Tag Archives: Gospel

(November 10, 2019) “glimpses of Jesus: Calming”

from Mark 4:35-41

That there will be challenges in life is unavoidable. The question becomes not, “what if?” but “when?” When you find yourself faced with one of life’s storms, something that is out of your control…where do you turn? Do you seek the expertise of others? Do you rely on your own wisdom or ability or pure determination to weather the storm? Or might you be willing to turn to the One Who is Lord over the storm?

The One Who is in the midst of the storm with you!

What if God doesn’t just have in mind to rescue you FROM the storm, but to deliver you THROUGH the storm? How might your faith…how might your life be transformed as a result?

Who would you know God to be on the other side?

w/ Vern Collins

(November 3, 2019) “Glimpses of Jesus: Inviting”

from Luke 19:1-10

(*including an invitation to the Lord’s Table, and to consider where we might invite someone to a fellowship meal this week. )

If the promise we have in Jesus through the Holy Spirit is that God is present with us always, then why is it that the hope we should have in that truth can seem so fleeting?

For one, we can point to the fact that we live such distracted lives…that’s it not Jesus Who is absent, it is we who are not paying attention.

For these 4 weeks we are going to look at the ways Jesus might be present with us. In knowing how Jesus longs to meet us in our day to day, we might just find that He is not only with us, He is working within us, while at the same time revealing to us the ways we might be a reflection of Who He is in the lives of people around us.

We begin with a familiar story found in Luke’s Gospel that asks us to consider the inviting nature of Jesus!

w/ Vern Collins

(October 27, 2019) “Ambitious Church: Kingdom Come”

from Matthew 6:9-13

In the things you seek in life…even in the things you pray and ask God for…what if you are not aiming high enough? What if the things you are seeking, even the things you are asking God for are too small? What might it look like to reorient your desires and your wants to something that is already present…to God’s Kingdom. A Kingdom that is here and that is still coming!

What are those things that are keeping you from seeking God’s Kingdom FIRST? What would it look like to surrender those things, or to reorder the things you are seeking, to allow God to lead you in prioritizing the things you desire in your life?

How might things change if your chief desire was to be a part of seeing God’s Kingdom come on this earth?

w/ Vern Collins and Stewardship Testimony from Grace Koppenheffer

(October 20, 2019) “Ambitious Church: Giving”

from 2 Corinthians 9:6-15

The promise that God offers through Paul in 2 Corinthians 3 is that where the Spirit of God is present there is FREEDOM and there is TRANSFORMATION.

With that in mind, any frustration or guilt or fear we might feel when considering what it might mean in our lives to live more generously…any time we might find ourselves angry with the church when the subject of giving is broached…if we were to reframe what is happening in our response, we might just see that the Holy Spirit is at work within us…at work bringing us into a place of freedom and transformation in the way we view what we have.

At the heart of a call to live generously is the reality of the Gospel. What if your life were so transformed by the knowledge of all that God freely gave to you in His Son Jesus, that you began to view all that you have through the lens of that truth, rather than viewing your life through the lens of your finances?

What if the way you stewarded what you have been given could actually be a reflection of Jesus in this world?

w/ Vern Collins

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Our Ambitious Prayer for the church (adapted from Jonathan Leeman’s “18 Things to Pray for Your Church”)

Heavenly Father, as we seek to be a church that reflects the hope of Your Son, Jesus in this world, our prayer for this church is…
That it would grow in being distinct from the world in love and holiness, even as it engages outsiders.
That faithful elders would use Scripture to train members to do the work of ministry.
That a hunger for studying the Gospel would form among members so that they can guide and guard one another in it.
That a culture of discipling would form in which making disciples is viewed as an ordinary part of the Christian life.
That adult members work to disciple children and teenagers and not just leave the journey of discipleship to programming.
That the church’s songs would teach members to biblically confess, lament, and praise.
That we would unity amid diversity-loving those with whom we have nothing in common but the Gospel.
That transparent, meaningful relationships would become normal, while remaining anonymous would be out of character for who we are.
That members would share the Gospel this week-and see more conversions!
That more members would use their careers to take the Gospel places it’s never been. That members would look for ways to be the light of Christ by serving those around them: at home, in the classroom, in their places of work, and in their places of influence. That the church’s prayers would be infused with Biblical ambitions, honesty, and humility. That we would remain above reproach, kept from temptation, complacency, idols, and worldliness. That members would grow in dedication to God’s Word, and seek to reflect the hope and promises found within, even when no one’s watching. That our giving would be faithful, as well as joyful, consistency, and sacrificial.

