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Who Do You Think You Are? In the Beginning...

On Sunday, we began a new sermon series called "Who Do You Think You Are?" looking at the book of Acts.  Alex York kicked off the series with "In the Beginning..." covering Acts 1 and 2.

Jill York talked first about family history -- and how knowing your roots doesn't necessarily limit or define you, but it still helps you know who you are.

Alex said that the book of Acts is like the family history of the church.  It's more than history; it tells us who we are as the hands and feet of Jesus.

We are people who:

-- are related to Jesus.

Luke begins Acts by connecting us to the events in Jesus's life.

Acts 1:8 gives an outline for the whole book, an ever-enlarging sphere of influence.

Luke anchors his account in history.

Christianity is about having a life-changing relationship with Christ (Acts 2:38).

-- who seek God's guidance in every arena of life.

They waited on the Holy Spirit.  That means praying and joining together with others going the same direction (Acts 1:21-24).

They prayed but also acted.

For us:  This applies to our building project.  We want the right loan from the right bank and the right terms.  We've done work -- but we need to pray.  We want to hear from God.

-- We're people who interact with the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:38-39 -- the promise is for us, too, "all whom the Lord our God will call."

Acts talks about the Holy Spirit in many different ways:  "the gift of the Holy Spirit," "filled with the Holy Spirit," "the Holy Spirit poured out on you," "the Holy Spirit will come upon you."

-- We're people who come from every kind of background.

Already, the church had diversity.  Acts 2:8-11 -- so many different languages and backgrounds.

In Revelation, we're told that heaven will have people from every tribe, people, nation, and language.

There was also economic diversity.

God is crazy about all kinds of people.

God wants to use us to reach them.  The more we reach out, the richer it gets for us.

-- We're people who invite God's Word to shape our everyday lives.

Peter goes to Scripture.

Hearing teaching isn't the same as studying God's Word for yourself.

A key ingredient for steady growth is regular time in the Word of God.

We've got a group going to Mission Camp on Monday -- pray for them!

-- We're people who live a different kind of life.

We live the kind of life that reflects our commitment to Jesus (Acts 2:42-47).

A life that draws other people in.


We finished up with reflection.  Looking at the kind of people God made the church to be -- Do I have those qualities?  Am I this kind of person?


How to Deal with How You Feel - Bitterness

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On Sunday, we first got an update from Ty and JaRee on the miraculous steps that have happened recently in their long legal battle to adopt their foster daughter.  They told the story of the last four years, and how some truly horrible things that happened have now been turned for their good.  We are all rejoicing with them!

We also prayed together for the trip coming up this week to the Dominican Republic where team members will serve with our missionary in Cercadillo, Ina York.

Then Pastor Ed finished up his series "How to Deal with How You Feel" by looking at the subject of Bitterness.  We looked at Matthew 18:21-35

The way to deal with bitterness is almost always through forgiveness.

"Bitterness only consumes the vessel that contains it."  Bitterness makes us an accomplice in the crime of hurting ourselves.

Forgiveness means to release someone from a debt they owe you.  It's not enablement, but not holding on to the right to be paid back.

Forgiveness doesn't have a limit.

If we refuse to forgive others, God will not forgive us.

God knows that will harm us and everyone around us.

Six Steps to Freedom from Bitterness:

1)  Identify the source of the bitterness.

Sometimes the real root is an older hurt from years before.  Identifying the core hurt helps.

We saw last week that grief is a process, but bitterness is a lack of process, a resolve to stay angry.

2)  Pull out bitterness by the root.

Hebrews 12:15 -- Get rid of it, regardless of how justified I feel.  Bitterness defiles many.  A little bit left grows and does real damage.

3)  Assume the best that you can about the offending person.

Extend as much grace as possible.

4)  Cherish your own forgiveness.

Real connection with God is blown away by God's forgiveness.

5)  Whatever it is, let God handle it.

Romans 12:19  "Waiting" in the Psalms is often in the context of the Psalmist has been wronged, and now it's time for God to act.  But he leaves it to God.

You can't do anything about it, anyway.

There are never enough rocks to satisfy our bitterness.

6)  Forgive.

Our happiness depends on this.

It's hard to get to this point, but it must happen.

Forgiveness is linked to happiness.



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