2nd look

How to Make a Pickle

Matthew 11:28-30 

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”—The Message


I invite you to read this Bible passage this week. I love this translation of these verses. I think it beautifully captures the heart behind Jesus’ words and invitation to us. Unfortunately, for many of us, we don’t know how to lay our burden at Jesus’ feet and take up His yoke. In many ways this is why we are talking about these false narratives. We all have a need to be freed from at least one of these false narratives and it can be quite frustrating to see just how slow the journey to be freed is. But the more we grasp just what our false narratives are, the more we can do the beautiful work of replacing them with the truth Jesus teaches and shows us. I want to finish this 2nd look with a list of the true narratives from this series.


Which of these narratives gives you more freedom from the heavy burdens you may be carrying in your soul?


Have a great week!


Pastor Ryan


The True Narratives of our Good and Beautiful God

  • God is truly good, no matter the circumstances!
  • God is a good father and is wholly trustworthy!
  • God is lavishly generous to folks who don’t deserve it!
  • God IS LOVE!
  • God IS HOLY!
  • God sacrifices Himself for those He loves!
  • God has us in a process of transformation!
  • God wants us to simply BE WITH HIM


God Transforms – Thanksgiving


Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s 2nd look.

I am taking a bit of a detour this week. As it is the week of a great holiday, Thanksgiving, I invite you to join me with taking time each day to be thankful to God. Call it a thanksgiving appointment. Put it in your daily calendar. 5 minutes to consider things you are thankful for and then simply to thank God for this.


You may have heard this verse many times before. I know I’ve shared it, but it has rocked my world over the past couple years.


Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


Philippians 4:6-7


Do you notice one of the key components to living life with less anxiety and more peace… is thanksgiving.


Let’s be thankful on this great week of Thanksgiving!

May God bless you with His peace and love this week!!!


Happy Thanksgiving everyone,

Pastor Ryan

God Is Self-Sacrificing

Howdy folks and welcome to 2

Let’s try an imagination project this week.


An imagination project? What in the world is that?


You ask a great question. I often find I think of concepts using images or pictures. For example, I may think of grace as a big gift with wrapping paper and an amazing bow; and this gift is something God just came up to me and gave for no reason at all. Or maybe grace is a fire that sparks to life in my chest and consumes all of me- transforming my life.

You see what I mean?


This past weekend we talked about how God has come to find us, to rescue us, to bring us back to Him. Now, let’s do an imagination project. Come up with a picture of this: God coming to get you. God knocking down every barrier to rescue you. Let me give you an example, my picture. I see God running through the countryside and everywhere He goes walls rise before Him that I’m building. But He’s bursting through them, toppling them, nothing stopping him to save me. Picture this! Come up with a vision of it; then sit with that vision this week.


If you are really daring, send an email to


and tell her what image you came up with. Later this week, we may post your responses (without names of course) on Facebook and our website! Let’s celebrate this truth that God is breaking down every barrier to save us!!!
Having trouble picturing God’s pursuit? Check out this song.
The imagery used here is pretty awesome and I think the song is right on!

Check it out


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 Love

In the chapter 5 of The Good and Beautiful God one of the main points Dr. Smith makes is that there is a terrible irony we learn from the parable of the prodigal son. He points out: It wasn’t the broken, sinful son who was kept from the party, but it was the self-righteous son.


This is something we constantly need to be on the lookout for in our lives. Self-righteousness is the belief in us that we need to earn God’s love through our good behaviors AND that we have! In the parable of the prodigal son, the party being thrown at the end is a metaphor for the Kingdom of God. The younger son, the sinful, party animal that squandered his father’s inheritance is now in the party because he was willing to admit he had blown it and he wasn’t worthy no matter what he did. But sadly, it is the older brother who is left outside the party, because of his self-righteousness.


Let me ask you a question. Is there any part of you that believes that somehow God loves you a little more when you are good than when you are bad? Is there a part of you that believes those who are good, those who behave a certain way, are a little more deserving of God’s love than others? If you believe these things you have the seeds of self righteousness within you and you will need to watch out for this.


