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Category Archives: Sermons

He will fight for us and Himself.

As we looked at a snap shot of Peter’s life Sunday we saw how when under pressure Peter returned to his default and fought. When a mob came to arrest Jesus, instead of Love, Peter responded with aggression and hostility fighting for Jesus. Jesus corrected Peter showing him that Peter didn’t have to fight on Jesus’ behalf but that rather Jesus was more than capable of fighting for Himself. Beyond that scripture tells us that Jesus is not only capable of fighting on His own behalf but that He is willing to fight for us as well when it is appropriate. The most important point from the sermon is that we don’t fight people but rather we fight Satan and we love people, even the really unlovely ones. But even when fighting Satan Jesus will fight for us we don’t really have to do it alone, though we do have a responsibility in the matter.

Romans 16:20 tells us that: “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.”

God will fight on our behalf, He will crush Satan and  He is going to use us to do it, at least some times. God wants to use us, to do great things in this world. It is our responsibility to allow God to put us where we need to be so that we are properly positioned to be used.

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Posted by on March 31, 2015 in Bible, Encouragement, Sermons

 

The Authentic Life

I preached last Sunday that New Life Values The Authentic Life. It is part of our seven core values that make New Life the church God would have us be. I would like to share a piece that didn’t make it into that sermon about the topic. I would like to share part of why I think God would have us be a church that values The Authentic Life. You can listen to the Sermon here.

The first obvious reason that I believe God would have us be a church that valued The Authentic Life was expressed in the sermon. Authenticity is a firmly biblical concept. That is foundational. If it weren’t directly supported by the bible it wouldn’t be a value of New Life so all of our values have that as a reason. Beyond that there are many other cultural features, or things New Life could emphasize as a value that we don’t. So… the question remains: Why The Authentic Life?

I believe it has a lot to do with the Millennial Generation. The millennials are those of us born between roughly 1977 and 1992, and there a lot of people very interested in them.  It has been well documented that millennials value authenticity almost more than anything else. Article upon article as been written about this subject. This is significant for several reasons. One reason is that the millennials are overtaking the “baby boomers” as the largest generation. Another is that they are beginning to influence culture in a major way. The more the millennials influence the culture around them the more that other generations will begin to act, and think like the millennials.

Why is this important for the church? Well, our values have a lot to do with how we do church. The message of Jesus and the bible do not change but the way it is communicated must. The method need in order to effectively communicate the message to a baby boomer may be different then the way we communicate it to a Millennial. Thus, understanding a generation goes a long way toward reaching a generation.

Finally, there is something we all need to realize about generations and how they differ. Every generation that comes along is labeled as worse by the generations that proceeded it in one way or another. What we must realize in the church is that one generation is not worse, less religious or moral, or difficult to reach than the proceeding, they are merely different. Each generation as aspects of the gospel they more easily accept and aspects they more quickly reject. The church must realize the differences and adapt its method to use the parts the generation accepts to communicate the parts it struggles with. The problem with the church, is that typically, we have figured out how to reach one generation about the time it is getting old. We need to be ahead of the curve and I believe that is part of why we value The Authentic Life.

Article about Millenials and Authenticity
http://www.forbes.com/sites/karlmoore/2014/08/14/authenticity-the-way-to-the-millennials-heart/

Article about the rise of Millenials
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/01/16/this-year-millennials-will-overtake-baby-boomers/

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2015 in Church, Sermons

 

Mobilize and Educate

The church has typically educated then attempted to mobilize often with poor results in the mobilizing aspect. The Bible teaches that we are to mobilize and while people are in motion on mission active in living out their faith. We are then to educate in the process. Education after all is not a destination at some point in the distance. It isn’t that on day we will be educated, mature, discipled believers but rather that discipleship, that Christian maturing, is a continual process.

It is much easier to steer a moving vehicle then one that isn’t moving.

