Message Recap: Celebrating Father’s Day

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The heart of our Heavenly Father is to lay down His life for us, His children. Similarly, the role of a father on Earth is to lay down his life for his own children. Today, we pause in our sermon series, Building the House, to honor our dads on Father’s Day.

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.

God planned to bless every family on the earth through Abram, the famous Biblical father referenced here in Genesis. Through his story, we learn 3 Truths about fatherhood:

  1. God intended fatherhood to be desirable
    • Genesis 15:1-4: After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.”
    • The cultural perception of fatherhood is that it is nothing more than a necessary evil, rather than something to be desired.
    • But, fatherhood brings joy, and it’s a chance to reproduce something better than yourself! It is an incredible honor, and a very high calling.
  2. Fatherhood is something to be thankful for
    • Genesis 21:1-8: The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised. And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.” And she said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”
    • Fathers, the enemy wants you to fail as a dad. He plants lies to make you think fatherhood is a burden, and not a blessing.
      1. The antidote is thankfulness, to diffuse and deflect the lies of the enemy.
  3. Every father can afford their children an inheritance of faith
    • Hebrews 11:8-10:  By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
    • A father that makes a lot of money leaves for their children exactly that: a lot of money. But the father that gives money away in obedience to God gives his children an inheritance of generosity, and the father that makes his money lawfully leaves an inheritance of integrity. The father that is wealthy monetarily can give an extravagant wedding to his children, but the father that honors his vows to his wife leaves his children an inheritance of faithfulness.

Thank you, dads, for all that you do. We pray you feel overwhelmed with love and celebration today, from all of us!

Biblical references: Genesis 15:1-4; Genesis 21:1-8; Hebrews 11:8-10

Questions:

  1. How can you be someone who encourages and lifts up physical and spiritual fathers in your life?
  2. Do you believe in the fullness of God as a good father? Where are the places you have misconceptions of the character of God and need the Holy Spirit to come and bring revelation and healing?
  3. What a joy it is to leave the next generation an inheritance of faith in Jesus! What does this look like for you today?

Message Recap: Building the House, Pt. 4

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This week, we continue to look to the Bible to assure us of our identity in Jesus as we move into a new (and exciting!) season as the owner of a building. We are a church because we are a people, not because we have a building. Unfortunately today, saying something is true because the Bible says it’s true carries less and less weight, culturally. But we are a people that hold firm to the Bible – it is the command of God for us – both in victory and in brokenness, triumph and defeat.

The Bible answers humanity’s deepest cravings; it goes deeper than reasoning. It is the bridge between our heads and our hearts. It is always relevant, always profound, and it was written for each and every one of us. It is a guide for every terrain in this life, no matter how challenging. We believe in the Bible.

As a church, we hold fast to 3 beliefs about the Word:

  1. The Bible is uniquely inspired
    • 2 Peter 1:20-21: knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
    • It is historically accurate. It is historically sound, more so than any other ancient text that exists.
    • 2 Peter 1:16: For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
    • The Bible contains eyewitness accounts, prophecies that have been historically fulfilled.
    • Across stories, continents, languages, and time, it is unified and unifying.
  2. The Bible is authoritative
    • 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.
    • The Bible was written for you. It is dedicated to you! 
    • It is best for us to align ourselves with the authority of the Bible.
    • Hebrews 4:12-13: For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
  3. The purpose of the Bible is Jesus
    • John 5:39-40: You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.
    • The Bible is communicated to us by the person of Jesus. He is the Word made flesh.

Read it and apply it. Let us be a people that hold firmly to the Word, believing in it whole-heartedly and declaring it as True.

Biblical references: 2 Peter 1:20-21, 2 Peter 1:16, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Hebrews 4:12-13,John 5:39-40 

Questions:

  1. How can you this week dive deeper in the bible to receive the truth about who God says you are and who He is? Memorizing scripture verses, reading through the entire bible or just a book, spending 10 minutes a day reading the words of Jesus, etc?
  2. The bible was written and dedicated to you! What lies or pit falls get in the way of turning to scripture as a source of life and refreshment?
  3. What areas of your life need to be realigned to believe in the authority of the bible?

Sermon Recap: Parenting the Next Generation, Pt. 4

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Raising up the next generation is the topic of today’s sermon, the last in this 4-part series; it is not the duty of the parents alone but the duty of the church of Jesus. As His people, it is our responsibility to fight for the next generation so they can go farther and faster in God than we could go. The best thing we can do for the next generation is have faith in their inheritance; our faith is always one generation away from extinction, and it is our calling to uphold it.

“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
    and his greatness is unsearchable.

