Erie Christian Business Leaders Association
Jesus’ Return by Ron Troyer
December 30, 2020
WHY CHRISTIANS NEED TO PURSUE BIBLICAL UNDERSTANDING
OF JESUS RETURN
The return of Jesus at the end of the age of natural history is a topic often neglected by many Christians even though it is foundational to our eternal hope. Our enemy Satan wants to confuse and minimize this day because he knows that his rule on earth will be finished.
There are many reasons why Christians fail to pursue more insight found in scripture regarding this great event. Here are just a few.
· Many are unaware of the amount of Scripture given to us. The generation that the Lord returns is the most written about generation in the Bible. There are at least 150 chapters in Scripture in which the day of the Lord’s return is the main topic. This compares to the 89 chapters given to us in the Gospels which focus primarily on his first coming. There is a tendency to read these passages, especially in the Old Testament without meditating on the end-time meaning. One good example is the familiar chapter of Ps 2.
· Many Christians feel this topic creates too much controversy and is too difficult to understand. While even the best biblical scholars may only be scratching the surface of this great day it was given originally to a mostly uneducated group of peasants. The Lord has given us all we need to know and will give clearer insight into His Word to those who ask for more.
· Quoting from a well know end-time scholar, Mike Bickle……the Jesus seen in many end-time scriptures is very different from the Jesus that some think of. Jesus is not a heavenly Santa Claus committed to making life easy in this age. He is a zealous Bridegroom King coming to establish His Father’s glory, to vindicate His persecuted bride (Rev. 19:2) and to replace all the evil governments on earth. Therefore, He will dash nations to pieces that refuse His leadership (Ps 2:8-9, etc). Jesus’ love as a passionate Bridegroom is fierce. It is important that we are loyal to what Scripture says, rather than to traditions or religious sentiments.
The generation in which the Lord returns is the most dramatic generation in human history with two great extremes. Before He returns, the Church will witness the greatest end time revival and the most severe pressures ever seen. This turmoil will cause many in the Church who have neglected their pursuit of Jesus to fall away from biblical truth.(Matt 24:10)
As the Gospels give us a record of Jesus heart and power through His first coming, the end-time passages reveal His heart and power as He takes over the leadership of the whole earth. It is the same Man Jesus operating in the power of Holy Spirit. It’s significant to note the angels words to the apostles in Acts 1:11 regarding His return.
While no one knows the day or the hour of Jesus return, the Scripture requires those in the generation the Lord returns to know the prophetic signs and to respond appropriately. Both Jesus and Paul emphasized that the prophetic signs of the End Times can be known (Mt 24:32-34; Lk
21:25-29; 1 Thes 5:1-6; 2 Thes 2:1-11). Jesus rebuked Israel for being unable to read the prophetic signs of His first coming(Mt 16:3).
In Summary here are 5 reasons why understanding the End Times are vital for all believers:
1. Victory: To know that the Church will have victory in this dramatic time prepares us to participate in the coming revival instead of drawing back, giving up, or falling away.
2. Confidence: God is fully in control of the end-time crisis and is never surprised. (2020 may be a good example)
3. Fascination: As we understand more of Jesus leadership at the end of the age our hearts are drawn closer to Him by his love, beauty, wisdom, power and justice.
4. Direction: Greater insight into biblical truth on the end times gives us a compass in the storm. The praying Church will be the light of truth in the darkest hour in history.
5. Urgency: Understanding causes us to cultivate a spiritual hunger and depth.
And finally, I’m always interested in dialogue and insight from others who are interested in pursuing biblical understanding on this important subject. Blessings,
Ron Troyer at email@example.com
Prayer Tool Box by Pastor Al Detter
January 6, 2021
Good morning friends. Dr. Ken asked me to talk about prayer this morning. It’s a good topic as we start the new year.
I’m not going to spend time today telling you what you already know – that the Bible tells Christ-followers to pray as a lifestyle and that there are many illustrations of prayer in the Bible. I hope I don’t have to sell you on prayer as part of your lifestyle.
