St. Louis Day 1

July 16, 2009

Today we arrived in St. Louis and began to explore around the city. We saw the trip mascots Fred and Ethel around the city and the Jefferson National Cemetery. Here are some pictures:

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Youth Night 4-26

April 27, 2009

Your Box isn’t Big Enough
A Study of Luke 9:18-20

Text: Luke 9:18-20

Intro: In our world we have limited God. In our society we have tried to put God in a box. We cannot comprehend God’s character and so we as a society and a church try to fit him into things we understand. We tend to think that God has a list of deeds we should not do and that these deeds are things like murder, adultery, and lying, but we refuse to see that things like envy, gossip, and simply refusing to do the right thing are also sins. We forget that Jesus offered forgiveness to all men and if hadn’t have needed it he wouldn’t have offered it. We tend to think that God is all about the emotional experiential transformation, but refuse to see him work in the still small voice. We tend to think that Jesus simply spoke some of the word of God that he like the many Old Testament prophets were just mouthpieces of God and not God himself. The real Christ is the one who came demanding repentance not only of the sinner, but also of the religious. He is the one that transforms the world not in one emotional wave, but in the quiet transformation of life after life leading to a whole new way of living. He is the one who was God made flesh that lived a perfect life to bring us to ultimate reconciliation with God. That’s my Jesus.

First Box: John the Baptist or the Moralist
John the Baptist was the last prophet to proclaim the coming of Jesus. He was the voice in the wilderness as Isaiah said. He called for the people to repent. He called for ALL people to repent. He was ignored. The hyper religious did what they always did and ignored the call to repentance because they believed that they were ok. They took his words for good bumper sticker fodder, but not for their life. They made Jesus into John the Baptist. They took Jesus’ words to be good things to think about, but they were not for them. We in America and in the modern church have made this a box in our lives. We try to take Jesus and make him into a person calling for a repentance that doesn’t apply to us. Jesus breaks out of this box because his repentance is total and complete. He offered grace to all men, because all men have fallen short of the glory of God. He called the sinner’s to repent and dealt with their sin in gentleness as they repented, but he dealt with the religious harshly calling them sons of the devil and white washed tombs where everything on the outside looks nice but inside is death and decay. Jesus shatters the box that he is only a good moralist.

Second Box: Elijah or Emotional Experience
The prophet Elijah was a very common object of discussion in the Jewish world at the time of Jesus. Everyone knew Elijah and all for the same reason, the battle on the mountaintop with the prophets of Baal. An emotional confrontation with the result of glorifying God is how they remembered him and they applied that to their understanding of the Christ. They thought that he would come to earth with a sword in one hand looking for whom he will destroy. With this thought in their minds they thought that there is no way this Jesus could be their messiah. He was confrontational much the same as Elijah, but not enough to be their Messiah. They thought that a violent emotional transformation would be how their Messiah offered in a new age of relationship with God. Jesus shatters this box because he truly changes the world. They forgot the rest of the Elijah story how after the mountaintop battle he ran and was depressed and was strengthened by the still small voice of God. Jesus transforms the world one life at a time. As that person becomes more like Christ and is filled up by him that person seeks out others and gets them to accept Christ and then they get others to accept Christ and it mounts up in no time as there has been a complete culture shift in that group of friends as it spreads down the grapevines.

Box 3: Prophet of Old alive again or Mouthpiece of God
For centuries God had sent prophets to declare his word to his people. They knew what to do with prophets. They knew that a prophet was just a man like them, but spoken through by God. Then Jesus came on the scene and some of the people believed that he was simply the next mouthpiece of God or an old mouthpiece raised from the dead. They took Jesus and acknowledged that he had heard from God, but that he was not God. He was simply a good man that God had shown favoritism towards. Jesus shatters this box because he is the Son of God sent to die for the sin of the entire world. HE IS THE WAY THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE!! It is only through Jesus that there is any forgiveness of sin at all. He came as fully God and fully man and lived a perfect life and died carrying the weight of the judgment, condemnation, guilt, shame, and sin that should be all rights belong to us. He gave everything that he had to save us from ourselves.

Closing: How would you answer the question, “Who do you say that Jesus is”? What box are you using? Where does Jesus fit in your life? Is he the fortune cookie moralist? Is he the emotional whim that never actually changes anything in you? Is he the word of God that you could never find time to acknowledge? He wants to break out of the box. He wants to show you how big of a God he is. He wants to take your perception of the world and give you his perspective. Jesus is still at the cross waiting for us to bring him our sin. Will you let him? He will completely change your world and create in you a new heart and a new mind. Will you let him? He will take your sin and leave no condemnation or judgment? Will you let him? He will love you and be closer to you than anyone can possibly be. Will you let him come and show you that your box isn’t big enough?

