God Saved Us Because of His Mercy

A verse shared at our men’s group this morning:

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. (‭Titus‬ ‭3‬:‭4-7‬ NIV)

Our Need to Rest

We need to carve out time each week for rest:

Mark 6:30-31 NIV

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

The Law Reveals Our Need for God

These words from the Apostle Paul reveal to us our need for God. The law, given to the Jews and now to us as Christians through the Old Testament and the words of the prophets, shows us how we always fall short of God’s expectations when we rely on ourselves.

Romans 3:20 NIV

Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

Excited for 2015 Mo Ranch Men’s Conference!

This weekend I’m attending the Men’s Council planning retreat for the May 2015 Men’s Conference at Mo Ranch, which is a Presbyterian retreat center near Hunt, Texas. Amidst the busyness of our fall schedules, this is an awesome opportunity to briefly visit the beautiful hill country of Texas with my wife and have some fellowship and planning time with other Christian men.

Mo Ranch Men’s Conference Planning Counc by Wesley Fryer, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  Wesley Fryer 

I’ve been coming to Mo Ranch (@PresbyMoRanch) for the men’s conference for about seven years, and it’s become a VERY important part of my life. My dad has been coming down with me for the last 3 or 4 years, and it’s a non-football weekend for us to fellowship together that’s become an awesome tradition.

Panorama at Mo Ranch - Saturday BBQ! by Wesley Fryer, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  Wesley Fryer 

This morning at our Men’s Council planning meeting, our Men’s Council President Michael Brundeen shared a little about our 2015 conference keynote speaker and worship leader. Donovan Drake, pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee. His description of Donovan’s sermons that he’s heard in the past was incredible! Michael heard him preach on the story of Noah’s Ark, when he extended the metaphor to “who are you bringing on your ark?” The focus was on thinking about the legacy you build and shape today which will have LOTS of impact down the road. I’m not only energized to hear Donovan at Mo Ranch next year, but also subscribe to his sermon series which is available as a podcast both on iTunes and via an RSS feed. (I use the latter with the Pocket Casts smartphone app.) I’m not doing justice to Michael’s description of Donovan’s sermon messages here… but suffice it to say I’m SUPER energized to hear him. Jesse Truvillion has been our Bible study leader at Mo Ranch for many years. It will be exciting to hear from Donovan Drake and have him bring fresh messages to our attendees.

Michael also told us about Rev. Dr. David G. McKechnie, who will be our 2015 Men’s Conference keynote speaker. David has a very interesting background, prior to attending seminary and becoming a pastor, as a television news anchor. Michael said David is a FANTASTIC storyteller, and has compelling ability to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with his stories. I can’t find a podcast RSS feed or videos on YouTube for any messages by David, so if you have or find one please share it as a comment to this post. I’m VERY enthused to hear his keynote message for us at our 2015 conference.

Wherever you are in your faith journey, if you are a man I encourage you join us Friday, May 2 through Sunday, May 4, 2015 at Mo Ranch for the Men’s Conference. It will be a renewing and refreshing experience of fellowship and growing in faith following God and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Asking for Wisdom

These are verses Brian Wagner shared tonight at the 1001 Community Worship Service at our church:

That night the lord appeared to Solomon in a dream, and God said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!” Solomon replied, “You showed great and faithful love to your servant my father, David, because he was honest and true and faithful to you. And you have continued to show this great and faithful love to him today by giving him a son to sit on his throne. “Now, O lord my God, you have made me king instead of my father, David, but I am like a little child who doesn’t know his way around. And here I am in the midst of your own chosen people, a nation so great and numerous they cannot be counted! Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?” The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom. So God replied, “Because you have asked for wisdom in governing my people with justice and have not asked for a long life or wealth or the death of your enemies— I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have! And I will also give you what you did not ask for—riches and fame! No other king in all the world will be compared to you for the rest of your life! And if you follow me and obey my decrees and my commands as your father, David, did, I will give you a long life.” (1 Kings 3:5-14 NLT)

The only source of true wisdom is God. We need to seek Him & His plans so we can live in tune with Him.

