Happy New Year Community Bible Church! We pray this year will be one of growth in the Lord where we put Him first in everything.
If you struggle with reading your Bible, here are some helpful tips:
1. Start small - it is better to read a little bit each day then try to do too much and quit.
2. Start in the New Testament - often people will quit as they get bogged down in the Old Testament law. While those books are equally important, for beginners the New Testament is usually easier to comprehend. If you read one chapter per day in the New Testament you will finish the whole thing in under a year.
3. Read until you get something - The point of reading your Bible is to actually get something out of it. So if something strikes you, don't be afraid to stop, pray, and meditate on that truth. Don't ever read the Bible to just check off a list.
4. Read a physical Bible, electronics are wonderful, but also can be distracting with extra notifications coming in. So get a physical Bible, underline and write in your Bible!
5. Get a good Study Bible. - Sometimes the Bible is difficult to understand, so having a good Study Bible will help answer questions you have.
6. Pray before and after - anyone can read the Bible l, but only those who are guided by the Holy Spirit will ever fully understand the power of the living Word of God.
7. Just start! - just like any new habit, the first step is the hardest, so just start. When you accidentally miss a day, don't sweat it. Don't give up. Do it the next day. Each day you read your Bible is a blessing.
What other things have helped you in reading and studying your Bible? We would love to hear them. Leave them in the comments below!
So, we are 12 weeks into our Saturday service, and I am absolutely loving it. Let me share with you why it is becoming my favorite time of worship and connecting with our church.
1.It’s Laid Back
The Saturday service offers a laid-back atmosphere that sets it apart from Sundays. Gone are the days of rushing to find a good parking spot or pushing through crowded lobbies. Instead, we can arrive at our own pace, without feeling the pressure of time constraints. Additionally, there's no need to worry about waiting in line to pick up your kids or juggling various responsibilities. The Saturday service has allowed us to experiment with different elements, such as having ice cream or food after the service, dedicating extended time for prayer, and fostering a greater sense of fellowship. You can come as you are, without the need to dress up in your Sunday best, and experience a more relaxed and enjoyable worship experience.
2. It’s More Intimate
Another aspect that I cherish about the Saturday service is its smaller size. Being the newest addition to our church's worship schedule, it currently attracts a smaller congregation. However, it's heartwarming to see that many people are consistently attending this service each week. This intimate setting creates a sense of closeness and familiarity among the worshippers. In fact, you will likely encounter the same group of approximately 100 people every Saturday. This environment provides a golden opportunity to forge deeper connections, make new friendships, and build meaningful relationships within the church community. The Saturday service allows our larger church to feel much smaller and more interconnected, fostering a sense of belonging that is truly special.
3. It Allows You To Be a Better Witness
Attending the Saturday service opens up Sunday mornings for various possibilities. You can leisurely go out for breakfast with loved ones, spend quality time with your family, explore the beauty of nature in the local park, or conveniently run errands at the store. One of the greatest advantages is that it frees up your entire Sunday morning, allowing you to engage in different activities especially with unsaved people. When we do evangelism on Saturday mornings one of the most common occurrences is talking to people who already believe in Jesus (Praise God!). But it's important to note that on Sunday mornings, a vast majority of people you encounter do not have a church home. This presents a unique opportunity to be a witness and share the love of Christ outside the church walls. By actively participating in the community, striking up conversations with unsaved individuals, and boldly talking about Jesus, you can contribute to spreading the Gospel and making a difference in people's lives.
4. It’s a great way to serve others
Last but not least, attending the Saturday service allows us to fulfill our calling as Christians to serve others. As followers of Christ, we are encouraged to lay down our own desires and well-being for the sake of others within the body of believers. By choosing to worship on Saturday, we create more open seats for our fellow church members and guests on Sunday. If someone comes to more full service and we run out of seats it will give the impression to them they are not welcome here. That we had no room left for them. That might have been the time they would have stayed and believed in Christ. So this act of selflessness of attending a service that not as many are demonstrates our commitment to living out the principles of love and service that Jesus taught us.
So why not take advantage of this season in our church's life and come out to the Saturday service! You will be blessed and be a blessing all at the same time.
See you Saturday at 4:00pm!
Our main responsibility as parents is to train up our children to love the Lord. This has always been a job for parents, as the Lord told the Jewish people to diligently teach their children this truth “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7) That command of teaching our children how to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and might should still be followed today. When they asked Jesus what the greatest command was, he said it was this one (Matthew 22:36-37).
Most Christian parents agree this is important, but yet many of us don’t know how to do this. The good news is this passage gives us instructions on how to do it: Talk about it. A LOT! Every chance you get bring up the Bible; talk about what you are reading and learning. Ask them about their favorite Bible stories or what they learned in church. I will often quiz my boys with Bible trivia and when they don’t know an answer I will take time to explain the story to them. There is nothing better than simply allowing these conversations to permeate every part of your life with your children.
Nevertheless, even with all the best intentions in the world, I will often forget or not be as intentional as I like. This is where a good tool or resource can come in handy to help facilitate these conversations.
My family uses the New City Catechism by The Gospel Coalition. For many of us the idea of a catechism is foreign or seems like it belongs to the Roman Catholics, but that should not be the case, a catechism is simply “a summary of the principles of Christian religion in the form of questions and answers, used for the instruction of Christians.”
In this particular catechism, there are 52 questions and answers, one a week for a year.
The First Question:
They then give a passage to support the answer: Romans 14:7-8 “For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.” There is additional commentary and instruction as well, and if you use the “children’s mode” they also include a song to help little ones remember the answer.