Any questions just leave a comment
Jarrod

False Gods

March 19, 2009

Tonight during the sermon I talked about the false Gods that come between us and God. This is the forum where those who want to name and ultimately destroy their false gods should do so.

Jarrod

Postscript: I’m not asking you to do anything I wouldn’t do so here are my false gods:
Laziness, Food, Comfort. I encourage you to name your false gods here.

 

On a Mission From God Night 5

On a Mission From God Night 5

 

On a Mission From God

Tools for the Mission: Part 2 Communion

 

Key text: Matthew 6:5-13 and Revelations 14:1-5

Series Big Idea:  We are called to be on a mission from God.  It is a mission to save the lost by telling them about Jesus Christ.  It is a mission that modern American Christians have taken for granted. Christianity will make up four percent of America by the time today’s teenagers are adults unless we take the mission seriously.  We must believe the gospel and to take it across the world. 

 

Sermon Big Idea: While on this mission from God, we will eventually face hard times.  Things will come against us and the word will be in our hearts, but the spirit is not ready.  God foresaw this and provided ways for us to commune with him and recharge our spirit.  He provided two tools for us to do this.  He gave us prayer and praise and worship.  Prayer gives us a way to speak to the father and discuss our struggles, to ask for help, and to be comfort by his word.  Praise and worship gives us a way to best express our love for God to him.  It gives us a way to commune with his intimate presence.

 

First Point: Prayer: I will not spend too much time on this because we not too long ago we went through a series on prayer, but due to the importance of prayer I will spend a little time on this.  Prayer is simply talking to God.  Some people really try to make it more difficult than it has to be.  Jeremiah 33:3 says that if you call out to God he will show you things that you know not.  The big point for this scripture is that prayer is a dialogue not a monologue with God.  You don’t do all the talking.  Let God speak, he knows more than you do.  Also when you pray do not make a show about it and don’t use words that don’t need to be used (Matthew 6:5-7).  The Lord’s Prayer provides us the best instruction of praying. (Matthew 6:8-13).  In the beginning you acknowledge God and holiness you praise him and seek his will.  You submit to God.    The next thing you seek is your daily bread.  You ask for God to provide your needs and he will.  You then seek forgiveness for your sin and acknowledge the fact that you have been sinned against and will forgive.  You conclude with seeking help for living this life.

 

Second Point: Praise and Worship: A big note on praise and worship is that some (especially some in our Pentecostal/charismatic denominations) make it more about your feelings than about God.  They make more about the song you sing and dance you dance than about the God you worship and life you live for him.  We often note that you should live for God, but in my opinion we do a REALLY bad job at outlining what that is.  Living for God is praise and worship.  I want to make a note that Jesus is not found singing throughout the gospel.  The first time Jesus sings and it is recorded in scripture is in Revelations 14:1-5.  He is singing with his army.  He is singing with those who are living a life for him.  He is singing with those that are pure and holy and have been redeemed.  The main point for this message is that Praise and Worship are not just singing, but is more aptly described by submission to God.

 

         Second Point A: Praise by Singing: Psalms 149 demands that we sing unto the lord a new song.  This song comes from the feats of our Lord.  We sing because God has delivered us as Miriam did in Exodus 15.  Singing is very valid form of praise and it allows us as children of God to revel in the presence of the father.  It allows us to enjoy the presence of God.  We are to delight in him.  You can praise many ways singing, dancing, clapping, writing, working a job, doing good in school, and living your life. 

         Second Point B: Praise by life: In Revelations 14 while Jesus is singing with the 144,000, the greatest way to praise and worship God is shown.  We are to live our lives for him.  The 144,00 are who we should seek to be like, because they are seeking God before anything else.  They do not let concerns of the flesh defile them.  They let nothing distract them from following God.  They also do not lie and this prevents them from worshipping anything but God.  They have been redeemed.

 

Closing:  Are you one of the 144,000?  Is there something in your life that is causing you to sin?  Are you being distracted from God? Are you able to lie to yourself and think that God is still God in your life but really something else is?  Come back to Jesus.  He is standing there calling out to you.  Come and let Jesus redeem you so that you can live a life worthy of being one of the 144,000.  

