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Sunday, September 22: Day 153 – Word of God in Saravejo

I read the book Cross on a Hill and was excited that the authors, Slavko Hadžić and Joshua Irby, are members of the church that we will attend today. The walk is about 35 minutes and we are following this man. Could he be going to the same pace? Yes!

When the greeter introduced herself; Sanya. I felt like I knew her because she was the wife of one of the authors.

Petula and Dragan served as translators. They handed out headsets, but the transmitter had not been charged so it was a bilingual presentation.

The youth were on a retreat and the word from the retreat is that the youth will come back changed. We pray for a new generation that will accomplish more than we ever can.

The church is using Facebook to get feedback on times for their small groups. The Sisters had lots of opinions and settled on Tuesday mornings. The Brothers were flexible and had no opinions so Tuesday was decided. It was stacking up that Tuesday is a holy day. Everyone is invited for Friday prayers.

One prayer request is for Taylor Irby who has gone to the USA to be with her mother in hospice. Pray for the family. Losing a parent is hard but this is part of life.

The leader said that they had become spoiled in Bosnia and Herzegovina. (What??) He said that the Lord provides money from the outside for church activities. They sense the Lord calling them to rely on their own finances.

Julian is willing to buy translator sets, but we feel that it is better for the church to raise money themselves.

On October 13 they will have a joint service for their small network of evangelical churches. This is done once a year for thanksgiving and to pray for their community. Details to come. Transportation will be provided. Join the church in Mostar by praying daily for this event. We pray for the prophecy of hope to become a reality by multiplying our numbers. God tells us that the harvest is ready.

This upcoming event is a blessing for their city. They plan to show their appreciation by volunteering and attending. All money collected for ticket purchases will go to their brothers and sisters working with special needs neighbors in the city. Please buy tickets for yourself and to give to others.

Don’t let 5 marks ($2.50!) prevent attendance. Please ask your church to buy your ticket. That’s what church money can be used for. Ask for it if you need it.

Music

“Your Grace is Enough” by Chris Tomlin was one song that we recognized. Computer monitors were used to display words to the songs. It is a chance to practice the language when we sing praises to God in unison.

If one feels words from the Lord while we sing, speak them.


Sermon

The Pastor Hadžić is continuing a series on Ephesians 6 which talks about the equipment that a Christian needs to have. These pieces of equipment are compared to those of a Roman soldier. If one asked the soldier to pick the most important one, he would say that a smart soldier needs them all.

Today we are talking about the Word of God as a sword. A sword is needed for both defense and offense.

We are in spiritual warfare as Jesus was as He was tempted in the desert. He used the Word of God as a defense and offense.

This important piece of equipment, the Word of God, cannot be ignored. We all have Bibles but having equipment is not the same as using it.

The Bible can be misused. We pick verses out of context and adapt them to our needs. The Bible does not need to change; we do.

The Bible is unique. There is no other book like it.

God is the author but how it was written is unique with multiple human co-authors. These forty co-authors were kings, slaves, fisherman, scientists, farmers to name a few.

Written in three different languages, different time periods and genres, we would expect a messy text full of contradictions but from beginning to end, it has the same story line.

There are no contradictions in all the books nor within each book.

Slavko co-authored a book with Joshua. It was very hard to write a book with someone else. It took much effort and would be easier to write it alone.

The Bible was written over a 1500 year time span, all in perfect harmony.

It was the first printed book and is available in 2,000 languages.

In 2 Peter 1:20-21, the Bible explains its beginning:

But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

In 2 Tim 3:16, the Bible claims:

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.

In Nehemiah 8:1,8, the Bible is called by two names. Is it the Book of Moses or Book of God? The Bible has dual authorship with God’s authority.

Manual

Today when the church was struggling to fix our English translators, we didn’t know what was wrong. Were we on the wrong channel? I tried to fix it. I asked Dragan for help. I asked Matt to help. We didn’t know what to do. Matt prayed. He decided that we should look for a manual.

