The Bible says that God has created us all with a purpose in mind and has a preferred life for us to live. But how do we know what that life is? How do we know if we are making the right decisions or if we are living out our purpose?
Jesus rides into town on Palm Sunday with HUGE crowds adoring him but by Friday those same people are shouting “Crucify Him!” Why? What did they want from Jesus and why did their hearts change towards Him so fast? And what if we are no different? Find out this Easter what things God is most concerned about in your life, and how you can find hope from Easter.
Some say that faith is the thing that keeps them grounded in life and others might say it's a crutch people use. But what is the real purpose of my faith? What purpose does God have for my faith and is it to only benefit me or might God just be up to something much greater?
Jesus said loving your neighbor is the second greatest commandment, but practically how do you love your neighbor? Nobody wants to be that weird neighbor so what does loving your neighbor look like? We're talking about that this weekend and giving you 5 ways you can begin to love your neighbor!
Have you ever known someone who is a very religious person, but not a very nice person? Or Christians who are supposed to stand for love, grace, and forgiveness, and are hypocritical, loveless, and bitter? Just because you KNOW the right things doesn’t mean you DO the right things. This week, we’re looking at three truth to help you keep your heart in the right place.
How do we be kind to people we don't really like and how can we help show others their self worth if we are not really sure of ours? We're discovering three truths from the Bible that will help you see your own worth and the worth of those around you.
Some of your most meaningful relationships will be the ones where you will experience the most hurt. But that doesn't have to mean the relationship is over. If we want to live with Godly, healthy relationships whether romantic or not, there are three things that need to be present to stay committed through the tough times.
What if God's plan for your relationship wasn't the easiest or the most convenient? Would you still follow it? Everyday we make choices on what's most convenient for us but that doesn't always mean what's convenient is best. Anything that is best takes work and effort and our relationships are no exception. This week, we see what the Bible has to say about the work that needs to be done to gain the healthy relationships God wants for us.
Love is the most powerful emotion that we all experience, but it is also the most complicated. Who we love and who loves us is tightly woven into what we believe about ourselves, our identity, and our worth. And if we're honest, our experiences with love and our expressions of it probably pale in comparison to the hopes we have for it. This week, we see what God say about love, who we are attracted to, and how we pursue intimacy with them and see how the Bible addresses 3 of the most common myths about love that we believe.
For a lot of us, the thought of God being a Spirit probably brings up some questions. There are some churches who make a big deal out of the Holy Spirit and some that barely talk about Him at all. Maybe your thoughts about the Holy Spirit kinda weird you out a little bit or your brain likens the Holy Spirit to the Force from Star Wars. A lot of these kinds of feelings and misconceptions come from not understanding the role the Holy Spirit has in the Christian's life. In the last week of this series, we will see how the Bible describes who the Holy Spirit is and see why He is so vital to our Christian lives.
Many religions believe that there is only one God, but where the paths start to diverge is when it comes to Jesus. Is Jesus in fact God? How can He be God and have been an actual human being in history? How can He be God and the Son of God? And if he is God, then what does that mean for us and our faith? This week, we look at who the Bible says Jesus is and find three things about Him that can change how we view Him.
Many of us have complicated relationships with God. We view as distant or detached from our lives. We might see Him as a the judge of all wrong and pouring out punishment on those who do wrong. What if our complicated relationship with God stems from incorrect information about who He really is? This week, we see 3 different characteristics of God that can completely shift what we thought we knew about God.
You would most likely say that you know of God. You probably know some of some stories in the Bible and have your own images and ideas about who He is. But is it possible to really KNOW Him? How can someone or something so complex be known or understood? In this series, we will see how the Bible describes the complexities of God with simple words because the more accurate your understanding of who God is, the more meaningful your relationship with Him will be.
Through technology, we have access to more content and more conveniences than ever before, but we feel more disconnected than ever before. And while conveniences are great and can improve the quality of our lives, the danger is that we can soon prioritize convenience over the meaningful things in life. If you feel like you've been conveniencing the meaning from your life, there's hope to readjust and bring more meaning and quiet to your life.
After a life full of disappointments and sacrifice with little thanks, we see George Bailey, the main character from It's A Wonderful Life, wondering if everyone and everything would have been better off in this life if he has never been born. As we wrap up our Christmas At The Movies, Pastor Sean asks the question, what would be different if Jesus has never been born? Would it really affect your life? And if so, how does it affect your today, your tomorrow, and the rest of your life?
We are encouraged in our world to find our own identity. To either associate our lives with a certain label or to break free and create our own. But when you choose to follow Jesus, your identity shifts. The way you see yourself should change as well as the way that you see others. Just like in the Christmas movie The Santa Clause, when Scott puts on the Santa suit it changes everything about his life. So how does our identity shift as followers of Jesus and what does that mean for us?
Sometimes, it just feels like something is missing. You’re not complete. You might be able to identify exactly what it is that you need or you might not be able to put your finger on it. But for whatever reason, you feel unsettled inside. Unrest. All you know is that something needs to change. What we do with that feeling of incompleteness says a lot about what we treasure and what matters to us.
With Thanksgiving being a Holiday focused on gratitude and Christmas focused on generosity, you'd think that this time of year, we would all be in a pretty good mental and emotional state. But according to new reports, 3x more of us are dealing with mild to severe symptoms of depression since the beginning of the pandemic. So how can we replace the negativity all around us with something more positive and how can we change our focus so that we can live with the joy God intends for us?
Life has a way of throwing us curveballs. Just when you least expect it, things start to not go your way and often, it feels like our life, our happiness, and our plans unravel quickly. You find this theme in Home Alone where Kevin is unexpectedly left by his family and when burglars try to take advantage, he is left with a choice on how to respond. In the same way, we have a choice on how to respond when things don't go our way, and we learn from the life of Joseph principles to help when life seems to be at its most difficult.
We'd all agree that our world needs more compassion and empathy. To find more common ground and less to fight over. To prioritize unity with those that we disagree with. The problem though is that we don't want to be the ones to do that. We can be compassionate to those we love and those we deem deserving, but we have a hard time finding compassion for those that have wronged and opposed us. But living with an uncommon compassion just might be what it takes for the world to see the love of God in you.
