As we look at how so much of faith seems upside down, we consider the upside down truth of strength in weakness as we look at the phrase from Psalm 23 "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies." Who is at your table?
What a great Sunday to preach with both Pastor Scott and Pastor Gene.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer, and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
—Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV
I was happy to be able to preach with Pastor Nick about temptation and the truth that there is always a way out.
Temptation is anything that promises satisfaction at the cost of obedience to God.
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.
—1 Corinthians 10:12-13 (NIV)
In the series Divine Direction, I was able to preach with Pastor Gene LeForge on seeking wisdom to discern, learning from both good and bad decisions how we can pursue God's wisdom as He offers to lovingly lead us through the decisions of life. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
—Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
In our Life Well Done series I had the privilege of preaching with Pastor Gene LeForge that a richer fuller life is available when we take part in Turning to God, Knowing God & Abiding in God. Thank you for listening.
I had the blessing of preaching with my buddy Pastor Gene LeForge as we began our series Picture Perfect. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
—1 Samuel 16:7b (NLT)
I love being able to preach with a good friend and my lead pastor, Pastor Gene LeForge. Learning to be an empty vessel is worth the work, but it's surprisingly harder than I would have guessed. Thank you for listening to this sermon and considering how you could take steps to become the person God has imagined you to be.
During our Word Of God Speak series, I was privileged to be able to share in a message with Jeff McGraw and Gary Wieber some parts of scripture that have become important points of our journey. Thanks for listening.
I'm very thankful for the opportunity to begin our new series "Credit Score" with this message - Understanding Credit. God needs you to know that you are seen, you are known, you are loved, you belong, you too can receive forgiveness and the spiritual credit score of righteousness.
I was blessed to be able to preach the message "Right To Be Offended" during our Altar Ego series; Becoming who God says you are. Forgiven people, forgive people. This week we lay down our right to be offended. Thanks for listening and sharing.
I am thankful for the opportunity I had to preach in our series Set Free. Once we know the freedom God has for us we need to walk in ways that maintain our deliverance. I believe the key to doing this is to feed our faith and starve our fears. We do not pretend that fears do not encroach upon us, but we intentionally choose to stop feeding them so that their growth in our life is limited.
Feed your faith and starve your fear - there is freedom from that. Thanks for listening.
I had the privilege of preaching about Ruth and Naomi in our series "Good Better Best". Sometimes we get a glimpse of God's best in moments that we don't work towards but we just happen upon.
(Ruth 2) One day Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go out into the harvest fields to pick up the stalks of grain left behind by anyone who is kind enough to let me do it.”
Naomi replied, “All right, my daughter, go ahead.” 3 So Ruth went out to gather grain behind the harvesters. And as it happened, she found herself working in a field that belonged to Boaz, the relative of her father-in-law, Elimelech.
Am I in the right field?
When we are in the proximity of God we begin to be in the place to experience God’s best.
I got to preach in our series "Somebodies . . .Nobody Knows" about two men in the Bible that are only mentioned a couple times; Blastus and Crispus. Blastus was selfish, Crispus was not. Being selfless is a supernatural attribute that changes the atmosphere for good. Be like Crispus, not like Blastus.
Prayer does not align God with me, prayer aligns me with God.
During our Dangerous Prayers series, I had the privilege of preaching with my buddy Pastor Scott Palmiter. We looked at Psalm 139:23-24 as a Dangerous Prayer that could be the catalyst for tremendous life transformation. Thanks for listening.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
We wrap up our Echo series with the message Access. The echo of Easter offered us the gift of access to God through Jesus Christ. Access means intimacy, not just benefit. It was a great privilege to preach with both Pastor Scott and Pastor Gene in this message.
In our Miracle Effect series, I had the opportunity to preach with my friend and lead pastor, Pastor Gene. In studying the Incarnation of Christ we asked the question, What is the value of the presence of God?
In our Miracle Effect series, I had the privilege of preaching with my friend Pastor Scott. We were encouraged by the idea that Yesterday's miracles still affect today's story. Thank you for listening.
