December 27, 2015 – Blessed Are the Pure At Heart: the Kingdom is Worth It

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Preached by Courtney Kluver (00:44)

Blessed are the pure at heart for they shall see God.  It’s important to remember that God gave mankind power and authority to care for and be in charge of the world (Gen 1:26) Yet, that power and authority was weakened by sin.  Jesus came to not only rescue a rebellious people worthy of death, but he restored the God given authority to men and women through the Church of God.

Acting in the authority given to you as a Christian is a process of purification.  Not only is authority a process of addition (we receive power and authority as ambassadors of Jesus) it is also a process of subtraction (the Holy Spirit in love removes sin and corrects sinful desires from us).  The chastening or discipline of God is a good process, even painful, and full of nourishing fruit. God renews our heart in love so that we live in love.  With God, get your heart right to act in authority right.  Living the authority God intends for us to have is a process of purity in heart; authority isn’t about demanding what’s right or demanding your rights, it’s about living what’s right – loving God and loving others.

Scripture references: Matthew 5:8; 1 John 3:2; Hebrews 12:5; Romans 10:9-10

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December 13, 2015 – Philippians: Always Be Full of Joy

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Preached by Rod Benner (00:38)

Rod concludes his series in Philippians

The Bible instructs us to do things that are not easy to do.  Paul encouraged, “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again – rejoice!”  As easy as it sounds, we all know joyful living is hard.  Christmas is supposed to be the season of joy and merriment, but how many are caught in stress, anxiety and depression produced by an attempt to be happy and make others happy.  Yet, God wants us to rejoice always and in every circumstance.  How would your life be different if you rejoiced always at home, at work, and while you’re in your community?  Frustrating events will always occur, but God says rejoice even then.  You will still feel frustrated and annoyed but Joy must be in charge of those feelings.  Joy can only be in charge of your emotions when Jesus is in charge of your life.  An unending joy is only possible by the power of Jesus given to his friends through the Holy Spirit. Jesus must be your King and Lord in order for you to be always full of joy.  This is not self help.  You can produce many happy moments with self help programs, but a program and positive thinking will not enable joy in every circumstance. Self help reveals the power you have, while joy is revealed by the power Jesus has.  Follow Jesus to learn joy.  Start at the cross, make Jesus your leader and you will steadily get to a joyful life.  It’s not a matter of working harder with Him, it’s a matter of submitting your work to Him.

Scripture references: Philippians 4:4; James 1:2-4; Romans 5:2,14:17

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November 29, 2015 – Truth and Unity: Finding the Balance

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Preached by Evan Stewart (00:30)

Before Jesus was crucified he prayed that all of his disciples (then and now) would be sanctified in truth and perfected in unity.  He wanted his disciples to be known for truth and be united as a loving family.  The combination of truth and perfect unity would show the world that Jesus is the Son of God.  Yet, truth and unity is a difficult achieve and can be hard to balance.  In the well intended search for truth Christian churches may easily divide by demanding that the everyone must believe in a long list biblical facts in order to maintain Jesus’ desire for truth.  On the other hand, through the well intended pursuit of unity a church may water down biblical truth to the point of vague morals in order to avoid disagreements amongst the group.  So how can we seek the truth without causing division and how can we stay unified without abandoning truth?

In Romans 12, the Apostle Paul encourages Christians to practice godly principles in all situations: to love enthusiastically, to hate evil but love good, not to think too highly of yourself, to practice hospitality, and pray often.  We are to remember that Christians are members of the body of Christ and therefore “individually members of one another”.  Christians are a real family and we need to act like it no matter where we are from and no matter the situation.  Paul taught that the we are to practice this behavior because of God’s truth and such behavior is the only reasonable way to worship God because of the mercy he has bestowed on us.  As we are transformed in the way we think and act by the truth of the gospel, we will act in a way that will create an attitude of unity, but it takes practice and requires patience.  To balance truth and unity we must learn to love God with a passion and forgive often.

Scripture references: John 17:11, 14-23 and Romans 12:1-21

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November 22, 2015 – Philippians: Beware of the Pack

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Preached by Rod Benner (00:46)

Rod continues his study of Philippians.  As a fellowship grows in unity and community impact, the danger of self destruction increases.  It can begin by false doctrine and anti-gospel teaching subtly coming into the church body.  It can begin by hurt feelings or differing opinions. Starting as a quit comment but then it balloons into a perceived crisis.  Carpet color becomes a dividing point.  More seriously, lies masquerading in the name of God captivate a group inside the fellowship and tear the larger group apart.  Rarely does a local church collapse because of outside attacks.  Sadly, it collapses on itself because a once united group of friends turn on each other.  They stop seeing the love of God in their own lives and start seeing the major sins and minor problems in each others’ lives.  The Apostle Paul told the local church in Philippi to “Watch out for those dogs” who seek to divide.

