Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Bible Study
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Reference:  Acts 22:17-22

Topic:  “Are you willing to share your testimony?”

The lesson aim is to encourage believers/saints/Christians to share their testimony with others, especially non-believers.  More importantly, church growth is driven by the spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ. (Acts 1:8)  The breakdown in communication (the message) can be traced back to the inconsistency of the message.  (John 15:25-27; I Corinthians 1:21-24)  As disciples we are expected to share our experience with Christ as a witness.

The Apostle Paul is standing before the “council” to plead his case and make a defense to them regarding the accusations/charges brought against him.  (Acts 23:7-9a)  Paul approaches the matter very delicately and under the power of the Holy Spirit.  Paul has exhausted his energy trying to convince the Jews that his assignment was both authentic and bona fide. (Romans 8:28-31; 10:14)  Paul feels it necessary to share his testimony about the call of Jesus on his life.  He revisits the day he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus and confesses that his life prior to this encounter was that of a persecutor of believers.  We must be willing to share the process and progress of our Christian journey.  We must also hear the voice of God as we step into the ring with non-believers.  The primary role of a “witness” is to be persecuted because of our connection to Christ.  However, there is one concern within the church that continues to hinder our progress.  Fear is one of the main reasons why the saints don’t share their testimony with unbelievers.

When was the last time you told your story?
Bible Study
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Reference:  Acts 19:1-7

Topic:  “How Long Should It Take?”

The lesson aim is to shed light on the myth that all saints are growing in the knowledge of the Lord.  More importantly, there is always room for growth.  We have to seek the knowledge of God. (Reference: Matthew 6:33; Philippians 3:14; Hebrews 11:6)
We should never assume that everybody in the “church” is a believer.  Nor should we neglect to teach the word of God because the number of folks present is not great.

When traveling long distances, there is a common question asked by children and even adult passengers, “are we there yet?”  This is the same question being posed to the saints at Ephesus by the Apostle Paul.  There is a perceived progress that should take place which denotes any growth that has been made while on this journey.  But if individuals have not made any progress in there study of God’s word, they may be lacking in their knowledge of who Jesus is.  At that point, another question remains unanswered. Can a person be in the church and not know Jesus? (Read verse 3) 

What are the differences in evangelism and/or kingdom building between now and then?

In today’s time, who has the role of Paul, Silas and Apollos?

Do you feel you have reached your goal in your journey with the Lord?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Bible Study
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Reference:  Acts 14:1-2

Topic:  “Internal Affairs”

The lesson aim is to raise awareness about the internal struggles to hinder spiritual growth.  More importantly, we must learn how to “read” people without jumping to conclusions or becoming defensive toward others. (Ephesians 6:11-12)  The divisive work being done within the church is by design.  The opposition is not about people. However, the main objective is to prevent sinners from being converted and becoming followers of Christ. 

This lesson is not an indictment against the church.  Nor is it designed to cast a cloud of doubt over the church or challenge its mission.  However, there are yet realities that suggest that some people inside the building (church house) are not working for the Lord.  The assignment that Paul and Barnabas had been given was in full swing.  (Read Acts 14:1)  Both men were willing to put aside their differences and work together toward the building of God’s kingdom. (Acts 13:2-3)  The Ephesians 4:12 agenda is designed to grow people. The indictment against today’s church questions the intentions of the heart of those who claim to know the Lord, but their actions don’t concur. 

The enemy works in contrast, that is in the flesh, to the Lord to break our stride toward spiritual renewal through transformation. (Romans 7:18-19; 12:2)  There are several major acts in the text that should raise a number of concerns. 

First, why would anybody want to challenge a good work that has been ordained to change lives? 

Secondly, how do we know what to look for when assessing the maturity of other believers? (verse 2 – “the unbelieving Jews”)

Thirdly, how do we protect the new converts from those sent to turn them away from the truth?

The church is the workshop for developing and training Christian soldiers.  We must be diligent in our pursuit of God’s righteousness and the indwelling of HIS spirit. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Bible Study
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Reference:  Acts 9:10-18

Topic:  “I Accept”

The lesson aim is to show the results of reconciliation.  More importantly, we are chosen to serve the Lord in different capacities.  The “work of the ministry” has various stages and phases.  Individuals are called upon to complete specific assignments.  However, the Lord determines the magnitude of the assignment. 

