Communion and Self-Examination!

It is hard to believe that another year has passed us by and 2023 is just about upon us. Often at the beginning of the year we look back at our lives and find it hard to believe just how fast time passes us by. Our hair a little more gray, our kids a little older, and our memories a little shorter.

As you begin thinking of the New Year don’t just be thinking about putting off a few pounds, but consider putting on a greater amount of spiritual strength in the Lord. At The Chapel it is our practice to take Communion together at the beginning of each month. This allows for each of us to take a few moments to begin examining our lives and consider areas where we might need to repent and areas where we can rejoice over growth.

Below you will find a few suggestions for examining yourself as you approach communion this Sunday.

Scripture Reading: Ephesians 1:3-14

Personal Exaltation and Examination:

Consider all the areas God has blessed you through his “beloved” that are listed in the Scripture text above.  

Personal Prayer:

Spend some time rejoicing over what God has given to you and spend time thanking him for the love he has shown to you.

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 13

Personal Exaltation and Examination:

Read the Scripture passage and consider if there are people in your life you are refusing to love the way God has loved you.  Examine the relationships (Marriage, Family, Friendships, Church) God has given in your life and reflect on ways love could enhance or unify these relationships.

Personal Prayer:

Pray that God will help you love like Christ!

Scripture Reading: Luke 19:28-48

Personal Exaltation and Examination:

Reflect on the Triumphal entry and consider Jesus compassionate response to the people he came to save.  Ask yourself, do you have this kind of compassion to those around you whom Jesus came to save?

Personal Prayer:

Pray that God would help you be a better witness of the Gospel to those around you.

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The Good Shepherd has Come! Luke 2:1-21

As the sun set over the skies of the Judean hill country and darkness was quickly coming upon them. The shepherds brought the sheep into the fold and laid down for the evening at the entrance of the gate.  As these shepherds settled in for the night, it likely seemed like just another night.  However, God had other plans in mind.  Plans these shepherds could never have imagined.  God the father, the Great Shepherd of Israel would proclaim the coming of His very own Son to these lowly shepherds in the field watching over their flock by night. 

The Psalmist declared, “For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.” (Psalm 95)  The great God of Israel whose plan was established from eternity past declared to these shepherds that they would see the one God would use to save the people of the world.  The people on earth would come face to face with the “Good Shepherd” and have to determine if they would repent and believe that the “Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the World” (1 John 2:14). 

Luke records in his Gospel the angelic declaration saying, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11) 

Imagine with me for just a moment what it must have been like for these shepherds to see a multitude of heavenly hosts declaring, “Glory to God in the highest on earth peace among those with whom he is please.”  The God of heaven had sent his one and only Son, “so that whoever would believe in him would not perish but have eternal life.” (Johns 3:16)

The shepherds did not linger in the fields that night, but hastily went into Bethlehem to see the baby in a manger.  As they went away that evening, it says in Gospel of Luke that “they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.” 

They couldn’t keep this kind of information to themselves but had to share it with those around them.  I hope this Christmas you are looking for opportunities to share the story of the Gospel with those around you and rejoice together about the message of salvation which is for all people.

The great God of heaven sent his Son to be the Savior of the World. (1 John 2:14)

I would encourage you at some point during your Christmas break during your quiet time or even perhaps as part of your own time of family worship.  Watch this wonderful presentation from Joel Kramer creator of the Bible Expedition videos about the good shepherd and share it with those around you so that they can rejoice in God’s Salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ!

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Expedition Bible: Giants in the Land!

The scripture records the account of the twelve spies that were ordered to spend forty days examining the land in order to give a report of riches of the land in which God had given to them. The book of Numbers records the report of the spies.

27 And they told him, “We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 28 However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. And besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there.

Numbers 13:27–28 (ESV)

As a result of their efforts the twelve spies appeared to be able to agree on these facts. One, the land was flowing with milk and honey. Two, the people who resided in the land were strong and lived in fortified cities, and that there were giants in the land.

31 Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.” 32 So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. 33 And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.”

Numbers 13:31–33 (ESV)

The ten spies were fearful that they would be crushed by the giants that occupied this land. God was seeking to teach them a lesson. God’s people would not be able to take the land by force because they were no match for them unless they entered the land with faith in the God who would fight for them and with them.

Some people challenge the historicity of the Bible seeking to discredit its message by explaining away the Giants recorded within its pages. While on an Israel trip I had the privilege of becoming acquainted with a biblical archeologist by the name of Joel Kramer. Recently he launched a website and youtube channel called “Expedition Bible.” Joel seeks to encourage believers in their faith in the scripture by demonstrating that archeological evidence reveals what biblical history records.

