To say that Paul was a frequent traveler would be an understatement. He logged over 20,000 miles on his missionary journeys! But the furthest distance he traveled was near the very beginning of his biography as we read in Acts 9—from the top of a horse all the way down to the dusty Damascus road. You could say that it was the first 5 feet that changed him forever.
As Saul, he persecuted the church—the body of Christ. And Christ stopped him in his tracks, gripped his jealous, angry, murderous heart, and renewed it with the glorious, life-giving, soul transforming good news of the gospel. Over time, as Saul (“the desired one”) was humbled, surrendered, and submitted—he became Paul (“little one”).
20,000 miles of missionary travels came to an end in a Roman prison. But his circumstances did not cause him to despair. His suffering was not senseless. He pressed on. He forgot those things which were behind him. He reached forward to what was ahead.
Let’s be honest—when we’re in the pit, it’s tempting to remember what got us there, to fixate on the circumstances of our suffering. For Paul, his entire ministry looked like a constant sequence of suffering and futility and failure ending in prison. But from God’s perspective, Paul’s life gloriously fulfilled its purpose—because he submitted to suffering.
When suffering comes to us, we have a choice. Will we see it as failure, or will we follow Paul’s example? Like Paul, we can choose to forget those things which are behind. Like Paul, we can look forward to what’s ahead—Jesus’ glorious appearing!
Prison is the last place you’d expect a letter of encouragement to come from. But that’s where Paul wrote his second letter to Timothy.
In this letter, Paul assures Timothy of his love and prayers. He reminds Timothy of his spiritual heritage and responsibilities. He encourages Timothy to persevere—as a soldier, athlete, farmer, or minister of Jesus Christ—so that he will reap the reward. And he warns Timothy that his teaching will come under attack as men desert the truth for ear-scratching words.
This letter, along with Paul’s example and the Holy Spirit, were a great help to Timothy—as they are to us today! God’s Word strengthens us to face increasing opposition and to make the most of God-given opportunities to grow right now, in the last days.
Watch the replay of our live stream as we began our study of this important and timely epistle.
It’s ok to be raw. It’s ok to be honest.
It’s ok to be weak. Too weak for work. Too weak for words.
It’s ok to be sad about being weak. And it’s ok to be angry about being weak.
And it’s ok to pour out all of those emotions to a loving God and to tell Him how you honestly feel.
That’s where Psalm 119 is helpful. It models an honest response to life’s ever-changing circumstances in a way that honors a never-changing God.
In those times of weakness when we don’t know what to say, God gives us the words that bring refreshment to our souls. Words like this:
These aren’t the words that we’d normally expect in a structured acrostic poem about God’s word, and yet we read them—and specific phrases like this—over and over and over again in Psalm 119 as the psalmist cries out to God, pleading with Him to revive him.
Revive me. Teach me. Give me understanding.
As we ask these things of the Lord and seek Him in His word, He places within us a confident hope and a delight in His word that refreshes our hearts. His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
What a great example for us when we feel overwhelmed and overcome with heavy emotions and hurting hearts. We can cry out to God, unburden our heaviness, and ask Him to revive us—according to His word.
When you hear “Psalm 119,” what are your first thoughts?
Well, it is 176 verses! And on the surface, it might seem more like a long-winded ancient Hebrew poem about God’s word and the importance of His law than a great source for comfort.
But there’s so much more to this Psalm when we plumb the depths of the treasure!
With careful study, we see common themes rise to the surface that speak clearly about the role of God’s word in the world we live in. Themes like hope, delight, and being revived when our spirit is weak—a much needed word for our world today!
Watch the replay of our live stream as we studied this amazing passage of Scripture and were strengthened by the many messages of encouragement we found.
Refuge is a condition of being sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble. And we’re facing some troubling times right now. But we have a refuge—an everlasting refuge. An Almighty God who offers us present and eternal security in times of uncertainty and chaos.
