2nd look

Humility, Gentleness, and Patience

Hello everyone –

For this week’s 2nd look can I make a simple request?

I need folks who are willing to open each day praying to God for Him to develop humility; gentleness; patience and forbearing in our lives as a church. That God would give us His Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that we might know Him better as individuals and as a church.

As a pastor I can bang on you guys and scream and tell you: “darnit we need to be humble;” but in the end it doesn’t matter much what I say – humility; gentleness and patience are all fruits of walking in step with God’s Spirit. We can strive towards these things – but we can’t really get very far without God’s work in our hearts… We must pray for these things!!!

Please join me this week, in praying for these qualities to grow within our church.

Have a blessed week everybody!!

Pastor Ryan



Rooted and Grounded

Hey SNC brothers and sisters-

Two words jump out at me from the passage we studied on Sunday:

Rooted
Established

These words are used by Paul to describe what we are in regards to God’s love: rooted and established in it. This is your state of existence as you are in Christ. Paul acknowledges this is true of the Ephesians- but then he prays that they would actually grasp this truth- that they would know it.

Isn’t that interesting? We can be deeply- truly- wonderfully loved and yet not even really know it- or experience it…
Yet it is this deep knowledge that is the starting point for us. In the remainder of Ephesians- Paul shows us how to follow Christ- to live as Christians and if we forget the all to important truth that we are rooted and established in God’s love, we lose something very significant. The Christian life becomes all about obedience to rules and regulations out of fear; rather than- I obey out of gratitude; trust; and desire.

When I realize God loves me fully; it seems much easier to call him Lord- because I trust He truly knows and wants what is best for me…
When I lose sight of His love- I find I begin to live in shame; hiddenness from him and others; and ultimately go back to me trying to be a good person to earn love….. The love I already have!!! It’s a vicious cycle..

This week- I’d like to invite you to think of some verses in the scriptures that tell you about your status as being beloved by God…

It’s a pretty freeing and life changing truth. I often find I need to approach God and simply admit I have forgotten He loves me again… perhaps this is why Paul intentionally chose to pray for this with the Ephesians.. He knew what was at stake…

Have a great week everybody!

Pastor Ryan



Our God is a Mighty Warrior

Hello SNC brothers and sisters.

This week I’d like to leave you with something simple.

I’d like you to watch this video several times this week and contemplate the lyrics…

This is a beautiful picture of our mighty and powerful God and exuberant praise to Him

Have a great week everybody!

Pastor Ryan



Know Jesus Better

Philippians 3:7-11 “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.”
John 17:3 “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
I want to invite you to take some time this week and let these scriptures wash over you. In addition to this – would you be willing to pray for our church: — That God would give us wisdom and spiritual understanding through His Spirit – so that we, as a church, might KNOW HIM BETTER — That God would open our eyes to the great hope of HIS glorious inheritance. We live in this incredible hope every moment of every day. — Finally that God would open our eyes to His incomparably great power for us who believe!!!! I believe these three prayers can revolutionize our church. Please join me in praying these prayers as we look forward to what God has in store for us this year!
May God bless you!
Pastor Ryan
P.S. Every Sermon series we do; depending on its length – may have 1-4 theme songs. These are songs that accompany what we will be talking about and seem to embody what we are studying. The two songs we have introduced for Ephesians (and it’s likely we will have 1-2 others in the near future) are: “This I Believe (The Creed)”- By Hillsong Live and “We are the Free” – By Matt Redman. If you’d like to hear them again – in their original form; please click on the following youtube links. They are also on itunes should you wish to purchase them for a measly $1.29 each! We Are The Free – Matt Redman This I Believe (The Creed)- Hillsong Live


Why Do People Hate “Religion?”

Do you want to know why people hate “Religion” so much?

They say you can talk about anything with strangers except for politics and “Religion”. Atheist author Christopher Hitchens wrote a book titled: “God is NOT Great; how religion poisons everything;” and it has become more and more prevalent to hear people saying they don’t want anything to do with “Religion”…………..  

Why?

Maybe people hate “Religion” so much because it actually does does poison things. “Religion” can create insecurity like nothing else in this world. Christianity has not been immune to this. It’s so easy for churches to become wrapped up in the external: “how to’s” of Christianity and to get away from our identity IN CHRIST, And when we do this – we become a “Religion” like all others…. And it is poisonous.

