Sermon Recap: Thanksgiving

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This Sunday, we had the incredible opportunity of hearing from Renae Burford about thankfulness (which, as she reveals, is not only a commandment of God’s, but is also immunity-boosting. Praise!).

Firstly, let’s check out the physiological benefits of thankfulness (according to science): it boosts immunity, decreases aches and pains, produces greater interest in exercise, improves sleep and you feel more refreshed upon waking, improves alertness, increases joy, pleasure, optimism and happiness, helps with quicker recovery from stress and depressive episodes, increases capacity to help others, and decreases a sense of loneliness. Not only is thankfulness pleasing to the Lord, but it is actually really good for us.

Thankfulness, by definition is: “awareness of benefits received from an external source; expressive of thanks”. There are 98 times thankfulness is mentioned in scripture, but we are going to look specifically at 5 of them.

Philippians 4:6: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” When we pray with thanksgiving in our hearts, that is the key to receiving the peace of God that guards our hearts and minds.

Additionally, thanksgiving gives us clarity when determining God’s will. 1 Thessalonians 3:16-18 states: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” We are to rejoice, pray, and give thanks at all times, according to the Bible. Friends, we must remember thankfulness is not a tool of denial; the Bible does not guarantee we won’t face suffering in life. What is does promise, however, is God’s goodness in every circumstance (even painful ones).

Thankfulness gives us an alert mind in the midst of confusion. Colossians 4:2: “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” Scripture also gives us warning when we do not give thanks, as seen in Romans 1:21: “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Our minds are sharpened by thankfulness, and they are made dull by lack of thanksgiving.

Thankfulness gives us confidence when we are in need. David declares his confidence in Psalm 118:17: “I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.”

Thankfulness is an alternative to temptation. Ephesians 5:3-4: “But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper saints. Let there be no filthiness or foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.” Let your mind be so full of thanks that all the things that bring death and destruction are displaced.

According to a psychologist, “if I want more gratitude, I’ve got to be willing to actually participate in a change process by which I allow my brain to be aware of what it is grateful for.” Let there be thanksgiving; let it be. Allow yourself to be thankful. It begins by being aware of all that you have actually received. Your participation is key, not your circumstance. Thankfulness is such a powerful gift from God for us.

In order to become a more thankful person, we must be aware of its competitors: materialism (which says, “if I have this, its because I earned it”) and entitlement (which says, “because I exist, God owes me this”). Entitlement and materialism kill thankfulness because they cut it off at its beginning. Remember, thankfulness is “the awareness of the benefit received by an external source, or an expression of thanks”. God does not owe us anything, and certainly not just because we exist. Materialism and entitlement are so engrained in us as a society because we are a prideful people, and it is a rarity to admit our dependency on another. We want to be independent. To be thankful means you can acknowledge that you received something that you didn’t deserve, and awe is the right response to such great generosity. Jesus’ death on the cross is the most awesome gift we could ever receive, and to accept it is awesome because we must acknowledge that we don’t deserve such a gift. We are not entitled to God’s pursuit; his love is generous. We cannot earn it, but what we can do is be in awe of his generosity.

When we assume the kindness of God should just be ours because of our existence, we become more susceptible to sin, apathy, and anger toward him. It is your awe that will lead you to love God well, and your loving God well will lead you to joy in obedience (and receive the best that he has for us). Let us allow God’s generosity to lead us into awe of him, and be thankful for all that he has done.

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! See you on Sunday for the beginning of a new series. 

Sermon Recap: Don’t Envy

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Today, we dive in to discuss the 10th and final Commandment, driven by Mosaic Lead Pastor Andrew Bach. The topic is envy – a sin deeply engrained into our society. We walk away with greater knowledge about the sin of envy, as well as practicals for living freely as Jesus has intended for us.

Firstly, why did God give us laws? We question laws because they feel restraining, restricting, and limiting. However, God’s laws are different, for He gave them to us because He intends the best for us. He wants us to experience life in abundance, and His law is the key to life.

Deuteronomy 5:33: “You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess.”

The Tenth Commandment states: Do not envy. Envy – also known as covetousness – means to yearn possession of something that belongs to someone else.

