New audio available from the Song of Solomon review series. It's Bishop Vossen's next to last lesson in the series. Listen in as God shares with us His Word from this illuminating series of teachings.
Outline from Reverend Patrick Vossen's Message Sunday 5/14/2017
Here is the message in pdf form for your study and perusal. We hope you will be blest by the Word of the Lord.
Troubles may Come
We are introducing a new ministry that will be a part of the audio and teaching ministry of
CGMF. It is called Covenant Minutes. This will be a ministry where thoughts and considerations concerning Christian Living will be taught. We hope you will enjoy this new ministry of CGMF, and be encouraged in your faith in the Lord.
There's a book I recently added to my library, that once again makes a powerful presentation for the need for Spirit anointed preaching ( Spirit-Led Preaching, by Greg Heisler ). You know that type of preaching. The kind where you can't get by on talent, methodology, style or nice public speaking skills. Much of that type of preaching is predominant in mainstream churches, or even some of the Pentecostal churches we have today. However, it is not the way God intends to feed His sheep and direct their spiritual journey.
Nothing can compare with a prayerful pastor or teacher who listens to the Holy Spirit and obeys His direction in the Word.
For out it will come rivers of living water, that will give life to all that hear it. I don't care if your teaching a series of lessons, or a one time sermon. The God anointed Word breaks yokes of bondage and sets the captive free. There is substitute!
A week or two ago I preached in two churches ( which I do quite often ). The message I presented I preached for both churches, and truly was trusting God. For it was not a pretty outlined sermon or anything. However, I knew God wanted the Word I had to be preached. After the first service at an Episcopal church a lady came up to me and said " Thank you for that Word. " So I said, " Your welcome. " Then she asked, " Do you minister here often? " I informed her that I did and then she remarked, " You are some crazy preacher, but I know that was God. I better come to this church for I want to hear from Jesus. " LOL. I then let her know a bit about the church there and our fellowship at CGMF. She already is going to both. Isn't God good?
I have said all of that to say this. Remember in all you do to never leave Jesus out of the equation when it comes to your ministry. Also, understand that the Holy Spirit can operate in an extraordinary fashion and can illuminate things you would never otherwise be able to convey or teach. Take time in His presence and avoid all the shortcuts modern preaching employs with so many tools and outlines. Use them to make you better, do not to use them to fill in gaps when you just " don't feel like praying ". God wants to use you for His Glory, trust Him to give you understanding so you can see His Word come alive through you.
To make my point I want to share with you one of introductory portions of Mr. Heisler's book. I think it will encourage you soul. After you read it think about it and meditate on it awhile. You might not be Superman, but you are God's Man and Woman who He can transform into someone's super hero. That saves their life, and sets them on course toward powerful Kingdom living. Amen.
( From the Book )
Everybody needs a hero. My childhood hero of choice was Superman—faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive. It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s ——! I think the transformation of mild-mannered Clark Kent into the bold and courageous Superman was something everyone could identify with. Judging from outward appearances, Clark Kent wasn’t much to contend with. But we all knew what was underneath that shirt and tie. The “S” on his chest stood for the true power inside him.
Do preachers have a hidden S underneath their ministerial garb—not an S pointing to their superhuman strength but an S pointing to the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit? Does the Holy Spirit still empower preachers today? If so, how? Do we pray and study throughout our week like a Clark Kent, only to change into blue lights and a red cape on Sunday morning in hopeful expectation of something supernatural happening? Or do we begin our sermons as the mild-mannered Clark Kent, waiting expectantly for the Spirit to miraculously transform us at some point of the message into Superman, so we can fly out of the pulpit at high noon every week?
“Nonsense,” you may be saying to yourself, “preachers are just human beings like everybody else.” Yet in a 2004 Knight Rider news article on the Holy Spirit, one evangelical pastor had this to say about the role of the Holy Spirit in Christian’s life: “We are Clark Kent, but with the Holy Spirit, we become Superman.”