On a Mission From God

On a Mission From God

On a Mission From God
Tools for the Mission: Part 1 The Bible

Key text: 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Series Big Idea: We are called to be on a mission from God. It is a mission to save the lost by telling them about Jesus Christ. It is a mission that modern American Christians have taken for granted. Christianity will make up four percent of America by the time today’s teenagers are adults unless we take the mission seriously. We must believe the gospel and to take it across the world.

Sermon Big Idea: While on the mission from God, we encounter battles and must work, but what tools are we to use. God has left us a most mighty tool in the bible. It is a literal miracle. Around 40 guys wrote it in a period of over 1500 years and in three languages and despite all of that discontinuity there is not one true contradiction in the book. It is divinely inspired which is to say God himself wrote it. It is a love letter, instruction manual, and set of encouragement. The scripture is completely of God and prepares the Christian for every good work.

Intro: All scripture comes from God and is applicable to our lives. We sometimes do not like what the bible has to say about us, but as Martin Luther said, “The bible is easily read when it talks about others but painfully read when it talks about us.” As it in the text scripture does four main things in our lives, Teaches, Rebukes, Corrects, and Trains for Righteousness.

First Point: Teaches: All scripture serves to teach people something. The proverbs speak of wisdom in every day life. Jesus taught frequently as did Paul, Peter, and John. A great example of this is in Matthew chapter 5. The Sermon on the Mount. It is the most famous of all sermons. This sermon was full of Jesus showing how he fulfilled scripture, but was also full of practical examples. Before we can know what we are to say on the mission we must let scripture teach us. In order for that to happen we must both read and study the word ourselves and hear the word rightly taught (Romans 10:17). According to that scripture our faith comes from hearing preaching and teaching of the bible, so that means we need to be in church so that we may be taught. It is by the teaching portion of the word that we can grow.

Second Point: Rebukes: The second action of the bible is to rebuke. A rebuke is a method of sharp correction. It is when we are being stubborn and a good stinging rebuke is the only thing that can bring us out of that mental state. It often used for religious people in the bible (Matthew 23). The entire of Matthew chapter 23 is a stinging rebuke for the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus rebukes them so harshly in the hopes that such a stinging rebuke will bring them to repentance. This method of scripture is mostly used when we refuse to acknowledge sound teaching and correction. It is by this method of the word we can keep from becoming religious.

Third Point: Correction: The third action of scripture is correction. The correction of the bible comes when we are doing something that is wrong. This is when we realize we are wrong and need to come back to Christ. A great example of correction is in Mark chapter 10 verses 35-45. In this passage of scripture James and John ask for something they have no business asking for, but Jesus doesn’t rebuke them he corrects their thinking, by explaining that they can’t drink from the cup he drinks of and that to rise in the kingdom of God we must serve. It is not a stinging rebuke uttered here, but instead a gentle leading back onto the right path. It is in these moments that scripture corrects us.

Fourth Point: Trains for Righteousness: Scripture does much more than just teach us what to do and then keep us on that path. It trains us to be righteous followers of Christ. You see this especially post resurrection with Jesus and Peter in John 21 and on the road to Emmaues in Luke 24. Jesus trains us for righteousness. He prepares us to do the work that God has for us. Our training is all about being able to share the gospel effectively and live our lives according to his laws.

Closing: The end of the verse states that scripture does all it does in an effort to make sure that the man of God is competent for every good work. This means that we can do nothing well if we do not first digest the scriptures. Are you taking the scriptures for granted? Are you reading your bible once a week? A month? A year?


Opposition to the Mission Part 2 Battles

Opposition to the Mission Part 2 Battles

On a Mission From God

Opposition to the Mission: Part 2 Battles

 

Key text: Matthew 4:1-11

Series Big Idea:  We are called to be on a mission from God.  It is a mission to save the lost by telling them about Jesus Christ.  It is a mission that modern American Christians have taken for granted. Christianity will make up four percent of America by the time today’s teenagers are adults unless we take the mission seriously.  We must believe the gospel and to take it across the world. 

 

Sermon Big Idea: This mission from God is to trumpet the cause of Christ across the world.  The gospel of Christ is life changing and as such we are going to encounter resistance from a spiritual force that opposes God, Satan.  In order to keep going in the mission, we need to know what the schemes of the enemy are so that we may fight them (Ephesians 6:11-12).  He has watched all of human history from Adam and Eve to present day.  He knows our tendencies better than we do, but in all of this he knows he is a defeated foe.  His large number of schemes can be whittled down to three individual schemes: desire, doctrine, and destination. 