One generation shall commend your works to another,
    and shall declare your mighty acts.” (Psalm 145:3-4)

“…things that we have heard and known,
    that our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
    but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
    and the wonders that he has done.” (Psalm 78:3-4)

It is so clearly our calling to raise up the next generation, according to the Bible. Let’s look at three practical ways we can follow through:

  1. Testify
    1. Deuteronomy 4:9: “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children…”
    2. It’s human nature to forget the goodness of God, and we are prone to disbelieve.
    3. The things that we are most thankful for have we acknowledged as gifts from God?
    4. Why would we not testify?
      1. We’re not sure we believe ourselves. But, this is the plan of the enemy; He wants us to question our faith and doubt the goodness of God.
      2. We are afraid that our testimonies exalt us rather than God. Rest assured, they don’t. Testimonies always exalt God!
      3. We are “covering” for God; we don’t want others to be disappointed if God doesn’t do the same thing for them that He did for us. But, thinking in this manner is prideful. God can cover Himself – He’s God. 
  2. Be honest
    1. Deuteronomy 30:15-20: “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” 
    2. God already knows where we are disappointed, so there is no reason to put on a facade.
    3. If we are going to pass on our prosperous faith, we must exercise honest faith.
    4. Deuteronomy 29:29: “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
      1. What a relief! We don’t actually have to figure everything out on our own. Praise God.
    5. If we aren’t honest about our pain and suffering and doubt, then we will raise up a generation characterized by a performing faith rather than a prosperous faith.
  3. We must practice radical obedience, rooted in faith
    1. What a beautiful time and a beautiful city in which to be the people of God.
    2. Better than anything we can say, our children will know the love of God most deeply when they see day-in, day-out radical obedience to His voice.

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We meet every Sunday, at 9am and 11am, and would love to see you there!

P.S. – we have coffee. *wink wink*  

Sermon Recap: Jesus’ Church, Pt. 7

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This week, we have the great opportunity to hear from Paul Jackson, as he closes our current series, “Jesus’ Church” with part 7: “Everyone Serves”. So far, we have discussed these Truths about being his hands and feet:

  1. God is approachable
  2. The Gospel is powerful
  3. Everyone disciples someone
  4. Devoted to fellowship
  5. Love your neighbor
  6. Hard things are promised to everyone who believes

Acts 20:28: “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.” We are the ones that Jesus purchased with his own blood. We are the ones he chose! This is a simple, but profound Truth, that affects us deeply in two ways: individually (because we belong; the fear of our not belonging has been answered) and as a church family (which affects how we think, interact, and function as a body, with Jesus as our leader). Our values and decisions are to reflect the calling of our head. Jesus said that, to be great, requires service to others: “the one who is great is the one who serves”.

Galatians 5:13: “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”  Jesus lived his life for the glory of God and for the sake of others, the greatest example being the Cross. However, the Cross is only one of so many examples of his servanthood.Isaiah 53 introduces Jesus through prophecy as the “suffering servant”. 

In John 13:12-15, we see Jesus washing the feet of His disciples: When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, ‘Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.'” In Jesus’ church, everyone serves. 

Matthew 23:11-12: “The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” 

Philippians 2:3: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” We are to look to the interests of others, with joy, and do the stuff that no one else wants to do. We are called to be the ones who willingly step forward.

In the sphere of family, what could it look like to serve?

  1. Building relational bridges
  2. Happily going to the family party
  3. Hosting the party (that you didn’t want to go to)
  4. Spending time with your kids, even if exhausted…and the list goes on

In the sphere of the workplace, what could it look like to serve (because, whether you are the unpaid intern or the CEO, you are called to serve)?

  1. Doing a good job, even if nobody will notice
  2. Offering to do the project that nobody else wants to do
  3. Having a difficult conversation with a coworker
  4. Taking the window-less office so someone else can have a well-lit office
  5. Helping a coworker, even if it doesn’t benefit you. Remember, we are serving Jesus first and foremost.

In the sphere of the church family, what could it look like to serve?

John 12:26: “If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” The call to serve is a call to serve God.Leading a Lifegroup

  1. Hosting a Lifegroup
  2. Making coffee on Sunday mornings
  3. Helping set up or tear down
  4. Helping administration…and the list goes on.

In most churches, according to statistics, 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people. Why? Let’s identify a few obstacles to serving:

  1. We don’t recognize the task at hand as our responsibility
  2. We struggle to put others’ interests in front of our own
  3. Pride

Luke 6:45: The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good…”

If we can get our heart in line, our actions will follow. We are called to put others before ourselves, to get low before others to raise them up, and to look like Jesus. Let’s run after His example as a servant!

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Next Sunday, we enter into a new series rooted in the good Word. Can’t wait to see you there, church family! 

Sermon Recap: Jesus’ Church, Pt. 2

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This week, we continue on in our series, Jesus’ Church, with part 2 of 7. Whether or not we know it, every single person is seeking the gospel in their heart. Everyone is looking for a purpose, a reason to live, something bigger than themselves. The gospel (“good news”) is powerful (“having the strong ability to cause an effect”).

Romans 1:16:  “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

The gospel isn’t just powerful in human terms, it’s powerful in God’s terms. There are powerful things of this world, but the gospel is not of this world; how much more powerful is it than we can even comprehend? It has the power to declare us all, with authority, guilty. But, it also has the power to declare us justified. And, it does!

