Friday, June 30, 2017

Under a Summer Sky by Melody Carlson

Under a Summer Sky
by Melody Carlson

She's anticipating a quiet summer surrounded by beauty She never expected a fresh chance at love.

High school art teacher Nicole Anderson is looking forward to a relaxing summer in Savannah, house-sitting and managing an art gallery for a family friend. The house is luxurious in a way that only old money could make it, and the gallery promising interesting days in a gorgeous setting. Yet it isn't long before her ideal summer turns into more than she bargained for: a snooty gallery employee who's determined to force her out, a displaced adolescent roosting in the attic, and two of her childhood friends -- who also happen to be brothers -- vying for her attention.

With the backdrop of a gorgeous historical city, incredible architecture, and even an alleged ghost or two, combined with the opportunity for romance. . . anything can happen!

Bestselling and award-winning author Melody Carlson invites you to spend the summer surrounded by splendor. . . and tantalizing possibilities. 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Homiletics 2 Peter 1

Content (not sentence, direct verbiage from Scripture, fit on one line):

1.S.P. servt&apostl JC2those thru rightsness G&SaviorJC rec’d faith precious as ours(1)

2.grace&peace b urs in abundc thru knowldg of G&JC our L(2)

3.His divine pwr gvn us evrythg we need4godly life thru knowldg of Him who calld us by glry&goodns(3)

4.He gvn grt&precius promises so we participt divine natur havng escapd corrupt of wrld by evildoers(4)

5.4this reasn mk evry effrt2add2faith gdness-knowldg–self-ctrl–persevrnc-godliness-mut affct-lv(5-7)

6.if u poss these qual increasing meas they’ll keep u from being ineff&unprod in knowl of JC(8)

7.whoevr have them=nearsighted, blind, forgetting cleansed frm past sin(9)

8.T4,bros&sis mk evry eff2confirm calling&election.  If u do u nvr stumble(10)

9.& will rec rich welcome into eternl kingdm(11)

10.I’ll always remind u of these things tho u know them&r firmly estab in truth(12)

11.I think its right to refresh memory as long as I live in this body(13)

12.bec I know I’ll soon put it aside as our LJC made clr 2 me(14)

13.I’ll mk evry eff after my depart u remember these things(15)


14.we follow cleverly disguised stories when told u abt cming of LJC in pwr;we eyewitnss of majesty(16)

15.He recd hnr&glry frm FR when voce frm Majestic Glry:this my Son whom I lv w/Hm I well plesd(17)

16.we heard voce frm hvn when w/Him on sacrd mt(18)

17.we hv prophtic msg as smthg reliable, pay attn2it til day dawns/morn star rises in hearts(19)

18.above all u must undrstd no prophc came abt by phophts own interp(20)

19.prophc nvr had origin in human will but prophets spoke frm G as they were carried away by Spirit(21)


Divisions (run-on sentence OK, direct verbiage from Scripture/Principles are Aims for each Division):

1.A godly life (1-15)

Principle: God calls His people to a rich, fulfilling life.

2.Christ’s majesty and the prophetic message (16-21)

Principle: Scripture reveals Christ’s majesty and encourages believers to live godly lives.


Subject Sentence (10-word sentence with proper structure showing exactly where you are in Scripture):

Peter: Christ provides everything we need for effectiveness and productivity.


Aim (“To Cause My Audience To…” Know, See, etc.):

TCMATK the basis of our belief, what God has given us for a godly life and what our responsibility is to be effective and productive


Application (not yes or no question.  Meant to bring about life change):

1.2 Peter 1:5-7 specifies eight qualities we’re called to make an effort to add to our character.  What changes will you make today to add those you’re struggling to manifest?

2.What is the knowledge of Christ’s majesty and His prophetic message urging you to do to live the godly life He’s called you to?

How have you personally experienced Christ’s majesty this week and how will that experience change how you live?

A few notes on 2 Peter 1:


How precious is your faith to you?  Who in your life is equally precious, but hasn’t heard the gospel yet?  What action will you take this week to change that?


How have you experienced grace and peace through knowing Jesus?  How might you share that grace and peace by sharing Christ with someone else?  With whom will you share?


How has knowledge of Jesus given you everything you need for a godly life?  In what ways have you experienced that godly life this week?


What are your most precious promises of God?  How have they changed how you live?


In what way has living for Jesus decreased your desire for worldliness or evil?


