2nd look

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.

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!



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

Sunland/Tujunga Fire 2017

Howdy SNC brothers and sisters!


This past weekend was definitely one we will remember for quite some time. I know when I drive the 210 freeway, I will see those hills that were once green with shrubs, trees and grasses, then lament over how in just a matter of days, it burned before our eyes. It reminds me of how so many things we take for granted, simply aren’t guaranteed to us. This weekend a song kept running through my head off of Switchfoot’s newest album.


Seriously? Again? Ryan are you trying to make me a fan of Switchfoot?


Why yes… yes I am!

Hahaha, but in all seriousness, they wrote a song titled: “If the House Burns own Tonight.” It’s an amazing song with a profound message. Below, I’ve given you the lyrics to the song. I’ve also given you a YouTube link if you want to listen to it.


The main question of the song is: what are the things we really hold on to? What are the things that really matter? That if I lost everything else, I’d still be ok because I have this?


I invite you this week, in the aftermath of the fires of 2017, to consider with Switchfoot and myself, the questions this song asks.


Also, please note my favorite line in the song:

“Holding you and the wheel it occurs to me

We’re driving down the edge of eternity

And if the house burns down tonight

I’ve got everything I need when I got you by my side…”


We’re driving down the edge of eternity my friends. We have eternal life because of Jesus!


Have a great week my friends. And please enjoy the song!




Ashes from the flames
The truth is what remains
The truth is what you save
From the fire
And you fight for what you love
Don’t matter if it hurts
You find out what it’s worth
And you let the rest burn

[Verse 1]
The sunset burns like gasoline
Touch me and make sure that I’m not dreaming
I see her face and my heart skips beats
But I still get the feeling that we’re half asleep and

There’s a spark in the corner of my baby’s eye
Like a distant star that won’t burn quiet
And I might not know what I want from this life
But I know I want more than the starting line

So give me the fire

[Chorus 1]
I can hear the motor running down the interstate
And all the distractions fade away
And if the house burns down tonight
I got everything I need with you by my side

I see the smoke piling up in the rear view mirror
Yeah but I ain’t ever seen it any clearer
If the house burns down tonight
I got everything I need when I got you by my side
And let the rest burn
And let the rest burn

And let the rest burn


[Verse 2]
I’ve given too much of my heart away
My soul’s holding on like a house divided
Like a match it burns down like a masquerade
And I had to let it go when the fire ignited

One heart, two hands, your life is all you hold
(your life is all you hold)
To hold, hold tight and let the bitter go
Yeah let it go, and give me the fire

[Chorus 2]
The smoke tries choking the pacific sun
We rocket down the road like we’re shot out of guns
And if the house burns down tonight
I got everything I need with you by my side
Holding you and the wheel and it occurs to me
We’re driving down the edge of eternity
And if the house burns down tonight
I got everything I need when I got you by my side

And let the rest burn
And let the rest burn

Put your hand in mine and
Put your heart in driving
We got everything we need yeah
We got everything we need yeah
Left it all behind us
What we need will find us

We got everything we need yeah
We got everything we need yeah

Can you hear that motor running
Can you hear that motor running
There ain’t no stopping us now
There ain’t no slowing us down

Can you hear that motor running
Can you hear that motor run, run, run

[Chorus 3]
And all those lies that mattered most to me
Were draining me dry making a ghost of me
And if the house burns down tonight
I got everything I need, everything I need
There’s a fire coming that we all will go through
You possess your possessions or they possess you
And if the house burns down tonight
I got everything I need when I got you by my side

And let the rest burn


Ashes from the flames, the truth is what remains

Jesus Meets a Rock He Cannot Move, Mark 6:1-6

Howdy folks,

Welcome to the 2nd look.


This week, consider 3 Core Belief’s we need to combat the growth of pride in our lives. These were shared during our sermon on Sunday.


1)   I am loved even though I am a mess.

Some of us have trouble believing we are loved. Some of us have trouble believing we are each a mess. The truth is we are both and we need to be reminded of it often.


2)   No matter how well I get to know Jesus, there will always be something He can teach me.

We are never finished products, until we are fully home with the Lord. This means we need to realize there is always something we can learn, there are always ways we can keep growing. We have weaknesses. We make mistakes.  We can learn from them. It’s humbling to admit this- but it is truly healthy.


3)   The most important question I can ask is: “God, what are you doing in my life?”

This is a question that assumes God is always at work, in and around us. Our job is to become aware of what He is doing and to join Him. What’s most important is what HE is doing.


My invitation to you is to think of these 3 Beliefs. To let them sink into your mind. Pride is one of the most destructive things in our world and it can creep into us without us barely even noticing. But no matter what- we must fight against it with every fiber of our being.


Have a great week everybody.

And may God grant you His peace as a person who is mess but completely loved!

