power of Egypt! 11Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods, because he did wonders when the Egyptians acted arrogantly against Israel.” 12Then Jethro, Moses’s father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God, …

Acts 20:17-31 (CSB) Now from Miletus, he sent to Ephesus and summoned the elders of the church.…25“And now I know that none of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will ever see me again.

•Now I know that I do not know what my last action will be!

•What legacy are you leaving behind?

1 Corinthians 13:11-13 (CSB) When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put aside childish things. 12For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, as I am fully known. 13Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love—but the greatest of these is love.

•What do I know in part?
1.God has a plan for my life.
2.God has a purpose for my life.
3.Satan wants to wreck God’s plan for your life.
               
שָׂטָן  -  satan – destroy; support, twist, thorn; life  

•Samson got off track. God had a plan and a purpose for Samson. Samson came back to God, but it cost him his witness, his eyesight, and his life.         Satan twisted the plan and purpose of God.

•The prodigal got off track. He repented and was restored.
Satan twisted the plan and purpose of God.

•The Samaritan woman got off track. She married 5 times and lived with another man, not her husband. She repented and helped win her city to Christ.      Satan twisted the plan and purpose of God.

•Peter got off track. He repented and was restored.
Satan twisted the plan and purpose of God.

•Judas got off track. He never repented, and it cost him his life.
Satan twisted and then destroyed Judas.

•Are you off track?

•What you do not know is more significant than what you do know.

Overcoming Futility
First Baptist Church and The Lakefront Church – Venice, Florida
One Church – Two Locations
May 26, 2024

Background: Genesis 2:8-20

John 10:10 (CSB) A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.

Genesis 3:1-9 (CSB) Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You can’t eat from any tree in the garden’?”
•Destroy our relationship with God
2The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit from the trees in the garden. 3But about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, God said, ‘You must not eat it or touch it, or you will die.’” 4“No! You will certainly not die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5“In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6The woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
•Destroy relationship with each other
16He said to the woman: I will intensify your labor pains; you will bear children with painful effort. …
•Destroy relationship with family
Your desire will be for your husband, yet he will rule over you.
•Destroy harmony in marriage
17And he said to the man, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘Do not eat from it’: The ground is cursed because of you. You will eat from it by means of painful labor all the days of your life. 18It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.
•Destroy - Relationship with the land - hard work, weeds
19You will eat bread by the sweat of your brow until you return to the ground, since you were taken from it. For you are dust, and you will return to dust.”
•Destroy – Relationship with life – you will die!

Romans 8:20-23 (CSB) For the creation was subjected to futility—not willingly, but because of him who subjected it [Adam] —in the hope 21that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage to decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children. 22For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now. 23Not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits—we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

Psalm 85:9 (CSB) His salvation is very near those who fear Him, so that glory may dwell in our land.

Jude 20-24 (NLT) But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, 21and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love. 22And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. 23Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives. 24Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into His glorious presence without a single fault.

Overcoming Midnight
First Baptist Church and The Lakefront Church – Venice, Florida
One Church – Two Locations
May 19, 2024

Isn’t it strange that most of us have trouble turning off our minds at night?

Genesis 1:1-5 (CSB) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. 3Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” There was an evening, and there was a morning: one day.

Job 30:17 (NLT) At night my bones are filled with pain, which gnaws at me relentlessly.

John 3:19 (CSB) This is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.

How do we OVERCOME MIDNIGHT?

1.Unexpected events tend to manifest at midnight!

Background: Exodus 11-12

Exodus 11:4 (CSB) So Moses said [to Pharaoh], “This is what the Lord says: About midnight I will go throughout Egypt, 5and every firstborn male in the land of Egypt will die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne to the firstborn of the servant girl who is at the grindstones, as well as every firstborn of the livestock.

Exodus 12:13 (CSB) The blood on the houses where you are staying will be a distinguishing mark for you; when I see the blood, I will pass over you.

Exodus 12:42 (NLT) On this night the Lord kept His promise to bring His people out of the land of Egypt. So this night belongs to Him, and it must be commemorated every year by all the Israelites, from generation to generation.

2.Unexpected events tend to manifest at midnight!

Background: Ruth 1-4

Ruth 3:8 (CSB) At midnight, Boaz was startled, turned over, and there lying at his feet was a woman!
Ruth 4:11b (CSB) May the LORD make the woman who is entering your house like Rachel and Leah, who together built the house of Israel. May you be powerful in Ephrathah, and your name well known in Bethlehem.  

Ruth 4:13 a,c (CSB) Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. …and she gave birth to a son.

3.Unexpected events tend to manifest at midnight!

Background: Acts 16

Acts 16:25, 31-34 (CSB) About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. … 31They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him along with everyone in his house. 33He took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds. Right away he and all his family were baptized. 34 He brought them into his house, set a meal before them, and rejoiced because he had come to believe in God with his entire household.

4.Unexpected events tend to manifest at midnight!
 
Background: Matthew 25

Matthew 25:6,10-12 (NLT) At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’… 10But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. 11Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’ 12“But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’

Psalm 119:55 (CSB) Lord, I remember your name in the night, and I obey your instruction.

Psalm 119:62 (CSB) I rise at midnight to thank you for your righteous judgments.

1 John 2:8 (CSB) Yet I am writing you a new command, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.

COMMUNION: Matthew 26:26-28  

C.A.R.E. Test
First Baptist Church and The Lakefront Church – Venice, Florida
One Church – Two Locations
May 12, 2024

"Things will never be right between you, your spouse, your friends, and even strangers until you get things right between you and God!"

John 4:34 (NLT) Then Jesus explained: "My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.

The Four Main Thrusts for Today

1.I Choose to trust God and live my life according to His Word.

2.I Choose to make life pleasant for those in my family.

3.I Choose to appeal lovingly when I am hurt or do not understand.

4.I Choose to forgive those who have hurt me.

Genesis 1:27 (NLT) So God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.

•Males and Females will never fully understand each other.

•You cannot change or control your spouse.

I.CONSIDERATION – Careful thought; deliberation; thoughtful and sympathetic regard to another's opinion, decision, preference, or desire.

A.Considerate in how we respond

Galatians 5:22–23 (CSB) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things.

•A key component to having a thriving Christian marriage is mutual respect.

Philippians 2:3 (CSB) Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.

B.Considerate in how we communicate.

Colossians 4:6 (CSB) Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person.

C.Considerate of another's struggles

Psalm 9:13 (CSB) Be gracious to me, Lord; consider my affliction at the hands of those who hate me. Lift me up from the gates of death,

FIRST TEST GRADE IS - CONSIDERATION   1-10  _____

II.APPRECIATION – a feeling or expression of admiration, approval, or gratitude; increase in value

•Appreciation is an attitude that must be exercised.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (CSB) Rejoice always, 17pray constantly, 18give thanks in everything; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 3:15 (CSB) And let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body, rule your hearts. And be thankful.

SECOND TEST GRADE IS – APPRECIATION  1-10  _____

III.RECONCILIATION – to restore friendship or harmony,

1Corinthians 13:4-8 (CSB) …and does not keep a record of wrongs.

