Blazing the Trail Session 1: Joan of Arc

This past Sunday, we kicked off our next mini series in Telos entitled Blazing Trails. This series is all about a number of people from Christian History who really stood up for their faith and lived amazing Christian lives, making a name for themselves, and helped to bring many, many other people to know about the saving grace of accepting Jesus as their personal Savior. For our first week, we went back to the beginning of the Renaissance period to learn about a trail-blazing female who stood up for her faith and spurred on the encouragement of others in the process. Here is a summary of what we learned about Joan of Arc.

joanofarc

–>  She was born January 6, 1412 to peasants who made their living as farmers. There is discrepancy about her true name as at the time in history daughters would generally take their mother’s last name which was Romee’; however, her father’s last name was D’Art. During her trial in 1431 it is recorded that she stated she did not know her last name but just referred to herself as “Jehanne la Pucelle” which means Joan the Maid. She was noted as being good at sewing with lambswool on a spinner’s wheel, tending farm and acting as a shepherd on her family farm. She was even noted as rescuing animals during attacks and times of being invaded during the 100-Year-War. (Adam set above animals, David the Shepard)

READING: Genesis 2:19-20 – God called man to be in dominion over all the animals and He gave the first man, Adam, a specific charge here to care for the animals. Joan of Arc was noted for her love and care of the animals.

God Used Shepherds – even referring to Himself as one.

EXODUS 3:1-2 – Even Moses acted as a shepherd before being visited by the Lord in the tale of the burning bush.

I SAMUEL 16:10 – The anointing by God through the prophet Samuel for the calling of King David – who was acting a shepherd boy. Joan the Maid was noted as the acting shepherdess of her family farm and she was also young in age, similar to the time young David was anointed King of Israel.

JOHN 10:11-16 – Jesus referring to Himself as a shepherd.

–> She claims to have seen angels and began hearing commands from the saints as a young girl. Her mother was a devout Catholic (the only church at that time) and felt Joan had a personal and direct calling on her life from God. At young age, Joan described hearing and seeing saints and angels coming to her and encouraging her to live simply and to continue attending church. It was at age 13 she describes being in her father’s garden when she had visions of Saint Michael, Saint Catherine, and Saint Margaret, each of whom told her to drive the English from French territory. They also asked that she bring the Dauphin to Reims for his coronation.  (calling Mary, Jesus’ mother)

Scientists, physicians, and other historians over the years, of course, doubt these things as being spiritual at all in nature, rather they confirm that she likely suffered from ailments such as Epilepsy, Hallucinations, and Schizophrenia. So, was it sickness? Or was it God?

GENESIS 19:1, 15-17 – angels sent to bring Lot and his family to safety upon the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

JUDGES 13: 1-2 – the coming of the birth of Samson – angel of the Lord appeared giving clear directions

LUKE 1:26 -33 – the angel Gabriel sent to call on Mary at a young age

–> As a teenager, she was taken to the Royal Court and was able to secure a private meeting with the King, Charles VII, where she earned his trust. She asked his permission to dress in full armor (notably to blend in), ride on a borrowed horse, and use a borrowed flag to travel with the soldiers for support. She was filled with the idea of a specific mission God assigned to her here where she would offer encouragement to those fighting. Her encouragement and brazenness caused two major battles to be turned around in the favor of France, even though they were certain to be lost. Contrary to what many believe, Joan never did engage in battle, rather was a presence of strength to the soldiers, who was also injured twice by flying arrows. She took one in the thigh and one in the arm. She was very BOLD. (Saul to Paul)

DEUTERONOMY 20: 1-4 – Do not fear being outnumbered

PSALM 27:1 – Lord is my light, my salvation, my defense

PSALM 18:39 – Ready for battle

I PETER 1:13 – Battle in the mind – Joan had the right mindset

–> She was jailed for and stood trial for heeding God’s instructions. She was captured by the English in 1430 and had over 70 charges pending against her, yet it was ended up being reduced to 12 counts by May of 1431 the most serious being wearing men’s clothing and hearing from God. She had signed a statement saying that she would “Change her ways” and accept life imprisonment instead of death, but after a few days went right back to wearing men’s clothing and telling the judges that were visiting her in the cell that her voices had returned. These are the two acts that signed her fate of being burned at the stake – not for performing witchcraft as some people over the years have said. (John the Baptist)

–> She was well-liked and loved by most who encountered her – even her enemies. It is written by so many people who were later interviewed by the Roman Catholic church in a final “testing” of Joan of Arc after her death that she was very loved. She was noted as a sweet spirit, a young woman who was kind to all she encountered, very loyal and honest, one who cared for her enemies and tended to their wounds during the war and one who above all, loved and served God. It was said that even the executioners shed tears in her slaying because they loved her so. We may say she displayed a true “Christian life”. (Elijah/James)

LUKE 6:45 – Good brings out good, evil brings evil – Joan seemed to be just be GOOD.