When we eat together as a family, I will pull up the app on my phone read the question, answer, and Bible verse and talk about what it means. Since we have young children we will sing the song together and try to make up hand motions to help us remember the words. We will repeat this each night at dinner over the week until we memorize then move onto the next question.
Is this the only way to do family devotions? No, not at all, but I have found it to be a helpful and practical tool for my family and it might be for your family as well. As a parent, don’t fall into the trap thinking it’s the church’s responsibility to train your children and not yours. Our goal is to help encourage you to train up your children to follow the Lord with all heart, soul, and might as only parents can do!
Link to website: http://newcitycatechism.com/ You can also download it in all the major app stores by searching for New City Catechism.
Have you ever wondered why God would forgive you? I know I have. Even after I became a Christian I have been so disappointed by all the sins that I have committed and wondered to myself, why would God ever want to forgive me? In the darker times I have even wondered, does God still forgive me? Does He still love me? Because let’s be honest, if someone sinned against you as often as we sin against God, it would be difficult to forgive and love them. Especially after we have given our own son to die for their life to be saved. Yet, after that, they are constantly sinning and betraying you! We would likely want nothing to do with that person anymore, but thankfully God is not like that!
You might be thinking, but how do you know? How do we know that God is still willing to forgive, and he still loves you even after everything that you have done? The truth lies in the motivation for why God forgave you in the first place. If God forgave you because you earned it or because you were one of the most pristine people he could find; then yes, your continued sin should put your salvation in doubt, but there was another motivation for your salvation.
David asked for forgiveness not based on anything he did but instead based upon who God is.
David wrote in Psalm 25:11 “For your name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my guilt, for it is great.” When David was asking for forgiveness, he did not say I will try harder next time, or please forgive me just one more time. Rather, he asked for forgiveness not based on anything he did but instead based upon who God is. God forgave because He is great and loving. Not because of anything you have done, but according to mercy (Titus 3:5). So as we fall into sin and He forgives us again, it does nothing but magnify how great God’s love and mercy is. With every act of forgiveness God is glorified even greater!
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1-2) We glorify God by following Him, yet even when we don’t God still gets His glory. Let us give Him that glory before the rocks cry out in worship instead. We can worship Him because we know there isn’t anything in this life that can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:35). We didn’t earn it, so we can’t lose it. God was just showing off His greatness in us.
Christians have been boycotting Halloween before boycotts were cool. Understandably, in many ways Halloween is a celebration of darkness and sin. Antithetical to the gospel’s message. Yet, not everyone feels this way. Which leaves many believers to ask the question: “Is it okay to celebrate Halloween?”
When I’m asked that question, I first like to clarify there are absolutely actions that ought to be avoided. As Christians we never want to glorify or take part in sin. Some of these type of actions include dressing up as murderers, demons, or provocatively. We also should avoid watching movies about such things. As Christians we are called to be different and we shouldn’t be making light of sinful behavior. It is hard to be the light to your community when you are literally dressing up and partaking in darkness.
But what about your daughter dressing up like a princess or your son dressing up like his favorite football player? Maybe you got invited to a Halloween party and you picked out a wholesome and fun outfit, is it wrong to even partake in those things?
I like to zoom out from October 31st itself and ask: is the action wrong in and of itself? Meaning, is it sinful for a little girl to dress up like a princess on any other day of the year? No! In fact, using her imagination is a wonderful gift from God. So if it is okay for her to do the other 364 days of the year, then I don’t think it suddenly becomes sinful because of what other people are doing on that day. In the same vein though, would it be wrong for that same little girl to dress up like a murderer stained in blood carrying a fake knife to scare people on the other days of year? Yes! That is making light of sinfulness and ought not to be done by Christians. So if it is wrong to do on October 30th, it is wrong to do on October 31st, if it is not wrong on the 30th then it is ok on the 31st as well.
Romans 14:1-8 also guides us in this area. In it Paul explains that people were eating meat that was offered to idols. Personally, I think I would have a problem eating food offered to some evil idol, if I’m being honest. Yet Paul teaches that it was actually a perfectly acceptable thing to do, unless one believes it is sinful or wrong then they ought not to do it.
One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. (Romans 14:5-8)
With the Halloween discussion, I encourage Christians to ask themselves, can I help redeem this situation? Can you live unto the Lord, as Romans 14 says, by bringing light to the darkness? Some Christians will reject Halloween so much that they will turn off all the lights to their home so everyone knows not to come near their home to trick or treat. Others will fully embrace and think there is nothing wrong with being associated with the dark and sinful parts. I don't believe either of these options are best. Instead, let's ask how we can redeem the day.
Here is how my family and I do this: Unbeknownst to us, after we bought our house and moved in we were told that we live on the most popular street for trick or treating in all of Hernando County. And it is the truth! We literally have hundreds and hundreds of people stop by our house every October 31st. Instead of turning off the lights, we literally crank up the lights. We bring out bright flashing lights, carnival games, and invite people over from the church and have a mini carnival right in my front yard! We give out flyers for church, offer to pray for people, and try to engage them with the gospel. We aren’t running or hiding from the darkness, we are trying to confront it with the light of Christ. What an absolute gift that we have that literally hundreds of my neighbors come to my house! I would be foolish to not use this opportunity to be the light that God has called me to be. You might not live on a trick or treat street like me, but I am confident there will be many opportunities on Halloween to share the love of Christ to your friends and neighbors.
So this Halloween, don’t settle and celebrate the dark sinful parts of Halloween, also don’t run from it; but rather ask yourself how can we redeem Halloween and share the love of Jesus on this day like every other day.