The Apostle Paul is a prime example of God’s grace and mercy. (Read Galatians 1:15-16a)  Luke provides Theophilus a very detailed description of Saul’s conversion.  After his conversion, Saul is then chosen by the Lord to become an apostle and preacher of the gospel.  Acts 9 gives us an hear full in the struggles that take place in the body of Christ to receive one another.  Ananias is a disciple of Jesus Christ that has been called upon to serve as a messenger and transfer agent.  His primary role is to confirm the Lord’s words to Saul and restore his sight.  However, Ananias opposes the Lord because of the person he is called to serve. (Acts 9:13-14)  Once we have reconciled with Christ, we are reconciled with God. At that moment reconciliation removes the enmity between God and man.   In addition reconciliation unites the body of Christ as one. (Ephesians 2:13-16)  Saul had not yet fully received all that was ordained for him.

Enmity –

Trust -

Confidence -

I wonder how many believers are still waiting on their instructions from individuals that chose not to deliver the message from Christ.  Many of struggle to accept the Lord’s decision to rescue sinner. 

What are the key points in this lesson?
·         Acceptance of Christ – “what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6a)
·         The power of Grace – “go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me” (Acts 9:15a)

·         Understanding/Revelation of Reconciliation – “for I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake” (Acts 9:16)
Bible Study
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Reference:  Nehemiah 7

Topic:  “Sustainability”

The lesson aim is to show that the work must be completed by all those called to the “work of the ministry”.  More importantly, there must be a succession plan and a plan to sustain the work.  Thus, it is imperative that we grow people and raise financial support to “keep moving forward”.  The ministry of reconciliation opens the way for people to step into their god-given purpose. (Read II Corinthians 5:18-21) There are specific details we must understand about reconciliation that validates the purpose and resources provided for any work of God that we have been called to do. 

Sustain – to support, hold, or bear up from below; to keep a person, the mind, the spirits from giving way, as under trial or affliction; to keep up or keep going, as an action or process

Sustain – [kool] to keep in; hence, to measure; to maintain (I Kings 17:9)

Chapter 7 contains a plethora of solutions on how to address the issue of “moving forward”.  Nehemiah and the people have now completed the first phase of the project. But, Nehemiah realizes that there’s still work to be done.  Oftentimes we get caught up in the finished product and we forget to plan beyond the moment.  The work of the ministry has been given a final completion date. (Read Philippians 1:6) 

There are two major components that this reading plan describes that are the crowning jewels of God’s work:

·         Leadership (succession planning) – Read Nehemiah 7:2-3

What are the leadership roles identified in the text?

What specific instructions does Nehemiah give each of those appointed?

·         Stewardship (giving to a cause)  - Read Nehemiah 7:70-72

Who were the “chief of the fathers”?

What was their reason for giving?

To what work did they give? 

Bible Study
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Reference:  Acts 2:42-47

Topic:  “Keep Moving Forward”

The lesson aim is to show that there action steps that must be taken by all those involved in the “work of the ministry”.  More importantly, there is evidence that the “work” has multiple players that are expected to work together to move people forward..  No matter what stage you’re on in your walk, you still have a role in the building of God’s kingdom. 

Over the past several weeks we have unpacked the truth about the intensity of church growth.  Today, we will see that each phase of church growth points to the hand of God rests on and over all those willing to work on the team.  The team is made up of several groups, new converts and seasoned believers. 

The work that is set before the apostles is driven by their god-given purpose.  The purpose in which they are walking was assigned to them by the Lord Jesus himself.  Subsequently, their focused is on HIM and “all that Jesus began both to do and teach”.  The forward movement of any person is determined by the desires of their heart. 

What are the steps in the text?

What are the key terms in the text?

(Connect the text to the study questions)

[Take home assignment - please answer this question on a separate sheet of paper and submit to the pastor]

What new information have you discovered on the journey so far? 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Bible Study
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Reference:  Nehemiah 4:6

Topic:  “Get Your Head in the Game”

The lesson aim is to show that there is always an action associated with the “work” of God.  More importantly, the “work” has to become part of our everyday life.  The “work” should not be segregated from our personal lives, but integrated into our daily routines. Whatever work we’ve been called to perform must have our full attention. 

Nehemiah and the children of Israel were under attack from the outside.  Sanballat and Tobiah expressed their anger and discontentment about the “work” that was being initiated in Jerusalem. The enemy will always try to throw you off balance and disrupt your game plan.  However, as offensive players in the game of life we must learn to read the defense.  The art of the game is to keep the defense from preventing you from reaching the goal.  One of the most common tactics of the opposition is to get into the mind of the players, thereby becoming a distraction. Those who win the game are those that play the game with excellence.  Those who win in the spirit realm are those that follow the instructions recorded in Psalms 37:5 and Proverbs 16:3.  The term “commit” connects our desires to God’s will.

