Our newest edition to our short courses serious will be introduced in April. It is on " The Ten Parables Of Jesus. " It should be an outstanding series, which many of you will truly gain some tremendous insights from the Holy Spirit. It again will be free to study without college credit. However, for students or individuals who would like to enroll for college credit, it will be only 50.00 for two credit hours.
The last few courses took me months to create, but my goal and discipline for this course is that each week a lesson will become available. I trust this will be a blessing to a student, and to this teacher in facilitating its arrival.
Look forward to all those who will be taking this adventure in faith with us. The resource materials are scarce but available through Amazon, or AbeBooks. They are " Parables " & " The Ten Parables of Jesus " workbook both authored by Jamie Buckingham. Let me know if you would like assistance in procuring the subject material.
I invite any pastor or bible teacher who would like to teach this series for credit or non credit to contact the office at any time. We will assist you in your efforts to make this course available to your church.
In His Grace,
Dr. Patrick Vossen, President
Focus Bible College
Avoiding the Spirit of Criticism of this Age.
Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.
Frank A. Clark
Understand that the last days will be dangerous times. 2 People will be selfish and love money. They will be the kind of people who brag and who are proud. They will slander others, and they will be disobedient to their parents. They will be ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, contrary, and critical. They will be without self-control and brutal, and they won’t love what is good. 4 They will be people who are disloyal, reckless, and conceited. They will love pleasure instead of loving God.
1 Timothy 3:1-4 CEB
In the above quotation we read of criticism, that is like rain that doesn't wash away like a flood a man or woman's roots, but gently helps to assist in edification, redemption or restoration. This type of criticism or measure of correction, is the type of criticism that is wise counsel that leads to hope. This is the form of criticism we should use, with the right spirit or temperament in our ministering one towards another. However, in our fast paced world, filled with with Spirit of the age spoken of in 1 Timothy 3:1-4. We see a world that cannot just be harsh, but destructive in its form of counsel or admonishment toward others. Not looking to redeem or patiently train an individual towards success, but rather make a point, or a power play of domination.
As believers we need the heart of a shepherd who looks to tend to his flock, and is intimately aware of the lives they are dealing with. Like a father or mother who looks to encourage their children toward a better life than their own. If more pastors, teachers or believers in general had that attitude. We would avoid so many of the christian casualties we have in the Body of Christ.
Questions to ask yourself when counseling or criticizing a fellow believer. What is my intent? Am trying to just shut them up or put them down? Do I have their best interest at heart, or mine? How can I use my criticism wisely toward their betterment and edification? Have I paused and prayed about the words I will speak? Theses are the type of questions you may ask yourself before you embark on criticism or the admonishment of an individual. Especially, if you are an elder or overseer in this person's life. For it can have eternal consequences. Don't rip out the roots of their lives. Establish hope and opportunity for that individual in the future. That will allow that individual to see this as a pruning of the branches, and recognize the Father's love in your approach.
We must have wise counsel, and avoid a spirit that becomes a " crop of criticism. " One of the best examples I know of this comes from a book I have in my library on " Biblical Counseling Keys on Criticism " by June Hunt. She is describing Elihu's counsel to Job, lets listen in.
Elihu (Hugh) starts out with the voice of reason amidst a torrent of emotion.… “So listen to me, you men of understanding. Far be it from God to do evil, from the Almighty to do wrong.… It is unthinkable that God would do wrong, that the Almighty would pervert justice” (Job 34:10, 12).
While Hugh eloquently espouses truths about the character of God, he—like the others—eventually grows a crop of criticism where Job is concerned. He wrongly assesses the cause of Job’s multiple tragedies.
“Is there anyone like Job, who drinks scorn like water? He keeps company with evildoers; he associates with the wicked” (Job 34:7–8). Hugh pressures Job to repent and proclaims: “Now you are laden with the judgment due the wicked; judgment and justice have taken hold of you” (Job 36:17).
But the criticism will stop … when God speaks. And, oh, will He speak!
In truth, you can grow a “crop of criticism” even if you usually are not a critical person. These “crops” can suddenly sprout up through circumstances in which you cast a critical eye or bend a critical ear. With the source of your criticism rooted in resentment toward others, you eagerly point out their flaws. You may not recognize when you are being overly critical, but God does … and so do those who know you best. The Bible even says …
“All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.”
In conclusion, remember to measure your motives, and make sure that God's love must come through. When folks recognize God's love and concern in your confronting any issue, it will almost always turn out to benefit all those involved in the situation. Avoid the spirit of the world, let the Holy Spirit move through you, His anointing will make all the difference in the world.
