Message Recap: Blessed to Bless, Pt. 1

Blessed-to-bless_slide (1)Church! Welcome to the introduction of our newest series, “Blessed to Bless”. It’s a powerful exercise to think of all the ways in which we are blessed, and we are expectant and excited to remember the grace of God in this series. #BlessUp

In the Bible, we see two uses for the word blessing:

  1.  To bless another person (or to do something for their benefit)
  2. To bless God (or to exalt God out of adoration for Him)

Genesis 12:2-3: And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

Psalm 103:1-5: Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Ephesians 1:3: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…

There is nothing that God has withheld from you. If you have trusted in Jesus, every spiritual blessing is available to you; it sits at the tip of your fingers, waiting to be had! You were created with the capacity to touch the heart of God. Isn’t it incredible that God receives love from us, mere human beings?

Mark 14:3-9: And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” 

This woman, shown in Mark, was blessed to possess this ointment (worth almost a year’s wages). With this, she performed an act of love, and blessed Jesus.

There are three reasons we bless others: duty, logic, and love (the greatest of these). And there are three reasons we bless God: duty, logic, and, yes, the highest of these – love. As we love God and love people, we change the world.

Blessing God out of love doesn’t always make the most sense, logically or societally. But, we must not be caught up in the praises of man, and instead turn our complete affection toward God.

James 1:17: Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Acts 20:35:  In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

The Kingdom is upside down; they key to receive blessing is to give first.

Biblical references: Genesis 12:2-3; Psalm 103:1-5; Ephesians 1:3; Mark 14:3-9; James 1:17; Acts 20:35

Questions:

  1. How has God blessed you?
  2. How can you bless others this week?
  3. How can you be thankful for ways others have blessed you?

 

Message Recap: God is Speaking

godisspeaking-01This week, we are doing something a little bit exciting to switch things up; Lead Pastor Andrew Bach heads our discussion, but we also get to hear from members of Mosaic, the church body. Thank you, friends, for your vulnerability, wisdom, faithfulness, and Andrew, for your awesome leadership.

The question we are asking ourselves this week is not, “is God speaking?” (because He is); rather, the question at hand is, “are we listening?”. There are so many voices coming from so many different places, it sometimes seem impossible to hear from Him. Remember, though, that God is bigger and grander than all of those things, and simultaneously smaller and more intimate.

1 Kings 19:11-12: And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.

Though God speaks via every channel listed in the passage above (evidenced in the Bible), Elijah hears Him in a still, small voice. C.S. Lewis, author and wise man he was, wrote of God’s voice: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

The Christian life is so much more than an agreement that the Bible is true. We aren’t looking for new truth, but for this Truth to permeate, infiltrate, and change our hearts. Though we will never know for certain if the voice we hear is God (for we see dimly in this life), we can trust that we still do see. To hear God, read the Bible, and then ask the Holy Spirit to speak. He will – trust Him!

Biblical references: 1 Kings 19:11-12

Questions:

  1. What voices are distracting you from hearing God?
  2. Are you listening to God speak?
  3. What is God speaking to you this week?

Message Recap: 2 Timothy Pt. 4

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This is our last week in our series, “The Risk and Tension of Discipleship”, and to close it out, we are looking at 2 Timothy 4. This letter is an example for us for discipleship (which, defined, means one person helping another to follow Jesus).

Who is helping you follow Jesus? Who are you helping follow Jesus? As the body of Christ, we are responsible for each other – for the growth, life, and endurance in faith of God for another person.

1 John 1:1-4: That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

Discipleship is one of the greatest joys of our faith. It’s part of how God uses evil for good; your breakthroughs can help others find freedom faster. Your testimony isn’t just for you – it’s for helping others!

Three Aspects of Discipleship:

  1. It’s for every season of your life
    • 2 Timothy 4:1-4: I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
    • Have a resolve that Jesus is Lord
    • Be ready in season and out of season
    • The hungry eat. Stay hungry.
  2. Discipleship requires a holding to the gospel
    • We live in a time when people honor fluidity and adaptability in their convictions. A hard line of integrity isn’t honorable – socially – like it used to be.
    • What we need is for someone to tell us the Truth. This is love.
  3. Discipleship involves giving your life away for God.
    • 2 Timothy 4:5-6: As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.
    • Paul, even in his imprisonment, knows that his life is a sweet offering.
    • You are not meant to be a Dead Sea Christian (without outflow). You are meant to receive and to pour out.

Discipleship involves a tension between the word of God and our culture, Resolve to believe that Jesus is Lord; His Word is True, and He truly knows what is best for us.

Biblical references: 1 John 1:1-4; 2 Timothy 4:1-7

Questions:

  1. The hungry eat. Are you hungry?
  2. Are you letting circumstances or your season of life become a barrier or excuse for seeking discipleship?
  3. Are you giving your life away for God? Are you giving your life away for others to encounter God?

