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 Sean 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 Sean 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.
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 Sean 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 Sean 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.
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.
Many people have big buts when it comes to Christianity. I believe in God but.....Some of these barriers to faith have come as a result of past church experience, things they've heard or been taught, and some of these barriers have come from observing how those who call themselves Christian act. In this message series, we will be looking at four big barriers that many people have to Christianity and following Jesus and see what the Bible really says about them.
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 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 to 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.
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.
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 benefiting 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, Pastor Sean talks 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? Whats 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 Ken 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 Sean 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 Sean 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, Pastor Sean gives us three ways that God speaks to us, 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. In this teaching, we see 3 truths about prayer that could completely change the way you pray and interact with God.
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 Sean 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 Sean 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 Sean 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.
What would your life look like if you experienced joy in your life every single week?What if you could be joyful no matter whether you were having a good week or a bad one? How would that change your life? How would that impact those around you? And what does it look like to have real joy in the midst of difficult times? Those are some tough questions to answer aren’t they? The Bible actually has a lot to say about experiencing joy and even so far as to say that God enjoys when we enjoy life. In this week of our series Framily, Pastor Stephen talks about how God has designed us to live a life full of joy and what the Bible has to say about living a life that reflects joy even when our circumstances are tough.
Last week, we learned about the kind of love that God asks His followers to show to others. An unconditional, selfless, proactive love. A love that loves even when love is not shown back. But for many of us, it’s tough just keeping our own life together let alone have the mental, physical, and emotional capacity in order to love and give to others in the way that God asks us to. If you find yourself in this place in life right now, this week’s teaching is for you. Pastor Sean talks about why we often find ourselves exhausted, overworked out, with no margin left to give anyone else and gives us 4 tips to find a more healthy rhythm to carry you through the seasons of life.
You probably familiar with the “Golden Rule”. You know, the one that says “do unto others as you want them to do to you?” Chances are you’ve heard someone mention that or maybe you yourself even strive to live out this rule. In essence, we are to leave others alone, keep to ourselves, and provide good to others if we expect to be treated that way. But in the first week of this series, Pastor Sean shows how Jesus took this saying a step further. He tells us to proactively do things for other people that they are not doing for us. Isn’t this something that easier to do for some people than for others? It’s easier to show love to someone who loves us back. Or it’s easier for us to help someone we know will return the favor, but when God asks us to love and serve those who don’t (and probably won’t) love and serve us back, it begins to test the bounds of how far we will really follow Jesus.
Being in close community with those who are working to follow Jesus is one of the best ways for you to continue growing in your faith and overcoming barriers and struggles in your life. But just joining a life group or growth group doesn’t mean you’re going to grow. In this week’s message, Pastor Sean talks about how deep down you are going to WANT to grow. Regardless of anything a pastor or church can do to help promote your spiritual growth, at the end of the day you must choose whether or not you are going to rearrange your life and make the necessary changes in order to follow Jesus.
We all have the desire within us to know others and be known by others. To have a tribe of people that we feel we are responsible for and are responsible for us. In fact, we are a healthier version of ourselves when we choose to open up and be deeply known by others. When we have people that we feel like we can share anything and everything with. In this week’s message, Pastor Sean talks about what it looks like at Grace Church to establish these type of close knit relationships with people who are trying to follow God just like you are. And no surprise, the Bible has a lot to say about why you need to know, and be known deeply by others.
Having a sense of belonging is one of the top needs of every individual. We were created to be that way. After food, water, shelter, and safety, we long to have a tribe of people that accept us, that make us feel as if we belong. The truth is our community often shapes the person that we become. But so often our faith is limited to an hour long on the weekends, and we are never able to belong to a community of people who are going in the same direction we are in our faith. In this weekend’s teaching, Pastor Sean talks about how community is not only vital to your faith and growth, but also to other around you. And when life gets tough, your community is the very thing that can keep you going in your faith.
Every year around this time we start thinking about what New Years’ Resolutions we are going to start making. Maybe you’ve already thought of some and are gearing up to start them this coming week. Maybe it’s to lose weight, stop a bad habit, or get back in church this year. While most of us won’t stick with our resolutions through next year, they are not necessarily a bad thing. Wanting to make a change in our lives shows us that we are somewhat self aware. We know that there are areas where we can improve. In this week’s message, Burt Parker, Avon location youth director, talks about we often wait until a big moment in order to make a change in our spiritual lives. We wait until Christmas or Easter, or we wait to make a new resolution, but God’s love towards us isn’t conditional upon our performance. We don’t have to get our lives together before we can get right with Him. So what are you waiting for?
When it comes to Christmastime, we love to hear the Christmas story. Mary and Joseph on the donkey. The baby being born in the stable and the shepherds and wise men traveling to see Him. We like our manger scenes but for some of us, that’s all the Jesus we want. This Christmas, Pastor Sean talks about how the Jews had been waiting for a Messiah to come and free them from Rome’s oppression. A Messiah that would show up with a sword and give them the political and social systems that they wanted. But when Jesus showed up, He was less interested in changing politics and more interested in changing people’s hearts. And this Christmas, many of us might want a Jesus that can change our circumstances, get us out of debt, or fix our marriages, but what we don’t want is a Jesus that will change our hearts.
When Jesus enters the world in the Christmas story, we see Him enter in the scene in the most humble and disadvantaged position. He wasn’t rich or powerful, he didn’t stand out in a crowd, and He didn’t demand the attention and affection of others. In this week’s message, we see that Jesus entered the scene looking to give up His right as God and intentionally be at a disadvantage so that He could serve everybody. To show that His love, hope, and forgiveness is for all, no matter their past. Pastor Sean talks about how this Christmas, we can take our next step as followers of Jesus by giving up our “rights” to serve those who don’t deserve it and to abandon our wants to follow God’s will.
There are some things that we all become so passionate about that we can’t help but tell everyone else. Like maybe you can’t stop talking about Essential Oils, or your sports team, or maybe your favorite place to eat. Regardless of what it is, the more passionate we become, the more we want to tell others about that. In this week’s message, Pastor Sean talks about how when God wanted to tell everyone about the birth of Jesus He chose to tell it to the lowliest and most looked down upon occupation–shepherds. So why did he pick the people who were the lowest of the low? The people who couldn’t get a job anywhere else?
Christmas time isn’t something that everyone looks forward to. In fact for many people, Christmas is one of the hardest times of the year and most depressing. Christmas is often the time where we can’t avoid seeing and interacting with the people who’ve hurt us the most. Or maybe Christmas reminds you of the pasts hurts you’ve experienced. In the first week of our series Christmas Classics, Pastor Sean looks at the Scripture and meaning behind the song O Holy Night and shows us from the Bible what steps you can take if you find yourself struggling with or dreading the Christmas season.
What is the one thing that you possess that you’d be LOST without? The thing that defines you and what you work hardest to hold onto? Maybe it’s a job or a relationship. Maybe it’s your reputation, your money, or your possessions. If God asked you to let go of it, would you? Before you say yes, think about what that would cost you. What would your life look like without that thing? In the last week of this series, Pastor Sean looks at how Abraham responded when God asked him to surrender his “everything” to Him. And from this story points out what things in our lives we are resistant to surrender for fear that God won’t provide, and what we need to do about it.
We all have a set of priorities in our lives. Our priorities are the things that will determine how we think and what decisions in our lives we will make. In fact, we center our lives around our priorities. But when our priorities are misaligned, we are in danger of missing out on the blessed life that God wants us to live. In the third week of our series, Pastor Sean shows how Abraham allowed God to be the first priority in his life and as a result was able to be blessed and used by God. But in order for us to allow God to have priority over our wants and plans, we must choose whether or not we trust that God’s plan for us is better than ours.
For some of us, the blessed life may look different depending on the skills, talents, and resources that God has given to us. But God has given all of us the elements in our lives needed to live a blessed life. In this week’s message, Pastor Ken talks about how our trust in God plays into having a life blessed by him. He shows from the story of Abraham that trusting in God is not always easy and sometimes we fail. We don’t understand how God could come through and so we bail on waiting for Him and try to work it out on our own. But God isn’t interested in keeping us from all difficulty. He is interested in helping us grow our faith muscle so that we can trust more and and accomplish the blessed life.
What does it take to live a life that God would want to bless? A life that when you get to the end of it, you are greeted with the applause of heaven. You get to experience every awesome thing that God had planned for you and squeezed every last drop of greatness from your life. But this kind of life doesn’t happen by accident. In this week’s message, Pastor Sean shares that right now, you might be running away from the very things that God has put in your life in order to give you the blessed life. Sometimes, these things are scary and sometimes they are more than we think we can handle. But God dreams dreams that far outlast the dreams that you have for your life.
