Sunday, December 4, 2011

Celebrating Advent and Christmas This Year

Advent: Preparing For His Coming
The church year begins with The Season of Advent, the four Sundays before Christmas. Advent means “coming.” In Advent, we focus on the coming of Christ into the world (past), in our hearts (present), and the “second coming” (future). Celebrating Advent is a meaningful way to prepare for the Christmas season. What could your family do to make the Christmas season meaningful?
❆ Be sure to attend worship each Sunday. There will be special elements of the Christmas season shared in each worship service to remind you of the significance of Christ coming to earth.

❆ Pick up an Advent Devotional, “Transforming This Christmas,” available in the glassed foyer area. Set some time aside each day during Advent to be spiritually fed, inspired, and encouraged. While you’re picking up a devotional booklet, don’t forget to pick up a copy of “Advent, Christmas, Epiphany: What’s All This About?” This will help you to better understand the symbols and colors of Advent.

❆ Create a family tradition. Attend a Christmas play, special music presentation, town tree lighting, etc. Our own worship ministries at Hebron will be presenting “Sing Gloria” on December 10th and 11th at 6:00 p.m. Dinner will be served. Tickets are $2.50 each. Bring the entire family for this special Christmas musical event.

❆ Be a blessing to others by giving a special gift or by doing something special for someone who is not expecting it. The best way that we can celebrate the Christmas season is by sharing with others the greatest gift of all – Jesus!

You definitely don’t want to miss out on the wonder of the Christmas season. How will you celebrate this Christmas season?

In awe of God becoming flesh and dwelling among us!

Pastor Joe

The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14, HCSB

Sunday's Sermon Text for December 11, 2011 (Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11)

Isaiah 61:1-4, HCSB

Messiah's Jubilee
1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is on Me,
because the LORD has anointed Me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and freedom to the prisoners;

2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor,
and the day of our God's vengeance;
to comfort all who mourn,

3 to provide for those who mourn in Zion;
to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
festive oil instead of mourning,
and splendid clothes instead of despair.
And they will be called righteous trees,
planted by the LORD,
to glorify Him.

4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins;
they will restore the former devastations;
they will renew the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.
8 For I the LORD love justice;
I hate robbery and injustice;
I will faithfully reward them
and make an everlasting covenant with them.

9 Their descendants will be known among the nations,
and their posterity among the peoples.
All who see them will recognize
that they are a people the LORD has blessed.

10 I greatly rejoice in the LORD,
I exult in my God;
for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation
and wrapped me in a robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom wears a turban
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

11 For as the earth brings forth its growth,
and as a garden enables what is sown to spring up,
so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise
to spring up before all the nations.

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sunday's Sermon Text for December 4, 2011 (Isaiah 40:1-11)

Isaiah 40:1-11, HCSB

1 "Comfort, comfort My people,"
says your God.

2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and announce to her
that her time of servitude is over,
her iniquity has been pardoned,
and she has received from the LORD's hand
double for all her sins.

3 A voice of one crying out:
Prepare the way of the LORD in the wilderness;
make a straight highway for our God in the desert.

4 Every valley will be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill will be leveled;
the uneven ground will become smooth,
and the rough places a plain.

5 And the glory of the LORD will appear,
and all humanity will see [it] together,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

6 A voice was saying, "Cry out!"
Another said, "What should I cry out?"
"All humanity is grass,
and all its goodness is like the flower of the field.

7 The grass withers, the flowers fade
when the breath of the LORD blows on them;
indeed, the people are grass.

8 The grass withers, the flowers fade,
but the word of our God remains forever."

9 Zion, herald of good news,
go up on a high mountain.
Jerusalem, herald of good news,
raise your voice loudly.
Raise it, do not be afraid!
Say to the cities of Judah,
"Here is your God!"

10 See, the Lord GOD comes with strength,
and His power establishes His rule.
His reward is with Him,
and His gifts accompany Him.