I can appreciate the fact that the text does not focus on the condition of the people’s hearts or minds prior to Nehemiah’s arrival.  We know that the people were in “great affliction and reproach”.  According to Hanani’s report, the people had lost their desire to rise above their circumstances.  Nonetheless, something powerful takes place between chapter 1 and chapter 4, “transformation”.  During the transformation process, Nehemiah conveys to all the people God’s plan for Jerusalem. (Read: Nehemiah 2:12)  Nehemiah’s spirit became contagious. 

Subsequently, Nehemiah 4:6 is a summarization of the people’s attitude toward the visible enemy.  Through deductive reasoning we can conclude that our commitment to the “work” has to be from the heart.  Otherwise, the enemy will work to create fear in our hearts and cause the work to slow down or even cease.  The heart is the control center for spiritual maturity and the mind records and executes the protocol for spiritual renewal.  (Read: Psalms 51)  The people’s mind toward God had been restored and their confidence in God’s ability had been rekindled. Thus, the “work” was a manifestation of their commitment to the God-centered plan that Nehemiah presented.


Psalms 110:3; II Corinthians 8:15-17; Philippians 2:13; Hebrews 13:21 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Bible Study
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Reference:  Nehemiah 1; Acts 1 & 2

Topic:  “What Are the Needs?”

The lesson aim is to show that we all have a role to play in the building of God’s kingdom.  More importantly, the “work” is not for one person nor can it be completed without a collaboration of folks working together.  The enemy has managed to use the same strategy of “divide and conquer” to hinder the “work” of the ministry. 

Last week, we broke ground on the foundation for building new relationships and strengthening existing connections to the “Holy One”.  As we embark upon this present journey to reconciliation, we must consider the current state of the church and its relationship with the God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. 

In our study of Nehemiah, Acts and Philippians, each book provides us with a description of what happens when God calls us to a “work” for HIM.  In your assessment of each situation, take a close look at the similarities that supports the premise of our argument that we’re all called to this “work”. 

RECAP  (Read: Nehemiah 1:2-3) “That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.  3 And they said unto me, the remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.” KJV 

What is the Nehemiah’s reaction to the report?

What is Nehemiah’s first action in response to the news?

Review the content of his prayer:

(Read: Acts 1:8) “But ye shall receive power, (after that) the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” KJV

How does the fellowship respond to Jesus’ instructions? (Read: Luke 24:29)

What is the apostle’s response to the loss of their brother Judas?

What course of action did they take to move forward in the “work”? (Read: Acts 1:22-26)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Bible Study
Wednesday, September 10, 2013
Reference:  I Corinthians 12:31

Topic:  “Which Way Should I Choose?”

The lesson aim is to show each individual that “the way” to live.  More importantly, each believer must choose of his/her own will and accord which direction he/she will travel in pursuit of God’s righteousness.  Many of us are familiar with the phrase, “you take the high road and I’ll take the low road”.  There is a right and wrong way to choose.  The Lord, Jesus said to his disciples, “broad is the way that leadeth to destruction; but narrow is the way to leadeth to eternal life”. 

The Apostle Paul’s primary objective is to show the church (ekklesia) how to rise above its present dilemma.  [What is the current condition of the church?] If we hope to choose the right “way”, we must have a clear picture of our current situations.  We must give way to the spirit of God to help lead us through any spiritual assessment of the church.

(Read: Nehemiah 1:2-3) “That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.  3 And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.” KJV

How do I know what God has called me to do in the body?  Our assignments are determined before we are born.  (Jeremiah 1:5) However, the assignment is not revealed until we enter into a covenant relationship with God through the Lord Jesus.  Our relationship with Christ opens the way for the Holy Spirit to work in our lives.  Everything we do for God is activated by the spirit.

(Read: Acts 1:8) “But ye shall receive power, (after that) the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” KJV

Paul inserts this notation to encourage the church at Corinth to pursue a path of excellence. However, they lack understanding. (Proverbs 4:7) He pointed them in a direction that would lead them to a new level of spiritual maturity.  Paul teaches that LOVE is the key to spiritual maturity.  LOVE bridges together purpose, function and mission of the body.  LOVE helps an individual reach their full potential in Christ through the use of gifts in the body.  More importantly, LOVE balances unity and diversity which are essential to the various functionalities of the church.

If the church does not learn to function as God designed it, the work of the ministry will continue to suffer greatly.  The church has a purpose that has been clearly identified through scripture.  Unfortunately, the church has not pursued God’s will as a collective body.  Therefore, the church has been damaged and injured.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Bible Study
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Reference:  I Samuel 30:6

Topic:  “Is There Any Hope?”