HEBREWS 13:7 – Imitate those who are good – Joan’s mother was noted as a devout Catholic – she likely imitated and highly honored her own mother

MATTHEW 12:33 – Known by our fruits. Joan put forth good fruits

WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM JOAN?

-> boldness

-> communion with God

-> treating all people equally/was good to animals

-> putting God’s will ahead of our own

Homework: Set 10 minutes aside five times/days this week to pray specifically for God’s will in your life. This may turn into facing something you feel God has placed on your heart and turning it into action and dealing with it or something as simple as letting go of your own plans for life and asking God to direct your steps.

NEXT WEEK: Blazing the Trail continues as we learn about a famous missionary William Carey

 

 

 

 

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NEW SERIES STARTING THIS WEEK!

After a week of fun and fellowship playing group games and handing out coffee gift cards and chocolates, we are kicking off a brand new series that will run for 4 weeks.

BLAZING THE TRAIL

is a series that will be based on looking at the lives of some key trail blazers in Christian history. We will look at two men and two women who are noted as being BOLD in their spiritual journey of living Christian lives. Join us starting February 12 through March 5 for this thought-provoking series and some inspiration on how you could blazer a trail for the Lord!

blazingtrail1

He did WHAT? ~ Final Session Jesus and Healing

For our final session of the He did WHAT? series, I had to approach Jesus and the miracles of healing He performed. There are countless times, it seems, that Jesus was healing. I am prompted to say everywhere he went, he performed miracles of healing to people. To sum up Jesus and his ability to heal we focused this particular session on the story of the Centurion’s servant who was healed. You can find this account written in two of the four Gospels.

Matthew 8:5 – 13 and Luke 7: 1 -10

centurion

During this lesson we discussed three key points.

  1. simple faith, unlikely believer 

    At this time the Centurion was just that – a Roman soldier. He was there to enforce the Emperor’s rule and was a man of war. He had stood out enough in his job to receive a high ranking (meaning he was likely brutal and an excellent soldier) and he was certainly not a Jew; yet he had testimony of Jewish elders on his behalf. He was noted for making a way for the Jews by building a synagogue. He was what could be seen by many as a “good man” regardless of being a soldier. He was likely not even present there yet he AMAZED Jesus by his faith.

     

  2. the perfect illustration/example of what was to come

    This is a perfect illustration of how Jesus makes a way for us Gentiles. We are not Jewish, yet so many will be able to inherit the kingdom of heaven because of the way of Jesus.

     

  3. FAITH can heal.

    Having faith is a simple request from Jesus. Yet, in our human states it is the hardest thing to do. As the Pilgrims Progress illustrates and the Bible confirms – it is a narrow and rocky path, one that can at time be unbearable. We may or may not experience healing miracles such as being rid of disease, receiving sight where we could not see, be raised from the dead yet God may also look into our hearts and grant our requests of healing too, if it is for His benefit and for His glory.

The Old Testament is such an important part of the Bible. It bring the beginning and middle to the story and often has amazing foreshadowing of what was to come when Jesus finally arrived on earth. During this series, I wanted to tie it to the Old Testament. I did this by landing in I Samuel.

I Samuel 16:7 – Samuel was a prophet who God sent to Jesse (David’s father) to anoint one of Jesse’s sons to be King. Even in verse 6 it says that Samuel say Eliab and thought he would be the anointed one, yet it wasn’t. In fact, the story goes on to state that 7 of Jesse’s sons went before Samuel and were not the chosen one.

