Sunday, May 03, 2015

Notes for Ephesians 2:1-10

This is part of a "homework" assignment from small group leadership training at my home church. We'll be starting a small group next fall. The assignment is two fold
1. Observe a particular text, and discover the facts that are in that text.
2. Formulate factual questions related to that text

Notes for Ephesians 2:1-10.

1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

1. Facts: This text contrasts who a group is, before they were forgiven, and after they were forgiven. People who live in this world are ultimately following "The prince of the power of the air". Everyone once upon a time, followed this prince. God has loved us though. We have been raised! Grace has saved us through our faith. Works do not save us, but we are saved to be God's workmanship, doing God's work. This work was made for us to do.

2. Questions:
How many groups can humanity be divided into, and how could we describe them, according to this passage?

If we were once dead, what then made us alive? Who can be made alive?

What is God waiting to show us? 

What makes faith special in God's eyes, according to this passage?

If God doesn't save us by what we do, why is it important that we do good thing?

What's the good thing you'll be doing this week? (final question)

Sunday, March 08, 2015


This is the Communion meditation for Highlands Church of Christ, given March 08, 2015.

Usually Mr Peterson wore a sweater vest, with a tie underneath. He and his wife sat in the same pew every Sunday, about three rows from the front. It had to be an easy seat to get to, he couldn't move very well or very fast. When I knew Mr. Peterson, his left arm curled into a fist, and he held it close to his body. Sometime in the past, he'd had a stroke. He couldn't talk without a stutter, so he mainly communicated through facial expression, and usually there was a smile on his face. The struggle for Mr Peterson to talk, communicate, move, and interact was real. He also taught me an important lesson on thankfulness every Sunday he met with the church. He taught his lesson over time, and if things distracted you from the lesson, you might let out a snicker, or feel a little embarrassment, but slowly the lesson built. I'm going to share with you a lesson it took me six months, at least to learn.

The first Sunday I remember Mr Peterson in Church, I remember because when he received the cup to take the Lord's Supper, he spoke the word "Hallelujah". As far as I can remember, he said it every week he met with the church. The only time I ever heard him say something clearly and without stuttering was to say "hallelujah" right after taking the cup. He never said it with a hesitation. Sometimes he said it softly, but mostly, his voiced boomed in the silent time that we had after cocmmunion: "Hallelujah".

The word means "Praise God!" It's an expression given both as a command and declarative. "Praise God!" The Psalms especially use the phrase. When Mr Peterson said it, I knew I was learning something, but it took a while to really take. What I learned from him is that a thankful heart always finds a way to turn to God and thank Him for the blood of Christ. Let's read something from Hebrews 13:8-15 together:
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.  9 Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. 10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat.  11 For *xlthe bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp.  12 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.  13 Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured.  14 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.  15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.

When we take the cup of communion, we take the same cup that Jesus called his Blood. Together, we come to the place this passage describes. Let's praise God together, and with thankful hearts take the cup, and offer the sacrifice of praise to God. Let our fruitful lips acknowledge the name of Jesus.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

"Watch Your Pole"

It's been over thirty years ago, but I can remember it just like it was yesterday. It was a day for a "first", the first time I went fishing with my Grandpa. By this time, even though I wasn't quite seven years old, I considered myself an experienced fisherman, able to take up the serious business of fishing for the fish fry my family put on every Wednesday, and during special occasions, like labor day. Tingling with excitement, we pulled up to Clark's Landing on Cocodrie Lake, and I asked my Grandpa a question:

"What's the biggest fish in here?"
In a thick accent caused by a full life in Central Louisiana, he answered
"Dars an ol' gar in der bigger'en you are!"
With wide eyes, my imagination took hold and I began to see the ol' gar down below waiting to snatch a finger. The overcast sky, and cooler temperature added to my anxiety. I kept watch on the water. After fishing for a couple of hours, we decided to call it a day. Normally, Grandpa caught "two or tree" dozen tasty white perch, but today only two fish hit the pot gut minnows he used for bait. I road along on the back seat of the boat, taking in the surroundings. Tupelo trees in the water formed a barrier, and the passageway through the water grew narrow. I began thinking about the gar again, and heard a noise behind me of something slipping. Turning, I gazed in horror as my fishing pole slipped off the side of the boat into the water.

"Grandpa!" I exclaimed "The gar got my pole, he pulled it into the water!"
Chuckling, he replied "Well padnah, sometime, you gotta watch yo pole."

I started learning an important lesson that day. It's hard to fish without the right equipment, but I let my worry distract me and I lost my pole as a result. Jesus called the first disciples to be "fishers of men", and it's equally important, if we're going to follow their example, for us to watch and make sure our equipment isn't lost. The most important equipment we have for fishing for men is the testimony of our faith acting in our life. If we allow the world to distract us, and if we take our eyes off the prize, it becomes easy for others to judge that we hold our faith cheap. If we want to save others, we have to listen to Paul's instruction to Timothy:

1 Timothy 4:16: "Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers."

We come to this table recognizing that we're at the tackle shop. It's time for us to get new tackle, to renew the covenant that cleanses us for sin, and to also equip our minds to deal with the stress of life. We go to church, fellowship at this meal, and in honesty and humility, admit to God and to each other that we lost our pole, or at least our bait. Once we're equipped, we're ready to fish again, and tell happier fishing stories next week.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sermons I've Never Given.