God is our refuge and our strength—at all times and especially in times of trouble. We can look to Him for security. No matter what happens, He will not abandon or forsake us. He goes before us! Our future is in His hands. We can trust Him, knowing that He will give us peace in the midst of whatever battle we face.
So many around us do not know what it is like to have peace in the midst of great trouble or strong hope in Christ that would be an anchor for their souls (Hebrews 6:19). Are you asking the Lord to show you how to make the most of every opportunity to share the hope you have in Jesus?
Do you know and believe in the One who holds your future? Don’t wait until times of greater trouble to call out to Jesus—TODAY is the day of salvation! God’s word is clear—if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. You can do that right now! Ask God for forgiveness. Believe that Jesus died for your sin and that God raised Him to life. Trust Him as your Savior and follow Him as Lord!
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
What comes to mind when you hear the word “refuge”?
We talked about that this past Sunday as we looked at Psalm 91 and discussed the security that comes from abiding in God's presence.
There were many great answers: a safe place, a strong tower, a mighty fortress. Rest, shelter, anchor. Hope, home, hiding place.
If you missed our live stream from Sunday, click here to watch the replay and be encouraged by the many scriptures that were shared in our time together.
One more thing…do you miss singing together? We do too! Thankfully there are many ways you can enjoy singing praise and worship in your home! One option is to visit our Vimeo page to find archives of past Sunday morning services. Each video begins with the teaching from that Sunday and the worship begins around the last third of the video. It’s not the same as in person, but it’s just as uplifting & encouraging.
When we sing to the Lord with willing and eager hearts, we accomplish so much—sometimes without even realizing it. But when we understand what is happening when we sing to Him, it is so wonderful!
The act of singing to God glorifies Him. That’s enough reason to sing! Think about that…we—flawed and broken, frail human beings—bring God glory.
Just consider what happens when we sing to the Lord:
We demonstrate obedience to God; we dig deep roots into the word of God; we build each other up in the Lord; we battle (knowing that the battle belongs to the Lord); we are spiritually strengthened for trials; and we follow a God-designed pathway for joy.
All of this glorifies our great God!
So the next time you shrink back from singing because you think that singing is just not your thing—think again! God wants to hear you. He wants to hear you singing His praises and worshipping Him—telling Him of the wonderful things He has done. Not because He is insecure, but because He loves you so much and wants you to know the great things He has done so that you can enjoy His fellowship forever!
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
– Colossians 3:16
“Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete.”
– Revelation 15:1
In the Scriptures, we often see an overview of an event followed by a supplemental account to fill in specific details. As we start in Revelation 15, we take a step back to better understand what was just written in Revelation 14—which ended with a high overview of the Battle of Armageddon.
So far in the book of Revelation, we’ve seen the destruction that will occur with the Trumpet Judgments. We’ve witnessed the devastation of the Seal Judgements. And now, we will preview the deadly Bowl Judgements—seven plagues poured out on the earth.
But before that…there’s singing? In Heaven? Yes! But why? Listen to our study of Revelation 15 to find out!
Revelation 14 moves us closer…closer to heaven…closer to earth…closer to the end. The clock is ticking. Time is running out.
The eternal destiny of billions will be determined as they make the most important choice: will they worship the world or the One who made the world? Will they worship creation or the Creator?
In an act of mercy, God sends three angels to plead with people in hopes that they will turn to Him.
The first proclaims the everlasting gospel to everyone on earth: “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” (14:7).
The second warns about worshipping the world system: “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” (14:8)
The third adds even more incentive to worship God with a warning about the eternal consequences of receiving the mark of the beast: “He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.” (14:10)
Wrath mixed with mercy. God doesn’t have to plead with hard-hearted people. But He does…again and again and again.
Ultimately, you must make a choice—who or what will you worship: creation or the Creator? The Lord will not delay His coming. There will be eternal consequences for rejecting Him. This world and all of the world’s systems that stand opposed to God will fall…but He will stand in the end.
