How We’re Helping Children In Domestic Violence Situations

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Thanks to my co-worker, Anthony Archie, I recently found out that children in Tulsa who are rescued from sexual assault or domestic violence situations are given teddy bears by EMTs, the hospital staff, or DVIS, in order to help them feel a glimmer of comfort and hope in the aftermath of such a traumatic experience.

One representative from DVIS has said that not many churches help out in this area.  Maybe it’s a taboo subject?  Those reasons notwithstanding, at the KirkYouth Night of Impact we believe in worship, justice, and love.  So we’re stepping in.

At 6:30pm on October 29 we will gather at Kirk Crossing for worship and will be collecting hundreds of new teddy bears to donate on the spot to a representative of DVIS.  Night of Impact is open to any student (6th grade through college).  And if you want to help us, please consider making a monetary donation to the KirkYouth department or drop off a new teddy bear at 4102 E 61st St, Tulsa, OK 74136.

And be in prayer that sexual assault and domestic violence would cease in my city so they don’t even have to give these bears away!  But until that happens, let’s pray that these sweet kids that get a bear from KirkYouth know the love and the redemption of Jesus.

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WHAT IS A DISCIPLE // Community

In this series, we’re trying to figure out what it means to be a disciple.  A Disciple is someone who:

WORSHIPS God
Is in COMMUNITY with others
Is always on MISSION

This post is about COMMUNITY

A disciple is in COMMUNITY with others

So how do we know if we’re in community?  Where does it happen?  When does it happen?  Does it need a schedule?  Are we in it right now?

In John 13:35 Jesus gives us a clear definition of what a disciple in community looks like:

 John 13:35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples: if you love one another.

Community, then means: We love each other by knowing each other.

We were made to be known.  We want to be known.  But we always expect someone else to start the process.  Well God already did, by sending Jesus first.  God wants to be with us, that’s literally what fellowship means.  And not only that, but he wants us to be with each other…to know each other….to be in community with each other.

So today we’re going to look in 1 John again and see what this idea of community is all about.

Community is OBEDIENCE

 1 John 2.3-6 We know that we have come to know Him if we keep His commands.  Whoever says, “I know him” but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.  But if anyone obeys His word, love for God is truly made complete in them.  This is how we know we are in him: whoever claims to live in Him must live as Jesus did.

So what are His commands?

From Matthew 28.19-20 we see simply that His commands are 1) love God, 2) love others, 3) be on mission

If you say you love God but don’t love others (that is, be in community), you’re a liar.  You may know the truth but it’s not in you.  I may know…babies are difficult; I may know…skydiving looks fun; I may know…hunter safety rules; but until I experience them that truth is not in me.

Community is not an option.  To be in community is to be walking in obedience.  Disciples are those that obey.  And that means we worship God, we’re in community with others, and we’re always on mission.

When you do this, love for God is made complete (literally “perfected”)

Community is LOVE

1 John 2.9-11 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness.  Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing to make them stumble.  But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness.  They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.

When you walk in the darkness it’s easy to trip over something you forgot was there…  But what do your eyes eventually do in a dark room? 

They adjust.

So some of you THINK you’re in community, but your eyes have adjusted to your own darkness, so you still gossip, you still intentionally leave others out, you still use sarcasm instead of encouragement you still ignore BELIEVERS in your church.

The Bible calls this “hate.”  Wake up!  Disciples are in community with others and that means we love each other by knowing each other.  You might not think you’re hateful, but biblically your actions say you might be.  It’s time to wake up from that.

Community is KNOWING

1 John 4.20-21 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar.  For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.  And He has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

This is emphatic!  It doesn’t say “whoever does not love their brother and sister ‘might not’ love God…” it says CANNOT.  It doesn’t say “Anyone who loves God ‘should’ also love their brother and sister…” it says MUST.  There’s no way around this.

If you do not love other believers you are not walking in obedience.