11 He protects His flock like a shepherd;
He gathers the lambs in His arms
and carries [them] in the fold of His [garment].
He gently leads those that are nursing.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Church Reformation Needed

Sometimes I wonder, “How did God’s church get so far off track?” I mean really, “Does the average church today resemble the church that Jesus founded?” I think not and heaven must be grieving while the Devil is rejoicing. The church today is not so much in danger from people on the outside, it’s in danger of destroying itself, imploding from within by members who have no interest in a truly forming a visible Gospel church. Meanwhile, we make very little impact in our world and don’t seem particularly troubled by it. The angels rejoice over one sinner that repents, and you can’t seem to hardly get a holy whimper out of the average church member. “Where’s the salt of the earth? Where’s the light of the world?” As a popular song states, “If we are his body, why aren’t his hands working?”

Practically speaking the average church has become little more than a Christian social club. Forget carrying out the purpose of the church, to worship the Almighty God, to evangelize our culture outside the four walls of the church building, to disciple those who are brought to faith in Christ so that they will be fully mature and committed followers of Jesus, and to minister to the least among us. Today’s church is much more interested in “churchy” activities designed to meet the needs of the pew sitters and soothe the saints. “Give us programs that will insulate us from the real world, meet our every need, take care of us, recognize and praise us, entertain us, after all, we’re paying for the ‘show.’”

Where’s the holy fear of God? Where’s the reverence for God’s Word, to hear and obey? Where’s the joy of Jesus among God’s people? Where’s the body truly desiring to be the presence of Christ in the world? Where’s the passion for bringing broken people to Jesus? The main thing has ceased to become the main thing. God help us, God help the church that has lost its way, that has forgotten that it’s not about us, it’s about bringing glory to God in every facet of our lives. It’s about bringing broken people to Christ and teaching them all the things that Jesus has commanded. It’s about Him!

I believe a reformation is once again needed and “Lord, let it begin in me.” Will you join me?

Pastor Joe
“Phil. 1:3

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sermon Text and Happenings for Sunday, November 6, 2011

This Sunday, we will continue our series of messages from the book of 1 Thessalonians. In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 Paul begins to address the issue of "what happens to our loved ones when they die?" Some in the church at Thessalonica believed that their loved ones who had already died would miss out on the Lord's coming (what's called the "parousia"). Paul assured the believers that they indeed had not missed the Lord's coming. Both the living and those who had died in Christ will share in the glory of Christ's coming and future kingdom.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (HCSB)

13 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.

14 Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus.

15 For we say this to you by a revelation from the Lord: We who are still alive at the Lord's coming will certainly have no advantage over those who have fallen asleep.

16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel's voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

17 Then we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will always be with the Lord.

18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Harvest Day Supper, 5:00 P.M. in the CAC (Gym)
Please bring your favorite side dishes and desserts for your family and a guest. The church will supply the meat.

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sunday's Sermon Text for October 16, 2011: 1 Thessalonians 2:17-3:13

Scripture Reading is From the Holman Christian Standard Version (HCSB)

17 But as for us, brothers, after we were forced to leave you for a short time (in person, not in heart ), we greatly desired and made every effort to return and see you face to face. 18 So we wanted to come to you—even I, Paul, time and again—but Satan hindered us. 19 For who is our hope, or joy, or crown of boasting in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? Is it not you? 20 For you are our glory and joy!

1 Therefore, when we could no longer stand it, we thought it was better to be left alone in Athens. 2 And we sent Timothy, our brother and God's co-worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you concerning your faith, 3 so that no one will be shaken by these persecutions. For you yourselves know that we are appointed to this. 4 In fact, when we were with you, we told you previously that we were going to suffer persecution, and as you know, it happened. 5 For this reason, when I could no longer stand it, I also sent to find out about your faith, fearing that the tempter had tempted you and that our labor might be for nothing.

6 But now Timothy has come to us from you and brought us good news about your faith and love, and that you always have good memories of us, wanting to see us, as we also want to see you. 7 Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution, we were encouraged about you through your faith. 8 For now we live, if you stand firm in the Lord. 9 How can we thank God for you in return for all the joy we experience because of you before our God, 10 as we pray earnestly night and day to see you face to face and to complete what is lacking in your faith?

11 Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you. 12 And may the Lord cause you to increase and overflow with love for one another and for everyone, just as we also do for you. 13 May He make your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints. Amen.

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Monday, October 3, 2011

How to Have a Revival!