Jesus said I send you out as sheep unto wolves then I will give you what to say. Matthew 10:16-19

We don’t have to know everything in order to be effective in evangelism or reaching this world. What we have to do is be authentic and love people just as Jesus did. To provide a safe place for people to share their lives. Accept people as people who are loved by God yet struggle with sin, just like us. Jesus didn’t wait to teach everything he had to teach to his disciples before he sent them out. Jesus apparently sent then out in the middle of them being his disciples.There is a story of Jesus sending his disciples out and them coming back with a man who had a son with a demon. The demon wouldn’t come out for the disciple but it did when Jesus called it out. The disciples tried first then brought the man to Jesus when they couldn’t.

This is why being in a mentoring, discipleship relationship is important. Not because we need one on one education but because we need one to one discipleship, we need to have someone we can ask questions to as things happen, in the midst of struggles. This is why Life Groups are so important at New Life. It is a group of people to share struggles and triumphs with. A group of people who celebrate and support us and that we in turn do likewise.

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2015 in Church, Community, Encouragement, Life, Sermons

 

Bunch of Hypocites

One of the common refrains of people with complaints about the church is that it is full of hypocrites. One of my favorite preachers regularly replies to the sentiment by saying “yeh we are, you’ll fit right in”. Most of us in one area or another, Christian or non-Christian, have some area of hypocrisy. Hypocrite is defined as “a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs,principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially person whose actions belie stated beliefs.” 

The fact is we all want to be better than we actually are. In this pursuit of better-ment often our thoughts of where we are get out of wack from where we actually are. This is normal, it is going to happen. The problem is when we attempt to present ourselves better than we are. As Christians we know the standard. The standard is exemplified in Jesus Christ, He was perfect, God is perfect, perfection is what is required. The good news is we don’t have to be perfect on our own. Jesus has paid the debt for sin on our behalf so before God we can stand clean. Then in our current reality we are being renewed by the Holy Spirit. He is making us more like Jesus, closer to the perfect standard with each step.

So we as Christians are inherently hypocritical, because the standard we strive for is perfection and none of us are perfect. But if we live this in humility it is gracious, loving and understanding that we all start at different places on this journey to being more like Jesus. The problem is when we attempt to look good, holy, righteous or “holy-er than thou” in front of others. Jesus in his famous sermon on the mount is very hostile toward this sort of behavior. In verse states ““Whenever you fast, don’t be sad-faced like the hypocrites. For they make their faces unattractively,so their fasting is obvious to people. I assure you: They’ve got their reward” (Matt. 6:16). 

Perhaps your thinking that this is a bit fake? I am miserable but I am supposed to act like I have it together. Well, if you were just miserable that would be wrong and fake. As Christians we are called to bear each others burdens. We can’t do that if we hide our struggles from each other. The person in this verse is miserable because they are seeking God they are fasting for greater righteousness and intimacy with God. In that case we could be tempted to flaunt our “holiness” so Jesus says no we keep that between us and God.

We are hypocrites, admit it, embrace it, and live humblly in it.

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2015 in Church, Individual Growth, Sermons

 

The Person God Wants You To Be


In my sermon Sunday (available on Podcast Here) I tried to hammer home that we use tools such as values, purpose statements, strategies, systems, processes, technology, etc. to help us be the church that God has called us to be today in order that we might reach the people God has called us to reach. I stated that the message of the Gospel does not and will not change nor do the principals and teaching of the Bible. However, the way which we communicate that message and apply that teaching will change as the culture, and lives of the people we are called to reach changes.

We as a church must use what ever God honoring tools are available to us so that we can be as effective and faithful to the vision and mission God has given us. But if that is true of the church how much more true is it for our personal lives? Are you being the person God has called you to be so that you can do what God has called you to do? Are you leveraging all the God honoring tools at your disposal to be as effective and faithful as you can to the mission God has for your life? Are we as followers of Christ doing what Paul talks about in Phil. 3:13-14:

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.”

God has gifted and blessed you in such a way to serve him in a unique and wonderful manner. DO NOT let your Christian life be set aside to a ho hum existence. You are on a mission from the God of the universe there is nothing more exciting than that. It is time we start living like it.

