If you’re thinking about all God has done for you and desiring more faithfulness to Him, you’re in the right spot.
Hebrews 11 name-drops a ton of saints whose dedication allowed them to keep the faith—it’s like the Who’s Who of the faithful. The rest (that would be us) is still unwritten.
We’re hanging out on The Bridge remembering a recent Wednesday night service from Brother John Shepard. He reminds us how much the Lord loved us and what that means for us today. The Word has a lot to say about it, and if there is anything we know to be true of God, it’s that He is true to His Word.
WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT
A Wednesday evening in March and the message Brother John Shepard gave that night.
Take Me Wayy Back.
What an amazing passage of scripture:
The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; Proverbs 8:22-30
No wonder there is no other name. No wonder we open our hearts and lift our hands high to God. He gave His only son. Do you see the life that Jesus left in Proverbs 8 to come down here so that we could have hope for eternal life?
I don’t know about you, but that passage suddenly gives our appreciation for God and Jesus a different face. It makes us stop and think of the name of Jesus. Warning: Acts 4 declares that no other name carries life, truth, power, and salvation, and reading it might give you goosebumps:
This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. –Acts 4:11-12
Brother John Shepard spoke about the most powerful love that has ever existed. He read Proverbs 8, and you could feel a stillness settle over the congregation as we followed along. He went into Matthew 27 where the son of God was forced to march up to Golgotha while being beaten, spit upon, and mocked as He took His final breath. Some of us might have felt a lump in our throats or imagined the followers of Jesus as they watched it all happen.
They didn’t know the end of the story . . .
Seeing what Jesus went through to overcome sin, conquer death, and subdue the carnal mind, gives us the capacity to press on and overcome.
Jesus Responded Like You’d Expect Jesus Would
When asked to come to earth to conquer death, the son of God said yes. How can anyone read Proverbs 8 or Matthew 27 and not fall more in love with Jesus than ever?
He came for us.
He left where He was with His Father to come here, suffer, and die a horrible death–not so we would mark our calendars to have sadness and tears one spring weekend a year–but for the power of His resurrection to work in us EVERY DAY until we are overcomers. How can that not solidify everything you will ever need to know about how much Jesus and the Father love us?
Get Fancy And Suit Up
There’s a wedding in Matthew 22 and we’re invited. Hint: the wedding garment isn’t optional. It’s required if you plan on being part of the chosen few. Don’t show up without your wedding garment, and don’t be found speechless.
Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen. Matthew 22:8-14
Everyone wants an invitation to this wedding party, but there’s only one way to get in. Jesus loved and gave Himself for the Church. Now it’s our turn to impress Him by meeting His requirements:
That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. –Ephesians 5:27
He’s not demanding a lot. He’s just. To impress God, we have to love His son. Jesus wanted His Father to have all the glory. We should want Jesus to have all the glory.
Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. –John 12:28
If You Can Count, You Can Follow Order.
It’s that easy. It’s a chain. It’s consecutive. 1 Corinthians 11 represents God, Jesus, the Ministry, and the Church. It stands up God’s framework for order.
Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. 1 Corinthians 11:1-3
How you think of order is important. Remove its negative connotation and make it a sanctuary. Rather than something restricting, see it as a place of peace and a doorway through to eternal life.
The spirit of God couldn’t have come to us without Jesus coming first, which shows how important and critical order is to God.
AND THE JOURNEY GOES ON . . .
When the way seems hard, stop and think: God has given us everything we need to make it. He’s favored us. We’re blessed to have a ministry, a diversity of speakers, and the caliber of teaching that comes from our pulpit.
A Church United In Vision And Purpose Produces Fruit And Continues To Move Forward
Remember last weekend? The message from Brother Nobles on Saturday night as he taught and planted seeds combined with Sunday mornings across various churches, followed by the opening song on Sunday night—all of it restored us and took us into Monday feeling full. Many churches have great (and even entertaining) Sunday services, but people go home empty Sunday night with nothing to power through the week.
The song on Sunday evening called home the lost, broken, and those in need. Our weekend ended with the Lord bringing the house completely down.
The ministry cares for us. Each one of us matters to them. In order to preach change, you have to know where people are in their lives and walks. Ministers are aware of what’s going on around us. They’re in tune with what we need to battle our giants and get to the next level.
The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. –John 10:13-15
Paging All People Who Need Preaching That Transforms
You didn’t land here by accident. Our messages hit the target.
Sometimes it’s a power-packed, soul-stirring message. Sometimes it’s a quiet, soak-it-all-in-to-change-our-direction message. Sometimes truth is on the warpath. Sometimes it’s a funny and honest message about forgetting what we think we deserve or what we want and relying on God’s calling for our lives. Sometimes it’s about love and a warm hug when we’re weary and can’t take another step. Sometimes the sword cuts into our carnal nature. Sometimes it’s a reminder of what we’re doing and what it’s all about–overcoming and eternal life. Sometimes it releases us to see our failures and ask forgiveness. Sometimes it unlocks our greatest potential encouraging us to be confident in our calling and bold in our faith, sweeping fear from our pathway. Sometimes it’s a whisper to not give up because we’re thiiis close.
ALL times—it’s what we need to stay strong and continue the journey.