The Best Place to Be is In The Church (part 6)

Last week we looked at the fact that New Testament church met together regularly, and when they did, they reaped many benefits of gathering as a group.

Today we see another benefit of being in church. It has a healthy effect on people suffering from depression. The writer of Psalm 43 wrote out of despair after having suffered oppression at the hands of a deceitful and evil person. Because of that, he felt the heaviness of depression weighing down on him, he felt cast off by God, and wandered about, sad and upset with grief. But through praising God in the tabernacle, and spending time around the altar, he found some light for his darkness, exceeding joy, and restoration of his health:

Ps 43:3-5
3 O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.
4 Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.
5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

The NET version translates verse 5: “Why are you depressed, O my soul?

When you feel cast down, God’s house is the place to run for that is where you can experience His joy. How? In the house of God, the Spirit flows like a river and makes us glad:

Ps 46:4-5
4 There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.

When suffering from depression, church is the best place to be because God is in the midst and He brings help. Why not come?


The Best Place to Be is In The Church (part 5)

We have been looking at reasons it is a good idea to be in the church. The last time we considered the spiritual nature of our soul and how it craves for experiences in God’s presence. I can personally testify that recent services at church have included an overwhelming overshadowing of the presence of the Spirit of God. And oh boy, did my soul get happy! Recently, I joined in with some of the worshipers and danced a dance of joy!

Another reason that church is the best place to be, is there you will have an opportunity to get together with others and receive edification, comfort, and fellowship. The Greek word, allaylon, is translated most often as, “one another,” and appears 100 times in the New Testament. The multiple times it is used reveals that the early church had many experiences where they gathered together with one another. For instance, Jesus spoke about the need to love one another:

John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

And here is Paul, saying we belong together with one another:

Rom 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

Elsewhere in the New Testament, we are told to do these things with one another: be kindly affectioned; prefer; receive; be likeminded toward; admonish; salute; defraud not; tarry for; care for; greet; serve; edify; bear burdens of; forbear; be kind to; esteem; comfort; consider; grudge not; use hospitality to; and subject yourselves to.

The unspoken certainty, is that in order for them to do all these things with one another, they had to get together with the group regularly? I don’t know about you, but I need to be a recipient of those things. Plus, I am blessed to do those things for others. So why don’t you get to church and get some of that for yourself?

 


The Best Place to be is In Church (Part 4)

We have seen that church is a great place to be because being in God’s presence is a lovely encounter, because we can worship with others, and because it is a place where we you are most likely to get saved. So if being saved is a priority to you, make church attendance a priority for your family.

Today we explore another reason church is the best place to be:

Ps 84:2 My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.

Our soul, that mysterious, invisible creation of God that everyone has dwelling within their bodies, craves encounters with God. And when the longing of our soul for God is left unsatisfied, we feel a void that can lead to depression. I have heard some say, “I love God, but I just don’t go to church. I worship God in my own way.” I want to ask, how is that working for you? Why are you still crying out in desperation? It is because our living soul is crying out for an encounter with the living God.

The psalmist goes on with an illustration from nature:

Ps 84:3 Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God.

As the psalmist approached the altar, he heard a sound from above that caught his attention. As his eyes pursued the source of the sound, he looked upward. There on the perch of the tabernacle, he spotted a sweet mother bird busying about in her nest. There she found a safe place near the altar to raise her young.

For us, we learn that our soul longs for the peace found in the house of God, and also that it is a safe place to raise our young. Get to church—it is the best place to be!


Topics in Proverbs–The Three Most Important Words in Proverbs – Lesson 1

Prov 2:6 For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.

I.                   Introduction

1.                 We are beginning a study of the Book of Proverbs. This will not be a study that starts at verse one and goes through the book verse by verse, but rather a study based on themes in Proverbs.

2.                 I’ve been a student of Proverbs since I first got in church at age 14. My pastor, Bro. Lawrence King, suggested that I read one chapter from Proverbs every day.

3.                 It didn’t take me long to realize that I needed more wisdom, so around that time I began to pray regularly that God would give me wisdom. Back in those early years I discovered a verse that I considered my life’s verse:

Prov 3:5-6
5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Continue to complete notes.


The Best Place to be is In Church (Part 3)

Heb 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

We have looked at two reasons that the best place to be is in church. God’s house is “amiable,” or, a lovely place to be, where you literally can feel God’s presence. Second, it is a place we are privileged to worship the Lord along with others—what a life-altering experience that can be!