Where we often have trouble is in doing it – and when we do pray, we often have trouble doing it with meaning and effectiveness.
By and large, Christians are not people of prayer. Very little prayer happens in the daily lives of most Christians. Only 16% of pastors feel satisfied with their prayer lives and the average pastor spends under 29 minutes a day in prayer. My experience tells me that it’s likely much less than that.
Now if that’s in the pastoral ranks, I shudder to think what it’s like in the lay ranks.
Last year I got my Moody Bible Institute alumni magazine. The question on the cover was – is your prayer life stuck in a rut.
I’ve been in prayer ruts over the years. Maybe you have too. But about 20 years ago, I discovered how to get out of a rut. You see, for years I’d try to pray for periods of time. Minutes often seemed like a long time and sometimes it was like talking to myself. It was often words without sensing God’s presence. If I wasn’t careful, I’d go for several days without meaningful prayer.
Well, I finally learned through mentors and experimentation on how to get out of a rut. For me, it was a PRAYER TOOLBOX.
Recently I had some electrical work done at my house. My friend showed up with his toolbox and it was amazing what we accomplished. We’d have been stuck without that toolbox.
Likewise, I discovered that I need a PRAYER TOOLBOX in order for me to pray with meaning and effectiveness. So for the next few minutes, I want to share my prayer tools with you. Maybe you’ll find something helpful. So what’s in my toolbox? I’m going to share 10 tools in my prayer toolbox.
- TOOL #1 – AN APPOINTMENT – I need to arrange a daily time with God like I do other appointments. If I don’t, it’s amazing how the day gets by me. I make appointments for many things – seeing people, going somewhere, doctors, dentists. But there’s nothing more important in a day than an appointment with Almighty God.
This doesn’t rule out spontaneous conversational prayer throughout the day. BUT, no one can convince me that we can go to the next level with God apart from specified set-apart seasons of prayer.
- TOOL #2 – A PLACE – I need a specified, private, dedicated place where I feel comfortable using my tools. It becomes a familiar place, a secluded place, a kind of sacred place. I’ve had a number of places over the years. They aren’t fancy. I’ve used furnace rooms, remote kind of hidden rooms, and prayer rooms. But I’ve never done what Daniel did – get on my knees in front of a window 3 times a day for all to see.
- TOOL #3 – MY PLANNER – I take my planner and look over my day before the Lord. I pray about the people I’ll see, the places I’ll go, the activities I’ll do. I need to have all that supported by prayer. And then I give over to the Lord the things that aren’t on my planner, the things that will happen that I didn’t anticipate. God is at work there as well.
- TOOL #4 – MY BIBLE – Much of my praying is now Scripture praying. I work through a section of the Bible and pray it. I personalize it. Life-changing. Psalms. Proverbs. Isaiah. Paul! Example.
No better words can be said than the words of Scripture as they become the foundation for prayer. They’re much better than the words I generate apart from Scripture.
- TOOL #5 – A PRAYER BOOK – This is an incredible tool. There are all kinds of prayer books out there – some by denominations and some by private individuals. When you pray these prayers, you get into the spiritual hearts and minds of other godly people. It’s powerful and expanding to use the prayers of others and make them your own!
- TOOL #6 – MY JOURNAL – I put my prayer thoughts on paper. The Lord often speaks to me in the prayer moment. I don’t want to lose it. This is not me – I don’t like journaling. But God has enabled me. Someday my kids will be able to read these journals to see what God and Dad were up to.
- TOOL #7 – PRAYER LIST – I keep a notebook of people and categories for intercession. I also use the church directory. I pray through it. So many needs out there. You can spend a lot of time here especially in these days. It’s thrilling to see answers to prayer.
- TOOL #8 – SINGING – When the Spirit moves me, I sing. I think you can see why I need a remote place. But I do a lot of singing. I’ve got a lot of songbooks – hymnals and contemporary praise songs. I pray the texts as I sing them.
And sometimes, I create songs. I prayerfully make up a song that’s only for that moment. It will not be remembered or ever sung again. But it’s very meaningful in the moment.
