Message Recap: Building the House, Pt. 4

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This week, we continue to look to the Bible to assure us of our identity in Jesus as we move into a new (and exciting!) season as the owner of a building. We are a church because we are a people, not because we have a building. Unfortunately today, saying something is true because the Bible says it’s true carries less and less weight, culturally. But we are a people that hold firm to the Bible – it is the command of God for us – both in victory and in brokenness, triumph and defeat.

The Bible answers humanity’s deepest cravings; it goes deeper than reasoning. It is the bridge between our heads and our hearts. It is always relevant, always profound, and it was written for each and every one of us. It is a guide for every terrain in this life, no matter how challenging. We believe in the Bible.

As a church, we hold fast to 3 beliefs about the Word:

  1. The Bible is uniquely inspired
    • 2 Peter 1:20-21: knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
    • It is historically accurate. It is historically sound, more so than any other ancient text that exists.
    • 2 Peter 1:16: For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
    • The Bible contains eyewitness accounts, prophecies that have been historically fulfilled.
    • Across stories, continents, languages, and time, it is unified and unifying.
  2. The Bible is authoritative
    • 2 Timothy 3:16-17: All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
    • The Bible was written for you. It is dedicated to you! 
    • It is best for us to align ourselves with the authority of the Bible.
    • Hebrews 4:12-13: For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
  3. The purpose of the Bible is Jesus
    • John 5:39-40: You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.
    • The Bible is communicated to us by the person of Jesus. He is the Word made flesh.

Read it and apply it. Let us be a people that hold firmly to the Word, believing in it whole-heartedly and declaring it as True.

Biblical references: 2 Peter 1:20-21, 2 Peter 1:16, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Hebrews 4:12-13,John 5:39-40 

Questions:

  1. How can you this week dive deeper in the bible to receive the truth about who God says you are and who He is? Memorizing scripture verses, reading through the entire bible or just a book, spending 10 minutes a day reading the words of Jesus, etc?
  2. The bible was written and dedicated to you! What lies or pit falls get in the way of turning to scripture as a source of life and refreshment?
  3. What areas of your life need to be realigned to believe in the authority of the bible?

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: Flourishing in Brokenness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Questions:

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

Sermon Recap: Parenting the Next Generation, Pt. 4

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Raising up the next generation is the topic of today’s sermon, the last in this 4-part series; it is not the duty of the parents alone but the duty of the church of Jesus. As His people, it is our responsibility to fight for the next generation so they can go farther and faster in God than we could go. The best thing we can do for the next generation is have faith in their inheritance; our faith is always one generation away from extinction, and it is our calling to uphold it.

“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
    and his greatness is unsearchable.

One generation shall commend your works to another,
    and shall declare your mighty acts.” (Psalm 145:3-4)

“…things that we have heard and known,
    that our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
    but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
    and the wonders that he has done.” (Psalm 78:3-4)

It is so clearly our calling to raise up the next generation, according to the Bible. Let’s look at three practical ways we can follow through:

  1. Testify
    1. Deuteronomy 4:9: “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children…”
    2. It’s human nature to forget the goodness of God, and we are prone to disbelieve.
    3. The things that we are most thankful for have we acknowledged as gifts from God?
    4. Why would we not testify?
      1. We’re not sure we believe ourselves. But, this is the plan of the enemy; He wants us to question our faith and doubt the goodness of God.
      2. We are afraid that our testimonies exalt us rather than God. Rest assured, they don’t. Testimonies always exalt God!
      3. We are “covering” for God; we don’t want others to be disappointed if God doesn’t do the same thing for them that He did for us. But, thinking in this manner is prideful. God can cover Himself – He’s God. 
  2. Be honest
    1. Deuteronomy 30:15-20: “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” 
    2. God already knows where we are disappointed, so there is no reason to put on a facade.
    3. If we are going to pass on our prosperous faith, we must exercise honest faith.
    4. Deuteronomy 29:29: “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
      1. What a relief! We don’t actually have to figure everything out on our own. Praise God.
    5. If we aren’t honest about our pain and suffering and doubt, then we will raise up a generation characterized by a performing faith rather than a prosperous faith.
  3. We must practice radical obedience, rooted in faith
    1. What a beautiful time and a beautiful city in which to be the people of God.
    2. Better than anything we can say, our children will know the love of God most deeply when they see day-in, day-out radical obedience to His voice.

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We meet every Sunday, at 9am and 11am, and would love to see you there!

P.S. – we have coffee. *wink wink*  

Sermon Recap: Parenting the Next Generation, Pt. 3

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

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

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

Why are parents, then, reluctant to discipline?

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

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

The Parameters of Discipline:

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

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

Sermon Recap: Parenting the Next Generation, Pt. 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

We love because He first loved us.

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

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!