Have you ever allowed your behavior to change because of what you thought others might think about you? Maybe you kept your belief in God to yourself because you thought your co-workers would criticize you. Or maybe you decided to participate in something that would compromise your values because you were afraid of what others might say about you? For some of us, the struggle to please other people is greater than it is for others, but we all find ourselves filtering what others may think of us through our decision making filters. In this week’s message, Pastor Sean talks about how our insecurity often leads us to care more about what others think than we care about what God thinks. But the Bible has a lot to say about who we are and who God created us to be and when we focus on living out that purpose, we can break free from our fear of what others think and our insecurity.
We all face fear and anxiety at different times in life and sometimes, the fears and the anxiety feels so real that is cripples us. We don’t know what to do, we don’t know where to turn. All we want to do is find a way to escape the things that are plaguing our minds. While these two things weren’t things that God ever intended us to experience, they are common things we battle against in this broken world. When problems arise or we begin to fear the unknown, we can start believing that God has lost control and we begin to doubt whether or not He really is good. In the first week of this series, Pastor Sean shares how we often want to base our faith on the mountaintop experiences that we have in life, but the Bible says that our lives here are short and full of trouble. So what do we do when we find ourselves struggling with fear and anxiety in the valleys? In this message, Pastor Sean gives us two practical things.
What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word “Church”? If you’re like most people, you probably thought of a building that had religious services in it. Maybe you thought of the place where you got confirmed or had your first communion. Maybe stain glass windows and a steeple came to mind. In this last week of our series Long Story Short, Pastor Sean talks about how the church isn’t a location or a building. The first church was defined by the people. And how God had a specific purpose for the church (people) to accomplish through meeting and gathering together. And it wasn’t to have a cozy religious service. It was all about helping people who felt most distant from God find there way back to Him.
Have you ever felt that because of the things you’ve done there was no way you could talk to God? Maybe you thought He was too angry to listen to you, or maybe you’re own shame and guilt kept you from even trying. In our series Long Story Short, we’ve seen God create a perfect world and environment for mankind to live in, but we’ve also seen mankind decide to try their own way in an attempt to get something better than God provided. In during away from the Creator of all good they found all that was bad. But God promised not to leave them that way. In this week’s message, Pastor Sean shows how Jesus came to do for us what the old rules couldn’t. He didn’t come to just forgive us when we do wrong, but to make us innocent before God once again.
Have you ever heard the expression that rules are meant to be broken? It seems that wherever there are rules, they will be broken shortly thereafter. Many of us think of the Bible has being a religious book that’s full of rules that God wants us to keep, but that’s not at all what God intended the rules for. In this week’s message, Pastor Sean talks about the rules that God gave mankind after Creation was for them to understand what holiness looked like and to show them that no matter how hard they tried, they couldn’t keep all the rules. But instead of leaving them hopeless, He made a way for them to be made right with Him despite their inability to obey all the rules.
Have you ever felt ashamed of your past and the decisions you’ve made? Do you ever wish you could go back and do things differently? If so, you’re not alone. We all have done and said things we wish we could take back, and sometimes, the guilt, the shame, and feeling of being unworthy makes us feel like even if we talked to God, He would want nothing to do with us. But did you know that shame, guilt, and fear are all emotions that God never intended us to feel? In week two of our series Long Story Short, Pastor Sean talks shows from the Bible where mankind went off track to experience this emotions, why they chose this path, and why we are still struggling with the exact same decisions today.
Have you ever wondered why God decided to create the world and everything in it? For instance, what was His goal and what was He trying to accomplish? And why did He give mankind the option for evil to exist? In the first week of our series Long Story Short, Pastor Sean looks at the very first account in the Bible – the Creation of the world. Through this story, we see why God created everything, what our purpose is in His story, and why He allowed the option for everything perfect He created to be ruined by evil.
How many times have you found yourself saying, “I just don’t have time”. It seems that nobody today actually has time. Everybody is so busy and life just never seems to slow down at all. Our culture has even turned busyness into a badge of honor that we wear as if our busyness equals significance. But you’ve been giving the same amount of time in a day as Michelangelo, Mother Theresa, and Albert Einstein. It’s what we are doing with our time is where the difference lies. In this week’s message, Pastor talks about how we don’t have a time management problem, we have a priorities problem. We want to grow closer to God, but we are unwilling to give up time and space in our lives to experience Him. And we certainly are too busy to think through our next step and what God is trying to prompt us to do next. So what needs to change if you find yourself stuck in a pattern of busyness and frustration; still struggling with the same old things. Check out this message from Pastor Sean to find out.
What kinds of things in your life tend ton distract you from God? Maybe it’s the pursuit of wealth. A relationship? A certain lifestyle or pleasure. While none of these things in and of themselves are necessarily wrong, when we choose to place more value in them than we do God, they become idols in our hearts that keep us from following Jesus. In the last week or this series, Pastor Ken shows an example from Star Wars where Anakin Skywalker is faced with a decision. Does he hold onto his desire for more power in order to protect his wife, or does he let go of the things that are holding him back? In the same way, Pastor Ken parallels a story in the Bible where a man couldn’t let go of something that kept him distant from God. In addition, Pastor Ken gives 3 ways you can track down the idols that might be keeping you from God, and 2 things you must do to battle against these idols.
One of the best parts of Superhero movies is the tension that goes on between the hero and the villain. The intense struggle between good and evil and who will prevail. In some movies like Spiderman 3, we see that the struggle for good and evil sometimes exists within the same person. And isn’t that true in our lives? God has given us all gifts and abilities, but the choice is ours as to what we use them for- to help ourselves or to honor God with them. In this week’s message, Pastor Stephen looks at the story of David and how God had gifted him to do great things even though he was only a shepherd boy. But as we see David get more power and influence, the struggle begins to arise as to whose interests he will use it for.
From time to time, we all find ourselves comparing ourselves with others. We compare how we look with others, how our social media compares to others, what we drive, how big of a house we have compared to others, and how much money we make compared to everyone else. But comparisons, in the end, only hurt us. It robs us of joy and gratefulness. And no matter how much we end up getting, we never end up being content. In this week’s message Pastor Taylor uses illustrations from the movie the greatest showman to show how we often end up discontent and then show us what the Bible has to say about where contentment comes from and how we can move from constant comparison and envy, to gratitude and contentment.
Do you ever feel like you are stuck in life, repeating the same old mistakes from the past? Or doing the same wrong things over and over again? Many times in life we find ourselves stuck in the same old patterns of life just like Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day. And no matter what we seem to do, we just can’t break free and seem to start fresh. This week, Pastor Ken talks about how to know if you’re stuck, how you get stuck in the first place, and gives 3 steps that you can begin to take in order to help get you unstuck.
We don’t have to live very long before we experience pain and hurt in this world. Some of this is the result of the decisions we’ve made in life, but a lot of the time, the hurt we experience is the byproduct of some else’s wrong actions. Betrayal by a friend or a spouse. Being wrongly accused to lied about. These things happen to everyone in life, but not everyone responds the same way when these thing happen. In today’s message, Pastor Sean talks about three people from the Bible that despite some of the worst things happening to them, chose to respond in way that pleased God. We’ll learn about who these men are and what 4 things they did differently that allowed them to respond in the right way.
Have you ever been a part of a really good team? Maybe it was a sports team or even a team at your work? The benefits of being a part of a team is that the team thinks about the “we” not the “me”. They look out for each other and come to help aid each other when things get tough. In the first week of this series, Pastor Stephen looks at the movie The Sandlot and shows how the church should be the team that has your back when things in life get tough.
There are some things in life you’d like sooner than later. We want a raise sooner than later. We want to get married sooner than later. We probably want a house or a new car sooner than later. But when it comes to the idea of Heaven, most of us would probably choose later rather than sooner. But why is that? Isn’t heaven supposed to be so much better? In the last week of our series The End, Pastor Sean deals with the fact that most people would want heaven later is because they have an incorrect view of what heaven will be like. He also shows from the Bible what heaven will be like and how we can apply what we read in the Bible to our lives right now.
Everyone wonders how a good God can let evil exist in the world, but when we remember that there is evil in our own hearts, we want a pass. We want God to judge everyone else, but not judge us for the wrong we’ve done. In the fifth week of our series The End, God has been patient for long enough and the judgement is here. Pastor Sean talks about the end of everything that we see as we know it and what changes we can begin making in our lives now in light of this day coming in the future.
In this fourth week of the series, Pastor Sean talks about how God gives mankind multiple chances to turn to him. Sean goes into detail about the 2 Prophets and the 144,000 Evangelists that God leaves on the Earth to point back to him so that ALL mankind can turn and begin following Jesus.
In the third week of this series, Pastor Sean talks about how God begins to wrap everything up. Now is the time where God will begin to punish evil in the world, end the sin and corruption, and do away with Satan and his demons. But even as God pours out His judgement, we can see that He still is giving people an opportunity to turn back to Him before it’s too late. From this teaching, we can see God’s heart towards humanity and discover what we things we need to begin changing in our hearts and lives right now.