And that means you might be intrigued by God and think His teachings are good, but a disciple is in community with others.
And community is obedience, community is love, community is knowing.

It is important to know and worship rightly the God revealed through Scripture, but it is equally important to love each other by knowing each other.

How Do We Respond To This?

To be a disciple is to be in community with others.  Some of you LOVE God, but you don’t love other believers.  You may not even LIKE some of the people in your church.  That’s not OK.

A disciple of Jesus is in community with others.  A disciple of Jesus is RECOGNIZED as a disciple by how we love each other.  Just imagine if you could walk into your church and KNOW everyone…be KNOWN by everyone.

Without community there is no discipleship.  So may you connect in community here.  May you grow as a disciple of Jesus as one who truly loves their brothers and sisters in Christ.

WHAT IS A DISCIPLE // Worship

Remember, the definition of a disciple we are operating from is:

A Disciple is someone who:

          • WORSHIPS God
          • Is in COMMUNITY with others
          • Is always on MISSION

WORSHIP

A disciple WORSHIPS God.  So in order for us to know what a disciple is, we need to know who God is.

It is very important to know and worship rightly the God revealed through ScriptureWhy? “I may have made up a version of God that is not true

Too many of us are worshiping a God whose character and attributes we have made up in our head.

I used to say things like “I see that in Scripture, but that’s not the God I know.”  How many of you have thought “I just don’t think God would __________?”

There are times you’ll read something and it will mess up your view of God but it’s really good…because you’ll know Him on a deeper level; you’ll know Him better than you’ve ever known Him.

This is very important because you can’t truly love someone if you don’t desire to deeply know them.  You can’t truly love God if you don’t desire to deeply know Him; to rightly know Him.  So today, I want to give you the tools and the coaching to have a deeper understanding of the character and the attributes of God as we look in 1 John:

God Desires Fellowship/Community

1 John 1.6-7 If we claim we have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.  But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.Observations:

          • God wants fellowship with us
          • God is truth
          • God is in the light
          • Jesus is God’s Son
          • God purifies us from ALL sin
          • God wants us to have community with each other
          • “Fellowship” literally means “[be] with”

God has always existed as a community within Himself in Father, Son, Holy Spirit.  God saw that Adam was alone and deemed it “not good.”

Loving God and loving the people of God go hand-in-hand.  But we’ll unpack that more next week.

God Purifies Us from Sin

1 John 1.8-10 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. 

Observations:

          • God is truth (again)
          • God is faithful
          • God is just
          • God is able to forgive
          • God will purify us from ALL unrighteousness
          • God’s Word is true
          • God is true
          • God is in our lives
          • “Purify” is literally by “burning away”

Illustration:  When gold is refined by fire, it is heated up and the impurities, called dross, are burned away.

        1. Dross is a mass of solid impurities floating on a molten metal.  When things are purified, the impurities are constantly burned away with increasing heat until only the pure substance remains.

God is able to purify us from ALL sin and ALL unrighteousness.  This will hurt sometimes, this will be hard sometimes, but it will always be good and work out for our good.

God Atoned For Us FIRST

1 John 4.10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 

Observations:

          • God loved us first
          • God sent Jesus first
          • God atoned for our sin first
          • “atoning” literally means “to appease [the wrath of God was satisfied in Jesus]”

Our worship is a RESPONSE to this.  Worship is not an attempt to GET a response.  Jesus atoned, meaning we are now “at-one” with God.  Worship is our response to this reality.

Romans 5.8 says “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  We don’t worship to get God to notice us.  He already has.  He already did what was necessary to be with us.  And when we worship this God, we are responding to what He’s already done!

 God Is Only Understood in Christ

1 John 5.20-21 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true.  And we are in him who is true – even in his son Jesus Christ.  He is the true God and eternal life.  Dear children, keep yourselves from idols. 