This is the first message from our series Vivid Faith. I am thankful for the chance to preach on how Vivid Faith guides and informs our marriages and relationships. Our initial attraction, our first feeling of love is like a spark - a spark grabs our eyes but doesn’t help us see in the dark. We can spend the rest of our relationship looking for that spark - when as believers we have been offered the light of the world, vivid faith that sees in the dark -we could try to find that spark again, which many do in the darkness - or we could follow the light of the world by which we no longer have to walk in darkness. The goal of a relationship is not to recreate a feeling we once had. The goal of a relationship is to recreate and reflect the love of God.
“The mistake we so often make is thinking that God’s interest and care for us waxes and wanes according to our spiritual temperature.” - Eugene Peterson
I’ve made this mistake often, and I’m guessing many of you have too. What we see and what we feel can never change God’s interests and care for us. We all need to be reminded of this truth and encouraged to live in it. The ebb and flow of our emotions and circumstances vary greatly from days of ease and comfort to days filled with struggle and discouragement. God’s favor does not ride the waves of our emotions or circumstances. God’s favor for you flows from His love expressed in His promise to never leave you or forsake. Favor is the promise of God’s presence accomplishing His presence in and through your life.
I got to team preach this series on Identity Theft where we looked at the the truth that our identity crumbles when we build it on anything that changes. God taught Pastor Scott and I a ton as we worked through this series together. Thanks for listening and for sharing these messages with anyone whose spiritual identity has been stolen.
Identity Theft: Our identity crumbles when we build it on anything that changes.
It was a personal blessing to team teach this series with Pastor Scott Palmiter and with our conference superintendent Brad Button. In this series we explore the life application of what it looks life to live all of life being made new in Christ. Can we actually be made new or this just spiritualized idealism? Thanks for listening.
12 The righteous thrive like a palm tree and grow like a cedar tree in Lebanon. 13 Planted in the house of the Lord, they thrive in the courts of our God. 14 They will still bear fruit in old age, healthy and green,
All of life, both physical and spiritual, demands continual nourishment, refreshment, rest and movement. It harms us when we lack any of these things. Psalm 92 reminds us that living the new life in Christ affords us the blessing of living in His righteousness. The verse describes this life not as a life of exhaustion or emptiness but rather a life that is thriving, planted in the house of the Lord, rooted in Jesus. And a thriving life of the righteous is for every and all ages as verse 14 declares, They will still bear fruit in old age, healthy and green. On Wednesday night August 19 we will be offering all who want to come nourishment, refreshment, rest and movement. Be encouraged, your righteousness comes from the Lord, there is no such thing as self righteousness, righteousness comes from the Lord. And in your life with Christ that is thriving and ever new we can all bear lasting kingdom honoring fruit from the Holy Spirit in each of us. Let’s all participate in the divine activity of God, let’s thrive and bear fruit that brings glory to Him. By His strength and indwelling let’s thrive into this fall together.
July is the new January is the idea that new starts with God are not limited to the calendar or the season. God is timeless and eternal and is not limited by time in any way. As we face new starts we must encourage each other to anchor our lives to the core issues of Christian belief. If we go through a new start anchored to anything less than Jesus we will find our world rocked again and again as we continue to bump up against discouragement and confusion. In this series I was blessed to team teach with Pastor Scott Palmiter. We used the Apostle's Creed to describe and define the twelve core issues of Christian belief. All Christians should believe more than these twelve issues, but no Christian should believe less.
A great resource we used for this series is the book Common Ground by Dr. Keith Drury.
Thank you for listening.
I'm thankful for the opportunity I had to preach last Sunday during a time of transition in our church. I hope that what God has been teaching me will help encourage others on journey. I ended the sermon with a personal confession that I adapted from the wonderful book Prone to Wonder. I am including the confession text below.
God almighty you graciously fill our lives with many wonderful things. You bless us with friends, family, and wealth that most in the world can't imagine. We confess today that we are prone to love your good gifts far more than we love you. We covet and long for things that you haven't given us, or we are filled with fearful anxiety if we think that you might take away the things or the people that we have come to love so much.