What are you doing to add goodness to your faith?  Knowledge to your goodness?  Self-control to your knowledge?  Perseverance?  Godliness?  Mutual affection?  Love?  Do you see a natural progression to these characteristics?  How can you help others develop these traits?


What evidence do you see in your life that your knowledge of Christ is effective and productive?


What happens when you forget you’ve been cleansed of past sin?  How might you keep from forgetting?


What action have you taken to confirm your calling and election?


Who are you reminding of the truths of Christ and a rich, fulfilling life in God?


What action will you take today to refresh your memory about living a godly life?


What has Jesus made clear to you lately?


What legacy are you leaving for those who will come after you  that will encourage them to live a godly life?


Why do you follow Christ?  What evidence makes you believe?


What personal experiences with Christ have reinforced your belief?


What Scriptures encourage your faith?  How might you use those Scriptures to encourage faith in others?

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Homiletics: 1 Peter 5

Content (not sentence, direct verbiage from Scripture, fit on one line):

1.To elders I appeal as fellow elder/witness of C’s sufferings who’ll also share in glory2b revealed(1)

2.B shephrds o G’s flock under ur care,watchng oer em  bec must, but bec ur willing as G wants u2b(2a)

3.not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager2serve(2b)

4.not lording it over those entrusted2u, but being ex 2flock(3)

5.and when Chief Shep appears, ull rec crown of glry thatll nvr fade away(4)


6.In same way,u youngr, submit selves to elders(5a)

7.All,clothe selves w/humility towrd 1anothr bec “G opposes proud but shows favor to humble”(5b)

8.Humble selves, th4, undr G’s mighty hand that he may lift u up in due time(6)

9.cast all ur anxiety on Him be He cares 4u(7)

10.B alert&of sober mind. Ur enemy the devil prowls like roaring lion lookng4some1 2devour(8)

11.Resist him,standng firm in faith,bec fam o believers thru world undergoing same sufferings(9)


12.&G o all grace,Who calld u2eternl glry in C,after u suffrd,restore/make u strong, firm, steadfast(10) Him b pwr 4evr&evr. Amen(11)

14.w/sos o Silas,faithful bro,Iwritn u briefly,encouragng/testifying this true grace o G;stand fast in it(12)

15.she in Babylon,shosn w/u,sends greetings,so does my son Mark(13)

16.Greet 1anothr w/kiss o love. Peace2all who in C(14)


Divisions (run-on sentence OK, direct verbiage from Scripture/Principles are Aims for each Division):

1.Elders, be shepherds of God’s flock under your care.(1-4)

Principle:  Just as Christ cared for His people, Christ’s people care for each other.

2.All, be humble, alert and of sober mind.(5-9)

Principle:  Christ’s people should walk like Christ because we are the enemy’s target.

3.God will restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.(10-14)

Principle:  Christ’s people will be restored by God after the suffering is done.


Subject Sentence (10-word sentence with proper structure showing exactly where you are in Scripture):

Peter’s closing: be humble, alert, stand firm; Peace in Christ.


Aim (“To Cause My Audience To…” Know, See, etc.):

TCMATK God restores Christ’s people after we suffer for being like Christ.


Application (not yes or no question.  Meant to bring about life change):

1.How are you caring for God’s people and how does your activity resemble Christ’s?

2.What action will you take now to minimize the impact when the enemy targets and attacks you in the future?

3.What are you doing to minister to the needs of your suffering brothers and sisters?

A few notes on 1 Peter 5:


If we belong to Christ, we will suffer.  We will also share in His glory.  Suffering for Christ is totally worth it!


Mature Christians: watch over younger Christians, especially those God calls you to shepherd.  Do this because you’re willing, not because you think it’ll get you something.


Eagerly and joyfully serve others.


Be a godly example to others.  Be the kind of person others can follow and arrive at Jesus!


Submit to your elders…those in authority over you…those more spiritually mature than you…those responsible for the areas where you serve.


Be humble.  The alternative is pride and that attitude invites opposition from God Himself!  Let God lift you up.


Everything you’re good at is a gift from God, not something you can take credit for.  The only thing you may have contributed is developing that gift and God gives the ability to do that as well.


Tell Jesus all your anxious thoughts.  He already knows them and it will free you to speak them out loud to Him.


Be alert and sober-minded, watching for the devil’s traps and schemes.  As a defeated foe, he prowls like a raging, wounded animal!


Resist him!  James 4:7 says if we do that and submit to God, he will flee!


Stand firm in the faith.  You’re not alone.  Believers all over the world are suffering for their faith!


God will restore you, make you strong, firm, steadfast.