Fathers have a BIG influence on their families. In fact, research suggest that as a Father increases his involvement in the family, his children flourish. But even if you do not have any biological children, God can still provide you with an opportunity to be a Father figure to others. In today’s message, Pastor James Roberson III from Bridge Church in Brooklyn, NYC shares just how impactful a Father figure can be. And even if you did not have the best Father figure, how you can see past the imperfections and appreciate the Fatherly influences you had in your life.
If you knew that you only had a few more weeks to live, what would you choose to do differently in the next 4 weeks. What kind of regrets would you have and what changes would you choose to make in your life? Those are probably not very hard questions for us to answer, but the scary part of all this is that none of us know what day will be our last. All of us would live differently if we knew, but because we don’t know, we often live our lives like we will all live until we are 80. In this week’s teaching, Pastor Sean talks about an event in the last days that will take place where Jesus will return and bring those who have put their faith, hope, and confidence in Him to be with Himself. At that time, there will be no more time for do-overs, or chances for us to re-arrange our lives.
In the first week of this series, we find that the book of Revelation is the only book of the Bible that begins and ends with a blessing to those who read it, to those who hear it, and to those make adjustments in their life accordingly. The purpose of this book isn’t to bring fear about what is to come, but rather for those who follow Jesus to see how God will wrap everything up according to His plan. To bring justice, to right every wrong, and to restore things back to the way He had originally intended it. In the first few chapters, we see what Jesus looks like right now and also read God’s instruction to seven churches that we can make application from today.
Have you ever known someone who was incredible gifted at something, but never used their gifting? What if God has given you gifts to help others, but you’ve never even realized that you had them? The Bible says that the Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts to everyone who has turned from their sin to follow Jesus, but it’s estimated that up to 80% of Christians don’t know what their gifts are or how to use them. In this week’s teaching, Pastor Stephen talks about what these “gifts” look like, how to identify what your gifting may be, and how you can begin using them to help the church and others.
Are you feeling like you need more of God’s power and presence in your life? Is there something that you are struggling with that you wish God would just take away? Last week, we talked about how sometimes we don’t feel God in our lives because we have worked so hard to resist His promptings. In this week’s message, Pastor Sean talks specifically about the power that the Holy Spirit gives to us, and what our next steps should be if we don’t feel God’s presence as much as we want to.
When you look at many of the Christians in our world today, they don’t look much different from everyone else. If you are a follower of Jesus, God has given you the Holy Spirit in order to empower you to live a life that looks more and more like Jesus. But many people don’t know who the Holy Spirit is, what He does in our lives, and how exactly He can transform our lives. In this week’s message, Pastor Ken gives and overview of who the Holy Spirit is and gives 3 unique ways that the Holy Spirit works in our lives.
In the last week of our series, Pastor Sean talks about the value of our church that just make might make us the most unique. In fact, it might have been one of the first things that made an impression upon you at our church. That is the value of being radically generous. We all want to be generous people, but what does true generosity look like in our lives and how does it impact our relationship with God? Pastor Sean shares how generosity has been a theme through the entire Bible and shares why our church places a high value on it and how becoming radically generous yourself will impact and grow your faith and relationship with God.
Have you ever stopped to think that God, before you were ever even born, had a preferred life and purpose for your life? That He planned and crafted you to live your life in a way that would not only benefit you but all those around you? But what if we’ve messed up in the past? Or what if we haven’t been interested in all in what God wants for us and instead are interested more in what we want. This week in our series This Is Us, we talk about the value our church places on every person being personally involved. We talk about how you can begin to live the life God has planned for you regardless of your past and what are some small steps you can take to get started.
I think it would be fair to say that we all look to be comfortable in our lives. Even if you are someone who likes change, when change brings about discomfort in your life chances are it is not welcomed. It is our very human nature to try and settle in. To find the groups of people who are like us, think like us, believe like us, and vote like us. It gives us a sense of comfort in our surroundings and brings about security. In today’s message, Pastor Stephen shows that God has asked His followers to abandon their sense of security and comfort in order to accomplish something much greater. Because of this high calling from God, Pastor Stephen shows from the life of Jesus why our church has chosen to be Outwardly Focused.
The Bible is no doubt the center of the Christian faith, but does that mean that we have to rearrange our lives around everything the Bible says? If so, how do we know that the things written in the Bible are actually true? How do we know that it has not been changed and what difference does it make if I don’t follow everything written in it? In this week’s teaching, Pastor Sean talks about whether or not we can trust the accuracy of the Bible, why it matters for the Christian life, and why being Biblically Centered is the most important value of our church.
There are things that we wear or do on the outside that can communicate about who we are on the inside. A common example is marriage. It’s not the ring that makes someone married. A wedding ring worn by someone who is single does not make them married. The ring is simply a outward symbol of a commitment, a covenant, that two people have made together. In the first week of this series, Pastor Sean talks about the new covenant that God has made with man and how baptism, just like the wedding ring, is the first step in a follower of Jesus making their faith public.
All it takes is a little education and research to know that Jesus really did exist in history and that he was killed by means of crucifixion. But the more important question is….why does this matter to me? How does the death and supposed resurrection of a man over 2,000 years ago impact my life right here and right now?This Easter, Pastor Sean shows how the resurrection of Jesus isn’t a matter of religion or philosophy, it’s a matter of history. Either Jesus really did come back from the dead or He did not. And if He did come back from the dead, how do we choose to respond and how does this impact our lives today.
Have you ever looked at evil in the world and wonder why God doesn’t squash it right then and there? What is He waiting for? Does He not see what is going on? But when it comes to God dealing with the wrong and evil in our lives, we want God to give us a slap on the wrist. As we conclude our series in Amos, Pastor Sean talks about a time when God is done waiting – when He will no longer rescue from the consequences of our wrong actions. But there is a reason why God’s patience is so long.
We all love the idea of justice. We love the movies where the evil villain gets punished, or where the school ground bully gets put back into his place. We love justice being served, unless it is being served to us. In the second week of this series, Pastor Stephen talks about the profound affect that the act of mercy has upon humanity and how God has called to play a part in restoring peace in this world. We all experience both justice and mercy in our lives, and God has called us to live lives that reflect the mercy and second chances we’ve been given by God.
Evil in the world is almost impossible to ignore. It seems to be everywhere. On the news, social media, on your morning commute. You may have even said to yourself, “What is happening to this world!?” It’s hard to imagine a good God allowing all of the injustices we see go unpunished, but where is God in all of this? Does He care? In the first week of this series, Pastor Sean shows from the book of Amos how God sees the injustice in the world and why sometimes it seems like people get away with evil. He also points out that we tend to be quick to point the finger at the evil in other’s, but we willingly overlook and ignore the evil that exists within us.
Money. You can never seem to have enough of it. You spend the majority of your time during the week working hard to get it, but no matter how many hours you work, or how much you get paid, it never seems to be quite enough. Why are we so consumed with getting something that never seems to last? Why do we choose to trust God with our prayers, our health, our family, our jobs, but never our money. When it comes to God and our money we get rather uncomfortable. In the last week of this series, Pastor Sean shows why our money is so important to God and why we have such a hard time when it comes to this subject. It’s not that God needs our money or wants it, He’s after something else.
Our culture dreads work. We’re fed the philosophy that we’re all “working for the weekend.”We’ve adopted phrasing like the “Monday Blues”, “Hump Day”, and TGIF. It’s the thing we spend the most time doing and the least time enjoying. But what if what you do for a living matters more than you think? What if you are simply looking at it wrong? In the fourth week of this series, Pastor Sean talks about what God has to say about our work and how one little mindset shift, can totally change how we think, enjoy, and approach our work.
How often do you feel completely present? Not distracted or preoccupied by your schedule, your agenda, or your phone? If you’re like most people, you probably feel like you can barely keep up with all you have going on in life, let alone have time to slow down a bit. In today’s teaching, Pastor Stephen talks about how when we get too busy, we often see the relationships in ouras valuable only to the degree that they benefit us and our agenda. And when we choose to now be present, we limit the influence and the impact that we can have in those relationships. So what can we do to change the pace in our lives?
All of us want our kids to grow up and be successful. We want them to have good grades, to be a starter on the team, to get accepted into a good college, and to land a good paying job. But the things our culture tells us we need to do in order to help our kids be successful is very different from where the Bible says our focus on our kids should be. We spend a lot of time trying to make sure our kids get ahead in this world, but what are we doing to make a difference in their lives for eternity? In week two of this message, Pastor Sean shares how we all, whether we have kids or not, can shape our priorities and our influence over the kids God has put in our lives in order to help them be successful in the things that really matter.
We all want to life a successful full life, but what if we are chasing the wrong things? What if the things we are chasing actually distract us from the things that really do matter? If God has created us and given us this life, wouldn’t He know the best way for us to get the most out of this life? But when we live as if we have no boundaries we ruin our chances of living the successful, meaningful life that God has given. In the first week of this series, Pastor Sean shows what the Bible has to say about our singleness, our dating relationships, and our marriage and how we can leverage each of them to live the life God has intended for us.
