Hope

Over the next 3 weeks I will be giving you some scripture, to reflect on some beautiful things that arrive with Jesus. This week we looked at Hope. When Jesus is born, it’s not just a baby being born in a stable but rather it is the moment when the door swings wide open to HOPE. Here’s the thing though. This isn’t just your standard run of the mill, “Geez I really hope this happens for me” wishful thinking kind of Hope. This is the, “God promised it; God will make it happen so I will expect it with confidence” kind of Hope. When Jesus is born true Hope explodes into reality for anyone throughout the history of mankind. This Hope is ever present for us, it is life transforming and it is ETERNAL!

 

This week, my invitation is for you to, on a daily basis, take some time to reflect on the amazing and wonderful Hope God has given us in Jesus Christ! Below is a list of scriptures and exercises to do every day to help you really dive into this concept of Hope!

 

Monday Day #1: He Shall Reign Forevermore by Chris Tomlin

Listen to this song by Chris Tomlin that proclaims this great and glorious hope we have in Jesus!

Really try to give this song a listen every day!

        

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2NzLqpod0I&list=RDJ2NzLqpod0I

 

Tuesday Day #2: An excerpt from the Jesus storybook Bible

Back at the beginning of time- all had been lost when Adam and Eve rebelled against God, but even back then God made His promises to us. This excerpt is taken from a beautifully illustrated children’s Bible. Take some time to read this passage and consider the hope its words…

 

Before they left the garden, God whispered a promise to Adam and Eve: “It will not always be so! I will come to rescue you! And when I do, I’m going to do battle against the snake. I’ll get rid of the sin and the dark and the sadness you let in here. I’m coming back for you!” And he would. One day, God himself would come.

THE JESUS STORYBOOK BIBLE

 

Wednesday Day #3: Isaiah 9:5-7

Take some time today to read and reflect on this scripture written below.

For unto me a child is born, unto me a son is given;
   and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called

   Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 

Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end,
   on the throne of David and over his kingdom,

to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness
  from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

 

Can you think of several hopeful statements in this passage?

 

Thursday Day #4: Words of reflection

Today we are going to reflect on a poem by Emily Dickinson, and then afterwards, I invite you to consider words that describe the hope God has given you and write them down on a notecard for you to tape or put somewhere you can see it. They don’t have to be anything super deep or philosophical. It could be a simple word or phrase. But it needs to make sense to you.

 

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all….

~Emily Dickinson

 

Friday Day #5: John 1:9-14

Let’s reflect upon another great scripture passage filled with Hope.

 

Saturday Day #6: Colossians 1:26-27

With arrival of Jesus a new Hope has exploded into reality. God has come to us, to dwell in our hearts. Look at this amazing hope in this passage! What do you notice??

 

This is a brief list of verse and exercises for you this week as you reflect on advent! May the Lord bless you my brothers and sisters!

 

Pastor Ryan



God Is Holy

Hello everyone and welcome to November!

I saw a Christmas commercial the day after Halloween last week! The holidays will soon be upon us and I couldn’t be more excited!!! No particular reason there except that we get to celebrate Jesus’ birth!!! Yay! Ok, and now on with our 2nd look.

 

For the 2nd look for this week I’d like to take a quote from the book and ask you to consider it this week. What thoughts arise for you as you consider this statement from the book? Have a great week everyone!

 

Pastor Ryan

 

God is against my sin because He is for me. And if I am in sin, God stands against those desires, Macdonald is saying, because they cause my destruction. I would not have it any other way. To be sure, I am prone to excusing my sin or rationalizing my weaknesses, but God is not in that business. Though we are now reconciled through Christ, God is not indifferent to my sin. It hurts me and therefore it hurts God—because God loves me.

 

God does not make me feel bad, or shame me into better behavior. Nor does He use fear or guilt. God’s method of changes is the highest of all. God’s holy love burns the dross of sin out of our lives. It is God’s kindness that leads to genuine repentance (Romans 2:4). As Macdonald said: “love loves unto purity” (pg 123-124).

 



God Is Generous

Howdy SNC brothers and sisters,

It’s 2nd look time!

 

This week I invite you to treasure hunt with me. What do I mean by this? Take some time to hunt for treasure of course!!! Duh!!!

 

Once you stop rolling your eyes at me (which I concede I totally deserve by the way), join me in looking through the scriptures for some ways God is generous to us. What are some verses you know of, or can find in both the new and old testaments where we see God’s generosity? Then write it down somewhere. Maybe on a notecard, or maybe put it as a reminder on your phone, and put it somewhere you can see it. For those of you who are really bold, take another step and write the verse on my Facebook page and tell me about God’s generosity!!!

 

My hope for us this week is to start thinking and talking about how generous God is to us!! I pray this will be a wonderfully peaceful thought for you this week!!!