Most people would aspire to being known as generous. Whether it's time, talent, or resources, we know the impact generosity has in our world. This is the kind of uncommon life that God would have us live. A life lived using things to help people rather than using people to get things. But when we look at our calendars and bank accounts, can we really say that we live with uncommon generosity? And maybe that has a lot more to do with our own hearts than how busy we are or how much margin we have in our income.
We are more divided as a country now than we ever have been in our lifetime. Between political and social unrest, it seems that division defines not only our country, but most of us. And sadly during this time, the church has not presented itself as the solution. Christians are just as contentious, angry, bitter, and divisive on social media as anybody else. But this was never God's plan for the church. In fact, God's plan for unity is our responsibility. It's mine and it's yours. So what needs to change?
As we look back over the last 15 years of our church's history, we celebrate all the incredible things that God has done in and through our church family. And because we believe that God is not done, we expectantly look forward to the next chapter and the exciting things He has for our church in the coming years.
Remember when you were a kid and you couldn't wait to be old enough to be in high school or drive a car. And then you couldn't wait for college or to get married. And then you couldn't wait to have kids or get your first real job. And if we're honest, this cycle never really ends! There are most likely things in your life right now that you are not content with and you can't wait until....what? Is it possible to simply be okay with life right now? With who you are, where you are, and what you have?
Mental and emotional weight that we carry can often have a physical result. We feel our chest getting tighter and sometimes it feels like it's hard to breathe. We walk around feeling anxious, frustrated, stressed, and exhausted. And the longer we carry this weight around, the heavier it begins to feel. We talk about the feeling of having a weight lifted, but how do we get there?
Feeling overwhelmed is normal to experience from time to time. There are days where we feel there is not enough time to get everything done that we need to. But then there are seasons of life where feeling overwhelmed is the norm. Life you don’t have what it takes to keep up with your life. And it always seems that we are in these seasons, the storms of life come. Where is God in these seasons and how do we move past them to find our grounding again?
We like to know what's coming next. We like it when everything goes according to our plans. The problem we face is that life just isn't like that. We go through seasons where everything seems to work out how we want and it gives us the illusion that it should always be that way. But as our circumstances become more uncertain, we often become more scared and more anxious. But what's the alternative? How can we find peace and rest when everything else in life seems so uncertain?
There are things in life that require regular maintenance in order to avoid needed repairs and costly consequences. The same is true in your spiritual life. Today, we see what thing can act like spiritual check engine lights, letting us know what things need additional work and attention before they become much bigger issues.
Everyone longs to be a part of a collective community all sharing a common goal. That's why we often build community around sports teams, political parties, and our passions and interests. But often, we allow these things to influence our identity and purpose. But the Bible tells us that our purpose and identity is given to us and not created by us. So how do you find your purpose and identity? And once you discover it, what would have to change?
Over the course of time, we often find ourselves slipping into unhealthy habits. It could be an unsustainable pace in life, an unhealthy diet, unchecked anger and frustration, or drifting towards spiritual apathy. The tough part is, we are often nose blind to our own dysfunction in life. If we want to identify these trouble areas of our lives, we need to have close, vulnerable relationships where we can give others permission to ask the tough questions.
The healthiest friendships are not created by accident. They are not the result of proximity or common interest. The best friendships are created with intention and purpose. So how do we create these friendships and how can you be a stronger friend to those in your life right now?
Most of us view our jobs as a necessary evil. It's the "grind". We're "living for the weekend". In fact, surveys show that the majority of people are unhappy in their job and feel that they are underpaid for the work they do. But we keep showing up every Monday because we need the money right? What if God has a bigger purpose for you at your job then just collecting a paycheck? This week, Pastor Taylor talks about what you can do differently this week at work and how in the process, can find more joy and fulfillment in your work.
It can be easy to let church services be the thing that encourages and motivates us to continue pursuing God and growing in our relationship with Him. But now that most churches have not been meeting for months, where does that leave you in your relationship with Him? Has it gotten better or become more stagnant? Maybe it's time to take your relationship with God outside of the walls of a weekend church service and take your next step in owning your walk with God for yourself! Find out 3 things you can begin doing in order to own your own walk with God.
Every year around the New Year, we all seem to direct our attention a little more towards our health. We think about what we are eating and how we'd like to eat, or how much we'd like the scale to drop, or maybe what pant size we'd like to get back to. Maybe this year more than any other, COVID has caused you to focus even more on your health. But you might wonder what does physical health have to do with your spiritual life? In this week's message, Pastor Ken shows from the Bible that as followers of Jesus, we have the responsibility to own the aspects of our health that we can and work to not allow our love of food, love of the gym, or love of our body image take precedent over our devotion and reliance on God.
Time is like sand, it’s constantly moving and you never get any of it back. If we aren’t careful, the most important things are left out because they’re often the most difficult things to do naturally. If we don’t proactively direct our lives, we slip into unhealthy patterns and rhythms, and realize we weren't prioritizing the right things all along. In this weeks teaching, we look at one of Jesus's teaching on using our time so we can prioritize what’s most important before it becomes most urgent.
There are things in this world that will rob us of our happiness. Most of the time, we think that our current circumstances are the greatest threat to our happiness, and so we do all we can to numb the pain we feel. We self medicate through things like ignorance, alcohol, drugs, or food in a feeble attempt to gain our happiness back. As we finish up this series, Pastor Sean talks about how our attempts to relieve the pain often only extend it by bringing about guilt and shame, only to be faced with the same issues when the numbness wears off. So how does the Bible say we should approach the pain and circumstances in our life. And what does God say is the best path for us to take to experience happiness and contentment in the way He designed?
We have more than we have ever had as a society, yet discontentment has never been more common. We have so much, yet feel so unsatisfied. We have more than we’ve ever had and yet we are less content than we have ever been. Is it possible that the easier things get for us, the less content we become? Because now we expect life to be quick, convenient, and easy? In today's message, Pastor Stephen talks about why it is so easy to be discontent and feel like we don't have enough and then shows what the Bible says about how we can begin to experience more happiness in our lives.