When we think of praying, sometimes it can feel a bit intimidating or awkward. Sometimes, we don’t know what really to say or maybe we feel like we are not “spiritual” enough to talk to God. As a result, our prayers often end up sounding like “thank you, thank you” or “I’m sorry, I’m sorry”, or maybe even “help me, help me”. But as our series Tough Prayers come to a close, Pastor Sean talks about how prayer is nothing more than a simple conversation and that it is something necessary for followers of Jesus to do. He walks through a prayer that Jesus gave as an example of how to pray and shows how we can make it our own.
There are prayer that are easy and prayers that are hard. It’s easy to pray for God to help someone we love or to ask for something that we want. But then, there are prayers that are hard to pray because we know that God just might answer them. In today’s message, Pastor Sean talks about a prayer that could change your life, but the reason many won’t pray it is because it would change their life, maybe too much. This prayer could require you to change the total direction you thought your life was taking and instead, make a drastic change in order to fulfill what God has planned for you.
None of us like or want to be broken. In our lives, brokenness is associated with pain, discomfort, and suffering. In fact, we work really hard in our lives so that we don’t have to be broken. We stay away from what could break us and we pursue things in life to fill the areas where we are already broken. So why in the world would we WANT to ask God to break us? In this week’s teaching, Pastor Sean talks about how despite giving God our lives, for many of us, there are still corners of our heart that we try to hide from God and not give Him access to. And in order to let God have those dark, hidden corners, we must be broken so that God can build us back up.
For many of us, prayer ends up being our last resort. Maybe we don’t intend it to be that way, but the only time we seem to remember is when isn’t going the way we hoped. Others of us try to utilize prayer as if God was a genie in a bottle, ready to provide whatever we wish. When we find ourselves praying these types of prayers more often then not, it’s a sign that our hearts are not in tune with God. In this week’s message, Pastor Sean talks about a prayer that we can pray to help our hearts get tuned back to God. The only hard part is that this prayer creates a vulnerability that we often work hard to avoid. In the end, it truly is a tough prayer.
Have you ever prayed a prayer, but you feel like God either didn’t hear it or ignored it? Maybe you’ve been praying for a long time, but nothing has changed. When we feel like our prayers aren’t answered it’s tough for us to keep praying. In this week’s message, Pastor Stephen talks about what prayer is, and why God doesn’t always “answer” our prayers. When we begin to understand the purpose of prayer and why God has given us this gift, it can not only change our circumstances, but also our hearts.
At Christmas time, we celebrate the birth of Jesus. We know all about the nativity scene, sing songs that mention his name, and maybe even take a moment to talk about the story of his birth. But is this the only time of the year where you allow room for Jesus in your life? On this Christmas Eve, we conclude our series Christmas Stories by comparing the responses of King Herod and The Wise Men to the birth of Jesus. Pastor Sean shows that while they both had the same information, they responded to the birth in two totally different ways.
Do you simply believe in God or do you believe in God enough to trust Him. Those are two very different things. Even Satan believes in God, but it doesn’t mean that he is right with God. In week three of our series, Christmas Stories, Pastor Sean talks about how circumcision in the Hebrew Scriptures was a temporary physical marking for those who were dedicated to God. But, we see that there is a transition where now baptism is the permanent spiritual procedure that marks those who have decided to dedicate themselves to God. Pastor Sean looks at the Christmas story from the perspective of Simeon and Anna and shows how being a follower of Jesus is not simple checking off a religious to do list, but rather giving over your heart, your mind, and your life to the will of God.
What if you were known for the biggest mistake you ever made? Nobody remembers you for your career, your accomplishments, or any kind of difference you’ve ever made. All anybody remembers about you is the one area where you failed. As we continue our series, we find the Innkeeper in the Christmas Story in this exact spot. He had been taught his entire life to expect a Messiah to come to Bethlehem, but once the Messiah showed up, he was too busy, too booked, and there wasn’t any room left. In today’s message, Pastor Stephen contrasts the response of the Innkeeper with the response of the Shepherds and shows how we all often approach God the same way the Innkeeper did.
Doing the right thing isn’t always easy. But it’s even harder to keep doing the right thing when it seems like it’s not working. When we reach this point, we’re often tempted to quit or at least compromise to get us to where we want to be. In the first week of this Christmas series, we look at the story of a couple, not wondering how they got pregnant, but a couple wondering if they ever will. Through their difficulty we see their faith being tested to grow and Pastor Sean shares 4 things that we can learn from their story.
What if part of the reason that you struggle so much with money is because you have believed some common myths about your money? We work for our money arguably harder than anything else in life, and as a result, we value our money a lot. But what if the goal isn’t how much money you get but rather what you do with it? In the last week of this series, Pastor Sean busts 2 big myths that many of us believe about our money. When our perspective on these myths changes, it helps us to look at our money differently and choose to use it differently.
Can you imagine what it would feel like if you didn’t have any debt? The relief! The peace! As we approach Black Friday, many of us will go out and spend way more on presents for the Holidays than we can afford, only to find ourselves pinched and stressed all next year trying to figure out a way to pay it all off. Too many of us are slaves to our debt and instead of us telling our money where to go, our debt tells us where our money HAS to go. In the second week of this series, Pastor Ken talks about why our money and debt is not only a material issue, but a spiritual issue and he gives us a simple 5 step solution to free ourselves from the bondage of debt.
Whether your marriage is struggling or in a great season, you can always work to make it even better. This year, Ken Gillming, friend and mentor to Pastor Sean and Pastor Ken, gives 3 Essentials For A Good Marriage along with tips and exercises that can help you and your spouse strengthen your relationship together.
Money is really fun if you have it right? But if you don’t have it, or if you struggle to keep and manage it, it can be an incredible source of stress and anxiety. For most of us though, we don’t do well with our money. With the average American spending 104% of their annual income, our money is often something that holds us back instead of providing freedom. And our money problems don’t just stay in the financial realm. It can impact our relationships in a very negative way as well. In the first week of this series, Pastor Sean looks at what the Bible has to say about money and gives 5 Basics of Biblical Money Management that can help you to start getting back on track with your finances.
As we celebrate the 12th Anniversary of Grace Church, we look back to the beginning of our church and share some of the great memories we’ve had along the way. Pastor Sean shares that the goal of our church has never been to get to a certain number or status, but our focus has always been on helping our friends and neighbors find and follow Jesus. In this message, Pastor Sean shares two passages from the Bible that have shaped our church and how we do things more than any other and shows how the application of these passages will continue to be the center of Grace Church for years to come.
As we wrap up this series, Pastor Sean talks about a lie that many believe that might be the most consequential. The lie is that since we believe in God, we are all set. That just because we believe there is a God and that Jesus was God, doesn’t mean that we are right with God at all. Many claim to know God and even be a Christian, but we learn from the Bible that on Judgement Day, God will say to many that He never knew them. In this message, Pastor Sean talks about how we can be sure we are right with God, how we can be sure we can’t lose our salvation, and calls us to consider what kind of life Jesus is really calling the Christian to live.
Do you ever feel like you are just not good enough? Most everything in our lives we work hard to earn. If we want good grades, we have to study hard. If we want a promotion, we have to work hard. That’s because nothing in life comes free. We have to work for it. The problem is that we can begin to believe that what we do isn’t enough to be loved by God. As a result, we end up living busy, stressed, frustrated lives that don’t experience the peace and rest that God has for us. In today’s message, Pastor Stephen shows us from the Bible how we can let go of this lie and find the peace God has for us.
It’s hard to feel alone, but it’s even harder when you are going through a rough spot in life or when you have a big decision to make. Many times in life we feel like we are left to handle our lives all on our own. We see our issues as only being career issues, or relational issues, or mental issues. And we rarely look at them as potential spiritual issues. In today’s message, Pastor Ken gives three truths to uncover the lie that you’re alone to figure things out and gives us three actions steps that we can begin taking in order to overcome believing this lie.
Do you feel like you are unworthy to be used by God? That because of your past you belong on the island of misfit toys along with the other damaged goods? And no matter how hard you try to see the good in life, you are constantly reminded of the wrong you’ve done or had done to you? If so, you are probably believing the lie that we are talking about today. In the second week of this series, Pastor Sean address the lie that “Some Things Can’t Be Forgiven” and gives three truths that can help us replace this lie and move forward in accomplishing the purpose that God has for us.
Have you believed in the lie that you can’t change? Maybe you have told yourself that your destined this way because of your past. Or because of your family line, you’ll always deal with certain things. Or maybe you’ve just accepted that you are the way you are and nothing you do can change that. In the first week of this series, Pastor Sean talks about how this lie affects us and motivates us to respond in one of five ways. He also gives two actions steps that you can take to allow God to transform the things in your life that you can’t.
Can you really say that you believe something if that belief doesn’t shape what you do? For example, if you believe everyone should donate blood but you’ve never signed up to donate, can you really say that you believe that? Our actions should be shaped by the things that we believe, but often, our actions are focused on self gratification. In the last week of the series, Pastor Sean shows that once we realize what Jesus has done for us, gratitude becomes the motivating factor that causes us to live and act differently.