This past Sunday night (October 2, 2012) Hebron joined Gray's Creek Baptist Church for their church revival. Bill Robertson was the guest speaker. Preaching from 2 Chronicles 5:1-14, Bro. Bill stated that if we are to have a revival we must be lined up with God's Word. We cannot expect the blessings of God if we are not confessing our sin and lining up our lives under God's truth.

In speaking of how revival comes from God, he related the story of what happened to the Rod of Aaron that was in the Ark of the Covenant. God brought the rod of Aaron to life to show God's power and to point out God's man. Of all the rods from the leaders of the Israelites, only Aaron's rod budded. God brought a dead stick back to life. That's what revival is, God bringing back to life that which is dead.

Bill's message reminded me that we stand in need a heaven-sent revival from God! We need God to bring life to our dry and dead spirits. And when our lives our lined up under God's Word, we will experience renewed life.

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Sunday's Sermon Text: 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 (October 9, 2011)

1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 English Standard Version (ESV)

1 For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain.

2 But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict.

3 For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive,

4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.

5 For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed— God is witness.

6 Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ.

7 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.

8 So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.

9 For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.

10 You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers.

11 For you know how, like a father with his children,

12 we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Making Sense of Bible Translations

Sunday, September 25, 2011
Joe Alain, Hebron Baptist Church

Early English Translations How did we get our English Bible?
A complete translation of the Bible in English did not appear until the fourteenth century. The Latin Vulgate was the principle Bible used in the English church. John Wycliffe (called “The Morning Star of the Reformation”) along with two associates produced an English version of the Bible which was based on the Latin text.

During the sixteenth century there was an explosion of Bible translations. There are several factors that led to this:
(1) The Renaissance with its recovery of classical learning (especially Greek).

(2) The fall of Constantinople and the westward movement of Greek scholars.

(3) The Hebrew renaissance (Hebrew editions of the Bible by 1448).

(4) The development of Gutenberg’s printing press (ca. 1540).

(5) The Protestant reformation with its emphasis on vernacular versions and theological emphasis upon Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone), provided a catalyst for new translations.

William Tyndale (1484-1536) stands above all the rest concerning English translations in the sixteenth century. His New Testament translation was the first translation based on the Greek text established by Erasmus in 1516. Tyndale never finished the complete Bible and he was strangled and burned because of his work in 1536.

The first complete English Bible was produced in 1535 by Miles Coverdale. This work utilized Tyndale’s NT and completed the OT in consultation with German and Latin sources. Coverdale’s Bible was the first to remove the apocryphal books (that were in the Latin Vulgate).

The Authorized Version or King James Bible capped the series of translations begun by Tyndale (1611). Produced by a team of 54 scholars, the KJV became the Bible for English-speaking peoples for generations and a monument of the English language. This year marks the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible.

Why Is There a Need for Fresh Translations? Why do we need new translations?
(1) Advancements in textual criticism. Today we have many more early manuscripts that were simply not available before. For example, Codex Sinaiticus, early Greek papyri of NT documents, Dead Sea Scrolls, etc.
(2) Our knowledge of biblical languages has increased.

(3) The English language is continually changing. Updating translations to reflect contemporary usage of any language makes it easier to understand the Bible’s timeless message.

Evaluating Translations How do we determine what is a “good” translation?
Criteria for Evaluation of a Translation
1. The Identity and Qualification of the Translators. Who is doing the translation? What are their qualifications? Some English works are the product of a single person. For example, J.B. Phillip’s New Testament in Modern English and Eugene Peterson’s The Message. While works produced by a single person have there value, a committee offers a higher concentration of skills than one person. Modern translations are often the product of committees of over a hundred persons from a variety of backgrounds and skill sets. This serves to eliminate theological bias and provides needed accountability.

2. The Underlying Textual Basis of the Translation. What are the translation teams basing their translation on? Most modern translations opt for what is called a critical Greek text, reflecting an eclectic approach to textual questions. Usually this means some translations differ on the point of variations that are found in a text. A good translation will explain some of these variants.

3. The Theory of Translation Used by the Translators. This is perhaps the most practical information for us to know concerning the evaluation of a translation. There is a “hermeneutic” (science of interpretation) to translation. The act of translation means that translator will make judgements based on his or her understanding of the original languages, the receptor language, culture, etc. Translators must overcome all these barriers while remaining faithful to the message of the original text.