•Remember how much Jesus Christ has forgiven us.

THIRD TEST GRADE IS – RECONCILIATION  1-10  _____

IV.EXHILARATION – The act of enlivening the spirit, making glad or cheerful;  

•Are you fun to be with?

Proverbs 17:22 (CSB) A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bone.

John 15:11 (CSB) I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.

FOURTH TEST GRADE IS – EXHILARATION  1-10  _____

Ephesians 5:1-2 (CSB) Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children, 2and walk in love, as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.

•God CARES about us!

A Peculiar Treasure
First Baptist Church and The Lakefront Church – Venice, Florida
One Church – Two Locations
May 05, 2024

Background Exodus 19:1-6 (KJV)

Exodus 19:4-6 (KJV) Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. 5Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: 6And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

John 5:5-7 (CSB) One man was there who had been disabled for thirty-eight years. 6When Jesus saw him lying there and realized he had already been there a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to get well 7“Sir,” the disabled man answered, “I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I’m coming, someone goes down ahead of me.”

•Do you want to get well? Jesus asked.

•What do you want?

So, whether a student, a graduate, pursuing a career, or retired, we should say, God, I want to be the person you want me to be.
I am determined to put God first in my life.

Proverbs 3:5-12 (CSB) Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; 6in all your ways know Him,
and He will make your paths straight. 7Don’t be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. 8This will be healing for your body and strengthening for your bones. 9Honor the Lord
with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest; 10then your barns will be completely filled, and your vats will overflow with new wine. 11Do not despise the Lord’s instruction, my son, and do not loathe His discipline; 12for the Lord disciplines the one He loves, just as a father disciplines the son in whom he delights.

•A peculiar treasure.

1 Samuel 17:38-40 (CSB) Saul finally consented. “All right, go ahead,” he said. “And may the Lord be with you!” 38Then Saul gave David his own armor—a bronze helmet and a coat of mail. 39David put it on, strapped the sword over it, and took a step or two to see what it was like, for he had never worn such things before. “I can’t go in these,” he protested to Saul. “I’m not used to them.” So David took them off again. 40He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine.

•What makes you different?

•A problem today is that people want to be like everyone else.

1 Samuel 8:19-22  But the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning. “Even so, we still want a king,” they said. 20“We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will judge us and lead us into battle.” 21So Samuel repeated to the Lord what the people had said, 22and the Lord replied, “Do as they say, and give them a king.” Then Samuel agreed and sent the people home.

•A desire to fit in will cause you to compromise your integrity, your strengths, and your distinctiveness.

1 Peter 2:9 (NLT) But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

Deuteronomy 28:1-14 (NLT) If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully keep all his commands that I am giving you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the world. 2You will experience all these blessings if you obey the Lord
your God: 3Your towns and your fields will be blessed. 4Your children and your crops will be blessed. The offspring of your
herds and flocks will be blessed. 5Your fruit baskets and breadboards will be blessed. 6Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be blessed. 7“The Lord will conquer your enemies when they attack you. They will attack you from one direction, but they will scatter from you in seven! 8“The Lord will guarantee a blessing on everything you do and will fill your storehouses with grain. The Lord your God will bless you in the land He is giving you. 9“If you obey the commands of the Lord your God and walk in His ways, the Lord will establish you as His holy people as He swore He would do.
10Then all the nations of the world will see that you are a people claimed by the Lord, and they will stand in awe of you. 11“The
Lord will give you prosperity in the land He swore to your ancestors to give you, blessing you with many children, numerous livestock, and abundant crops. 12The Lord will send rain at the proper time from His rich treasury in the heavens and will bless all the work you do. You will lend to many nations, but you will never need to borrow from them. 13If you listen to these commands of the Lord
your God that I am giving you today, and if you carefully obey them, the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always be on top and never at the bottom. 14You must not turn away from any of the commands I am giving you today, nor follow after other gods and worship them.

After the Resurrection - Part 2
First Baptist Church and The Lakefront Church – Venice, Florida
One Church – Two Locations
April 28, 2024

BACKGROUND Luke 24:13-32
Luke 24:33-49 That very hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem. They found the Eleven and those with them gathered together, 34who said, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” 35Then they began to describe what had happened on the road and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread. 36As they were saying these things, He himself stood in their midst. He said to them, “Peace to you!” 37But they were startled and terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost. 38“Why are you troubled?” He asked them. “And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself!
Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” 40Having said this, He showed them His hands and feet. 41But while they still were amazed and in disbelief because of their joy, He asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish, 43 and He took it and ate in their presence. 44He told them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. 46He also said to them, “This is what is
written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead the third day, 47and repentance for forgiveness of sins will be proclaimed in His name to all the nations,
beginning at Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things. 49And look, I am sending you what my Father promised. As for you, stay in the city until you are empowered from on high.”

 The Excitement about the Resurrected Jesus – Verses 33-35

•Peter denied Jesus.How would you deny Jesus? - Verse 34

 Jesus's resurrected body is different but recognizable. Verses 36-43

 Jesus is the I AM! Verse 38-39

•Look at me: Nail holes or scars.
•Touch me: Firm, bones, skin.

 Do not miss your resurrected body
1 Corinthians 5:1-3 (NLT) For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.
2We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. 3For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies.

 We will be like Jesus.
1 John 3:2 (CSB) Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him as He is.

 You are witnesses of these things. Verses 44-48

1.Soldiers at the tomb Matthew 28:11-15, Acts 12:18   2. The Mary’s
3.Peter.   4. Cleopas and his wife.   5. The 10 Apostles and later Thomas
6.The Apostle Paul.   7. Over 500 others – 1 Corinthians 15:6

 The resurrection is essential to Christianity.

1 Corinthians 15:12-19, John 2:19

 But the MAJOR reason to know the resurrection was real was the change in those closest to Jesus.

•The Apostles no longer ran away.
•Peter stopped denying Jesus.
•James, Jesus' half-brother, moved from thinking Jesus was out of His mind to being the leader of the Church in Jerusalem. (Mark 3:21, Galatians 1:19)
•The Apostle Paul went from a Jewish Pharisee persecuting Christians to the bold church planter who penned 14 books of the New Testament. (13 plus Hebrews)

Luke 24:49 (CSB) And look, I am sending you what my Father promised. As for you, stay in the city until you are empowered from on high.”

•Now we are His witnesses.

John 20:28-29 (CSB) Thomas responded to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29Jesus said, “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

After the Resurrection
First Baptist Church and The Lakefront Church – Venice, Florida
One Church – Two Locations
April 21, 2024

Luke 24:13-53 (CSB) Now that same day two of them were on their way to a village called Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14Together they were discussing everything that had taken place. 15And while they were discussing and arguing, Jesus Himself came near and began to walk along with them. 16But they were prevented from recognizing Him. 17Then He asked them,
“What is this dispute that you’re having with each other as you are walking?” And they stopped walking and looked discouraged. 18The one named Cleopas answered Him, “Are you the only visitor in Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that happened there in these days?” 19“What things?” He asked them. So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet powerful in action and speech before God and all the people, 20and how our chief priests and leaders handed Him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified Him. 21But we were hoping that He was the one who was about to redeem Israel. [See Scripture References Below] Besides all this, it’s the third day since these things happened. 22Moreover, some women from our group astounded us. They arrived early at the tomb, 23and when they didn’t find His body, they came and reported that they had seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. 24Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they didn’t see Him.” 25He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26Wasn’t it necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and enter into His glory?” 27Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted for them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

Romans 10:17 (CSB) So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.
 