The relationship between your thoughts and your heart is the difference between your search bar and the results you get when you hit enter. If you choose to fill your mind with selfishness, lust, greed, and envy then it won’t be long until those things penetrate your heart. Once you’ve developed these patterns in your heart, your actions will follow. But if you want a different track in life, if you want to hit pause and start over, you must learn to guard your heart. In this week’s message, Pastor Sean talks about what it looks like to guard your heart and why it’s so important to do so.
How many times have you tried to turn over a new leaf only to find yourself doing the same old things? Have you pleaded with God that you would never ever do that things again if only He would forgive you and you wouldn’t get caught? Do you feel like your life needs a restart? In this series Head Heart Hands, we see that our actions are driven by how we feel and how we feel is driven by how we think. So before we try to turn over the next new leaf, we need to focus on first on changing how we think. This week, Pastor Sean talks about how if we can change the way we think, we can change our lives and he gives us 2 ways that we can begin to change the way that we think.
Do you feel like your life is out of control? Like you can barely control yourself let alone your circumstances. While we all want to say that we are patient, kind, selfless people, our lack of self control is often what is displayed. It’s displayed in our diets, in our spending, and in our decisions that we make. God knew that self control would be an area where we would struggle. It’s a war between what our physical bodies want and what our mind and hearts are telling us we should want. Pastor Brian wraps up our series Fruitology by showing us what Biblical self control looks like and gives us 3 simple ways that we can start to strengthen our self control muscle.
Over the course of this past week, our headlines have all been centered around the issues of hatred and racism that we see happening in our country. As tensions rise on both sides of this issue, it leaves many of us wondering, “how can I personally help make a change?” What can be done to fix this brokenness and sin? And what role do I need to play in fixing this problem? In this week’s message, Pastor Sean takes the time to address the issue of racism and hatred in our country and shows that the sinfulness of racism is no where supported by what the Bible teaches. But furthermore, he demonstrates from the Bible how those who follow Jesus need to respond to the hatred, ignorance, and racism in order to make a difference.
Our culture wants everything now. Wanna buy something online? Use Amazon Prime and get it in 2 days. Want to watch a specific show? Just stream it? Don’t like your phone? I’m sure your provider has a deal where you can get the newest and best one. As we continue our series, Fruitology, Pastor Taylor talks about the main 2 reasons why we don’t have patience and then shows us from the Bible why we can have patience in our lives even when it’s hard.
We use the word love very interchangeably. We love our family. We love our kids. We love our car. We love our sports teams. We love food. But we don’t love all those things the same way. We think we’ve found real love, but then that feeling goes away. As Pastor Ken start the first week of this series, we see that God wants our lives to produce true love. Pastor Ken talks about the 4 types of the love God has for us which He wants us to display and also shares 3 keys to cultivate your heart so that this kind of true love can shine through.
For those who follow Jesus, the Bible is the source that we base our lives and our relationship with God on. It’s the story that reveals God’s interactions with mankind from the very beginning of time. It affects what we worship, how we act, and what we believe. But how do we know that the Bible is actually true? How do we know that it wasn’t changed over time as it was translated? What if the story of the Bible is nothing more than a fabricated story? In the third and final week of our series, Pastor Sean answers this question by looking at the historical evidence proving the Bible to be true or not. This matter because if the Bible is completely true, as followers of Jesus we must rearrange our lives around it.
Can I be a Christian and believe in Evolution? Evolution is widely taught and accepted in most secular education, but what about the Biblical account of Creation? If I’m a Christian but also believe in science, what am I supposed to do with the Creation story? In this second week of our series FAQ, Pastor Sean talks about the theories of Evolution and Creation. Because both views are scientifically theories, we need to examine the evidence in order to come up with a conclusion. Pastor Sean answers these questions and shows why believing in one theory or the other can make a difference.
Sexuality is a topic that we are faced with in our culture on almost a daily basis. We hear some voices in our culture promoting sexual expression and then we hear other voices seemingly condemning it. But at the end of the day, does God really care about your sexuality? If He does, why is it such a big deal? In the first message of this series, Pastor Sean talks about what God has to say about sexuality, the reason He designed it, and how we can better approach the subject of sexuality in today’s culture.
As Pastor Sean wraps up our series Villains, he takes a look at quite possibly one of the most tragic story endings in the Bible. Despite this Villain’s wickedness and rebellion towards God, God still gave him multiple chances to make things right. Even when Zedekiah knew what the outcome to his poor choices would be, he still chose to make the wrong choice. In this teaching, Pastor Sean shares this man’s story and gives 4 lessons that he learns from the life of Zedekiah.
In today’s teaching, Pastor Sean shares some of the coolest, hidden stories in the Bible on how God interacted with mankind throughout history. He shares the story of King Ben-Hadad, King Joram, and Elisha and shows the outcome of these men’s decision to to obey or disobey God. But we also see in these stories how often mankind tries to limit God to our own intelligence, but in reality, God is working something much greater than we could imagine behind the scenes.
Our Villains series kicks off with the story of one of the baddest Old Testament queens in all the land. The evil acts of the infamous Queen Jezebel have been referenced throughout popular culture, even to this day! In today’s teaching, Pastor Sean takes a look at how, despite Jezebel’s violent and manipulative acts, God gave her more than one chance for redemption. And we find out what there is to learn from her response to God’s offer of reconciliation and how it led to her downfall, and ultimately her demise.
Have you ever tried to do something that was just too big for you? Maybe you overcommitted to a project or wanted to help fix an issue in your town but you just ended up feeling discouraged and insignificant? Like no matter how many hours or resources you put into it, it wouldn’t even scratch the surface? Many of us have faced these seemingly impossible situations before and as a result, we tend to stay passive when faced with these issues. In today’s teaching, Pastor Sean tells the story of a boy who faced a much bigger issue than he could handle, but instead of doing nothing offered Jesus what little He had. It wasn’t what the boy had that made the difference, it was the fact that he was willing to offer Jesus whatever he could.
There are times in life when God steps into our lives and changes the course of our lives as we know it. While we work our whole lives to live as comfortable and painless as possible, God knows that when our world seemingly gets turned upside down, our faith and trust in Him are forced to grow. This week, Pastor Sean’s Dad, Ron Sears, shares with us the story of Zechariah and how God moved into his life in a seemingly impossible way and strengthened his faith.
Many of us feel like we disadvantaged from being used in big ways by God because of our past, our baggage, or even just because we’re not really anything special. We’re kinda an average person who lives and average life, and by no means are we a “super Christian”. In the first week of this series, Pastor Sean looks at the story of a man named Ehud. Instead of just standing by, Ehud chose to be used by God and in the process, did some amazing things. But it all started with being willing to listen and obey God.
As Pastor Taylor continues our series Wonder Women, we get a closer look at Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Mary just might be one of the most misunderstood women in Scripture. Some religious traditions paint Mary to be something that Scripture never says. She is often idolized and put on a pedestal but the Bible teaches that Mary was no different than you or I. But she was used in an incredible way because she simply chose to say yes when God intervened in her life. In this message, we look at how Mary responded to her “God moment” and 3 lessons that we can learn from her life and faith.
This week, Pastor Ken looks at the story of Rahab in our second week in our series Wonder Woman. But not long into story, we see that Rahab has quite a bit of baggage. In fact, she’s a hooker. But despite the pain, disappointment, and hurt of her past she chooses to give God the pen of her life and to rewrite her story. From this story, Pastor Ken shares 3 reasons why you should consider giving God the pen of your life and let Him write a better story.
Chances are you’ve never heard the name Jochebed before and more so, you probably have no idea what she ever did in history. But Jochebed was the mother of Moses, you know, the one with the Ten Commandments? Now without her, there obviously wouldn’t have been Moses , but Jochebed played a very special, specific role that would alter much of what we know about the Jewish people. In this teaching, Pastor Sean gives the story of Jochebed and shows 3 lessons we can learn from Jochebed and her story.
Right now, people are more connected than they ever have been before. Between texting, video calls, and social media, technology has closed the distance gap in our world and we have greater access to relationships than at any other point. Yet, research points to our generations still feeling increasingly disconnected and isolated from true friendships and relationships. Despite our differences in personalities, God has created us all to be in community. To have deep relationships with others. To know others and be known by them. This week, Pastor Ken talks about why living in community is such an important step to take as we grow in our faith and grow closer to God.
Sometimes we can be around something so much that it starts to lose its meaning a little bit. This can happen in just about any area of life including at church. When we hear the same thing and are around the same environment, sometimes we forget the gravity of that thing. Pastor Sean start off this new series talking about one of the very first “next steps” that a follower of Jesus has once they decide to turn from sin and turn to God. That step is baptism. It’s like wearing a wedding ring. You are publicly showing an inward commitment that you’ve made. In this teaching, you’ll learn more about where baptism came from, why it matters, why we do it the way we do it, and whose next step is baptism.