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:18-20)
I'm sure all Floridians are aware by now that a hurricane is headed towards us. Yet for my family, there was something equally important this week, my son Micah turned 5.
As I mentioned in my sermon yesterday, these two events has me reminiscing about the last time a major hurricane was headed towards us on the Nature Coast. Hurricane Irma was almost exactly 5 years ago. I remember this so well because Micah's due date was just a few days away from landfall. It was a scary time, yet looking back it was a time that God grew our faith in Him.
Below is my Facebook status from the day after Hurricane Irma passed over us (we were living in St. Petersburg at the time). I hope it encourages you as we sit here and stare at spaghetti models over the next few days.
"I want to say thank you so much to everyone who reached out, offered help, and prayed for us over the last few days. It truly was an encouragement to our hearts and I sincerely believe that all the prayer led to a safe and baby free night. We are safe and doing well. Others are saying we were "lucky" but we know better, prayer works. It has been a whirlwind of a week, and the crazy part is even though we feel like we just ran a marathon, Beth still has to give birth! Her due date is the 18th. Please continue to pray for a safe delivery.
To give you snapshot of the last few days for us:
I was scared. As a husband and father so much of my identity is wrapped up in being the protector and provider of my family. I work hard and do whatever I can to make sure that my family is safe and cared for. But it’s hard to feel safe when you are watching a Category 5 hurricane coming at you. It’s hard to feel like a good provider when it's nearly impossible to find bread, water, and gas because all the stores ran out.
In 1 Kings there is a story of the starving widow and her son who had one meal left when Elijah asked for a meal first. I can confidently say I was not going to give up my family's food to a stranger asking for handout.
To make matters much worse, we were faced with a very real possibility of Bethany going into labor during the storm. She went into labor 8 days early with our first son, and the storm was going to be hitting us 8 days before her next due day. All the while, being constantly reminded in the days leading up to the storm that supposedly “low pressure storms can cause women to go into labor”. Not to mention the overall stress and extra activity the storm was causing. As someone that takes pride in doing whatever it takes to take care of my family, I felt helpless. I couldn’t stop a hurricane. I couldn’t hold off my wife’s labor pains. I couldn’t do anything.
I wonder if Joseph felt the same way when Mary went into labor yet there was no room in the inn so they were alone in a stable for her to give birth.
I have fasted before, but I have never fasted like I did this week. I was praying hard, but I honestly did not realize for a couple of days that I hardly ate a bite. My stomach was turning so much, my appetite was gone.
I bet Esther felt the same way when she was fasting for the survival of the Hebrew nation after the King’s order that all Jews could be killed.
Throughout it all, I kept reminding myself that God made the storm and no matter what happens it would be for good. I would find moments of peace throughout, times like when I was boarding the house singing hymns loud enough for the my neighbors to hear, and when I turned to His word, especially Isaiah 41 and Psalms 46. But then I would have moments of anxiety as I watched the news or looked at the constantly changing spaghetti models.
It's hard to be upset at Peter for taking his eyes off of Jesus to look at the waves when he was walking on water, when I kept taking my eyes off of Him and my feet were firmly planted on the ground.
As we sheltered at my work and the storm was passing overhead. I heard, saw, and felt the strongest wind I have ever experienced in my life. I couldn't help but think of the disciples fearing for their lives as Jesus calmly slept in the back of the boat. Only to get up and calm the wind and the seas with a few words.
It's in these moments I learn more about the Bible than I would hours and hours of studying. Because it's hard to capture the feeling, the angst, the stress, and the worry as I sit in my comfortable chair, in a quiet house, reading my Bible on a sunny morning. Rather my faith is strengthen through the testing of it, which is truly the only way to grow faith, by being in situations where you actually need faith! God gives us these moments of hardships so we can more fully trust and rely on him as He proves himself once again. The simple truth is I can never protect or provide for my family. I can’t make their heart beat one second longer than what God wants it to. I can’t stop other seemingly random occurrences from happening that could hurt them or our home. God is in 100% control of those situations, and it isn’t until I am in a situation that I am completely out of control that I am reminded of that again and thankful for the opportunity.
Last night we came home, I removed all the plywood and had good friends and neighbors show us love by helping us remove a large tree branch off of our roof, then offer us a generator so we could power a light and some other items after it got dark. Which was an amazing blessing.
But even with that Beth and I were emotionally spent. The stress of the last few days caught up to us as we sat in a dimly lit and very hot and humid house. So we prayed and we cried. We thanked God for the safety and grace He showed us and then we asked Him for strength for ourselves to face another day and power in the house to allow us to rest and find normalcy again before the baby came. Then we laid down for bed... 10 minutes later the power came on."
If you haven’t heard the news, Community Bible Church is starting THREE SERVICES on August 28th! They will be on Sunday mornings at 8:15am, 9:45am, 11:15am.
If you have been coming for any length of time you know CBC has been growing like crazy! This time 2 years ago we still only had one service, which means in the last two years we have over doubled in size! Which also means we need to keep making room.
Whenever there is a change, people have questions. One of the questions that I occasionally get is “are you ready for this?” they ask with trepidation. Not only am I ready, but I am EXCITED and here are a few reasons why.
