So What is This Spirit Like Anyway?, Romans 8:15-17

For the 2nd Look this week I invite you to spend more time in Romans 8:1-17.

Read it a few times and consider the 7 truths of the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives:

1) The Holy Spirit Frees Us From The Power And Curse Of Sin.

2) The Holy Spirit leads your Mind and leads you towards Life and Peace.

3) The Spirit of God lives in you.

4) The Spirit raises you from the dead.

5) The Spirit gives you the power to fight sin and destruction in your life

6) The Spirit guarantees your spot in the family of God 

7) The Spirit reminds us that we are God’s beloved children

What is the most hopeful truth for you? What inspires you to trust God more? What challenges you?

 
Take some time this week to let these truths simmer in your minds!  May God grant you his wonderful peace as you commune with him this week!

Pastor Ryan



The Spirit, The Flesh and The Battle of Sin, Romans 8:5-14

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

 

I have a simple invitation for you this week. Read this passage of scripture: Philippians 4:8. Then ask yourself this question: What is going on with my mind? Where does my mind go? How can I feed my mind more with the truth of Christ?

 

I remember I did this diet once and at the beginning they asked me to make a list of the foods I ate the prior week. It was pretty amazing to see all the food I was putting in my body that was actually bad for me, and conversely, how little I put food that was good for me. I think you’d be amazed to see how this not only applies to what we eat but also to how we treat our minds. If you’re really daring you can make a roadmap of what you give your mind to during the week. You may be amazed.

 

As always, my prayers for you all is that God would grant you His peace and bless you with a deeper love and desire for Him!

 

Have a great week everyone!

Pastor Ryan



Easter, Because We Need A Savior

Hey everyone,

 

On Sunday we talked about not only our need for a Savior, but also what we need saving from. On that note, I want you to read Ephesians 2:1-5.

 

By way of review here are the 3 things we see Paul saying Jesus saves us from:

 

1) If we aren’t rescued we will remain dead in our sins.

2) Without rescue we are subject to dominance of the devil.

3) Without rescue we are destined to die eternally in Hell.

 

No let me ask you- have you ever thought about all Jesus has saved you from? What does it mean to you that you have been given such a great salvation?

 

Reflect on these questions this week as we approach Palm Sunday.

May God bless you with His glorious peace this week!

Pastor Ryan



Easter Starts with God’s Love

Hello everyone, it’s 2nd look time.

On Sunday we entered into a reflection on God’s love. The reality is that Easter doesn’t happen without God’s love first motivating it. I invite you this week to find a way to daily reflect on God’s love. Attached is a video link of a song that talks about God’s love.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUSOSrv0y3s

 

Below are the lyrics for the song. We’ve sung it a few times in church. May God bless you as you spend time thinking about His love this week.

 

How Great Is Your Love

Verse 1

From the darkness I called Your name
Into darkness Your mercy came
You called me out lifted me up
How great is Your love

Verse 2

You bore my weakness You took my shame
Buried my burdens in fields of grace
You called me out lifted me up
How great is Your love

Pre-Chorus

From the heights of heaven You stepped down to earth
Innocent perfection gave Your life for us
And we are amazed yes we stand in awe
For we have been changed by the pow’r of the cross

Chorus

(Yeah) How great how great how great is Your love
How great how great how great is Your love
How great how great how great is Your love for us

Verse 3

In Your kindness You lead me home
In Your presence where I belong
Oh You called me out lifted me up
How great is Your love

Bridge

There has never been and there will never be
A God like You a love so true
There has never been and there will never be
A God like You a love so true (yeah)

 



Rule of Life: Bringing It All Together

Hello everyone and welcome to 2nd look!
Wow, we finished another series! I’m not even sure how many that is but my guess is it’s around 30. For this week’s 2nd Look I invite you to review the half sheet of paper we gave you during the sermon that you wrote upon. If you do not have one, it is attached it here.
 
Thanks everyone and may God grant you His wondrous peace this week!
 
Pastor Ryan


Pouring Out

Hello everyone,

 

For the 2nd Look my invitation is to ask the Lord a few simple questions:

Father, what things do you want to do with me to build your Kingdom?

What do I dream of doing with the Lord for the sake of His Kingdom?