Have you ever read the book of Galatians? Did you know this letter Paul wrote was really; for all intents and purposes; a battle against the church becoming “Religious.” In the churches of Galatia there was a “Religious” movement growing; a teaching that threatened to rob people of their freedom and identity in Christ. What was it? It was a teaching that required all believers; if they wanted to be true Christians; to get circumcised; and to observe Jewish worship rituals.  

To be sure; these things aren’t bad in themselves; but they were being put forth as a requirement of being a Christian. In Paul’s letter to the Galatians he fought against this vigorously with venom and intensity. WHY?

Because the minute we make our salvation about OUR behaviors – we see the cross of Christ lose its power. If we need Jesus and then we need to observe these religious rituals in order to be “acceptable” to God – then ultimately we are saying that what Jesus did on the cross was not enough – that we need to save ourselves. 

Ok… but doesn’t God want us to avoid sin; doesn’t He call us to grow in Him – to follow Him? Yes – but as an outpouring of our gratitude and devotion to Him for completely changing our destiny and identity. We obey Christ not to make ourselves acceptable to HIm – we obey BECAUSE HE has made us acceptable to Him.  

You are already forgiven; already loved; already given grace; already redeemed; already shown God’s plan; already been sealed with God’s Holy Spirit; now you obey out of gratitude and because there is nowhere else to turn where you can find real life.  

Let me see if I can make it simpler…

“Religion” teaches us we need to obey TO receive Christ (Phariseeism), or Allah’s mercy (Islam), or Enlightenment (Buddhism); or nirvana (Hinduism); or godhood (mormonism), or membership to the exclusive club of people being saved (Jehovah’s Witness)….

Christianity teaches us we need to obey because we’ve received Christ. We have received real life in Him – and so we follow now out of devotion and a desire to not let anything come between us!!!  We live out our new identity with Him because ultimately there is no better life offered to us than this!!!

I’m parking on this thought today because there is an aspect of Christianity that involves effort. In fact this is what prolific christian author and philosopher Dallas willard wrote: “Grace is not opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning…”

We are called as Christians to follow the Master. We are called to try. But not to make God pleased – but because we have a new master who loves us and calls us to follow Him! In Ephesians – especially later in the letter – we will see Paul begin to challenge us. He will call us to some radical living. He will set out standards that may require difficult changes and yet what He proposes is truly better than anything the world has to offer – and it is possible because we have God’s Holy Spirit!

But we must start where we have been – at being loved by God. Everything starts there and then grows.  

My hope is that this knowledge of you being loved and secure in Christ – will well up in your soul and bring you much freedom. You are loved my friend.  

Have a great week and be reminded of this powerful life changing truth!!!

Pastor RyanWha



God Has Chosen Us

Hello SNC friend and family!
This past week we looked at an amazing truth – God has chosen us!

If you are anything like me – you may have caught yourself trying to work for God’s approval. If I could be a better Christian; I need to be out of debt; I need to be addiction free; I need to read my Bible for hours a week. These are thoughts that have often run through my mind and the other side of it is – when I don’t do these things then God is angry with me. (I think God is grieved more than He is angered – His “anger” has been satisfied by Christ on the cross.)

The truth is: “It’s already been done.” It was decided long ago before we even took our first breath. I want to give you a link to a song by a band called “Rush of Fools.” This song has ministered to me for years. My hope is that it will minister to you this week (click here).

May God bless you,
Pastor Ryan



How would you describe someone who is “Powerfully Alive”

Hello SNC brothers and sisters!
This is our very first 2nd Look of the year as we begin our new sermon series on the book of Ephesians.

How would you describe someone who is “Powerfully Alive?

That is the question that has haunted me for some time. If you know anything about me you know I’m not satisfied with merely being alive; I want something else. I’m inspired by people who have that “something else” about them. Ephesians paints a picture of individual and church life that is powerfully alive. This is the kind of living that brings life; healing and inspires a world around us to sit up and take notice.

How would you describe someone who is “Powerfully Alive?