28They came near the village where they were going, and He gave the impression that He was going farther. 29But they urged Him, “Stay with us, because it’s almost evening, and now the day is almost over.” So He went in to stay with them. 30It was as He reclined at the table with them that He took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him, but He disappeared from their sight. 32They said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts burning within us while He was talking with us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us?” 33That very hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem. They found the Eleven and those with them gathered together, 34who said, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” 35Then they began to describe what had happened on the road and how He was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Names Jesus Called Himself

1. The Son of Man (Matthew 8:20)  (Mark 14:61b-62)  
2. Bridegroom  (Matthew 9:15)   3. Messiah/Christ (John 4:25-26)
4. Bread/Water (John 6:35-36)   5. Light of the World (John 8:12)    
6. I Am  (John 8:58-59)   7. Gate  (John 10:7,9)    
8. Good Shepherd  (John 10:14-15)  9. Resurrection (John 11:25)  
10. Lord/Teacher (John 13:14-15)    11. Way, Truth, Life  (John 14:6)  
12. Vine (John 15:5)

36As they were saying these things, He himself stood in their midst. He said to them, “Peace to you!” 37But they were startled and terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost. 38“Why are you troubled?” He asked them. “And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself! Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” 40Having said this, He showed them His hands and feet. 41 But while they still were amazed and in disbelief because of their joy, He asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish, 43and He took it and ate in their presence. 44He told them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. 46He also said to them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead the third day, 47and repentance for forgiveness of sins will be proclaimed in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things. 49And look, I am sending you what my Father promised. As for you, stay in the city until you are empowered from on high.”

Matthew 26: 26 As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take and eat it; this is my body.” 27Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks, he gave it to them and said, “Drink from it, all of you. 28For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29But I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

Fire of God
First Baptist Church and The Lakefront Church – Venice, Florida
One Church – Two Locations
April 14, 2024

Exodus 3:1-6 (CSB) Meanwhile, Moses was shepherding the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2Then the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire within a bush.
As Moses looked, he saw that the bush was on fire but was not consumed. 3So Moses thought, “I must go over and look at this remarkable sight. Why isn’t the bush burning up?” 4When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called out to him from the bush, “Moses, Moses!” “Here I am,” he answered. 5“Do not come closer,” He said. “Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6Then He continued, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God.

•אשׁ - Fire = Hebrew Ash – Strong Devourer    

Jeremiah 20:6-9 (CSB) As for you, Pashhur, and all who live in your house, you will go into captivity. You will go to Babylon. There you will die, and there you will be buried, you and all your friends to whom you prophesied lies.’” 7You deceived me, Lord, and I was deceived. You seized me and prevailed. I am a laughingstock all the time; everyone ridicules me. 8For whenever I speak, I cry out, I proclaim, “Violence and destruction!” so the word of the Lord has become my constant disgrace and derision. 9I say, “I won’t mention Him or speak any longer in His name.” But His message becomes a fire burning in my heart, shut up in my bones. I become tired of holding it in, and I cannot prevail.

Acts 2:1-3 (CSB) When the day of Pentecost had arrived, they were all together in one place. 2Suddenly a sound like that of a violent rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were staying. 3They saw tongues like flames of fire that separated and rested on each one of them.

The fire of God that Moses encountered burning in a bush in the Midian desert is the same fire that burned in the heart of Jeremiah the prophet and is the same fire that burned in the heart of the Apostle Peter. And if you are a Believer, that same fire burns in you!

We MUST NOT keep quiet! We MUST NOT be silenced!

Revelation 2:1-5 (CSB) Write to the angel of the church in Ephesus: Thus says the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand and who walks among the seven golden lampstands: 2I know your works, your labor, and your endurance, and that you cannot tolerate evil people. You have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and you have found them to be liars. 3I know that you have persevered and endured hardships for the sake of my name, and you have not grown weary. 4But I have this against you: You have abandoned the love you had at first.
5Remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.

A Believer has the fire of God IN them and not the fire of God’s judgment ON them.

•Fire = Judgment

Hebrews 12:28-29 (NLT)  Jude 1:7 (NLT)    Revelation 19:20 (CSB)

Revelation 20:10 (CSB)  Revelation 20:14 (CSB)  Revelation 20:15 (CSB)

Disaster Coming - But God
First Baptist Church and The Lakefront Church – Venice, Florida
One Church – Two Locations
April 7, 2024

God inspired me to look in His Word at how He intervened in people's lives. Two simple words, "But God," speak volumes.
Genesis 8:1 (NLT) But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and livestock with him in the boat. He sent a wind to blow across the earth, and the floodwaters began to recede.
 
Genesis 45:8 (CSB) Therefore it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household, and ruler over all the land of Egypt.
  • How do we view adversity?
____________________

Luke 12:20 (CSB) "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life is demanded of you. And the things you have prepared—whose will they be?'
Luke 16:13-15 (CSB) No servant can serve two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." 14The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and scoffing at Him. 15And He told them, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the sight of others, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly admired by people is revolting in God's sight.
  • How do we view purpose?
____________________

Romans 5:6-8 (CSB) For while we were still helpless, at the right time,
Christ died for the ungodly. 7For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. 8But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
  • You cannot make God love you. You cannot do something to prove yourself worthy of God's love. God loves you, PERIOD!
____________________

1 Corinthians 3:6 (CSB) I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.
  • We must have structure. But structure without spirit is cold, without life.
  • We must have spirit. But spirit without structure is emotional chaos.
____________________

1 Corinthians 10:13 (CSB) No temptation has come upon you except what is common to humanity. But God is faithful; He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide the way out so that you may be able to bear it.
  • We have power over sin.
____________________

Ephesians 2:1-10 (CSB) And you were dead in your trespasses and sins 2in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit now working in the disobedient.  
3We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, 5made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! 6He also raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace through His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God's gift— 9not from works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.
  • God loves you regardless of what you have done!



I Believe
First Baptist Church and The Lakefront Church – Venice, Florida
One Church – Two Locations
March 31, 2024

What are the most reliable proofs of something happening?
1. YOU saw it.      2. A reliable reporter examined firsthand witnesses.

Luke 1:1-4 (CSB) Many have undertaken to compile a narrative about the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as the original eyewitnesses and servants of the word handed them down to us. 3So it also seemed good to me, since I have carefully investigated everything from the very first, to write to you in an orderly sequence, most honorable Theophilus, 4so that you may know the certainty of the things about which you have been instructed.
3. The impact that an event had on a firsthand witness.
A. Before the Resurrection
  •   Peter the Apostle – Abandoned Jesus
                                       
Mark 14:71 (CSB) Then he started to curse and swear, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about!”
 
