The Raging Heart—A Perfect Storm

Pastor Jay continues his “Guard Your Heart” series this week with a sermon titled “The Raging Heart—A Perfect Storm,” from Proverbs 19:3.

Proverbs 19:3 (ESV)

When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord.

We need to get honest about the rage that is in our hearts. 

  • Rage is destructive.
  • Rage is proof of a spiritual problem of the heart.
  • Deal with your heart rage.
    • Examine
    • Repent
    • Pray
    • Keep growing in Christ.
    • Discipline yourself.
    • Look at your health.

Parent Connection Questions:

  • Have you ever said something out of anger you knew right away wasn’t good?
  • What makes our anger so hard to control sometimes?
  • What does Proverbs 29:11 say about anger?  Also look at Ephesians 4:31.
  • What is one thing that makes you angry?  What can you do this week to keep your anger in check?

The Turning-away Heart

Pastor Jay continues his “Guard Your Heart” series this week with a sermon titled “The Turning-away Heart,” from Hebrews 3:7-10.

Hebrews 3:7-10 (ESV)

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years. Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways.’

Make sure your heart does not turn back.

  • Unbelief is the key issue.
  • The turning-away heart turns to evil.
  • The turning-away heart turns toward men.
  • The turning-away heart turns to its own way.
  • The turning-away heart reaps what it sows.
  • The turning-away heart resists discipline.

Parent Connection Questions:

  • What’s your favorite movie?
  • Could anything happen for you to not like that movie?
  • What would cause you to stop doing something you know is right?
  • Think of one thing you could do this week to remember how much God loves you.

The Tempt-proof Heart

Pastor Jay continues his “Guard Your Heart” series this week with a sermon titled “The Tempt-proof Heart,” from Matthew 15:17-20.

Matthew 15:17-20 (ESV)

Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.

Tempt-proof your heart.

  • Understand that the greatest danger zone is your heart.
  • We need to understand the types of danger zones for the heart.
  •      Idolatry
  •      Lust
  •      Pride
  • Understand how to tempt-proof your heart.
  •      Name it
  •      Pray
  •      Confess
  •      Believe
  •      Hide
  •      Love

Parent Connection Questions:

  • What’s the worst tasting food you’ve ever eaten?
  • Bad tastes don’t last.  Words can last.  What was the worst thing ever said to you?
  • How do our words tell others about what’s in our heart?
  • What is one area you can work on this week to protect your heart?

Trilogy of Terror

Pastor Jay continues his “Guard Your Heart” series this week with a sermon titled “Trilogy of Terror,” from Jeremiah 17:9.

Jeremiah 17:9 (ESV)

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

Recognize a bad heart.

  • Know a perverse heart.
  • Know a self-inclined heart.
  • Know an impenetrable heart.

Parent Connection Questions:

  • Have you heard of the “5 Second Rule”? Is it real?
  • Why are your parents always telling you to wash your hands before you eat?
  • How can you know if your heart needs cleaning?
  • What is one thing you could do this week to “clean” your heart?

Of Blizzards and Bullets (Announcing Secret Church 2014)

This past Sunday, a winter storm made it difficult to get to church in Great Bend. The snow, the cold and the wind combined in typical Kansas fashion to create a truly unpleasant, even hazardous morning. This has been a common scene, not just here but across our country, as most of the United States has experienced an unusually cold and snowy winter.

Perhaps it’s a good occasion for us to consider our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world. This may sound like an odd jump, but think about it for a minute. Factors beyond our control (the weather) have made it difficult or dangerous to gather with other believers. Fortunately, this is just a seasonal issue, and really a rather uncommon one at that. And when we can’t make it to church, we can podcast the sermon or avail ourselves of the many other resources, literally at our fingertips, for our Christian growth.

Now, contrast that with the experience of Christians in other countries who face persecution. The danger of gathering never goes away. Believers who have been found worshipping in secret have been shot, burned and imprisoned. Plus, they have very limited access to good resources for their Christian growth. Try to imagine yourself in that situation. What would you do?

It turns out that the vast majority of believers in these situation are undeterred. They risk persecution, and many travel for hours to study the Bible, pray and fellowship. These “church” gatherings usually happen in a home or other small location, and are often done in secret. Pastor and author David Platt observes “These small groups of Christ-followers often meet for many hours in study, prayer and fellowship, as it is dangerous to travel to ‘church’ and they want to make the most of their time together.”

When Platt first traveled to a country where such persecution was normal, he was convicted by the dedication and seriousness of the national believers. They saw their time with other believers in prayer and the Bible as precious. He realized that in the United States, with such a low “cost” for church attendance, we too often approach our gatherings very casually. We don’t want the service to go too long, and prefer to be rather passive in our participation.

In response, he decided to have a “Secret Church” in Birmingham, Alabama. The idea was to challenge Christians in the United States to meet together for 4-6 hours with the resolve and focused intensity that he had observed in these other countries. Additionally, he wanted to take time to pray intentionally for persecuted Christians in other parts of the world. Those are the two key elements of Secret Church–intense, focused Bible study and prayer for the persecuted Church.

This gathering has since become a regular event, happening once or twice a year, and “Secret Church” has expanded beyond Platt’s church in Alabama to simulcast locations around the country. And this year it is coming right here to Great Bend. Grace Community Church will be simulcasting Secret Church 2014 on Good Friday, April 18. This event is open to the community, and it will run from 6pm-Midnight.

Please consider coming, but do not consider it lightly. The theme this year is “The Cross and Everyday Life”. We’ll be diving deep into the Bible regarding this subject. It’s “not for the uncommitted or the faint of heart.” But doesn’t that describe the life of following Jesus?

More info about Secret Shurch is available at secretchurch.org.

The Sin-Tolerant Heart

Pastor Jay continues his “Guard Your Heart” series this week with a sermon titled “The Sin-Tolerant Heart,” from Matthew 13:15.

Matthew 13:15 (ESV)

For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.

Your heart should be sin intolerant.

  • Avoid the dull heart.
  • Avoid is the stubborn heart.
  • Seek the broken heart.
  • Seek the responsive heart.

Parent Connection Questions:

  • If you had to choose, would you rather lose your sight or your hearing? Why?
  • Have your eyes or ears ever been tricked?
  • How might a hard heart keep you from seeing or listening to God?
  • What is one thing you could do this week to keep your heart from being hardened?