Our God is powerful.  Forever.


How are you encouraging your brothers and sisters?


Are you making an effort to find those who are suffering so you can encourage them?  How are you doing that?  Don’t know anyone who’s suffering?  Pray!  Sign up for a devotional that showcases those who are suffering around the world.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Homiletics: 1 Peter 4

Content (not sentence, direct verbiage from Scripture, fit on one line):

1.Th4, since C suffrd in body, arm urselvs w/same attitude bec who suffrs in body done w/sin(1)

2.As result, the live rest of earthly lives 4evil human desires but 4 will of G(2)

3.U enuf time doing wht pagans do-debauchery,lust,drunkenness,orgies,carousing,detestable idolatry(3)

4.They surprised u join them in reckless, wild living & they heap abuse on u(4)

5.But they will giveacct2Him who is ready to judge living&dead(5)

6.this reasn gospl preachd2those now dead,they judgd humn std regd body,live acc2G regd spirit(6)


7.End of all is near. Be alert&of sober mind so u can pray(7)

8.Above all, lv ea othr deeply, bec lv cvrs mult of sins(8)

9.offer hospitality2 1anothr w/o grumbling(9)

10.use whatever gift u recd 2serve others as faithful stewards of Gsgrace in various forms(10)

11.if any1 spks,do as1who spks wds of G;if any1 servs,do w/strength G provides so G praisd thru JC(11a) Him b glory & pwr forever (11b)


13.Friends, be surprised at fiery ordeal cm2test u as tho something strange happning2u(12)

14.Rejoice as u participate in sufferings of C so u overjoyed when glory revealed(13)

15.if u insulted bec of name of C u blessd 4 spirit of glory & G rests on u(14)

16.if u suffer, should not be as murderer, thief, other criminal or meddler(15)

17.if u suffer as Christian, be ashamed, but praise G you bear that name(16)

18.its time4judgmt2begin w/Gs household; if begins w/us, what outcm4those who obey gospl(17)

19.”it hard4righteous2b saved, what become of ungodly&sinner?”(18) those who suffer acc2Gs will should commit selves2faithful Creator&cont2do good(19)


Divisions (run-on sentence OK, direct verbiage from Scripture/Principles are Aims for each Division):

1.Arm yourselves with Christ’s attitude and live according to God(1-6)

Principle: Christ followers adopt Christ’s attitude as their own.

2.The end is near.  Be alert, love, offer hospitality, use your gifts to serve others(7-11)

Principle: Christ followers prayerfully use what God gives them to serve others.

3.Rejoice as you participate in the sufferings of Christ(12-19)

Principle: Christ followers ultimately rejoice in suffering.


Subject Sentence (10-word sentence with proper structure showing exactly where you are in Scripture):

Peter writes: rejoice in suffering; judgment and glory are coming.


Aim (“To Cause My Audience To…” Know, See, etc.):

TCMATK The suffering we believers experience in this life is nothing compared to the glory we’ll experience in eternity with Jesus!


Application (not yes or no question.  Meant to bring about life change):

1.What aspects of Christ’s attitude are part of your character and what aspects would you like to incorporate?  How will you do this?

2.How are you using/will you use your gifts to serve others?

3.What experiences have you had suffering for Christ and how have you rejoiced through those experiences?

A few notes on 1 Peter 4:


How do you arm yourself with Christ’s attitude?  What is Christ’s attitude?  Philippians 2:5-8 tells us He is an obedient and humble servant of God to the death.  Are you?


Philippians 4:8 tells us what we should fill our minds with: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy.  That’s what Jesus fills His mind with.  Are these the kinds of thoughts you’re entertaining?  Or do you ponder wickedness, flaws, weaknesses, inferiority, fault, lies, guilt, blame?


We need to get our minds and attitudes right with God and we need to keep fighting those battles actively so the enemy doesn’t sneak in and sow seeds of sinful thought in our minds.


We need that helmet of salvation placed firmly on our heads.  We need to know and remember daily who we are in Christ so we don’t believe or even consider the enemy’s lies.


What begins in our hearts and minds comes out in our speech and deeds.  There are only 2 choices: we either live for our evil human desires or for the will of God.  There is no middle ground.


We’ve spent enough time living for evil human desires!  How will you seek and live for the will of God?  Bible study.  Prayer.  Wise Christian counsel and accountability.


Those still living for evil human desires, especially your friends, will be surprised when you stop doing the things you used to do.  They’ll feel judged by you – or convicted by the Spirit – and it’ll come out of them as ridicule and abuse.