Our English Bibles are translations from the original biblical languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Among the things that a translator must be concerned with are what is known as “historical distance” and the “receptor language” in our case English

Historical Distance has to do with the differences that exist between the original language and the receptor language (English in our case) both in words, grammar, and idioms (or expressions) as well as in matters of culture and history.

Theory of Translation Each translator or team of translators must make a choice concerning how they will bridge the gap (the historical distance) between the two languages. It is usually a question of “degrees.” For example, should “lamp” be translated “flashlight” or “torch” in cultures where these serve the purpose that a lamp once did?

Three Theories of translation have been generally followed in bridging the gap between the original languages and the receptor language.

Literal or Formal Equivalency (“Word Correspondence”). The attempt to translate by keeping as close as possible to the exact words (Word Correspondence) and phrasing in the original language, yet still make sense in the receptor language. A formal equivalent translation will keep the historical distance intact at all points. This makes for an excellent translation for serious study. The downside is that the text may seem a little disjointed sounding and awkward. Although there are many formal equivalent translations, the ASV and the NASB are representative of this theory of translation.

Dynamic Equivalency (“Functional”). The attempt to translate words, idioms, and grammatical constructions of the original language into precise equivalents in the receptive language, producing a thought-for-thought translation. Such a translation keeps historical distance on all historical and most factual matters, but “updates” matters of language, grammar, and style. Meaning takes precedence over matters of structure and style. The question is, “how far can the translator go to achieve the equivalent effect yet still remain faithful to the text? The NIV and NLT are examples of this theory of translation.

Free (Paraphrases). The attempt to translate the ideas from one language to another, with less concern about using the exact words of the original. A free translation, sometimes also called a paraphrase, tries to eliminate as much of the historical distance as possible. Although paraphrases have there value, they are not translations and should not be treated as such. The Living Bible and The Message are representative paraphrases.

What are some things to be aware of concerning a paraphrase?
(1) A paraphrase may be taken as a translation by the average person.

(2) A paraphrase may reflect the theology of the person who did the paraphrase. In evaluating modern translations know the theological perspective of the translators. Usually, it is best to use a translation from a team rather than an individual. Of course, it goes without saying that the Bible text is inspired not someone’s commentary about the text! Think of a paraphrase as a “mini” commentary on Scripture.

(3) A paraphrase is not tied as closely to the text. If we are people who have a high view of the Bible and believe that God has revealed His will in His Word, then we want to know exactly what he said, not just a paraphrase of what he might have said. So, while a paraphrase is helpful as a commentary on Scripture, we want to make sure that we are consulting a good formal and/or dynamic equivalent translation of Scripture.

Following are charts that show what theory of translation is used for some of the more popular translations and paraphrases:


Phillips, LB, The Message

Tensions to Keep in Mind The point of the following charts is not to suggest that only formal translations are of any value, but to show the dynamics (positives and negatives) and challenges involved in translating the Bible. Many of the newer translations (e.g., NIV, CEB) are dynamic equivalent translations for the very reason that they are trying to preserve the best of a formal equivalent while at the same time making the translation more accessible and readable for modern audiences.

On one end of the Bible translation spectrum, you have . . .
Formal (Literal)

On the other end of the Bible translation spectrum, you have . . .
Free (Paraphrase)

Practical Considerations What translation should I use? For Study, use several well-chosen translations. A good formal equivalency Bible is a must but supplement with a modern translation like the NIV or NLT. Because most translations within there classification (formal or dynamic) are so similar, choosing a Bible translation is often a matter of personal preference. For example, the following are all examples of good formal equivalent translations. Note, how they differ only on there choice of words.

Hebrews 12:2 (Examples)
King James Version: “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.”

English Standard Version: “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.”

New American Standard Bible: “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.”

Holman Christian Standard Bible: “Keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith.”

For Daily Use and study you would do well to have a good literal or formal equivalent or dynamic translation with notes in the margin that reflect modern scholarship.

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sermon Text for Sunday, October 2, 2011 (Galatians 5:13-26)

Galatians 5:13-26
New International Version (NIV)

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.

