Summer is full of challenges for us and our families. So we decided to tackle some of that normal summer stuff in our Summer Survival Series.
The first topic we tackled was “Vacation”. While you can’t find the word vacation in scripture, the things we’re pursuing with vacation: rest and time with family, are topics that God’s Word certainly speaks to. In fact, we find both family and rest established in the first 2 chapters of genesis.
We all know that we need rest but find it can prove difficult. Is it just getting sleep? Is it about stepping away from something that is draining us? Is it found if we can just resolve some problems we’re facing? Is there rest if we can step out of our normal routine?
We’ve probably all had vacations that were anything but restful. Sometimes we try to escape through things that ultimately just end up causing us more problems.
In Mark 6:30-32 we see that Jesus encourages his disciples to step away from their work and rest, but in Matthew 11:28 we see that rest isn’t found in a destination, but in a person…the person of Jesus Christ. He says, “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
In Psalm 37 David shows us that we can find rest in Christ regardless of our situation or location. So one of the biggest mistakes we can make as Christians is to try and take a vacation where we’re seeking rest, but we don’t seek Jesus.
In this message we share some suggestions on how we can bring Jesus on vacation and how we can better connect with our family as well. The good news is that vacation isn’t really necessary for either one, but it is an opportunity we can capitalize on if we are intentional.
n Sunday the focus of our message was “The Growth Process.” In this message we examined how things grow and applied those steps to the church as well.
Growth starts with a seed and much preparation of the soil. For a church to launch we have to pray for:
1. God’s presence in the work.
2. The calling of a Sr. Pastor.
3. Ministry Partners to serve in the ministry.
4. The community we’re called to serve.
5. A place to gather and call home.
Next comes germination – Growing roots and shoots. Roots provide a foundation for ministry and include bylaws, identifying leaders and determining the mission/vision of the ministry. Shoots of various ministries begin to branch out and will eventually produce fruit.
As a plant fully emerges there is a public presentation. The community begins to feel the impact of a local church.
Next we see growth & pruning. Growth should result in fruit but if a plant produces too much fruit it can break the tree, so pruning must occur. We tend to think of God pruning us as a bad thing, but it actually leads to a healthier plant.
When we’re fully mature there should be multiplication. The seed begins to reproduce. Healthy plants reproduce and the same should be true of healthy Christians and healthy ministries.
As we move into reproduction… Here’s how you can be a part:
Pray for us as a church.
Help us watch for a planting location (somewhere within a 20 mile radius).
Help us multiply leaders, by serving alongside someone else.
Give – we know that there will be a financial cost to plant a church, so if God calls you to sacrificially give toward that, it will help us prepare.
As we learn more, ask God if you’re called to go.
This week’s Q&A sermon was on “angels.” A large part of our culture has the idea that angels are former human beings that now show up and perform little insignificant miracles for anyone and everybody. The entertainment culture of movies, games, and books are loaded with unbiblical theology. It is true that we don’t ever want to worship angels, but we don’t want to be ignorant of them either.
In this message, we dive into biblical facts and answers about angels. Ultimately, God is the one who has created all things – visible and invisible – and this includes angels.
We must always remember that angels are not in control, only God is. He knows perfectly well when and how to act on our behalf.
The heart of this topic came from a question like this: Do people really go straight to heaven when they die? If they do, then what’s the deal with people being resurrected at Christ’s rerun and meeting Him in the sky?
This is a fantastic question that largely originates in I Thessalonians 4:13-18 where Paul talks about those who are asleep in Christ Jesus, but will be resurrected at Christ’s return and will meet Him in the sky with faithful Christians alive at that time.
· What does it mean to be asleep?
· What will eventually happen to our bodies?
· Who goes to heaven first, the living or the dead?
· If we sleep and are resurrected, why do we always talk about going to be with Jesus?
· Heaven or hell, how is it decided where we go?
· What does judgement look like?
· Is the heaven that exists now, what heaven will be like after Christ’s return?
We dive into all of these and many other questions as we flesh this out.
We continued with our Q & A series with a message on “Prayer.”
In John 14:12-14, Jesus says that if we ask anything in His name, He will grant it. However, there are biblical stipulations to this promise:
1.) Our prayers need to be according to His will. We can’t pray for selfish prideful reasons. If we ask with bad motives, we will not receive.
2.) Our prayers must be made with complete confidence. Doubt is a prayer killer – it must be thrown out and removed.
