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Welcome to the weekly audio podcast for Church of the Living God in Traverse City, MIchigan
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How To Repent

How To Repent

2021-01-14--:--

Repentance involves submission. We have to recognize that, if we choose to surrender our lives to Christ, there is a sense in which choices have been made for us. “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars[1] on her head.  She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon[2] with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns[3] on its heads. Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth.  The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.”[4] And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days[5]… The dragon pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle,[6] so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time,[7] out of the serpent’s reach. Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent.   But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth.[8] Then the dragon was enraged at the woman[9] and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus. (Revelation 12: 1-6, 13-17) Did you know that was a Christmas story? Here’s what part of it looks like in Matthew’s Gospel.
The candle we light for Joy is also known as the Shepherd Candle, because of the joy given to the shepherds by the angels (Luke 2:8-20).  When Jesus was born, it was announced as “good tidings that brings great joy.” Jesus was a gift of God incarnate that brought joy into the world; Paul would later write that joy is also a gift from God’s Spirit into us. Because of this, we can say that we are “full of sorrow, and yet rejoicing” (2 Corinthians 6:10).  Jesus once said, “You have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” (John 16:22) So if you were to ask me how to find joy, I would say that joy is given by God the Father through the Holy Spirit, but joy is found in the person and presence of Jesus. See Jesus. And that’s what we are going to do today.
Hope is probably the key underlying theme in Advent – advent, after all, points toward the “arrival” of something or someone. But hope is pale if it is not seen as an offering in the face of evil forces that assail the world during what Paul calls “this present evil age” (Galatians 1:4).
Paul made a distinction between two kinds of people and their fruit: those who love self, money , pleasure and lies, and those who love God, truth, and the path of life that follows repentance and surrender to the lordship of Christ. One side can have the form of godliness – it can go through the motions and to at least some degree look good on the outside – but the other side has experienced transformative power. The Spirit of God and the Path of God give us transformative power to mature in Christ and represent God well as ambassadors.
For the past three weeks, I’ve been coming back to a theme: When God calls you, he equips you. God never commissions anyone to a task without giving a gift appropriate to it. Now I want to focus on a foundational way God equips all of us – through His Word.
Paul made a distinction between two kinds of people and their fruit: those who love self, money , pleasure and lies, and those who love God, truth, and the path of life that follows repentance and surrender to the lordship of Christ.
"Keep being kind to those who waver in this faith and convince those who doubt. 23 Pursue those who are singed by the flames of God’s wrath, and bring them safely to Him, snatching them out of the fire. Show mercy to others with fear, despising every garment soiled by the corruption of human flesh.”
How do we experience the fullness of blessings in the sphere of the warmth of the love of God? How do we stay in the sunlight of the Son? We walk in obedience to His revealed will. The writers of Scripture tell us this over and over again.
The feast in the church was intended to be a practical demonstration of unity, celebration, and common care that crossed all boundaries. This was meant to be a life-giving “agape”feast both socially and nutritionally, not an unhealthy or sinful indulgence of the appetites of the flesh in which the rich flaunted their luxury and the poor were reminded of theirs.
What Cain, Balaam and Korah teach us about true worship.
The Ultimate Eulogy

The Ultimate Eulogy

2020-07-3034:33

Reflections on Christian eulogy in light of my friend, Delynn Hoover's, death.
Becoming a follower of Christ, and finding my identity in Him, brings with it blessings that can be found in no one else. It is a privilege to be a child of God.But just like with my earthly father, I bear the image of my Heavenly Father, and I carry the name and reputation of my Heavenly Father. I must be about my Father’s business too. Why? Because God has entrusted the church, and that includes us, with His reputation. I bear the image and the name and the reputation of my Father.
The false teachers “rushed for profit” into Balaam’s error, which was was selling out or exploiting God’s people for financial gain.
Let’s revisit the story of Cain. It contains a warning – the way of Cain – but in the telling you will see that God also reveals the way of Life.
The Apples In Our Eyes

The Apples In Our Eyes

2020-06-2733:28

Followers of Jesus – the church, collectively – ought to be so close to everybody that there is no one who is not in the “apple” of the eye of a follower of Jesus. It’s not a perfect analogy – the Bible portrays God’s people as being in God’s eye – but it seems fair that God’s image bearers who are far from Him should be in the eyes of His image bearers who are near to Him and filled with His spirit and truth.
The Apple Of God's Eye

The Apple Of God's Eye

2020-06-1526:11

David asked to be the “apple of God’s eye” (Psalm 17:8) – literally the "little man of the eye,” the tiny reflection of yourself that you can see in other people’s pupils because you are being watched so closely by that person. This is a beautiful picture of how God sees us. What are the implications for how God's people are supposed to see others?
You find out who you worship whey you are in the wilderness.
You are what you love.
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