It is good to have a manual. Men don’t like manuals. We can fix it ourselves. When we get a new device, the manual is lying right on top. We toss the manual aside. After we realize that were struggling, we start to go through the trash and look for the manual.

In Hebrews 4:12-13, the Bible explains the purpose of God’s Word.

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

The Bible is sharp, penetrates and cuts. Nothing is hidden from God as it often is with people.

We are blind to our problems. The Bible brings our sin to light and we are able to see ourselves in God’s eyes.

The Bible diagnoses our problem AND offers THE solution.

Medical Diagnosis

When you are sick, you want to go to a good doctor to diagnose the problem.

Slavko had the diagnosis of testicular cancer. Then he did what the doctors said NOT to do. He googled it.

He found that 50 years ago, the death rate was 90%. Now it is 15%. Wow. He was excited that advancements had occurred.

Further reading uncovered that the technology of treatment hadn’t changed in 50 years but earlier diagnoses meant a greater chance of surviving.

People were embarrassed to go to the doctor and only went to the doctor when the cancer was in advanced stages.

When something is wrong, we do everything to determine the cause: MRI, CAT scans, etc.

We must not wait until we are in advanced stages of disease. An early diagnosis means better quality of life.

The Bible diagnoses (sin) and offers therapy (Jesus). God provides everything. The diagnosis and medicine. We just need to apply it.

However, God gave us free will. The choices are ours. The doctor can give us medicine, but he can’t force us to take it.

Spiritual Food

The Bible is a blessing. It is spiritual food. When you are in church on Sunday, the word of God should be preached. We come to church to worship and fellowship but also to be fed.

However, most often we get a good lunch and then we fast for a week. We need spiritual food every day. Don’t neglect your spiritual growth.

The physical body will pass away but our spirit will live forever. When a child is born, it starts to change. What if I looked the same as when I was born? I started to grow. I changed. I have experience, and gained knowledge.

I need to grow spiritually. How long would a baby live if you fed it drop by drop? When you went to the doctor and he measured your baby, he would tell you that your baby is not developing properly.

We need spiritual food to develop properly.

Sometimes we feel justified for not reading the Bible. We have to assign it the highest priority. We will find time to do things that are a high priority.

WhatsApp

Father: I send a message to my son on WhatsApp. Sometimes he doesn’t respond. I start to wonder if something has happened? Is he ok? I wait for a reply.

Son: I don’t need to respond. If I need something, I will contact him.

Imagine how God feels!! Isn’t that how we treat the Father?

Read Psalms 119:89-96

Verses 92-93 tell us that the very words of God keep us alive.

Verse 96 tells us that the Word has no border.

Don’t underestimate the Word. The Bible is a love letter. Use it in every day life.

Life

Everything that we think is permanent will disappear. This building, our bodies, even the earth itself. However, the Word of God is forever. It is like heaven. It is eternal.

The Word of God has been given from generation to generation.

Thousands of words finished 2,000 years. The words that were spoken then speak today through the written word.

In Matthew 24:35, the Word of God is eternal.

Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.

Also, read 1 Peter 1:24-25

We want to testify to our friends by picking out Bible verses. They don’t need information. Instead, our transformed lives will testify.

Safety

The Word of God keeps us safe. I am yours, Lord. I ask for your commandments, your advice.

Children don’t often ask for advice. Parents stand at the ready to give it as if to say, learn from me. When a parent gives unsolicited advice, there is resistance.When children come to ask for advice, it honors us.


How to Wrap up the Sermon: Go home and read your Bible.

Since it is readily available, we often take it for granted. Let’s give it the highest priority.

In the book, The Heavenly Man, the author had no Bible. He didn’t know anyone who had a Bible. He prayed desperately to get a Bible. He was told to dig a hole in a specific place. Imagine his delight when he uncovered a Bible.

Here are the two questions that you must ask yourself concerning the Bible:

1. Do you really believe that it is the word of God?

2. What will you do about it? Will you allow it to change you? Will you put it as a priority?

Pray now about it. Thank Him that we have the Bible and ask for Him to give us more thirst for the Word of God.

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