“For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)
The wrath of God has come up many times during our study of Revelation. Our study of chapter 14 was no exception. In it, we read of the promised judgement, the coming fire and brimstone, and by the end of the chapter, the harvest for the winepress of the wrath of God.
Yes, the wrath of God is real and serious. But so is His mercy. In this same chapter, we read of God mixing His wrath with mercy in one last effort to plead with mankind to turn away from their sin—one final chance to turn toward Him before imminent judgement.
Will mankind repent and relent from the pursuit of sin? More importantly—have you repented? Have you relented from your pursuit of sin? God is extending Him mercy to you right now! Do not wait until it is too late! Turn to Him now and enjoy the peace and security of His mercy.
Listen to our study of Revelation 14 and learn how you can receive the great mercy of our great God.
Then, read ahead in Revelation 15 and join us this Sunday at 10am in the Regency Ballroom as we continue our study in the book of Revelation.
We know that we do not live on bread alone, “but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). We need God’s Word to give us spiritual nourishment so that we have the spiritual strength to discern lies from the truth. So that begs the question…do you have an appetite for God’s Word?
Think about a well-balanced and healthy meal. You know it is good for you—it will give you the strength to make it through the day. But how hungry would you be for healthy food if you had four candy bars right before sitting down to eat? Although good and healthy food is before you, you would have no desire for it.
Do you crave God’s Word like good and healthy food? If you don’t, could it be that you’re stuffed full with what the world is offering you, but isn’t good for you? When you become a believer, you are given a new nature. Your old nature and your new nature constantly war against each other. They fight like dogs all the time. The one that you feed will win. The one that you starve will lose.
Take a look at your life. Consider your decisions. Think about your spiritual diet. Ask yourself daily, “am I feeding the flesh? Is that why I have no appetite for God’s Word?” It’s time to refrain from the things that feed your flesh and commit to feeding upon God’s Word.
So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.
In Revelation 13, we find prophecies concerning a coming one world ruler, one world government, one world religion, and one world currency. While these things are yet to come, they seem plausible right now. With each new world crisis, we’re moving toward these 4 realities as individual rights and liberties erode.
But we aren’t looking for these signs or waiting for the beast (the antichrist). We are looking and waiting for Jesus Christ! He is on the throne and nothing can thwart His plan or His return. While we look up and wait for His glorious appearing, we need to look around and invite others into the same spiritual security we enjoy through a living relationship with Jesus Christ.
Listen to our study of Revelation 13 as we unpack these 4 prophecies and provide the answer to the question, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?” (Revelation 13:4).
Revelation 12 begins with a great sign in heaven, involving a woman, a dragon, and a child. It might seem like a science-fiction story—but it is not fantasy! This is a true account of thousands of years of Biblical history.
So what on earth (or in heaven) is going on?
The Old Testament helps us understand what we read in Revelation 12. The woman is Israel (see Genesis 37:1-11), and the dragon is Satan (see Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28). From these Old Testament passages, we see that Satan’s fate is sealed. He is a defeated foe…but he is also a deceived foe. He first deceived himself into thinking that he could thwart the plan of God. Since then, he seeks to deceive and devour as many as possible.
He tried to devour the child born to the woman (Jesus), but failed. So, Satan tried to devour the children of Israel to stop the first coming of Jesus—but he still failed! Though the devil is still deceived (and will fail again), he is still trying to devour the children of Israel to stop Jesus’ second coming. Why? Because the collective repentance of the nation of Israel will trigger the second coming of Jesus!
But God has a way of protecting His people and preserving a remnant for His purposes. Don’t wait until times of tribulation to call out to Him—TODAY is the day of salvation! God’s word is clear—if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. You can do that right now! Ask God for forgiveness. Believe that Jesus died for your sin and that God raised Him to life. Trust Him as your Savior and follow Him as Lord!
