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: 2 Timothy Pt. 3

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October 31st is the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther posting his 95 Thesis, which led to the Reformation movement. It began a movement toward a belief, again, in Scripture. The Bible is our sustenance (Matthew 4); the Bible is a sword that divides the the soul from the Spirit (Hebrews 4); the Bible is a mirror that reveals who you are (James); the Bible is the Word of God.

Some of us still think that what we do determines who we are, but who we are is determined by the Word of God. the Bible gives us our identity. There is only one Person who can tell you who you are (and it’s not even you!); it’s your Maker.

2 Timothy 3: 1-9: But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.

The problem is not an external one; it’s an internal one. We can’t just fix the “doings”. We can’t just do “better”. We have to change. The only way to change completely is to become new from the inside-out.

2 Timothy 3:10-14: You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, 11 my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. 12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom[a]you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

What – or Who – are we going to let define us? We cannot get our identity from the world; we have to get it from the Bible.

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.

Scripture tells us about our identity, and then completes the work. We don’t read the Bible to learn what we are supposed to do, but to learn who we are. The Bible rebukes and trains and teaches the right way of life because it tells us our identity.

You are a child of God (John 1); you are a new creation (2 Corinthians); you are you are God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2); you are an alien and a stranger in this world (1 Peter); you are part of the true vine (John 15); you are the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5); you are a child of light and not of darkness (1 Thessalonians 5); you are a child of God (Galatians 3); you are righteous and holy (Ephesians 4); you are born of God and the evil one cannot touch you (1 John 5); you are an enemy of the devil (1 Peter 5); you are no longer a slave to sin, but you are a child of God (Romans 6).

Not even your mistakes can take away the fact that, in Jesus, you are a child of God. The deeds of the darkness have nothing to do with you because of who you are. You have nothing to do with philosophies, perversions, or the things of the world. Are you living by the breath of culture, or are you living by the breath of God? What – Who – is your life source?

God didn’t save the world because He hates your sin. He saved the world because He loves you. And He knows who you are, because He made you! We have to keep coming back to who we are, as He declares as True.

Biblical references: 2 Timothy 3

Questions:

  1. When you read scripture, are you reading it as a history book or as a mirror?
  2. What does the bible say you about you?
  3. Where does your identity come from? The world? Your accomplishments? Others? God? Ask God, to reveal revelations of truth about your identity to you.

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?

 

 

 

 

 

Message Recap: Greater Purpose, Pt. 6

This week, thanks to a good word from Jeremy Annillo, we understand more deeply our greater purpose in the eyes of God as we continue on in our series. Jeremy is overseeing the Church Planting efforts down South. We are so thankful for him and his family.

Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Ephesians 2:10: For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

This morning, as we continue in Greater Purpose, we are looking at the character of Shealtiel (Matthew 1:12: After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel; 1 Chronicles 3:17: The descendants of Jehoiachin the captive: Shealtiel his son…).

Shealtiel wasn’t known for any of his own accomplishments, but instead only for his relationship to his son and his father. If we draw purpose and identity from others, rather than God, we will set ourselves up for a skewed perspective.

Even when your life feels unnoticed, God has a plan and purpose for it. We can’t see it from his eyes, but it’s best to trust that He knows best. And He does – He is God!

1 Corinthians 7:17-20: Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches. Was a man already circumcised when he was called? He should not become uncircumcised. Was a man uncircumcised when he was called? He should not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts. Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.

1 Corinthians 10: 12-13: So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Let us boast in humility about what God is doing in and through us, without comparison to others. Every part of the living body has purpose; no part is dispensable, no part is insignificant. Our greater purpose is being realized by the Creator, no matter how we feel in this moment. Would it be enough to go completely unnoticed by all the world, and to be seen as faithful by our God? Let us be people that answer, truthfully, with a “yes”.

We have a part to play in the second coming of Jesus, whether we are known like David or unknown like Shealtiel. God sees us, and we are greatly significant in Heaven’s eyes.

Biblical references: Jeremiah 29:11; Ephesians 2:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Matthew 1:12; 1 Chronicles 3:17; 1 Corinthians 7:17-20; 1 Corinthians 10: 12-13. 

Questions:

  1. Where are the places you are living for God in the unseen?
  2. Where is it hard to live what seems an unnoticed life and need to be reminded of your audience of one in Jesus?
  3. Jeremy asked the question, “Would it be enough to go completely unnoticed by all the world, and to be seen as faithful by our God?” What are the things keeping you from honestly answering yes to this question?

Proper Rest

This is the final part of a three part series. (Valuing Time, Priorities and Motivations, Proper Rest)

One of the keys to effective time management is effective rest. But resting well is actually not intuitive, and often times the ways we choose to rest are not restorative.

When working out, one usually tries to max out on one muscle group (triceps) before moving onto the next muscle group (shoulders). Now, often times, after maxing out on one group, my body feels completely empty and I have nothing left to give. But when I switch to the new muscle group, I find that I actually have a lot of strength left to expend. The same is true of mental fatigue. I found this to be true in college, where I double majored in neurobiology and creative writing. I could study the science of the brain for hours, feel exhausted, and then switch to write a poem as if I had just woken up. Why? Because our brains work in different capacities based out our activities. And I found that writing a poem actually helped rest and recharge my brain to do more science.

One of the keys to effective rest is asking the questions, “Where am I spent?” and “How can I best recharge?” Sometimes the best way for me to rest is being alone, sometimes it is with a couple close friends, and sometimes it is at a large party. But often times, my “rest” times can actually be very productive, either relationally or in different modes of thought.

Don’t get me wrong. There are times where I am spent in every way—physically, emotionally, mentally, etc.—and I actually can’t do anything else productive. But those times are few, and in those times, I choose to sleep.

Sleep is necessary, restful, and needs to be a priority. But with too little sleep we collapse and lack excellence, and with too much sleep we are lethargic and don’t try for excellence. Sleep science says that 4 days of 8 hour per night sleep is actually more restorative than 3 days of 6.5 hour sleep and 1 day of 14 hour sleep. Why? Because the longer time you sleep, the more shallow your sleep becomes. The extra hours of your 14 hour sleep actually do very little towards making you feel rested.

For the same reasons, staying up late is generally harder on your body than getting up early. If your body is used to sleeping at 10pm and you go to bed at 1am, it won’t get as much deep sleep because it is used to getting that deep sleep from 10pm-1am, when you are now awake. On the other hand, getting up at 5 am instead of 8 am cuts out 3 hours of your more shallow sleep, leaving you, on the whole, more restored.

You cannot let sleep run your life. God didn’t call you to stay in bed, but He didn’t call you to run on empty, either.  Here are some practical tips to control your sleep rather than have your sleep control you.

  • Set multiple alarms, and make yourself get OUT of your bed to turn them off.

  • Have a wake up / bedtime accountability partner

  • Have a quick cold shower / put cold water on your face when you wake up

  • Get out of your house when you wake up

Resting excellently will allow you to maximize your time, submit it to the King, and see the Kingdom of God advanced.

By Ben Drum, Neighborhood Section Leader