How do we access God’s wisdom? Ask God for it! Seek wisdom from God through prayer.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. (James 1:5 NLT)

Prayers for wisdom should always be followed by a prayer for courage & strength to do what is right.

Jesse Truvillion – Saturday morning at Mo-Ranch

These are a few brief notes from the devotional shared by Jesse Truvillion at the Mo-Ranch Men’s Conference on May 3, 2014.

In these verses we have the focus of the New Testament:

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:3-8 NIV)

God does not call us to be someone else, he calls us to be the person we were baptized to be

We love as much as our little journey will allow us to love

Woody Francis (?) story

I was sent to ring the church bell when my dad was led pit into the woods by 3 white men with long rifles
– in the end it all turned out ok

You have to work so God can use you anywhere and at anytime

Mateen at MoRanch (Part 1 of 2) – Perseverance

These are my notes from the opening keynote address shared by Mateen Elass at the 63rd annual Mo-Ranch Men’s Conference near Hunt, Texas, on May 2, 2014.

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:7-12 NIV)

1- Timing is everything

Genesis 3:3

Gal 4:4 at the right time God sent his Son

“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,” (Galatians 4:4 NIV)

Theme of OT: God is a covenant God
– he perseveres
– his goal is to take ruined lives and restore them

God sets the stage si the glory may clearly shine upon His Son

2- Irresistible Grace
– from TULIP

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” (Romans 8:28-30 NIV)

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:3-6 NIV)

3- From beginning to the end: God’s purpose is to draw us into fullness of joy with Him

God calls us to be and to make disciples

“The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.” (Psalm 37:39, 40 NIV)

Reference to movie “Cliffhanger”
– God reaches down to pull us away from the abyss

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14 NIV)

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5 NIV)

God does not give up on us:

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38, 39 NIV)

Theme of this conference: God is the one who is going to shape your life:
– he has willed it, now you must walk it

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:12, 13 NIV)

You don’t deserve God’s love or grace, neither do I
– but God’s grace is not about what we deserve

Contrasting the vision of Heaven between Muslims & Christians
– Muslims have a purely sensual view of heaven, where God remains distant

Rev 21 & 22 describe the Christian heaven
– God is at the center
– God wipes away our tears, the most intimate act

“I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:2-4 NIV)

Encouraged by the story of Joseph

Today and last week I have been very encouraged by the story of Joseph and his brothers. This morning on my way to work I listened to the following verses:

“Please, come closer,” he said to them. So they came closer. And he said again, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. This famine that has ravaged the land for two years will last five more years, and there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors. So it was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh—the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt. (Genesis 45:4-8 NLT)

http://bible.com/116/gen.45.4.nlt

It is encouraging to remember that God walks with us each day, and is using the experiences we are going through to further His plans and His kingdom, when we are called according to His purpose.

Tweets from Presentations by Nabeel Qureshi in Oklahoma

These are my tweets from a sermon and afternoon presentation by Nabeel Qureshi at First Presbyterian Church of Edmond, Oklahoma, on February 9, 2014. My Christian Twitter channel is @eyesrightblog – my professional channel is @wfryer. Nabeel’s web bio is:

Dr. Nabeel Qureshi is a former devout Muslim who was convinced of the truth of the Gospel through historical reasoning and a spiritual search for God. Since his conversion, he has dedicated his life to spreading the Gospel through teaching, preaching, writing, and debating.

Nabeel has given lectures at universities and seminaries throughout North America, including New York University, Rutgers, the University of North Carolina, the University of Ottawa, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Biola University. He has participated in 17 moderated, public debates around North America, Europe, and Asia. His focus is on the foundations of the Christian faith and the early history and teachings of Islam.

Nabeel is a member of the speaking team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. He holds an MD from Eastern Virginia Medical School, an MA in Christian apologetics from Biola University, and an MA from Duke University in Religion.

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