12 Weeks – 09/09/2013 – 11/29/2013

Series Overview: From time to time, people ask where to find material about the Second Coming of Christ.  Actually, there are many places in both the old and new Testaments.  I usually direct people to two letters that the Apostle Paul wrote to a Greek congregation in the city of Thessalonica.  That’s the foundation in this study of 12 messages.  We are either prepared for Christ’s return, meaning we have a relationship with Him, or we are not and do not!  It just may be the most important decision you make in the coming year!  If you and I aren’t prepped, it will be a time of panic when He returns.


Week 12 – 11/25/2013

The Neglected Power

This is the last message in the series from 1st and 2nd Thessalonians.  The Apostle Paul’s last words to the Christians at this Greek city were: “pray for us!”   Pray that God will use us to reach people with the Gospel.  What part does prayer play in your life, your marriage, and your family? This week we consider 2nd Thessalonians 3:1-5


Monday – Part One – We begin with a true story of a woman who moved from New York to Ohio by closing her eyes and pointing to map of the US!  There is certainly nothing illegal or illicit about doing that, and yet people make life changing decisions every day without availing themselves to the power of prayer.  Do you?


Tuesday – Part Two – For most people, prayer is the “last resort” rather than the first response to any problem or situation in life.  If we’re honest, there have been times in all of our lives when that was or is true.  Does that resonate with you?


Wednesday – Part Three – Today we talk about God’s protection from evil, which He gives in response to our prayers.  That has greater meaning to the man or woman who has a child or children! Telling someone that you are praying for them is no small thing, especially if you really do it!


Thursday – Part Four – We discuss what the Apostle Paul said was God’s ability to “direct us into His love and His perseverance” (verse 5).  If God can do that, why would you think that He couldn’t direct you in a job search, a place to live, or working in the life of one of your children?


Friday – Part Five – You and I are God’s property, twice!  He made us, and He bought us with the blood of His son.  We don’t belong to the world system apart from Christ! That’s why we can reach out to Him in prayer for every need, every problem, and every situation in life.



Week 11 – 11/18/2013

A Synopsis of the Faith

The word synopsis means a brief statement of the whole.  William Barclay, a Scottish commentator says that the text we study this week is a synopsis in two verses of what it means to come to Christ as a new believer.  It speaks to every Christian listening this week to “CrossHope”. This is the second message from Second Thessalonians.


Monday – Part One – Paul talks about the “anti-Christ”, the one who will set himself up as god before the return of Christ.  He talks about the “spirit” of the anti-Christ that is already at work in the world.  Unfortunately, we live in a culture that is opposed to Christ in every way!


Tuesday – Part Two – The Apostle Paul speaks of our being loved by God.  Everything about coming to Christ flows out of His love for us.  In Christianity, God took the initiative with us through Christ, not the other way around!  Paul says this: “God chose us to be saved through the work of the Holy Spirit”.


Wednesday – Part Three – Today we share the story of a man who came to Christ as a dying drug addict.  This text speaks of what happened to him through the “sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit and believing in the truth”.   That can happen to you and me.


Thursday – Part Four – You and I have been “called by God” according to Paul.  All of us have!  He calls us through his word, through the witness and prayers of others, and through circumstances.  He calls us to stand firm in our faith.


Friday – Part Five – Today we share a true story of a man who lost a grown son.  His son was an organ donor.  The father was able to meet the man who received his son’s heart.  We all are new heart recipients as Christians!  God gives us a new heart, spiritually, through our belief in Christ.



Week 10 – 11/11/2013

The Brutal Truth

This week we discuss one of the most politically incorrect, politically insensitive passages in all of the New Testament!  (Second Thessalonians 1)  No other passage so boldly and succinctly speaks to those who choose to reject Christ.  The picture painted is anything but positive, some would choose to ignore it.  We don’t.  The passage speaks for itself.


Monday – Part One – We talk about a book called, “We Interrupt This Program”.  It’s about the events that “stopped our lives” with an interrupted radio or television program.  Someday we will have an event happen that interrupts our world/universe.  It’s called the second coming of Christ.


