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! 

Sermon Recap: Jesus’ Church, Pt. 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sermon Recap: Jesus’ Church, Pt. 6

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We are in week 6 of our sermon series, titled “Jesus’ Church”, discussing faith without condition.

Firstly, it’s important to remember that God is approachable and accessible. In Jesus’ church, there are no conditions, and because of this truth, we must take ownership over our faith as believers. We have to understand and trust our belonging to Jesus. As His church, there is no guilt; we are already forgiven for the things we haven’t even done yet. As His, our prayers are powerful and effective. We are eternally secure in Him, and in Him, we are considered royalty. We sit at His right hand in the Kingdom forever. With these promises, however, come others, that are more difficult to face.

  1. The Promise of Temptation
    1. 1 Corinthians 10:13: No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
    2. Temptation is a desire to do something other than God’s best.
      1. If we run after our feelings, there will be destruction as a result.
  2. The Promise of Persecution
    1. 2 Timothy 3:12: Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
    2. Persecution can look like misunderstanding and isolation.
  3. The Promise of Suffering
    1. John 16:33: I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

All too often, we forget that these three things are guaranteed. We want to follow Jesus whole-heartedly, but on the condition that we won’t face these hard things. Remember: it’s okay when things go wrong. It doesn’t mean that your faith is any less than, because these things are guaranteed for every one of us.

Hebrews 11: 32-28: “And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets – who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated – of whom the world was not worthy – wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.”

The Hall of Fame presents two facets of being a believer. Some things are going to be really, really hard, but we can’t trust and love and pursue Jesus conditionally. Let’s be Jesus’ church without conditions.

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Sermon Recap: Jesus’ Church, Pt. 5

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This week, we dive into a new facet of being the church of Jesus: what it truly means to love your neighbor.

1 John 4:20-21: “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” 

We look specifically at Luke 10, which provides a beautiful example of what it means to love your neighbor in the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Luke 10:2-28: And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, ‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the Law? How do you read it?’ And he answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.’ And he said to him, ‘You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.'” 

Verse 29 continues, and reveals to us a weakness we face as humans: we are so good at finding excuses not to love our neighbor: “But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?'”. We ask: who is our neighbor? What is love, really? Too often, we turn “love” into “tolerance”, and being tolerant is not being loving at all.

To love God and to love people means to take action. We cannot be passive and be loving; love is an intentional decision, with actionable follow-through. To love someone is to prefer their highest good, even if it is costly to the self.

Luke 10:30-37: “Jesus replied, ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?’ He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘You go, and do likewise.'” 

How did the Samaritan prove to be a neighbor?

  1. He saw him, had compassion, and went to him.
    1. We can’t see people when we have preconceived notions, but God doesn’t see us according to our outward appearances. He sees the heart.
    2. Stay sensitive to the brokenness around you.
  2. He bandaged his wounds.
    1. Get your hands dirty. Helping others can look messy.
  3. He blessed him with oil and wine (representing anointing).
    1. We are called to prophetically encourage others.
  4. He made a long-term investment to help him.

The question isn’t, “Who is my neighbor?”, it’s “How can I help my neighbor?”. Let us be a church constantly asking how to help our neighbor in love beyond understanding.

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