18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;

20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions

21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Praise for the Past, Faith for the Future Renewal Sunday, September 25, 2011

This past Sunday, September 18th we distributed "Estimate of Giving" cards in our morning worship services. You might remember that the original building campaign called for a commitment of gifts to be made over a three year period. We are well into our third year of the campaign and I want to thank you for your faithfulness to give so generously. At the time of our original campaign, we had $749,904.16 committed over a three year period. I am pleased to announce that as of August 31, 2011 we have received $694,836.45! This amount includes your campaign gifts as well as the 11% of our undesignated receipts each month when we were able to do so from our general fund.

Your Capital Fund and Steering Committees have decided to extend our original campaign eight (8) months, concluding December 31, 2012. There are three reasons for this extension:

1. This will allow people a little extra time to make their original three year commitment.

2. This will allow people to make adjustments to their commitment if needed.

3. This will allow our new members and others who did not feel that they could make a commitment previously to have the opportunity to join us in this campaign.

What Is Your Committee Asking You to Do with The Estimate of Giving Card?
1. If you made a commitment in the original campaign, and you are satisfied with the original commitment that you made, simply record your original commitment minus what you have already given. This amount would represent your commitment for the remainder of the campaign, 15 months. You should have received a letter with the amount that you have given as of August 31st. If not, please contact the church office.

2. If you made a commitment in the original campaign, and you have already completed your commitment, prayerfully consider what you might give above your original commitment for the remainder of the campaign through 2012. Here’s an example of how this might work.

Say the original amount that you pledged over three years was $6,000 and you have completed your pledge. But since the campaign has been extended and you are able financially, you might feel that you could give an additional $2,000 through December, 2012. On your Estimate of Giving card simply record the additional amount of $2,000 that you feel led to give over the next 15 months.

Similarly, if you made a commitment in the original campaign but for some reason you are not able to fulfill that amount, then record what you plan to give over the next 15 months.

3. For new members and those who did not make a commitment in the original campaign, let me encourage you to prayerful consider partnering in this campaign from now until the original campaign concludes December, 2012. So the amount that you record would be your pledged amount for the campaign from now, September 25th through December 2012.

4. If you can only pray for your church, then please record the prayer response stating that you will pray for HBC as we seek to do God’s work and bring Him glory.

This Sunday, September 25th we are asking that you bring your completed Estimate of Giving cards to worship where we will lay them before the Lord and have a special time of prayer. I look forward to what God has in store for Hebron as we continue to be faithful in extending the Gospel of Jesus in our community and in our world.

See you Sunday as we offer ourselves as living sacrifices, ready to serve the living and true God.

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe
"Phil. 1:3"

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sunday, September 18, 2011 Sermon Text (1 Thessalonians 1:2-10)

1 Thessalonians 1:2-10, ESV

2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers,

3 remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

4 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,

5 because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.

6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit,

7 so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.

8 For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything.

9 For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,

10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fall Revial Is Here!!!

All are welcomed to join us for our Fall Revival beginning this Sunday, September 11th and continuing through Wednesday, September 14th! Following are the details for the week:

Guest Speaker: Keith Manuel
Guest Worship Leader: J. R. Walley

Schedule of Services
Sunday 8 & 10:30 a.m.
6 p.m. "Bring a Friend Night"

Monday 7 p.m. "Family Night"

Tuesday 7 p.m. "Sr. Adult Night"

Wednesday 7 p.m. "Children and Youth Night"

"Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?" Psalm 85:6

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sunday's Sermon Text: Psalm 32:1-11

This Sunday's sermon, "Hope in the Hard Place of Sin's Guilt," is based on Psalm 32: 1-11, ESV

A Maskil of David.

1 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.

5 I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,"
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.

6 Therefore let everyone who is godly
offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
surely in the rush of great waters,
they shall not reach him.
7 You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with shouts of deliverance.

8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
9 Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
or it will not stay near you.
10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.
11 Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous,
and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

Look forward to seeing you this Sunday for Christ-exalting and life-changing worship!
Pastor Joe

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hope in the Hard Place of Disappointment (Jeremiah 29:10-14)

This Sunday, August 21, 2011 I will continue the series, "Hope in the Hard Places." This week we are going to look at Jeremiah 29:10-14.

