Message Recap: Greater Purpose, Pt. 4

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This week, we continue on in our series based on characters from the genealogy of Jesus, highlighting specifically the bravery of Jehoshaphat. Firstly, being brave doesn’t mean not being scared, it means doing the right thing even when you are scared. Let us be people that are marked by bravery, that lead brave lives.

2 Chronicles 20:1-3: After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat for battle. Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar” (that is, Engedi). Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.

How do we stand with bravery? And, what does it look like for us, individually, to be brave in this season?

  1. Seek God in the midst of fear
    1. Being brave doesn’t mean feeling courageous.
  2. Remember the character of God
    1. In order to know His character, it is critical that we spend time with Him. We need to have a personal relationship with Him to understand more deeply His character and His will for us.
  3. Petition God for help
    1. When you have no idea what to do next, that’s the moment to ask.
    2. The enemy is set on you not asking. He hates when you turn to God, especially when no one is looking.
    3. The God of the universe has invited us into communion, to talk with Him, and to petition. He wants us to ask!
    4. He isn’t separate from reality, but He is greater than reality.
  4. Stand and worship God in the battle.
    1. Bravery often looks like standing, staying, waiting.
    2. It looks like worshipping before you even know the outcome of a situation; before you know where you are victorious.
    3. He doesn’t need to prove anything to us, but He invites us to discover that He is God, and that He is a good God.
  5. Watch God fight the battle
    1. 2 Chronicles 20: 22-23: And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed. For the men of Ammon and Moab rose against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, devoting them to destruction, and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they all helped to destroy one another.

Often, instead of these things, we choose in our haste, to:

  1. Ignore fear, and attempt to make our own way
  2. Question the character of God
  3. Worry and wait for something to change
  4. Run away
  5. Wonder where God was in our time of need

Our invitation is to encounter God, and act bravely. It has everything to do with His strength, and nothing to do with our own.

Biblical references: Matthew 1:7-8; 2 Chronicles 20:1-3; 2 Chronicles 20:22-23

Questions:

  1. Where are the places that you need to seek God in the midst of fear to make you brave?
  2. Where in your life do you need to stand and worship in the battle?
  3. What aspect of the character of God do you need to remember in your current circumstances?

 

Message Recap: Greater Purpose, Pt. 4

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Carrie Bach, thank you for your steadfastness, the joy you find in your salvation, and this week’s encouraging message! We are looking at Rahab this week, as we break down some significant characters in the genealogy of Jesus.

Matthew 1:5-6: and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king.

Church, let’s not let our sin define us; rather, let’s let the grace of God define us. Rahab was a woman, a gentile and a prostitute (and, given the context of the time period, all of these things contributed to cultural insignificance). But Rahab, as a child of God, was -more than anything – faithful and righteous. She received Jesus and let her heart be transformed by Him by faith.

Hebrews 11:31: By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.

James 2:25: And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?

Joshua 2:4-6: But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. And she said, “True, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. And when the gate was about to be closed at dark, the men went out. I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.” But she had brought them up to the roof and hid them with the stalks of flax that she had laid in order on the roof.

Rahab received Jesus by faith, and she risked by faith. Rahab rejected the things not of God that were so prevalent in her culture. Living by true faith compels us to action. It’s not real faith if it’s not working in you and coming out of you in manifest.

Take a moment to ask yourself: where do I need to risk? Your finances or security? The approval of man?

Joshua 6:23-25: So the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to her. And they brought all her relatives and put them outside the camp of Israel. And they burned the city with fire, and everything in it. Only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. But Rahab the prostitute and her father’s household and all who belonged to her, Joshua saved alive. And she has lived in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

Rahab rejected being defined by the sins of her past. She had faith that God’s grace would cover her. Similarly, let us be a people that are continually being saved, rather than riding out on a one-time “salvation moment”.

Jesus’ genealogy is one of grace; it invites the best of us and the worst of us. Today is the day to live like a new creation, for God’s grace is generous.

 Biblical references: Matthew 1:5-6; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25; Joshua 2:4-6; Joshua 6:23-25

Questions:

  1. Where do you need to risk in faith?
  2. What are you letting define you? Where do you need to let grace define you?
  3. What is robbing you of the fullness of joy of your salvation? Let Jesus come and bring you complete joy.

 

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: 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. 3

In this weeks’ message, we are remembering the “big picture”, or the Bible calls: the Kingdom of God. Our hope is not – nor it has ever been – in this building. It can help or hurt, but it will neither break us nor will it make us. We are more than a building; the cornerstone of our church is not the foundation of a building, it’s Jesus. And nothing is going to change that!

Matthew 6:33: But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Mark 1:15: and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

Luke 17:21: “nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”

The Kingdom of God is where God fully reigns. It includes the defeats of evil, sin, darkness, and even death. And, it includes the enjoyment of the reign of our Lord! The Kingdom of God is already but not yet, and we live exactly in that tension: the realization of God’s glory, but the longing for His fullness.

Matthew 24:14: And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Matthew 18:18-20: And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

The message of Matthew is this: the announcement of what God has done and what He will do. It’s the gospel.

Our mission, therefore, is to go and fulfill this command that Jesus spoke to His disciples.

Luke 8:1-3: Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.

Luke 9:1-2: And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.