 

Take a risk and dream a little bit. As Keith said on Sunday,

“We implore.

We go out the door.

We go back for more.”

 

Have a great week everyone and may God grant you His wonderful peace!

 

Pastor Ryan



Worshipping Together

Hello everyone!
I truly hope you have had an awesome week so far. On Sunday Gabriel shared with us about worship. He shared the importance of singing and musical worship within the broader context of worship as a whole. Some folks don’t really understand why we need to sing. Some folks don’t enjoy singing and have very little space for music in their lives. Understandably, this can be an uncomfortable experience for them. But as we heard from Gabriel, and saw in the Biblical text, musical praise is very present with God’s people. Music and singing were huge with the Israelites. The Psalms are SONGS! Jesus sang hymns with his disciples. The apostles sang together, and encouraged each other to keep singing. We even see snapshots of heaven and there is singing there.

Please know that I am not trying to say that Heaven is an eternal church service in the sky. I think there will be many different dimensions to our eternal praise of God just as there are different dimensions here. We praise God not just with our words, but also with how we live. I see no reason to assume heaven will be different. However, we do see that musical worship is present in heaven. In other words, musical worship is meant to be very much a reality to God’s people.

I’m going to step out on a limb and give some thoughts on musical worship that are a bit more experiential since Gabriel gave such a fantastic biblical exposition. Please check it out on our sermon player!

Two things I’ve noticed about worship:
1) Worship can create a space
Years ago, Debbi and I went to pray for a lady in our church who was encountering demonic oppression. We began to pray and inquired of the Lord what He would have us do and He led us to praise the name of Jesus! I believe that night, when we praised Jesus’ name, it opened a space in that darkness to do battle. Worship creates space.
Another example occurred years ago when I was at a concert. My favorite band, Switchfoot, opened the show, and a non-Christian band whose name I cannot even remember followed them up. Switchfoot comes out and just blows us away. They are singing about hope and redemption, and Jesus, praising Him. The minute the other band comes on the stage the music was really good, well executed, but the attitudes and the hearts of the band, the music was no longer praising Jesus. It felt like all the peace and the presence of God evaporated or got sucked out of the room. It was so noticeable. We left shortly after that. Worship creates a space.
I know it sounds weird, but consider this with me- doesn’t the world feel a little more peaceful, a little more hopeful in church? Well, it feels that way to me… Hahaha! There’s something about believers together worshipping. It’s hard to describe.

2) Musical Worship helps biblical truth sink deeper
When I was growing up, we sang small songs that were simply scripture.
For example:
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and everyone who loveth is born of God and knoweth God, he that loveth not (Clap, Clap, Clap) knoweth not God, for God is love… Beloved, let us love one another first John 4 7 and 8.”

“As the deer panteth for the water so my soul longeth after thee…”

“I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me…”

These are just 3 examples of many songs we’ve sung. Even modern day worship music, if it’s decent, has scripture all over it. I once heard Tim Keller say there seems to be a power to singing scripture that allows us to memorize it more effectively, and give us another vehicle to reflect upon it and even feel it. I think this is SO TRUE! I’ve learned wonderful truths and have been ministered to deeply by worship music.

These are 2 quick observations, and I’m sure there are more. I invite you this week to pick a worship song to listen to. Consider the lyrics and see what scripture they come from. If you cannot think of one I will give you an example:

Check out this link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gaFm-MpxBw

This is called Creation Song (By Fernando Ortega), can you find where this song comes from?
-Pastor Ryan



Soul Friendship and Mentorship

Hello everyone, welcome to the 2nd Look!

On Sunday I talked about the importance of having deep soul friendships. I mentioned a Soul Friend is “someone who supports, collaborates with, encourages, pushes, and builds you up to be the best you that God made you to be.”

 

I want to share with you about a different kind of soul friendship. I call it “Spiritual Mentorship,” “Spiritual Coaching,” or “Spiritual Direction.” This kind of soul friendship can be very encouraging and powerful! I actually see a Christian Spiritual Director once a month.

 

Christianity Today published an article in 2003 describing Spiritual Direction in this way:

 

What is spiritual direction?