1. Having a third service will make our bigger church feel smaller.
After a church reaches a certain size it can feel easy to be lost in a crowd. You can slip in and out for weeks and no one knows you. Yet, this isn’t how church is supposed to be. As we add an additional service it will make all our services smaller. This will allow you to get to know others much better because you will begin to see the same people each week. No longer will you be lost in the crowd but you will get to see the same people in the same service each week and establish a meaningful friendship with them. You might be thinking, but what about those people that go to a different service than me, I will never see them. I understand the concern, but the good news is: there will still be plenty of opportunities to meet and fellowship with other church members including Bible studies, Sunday schools, and community groups. Furthermore, studies show we really only know 40 or so people in the church. Our goal as we grow larger is not that you know everyone, but rather that you know someone really well. We want to make sure that everyone feels known and loved by others in the church. Going to smaller services will help us accomplish this as it gives you a chance to know and fellowship with others.
2. It will allow more flexibility for you to be involved.
Unfortunately, Sundays are a busy day for many of us. It is not unusual anymore for people to be scheduled to work on Sundays, for our kids to have soccer games, or any number of other things that require us to be present. Which makes being at church all the more difficult. Don’t misunderstand me: you should schedule your life around being at church, not schedule church attendance around the rest of the “more important” things in your life. With that being said, adding an additional service will give flexibility to those who legitimately need it. So if you must be at work in Tampa at 11:00am on Sunday, you can come to the 8:15am service. Or if you are one of our truck drivers who will frequently drive very late on Saturday night to make it to church the next day, the 11:15 service will be perfect for them. Adding this extra service will help us make sure we can continue connecting people to the church, regardless of their circumstance.
3. It will make sure we always have an open seat for those who need it.
This is the most important reason. When our services get too full it is easy to feel unwelcomed and unwanted. It makes you feel that you are too late to the party and there is no place for you. As long as there are still people in Hernando County that need Jesus and aren’t involved in a church then we want to make sure there is always a seat ready for them. Statistically, it is often thought that once a church reaches 70-80% capacity the church will stop growing. Which means we will stop reaching the people that God has called us to reach. We are starting this service to make sure everyone knows they matter to Jesus and they matter to us.
Which means if you are a member or regular attender at CBC, please consider attending either the 8:15 service, or if you aren’t an early morning person than the 11:15am service. We expect the 9:45am service to be the most full, and practical and simple way for you to serve the church and love others. Give them the seat that you wanted.
We hope that you too aren’t just ready for three services but excited for what God is doing here!
Transcript (Automatically generated):
Hello Community Bible Church this is Pastor Joel.
I wanted to address a few things and really just a few worries that I've been hearing. A lot of people have asked me, I've been getting a lot of questions about the war over in Ukraine right now. And if this is a sign of the end, if this is going to be the end of the world, or should we be anxious, should we be worried here?
And so I wanted to just to take a minute and address this because Jesus actually addresses this same thing with his disciples 2000 years ago. Whenever Jesus was sitting on the Mount of olives. His disciples came to a Matthew 24 and said, Jesus, what is the sign of your coming back again? We know that you're coming back again.
So can you tell us, can you give us some indication, can you give us some hits some insider knowledge to let us know that you are about to return soon? And Jesus graciously answers them and starts to give, uh, some hits some indications about when he is going to return back what they can look for. And so in Matthew 24, He says, “see that no one leads you astray for many will come in my name saying I am the Christ and they will lead many astray.”
And that word for Christ means Messiah. It's really just somebody that claims that they can get to God and they can, uh, uh, show you the way as well. But we know that there's only one. That Jesus Christ was the one true Messiah. And so there's many other false religions, many other false teachings who claim to be like a Messiah that says we will lead you to God, but we know that it's not true.
And so we look around and we say, certainly that is true here today that we know that there is many, many people that are being led astray. And so certainly we are in the in times, and I believe that that we are in the entire. And he goes on and actually even makes a more compelling case. And the next verse six, it says, and you will hear of wars and rumors of war.
And we say, well, that's definitely true, right? Every time that I turn on the TV, every time I go on Facebook, every time I turn on my phone, I just getting updates of wars and rumors of wars. And now maybe what if America gets pulled into it? What if there's a nuclear war? How is this all going to end?
We're worried about our economy or worried about our kids. We're worried about everything right now, because we are hearing wars and rumors of wars and thinking that this certainly must be the. But listen to what Jesus said next. “See that you are not alarmed”. See that you are not alone, even though there's wars and rumors of wars going on.
And there are false religions leading people away, don't be alarmed. And we say, how in the world could we not be alarmed? Does he not understand the modern warfare and nuclear war? Does he not understand how scary this can be? Yes, he understands it. And the reason why we ought not to be alarmed, number one is because this place is not our home.
America's not our home. Similarly, if we were to go over to Ukraine, you know what we would be probably alarmed. We would probably want to help those people out in any way that we could. But at the same time, we would not nearly be as invested in. As if we were people of Ukraine Ukrainians, right?
Because if it was your home, you would be completely invested in it. But if you were just an American over there, you would want to do the best to help out. But yet you could know that I'm going to go back to America and before. And in the same way for us here, this world is not our home. So, we can look around and we shot a be doing good.
We ought to do good by the city that we are in, as Jeremiah, the prophet, told us. At the same time we ought not be scared because this world is not our home. America's not our home, Florida is not our home, our home and our citizenship is in heaven and that remains undefeated, amen? And so we ought not be scared, we ought not to be worried.
And then the second reason that we ought not to be sacred, is because it's all in God's plan. God has been orchestrating every single thing. And so, yes, I do believe that this war is helping lead us to the second coming. But I also think that World War Two was helping us lead to the, in terms of what it was able to do for the nation of Israel.