Overall, the story of the Centurion’s faith is a perfect example of what God laid out for His chosen King, David, as it is said in verse 7 the Lord spoke to Samuel and said, “Do not consider his appearance of his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

 

 

 

He did WHAT? Session 2 ~ Jesus Feeds the 5000

IT WAS HUGE! THE BIGGEST! Maybe, the BEST? But, most definitely the most noted of Jesus’ miracles in the Bible. The Feeding of the 5000 is the only miracle of Jesus that was put into all four of the Gospels. To be in all four books lends me to believe that God really wanted us to draw out some significance of this unique and amazing miracle.

feeding5000

In class, we read through all four accounts and recalled where we all were on 9/11/2001 when the WTC was attacked and tumbled. Just as the day “the shot heard round the world” when JFK was shot and killed, the morning of September 11, 2001 is just one day that no one is likely to forget. We all were watching the same events unfold right before our eyes, yet there were so many different accounts of where we were, how it made us feel, etc. It must have been the same for Jesus’ disciples during this period.

Here are the passages where you can locate this story in all four books. It is great to read them back to back and see some different conclusions from each of the disciples accounts of the same event.

  • Matthew  14:13-21
  • Mark 6:30-44
  • Luke 9: 10-17
  • John 6:1-14

Some things we took away on these passages were observances such as:

Jesus does not like waste and He gives more than we need – This was proven in all four of the accounts when it clearly stated that there were plenty of leftovers and leftovers in abundance.

basketfuls

Humans doubt. The disciples had just been given authority through Jesus to go out and perform miracles in His name directly before this miracle took place. When they all came back together after those journeys, this is where this story begins. Yet, the disciples continue to doubt. They are astonished and find it hard to believe that Jesus can feed all of those people from one little boy’s lunch. They had just had the powers of God themselves, yet they couldn’t believe what they witnessed. We all must be weighed down in doubt, even in our faith, we continue to doubt the things God can do. Remember, with God all things are possible!

Jesus gives thanks and displays the bread being broken. This could easily be foreshadowing his own broken body on the cross and how he looked up to our Father in heaven at that time too.

We were able to tie this to the Old Testament by locating a similar story that had taken place many years before this miracle. It is an account of the servant Elisha, who was Elijah’s understudy, in the book of 2 Kings and found in chapter 4 verses 42 -44 which reads:

“A man came from Baal Shalishah, bringing the man of God twenty loaves of barley bred baked from the first ripe grain, along with some heads of new grain. “Give it to the people to eat,” Elisha said.

“How can I set this before a hundred men?” his servant asked.

But Elisha answered, “Give it to the people to eat. For this is what the Lord says: ‘They will ear and have some left over.’ ” Then he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the Lord.

God certainly does work in mysterious ways. Jesus always was mysterious as He makes us to think through his parables, the significance of living of Christian life and how He provides for us on our journey.

Coming Up Next: Jesus and Water Miracles

See you then and may God bless you!

Miracles Show God’s Love for Us

In this series of digging into learning more about Jesus’ miracles, I am feeling that God is revealing to me that Jesus loved to set people free from ailments, demons, sicknesses and disabilities. He “had compassion” on them. He talked to them about His kingdom. He loved to give and give in abundance. He loved to show that He was the one capable of making one whole. Miracles are a way of teaching us about his great grace and mercy and how He wants to be the one to save us.

Do you know He can still do that today? All you have to do is surrender your will to His. However, being humans this is much easier said than done. Living in a fallen world rampant with sin is the hardest part of being a Christian. Yet, God asks us to believe in faith, to shine our light, to go out and be different. May we encourage one another like “iron sharpens iron” to make one another feel loved, confident, and truly free because of God’s grace of sending His son Jesus. Here is a great song that reminds us we are sooooooooooooo loved by God. Please listen and be encouraged!

He did WHAT? Session 1~ Water to Wine

TELOS was back in full swing this past Sunday after service. It was great to be back together again and we even grew a little bit and welcomed some new members who had not yet attended. So blessed!

After summarizing our end of the year 2016 by the use of one word – some of which were blessed, grandchildren, growth, family, trust, faith, etc. – we dug right into our series on miracles starting with what’s known as the first documented miracle in the Bible. It is when Jesus reportedly turned the water into wine at the wedding at Cana as found in the book of John chapter 2.