It’s been said that the story of the Bible can be summarize in 6 words: Kill the dragon. Get the girl.
But who kills the dragon? Who saves the girl? And who is the hero of this true story?
As we peer ahead into the future as described in Revelation, we also look back to fully appreciate what is being written about. Even though Revelation is the last book of the New Testament, it is a very Old Testament book in the imagery described and references made.
This past Sunday, we flipped through many pages of our Bibles in our study of Revelation 12 to understand this description of a dragon and a woman…and what it means for us today.
Listen to our study of Revelation 12 and hear the echoes of God’s powerful promise and witness His inevitable victory from creation through ancient prophecies and to the end of this age.
The Word of God is not just a little book. As we’ve learned throughout our studies, it’s a collection 66 books. 1,189 chapters. 31,102 verses. And it’s all for you! All for us! All interwoven in an undeniable way to paint a vivid portrait of the central figure of all time—Jesus Christ.
But the Bible is also full of bitter-sweet timeless truths and promises.
It’s sweet when we put God’s word in our mouths by speaking it & proclaiming it out loud. The Gospel is pleasantly good as we take it into our hearts. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” God’s plan to redeem the lost so that we can be with Him forever is the sweetest!
However, there’s a bitter truth that settles in our gut shortly after we enjoy that sweetness. With the good news, there is also bad news. There’s a bitter truth for those who reject Jesus Christ. They will spend eternity apart from Him in never-ending torment.
Have you tasted and seen that the Lord is good? Enjoy the sweetness—then allow the bitterness that those who have yet to hear the Gospel and yield to God motivate you to action.
Do you have family, friends, neighbors, coworkers who don’t know the Lord? Does the bitterness of them being separated from God in eternal torment make you sick to your stomach? Like John, that bitterness comes with a command—“You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.” (Revelation 10:11)
The Great Commission wasn’t just given to a small enthusiastic group—but to all who believe. So tell everyone about the Good News of Jesus Christ so that others might enjoy the sweetness He freely gives!
The book of Revelation is truly unique. It’s the only book in the New Testament that focuses primarily on prophetic events–things yet to come to pass. We are able to read it because the Apostle John was faithful to the Lord’s command: “Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.” (Revelation 1:19)
And so, John recorded what he saw so we can see it too (at least, in our mind’s eye). We see the events which will take place as they transpire…on earth and in heaven—and sometimes the lines between these places blur. Like in Revelation 10, as an angel stands on earth. And in chapter 11, we begin with an introduction to two faithful witnesses who will stand for the Lord in Jerusalem, and we end with the seventh trumpet sounding from heaven. Through it all, we see how God has been, is, and will be supreme over all of creation.
Listen to our study of Revelation 10 & 11 and marvel at God’s marvelous and mysterious plan for the end of this age.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.
As we continue our study through Revelation and learn about the future time of transition and tribulation, we get a glimpse of just how terrible that time will be. The trumpet judgements in Revelation 8 and 9 are truly terrifying, yet the outpouring of God’s wrath is not complete.
But we do know that at the end of the book of Revelation, Jesus says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” In response, John says, “Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus!” Knowing what he knew—knowing what would have to happen in order for Jesus to come again—he still said, “Even so, come Lord Jesus!”
And until He returns, until His kingdom comes—a kingdom that will not be shaken—let us have grace. Let us have grace so that we can turn away from sin and run towards a loving God who uses wrath for the purposes of repentance.
Let us have grace that motivates us to reach the lost and rescue them from the future tribulation.
And let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
An earthquake is a terrible event. When the first tremor strikes, there’s nothing you can do but drop, cover, and hold on until it’s over. And when the ground is finally done shaking, you quickly discover what structures still have integrity and which ones had a poor foundation.