Christianity and the Resurrection of Jesus both stand and fall together. One of them can’t be true and the other be false. In fact, the Bible in 1 Corinthians 15:14-19 says that if Jesus did not raise from the dead, then our faith it useless. It’s worth nothing and there is no point. But if Jesus DID come back to life, it changes everything. So how as a rational, thinking adult in the 21st century justify that someone over 2,000 years ago came back from the dead. In this message, Pastor Sean gives 3 reasons why it’s completely rational to accept Jesus coming back from the dead.
As we bring this series to a close, Pastor Sean looks at the final aspect of Jesus’ prayer right before He was arrested and sent off to be tortured and killed. To conclude His prayer, Jesus prayed for us. For you, for me. For everyone who would believe in Him because of the accounts of His disciples. If you are a follower of Jesus, Jesus rescued you for a purpose, but He knew that you would face dealing with sin and other distractions that would keep you from fulfilling this purpose. Find out what this purpose is and how Jesus prayed for you to keep focused!!
Do you ever feel like your weaknesses prevent you from following Jesus? Like no mater how hard you try, you seem to fail over and over again? In week two, Pastor James Roberson from the Bridge Church in Brooklyn looks at the second part of Jesus’ prayer where he prays for His disciples. In this prayer, Jesus recognizes the weaknesses of His disciples and prays not for them to have strength, Instead, He asks God to protect them and to deliver them from the weaknesses that they struggle with. Pastor Roberson shows through this text that even in our weaknesses, God is the one who protects us and sustains us.
We all know the Lord’s Prayer. We call it the “Our Father”. This is the sample prayer that Jesus gave to His followers as a model for how we should pray. But as Pastor Sean begins this series, he takes a look at the actual prayer that Jesus prayed in John 17 before the pinnacle of His life came. Instead of praying for strength or endurance, He asked God to bring Him glory. He wanted the gravity of what He was going through to impress upon people so that they would understand the importance of their relationship with God.
Adoption always has a cost. When most of us think about adoption, we are thinking about the fees associated with the legal process and the money we will need to spend to care for a child. But adoption also means walking alongside and loving that child, even he they don’t love you back. It means suffering through their pain with them and allowing yourself to be the source of strength. The same is true in our adoption process with God. There was a cost that needed to be paid by God in order to us to have the chance to become adopted. But since, He freely paid this cost out of love for us, it gives us the strength and motivation to love others in this extraordinary way.
As we dive deeper into this series on adoption, we see that although everyone is created by God, not everyone is considered His child. While that might seem a little harsh, it’s actually one of the most loving things God could have done. Pastor Sean continues this series by showing that God adopts us into His family for a purpose. As spiritual orphans, we had nothing to offer God, yet He chose to adopt us, and make us His own.
There was a reason why God chose to use the word adoption when referring to the relationship He offers to those who choose to put their faith, hope and confidence in Him. Adoption is much more than simply rescuing us from the consequence of our sin. Adoption implies a deep desire and commitment to not only rescue us from our brokenness, but also to make us His very own. This week, Pastor Brian shares his adoption story and shows what it means to be adopted by God.
You can probably think of someone pretty quickly who had a big influence on your life. Maybe they sacrificed time to pour into you when you needed it most. Or maybe they were someone you could always count on to be trusted. What if God wanted you to influence someone else in the same way you have been influenced? But like most other things, this won’t happen accidentally. This week, Pastor Sean gives 3 world views that will sabotage your ability to be an influence and why they exist. And then shows how we can choose to overlook the problems and see the person to be influenced.
You don’t need to live for very long before you begin to face conflict. Even young children begin to face conflict at home, school, or with their friends. But as we get older our conflicts tend to get more complex and complicated. Conflict can lead to damaged friendships, broken marriages, and tense working environments. But just because we face conflict doesn’t mean we have to deal with conflict in average ways. In today’s message Pastor Sean unpacks the issue of conflict in our lives and helps us to see what the Bible says about handling conflict in above average ways.
Having good relationships whether you are single, dating, or married are possible, it’s just that they don’t come naturally. Most of our relationships are contractual. Meaning as long as you do your part, I’ll do mine. But once we let someone down or someone hurts us we tend to end our commitment to that relationship. But that’s not how God’s relationships with us is. God has modeled a covenant relationship with us where He has promised that He will never fail you or abandon you! When we incorporate this type of covenant into our relationships and marriages, it can drastically make them better. Pastor Sean shares what a covenant relationship in marriage looks like and gives us 5 commitments God makes to us that we can apply to our marriages in order to make them above average.
We all want healthy, above-average relationships. Nobody hopes that their marriage will fall apart, that their kids will stop talking to them, or that their friends will ditch them. Honestly, we don’t even want our acquaintances to think too bad of us. This week, pastor Ken talks about how to have not your average love. Average love carries conditions, but not your average love works to be unconditional. Pastor Ken describes 3 aspects of God’s love and give 4 practical ways you can begin loving others better this week.
Everyone says that they want to be wise. Nobody hopes to make foolish decisions that will take their life in the wrong direction. But many people choose to ignore wisdom because honestly, it’s often the harder road to take. This week, Pastor Sean shows from book of Proverbs what the outcomes of making wise choices is and what the outcomes is for those who choose to be foolish. He also gives 3 critical decisions you must make if you are going to choose to pursue after wisdom.
This week in our Life Hack series, we are talking about the #1 thing that causes divorce in this country. It’s also the biggest reasons why we lose sleep, have arguments, and end up stressed out – it’s our money and debt. Money can make even the most sane people go nuts. We trade the majority of our waking hours every week for our money which is one reason why we hold onto it so tightly. Pastor Sean explores what the book of Proverbs says about wealth and poverty and gives us 4 steps that anyone can take towards experiencing financial freedom.
I’m pretty sure that most everyone would say that they want to be successful. There seems to be an inner burning desire in us all to be good at something. Some things people seem to be born good at, but other thing, we have to work really hard to be good at. But what does success actually look like? What kind of success is worth chasing after. In the second week our this series, Life Hacks, Pastor Sean takes a look at what the book of Proverbs says about success and what our role in it is. He also gives us 6 traits of a wise person that can help lead us towards living a successful life.
Ever wish you could have a ” do over” for some of the decisions you’ve made in life? At the time, it might have seemed like a good idea, but in hindsight you wonder what you were thinking? We all want to make good decisions in life, but many times the right answer just doesn’t seem clear. And where does God factor into these decisions? Is there a certain decision He would want you to make? In the first week of this series, Pastor Taylor looks at what the book of Proverbs says about decisions and gives 4 easy questions you can ask to help you make a wise choice.
Everybody gets stuck at one time or another. Maybe you got your car stuck in snow. Or you were stuck in an awkward conversation. Or maybe what you are stuck in is a little more serious. Maybe you’re stuck in debt or a bad relationship. The Christmas story happens right in the middle of Israel being stuck. They hadn’t heard from God in 400 years and it seemed like He no longer cared. If you find yourself in a similar place this Christmas, the Christmas story brings hope to you!
Have you ever stopped to wonder what God thought of you? Maybe you felt close to God at one point in your life, but now He feels distant. Or maybe you’ve always assumed that God doesn’t like you too much because of how life has gone. Or maybe because you know your past, you’ve assumed that God would want nothing to do with you. In the third week of this series, Pastor Ken focuses on the Angel’s appearance to the shepherds. They had their own reasons for feeling that God was upset with them, but this story brings hope to anyone who might feel this way.
We all care to some extent about what other people think. If your shoes match or you put on deodorant today, you care to some extent what other people think of you. And there is nothing wrong with caring about what others think, UNLESS your desire to please others causes you to compromise what you know God would want you to do. This week, Pastor Sean looks at the Christmas story from the perspective of Joseph and how he was faced with the decision to please others or to please God.
If we’re honest, many of us are a little bit uncomfortable with God. Just like an awkward friend at work, you might be willing to be Facebook friends, but you probably own’t go to their Christmas party. Often, we treat God the same way. We want to know God, but we don’t want to get too close, otherwise we might have to change some things in our lives. In the first week of this series, Pastor Sean gives two main reasons why we often are afraid of God’s plan for our lives and shows from the Christmas story how the ruin of our plans, may just lead to finding our purpose in life.
Human nature tells us to protect and take care of ourselves. While we might be generous to others and lend a helping hand, it is against our nature to give up our security for someone else. Pastor Sean talks about the story of Mary anointing Jesus’ feet, and how this was much more than just a selfless act. Mary chose to lay down everything valuable to her in order to follow and love Jesus. What do you need to let go of in order to follow Jesus more closely?
There is a side of Jesus not often talked about: his humanity. In this message, Pastor Sean shares a story from the book of John in which Jesus experiences the very raw and human emotion of grief. This comes at the news of his close friend’s death. Still, Jesus doesn’t allow his grief to keep him from using the tragedy for good. Watch this video to find out how Jesus’s friend’s death ultimately played a role in transforming more people’s lives than his friend could ever have imagined in his life.