Tuesday –Part Two – People intuitively or instinctively know that there is more to this life than the years we spend on this earth.  The Bible says that “God has planted eternity into the hearts of men and women”.  We talk about that today.


Wednesday – Part Three – Verse 6 says that God assumes responsibility for vengeance.  That means that you and I are not in charge of getting even.  Verses 8-9 talk about what happens to those who choose to reject Christ.  No text in scripture is bolder or more frightening!


Thursday – Part Four – Today, we talk about the greatest source of wounds in a marriage. The answer may surprise you!   Believe it or not, it relates to what people do in their relationship with the living God.


Friday –Part Five – The most frightening aspect of hell is not some of the more “famous” comments about what hell is like.  It’s the idea of total and complete separation from the presence of God for all eternity.  That is hell!



Week 9 – 11/04/2013

Final Words

Sometimes the last words of a letter can be the most important.  Sometimes the “post-script” is the real reason the person wrote to you.  This week we look at the last words of Paul’s first letter to the Christians at a Greek city called Thessalonica.  What he said to them, speaks to you and me in 2013!


Monday – Part One – In reading the last words, Paul says to “greet one another with a holy kiss.”  It has nothing to do with the sensual or sexual.  It was a cultural greeting of the day between believers.  It was a way of saying, “we have a bond in Christ that unites us.”  We have that bond today with other Christians, regardless of how we express it.


Tuesday – Part Two – We share a powerful story of a woman who lost her mother who was comforted by a stranger who reached out to her.  There is power in a handshake and a simple greeting when done in the name of Christ.


Wednesday – Part Three – You and I are “triune” beings, meaning body, soul, and spirit.  Our body is the physical part of our being.  The soul is the part of us that thinks, feels, and reasons.  But our spirit is the part of us that cries out to the living God.  The Holy Spirit can be “suppressed” in our lives by the choices we make.


Thursday – Part Four – Today we look at 8 different ways that we grieve the Holy Spirit and suppress His work in our lives.  Some of the ways described may surprise you!  Which of the 8 are going on in your life today, perhaps?


Friday – Part Five – We conclude with a story about some parents who inadvertently were stifling or suppressing the Spirit of God in their son’s life.  It wasn’t necessarily intentional, but it was happening none the less.  Anything in your life quenching the work of God in your life?



Week 8 – 10/28/2013

The Day!

This is the second message in First Thessalonians that deals with the second coming of Christ.  Paul tells the church that we need not obsess over “dates and times” of His return, but that He will return like a “thief in the night”.  Meaning He will come unannounced, without prior notice.  Our job is to be ready!


Monday – Part One – We begin with a humorous story of a college town church that told students to bring their parents with them to services, and they would pretend to know them!  When the Lord returns, He won’t pretend to know anyone!


Tuesday – Part Two – The Christ who came is the Christ who is coming!  Yet Paul warns us not to set dates or try to predict the Lord’s return.  In 2012, there was a secular fixation about the world ending in December.  That date has come and gone.  Christians have done the same thing over generations.


Wednesday – Part Three – We quote John Henry Neumann who believed that all of history marched forward to the birth of Christ, 2000 years ago.  After Christ’s resurrection, all of history marches forward to His return! We are now living in that anticipatory time of history.


Thursday – Part Four – We share a true story from a church in San Diego, California.  It’s a story of a man who had a brief time to live and wrote final letters to each of his family.  We all are writing letters to those around us with our lives about what we believe, including what we believe about the return of Christ!


Friday – Part Five – We are to encourage one another with the hope that Jesus IS coming back.  In a sense, His return is just as close as the day of our death.  “For it is appointed unto man to die and after that the Judgment.”  We live, we die, and we go to be with the Lord!



Week 7 – 10/21/2013

The First Word on the Last Thing

Although we’ve been studying a book about the second coming of Christ, so far it has been about the Apostle Paul’s relationship with the people of a place called Thessalonica.  This week in chapter four, verse 13, we read the “first word” about the return of Christ.  It’s a passage that speaks boldly and unapologetically about the second coming of Christ.