Many of us find ourselves thinking, “I’d be happy if I just had more money”? We have a dollar amount in our head, and we think if we can get that much, the joy it gives us will last forever. But the truth is, if our satisfaction is rooted only in how much money we have, we will never find happiness, not the kind that lasts. Even if we achieve our biggest financial dream, many of us end up wanting more and more. In this series, learn behaviors that truly happy people practice which create lasting satisfaction, no matter how much money is in the bank.
We all want to be happy. But why does there have to be so many things we encounter in our lives that fight against us being happy? Why can't everything just be smooth so we can all be happy? Have you ever found yourself asking those questions? Sometimes it seems like the harder we work to be happy, the more it eludes us. Why is that? It's because we've been conditioned to believe that happiness is a WHAT instead of a WHO. That if I get what I want, if I go there, or be with them that I'll find happiness. But in today's message, we find out that happiness comes much more from WHO we are than WHAT we get or WHAT happens to us.
I'm sure we all agree that serving someone else is a noble and right thing to do. Whether it is our family, at church, or maybe volunteering at a soup kitchen we know that it's something good. But what often prevents us from serving others more is that is comes with a price. It costs us something. It means we give and don't always gain. And so a lot fo the time we avoid it or make excuses. But you are never more like Jesus than when you are serving, and if you are a follower of Jesus, God has a plan and purpose for your life and it involves serving others. But maybe you feel intimidated about what this will mean and what it will cost you. But what we often overlook is that our very purpose is often tied to how we can benefit and serve others.
Why does it seem like the topic of money always seem to come up in church? You've probably heard at least church talk about money and maybe you felt like they were trying to get something from you. So why is money such a big deal and why do we have to talk about it in church. Would it surprise you know that Jesus talked more about money than He did heaven and hell combined? But why is this? In this message, Pastor Sean shares why God cares so much about our money and how the habit of generosity can help you grow in your relationship with God.
The word worship often makes us think of some sort of religious service. It's how we typically describe the music portion of a church service or maybe a Christian concert. Or maybe you think of the word in the sense that someone "worships" the ground someone else walks on or that someone "worships" money. Worship is the act of assigning value to something or someone in our lives. It means centering our lives around that person or thing and placing it first in our hearts. In today's message, Pastor Sean sees what the Bible says about worship and shares 3 different types of ways in which we can give worship to God and how each of these types of worship affects us.
Have you ever felt out of sync in your relationship with God. Like you just weren't on the same page. Instead of being in rhythm and in tune with God, it felt like you were playing playing different notes of even a different song altogether. Maybe an experience like this even led you to the place where you are wondering if God is there at all. So if you find yourself feeling disconnected or out of sync with God how to get back into a right rhythm? In today's teaching, Pastor Stephen talks about a powerful tool that God has given us so that we can be more aligned with God - prayer.
Reading the Bible is one of the most foundational and essential habits that should be a part of a Christian's life. But why so often does it seem to be such a drag? Why is this habit harder to put into place than other spiritual disciplines. And what does it matter if we are not spending time every day reading the Bible. In the first week of our series, Pastor Sean answers some of these questions and gives us a practical way for us to begin having the Bible become a more regular part of our lives.
Our country has struggled with race relations from the very beginning. Racism is not an American problem, it's a people problem. It is a reality that many of us have to face daily while seems to avoid the attention and justice it deserves. In this week's message, Pastor Sean talks about how racial division was evident even in the very first church but it didn't take long for God to straighten their thinking out. While we might be divided as a nation, there are things those who follow God can do to bring about change in their hearts, change in their communities, and in our country as they pursue justice, love, and mercy.
We've all felt like outsiders at one time or another. Whether it was a team we wanted to be picked for or a social group. Maybe it was a job that you really wanted but you didn't get it. In this week's teaching, Pastor Stephen talks about how God made the shift in the book of Acts to give access to Himself to everyone. No longer was it for a certain people group or for those who followed religious rules. It was inclusive of everyone. Regardless of what you've done, what's been done to you, or whatever reasons you feel God can't love you, God has a seat for you at His table. Bit it's up to you to take your place at the table.
When crisis comes it's hard to see anything positive coming from such a negative situation. We often begin to get anxious, stressed, and depressed. It feels like this crisis will never end and that it's so big it's the only thing that can be seen in life. But in this week's message, we talk about how there are actually some advantages to going through crisis. While nobody wants to go through difficult times, it's often an opportunity where our attention begins to focus on things we've overlooked or taken for granted. And from the book of Acts, Pastor Sean answers three important questions for us to consider when dealing with challenging times.
We all experience moments of crisis in our lives. Sometimes it’s when things don’t happen how we intended them and sometimes these moments of crisis come out of nowhere. Crisis is a normal part of life, but we can choose to have a response that is anything but normal. But how can we choose to think and act calmly in the midst of the chaos we experience in life. In this week’s message, we learn from the early followers of Jesus when they faced chaos and we can see a 3 step pattern of thoughts and choices they made when faced with crisis.
We all are wired to have a purpose in life and to know that purpose. Without it, we can feel lost, unmotivated, and stuck wondering why we are here in the first place. Purpose is what helps us focus on what's important and what needs to be accomplished. In this week's message, we see in the book of Acts that after God gives His presence to a people, He then gives them a purpose as well. So what was this purpose He gave them? And what is the purpose He has given to you? When we discover God's purposes for our lives we not only discover the joy and passion we desire, but we also can bring God most glory and others most good.
What does it take to experience God's presence in our lives? Some of us have been told that we need to be in a church or maybe even a temple to feel God. Others of us might have been told that the more good we do, the more likely we will feel God. But what does the Bible say about feeling God's presence? In the first week of this series, we see that one of the first things that God does is move His presence from a specific place (the Temple) and to people. No longer was it required to go to the Temple or to communicate with God through a priest. So how can we today experience more of God's presence in our lives and what does this mean for our lives?