In the book of John, the writer’s focus is to convince the reader than Jesus really is the Son of God. But the evidence given leaves you with two simple choices-either you choose to believe or you must reject it. In this week’s message, Pastor Ken shares two emphatic claims of Jesus that demand a response and give you the decision on who Jesus will be to you.
Why do bad things happen to good people? This is a question all of us will ask at one point in life if we have not already. When bad things come into our lives we wonder where God is and how He could possibly let this happen to us if He is good! This week, Pastor Sean reads the story of a man who was born blind and shows how this story reveals why God allows bad things to happen and proves that our situation, no matter how bad, is not hopeless.
As Pastor Sean continues this series through the book of John, he shares the story of the woman who was caught in adultery. As her sin is brought to light, she must have felt the weight of shame and embarrassment, but instead of giving her what she deserved, Jesus called her and her accusers to turn away from their sin. The same is true today. We all have little corners of our heart where we allow sin and shame to control us because we are afraid of the pain of those things coming to light. But Jesus calls His followers to let go of the things that once defined them, repent, and allow the freedom and light of Christ to reign in their hearts.
Often, we limit in our minds what God can and can’t do. If we think it is a hopeless situation or don’t see results, we give up. We treat God like a Genie and as long as we get our 3 wishes, we’ll continue to be religious. In today’s message, Pastor Sean shares a story from the book of John where Jesus confronted this type of behavior and made it very clear what it looks like to follow Him.
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In the life of Jesus, we often see Him pointing people to what they really need instead of giving them what they want. We often want God to give us what we want, but instead we should be wanting God to give us what we need most, even if it’s not what we want. This week, Pastor Sean shares a story of two men found in the book of John who are faced with the decision on whether or not they will trust God, even if the outcome doesn’t appear how they thought it would.
During Jesus’ time on Earth, He was focused on created bridges between mankind and God, even if that meant crossing over cultural, social, economic, religious, and even racial barriers. In this week’s message, we find Jesus breaking multiple social and cultural norms in order to give the most unlikely person a message of hope, to reveal that He is Messiah, and to demonstrate how even the most broken are not too far gone to be rescued.
Have you ever wondered why there are so many religions and why there are so many rules? Religion has been man’s attempt to earn God’s love. But in this week of Meet Jesus, Pastor Ken reads about a man who was VERY religious, but regardless of his actions, Jesus told him that he was still missing God. Find out why!
Many times we would prefer to maintain an external relationship with God because it’s much easier to manage. However, God never has been concerned with how we look on the outside. His focus has always been focused on our hearts. As we continue this series, Pastor Sean teaches through the story of Jesus turning water into wine and shows how Jesus performed the miracle not because his mother asked Him to, but because He wanted to reveal His purpose for coming.
It’s easy to disqualify ourselves from being used by God because well…it’s me. We tend to think that the job of reaching and telling others about Jesus is reserved for those who are super spiritual or those who hold a religious occupation. But as Pastor Sean continues this series, we see that his “Draft” of disciples are anything but perfect. In fact, Jesus’ picks go to show that He wants to use anybody, regardless of their past….and that includes you.
There is information that we learn that moves us to trust or distrust someone. As we begin this new series in the book of John, the writer John starts his book off by working to convince the unconvinced that Jesus is in fact God. In this first teaching, we learn that John starts his narrative the same way Moses started the Torah. And for the same reason – to demonstrate that God is the source and sustainer of life and that He intends to get rid of the darkness in our lives. If He isn’t God, there is no compelling reason to follow him any more than any other good or religious person. But if He is God, then He is worth rearranging our entire lives around.
When most people hear the word member, the term membership also come to mind. It evokes images of paid access to a service that benefits oneself, like a country club or a gym. In this message, Pastor Sean explains how being a member of a church family is radically different from these types of memberships. He takes images from the Bible of the typical family structure and uses them as a model for how church family members are supposed to act toward each other and to friends who may not be members.
Ever find yourself wondering if prayer really works? Perhaps you feel God is too busy listening to more “important” people’s prayers. Maybe God isn’t even listening to anyone at all. In this message, Pastor Sean allays the idea that God isn’t listening and doesn’t want to hear from you. He shows from the Bible how to have meaningful talks with God yourself. He explains how you can be confident your prayers will even be as effective as Mother Theresa’s prayers!
Prayer can seem a little intimidating sometimes. Is it supposed to be formal? What should you say? Why is it even important in the first place? In this message, Pastor Taylor breaks down the Lord’s Prayer into its most simple elements to give you an idea of what your prayers could look like. He also shows you just how impactful your prayers can be once you get started.
For many, the word “fasting” brings to mind another word, “hunger strike.” Is that what fasting is like? Why do people fast anyway? In this series introduction, Pastor Sean walks you through what fasting is and is not. He also talks about the reason followers of Christ should include fasting in their spiritual journey and shows you how it will help connect you with God.
The typical person has good intentions when it comes to jobs, friends, and families, but no one can achieve perfection all the time. Sometimes we mess up. In this Mother’s Day message, guest speaker Ron Sears talks about how some of the women in the lineage of Jesus did not always have the best pasts, but God still used them to accomplish something great. He also shows how anyone, not just moms, can learn from their examples.
The thought of a man dying and coming back to life after being in a tomb for three days, well, lets be honest, it sounds unbelievable. Still, a story sounding unbelievable does not necessarily mean it is not true. In this Easter message, Pastor Sean looks takes at the historical facts about Jesus’s death-to-life experience. Watch to see what he means when he says that evidence is actually unbelievably believable!
Imagine getting a full scholarship to an Ivy League school. It sounds ideal. No debt. No strings attached. Look a little deeper, though, and it becomes clear that everything has a cost, even if the price was free. Though Jesus isn’t charging anyone’s credit card in exchange for His offer of freedom from sin, Pastor Sean explains how being a follower of Christ does still cost something from each follower, and explains exactly what it is.
Have you thought about going “all in” and following Jesus but haven’t quite been able to convince yourself to take that next step? Maybe you can’t seem to quite place your finger on why that is, just yet? In this message, Pastor Ken shares the story of a rich, young man in the Bible who also could not get himself to move forward and follow Jesus. He looks at what one thing ultimately ended up holding the young man back, and shows how you can find out what that thing is in your life, as well.
There is a term used in a lot of churches: “born again.” And boy, does it sure evoke a lot of questions! In this message, Pastor Sean explains what in the world the term “born again” even means, and why it is important. He also brings up the commonly asked question of what happens after death and reveals the answers Jesus gave a man in the Bible who came to ask Him that very question.
Pastor Sean introduces the Straight Talk series by looking at the parable of a man who attempted to plant crop seeds in a variety of different places. Some seeds grew, some did not. In this message, Pastor Sean shows the connection between the way different seeds can grow (or not) and how different people can either grow in their relationship with God or stagnate. Essentially, it comes down to knowing the difference between hearing what someone says and listening to what someone says. Watch to learn what the differences are.
It is easy to go just go through the motions with Bible reading. Perhaps it even feels like just another pointless task not the to do list. If that is how you are feeling right now, then check out this message from our Ladies Focus Group Conference. Women’s Ministry Leader and pastor’s wife Sue Grove visits from Grace Chapel in Clifton Park, NY to help you identify and remove the barriers that may be keeping you from enjoying and even loving reading the Bible.
When it comes to reconciling painful relationships, one of the hardest questions to answer is, when is enough enough? How many times does Jesus say you are supposed to forgive someone who has hurt you? Pastor Sean wraps up the Bad Blood series by answering these questions. He also addresses the extent to which each person is responsibility for the dysfunction in a broken relationship.
The first step of fixing a relationship with “bad blood” is opening up a conversation with the other person. It is a step many tend to avoid, whether it is because of fear or awkwardness or fear of conflict. In this message, Pastor Sean explains why it is important to begin that conversation, even if it is uncomfortable. He also discusses how to gauge the best timing for this type of conversation and the best way in which to approach the other person in the broken relationship.
There is a saying that forgiveness is taking the knife out of your own back, and not using it to hurt anyone else, no matter how they hurt you. In this message, Pastor Sean talks about how to take action to forgive someone when they wrong you, even if they are not sorry. He explains how understanding God’s love for us when we have wrong Him can lead to freedom from the poison of resentment.
Most people know at least one person that drives them crazy. Maybe there is someone in your own life that has been pushing your buttons to the point of putting a strain on the relationship. In this message, Pastor Ken discusses the power of empathy. He shares a simple, practical method that will help you harness the power of empathy to take you further in making that difficult relationship healthy once again.
Some people appear born with specific passions they just can’t shake. Others develop passions as they discover new areas of interest. But what if you can’t quite put a finger on what it is that really makes you passionate? In this message, Pastor Sean lays out what to do if you don’t quite know yet what sets your heart on fire.