In one of his recordings he addresses the question: “Is their archeological evidence for giants residing in the land as the bible records?” I would recommend watching this video and subscribing to his channel and enjoying them with your family during your time of family worship.

Click the Link Below and Enjoy!

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The Importance of Integrity: Pastor Josh Stephens

Living a life of integrity as a Christian puts on display the inward heart change that has genuinely taken place at conversion. Last Sunday I sought to answer this question, “What made Joshua a good replacement for Moses?” The answer to this question could potentially be summed up in the word “Integrity.” Joshua, the son of Nun was a man filled with genuine faith which overflowed in a life committed to being filled with integrity. Integrity is the result of a committed life to God and is forged in the fires of adversity, suffering, and various challenges. How a Christian responds to these challenges by faith and trusts in the living God will make all the difference when someone evaluates our lives to determine whether we are people filled with integrity.

I was significantly challenged to evaluate my own life and leadership through the course of preparing for yesterdays message. One of the tools that God used to challenge me was the small booklet I mentioned at the end of the service yesterday. The book was entitled, “Leadership: How to Guide Others with Integrity” by Dr. Steve Viars. While the booklet is small, it packed in a number of different important principles on leadership that I found especially helpful. The reflective questions at the end of my sermon came from this small, but powerful booklet. As you consider your own growth in leadership, I pray these reflective questions would help you lead with integrity.

Do you Lead with INTEGRITY?

Do people understand more of God’s mercy because of the way I respond to their mistakes?

Do people understand more of God’s holiness because of my high ethical standards?

Do people understand more of God’s patience because of the time I give them to grow and develop?

Do people understand more of God’s truthfulness because of they way I communicate honestly?

Do people understand more of God’s faithfulness because they see me keep my promises?

Do people understand more of God’s kindness because of the tone of my voice?

Do people understand more of God’s love because I go out of my way to help and serve them as I lead?

Do people understand more of God’s grace because I avoid being harsh and unreasonably demanding?

If you are interested in purchasing the booklet I mentioned yesterday you can find it by clicking the link below.

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Communion Preparation

As we have been studying the book of Philippians together Paul continues to stress the importance of unity by using phrases like “one spirit, one mind, side by side for the sake of the Gospel.” (Phil. 1:27-28) When you are seeking to “stand firm and strive together” it requires a level of deliberate introspection of your life so that you are living a life worthy of the Gospel of Jesus. The New Testament Church is called to celebrate this ordinance regularly in order that it might be a constant reminder of our union with Christ and unity with the body of Christ. Therefore, taking communion is an important part of life in the body. So, I hope you will take a few moments to prepare your heart as you come to partake in the Lord’s Table with your brothers and sisters in Christ this week. Here is a scripture passage to help you meditate on Christ and some examination questions to help you prepare your heart for taking the Lord’s Table this Sunday.

Scripture: 1 Peter 1:3-9

Born Again to a Living Hope
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Personal Examination:

  1. Is your Christian walk filled with Hope?
  2. How well are you persevering during trials?
  3. Are you regularly seeking to find ways to rejoice in the work of Christ on your behalf?
  4. Is there any area of your life where the Spirit is convicting you of sin and you have not repented and sought forgiveness and restoration?
  5. What are some ways you can grow in living a life worthy of the Gospel?
  6. Do you have any unresolved conflict between another brother or sister in Christ? Have you sought to restore these relationships? (This includes your relationships in the church, your home, your friends, etc.)

Personal Prayer:

Ask God to help you maintain the hope he has given to you through His Son.  Ask him for forgiveness for any known sin and then praise him for the restoration he has provided in your relationship.

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Remember Jesus

Throughout the New Testament epistles, authors repeatedly remind believers of the importance of remembering Christ. Remember his perfect obedience (Hebrews 12:2). Remember his humility (Philippians 2:5-11). Remember his incomparable beauty (Colossians 1:13-20). Remember his blood (I Peter 1:17-21).

As believers, we would likely all acknowledge the fact that “remembering Jesus” is something that we ought to do regardless of the date on the calendar. Yet in the midst of our daily routine, taking the time to contemplate the work of Christ can quickly be forgotten, and our practice of remembering him can quickly be relegated to Sundays. This is why the occasional shift in routines that are brought with holidays can be a welcomed disruption that forces us to pause from our typical routine and remember Christ as Scripture calls us to do. As believers, there is no greater disruption we ought to welcome than the disruption of Passion Week and the celebration of Easter.

