Aren't facts bothersome? Your doctor, mechanic, or accountant tells you, "This is the way it is." You wish it wasn’t, but you can't deny the fact. We've come to the first of three of Paul's sermons recorded in the Book of Acts, and it deals with facts of Jesus. Some people found the facts very inconvenient, just like some do today. But stay with Paul's sermon and you will hear what the facts mean and how they're fulfilled. Then and now, it's God's message to bring people into his kingdom and keep us there. We’re glad you’re with us today to consider the facts of Jesus and what they mean. We call it worship.
Paul and Barnabas sailed from Antioch (Syria) and to the island of Cyprus, about 100 miles westward into the Mediterranean Sea. Imagine their excitement. But one of the first people they met was an agent of Satan who does his best to discredit the message of Jesus. Now imagine their confusion. Which will win, the agent of Satan or the agent of God? The answer matters because you, too, are an agent of God commissioned to take the gospel to others. You, too, will encounter agents of Satan. We’re so glad you’re here to journey with Paul and Barnabas…and us.
Have you asked your parents why they gave you the name you have? Sometimes a deep meaning emerges, sometimes not. Either way, most of us want to know how we got our names. Do you know how you got the name Christian? The Bible says believers were first called Christians in a city called Antioch in Syria. What they did will help us understand our name better. Welcome to Acts II. You’re with people who bear the same name you have. You'll see the family resemblance.
Good to be a tree
Catchphrases like “Be all that you can be” and “Do what you were made to do” hint at a deep-down drive inside the human heart that pushes us . . . and nags at us. Am I doing the right things? Am I doing them well enough? If God hadn’t put that voice inside us, we might be content with a life of Netflix and Doritos. But once you start asking, “Am I doing something that matters?” you need some answers. Another voice, God’s own, answers clearly from the pages of the Bible. We’ll listen to Psalm 92 as we gather together today to grow and praise, just like you were made to do.
Anything you really love, you praise. You have to. Try going to a Packer or Badger game and not cheering. If you're a fan, you can't. Praise erupts spontaneously, and you do it better with others. In our last week on Psalm 63, we will invite the Spirit to teach us about our praise to the Lord—what it is, why we do it, and what makes it different from every other kind of praise we engage in. Welcome to saints gathered to do what we can't help but do: praise.
What's your favorite sense? Seeing, touching, tasting, hearing, or smelling? Hard to choose, isn't it? Throughout Scripture, the Spirit uses our senses to help us appreciate and know God. We’re glad you’re with us in this place to encounter God in his Word and at his Table. Enjoy a feast for your senses. We’d love to serve you with more so that you might appreciate and know God all the better. Our pastor invites you to contact him for a conversation about your needs and how we might help.
Moms are pit bulls when it comes to protecting their children's appetites. They know that a child who eats a cookie right before a meal, will feel full but won't get the nutrition he or she needs from the meal because they won't be hungry. Some grandpas hate that. But moms are right. In Psalm 63 David describes a spiritual appetite—what ruins it, how to get it, and even the sign that you have it. What a blessing to gather with fellow saints to hunger for God and feast at his Table. If the Lord’s Supper is new to you or your new to our church, we invite you to First Group to prepare to receive it with us for the first time.
Some Olympic runners train for a lifetime to not just run the race, but to pass the baton in a relay. No matter how well you run, it will not go well if you don’t pass the baton. St. Andrew, by God's grace we have the baton of the Good News of Jesus. It's exciting and it feels so good. The facilities we rededicate and dedicate today are to pass the Good News of Jesus to the next generation. We’re glad you’re with us for this special day. We don’t exist to build buildings, but our buildings exist to help us serve in God’s plan to build his kingdom in the hearts of young and old.
Box Tops for Education is a program to use shopping rebates to fund education. But what's education for? Psalm 100 gives us God's answer. He created and redeemed to praise him. If education doesn't lead to praising God, it fails. If knowing the truth doesn't lead to knowing God and his love, it fails. Education is either for the praise of God or it's hollow and rootless, a noisy gong. We’re so glad you made it here today to know, enjoy, and praise the Lord by sinking your roots into his truth.
You can probably count on the fingers of one hand the people in your life who "really get you." Jesus proved he belongs on that list. For example, Jesus knows you worry. And he knows your worries have the potential to block your view of God's promises. So Jesus, the Son of God, came to earth to tell you, Look at the Birds. We’re glad you’re joining us, your fellow worriers, to read about Jesus' sermon in Matthew 26:25-34 and learn how to set worries aside.
Deliver us from evil (inside and outside) The writer of Psalm 73 confesses he's in the grip of envy. To envy is to want someone else's life. It's not only to feel that they don't deserve the good life they have; but it's to want it for yourself. This kind of spiritual self-pity will drain your joy and make it impossible to enjoy the good things God has given you. But by the end of the psalm, the author has a breakthrough and sees the antidote. We’re glad you’ve gathered with the saints here for the privilege of coming into his presence and receiving the antidote. We pray the Spirit blesses you today. If we can be of any service to you, please contact us.
Praise the Lord. It's more than a Pinterest board, the full name of a defunct televangelist group (PTL), or a spontaneous outburst of a believer's gratitude. In fact, the setting of those words in Psalm 146 have more to do with justice and care for the poor or sick. Find the interesting juxtaposition in Psalm 146, but don't be too surprised. Our Lord specializes in the unexpected.