When things don’t go like we want, we tend to lose our faith. Maybe you believed in God but then something unexpected happened. You lost your job, the cancer came back, or someone that was close to you died. When we experience these hard situations it often leaves our faith floundering, searching for answers, and often leaving us feeling like God isn't there like we thought He would be. If you find yourself dealing with some of the same things this Easter, you're not alone. In fact, you'll find yourself right in the Easter story.
Sometimes, when crisis hits, we become open to things we rejected before. We were closed off to them before, but when you’re in a place of crisis or desperation, an unexpected curveball gets thrown your way, all of a sudden – you open up your options. Routines change, priorities change, and it provides the opportunity for us to think differently and maybe reconsider the things in our lives we have ignored or pushed away. In this week's message, we talk about how crisis can sometimes lead us to new opportunities or a new calling in life. Maybe it's something we never expected, but something God was preparing for us all along.
In a broken world full of broken people, it isn't long before you find injustice happening. At times, injustice can be found in your home, at your work, and even in public. Some of this injustice happens on a personal level and some of it can be systemic, but what's true regardless of the circumstances of injustice is that we all can recognize injustice and know deep down that it's wrong. That it's not how it's supposed to be. So the questions is still to be answered, as followers of Jesus, how are you supposed to respond when faced with injustice in your own life and in the world?
Tragedy is one of those things that none of us want to experience, but many of us will. It's a part of living in a broken world full of broken people, but it's never something we want to think about, anticipate, or expect. And as a result, when tragedy does come our way it often catches us off guard and leaves us feeling hopeless. We feel as though God has lost control and we have lost our way. So what do we do when the unexpected comes into our lives? How can we possibly react well? This week we look at what the Bible says about responding to tragedy and how amidst the panic and the chaos, we can find peace and strength.
Fear is probably one of the most common emotions that we are dealing with right now. With the spreading of the Corona Virus, many of us are afraid for our own health or that of loved ones, some of us are afraid because of our work situation, and some of us are just scared cause it seems like everyone else is! While it might be the results of this virus that bring fear into our lives now, fear is not an uncommon thing. We all have things that we fear and if we are not careful, it can cripple us and negatively affect our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. This week, Pastor Sean takes some time to address the fear and anxiousness that we are all dealing with and spends time looking at what the Bible has to say about our fear and what we can take away from it that will help bring peace no matter what the circumstances.
Friends not only can provide support and companionship, as we learned last week, but they also can be the people you turn to when you don't know what to do or where to turn to. And in the same way, you can be that person in someone else's life. Great friends help share each other's burden, celebrate each other's victories and forms a bond that becomes like family. In this week's message, we look at how this type of friendship is modeled in the Bible and what it takes to have a purposeful friendship and how you can work to become this type of friend for someone else.
It's hard to build great, close knit friendships as adults. Maybe we're just busy. Or maybe we've been hurt in the past. But for many of us, our best friendships are in the past and not in the present. Loneliness is reported to be a major issue in our culture from all age groups, yet we still find making new close friends very difficult. In today's teaching, we are going to talk about why the Bible says having close friends is so important, not only for your mental and physical health but your spiritual health. We tend to become like the people closest to us and if you did become more like those closest, how would your life be different? Would you be closer to God or further away?
If there is one thing we can all agree on, it's probably that maintaining healthy relationships with those around us is tough. It requires a level of selflessness of us that, honestly, we don't always want to give. And if that isn't hard enough, God calls us to a much higher standard in our relationships. We are to love those who won't and don't love us back. To give to those who seem to only take and take. How is this even possible to maintain? In the last week of our series, we talk about the one relationship that is VITAL to maintain if we want to have good relationships with those around us. That is our relationship with God. If you are struggling to love the unlovely, and to serve those who take, it's time to take a look inward and refocus your attention on the priority and closeness of your relationship with God.
We all have relationships in our lives that we tend to avoid. Whether it's an ex, a co-worker, or maybe even a family member, we do our best to stay away from these people and navigate our lives around them. Sometimes this is from past hurt, but often it's because we feel these people are a waste of our time. It sounds harsh but is often true. We all have a tendency to be transactional in our relationship. To love the people who are easy to love and to avoid the people that are hard to love. God knew this about us and as a result, has a lot to say about how we should interact with these difficult people. This week, we will talk about some motives we have for avoiding these people, assess our motives against what the Bible has to say, and learn from how Jesus interacted with the kind of people many of us think of as not worth our time and energy.
It's a part of our nature to look out for ourselves first and to make our comfort and enjoyment number one. While we might aspire to be known for helping others and putting others before our needs, many times we find ourselves helping in ways that ultimately benefit us. We wake up in the morning planning out how we want our day to go, and often react negatively when something or someone gets in the way of that. So of course this aspect of our nature often causes problems with those around us. When two people with their own interests in mind are in proximity to each other, there are bound to be problems. In today's message, we look at what the Bible has to say about how we should serve others and why we should serve others. By realigning our priorities to God's, we can make strides to suppress our selfish tendencies and make a difference not only in our relationships, but in our world.
Sometimes it’s the people closest to us that we struggle to get along with the most. Maybe it’s because they are the people we spend the most time with, see the worst of, and can get away from least. All of us would say we want to have healthier relationships with our family, but sometimes, it’s hard to imagine how to even begin that process. Because our families have broken people just like us, it’s not wonder we find them in conflict. In the first week of our series, we look at what the Bible has to say about our families and focus in on the steps we can take to improve our marriages and our relationships with our kids.
I think most of us would agree that it is a good thing to stay close to God and to intentionally set aside time to hear God's leading, pruning, and guiding in our hearts. That it's good to take a step back in life and lean into what God is trying to tell you. But in the last week of our series, we see what the purpose of staying close to God is! It's not so that we can get more money, be more blessed, or even hear God speaking to our hearts. In fact, tuning our hearts to hear what God wants only matters if we follow through with this one step. And by doing so, we can live lives that are fulfilled in the purpose for which we were created.