Another reason why the church is the best place to be, is because it is a place where many receive grace, forgiveness, and salvation. In my experience, it is true for probably 99% of the people I have witnessed being saved, that it happened for them during a church service. One of the greatest benefits of being in the church is that is a place where people are first introduced to God’s mercy and where they are filled with the Holy Ghost and are baptized. Because that is true, it is less likely that people who choose not to attend church (or their children) will be saved. That is a sobering thought. Also, I have observed that saved people whose health prevents them from attending church, often find a way to bring church to their sick bed. Their relation with Jesus makes it happen regularly.

Plus, church is the place where people who have fallen away can find restoration. When we have allowed our heart to grow stony and cold, it is a place where we can receive a restoring grace wash over our souls.

The verse above instructs us to “draw near” to the place where our hearts and conscience, and even our bodies, are washed. This happens all the time at church—where God meets mankind. I’ll say it again, the best place to be is in the church! Tomorrow, find a place (like Brazil UPC) where you can go to church—it is the best place to be.


The Best Place to Be is In the Church (part 2)

The Best Place to be is In Church (Part 2)

Ps 34:3 O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.

Last week we noted that God’s house is “amiable,” or a lovely place to be. That means it a wonderful retreat from the world plus an encounter where you literally can feel God’s presence.

Another reason why the church is the best place to be is because of the privilege to be able to worship together there. Psalm 34 is a Psalm of David, in which David invited the people to come together to worship the Lord. People who live for God usually feel a debt of gratitude to the person who first invited them to church. Why? Because they realize that coming to God was the best choice they ever made. So David had certain individuals in mind when he wrote the invitation to join him in worship, as did I when woke up at 4:00 this morning, stirred to write to you. I feel compelled to invite you to church. In time, you will realize that getting in church will be the best decision you ever make. That is because the best place to be is in the church!

King David invited people to come magnify the Lord with him, and then once they got there, even directed them with what to do:

1 Chron 29:20 And David said to all the congregation, Now bless the Lord your God. And all the congregation blessed the Lord God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshipped the Lord, and the king.

We seek to replicate the tabernacle of David at our church by welcoming biblical forms of worship, including actions (clapping, bowing, jumping, and running) and our voices (singing and shouting). So when we say, “Come and worship with us,” we mean you can participate in all these.

Since Sunday is Father’s Day, why don’t you find a place (like Brazil UPC) where you can join in worshiping the Father! That is the best place to be.

The Brazil UPC is located at 1088 E Hwy 40, Brazil, on the east side of town just beyond the Knightsville flashing lights. Service times on Sunday are at 10am and 6pm, and Wednesday is Bible Study and Children’s Church at 7pm. You may contact Pastor Anthony Warner at awarner@brazilinchurch.com. Our web address is www.brazilinchurch.com.


The Best Place to be is In Church (Part 1)

Ps 84:1-2
84 How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts!
2 My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.

Life experiences include some very difficult experiences. You may work for a mean boss and have lazy and griping coworkers. You may face bullying and shaming at school. Your home life may include explosive anger, violence, and abuse. What we all need is a place of refuge. Our soul desperately longs for it!

The psalmist wrote, “how amiable,” or “lovely” are they tabernacles of Lord of hosts! The loveliest place to be is in God’s courts, God’s house. The best place in this trouble world to be is in the church. Our soul desperately craves an encounter in God’s temple. In God’s house, there are no politics, jealousy, complaining, bullying, shaming, gossiping, or nasty words. It is God’s presence. At God’s right hand are joy and enduring pleasure.

Ps 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

While the church certainly isn’t the only place where God’s presence can be found, He regularly shows up there. Is it really possible to feel God? Oh yes. Oh YES! God’s presence is a lovely, delightful, and refreshing refuge from all the difficult experiences we encounter through the week. Not only is it a refuge, often, we are transformed so that we are better equipped to conquer those experiences when we face them the next time. And after an encounter with Jesus, it is not unusual that Jesus will change those troubling situations into redeeming situations. In other words, Jesus often fixes broken things while we are there.

You either have plans or have no plans to attend church tomorrow. If you do, I commend you. If you don’t, I encourage you to go. Rediscover fullness of joy and how amiable are thy tabernacles, oh Lord of Hosts! I’ll see you in Sunday School!

The Brazil UPC is located at 1088 E Hwy 40, Brazil, on the east side of town just beyond the Knightsville flashing lights. Service times on Sunday are at 10am and 6pm, and Wednesday is Bible Study and Children’s Church at 7pm. You may contact Pastor Anthony Warner at awarner@brazilinchurch.com. Our web address is www.brazilinchurch.com.


