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November 17, 2016, 11:32 AM

You Church


Today we are going to draw a comparison between you and your family and your role in our church. You have a wide range of family relationships. You have family that you see every other family reunion, and you have family that you see every day.  Churches have a wide range of member relationships as well. There are the CEO members who you only see for Christmas, Easter, and Other major life events.  Then there are the faithful few that show up for every event on the church calendar. 

See if you can identify your family relationships and compare them to your church involvement:

Family Reunion Family & CEO Attendees

You know them. You see them, but not as often as you know you should. Takes a special occasion for it to happen. Could be for good reasons or bad reasons. 

Holiday Family & Regular Attendees

You know them. You look forward to seeing them. You may see them often, but you really wish you saw them more. 

Close Family & Participators/Doers

You are in regular contact with these people. You can count on them. They have stories on you. May not see as often as you like, but when you do it's like the relationship hasn't skipped a beat. These are the ones that call before stopping by.

Extended Family & Joiners

You know them well and see them often. You are committed to them in life. They are at least getting something small for Christmas. They probably show up to help you move. See for multiple holidays and probably more often than just the big holidays. These people may get on your nerves, but the relationship is strong enough that you still love them and get along. May stop by out of the blue. 

Immediate Family & Active Doers

You rely on these people. They make life easier. You have certainly had disagreements over the years, but relationship is bigger, stronger, and more important than any disagreement. They stop by and may not even knock before coming in. 

Glue of the Family & Leadership

These are the people that connect everyone together. They are the planners. You will do something that you may not want to do because of you relationship with them. These people have had a real impact on your life. 

How do you relate to the church family, and is it where it should be?




November 10, 2016, 1:49 PM

Who am I?


Our Deceleration of Independence states: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. The founders of our country firmly believed that we were all created equal. They believed that our Creator meant for everyone to be able to pursue a happy and fulfilling life. Two problems have arisen over the years though. First is that we are all equal, but we are not all the same. Second is that our difference have led to some confusion over the best way to seek that fulfilling life. 

I purpose that the answer to both of those issue lies within the statement made by our founding fathers. We were created by a Creator and given the ability to pursue those things. Therefore, who better to consult about the best way to do so than Him?

The next few weeks we will be examining from scripture why we must do exactly that. We cannot know who we are created to be outside of our Creator. He created you to be you. You cannot learn from anyone else how to be you. To know who you are, you must seek your Creator. The one who designed you, gifted you, and breathed life into you. 

Our biggest problem is that we do not seek our Creator and instead wonder blindly through life trying to figure things out for ourselves. We allow sin and brokenness to misinterpret the different aspects of who we are and how God created us to be unique. This has resulted in a broken world becoming more and more broken.

Through God's grace, the church has an opportunity to seek God and display to the world how our Creator intended us to live.  




October 15, 2016, 6:23 PM

Waiting With Expectation


I guess the video last week brought out the emotional side of my personality. I'm normally a pretty calm, cool, and collected kind of guy. On a normal day my emotions range between happy and hungry.  But, last week I was a sentimental softy.

On the way to lunch, I told Carrie that I was for the first time ready to meet our new baby girl. I was tired of waiting, I wanted to know her. I wanted to see her face and look into her eyes.  The suspense was killing me. 

As I thought about that, I began to worry that I wasn't as good of a dad to this baby girl as I was with Emory. I mean, what kind of dad takes nine months to get ready to meet his daughter? As my thoughts turned to worries and my worries turned irrational; I decided it was something that I needed to pray about. 

Of course, as a preacher, I feel like every emotional moment should have some collation to my relationship with God.  As I began to think about how excited I was to meet this new baby girl, something shameful dawned on me. Why am I rarely this excited at the thought of meeting Jesus?

David Crowder sings a song that says: “Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die”.

I'm not suggesting that we should begin to look forward to death, because that would be strange. But I do find it odd that we talk about going to heaven and how great it will be, but the truth is that we really don't want to leave what we have on earth. 

1 Corinthians 1:7 says that we should be “awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ”. We should look forward to the day that we see his face and look into his eyes. We sing “this world is not my home, I'm just a passin' thru”, but do we really live like that?

If you ask me, I think that we should do everything necessary today to make that day as great as it can possibly be. We should live like we are awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. 




September 16, 2016, 2:10 PM

Why Church?



“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Matthew 7:21-23

 

This has always been a troublesome passage of scripture for me. People have claimed the name of Jesus. They have done many things in his name that far more impressive than anything that I have done. Yet, Jesus makes it very clear that they are not saved.  How is it that possible? 

Today we are looking at the early church's dedication to proclaiming the gospel. I believe that if we are going to be dedicated to proclaiming the gospel like they were, we must fully understand it first. That means that we must fully understand the weight of our sin, then we must fully understand the extravagance of God's grace, and lastly we must arrive at a reasonable response. 

In short, the reasonable response is to make Jesus the “Lord of our Life.” But, what does it really mean to make something the “Lord of your Life”? What does that look like? In many ways, the phrase 'Lord' looses a lot of impact to those of us who have grown up in a democratic society. 

To declare Jesus “Lord of your Life” would mean that you have made him the supreme ruler of all that you are and do. According to dictionary.com that is what a Lord is: a person who has authority, control, or power over others; a master, chief, or ruler. Jesus is our Creator, our Sustainer, and our Savior. He has authority over all of creation.  Therefore, his rightful place is as Lord over our life. 

Our problem comes when we want Jesus to be Lord of certain things, but not others. For Jesus to be Lord, he has to be the one who calls the shots. He is the one who makes our decisions. Our hopes and dreams belong to Him. For Jesus to be Lord of our Life, we cannot be the ones who decide what to do with our life. That right belongs to Jesus. 

Unfortunately, these people declared that Jesus was Lord, Lord without surrendering to Him as such. Partial surrender to Jesus is still full rebellion against His authority in your life. 




September 10, 2016, 6:15 PM

Mission vs. Ministry



 

This week we are going to take a look at the priorities of the Early Church. What did those that had walked with Jesus, talked with Jesus, and watched Jesus perform miracles think was most important? Then how does that line up with what we value as important?

As I began to study this, I noticed something that surprised me. It forced me to make a small twist in my previous thinking. A small but significant twist. I noticed that there seems to be a different between mission and ministry. We often think of those words a interchangeable in church life, but we should not. They are similar, but not the same. 

The first conflict in the early church came from the tension between balancing the meeting of people's needs and the proclaiming the Gospel. Both ministry and missions were important to the early church. Both ministry and missions were emphasized by the early church's leadership. But, the early church did not consider ministry and missions the same thing. 

Ministry happened as people in the church met each other’s needs. Missions happened as the gospel was proclaimed to those that needed to hear God's good news. A few things are clear from the early church that I think are worth noting:

  • We need to be invested in both Ministry and Missions.
  • Ministry and Mission often open the door for one another.
  • While not the same, they may go hand in hand.
  • You cannot healthily emphasize one and neglect the other.
  • Missions is the “tells why”
  • Ministry is the “shows what”

As Christians, we should identify our Mission Field and our Ministry Opportunities. We should also realize that live a life of worship by being about God's mission and doing God's ministry. 


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