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City of Refuge Fellowship
Building Bridges Through Prayer
Category: Christianity
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by Abie Kulynych
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March 13, 2018 07:32 AM PDT
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The old saying is “seeing is believing”. There are many things I’m told that I respond with, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” In John 20 we are told that Thomas was not with the other disciples when Jesus first visited them after He rose from the dead. When they found Thomas they told him, “We have seen the Lord.” Thomas responded, “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” We have this idea that if we see something for ourselves then it will become easy to believe, but as we’ve already discussed in this study, believing takes work, it takes faith, it takes trust, it takes something far more than seeing. Even more, what about the fact that seeing is often unreliable? We’ve all thought we saw things only to later discover that what we’d seen had been different than we first believed it to be. If an event happened among us this morning, something unexpected and unplanned, chances are that many of us would recount it differently because we would see it differently. What if seeing is not believing? What if many have seen but have been unwilling to believe? In today’s text this is exactly what Jesus tells the crowd in Capernaum, the crowd that He had miraculously fed on the other side of the sea the night before. He said, “you have seen Me and still you do not believe.” This morning I want us to look closely at this passage of Scripture to search our hearts and Jesus’ words and to ask ourselves, is our faith based on what we’ve seen or what we’ve tasted? Jesus seems to teach us that seeing is not enough to create belief, that in the kingdom of God, eating is believing.

March 04, 2018 05:25 PM PST

The crowd in Capernaum wanted to find out how to prove themselves to God, they asked Jesus, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered that the work that God desires from us and requires of us is that we believe in the One whom God sent. They then shifted, from asking how to prove themselves to God, to asked Jesus how He would prove Himself to them, “What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you?” We have this internal desire for proof, we believe we have to prove ourselves, to show ourselves worthy, but at the same time, we desire, sometimes even demand that God prove Himself to us, that God prove to us that He is real, that He is present, that He is worthy of our trust and surrender. In today’s message we move back and forth between John 6 and Deuteronomy 8, discovering that God does not answer our demand that He prove Himself, but rather, He leads us in ways that call us to humility, He tests us in ways that reveal our hidden places, He causes us to hunger so that He can feed us and teach us that He is, above all else, trustworthy.

February 27, 2018 07:24 AM PST

The crowds that had searched for Jesus were looking for proof, proof that He was who they wanted Him to be and proof that they could be convinced of their place in His kingdom. When they asked Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" Jesus responded with an answer that is supposed to bring comfort but often seems more like a challenge, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent." The only work that God desires from us is that we believe and yet, many of us are looking for something to do. We want a task to a complete, a box to check, a prayer to pray, we want proof. Jesus is teaching that believing, belief that is the convergence of faith, confidence and trust, believe that is defined by surrender is work. Today we discuss the work of believing, what does it look like, why is it so hard and finally we ask are we willing to fight our temptation to find proof and set our faces like flint and our feet firmly on our foundation and do the work of believing?

February 20, 2018 12:25 PM PST

We were created to work, not for our salvation, but in our salvation and because of our salvation. God is a God who works, He is always at work and as His people His desire is that we join Him. The question is not if we should work but what we should work for. Jesus told the crowd in Capernaum not to labor for bread that perishes, for things that are temporary but to spend ourselves, to set our affection and our effort on the bread that makes for eternal life. I believe Jesus is teaching us to rest in God's provision and work for God's Kingdom, to trust His care of our lives and to devote our lives to the spread of His kingdom.