Observations:

          • God is understood in Christ
          • God is true
          • God is able to be known
          • God is in community with us
          • God is true (x2)
          • God is eternal life
          • Worship of anything else (even other versions of this God) is idolatry

To understand God we must understand Jesus.  To worship God we must rightly worship Jesus.  And this is who Jesus is:

– In Genesis, He is the Creator God.

– In Exodus, He is the Redeemer.

– In Leviticus, He is your sanctification.

– In Numbers, He is your guide.

– In Deuteronomy, He is your teacher.

– In Joshua, He is the mighty conqueror.

– In Judges, He gives victory over enemies.

– In Ruth, He is your kinsman, your redeemer.

– In I Samuel, He is the root of Jesse.

– In 2 Samuel, He is the Son of David.

– In 1 Kings and 2 Kings, He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

– In 1st and 2nd Chronicles, He is your intercessor and High Priest.

– In Ezra, He is your temple, your house of worship.

– In Nehemiah, He is your mighty wall, protecting you from your enemies.

– In Esther, He stands in the gap to deliver you from your enemies.

– In Job, He is the arbitrator who not only understands your struggles, but has the power to do something about them.

– In Psalms, He is your song–and your reason to sing.

– In Proverbs, He is your wisdom, helping you make sense of life and live it successfully.

– In Ecclesiastes, He is your purpose, delivering you from vanity..

– In the Song of Solomon, He is your lover

– In Isaiah, He is the mighty counselor, the prince of peace, the everlasting father, and more. He’s everything you need.

– In Jeremiah, He is your balm of Gilead, the soothing salve for your sin-sick soul.

– In Lamentations, He is the ever-faithful one upon whom you can depend.

– In Ezekiel, He is the one who assures that dry, dead bones will come alive again.

– In Daniel, He is the ancient of days, the ever-lasting God who never runs out of time.

– In Hosea, He is your faithful lover, always beckoning you to come back–even when you have abandoned Him.

– In Joel, He is your refuge, keeping you safe in times of trouble.

– In Amos, He is the one you can depend on to stay by your side.

– In Obadiah, He is Lord of the Kingdom.

– In Jonah, He is your salvation, bringing you back within His will.

– In Micah, He is judge of the nation.

– In Nahum, He is the jealous God.

– In Habakkuk, He is the Holy One.

– In Zephaniah, He is the witness.

– In Haggai, He overthrows the enemies.

– In Zechariah, He is Lord of Hosts.

– In Malachi, He is the messenger of the covenant.

– In Matthew, He is king of the Jews.

– In Mark, He is the servant.

– In Luke, He is the Son of Man, feeling what you feel.

– In John, He is the Son of God.

– In Acts, He is Savior of the world.

– In Romans, He is the righteousness of God.

– In I Corinthians, He is the rock that followed Israel.

– In II Corinthians, He the triumphant one, giving victory.

– In Galatians, He is your liberty; He sets you free.

– In Ephesians, He is head of the Church.

– In Philippians, He is your joy.

– In Colossians, He is your completeness.

– In I Thessalonians, He is your hope.

– In II Thessalonians, He is your glory.

– In I Timothy, He is your faith.

– In II Timothy, He is your stability.

– In Titus He is your reason for serving.

– In Philemon, He is your benefactor.

– In Hebrews, He is your perfection.

– In James, He is the power behind your faith.

– In I Peter, He is your example.

– In II Peter, He is your purity.

– In I John, He is your life.

– In II John, He is your pattern.

– In III John, He is your motivation.

– In Jude, He is the foundation of your faith.

– In Revelation, He is your coming King.

How Do We Respond To This?

To be a disciple is to worship God.  But not just the image of God we have in our heads.  We must rightly worship the God revealed in Scripture.

In 1 John 4:8 we read that “God is love.”  So if we love  we are in community with God. Being in community with God is what God wants, but he also wants us in community with each other.  But we’ll see all that next week.

