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Huffduffed (27)

  1. Taking Back the House | Woodland Hills Church

    In this week s passage, we read how Jesus drove out a demon that caused a man to be mute. In this context, Jesus was asked if he did this by the power of Beelzebul, which was a derisive term used for Satan. Jesus responds two ways. He first states that if he is casting out demons by the power of Satan, then there is civil war in Satan s kingdom and that does not make sense. Secondly, since exorcists of the time were driving out demons just as Jesus was, the same question must be asked of these exorcists. And since everyone assumes that they do it by the power of God then so does Jesus. The problem was that Jesus did not do it according to their expectations.This leads us to the main point of the passage. Jesus proclaims that he is driving out demons by the finger of God and therefore the kingdom of God is come through his presence. Satan is a strong man who guards his house, which is the domain of this world. But Jesus came as someone stronger who attacked and overpowered the strong man. This passage confronts a view of salvation that just sees it as a legal transaction that will get people into heaven. Jesus came to overpower the Satan so that the Kingdom of God might be established. The world was supposed to be God s house and humans were to be its landlords. But the whole thing got turned over to Satan when we rebelled.With Satan overseeing the house, he promotes a kingdom of violence, control and abuse. The modern military machine illustrates this. For example, US military spending last year could have housed and fed the world s poor 15 times over. Satan s domain creates a kingdom of insanity. Our hearts and minds are dulled and jaded because we re breathing polluted air. We re under the oppression of evil and this is why world history is a broken record of cyclical violence.Jesus did not come and die on the cross just to complete a legal transaction in heaven.

    He did not come to just to bless us and relieve us of guilt or simply rescue us from hell.

    The central reason he came was to overpower the strong man, free us slaves, reconcile the world, and equip us to join him in taking back the house.

    The house is God s, and he wants it back.

    Jesus bound the strongman, and now through us he s dividing up the spoils.How do we do this? We don t adopt the patterns of Satan and try to overcome violence with violence. Jesus overpowers evil with the only thing that can overpower evil, and that is God s self-sacrificial love. Only love can conquer evil; only light can dispel darkness. Hide Extended Summary

    —Huffduffed by nothingbutdave

  2. Life is not JUST a Test | Woodland Hills Church

    All humanity faces temptation. Part of being completely human is to deal with times of strong temptations. Jesus was fully man and fully God, therefore, His humanity allowed Him to face these temptations and to overcome them with the same tools He has given us-God s word. Jesus was led into the desert by the Spirit , but once there he found that part of this wilderness experience was to be a time of testing and temptation for Him.Many scholars agree that Jesus wilderness experience was meant to draw a parallel between Jesus-the new Israel and Israel s time of testing in the wilderness. Jesus quotes scriptures from the testing tradition in Deuteronomy. For example, in Deut. 8:2-3 the full scripture says, Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands. He humbled you causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that people do not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. God told the Israelites to collect only a days worth of food to test their faith-would the Israelites depend on God s word or their own common sense ? Jesus sets the example for us as He shows us His choice to trust God instead of common sense throughout this testing time in the wilderness. By doing this Jesus becomes the new Israel and therefore all who have faith in Him are a part of new Israel, Jew and Gentile.A second question we ask ourselves is why did God test Jesus and why did He test Israel? The scriptures seem to point to two clear reasons of testing and two main outcomes. The first is that God wants our hearts to be revealed, testing is to reveal our true hearts toward God and His word. Secondly, testing is to change our hearts so that we are able to become more trustworthy. This will result in a process of testing and refinement repeated over and over again throughout our faith journey. Testing is a tool to help us grow into who God has made us to be.As we enter the New Year let s begin to look at our lives through the lens of testing and refinement. When we are faced with decisions where we are tempted to be selfish, or to follow our own way, let s remember that God is testing and refining us to spend eternity rejoicing with Him. Not everything that happens in our lives is a test from God, but how we respond to life s everyday ups and downs and to bigger events does shape our future and how God will use us. Although temptations may be difficult to overcome now, it is encouraging to know that we can have victory over them with Jesus! Hide Extended Summary

    —Huffduffed by nothingbutdave

  3. Don t Go Down with the Ship | Woodland Hills Church

    Our world is often filled with stress and trials.

    On some days, discouraging things seem to rush quickly at us from all sides.

    On other days, there may be some slow, yet troubling events that drag us down, both physically and emotionally.

    As discouragement builds in our lives, we have a natural desire to build up defensive walls to protect ourselves from being hurt by a hurtful world.

    Unfortunately, these defenses can lead toward increasing self-centeredness, frustration, and even unbelief against God.

    The biblical author of the Hebrews letter understood this behavior pattern well.

    In chapter 3, the author describes how the Israelites wandered away from God during their 40-year journey in the desert wilderness.

    God had powerfully rescued them from Egypt, but the Israelites allowed hardships and disappointments in the wilderness to come between them and God.

    The author uses this tragic story to speak a word of warning about something important and urgent: the need for encouragement.

    The author makes it clear that the situation is serious enough where encouragement must be a priority every day of our lives.

    We must always look for ways to give and receive encouragement.

    This way, we work against the constant push of discouragement and disappointment in life. When scripture talks about encouragement, it is not just talking about simple compliments or minor gift giving.

    Scripture speaks of encouragement from at least four different angles.Affirmation Encouragement can occur when people express belief and support in one another. Testimony Encouragement can come in the form of stories that uplift others and demonstrate the awesome love and power of God.Hope Encouragement flows from the Scriptures as they point the way to the ultimate hope, the Lord Jesus.Counsel

    Encouragement may be a wise word or a serious reminder, given in love to help another. The true power of encouragement is found within the word of warning in Hebrews 3.