Thank you Jesus for never loving anything or anyone more than the Father. Thank you Jesus for offering perfect worship on our behalf, and by your obedience we are made spotlessly clean. Thank you Jesus for walking up the hill of sacrifice knowing there would be no substitute. Thank you for the paying the price for our every idolatrous thought, sinful act, and moment of selfishness and unbelief that we would engage in.
Holy Spirit help us to see the many idols that draw our love and attention away from God and guide our selfish stubborn hearts to repent. May you help us lift our eyes from the loving gaze we have set upon our expectations and let us instead fix our eyes on Jesus who has lifted us up so that his redeeming blood could cleanse us from all our self- worship. May we by the power of the Holy Spirit set our eyes and our thoughts on the great throne room in heaven where The risen Jesus dwells interceding for all who are united to him.
This series we have been doing from the Gospel of John has been rich season of growth. I am still working out Pastor Dave's message, "Sword Swinging and Cup Drinking”. What a powerful contrast in evaluating our reactions and our choices, and what a clearheaded reminder to “put down your sword”. Beyond how this teaching reveals how my reactions look more like Peter than like Jesus, I’ve been wondering how this question impacts how we serve. I wonder if sword swinging is faithless work that comes easy for us, maybe even natural for us, and it seems to sit comfortably with our pride - "I'm looking out for me, I'm taking care of myself". While cup drinking demands humility - "I'm looking to God to care for me, in faith I'm receiving whatever His best is for me". putting down swords that inhibit my serving. In Ephesians 6 Paul prompts us to take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and to pray in the Spirit on all occasions. I am asking God to search me and disarm me, to remove my swords of this world, that wound and kill, and arm me instead with the sword of the Spirit that guides me and directs my steps. Holding the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God strengthens my faith as I drink the cup God sets before me, trusting that His best for me is exactly what I’m thirsting for. Join me in asking God to search us and disarm us of any such swords of this world, and instead place in our possession the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.
Thankful for the opportunity to contribute to our series on the Gospel of John. This message is from John 20:19-23. Jesus breaks through doors and hearts locked by fear and doubt. Thank you for listening.
Let’s consider together some important questions. What do you think about God? Is he near or far, kind or angry - think for a moment about what you really think about God. Next let’s consider what we think God thinks of you? Is he please or embarrassed, are you the object of complete delight or do you think he might get your name wrong if you met at a potluck. Spending a moment to consider both of these questions can reveal how close you will grow toward God. What you think about God can shape your entire relationship with Him. I have found that spending time with this question in my own personal worship time with the Lord has proven to be a refocusing moment in my journey with God. His Word discloses His deep personal thoughts to me and my prayers disclose my deep personal thoughts to God. Knowing what God thinks of me also has a great impact on my obedience - I am not motivated to obedience to gain His favor, or manipulate God into doing what I want, I am motivated to obedience because of the favor and lavish mercy He has already shown me. What do you think about God? and What does God think about you? Here is a scripture that helps us answer these questions well, this would be a great verse to commit to memory. Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing” Pastor Eric
Everyone has times of starting over. In this message I share how important it is to let go of our blame stories and start telling stories of what God, whose intentions for us have never change, has done and is doing in our lives. Thank you for listening to this message "When I Start Over" click here to listen to "When I Start Over"
Thanksgiving is one of our love languages of God. For the follower of God we are to be a spring of thankfulness, in all things give thanks. This is not pretend happiness for life is often too difficult, too confusing and far to fragile to live in a make believe thankfulness. This is a thankfulness that recalls God intentions for us and remembers that nothing can separate us from his love. This is a thankfulness that sets its eyes on thing above, not ignoring the things below, but also not letting the hours become greater than the eternity we are promised. Often we evaluate reasons for thankfulness on our circumstance or on the actions of those around us. Thanksgiving for the follower of God is rooted in remembering the intentions of God not the actions of the moment. In the moment we have very little perspective, in fact, in the light of eternity which God fully sees, we can only see a dim little blink of eternity. This dim view often oppresses our giving of thanks and can even misdirect us into blaming God for circumstances and actions that do not seem to align with his intentions and promises. Psalm 105 is a great help in guiding us toward being a people of thanksgiving. 1Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. 2 Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. 3 Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. 4 Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. 5 Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced, So here is our guide to thankfulness for the follower of God; Give praise Proclaim his name Make known what he has done Sing to him Tell of his work Glory in him Rejoice in him Look to him Seek him always Remember what he has done Be thankful Pastor Eric
Corinthians 3:18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Spiritual transformation in Christ is the process of moving from self worship to Christ centered self denial, to be completely surrendered to follow Christ in all of life. This is a supernatural work that is done over time, in partnership with the Holy Spirit and our ever increasing submission to God.