 

Pastor Ryan

 



Jesus Sends the Disciples and Loses His Cousin, Mark 6:7-30

Hello and welcome to the 2nd Look.
For this week I want to share one of our main points from Sunday’s sermon:

 

If you are a follower of Jesus, you will be SENT!

 

Yea, I know Ryan.

 

No seriously. You. WILL. BE. SENT!

Seriously???

 

I think we hear a line like this and we nod our heads in approval but deep inside we don’t really buy it.

 

Well, maybe somebody else will be sent, but not me. And if I’m to be sent, then where, cause I’m not that go-over-the-seas type of guy…

 

We think maybe this being “sent” is for someone else. But the reality is, we will all be sent.

We need to ACCEPT AND EXPECT this!

We might be sent across the street to our neighbors, sent across town, or across the county. We may be sent across the country or the world. But the reality is this:

as followers of JESUS- WE WILL BE SENT!

 

Here are 2 verses I’m sharing with you to support this idea.

John 14:12

Luke 4:18

 

I invite you to read these verses and see if you can figure out how they support the main point I’m making that you will be sent.

 

And here’s the cool thing! When we are “sent”, and we actually go in obedience to God- these are the moments we see Him move and we get to work in partnership with Him, under his guidance and empowering. It is SO Cool; and this is what makes the Christian faith an adventure. When we don’t go with God as He invites us- we miss out on a huge joy of the Christian life.  

 

One last question for you to consider: “Lord; how might you be wanting to send me?”

 

Have a great week everyone!!!

 

Pastor Ryan



Jesus Doesn’t Do It Right, Mark 2:18-22

Hi folks-

Welcome to this week’s 2ndLook!

If you remember, this past Sunday we talked about how Jesus is joyful and so is his Kingdom. We often get this picture of God that He is an austere, overly serious, unhappy, and opposed to joy. Because we think God is all of these things we begin to think we must be these things as well. I have had multiple conversations with people through the years who think it’s actually inappropriate to get excited in church- to be loud, to jump around, to dance. I think in reality Heaven is going to be all of these things and more. We are going to celebrate for the rest of eternity.

 

Think of something you enjoy in life. I don’t know about you but I’ve often caught myself thinking- I enjoy this thing but I’m pretty sure God either feels nothing about the fact that I enjoy this thing or He actually is unhappy that I enjoy this thing. Maybe He thinks I enjoy it too much? But I would rarely think God is actually enjoying the fact that I’m enjoying this.

 

I used to go to the beach to play and ride waves. If you were to ask me if I thought God loved the fact that I enjoyed this I’d probably say that I didn’t think God felt one way or the other about it. But as the years have gone by I’ve begun to realize that God is a heavenly Father who loves His kids and loves to give good gifts to His children. Sure He disciplines us at times but He does this because He delights in us.  I have begun to realize that my enjoyment of His creation is an opportunity to celebrate with Him. Hey, even God saw what He created and said: “It is good!

 

Now one person might say: “What if what you are enjoying is sinful? God wouldn’t possibly enjoy that we are sinning would He?” I don’t think God enjoys us becoming enslaved to things. Certainly, He will call us away from things that are bad or enslave us. And that is where discipline comes in. But so often I’ve found myself thinking God may not even enjoy my laughter or the fact that I’m having fun. No, God only enjoys when we are beating ourselves up, denying ourselves something, reading our Bible and being super Christians doing spiritual disciplines.

 

We hear the phrase “spiritual disciplines” and it freaks us out because we can’t possibly imagine how the disciplines could be a joyful experience. The word “discipline” is such a heavy word. But even the disciplines can be acts of joy.

 

I think we need to add the word “delight” to the list of spiritual disciplines. What would it look like for us to intentionally delight in things and let our delight turn us towards God in gratitude and celebration? If you see a great sunset; delight in it, drink it in, and then proclaim with God that His creation is good. We get a great hug from our spouse, or kiss… delight in it! God made this to be a wonderful thing to us. Delight in it and thank God for it. We eat a great meal; delight in it, celebrate the great gifts God gives us in a simple meal.

 

Everyday there are reasons to be grateful and celebrate all around us. My invitation to you: Let’s delight and celebrate something every day this week. Your celebration can simply be to enjoy and then turn to God with a simple prayer of gratitude. Today I had a great lunch with a friend and during this lunch we spoke about real things close to our hearts. What a sweet time of discussion and being real with one another. I just sat back and enjoyed great food, good laughter, being vulnerable and thanked God for these moments because I think He was very much enjoying that conversation too.

 

The bible tells us that every good and perfect gift comes from our Father above. Let’s enjoy Him enjoying us this week!

 

Have a great week everyone!

Pastor Ryan



Mary’s Song: A Mother’s Song of Hope and Joy

Hello SNC brothers and sisters and welcome to this week’s 2nd look.
 