- TOOL #9 – KNEELING – I do a lot of walking around as I pray. But I won’t leave my prayer time until I kneel in prayer as an act of submission before Almighty God. There are times I get face flat before God. I have to remind myself every day who He is and who I am. This does that for me. Posture in prayer is important. And I always include 3 specific prayers while kneeling – An Abba prayer, a blessing prayer, and a priorities prayer. Explain.
- TOOL #10 – A NOTEPAD – It’s interesting how many things come into your mind as you pray – stray thoughts about other things and topics and things coming in the day, etc. Write those things down or you’ll forget them. I believe those invading thoughts come as a direct result of praying, not straying. Many times God is speaking to you. You have 1 thing in your mind. He has another.
Well, those are my tools. I use them all frequently but not all of them every day. It’s never boring. Time flies – 30 to 45 minutes. After your prayer time, it’s amazing how fast the day goes – and before you know it, you’re back with God again the next day. I talk to Him just like I talk to people (with respect). “Hi Lord, here I am again.” And off to prayer, I go!
Folks, I’m not lobbying for you to do prayer as I do it. I’m lobbying for you to do it regularly and to do it meaningfully and effectively for you! And for you to develop your own prayer toolbox.
Faith by Nancy Ashcraft
January 13, 2021
Faith “seeds” can be uprooted and destroyed (Romans 4: 20, Hebrews 3: 12).
We are equipped to stand strong (1 Corinthians 16: 13) if we believe (Galatians 3: 22), trust God
(2 Corinthians 1: 9, 2 Corinthians 3: 4, 1 Timothy 4: 10, 1 Timothy 6: 17) and live by faith
(Habakkuk 2: 4, Romans 1: 17, Galatians 2: 20, Galatians 3: 11, Hebrews 10: 38) …
Consider this…the prophet Elijah stood boldly and bravely before 450 prophets of Baal (at God’s appointed showdown) on Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18: 16-40).
Remember Elijah was a man whom endured great trials of faith.
… the raven fed him for three years by the brook Cherith (! Kings 17: 1-7)
… he went to a cave (1 Kings 19: 9-18) where the Word of the Lord met him.
Elijah prevailed in his relationship with God through prayer: he stood strong in faith, and rarely waivered. Elijah had many showdowns with King Ahab, Jezebel and others.
The New Testament encourages us to:
Not grow weary (Hebrews 12: 1-3).
We are not to walk by sight, but by faith (2 Corinthians 5: 7).
Faith works through love (Galatians 5:6).
God is love (1 John 4: 8, 16).
Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).
Like a body without a spirit, faith without works is dead (Hebrews 4: 2, James 2: 17-26).
Jesus is the Spirit of Faith: each child of God has received the measure of His faith (Romans 3:
22, Romans 8: 9, 16, Romans 12: 3, 1 Corinthians 8: 6, 2 Corinthians 1: 22, 2 Corinthians 4: 6-7, Galatians 2: 16, 20, Galatians 3: 22-26, Ephesians 3: 17, Ephesians 4: 7, 13, Philippians 3: 9, 2 Timothy 3: 15, Hebrews 11: 3, Hebrews 12: 2, James 2: 1, 1 John 5: 4, Revelation 14: 12).
There is a special gift of faith (1 Corinthians 12: 9). In other words, faith is for Christians, and all Christians who have received Christ have received His measure of faith. What we choose to do with what we’re given is unique for each believer.
Therefore, as children of God, we are all one in our Lord because we are all part of His body. We are unified in and by His faith, THE FAITH, when we access and operate according to the measure of His faith that He imparted to each of us. We share in His baptism when we are one with our Lord… the one baptism… progressively (Romans 1: 17, Romans 4: 11, Romans 6: 3, Romans 12: 5, 1 Corinthians 2: 12, 1 Corinthians 6: 17, 2 Corinthians 4: 13, 2 Corinthians 13: 5, Galatians 6: 10, Ephesians 1: 10, Ephesians 4: 3, 5, 13 Philippians 1: 27, Colossians 2: 7, 12, Titus 1: 4, Jude 1: 3).