Intentional division is not to be taken lightly. The solution by wise disciples is not to fuel the division, rather it is to faithfully lead and set the example of Jesus’ love, forgiveness and vision.  Discerning church leaders protect their fellowship from the pack of wild dogs.  Good followers follow the example of a good leader; Jesus being the Chief leader. But it is difficult and it requires the intentional guidance of the Holy Spirit.  The pack is always prowling. Therefore, love intensely and forgive often.  Rise up on the side of Christ.

Scripture References: Philippians 3:2-4

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November 15, 2015 – Philippians: Killing the Little Legalist Inside You

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Preached by Rod Benner (00:47)

Rod continues a series in Philippians. A relationship with God is possible only through Jesus Christ; by what he did for us. Yet, we so eagerly want it to be about our hard work and we are quick to compare our behavior with other people. Instead of pointing people to God we find it easier to point at their problems and failures. Legalism is a belief system that adds certain good deeds as a requirement for salvation. Before the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God demanded that his people follow very strict rules and act a certain way to be his follower. Then Jesus came and fulfilled the law of God; doing what you and I could never do. You get salvation by what Jesus did and by your faith in him. You don’t get it by your good deeds. When you become a Christian, God gives you the desire to do good and the power to do good. Any goodness in you is due to God working in you.

So, instead of telling other people what they are doing wrong, encourage them to honorable living in the light of the gospel. The first requires you to walk over another person while the second requires you to walk with that person as a loving friend. Point up not at.

Scripture References: Phil 3:1-16

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October 25, 2015 – Philippians: Be a Seven Day Christian

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Preached by Rod Benner (00:39)

Rod continues a series in Philippians.  The Holy Spirit was sent to empower you to not only talk the talk, but to walk the walk.  Whether you are on there on in the church house, act like Christ.

The attitude you have with other Christians is the same attitude you should have when you are with anybody else.

Scripture References: Phil 2:12

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October 18, 2015 – A Vision of the Young at Heart

Last weekend the LJCF Youth Group team traveled with numerous high school students from around Colstrip to the annual Vision Conference held this year in Great Falls, MT.  Dozens of students went and returned with inspiring stories and a new vision and thirst for Jesus Christ.  Listen to their testimony about how they encountered God.

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August 30, 2015 – Philippians, part 4 – How to Hope in Rough Times

Preached by Rod Benner (00:43)

Rod continues a new series on the book of Philippians.

As Paul sat in chains, under house arrest by Roman guards, he told his friends, “Don’t worry about me.” Although he would rather be free, we was more concerned about giving great praise to God. In a terrible, inconvenient, depressing, unfair, and unjust situation he said, “Because of my imprisonment I get to tell all of these guards about Jesus! That’s more important than my physical freedom.”

Every circumstance in your life is an opportunity to learn more about God and the point of life. You don’t always pick your circumstances but you can choose to turn any circumstance (any circumstance!) into an opportunity to honor and praise God. Remember and learn what matters. Don’t sacrifice the relationship with your spouse, your kids, or your neighbors and coworkers for unimportant matters. Paul isn’t saying, “Just look at the glass half full.” Rather, he’s saying, “Look to Jesus and see God the Father.” The point of life is to honor God, know Jesus, and love others (ie. family, neighbors, co-workers, others). Understand what really matters to hope through rough times.

Scripture References:
Philippians 1:12-19

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August 23, 2015 – Philippians, part 3 – Abounding in Discerning Love

Preached by Rod Benner (00:43)

Rod continues a new series on the book of Philippians.

Do you feel captured in your life?  God intended you to be free regardless of your situation.  Whatever you’ve done or what has been done to you, all of that stuff, remember that in Jesus and by God you are free.  The love of God through Jesus covers a multitude of sin; your’s and their’s.  Christians were supposed to be known to others by their great love for one another, motivated by the love of God they’ve personally experienced.  Does love abound in and out of your life?

Scripture References:
Philippians 1:9-10

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August 9, 2015 – Philippians, part 1 – Joy

Preached by Rod Benner (00:35)

Rod begins a new series on the book or epistle of Philippians.

Philippians was written by the Apostle Paul and is called by some the epistle of joy.  He wrote this letter to the church at Philippi while his was in a Roman prison.  In unhappy circumstances, Paul found joy and found enough of it that he could pass some out to us. The joy Paul found was a result of the peace he found in Jesus.  Peace and joy go hand in hand and you can’t fully get one without the other.  Jesus never said “I’ll help you escape reality”.  Rather, he told us to trust in him and he will help you through reality.

Scripture References:
Philippians 1:1-2


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