Pastor Ryan    

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

I want to remind you of the lessons of powerful faith we learned from the story in this week’s sermon. I’m going to rephrase them a bit.


  • Powerful faith begins with desperation and dependence.

It all begins with us knowing we are completely powerless without Christ.

We are truly dependent upon Him.

  • Powerful faith is active.

It’s not just sitting there thinking about it. We begin exercising faith when we actually take a step- when we actually follow.

  • Powerful faith is persistent in overcoming obstacles.

If we know there is no better place to be than by Jesus’ side, faith says: “I will stop at nothing to get close to Jesus!”

  • Powerful faith somehow played a role in the miracle.

Think about this. Jesus told the woman: “Your faith has made you well.” Well, we’d actually be more inclined to say: “God made her well,” or “Jesus healed her.” But somehow- some way- this woman’s faith, and Jairus’ faith, played a role. The true nature of just how faith impacts God’s movement is a mystery. I wish I could give you a clear explanation but I cannot. The reality is… It’s a mystery. All we can do is simply know- that my faith, somehow- makes a difference. Think about that. God has taken us- those who were His enemies, radically saved us through Jesus, and then given us a role to play in the kingdom! How amazing is His love for us!!!!


Folks, my invitation to you this week is to consider these powerful faith lessons and ask yourself what the state of your faith is.


Have a wonderful week everybody.

If you like music here is a great song about faith.




May God’s peace be with you all!

Pastor Ryan

Jesus and the Demoniac, Mark 5:1-20

Howdy everyone!!!


I had several conversations after church yesterday and some interesting thoughts came up. Some things I didn’t mention.


Here’s a question that has been rattling around in my brain.

  • Why did Jesus allow these demons to go into these pigs? Does he hate pigs that much? Jeez Louise!
  • Jesus’ actions result in catastrophic economic loss for someone – it seems rather careless on His part – or just plain callous!
  • And why does Jesus allow these demons to remain in the area? Why not just annihilate those guys??


These questions made me wonder “Why Jesus?”

But Mark doesn’t really tell us. He doesn’t feel the need to explain Jesus’ actions. If Jesus wants to send a bunch of demons into a bunch of pigs then that’s his prerogative.


But, I wonder if one of the reasons may emerge in how Jesus deals with the demoniac.


Ok – let me back up a bit… give you some basic thoughts that might lead to an answer:

  • This was clearly a gentile area. We know that Jews didn’t eat pigs. They wouldn’t even touch them. This was not a Jewish area. They likely worshipped Roman or Greek gods and goddesses.
  • Jesus travelling through this area is another powerful indicator of God’s heart for those who aren’t Jewish (AKA “Gentiles”). The kingdom of God is for ALL people.
  • But these people have no respect for Jehovah and they do not understand Jesus at all. They don’t have any frame of reference for Him. Their minds cannot even grasp what Jesus is bringing to them.
  • So Jesus heals this man and when the man asks to go with him – Jesus says “No, go back to your people and tell them what God has done for you. Tell them of His mercy…”


And here’s where the pigs possibly come in…


When you tell them of what God has done for you – they will notice you are different – but then they may also say, “Wait a second – that huge pig incident was about you? You’re the guy with the pigs? You’re the pig guy? That was you??”


If this were a possible explanation for why Jesus would allow mass porcine genocide it paints a picture of a very intentional thought and plan on Jesus part. “Yea, I’ll let these demons remain and they will serve a purpose: to loudly announce the kingdom of God to a group of people that have no idea what the kingdom is. This will serve to begin to open their eyes and then they will look at the man who announces to them that God has done such great things for him!”


Maybe Jesus wasn’t a huge pig hater! Maybe Jesus wasn’t making a foolish mistake sending the demons out. Maybe Jesus had a plan behind everything He was doing and that plan involved using the destruction of these demons for His own redemptive purposes! Once again, what does this confirm to me? Jesus is the baddest dude in the room!!!!!


   If He’s that powerful perhaps He’s worthy of our trust! Just something to think about this week.


Have a great week everybody and may God grant you His wondrous peace!!

Pastor Ryan

Jesus and the Storm, Mark 4:35-41

“When faith is M.I.A.,
fear is not far away.”

Good morning SNC brothers and sisters.
It’s 2nd look time!
This week I invite you to consider the question I left you wit on Sunday.
The question went something like this:
Think about something you are nervous, worried or scared about in your life. Something that may feel like a storm coming against your “boat.” Now think about how you view Jesus in the midst of that storm? Does He seem distant, aloof, uncaring, or the opposite? In your mind is He the one with the solution or do you feel tempted to look elsewhere? Who is Jesus for you in the midst of this storm?
Bring this to God in prayer this week and consider Mark 4:35-41 again as you pray.  We mustn’t forget who Jesus is and just what He is capable of! 
Have a great week everybody and may God strengthen you in the grace of Jesus Christ!
Pastor Ryan