Preparing with Hope February 12, 2023

disciple: someone who follows Jesus and leads others to do the same.

This "blog" is just one of many tools to help you grow as a "disciple".   A disciple is someone that is following Jesus and encouraging others to do the same.  So, please study the Bible.  This is such an important thing for each of us to do.  But don't stop there.  Share with others what you're learning.  Share with others how you are being changed by Jesus.  And encourage them to join you.  Join you in studying the Bible.  Join you in the coming Sunday.  That together we may celebrate what God is doing in our midst!

Now, you might want to print this blog out, so that you can write and underline and study with me.


Start with prayer.  Start with listening to God.  Take time (I usually take at least 2 minutes) to sit and quiet my mind. To listen and ask the Holy Spirit to open my ears and eyes to hear and see God.  And to have the chance to share with others what I learn.  Start with prayer.


Now read through the verses that we're going to use this week.  We'll be studying The Church.  What does it mean to be The Church?  What does it mean to be a part of The Church?  What part do you play?  Is Church really that important?  Why do we gather together?  Does that matter to God?  Can't we do "church" on own?  Isn't it really just about me and God?  Think through these questions...and more as you read through these verses.  These are just a few of the verses that speak about The Church.  There are more.  Start with these verses and then look for more.  
As you read through these verses, read through once.  Pause.  And ask God what He wants to show you.  And then read through the verses again.  Underline things that stick out to you.  Maybe right questions that arise.  Ask God for clarity.  Then read through the verses again.

Acts 4:32-37

32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.

Galatians 3:26-29

26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise

Hebrews 10:24-25

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.


What is God calling you to do?  How is God's Word changing you?  Changing the way you think or act?  Don't rush this.  Patiently listen to what God is saying.  And then do what He asks you to do.

I want to encourage you to pray for each other this week.  We are going to be talking about The Church.  That is more than you alone.  It is the communion of the Saints. The Church is the gathering of those that are following do the things of God.  Together.  
I am more certain than ever before the need for us to be unified.   In Jesus.  To do the things of Jesus.  Together.  As His Saints.  It's what Jesus prayed for.  Which means that our enemy will do EVERYTHING to try and prevent you from accomplishing God's Will.  You have to be intentional.  Plan to do what God wants.  Please...pray for each other!  And join us this Sunday, February 12, 2023! 

Apostle's Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
      creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
      who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
      and born of the virgin Mary.
      He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
      was crucified, died, and was buried;
      he descended to hell.
      The third day he rose again from the dead.
      He ascended to heaven
      and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
      From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
      the holy universal* church,
      the communion of saints,
      the forgiveness of sins,
      the resurrection of the body,
      and the life everlasting. Amen.

*that is, the true Christian church of all times and all places


Suzanne Charity - February 6th, 2023 at 5:47pm

The Christians were all excited about Jesus raising from the dead. Maybe they thought Jesus was going to come back for them that year. I say this because back then they were on fire being one in mind and Spirit and giving the extra they had to make sure noone was in need. But it's not for the most part like that now. Romans 12:1,2 we aren't suppose to be like the world but I think alot of Christians are out for themselves, keeping up with the Jones'. Maybe that's where the 'lukewarm Christians' comes in that Revelation speaks of. That's how the

Suzanne Charity - February 6th, 2023 at 5:50pm

Oops. The world is suppose to get interested in us by how much we love each other. If we aren't taking care of each other that's not going to happen.

Suzanne Charity - February 7th, 2023 at 7:24pm

They could have been in one heart and one mind because they were full of the Holy Ghost. Now the church is so... big and it is split into different denominations. We have places like Love in Action helping the church to do their job. The first Pastor I ever had at Glenwood Bible Church in Glenwood, Illinois in 1976, Pastor Richard Griffin, said ministries should be done through the church. I know our church tries to help in so many ways. I think our feet should hit the street and find people in need. (But this is talking about Christians.) In the end of the last verse we are told we inherited what Jesus inherited. In another passage it says when salvation was offered to the Gentiles we were engrafted into the Jewish peoples tree so that's how we got into Abraham's blessings from God.

Suzanne Charity - February 9th, 2023 at 6:11am

I see in the below verse today as I read it again that God's grace at work in the early Christians in a powerful way is why there were no needy people. Acts 4:33b, 34a "And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them." I don't know how to apply that to our time. What does that actually mean? Just thinking about all they went through watching Jesus be captured and suffer and die and mocked and buried and then realizing God had raised Him from the dead must have been very illuminating and exciting! They must have personalized His work in their lives and passed His grace on to others by making sure other people had their spiritual and physical needs met.

Suzanne Charity - February 10th, 2023 at 1:55pm

One way you can spur others on to good works is by the example of doing good like Barnabu in Acts sold possessions to help the poor. I thing 'the Day' in verse 25 may be referring to the 7 year tribulation. Jesus is saying that we should gather together with believers for one reason, to be available to encourage other believers. That as the world fills with more evil we shouldn't abstain from meeting together, but meet together all the more! Hebrews 10:24 "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."

Suzanne Charity - February 10th, 2023 at 1:42pm

Reading this verse in context to me is saying that the Jews, Gentiles, slaves, free, male and female can all become brlievers and that they are all one in Christ. This verse has been interpreted also to mean that females can also preach. Pastor, do you think it can mean that too?Galatian 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Suzanne Charity - February 12th, 2023 at 7:12am

Here are the 4 passages that I know of that speak about our spiritual gifts:

1 Peter 4:9-11b "Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ."

Romans 12:4-7 "For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully."

1 Corinthians 12:4-31 "There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? Now eagerly desire the greater gifts."

Ephesians 4:8-13 "This is why it says:

“When he ascended on high,

he took many captives

and gave gifts to his people.”

(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ."

Suzanne Charity - February 19th, 2023 at 5:20am

I John 1:5-10 I like these 2 promises in verse 7 and 9.

7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

(That when we are walking uprightly, and fellowshipping with each other the blood of Jesus will purify us from all sin! Wow there's a lot to be said about the importance of fellowshipping!)

9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

(That if we confess the sin in our lives that we do know He will cleanse us from the sin we aren't aware of yet too!) That's just awesome!