The Other 6 MOBILE

This is the follow-up devo guide to “WHAT IS A DISCIPLE – Worship” from the Kirk Youth gathering:

Monday – Read Exodus 31.13.  This is where God is called “Jehovah Mekoddishkem.” What do you learn about God from this Scripture?  How does this impact your view of God?

Tuesday – Read Genesis 21.33.  This where God is called “El Olam.” What do you learn about God from this Scripture?  How does this impact your view of God?

Wednesday – Read Genesis 22.7-14.  This is where God is called “Jehovah Jireh .” What do you learn about God from this Scripture?  How does this impact your view of God?

Thursday – Read Judges 6.12-24.  This is where God is called “Jehovah Shalom.”  What do you learn about God from this Scripture?  How does this impact your view of God?

Friday – Read Exodus 17.8-16.  This is where God is called “Jehovah Nissi.”  What do you learn about God from this Scripture?  How does this impact your view of God?

Saturday – Read Exodus 20.7.  This is where God is called “Yahweh.” After what you heard at the gathering and what you read this week, do you think this command means more than just don’t cuss?

Sunday Remix // Fix It

THE QUESTION

Why am I closer to God when something is wrong in my life rather than when everything seems to be going just fine?

THE RESPONSE

For most of us, it’s because God is not really part of your life.  You see God as this genie who appears when you have a problem you need fixed.  You don’t trust God.  You don’t have an identity in Christ.  You have a weekend faith that doesn’t affect every part of your life.

But for some of us, we feel closer to God in tragedy because He is healer.  He is comforter.  He’s a Good Daddy.  We know that God makes all things new and we draw near to Him in our times of need AND AND AND AND AND in our times of plenty.  We worship God for who He is, not when we need Him to do something for us.  He is way more than a band-aid for our rebellion.

We have to get past this idea that if we pray for God to help us on a test we didn’t study for, that He will.  God is not your personal assistant.  So instead of just praying when we need something, we should also thank God when we see beautiful things, or experience His grace, or see Him moving in someone’s life.

THE WORD

Hebrews 4.15-16

Psalm 34.17-18

More Than A Building

The storyline of the Bible continues into the Church Era, in which “Peter is used by God to established the Church.”

Little c, Big C

The little c “church” is the local group/congregation of believers in an autonomous body called a church.  Kirk of the Hills is a little c “church.”

The big C “Church” is the universal group/congregation of all believers in all places from all time.  Kirk of the Hills is part of the big C “Church,” along with every other church that believes, teaches, and lives the gospel of Jesus Christ.

When someone becomes a Christian, they become part of the Church, which is the body of Christ.

Why Church?

If church is all about khakis and collars so we can “get fed” until next Sunday, then Jesus really died a pointless death.  Thankfully, it’s not.  There are 5 major purposes of the Church:

WORSHIP God

  • And every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex…Acts 2.46
  • On a scale of 1 (poor) to 10 (fantastic), how would you rate your worship of God?

GROW in faith

  • And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayers…Acts 2.42
  • On a scale of 1 (poor) to 10 (fantastic), how would you rate the growth of your relationship with God?

CONNECT with believers

  • Now all the believers were together and had everything in common…Acts 2.44
  • On a scale of 1 (poor) to 10 (fantastic), how would you rate your friendships with other Christians?

SERVE others

  • So they sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as anyone had a need…Acts 2.45
  • On a scale of 1 (poor) to 10 (fantastic), how would you rate your ministry to others?

REACH the world

  • And every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved…Acts 2.47
  • On a scale of 1 (poor) to 10 (fantastic), how would you rate your sharing of the gospel message?

The goal here is not to go from 1 to 10 in a day.  The goal is to go from 1 to 2.  Then from 2 to 3; 3 to 4…

Growth is the key.  What started out as only 12 disciples soon became 72.  That 72 turned into 120.  That 120 grew to 3,000 in one day.  And so on.

The purpose of church is not to get fed.  The purpose is to get equipped to serve and grow.

So find your weak spot, improve it by the grace of God, and help the Church grow.