Passion Week, which began with this past Sunday’s celebration of Christ’s Triumphal Entry and will end this coming Sunday as we celebrate Christ’s Resurrection, is a week unlike any other for most of us and one that demanded a special level of attention from the gospel authors. As you read through those gospel accounts, you will find the authors’ careful attention to detail as the final activities of Christ during his earthly ministry are laid out. As each day passes, you are able to see in Scripture the tension continually build as Jesus deliberately makes his way towards the cross.

For generations, Passion Week has provided an annual time for believers to step out of their normal routines to remember those final days of Jesus’ life before his crucifixion and to prepare their hearts to celebrate the resurrection on Sunday.

All of us in leadership here at The Chapel are excited to remember that resurrection with you on Sunday. But to ensure that we are ready to rightly celebrate on Sunday, let us take time out of our daily routine every day this week and consider the steps that Jesus took on that same day in the original Passion Week. Consider using resources like these daily videos (see below for each day’s link) that walk you through the Passion Week and consider using your daily time in the Word to read through those final days of Jesus’ life. Then, plan on joining us as we gather on Good Friday at 6:00 pm for the purpose of remembering our Savior hanging on the cross and for the purpose of taking communion together. And let us do it all in anticipation of remembering Jesus rising from the dead on Sunday.

The Final Week of Jesus – Videos








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For Me to Live is Christ! – Philippians 1:21

Paul’s Motivation in Ministry!

In Philippians 1:18b-26 of Paul’s Epistle he highlights an essential element of Christian ministry, “Motivation.” Simply stated, God cares about why we do, what we do. He is concerned not only about the what comes out in behavior, but recognizes that what comes out is only a reflection of what is within. You can see this reality in Jesus own words in Luke 6:43-45.

A Tree and Its Fruit
43 “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Examining your inner heart motivation is one of the more critical spiritual disciplines for the Christian. Far to often people are willing to excuse behavior. They might give excuses such as, “Its just been a long day at work…, I had a horrible night of sleep and I am sick…, and the list could go on. While there may be many contributing factors that influence our choice of behavior at certain moments of our lives, the Scripture declares, what is in the heart comes out. (Prov. 4:23).

Consider reading the article linked in this blog by Dr. Ed Welch. The article is entitled, Motives: Why I do the Things I Do! I believe you will find it very helpful in seeing the importance of examining your own heart motives as you live a life of worship seeking to Glory Him. Consider taking some time to read and reflect together on the importance of right motivation in your Small Group, D-Group, Husband/Wife conversations, or a just a group of friends having coffee. I hope the article will be as much of a blessing to you as it has been for me!

Pastor Josh Stephens

Dr. Ed Welch – Motives: Why I Do the Things I Do!

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Whose Universe Are You Living In?

By Andy Callis


Just this week in our student ministry Zoom meeting, we were talking about the universe. Did you know that for nearly 1500 years it was commonly believed that the sun, moon, and stars all revolved around the earth? This is called the geocentric view. It was popularized by Plato and Aristotle before Jesus was ever born. It remained the common view until medieval times. The church wholeheartedly accepted this view. It made sense scientifically at the time as well as theologically. In fact, those who challenged this view had better be ready to face some persecution!


This is when a man named Nicolas Copernicus did some research and developed a theory we now call the heliocentric model. It was the idea that the sun, not the earth, was at the center of our solar system. It was, in fact, the earth and other celestial bodies that revolved around the sun. Copernicus didn’t release his ideas until near his death for fear of the accusation of heresy. Some had been burned at the stake for such claims! Nonetheless, his theory was further backed by science and as it developed the ability to see and understand our universe. He was right. The earth did, in fact, revolve around the sun- not the other way around.


Now, just because it was the common and accepted view that the earth was the center that all else orbited around did not make it any more true. That idea was wrong. It still is. I think we can make a great spiritual analogy from this.


Our sinful tendency as humans is to place ourselves in the center of the universe. It’s like this geocentric model. Everything revolves around me: my wants, my desires, my schedule, etc. If anyone suggests that I’m not in the center, it’d rather not hear it. I may get angry with them. I may dismiss them. I may slander them. Even as believers, we have this tendency. We’d like for everyone to plan their lives in such a way to meet our desires. Truth be told, we’d really like God to do the same.  James 4:1-10 talks about this tendency we all have and the solution for it.


What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.


James teaches us what happens when we place ourselves in the center of the universe. We argue. We fight. We don’t get what we desire so we kill (don’t forget that hatred in your heart is like murder to God- 1 John 3:15). We don’t get what we want, so we complain and bicker. Placing our desires in the center of our lives and demanding others to abide by them destroys our relationships with others. What else happens?


