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?”

Message Recap: Blessed to Bless, Pt. 3

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Acts 20:34: In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” 

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

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

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

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

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

The world attempts to deal with this through 2 ways:

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

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

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

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

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

Questions:

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

Message Recap: Blessed to Bless, Pt. 1

Blessed-to-bless_slide (1)Church! Welcome to the introduction of our newest series, “Blessed to Bless”. It’s a powerful exercise to think of all the ways in which we are blessed, and we are expectant and excited to remember the grace of God in this series. #BlessUp

In the Bible, we see two uses for the word blessing:

  1.  To bless another person (or to do something for their benefit)
  2. To bless God (or to exalt God out of adoration for Him)

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.

Psalm 103:1-5: Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Ephesians 1:3: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…

There is nothing that God has withheld from you. If you have trusted in Jesus, every spiritual blessing is available to you; it sits at the tip of your fingers, waiting to be had! You were created with the capacity to touch the heart of God. Isn’t it incredible that God receives love from us, mere human beings?

Mark 14:3-9: And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” 

This woman, shown in Mark, was blessed to possess this ointment (worth almost a year’s wages). With this, she performed an act of love, and blessed Jesus.

There are three reasons we bless others: duty, logic, and love (the greatest of these). And there are three reasons we bless God: duty, logic, and, yes, the highest of these – love. As we love God and love people, we change the world.

Blessing God out of love doesn’t always make the most sense, logically or societally. But, we must not be caught up in the praises of man, and instead turn our complete affection toward God.

James 1:17: Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Acts 20:35:  In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

The Kingdom is upside down; they key to receive blessing is to give first.

Biblical references: Genesis 12:2-3; Psalm 103:1-5; Ephesians 1:3; Mark 14:3-9; James 1:17; Acts 20:35

Questions:

  1. How has God blessed you?
  2. How can you bless others this week?
  3. How can you be thankful for ways others have blessed you?

 

Message Recap: God is Speaking

godisspeaking-01This week, we are doing something a little bit exciting to switch things up; Lead Pastor Andrew Bach heads our discussion, but we also get to hear from members of Mosaic, the church body. Thank you, friends, for your vulnerability, wisdom, faithfulness, and Andrew, for your awesome leadership.

The question we are asking ourselves this week is not, “is God speaking?” (because He is); rather, the question at hand is, “are we listening?”. There are so many voices coming from so many different places, it sometimes seem impossible to hear from Him. Remember, though, that God is bigger and grander than all of those things, and simultaneously smaller and more intimate.

1 Kings 19:11-12: And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.

Though God speaks via every channel listed in the passage above (evidenced in the Bible), Elijah hears Him in a still, small voice. C.S. Lewis, author and wise man he was, wrote of God’s voice: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

The Christian life is so much more than an agreement that the Bible is true. We aren’t looking for new truth, but for this Truth to permeate, infiltrate, and change our hearts. Though we will never know for certain if the voice we hear is God (for we see dimly in this life), we can trust that we still do see. To hear God, read the Bible, and then ask the Holy Spirit to speak. He will – trust Him!

Biblical references: 1 Kings 19:11-12

Questions:

  1. What voices are distracting you from hearing God?
  2. Are you listening to God speak?
  3. What is God speaking to you this week?

Message Recap: 2 Timothy Pt. 4

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This is our last week in our series, “The Risk and Tension of Discipleship”, and to close it out, we are looking at 2 Timothy 4. This letter is an example for us for discipleship (which, defined, means one person helping another to follow Jesus).

Who is helping you follow Jesus? Who are you helping follow Jesus? As the body of Christ, we are responsible for each other – for the growth, life, and endurance in faith of God for another person.

1 John 1:1-4: That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

Discipleship is one of the greatest joys of our faith. It’s part of how God uses evil for good; your breakthroughs can help others find freedom faster. Your testimony isn’t just for you – it’s for helping others!

Three Aspects of Discipleship:

  1. It’s for every season of your life
    • 2 Timothy 4:1-4: I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
    • Have a resolve that Jesus is Lord
    • Be ready in season and out of season
    • The hungry eat. Stay hungry.
  2. Discipleship requires a holding to the gospel
    • We live in a time when people honor fluidity and adaptability in their convictions. A hard line of integrity isn’t honorable – socially – like it used to be.
    • What we need is for someone to tell us the Truth. This is love.
  3. Discipleship involves giving your life away for God.
    • 2 Timothy 4:5-6: As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.
    • Paul, even in his imprisonment, knows that his life is a sweet offering.
    • You are not meant to be a Dead Sea Christian (without outflow). You are meant to receive and to pour out.

Discipleship involves a tension between the word of God and our culture, Resolve to believe that Jesus is Lord; His Word is True, and He truly knows what is best for us.

Biblical references: 1 John 1:1-4; 2 Timothy 4:1-7

Questions:

  1. The hungry eat. Are you hungry?
  2. Are you letting circumstances or your season of life become a barrier or excuse for seeking discipleship?
  3. Are you giving your life away for God? Are you giving your life away for others to encounter God?