I've got a series of sermons, partially written, that I've never given.
They're originally written to be given as part of a revival.
I first got the idea to write them when we lived in Orlando, and I was going pretty hard at BASIC. At the time, I was studying 1 John, and thought, "WOW, I could write five sermons from this book as a revival series!" I quickly hammered out the general ideas for all five sermons, then started writing outlines. The first two outlines came easy, I had to revise the third a few times, and I've not written the fourth or fifth. Every couple of months, I tell myself I need to finish it. I'm not in demand as a revival preacher right now, I don't even teach a Sunday school class, but I've always told myself that if I finish these lessons, I'll have done something.

I'll get started on that fourth sermon sooner or later, I've been having the itch to write it again. Just need to reread 1 John. That book always convicts and encourages me.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Still Believing and Serving in Christ.

This is a "I'm still here" post.
I don't know what else to call it.
I've been blogging about life, birds, ham radio, Jesus, philosophy, gardening, and lots of other stuff.
This was the first blog I started and I'm coming back to it because BASIC is an idea I have let and am letting permanently soak into me. It's an identity.
It's an identity I want to pass on to my kids too.
I have four now.
Four very precious daughters. Having daughters does things to a man. It's hard to explain.
If you have a daughter, and you are a man, you know what I'm talking about.
One of the things I'm doing to teach my kids to be BASIC is having them memorize a memory verse.
This week, our memory verse comes from Luke 18:14b (ESV) :
"For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."
This verse is part of a larger passage where Jesus talkes about a pharisee and a tax collector, and how their attitudes during prayer affected the outcome of their soul. The kids have to read the whole passage (I have 2 that can read it, and one that can listen) and memorize the 18:14b part. I'm trying to memorize as much of the whole passage as I can.
That's me, and what I'm doing to Be BASIC, how about you?

Monday, January 12, 2009

"By the way I thought that you would be there..."

Great lyrics!
Did I see you downtown Sunday? Maybe, probably not though. S'kay, cuz I can't make it every week either and I started this work!
Strange eh?

I'll give you strange: So the fishmobile needs a new alternator belt right. It squeeks when it drives, and makes people go crazy. Mainly it could lead to a broken alternator belt, or even a broken alternator. gotta fix it in two weeks. To fix it sunday, I turned the belt around. It kinda worked, a little bit.

So that's goin' on.

We are in the middle of the sermon on the mount. I introduced the guys to "Mr. Anonymous" hehe, doer of good deeds, I could tell you more, but then, well, what would be the point. ;-)

We do have prayer requests!

Craig McGrew: "I pray that my life will find meaning, that I can skillfully manange all that life throws at me, not to lose myself in hopelessness or depression, and my prosperity come and accumulate around me, lifting me up"

Berlin: "Please pray for me for understanding"

Jonathan Jones :"$"

Jaren Whitman: "My girlfriend's cancer, and I find a job"

Duck: "home and a job"

Lawrence J Brown: "Job employment"

Gregory Scott: "Pray that I get a regular job soon."

George Moore: "That my job comes through"

Dwaine McCoy: "Reunite me with my family"

Jack Bishop: "For Everything"

Yvonne Cook: "Pray for everyone we love you thank you all God bless"

These are important! Pray for them. Pray for me.

G. Brandon Hoyt

Monday, December 01, 2008

Mind Death and the Art of Feeling Numb

There are so many things in this world that keep pulling you down. You got terrorists in Mumbai, poor retail sales on black Friday, gubbmint officials who start lame duck sessions when they are first elected, and who live on a diet of pork and cocktails. I tell you, it's not hard to be apathetic with all the junk that I see people walking around keeping to themselves. At least my kids are still sweet.

So here's what's been going on this week: I got real sick Tuesday, and spent the rest of the week recovering, and dealing with the after effects of being sicky sicky. Thanksgiving was pretty good, but I didn't eat as much as have eaten, didn't want to see it again. Gross, right? I did spend some time trowing balls into trees to recover other balls that thrown into trees. It was a vicious cycle that eventually required the use of a ladder and a polesaw.

The weather and my recover efforts conspired to keep me home yesterday, but Matty, Jess, Rico, Steve, and others went downtown and handed out foodbags or one item to help people get out of the weather quicker. He said there were "Literally 80 people waiting". Now that's odd to me because most of the guys know we can only serve forty. Meh, meet the needs, save the world. Next week hopefully things will be better, we are supposed to get a cool snap this week.

for prayer requests, pray for me, and everyone downtown this week during the weather. I've got some hackin' work to do this week. Lervly lervly.

One last thing, one of my former college room mates has started an outreach to people with HIV, Life with a Vision that I think will be an entirely worthwhile effort!

l8r g8r
GB HOYT, sick and tired of being sick, and tired.