And, and even though Satan gave his worst attack that he possibly could try. God was still in control over that. Wasn't he and every single war since Christ has ascended back into heaven, I was just been in preparation, preparing this place, put player in this earth for the return of his king and the new heaven and the new earth.
So we can rest assured knowing that even this is all in His plans. I don't believe he causes a, this type of bloodshed, but I believe he is using all of this in order to bring people to Him, and make all things work together for good. And that good is that he is going to come back.
but [the verses] go on, It says “for this must take place, but the end is not yet. The end is not yet.” So just because you hear of wars and rumors of wars does not necessarily mean that this is the end. We might be scared, and if that is you today and you are scared and you are worried. Let me encourage you go to the one who can help alleviate that, go to the one that said, take my yoke upon you. It is easy and light. That is Jesus Christ. And so if you are anxious, if you are scared, if you are worried about any of this, I encourage you to take it to the Lord in prayer. He can handle it and he can give you that peace that you are. One day he is going to come back and that might be today, or it might be after we all pass away, but that is in God's hands, and we can just anxiously await for Him and we can longingly look for Him, but then we can also get on our knees right now and talk to Him and what a blessed hope that is.
And so that's what I have here for you today. I hope it encourages you just to remind you. Don't be anxious. Don't be scared. Don't be worried because it's all in God's hands and we can rest in him and know that his plans are for our good too. God bless.
Hello. My name is Joel Hastings. I'm the pastor here at community church in Brooksville, Florida, if you're anywhere in the local area. I, when I invite you out to a wonderful church here in Brooksville, Florida, but we are in a series about how to study your Bible and so today's going to be part two of that series before we get started.
Let me just encourage you to hit that subscribe button if you're watching us on, on YouTube. Um, and even that little bell button will give you a notification whenever a new video. Comes out there. So you won't miss anything, but make sure you subscribe like, and comment that way we can just know that you actually like these videos and we will keep making these sorts of videos.
If we know that people are watching it and enjoying it and learning from it. And so we want to do that for you as well, but so just let us know, but we are now starting our second video in this series. The first video was all about prayer and about how important is just this. Start before you even opened up your Bible just to start with prayer.
And that's the supernatural connection that we have with God. And he is the one that's ultimately going to help illuminate his Holy spirit is going to be the one that illuminates, that scripture for us. And so if you haven't watched it, you can find it on our YouTube page firstname.lastname@example.org under our blog page as well.
But today we're going to actually discuss. Cover or look at what do we do whenever we finally open up the Bible? Because for so many of us, we have, some point whether it's when we're brand new Christian, or even later in life, we just said, man, I really need to read my Bible. You just open it up, you read a random passage and you're saying like, okay, I didn't really get anything out of it.
And that's just. It's such a shame because scripture promises and it tells us that everything that we need to live a godly life has already been written down for us. There, there isn't anything that you need as far as with your connection with God that isn't already written down. Okay. In scripture. And so I want to just encourage you in this, the number one, just make it a habit.
Go ahead. Because number one, if you're going to get discouraged sometimes and say, well, I didn't get anything out of it. Is it really even any yeah. Points, um, and trying any more, yes, there is. And just make it that habit, even if it's just a little bit of time each day, that you make sure that you are spending time with your word, just like with the exercising and you got to work yourself into that.
Um, oftentimes that is what it is with scripture that we got to just make time for it and put in the effort there. But now let's go ahead and talk about how to actually study our Bible now. Generally speaking, there would be three major steps in studying your Bible three major steps here, and they are to observe, interpret and apply.
We need to observe what the Bible says. To interpret what the Bible means and then apply what it's trying to teach us, observe it, interpret it and apply it. Those three steps are the three key, major steps. Now I say that and you're probably, you're like, okay, well, how do I do that? And that is. A good question.
So what we're going to do now for this video and at least the next one as well, um, is really talk about that first point up there, which is to observe what the text is saying here. Because so many times we get in trouble or churches get in trouble. Pastors get in trouble because we go ahead and we just try to sell.
Skip down to that last point of applying the text. But if you try to apply the text before you actually even observed what it says or interpret what it means, then you're always going to apply it in the wrong way. And you're going to try to put things in scripture that shouldn't be there and you're going to really mess up your life because you're applying something then which God never actually said.
And so we first need to start with how to observe the text and then we can learn how to interpret it. And then we can. Finally get to the point of applying it to our life. And that's where really life transformation happens. But the observing is just the foundation for everything. So let's talk about what that means here.
And so. Quick, a quick story here. Whenever I was in Bible college, even before I went to seminary, it got my doctors or anything. Um, I went to a class called inductive Bible study, and this is where a lot of the stuff that I'll be, um, talking about in these videos kind of came out of that college level course here.
And I remember going down there and then it was one of the. First classes. I sat down and the professor came in Dr. O'Brien and he pulled out a Bible and he gave us a passage. And I don't even remember what specific passage it was anymore, but he gave us like, I think about five verses there. And he said, all right, here's what I want you to do the very first assignment of the class.
As he said, read through these first five verses and come up with 20 questions by in two more days when our next. His classes. And I looked at that and I was like, what in the world? How in the world am I going to come up with 20 questions? Are you kidding me? But then, so what I did is I went home and I started to like a couple of them were easy and I was like, okay.
But then it got harder and harder and harder. And by the end of it, I was just like, you know, what is paper? Like? I was like, I'll just try to throw something on there just to focus. Fill that requirement there. So I finally came in, I was pretty proud of myself because I was able to get all 20 questions and I was thinking, there's just no way, like I've asked every single question I can possibly think of.