God’s encouragement to us:
Come to me and I will give you rest. Learn from me for my yoke is easy and my burden light
(Matthew 11: 28-30). For the battle belongs to the Lord (1 Samuel 17: 47, 2 Chronicles 2: 20).
Awaken, awaken, awaken (Isaiah 55).
The Battle Belongs to the Lord – Worship Song Lyrics by John Michael Talbot
In heavenly armor we’ll enter the land
The battle belongs to the Lord
No weapon that’s fashioned against us shall stand
The battle belongs to the Lord
We sing glory and honor
Power and strength to the Lord
The power of darkness comes in like a flood
The battle belongs to the Lord
He’s raised up a standard, the power of His blood
The battle belongs to the Lord
We sing glory and honor
Power in strength to the lord
When your enemy presses in hard do not fear
The battle belongs to the Lord
Take courage my friend, your redemption is near
The battle belongs to the Lord The battle belongs to the lord Battle belongs to the lord…
100 biblical references that the battle belongs to the Lord
FAITH – New Testament Biblical faith highlights and scripture references:
Acts 15: 9 faith purifies
Acts 16:5 faith establishes
Acts 26: 18 faith sanctifies
Romans 1: 5 faith requires obedience
Romans 1: 12 faith comforts
Romans 1: 17 & Romans 9:30 faith reveals the righteousness of God progressively
Romans 3:22 is by faith of Jesus Christ for believers
Romans 3: 28 & Romans 5: 1 faith justifies and gives us peace with God
Romans 4: 5 faith is counted for righteousness
Romans 4:13 & Hebrews 6: 12 promises are obtained through the righteousness of faith
Romans 5: 2 faith provides access into grace
Romans 10: 17 & Galatians 3: 2, 5 faith comes by hearing the Word of God
Romans 12: 3 every believer has a measure of faith (Christ, His faith within)
1 Corinthians 2: 5 faith is in the power of God, not the wisdom of men
1 Corinthians 12 9 faith is also a gift of the Spirit
1 Corinthians 13: 13 faith abides
Corinthians 16: 13 & 2 Corinthians 1: 24 by faith we stand
Corinthians 4: 13 faith is a spirit
2 Corinthians 5: 7 we walk by faith
Galatians 2: 20, Galatians 3:11 & Hebrews 10: 38 we live by faith
Galatians 3:26 by faith we are children of God
Galatians 5: 22 faith is one of the nine aspects of the fruit of the Spirit
Ephesians 2: 8 by grace through faith we are saved
Ephesians 3: 12 we have boldness and access by faith
Ephesians 3: 17 Christ dwells in our hearts by faith
Ephesians 4: 5 there is one faith
Ephesians 4: 13 & Philippians 1: 27 we come in the unity of the faith
Ephesians 6: 16 & 1 Thessalonians 5: 8 faith is a shield … faith and love is a breastplate
Philippians 1: 25 joy of faith
Colossians 2: 12 risen with Him (Christ) through the faith
2 Thessalonians 1: 11 there is God’s work of faith with power
1 Timothy 1: 4 receive Godly edification in faith
1 Timothy 1:5 faith unfeigned
1 Timothy 3: 9 holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience
1 Timothy 4: 6 there are words of faith
Timothy 6: 12 fight the good fight of faith
Timothy 3:15 we gain wisdom unto salvation through faith
Hebrews 11: 3 through faith we understand
Hebrews 11: 6 without faith it is impossible to please God
Hebrews 12: 2 Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith
James 1: 3 & 1 Peter 1: 7 the trying of your faith works patience
James 2: 17, 20 faith without works is dead
Peter 5: 9 be steadfast in faith
Peter 1: 1 faith is precious
2 Peter 1: 5 add virtue to your faith
1 John 5: 4 faith borne of God overcomes the world
Jude 1: 3 we are to contend for the faith
Jude 1: 20 we are to build ourselves up in our most Holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit.