Pastor Evan Brown continues in the series, “Conflict of the Kings,” through a look at the life of King Ahab in I Kings 16:29-34 and I Kings 20-22. Ahab was more evil than any other king that had reigned before him. Yet for a short season, Ahab listened to the Lord and followed His instruction. As a result, God miraculously helped Israel win the battle over its enemies. In the end though, Ahab turned away from God sinking into self-pity and anger. From Ahab’s life, we learn that as believers, we are to be people who leverage for good our position of influence in the world to bring glory to God. If we call upon the name of the Lord, He will answer us. God is not limited in our limited situations. When we follow the Lord, we can experience the excitement of bringing the extraordinary into our ordinary circumstances and bring God glory.
What can change your mind? What we learn this week from the life of Judah’s king Jehoshaphat is that even someone who seeks God can get side-tracked. Things were going well for Jehoshaphat, until he entered an alliance with Israel’s king Ahab, listened to some bad advice, and almost got himself killed. Later, when confronted by an overwhelming alliance of three armies, Jehoshaphat called a prophet for advice, sent the worship team to the front lines, and watched the armies fall on each other. Getting back—and staying—on track requires that you seek people who will speak the word of the Lord in ways that can radically change your mind.
This week we take a pause from Evan’s teaching series on the kings of Israel and Judah (1 & 2 Kings and 1 & 2 Chronicles), as Don Miller shared about 4 of the prophets that served many of those kings. God never spoke to Israel through the kings: He always used the prophets, HIs special messengers. Don shares snippets of Elijah's, Elisha's, Isaiah's and Jeremiah’s prophetic ministries. He explains the parallels of how God would speak though the Old Testament prophets to draw Israel into a right relationship with Him, and how the stories of these Old Testament prophets can paint a picture of God’s Kingdom in our lives today.
Referencing 2 Chronicles 14-16, Evan created a baseline from the choices various old testament kings made in their day, then wove their stories into each of our lives today. For much of his reign King Asa of Judah, rather than follow the pattern of his father, King Abijah, sought God’s wisdom in all things, thereby opening the door for God to bless him and his people beyond expectation. God will know when we’ve chosen to break from inherited patterns and our hearts are truly seeking Him. We will then begin to fully experience the blessings of being in relationship with Him throughout the process as He draws us near to Him.
Pastor Evan Brown continues in the series, “Conflict of the Kings.” In 1 King’s 13, King Jeroboam’s fear turns into stubbornness and pride. Although God was faithful and confirmed His word through a miraculous sign, Jeroboam went back to his manipulative ways. In 2 Chronicles 13, Jeroboam's large army was defeated by King Abijah's small army through God's intervention. Yet after the battle, Abijah failed to dismantle the golden calf, and he continued to usher God’s people into sin. From these passages, we learn that there is vulnerability in trusting in the Lord. And yet, we should not be fooled by the momentary success of a path that is not of God. How is God trying to get our attention? Are we creating a cloud of confusion around us, or a path of clarity? Are we manipulating people, or are we leading them in God’s way? Our influence, whether it is good or bad, has a significant affect on others.
Do you want to make more of a difference in other people’s lives? Speaking what is spiritual has the power to fundamentally alter things in your soul. But how do we know what is truly spiritual? Teaching from 1 Corinthians 14, our founding pastor, Daniel Brown, offers three simple tests: True prophecy is love-filled, encouraging and up-building; it gets under people and lifts them up. God’s word is not always sensational; it may seem like no big deal until you use it—and then it can have a big impact. And finally, any prophetic word will be revelational, and will be confirmed by Scripture.
Pride was the subject presented by Jeff Busma in today’s teaching. He took us to the root of pride by citing Bible verses that suggest this sin can be easily masked by not-so-obvious behaviors. In Lev 26: 3-4 God tells His people, “If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, I will give you rain, the land shall yield its produce and the trees will bear fruit.” Lev 26:18-20 tells of God’s warning His people that should they disobey Him, He would punish them stating, “I will break the PRIDE of your power; I will make your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze. All your efforts will be wasted.” It’s important to take the time to recognize potential roots of our pride. The ARROGANT church referred to in Rev 3:17 claimed to be in need of nothing. They failed to see their wretchedness. God responded by saying, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him and he with me.”
Pride’s job is to prevent us from seeing and accepting what the Lord has for us. Fear, anger, depression, self-pity can all have their roots in pride. Are we attempting to face life’s challenges on our own, thinking we know best, instead of giving it all to our Heavenly Father?
From 1 Kings 12:25-33, Pastor Evan Brown explains how King Jeroboam (King of Israel: 10 tribes) responded to his new position. Instead of trusting the Lord and the promises He made to him, Jeroboam quickly concluded that the people he was called to lead would kill him and go back to following King Rehoboam (King of Juda: 2 tribes). Jeroboam’s divination of his future led him to give fear and insecurity a place in his heart, and ultimately to manipulate the people of Israel into abandoning the true service and worship of the Lord.