January 31, 2018 09:25 AM PST

Text: John 6:16-21

Description:
We have a bit of a romantic notion about being led by the Holy Spirit. We sing “where He leads me I will follow” but in our minds, we often picture the Spirit leading us to where we want to be, to where we expect God to take us. We fail to remember that you only need to be led if you don’t know the way or you don’t want to go. “Lead me” is a powerful but dangerous prayer, it is a prayer of dependence and surrender, of trust and reliance, it is a prayer, but it is also a promise, the request for leadership must also be a promise to relinquish control. We cannot control our lives and follow the Holy Spirit’s leadership at the same time. In today’s text we find the disciples in difficulty while Jesus was in prayer, He was not with them but they were where He had sent them. They followed His leadership and found themselves in the midst of a storm, they were not where they wanted to be, but even more, Jesus was not where they believed they needed Him to be. Today my hope is that we will discover that the Holy Spirit drives us to some difficult places. If we are following Jesus we will face some seasons and situations in our lives that we have not expected and do not enjoy, but even when we cannot see Him, His eyes are on us and when we feel it is impossible to get to Him He will show us that He is always with us. I pray that we will learn to trust the Holy Spirit’s leadership in and not just out of the difficult seasons of our lives and that we will be willing to see Jesus in places we didn’t expect to be found by Him.

January 31, 2018 09:23 AM PST

Text: John 6:1-14

Description: Six months after Jesus had declared that God was His Father and He was God’s Son, He took His next steps to reveal it. John the Baptist had been executed, Jesus had moved from Jerusalem to the other side of the Sea of Galilee and the Passover was approaching. News of Jesus’ miracles, of the healing of diseases and the casting out of demons was spreading throughout the country so there was a curiosity about Jesus. When we add to that curiosity, the uncertainty and grief that the nation was experiencing after the death of John, the first prophet in over 300 years, we can understand why multitudes, literally thousands of people decided to go and find Jesus. Before we dive into the text it’s important that we understand that, according to Matthew’s account of this story, Jesus was trying to get away, to be alone with His disciples, possibly to process John’s death and to prepare for the fact that His own death was only about a year away. Jesus was not building a crowd, but the Father was working in the hearts of the entire nation to bring a crowd to Jesus. This event allows us to see a test of the disciple’s faith but also the faithfulness of Jesus’ heart.

January 31, 2018 09:21 AM PST

Text: I Peter 3:15

Description: Following Jesus often appears questionable. Following Jesus raises more questions than it provides answers for those who are watching how we live. Trusting God requires faith and faith believes in what it cannot see because it is confident in the character of the one who leads. Following Jesus is and always has been questionable. It is supposed to raise questions. Henry Blackaby says “Obedience is costly to you and those around you.” What if the cost of obedience is questions from those around us? This morning I pray that we would see that the work of God creates questions, but we are not responsible for the answers. We are called to live in a way that stirs up questions and makes people uncomfortable so that God can begin providing them with His answers.

December 26, 2017 08:54 AM PST

Text: Isaiah 7:14

Description: This past Sunday we celebrated Christmas Eve together by concentrating on the themes of two Christmas carols. After singing the first hymn, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”, Abie shared about the theme of the hymn, Israel’s longing for the Messiah and then we had a time of intercession, praying for that longing to return to Israel, that God’s people would long for His Son. We then sang “O Holy Night” and Abie shared the reality that at the birth of Christ hope literally exploded to the world. And we closed by praying together for the “thrill of hope” found in the birth of Christ to be realized “to the Jew first” and to every nation and heart on the earth.

December 26, 2017 08:52 AM PST

Text: Isaiah 7:14

Description: This past Sunday we celebrated Christmas Eve together by concentrating on the themes of two Christmas carols. After singing the first hymn, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”, Abie shared about the theme of the hymn, Israel’s longing for the Messiah and then we had a time of intercession, praying for that longing to return to Israel, that God’s people would long for His Son. We then sang “O Holy Night” and Abie shared the reality that at the birth of Christ hope literally exploded to the world. And we closed by praying together for the “thrill of hope” found in the birth of Christ to be realized “to the Jew first” and to every nation and heart on the earth.

December 26, 2017 08:49 AM PST

Text: Romans 12:1-2

Description: This past Sunday we had the pleasure of having Kevin Flowers, from Refuge Ministries, as our guest speaker. We pray that your hearts would be open to surrendering to his challenge of making an enemy a friend as he shares with us that we are meant to illuminate the rooms God places us in because God is shaping and molding us so that we can affect the people around us.

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