Jeremiah 29:10-14, NIV

10 This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

See you Sunday as we worship "the living God."
Pastor Joe

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hope in the Hard Places, New Sermon Series at HBC!

New Series: “Hope in the Hard Places”
Begins Today, August 7, 2011

Hope is “desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment” (Webster’s). For the Christian, hope is the belief that regardless of our circumstances, God is going to come through! To lack that kind of assurance is to become hopeless, despondent, despairing, even sick. “Hope delayed makes the heart sick” (Pr. 13:12, CEB).

Where does hope come from? Hope comes from the Lord and from trusting in His word of truth, for truth is what is needed to dispel our false beliefs that cause us to lose hope. Over the course of this series, we will look at some of the “hard places” that we often find ourselves in. God’s Word offers us great encouragement and hope in these hard places of our lives. Invite a hurting friend to join us on Sundays for worship to hear God’s healing Word in Scripture and song.

Messages This Month
August 7 -- Hope in the Hard Place of Sickness -- 2 Kings 20:1-6

August 14 – Hope in the Hard Place of Depression – Psalm 42:1-11

August 21 – Hope in the Hard Place of Disappointment – Jeremiah 29:10-14

August 28 – Hope in the Hard Place of Weariness – Isaiah 40:27-31

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sermon Text for Sunday, July 10, 2011 (Romans 12:1-2)

Here is a tremendous text dealing with the believer's relationship with God and knowing God's will. This Sunday, July 10th we will be exploring this rich passage for the truth about worship and God's will. I hope to see you this Sunday for life-changing worship!

Pastor Joe

Romans 12:1-2

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sunday, June 12 Scripture Reading, Galatians 6:1-3

Galatians 6:1-3
New International Version (NIV)

1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.

2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The "Beatitudes" Concludes Sunday, May 22, 2011!

Join us for worship this Sunday, May 22nd as we conclude a series of messages on the "Beatitudes." This week's message is based on Matthew 5:10-12, NIV.

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Look forward to seeing you this Sunday for worship and Bible study!
Pastor Joe

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Back to the Beatitudes! Sunday, May 15, 2011

Join us this Sunday, May 15th as we return to our previous sermon series on the Beatitudes. This week we will look at Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”

What does it mean to be a "peacemaker"? Is it possible in the world that we live in today to be a person of peace? Come with an open heart and the open Word of God as we explore an issue that very much has relevance for our lives today.

Have a blessed week and I'll see you this Sunday for life-transforming Bible study and worship.
Pastor Joe

Monday, April 18, 2011

Easter Sunday Happenings at HBC, April 24, 2011

Join us for a great day in the Lord this Easter Sunday as we celebrate the risen Christ.

Walk through Breakfast -- 8:30 a.m.

Sunday School/Bible Study (all ages) -- 9:15 a.m.

Celebration Worship Service in Our Gym (CAC) -- 10:30 a.m.

This Sunday's Scripture Reading Is Luke 24:1-12, NIV

1 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.

2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,

3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.

5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?

6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:

7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ”

8 Then they remembered his words.

9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others.

10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.

11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.

12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

See you Sunday as we worship and give honor to our great God and Savior!
For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Last Week (Saturday) Luke 23:5-56

This week we will look at what happened on the Saturday of Passion Week, the Last Week of Jesus' earthly life. The Scripture is Luke 23:50-56.

50 Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man,

51 who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God.

52 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body.

53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid.

54 It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.

55 The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it.

56 Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.

Hope to see you this Sunday as we worship the risen Lord of Easter!

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sunday, April 10, 2011 Scripture Reading and Theme

The sermon series leading up to Easter, "The Last Week" continues this Sunday with a message based on the "Friday" of Passion Week. This week's Scripture is Luke 23:32-49. This passage includes two incredible stories of God's grace: Jesus promising the thief on the cross that today he would be in paradise, and the story of the Roman centurion who came to the realization that Jesus was the Son of God. In both accounts their was a recognition of Jesus' righteousness. Jesus, the sinless Lamb of God was the only one who could pay our sin debt. Because of the cross, in Christ we are now declared righteous! Now you know why we call this day "Good Friday!"

Luke 23:32-49
32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed.

33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left.

34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”

36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar

37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

38 There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?

41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon,

45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.