Proverb-a-day for April 28, 2016

Prov 1:1 1:2
1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;
2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;

Prov 1:1-2
1 These are the wise sayings of Solomon,
David’s son, Israel’s king —
2 Written down so we’ll know how to live well and right,
to understand what life means and where it’s going; MESSAGE

We have been looking at ways in which understanding transitions into wisdom, and now move to a focus on wisdom, the most prominent topic found in Proverbs. Previously we defined wisdom as the ability to apply understanding to everyday situations. Wisdom is practical and not theoretical. It takes the knowledge we have gained through field observation and study, applies the analytical skill of understanding to make value-judgments about that knowledge, and then puts that distilled end-product to work in our everyday lives. Wisdom then shows up as the guide for the way we live our lives and the choices we make. We can view wisdom as the carpenter’s or mechanic’s tool box. With many useful tools and knowledge of how to use them, he can handle many varied situations. That is the value of the Book of Proverbs—“to know wisdom.” The Message says they were written “so we’ll know how to live well and right.” Wisdom is the stuff of life.


Proverb-a-day for April 7, 2016

Prov 14:33 Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding: but that which is in the midst of fools is made known.

Prov 14:33 Wisdom rests in the heart of him who has understanding,
But what is in the heart of fools is made known. NKJV

In Proverbs chapter four, we saw the imperatives: “get wisdom, get understanding,” and, “with all thy getting, get understanding.” To get understanding means to diligently dig into information and discern, or weed out what is not useful and retain what is. After all that digging, evaluating and weighing the available facts, you gain a clear understanding of the important issues, and as a byproduct of that effort, wisdom is deposited into your heart. If we put forth the effort to seek understanding, that effort becomes the link to developing and storing sound and lasting wisdom in our heart. And as we saw last time, wisdom ultimately finds its way into our words as well.

Like many of the proverbs, a comparison/contrast is shown in the life of the fool. Like those who have been depositing wisdom in their heart in their process of seeking understanding, the fool, who through his course of foolish pursuits, has been depositing foolishness into his heart. While wisdom “rests,” or literally, “settles down” or is “deposited” in the wise man’s heart, the contents of the foolish man’s heart is “made known,” or in other words, is blurted out. Said another way, the wise exercise control of their tongue; the foolish do not.

Have you ever heard someone say something that sounded so outlandish and foolish to you that your response was, “Where did that come from? Does he even have a brain?” It is like when Dorothy asked the Scarecrow, “How can you talk if you haven’t got a brain?” His witty answer was, “I don’t know… But some people without brains do an awful lot of talking…don’t they?” Well, today’s proverb confirms that is so. Wisdom wins again!


Proverb-a-day for March 31, 2016

Prov 10:23 It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.

Prov 10:23 A fool finds pleasure in evil conduct,
but a man of understanding delights in wisdom. NIV

We return to our topic of understanding and how it connects with and transitions into wisdom. The last time we saw that as we grow in understanding, it gives us wisdom, and more specifically, we will find wise words will flow more readily. That happens as a natural progression. As we grow in understanding, it not only puts wise words in our mouths, but we will also begin to show wiser behaviors. Today’s verse instructs us that we will even change the things wherein we find pleasure.

For instance, when we witness someone doing a mischievous act, depending on how severe the consequences are, we might judge them as simply immature on the one hand, or even evil-hearted on the other. Either way, if that person finds pleasure in doing mischief, today’s verse tells us that they lack understanding, for it is the fool who finds pleasure in doing wickedness.

This verse also provides a contrasting picture. The one who has gained understanding “delights in wisdom.” The wise person does not find any delight in mischievous and depraved forms of “sport” or “pleasure,” or in today’s vernacular, vulgar entertainment. He delights in higher things, like wisdom. As we grow in understanding, we will likewise change our behavior. That is another reason that understanding leads us to wisdom, because the more understanding we gain, the more we crave wisdom.


  • Proverb-a-day

    Because of a problem with our mail server, we are taking a break from Proverb-a-day. However, we will be posting the notes from the weekly Bible study that Pastor Warner is teaching on the Book of Proverbs.
  • The best place to be…

    Pastor Warner's blog is going to be on the topic of, "The Best Place to Be is In The Church." Read some good reasons why you and your family should get in church.
  • Prayer Guide

    If you would like a resource to help you pray effectively, please check out the Prayer Guide on the Resources tab.It was updated September 9, 2015

  • Piano/Instrumental CD

    You can preview and download my music project on the Music tab at no cost.

    The project contains thirteen peaceful melodies to soothe the spirit and relax the mind. Great for the drive home or prayer time.

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