Over the last five years, many Americans have posed this question to various leaders within politics, corporations and communities.  Unfortunately, very few people have sought answers from God regarding any of the matters that shape our earthly lives, such as economics, medicine, education and family.   

The lesson aim is to show how we should deal with issues that arise in our lives.  More importantly, believers are equipped with an internal barometer that helps to gauge when we reach our boiling points which causes many to fall into self-pity and depression.  HOPE in God is the by product of the “believer’s walk of Faith”. (Read: Hebrews 11:1-6)
HOPE initiates prayer to God for HIS divine will to be done. 

David is the primary focus of the text.  However, his situation is very common and real.  We all face unexpected setbacks.  In every instance we must wrestle within ourselves (deny the flesh) on how to best resolve these unwarranted problems.  When we are confronted by life’s challenges, David’s action to help restore his confidence in God is a perfect script for the body of Christ to study.  Even though David is directly impacted by the matter at hand, he doesn’t try to direct his energies into figuring out his own solutions. 

“And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” (KJV)

“David was now in great danger because all his men were very bitter about losing their sons and daughters, and they began to talk of stoning him. But David found strength in the Lord his God.” (New Living Translation)

“And suddenly David was in even worse trouble. There was talk among the men, bitter over the loss of their families, of stoning him.  David strengthened himself with trust in his God.” (THE MESSAGE)

When trouble arises in our lives, we must maintain our confidence in God.  When the storms of life are raging, we must stand firm on the promises of God.  When there seems to be no hope, we must dig within ourselves and draw from the well that never runs dry, which is Christ Jesus. “My hope is build on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.  I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but holy lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand”.   

Please take time to study the following reference scriptures:
Phil 4:13, John 7:37-38, I Peter 1:3-5, Psalm 42:11, Psalm 118:8 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bible Study
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Reference:  St. John 8:31-32

Topic:         “Do You Know the Truth?”

Can you list at least two spiritual truths about Jesus that you have discovered in your studies? (Example: “I am the way, the truth and the life”)


The Church of the Living God stands on the several beliefs regarding the Lord, Jesus that also serves as a foundation for our theological posture.   The basis for Christian living is centered around the life, earthly ministry and redemptive work of the Lord, Jesus. (Read: St. John 10:10) An in-depth study into the works of Jesus Christ during the Protestant Reformation presented several theological and fundamental beliefs.  These beliefs have been summarized in one single phrase, “Sola Christus or Sola Christo” (“salvation is through Christ alone and that Christ is the only mediator between God and man”). 

The lesson aim is to validate our knowledge of “the truth”.  More importantly, we, the believer, must be able to articulate to others our insight and comprehension of the scriptures. (Read: II Peter 3:17-18)  In a previous statement we determined that there is no greater liberator than the truth.  The truth has the power to set the captive free.  Thus, John 8:32 expresses the Lord’s view on becoming “free” through faith in him.  John’s record of this statement of truth sheds light on the overall contrasts between freedom and bondage.  Our knowledge of the truth will free us from the bondage of sin. Verse 31 outlines the path to freedom: “then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;”

Key words:

Believe – [pist-yoo-o] – to have faith; i.e. credit; to entrust

Continue – [men-o] – to stay

Finally, Jesus’ proclamation to his disciples in John 14:6 should be the continuous message of all who walk in and live for HIM.  

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Bible Study
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Reference:  Romans 12:2

Topic:         “In Search of Spiritual Truths”

In most situations the truth has to be revealed or discovered.  In the absence of substantial evidence to support an argument, the burden of proof must be presented.  As we grow in our knowledge of the scripture we must learn to apply the truth to our lives. Applying the word will give every believer the power to stand. (Read – II Peter 3:13-18)

Grow - auzano (owx-an'-o); to grow ("wax"), i.e. enlarge

The lesson aim is to motivate the believer to seek the truth of God.  More importantly, we, the believer, must understand the impact the truth will have on our lives. The truth works as a support in the battle for the mind.  (Ephesians 6:14 – “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth” - KJV)

However, as it relates to Christ the truth has to be revealed.  (Read: Matthew 16:17) Part of the role of Jesus and the Holy Spirit in the lives of the believer is to represent, reveal and recall the truth. (Read: John 14:6; 16:13)

*    John 14:6 – “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”. KJV
*    John 16:13 – “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come”. KJV

There is no greater liberator than the truth.  The truth has the power to set the captive free.