  • James, the oldest of Jesus half-brothers   James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas

Mark 3:20-21 (CSB) Jesus entered a house, and the crowd gathered again so that they were not even able to eat. 21When His family heard this, they set out to restrain Him, because they said, “He’s out of his mind.”
 
  • But at the Crucifixion, they are nowhere to be found!

Isaiah 53:3-6 (CSB) He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was. He was like someone people turned away from; he was despised, and we didn’t value him. 4Yet he himself bore our sicknesses, and he carried our pains; but we in turn regarded him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. 5But he was pierced because of our rebellion, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on him, and we are healed by his wounds. 6We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the Lord has punished him for the iniquity of us all.
B. After the Resurrection

Mark 16:5-7 (CSB) When the [two Marys] entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side; they were alarmed. 6“Don’t be alarmed,” he told them. “You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they put him. 7But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see him there just as he told you.’”
 
4. Prophecy 
  • King David penned Psalm 22 @ 1,000 years before Jesus.
  • The Persians established Crucifixion @ 600 BC.

Psalm 22:1 My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far from my deliverance and from my words of groaning? … 6But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by people. 7Everyone who sees me mocks me; they sneer and shake their heads: 8“He relies on the Lord; let him save him; … 14I am poured out like water, and all my bones are disjointed; my heart is like wax, melting within me. 15My strength is dried up like baked clay; my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You put me into the dust of death. 16For dogs have surrounded me; a gang of evildoers has closed in on me; they pierced my hands and my feet. 17I can count all my bones; people look and stare at me. 18They divided my garments among themselves, and they cast lots for my clothing

5. A Changed Life Paul

Acts 8:2-3 (CSB) Devout men buried Stephen and mourned deeply over him. 3Saul, however, was ravaging the church. He would enter house after house, drag off men and women, and put them in prison.
The RESURRECTED Jesus drastically changed the lives of Peter, James, and Paul. Has the resurrected Jesus changed you? If so, you are a walking WITNESS of a changed life because of the empty tomb and the resurrected Jesus!

1 John 5:11-13 (CSB) And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12The one who has the Son has life. The one who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life..”

Thieves
First Baptist Church and The Lakefront Church – Venice, Florida
One Church – Two Locations
March 24, 2024

We are on our way to Easter.    Historically, Jesus is on His way to crucifixion.

Matthew 21:1-13 (CSB) When they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage at the Mount of Olives, Jesus then sent two disciples, 2telling them, “Go into the village ahead of you. At once you will find a donkey tied there with her colt. Untie them and bring them to me. 3If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them at once.” 4This took place so that what was spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled: 5Tell Daughter Zion, “See, your King is coming to you, gentle, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” 6The disciples went and did just as Jesus directed them. 7They brought the donkey and the colt; then they laid their clothes on them, and he sat on them.
 8A very large crowd spread their clothes on the road; others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them on the road. 9Then the crowds who went ahead of him and those who followed shouted: Hosannato the Son of David!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosannain the highest heaven!
10When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in an uproar, saying, “Who is this?” 11The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.” 12Jesus went into the temple and threw out all those buying and selling. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves.
13He said to them, “It is written, my house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of thieves!”
  • There were three classes of thieves that Jesus met on His way to crucifixion.

I. PHARISEES – Legalists – Stole Freedom, Hope, and Dignity
  • Held to Mosaic Law AND Oral Traditions
  • Believed in Angels and Resurrection
A. Overburdened people with Religious Laws - Matthew 23:4 (CSB) They tie up heavy loads that are hard to carry and put them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves aren’t willing to lift a finger to move them.
B. Motivated by Attention
Mathew 23:5-7 (CSB) They do everything to be seen by others: They enlarge their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. 6They love the place of honor at banquets, the front seats in the synagogues, 7greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by people.
 C. Lived as a Hypocrites
 
Matthew 23:25-27 (CSB)  Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside of it may also become clean. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of the bones of the dead and every kind of impurity.

II. SADDUCEES – Legalists – Stole Joy, Freedom, and Money
  • Kept only Mosaic Law
  • Did not believe in Angels, Demons, or Resurrection
  • Were the Ruling Aristocrats and Politically connected to Roman Leaders
A. Motivated by Money and Power
B. Controlled The Jewish Temple (High Priest) and the Sanhedrin
Matthew 3:7a (CSB) When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! …”
C. Controlled the Temple Sacrificial System

III. CONDEMNED THIEVES  Luke 23:32-43 (CSB) Two others—criminals—were also led away to be executed with him. 33When they arrived at the place called The Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals, one on the right and one on the left. 34Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided his clothes and cast lots. 35The people stood watching, and even the leaders were scoffing: “He saved others; let him save himself if this is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One!” 36The soldiers also mocked him. They came offering him sour wine 37and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself!” 38An inscription was above him: This Is the King of the Jews. 39Then one of the criminals hanging there began to yell insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 40But the other answered, rebuking him: “Don’t you even fear God, since you are undergoing the same punishment? 41We are punished justly, because we’re getting back what we deserve for the things we did, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43And he said to him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

So Close
First Baptist Church and The Lakefront Church – Venice, Florida
One Church – Two Locations
March 17, 2024

Matthew 26:14-16 (CSB) Then one of the Twelve, the man called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand Him over to you?” So they weighed out thirty pieces of silver for him. 16And from that time he started looking for a good opportunity to betray Him.
  • Judas was so close to being a Believer. But he missed!
Matthew 10:1-4 (CSB) Summoning His twelve disciples, He gave them authority over unclean spirits, to drive them out and to heal every disease and sickness.
2These are the names of the twelve apostles: First, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.
1. Judas – Iscariot 
  • Jewish man of Kerioth = from Judah, not Galilee.
2. He left everything to follow Jesus. All the disciples did this.
  • It is common for a ‘rabbi’ to have men following him.
3. Jesus sent out Judas with power. (Mark 10:1)
4. Judas witnessed Jesus’ ministry.
John 13:2-5 (CSB) Now when it was time for supper, the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son, to betray Him. 3Jesus knew that the Father had given everything into His hands, that He had come from God, and that He was going back to God. 4So He got up from supper, laid aside His outer clothing, took a towel, and tied it around Himself. 5Next, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel tied around Him.

V. Judas was Trusted
John 12:4-6 Then one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot (who was about to betray him), said, 5“Why wasn’t this perfume sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6He didn’t say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief. He was in charge of the money-bag and would steal part of what was put in it

VI. Judas was “The Insider”
Matthew 26:14 (ESV) Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15and said, “What will you give me if I deliver Him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. 16And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray Him.
  • Zechariah 11:12-13

VII. Time to Strike
John 13:27 (CSB) After Judas ate the piece of bread, Satan entered him. So Jesus told him, “What you’re doing, do quickly.”