It is with the help of the Holy Spirit and in the Name of Jesus we ask these things, Amen.

(October 13, 2019) “Ambitious Church: Personal Holiness”

from Ephesians 4:22-24 and 2 Peter 1:1-11

For so many, life as a Christian tends to be boiled down to how well one is “following the rules.” While God has certainly given us boundary lines, when we boil Christianity down to right and wrong, it lacks the sense of freedom and “full life,” that Jesus promises.

If you have felt the frustration of feeling caught in the cycle of victory when things seem to being going well and guilt when you feel like you’re falling short…then perhaps there is something from Peter’s life and journey with Jesus that can be an encouragement to you.

Beginning with the precious faith that you have…no matter how small it may seem, there is the amazing opportunity to experience more in your walk with Jesus.

w/ Vern Collins

(October 6, 2019) “Ambitious Church: Prayer”

from Ephesians 3:14-21

Prayer can serve as the greatest catalyst for our growth in relationship with God and at the same time be one of the greatest frustrations in that same relationship.

We are taught to ask, we are taught to be bold in seeking the things we want God to do in our lives and in the lives of others…there are times we might even be desperate in the ways we seek God in prayer…and yet we might feel like those prayers are falling on deaf ears or going unanswered in the way we had hoped for.

In Ephesians 3, we find a prayer of Paul’s that might just serve as a starting place for all of our other prayers…to pray this prayer over ourselves and those around us might just reframe how we begin to understand everything else that we desire to see happen.

w/ Vern Collins

(September 22, 2019) “Ambitious Church: evangelism”

from 2 Corinthians 5:11-21

Whether you are a follower of Jesus or not, your life is telling a story TOWARD SOMETHING. Another way of saying that is that all of us are evangelists for something…

If you consider yourself a follower of Jesus, then whether you realize it or not, you are an evangelist for Christ. The question is, what kind of story are you telling about the Gospel? How are you representing Jesus for the world?

Are you willing actively proclaim the story of Jesus to those who need to hear it, or are you content to live your life and hope that somehow the Gospel will rub off on those around you?

What if you were willing to share the story of Who Jesus is to you? What if someone’s life could be transformed through that?

w/ Vern Collins

_____

Our Ambitious Prayer for the church (adapted from Jonathan Leeman’s “18 Things to Pray for Your Church”)

Heavenly Father, as we seek to be a church that reflects the hope of Your Son, Jesus in this world, our prayer for this church is…
That it would grow in being distinct from the world in love and holiness, even as it engages outsiders.
That faithful elders would use Scripture to train members to do the work of ministry.
That a hunger for studying the Gospel would form among members so that they can guide and guard one another in it.
That a culture of discipling would form in which making disciples is viewed as an ordinary part of the Christian life.
That adult members work to disciple children and teenagers and not just leave the journey of discipleship to programming.
That the church’s songs would teach members to biblically confess, lament, and praise.
That we would unity amid diversity-loving those with whom we have nothing in common but the Gospel.
That transparent, meaningful relationships would become normal, while remaining anonymous would be out of character for who we are.
That members would share the Gospel this week-and see more conversions!
That more members would use their careers to take the Gospel places it’s never been.

It is with the help of the Holy Spirit and in the Name of Jesus we ask these things, Amen.

(September 15, 2019) “Ambitious church: Relationship”

from Colossians 3:1-15

While we were created for relationship…first with God, and then with one another- in the hopes that those relationships would be a reflection of the fullness of Who God is…while this is part of the means by which we experience the full life that Jesus promises us…the reality is that relationships can be the source of some of our greatest challenges and deepest hurt in life.

In Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae, we get a window in to how we might just be able to live in to having healthier and more Christ-reflecting relationships.

w/ Vern Collins

(September 1, 2019) “Ambitious Church: Discipleship”

from Colossians 3:16-17, Acts 2:42-47

While the word “disciple” appears over 260 times in the New Testament, the word “discipleship” does not appear once.

Is discipleship meant to describe the process of your own journey in following Jesus or is it meant to describe the work of making disciples? Well, simply put-the answer is-YES.

Throughout the New Testament…even throughout all of Scripture we learn that the act of following God’s leading in our lives is not a straight line…today we would say that it is not a “program” that one follows…but we can say that it is a PROCESS.

Where is Jesus calling you to take YOUR next step in the journey of following Him? Is it in your own relationship with Him? Is it in the work of inviting others into life with Jesus? Ask Him…

w/ Vern Collins

_____

Our Ambitious Prayer for the church (adapted from Jonathan Leeman’s “18 Things to Pray for Your Church”)

Heavenly Father, as we seek to be a church that reflects the hope of Your Son, Jesus in this world, our prayer for this church is…
That it would grow in being distinct from the world in love and holiness, even as it engages outsiders.
That faithful elders would use Scripture to train members to do the work of ministry.
That a hunger for studying the Gospel would form among members so that they can guide and guard one another in it.
That a culture of discipling would form in which making disciples is viewed as an ordinary part of the Christian life.
That adult members work to disciple children and teenagers and not just leave the journey of discipleship to programming.

It is with the help of the Holy Spirit and in the Name of Jesus we ask these things, Amen.

(August 25, 2019) “Ambitious Church: Scripture”

from 2 Timothy 3:14-17 and James 1:21-23

Our relationship with Scripture can tend to be difficult to define depending on the season of life we are in, or depending on how we feel like we have been treated “in the name of the Bible.”

What if we no longer approached Scripture asking what it can do FOR us, but instead began to approach Scripture asking what it can do IN us?

What if you were willing to open it, to interact with it, to rest, to listen, to seek…in a brand new way? Imagine what might change.

w/ Vern Collins

(August 18, 2019) “Ambitious Church: Distinct Community” -Combined Worship Gathering

from Romans 12:1-21

As we begin our new series, “Ambitious Church,” we are invited over the next several weeks to consider some of the foundational elements and practices of the early church were that helped keep them focused on Jesus, rooted in His love, and committed to the work He called them to…

When we are honest about the enormity of the work Jesus has called the church to, and the deep brokenness that exists in the world, to think that the Church can still have an impact does feel more than a bit ambitious…and yet, we are given this promise that Jesus will never leave nor forsake us.

The church is called to be a distinct community in this world…a community that actually shapes the community around it so that it begins to resemble the Kingdom of God. We cannot hope to do this as a church, nor in our lives if we do not give ourselves wholly to life with Christ.

w/ Vern Collins and Lory Beth Huffman

“Testimony of a Believer: Philip & the Ethiopian Eunuch” (August 11, 2019)

from Acts 8:26-39

“Come and see,” seems like a simple enough invitation doesn’t it? Even Philip’s following the call to “go” is a simple enough response…

The thing we must wrestle with, the question we must be willing to hold the mirror up to our lives on is critical. It not only creates the space in which God is able to work, but it serves as the catalyst for being one who tells the story of Who God is, and that is quite simply:

Are you willing?

w/ Vern Collins

Testimony from Piper Collins

(August 4, 2019)”Testimony of a Believer: The Woman at the Well”

from John 4:1-42

Have you ever considered the possibility that there is something you have in common with every other person in this world? Sure we could talk about our biological make-up, or the fact that we all call this planet home, but have you ever thought of your wounds as being the common ground you share with all other people?