Luke 10:1-2: After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

Why do we go? It’s the way to fulfillment; it’s the way to the end, to be with Jesus for the rest of eternity. We are motivated to fulfill our calling, to partake in the grand story of the salvation of God for all of us. Our motivation is to be with Jesus. In building this house, it’s our goal to be part of this big picture, to be active citizens of the Heavenly Kingdom.

Biblical references: Matthew 6:33, Mark 1:15, Luke 17:21, Matthew 24:14, Matthew 18:18-20, Luke 8:1-3, Luke 9:1-2, Luke 10:1-2

Questions:

  1. What is your part to play in carrying out the great commission? Will you go? Will you give? Will you pray?
  2. Search your own heart and ask God, where are the places that I am dumb to the power of the gospel? Where does the Holy Spirit need to come in and awaken your soul to the revelation that when you share what God has done, you invite others into life instead of death?
  3. How can you be part of God building the church in Seattle this week with the big picture of hope? What does that look like? What will it take for you to step out and obey?

Message Recap: Lessons of Eleazar

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In between sermon series, it was so good to hear from Lead Pastor Andrew Bach this week; he spoke over us, as a church family, a truth from God: you are graceful, and you are grace-full. The power of God is full in you to accomplish what God has intended for your life. Sometimes there is grace to endure, and sometimes there is grace to enjoy – but there is always grace. We are thankful to run after Jesus with you, grace-full church!

This week, we hone in on the character of Eleazar to learn more about God based on Scripture. King David – the man after God’s own heart – was surrounded by a team of 37 “Mighty Men”, and Eleazar was one of those 37.

2 Samuel 23:9-10: “And next to him among the three mighty men was Eleazar the son of Dodo, son of Ahohi. He was with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle, and the men of Israel withdrew. He rose and struck down the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clung to the sword. And the Lord brought about a great victory that day, and the men returned after him only to strip the slain.”

From this passage, we learn three very important things:

There is power in standing

  1. We are called to stand in marriage, in parenthood, and in integrity and work, for example.
  2. Most often, standing requires doing the right thing, even if no one sees (except for God; he always sees when we do what is right).
  3. John 6:66-68: “After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you want to go away as well?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life…'” 

There is purpose in personal weakness

  1. Eleazar became weary in his fighting. There is no shame in weariness, nor does it mean something is wrong. Our weaknesses allow for God’s grace to come rushing in and strengthen us.
  2. Weakness is not our greatest enemy; it’s just a part of standing.
  3. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10: Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 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.'”
    1. How many times have we missed experiencing God’s goodness because we’ve been too afraid to acknowledge our weakness?

There is success in clinging to the sword

  1. Our sword is the Word of God. It is the Truth.
  2. In a humanistic culture, everyone has his or her own truth, but Truth – with a capital “T” – isn’t popular in a humanistic society. There is power in standing for what is right and True.
  3. Everyone is looking for something to cling to. As followers of Jesus, the Truth to which we cling is the Bible; this is the Word of Eternal Life.

2 Samuel 23:9-10; John 6:66-68; 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

Questions:
1. There is power in standing even when it’s in the unseen. Where is God calling you to stand?
2. There is purpose in personal weakness that brings us into intimacy with God. Where are the places of weakness in your life that you don’t want to run from so that you don’t miss the closeness of His presence?
3. How can you be one who clings to the sword in trials?
4. God has given you grace to endure and grace to enjoy. What season are you in today? Share with someone.

Sermon Recap: Parenting the Next Generation, Pt. 1

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Calling all parents (literal and figurative), people who want to be parents, people who have parents, and people who know parents: this series is for you. Parenting is a high calling; perhaps it is the highest calling. It’s a wonderful responsibility, an exciting endeavor, and a very difficult job to raise up the next generation. Therefore, it’s incredibly important that we talk about it, even though the conversation might be uncomfortable or offensive or taboo. Let’s get to it (and S/O to Lead Pastor Andrew Bach for leading the discussion).

To do our best job as parents, we must look to our perfect Father, because He knows best, despite the innumerable amount of self-help books and online articles. In today’s sermon, we look at 3 (but not the only three) Biblical truths about parenting:

  1. God is a perfect parent.
    1. Our right to parent is not based on our perfection. We shouldn’t try to be perfect, because it isn’t possible; instead, we leave standard for God to fulfill alone.
    2. John 20:17: “Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Just as He was a perfect Father to Jesus, He remains a perfect Father to us. We face hardship, but He has never once made a mistake toward us in His parenting. 
    3. Matthew 7:7-11 exemplifies that He is a perfect provider: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”
    4. We see in Deuteronomy 33:12 that He is a perfect protectorLet the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.”
    5. Luke 15:17-22, the story of the prodigal son, displays God’s awesome grace for us: When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.'” 
    6. God intends to fill every gap of our own parents’ imperfections. He has never failed [Ed. Note: and He won’t stop now!].
  2. Children are a blessing.
    1. Psalm 127:3-5: “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.” 
    2. Contrary to society’s tone, children are not a hindrance to abundant life. They are very much part of an abundant life, and an absolute gift from God!
  3. Parenting begins with parents.
    1. Deuteronomy 6:4-9: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
    2. Our children will glean more from our parenting when we are honest about who we are (flaws and all), than if we pretended we were perfect parents.
    3. Our calling is to raise up the next generation to know they are eternally loved by a perfect Parent, and their imperfect parents.

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This coming Sunday, we get to hear more about parenting the next generation, in part two of this sermon series. See you there!