VIII. The Plot Unfolds
John 18:1-3 (NLT) After saying these things, Jesus crossed the Kidron Valley with His disciples and entered a grove of olive trees. 2Judas, the betrayer, knew this place, because Jesus had often gone there with His disciples. 3The leading priests and Pharisees had given Judas a contingent of Roman soldiers and Temple guards to accompany him. Now with blazing torches, lanterns, and weapons, they arrived at the olive grove.                      

Mark 14:44-45 (CSB) His betrayer had given them a signal. “The one I kiss,” he said, “he’s the one; arrest him and take him away under guard.” 45So when he came, immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him.

IX. So Close
Matthew 26:24 (CSB). The Son of Man will go just as it is written about Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for him if he had not been born.
X. What about you?

John 1:12-13 (CSB) But to all who did receive him, he gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in his name, 13who were born, not of natural descent, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.
 
Matthew 26:26-27 - COMMUNION

Doing What You Can
First Baptist Church and The Lakefront Church – Venice, Florida
One Church – Two Locations
March 10, 2024

Mark 14:1-9 (CSB) It was two days before the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. The chief priests and the scribes
were looking for a cunning way to arrest Jesus and kill him. 2“Not during the festival,” they said, “so that there won’t be a riot among the people.” 3While He was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He was reclining at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured it on His head. 4But some were expressing indignation to one another: “Why has this perfume been wasted? 5For this perfume might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they began to scold her. 6Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. Why are you bothering her? She has done a noble thing for me. 7You always have the poor with you, and you can do what is good for them whenever you want, but you do not always have me. 8She has done what she could; she has anointed my body in advance for burial. 9Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”
Genesis 3:15     Revelation 13:8     John 1:29
The religious leaders, led by the High Priest, made their plans not to kill Jesus during Passover. HOWEVER, God’s plan will be done. Jesus is the Passover Lamb, and He must be sacrificed during Passover.
Simon the Leper – former leper. No one would be in Simon’s house if his leprosy were active.

  • When we are forgiven, our past is eliminated. 
  • Whatever sin had enslaved you, you have been set free.
  • Your past does not define you.
  • HOWEVER, your testimony includes overcoming your past!
  • Testimony
-What was your life like before you received Jesus?
-You prayed and received Jesus as your Savior and Lord.
-What your life is like now.
  • Jesus made no comparison of her gift to anyone else.
  • She has done what she could!
  • Doing what we can is more than giving and offering.
  • Are you doing what you can for our Lord?
She has anointed my body in advance for burial.
  • This unnamed woman invested in the future.

 

He Is Coming To My House
First Baptist Church and The Lakefront Church – Venice, Florida
One Church – Two Locations
March 3, 2024

  1. Fasting in the New Testament: Routine, not a Commandment
Matthew 6:16 (CSB) Whenever you fast, don’t be gloomy like the hypocrites. For they disfigure their faces so that their fasting is obvious to people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward.
 
Matthew 9:14-15 (CSB) Then John’s disciples came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” 15Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests be sad while the groom is with them? The time will come when the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.
 
2. Fasting: Physical and Spiritual Discipline
Matthew 4:1-3a (CSB) Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2After He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. 3Then the tempter approached Him…

3. Fasting: Overwhelming Danger
Esther 4:16 (CSB) “Go and assemble all the Jews who can be found in Susa and fast for me. Don’t eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my female servants will also fast in the same way. After that, I will go to the king even if it is against the law. If I perish, I perish.”
 
4. Fasting: Sorrow (King Saul, Jonathan, and Saul’s other two sons)
1 Chronicles 10:12b (CSB) …They buried their bones under the oak in Jabesh and fasted seven days.
 
5. Fasting: Repentance (King of Assyria)
Jonah 3:7,8b (CSB) Then he issued a decree in Nineveh: By order of the king and his nobles: No person or animal, herd or flock, is to taste anything at all. They must not eat or drink water. …
8b… Each must turn from his evil ways and from his wrongdoing.
 
6. Fasting: Special Revelation
Daniel 9:3,22,24 (CSB) So I turned my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and petitions, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.…22He gave me this explanation: “Daniel, I’ve come now to give you understanding.…24Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city—

7. Fasting: Beginning of an Important Task or Ministry
Acts 13:2-3 (CSB) As they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3Then after they had fasted, prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them off.
 
8. Fasting: Linked to Prayer
You can pray without fasting, But you cannot adequately fast without praying.
 
9. Fasting: Freedom and Discipline
Isaiah 58:6-8 (CSB) Isn’t this the fast I choose:
To break the chains of wickedness, to untie the ropes of the yoke, to set the oppressed free, and to tear off every yoke?
a. Freedom from Persistent Sin and Addictions 7Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, to bring the poor and homeless into your house, to clothe the naked when you see him, and not to ignore your own flesh and blood?
b. Compassion 8Then your light will appear like the dawn, and your recovery will come quickly.
c. Celebration and Protection
Your righteousness will go before you, and the Lord’s glory will be your rear guard.
10. Fasting: Personal and Private
Matthew 6:17-18 (CSB) But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face so that you may not be seen fasting by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
 

Own the Story
First Baptist Church and The Lakefront Church – Venice, Florida
One Church – Two Locations
February 11, 2024

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NLT) All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work.
  1. You can know the story, or you can own the story.

  • Overlooked Blessing

1 Samuel 16:11 (NLT) Then Samuel asked, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse replied. “But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.” “Send for him at once,” Samuel said. “We will not sit down to eat until he arrives.”
What do you have that you are embarrassed to use or have overlooked its value?
What gift or talent does God see in you that you are missing to see?
What blessing are you disregarding as insignificant when God is ready to bless you?
  • Grace is the method. Faith is the way.
Ephesians 2:8-9 (GNT) For it is by God's grace that you have been saved (method) through faith (way). It is not the result of your own efforts, but God's gift, so that no one can boast about it.
 
2. The Little Boy’s Lunch
John 6:9ff (CSB) (Andrew said to Jesus) “There’s a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish—but what are they for so many?” 10Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place; so they sat down. The men numbered about five thousand. 11Then Jesus took the loaves, and after giving thanks He distributed them to those who were seated—so also with the fish, as much as they wanted. 12When they were full, He told His disciples, “Collect the leftovers so that nothing is wasted.” 13So they collected them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces from the five barley loaves that were left over by those who had eaten.
 
3. The Rejected Woman
Luke 7:36ff (CSB) Then one of the Pharisees invited Him to eat with him. He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37And a woman in the town who was a sinner found out that Jesus was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house. She brought an alabaster jar of perfume 38and stood behind Him at His feet, weeping, and began to wash His feet with her tears. She wiped His feet with her hair, kissing them and anointing them with the perfume.39When the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what kind of woman this is who is touching Him—she’s a sinner!”
44Turning to the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she, with her tears, has washed my feet and wiped them with her hair. 45You gave me no kiss, but she hasn’t stopped kissing my feet since I came in. 46You didn’t anoint my head with olive oil, but she has anointed my feet with perfume. 47Therefore I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; that’s why she loved much. But the one who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”… 50…“Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
When you think about reaching lost people, witnessing to others, and impacting the unchurched, what do you think makes the most impact?
  • The most powerful impact on a lost person is your transformed life!
1. I wonder who went for David and what did they tell him was the reason he was
    not invited.
  • Rejected by others but anointed by God.
2. Andrew saw the little boy’s lunch as insignificant in such a crowd.
  • Put yourself in Jesus' hands and watch what He can do through you!
3. The woman with perfume. She was a sinner.
  • Rejected by others but forgiven and accepted by Jesus!
         