*    John 8:32 – “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”. KJV

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bible Study
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Reference:  Romans 12:2

Topic:  “Digging for the Truth”

The power of scripture cannot be experienced until the believer learns to apply “the word” to his/her life.  The dept of a believer’s knowledge of the scripture can be measured by their use of the word (wisdom) in their everyday life. (Read – John 5:39; Matthew 22:29)

The lesson aim is to establish a path to true transformation.  More importantly, we, the believer, must understand that the word of God is our greatest asset and weapon in the battle for the mind.  (Read Ephesians 3:3-5)

Paul reveals the most significant aspect of the Christian journey in Romans 12:2.  Being
“transformed by the renewing of your mind” has become the backdrop for the battle for the mind.  Many saints have yet to grasp the importance of embracing this process.

Romans 8:1 (verses 2-6)
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (KJV)

Key Words:

Condemnation –

Flesh –

Spirit –

The Three Conditions of the Mind:

Carnal –

Spiritual –

Natural –

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Bible Study
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Reference:  I Corinthians 9:24-27

Topic:  “Mind over Matter”

The concept of “mind over matter” originated in the 1960s and early 70s.  The definition has varied in interpretation.  But the overall thought is that the mind has more power than the body.  If used properly, the mind will help you overcome bodily aliments.  It takes a strong person to endure pain and persecution for the sake of glorifying God. 
(II Tim 2:3 – “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”)

Endure - sugkakopatheo (soong-kak-op-ath-eh'-o):

The lesson aim is to encourage believers to stay strong.  More importantly, we must walk the walk as we talk the talk.  We must be clear on what our goals are as runners for
Christ.  Each believer will be held accountable to the LORD for his/her actions.
(Read Luke 16:1-2)

Account – logos (log'-os):

Steward - oikonomeo (oy-kon-om-eh'-o):

Thus, we have the responsibility to condition our hearts and minds for the challenges we will face as disciples of Jesus Christ.  We must use our training to help us in our performance.  Paul presents the same motivation to the church at Rome. (Romans 12:1-2)

Paul uses the example of runners participating in a race to describe the course of action one must take as a soldier for the Lord.  Ultimately, Paul encourages the church to run the race with winning in mind.  Just as athletes must prepare for the race so must the believer.  We must condition ourselves mentally to obtain our incorruptible crown.  We must learn to resist the temptations that come when trying to “do the right thing”.    If we’re going to win this race and fight, we must follow Paul’s example in verse 27:

“I keep under my body”

“Bring it into subjection”

Paul’s concludes his ministerial career on a high note that embodies these instructions to the church: 2 Tim 4:7-8 – “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

Paul’s final statement to the church focuses on the misunderstanding of how we struggle to maintain control of our thoughts. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Bible Study
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Reference:  Romans 12:2

Topic:  “A Change Must Take Place

How long does it take for change to occur?  Many still marvel at the change that butterflies go through.  Metamorphosis is still a mystery.  It takes a caterpillar three weeks to be transformed into a butterfly.  Transmutation is “change into another nature, substance, form, or condition”.  A great example of this amazing occurrence is the butterfly.  As believers we go through a spiritual transformation.  However, no one can really determine how long this process takes from start to finish.

The lesson aim is to identify the phases of transformation.  More importantly, we must be willing to complete the process and fulfill our God-given purpose.  (Hebrews 12:1-3) 

Each time we revisit this text a deeper understanding is revealed by God.  There seems to be a misunderstanding regarding the process of spiritual transformation.  We , the believer, must submit ourselves to the course of action designed to rescue us from bondage.  The first phase of the transformation process is to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God”.  (Read: Romans 6:13, 16, 19)

Key word: servants- doulos (doo'-los) a slave (literal or figurative, involuntary or voluntary; frequently, therefore in a qualified sense of subjection or subserviency):

The second phase of the transformation process is to “be not conformed to this world”.  (Read: II Corinthians 6:14-18; Ephesians 2:2-3)

Paul challenges the church to consider moving away from their ways of living.  He charts a course to transformation by transitioning from “doctrine to duty”.  Transformation requires a willing spirit on the part of the one being transformed.  (Matthew 26:41)  Of course there is no timetable associated with transformation.  But, we must remember Paul’s testimony to Timothy, II Timothy 4:7 – “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:”  Paul concludes if we’re going to complete this process we must be intentional and focused.

Paul’s final statement to the church is to “be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind”.  The renewing of the mind is third phase of the transformation process. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Bible Study
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Reference:  Romans 7:21

Topic:  “Practice What You Preach”

Do you know anyone that practices the “law”?  Attorneys, judges and other legal practitioners are expected to obey the very same law they have vowed to uphold.  Those who practice or enforce the law, but disregard the same law are considered “hypocrites”. (hupokrites (hoop-ok-ree-tace'); an actor under an assumed character (stage-player), i.e. (figuratively) a dissembler ("hypocrite").  Every medical professional has taken an oath to “practice medicine honestly”.  The “Hippocratic oath - requires a new physician to swear upon a number of healing gods that he will uphold a number of professional ethical standards.  Thus, we have adopted best practices that safeguard our commitment to do the right thing.  However, how does this same commitment solidify our vow to obey God’s Word?