Message Recap: 2 Timothy Pt. 3

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October 31st is the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther posting his 95 Thesis, which led to the Reformation movement. It began a movement toward a belief, again, in Scripture. The Bible is our sustenance (Matthew 4); the Bible is a sword that divides the the soul from the Spirit (Hebrews 4); the Bible is a mirror that reveals who you are (James); the Bible is the Word of God.

Some of us still think that what we do determines who we are, but who we are is determined by the Word of God. the Bible gives us our identity. There is only one Person who can tell you who you are (and it’s not even you!); it’s your Maker.

2 Timothy 3: 1-9: But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.

The problem is not an external one; it’s an internal one. We can’t just fix the “doings”. We can’t just do “better”. We have to change. The only way to change completely is to become new from the inside-out.

2 Timothy 3:10-14: You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, 11 my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. 12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom[a]you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

What – or Who – are we going to let define us? We cannot get our identity from the world; we have to get it from the Bible.

2 Timothy 3: 16-17: All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Scripture tells us about our identity, and then completes the work. We don’t read the Bible to learn what we are supposed to do, but to learn who we are. The Bible rebukes and trains and teaches the right way of life because it tells us our identity.

You are a child of God (John 1); you are a new creation (2 Corinthians); you are you are God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2); you are an alien and a stranger in this world (1 Peter); you are part of the true vine (John 15); you are the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5); you are a child of light and not of darkness (1 Thessalonians 5); you are a child of God (Galatians 3); you are righteous and holy (Ephesians 4); you are born of God and the evil one cannot touch you (1 John 5); you are an enemy of the devil (1 Peter 5); you are no longer a slave to sin, but you are a child of God (Romans 6).

Not even your mistakes can take away the fact that, in Jesus, you are a child of God. The deeds of the darkness have nothing to do with you because of who you are. You have nothing to do with philosophies, perversions, or the things of the world. Are you living by the breath of culture, or are you living by the breath of God? What – Who – is your life source?

God didn’t save the world because He hates your sin. He saved the world because He loves you. And He knows who you are, because He made you! We have to keep coming back to who we are, as He declares as True.

Biblical references: 2 Timothy 3

Questions:

  1. When you read scripture, are you reading it as a history book or as a mirror?
  2. What does the bible say you about you?
  3. Where does your identity come from? The world? Your accomplishments? Others? God? Ask God, to reveal revelations of truth about your identity to you.

Message Recap: 2 Timothy, Pt. 2

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Lead Pastor Andrew Bach’s high school football coach used to say, “Be who you are and know what you know”. Though Coach was referring to the classic game of American football, we can also relate it to our faith: Be who God says you are, and know the character of God through the studying of His Word.

Last week, in the first part of our new series, “2 Timothy: The Risk and Tension of Discipleship”, we looked at the risk of following Jesus, and believing that His dreams for us are better than our own dreams for us. This week, we are using 2 Timothy chapter 2 to dissect the risk of helping others and living in community.

2 Timothy 2:1-2: You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.

It is the intention of Jesus to strengthen you, not once, but over and over again. Receiving the grace of God is more than just becoming a better or “nicer” person; it means becoming a new person. Being absolutely and unconditionally loved by the One who knows you best is strengthening (especially because it’s not just vices we look to to strengthen ourselves, but good things – “Church” things – too). The best way to strengthen ourselves in the grace of Jesus is to spend time with Him, because it’s a practice.

“How do I practice?” you might be thinking. We’re so glad you asked: worship, Word, and prayer. Contrary to how we often feel, this isn’t us doing something good for God, but it’s God doing something good for us.

Let us not forget that God doesn’t call us to be strengthened in His grace individually, but together as a people. We are made to spur one another on. Who’s helping you follow Jesus? And who are you helping follow Jesus?

2 Timothy 2:4-6: No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.

The soldier, the athlete, and the farmer all share a commonality: they have to put in the work for a while before seeing the fruits of their labor. Discipleship is the same. Let’s be a church the invests in one another in discipleship, allowing it to grow us and change us for this race that is a marathon, and not a sprint.

Biblical references: 2 Timothy 2

Questions:

  1. Who is helping you follow Jesus? If no one, who could you ask?
  2. Who are you helping follow Jesus? If no one, who could you intentionally pour into?
  3. Are you getting strengthened in the grace of Jesus? What does spending time with God look like in this season?

Message Recap: 2 Timothy, Pt. 1

 

2Timothy_Risk-Tension_SlideChurch! We are so excited to begin a new series this week, scripturally driven by 2 Timothy, as we dive into the “risk and tension of discipleship”. Before we get started, though, we want to thank you for your steadfast faith and obedience for participating in last week’s church-wide fast and prayer movement on Wednesday night. Seattle and all its inhabitants were blessed, and the heavens rejoiced with us in praying for our city! The Lord is working here, ya’ll, and we are so humbled to be called His co-laborers.