 Below I’ve written a list of some things that come to mind when I hear the phrase powerfully alive:

  • Transformation-personal and community (Christianity can be exciting when we look at how we are changed in light of knowing Christ. A church that encounters Christ and follows His leading can find that they not only are changed personally-but they are a big force for change in their community.)
  • We see more and more evidence of the fruits of God’s Spirit in our lives and in our church: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control.
  • We see God empowering us to serve in awesome and exciting ways!
  • More freedom from the sin that so easily entangles.
  • Our relationships find more healing and more substance to them.
  • Living with eternal purpose and meaning.

These are just some of the things that seem to be evidence of being powerfully alive. I’m sure I missed some-but what’s interesting is how many of these things Ephesians addresses in one way or another. The first part of the book really deals with Who Jesus is and our identity IN HIM! So much begins with our identity in Christ.

So…How would you describe someone who is “powerfully alive?” Take some time this week and think about this. Maybe God wants you to discover more of this powerful living as you discover life in Him.

I pray your new year will be full of great adventures and discoveries. You are loved by God and by me. Have a wonderful week!
Pastor Ryan



Ephesians: Powerfully Alive

Hello Everyone,
The New Year is about to begin and that means a new sermon series for us. What will be studying on Sunday mornings?
Our next series is:
Ephesians: Powerfully Alive
Have you ever met someone who just had something about them? Something that felt life giving? They have an area in their lives where there is life. I’ve met people like this through my life’s journey, and one thing I can say is – in one way or another they inspire me. I’m inspired by creative people who have found freedom to reach; stretch and dream. I’m inspired by leader type people who know how to create a vision and get people to join them; I’m inspired by contemplative people who have found a way to live life that cultivates a deep and powerful relationship with God. I’m inspired by marriages that are marked by mutual trust; respect and passion; that there feels like life is there. I’m inspired by life.

Ephesians is a book about where we find real life; and what it looks like to live it. It’s also about what it looks like to be a church that is powerfully alive. A church like this can inspire; protect; heal and build the kingdom of God in amazing ways. When I read the book of Ephesians, I’m often inspired. No book in the Bible has more profoundly impacted my life. It has been a huge blessing for me and I’m excited to see the ways it will bless us all . . .

So starting this upcoming Sunday, we will begin our new sermon series in Ephesians. See you there!

Pastor Ryan



Merry Christmas

Hello Everyone –
I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. May your holy day be full of love; joy and worshipful remembrance of our great King and Savior Jesus.
I also want to make one final invitation to you to join us on Christmas Eve at 6pm, here at church for our Christmas Eve Celebration. We are going to have a wonderful evening. Every year, as we do this celebration; I’m blessed for the opportunity to be together as a church family and to worship our Savior. It’s going to be a great time, I truly hope you can make it. Merry Christmas to you all!!!
Pastor Ryan


What Does Jesus Want For Christmas?

Hello everyone-

The question we left open this week is – “What Does Jesus Want For Christmas?”

We focused on 2 things
To treat others justly and with kindness and compassion. To help others – to meet needs – to love – to go beyond just mere words – but let our gratitude for Jesus overflow in acts of love to others.
Maybe what Jesus would love is simply to have more of us this holiday season. Maybe it could be as simple as 5 minutes a day of pure – undistracted time with God. I would be willing to bet you that if you did this – that over time you might want more. You might move to 10 or even 15 minutes! It’s amazing how much this can become some of the sweetest time of our day. Why? Because deep down in ways we don’t completely understand – we need it. Maybe this isn’t just a great gift to give Him – but to us as well..

This week, I’d like to invite you to keep considering this question – to take time if you have kids, to sit down and discuss this with them. If you are a grandparent – ask your grandkids or invite them to do something with you. If you are a kid, or a single person; maybe consider doing something with your friends.

This could literally be the most meaningful thing of your entire holiday season!

But please don’t forget this. Sometimes the greatest gifts aren’t big extravagant things – but they come in moments where we are at the grocery store; or walking down the street and God gives us a chance to really listen to someone; or to meet a need. All it takes sometimes is for us to be looking for the opportunities the Lord brings to us.

I pray you have a wonderful week! I am so grateful for you guys. May God bless you!

Pastor Ryan