When I read a statement like that, immediately my childhood images of Superman come to mind: able to bend steel bars with his bare hands, able to see through walls with X-ray vision, able to lift massive objects with superhuman strength, able to leap tall buildings with a single bound, faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive. It’s a bird; it’s a plane; it’s … a Spirit-filled Christian? Talk of Christians turning into Superman via the power of the Holy Spirit may fit well with a culture obsessed with extreme makeovers, but it certainly has no foundation in Scripture. In fact, Paul’s self-assessment as a God-called, Spirit-filled preacher of the gospel stands in stark contrast to any Superman mentality: “I came to you in weakness and in fear, and with much trembling” (1 Cor. 2:3).
Paul doesn’t sound like Superman, does he? Yet in the next verse Paul affirms that underneath all his trembling and weakness, his preaching donned the S—not of Superman but of the Holy Spirit: “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom [not even Superman’s!], but on God’s power” (1 Cor. 2:4). Paul acknowledges that his powerful preaching is not from anything within himself; he plainly tells the Corinthians there is nothing special about him: “What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants” (1 Cor. 3:5). It seems the Holy Spirit turned Paul into a servant rather than a Superman, and a weak one at that.
Furthermore, I cannot recall Superman boasting about his inherent weakness to kryptonite. To do so would lessen his superhero image. In contrast Paul not only admits his weaknesses; he boasts in them! “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:9).
Judging from the verses quoted above, Paul doesn’t sound like a superhero at all. Yet no honest reader of the New Testament would deny the power of God that accompanied Paul’s ministry of the Word. As pastors today, we live in a church culture filled with large egos, supersized pride, and superhero expectations—pressures the man of steel himself could not handle! Yet we must reject any notion that we are Superman called to be a superhero. The hero of our preaching is Jesus Christ, and our goal as preachers is to be Spirit filled and Spirit empowered so that our audience knows the difference between supernatural preaching and superhero preaching! Preaching is not an exhibition of the Superman skills you may have learned in seminary or at a seminar; rather, as Paul says, it is a demonstration of the Spirit’s power. If we know we want to end up with preaching that is Spirit-empowered, the question remains, “What path do we take to get there?”
As preachers we are quick to confess the need for the Spirit’s power in our preaching, but we fall short when it comes to explaining how to involve the Holy Spirit in our preaching. The fruit of evangelical publishing and scholarship over the last two decades demonstrates that as evangelicals we are far more able to tell what the Spirit does not do in preaching as opposed to what the Spirit must do if powerful proclamation is to take place. My conviction is that we have failed to connect the discipline of homiletics with the doctrine of pneumatology, and as a result we find ourselves “surprised by the Spirit” when he does move. Spirit-Led Preaching seeks to establish a positive theology of the Spirit’s role in preaching by building upon the theological fusion of Word and Spirit.
Written by Dr. Patrick Vossen, Founding Pastor of CGMF
Message From Sunday March 19th by Reverend Vossen
Wisdom from a Cactus
Reflections on Titus
When my husband and I were newly married, we were given a cactus, which we named Maurice. I had never owned a plant, but the cactus-giver assured me that it would be easy. I carefully avoided novice mistakes, like forgetting to water it, not giving it enough sunlight or allowing the neighborhood strays to claim it as their territory. I still killed Maurice. When I lamented that I was somehow less nurturing than a desert, my husband gently voiced a problem I had overlooked. While I had avoided doing the wrong things, I had failed to do some of the right things—researching how much water the cactus needed, bringing it inside during heavy rains, fertilizing the soil and repotting it periodically.
As Christians, we often measure spiritual growth by how successful we are at avoiding sin. Our testimonies proclaim how life with Christ has helped us eliminate sin—from drug use and immorality to cursing and anger issues. Our tales often end there. However, my failure with Maurice serves as an example that it takes more than avoiding sin to grow and thrive in faith.
In his letter to Titus, Paul writes:
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works (Titus 2:11–14).
Twice in this passage we find negative and positive actions paired: God’s grace trains us in both renouncing ungodliness and worldly passions (negative) and in living self-controlled, upright and godly lives (positive); Jesus redeems us from lawlessness (negative) and into purity and good works (positive). Jesus saves us from sin, into godliness.