I truly hope you had a wonderful holiday with friends and loved ones.
I want to invite you to consider this scripture this week:

“He has shown thee, oh man, what is good and what the Lord requires of thee. But to do justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God” Micah 6:8

Think about the three things Micah lists here:

  • To do justly.
  • To love mercy.
  • To walk humbly with God.

Take some time this week to consider what these three things are. Obviously one of our big points on Sunday was about walking in humility with God. What do these things mean to you; and how does it intersect with your life?

Have a great week everyone!

Pastor Ryan



Pastor Ryan’s Top 15 Christian Books And Authors

Hi friends!

If you are looking for something great to read- something to challenge, inspire, encourage, or help you, or if you’ve been wondering what books have inspired the thoughts that you hear from Sunday to Sunday -then take a look at these. Each of the books I’ve listed here has shown up in my thinking and preaching; No I didn’t come up with this stuff on my own! I would highly recommend for any and all of you to check them out. They have all been a huge blessing to me and I truly believe they’d be the same for any of you. With each book is a link that will take you directly to Amazon where you can buy it. Some of them, I’d imagine, you can get on audiobook as well. I listed them by title in alphabetical order.

Check them out.
 
 
1) Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning

A Spectacular book about being in the wondrous grace of God

2) The Bible

This is the most obvious choice of all!

3) Desiring God by John Piper

A book that woke me up to the reality that God is someone I’m meant to know and enjoy. Deeply challenged me as a young man.

4) Experiencing God by Richard Blackaby

Helped me understand how to see God moving in and around me and then to join Him! Try the workbook!

5) Healing Care; Healing Prayer by Terry Wardle

Super impactful book for people who are looking to help others get healing and freedom. This book is one I try to read over and over again

6) Hiding From Love by John Townsend

This is perhaps one of the top three most impactful books to my life. The opening illustration; to me; was worth the buying the book alone. This book has powerfully blessed me.

7) Letters From a Skeptic by Gregory Boyd

In my early twenties I deeply wrestled with my faith. I never saw myself as a deep philosophical thinker- and reading the really deep books was difficult for me. This book was so readable and yet addressed major questions that I often wrestled with. I loved this book. I don’t currently have any because I keep giving them away.
 

8) Life of the Beloved by Henri Nouwen

A short little book about being God’s beloved. Awesome!
 

9) Men’s Secret Wars by Patrick Means

This has been one of the most important books that has helped me understand the fight with addiction and getting free!
 

10) Mere Christianity by CS Lewis

Huge book… just huge!
 
 
Dr. Fee really challenged me to see the Holy Spirit in a powerful new way!
 

12) Practicing His Presence by Brother Lawrence and Frank Laubach

I came across this book in college and years later it still profoundly impacts my life. It really opens our eyes to the importance on living life WITH God!
 

13) The Search for Significance By Robert McGee

You hear me talk about knowing the gospel? Yea- It’s this book’s fault! A wonderful book about finding our identity in Christ.
 

14) Strengthsfinder 2.0 by Tom Rath

I highly suggest you take the test and read this book! Everybody!!!! I don’t suggest you buy it used. Then you cannot take the test.
 

15) Wild at Heart by John Eldredge

Very important book for me, on manhood.



Jesus the Healer

Hi everyone,

I want to give you a simple question to consider this week:

“What do I really think about the kingdom of God?”

Some of us don’t think about it at all. Some of us are aware that the kingdom of God is here but we really don’t grasp what it is. Some of us believe the kingdom of God is powerfully present in us and yet we don’t really live as if this truth touches our lives.

“What do I really think about the kingdom of God?”

Take some time this week and simply let yourself sit with this question. Let it be a matter of prayer for you. The apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 4:20: “for the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” It was clear to Paul that the kingdom was something much more than fuzzy, happy words; a very real, very present powerful thing.

“What do I really think about the kingdom of God?”

May God grant you peace this week as you wrestle with this question!

Pastor Ryan



A Call to Protect

Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s second look.

For this week I invite you to read the story of Joseph in Luke 2:1-20 and Matthew 2:1-12. Read it several times this week. Close your eyes and picture the scene in your mind, or even try to put yourself in the shepherd’s and the Magi’s shoes. What thoughts, emotions do you feel in this passage? What things to do notice or observe? On Sunday we will get into this story and my hope is for you to spend some time with it this week!

We are in the home stretch- Christmas is this upcoming Sunday! May God bless you and your loved ones in this final week! Merry Christmas!!!!

Pastor Ryan



Tithing As Worship

2nd Look 11.15.16

 

Hi folks,

Welcome to this week’s second look.

For this week I’d simply like to invite you to take time each day to read and reflect on 2 Corinthians 9:1-15. As the week progresses what seems to emerge to you from this passage? This passage has been a great comfort and encouragement to me this past week as I was preparing for Sunday’s sermon. I truly hope it will encourage you as well.

 

Have a great week everyone and may the peace of God be upon you all!

Pastor Ryan