Message Recap: 2 Timothy, Pt. 2

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Lead Pastor Andrew Bach’s high school football coach used to say, “Be who you are and know what you know”. Though Coach was referring to the classic game of American football, we can also relate it to our faith: Be who God says you are, and know the character of God through the studying of His Word.

Last week, in the first part of our new series, “2 Timothy: The Risk and Tension of Discipleship”, we looked at the risk of following Jesus, and believing that His dreams for us are better than our own dreams for us. This week, we are using 2 Timothy chapter 2 to dissect the risk of helping others and living in community.

2 Timothy 2:1-2: You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.

It is the intention of Jesus to strengthen you, not once, but over and over again. Receiving the grace of God is more than just becoming a better or “nicer” person; it means becoming a new person. Being absolutely and unconditionally loved by the One who knows you best is strengthening (especially because it’s not just vices we look to to strengthen ourselves, but good things – “Church” things – too). The best way to strengthen ourselves in the grace of Jesus is to spend time with Him, because it’s a practice.

“How do I practice?” you might be thinking. We’re so glad you asked: worship, Word, and prayer. Contrary to how we often feel, this isn’t us doing something good for God, but it’s God doing something good for us.

Let us not forget that God doesn’t call us to be strengthened in His grace individually, but together as a people. We are made to spur one another on. Who’s helping you follow Jesus? And who are you helping follow Jesus?

2 Timothy 2:4-6: No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.

The soldier, the athlete, and the farmer all share a commonality: they have to put in the work for a while before seeing the fruits of their labor. Discipleship is the same. Let’s be a church the invests in one another in discipleship, allowing it to grow us and change us for this race that is a marathon, and not a sprint.

Biblical references: 2 Timothy 2

Questions:

  1. Who is helping you follow Jesus? If no one, who could you ask?
  2. Who are you helping follow Jesus? If no one, who could you intentionally pour into?
  3. Are you getting strengthened in the grace of Jesus? What does spending time with God look like in this season?

Message Recap: 2 Timothy, Pt. 1

 

2Timothy_Risk-Tension_SlideChurch! We are so excited to begin a new series this week, scripturally driven by 2 Timothy, as we dive into the “risk and tension of discipleship”. Before we get started, though, we want to thank you for your steadfast faith and obedience for participating in last week’s church-wide fast and prayer movement on Wednesday night. Seattle and all its inhabitants were blessed, and the heavens rejoiced with us in praying for our city! The Lord is working here, ya’ll, and we are so humbled to be called His co-laborers.

With that said, we don’t follow Jesus because we want His success or “favor”, because it looks good outwardly, or even because it’s the “right thing” to do. We follow Jesus because He first loved us with reckless love and without abandon.

2 Timothy 1:2: To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

In looking at 2 Timothy, we see where Paul is highlighting for us some critical instructions, the first being: remember those who have gone before you.

2 Timothy 1:5-6: I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands…

The second instruction from Paul, seen here in verse 6, is to fan the flame of God – or faith – that is in you! Church, this is a calling on our lives; let us flame the embers that they may spark a wildfire.

The third instruction is to not live out of fear, but out of a sprit of power (2 Timothy 1:7: for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control). Fear is so often – if not always – the enemy, rather than the circumstance itself. Fear is not from God, and therefore has no place in us, as those whom He has chosen.

The fourth instruction – and certainly not the least – is to not be ashamed of the gospel.

2 Timothy 1:8: Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God…

Here’s the crutch: we want to be people that follow Jesus fiercely and passionately, but we also want to make sure that all of our own dreams come true. But, what happens when we can’t play both hands? What happens when our own dreams are compromised because of reality? There is no doubt that our own dreams are good (because they are!), but they are not the best. There will be so many times when you have to choose between the dream you have for yourself and the dream that Jesus has for you. And the road to Jesus’ dream is narrow; stay the course, friends.

Psalm 103:5: who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. God satisfies our dreams with what is good for us, and so often, we don’t even know what we need ourselves. 

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. His dream for your life will lead to fullness of joy – that is a guarantee – because God is a good Father.

Matthew 19:29: And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. We cannot be motivated by the things that we see; we have to be motived by faith and faith alone. The world celebrates the ideas that will lead to a successful outcome. But, we know God, and we know that His ideas are the best ideas. We have a holy calling – it isn’t to strive for the dreams of the world, it’s to align ourselves with the dreams of Jesus.

2 Timothy 1:9-10: who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel…

Don’t succumb to the fear – walk out in risk! Take it! For Jesus is with you.

2 Timothy 1:12: which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.

Biblical references: 2 Timothy 1-12

 Questions:
1. Do you need to fan the embers of faith in your life to see the flame? What areas are you asking God to give you an increase in faith today?
2. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” What fears are God pointing out in your life? If it is fear, its not God. Share those with a trusted friend and pray for God to bring freedom in your life in those places.
3. God’s dreams are better than our dreams. What places of surrender in your aspirations, dreams, and accomplishments is God saying, trust me to give you even better dreams?