Jesus Changes Water Into Wine

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

 “Woman,why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

waterwine

 

Pretty amazing stuff, right? Yes! That’s how our Savior lets us know He is the true King of Kings! This series will be based on some key points but mostly discussions on new discoveries on Jesus’ miracles. Here’s some points we discovered in this lesson this week:

Obedience: Jesus really didn’t want to “show off” yet and felt his time had not yet come, yet he obeyed his mother’s wishes to provide enough wine for celebrating.

He gives us the BEST: As the master points out to the bridegroom, “This stuff is the best!” Yes, Jesus provided not only plenty of good wine to continue the feast, but of course provided the BEST wine that was likely ever tasted. Jesus wants to give us the best in life and provide us with things accordingly. He is never cheap and he is always right on time!

 

“The Third Day”: In the group, it was pointed out that this took place on the “third day”. The first day Jesus had been baptized and the second day He had began calling his disciples. In true symbolic form of something monumental happening on the 3rd day, He comes through again blowing our minds by showing off how He works in mysterious ways.

“Dear Woman”: We discussed how Jesus may have used this phrasing to somewhat separate himself from his mother. Once he started doing miracles He likely wasn’t going to stop. It was “his time” so to speak when He could work into displaying signs of being the Messiah. In our group, it was also pointed out Jesus uttered these same words to his mother in their final exchange here on earth. Shortly before his death on the cross, Jesus was able to speak to his mother and coined the same phrasing.

There were some other great points we mentioned, but these were the four that stuck out the most to me.

Join us this coming Sunday, January 15th as we learn more about one of the biggest miracles ever performed – Feeding the 5000! Now that’s A LOT of people!

HOMEWORK: Everyone drew a name for a person! Have you stopped and prayed for them this week? Sent a note? Wrote and email? Reach out and let them know you have been thinking about them in encouragement to help us sharpen our sense of family with one another.

Be Blessed!

 

 

New Year, New Series! Coming up…

Last night we witnessed the end of the year 2016 and rang in the new year of 2017! I can’t believe how fast time goes and how the years pass so quickly. Just two days before Christmas our pastor suffered a heart attack, but God granted grace to him and he lived through it and underwent some surgery. God also extended grace to his family as well as our church family by sparing him so we can selfishly keep him around a little bit longer. Praise God for Pastor Brian! Please continue to pray for him to be healed fully and wholly in Jesus’ name!

It’s been refreshing to have this down time of holiday breaks, but we are looking forward to returning back to the Sunday School hour in just one week. This year will conclude with three different series including spiritual gifts and learning about some trailblazers in Christian History.

However, I am thrilled to share a glimpse of what we will be studying in the month of January in TELOS. Make sure to join us starting next Sunday, January 8th following the service to attend our next 4-week long series called, “He did WHAT?”

Here’s a glimpse at what’s coming up next…

 

Looking forward to this series! May you be blessed and continue to grow in your walk with the Lord in this upcoming year. See you soon!

 

Spreading Christmas Cheer by Singing Loudly for all to Hear

Last night as we kicked off our Christmas Break for Sunday School, we joined up with a couple of the high school kids to bless our neighbors. It sure was an arctic cold night, filled with bands of lake effect snow and cold noses and toeses! 🙂

While many people stayed in for the night, we witnessed tears of joy and happy smiles, served as a welcoming committee for some families having get-togethers, and even earned some Christmas cookies in the process! We even blessed our neighborhood grocery store with caroling and sang loudly for all to hear.

Here’s a snapshot of our little group of brave singing warriors who went out in the Michigan weather to bless others:

caroling

We concluded our night by warming up with the Name Game and some cookies and Hot Chocolate and Coffee. Definitely a fun night had by all!

From all our group at Telos, we are wishing you a very Merry Christmas and one big Happy New Year!

christmas

Don’t Forget! Jesus is the REASON for the SEASON!

 

Picking Back Up

I have an apology to make. It’s true, I have really dropped the ball on my blogging duties in the last couple of months. In dealing with family crises these things tend to happen. While I thought about it often, I just did not take the time to finish updating our blog with the end of our last series Build Up! Please forgive me….and I am….

sorry

Now, let’s pick up where we left off! In class we have now completed the Build Up series – a look at the Armor of God. It was an excellent series and a great reminder of how to “power up” for the Kingdom of God in our Christian lives.