 

Spiritual direction is a voluntary relationship between a person who seeks to grow in the Christian life and a director. The latter is not, notice, a counselor or therapist. Rather, he or she is a mature Christian who helps the directee both to discern what the Holy Spirit is doing and saying and to act on that discernment, drawing nearer to God in Christ.

The focus is on intimacy with God, not on the solving of clinically identified psychological problems. The whole sinful orientation of the self, not any particular dysfunction, is the “problem” to be addressed. The director helps directees identify ways they have sought satisfaction and fulfillment from sources other than God, in the process pushing God aside. Directees are led to hear the Holy Spirit (the “real spiritual director”) calling them back onto the right path. The director’s role is one of coming alongside, rather than dictating a program. The relationship thus shares some features with the Celtic ideal of a “soul friend” or “anamchara.” However, its nurture usually flows only one way.

Being a good spiritual director requires not a doctorate but mature theological knowledge, a degree of holiness, and a knack for discernment.

 

I see both a therapist and a spiritual director and I can honestly say there is some overlap between the two but spiritual direction is really focused more on what God is doing in my life and learning to hear Him better. It has been hugely beneficial for me. Spiritual direction is not usually free. Sorry, but when you think of investing in your spiritual journey with God, and that this journey is in actuality more important than anything else, perhaps spending $40-$60 an hour isn’t that bad. If you are interested in spiritual direction here’s a link for you:

 

https://www.graftedlife.org/spiritual-direction/find-a-spiritual-director

 

Thanks everyone and may God bless you this week!

Pastor Ryan



Other Spiritual Disciplines

Howdy everyone!

On Sunday we looked at the 3 S’s that Jesus taught and modeled for us. They are:

Simplicity

Solitude

Silence

 

In Richard Foster’s book, “The Celebration Of Discipline,” he gives practical examples for how to step into simplicity. Remember, the thing we most need to do before we start looking at behaviors is to wrestle with how we view the Kingdom of God and its importance in our lives. Do I really want The Kingdom? This is crucial to us before we can begin to make changes in our outer lives. Below is a list of things we can do to step into simplicity:

 

  • Buy things for their usefulness rather than their status
  • Reject anything that is producing an addiction in you
  • Develop the habit of giving things away
  • Refuse to be propagandized by the custodians of modern gadgetry
  • Learn to enjoy things without owning them
  • Develop a deeper appreciation for the creation
  • Look with a healthy skepticism at all “by now, pay later” schemes
  • Obey Jesus’ instructions about plain honest speech
  • Reject anything that breeds the oppression of others

10) Shun anything that distracts you from seeking first the Kingdom of God

 

Any one of these things can help you step more fully into Simplicity. But the heart behind this must be that you choose this because you want The Kingdom above all other things. If we see this as a bunch of rules we need to follow we run the risk of legalism, but if we see these things as possible changes we can make to help us live more fully in the kingdom this can be more about passion than about following rules. And with God it’s meant to be more about passion than about fear.

 

Give one of the above a try, see how it goes!

May God bless you this week!

 

Pastor Ryan



Giving

Hello everyone, welcome to this week’s 2nd Look.

If you check out YouTube, type in “why tithe,” you will see a great many sermons arguing over whether we as Christians are required to tithe. This is a good discussion but let me draw your attention to this link: What Is the Difference Between Tithes and Offerings?

https://www.gotquestions.org/tithes-and-offerings.html

 

This article describes the differences between tithes and offerings. I agree with this website, we are not required to tithe as the Israelites once were. I do believe, however, that God calls us to live generously. In this calling is a blessing for us. We see God do so many wonderful things in our lives, and through the offerings we give that this call to generosity is really a blessing.

 

Alyssa and I grew up in churches that taught everyone should tithe 10 percent of their income. For us, we brought this into our marriage. We actually give more than 10 percent now. God has provided for us throughout our marriage. At SNC we don’t want to give you a percentage. Some of you may feel called to give less than 10 percent; others may feel called to give more. The real idea here is that we are called to be generous and to share where there is need. When you look at the early church in Acts this was clearly evident.

 

I invite you this week to spend some time in 2 Corinthians 9:6-15, and 1 Timothy 6:17-19. Paul is not only talking about God’s calling to us to live generously but also that the Lord will bless us in this. How does this encourage and/or challenge you?

 

Have a great week everyone and may God bless you!

Pastor Ryan