46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

47 The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.”

48 When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away.

49 But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

See you this Sunday as we worship the crucified and risen Lord!
Pastor Joe

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sunday, April 3, 2011 Scripture Reading and Theme (John 13:1-17, 31-35)

The sermon series leading up to Easter, "The Last Week" continues this Sunday with a message based on the "Thursday" of Passion Week. This week's Scripture is John 13:1-17, 31-35. Aside from Good Friday and Easter itself, Thursday of Holy Week may be the most recognized of the days of Passion Week. “Maundy Thursday,” as the Thursday of Passion Week is called, is based on John’s Gospel, especially the words of Jesus in John 13:34. “Maundy” derives from the Latin word for the “mandate” – the new commandment – that Jesus gives his followers in John 13:34.

John 13:12-17, 31-35 (NIV)

12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.

13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.

14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.

15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.

16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.

17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

31 When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him.

32 If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.

33 “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Discover Hope This Easter Season!
See you this Sunday as we worship our living Lord.

Pastor Joe

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sunday, March 27, 2011 Scripture Reading (Mark 14:1-11)

This Sunday we will continue our Easter series of messages looking at "The Last Week" of Jesus. Sunday's sermon text deals with the Wednesday of passion week.

Mark 14:1-11
1 Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him.

2 “But not during the festival,” they said, “or the people may riot.”

3 While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

4 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume?

5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

6 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.

7 The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.

8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.

9 Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them.
11 They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happenings at HBC This Sunday, March 13, 2011!

This Sunday, we will continue to look at The Last Week of Jesus, a series on the Passion week of Christ. Sunday's message will be based on the Monday event, the cleansing of the temple, Mark 11:12-19.

You are invited to join us for Secret Church Friday, March 11th from 6:00 p.m. to 12:00 Midnight. Our Study will be on "The Cross of Christ." This promises to be an intense but spiritual enriching experience as we view what God has done in Christ.

And don't forget, time change this Saturday evening, March 12th. Spring forward -- Move your clocks forward one hour.

See you this Sunday as we have an opportunity to both Grow in Christ, Connect with God and other believers, and Serve one another in love.

Pastor Joe
"Phil. 1:3"

Monday, February 28, 2011

Happenings at HBC This Sunday, March 6, 2011

In our morning services we will be shifting from our study of the Beatitudes to a series of sermons on The Last Week of Jesus, beginning this Sunday, March 6th. We will conclude our series on the Beatitudes after Easter.

Each Sunday leading up to Easter we will focus on a day in The Last Week of Jesus’ earthly life. To coincide with our emphasis on Jesus’ last week, a forty day lenten devotional will be made available. In the devotional booklet, Walking with Jesus author Chuck Strohacker shows how it’s in the nitty gritty of life that we need to walk closest to Jesus. And it is in that same manner – in the everyday and commonplace – that Jesus followed His Father – faithfully, obediently, sacrificially – so that through His life, death, and resurrection we might have eternal life.

Sunday Night Study in Galatians Continues!
The Truth about Grace: Studies in Galatians
This Week's Study, The Superiority of Grace, Galatians 3:1-25

See you this Sunday as we have an opportunity to both Grow in Christ, Connect with God and other believers, and Serve one another in love.

Pastor Joe
"Phil. 1:3"

Monday, February 21, 2011

"Blessed Are the Pure in Heart!" Matthew 5:8

Happenings at Hebron This Week!
Sunday, February 27th we will continue the series of messages from the beatitudes, a section of Scripture that forms part of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount.

This Sunday, we will look at Matthew 5:8, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." I hope that you will join us for this thought-provoking study through the life-changing words of Jesus as we discover what it truly means to follow Jesus.

Disciple Now Weekend (Fri.-Sat.), Youth 6th through 12th Grades

Upward Basketball and Cheerleading Banquet, Saturday at 11:30 a.m.

Sunday Night Series, The Truth about Grace: Studies in Galatians. This Sunday's Scripture and theme is Galatians 2:1-21, "No Other Way."

See you Sunday as we gather for worship and life-changing Bible study!

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Monday, February 7, 2011

"Blessed Are the Hungry!" Matthew 5:6

Sunday, February 13th we will continue the series of messages from the beatitudes, a section of Scripture that forms part of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount.