Romans 5:6-8: “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” The gospel, as exemplified in Romans, releases unconditional love over us. 

Romans 8:1: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” God calls us to live out of this unconditional love and in His abundance, rather than in fear or anxiety. Believing in the gospel doesn’t mean you are now perfect (or expected to be), it means no condemnation. You are forgiven.

Romans 10:13-15: “For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!'” Jesus instilled it in His church to preach the good news; how otherwise would the people of the world hear it?

The book of Mark – namely Chapter 1 – reveals how Jesus spent His time in relationship: He reclined with sinners, fed the hungry, displayed zeal, showed great compassion, cast out demons, publicly forgave, taught and interpreted the scriptures, and told a rich man to sell everything and give his money to the poor. Jesus walked intentionally, and met people right where they were. We were saved to do justice, be holy, and look like Him.

Practically, there are 4 ways to present the gospel:

  1. Stranger presentation (it’s about sewing the seed, not “saving souls”. That’s God’s job).
  2. Relational presentation (with a neighbor, coworker, or friend): has the most to do with having honesty. Are you truthful about your beliefs?
  3. Active demonstration: giving finances, living purely, engaging in social justice, etc.
  4. Personal invitation: to church, to Lifegroup, to Parent’s Night Out, etc.

Church – this is our calling! Regardless of your season, your job, your age/gender/background, your financial situation, your relational status, there is nothing like the call on our lives to share with the world the good news and the love of Jesus. We can’t wait to hear more about being Jesus’ Church with you next Sunday!

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Sermon Recap: Kingdom Ambition

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For the first Sunday of the year, we met virtually as a church to watch the Selah service online. It was an incredible way to reflect on 2016, and look toward 2017 with fresh perspective and to ask God what he has in mind for the coming 12 months. This week, we were back to meet in a physical space and to hear about Kingdom ambition. Jim Larson – a deeply devoted disciple of Jesus and member of our church – blessed us with his Spirit-filled wisdom in this week’s sermon.

Firstly, let’s acknowledge that ambition of the Kingdom and worldly varieties are vastly different. Kingdom ambition is rooted in the fact that we have a highly ambitious God (exemplified by His creation of at least 100 billion galaxies in the universe).

Psalm 19:1 states, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the works of his hands.” As beings of His creation, we were made in his image, and piece of that is His ambition living within each of us. Not only were we created to look like him, but he invites us to co-labor with Him; such an invitation for us prompts ambitious excitement!

Matthew 25:14-30: “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them.To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. ‘And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. ‘Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. ‘Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’ For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

God is pleased with those ambitious for His Kingdom; He voices it so clearly. Using this passage from Matthew, we want to be like the first two servants, and unlike the third.

In 4 categories, we can acknowledge and identify our Kingdom ambition (Kingdom-focus x ambition):

  1. Low Kingdom-focus x low ambition: similar to a rudder-less ship. It’s near impossible to move a ship that is docked.
  2. Low Kingdom-focus x high ambition: this is what culture tells us is right, fulfilling, and satisfying.
    1. According to the world, high ambition has nothing to do with loving God or loving your neighbor.
    2. We can become harmful toward others when we have too much worldly ambition; we might become greedy, selfless, envious, or find it easier to step on others in order to climb the social or financial ladder.
    3. This category might apply to people who believe in Jesus but who don’t allow Him to permeate their lives.
      1. If this is you, get in community and walk with Jesus together. It’s so much more encouraging to walk with others, and this is the intention of God.
    4. Or, this category might apply to people who have found that they have drifted away from God over time.
      1. If this is you, rededicate your life to Him. Ask Him to speak to you, and ask Him for help. He wants you near to Him and wants to again be part of your life!
  3. High Kingdom-focus x low ambition: faith that is not action-oriented.
    1. We are held accountable to the things that we do in our time on Earth. Make it count!
    2. Cultural individualism perpetuates this category.
    3. If you find yourself in this place, start by asking God, “who can I bless today/this week and how can I bless them?”
      1. Decide, commit, and execute.
      2. God will show up and change your heart in your faithful first step.
    4. Some of us in this category are not individualistic, but we feel unworthy of helping others. This isn’t true! Each of our identities is critical to advancing the Kingdom of God.
      1. Ask, “What are the callings of my life?”
        1. Dream with God.
        2. Listen to the myriad of ways in which he speaks (because, though it might occur this way, it doesn’t always happen through a burning bush).
  4. High Kingdom-focus x high-ambition: we get to this place by:
    1. Believing that God is who He says He is.
    2. Believing that we are who He says we are.
    3. Devote and direct your ambition toward loving God and loving others.
    4. Identify and take the next step in faith.

No matter where you find yourself (and not everyone fits into one category alone – we all have different Kingdom ambition according to different parts of our lives), God wants us to live abundantly and ambitiously. Dream with Him, trust that He will speak, and know that He will be with you wherever you go.

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