2nd look

True-Faced

Hello SNC Friends!
This past week we began looking at God’s calling to us in regards to how we are to live together. What things are we meant to emphasize as a family of believers? What are we supposed to battle for; to fight for; to place as a priority in our relationships?

This week we looked at how we are called to be people who live in Truth. Paul in Ephesians 4:25 challenges us to put off falsehood and to speak truth. We need to be people of truth! We looked at how we can often lie not only with what we say – but also what we portray. Do we speak lies – do we live lies? This is a deep question for us to ask. How do we battle to live in truth in a day and age where so often we are pulled towards lies?

One of the big questions I asked is something I’d like to invite you to think about… Who really knows you? Are there people here who know the real you? This can be something that requires bravery – but are we willing to have a group of people at church with whom we can be real? My hope is that our church would be a place where people can be real about the truth of their lives. Do you struggle? I know there are things in my life I struggle with. The temptation is to hide this. The path to healing and victory – is to get this in the light. To get known.

So I want to ask you once again. Who really knows you? Men – are there other men here at this church that really know you? You need them and they need you. Ladies – do you have other ladies who really know you?

As a church we need to risk for truth – battle for truth – keep truth at the center of things!!! There is a great deal of life and freedom found in truth. Today may be the day to take some risks and let some people in…

Have a great week everybody!
Pastor Ryan



5 Fold Ministry

Hello SNC family!

Last Sunday we talked about how we are each given a base ministry for us to do within the church.

Do you know yours? Here’s a link to a test you can take that can help you begin to hone you understanding of what your base ministry may be… http://fivefoldsurvey.com

Please remember this –

Some of your results may be puzzling to you. Please read the commentaries they have on each ministry. They can be very helpful. It may be puzzling because you don’t think of yourself this way – or the fact is the test may actually get it wrong… That is always possible. This is why I highly suggest for you to invite several people to think this through with you… They can give you honest feedback and help you get a more clear picture.

Ok – so the inevitable question is: “Now what?” Now that I know my base ministry – what do I do?

My most immediate response is – “Look for ways to do this ministry.” 

I’d also like to add: “Look for ways to develop your base.”  Here are some ideas:

Apostle:

– Write down your ideas –  how can you clearly communicate them?

– Why does the church need this?

– Practically speaking, how can we make an idea like this happen?

– Get involved with a team. When you are on a team you have an opportunity to be inventive and help develop new ideas…

Prophet:

– Is what I’m hearing supported by Scripture? 

– Sometimes we need to take a risk – throw what you feel you are hearing from the Lord out there and see what happens. Do this with love and kindness…

–  Learn more about hearing from the Lord and being able to discern His voice. There are some wonderful books out there that can be helpful in your journey…

– Get involved with a ministry team – every team at this church needs prophet ministry base folks… 

Evangelist:

– Learn the sacred art of listening and asking good questions…  This is a powerful ministry tool!

– How can you help us as a church learn how to evangelize?

– Join a ministry team – youth ministry is a great place to exercise your evangelism skills…

Pastor:

– Learn the sacred art of listening. In pastoral ministry this is a huge skill…

– I’d suggest two books to you: “How people grow” and “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality” – very helpful when understanding how to work with people…

– You need to put yourself in environments where you can care for others – hospital ministry – lead a small group in youth ministry – mentor some people in the church…

Teacher:

– Is what you are wanting to teach Biblically based and accurate.

– What are you passionate about that you could teach to others?

– What is an area in Scriptures; a theological area that you feel passionate about and would want to teach on?

– Children’s ministry – youth – men’s ministries need teachers. We also need small group leaders; and i’m sure there is a preacher out there somewhere. We need to think about this…

Talk to an elder – or one of us pastors. Pick our brains and see what we can come up with. This is when ministry gets exciting for us as pastors because we get to watch you all start this amazing adventure with God!

Have a great week everybody

Pastor Ryan



Palm Sunday Revisited

SNC Brothers and Sisters!
Wow what a morning we had at SNC!!! It was quite a roller coaster.
The police were seeking to apprehend someone – they had them handcuffed and the person managed to get away from them. This began a huge manhunt that resulted in 25 of us being locked inside the church – while many of you were locked out. It was quite an adventurous morning.
But alas – the adventure ended around 10:50am on Palm Sunday morning and we were able to go ahead and have a church service at 11. Many of you were able to participate. For those of you who may be new – this is not a normal occurrence. In fact everything is fine and we will be ready to go for Easter Sunday.
Who can you invite to church this Easter? Pray about it – see who the Lord may lead you to. Pick up your invitations in the church office this week. Easter Sunday will be an awesome time of worship together! We are looking forward to it!

If I can give you one final suggestion – take some time this week to read Mark 11-16. This is the story of the “Passion Week” for Jesus. Take some time this week to consider Jesus’ road to the cross – so that we can be FREED!!!!

Have a wonderful week everybody.
Pastor Ryan



Raised To Hope

Romans 5:1-11

This is a passage that I strongly considered using in the sermon – but it just didn’t make it in there. It talks about hope found in the resurrection of Christ – but it also talks about how hope grows out of suffering. Very interesting. Please let me invite you this week – to take a look at this passage. Maybe during a lunch break; or before you go to bed at night. Consider the words in this passage and let the Holy Spirit speak to you through the words there.  

Have a great week everybody and may God fill you with the hope that can only be found

IN THE RISEN KING OF KINGS, JESUS CHRIST!!!

Pastor Ryan



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