Exodus 20:17: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”

Here’s what we know about envy:

  1. It distorts friendships.
    1. An important part of relating through one another is celebration, and if we are imprisoned by envy, it is impossible to celebrate with someone else.
  2. It usurps God’s purposes for your life.
    1. We get stuck on the path God has for us, frozen in time. It leads us to comparison, and that is never God’s best for us.
  3. It gives us motive to break more of God’s laws (especially those that relate to loving others).
    1. It leads us to: lie, steal, commit adultery, murder (perhaps of the heart), and dishonor our parents.
    2. James 3:16: “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.”
    3. God calls us to be unified, and envy prompts us to commit sin against our community.
  4. It leads only to one of two things: disappointment or pride (neither of which are of God).

John 10:10:  “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

Envy does not lead us to have what we think we want (or what the world tells us we should want). Only Jesus brings life, and He brings it abundantly and for our best.

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This was the final sermon of walking through God’s Laws. Next week, we are starting a new series. Don’t miss out! 

Sermon Recap: Don’t Lie

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This week, Lead Pastor Andrew Bach leads us in breaking down God’s 9th Commandment, which iterates the cruciality of being honest (no matter what circumstance we face).

Proverbs 6:16-19: There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him; haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.” 

What is interesting is that, not only does lying make the list of things God hates, but lying is the only makes the list twice. God hates lying. It is demonic; it is an act of Satan. Lying is an assault against God and against others – our brothers and sisters.

Proverbs 25:18: “A man who bears false witness against his neighbor is like a war club, or a sword, or a sharp arrow.” A lie is injurious.

There are many ways we lie, but let’s look at three specifically:

  1. Flattery (which is defined as insincere or excessive praise with the intent to manipulate).
    1. Psalm 12:2: “Everyone utters lies to his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.” 
    2. Flattery is not encouragement.
    3. When we use flattery, we are lying. God hates lying.
  2. Deception (which means to abandon the truth altogether or twist the truth to use as a weapon).
    1. Galatians 6:8: “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”
    2. If you sow the things of this world, you will reap what this world has to offer: corruption.
    3. We are a culture of deception
      1. i.e.: advertising, political propaganda, etc.
      2. We’ve become numb to the massive amounts of deception, producing skeptics and cynics.
  3. Slander (which is to provide false and harmful information about someone).
    1. Leviticus 19:16: “You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the Lord.”
    2. Today, we have the opportunity to slander more people and more effectively than ever before due to social media and accessibility to global communication.

In flattery, deception, and slander, we’ve covered the big stuff. But, we also need to talk about the little lies, too, because lies always start little. This is how sin works. Little sins are real sins, and lying is no different.

We know lying is bad. Why do we do it?

  1. To avoid negative consequences.
  2. To appear perfect in the sight of others.
  3. To obtain things we aren’t supposed to have.
  4. To change our outcome.
  5. To punish others.

Essentially, we lie out of fear. But, the answer to our fear is never to lie; that is the enemy’s answer. The answer – leading to life and light – is to trust God.

John 8: 31-32: “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'”

The opportunity to lie will always be available, but lying is a shortcut that proves unsuccessful. Rather, the truth will set us free.

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Check back soon to read about the 10th (and final) commandment. 

 

Sermon Recap: Don’t Steal

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If you’re just finding this site, or it’s been a while since you’ve visited, it might seem that today’s title is jarring. Why are we discussing the act of stealing? We have jumped into sifting through the 10 Commandments – week by week – and here we pick back up with the weekly Sermon Recap with Commandment number 8: Thou Shall Not Steal. It seems simple enough, right? Let us dive in with Lead Pastor Andrew Bach for more insight.

The motivation to obedience is unique to Christianity because of the uniqueness of Jesus. Jesus is the only thing leading us to obey out of our identity rather than for our identity. In Jesus, we get to obey freely from a place of acceptance rather than an imprisoning place of obeying for acceptance. As we look at the Laws of God, we have to remember that the Gospel is news in the past tense; Jesus has already accepted who we are.

Exodus 20:1-2: “And God spoke all of these words saying, ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.'” 

The preamble emphasizes this point: I, God, am your rescuer, and you have already been rescued. Now, here is what freedom looks like: His Law. We obey His commandment not so we can be free, but rather so that we can live free.

