Message Recap: Blessed to Bless, Pt. 3

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Acts 20:34: 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.’” 

Sometimes God calls us to bless others in ways that make sense to us, in ways that we love blessing others. And, sometimes, God calls us to bless others in ways that are illogical or are more challenging than by sharing our gifts and talents. It’s neither one of the other; it’s both that God asks of us.

Psalm 124:1 : The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof…

None of these things of ours are ours  – they belong to God. Not our finances, our homes, even our giftings or our talents; they are God’s.

1 Timothy 6:10:  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

The actual “stuff” we have and are blessed with is not inherently wrong or sinful. It’s the love of money that’s wrong; it’s the greed and the desire for money rooted in sin. It has nothing to do with the goods, and everything to do with our heart posture.

The world attempts to deal with this through 2 ways:

  1. To give away everything you own; the thinking being that, “If I have no money at all, then there is no place for evil”.
  2. To possess as much as you possibly can; to hoard and to gather and consume (famously known as “materialism”)

Matthew 6:25-34: Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

God wants our hearts headed toward the things of the eternal. Everything that has been entrusted to you is from God, and it’s so you can be a blessing. Let us be people that are obedient when it makes sense and doesn’t make sense.

Matthew 6:21: For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 

Biblical references: Acts 20:34; Psalm 124:1; 1 Timothy 6:10; Matthew 6:25-34; Matthew 6:21

Questions:

  1. Are you asking God how He wants you to steward the resources, finances, personality, gifts and talents you’ve been blessed with? What would that look like to start?
  2. How can you be a blessing this week to someone?
  3. Reflecting on the verse Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Where is your treasure?

Message Recap: Blessed to Bless, Pt. 2

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To recap quickly what we learned in last week’s message (as we continue on in our series, “Blessed to Bless”): we are created to bless others (by benefiting them in some way) and to bless God (by exalting Him, or to see Him higher than ourselves).

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.

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.

What a thought: when we give to God, He loves it! There’s something I can do to bring joy to God, to put a smile on the face of the Maker of all things. I am able to do something that He loves. 

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.

Everything in your life – whether tangible or intangible – exists not for the purpose of your happiness, but in order to bless others. This can be problematic, if we take it as offensive to our hard work (our early mornings, our long hours, our strategically-honed skills). But this is a worldly perspective; every good thing (yes, even with all that hard work) was given to you by God. Everything is His, that He gives freely (and is not the ability to work hard, wake early, hone our skill sets, and even the breath in your lungs, blessings all on their own?). Remove your hard work from the equation, and you are still blessed).  Remove God from the equation, and you do not even exist.

Here’s the catch: we don’t always feel #blessed. But is it possible to be abundantly blessed and simultaneously face incredible hardship? The Bible says yes: 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Luke 16:10: One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.

Matthew 16:24-25: Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” 

We are tempted, so often, to bless God and bless others up to the point until it costs us something. We are encouraged, societally, to give only out of our surplus, and never any more than that. But this is where we have to remember that we have been immensely blessed first (even when it doesn’t feel like it!); nothing that we have to give is ours to begin with. It’s Gods, and He calls us to bless others with the gifts He gives.

Biblical references: Genesis 12:2-3; 2 Corinthians 9:7; James 1:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Luke 16:10; Matthew 16:24-25

Questions:

  1. Have you been faithful in the little?
  2. Have you been faithful in much?
  3. How can you bless God and bless others? It will come at a sacrifice.

 

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. 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: 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?