Friday, June 28, 2013

Week 5, day 4 devotional

Day Four        
Read Acts 10:1-48

1)      Why does God bring Peter to Cornelius to share the gospel with him? (Circle all that apply)
a.       Because Cornelius has been faithful in serving God with his limited knowledge
b.      Because Cornelius is His favorite
c.       To demonstrate His desire to save the gentiles
d.      All of the above

2)      What did Peter’s vision on the rooftop mean?

3)      Why were the believers amazed in verse 45?
a.       Because the converts were speaking in tongues
b.      Because of the beauty of Peter’s speech
c.       Because they saw Jesus
d.      Because gentiles were receiving the Holy Spirit

To Memorize:
And He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that He is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name.
Acts 10:42-43 (ESV)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

What's My Story...Lois Jones


A Testimony by Lois M. Jones

It’s been a privilege over the last 30 years to serve the Lord in many capacities at Orange Friends Church. God gives us all Spiritual Gifts and we are blessed when we can serve in those areas of giftedness. Romans 12:4,5  “For  just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.”  No gift is more important than another, just different.

My gifts are Administration, Leadership,  Hospitality and Mercy. During the past few years, I served on the Nominating Committee. Our job was to listen to the Lord’s leading to help people serve in their areas of giftedness.

Ways God has allowed me to use His gifts recently:

          1.  Bob and I serve as Membership Chairmen; this gives us the privilege of getting to know new people and helping them find ways to serve at OFC.

          2.  Working with Faithful Followers, a small group for those in the Golden Years, allows us to encourage the attenders in later stages of life.

          3.  Working with the CARE ministry with Jean Macy through visits, phone calls, and service to elderly and shut-ins, allows us to act out James 1:27 “This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father to visit orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” 

          4.   The gift of Hospitality allows us to host Small Groups and meetings at our house, including the Kamwesa Home Group.

          5.  Because of the gifts of Hospitality and Mercy several people have let us borrow their children. Bob and I have been called ‘Gram and Grump’ by many children and teenagers.

          6.  The ultimate blessing of the use of  Spiritual Gifts by the entire church was in April  2010, when  a Silent Auction raised funds to buy ‘Florobel’, a van to be used by our members, the Fingerhuts, to transport their handicapped son.  The name ‘Florobel’ was chosen to honor another member, who proposed the fundraiser.  I had the honor of being God’s Assistant Chairman in this endeavor.

My prayer is God will give us many more years to serve Him by using our gifts through his people at OFC.

Week 5, day 3 devotional

Day Three
Read Acts 9:32-43

1)      In verse 34 Peter recognizes that Christ is working through him and tells Aeneas that Christ is the one who healed him.  Do you give God the glory when He does amazing things through you?

2)      What was the true purpose of God healing Aeneas and bringing Dorcas back to life?
a.       To help Peter show off
b.      To bring people to faith in Jesus
c.       Purely to bring Aeneas and Dorcas back to health
d.      To give the people a good magic show

3)      Why does Luke seemingly throw in the extraneous detail about Dorcas’ good works and charity in verse 36?
a.       Because he is long winded
b.      To show that those who honestly seek after Christ will find him
c.       To illustrate how good of a person Dorcas was
d.      To show that good things happen to good people

To Memorize:
And Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; rise and make your bed.” And immediately he rose.  And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord.
Acts 9:34-35 (ESV)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Week 5, day 2 devotional

Day Two:
Read Acts 9:1-31

1)      What city was Saul traveling to when he had his encounter with Christ?
a.       Jerusalem
b.      Caesarea
c.       Corinth
d.      Damascus

2)      Verse 8 says that after Saul’s encounter with Jesus his eyes were open but he could not see.  How were you spiritually blind before your encounter with Jesus?

3)      Verse 21 says that the people were amazed at Saul because of his transformation.  His former life actually enabled him to preach the gospel because people could see the power of Christ in his dramatic transformation.  How has God used your past mistakes to reach others for Jesus? In what ways can He do this?