The lesson aim is to reaffirm and reevaluate our understanding of “the law of God”.  More importantly, can we articulate with clarity the ongoing struggles we face as HIS “witnesses”?  Paul’s experiences have brought him to this conclusion, “for I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not”.  Paul goes a step further and describes his struggle as a war between his flesh and his mind. (7:23; Gal. 5:17-18)

Paul’s overall concern for the Roman congregation is that they hadn’t identified the biggest hindrance that impedes their progress and growth in the Lord.  The presence of Evil!  Rom 7:21: “I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. (KJV)  Rom 7:21-22 – “I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. (NLT) Rom 7:21-22 –“It happens so regularly that it's predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up.” (from THE MESSAGE)

As a result of their lack of understanding Paul testifies about his personal struggles and experience with the same issue.  However, his confession serves as an bails bondsman to free him from the bondage sin creates for those that are “ignorant”.
(agnoeo (ag-no-eh'-o) - not to know (through lack of information or intelligence); by implication, to ignore (through disinclination)

There are several passages of scripture that connect Paul’s observation in verse 21 that provide clarity to the saints in Corinth. (Is 6:5-8; Zech 3:1-4)  In verses 24 and 25a the apostle presents a solution to his personal struggle that can be adopted by current readers of this epistle: “Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” (NLT)

Paul’s final statement to the church focuses on the misunderstanding of how we struggle to maintain control of our thoughts. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Bible Study
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Reference:  Romans 7:14-21
Focus Verses: Romans 7:

Topic:  “I Wouldn’t Do That If I Were You”

Many of us are afraid to admit we have struggles.  What we define as struggles may be misconstrued as day to day troubles and trials.  Job confirms, “man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble” (trouble: (ro'-ghez); commotion, restlessness (of a horse), crash (of thunder), disquiet, anger:) Thus, we engage in daily battles to do the right thing and make the best choices.  Our primary goal should be to do what’s pleasing in God’s eyesight.

The lesson aim is to acknowledge the challenges we face to do what’s right.  More importantly, we must be transparent in our testimony regarding the fight to live a life that “holy and acceptable unto God”.  Paul tries to explain how the flesh and the spirit are in constant battle for control over our minds. 

According to the text, Paul educates the church on the realities of living in Christ.  Moreover, Paul reveals the impact and results of sin in the life of a believer.  Paul uses himself as an example to show that the real struggle is in the mind.  The real battle between our flesh and the spirit has a tendency to bring out the best and worst in all of us.  Paul is not specific as to what he shouldn’t have done, but he points to the origin of his challenges.  In Romans 8:3-5 Paul also connects our struggle in the flesh to the redemptive work of Christ.

As Paul builds the bridge from the Old to the New Testament he concludes that breaking the “law” was common practice. In verse 14 Paul defuses the argument that sin has more power over him than the spirit. (read verse 14 and highlight the key words)

[Law – (nom-os); to parcel out, through the idea prescriptive usage, regulation, used by Moses and the Gospels, a principle.]

[Spiritual (pnyoo-mat-ik-os'); non-carnal, i.e. (humanly) ethereal (as opposed to gross), or (daemoniacally) a spirit (concretely), or (divinely) supernatural, regenerate, religious:]

[Carnal (sar'-kee-nos); similar to flesh, i.e. (by analogy) soft:]

What are your current struggles?  How are you fighting the temptations in your life?  Is God pleased with your lifestyle?

Paul’s final statement to the church focuses on the misunderstanding of how we struggle to maintain control of our thoughts. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Bible Study
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Reference:  St. Matthew 26:36-46
Focus Verses: Matthew 26:39-45

Topic:  Praying Power

Many of us have been raised in God’s House.  We have some idea of why we assemble ourselves together, but the continuity and consistency of our gatherings have not been solidified.  We have learned that the primary purpose of our gathering is to worship God.  However, Jesus declares the primary purpose of the God’s house is to serve as a place of prayer. [Reference: Isaiah 56:7; Matthew 21:12-13] Consequently, we have changed the intent and purpose for the house of God.  In addition the primary responsibility of the believer is to pray.

The lesson aim is to highlight Jesus’ efforts to provide for us an example of the solidarity of prayer to the Father.  More importantly, prayer is designed to connect the believer to the will of the Father and in response the Father will reveal HIS will to the believer. 