Our relationship to God is hindered. In our pride, we can let our own desires control us and we don’t even ask God to provide a way to meet our desires. Desires, biblically speaking, are quite neutral. We can desire good things or bad things. One thing that God doesn’t expect for us to do is to not desire! We made us a desirous people. But here we see James pointing out that this person is so bent on getting what they desire that it’s become idolatrous. They haven’t even considered asking God to meet that desire. So what happens? They try to get it their way and don’t get it. In the process they become more and more self-absorbed aligning themselves with the world and its desires which are in direct opposition to God.


James tells us in verse five that God will have none of that. He is a jealous God who yearns to have all of us. He won’t accept any rival to Him in your life. The idol must be smashed and the world and its ways must be renounced. So what’s the solution that James offers? We see his solution in the rest of the passage. We could summarize it like this:


  • Submit yourselves to God (v.7)
  • Resist the devil (v. 7)
  • Draw near to God (v. 8)
  • Cleanse your hands and heart (v. 8)
  • Weep over your sin (v. 9)
  • Humble yourself (v. 10)


It’s all a reversal of the idolatrous, worldly pattern we established in putting ourselves in the center of the universe. Trust God and submit yourself to His plan. Let Him meet your desires and even give you new ones (Psa. 37:4). Fight back against Satan by the power of the Spirit and His Word. Come near to God once again and abandon this self-centered view. Repent over your sin in a heartfelt way.


Someone who has went through this process has realized something that they were so blinded to before. They’ve had a Copernicus-type moment. They think, “Maybe everyone isn’t supposed to revolve around me after all! My life and all others actually revolve around the Son! He is and deserves to be in the center of the universe, not me. He’s the King, not me. He calls the shots, not me. All of life, including my own, is under His authority.”


What’s the end result for those who come to this new conclusion of the truth? Verse ten tells us- God will exalt this person. They no longer have to try and exalt themselves and strive to meet their own desires. They can trust God to take care of it.


How about you? Are their some desires your life that you are striving way too hard to meet? What might they be (ex. ease, comfort, pleasure, peace, success, admiration, etc.)? Have they blinded you to the point of possibly becoming idols? Will you sin to try and get it or will you sin if you lose it?


If you start to see this in your life, follow the advice James offers. Submit yourself to God. Humble yourself. Repent of your sin. He’ll give grace to a person like that and just may give you the desires that you’re looking for but in a new way and with a whole new perspective.

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The 1

99(1)We all love the story in the Bible of the shepherd leaving the 99 sheep to find the 1 that went astray (Matthew 18).  We want someone to rejoice over us when we are found.

But did you ever realize that God calls us to the role of going after the 1? That’s not just the Good Shepherd’s role, or only the duty of your pastor.  Jesus shows us in the following verses how to go after those who are walking away from the fold in sin.

If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone.  (Matthew 18:15)

Jesus tells us to go after the 1.  When someone sins against us (or against others), we aren’t told to wait until they recognize their sin and come ask us for forgiveness.  We are told to go after them.

And why should this surprise us?

 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8

The example has already been set for us.  God’s love is demonstrated through Christ.  How are you showing your love to your fellow believers?

We encourage you to watch or listen to Pastor Ben’s message from Sunday about Biblical Accountability.  Let’s care for the flock we are a part of and actively engage in one another’s lives.  Let’s be the Church.

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Praying the promises of God

Pastor Eric’s message this past Sunday spoke to our fears and our anxiety.  You can watch or listen to the full message at

Here, we’d like to highlight his counsel to pray the promises of God


I love the words of the psalmist in Psalm chapter 73 verse 28: He says,

But as for me, the nearness of God is my good, I have made the Lord God my refuge

Let me bring a question to bear out of that…


Where is your refuge from worry, fear, and anxiety?

Where do you run?

Where do you go?

Where do you hide?


Where is your refuge?

Where do you fears and your anxiety drive you?

Do they drive you to deeper wells of worry, or do they drive you to the promises of God?

I want to encourage you to pray the promises of God. Not just in the middle of life’s difficult circumstances, not just in the middle of trials and God’s dark providence, but get in the habit of day-in and day-out praying the promises of God, praying the Word of God helps to saturate our hearts and our minds in the truth of God.

Oh how we need that.


JD Greear offers some practical examples in his article “Pray God’s Words Back to Him: Claiming the Promises of God“.

We encourage you to read God’s Word.  Look for His promises.  Make these promises your prayers.

Get in the habit, the practice of talking to God about your fears in light of His character.  Frame your prayers in light of Who it is that you are talking to.


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