Grace is the method – Faith is the way.
OWN THE STORY
PRAYER AND FASTING
February 20 – March 30

Shame: Right and Wrong
The Lakefront Church and First Baptist Church – Venice, Florida
One Church – Two Locations
February 4, 2024

Proverbs 11:11 (CSB) A city is built up by the blessing of the upright, but it is torn down by the mouth of the wicked.

Proverbs 14:34 (CSB) Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.

  • Shame = a painful emotion caused by the awareness of having done something wrong or foolish.
  • Ashamed = feeling shame, guilt, or disgrace: feeling inferior or unworthy
  • America has lost its shame for things that are truly SHAMEFUL!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (KJV) Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
    1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (New Life Version) Do you not know that sinful men will have no place in the holy nation of God? Do not be fooled. A person who does sex sins (fornicators), or who worships false gods (idolaters), or who is not faithful in marriage (adulterers), or men who act like women (effeminate), or people who do sex sins with their own sex, will have no place in the holy nation of God. 10Also those who steal (thieves), or those who always want to get more of everything (covetous), or who get drunk (drunkards), or who say bad things about others (revilers), or take things that are not theirs (extortioners), will have no place in the holy nation of God.
    Ephesians 4:19 (NLT) They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.
    Ephesians 5:12 (NLT) It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret.
    Romans 1:18, (CSB) But God shows His anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.
  • Believers should be ashamed of SIN.
  • When Believers began to make compromises in their lifestyle, then Believers SUPPRESS the truth.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Corinthians 5:1a,2b (NLT) I can hardly believe the report about the sexual immorality going on among you—something that even pagans don’t do …. 2You are so proud of yourselves, but you should be mourning in sorrow and shame….
    1 John 1:9 (CSB) But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
     
  • Once a person has repented of sin and trusted in Jesus as their Savior and Lord, shame should be eliminated from your spirit!
    Luke 5:12a (CSB) While He [Jesus] was in one of the towns, a man was there who had leprosy all over him. He [the leper] saw Jesus, fell facedown, and begged Him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” 13Reaching out His hand, Jesus touched him, saying, “I am willing; be made clean,” and immediately the leprosy left him.
     
  • Jesus was willing – mercy.       
  • Jesus touched the leper – unthinkable!
  • Some of you may be carrying shame.
    Luke 5:13 (CSB) Reaching out His hand, Jesus touched him, saying, “I am willing; be made clean,” and immediately the leprosy left him. 
  • When Jesus is your savior and Lord, you are forgiven. 
  • When Jesus is your Savior and Lord, He has touched you. 
  • See the SHAME leaving your spirit!
  • Jesus touched the leper and the leprosy immediately left him.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           1 Corinthians 6:11 (NLT) Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

HE BELIEVES IN ME
The Lakefront Church and First Baptist Church – Venice, Florida
One Church - Two Locations
January 28, 2024

  • Without being too simplistic, the Bible emphasizes attitude and actions.
Matthew 22:37-40 (CSB) [Jesus said,] “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. [attitude] 38This is the greatest and most important command. 39The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. [action] 40All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”
John 3:16 – For God so loved the world [attitude] that He gave His only son [action] that whosoever believes in Him [attitude] would not perish* {destroy themselves} [action] but have everlasting life.
 
*MIDDLE VOICE: The subject is part or all of the action. In other words, the subject is both the cause and the focus, e.g. I moved myself.
  • God ‘believes’ in you! Do you ‘believe’ in Him.
Job 1 (CSB) There was a man in the country of Uz named Job. He was a man of complete integrity, who feared God [attitude] and turned away from evil.[action] … Job would send for his children and purify them, rising early in the morning to offer burnt offerings for all of them. For Job thought, “Perhaps my children have sinned, having cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular practice.
  • Job believed in God.
8Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? No one else on earth is like him, a man of perfect integrity, who fears God [attitude] and turns away from evil.”[action] 9Satan answered the Lord, “Does Job fear God for nothing? 10Haven’t you placed a hedge around him, his household, and everything he owns? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11But stretch out your hand and strike everything he owns, and he will surely curse you to your face.” … 20Then Job stood up, tore his robe, and shaved
his head. He fell to the ground and worshiped, 21saying: Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will leave this life. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away Blessed be the name of the Lord. [attitude].  22Throughout all this Job did not sin or blame God for anything. [action]
  • Job still believed in God.
 
2:9-10 (CSB) 9His wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!”[attitude] 10“You speak as a foolish woman speaks,” he told her. “Should we accept only good from God and not adversity?” Throughout all this Job did not sin in what he said. [action]
  • God believed in Job!   And Job still believed in God.    
  We are tested in both circumstances, wealth and adversity.
  • Luke 15 provides an example of Jesus teaching us about God the Father!
Luke 15:1-2, (NLT) Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. 2This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that He was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them! … 
20-24 (CSB) So he got up and went to his father. But while the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion [attitude]. He ran, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him [action]. 21The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22“But the father told his servants, ‘Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23Then bring the fattened calf and prepare it, and let’s celebrate with a feast, 24because this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ So they began to celebrate.
Matthew 26:26-32 (CSB) As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take and eat it; this is my body.” 27Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks, He gave it to them and said, “Drink from it, all of you. 28For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29But I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.” 
30After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 31Then Jesus said to them, “Tonight all of you will fall away because of me, for it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered. 32But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.”
  •  Jesus believed in them!

JUST A LITTLE PUSH
The Lakefront Church and First Baptist Church – Venice, Florida
January 14, 2024

Luke 5:1-11 (GN) One day Jesus was standing on the shore of Lake Gennesaret while the people pushed their way up to Him to listen to the word of God. 2He saw two boats pulled up on the beach; the fishermen had left them and were washing the nets. 3Jesus got into one of the boats—it belonged to Simon—and asked him to push off a little from the shore. Jesus sat in the boat and taught the crowd.
[Luke 4:38-41 (CSB) After He left the synagogue, He entered Simon’s house.
Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Him about her. 39So He stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up immediately and began to serve them. 40When the sun was setting, all those who had anyone sick with various diseases brought them to Him. As He laid His hands on each one of them, He healed them. 41Also, demons were coming out of many, shouting and saying, “You are the Son of God!”…]
 
  • How is Jesus asking you to “push away a little?”

