Tag Archives: Gospel

(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

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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.

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

“Broken: How Sin Affects Our View of Money” (April 7, 2019)

from Luke 12:13-21

We have a tendency to equate things like security, peace, worth, and identity with the accumulation of money or possessions. Or even more simply, maybe there’s just this one thing you feel like you have to have, and if you can somehow have that thing…

The question you must wrestle with is: While more wealth or more square footage or more possessions might change your circumstances, will they transform your heart?

We have from the beginning felt the tension of feeling like we need more…but what is it we really need more OF?

w/ Vern Collins

“Broken: How Sin Affects Our Time”

from Luke 21:25-36

If you knew how something would end, would it change the way you give yourself to being a part of it?

While, we might tend to think of such a question as it relates to a business opportunity, saying yes to a relationship, or a financial decision and the potential risks or rewards associated with any of the above…what if instead of decisions that are made based on how we think life should go, we make those decisions based on how the story of God at work in this world ends?

One of the ways we see sin create brokenness in our lives is in the way we view and use time. We worry that there isn’t enough. We waste the time we have. We don’t honor the time of others.

What if we stopped being so short-sighted and started taking a long view of the way we see God’s time and timing? What if that could change the way we live right now with the time we have?

w/ Luke Edwards

“Broken: How Sin Affects Our View of Others” (March 24, 2019)

from Ephesians 2:11-22

By nature we have a tendency to form teams. We gravitate to or surround ourselves with people who share things like our ideals, our values, and our view of morality. While this is not inherently wrong, what happens when our forming teams becomes choosing sides and choosing sides sets us at odds with those who aren’t like us or don’t agree with us…those who are outside of our circle? When this happens in the church, how does the way we treat those who are “outside” have any hope of looking like the Gospel?

What if God is calling you into relationship with those not like you so that God can work in you…and God can work in those relationships?

w/ Vern Collins

“Broken: How Sin Affects Our Relationships” (March 17, 2019)

from Matthew 5:21-26

We are meant to be a reflection of God for the world around us. One of the things that is true about God is the relationship in which God exists as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. So, why are relationships one of the most difficult places for us to reflect Who God is? What if we began to allow God to bring healing to the brokenness that exists in our relationships with those around us?

w/ Vern Collins

“Broken: How Sin Affects Self” (March 10, 2019)

from Isaiah 30:8-18

As we begin this season of Lent and our new series, “Broken,” you are invited to come to terms with, to name the brokenness in your life. Sin is the great equalizer…not of are exempt from its effects, and yet in Christ we find that not only does God know something about our brokenness, but is willing to enter in to it.

Over the next several weeks we are going to consider how our sin creates brokenness in different areas of our lives…beginning with how it affects your relationship with God. While you are being invited to come to terms with your brokenness, know that God longs to bring healing…that God longs to and promises to take that which is broken and redeem it, turning it into something beautiful.

w/ Vern Collins

“Sent” (March 3, 2019)

from John 20:19-22

From hearing from some of our missionaries, to a powerful message on Jesus’ commission of His disciples from John’s Gospel, to an important invitation following our denomination’s called General Conference vote, this is a powerful Sunday.

Even in the midst of our every day, busy, running from here to there lives…even in the midst of our doubt and our hurt and our own woundedness, we are invited to remember that Jesus not only walks into that with us, but calls us to follow Him in becoming partners in His work of healing brokenness and redeeming this world.

w/ Laura Byrch, Mason Heistand, Caitlin McVay, and Vern Collins

“Belonging: Offering Accepted” (February 17, 2019)

from 1 Corinthians 12:12-27

It is difficult to feel a sense of belonging when you don’t feel like you have anything to contribute to thing to which you have given yourself to belong. Even for those who would just as soon fly under the radar and are content with doing next to nothing, eventually the chasm of disconnect created is too much to navigate, and you are left feeling like there is no place for you.

In God’s Kingdom, in the Body of Christ…in the church, no gift offered is too small. In fact, Paul suggests that those who feel the least significant are perhaps the greatest gift to the church, and to what the church is called to be in this world.

What if your belonging included your willingness to use the gifts God has given you…no matter how small they may seem…to use the gifts God has given you in and through the church to transform the world?

w/ Vern Collins