To Memorize:
“Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem.  And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.”  But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.”
Acts 9:13-15 (ESV)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Week 5, day 1 devotional

Just Go: Acts Chapter 9-10 (June 24-June 30)
Day One:
            This week we are diving into two of the most important conversion stories in the Acts and the Bible at large.  Chapter 9 covers the conversion story of Saul of Tarsus who later becomes Paul, and chapter 10 recounts the story of Cornelius the Roman centurion.  Both stories echo the sentiment that God does not show partiality in whom He chooses to use for his divine purposes. God can and does use all kinds of people. Just look at who Saul and Cornelius were.  Saul was responsible for the death and persecution of many Christians.  Cornelius was a gentile.  The idea that God would choose to use a non-Jew was utterly scandalous considering Jewish customs at the time made one unclean for associating with gentiles.  Oh, and by the way, he was also part of the same Roman Empire that was ultimately responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus!
            Some of you need to hear this because you are not fully convinced that God can use you, let alone love you.  I need this message every day!  The world says that there are good people and bad people but this is an illusion.  Psalm 114 puts this idea to rest saying, “none is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.”  We are loved, and thus used by God not because of who we are, but because of who He is.  The only requirement is that we seek after God with all of our heart.
              A couple of weeks ago my family and I went to a banquet honoring high school students for their service hours in the community.  One of the students being recognized was a young man with some mental disabilities.  I think if he could have he would have hugged everyone in the room (he hugged my sister twice).  God blessed me that day because He used that kid to give me a small glimpse of how He loves us and how we are to love others.  No matter whom we are, or what we have done, God loves us with the same unfailing and child-like love.
            Before you dig into this week’s readings I want you to shrug off the lie that God can’t use you.  Pray that through the stories of Paul and Cornelius that God will reveal to you His unfailing love.  Pray also that God will show you how the mistakes of your past can be used as unique opportunities to share the gospel with others.  Thank you and go with God and be at peace.
- Kyle Bogner

To Memorize:
“Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him.”
Acts 10:34-35 (ESV)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Week 4, day 4 devotional

Day Four:
Read Acts 8:26-40

1)      What scripture was the Ethiopian eunuch reading
a.       Jeremiah
b.      Daniel
c.       Isaiah
d.      Ezekiel

2)      In verse 29 the Holy Spirit tells Philip to go talk to the eunuch.  He does not simply walk to him.  He runs!  Do you have the willingness of Philip?

3)      Certainly some people are called to pastors and preach the gospel in that regard.  In the case of Philip and the eunuch, God presents Philip with the opportunity to preach Christ during the course of a natural conversation.  How have you experienced these natural opportunities to tell others about Jesus?  Have you obeyed the Holy Spirit in doing so?

To Memorize:
And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.”  So Philip ran to him.
Acts 29-30 (ESV)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

What's My Story....Jeanie Sampson

Nearly two years ago Don and I moved to Galena to be closer to our daughters and their families.  We left behind a home, friends, church and community of 34 years.  We wanted to have all that again in our new home.

 Once we were settled we began to look for a church.  We visited a couple before we walked into Orange Friends. We were greeted exuberantly by Lois and Bob Jones, who told us about the church, gave us a tour and invited us into their Sunday school class.  We immediately felt welcome.  The worship service that followed was joyous; the message by Pastor David was from God.  We were pretty sure after that visit we had found our new church home.  Since then we are at home in Doyle’s Sunday school class.  We are fed by the teaching of Biblical principles in worship; we are in community with other believers.  Don has found joy in serving as a trustee; I have found joy in providing meals to shut-ins.  Through OFC we have found an avenue to follow Christ by being in mission to the people at the C.R.A.C.K. House Ministries.  This is a rewarding experience for us and them.   