As we are now onto the Christmas break season, we are off in class until January 8 where we pick up again with our next 4-week series, “He did WHAT?” For now…the conclusion…

Build Up: Conclusion

Build Up! Conclusion:Helmet of Salvation, Sword of Truth, and a Warrior Prayer

                Ephesians 6:17-19 “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

HELMET of SALVATION

The helmet protects the _HEAD____. Inside the head is the _BRAIN/MIND_____.

The mind can often be tricked and even wooed into believing in what sounds good to our brains, which can lead to a belief in _SPIRITS_   and __FALSE__   _RELIGIONS___.

What we really need to know about the Helmet of Salvation:

The context of “salvation”. The words salvation can mean becoming or being “__SAVED___”.

However, in this passage the correct context is talking about _FINAL__ salvation.

I Thessalonians 5 relates to this passage as well. In this part of the book it discusses the time of Jesus’ return and His second coming. Chapter 5 Verse 8 states:

                “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.”

The HOPE of salvation is confidence in the second coming of Jesus and the final defeat of Satan and the forces of evil, the resurrection of the dead, and life in the new heaven and new earth.

Titus 2 also relates when it states we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

The helmet of salvation is a joyful anticipation of Jesus’ coming and works as a __DEFENSE_that protects against entanglement with ____SPIRITS__ and false religions.

It also protects against ___SECULARISM___.

Wearing our helmets NOW will one day be replaced with a crown.

Revelation 2:26-27 and 3:21 says,

                “To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations….just as I have received authority from my Father…To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.”

SWORD of the SPIRIT

The sword of the spirit is the __WORD__ of ___GOD___. It means your __BIBLE___!

The Word of God can very easily be used as a defensive weapon. Jesus himself set an example of its proper use when he dispelled all three of Satan’s temptations to him in the desert by quoting the words written in the book of ____DEUTERONOMY___.

Jesus consistently fought Satan by saying these three words:

___IT____   ___IS____   __WRITTEN__!

Jesus knew the Bible so well He was able to use it with wisdom and through the strength of the Holy Spirit he could easily recognize what was wrong in Satan’s temptations and slashed them all to pieces.

What We Really Need to Know About the Sword of the Spirit:

The Bible is very ___NEGLECTED___. There are more Bibles in North America than in most places in the entire world. However, they mostly __SIT_ on a __SHELF___!

If Christians are not actively reading the Bible, meditating on the Bible, memorizing the Bible, leading Godly inspired lives…how can they utilize this necessary weapon? How can they win the war?

Psalm 119:11 says “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you”

Knowing your Bible and leading your life using the Bible as a guidebook is the way to fight off Satan and his sneaky attacks. Knowing your Bible allows you to fight off Satan’s attack just the way Jesus did!

I Corinthians 16:13 “Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong!”

2 Corinthians 10: 4 – 5 “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the word. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

THE FINAL STEP: Be a Prayer Warrior

Think of prayer as a supply line in the battle. It is the perfect way to get fresh supplies. When we pray, we are getting inner nourishment from the diving headquarters. God has no shortage of resources to draw from. Ephesians 3:20 says that God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine”

Spiritual life __BEGINS__ in prayer and is _SUSTAINED_ through prayer. The more “prayed up” you are, the better equipped you are to defend yourself against Satan. As Christians, we are not lone soldiers, but we are part of God’s ARMY. We must care for our fellow warriors in the struggle as well. Pray for all who are fighting for the Lord along with you. Pray for our church, then our denomination, the church of Jesus all around the world.  Eph. 6:18 says “Always keep on praying for all the saints”.

WHO TO PRAY FOR:

~New Christians                ~Young Christians                            ~Christian Parents           ~Single Christians ~Middle-Aged Christian ~Elderly Christians                        ~Christian Teachers        ~Christians-Jail ~Christian Farmers           ~Christian Factory Workers               ~Christian Lawyers          ~Christian Doctors ~Christian Widows     ~Christian Orphans                         ~Christian Judges             ~Christian Politicians

PRAY FOR OUR PASTORS and CHRISTIAN LEADERS in the Church. PRAY for our PRESIDENT and LEADERS.

HOMEWORK: REMEMBER! Satan and his forces are trying to destroy us. Be strong in the Lord and in His might. Put on the full armor of God. Use the ultimate weapon against Satan, the sword of the Spirit, and don’t neglect your lines of supply and communication. Pray in the Spirit on all occasions.