This Sunday, we will look at Matthew 5:6, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." I hope that you will join us for this thought-provoking study through the life-changing words of Jesus as we discover what it truly means to follow Jesus.

Also, a special word of thanks to all our youth parents and others who helped make our Youth Super Bowl Fellowship last Sunday evening a great event!

See you Sunday as we gather for worship and life-changing Bible study!

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

"Blessed Are the God-Controlled!" Matthew 5:5

Sunday, February 6th we will continue the series of messages from the beatitudes, a section of Scripture that forms part of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount.

This Sunday, we will look at Matthew 5:5, "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth." I hope that you will join us for this thought-provoking study through the life-changing words of Jesus as we discover what it truly means to follow Jesus.

Also, don't forget our Youth Super Bowl Fellowship/Outreach Sunday evening at 5:00 p.m.

See you Sunday as we gather for worship and life-changing Bible study!

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Monday, January 24, 2011

Good Grief! Blessed Are the Mourners (Matthw 5:4)

Sunday, January 30th we will continue the series of messages from the beatitudes, a section of Scripture that forms part of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount.

This Sunday, we will look at Matthew 5:4, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." I hope that you will join us for this thought-provoking study through the life-changing words of Jesus. We will discover what it truly means to follow Jesus.

See you Sunday as we gather for worship and life-changing Bible study!

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"Be-Attitudes: Radical Attitudes for 21st Century Christians"

Sunday, January 23rd I will begin a series of messages from the beatitudes, a section of Scripture that forms part of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, a summary of Jesus' essential teachings. The subject of "Radical" Christianity has been discussed much lately. Clearly, what Jesus taught in the beatitudes is "Radical" but essential teaching for all followers of Jesus.

This Sunday, we will begin with Matthew 5:3, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." I hope that you will join us for this thought-provoking study through the life-changing words of Jesus. We will discover what it truly means to follow Jesus.

See you Sunday as we gather for worship and life-changing Bible study!
For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

HBC Wednesday Night Devotion & Prayer

On Wednesday evenings at 6:00 p.m. as a part of our prayer and devotion time we are discovering the meaning of some of the Bible's most famous verses. Each week we are asking the following inductive questions of the text under consideration.

Inductive Bible Study Questions
1. What is the text about? (Central Theme)

2. What does the text mean to you?

3. What key words or ideas are emphasized in the text?

4. What don't you understand about the text?

5. What command(s) is there to obey?

6. What promise(s) is there to claim?

7. Based on this text what specific applications can I make in my life this week?

Tonight (January 19th) our text is Jeremiah 29:11. Here is a schedule of some of our upcoming studies:

January 26 -- Romans 8:28
February 2 -- Philippians 4:13
February 9 -- Genesis 1:1, 26, 27
February 16 -- Proverbs 3:5-6
February 23 -- Romans 12:1-2

You are invited to explore God's Word with us on Wednesdays. Devotion and prayer will do your soul good!

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

This Sunday at HBC! January 9, 2011

It's Good to Be Back!
It is great to be back in LA after a week of visiting with family in Florida. I'm looking forward to our time of worship this Sunday! Over the holidays I read two books from two distinct theological perspectives on Jesus, yet they shared similarities in respect to the radical life and message of Jesus. Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan's, "The Last Week" shows us a Jesus who confronted the Imperial domination system of his day through nonviolence and a passion for justice. Jesus calls his followers to share in his passion by following in his path.

David Platt's, "Radical" shows us a "stripped away" picture of following Jesus that much of the western church has glossed over or explained away. This book is a must read for all who take the call to follow Jesus seriously. Beginning this Sunday at 5:00 p.m. Arnold Swartz will be leading a study of this thought-provoking book. All are welcomed to attend this study. This would be a great study to begin your new year.

In the morning services this week I will be dealing with some of the recurring themes in the book, "Radical." For example, what does it mean to be called a Christian? What is involved in following Jesus? Does our Christianity reflect the truth of Scripture or have we settled for a westernized and watered down version?

The text for the week is Matthew 4:18-22 (New International Version)

Jesus Calls His First Disciples
18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.

19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

20 At once they left their nets and followed him.

21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them,

22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

I look forward to seeing you this Sunday!
For His Glory!
Pastor Joe