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?

 

Message Recap: Greater Purpose, Pt. 3

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This week, we had the incredible opportunity from Hope Frankian. Thank you, Hope, for sharing with us your wisdom and understanding of our greater purpose as children of God!

Matthew 1:1-17 is a long list of names, easy to overlook in our busyness, but it is actually so pertinent to our growth and greater understanding of our purposes. This week, we are looking particularly at Ruth’s character, one of the few women listed in Jesus’ genealogy. Ruth is included in this very exclusive list because of the way she endured her test, and the way she maintained her faithfulness despite hardship.

Ruth 1: 11-14: In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there. But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years, and both Mahlon and Chilion died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband. Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that the Lord had visited his people and given them food. So she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. And they said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.” But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? Turn back, my daughters; go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband this night and should bear sons, would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, for it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me.” Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

While Orpah leaves, Ruth clings. This is the first part of her test; she chooses to stay out of love and loyalty.

Ruth 1:19-22: So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. And when they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them. And the women said, “Is this Naomi?” She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?” So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabite her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.

Ruth remains loyal to her mother-in-law despite Naomi’s bitterness as an act of obedience and of faithfulness. It’s her standing and her steadfastness that leads her into the family – the lineage – of Jesus. So often, as soon as things get hard, we look for the quickest way out. If something looks unfavorable, we hesitate to stay faithful.

Later in the story, Boaz takes Ruth as his wife; her finds her favorable and desirable because of her steadfast faithfulness, not despite her circumstance. In her testing, Ruth didn’t try to run away. Rather, she joyfully pressed in.

James 1:1-4: Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Our trials produce steadfastness, and steadfastness completes us in fullness and perfection.

James 1:12: Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

When does the crown come? When he has stood the test. This reward comes from our enduring, our standing. So often, we miss out on the reward because we give up and try to make a way for ourselves. As soon as the test get hard, we look for the nearest escape route. The struggle in the test, however, puts her in the right place to receive God’s blessing. Without the struggle of the test, we wouldn’t appreciate the blessing.

Biblical references: Matthew 1:1-17; Ruth 1:1-22; James 1:1-4; James 1:12

Questions:

  1. What trials and  struggles are currently in?
  2. Where are the places God is calling you to be faithful and stand?
  3. What great purpose does God want to bring through your standing?

 

Message Recap: Building the House, Pt. 6

 

give-2Mosaic, we are a generous people! That is something that we pray never changes about us, regardless of whether or not we are building-owners. Generosity is something we are called to as people of Jesus, and it means more than giving what you can spare. Generosity is the gift of a cheerful giver, the sacrifice of a heart that knows the goodness of Jesus.

What does it look like for us to be a generous people? It’s more than money; it’s time, emotional investment, talent, etc. We need generosity through every relationship in our church: friendships, marriages, and parenting.

If a person has a generosity problem, they have a gospel problem. God’s story commands generosity. He created and gave so abundantly to humanity. He emptied Himself in sending Jesus to save the world – to save us.

Luke 23:34: And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Colossians 1:16-17: For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Mark 10:19-22: You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’”And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

In Mark 10, the man to which Jesus speaks doesn’t understand that the value of Jesus is far greater than the value of his possessions. This is why generosity is so closely intertwined to the gospel; we must understand our gift in order to give freely in return.

2 Corinthians 9:7: Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. Generosity requires sacrifice. It has nothing to do with the amount and everything to do with the heart.

Biblical references: Luke 23:34, Colossians 1:16-17, Mark 10:19-22, 2 Corinthians 9:7

Questions:

  1. What is holding you back from freely giving all that you have freely been given? Ask God to bring to light any area in your own heart that doesn’t align with the heart of God.
  2. How is God calling you to give cheerfully of your time, resources, and finances?
  3. What does it look like for you to show generosity through your relationships including in the church, friendships, marriages, and parenting?

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: Flourishing in Brokenness

Since today is Mother’s Day, we thought it especially fitting to honor the mothers of the church in celebration, as well as devote this week’s sermon to the high calling of motherhood. Thank you, Carrie Bach, for pouring out your wisdom and being brave in sharing your story of motherhood with us.

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Let us start by addressing all women of the church, because motherhood is not just a physical state, but a spiritual state. If you are a woman, you are a life-bringer. Your calling from God is to bring life, and what a calling it is! We lift up those who are weary, and in every place we step, we give life.

It’s easy to trust God when we have everything together, but let us be a people that praise God in the midst of our own weariness, in our brokenness; from a Kingdom perspective, to flourish and to be broken are not always mutually exclusive (and often, they go hand-in-hand). To flourish and to be broken are, more often than not, intertwined.

2 Corinthians 4:7: But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

The releasing of the treasure comes in the breaking of the jar. We try so hard to hold all of our pieces together, without realizing that in doing so, we are holding hostage the treasure inside. Let us be unafraid to break – believing in the sovereignty of God – and allowing the treasure within us to be released!

2 Corinthians 12:9-10: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

In our weaknesses, we are made strong because God fills the gaps of our inadequacy. Our weakness is an opportunity to lean on God; let us not miss it! And, it’s good to wrestle with Him when we are feeling weak (or even faithless) because it puts us in close proximity to Him. And, when we are so close to Him in our wrestling, we will see that He is nothing less than good.

Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Sometimes, as Carrie so wisely pointed out, to lean not on our own understanding means to lean on the learnings or expertise of others, as long as it aligns with God’s Word. 

Because life doesn’t stop in a crisis, God is so full of grace to cover us when we don’t think we will make it out in one piece. The Kingdom of God is an upside-down Kingdom; death leads to life, mourning leads to joy, and brokenness leads to flourishing.