According to the text, Jesus has reached the end of HIS journey.  He marks this special event by returning to the place it all began, the garden.  He also invites members of HIS inner circle to accompany HIM to this grand finale.  Jesus comes to a place of serenity to share HIS inner thoughts and feelings with the Father.  The text brings to light the Lord’s position on how to access the power of God.  The context of each record recorded in the gospels is to show the importance, intensity, and integrity of praying.

What was the condition of Jesus’ mind and heart as HE approached God?

All accounts of Jesus’ weakest moments reveal the weight of bearing the sins of this world.  [Reference: Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22;39-46; John 18:1-2]  Matthew’s records give more detail than the other writers.  Matthew gives more attention to the details of Jesus’ conversation with the Father and His exchange with the disciples.

Mark 14:34-36
And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch. 35 And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt. (KJV)

Luke 22:42-44
Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. 43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. (KJV )

Final thoughts:  What will it take for the church to increase its efforts to pray?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Church of the Living God
Bible Study Lesson
Presenter: Overseer Ennis F. Tait

Date:   Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Series: Staying Strong in the Midst of Your Storm
Focus Verses:   Job 1:21

Today’s Discussion:    “The Lord Gives and Takes”

The most important question for believers is “from whence cometh our help”  According to Psalms 121:1, our help comes from the LORD.  The “help” to which I am referring can be defined in so many different ways.  Abraham testifies that God will provide.  The bible confirms that God will supply all our needs according to HIS riches in glory. (Philippians 4:19)

The lesson aim is to confirm that God is our greatest resource.  More importantly, God never comes up short or falls behind on his commitment to provide for us. (Numbers 23:19)

Job’s testimony following the multiple calamities that took him by surprise bears witness of the grace of God toward us.  We are benefactors of God’s grace and mercy.  We have not earned this right but it has been afforded to us by God.  Job’s reaction and response to all that occurred should inspire every reader to reevaluate our relationship to the “Holy and Almighty God”.  Job identifies to acts of God that are governed by HIS sovereignty:

“the Lord gave and the Lord taketh away” KJV

“the Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away” NLT

“God gives, God takes.” MSG

“The Lord gave these things to me, and he has taken them away.” NCV

What can we take from this passage of scripture that can be applied to everyday life?

Final thought:  God wants to have constant habitation with us and not just unscheduled visitations. 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Church of the Living God
Bible Study Lesson
Presenter: Overseer Ennis F. Tait

Date:   Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Series: Staying Strong in the Midst of Your Storm
Reference Scripture:  Daniel 6:16-22)
Focus Verses: Daniel 6:22     

Today’s Discussion:    “I’m Still Here”

When there is a major catastrophe, many are presumed dead before rescue attempts are launched.  Too often we make assumptions within our minds before we express them to others. With thoughts of doubt and hopelessness, we make comments like “there’s no way that anyone could have survived” that storm.  Our expressions of disbelief are driven by our lack of faith in God’s ability to perform miracles. 

The lesson aim is to show that our deliverance comes from God.  More importantly, we must also note that God’s deliverance of HIS children is a result of them trusting in HIM. [Question: Where is your faith?]

On the hills of God’s unquestionable power of over fire, Daniel finds himself in a similar dilemma.  There are times in our lives when God permits calamity, tragedy or tribulations to occur.  However, God does not give us any fore-warning as to when these trials may come.  Thus, we must always be prepared to “endure hardship as a good soldier”.  Nevertheless, no matter when these trials befall us, we must not loose FAITH in God.    According to James 1:2-4, he urges his readers to “consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. 3 You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors”. (from THE MESSAGE)
Daniel’s greatest test came at a time when things seemed to be going well.  The same culprits that challenged him are still operating in our world today; envy, jealousy, and pride.  Nonetheless, Daniel validates the psalmist’s testimony of God’s divine intervention in our lives. (Read: Psalms 121)  The writer’s intent is to show us that our Father’s “creation is before us”; HIS ‘eyes are upon us”; HIS “presence is beside us”; and HIS “care is around us”.  Daniel 6:16-21 embodies the very proof that we need to persuade non-believers to put their faith in God so that others can believe.  Prayer and worship are the foundation of Daniel’s relationship with God.  Thus, when trials come he is not moved to FEAR. 

Daniel 6:20-22
20 And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?  21 Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever.  22 My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me:

Daniel’s response to the king’s cry is the very testimony we need to prove that our God is able.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Church of the Living God
Bible Study Lesson
Presenter: Overseer Ennis F. Tait

Date:   Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Series: Staying Strong in the Midst of Your Storm
Reference Scripture:  I Samuel 30:1-19
Focus Verses: I Samuel 30:8  

Today’s Discussion:    “Authorized Warfare”

Who gives us permission to engage in warfare?  What individual/group/delegation has the authority to wage war on another individual/nation/faction? What is the criterion that supports any decision to execute an attack against a perceived enemy/adversary?