Exodus 20:15: “You shall not steal.”

Stealing: taking something for yourself that doesn’t belong to you. Stealing is offensive to both the individual and it’s offensive to humanity. It is human to have things under our care, and it’s what makes us feel human. Stealing is trampling on the care-taking rights of another human being; they lose a part of the world that was theirs to care for.

Genesis 1:26-29: Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’ And God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.'”

There are two types of stealing:

  1. Wrong taking:
    1. There’s the obvious: breaking into cars, taking candy from a store,etc.
    2. (And the not so obvious): stealing time, which looks like not paying bills on time, being a poor employee on the clock, etc.
  2. Wrong keeping:
    1. Ephesians 4:28: “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.”
      1. According to this passage, you fall into one of two categories: you are either a thief or a radically generous person. Everything we have belongs to God, and He has given us these things not to own but to steward.
      2. Are you doing what God wants you to do with His money of which He has made you a steward? The Bible says everything belongs to God.
      3. It is sinful to steal, and it is sinful to work out of greed. However, it is honoring to God to work in order to give.
    2. Malachi 3:8-10: “Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”
      1. Are you looking for a way in, to give to God what is His, or are you looking for a way out?

Ephesians 4 gives us three options:

  1. You can steal
  2. You can work to live
  3. You can live to give

If you live to give, then your entire life becomes an expression of grace. We want to not be remembered for what we had, but for what we gave.

We steal because we don’t trust that God will provide what is best for us.

Hebrews 13:5: “Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.'” 

The key to not stealing is to trust God, and choose to trust Him rather than to choose comparison. His invitation says, “Trust me. I’ll be your helper”. And, he is worthy to be trusted, because He gave us the most precious gift in Jesus Christ so that we might find life and contentment and hope in Him.

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Join us on Sunday as we continue to discuss God’s Law!

21 Days of Prayer

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We’re now on our 2nd day of 21 Days of Prayer, but don’t fret if you haven’t started yet! There is plenty of time to jump in with us as we intercede for our nation for 19 more days.

Each day includes a devotional, prayer points, and a church and Lead Pastor from the Antioch Movement to cover in prayer as we pray for our nation.

As we journey in prayer together we will be praying for the US Elections, but also for so much more than that. Regardless of who our next elected officials are, our nation will need a great move of the Holy Spirit to be restored.

Our primary text in prayer will be Isaiah 60:1-3. During our three weeks of prayer we’ll be praying through each verse of this passage with great hope that God’s people will “arise and shine” in this generation.

So join us! Download the prayer guide here and come with us as we intercede for God to move through our nation. Each of us has a powerful part to play in interceding for God’s will to be done here on Earth.

Click to download a PDF of the 21 Day Prayer Guide.

 

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Psalms and Proverbs

A photo by freestocks.org. unsplash.com/photos/EssPg6x5QeY

This week, we had the incredible honor of hearing from Renae Burford, speaking about the condition of our heart and how to keep it carefully. Specifically, we dove into Proverbs 4.

Throughout this series – Psalms and Proverbs – we have been reminded of this truth: however our current situation looks, and however it turns out, God is who He says He is.

Proverbs 4:23: “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” 

Friends, we are made to make it for the long haul. God did not create us for a sprint of faithfulness, but a marathon of faithfulness. To make it to the end as loving, believing people, we must guard and watch over our inner persons.

The determining factor of the life you experience has everything to do with your heart, and the truth that flows from it. The world tells us that what we produce is a correlation with our circumstances. In truth, your circumstances have nothing to do with your productivity or our sense of fulfillment; rather, your productivity and how you enjoy it is directly related to the condition of your heart. Because of this, we have to keep our hearts, and guard them because they are so precious.

Luke 6:45: The good person our 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 his heart his mouth speaks.” 

When we talk about the heart, it can feel abstract. So, practically, what do we need to do?Thankfully, the Bible provides guardrails that are as relevant today as they ever were:

Proverbs 4:20-22: “My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.” 

John 15:7-8: “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” 

Ephesians 3:17: “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love…” . Jesus is the Word of God, made flesh.

Romans 10:10: “For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confessed and is saved.” 