3.) Our prayers must be made until the answer comes. We are to pray and hang in there until the victory is achieved. Ultimately, that victory is being in eternity with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Q&A Series – “Choosing Salvation”
If God knows everything, does that mean that everything is predetermined or predestined? That being said; Do I choose God or does God choose me?
These can be difficult questions to wrestle with and the reality is that there are not only people who feel very strongly on each side, but there are also scriptures that speak very strongly as well (especially in Romans and Hebrews). So, how do we piece all of that together and what does it mean for us. That’s what we dove into on Sunday and what we’ll be working to discuss more on Wednesday night @ 7pm. We’d love for you to join in on the conversation.
God does not shape and mold His people in isolation. Instead, God deliberately and intentionally shapes our hearts through small intimate fellowship with others. We all need a few core Christians that really and truly know us and our full story. We need fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who we meet with on a regular basis that we can really connect with on a deep level. We need someone who will fight for us and fight for our heart in a God honoring way. Someone who will remember our story for us when we forget, and remind us of our glory in Christ.
We all need these “intimate allies” of the heart. It doesn’t matter your age, young or old. Or if you’re a new Christian or have been following Jesus for decades. We all need accountability that will support, challenge, show love, and help build us up in Christ.
Who fights for your heart? Who are those few that do that for you?
Intimate Allies help us truly “Wake from the Dead” and let us live from our hearts.
What would you think if I told you that you are more than you think you are? Most Christians don’t see themselves the way scripture describes us.
It’s true that we start as a sinner saved by grace, but we’re also a new creation in Christ Jesus and all through the New Testament the Apostles refer to Christ followers as Saints (see: Acts 26:10, Romans 15:26, Philippians 1:1, Colossians 1:2, & 1 Corinthians 1:2).
Even more than that we are meant to bear God’s glory. Our study focused on 2 Corinthians 3:7-18 where Paul talks about Moses shining with the Glory of God, but Paul makes a strong case that this should be commons place for those full of God’s Spirit. God wants all of use to live from that place of calling and gifting; filled up it hthe power and glory of the Holy Spirit.
If that’s not clear for you, one way to figure out where God meant for you to shine is to look for the place where you’ve been most attacked and shamed into hiding. The enemy of our soul sees that glory in you as well and wants to tarnish you. Pastor Dan concluded the message by sharing his own testimony on how he has experienced that and what God is doing in his heart.
2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV)
18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Having a truly clean heart sounds incredible, but it also may sound too good to be true. We know the wounds we’ve tried to burry, the shame from sin that we haven’t really let go of. The labels we can’t seem to shake. It’s all buried down there somewhere and honestly it doesn’t sound fun to drag it out or let someone examine it with us.
Maybe you’ve read scripture about how the heart is deceitful and desperately sick. Even Jesus said that out of the heart of men, proceed all manner of wickedness (see Mark 7:21-23).
Maybe you would even say that is true of your heart and that’s why you keep the door closed, locked and have thrown the key away. While those scriptures are true, that’s not the destination God has in mind for us. The truth is that God wants to live in our hearts (Ephesians 3:17).
But if God is going to live there it will need to be clean and trying harder has never given anyone a clean heart. Transformation starts to happen when we give God complete and unhindered access to all aspects of our heart. Then He does the transformation (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
If you’re ready to consider what it might look and feel like to have your heart transformed and to find real freedom, we invite you to dive into these messages and the rest of this series with us.
Our new sermon series entitled “Waking the Dead”, is all about our heart coming alive in and through Jesus. Unfortunately, we all have “heart wounds” that include: trauma, rejection, disaster, abandonment, abuse, etc. These wounds may have happened recently or even a long time ago. But, it doesn’t matter really matter how long ago it was – it still affects us today!
The enemy (Satan), knows how vital our heart is and he tries to disable and paralyze our heart. Why? Because we cannot be the person God meant us to be and we cannot live the life God meant us to live unless we live from our heart. By taking out our heart, the enemy takes us out! Jesus Christ’s role could best be understood as rescuing us from having a dead heart. Jesus Christ gets our hearts back from the enemy!
God loves us and our hearts matter to Him. It is one thing to say we believe that… it’s another to discover it is true. Jesus Christ came to this earth to relentlessly pursue our hearts!
Please listen to this first message called “The Heart is Central.”