What if the fact that you have been wounded, that perhaps you even still bear some woundedness…what if that were not only your point of connection with people around, but became a catalyst for the story you have to tell of Who God is in the way He has met you in those wounds and the way He has brought healing and wholeness to the places where you needed it most?

w/ Vern Collins

Testimony by Johnny Carson

(July 28, 2019) “Testimony of a Believer: Andrew”

from John 1:35-42

When we hear the word “testimony,” we often associate that with the legal arena. The problem with that is that a testimony is often given either from a place of attack or from a place of defense. Too often, it seems, the church has adopted and operated from this understanding of the word.

What if testimony became something that is inviting. What if we took an active role, if we became involved in the work that God is doing in this world to draw people to Himself?

What if the story of Christ in your life simply became an invitation to others to, “come and see?”

w/ Vern Collins

“Letters to the Church: In Laodicean-The Lukewarm Church” (July 21, 2019)

from Revelation 3:14-21

In the final week of our “Letters to the Church” series, we look at Jesus’ letter to the church in Laodicea. While it is the harshest in its assessment of the church, it is also one of the most hopeful.

How might your life begin to look different if every desire and passion you had was ordered by an overriding passion for Jesus? How might the church begin to look different?

w/ Vern Collins

“Encounters With Jesus: Damascus Road (In the Redirecting)” (May 26, 2019)

from Acts 9:1-20

The final resurrection encounter we look at as we wrap up this series is perhaps one of the most well known in all of the New Testament. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the world has been impacted with the Gospel over thousands of years in large part of the encounter that this one man had with Jesus.

Not only is this encounter so well known, but it challenges us in ways that many of us need to be challenged…it forces us to wrestle with the question in our own lives: “Am I living life WITH God…or am I living life FOR God?”

w/ Vern Collins

“Encountering Jesus: On the Beach (in the Ordinary)” (May 19, 2019)

from John 21:1-17

Have you ever stopped to consider how our entertainment, experience, pursuit-of-satisfaction driven culture affects our expectations of what encountering the Lord ought to look like…ought to feel like?

While there are certainly times when an encounter with God evokes a physical and emotional response…while there are times when those encounters are fantastical…what about those times seeks to encounter us in the ordinary…in the familiar?

What if you began to look for God in the familiar? In the every day? Imagine how things might begin to be different…how different following Jesus might begin to look.

w/ Vern Collins

“Encountering Jesus: On The Journey” (April 28, 2019)

from Luke 24:13-35

Without encounters with the Risen Christ, the empty tomb would be nothing more than the place where Jesus WAS…instead, as Luke and the other Gospel writers attest and as the early church bore witness to…the reality was Jesus was on the loose!

Does it feel that way in your life? Is Jesus on the loose, free to shake things up, free to redirect, free to reorient, and inspire, and challenge, and love, and meet you where you are…? Or has Jesus simply gone missing?

As we begin our new series, “Encountering Jesus,” we invite you open yourself up to the places that Jesus might just be showing up in your life…the place where He might already be at work.

w/ Vern Collins

“Resurrection Repair” (April 21, 2019) Easter Sunday

from Luke 24:1-12

“Why do you look for the living among the dead?”

So often we think of what the Cross of Christ means we are saved FROM, but how often do you consider the empty tomb of Christ and ask the question, “what am I saved FOR?”

Why do we look for life in dead places? What if the resurrection isn’t just something that happened 2,000 years ago…what if the resurrection can happen in your life NOW?

w/ Vern Collins

“Broken: How Sin Affects Our View of God” (April 14, 2019)-Palm Sunday

from Mark 11:1-10

We spend a great deal of energy in our lives managing our expectations of the people around us. Whether your spouse, your children, a roommate, a significant other, or co-worker, or someone in leadership…there are expectations we place on people. Consider what happens, though, when those expectations aren’t met…we are left to adjust…to manage what we thought ought to be expected.

Have you ever considered that perhaps you do the same thing with God? There might be things you want from God, or things you expect God should do on your behalf? What happens when God doesn’t answer prayer the way you want, or when it feels like God isn’t coming through the way you hoped? What if the problem isn’t so much in Who God is, but who you expect God to be for you?

w/ Vern Collins