Monday – Part One – We are a people who have been “spoken for” by Jesus Christ. What difference does that make in the world in 2013?  Everything!  We talk about that today.


Tuesday – Part Two – The Lord doesn’t want us to be ignorant about His return.  What does that mean?  We discuss that today.


Wednesday – Part Three – Paul assumes that his readers believe that Jesus died and rose again.  Why that is important in your life and mine in 2013 is discussed today.  It does matter what you believe, especially what you believe about Christ!


Thursday – Part Four – Today, we share the story of a divorced woman living alone in an abandoned shack overlooking the Potomac River in West Virginia.  What she says about her “home” speaks to where you and I plan to live in eternity.


Friday – Part Five – What’s going on in our lives right now impacts our desire for the Lord’s return.  The One who conquered death and walked out of a grave alive said He’s coming back!  It’s a promise He plans to keep!



Week 6 – 10/14/2013

Love Wins!

The power of love in a person’s life has great impact in ways we consciously don’t acknowledge or understand.  This week we study a passage in First Thessalonians 4:9-13 that speaks to the issue of loving other people in the body of Christ.   Paul says that we have been “taught by God” to love.  Loving other people matters to the Lord; it should therefore matter to you and me.


Monday – Part One – If you are married, have a child, have neighbors, have a job or career; you have had a “baton” handed to you to carry on. What are you doing with the “baton(s)” that have been handed to you?


Tuesday – Part Two – The Holy Spirit of God teaches us to love others.  Loving others becomes a part of our nature, meaning it’s one of most natural things we do.   What are the ways you manifest love for other people?


Wednesday – Part Three – Loving others means we step out of our comfort zone and reach out to them in the name of Christ.  Today we share a powerful story of that very thing!  God puts us into the lives of others to bless them with His love.


Thursday – Part Four – Living a Christian life means having the respect of “outsiders”, people not necessarily connected to a church.  They respect how you live, how you talk, and how you love!


Friday – Part Five – We share a powerful story that produced an audible emotional response from people. It speaks to the love and forgiveness of Christ in your life and mine.



Week 5 – 10/07/2013

Let’s Get Personal

Surprisingly, there are scriptures that people find offensive, even in 2013.  Such is the case with the text of this message from First Thessalonians 4:1-8 where Paul told Christians that they should “avoid sexual immorality”.  Today, people would respond with, “It’s nobody’s business what I do with my body!”  Legally and politically, they’re right! But Paul boldly speaks about personal morality then; it speaks to our day in the current culture.


Monday – Part One – We set up the reading of the text with a story and the thought that all of life is about choice, including moral decisions about what we allow in our lives.  The text is politically incorrect and even offensive to some in 2013!


Tuesday – Part Two – What was it really like to live in the culture of the church in Thessalonica?   The answer may surprise you.  It was a wicked world back then, fully of immorality and worse.  We talk about that today.


Wednesday – Part Three – We talk frankly about the admonitions of Paul to control our bodies and not to live in “passionate lust” like those who reject God and His authority.  God has called us to purity!


Thursday – Part Four – We share a powerful story about a widow who shares a passage of scripture with her children and tells them, “From now on we are going to have these verses as the direction for our lives”.  She couldn’t change the past, but could change how that life continued from that moment.


Friday – Part Five – One of the biggest “deities” in our culture today is sexuality.  Joshua said to choose which god we would follow in life.  What choice will you make?  Listen today.



Week 4 – 09/30/2013

People: The Main Dish

The Apostle Paul had such a close relationship with the people at Thessalonica; he grieved when he was separated from them because of a riot that happened because of his preaching!   He had to leave under the cover of darkness for his own safety.  He described his feeling of being “orphaned” from them.  The body of Christ is not about buildings and property; it’s about people!


Monday – Part One – We begin with a powerful story of a husband and father who lost his wallet at county fair in Texas, and the powerful witness of strangers who helped them out, hundreds of miles from home. It’s a great introduction to this message from First Thessalonians.