With that said, we don’t follow Jesus because we want His success or “favor”, because it looks good outwardly, or even because it’s the “right thing” to do. We follow Jesus because He first loved us with reckless love and without abandon.

2 Timothy 1:2: To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

In looking at 2 Timothy, we see where Paul is highlighting for us some critical instructions, the first being: remember those who have gone before you.

2 Timothy 1:5-6: I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands…

The second instruction from Paul, seen here in verse 6, is to fan the flame of God – or faith – that is in you! Church, this is a calling on our lives; let us flame the embers that they may spark a wildfire.

The third instruction is to not live out of fear, but out of a sprit of power (2 Timothy 1:7: for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control). Fear is so often – if not always – the enemy, rather than the circumstance itself. Fear is not from God, and therefore has no place in us, as those whom He has chosen.

The fourth instruction – and certainly not the least – is to not be ashamed of the gospel.

2 Timothy 1:8: Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God…

Here’s the crutch: we want to be people that follow Jesus fiercely and passionately, but we also want to make sure that all of our own dreams come true. But, what happens when we can’t play both hands? What happens when our own dreams are compromised because of reality? There is no doubt that our own dreams are good (because they are!), but they are not the best. There will be so many times when you have to choose between the dream you have for yourself and the dream that Jesus has for you. And the road to Jesus’ dream is narrow; stay the course, friends.

Psalm 103:5: who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. God satisfies our dreams with what is good for us, and so often, we don’t even know what we need ourselves. 

John 16:33: I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. His dream for your life will lead to fullness of joy – that is a guarantee – because God is a good Father.

Matthew 19:29: And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. We cannot be motivated by the things that we see; we have to be motived by faith and faith alone. The world celebrates the ideas that will lead to a successful outcome. But, we know God, and we know that His ideas are the best ideas. We have a holy calling – it isn’t to strive for the dreams of the world, it’s to align ourselves with the dreams of Jesus.

2 Timothy 1:9-10: who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel…

Don’t succumb to the fear – walk out in risk! Take it! For Jesus is with you.

2 Timothy 1:12: which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.

Biblical references: 2 Timothy 1-12

 Questions:
1. Do you need to fan the embers of faith in your life to see the flame? What areas are you asking God to give you an increase in faith today?
2. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” What fears are God pointing out in your life? If it is fear, its not God. Share those with a trusted friend and pray for God to bring freedom in your life in those places.
3. God’s dreams are better than our dreams. What places of surrender in your aspirations, dreams, and accomplishments is God saying, trust me to give you even better dreams?

 

 

 

 

 

Message Recap: Pray!

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This week, Paul Jackson closes our sermon series, Pray!, as we reflect on the importance – and necessity! – of prayer in our spiritual lives. We have to remember that prayer actually changes things. The Holy Spirit is a gentleman; He doesn’t force His way in, but instead moves into the places in which He is invited.

Prayer is so important because it truly changes our circumstances, and because it changes us as individuals. Prayer grows and matures us as Jesus followers.

Matthew 6:9-13: Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” 

The linchpin of Christianity is taking our understanding of scripture and actually applying it to our lives, living it out as Truth.

Matthew 6:14-15: For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

There are several kinds of prayer (including adoring, beseeching, and confessional), and this week, in particular, we are looking at prayer of forgiveness.

There creates a spiritual dissonance when we ask God to forgive us when we have yet to forgive our own debtors. Church, we are called to be a people that forgive – there’s no getting around it!

Matthew 18:21-35: Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place.  Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

Perhaps we have a hard time forgiving others because we don’t realize the incredible grace God has shown us. We are the ones with the impossible debt – not those that have hurt us. Forgiveness is something that we can grow in (praise!). What it takes is seeing the generosity of God toward us, so that we can extend generosity toward others quickly and joyfully.

Harboring unforgiveness is a scheme of the enemy. He wants us to be unforgiving, so that he can steal, kill, and destroy us. God calls us to forgive others because He wants the absolute best for us, and in forgiveness we will find abundant life. The process of forgiveness – though healing can take time – started and concluded on the Cross.

Forgiveness is a choice and an action. Let us be ones that are quick to forgive, knowing well the vast, immeasurable forgiveness that has already been shown to us. The Kingdom of God is not of talk but of power, and forgiveness is powerful.

Biblical references: Matthew 6:9-13; Matthew 6:14-15; Matthew 18:21-35

Questions:

  1. How can there be an upgrade in your prayers this week? In frequency, in depth, in intimacy, in faith?
  2. Are you adoring God, beseeching Him, confessing, and receiving deliverance in your prayers?
  3. Do you have unforgiveness in your heart? If so, release that to God and choose freedom through being quick to forgive because of what Christ did on the cross for you.
  4. Is there anyone you can invite in or share what God has done for you and in you?