And you know, what happened on the next time that I went in, I went in, turned the paper in and he's like, all right, how many of you were able to come up with 20 questions? About half of us raised our hand, half of us. So he came up a little bit short. He's like, all right, well, this time I want you to read through that same five verses and ask another 20 questions about it.
And I was like, are you kidding me? I can't imagine, like, I, I already exhausted it, but the point of the. Exercise was this is that to study the Bible. The very first thing we must do is to ask questions and they don't even have to be good questions. Honestly, we just need to start asking questions because we can't understand what's happening without asking good questions.
First, whenever an investigator goes to a murder crime scene or some type of crime scene there, they're going to go ahead and. I start to ask those questions. All right. Where did it happen? How did it happen? Are there any, um, murder weapons laying around here? What are the clues? And they start to ask questions so that they can piece all of that together in the same way.
Whenever we come to the Bible, we're reading a portion of scripture that was written by somebody inspired by God 2000 years ago. But we're going to have to ask questions to really start, to try to understand what is actually written down. For us here. And so what I'm going to do now, um, is. I do that kind of the same thing that when my professor did for me, several years ago but we're going to go ahead and turn over to the book of Jude, the book of Jude.
Now you might say, I didn't even know there was a book of Jude. I knew about the Beatles song. I don't know about the book there, but it's actually the second to last book in the Bible. So if you can find the last one. Book, which is revelation. And then just turn over a, you have to be careful. It's only about one page long.
It's a very short little book there, and we're going to spend a little bit of time in that book of Jude. Now you might say why Jude out of all the little books there, out of all the things that we could say, well, I'm guessing you probably aren't as familiar with the book of Jude as you are with other books.
And so I don't want you just to, um, just to come at it with. Things that you've already heard. Some other preachers say or some other Bible study that you've ever done. Like, I want to get into a portion of scripture that many of you probably haven't actually spent a lot of time studying so we can actually put these principles into practice and that whenever you come to a portion of scripture, you're not going to be relying on what I say or in any other pastor says, but you can actually dig deep into the word of God.
For yourself and find those life transforming truths. And so let's go ahead now and go over to Jude one, Jude one. Now notice two. I'm going to say Jude one and not Jude one, one, because there's no chapter breaks. That's how short the book of Jude is. There's only verses there's no chapters here. And so that's why I'm going to just say Jude one, Jude one.
So if you don't have your Bible, go ahead. Pause the video, go grab it and then come back here because you're going to want to either grab a Bible with a big enough margin. Also actions. Like I have a Bible here that kind of has big margins on the side. I haven't written this one. This is a new Bible here, but, you can write, yeah.
In the side of it is a great resource there. Or you can just always grab a notebook and write in that notebook. And. State as well, but we are going to go ahead and try to start marking up and start to write out questions here. And so if you have your Bible, go ahead and open up Jude one. Let's go ahead and get started here.
I want us to start to read through, I want us to start to read through and start to ask questions, but I'll go ahead and show you a verse one. Here you might say, let's go ahead and read it first. Actually, that's always a good place to start. So is Jude a servant of Jesus Christ in brother James, to those who are called beloved and God, the father and kept for Jesus Christ.
Now you might say that seems pretty simple. It's from a guy named Jude and it's a two people who are called whatever that means. Like yeah, like I got this, normally I just skip over those first few verses anyway but an actuality, I think there's a lot of questions in here whether you know, the answer to or not.
I want us to go ahead. Here's your homework assignment before our next video next Wednesday. Are you ready for it? I want you to come up with 20 questions from versus one. Through verse four, come up with as many as you possibly can. Okay. This is your Bible college experience. All right, this is how we're going to study the Bible.
This is how we're going to learn. Come up with as many questions. Hopefully you can come up with 20. If he can't come up with 20, come up with as many as he can from verses one through verse. Four of the book of Jude. And then next week we're going to come back here and we are going to answer some of those questions.
So do me a favor, write down some of these questions and either in your Bible and a notebook. And then also if you would be so kind about comment below here on our YouTube page. And so then I can see what questions I'm going to see. Who's actually doing it. And then I can also see some of those questions that you have, and then the next.
Time will actually answer some of those questions here as well. So make sure you do that. Yes, but let's go ahead and do verse one together. Do verse one to gather here. So it starts out with Jude. Jude know who's Jude that's question number one, who is Jude? Because you might not know, even if you do, you can go ahead and list off because that's a good question here.
And we're going to talk a little bit more about him and, and coming videos and about, the author of each individual book and how important it is to know those sorts of things. But the very first question that you need to ask is the very first word is. Who is Jude, who is the guy that actually wrote it.
All right. So there's question number one, in my opinion. Um, as we go on there, it says, and a servant of Jesus Christ, a servant of Jesus Christ. And we say, why did he call himself a servant? Why did he do that? There's all sorts of terms that he could have called himself. Why did he call himself a servant and next week, I'm going to reveal why that is actually extremely important, extremely interesting, and extremely insightful.
So you're going to have to come back next week to see exactly why that is important. But right now that's a good question to ask there. So I've already gotten you the first one. Two questions that you can put down in their list here. So who's June. Why did he call himself a servant and Jesus Christ?
Because we know Jesus didn't actually have any servants, but then it says of Jesus Christ of Jesus Christ. Now, here's a question then I got, why did he say Jesus Christ and not just Jesus. Why do you think he did that? Surely we all know who Jesus is. Why didn't he just go ahead and say of Jesus?