Often, we diligently avoid outward sins—and rightfully so. Sin leads to death and estranges us from God. But how often do we actively seek godly lives and good works? While we avoid sin with our mouths through gossip, lying or unkind words, we are slow to speak encouragement or to voice gratitude.
Such failures are subtle. As “good Christians,” we understand and abide by clear rules like “don’t steal” or “don’t commit adultery.” But commands for goodness, generosity and service seem subjective. Satisfied that we have shunned the evil deeds, we might even give ourselves more leeway when it comes to doing good works—quietly setting them aside as we fill ourselves with the pride of being saint-like.
In Titus 2:1, Paul commands Titus to “teach what accords with sound doctrine,” listing examples like self-controlled speech and temperance to or reverence and kindness. Before instructing Titus on positive or negative actions, he gives the purpose of the good works: “so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior” (2:10). Our godliness gives credence and attractiveness to doctrine. Conversely, a life of sin skews doctrine and maligns God’s nature.
Paul’s words offer hope. God’s grace trains—a word that brings marathon runners and body builders to mind (Titus 2:12). While training is slow, hard work that requires practice and perseverance, it makes a weak body strong. And just as an athlete would not prepare for an event without a trainer, we are not expected to live upright lives on our own. Paul declares that Jesus Christ is the one who purifies us for these good works. The grace that gave us new life also trains and sustains us through the hard work of godliness.
Originally published in Bible Study Magazine Sept–Oct ‘12
17 From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 The people quarreled with Moses, and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” 3 But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?” 4 So Moses cried out to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” 5 The Lord said to Moses, “Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6 I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.” Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled and tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
Jesus was struck with the rod of Moses—the curse of the law—and from Him flowed water to satisfy our spiritual thirst. As the old hymn says:
Let the water and the blood
From Thy riven side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Save me from its wrath and power.
5 So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon. 7 A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking to you.” 27 Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you want?” or, “Why are you speaking with her?” 28 Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, 29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah,e can he?” 30 They left the city and were on their way to him. 31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, “Rabbi, eat something.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Surely no one has brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘Four months more, then comes the harvest’? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. 36 The reaper is already receivingf wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” 39 Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I have ever done.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.”
Jesus Returns to Galilee
43 When the two days were over, he went from that place to Galilee 44 (for Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in the prophet’s own country). 45 When he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, since they had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the festival; for they too had gone to the festival.
• This is where Abram first came when he arrived into Canaan from Babylonia. (Genesis 12:6)
• This is where God first appeared to Abram in Canaan, and renewed the promise of giving the land to him and his descendants. (Genesis 12:7)
• This is where Abram built an altar and called upon the name of the Lord (Genesis 12:8)
• This is where Jacob came safely when he returned with his wives and children from his sojourn with Laban. (Genesis 33:18)
• This is where Jacob bought a piece of land from a Canaanite named Hamor, for 100 pieces of silver (Genesis 33:19)
• This is where Jacob built an altar to the Lord, and called it El Elohe Israel (Genesis 33:20) This established the connection between Jacob and what became known as Jacob’s well there in Sychar.
• Sychar (Shechem) was also the place where Dinah, the daughter of Jacob, was raped—and the sons of Jacob massacred the men of the city in retaliation. (Genesis 34)
• This is where the bones of Joseph were eventually buried when they were carried up from Egypt (Joshua 24:32)
• This is where Joshua made a covenant with Israel, renewing their commitment to the God of Israel and proclaiming, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24)
If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, “Give Me a drink”: Jesus drew the woman into conversation, making her curious about several things:
• He made her curious about the things of God (If you knew the gift of God)
• He made her curious about who Jesus is (who it is who says to you)
• He made her curious about what He could give her (He would have given you living water).
Although the Samaritan woman appears only once, her importance is evident in her continuity with other characters. Some examples are: She led the townspeople to Jesus like the Baptist led two of his disciples to follow him (1:35–38). Her identification of Jesus as “prophet” is repeated by a Galilean and Judean crowd who were fed on the hillside (6:1–14). Unlike the disciples, she was not afraid to ask Jesus questions (4:4–42).