Tuesday – Part Two – Paul preached in a town called Thessalonica and started a riot because he preached about Jesus rising from the dead and being the Messiah.  He was “torn away” from the believers there for his own protection.  Who are the people that are close to you in Christ?


Wednesday – Part Three – Who will come up to you in heaven and thank you for praying for them while you were on earth?  Anyone?  Who will you thank in heaven for the blessing they brought to your life?


Thursday – Part Four – The ultimate reward for Paul in heaven would be the people whom he led to the Lord.  What rewards will await you involving people?


Friday – Part Five – We live in a world that has greater influence on the church, than the church has on the culture. Paul said he prayed night and day for the people at Thessalonica.  Who prays for you like that?  Who are the people that you pray for like that?



Week 3 – 09/23/2013

Keeping It Real – (Part 2)

Last week, the Apostle Paul compared his relationship with the church at Thessalonica as a “mother-child” relationship.  This week, he continues by comparing his relationship with the people as a “father-child” relationship.  Both comparisons are powerful and an example for all of us!


Monday – Part One – Paul tells us three things that a father does for his children.  Did your father demonstrate those things in your life?  If you are a parent, are they present in your life and in the lives of your children?  If not, why not?


Tuesday – Part Two – Part of loving people (including your family) is sharing your life with them.  Who do you share your life with?  Anybody?


Wednesday – Part Three – If you are an encourager to anyone, you are doing the work of the Holy Spirit!  No small thing.  The same holds true with being a “comfort” to someone else.  Who do you comfort with the Word of God?


Thursday – Part Four – When you and I obey the word of God, we are obeying God Himself!  His word is His will, and His will is His Word.  They are one in the same.


Friday – Part Five – Relationships shape and mold our lives, especially when Christ is involved.  What lives are being shaped and molded by your influence?



Week 2 – 09/16/2013

Keeping It Real (Part 1)

Although the primary focus of this book, First Thessalonians, is the return of Christ, it’s also about relationship.  Paul tells the people that he was like a “mother” to them in how he feels about them.  Next week, he’ll talk about his “fatherly” relationship with them.


Monday – Part One – God placed you in a family and in a community.  Relationships with other people are second only to our relationship to the Lord.  Relationships matter to the Lord; they should matter to us!


Tuesday – Part Two – Paul described a motherly relationship with the people at Thessalonica.  He loved them enough not only to share the gospel with them, but also his very life.  Loving people means sharing your life with them.


Wednesday – Part Three – God looks at motives in our lives, not just our actions.  Have you ever done something for the wrong reason?  We all have, today we talk about that.


Thursday – Part Four – Today we share a story about Marilyn Monroe, and her need for the love of God in her life.  It’s a powerful story told by one of her husbands, a story that speaks to us today!


Friday – Part Five – God uses the relationships in our life to convey love to us, and to others.  Have you ever thought about that?  God is at work in your relationships, whether you know it or not!



Week 1 – 09/09/2013

At The Ready

We begin a brand new series from the book of First Thessalonians. It’s a book about the second coming of Christ.  But more than that, it’s a book about the relationship of the Apostle Paul with the people of the church at Thessalonica. It speaks to our relationships with people in our families and with others in the church!


Monday – Part One – Max Lucado probably has written the best description of what it may be like when Jesus returns to this earth.  We share that today! Don’t miss it, it is worth hearing.


Tuesday – Part Two – What difference does it make if you extend your life 5-10 years, or even more, but don’t know the One who is the source of life itself!  What will have you gained?


Wednesday – Part Three – Paul says that our “work” in life is produced by faith.  Then he says our “labor” (toil) is prompted by love.  What’s the difference?  We talk about that today.


Thursday – Part Four – How is it that we come to believe in Jesus?  The answer may surprise you.  God is definitely involved in the process.


Friday – Part Five – We don’t have idols in our country in 2013, we just practice idolatry!  Really?  The church in Thessalonica turned from their idols to serve the living God, and to wait for the return of Christ!

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