Why did he add that term Christ there further all? Maybe you're actually wondering too. what is Christ even mean? Is that just Jesus' last name? It's not. So what does Christ mean? Why did he include that in his title there? Why does he, why does he say Jesus Christ at all? All right. So there's a, we got one, two, three, four questions already, and we're only like a few words into it.
You can ask these questions, there's all sorts of things. And as you're going to see here, we're starting to think pretty deeply about this verse. We're starting to get a little bit deeper than you probably realized that the first siting here. So as we continue on, it says, brother of James, brother of James.
Who's James like there's actually, you might say, well, there's lots of chains. Aren't there and you're right. There are several Jane's. And so who actually is this particular, James? Why is he so important that he had to be mentioned in the Bible? Right? So this guy must be important. He must be one of the guns that people, everybody seemed to have known, but why did he mention his brother?
James here. All right. So that kind of is the very first section here of the book of Jude. All right. You see this little section, that part at the top is all the things that it says who it's from and in the, how they wrote in and that time is that they would often. And this is a smart thing to do.
They would introduce themselves at the top of the letter. We don't say our name until the very bottom of the letter when we say sincerely or best wishes, Joel Hastings, but in that, in that time, they'd put it at the top of the letter because you'd want to know who actually wrote you the letter. So you don't have to skim down to the bottom.
Right? And so this is where it starts. It starts out with him just introducing himself and he gave himself his name. And then he said the two most important things about him is that he's. The servant of Jesus Christ and that he's a brother of James and there's a lot of information packed in there. And so keep asking those questions.
So as we go on in verse one, still, it says to those who are called to those who are called, and we say, all right, who are the people that are called. That's another good question. Who are those people? This is to those who are called who, who is he writing to? Um, second of all, why did he use that phrase?
This is another good question. Why did he say called? Why didn't he just say to the people in Orlando? Like to the people in Miami, he didn't just like say somebody specific or to the Davis family or whatever. But he said a kind of, this, this title here to those who are called, so what is called mean? Who are these people?
Why did he say that? Three more questions right there. And you're saying I'm not even gonna get to verse four because there's so much in verse one who even knew. Right. Um, and so it says to those who are called beloved the beloved. Alright. What does beloved mean? That's not a term that we often use very often in art vernacular.
Right. And so what does it mean to be beloved? If it says beloved. In God in God, maybe even another question right there is not that you are beloved by God, but you are beloved in God. You actually in God. Why does he say in God and not by God beloved in God, God, the father and kept for Jesus Christ. All right.
So then here we go. What does it mean to be. Kept for Jesus Christ. How is it? That is it. Is it? God is God. The one that's keeping us kept for Jesus Christ. Are we keeping ourselves kept for Jesus Christ? What does it mean there? That we are being kept for Jesus Christ. Now there's a list of many different questions.
And honestly, you could find a lot more in here to tell you the truth. This is just me going off of it right now. I didn't preplan any of this. These are just questions that start to pop off the page as we start to just simply read it over here. And this is how I come across. For your if you're in my congregation or you with another pastor, but this is like how pastor we start to dig deep inside of the Bible.
And you might say, how in the world does this guy know so much? Or it can find out all of this? Well, this is what I do. This is how I dig deep. I just read it and I start to ask these questions and then I go out and about. Find the answers, which will be something that we'll discuss even in later videos here.
But today here is the homework assignment for you. All right to, Oh, go ahead. Go look at Jude verses one through four and try to come up with 20 questions. I gave you about 10 of them already in verse one. So you should be able hopefully to fill in some extra here but go ahead. Okay. Oh, read through that.
Try to write down some of those in your own pen and paper. And then also do me the favor of just commenting below, right? And then some of those questions that you might have come up with. There's no bad questions there. There really isn't. So if even you want to say, who is Jesus, that's probably the most important question that you could ever ask.
And so there's no bad questions. Go ahead and start to fill in as many questions if he can come up with 20. Great. If he can't, that's fine. If he come up with even more, even better. All right. And so that is what I'm going to ask you to do. This is so foundational and just trying to dig deep into God's word.
And so that's what I have here for you guys today. Thank you for watching. I'll see you again. Next Wednesday. As we pick up where we left off.
Dr. Joel Hastings
Pastor Joel has been serving as the lead pastor of Community Bible Church since August off 2018.
Hello. My name is Joel Hastings and the pastor here at community Bible church in Brooksville, Florida. And, I wanted to start a little series an online series today, that I'll just have a few extra videos in, specifically about how to study our Bible, because I know it's just one of those questions that of course every Christian wants to be able to study their Bible, study their Bible more.
For so many of us, we open up our Bible, we take a look at it, we read a few verses. We read that chapter a day and then we close it. And we were like, I didn't really get anything out of that. And I think that's a shame because whenever we have access to this, whenever we read this, it should be as Hebrews chapter four says, a piercing sword that cuts down to our soul and Spirit. And, and so that is the thing that should be happening. So whenever it's not happening, what we just should look out and say, why isn't that happening? And how can we get better at studying our Bible? How can we get better at just understanding it? And so we don't feel like it's just a check mark, a check box, just to a check-off and feel like you you've done your good deed for the day, but it's actually something that is spiritually enriching towards us. And so we're going to be starting today and then I'll be putting out a few extra videos as the weeks go on here with this specific topic in mind. And so the very first thing that we need to take a look at is whenever we open up our Bible, It cannot be underestimated the value of prayer.
Pray, pray, pray.
Now you might be saying, okay, okay. I know this, I got this. Of course you're supposed to pray and read your Bible and they go, yeah. Tell me something. I don't know already, Joel, but listen, this is something that's so quickly we discredit or we say. Quick prayer. And usually that prayer, if we do pray, is often still centered on us instead of centered on God and trying to get to know God and our prayers, just to, for us to understand God better.