Discipleship is all about influencing the people around us one way or another. Solomon’s pagan wives led him down the dark path of idol worship, and because of his influence, the patterns of idolatry continued for generations. Many of the idols we struggle with today—patterns of thinking and behavior that are not life-giving—have been handed down from previous generations. The good news is, Jesus can help us choose not to pass these things down, and redeem the places in our hearts where the idols once reigned—if we will let Him.
How is it that Solomon, who is known for his great God-given wisdom, struggled so much with passion? This conflict of his heart eventually led him away from God for part of his life, missing out on the satisfaction only God can give.
When is passion a healthy part of our life, and when does it cause problems for us? Evan examines the original instruction giving for the kings of Israel and Solomon’s disregard for those instructions, resulting in Solomon’s amassing silver, gold, horses and wives for himself. Evan proposed three questions to help guide us in understanding the role and pursuit of resources in our lives today:
- What is the purpose of your resource: time and money, knowledge?
- What is the role of your resource in the mission God has given you?
- What is the priority pursuing those resources has in your life?
Pastor Evan Brown continues in the series, “Conflict of the Kings.” God answered King Solomon’s prayer by giving him more than wisdom--God blessed him with riches and honor as well (1 Kings 3). But Solomon got off track when he disobeyed God’s instructions (Deut. 17-14-17). We learn from Solomon’s life that a good start is not always enough to finish well. We can give our hearts to God, yet we get off track if we do not know God’s word and listen to His instructions. Solomon warns us that if we live life apart from God, our lives will be meaningless, regardless of our intelligence, education, fulfilled goals, or wealth (Ecc. 1:2). God’s thoughts and plans for us are higher than our own. We can live a life full of true meaning as we grow in our relationship with God and listen to His instructions.
From Solomon to the exile, the Old Testament kings were in conflict—and not always with other nations. Their conflicts, like ours, were spiritual; they were torn between the gods of the nations around them and the God of Israel, between the convenience of worshiping in any high place and the discipline of worshiping in the Tabernacle as the Lord commanded. In this message, Pastor Evan Brown explores what the Bible has to say about the high places, and challenges us to look for and tear down the “high places” in our own lives.
Pastor Evan Brown continues his series on” idolatry”. Drawing from a humorous section of Isaiah 44, Evan explains the significance of the Old Testament warnings and instructions in our life today. While we probably don’t struggle with forming objects out of wood and praying to them, the readout, patterns and instruction given to God’s children in the Old Testament are relevant for us today! Why? Because we can let other ‘things or people’ attempt to comfort and secure us, other than God actually doing those things.
We can find ourselves “feeding on ashes” rather that enjoy the feast God would invite us to. If you find yourself saying, “is this or that really that big of deal?" about certain things in life you spend your time, focus or energy on, this teaching may give you the tools to help you discern if there maybe some idols in you life that have been robbing you blind.
Through Luke 15:1-10, Pastor SteveShober reminds us that Jesus lovingly welcomes all people to come to Him, including those who are sick, lost, and broken. As a Good Shepherd who has lost one sheep, he leaves the 99 to go after the lost one until he finds it and joyfully puts it on his shoulders to bring it home. There is much rejoicing in heaven when one lost person turns to Him. God uses ordinary people (like each of us) to reach out to others to be messengers of the Good News to bring peace, grace, mercy, kindness, healing, and deliverance to those who are lost.
Pastor Evan Brown transitioned from teaching on the worship of the one true God to alerting us about other things that want us to worship them. He identified 9 hallmarks from the story in Exodus 32 that may indicate some level of idolatry in our own lives (since not many of us have a golden calf as an idol in our closets;-)). He encouraged us to ask the Lord to reveal to us if any of these hallmarks seem to be happening in our lives. In whom or in what am I putting my trust?
This week our worship leader, Collin Brown, wraps up the teaching series on worship with a question: “Are we being led by fear or by faith?” This is an important consideration because God rewards those who diligently seek (search out, crave, long for, worship) Him. Worship can be as much anticipatory as reflective: we celebrate God for what He will do, as well as for what He has done. Because He was faithful to fulfil promises and provide for us in the past, we can rely on Him to meet our needs in the future as well. Worship precedes breakthrough.
What's broken, laid bare, or in ruins in your life? Is the enemy taking advantage of these fragmented areas of your heart in order to add insult to injury, and keep you in a dry, barren place? Worship God from these places of brokenness, and declare them His. He wants to rebuild and restore you!
Collin Brown offers us a buffet of worship instruction, scriptures and examples as he explains the power of song and different kinds of worship in various circumstances. There is a song of battle, a song of breakthrough, songs of thanksgiving to remind us of what the Lord has already done, or pre-emptive worship before He has delivered us. As we express our thoughts and heart to the Lord in worship, or sing a new song to Him we often gain a fresh perspective regardless of our circumstance.