Luke 5:4ff (GN) When He finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Push the boat out further to the deep water, and you and your partners let down your nets for a catch.” 5“Master,” Simon answered, “we worked hard all night long and caught nothing. But if you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6They let them down and caught such a large number of fish that the nets were about to break. 7So they motioned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. They came and filled both boats so full of fish that the boats were about to sink. 8When Simon Peter saw what had happened, he fell on his knees before Jesus and said, “Go away from me, Lord! I am a sinful man!” 9He and the others with him were all amazed at the large number of fish they had caught. 10The same was true of Simon's partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee. Jesus said to Simon, “Don't be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” 11They pulled the boats up on the beach, left everything, and followed Jesus.
THREE YEARS LATER.  JESUS HAS BEEN CRUCIFIED, BURIED AND RESURRECTED

John 21:3ff (NLT) Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.” “We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night. 4At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was. 5He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?” “No,” they replied.
  • Peter has a boat.   
  • Peter has the nets.
  • But Peter was exhausted and empty.
  • Are you exhausted and empty?
 
6Then He said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it. 7Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore. 
 
 15After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.” “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him. 16Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.” “Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said. 17A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.
  • Jesus did not let Peter’s life end empty!
  • Jesus will not let your life end empty, either.

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 (NLT) … anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 18And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to Himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to Him. 19For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And He gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making His appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 21For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
 
19For God was in Christ, reconciling (_____) to Himself, no longer counting (______’s) sins against (him/her). 21For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for (_______) so that (he/she) could be made right with God through Christ.
  • Insert your name in the ( _____ )
Push out a little and experience the blessings God has for you!

THE CHURCH
First Baptist Church & The Lakefront Church – Venice, Florida
January 7, 2023

The Tabernacle was the center of the Israelite camp.
Numbers 2:1-2 (CSB) The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron: 2 “The Israelites are to camp under their respective banners beside the flags of their ancestral families. They are to camp around the tent of meeting at a distance from it:
 
Ephesians 5:1ff (CSB) Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children, 2and walk in love, as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God. 3But sexual immorality and any impurity or greed should not even be heard of among you, as is proper for saints. 4Obscene and foolish talking or crude joking are not suitable, but rather giving thanks. …15Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise— 16making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless living, but be filled by the Spirit: 19speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music with your heart to the Lord, 20giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21submitting to one another in the fear of Christ.

Hebrews 10:24-25 (NLT) Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

In fact, it was the pattern of Paul’s ministry to establish local congregations in the cities where he preached the gospel.

Acts 2:41-42 (CSB) So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand people were added to them. 42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.

Main Responsibilities and Functions of a New Testament Church
  • Motivation
  • Service
  • Worship
  • Fellowship
  • Spiritual Growth = Bible Study, Discipleship and Prayer
  • Encouragement

Matthew 12:43-45 (CSB) When an unclean spirit comes out of a person, it roams through waterless places looking for rest but doesn’t find any. 44Then it says, ‘I’ll go back to my house that I came from.’ Returning, it finds the house vacant, swept, and put in order. 45Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and settle down there. As a result, that person’s last condition is worse than the first. That’s how it will also be with this evil generation.”
 
3 OF 25 HARVARD UNIVERSITY GATES
  • Class of 1875 Gate
“Open ye the gates that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in”
 
  • Class of 1881 Gate
“Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.“
 
The 1881 Gate serves as the principal entrance to Phillips Brooks House, Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), a renowned preacher, minister of Trinity Church in Boston, and author of the hymn “O Little Town of Bethlehem”. 
 
  • Johnston Gate – Oldest at Harvard
One of TWO inscriptions at the Johnston Gate

After God had carried us safe to New England/ and wee had builded our houses/ provided necessaries for our liveli hood/ reard convenient places for Gods worship/ and setled the civill government/ one of the next things we longed for/ and looked after was to advance learning/ and perpetuate it to posterity/ dreading to leave an illiterate minister/ to the churches when our present ministers/ shall lie in the dust.

The Millennium
First Baptist Church – Venice, Florida
December 3, 2023

Isaiah 9:6-7 (CSB) For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. 7The dominion will be vast, and its prosperity will never end. He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now on and forever. The zeal of the Lord of Armies will accomplish this.
Psalm 98:7-9 (CSB) Let the sea and all that fills it, the world and those who live in it, resound. 8Let the rivers clap their hands; let the mountains shout together for joy 9before the Lord, for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world righteously
and the peoples fairly.
Prophets saw God’s Kingdom coming. They did not see the time interval between Jesus' birth, the Church Age, and the Second Coming
Daniel 7:13-14 (CSB) I continued watching in the night visions, and suddenly one like a son of man was coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was escorted before him. 14He was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, so that those of every people, nation, and language should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will not be destroyed.
Isaiah 2:1-4 (CSB) The vision that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem: 2In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s house will be established at the top of the mountains and will be raised above the hills. All nations will stream to it,
3and many peoples will come and say, “Come, let’s go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us about his ways so that we may walk in his paths.” For instruction will go out of Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 4He will settle disputes among the nations and provide arbitration for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plows and their spears into pruning knives. Nation will not take up the sword against nation, and they will never again train for war.
Isaiah 66:17-25 (CSB) “For I will create new heavens and a new earth; the past events will not be remembered or come to mind. 18Then be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I will create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people to be a delight. 19I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people. The sound of weeping and crying will no longer be heard in her. 20In her, a nursing infant will no longer live only a few days, or an old man not live out his days. Indeed, the one who dies at a hundred years old will be mourned as a young man, and the one who misses a hundred years will be considered cursed. 21People will build houses and live in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22They will not build and others live in them; they will not plant and others eat. For my people’s lives will be like the lifetime of a tree. My chosen ones will fully enjoy the work of their hands. 23They will not labor without success or bear children destined for disaster, for they will be a people blessed by the Lord along with their descendants. 24Even before they call, I will answer; while they are still speaking, I will hear. 25The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like cattle, but the serpent’s food will be dust! They will not do what is evil or destroy on my entire holy mountain,” says the Lord.
 
Why is there a millennium?
  • To Keep God’s Word Spoken through the Prophets
Zechariah 9:10 (CSB) …he will proclaim peace to the nations. His dominion will extend from sea to sea, from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth.
 
Isaiah 2:4 (CSB) He will settle disputes among the nations and provide arbitration for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plows and their spears into pruning knives. Nation will not take up the sword against nation, and they will never again train for war.
Psalm 2, 72.11, Isaiah 2:1-4, 9.7, Zechariah 9.10, Luke 1:32-33
  • To Reward Believers.
 
Revelation 20:6 (CSB) Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.
 