A heart of good condition comes from knowing the Word of God. To know the Word is to have a holy fear of God, and those who fear the Lord lack no good thing.

Returning to Proverbs 4:23, we look at our verse of interest: “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”  Vigilance, defined, is the careful state of keeping careful watch over potential dangers.

There is danger around us that has so many faces, but it is rooted most deeply in unbelief of the heart.  A lot of us hold on to unbeliefs and the world reiterates those and perpetuates them as being factual. Eventually, the unbelief crowds out the belief; we become bitter, distracted, frustrated, and resentful. But, the longer we live and choose to take care of our hearts, the more we produce and the more we enjoy doing it.

Where is it that we fail most in taking care of our hearts?

  1. We procrastinate.
  2. We spend time perfecting our facades than we do getting to the root of our unbelief.
  3. We do the work. And, the more we work, the easier it becomes. Know the Word of God, because those places of unbelief will be more readily identifiable.

What are your deeply rooted unbeliefs? Where can you ask God for help in your unbelief? How do you remove unbelief? Believe! Ask God to increase your belief, for apart from Him, we can do nothing.

The way to experience and enjoy producing fruit with Jesus for the entirety of your life is to own your own heart. Invite Jesus in and let him take hold, and not any one else or any other circumstance. The very mission of Jesus was and is your heart. Keep it carefully, because you are worth it, and he wants you to experience abundant life through belief.

A photo by Aidan Meyer. unsplash.com/photos/lkSwboL_rDM

Join us on Sunday to hear the first of our next series! 

Sermon Recap: Relational Resolves, Pt. 3

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Thus far, we have taken a look at two relational resolves, by which we as members of the church choose to relate with others: Honor and Healthy Conflict. Today, we break down Relational Warmth, and how to apply it practically and lovingly in our lives.

Our third relational resolve encourages us to decide in advance that we are going to be warm to others. Specifically, this looks like enthusiasm, affection, and kindness in engaging every person we encounter. God’s kindness is abundantly toward you. It is unchanging. It is mighty and ferocious and huge, and therefore we are called to love and warmly engage others greatly as His children.

He loves to meet our disappointment with His kindness, and He loves to meet our failure with His kindness. For you, specifically and intimately, His arms are wide open, and He desires to overwhelm you with kindness.

Luke 15:1-6 tells the Parable of the Lost Sheep, a depiction of the kindness of Jesus: “Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.’ Then Jesus told them this parable: Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’” 

His affections are toward you. It is out of His abundant kindness that we are encouraged to be warm to all others.

Colossians 3:12-15: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:29-32.

1 Peter 3:8 furthers yet the importance of biblical warmth, “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble”. 

As believers, we are being carried through the process of sanctification, to look more like Jesus every day. To have the process of sanctification working in us means that we have the power and authority to love others outlandishly. Being warm with other people  is the calling on our loves by the will of God. Being relationally warm is more than a suggestion; to have a calling by God over our lives is grand beyond measure! We put on the clothing of relational warmth because we have first received it immensely from Jesus.

We live in Seattle (though this notion of coldness toward others certainly is not limited to Seattle alone), where indifference tends to characterize relationship. When did being cold become trendy? When did being “nice” become synonymous with being “boring”? This isn’t true at all! Being nice doesn’t mean we are boring; rather, it means we are clothed in the Spirit, representing kindness and affection and enthusiasm toward everyone. We, as people of God, reject the idea that the Seattle Freeze is the norm, and instead hold ourselves to a standard of heavenly norm.

As with our other relational resolves, there are 4 Practicals for Relational Warmth:

  1. Acknowledge people
  2. Use eye contact
  3. Use physical contact
  4. Practice inclusion

We haven’t done anything to earn God’s warmth toward us. Therefore, we are open and welcoming to others in return, because it is a gift that has already been given to us. We choose to put on relational warmth because of Jesus and through the power of the Holy Spirit. We are His chosen ones, holy and beloved, called to live as Jesus lives.

Galatians 5:22-23 states, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” 

We are called to aggressively, purposefully, intentionally love others, because this is exactly how we are loved by Him.

Need to do some catching up? Check out our sermon recaps about honor and healthy conflict on the blog!