There was a huge turn-out yesterday as Pastor Larry & Friends presented the 2nd Annual Car Show.
Thanks to donations from many businesses and individuals around town, every dollar raised will be going directly to benefit the children of Open House Ministries.
Below are some pictures of just a few of the amazing cars featured at the show. Thanks to everyone who participated!
Untying a Donkey is a Blessing
Continued: Numbers 22-24 NIV
Think of a moment in your life where you knew, without a doubt, that God protected you from harm or disaster. And when you think about your life can you see how God has continued to bless you? Can you measure God’s favor and blessing on your life?
Read Numbers 22-24. We can see that Balaam gets a big reality check from an angel who is about to kill him for disobedience within Balaam’s heart. Balaam is doing what is right on the outside, but Balaam is seen for his true intentions. Balaam changes course. Balaam agrees to follow God’s orders both on the outside and the inside. He realizes that God will NOT allow his people to be cursed. Balaam, through multiple petitions by Balak, still holds true to not getting in the way of God’s plans for Israel. WHY? What does Balaam know now?
Do you think the people of Israel knew what was transpiring between Balak and Balaam on the mountains within view of the Israelite camp? And, do you think we can fully understand what God does to protect and help us as we approach the day to day life of home/school/ relationships/finances/etc?
Balaam was summoned to curse the Israelites. What does it mean to curse someone? Why was Balak prepared to pay so much for such a thing as “cursing”? And on the contrary, what does it mean to “bless” someone or something? In Genesis 27 we see that Jacob sneaks the blessing from his father while pretending to be Esau! Why steal it? What is a blessing that the brothers should struggle for it?
In that day and time a curse (Numbers 22) and a blessing (Genesis 27) were extremely valuable because they were acts that wove together the physical (health and wealth), spiritual (angels/demons/promises and support of God), and relational (emotions/family authority/ commitment/covenantal). In ancient times, if you cursed someone, it is far more than a swear word. What Balaam planned to do was spiritually affect the Israelites, and the spirit overlaps the physical. He wanted to affect the Israelites enough that they could be overpowered. A curse is meant to do spiritual damage and physical damage. And, if you blessed someone, you are doing much more than hoping someone does well. A blessing is a prayer of protection, provision, and prosperity both in the physical and spiritual.
So, what was God protecting his people from?
Because of our identity as children of God and through faithful obedience, we can know that God protects us even when we cannot see everything He does. This week we have learned that God expects faithfulness from us through both the large and small tasks. He may even call us to become so selfless that we go unnoticed for our efforts. We also have learned that God demands obedience on the inside and the outside. And we can see that God will be with us every step of the way. He watches over us while evil is waiting to curse us.
So, what do we do next? How do we pray? How do we think? How do we prioritize our life?
Whipped a Donkey Lately?
Have you ever made a decision to live your own way? Were you serving yourself first, becoming carefree? How did that work out for you?
As we watch the news we can see that around the globe people are consumed with themselves. There isn’t much regard for the thoughts and desires of the one who made them: God. People live as if He isn't there. They often preach an opposite message compared to what the Bible teaches. You can ask most people, “What does God want you do with your life? What does God expect of us?” ...and sadly, they would have no idea! They haven't prayed over their life and circumstances. They haven't considered that God has expectations. They haven't searched the Bible for answers to life and clarity to make hard decisions. So, what does a person’s life look like when they have no regard for their Maker? And, if it weren't for the Bible, where would we go to find out what is right and true? Who or what would you turn to for wisdom?
In the lesson for today, we will read of a man who decided to go his own way. He was obedient to man’s will and not God’s will. As you read through the scripture for today, please take the time to answer the following questions.
The Nameless Servant and the Waiting Donkey
Genesis 22: 1-18 NIV
In the previous lessons we are called to do the great and small jobs unto the Lord. Untying the Donkey is about being willing to be obedient in the big and small jobs that God deals us. The Bible asks us to do our work unto the Lord. God calls us to deep trust and faith in Him and His plan. So what do we do if God asks us to do something that is too big or painful? Though it may be difficult and/or painful, what is the incentive for obedience?
In this story we recognize the big characters of Abraham and Isaac....but what about the servants that were told to sit tight and wait for Abraham’s return? What were they thinking? What conversations do you imagine they had while holding onto the donkeys at the base of the mountain? Was it, “how’s the wife and kids?” or did they discuss the great faith of Abraham and the way God had blessed them? Do you think they could see God’s plan into the future and imagine Jesus crucified for the world’s sins? I wonder how they would have responded if they realized that the dirt under their feet would one day support the disciples feet as they watched Jesus die on the cross? These servants and disciples witnessed the finest in obedience.
We may be called to the small jobs, but what if we are called to be a nameless servant and in charge of the donkey while great things happen elsewhere? Abraham gets the miracle of a son in his old age, he gets to hear a direct calling from God, and is given the circumstance of being remembered through all generations for his faith!...And the rest of us think “gee, I am just an average person from Clark County!”
Tested? Saddle up the Donkey
Genesis 22 : 1-18 NIV
Read this scripture and imagine the people involved. How would each of the people involved felt as they witnessed this journey? What would they have seen? What spiritual lesson would each of them have learned: Abraham? Sarah? Isaac? The Servants? God?
Can you imagine being in Abraham’s sandals? He was gifted a child even while he and his wife were in their 90’s. Abraham and Sarah are blessed with joy and laughter because of God’s timing...but their world is now turned upside down through this request, from God, to sacrifice this precious boy. Talk about a trial and test from God! What would you have done? What would you do if God called you to the ultimate sacrifice? Would your faith hold up? Would your obedience hold up? Abraham knew, with clarity, what he was supposed to do....so, what things held his faith through this trial?
The amazing part about this story is that Abraham answers God with, “Here I am” and then responds the next day “He got up early the next day and saddled his donkey”. When God calls you to something difficult do you say, “Sure thing, Lord! I will leave first thing in the morning and get on that ASAP!” How do you answer Him? Were you quick to saddle up your donkey and hit the trail?
As a follower of Jesus we think of all of the sacrifices made in obedience. We think of those Christians murdered on the beach this year by ISIS and we think, “I may never know that level of persecution and I may never be pressed to show that level of faith...but if I lived for Christ in the most faithful way, what would I look like? How would I appear to my friends and family? How can I be Christ in the skin and soul that I have been given?”
We know there is a cost to following Jesus.. But what is the reward?
To know that we are doing what is right is a great reward. The satisfaction of obedience is like a strong wind in your sails! We have the great reward of knowing that God will one day say to us, “well done, good and faithful servant.” Can you imagine the way you might feel when Jesus approves of your faithfulness to Him and His name? Also, let us identify the reward of the many blessings of God (Maybe both spiritual and physical) being poured on you through your obedience! And lastly, the greatest reward is God himself! With Him forever. Surrounded by a vast love that carries us and protects us. God will forever fill that spiritual hole in our heart!
Abraham answered God in obedience because he loved God. He trusted God’s plan. He trusted God while not understanding the details. His faith was strong because he wanted to live as he was created to do! And the beauty of the story is that while Abraham was obedient on Mt Moriah, God sent his only Son, Jesus, to die on a cross to pay the penalty of sin for all who would accept him as the Redeemer of the world. It was on the same location that God did not withhold His son (2 Chronicles 3:1)! Can you see the big picture of Abraham’s testing? God had a plan to send Jesus!
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