I say this out of experience in my own life. I will readily admit to you I don’t believe I can do anything to make God love me more than He does right now. But I look at the pressure I put on myself, at those moments when I feel I have sinned and I can honestly say- I struggle with that feeling that God is unhappy, and that He loves me less.


The problem is that this self-righteousness robs me of joy and peace in God. It also robs me of empathy and compassion towards others who are trapped in sin. I find I need to remind myself that I am no more deserving of God’s love than that guy down the street whose sin is apparent to all. Somehow, I forget that and find myself judging them.


It’s tough. It lurks in the shadows of our hearts. But we need to root it out when we find it. I invite you this week is to examine your heart for any seeds of this self-righteousness. If it is there- grab it, and throw it away! Then remind yourself once again that nothing you do makes you more lovable to God. He loves you simply because you exist.


Have a great week everybody. And May God grant you His peace that comes from knowing His amazing love!


Pastor Ryan

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


God Is Trustworthy

Hi SNC brothers and sisters.


For this week’s 2nd look I invite you to join me in counting your blessings.


At the start of everyday take a few minutes to write out some things that God has blessed you with. Dr. Smith challenges us to get up to 50 or a hundred blessings by the end of the week. You can start simply by listing things like family, or beautiful sunsets, but ultimately the aim is to open our eyes to how far God has gone to bless us each and every day. You may be surprised to see just how much our great heavenly Father blesses us.


I will start by giving you my first ten things that I thought of, that came right off the top of my head, in no particular order.


Here they are…

  • My beautiful amazing wonderful wife!
  • My awesome great super cool kids.
  • Music: God you bless my life with all kinds of music.
  • Deep breathes: I love deep breaths, they feel so satisfying.
  • A roof over my head.
  • The Ocean and the Mountains.
  • JESUS: For saving me, cleansing me, giving me a new name.
  • My dear brothers and sisters at SNC!
  • THE HOLY SPIRIT: For loving me, guiding me, empowering me.
  • Coca-Cola!


What might be on your list?

Have a blessed week everyone!

Pastor Ryan

God Is Good

Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s 2nd look.


“Pastor Ryan, you said God isn’t an angry God; but isn’t he? Let’s be honest, the God we see in the Old Testament seems plenty angry a lot. Didn’t He say in Exodus 20:4:

for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me…’? And what about in Psalm 95:11 when God said: ‘In my wrath I declared they shall never enter my rest…’?


“This seems to me to be a picture of a God who gets plenty angry and then gets plenty even. It’s nice to say God isn’t an angry God- kind of a wishy-washy nice sentiment. But the reality is God is often offended and gets angry, we see it in the scriptures!”


It’s actually quite easy to walk away from a reading of the Old Testament and see a God who can throw cosmic temper tantrums- and get revenge and all these things. But we also need to remember that God’s wrath is never impulsive. What I mean is I see God bringing justice and judgment upon nations in the Old Testament but this is after repeated rebellion and rejection of God reaching out to them, or in the face of God’s repeated goodness and provision for them. Perhaps the best thing God could do in that moment was to bring justice- to at least try to save them.


Think about this: when we let a kid get away with doing whatever they want to do are we actually helping them? I would submit that we aren’t. We may think we are but in all actuality we are hurting them by not providing them with healthy boundaries and a place to form a moral compass.


Is God impulsively angry? Consider this- God let the Canaanites spit in his face, worship other gods in detestable and horrific ways (involving ritual rape; torture and murder of people of all ages including children) for hundreds of years before he said, “Ok enough is enough. There is no redemption left for you; your souls are so hardened; for the protection of everyone else you must be shut down.” God did the same thing to the Israelites when they went sideways. He sent prophet after prophet to them, begging them to change, but they wouldn’t. In fact, they began to kill those prophets.


In the Exodus passage, God is punishing the sins of the father “up to four generations” but this is 4 generations of people who are completely rebellious like their fathers were. When God declares his people will “never enter [His] rest” it seems to be a statement made in anger. But Eugene Peterson’s biblical translation “The Message” has a beautiful perspective on this.