Take those hurt feelings and turn them away from hate and second guessing your choices.  Turn them to prayer for your accusers.  They will be judged and they’re not headed for heaven!  If you’re truly their friend, you want them to be in heaven, though.  We need to pray for their eyes and hearts to be opened and receptive to the gospel!


Who are you adding to your prayer list?  I have a few.  When you pray for these people, the hate and the hurt fade and love and compassion take the place of those negative emotions.


As believers in Christ, we should love our friends well especially when they don’t love us back.


The end is near.  That thought can explode our minds into chaos!  Because it’s true that Jesus’ Second Coming is closer now than it ever was before, we have to be alert and sober-minded so we can pray!


How difficult is it to pray on a “normal” day with “normal” distractions and “normal” concerns?


How much harder is it to pray when you’ve received that news from the doctor? That foreclosure notice?  That your job’s been eliminated effective immediately?


We need to be in the Word.  We need to be praying constantly.  We need to trust God’s sovereignty and His goodness and His promises.  Those days will fling us into the chaos that the non-believing world already lives in!  They grab at everything like a drowning man grabs at everything hoping for some stability so they can catch their breath.  We need to grab hold of our hope which is in Jesus Christ!

Do you love each other deeply?  It’s no accident Peter talks about love right after talking about prayer.  It’s loving to bring people to the throne of God in prayer.  Remember what I wrote a moment ago about love and compassion and replacing hate and hurt feelings toward someone we’re praying for.  Prayer is a loving investment.  It softens our hearts and works miracles in the lives of others.  Come to think of it, softening my heart is a miracle in itself!


Do you offer hospitality without grumbling?  I remember a joke I heard about a little girl at the table at a dinner party her parents were throwing asking permission to say the blessing over the meal.  She turned to her Mom and asked, “What should I say?”  Her Mom told her to say what she heard Mommy say.  So the little girl bowed her head and said, “Dear God, why did I invite all these people for dinner?”


Grumbling in NOT a beauty treatment!  Last week we saw in 1 Peter 3:3-5 that our beauty comes from within…that gentle and quiet spirit is unfading beauty.


Grumbling makes us ugly.  Beauty is only skin deep when our ugly goes clear to the bone!  It’s about our heart.  Physical beauty is going to fade no matter how we fight it.  True beauty comes from the inside.  Amen!


Are you using your gifts to serve others?  Are you serving in your church?  What excuses are you making to avoid serving?  I pray God pokes so many holes in those excuses that they disintegrate before your eyes and you run to your pastor asking where he needs your service and you joyfully take up that cross.


Do you treat your words as if they are the very words of God?  Father, may the word of your people be glorifying to You.


Do you seek God’s glory in all you do?  Whether it’s cleaning the bathroom or singing a solo in the choir or going on a mission trip?  There is no small service when it’s done for God’s kingdom and His glory.


Are you surprised when bad things happen?  Don’t be.  We’re on the devil’s radar because we belong to Christ.  We should rejoice when suffering comes.  Maybe we should turn our attitudes around and be surprised when good things happen to us!!!  Just a thought.  Try it for a day…or a week…


Sometimes you’ll know without a doubt we’re suffering because of Jesus.  Other times, we won’t be so sure.  At least this is my experience.  As long as you’re not suffering for a crime you’ve actually committed – even meddling 1 Peter 4:15 says – consider all your suffering to be because of your relationship with Jesus Christ.  And rejoice!!!


Trust God.  Commit yourself to Him.  Continue to do good.


Back to meddling – I thought that was interesting.  According to 1 Thessalonians 4:11, we’re supposed to live quiet lives, minding our own business.


According to 2 Thessalonians 3:11, meddling comes from being idle.  It makes us disruptive.  In other words, stay busy for Jesus and His kingdom’s advancement and you won’t have time to be a busybody!


We should be happy to suffer for the cause of Christ.  Remember: our suffering draws us into intimate fellowship with Jesus.


Judgment is coming.  Believers are only safe from judgment because Jesus was judged in our place!  Those who are lost have no hope when facing judgment because none of us can pass God’s judgment on our own.  Only Jesus meets God’s standards.


Only the Savior can stand before God the Father, Creator, King of the Universe and be judged worthy.


Have you placed your hope and trust in Jesus?  He is the only hope!