According to God, you don't need a feather, a mantra, or a pose. This weekend, let the author of Psalm 77 teach you God's way to meditate. He was facing something difficult, but he wasn't being stoic or gritting his teeth until the storm passed or just venting his feelings to a friend. Instead, he redirected his thoughts and feelings toward the truth about God and took God's truth deep into his heart. It's not the work of a moment; it is the practice of a lifetime. We’re glad you are with us today to grow in this lifetime of worship and seeking God’s truth.
Have you ever known someone who got everything they wanted on a silver platter? How did it effect their character? What if God gave you everything you ever wanted? At first you may think that would be fantastic, but soon you might begin to realize that would not be a good thing at all. This weekend, learn from times when God said, “No” to things his people wanted and how that was best. You may even begin to rejoice in the times in your own life when God said, “No”!
All Scripture is God-breathed, but Psalm 22 must be one of the most important of all the psalms. No psalm is more quoted in the New Testament. Many psalms focus on the suffering and triumph of King David. This psalms graphically foretells the suffering and triumph of the Messiah, Jesus. Let the Spirit fill you with fresh appreciation for both the Messiah’s suffering and the Messiah’s glory. Then may he guide you in the decisions you make this week to reflect your love for him.
What part of your life is still "wet cement," not yet set? You've probably asked, "What is God's will for that choice I have to make?" God does speak to your question, but maybe in a surprising way. We’re glad you’re with us today to meditate upon the guidance we receive in Psalm 25 and, even better, to encounter the Guide. If you’re new to us, we’d love to serve you. Feel free to contact us via any method on the back page…or in person today.
The Psalms aren't simply to be read; we are to be immersed in them so that they profoundly shape how we relate to God and each other. Luther called the Psalms a “mini Bible” because in them we receive an overview of salvation history from creation through Jesus' return and the renewal of all things. But the Psalms are more than theological instruction. They're also a medicine chest for the heart and the best possible guide for practical living. The church father, Athanasius, wrote, “Whatever your particular need or trouble, from this same book [the Psalms] you can select a form of words to fit it, so that you . . . learn the way to remedy your ill." Psalms anticipate and train us for every possible spiritual, social, and emotional condition—they show us what the dangers are, what we should keep in mind, what our attitude should be, how to talk to God about it, and how to get from God the help we need. Sounds like a pretty good way to spend our summer…together.
Have you said, "I won't believe it until I see it?" We live in a "seeing is believing" world. So did Elisha. He prayed simply for his servant, "Open his eyes, Lord, that he may see." The Lord's answer changed everything for him. Pray with the people of God this Thursday at 7:00 PM or Sunday at 8:00 or 10:30 AM for the Lord to open our eyes to see the glory of the Lord.
There is real darkness all around, but there is also light—and that light is good, helpful, and powerful. Even though the light and the dark are usually talked about as opposing forces locked in a battle (think Star Wars, Shakespeare, or the sacred books of most religions), the Bible actually has a somewhat different narrative about what the light is, means, and does. Today we’ll explore just that.
When was the last time you received a personal note from a friend or family member you haven't heard from in a while? Typically, it is around Christmas when cards, letters, and family photos are sent and news is shared. Communication in the first century was even more sporadic, but we have a few such personal letters that have been preserved for us. This weekend we will take a look at the two shortest books in the Bible and receive insight from the apostle John on his pastoral relationship with those around him as well as with us today.
To receive 250-word devotions on 2 & 3 John this week, Monday – Friday, go to st-andrew-online.org/devotions.
“If there is one thing you remember of me . . .” John is closing out his letter to his family. He could have gotten maudlin and reminisced about the glory days or memories he's had with them, but he closes out his letter pointing them to Jesus. His whole ministry among them was to point them to Jesus, and he closes this letter with things we know and with his ultimate purpose in ministry and writing.
To receive 250-word devotions on 1 John 5:16-21 this week, Monday – Friday, go to st-andrew-online.org/devotions.
The apostle John reiterates and reinforces a message we know: God hears and answers our requests. The almighty God of the universe who created all things with his spoken word gives you eternal life and hears and answers your prayers, even when it seems as though he isn't listening or answering.
To receive 250-word devotions on 1 John 5:13-15 this week, Monday – Friday, go to st-andrew-online.org/devotions.
Over the next few weeks, we'll conclude our study of John's epistles. Ever since January, John has taught us how to live in fellowship with God and with his people: obeying, knowing, remaining, testing, loving, testifying and overcoming. Ever-consistent, John will use the conclusion of his letter to bring us back to those familiar doctrines to teach us how to live in this fellowship. Today: the sweet reasonableness of his promises in Christ. We’re glad you’re here to enjoy them.
To receive 250-word devotions on 1 John 5:6-13 this week, Monday – Friday, go to st-andrew-online.org/devotions.
Your mission is . . .How would you complete that sentence? It sounds lofty and hard to think about when you're consumed by just doing what needs to be done. But it's worth thinking about. Jesus not only gives us all we need for our daily lives to do what needs to be done, but he lifts our eyes to see something beyond, something bigger, like our mission. Last week, Jesus' good friend John began to teach us about God's love for us and our love for each other. Today, he continues with the same themes in 1 John 4:17 – 5:5 to help us answer to the question, "What's my mission?"
To receive 250-word devotions on 1 John 4:17-5:5 this week, Monday – Friday, go to st-andrew-online.org/devotions.
Love is . . . How would you finish that sentence? Or better yet, in how many different ways might you finish that sentence? Such an activity would be interesting, but even more interesting is how God himself defines love. We’re glad you’re with us today to seek a biblical definition of love, appreciate God’s love for us, and to ask his help in extending his love to others.
To receive 250-word devotions on 1 John 4:7-16 this week, Monday – Friday, go to st-andrew-online.org/devotions.