Message Recap: Welcome 2018!

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Matthew 6:22-35: 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.

The core issue here has really nothing to do with the food we drink or the clothes we wear (though our anxiety often manifests in these areas of eating/drinking and shopping); the issue is really our heart posture. The material things, the tight schedule, the busyness – these are not the things Jesus is after. He’s after our hearts. In this passage, Jesus provides the antidote for our anxiety about all of these things (praise, amirite?):

The first dose for curing our anxiety is knowing that our identity is in Jesus (Matthew 6:32: For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all). God is our Heavenly Father, and He knows everything about you (your worries, your dreams, your fears. And he cares about every single one). In the case of earthly adoption, the law states that an adopted child is the same as a child born into the family; an adopted child is seen exactly the same as his or her biological counterpart. It is the same for us in the family of God. When He adopts us into His Kingdom, it is as if we were part of the family starting on day 1 (just like Jesus!). His holy adoption eliminates any separation between us and Him, our Father. Thanks to Jesus Christ, we are now considered related to God.

The second dosage for curing our anxiety is to seek Him (Matthew 6:33: But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you). Jesus doesn’t tell us to stop doing something without also telling us what to start doing. He’s a God of abundance. He wants more for us than to stop being anxious; He wants us to be part of His family. We have this beautiful invitation to seek His invaluable Kingdom (Matthew 13:44-46: The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.) 

The Greek translation of “seek” – as in “seek the Kingdom of God” – means seek in order to find. This happens by meditating, reading, thinking, inquiring, striving after, and aiming for. This is God’s invitation for us! It’s important to remember in our seeking that it’s not about the “to-do list”, or our goals, resolutions. It’s all about the fact that we are seeking after Yahweh, the Living God, with everything we have to give. That’s exactly what he wants of us: our hearts. That’s our invitation; let us take Him up on the offer!

Biblical references: Matthew 6:22-35; Matthew 13:44-46

12 Questions for the New Year:

  1. What is one thing I could do this year to increase my enjoyment of God?
  2. What will my personal times of worship look like this year?
  3. How will I approach reading the Bible this year?
  4. What one thing could I do to improve my prayer life this year?
  5. Whose salvation will I pray for most fervently this year?
  6. What books will I read this year?
  7. Who is the person I want to encourage most this year?
  8. What is the most helpful new way I could strengthen my church this year?
  9. How will I make time in my schedule for these things to actually happen?
  10. What is the single biggest time-waster in my life, and what will I do about it this year?
  11. What changes should I make with my finances this year?
  12. What single things that I plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?

Blessed to Bless, Pt. 5

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Are you able to see the greater purposes of your blessings? Rather than make excuses or justify the reasons as to why we own nice things (which, admittedly, we so often do), we should instead exclaim our thanksgivings toward God, and then exalt Him for His goodness. The beautiful things in your life (those cool shoes, that delicious steak, this morning’s sunrise, the got-it-from-ya-mama show-stopping smile) exist for the benefit of others, and for the adoration and blessing of God.

Matthew 2:1-12: Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

This Scripture takes place when Jesus is about 1 or 2 years old (dissimilar to the narration of the standard nativity scene). What makes this so astounding, though, is that these three men – all of whom were kings, magi, and wise men – fell to their knees to worship Jesus as a small child. This speaks so much to their incredible humility.

Psalm 72:10-11: May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands render him tribute; may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts! May all kings fall down before him, all nations serve him!

The kings recognize their King. The wise men worship without fear of appearing foolish (and, even today, wise men still seek Him).

Too often, what we see today is power without perspective; what we need in our generation isn’t lack of power or authority, but true leaders with wisdom. No one is without a King – everybody worships something. We need Kings who know they have a King. The world thinks that we are blessed to be blessed. But again, we see that Scripture turns the ideals of the world on their head: we are blessed to bless.

Philippians 2:4-11: Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Biblical references: Matthew 2:1-12; Psalm 72:10-11; Philippians 2:4-11

Questions:

  1. How are you submitting to Jesus as King over your life?
  2. How can you look to the interest of others this week?
  3. Ask God to show you the greater purpose of your blessings.

Blessed to Bless, Pt. 4

tyler-nix-457491First and foremost, let’s remember the theme of this series: we are immensely blessed, but not for our own good; we are blessed for the benefit of others and for the exaltation of God. Today, as we continue on in our series, we’re doing something a little bit different than as planned; Lead Pastor Andrew Bach shares a testimony of abundance and blessing through a recent experience in the Mosaic Discipleship School. If you are in need of a revival in your faith, the restoration of the joy of your salvation, we would encourage you to take a listen.

John 6:1-5: After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?”

We are ones called to go when God says go. And what this scripture does so beautifully is remind us that Jesus cares about the practical things in our lives (not just the spiritual). He cares about our spirits, of course, but he cares when we are hungry and when we are sick, too. He cares about us through all of it; there isn’t anything that slips through the cracks of His compassion for us.

John 6:6-14: He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten.

Have you ever considered the boy in this story? What a role he has played! The Bible says nothing about or force or persuasion to coerce the boy to share his bread; he, the one that actually prepared a lunch for himself, gave his loaves and fishes in faith.

Similarly, we as people of Seattle, are dreamers. We yearn to see the impossible. What if God is waiting for you to do yours in order for Him to fulfill His? Maybe He’s waiting for you to take the next step (perhaps your heart beats faster hearing this, because you already know what that next step looks like…).

The thing about faith is that, we only have this one life to experience it. When we die, we are going to be with Jesus; we won’t need the faith that He calls use to have here on earth! Everything will be within our reach; we have to have faith here, and believe in the things unseen. Let us be people that inspire angels with our faith! Let us be people that make a wrong decision in faith than a good decision without any. If God is relational, and He knows our hearts, then He knows whether our decision is one of faith. Even when you are making the wrong decision, if God knows that you have done it in faith, He celebrates.

Jesus is the bread of life. He gives us security in this life of faith (despite the struggles, trauma, disappointments, and heartache) that He is our sustenance. He has made a way for us to receive it. Praise. 

Biblical References: John 6

Questions:

  1. How is God calling you to step into an increase in faith?
  2. “Everyone wants to see a miracle, but no one wants to be in a position to need one.” What is God saying to you about this statement?
  3. Is God waiting for you to do “yours” then He will do “his”? What would that look like for you to do “yours?”