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Homiletics 1 Peter 3

Content (not sentence, direct verbiage from Scripture, fit on one line):

1.wives, submit2ur own husb so if believe word,may b won w/o wds by behavior of wives(1)

2.when see purity/revrnc of ur lives; beauty come from hairstyles, jewelry, clothes(2-3)

3.should be inner self, unfading beauty of gentle&quiet spiritof grt worth in G’s sight(4)

4.this way holy wm of past who put hope in G adorn selves;submitted to own husb(5) Sarah obeyd Abraham & calld him lord, ur her daughters if u do right & do not fear(6)

6.Husb,b considerat w/wives,respect as weaker partner&heirs gift o life so nothin hinder prayers(7)


7.all b like-minded, sympathize, lv1anothr,compassionate, humble(8)

8.repay evil w/evil,insult w/insult, repay evil w/blessing so u inherit blessing(9)

9.whoevr lv life&see gd dd kp tng frm evil&lips frm decetfl spch;trn frm evil,do gd,seek pc, pursue(10-11)

10.eyes of L on righteous,ears attentv2prayer,face of L against those who do evil(12)

11.who harm u if u eager2do gd? Even if u suffer4doing rt, u blessd; fear their threats(13-14) ur heart, revere Christ as L;always preppd give answer4hope u have w/gentleness&respect(15)

13.keepg clr conscienc so those spk malicious v. ur gd behavior in C may b ashamd o their slander(16)

14.better,if G will,2 suffer4doing gd than evil(17)


15.C suffrd once4sins, righteous4unrighteous,2bring u2G,He put2death in body,made alive by Spirit(18)

16.after made alive, He went&proclaimed2imprisoned spirits(19)

17.those disobeyed in days of Noah while ark built,only8saved thru water(20)

18.this water symbolize baptism,rem dirt frm body, but pledge of clr conscience toward G(21a) save u by resurr o JC;who’s gone hvn@ G’s rt hd w/angels,authorities,pwrs in submiss2Him(21b-22)


Divisions (run-on sentence OK, direct verbiage from Scripture/Principles are Aims for each Division):

1.Wives, submit; Husbands, be considerate (1-7)

Principle:  Submission to your husband is submission to Christ.

2.All: turn from evil, seek peace and pursue it (8-17)

Principle:  Pursuing Christ is pursuing peace.

3.Christ at God’s right hand (18-22)

Principle:  Seeking and finding Christ is entering God’s presence.


Subject Sentence (10-word sentence with proper structure showing exactly where you are in Scripture):

Peter writes Christ suffered for sins of wives, husbands, all.


Aim (“To Cause My Audience To…” Know, See, etc.):

TCMATK Scripture reveals the desired attitudes and behaviors of wives, husbands and everyone because

Christ died for all our sins.


Application (not yes or no question.  Meant to bring about life change):

1.Where are you struggling to submit to your husband and how does Christ’s example encourage you to persevere?

2.Jesus prayed for unity in the body in John 17 and we are called to be like-minded in this chapter.  What steps can you take today to advance those Biblical directives?

3.How might your submission to Christ benefit the people in your home, workplace, church and other areas?



Some notes on 1 Peter 3:

This chapter is all about Christ’s influence and authority and the submission of all things to Him.  Verses 1-6 talk about what wives submissive to Christ look like.  Verse 7 reveals the heart of a husband submissive to Christ.  Verses 8-17 speak to everyone about the attitudes and behavior of those submitting to Christ’s authority.  Verses 18-22 remind us of Christ’s sacrifice to save us.  These verses also reveal the importance of baptism and finally, they briefly paint a picture of the reigning Christ we are submitting to.


What is it about you that draws people to Jesus?


What needs to happen (or cease happening) for purity and reverence to be observable behaviors in you?


From where does your beauty come?  From where will it come in 10-20 years?  Where should you be putting forth effort to enhance (increase) your beauty?  What should your beauty treatment look like?


What might be included in a spiritual “spa day”?


What fears are you giving in to (or tempted to give in to) in this area?  How can you give these fears over to God and put your trust in Him?


How will you promote like-mindedness in the church?


In what areas do you need to be more sympathetic?


How do you love your Christian siblings?  In what areas do you need to show love?


What does “compassion” look like in your life?


What does “humility” look like in your life?


How have you repaid (or will you repay) evil with blessing this week?


What are some ways you could’ve handled conversations differently today to keep your tongue from evil and your lips from deceitful speech?  What will you do in the future to live by this?


What’s the difference between seeking peace and pursuing peace?  Which are you doing?


How do you respond to undeserved suffering?  How would you like to respond?  How might you get there?


What is the reason for your hope?