1 Corinthians 6:2 (CSB) Or don’t you know that the saints will judge the world? 
  • To Answer the Disciples’ Prayer
Matthew 6:10 (CSB) Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
  • To Prove satan Will Not Change
Revelation 2:7-8a (CSB) When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle.
  • To Prove Man’s Heart is Wicked
Revelation 2:8b-9 (CSB) …Their number is like the sand of the sea. 9They came up across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the encampment of the saints, the beloved city. 
Then fire came down from heaven and consumed them.
  • Our problem is not our environment or discrimination, or poverty, or injustice.
  • Adam and Eve had a perfect environment.
Ezekiel 34:25-31, 36.29, Amos 9:13-15, Isaiah 11:9, 25:9, 35, 65:20, 66:23,
2 Peter 3:10-13

END TIMES: The Great Tribulation; Part 1
The Lakefront Church – Venice, Florida
November 12, 2023

STRATEGIC SIGNS for the Last Days
Israel, One World Government, Antichrist, Rapture, 
TRIBULATION

  • FACT – All true Bible scholars agree that Jesus will return. This is tangible, concrete.
  • The intangible is when, how, circumstances, etc.
  • There is ONE rock-solid aspect of the Bible, among many, that sets it apart from all other books or religious writings: the ability to tell what will happen in the future.
  • Only God can do that. All others are charlatans!
Isaiah 44:6-7 (CSB) This is what the Lord, the King of Israel and its Redeemer, the 
Lord of Armies, says: I am the first and I am the last. There is no God but me. 7Who, like me, can announce the future? Let him say so and make a case before me, since I have established an ancient people. Let these gods declare the coming things, and what will take place.
Isaiah 46:10 (CSB) I declare the end from the beginning, and from long ago what is not yet done, saying: my plan will take place, and I will do all my will.
 
Isaiah 13:9-10   Joel 2:31   Jeremiah 30:7
Daniel 9:24ff (CSB) Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city—to bring the rebellion to an end, to put a stop to sin, to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy place. 25Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until an Anointed One, the ruler, will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks. It will be rebuilt with a plaza and a moat, but in difficult times. 26After those sixty-two weeks the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the coming ruler will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come with a flood, and until the end there will be war; desolations are decreed. 27He will make a firm covenant with many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and offering. And the abomination of desolation will be on a wing of the temple until the decreed destruction is poured out on the desolator.”
  • Prophetically: 70 weeks are 70 ‘weeks of years’ or 490 years.
1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 (CSB) For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. 3When they say, “Peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them, like labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
Revelation 1:1ff (CSB), The revelation of Jesus Christ that God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, … 7Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen. … 17B“Don’t be afraid. I am the First and the Last, 18and the Living One. I was dead, but look—I am alive forever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and Hades. 19Therefore write what you have seen, what is, and what will take place after this.
Revelation 5:1ff (CSB) Then I saw in the right hand of the one seated on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides, sealed with seven seals. 2I also saw a mighty angel 
proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?”
Revelation 6:1ff (CSB) Then I saw the Lamb open one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” 2I looked, and there was a white horse. Its rider held a bow; a crown was given to him, and he went out as a conqueror in order to conquer.
The Second Seal 3When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4Then another horse went out, a fiery red one, and its rider was allowed to take peace from the earth, so that people would slaughter one another. And a large sword was given to him.
 
The Third Seal
5When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and there was a black horse. Its rider held a set of scales in his hand. 6Then I heard something like a voice among the four living creatures say, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius, but do not harm the oil and the wine.”

The Fourth Seal
7When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” 8And I looked, and there was a pale green horse. Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following after him. They were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill by the sword, by famine, by plague, and by the wild animals of the earth.
 
The Fifth Seal
9When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slaughtered because of the word of God and the testimony they had given. 10They cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, the one who is holy and true, how long until you judge those who live on the earth and avenge our blood?” 11 So they were each given a white robe, and they were told to rest a little while longer until the number would be completed of their fellow servants and their brothers and sisters, who were going to be killed just as they had been.

NEXT WEEK
THE SIXTH SEALRevelation 6:12 ff
Revelation 6:12ff (CSB) Then I saw him open the sixth seal. A violent earthquake occurred; the sun turned black like sackcloth made of hair; the entire moon became like blood; 13 the stars of heaven fell to the earth as a fig tree drops its unripe figs when shaken by a high wind; 14 the sky was split apart like a scroll being rolled up; and every mountain and island was moved from its place.

CHANCE ENCOUNTERS
The Lakefront Church
October 8, 2023
CONVERSATIONS: Saturday, October 14, 9:00 AM – 12:30 PM. First Baptist

  • The United States is now considered a “post-Christian” nation.
  • QUESTION: What is the ONE thing that could change this nation?
              ANSWER: People becoming born-again Christians.
  • QUESTION: How does a person become a born-again Christian?
              ANSWER: Hearing a Gospel witness from another born-again Christian.
(1)   Ethiopian - Encounter with religious people.   Background: Acts 8
                       
Acts 8:26-32ff (CSB) 26 An angel of the Lord spoke to Philip: “Get up and go south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is the desert road.) 27 So he got up and went. There was an Ethiopian man, a eunuch and high official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to worship in Jerusalem 28 and was sitting in his chariot on his way home, reading the prophet Isaiah aloud. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go and join that chariot.” 30 When Philip ran up to it, he heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you’re reading?” 31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone guides me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 Now the Scripture passage he was reading was this: He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb is silent before its shearer, so he does not open his mouth.
  • Jesus: Accepted, Rejected, Uncertain
(2)   Woman at the well - Encounter with wounded people.  Background: John 4

John 4:16ff, (NLT) “Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her. 17 “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied. Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband— 18 for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!”… 25 The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26 Then Jesus told her, “I am the Messiah!”… 39 Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” 40 When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days, 41 long enough for many more to hear his message and believe. 42 Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.”
  • Jesus: Accepted, Rejected, Uncertain
      
(3)   Pilate – Encounter with skeptical people. Background: John 18.
 
John 18:28-39 (CSB) Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. 
It was early morning. They did not enter the headquarters themselves; otherwise they would be defiled and unable to eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate came out to them and said, “What charge do you bring against this man?” 30 They answered him, “If this man weren’t a criminal, we wouldn’t have handed him over to you.” 31 Pilate told them, “You take him and judge him according to your law.” “It’s not legal for us to put anyone to death,” the Jews declared. 32 They said this so that Jesus’s words might be fulfilled indicating what kind of death he was going to die. 33 Then Pilate went back into the headquarters, summoned Jesus, and said to Him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Are you asking this on your own, or have others told you about me?” 35 “I’m not a Jew, am I?” Pilate replied. “Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?” 36 “My kingdom is not of this world,” said Jesus. “If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” 37 “You are a king then?” Pilate asked. “You say that I’m a king,” Jesus replied. “I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38 “What is truth?” said Pilate. After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, “I find no grounds for charging him. 39 You have a custom that I release one prisoner to you at the Passover. So, do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?”
  • Jesus: Accepted, Rejected, Uncertain
(4)   Paul before Felix – Encounter with convicted people. Background: Acts 24
Acts 24:24 (CSB)  Several days later, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and listened to him on the subject of faith in Christ Jesus.
25 Now as he spoke about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix became afraid and replied, “Leave for now, but when I have an opportunity I’ll call for you.” 26 At the same time he was also hoping that Paul would offer him money. So he sent for him quite often and conversed with him.
  • Jesus: Accepted, Rejected, Uncertain
(5)   Thief – Encounter dying people. Background: Luke 23
Luke 23:39-43 (NLT) One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!” 40 But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? 41 We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” 43 And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
  • Jesus: Accepted, Rejected, Uncertain
  • In every situation, we can see God working behind the scenes.
  • In every situation, God provided the words to say, a conversation.