We are in my church here at Community Bible Church. We've been going through the book. Ephesians. And we just finished up a beautiful prayer, by the apostle Paul in Ephesians chapter one, a great reference here. It reminded me of another wonderful prayer in Colossians chapter one, that Paul also prayed. Let me read a few verses out of Colossians chapter one for us one verse nine, it says.
And so from the day we heard we have heard, we have not cease to pray for you. All right. So Paul was a man of prayer, everywhere that he went, every person that he knew, it seems like he was always praying for them giving thanks for them, being happy for them, but also praying something for them. And he goes on. He says, I have not ceased to pray for you asking that you may be.
Filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. So as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him and bearing fruit as it goes on from there. So he says, I have this prayer for you and that you would be. Full of the knowledge of him and his will. Now, how do we get full of the wisdom of God?
Well, it's simply by reading the Bible. God, we don't have to search. We don't have to go find some old man on top of a mountain to figure out what the will of God is for our life. He is already written us a letter that's that lays out everything that we need to know to live a godly life is what scripture says.
And so we don't have to look anywhere else, but instead we need to look at Scripture, but notice here. Paul's prayer was that they would be filled with the knowledge of as well. And so there is still strong connection between reading your Bible and trying to get deeper knowledge and deeper understanding of God and his will both for your life specifically and also for this world.
And, and for everybody that we comes across, there's such a connection between that and the prayer, because every time that it. It seems like Paul prays and all these pixels, he's always asking for similar things. He's always asking for that the recipients receive a deeper faith, that they would know God better, that they would be able to live out their faith and walking them in are worthy.
All of that is only gonna happen through actually studying and reading the scripture and studied and looking at Jesus Christ. But Paul, didn't just say to them, like, may make sure you stay on your Bible, but he's praying over them that their walk and their understanding would grow deeper and deeper and deeper and deeper.
And I truly believe that if Paul was around today, he would have the same prayer for you, that your faith would become deeper. And you would look at it and say, okay, well I need to read my Bible. Yes, but you can't fully understand it without. Praying over it as well, because this is a supernatural book. Of course, an atheist can read it and they have, and they can learn about historical events because it's accurate.
And all of those stories are a hundred percent accurate. They can read and understand it at an intellectual level, but they'll never be able to read it and understand it at a heart level. If you do not first pray over it and seek the Holy spirit to aluminate. Because that is one of his jobs is to illuminate the scripture.
So as you are reading it, it starts to become alive. And I don't know about you, but if you there's been so many times in my life where I have read over a passage, I write over a story that I have read over a hundred times before and something just jumps off my page. And I say, I never noticed that before that, that, that just is so illuminated that that's just really mind changing mind blowing here.
Well, that's the Holy grail. Spirit, that's drawing certain things out, join certain words or certain phrases that, that he knows that you need in that moment, because the scripture is clear that the word of God is never going to return back void. All right. And so if it's feeling like it's void in your life, that's not scripture's fault.
That is something that's wrong with our heart right there and how we overcome this is to pray. And so what does that practically look like? Well I encourage every single one of us, every, every Christian to have a time set aside every single day, to be able to read and study your Bible, just consistency, just making that a goal, whether you feel like it, or whether you don't always have that time set aside and we'll get into more of that in later videos.
But before we even open up your Bible, if you want to open it up and then have it open on your lap or whatever, but before we start reading it, take time and just say, Lord. Please reveal this word to me, Lord. I know it. It's true. I know it is Holy and I know it is. You have something in it for me. And so Lord, please give me the eyes to see open up the eyes of my heart, that I would be able to.
See and believe and understand your word and a more clear and better way than I ever have before, and then helped me be able to trust it and help me be able to do it. If you just pray this prayer and it doesn't have to be that exact prayer or that exact words. In fact, I hope it isn't. I hope it's something that you put in, in your own voice and in a way that you would naturally say it, but that you are praying right.
For number one, that you would be able to understand it that you would be able to recognize what it's saying and just have a clear understanding about the message that's being portrayed, but then as well, that you would also have the ability to obey it and the ability to go out and do it because God doesn't want us just to understand it.
And then it not impact anything, but in the collagen's the verses that I just read, he's like, I want them to know. The the, the deep knowledge of God's will so that they might walk in a manner worthy of that calling because everything that we understand intellectually should impact us. And that's another way that shows, if you are fully comprehending scripture is if your.
Reading it, but your life doesn't match up to what it's reading is. There's some type of disconnect there. And so we need to be praying that we understand it. And then that God also gives us the ability and that we would have the obedience to also follow it, that we would live it out. And then I always like to just say things.
Lord because it is something he did not have to do, do it because he good and loving. And so I always want to say, God, please reveal yourself to me. God, help me obey your word. And then Lord, just thank you so much, Saint you so much for giving me this because without it, I would be so lost without you Lord.
And that is the prayer. Those are the things. Key components I believe. And once you start to pray that I think even that small little adjustment will start to change your quiet time, start to change your devotions and start to really change your life. As the scripture just becomes, starts to be alive.
Now that's just step number one. There's many more steps. If you really want to take a deep look and try to understand the Bible, like never before. But you cannot, cannot underestimate the value of prayer. All right. That's what I have for you here today. Make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel. And even if you hit that little bell icon there, it will give you a notification.
Whenever we put out one of these videos as well. So you can just make sure that you don't miss anything. Have a blessed day.
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