Have a passion but feel hesitant to act on it? You’re not alone. Many Christians know what they’re passionate about but aren’t sure if they’re supposed to pursue it. Many end up waiting around for a big sign from God that they should move forward. In this message, Pastor Ken explains how you can know whether or not God wants you to act on your passion, even if he doesn’t audibly tell you. He also shares the ways you can begin starting to make a difference in the world today.
Every road worth traveling will likely have a barrier. In this message, Pastor Sean shares the kind of barriers you can expect to face and what you can expect to lose if you choose to get take action and begin making a difference in this world. He also shows you what kind of assurance from God you can have, to help keep you forging forward on the quest to make a difference.
Trying to come up with items for your New Years Resolution list? Maybe you are just hoping you will finally be able to accomplish one of last year’s resolutions. In this first message of the Re:solution series, Pastor Sean proposes there is a better way to go about forming New Years Resolutions: by asking the question, “what makes my heart break?” In answering this question, Pastor Sean shows how you can formulate a plan for your new year that will make a more impactful difference in the world.
As we celebrate Christmas, Pastor Sean describes a side of the Christmas story we don’t often hear about. In a time of extreme traditionalism, the mother of Jesus experienced abandonment and faced what may have felt like a hopeless, uncertain future. This was a reality far from the picturesque nativity scenes that come to mind today when we think of “Christmas”. In this message, Pastor Sean shares three things from the Christmas story, like Mary did, that demonstrate how we can find hope and comfort, even in hard times.
For many, the Christmas season evokes feelings of joy, thoughts of bright, twinkling lights, apple cider and family. For others, it only brings back painful memories of families strife or abandonment. In this message, Pastor Sean explores what the Christmas story shows about the fatherly role God plays in our lives and what he had to go through in order for that type of relationship to be established with us.
This message explores the unhealthy ways many of us cope with situations in which we did not get our way. When one questions God’s power, it is easy to begin placing hope and trust in money, stuff, commitments, and distractions. Pastor Ken explains how this affects our relationship with God over time. He also explores what we can do to place Jesus back at the center of our lives and learn to trust in His power in our daily lives.
In this message, Pastor Sean takes a closer look at the culture and history of the society into which the Messiah (Jesus) was born. He shows how these factors contributed to a false sense of what the Messiah would be like. It was this false sense that ultimately led many to reject Jesus, in the same way it can cause some to do the same today. However, Pastor Sean explains how the true identity of Jesus is even more powerful and redemptive than many expect.
So far in the Leveraged Life series, we have explored the type of person God uses and how changing our priorities can be one of the most effective steps in becoming that type of person. In this message, Pastor Ken explains how a simple emotion such as passion can also be another extremely effective asset that aids us in being the type of person God uses to do extraordinary things. He use Moses from the Bible to give us specific examples of what it looks like when we leverage our passions for the glory of God.
Now that we have explored the type of person God uses, it is time to look at the next step the average person must take to become the type of person God uses to do extraordinary things. This step has to do with setting our priorities straight. Specifically, with establishing God as the first priority. In this message, Pastor Sean shows us tangible ways we can handle the resources we have been blessed with in our lives so as to reflect the fact that our priority is God before anything else.
We all love stories of super heroes. We marvel at their special powers or their advantages. And oftentimes, when we read about famous people in the Bible, we view them in the exact same way we view superheroes. We assume they have some kind of unspoken power or advantage that we do not have, and we think that is the reason God chooses to use them to do incredible things in the Bible. In the first week of the Leveraged Life series, Pastor Sean clears up some of these misconceptions we have about the type of person God seeks out when He wants to do extraordinary things.
This weekend marks our 10th year together as a church! In This message, we take a trip back in time to remember how Grace Church got its start. Pastor Sean shares the moment when he grappled with obeying God’s prompting him to do something that felt so difficult, even though it was very, very simple. We find out how his eventual obedience ended up changing the history of Grace Church. Watch this message to discover all about the astonishing power of small acts of obedience to God.
“How do you like it NOW?” It is a usually salty question we hear when our situation gets way worse than we planned. And one thing is for sure, when times do get tough, it is easy to forget what God has already accomplished in our lives, and instead be distracted by our current plight. In the Bible, Haggai went through this type of situation, and God asked him the question “How do you like it NOW?” Only in this case, God used this question and the conversation it sparked, not to discourage him, but to help lift his spirits in the midst of a disheartening struggle.
Each person has something they say they value: family, friends, charity, flexibility–the list could go on! But what we say we value and what our actions or possessions show we value, are often two different things. While going through the ups and downs of life, many people allow themselves to be distracted by temporary situations from the things they say they value. This was exactly the case for the Jewish people at several points in the Bible. In this message, Pastor Sean shows us what we can learn from the ways they ended up allowing short-term situations to cause them to lose sight of maintaining focus on their long-term priorities.
The very first question God ever asked in the Bible was a simple one: “Where are you?”. He asked this question of Adam and Eve when they were hiding in shame, after having disobeyed God’s command. So many years later, many of us still have the same tendency to try to run away or hide in shame from God when we do something wrong. In this week’s message, Pastor Sean explores why God responded to Adam and Eve’s disobedience with the question “where are you?”, and shows us what it shows about God’s true feelings toward us when we disobey him too.
As we wrap up this series, Pastor Sean talks about the difference between guilt and shame, where each of these originate from, and how we can be free from our shame when we truly understand how God sees us.
Our Ladies Focus Group is a ladies only group that meets throughout the year and works to identify and remove barriers that keep us from growing closer to God. Tonight, we will be hearing from a panel of ladies from Grace: Pam Eckler, Nicole Knopp, Melissa Fox and Chaneika Polk as they will share with us their “Faith Stories”.
We all compare ourselves constantly. Often, we compare to measure if we are okay, how to react under certain circumstances, and to see how we stack up against others. In this week’s message, Pastor Sean talks about the dangers of comparison and how it most often hurts us more than it helps us. But what are we supposed to compare ourselves to if anything at all? Listen to this week’s message and find out!
Fear is a driving motivator for many things that we do in life from financial decisions to relationships. It causes us to believe that God is no longer in control and think that the worst case scenerio will happen to us. This week, Pastor Sean takes a look at what causes fear, how it motivates us, and what we can do to overcome it.
There are parts of our past that we don’t like. Whether it was something we did or something done to us, we wish we could tear those pages out of our story. In this week’s message, Pastor Sean talks about how we can take our past, no matter how broken, and allow God to do something great through us.
Everyone fits into one of these three categories. You are either dealing with a difficult situation, have just come out of one, or are just about to go into one. Life is tough but the quality that gets us through these tough times is perseverance. This week, Pastor Ken looks at the life of David and shows 3 things that he did to help him persevere.
We all celebrate milestones in life and this weekend at Grace Church is one of those times. As Grace Church sends out a team to begin Encounter Church in Dedham MA, Pastor Sean talks about the mission that Jesus has given to the church and how we can accomplish this mission in New England.
Ever wonder what the big deal is about going to church? Why does it matter if I go or not? Does my participation really make that much of a difference? In this week’s message, Pastor Sean answers all of these questions as well as explain the plan that God has intended for the church all along.
As Pastor Sean wraps up this series on the Art of Neighboring, he talks about the importance of prayer and how prayer makes “coincidences” happen. He also talks about 3 simple steps that anyone can begin doing to show Jesus’ love towards a neighbor.
One of our biggest barriers to being a good neighbor is our own fear. In the third week of this series, Pastor Chris Causey from Encounter Church in Dedham talks about how to deal with this fear, and in doing so, experience some of the greatest things God has planned for you.
We all have busy lives. Our schedules, however, shouldn’t keep us from being able to love our neighbors the way we should. In the second teaching of the series, Pastor Sean tells us how we can keep this from happening.
Have you ever wondered why people do the crazy stuff that they do? Have you ever stopped to think why YOU do the things that you do? In this week’s message, Pastor Ken takes a look at what the Bible has to say about our actions and what it is that causes them.
In light of the Supreme Court ruling this week, Pastor Sean breaks down the difference between Natural Law and Moral Laws and gives practical, Biblical examples of how followers of Jesus should live and respond.
None of our families are perfect. But God has a purpose for placing each of us in our families. In the second week of this series, Pastor Sean talks about what the Bible says it looks like to serve our families.
How do we know that the Bible is true? That it is the actual Word of God. What if there was a mistake in translation? If we as Christ followers base our lives and eternity off of this book, shouldn’t we know for sure that it is true? In fact, many try to discredit Christianity with these types of questions and skepticism. In this week’ teaching, Pastor Sean provides factual, historical evidence that shows the Bible can be trusted. Not just that the Bible claims to be true…but the incredible amount of evidence in history pointing to the reliability of the Scriptures.
We often get intimidated when people question our faith. What if we don’t have all the answers and I look like a fool? What if they don’t believe what I have to say? What if they get offended. In the first week of this series, Pastor Sean talks about how we can be confident in sharing our faith even if we don’t know all the answers. He talks about what answers we need to have and how we can go about sharing what we believe without coming across like a jerk to others who might not share our same faith.