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Biblical references: 2 Corinthians 4:7; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; Proverbs 3:5-6

Questions:

  1. Where are the places of weakness in our past or present that God has made strong in Him and filled in our gaps of inadequacy?
  2. Who are the mothers in your life, whether physical or spiritual, that have brought life in moments of weariness? Reach out to them and encourage them!
  3. What is causing you to fear the breaking process? Is there any disbelief in the sovereignty of God? If so, identify it and allow the treasure within you to be released through the Holy Spirit?

Sermon Recap: Parenting the Next Generation, Pt. 3

In this series, we are discussing the high calling that is parenting. We have identified that children are a blessing – a gift from God! – and ways in which to love them intentionally, just as God loves us intentionally. Today, we are approaching a more difficult topic: discipline.

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As parents, we are the protectors of our children. And, in an effort to protect, we are called to discipline. We are to lead them, and if we don’t, they will find someone else to follow. Why, then, is discipline so important?

  1. We discipline because we love them:
    1. Proverbs 13:24: “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.”
    2. Proverbs 3:11-12: “My son, do not despise the Lord‘s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.”
    3. Hebrews 12:6-7: “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
    4. According to God, love and discipline are inseparable. God, in His grace and love, disciplines us as His own children.
  2. We discipline to teach them:
    1. Proverbs 29:15: “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.”
    2. If our children are disobedient, it isn’t a reflection of them, it’s a reflection of our parenting.
  3. We discipline because we have hope for them:
    1. Proverbs 19:18: “Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.”
    2. Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Why are parents, then, reluctant to discipline?

  1. We don’t want to kill their spirit, creativity, dreams, uniqueness. But, our children will find abundant life because of our discipline, not despite it. They crave safety and boundaries, which discipline provides and encourages.
    1. Proverbs: 23:13: “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.”
  2. We don’t want to be inconvenienced. It takes time and it’s hard. In public, it might be embarrassing. And, watching our children suffer can be emotionally taxing and painful.

Let’s define clearly the differences between discipline and punishment, because they are not synonymous as we often assume. Punishment is payment and leads to condemnation. Discipline is training our children within the grace of God to teach them obedience (after all, unlike parental discipline, God’s discipline towards us never ends). Discipline leads to abundant life.

The Parameters of Discipline:

  1. It is restorative.
    1. Galatians 6:1: “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” It must be done in a spirit of gentleness and not in anger. Anger won’t be the thing that trains our children’s hearts.
    2. Ephesians 6:4: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
    3. Restorative discipline is the result of a child choosing discipline because of their disobedience.
  2. It is unpleasant (neither a joy for the parent or the child).
    1. Hebrews 12:11: “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
    2. It’s a painful process.
  3. It produces repentance without regret.
    1. 2 Corinthians 2:10: “Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ.” 
    2. Discipline looks like confession, repentance, and forgiveness. It should never lead to resentment; God doesn’t hold grudges against us for our disobedience, so we shouldn’t hold grudges against our children either.
    3. Discipline should not have a negative affect on our relationships with our children. Rather, it should lead to greater trust.

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Join us next Sunday as we head into the last sermon of our current series, Parenting the Next Generation. It’s going to be so good! 

Sermon Recap: Parenting the Next Generation, Pt. 2

Parenting is a high and a happy calling. The problem isn’t that parents make mistakes (it’s inevitable as imperfect people); the problem is when we lose our vision for the high and happy calling that is parenting. Let us run after Jesus, and look toward our perfect Father for strength and guidance as we dive into week two of our sermon series, Parenting the Next Generation. 

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A major component of parenting is making sure that our children feel loved. There are two ways to experience love:

  1. Love that happens to us (it’s the warm and tingly feeling)
  2. Love that is intentional and purposeful (which is often more of a choice rather than a feeling)
    1. Intentional, purposeful love is the kind of love that transforms lives.
    2. Luke 6:32-35: “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.”
    3. God’s love is a love that prefers the other, and doesn’t just happen to us like a warm feeling that bubbles up and stays just for a moment.
    4. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 
    5. We must, as parents, make the transition between loving our children because of a warm and tingly feeling to loving intentionally – even when it’s challenging.

If a child doesn’t receive intentional love, they might start to perform, prove, or seek it elsewhere. Of course, this is dangerous and destructive. Let’s look at 4 acts of intentional love:

  1. Pursuit:
    1. 1 John 4:8-10: Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
    2. It’s from the perfect pursuer, God, that we learn to pursue our own children.
    3. Pursuit takes time and effort. It’s hard.
    4. We have to study our children, individually and intentionally, so we know what makes them more alive. Ask them, “How am I doing at loving you?”
  2. Encouragement:
    1. Romans 5:8: “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
    2. He encourages us when we do well, and He encourages us when we fail miserably.
    3. Psalm 138:3: “On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.” God is the strengthener of the souls of His children. 
    4. The more our children ignore our encouragement, the more they need it.
    5. We aren’t only worthy when we do something worthy. We are worthy all the time.
  3. Celebration:
    1. It’s the small things!
    2. Zephaniah 3:17: “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”
    3. God rejoices because of who we are, not just what we do.
  4. Service:
    1. Mark 10:43-45: “But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
    2. Jesus came to serve us, and He kept no record for it.
    3. He didn’t give us His life for His sake, but for ours.

There is no higher calling than to give away your life to prefer another person. Our children will know they are loved when we go from idea to implementation.

We love because He first loved us.

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We meet every Sunday at 9am and 11am. We hope to see you at a service as we continue on in our parenting series!