When it comes to prayer, many of us are unsure or uncomfortable with how to utilize it in our relationship with God. We say our thoughts and prayers are with others during tough times, but often neglect the "prayer" part. For many of us, talking to God seems intimidating and we believe we have to have eloquent speech and language. And others of us have learned to recite certain prayers since we were kids so much so that we can recite them without even thinking. If prayer is a tool for us to use, then it can only be as effective as our ability to know how to use it. In this week's message, we look at what Jesus had to say about prayer, and how He shows us a template for what to pray for so that we can become more comfortable talking to God.
There are some things in life that require extra focus and attention in order for us to grow in those areas. Passing a difficult exam requires extra studying. Lifting your body weight requires both training and lifestyle changes. And in the same way, there are areas in our spiritual life where God is trying to grow us and prune us, but until we commit to the extra discipline of eliminating noise and creating space for God to show us where to prune, we won't reach that next level of spiritual maturity. In this week's message, we talk about how the Bible indicates that setting aside time for fasting and prayer is a key to allow God to do the pruning necessary in your life so that you can grow. And as a result of this teaching, our church together is dedicating themselves to participate in a 21 day fast with prayer.
Life is often busy. Noisy. Chaotic. Rushed. If you're like most people, you've probably at one time or another looked back and wondered where time went. And if we are not careful, the busyness of life can pull us along and cause us to stay distracted enough to where our relationship with God tends to become stagnant and even begin to wither away. As we begin this series Airplane Mode, we challenge you to begin this new year by taking some time to unplug from the busyness and chaos of life and refocus your relationship with God and begin to hear from Him.
Have you ever received a gift that just blew you away? Something that you weren't necessarily expecting and maybe even something that you didn't deserve. How did you feel when you opened that gift? Around Christmas, we talk a lot about giving and receiving gifts, but what if the best gift you've ever been given was still unopened. What if was there, ready for the taking, and all you had to do was accept it. This Christmas, we talk about the gift that God gave to us, Jesus. Not a gift that requires a certain performance from us, but a gift that can help fix the most broken parts of our lives that even we can't fix.
While most of us want to live a life defined by joy and contentment, it seems incredibly difficult to obtain and at times almost impossible. Whether it is comparison, outside circumstances, or other people that rob our joy, something always seems to right there threatening to steal away the joy we want. And honestly, for many of us, the biggest reason that we can't find joy is because of the deep, disappointment that we have with ourselves. So how can experiencing joy become easy? How can that be the default reaction we have when bad things come our way. In the third week of this series, Pastor Stephen talks about how joy must become a habit in order for it be our default reaction and shows from the Bible how we can get over the self loathing that keeps us stuck.
If you were to list the things that steal your joy what would they be? Many of would say things like money, or the way others treat us, or maybe life not being fair. But in those answers we find a common factor. Our joy is often "stolen" when we are most concerned with the things that affect our lives. When things don't go how we intended, we feel that we have the right to be upset and be joyless. If we're honest, we all want our own way. We all want our lives to be smooth and comfortable and anything that threatens that can easily steal our joy and become the enemy. But what if our self-centeredness is the very thing that is preventing us from having unwavering joy in life. In this week's teaching, we talk about how the way to find continuous joy might be found in choosing to abandon getting our way and instead, have a tender heart towards God and compassionate towards those around us.
We all want to be happy. In fact, we all spend a significant amount of time in pursuit of things that make us feel happy. If we were given a choice everyday on whether to feel happiness or not, most of it would without thinking choose happiness. But it doesn't take long to realize that the brokenness of our world and the brokenness inside of us is at odds with our quest for happiness and at times, the storms of life make it close to impossible to find happiness. In the first week of our series, we take a look at the difference between experiencing joy and happiness and give you three truths that can create the conditions for experiencing joy in your life no matter what the circumstances that surround you.
We spend a lot of time thinking about our lives here in the here and now. Working to reach our next goal, trying to make more money, and gain more happiness. But we often spend very little time thinking about how the lives we are living right now will make a difference after we are gone. While none of is like to think about the end of our lives, none of us want to get there and look back with regrets. What we build our lives around and on makes a difference not only in where we spend the next life but with what and who we will spend it with. In the last week of our series, we look at what the Bible says the foundation of our lives should be and the lessons we can learn to help us leverage the life we have now in preparation for the one to come.
In a world that revolves around the money, it can be very easy to allow your identity, worth, and success to get wrapped up in your income. In our society, the money you have determines the have’s and the have not’s. The opportunities you will get and the lack thereof. We often assign value to other people based on what they do or don’t have. And to be honest, none of us want to be at the bottom of the barrel so we jump right into the pursuit of money. It helps us feel safe, valuable, secure and successful. And often we choose to place our security in these things then in God. In this week’s teaching, we talk about the security money provides and while we choose to believe money equals security, we are reminded from the Bible where our security truly does lie.
Money and the things we use to purchase with it always have a close place in our hearts. In fact, where our money goes will often point to where our interests, passions, and priorities are. Think of it this way, when you were a kid and your parents bought you some shoes, it was okay when they got scuffed and dirty right? But when you saved your money to purchase shoes, you were upset when they got muddy right? The same is true with the cars we drive, the lottery numbers we chose, and even the house we live in. Our money is a GPS to where our heart and priorities are. And often, it can show us how misaligned our priorities are and how far from God’s priorities they in fact are. In this message, we talk about what we can do when we realize our financial priorities are misaligned and how what we do with the money and resources God gave us, can be a harsh reality in how much we truly love God.
It’s probably safe to say that all of us want to be generous people. There is something attractive about people who are generous with their time, money, and resources. We see them as being astoundingly selfless and it really makes an impact on all of us. Think of the person ahead of you who pays for your meal at the drive through, or maybe someone who pays off medical bills or school lunch bills. We praise these people and desire to act in a similar manner. But what often prevents us from becoming this type of generous person is the pursuit of our own wealth and interest. Money, unlike most other things, is the thermometer of where our hearts are. But why does this even matter to God and why are we so uncomfortable talking about our money? Maybe we are not as generous as we think we are. In this message, Pastor Stephen talks about how the first step in freedom is changing our perspective on our finances.