 

Intro:  In order to understand why Satan Opposes us, we must first understand that the gospel of Christ is a life changing force that once rolling can not be stopped.  In Acts 2 during one sermon, three thousand people came to Jesus in ONE DAY.  We Pentecostals often attribute this to the Holy Spirit, which is true in part, but the work was done by the Gospel being proclaimed by the men full of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2).  After this people began to come to Christ every day and the number of disciples multiplied.  The gospel is life changing and it is for this reason Satan opposes us. 

First Point: Desire.  The first type of scheme that Satan tries to use against us is our desires.  These desires can be for things we want, i.e. video game systems, computer software, books, or for things we think we need i.e. alcohol, cigarettes, email, and etc.  He tells us that if we are true Sons and Daughters of God we could provide them ourselves. In this passage of scripture he knows Jesus is hungry so he tells him that he can provide it.  We counter this with the word and by knowing that God shall supply all our needs (Philippians 4:19).  We must trust in God and change our way of life.  We must turn the focus of life off of our desires and onto him.  By turning our focus onto God we tend to pay less attention to our desires and more to our heavenly father that will supply all of our needs.

 

Second Point: Doctrine.  When you respond to the devil with scripture he breaks out the next device, Doctrine.  With this tool, he challenges your knowledge of scripture.  He brings verses out of context to challenge you.  He brings false doctrine against you.  You can only fight this challenge by using your knowledge of the word.  You have to know your bible.  In order to know the bible you must know Jesus because the secret of the bible is Jesus.  The Old Testament leads up to him.  It contains the prophecies about him and ceremonies that foreshadow what he would do for the world.  The New Testament contains the story of how he saved us and gives us a guide to living under his leadership.  In order to deal with false doctrine, you must know your bible.

 

 Third Point: Destination.  The final tool Satan uses to attack you is your destination.  If you are doing all you do for the glory of God and are focused on heavenly purpose then your destination is set on heaven.  If you are focused on earthly causes and concerns then your destination is this earth.  His plea to Jesus is to trade all the glory he had in heaven for glory on earth.  His plea to us is take the easy way. It’s to take the way that make us most accepted on this earth, but not in heaven.  It’s about being faithful to our heavenly father while we are in this world.  We can only overcome this tool by a life of prayer and communing with God.  It is through this type of life we are able to stay heavenly focused and be of earthly good.

 

Conclusion:  In order to live this life, we must focus on God through a relationship in the word and prayer.    It is only through this type of living that we can endure the battles of the enemy and prepare to fight.  It is through knowing the word and prayer that we are able to spread the gospel and fulfill God’s mission for our life.  Are you focused on him or like Peter (Matthew 14:22-33) are you taking your eyes off of him?  Are studying your world so that you might show yourself as a workman approved by God? (2 Timothy 2:15)  Turn to Jesus let him regenerate you so that you might be able to stand against the devil.

 

(Please post any questions or comments you may have   

-Jarrod)

On a Mission From God part 2

February 25, 2009

Opposition to the Mission Part 1 People

Opposition to the Mission Part 1 People

On a Mission From God
Opposition to the Mission: Part 1 People

Key text: Acts 17:16-34
Series Big Idea: We are called to be on a mission from God. It is a mission to save the lost by telling them about Jesus Christ. It is a mission that modern American Christians have taken for granted. Christianity will make up four percent of America by the time today’s teenagers are adults unless we take the mission seriously. We must believe the gospel and to take it across the world.

Sermon Big Idea: When on a mission from God, we will encounter different people that will respond to the gospel differently. In order to study this we are going to look at Paul’s encounter with the men at Mars Hill. In this story Paul is a perfect example as a man who is being a missionary to culture and he meets three different types of people: Mockers, Skeptics, and Believers.

Intro: We have been called by Jesus to reach out and be missionaries to our culture in John 17. The gospel we share is called strange by the men of Mars Hill and offensive by Paul in Galatians 5:11. The two points that make the gospel strange or offensive are the points of sinful man and the way of grace. The first offends because we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). The second offends because it calls us to a faith that depends on grace from a holy righteous God. The world hears this and responds in one of three ways.

First Point: Mockers. The first way that people will respond to the gospel is to mock you. Mockers are usually deceived by the enemy into thinking that they need no God or that they can use religion to find their way back to him. (Religion in the Greek means to bind back). They however can’t find their way back to him on their own. It is only through a relationship with Jesus that any man can be reconciled to God.

