Thursday, February 17, 2011

Children's Ministry Day in Two Days!

Wanted to let everyone know by way of reminder about Fellowship's Children's Ministry Day coming up in 2 days on Saturday, Feb. 19th. This year's theme is "Neighbor to Neighbor," helping our friends in this area. We are planning an exciting day of ministry and activity for the children preschool through 5th grade as well as you, the parents & guardians.

We will start out the day by meeting at 10:00am in the church parking lot with a bus trip to the Tarrant Area Food Bank (2600 Cullen Street, Fort Worth, TX 76107-1302, phone: 817-332-9177). There, we will be taking a tour of the mega-facility for food distribution to the needy of our area with the various programs they serve here in the Fort Worth area. They have ask that we bring a non-perishable food donation to the event, which we are more than willing to do. We are asking that each child bring a small bag of non-perishable food items with them to the event.
At about 12:00 noon we will be returning to the church for a pizza party and fun fellowship frenzy! We will have games and activities there for all the kids.

We want you to be inviting all of your friends and neighbors for this event, both the trip and the fellowship, or just the fellowship if they prefer. Please reach out "Neighbor to Neighbor" to make an impact in your community for this special day!

We'll have permission forms for kids being dropped off, but we would love it if you, the parents and/or guardians, could join us for the day.
CMD's website for this program is

Looking forward to a grand adventure "Neighbor to Neighbor!"

Summary of the book of Exodus

These are selected verses (NIV version) from our recent reading in Exodus that will give you an overall summary of the book. If you dare, commit these verses to memory and you will be able to teach people the book of Exodus in a short amount of time.

Exodus 1:8 Then a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt.

Exodus 2:24 God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob.

Exodus 3:14 God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.'"

Exodus 4:15 You shall speak to him (Aaron) and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do.

Exodus 5:22 - 23 22 Moses returned to the LORD and said, "O Lord, why have you brought trouble upon this people? Is this why you sent me? 23 Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and you have not rescued your people at all."

Exodus 6:1 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country."

Exodus 7:1 Then the LORD said to Moses, "See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet.

Exodus 9:1 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go to Pharaoh and say to him, 'This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: "Let my people go, so that they may worship me."

Exodus 10:27 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he was not willing to let them go.

Exodus 12:12 "On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn-- both men and animals-- and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD.

Exodus 14:31 And when the Israelites saw the great power the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.

Exodus 15:26 He said, "If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you."

Exodus 16:2 In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron.

Exodus 17:6 I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink." So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel.

Exodus 20 The Ten Commandments

Exodus 20:20 Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning."

Exodus 20-31 Law Section

Exodus 32:8 They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, 'These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.'

Exodus 32:11 But Moses sought the favor of the LORD his God. "O LORD," he said, "why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand?

Exodus 32:14 Then the LORD relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.

Exodus 34 The Two Tablets Replaced and the Covenant is Renewed

Exodus 34:6-7 6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation."

Exodus 35-40 The Tabernacle and the Glory of the LORD

The Hardening of Pharaoh’s Heart Part 3 of 3

God states His sovereign reason for the things that He has done in Exodus 10:2, “that you may know that I am the LORD.” His greatest desire is for us to know Him and to submit to His ultimate authority. He had the same desire for the Egyptians if we read carefully (Ex. 14:4, 18).

It is also interesting to note in the narrative language all the exchange between the LORD hardening Pharaoh’s heart and Pharaoh himself hardening his heart towards the LORD. It appears that the LORD was certainly patient with Pharaoh and gave him every opportunity to let the people go without catastrophic consequences, yet he continued to be rebellious and stubborn in his insistence to keep the children of Israel as slaves, not acknowledging the true God. The LORD even sent Pharaoh’s magicians and servants as messengers at times trying to reason with him as to the nature of the destruction that his hard heart was causing (Ex. 8:19; 10:7; 12:33). We can conclude that indeed the LORD gave Pharaoh every chance to turn around and repent before it was too late. To that end we can conclude with other Scripture passages that our God is a kind and compassionate God who is gracious and merciful to those who call upon Him (Ex. 34:6, 2 Chronicles 30:9, Psalm 116:5, Joel 2:13, Rom. 10:13).

To sum up in conclusion, it can be said that Pharaoh was given every opportunity that anyone else would be given for a relationship with the LORD and it was his choice to disregard the LORD’s offer. This was known to the Sovereign LORD from the beginning, but still He reached out His hand to the king of Egypt in an effort to show him grace and mercy, and to make His glory known to mankind through these miraculous signs and wonders. When Pharaoh was encountered by the living God, the LORD, by His very nature, was so repugnant in Pharaoh’s fallen, depraved, and prideful state that the thought of entering a subservient position hardened his heart. In other words, Pharaoh was not going to have anything to do with this God because he considered himself to be god of the universe. This put Pharaoh in a position where no one could impart to him the truth. It was a self-absorbed position that had no place for a relationship with the Creator. The idea of a Supreme Being drove him away from any desire for relationship. God had hardened his heart and He justly sent discipline and wrath upon him and his kingdom. So then the question comes back down to us, “Will we fear God in our own lives, repent of sin, and turn in faith to His Divine direction for our own lives? Or, will we be stubborn and prideful, unrelenting to God’s sovereign authority to our own demise and destruction?” These are sobering questions with which to grapple. What we do know is that the LORD’s way is always the best and His favor rests with it! God has made Himself known to us through Jesus Christ our Savior and desires for us to have a deep and intimate relationship with Him forever!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Hardening of Pharaoh’s Heart Part 2 of 3