Have you ever felt that, no matter what you did, your life seemed to spiral further and further our of control? There are times in life where no matter how well we plan, how good of decisions we make, or how much right we try to do, life just seems to do wrong. For some of us, the thought of losing control consumes us with fear and anxiety and as a result, we shape how we think and how we act around trying to preserve ourselves in case something bad does happen. But at the end of the day, what is it that we really are in control of? In this week’s message, we learn that while we can’t know what’s going to happen in every circumstance, God has given us a responsibility in those scary circumstances and by obeying what He asks, it can help us refocus and turn our fear into faith.
None of us want to fail, but everyone does at one point or another. As a kid maybe you remember failing a test at school, or maybe you didn’t make the sports or after school team. Maybe you failed multiple times at learning how to ride a bike, swim, or even get your license. But as we get older, the things that we are afraid of failure in seem to get scary. Things like failing to provide for our families, failing to find love, failing as a parents, or failing in our marriages. The fear of these things often seem to cripple us and wear heavily on our emotional and mental wellbeing. In this week’s teaching we look at two different aspects of fearing failure. The fear that we might fail in the future, and those who fear their past failures have ruined them for good and talk about what the Bible says that can help us let go of some of this fear and empower us to make moves to take on this fear.
The fear of rejection is something that most of us encounter through different seasons of life. We have a need to be liked, loved, and wanted. And in and of itself, there is nothing wrong with this desire, but the problem comes when the fear of others matters more to us than what God thinks. We want to follow God, but as soon as it begins to cost us social status or hinders the pursuits of our career, we bail. We’ve all seen negative things happen to other people and we chose to not do anything because we didn’t want the negative attention focused towards us. But this fear will be a stumbling block for us becoming the person God intended us to be. This week, we look at two things that can help change our perspective and recenter our focus on the life God is asking us to live.
When it comes to faith, a big barrier that many people have is that science seems to have proven the Biblical account to be inaccurate. So in order to be a Christian, does that mean you must ignore what we learn from science and only accept what the Bible says, or is there evidence that points to the validity of the Biblical narrative? Can you believe in evolution and be a Christian and can you still believe the account of creation as the Bible tells it as a rational, intelligent adult. In today’s message, Pastor Sean shares the views of scientists on both sides of the spectrum and how we must look at the evidence that exists to point towards the validity of either theory.
The number one instruction that God gives throughout the Bible is “Don’t Be Afraid”. In fact, that instruction shows up in the Bible 365 times! But it’s a lot easier to say than to do isn’t it? Some fears and worries last only a little while and some never seem to leave us. Some cripple us to the point where it affects our health, our relationships, and our decisions. But what can we do to get a handle on our fears and worries? How can we begin to move past them and live the life that God has intended for us? While the first week of this series won’t be able to fix you fears, worries, or anxiety, what God tells us in the Bible may be able to help take some of the sting out of them and give you some room to breathe.
For Christians, the holy book that shapes their faith and beliefs system stems from the Bible, which claims to be God’s words to mankind. But if we are going to pursue in our faith with God, and rearrange our lives, our beliefs, and our values around it, shouldn’t we be sure that what’s in it is true in the first place? I mean, the Bible was written thousands of years ago in another language and then translated into what we read today. So how do we know that the Bible really is from God, that it wasn’t changed when it was translated, and that the things written in it are in fact true. In the last week of our series, Pastor Stephen puts the Bible through multiple tests that are commonly used to evaluate the validity of ancient literature and sees how the Bible stacks up.
In today’s message, we look at quite possibly one of the biggest barriers that many of us when it comes to faith and our belief in God. If God is really there, why does such bad things happen to good people? And how could a good God sit by and allow all the evil, hate, and brokenness exist in the world. If it were up to us, we would prevent evil from happening, so why doesn’t God? Pastor Stephen addresses why evil exists, why God seems to tolerate the evil in the world, and how we can begin to process and move beyond the evil that has existed and impacted us.
Sexuality is a big topic in our culture today and history shows that it has always been. It’s used to sell everything from cars to chewing gum. It’s talked about in our circles of friends, our work, and at our schools. But why does it seems that churches and Christians have such a big problem with sex? In today’s teaching, we take a closer look at how our culture approaches the topic of sex and how it affecting us. And by taking a look at what the Bible actually says about sex, we work to clear up confusion around this topic and explain why God even cares about how we handle ourselves sexually.
If you’ve ever hosted a party at your house, you know that you have different responsibilities than everyone else. Yes, you might ask your friend to pick something up at the store on the way, but you wouldn’t ask a friend to go pick up your bedroom or clean your bathroom. That would be an expectation of a family member. In this week’s message, we talk about how the church has different responsibilities and expectations for those that attend as well. The church is to be welcoming, loving, and generous to everyone but the church has a much greater responsibility to those who are a part of their local body. But in order to do this, there must be a distinction between who is in that family and who is not. This check in week also allows those who attend to give us an update on how they are growing spiritually so that we can work to help them take their next steps
We can often forget and get distracted a from the life God intended for us to live. Isn’t it easy to live life distracted and before we realize it, months have gone by? Maybe you’ve realized that the things you say are important to you, aren’t reflected in the way you spend your time. Well what if there’s a possible that you are living your life distracted from the one thing that God intended your entire life to revolve around? Would you want to know? Maybe the better questions would be, if you did find out what that one thing is, would you care enough to rearrange your life around that one thing? In the last week of our series At The Movies, we take a look at what this “one thing” is and help you measure the importance that this has in your life as you seek to follow after Jesus.
Sometimes life just doesn’t turn out the way we envisioned it. Maybe our plans didn’t go according to plan or maybe life just seemed to throw us a curveball. Oftentimes, we find ourselves in the same place when it comes to our relationship with God. Have you ever felt that God threw you a curveball that you just didn’t see. Or maybe you feel Him prompting you to do something that just doesn’t make sense at the time. In the third week of our series At The Movies, we look at what do you do when the story God is writing just doesn’t seem logical. How do we keep moving forward and what is God trying to teach us through this?