In gratitude for God’s abundance and for the hospitality this congregation offers we will support the mission and message of Orange Friends Church.  We will give of our time, our talents and our treasure.

Week 4, day 3 devotional

Day Three:
Read Acts 8:1-25

1)      Who approved Stephen’s execution
a.       Saul of Tarsus
b.      Caesar
c.       Judas
d.      Herod Antipas

2)      What does the story about Simon the magician say about genuine saving faith?

3)      What was the true desire of Simon’s heart?
a.       He desired Christ
b.      He desired the Kingdom of God
c.       He desired to show off the power of the Holy Spirit

To Memorize:
“May your silver perish with you because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!  You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.”
Acts 8:20-21 (ESV)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Week 4, day 2 devotional

Day Two:
Read Acts 7:1-60

1)      What do we learn about God’s character through Israel’s continued rejection of Him?

2)      Clearly submission is an issue for the broken human heart.  How have you resisted the Holy Spirit in your life and how would your life look different if you yielded to Him in all things?

3)      Before being stoned, Stephen sees heaven and the glory of God.  Stephen’s focus on this enables him to die well.  Based on this story, how does focusing on God’s glory help us live and die well?

To Memorize:
“And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit”.  And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”
Acts 7:59-60 (ESV)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Week 4, day 1 devotional

Just Go: Acts Chapter 7-8 (June 17-June 23)
Day One:
            About two months ago, I went to an event sponsored by Ohio State called the Veritas Forum.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with this forum, it was originally started at Harvard in 1992 by a woman named Kelly Monroe.  She saw that colleges were not helping students answer the most important truths in life so, she helped pioneer the Veritas Forum to bring people to the ultimate truth of Jesus Christ.  Today, Veritas Forum has grown immensely from its humble beginnings and now hosts friendly discussions around campuses all across the country between some of the most brilliant Christian and non-Christian thinkers in the world.  During the course of the discussion, the atheist philosopher expressed his belief that the world was better off and would continue to improve as more scientific knowledge was gathered. Now, I don’t think it takes an expert to come to the conclusion that our vast knowledge hasn’t truly made us a better society.  In fact, I would argue that society at large isn’t much better than when Jesus walked the earth almost 2,000 years ago.
            As Christians, we know that no amount of accumulated scientific knowledge or technology will ever save humanity.  Only Jesus Christ has the power to do that.  My point in mentioning this is that I believe the intellectual knowledge of God’s existence will not ultimately bring one to Christ.  God reminded me of this as I read Stephen’s speech in chapter 7.  In this speech, Stephen recounts the Jewish peoples’ rejection of God since the time of Abraham.  One event he recounts is the attempted reconciliation of the two quarrelling men by Moses contained in Exodus 2:11-15.  The man’s response in verse 27 gives a clue to the most troubling reason why people reject Jesus. ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us?’.  The real reason why most people reject Jesus is because of an unwillingness to submit to authority.
            I can back that up because I speak from experience.  I have an affinity for math and science and consider myself to be a very logical thinker. Certainly when I was in high school I did have some logical questions about God. I still do, as I’m confident most of you do too.  However, in retrospect it was my pride and arrogance that were my true barriers to Christ.  I know this because when I accepted Jesus as my savior just over two years ago at Orange Friends Church it was not an intellectual epiphany that led to my decision at all.  I don’t know how to describe it to you other than to just say that the Holy Spirit finally reached my diseased heart.  Even as a Christ follower I still find myself trying to buck God.  I constantly have to check myself and pray to God for a submitting spirit.
            I don’t think God could have chosen a better devotion topic for this week than submission.  Without a submitting spirit, the commitment to Christ I spoke of last week is impossible.  As you read and pray this week I urge you to ask God for a spirit of submission.  Pray the same for the wild hearts of those in your life without Christ.  Go with God and be at peace.
- Kyle Bogner

To Memorize:
“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit.  As your fathers did, so do you.”
Acts 7:51 (ESV)