All of these questions require legitimate answers.  Some body has to take responsibility for initiating battles or waging wars which will end in human casualties.  Consequently, the same rules apply in spiritual warfare.  Warfare for the Children of Israel was more of a physical encounter. However, for the NT church the warfare is more spiritual.
(II Corinthians 10:4)

The lesson aim is to show how we should respond to a surprise attack.  More importantly, we must always come before the Almighty God to seek HIS will and to receive divine instructions.

It is no secret who we are in God.  Everybody knows that we belong to God.  Even those that have refused to live under the divine theocracy are keenly aware of the hedge of protection that covers us. (Joshua 2:9-11; 5:1)  David’s popularity and purpose was known throughout the region.  His claim to fame came following his single-handed victory of the Philistine champion, Goliath. Because of his confidence in God and his courage to contend with the giant God exalted him to become the military might for the children of Israel.  (I Samuel 18:5) From this day forward David learned how to deal with his enemies.  When God anoints us to represent HIM, we become a moving target internally and externally.    

Now, let’s fast forward to I Samuel 30.  David is leading a small regimen of soldiers under the banner of deception and conspiracy.  Thus, we can conclude that there are some battles we have forged that were not in the will of God.  Therefore, we suffer defeat even after God has promised to give us victory.   However, David’s actions in verses 7 and 8 are a great example of how we should respond unexpected storms in our lives.  David gives us the steps to victory.
  1. prepare yourself
  2. pray to God for instructions

What steps have you taken to win your next battle?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Church of the Living God
Bible Study Lesson
Presenter: Overseer Ennis F. Tait

Date:   Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Series: Staying Strong in the Midst of Your Storm
Reference Scripture:  Joshua 3:1-8
Focus Verses: Joshua 3:7-8    

Today’s Discussion:    “Following God’s Instructions”

What are the main struggles of the people of God?  There are two in particular that outweighs them all:
  • Broken Relationship with God (John 14:21-23; Revelations 3:20)
  • Lack of Knowledge (Hosea 4:1;6)

The lesson aim is to show the rewards of following God.  More importantly, we must also see the blessing behind following God’s appointed leader.  For those of us that profess to trust God, we must also be willing to follow God’s leader.  He or she is the one that has been anointed and appointed to execute God’s plan and implement God’s strategies against the enemy. 

God’s appointment of Joshua as the leader was strategic and proved to be successful.  We learn in chapter 1 that God commissions Joshua to move the people forward.  We also hear God make promises to Joshua that follows him throughout his entire tenure as God’s appointed.  However, we must clearly understand why and how Joshua was chosen. (Deut. 3:24-28; 31:7-8) 

Josh 3:7-8
And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.

8 And thou shalt command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying, When ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan. KJV

Joshua’s success was contingent upon his willingness to obey God’s instructions. God’s word is HIS instruction manual to us for success in life. (Joshua 1:8)  If we hope to stay strong in the midst of our battles or storms, we must be willing to surrender to the will of God.     

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Church of the Living God
Bible Study Lesson
Presenter: Overseer Ennis F. Tait

Date:   Wednesday, January 02, 2013
Series: Staying Strong in the Midst of Your Storm
Reference Scripture:  Isaiah 40:26-31
Focus Verses: Isaiah 40:29    

Today’s Discussion:    “God is the Source of Our Strength”

What makes a person strong?  As our physical strength diminishes we still have spiritual strength to keep us moving forward. (Ecclesiastes 9:11 – “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.” KJV)

  • Swift – [qal (kal)] light; (by implication) rapid (also adverbial):
  • Strong – [gibbor (ghib-bore')]  powerful; by implication, warrior, tyrant:

The lesson aim is to confirm through scripture that God is the source of our strength.  More importantly, we must also note that the strength that God provides belongs to HIM.

The Prophet Isaiah provides the greatest opportunity for those that are weak and faint to be empowered to go forward.  Isaiah’s motivation comes from his knowledge of God’s character and HIS “amazing grace”.  Isaiah 40:29 serves as a reservoir of hope to anyone that is considering giving up in the battle against the enemy.

“He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.”

"He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. NLT

“He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. The Message

Isaiah points the people to God as the source of their strength.  He give them direction and instruction through inspiration. 

The end result recorded in verse 31 is the culmination of this motivation.  God wants to empower us for kingdom work.  God is “a rewarder of them that diligently seek HIM”.