God, who has complete knowledge of the situation, and is outside of time with foreknowledge of what will transpire simply reveals prophetically what is about to happen to Moses as God makes His Name known for the first time (Ex. 3:14; 6:3). The “as the LORD had said” or “had spoken” passages are significant for our interpretation and understanding (Ex. 7:13, 22; 8:15, 19; 9:12, 35). This reveals that the LORD had predicted what was going to come to pass in regard to Pharaoh hardening his heart and in fact it did come to pass just as the LORD had known that it would. You see, in advance God saw this Pharaoh’s heart and this was the vital issue. He knew that this Pharaoh: 1) had a stubborn heart (Ex. 7:14), 2) had a heart that would not listen (Ex. 7:4, 22; 8:15, 19; 9:12; 11:9), 3) had a hard heart (Ex. 7:22; 8:15, 19, 32; 9:7, 12, 34, 35; 10:20), 4) had no concern in his heart for the things of God (7:23), 5) had an exalted heart, thought he was god, and would not humble himself (Ex. 10:3), 6) had no regard for the word of the Lord (Ex. 9:21), and 7) had great anger (Ex. 10:27-28)

In the beginning God foreknew that it would be under compulsion that the people of Israel would be driven out of Egypt and be let go (Ex. 6:1) because there was no relationship with the LORD on the part of Pharaoh. In other words, there would be no way a prideful, stubborn king of Egypt that did not know God would ever let His people go from the land into freedom. It would not make economic sense and it would be humiliating for the Egyptians at this point. They were blinded from God’s will and plan for redemption of mankind through Jesus Christ because there was no relationship with the living Creator. It would take a sovereign act of the Almighty to make Himself known and for release to be achieved.

It is interesting that Pharaoh at times knows that he has sinned against this incredible Power that is coming against him, yet he cannot give himself over fully to repentance (Ex. 9:27; 10:16-20). This, the Bible states, is because he did not “fear the LORD God (Ex. 9:30).” 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Hardening of Pharaoh’s Heart Part 1 of 3

A problematic portion of Scripture involves the hardening of the king of Egypt, Pharaoh, in his heart. The text states that it was God that hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Ex. 4:21; 7:3; 10:1, 27; 11:10; 14:4). The question becomes, “What does this really mean?” The tendency is to take a deterministic interpretation of these difficult passages, which is one straightforward way of doing it. By deterministic what I mean is that God has determined these earthly events without any free choice in the matter from a human perspective. However, this creates great theological problems in one’s mind because it would be a clear contradiction of other Scriptural passages denoting the love of God for all mankind desiring their salvation (John 3:16, 1 Tim. 2:4, 2 Pet. 3:9), not to mention His impartiality (2 Chronicles 19:7, Job 34:19, Acts 10:34, Rom. 2:11, Gal. 2:6, Eph. 6:9, Col. 3:25, 1 Pet. 1:17). We also conclude from other Scripture passages that God does not tempt man to do any wrong (James 1:13-17).

So here with the example of Pharaoh we have an obvious dilemma. Could there be another option in interpretation for us to consider that would better fit the unity of Scripture and give us a more proper understanding of our Creator? The answer lies in what I call a relational interpretation of this difficult portion of Scripture. Please let me explain.

In this narrative of Scripture, there are many references to knowing the LORD. The book starts out with the fact that a king arose in Egypt who did not know Joseph (Ex. 1:8). It is easy to correlate the relationship of knowing Joseph to knowing the living God because of all that the LORD had revealed in Joseph’s time and the prosperity that the LORD allowed in Egypt because of a former Pharaoh’s knowledge and obedience to what the LORD was doing to save the people of God (Gen. 41:16, 38). The previous Pharaoh, in Joseph’s time, at least acknowledged God and allowed the LORD to do His work in the famine situation. As a result, the LORD poured out His favor upon him and the land of Egypt (Gen. 47:5-11).

However, as generations passed, this particular Pharaoh, which is in question, has obviously not known God (Ex. 5:2 “Key Verse”). For whatever reason, he has rejected the living God that favored his ancestors and his land. It is a fulfillment in many ways of God’s covenant to Abraham that the LORD will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you (Gen. 12:3; 27:29). The slavery and bondage of the sons of Israel is the result and they cry out to God for release from their oppression. The sons of Israel knew God and in faith called out to Him. God heard their groaning and remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Ex. 2:24). God saw the bad situation and took notice of them and set out to rescue them by His mighty Hand (Ex. 2:25). He then miraculously called Moses and reluctantly Moses and Aaron accepted their mission as the LORD’s mouthpiece (Ex. 4:15).