In His Love,
Rev. Patrick Vossen
Dealing with Prejudice
He must needs go through Samaria. (John 4:4)
Jesus had to go through Samaria—and so must we! Listen to what the woman at the well told Him: “The Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans” (John 4:9). This may be touchy, but the God who sees our hearts won’t put up with racism—He’s color blind! One of the worst offenders was Peter, but God dealt with him in a vision and then sent him to preach the first sermon ever heard by Gentiles. Listen to what Peter told those Italians, “It is against the Jewish laws for me to come into a Gentile home like this. But God has shown me … that I should never think of anyone as inferior” (Acts 10:28, TLB). Paul said, “Jews and Gentiles are the same” (Romans 10:12).
I was raised in a divided Belfast and grew up among “my own kind.” We went to school together, played together, and believed we should avoid “the other kind”—for God wanted it that way! Christians in America are amazed when I tell them about it; but you should see their reaction when I ask why black children had to ride in the back of the bus? We’ve all got to go through Samaria, because we’re all going to live together in an “undivided city,” with a “a great multitude … from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne” (Revelation 7:9).
TODAY TAKE A LOOK INTO YOUR HEART.
We have added another part to our two foundational course series of lessons we undertake at Covenant of Grace. First, we have our Foundations course, then our Covenant Worldview, and now this latest on Laying Foundations which is more or less a more practical guide. This course allows us to go much farther than we have before in these series of lessons. For now we are forced to really consider a deeper working knowledge of Kingdom Principles, I hope all who are undertaking this course are enjoying it. We have over 30 folks currently studying in this group.
Here is a quote from one of our last lessons.
Please note our last audio lesson is complete and uploaded at the FBC website. It is the second Short Courses series we have finished. Our next series will feature " The Ten Parables Of Jesus ". I trust you have been enjoying the courses, and I thank you for those who have been participating in the studies. They can be studied for personal spiritual growth, and are 50.00 for two college credits.
If you don't have a chance to study any other lesson, please do listen to this last message on " Praying In The Spirit ". It is practical and as well sums up the lessons quite well.
Short Course page:
The Foundations Series that augments our Foundational Studies series at CGMF is now available on the website. Those studying in that series have finished available the first 13 lessons. The outlines for that study are now available on our archives page.
We have been studying the book of Joshua in our CGMF Through the Bible study groups. This past week we compared parallels of Jesus and Joshua. Here are some side notes I offered from David Guzik's book we have been using as backup material. I found it especially revealing.
PS. Can you believe it has been over 9 years since we started the ministry, and this is the third time the Through the Bible Study groups have gone through the entire Bible. That is pretty remarkable.
Notes From Study:
To face such impossible challenges in our lives, we must look unto Jesus, our Joshua. He always leads us
a. Jesus is the fulfillment of the ark; He is Immanuel, which is translated, “God with us” (Matthew 1:23).
b. Jesus has cleared the way to victory over all things: Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in the cross (Colossians 2:15).
c. As we keep our eyes on, and follow behind our victorious Jesus, the river of impossibility will dry up.
d. To the cynic, who wonders if they haven’t tried that and been disappointed, we must ask them: “Have you really tried this? Have you truly walked according to God’s word, trusted in Jesus and been disappointed?” Perhaps your disappointment is actually in your flesh.
e to edit.
2 In those days Caesar Augustus declared that everyone throughout the empire should be enrolled in the tax lists. 2 This first enrollment occurred when Quirinius governed Syria. 3 Everyone went to their own cities to be enrolled. 4 Since Joseph belonged to David’s house and family line, he went up from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to David’s city, called Bethlehem, in Judea. 5 He went to be enrolled together with Mary, who was promised to him in marriage and who was pregnant. 6 While they were there, the time came for Mary to have her baby. 7 She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guestroom.
Luke 2:17 CEB
On this day we celebrate the birth of our saviour. I pray that you will be blest with family, friends and great grace. Remembering that He came to touch our world, and express the lifestyle of a servant. Reflecting the Father's intentions for us, showing us by His life the ultimate gift of love and sacrifice one for another.
Merry Christmas dear church family. I pray the blessings of God overtake you, and His joy fills any sadness with gladness this holiday season.
Next month at our Gathering we will formally be installing The Craft family as our new Administrative Coordinators for the ministry of Covenant of Grace Ministry and Fellowship. They will be acting in my place in many areas as did Skip and Mary, and will do a fabulous job in strengthening, helping and assisting the work of God. We will be posting updates on our website later this week at cgmfinc.com.
The last few weeks with all the snow has seen us with a lot of disrupted Neighborhood Groups, meetings, etc.. Yet, its Omaha, Lincoln and North Platte, Nebraska. What else do we expect? ROFL. Thanks for being flexible and patient. If you need assistance in any way to meetings, please don't hesitate to call the office. Blessings to all.
Reverend Patrick Vossen,