Lasting transformation does not come from experience alone. Experience just makes us older, evaluated experience can be used by the Holy Spirit to guide us in transformed paths of righteousness. Lasting transformation also does not come from knowledge acquisition alone. Knowing the right answer does not mean we live in obedience to that truth or that our behavior and attitudes will confirm these right answers. We may know that Scripture says we are not to lean on our own understanding, but we wrestle with threads of unbelief as our behavior is informed by our feelings and our own understanding and not Christ dwelling in us and leading our thoughts actions, attitudes and desires. Threads of unbelief in our life, perhaps unformulated skepticism distorts our thoughts, actions and choices. To say that we trust Jesus and then live not intending to obey Jesus is an illusion of what could and should be a Christian life.
If we do not intend to be inwardly transformed, inwardly changed so that obedience to Christ is our natural response then we will not be changed. The problem is not that spiritual change is not possible, the problem is that far too often it is not intended. Spend some time with God as you exam your intent toward transformation. Ask the Holy Spirit to help reveal if your intent when you come to church is transformation or is your intent leaning more toward fellowship and feelings. I have found this, fellowship and feelings are not discarded when we continue to surrender more and more of ourselves to God, but rather fellowship and feelings become more significant, more meaningful and more of a spiritual blessing in the overflow of a life being transformed into his image with ever increasing glory.
These words from Charles Wesley help us describe the transformation that is available to each of us - let's continue to be transformed.
Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature's night
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light
My chains fell off, my heart was free
I rose, went forth and followed Thee - Charles Wesley
I had the privilege to preach on the healing by the pool of Bethesda found in John 5:1-15. As we see Jesus interact with this man by the pool, we learn much about disabilities, generosity, the indelible image of God that is imprinted on every person every where, and the encouraging truth that time is not the enemy of hope. click here to listen
Consider this outline of Romans 12:9-21 as it provides a Biblical description of a courageous life, transformed by the grace of God. Just think for a moment, what if a group of Christ followers lived out this shared intention by the power and grace of God? What if a church courageously lived a spiritually transformed life directly upheld by the hand of God? What if this was true of us? Roman 12:9-21 outline Letting love be completely real Abhorring what is evil Clinging to what is good Being devoted to one another in family-like love Outdoing one another in giving honor Serving the Lord with ardent spirit and all diligence Rejoicing in hope Being patient in troubles Being devoted constantly to prayer Contributing to the needs of the church body Running after hospitality Blessing persecutors and not cursing them Being joyful with those who are rejoicing Being sorrowful with those in sorrow Living in harmony with each other Not being haughty or prideful Not seeing yourself as wise Being at peace with everyone, so far as it depends on you Taking no revenge, but leaving justice to whatever God decides Providing for the needy Not being overwhelmed by evil, but overwhelming evil with good
I was blessed to be able to share in this great series Pastor Dave has started on The Gospel of John. In this teaching we look at the sign of Jesus clearing the Temple in John 2:12-22. What does this sign actually point to? What does it teach us about God? What if Jesus cleared the Temple because you are so valuable to Him that he wants nothing to stand in the way of our worship of God? Thanks for listening.
I was blessed to be able to share this message about the deception and potential for hurt in the false narrative: "I want to do what I want, when I want, with who I want - as long as nobody gets hurt" How has this false narrative hurt you or those that love you? Thank you for listening.