Faith is kind of this ambiguous word that we use and is often used when it comes to religion and our belief in God. But it’s also something that is pretty hard to put your finger on. We talk about someone being a person of great faith or we say that we want to grow in our faith, but what is is really? In this week’s message, we take a look at what the Bible says about what faith is and what we might be believing about our faith that is actually a myth. And to top it off, we’ll be looking at some examples from the movie Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade to help us remember and relate.
God is working to write a beautiful story with your life, but it doesn’t feel that way all the time does it? Instead of feeling fulfilled, we feel empty, alone, and broken. We feel that we are too broken and too messed up for God to be able to fix. The truth is while you might find yourself in an unexpected circumstance, God’s plan hasn’t fallen apart. In this week’s message, Pastor Ken uses the Incredible 2 as an example of how life can take unexpected turns and shows from the Bible 4 ways that you can deal with these difficult times of life.
Who do you have in life that’s there for you in both the good and the bad? The one who celebrates with you on the mountaintops and the one that is there for support in the valleys of life. The truth is, we all need the love, care, and support of others. We have an innate desire to be known deeply by others. But it can be difficult to open up about the darker corners of our hearts. The things that we try to hide away from everyone else and the things we wish nobody every found out about. In the last week of our series Scoreboard, we see that the ninth marker of someone growing in their faith is that they have someone who has permission to the darker corners of their life. Someone who can ask the tough questions, and check in on how the REAL you is doing.
What would it take for God to consider you faithful? Maybe the first things that come to mind are how often you attend church, how frequently you give to the church, or maybe how much you serve those who are in need. But in this week of our series Scoreboard, we see that God measures faithfulness not by the things we mentioned above, but by the time we spend personally with Him! For many of us, having a “personal” relationship with God just seems a bit odd. How can we have a personal relationship with the God of the Universe? Find out in this teaching what it means and how being faithful in communicating with God is a marker of someone who is growing in their faith.
If you’re like most people, you’ve probably chosen to skip out on going to church here and there. Maybe it’s even been a while since you’ve been to church. Like gets busy and sometimes if we’re honest, church just doesn’t seem like the most valuable use of our time. This week in our series, Scoreboard, we talk about how our expectations of church often determine the value we feel from it. If we really did expect that we would hear something specific for our lives from our Creator, wouldn’t we make that more of a priority? This week, we talk about why being consistent attending church is so important and how by doing so, God can shape us into the person, He has always intended us to be.
What kind of reputation do you want to be remembered with? When people think of you what thoughts, emotions, and reactions would you hope that they’d have? Looking at the way you live your life right now, would these things be what people remember you by? In the next week of our series Scoreboard, we see how everywhere Jesus went, He had a following of people because of His willingness and His reputation to help people everywhere. But can you say that you’re friends, family, and neighbors would describe you in this way? If you needed to move off your street, would you be missed? In this teaching, we’ll talk about why getting involved in impacting your community is one of the markers of someone growing in their faith.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve talked about how God has intended our faith to benefit more than just us. The expression of our faith should extend to those in our circles of influence, but sometimes, it’s easier to play the “Christian part” when we are at work, at church, and with our friends. But how does your faith affect those who are in your own home? Do they see your faith being lived out when you’re in your own house or do they see one person at church and another person at home? In this week’s teaching, we look at what the Bible says our responsibility is to those in our home, how our faith should be benefitting them, and what steps we can take if it’s not.
Time is the most precious resource that we have. Unlike money and possessions, our time is something that we can never earn or buy back. Once it is gone, it is gone. So it’s no wonder that we most often use what time we have for our benefit, but for those who follow Jesus, he says that our time and abilities have been given to us for so much more than our own gain. In this week of our series Scoreboard, we talk about how giving up our time and talents to help others is a true mark of a follower of Jesus. That our time is either a tool we can leverage or an idol we can worship.
Have you ever stopped to think about why talking about money is such a sensitive topic? Money is often the center for many of our arguments, relational breakdowns, stress, frustrations, and worries. It kinda makes sense seeing as how we spend a large portion of our week and our lives working for it. We give up so much time and effort to gain money that is is often something that we hold very close to us and care much about. Money, or the lack thereof, often determines what we can and can’t do in life and what we can and can’t possess. But more than that, how we choose to handle our money is one of the greatest reflections of the priorities in our lives. And honestly, is often one of the most brutal mirrors into what we really believe is important. In this week of our series Scoreboard, we see from the Bible why generosity is such an important marker in how we are doing spiritually and how rearranging the priority of generosity in our lives can allow us to grow deeper in our relationship with God.
How would your life be different if you had a community of people pushing you to grow in your faith? What’s holding you back? Is it the fear of vulnerability, time commitment or thinking it’s unnecessary? The truth is God intended you to share life with other Christ followers for more than just an hour on the weekends. In the second week of our series Scoreboard, we looked at what the Bible says about building relationships, and why prioritizing biblical community will help you grow in your faith.
If you had to guess who benefits more from your faith, would it be you or those around you? For most of us, we would probably have to admit that our faith benefits us the most. While it’s true that our faith does benefit us, God has a much bigger plan for your faith. In the first week of our series Scoreboard, we looked at what the Bible has to say about who should benefit most from our faith, what that looks like practically in your life and how being intentional in your faith can help you take your next step.
If you had the choice between living in luxury or leaving a legacy, which one would you choose? Most of us would probably try to pick both, but these two values are often in competition with one another. Do we make decisions that best impact the life we are living right now, or make decisions that will leave an impact both now and long after we’re gone? It’s the never ending struggle between instant gratifications and delayed gratification. In this week’s message, we look at the life of a man named Saul from the Bible who appeared set up for nothing but success, but made 3 critical mistakes that caused him to miss out on all that God had intended for him. See what choices you need to make in order to avoid these mistakes and allow God to determine what success looks like in your life.