“Drop everything and listen, listen as he speaks:
    “Don’t turn a deaf ear as in the Bitter Uprising,
As on the day of the Wilderness Test,
    when your ancestors turned and put me to the test.
For forty years they watched me at work among them,
    as over and over they tried my patience.
And I was provoked—oh, was I provoked!
    ‘Can’t they keep their minds on God for five minutes?
    Do they simply refuse to walk down my road?’
Exasperated, I exploded,
    ‘They’ll never get where they’re headed,

    never be able to sit down and rest.’”


Kind of a different perspective, huh? The reality is that God is patient and kind, even with those who are spitting in His face. At some point though, justice must be served. At some point God has to say: Enough is enough. I think we sometimes take a handful of verses and create a picture of God that isn’t entirely accurate. When we see the entirety of the Old Testament we see a different God than an angry, petulant, childish supreme being who is looking for a reason to zap us with a lighting bolt. God is better than that. He is good!


Have a great week folks!

What Are You Seeking?

Howdy folks,

Welcome to this week’s 2nd Look.

This past Sunday we began a new series titled: “The Good and Beautiful God” based on the book (same title) by James Bryan Smith. I invite you this week to read the book- but in addition to that- take a few minutes each day to simply reflect on three simple passages. Maybe you choose one passage every two days then switch them up. What are these scriptures teaching us about how God wants to work in our minds and hearts to change us from within?


Here are the passages.

  • John 14:26 and John 16:13
  • Romans 8:5-9 and Romans 12:2
  • Philippians 2:5 and Philippians 4:8


Have a blessed week everybody and check this out:

The first soul training exercise is SLEEP! I know this is a rough one for me. I confess I can be quite a night owl. But I know that sleep is very good for me. My aim is to really try to get to bed earlier. Maybe you are like me. Let me invite you to join me in trying to get more sleep this week. Let’s see what this will be like for us! Good luck!


May God bless you all with his peace!

Pastor Ryan


Jesus Feeds 5,000 (What Do You Want From ME Now?), Mark 6:31-44

DeRon began the sermon with two scriptures and then a question.  John 10:10.  Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life, and have it more abundantly.”  Jesus wants us to be victorious in this life.  And second, Mark 10:45, Jesus said, “For even the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve.”  Jesus also wants to do for us while we are still on this earth. 
     With that in mind, the question is this, if Jesus were to ask you this question, how would you answer it.  “Now that you’re saved, what do you want from me, what can I do for you.”  How would you answer that question? What are some possible answers, and how do you think other people might answer that question? Spend some time discussing some of the possible answers.
    This world is full of stuff, sometimes things don’t go the way we would like.  And Jesus doesn’t want to take us out of the problem, in fact sometimes He will ask us to go into battle, trusting that He will walk through it with us.  Can you think of a time when you were uncomfortable, but stepped out in faith and trusted Jesus, and saw Him come through?  
    DeRon then stated that we all want the benefits that Jesus has to offer, but the question is are we willing to pay the price to win the prize?  But first we have to decide what the prize is we are looking for.  Back to the question, what do you want from Jesus?
    Then He went through 6 groups of people who wanted something from Jesus, asking the question, where does your answer best fit into one of these groups.  The first two groups were the multitudes and the 5,000.  These two groups really only wanted their physical needs met, and that was enough for them.  The next two groups were the 70 Jesus sent out, and the twelve disciples.  These two groups were given the ability to move in power and to understand the teachings of Jesus.  The price was to begin to live for Jesus and not for yourself.
    And the last two groups were the 3, and the 1.  Their desire was not just to just know about Jesus and what He can do, but to get to know Jesus on a intimatel level.  And the price was to die to self, to their desires and wants, and to live solely for Jesus and His agenda. 
    So the final question is what prize are you looking for, what group to want to be a part of, and are you willing to pay the price to get there.
    Does this question help you to understand what kind of relationship you really want with Jesus.  Pray for each other to increase our desire to want more of Jesus.