    As we give more and more encouragement to one another, we are strengthening ourselves so that we are able to endure things well when disappointments or setbacks happen.

    We lower our chances of falling into a state of selfishness or unfaithfulness in response to the negativity all around us.

    Encouragement becomes even more powerful when it is shared in good, healthy relationships.

    An encouraging word from a stranger is great.

    An encouragement from a person we are in relationship with can make a deep and wonderful impact upon our lives. Hide Extended Summary

    —Huffduffed by nothingbutdave

  4. Scorpions, Eggs and Prayer, Part 1 | Woodland Hills Church

    5 Then Jesus said to them, Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.' 7 And suppose the one inside answers, 'Don't bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can't get up and give you anything.' 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need. 9 So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; those who seek find; and to those who knock, the door will be opened. 11 Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!

    —Huffduffed by nothingbutdave

  5. Resisting the Devil | Woodland Hills Church

    We live in a war zone! It is a world that is ruled and co-opted by evil schemes and plans, brought forth by a real enemy, Satan. It is into this world that Christ came to bring forth a new Kingdom, not of this world, but expressed through the radical beauty of God s love. As believers in Christ, we are participants in this new Kingdom, and empowered by the Holy Spirit to resist the lies and temptations of this world.Temptation is a reality for all. Even Jesus was tempted as is shown in the Luke passage. However, it is important to know the difference between being tempted and giving in to temptation. As Christians, we are aware that we live in a spiritual war zone, and we realize that there is a real and present Devil that has come to steal, kill and destroy. We are also aware that we have a God who is on our side who empowers us to not live in bondage to sin (see James 4:7). Through the power of God s Spirit in our lives, we do not have to listen to the lies of Satan, and we can resist temptations by the authority of Jesus.By resisting the temptations of the enemy, we become active combatants in a war. This war is not waged by violence or evil; it is waged by loving our enemies and by showing the beauty of Jesus Christ. (For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12) What do we do to resist the temptations of the enemy? The following are some practical steps to take:Be aware We need to be aware that there is a war going on. There is an enemy, who like a prowling lion, is waiting to destroy. He is subtle, crafty and destructive. Don t be outsmarted.Resist As Christians, we have the power of God s Holy Spirit residing in us. The same Spirit that has conquered sin also dwells in us and has given us freedom from bondage. As we are being tempted, be obedient and submit to God for help and power to resist.Turn your mind to truth Satan will use half-truths, even scripture to tell us who we are. Think upon what God tells us who we are.Know the truth One of the best ways to know the truth about who we are is to read God s word (The Bible). Another way is to establish a constant dialogue (prayer) with God.Rely on Community It is important to have other believers actively involved in our lives to help keep us accountable and to be able to pray with us. Hide Extended Summary

    —Huffduffed by nothingbutdave

  6. What Was I Born to Do? | Woodland Hills Church

    It was a joy to hear from our own business pastor Annie Perdue-Olson! Annie shared passionately that we each need to understand our unique Kingdom purpose. She reminded us of Greg s message last week where Mary s willing spirit was the primary qualification God needed from her to do an amazing thing in the world! This same thing, our willingness, will determine how God is able to use us as well. The title of this sermon was: What was I born to do?Annie drew on Ephesians 2:1-10 (esp. vs. 10) to show that God does indeed create each of us uniquely for a purpose. We have a divine designer label! God designed us with a very specific idea in mind and it is specific to us! Finding out what God designed us to do is our task. It s a personal process of discovery. As examples of what life looks like when we embrace the design and mission God has for us, Annie pointed us to several biblical personalities. First she looked to Jesus.Annie found Jesus mission summarized in John 10:10 I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. Jesus life reflected this mission well. But it was not always easy. Part of our task, in addition to discovering and affirming God s design and mission for us is to stand firm against obstacles to that mission. Jesus faced many. He was tempted by Satan (Matt. 4:1-10) and even his family tried to influence him (Mark 3:21) to stop doing what God had called him to do.Another person with a clear sense of mission and identity is Ruth. Even though her mission was not to directly save the whole created order, she still had a very important mission that she could pour her whole life into. She was to love and be present to another person: Naomi. (Recall Ruth 1:8-10 & 16-17) Ruth was so important that she is mentioned as an ancestor of Jesus!Then there was Joseph. He too knew what he was created to do. He was a wise administrator and everyone who enlisted his services benefited from him. Joseph s path had wild peaks and valleys. Just knowing what you are designed for doesn t mean you won t have troubles! But the task is to stay the course, and Joseph did this well. He was the most favored son, but then was sold by his brothers into slavery, he used his gifts to gain favor with his master, but then his master s wife got him thrown into prison. Again, Joseph used his gifts to eventually be the Pharaoh s chief advisor!After showing these examples from Scripture, Annie shared a bit of her own story with us. She too has walked a path with many severe peaks and valleys. In April of 2000 Annie was celebrating the five year anniversary of her husband being cancer free! It was a great peak in her life! But two months later, they found out that the cancer had returned. Working through this process has been a painful and challenging time, but God has brought her through with a renewed sense of purpose and a wonderful man to share her future with her!Annie s challenge to all of us is this: will we be willing like Mary was? Even if you feel like a nobody from nowhereville ? Hide Extended Summary

    —Huffduffed by nothingbutdave

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