However, the woman symbolizes more. Her marginal status compared with Judeans, Galileans, and even her own townspeople is transformed because of her deep commitment as a disciple to Jesus. She represents the invitation of Jesus to each person regardless of status. Nicodemus, her foil, had a secure status yet lacked the imagination and daring to reconsider traditional viewpoints.
Breaking through the barrier of silence (forbidden by tradition in Jewish and Samaritan as well as male/female relationships outside the home) was the woman’s first step toward liberation. Keeping silence, not expected by tradition, was the rabbi’s first step toward stagnation. Inviting persons to freedom by contrasting relationships with Jesus in the Gospel is one challenge for preachers.
Written by Reverend Vossen
Romans 4: 1-5 was my devotional passage today.
God's righteousness granted to us and is contrasted to an employee at work in this passage, who because of his labor is credited him monies. The apostle Paul tells us that the righteousness God has for us, is not something we merit or earn. However, is necessary if we are to have a chance to live out this life in a way pleasing to God, and experience His truly Holiness.
I also am reminded when considering His righteousness, that we are to put on the armor of God, and that one of those pieces is the breastplate of righteousness. The armor of God is a gift from God for both defense and offense. Giving us protection and the ability to proceed in life with confidence that " God's Got My Back, And We Are Moving Forward ". 2 Timothy 1:7 says it real well, " God didn’t give us a spirit that is timid but one that is powerful, loving, and self-controlled. "
Common English Bible. (2011). (2 Ti 1:7). Nashville, TN: Common English Bible.
Abraham’s faith was credited as righteousness
4 So what are we going to say? Are we going to find that Abraham is our ancestor on the basis of genealogy? 2 Because if Abraham was made righteous because of his actions, he would have had a reason to brag, but not in front of God. 3 What does the scripture say? Abraham had faith in God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. 4 Workers’ salaries aren’t credited to them on the basis of an employer’s grace but rather on the basis of what they deserve. 5 But faith is credited as righteousness to those who don’t work, because they have faith in God who makes the ungodly righteous.
Common English Bible. (2011). (Ro 4:1–5). Nashville, TN: Common English Bible.
Had a nice time in services today. With an excellent bible discussion on The Ten Commandments, and what it means to love your neighbors.
Our study and early morning sermon focused on three passages, Leviticus 19:1-2,9-18, 1 Corinthians 3:10-11,16-23, Matthew 5:38-48.
First we considered the Commandments and their intent. Then we tried to peer into what God was trying to accomplish through these basic precepts. Then we discussed application in light of the commandment of Loving God and our Neighbor with our whole heart, soul and being, as we reflected upon Matthew's passage.
Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” ( Mt. 5:38-48 )
From the Bedouin attitude of caring for your neighbor, to the sacrificial nature of love being exemplified in both of these passages. We considered the " how we " live out our lives and how that " how to " being so important considering the Epistles reading and the statement made "Each builder must choose with care " how to " build on it. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ. " Utilizing the " How To " in reflection of the OT and NT scriptures I believe made all the difference in the world.
It was a profoundly engaging and revealing study of the Word. Lots of fun.
We are beginning again another review of one of the books we have recently finished in some of our Neighborhood Bible Study Groups. It is the book of Song of Songs, or Songs of Solomon. I trust it will be a nice refresher to what you have already studied from the Song of Songs. The book will be thoroughly examined, and I believe encourage us all in our relationships, and our Love for our Lord.
Just finished posting the audio lesson for Moses: A Walk Through the Wilderness And More. It is on Hospitality: Learning To Give. I truly sensed a special anointing on the message. If you really want to know about living out the gospel, and what is hospitality biblically. Listen to this thirty minute lesson.
All the Short Courses can be studied for free, or for credit at FBC.
The Short Courses can all be found at the FBC Website at http://www.focusbiblecollege.org/fbc-short-courses.html.
Reverend Patrick Vossen,