Second Point: Skeptics. For the first point, there are two types of skeptics and they will respond differently and you are to respond differently. The first type of skeptic does not want to hear any more about your faith. This type of skeptic is normally so ingrained in whatever ‘religion’ they are in that they will refuse to hear anymore. The proper response to this type of skeptic is to befriend them on another point of interest and pray for them. The second type of skeptic doesn’t really have any faith and as one with a lack of faith they need a little more convincing as to the validity of Christianity. The first point in dealing with this type of skeptic is to always approach with scripture. The bible is the sword that cuts to the heart of the matter (Hebrews 4:12) and regardless whether or not they think it is a sword it still cuts. Secondly use your testimony and God’s works of grace in your life to show them how God’s transforms and continues to work in your life. Thirdly pray for them because scripture says that “no man may come to the father except that the spirit draw him” and you should pray that the spirit draw them.

Third Point: Believers. These are the people that listen and accept Jesus as their savior. These are the people that listen to the gospel and take it to heart. These people need help after they are saved. You should get them into a church. Get them to read the bible and pray. They are in the process of experiencing regeneration and you need to help them experience it.

Closing: On the mission you will meet many people and they all will fall into one of these three groups. Do you know who belongs in what group in your circle of friends? Are you able to identify who is a struggling person that needs Christ? You need to pray that God will give you wisdom (James 1:5) to discern the different categories of people and the strength to share your faith regardless.

On a Mission From God Part 1

February 22, 2009

The Beginning the Heart of the Mission

The Beginning the Heart of the Mission

On a Mission From God

The Beginning: The heart of the Mission

 

Key text: Mark 1:14-18

Series Big Idea:  We are called to be on a mission from God.  It is a mission to save the lost by telling them about Jesus Christ.  It is a mission that modern American Christians have taken for granted. Christianity will make up four percent of America by the time today’s teenagers are adults unless we take the mission seriously.  We must believe the gospel and to take it across the world. 

 

Sermon Big Idea: Jesus opened his ministry with two main phrases, which for the purpose of tonight’s study we will break into four phrases.  These main phrases show us the heart of our mission.

 

Intro:  Mark 1:15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand;” This phrase launches Jesus’ ministry and I believe holds the very key to the urgency of our mission. “The time is fulfilled” points towards a time of waiting (i.e. the Jews waiting for messiah).  “The kingdom of God is at hand,” declares the urgency of the hour with this phrase Jesus places the proverbial carrot in front of the donkey.  This urgency transcends early first century Israel it comes pouring out in our reality.  The kingdom of God is at hand.  GO FOR IT!

 

First Point: Beginning of the mission comes at the end of you.  “Repent and believe in the gospel.”  Repentance is starting out with your back to Jesus and you face towards Sin, Religion, or anything you value above God and turning away from that and facing Jesus.  Believing the Gospel has a twofold meaning.  First believe in Christ and accept his death of substitution for our sins on the cross.  Then also believe in the Kingdom of God.  Believing this places the mission in front of any focus we might have.

Second Point: Once the mission has been begun we continue it by Following Jesus.  Once we have repented we are called to become Jesus’ disciples much like Simon and Andrew in the section of scripture.  We must be sanctified by the word as Jesus prays in John 17:17 and Peter writes in 1 Peter: 23-25.  We must make Jesus the cornerstone of our life as Peter writes in 1 Peter 2:4-10.  It is how we become God’s people.  We must follow after him with all of our hearts.  By following after God we are letting him flow in each area of our life.  If he is flowing in our lives, he comes out in all aspects of our character.

 

Third Point: The mission itself is to get people to follow Jesus.  Jesus states this in “I will make you become fishers of Men.”  He reiterates this in his high priestly prayer of John 17:15-18.  We are to be in the world so that they might see our good works and glorify our father in heaven.  Our mission is to be a missionary to our culture. 

Closing:  Jesus marked his ministry by calling everyone to repent, follow him, and to become fisher’s of men.  He leaves that call to us for all time that we are to be missionaries to our culture.  Are you focusing on something other than Jesus?  Are you letting Jesus become the cornerstone to your life’s wall or is he just another brick in the wall?  Are you being a missionary to culture to reach those lost in the world?  If your answer to any of these is no there’s still hope then he’s there calling out for you. Just answer him.

 

(Leave your stories of the mission or ask questions.  )

Thanks

Jarrod 

Q&A

February 17, 2009

This is the place for your random questions about life, the bible, and this journey called christianity.

Welcome to Ask the Wall

February 11, 2009

During each of our sermon series there will be a post about the topic we are studying.  Feel free to post any of your questions.