You would probably agree that most of your closest friends, family, and even acquaintances are pretty similar to you. We tend to create and maintain relationships with people who hold to similar values as us, who believe like us, live like us, and yes…even vote like us. There seems to be a part of our nature that searches for comfortability in the people that we rub shoulders with. And this tendency is still true for many Christians. The problem is that Jesus intentionally did not live this way. Jesus gives what the end result should look like for those who follow Him, but many Christians don’t look anything like that. In the last week of our series DNA, we look at the people and relationships that Jesus was focused on the most and how as a church, we are striving to focus on the same thing.
Most of us recognize that we all have gifts, talents, time, and resources. Most of the time, we work hard to leverage these things in order to achieve success or to advance ourselves in life. Sometimes we even refer to these things as “God-given” gifts. But have you ever stopped to think what purposes God may have given you these things to accomplish? Most of the time, we leverage them for our good and our purposes. In this week’s teaching, we see from the Bible that God has given us our time, talents, and treasures to help us accomplish the purposes that He has for us in life. But it’s not always about using these things for our good, but for the good things God has planned for us to do.
God never drafted you for you to idly sit on the sidelines. God created you with a purpose for a specific purpose! Somehow, we naturally know that we we’re not here just for ourselves. There is an innate sense built into us that we were created for something bigger! But how do you figure out what your purpose is so that you can begin to live it out? In the second week of our series DNA, Pastor Stephen looks at what the Bible says about how you can discover and live out this purpose, and how living out the purpose God created not only helps you grow in your faith, but helps others along the way.
In the first week of our series DNA, we explore the first and most important of our churches values – Biblically Centered. We recognize that we didn’t invent us. We didn’t choose to be born with the skills, IQ, or advantages. All of that was a gift given to us by God to be leveraged in this life. And because, we didn’t invent us, God has a unique plan for our lives and it’s in His Word that we discover that plan and are held accountable to it. It doesn’t mean that we’ll always like everything that it says, but that we can trust everything it says.
Every year, Easter comes around and we hear the stories of Jesus being crucified, dying, being buried in the tomb, and then miraculously raising from the dead. But maybe to you, these stories seem a little far fetch. You very well might believe in God and have grown up in church, but now that you’re an adult you have your doubts about how much is fact or fiction. The good news is that you’re not alone. in fact, one of Jesus’ very own disciples felt this way. This Easter, Pastor Stephen focuses the Easter story on how a man named Thomas responded to the death and miraculous resurrection of Jesus and shows us how even if you feel distant from God, are on the fringes of religion, or still have your doubts, you are the one person that God would want to speak to today.
How do you think your life would look differently if you began to have regular, personal communication with God? Now this isn’t the same thing as telling others our thoughts and prayers are with them. I’m talking about real, genuine, heart to heart talks with God about your decisions, your circumstances, your hurt, your joy, and your desires. In the last week of this series, Pastor Stephen talks about how a God’s desire for your prayer life is never to stop, but rather you hit the pause button on the conversation. In this teaching, we also learn 3 things that a healthy prayer life is and how we can begin to apply this habit of prayer to our lives.
In last week’s teaching, we discussed how prayer is supposed to be a performance we put on for God, but a conversation we are beginning. But if prayer is a conversation, how are we supposed to hear from God? How are we to know when He answers, if He answers, or what is His answer to our prayers? Are we supposed to listen for an audible voice telling us what to do? Is it possible for us to mistake God’s answers to us? In this week’s message, our Student Director, Brandon Bonville, talks about how we can know the answers God is giving us to our prayers, but before we can even go that far, we need to answer an important question. Do we REALLY want to hear what God has to say and will we obey what He is telling us?
Imagine it’s a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary and you receive two cards, both from people you care about. One card contains words written by an author and holds only a signature from your loved one. However, the other card is filled with a hand written notes. Which one would you find to be more meaningful. Most of the time our answer would probably be the one with the original, hand written words. Well what if God viewed our prayers the same way? Many of us approach prayer feeling like it is something that needs to be recited back to God. Some beautiful words that someone else came up with. But in this week’s message, Pastor Sean shows from the Bible how the prayer God is the most interested in hearing from you, is the one straight from your heart.
Prayer is one of those things that we kind of do without thinking about why we do them. We know the Our Father and have other prayers memorized, but what’s the point? We probably all would say that prayer is important in the life and faith of a Christian, but you’ve probably prayed before and felt like God never answered. Did He not hear you? Was He too busy? Or did He just not care to answer your prayer? In today’s teaching, Pastor Stephen talks about why we are supposed to pray and what difference does it really make.
So far this series, we’ve looked at how God has used the picture of adoption to describe His relationship with us and we’ve looked at our responsibility to look out for those who are most disadvantaged. In week three of this series, Pastor Brian talks about why God wanted to adopt us. To rescue us is one thing but to adopt is something different. Why did God choose to do this and how does this change how you interact and see God in your life? Adoption changes everything. We are now considered family and have all the rights and responsibilities of family members. But at the end of the day, it’s your choice whether you live like a family member or not.
Adoption might be one of the most beautiful and powerful expressions of love that we know. To choose to love another, to make them your own, and to allow yourself to be inconvenienced so that you can make their life better. It’s no wonder that God uses this metaphor to describe His relationship with us. While we were distant from God, with nothing to offer Him, He chose to pay a price in order to adopt us into His family. In the first week of this series, Pastor Stephen talks about how not everyone is God’s child. Adoption is something that is offered to all, but not something that everyone accepts. Find out what it means to be adopted by God and what God has planned for you if you are already adopted by God.
After looking last week at the picture of adoption that God uses to describe His relationship with us, we look at what role God has asked us to play in defending the weak and helping those who are most disadvantaged. We see in James 1:27 that the purest form of religion in the sight of God is the care of orphans and widows and refusing to allow the world to bring you back to the things you once worshipped. In just our state alone, there are 10,000 children in the foster care system and about half of them are in group homes. Pastor Stephen talks about how you might not necessarily be in a position to foster or adopt, we know from the Bible that God calls His followers to not turn a blind eye to the problem and do something! Find out in this week’s teaching how God might be asking you to step out and advocate for those most disadvantaged.