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2015 in Purpose, Sermons

 

Ephesians 4:2

I hope you all are doing well with your reading plan and especially with your memorizing of scripture. This week’s and next week’s are particularly exciting memory verses because we are learning, with last week’s verse, a set of three verses found together. When we memorize a bit larger section of scripture we get all the benefits of memorizing scripture that we already spoke about (see Memorize It, for examples and tips on memorization), along with the added benefit of more depth of content and some additional context. This week’s verse is a great example of both of those points.

Last week we were urged to walk worthy of our calling, this truth is profound in and of itself. Yet, the verse this week speaks to that calling giving us a greater depth of insight. Some times when we think of that calling we are urged to think and act upon in verse 4:1 we get high minded thinking “I have been called to this great thing” or we get bold thinking “I have God on my side” or we get brash thinking nothing shall stop me nothing will hinder me” (p.s. we say words like “shall” and “hinder” when we get really noble).There is not a period at the end of verse 4:1 so we know that verse 4:2 relates to it in some way. Verse two warns us to walk worthy with humility and gentleness.  A worthy walk is not bold. brash, and high minded. Though the thoughts stated above, are true, I hope we see that there maybe an attitude issue there, so we are still urged to avoid that by seeking humility and gentleness.

A few translations have a semi-colon or a period after gentleness but most just have a comma. This indicates that the idea continues. The verse includes patience in how we are to walk and ends with acceptance and love. It is fairly clear that patience is directed toward accepting because that act often takes much patience. However, this section of patience, acceptance and love are all part of our urge toward calling. In other words we are to walk worth of our calling with a unique character, of humility, gentleness, and love,  all the while accepting others.

Inherent in this is that others will not be in the same place on the road to righteousness, that is walking toward a worthiness of ones calling, and some maybe on a completely different road. (Notice I said the road to righteousness not to God, there is only one road to God that is faith in Jesus). We tend to think that how we got to where we are spiritually is the same road others should walk, weather: Mission’s trips, bible studies, certain books, or youth camps. Know that we all are on our own journey we all end up in the same place but we started in different places with different struggles and issues to overcome. We also tend to forget where we came from and how far we have come. Don’t expect people to be right where you are, accept them in love with grace and humility as God does us. After all we are all much further up the road from him.

 

Sermon Notes

I’d like to share what I took away from last Sunday’s sermon. Daniel preached about the first three main themes as he began his overview of the first part of Ephesians.

The first main point is that we get to worship and praise the One True God. It is an awesome honor and freedom that we serve the God of all gods. Isaiah 45 states, ‘There is no other God besides Me, a just God and a Savior; There is none besides me”. God is eternal, immortal, wise, and to be one of His own and to bring honor and glory to Him is an awesome privilege, not a task. The second point is that a real spiritual world is all around us. We as Christians know this intellectually, yet we forget it as we live our daily lives. Ephesians 6 talks about our struggles aren’t against flesh and blood, rather against principalities, powers, and rulers of darkness. If God is for us, who can be against us? But, we must realize we are in a fight, not against your neighbor, but against Satan and his forces. “In Christ” was the third and biggest point Sunday for me. “In Christ” is a stupendous reality. Do you realize that: IN CHRIST

-you were given grace before the world was created

-you were chosen by God before creation

-you are loved with an inseparable love

-you are redeemed and forgiven of your sins

-you are justified before God

-you are a new creation

-you have been seated in heavenly places

-your promises are YES and AMEN

-you are being sanctified

-you have eternal life

In Christ is a wonderful truth. Union with Christ Jesus is the only ground of true joy, and it is free.

As we continue our study of Ephesians, let me invite you to look at our reading plan of this book. It seems like over kill to begin with, but as we continue to read and study this part of God’s word, I know we will be blessed in our daily lives and begin to see that all things good are “IN CHRIST”.

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2014 in Bible, Life, Other, Sermons

 
 
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