In Revelation 8 and 9, we discover what material and philosophical foundations will remain as God shakes what can be shaken in the trumpet judgements. This shaking isn’t just limited to the earth. As we read in Hebrews 12, heaven will also be shook, giving mankind an even greater incentive to repent. Unfortunately, some will still refuse. But what remains after this shaking will be a kingdom which can never be shaken.
Listen to our study of Revelation 8 and 9 and wonder at God’s ability to shake what can be shaken.
This great multitude of people from every nation, tribe, people, and language will stand before the throne of God. Unfortunately, the only way they made it out of the tribulation was by being martyred—killed for their faith in Jesus.
There will be terrible temptations during the tribulation to turn away from God and give your allegiance to the Antichrist. That allegiance will be an irreversible, irrevocable, and eternal decision. Please do not think, “I’ll just wait until it’s obvious and this so-called ‘rapture’ takes place.” If you find it difficult to live for Jesus now, what makes you think that you’ll have to courage to die for Jesus then?
Make your decision today for Jesus and be sealed by Him for all of eternity (see 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 and Ephesians 1:13, 4:30). Because soon and very soon Jesus will return to pick up those He purchased with His blood—those who are sealed and genuinely His. He wants you to be His. He wants to be with you forever. He has gone to the most incredible lengths to save you so that He could be with you.
The way to be saved hasn’t changed since last week! God’s plan for salvation is the same. His Word is clear—if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. You can do that right now! Ask God for forgiveness. Believe that Jesus died for your sin and that God raised Him to life. Trust Him as your Savior and follow Him as Lord.
As we continue our study in Revelation, we’ve been considering the wrath of God—its power, purpose, and place in history and the future. The prophet Habakkuk asked God to remember mercy when He poured out wrath (Habakkuk 3:2). We see both the wrath of God and the mercy of God in the book of Revelation—sometimes in ways we wouldn’t have imagined. In His infinite wisdom, God administers His wrath with the included purpose of bringing people to eternal repentance.
Last week, we discussed the question asked in Revelation 6:17: who is able to stand on the great day of God’s wrath? This past Sunday, we were introduced to two groups who will be able to stand on that great day—a numbered multitude and an innumerable multitude.
Listen to Sunday’s study of Revelation 7 as we discovered the identities of these two groups and how they will be able to stand.
Make no mistake about it—the period known as the Tribulation will be the worst time in human history…in every category. When the Restrainer—the Holy Spirit—is removed, sin will flood in and saturate everything in society on a path of death and destruction.
Things will be so bad, so rotten, and so despondent, that the world leaders will cry out—but not to God. Hidden in their mountain bunkers, they will cry out to the rocks that surround them to fall on them to hide from the wrath of God—“For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”
It’s a great question to ask—sooner rather than later. It’s the question we all need to answer—better to answer it now in advance of that great day. For there will be a day when God finally says, “Enough is enough!”
Will you be able to stand on that day?
God’s word says that there is a way to be delivered from God’s wrath. There is a way to be able to stand before God. Jesus—The Way, The Truth, The Life. No one comes to the Father except through Him.
If you haven’t already done so, receive Jesus today. God’s Word says if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. You can do that right now! Ask God for forgiveness. Believe that Jesus died for your sin and that God raised Him to life. Trust Him as your Savior and follow Him as Lord.
On Sunday, we restarted our study in the book of Revelation. Picking up where we left off in chapter 6, we considered what will happen when the Holy Spirit is removed and sin is allowed to fully saturate society. We looked into the future with John as the next two seals were opened—and it isn’t pretty. As bad as things are today, it pales in comparison with a world saturated with sin. It will be the worst time in human history—even Jesus warned about how dark this time would be (see Matthew 24).
But take heart! There is a way to be delivered from God’s wrath. Listen to our study from Revelation 6:9-17 and learn how to be able to stand before God.
From Pastor Dom...
When I first gave my life to Jesus, there were friends in my life who helped me to grow in my understanding of God, through His word, and for those friends