What Pastor Ryan Has Read This Year – 2019

Golly Gee Willikers, what has Pastor Ryan been reading lately? What has been stirring his mind? I’m so glad you asked!!! Below is a list of the 5 Books (besides the Bible) I’ve been reading lately.

1) The Problem of God by Mark Clark: I just finished it and absolutely loved this book. It’s a book about the questions that are brought against Christianity, and the answers to them. I loved his style of writing, found it very accessible and yet still meaty and deep. Highly recommend.

2) How to Be Interesting: (In 10 Simple Steps) byJessica Hagy: This was a really fun read, thought provoking. I don’t agree with everything she puts out there in the book but I did find the book inspiring. It’s a really fun and easy read, but be prepared to be challenged.

3) Finding Quiet by JP Moreland: This is a book about a professors struggle with anxiety and depression, and his journey with it. Really awesome book!

4) Christianity with Power by Charles Kraft: This is a deep book. The guy who wrote it was a missionary in Africa, and a missiology professor. He has deeply challenged me to open my eyes to how the state of our modern day church may be more impacted by atheist thinkers in the enlightenment than I’ve really known and how Christianity is meant to be a powerful and dynamic relationship with Jesus.

5) Waking the Dead by John Eldredge: John is one of my favorite writers and has very deeply ministered to my soul. This book has encouraged and inspired me. I’m not done with it yet, but I’ve been enjoying it immensely.

All of these books can be found on Amazon, and links are provided if you click on the title. I guarantee if you read them and have listened to my sermons over the past couple months you go – AH-HA! I caught you Pastor Ryan – he was reading this book when he wrote that sermon!!! You’ve been exposed!!!  Hahaha- You caught me!

Anyway, just thought I’d throw this fun little tidbit out there!

Have a great day everyone!

Pastor Ryan

Gratitude Research

On this day before Thanksgiving, it is great to be reminded about the overall value of gratitude…Read here for a great short article on the subject.

What does it mean to listen to the Holy Spirit?

Have you heard the term “God spoke to me,” or “the Spirit told me or led me…?”  What does that look like? What does it look like for a whole group of people?  Check out this article from the EFCA (Evangelical Free Church of America), the denomination that SNC is affiliated with.


10 Indispensable Truths For Discipling Others

1)   Pray for those you disciple– You must never fail to pray for the ones you disciple and for yourself that you might be led by the Spirit.  Do you know what to pray for them?  Don’t know where to start?  Try Ephesians 1:15-23.

2)   See to your own relationship with God– As disciplers we need God’s leading and wisdom more than our own.  We need Him to transform our characters in ways we cannot- and we need our disciples to see a person who is in a relationship with Jesus.

3)   Have a plan– if you do not know where to begin- look for some options.  There are many great books to walk through with someone- there are great video resources- and our church will have a resource for you as well- that can be very helpful.  Find resources that will help them KNOW; LIVE and SHARE the Gospel

4)   When in doubt of what to say; ask a question-  One of the greatest skills you can develop as a discipler is learning to ask good questions and then learning to really listen.  It takes true effort to determine to really listen to someone.  You may need- before you meet with the person you are discipling- to sit down and determine that no matter what- you will listen.  The biggest goal? Seek to understand what the disciple is saying in such a way that you could describe what they are telling you to someone else and then ask the disciple if how you described it is accurate and they would say: “Yes- you understand what I’m trying to say.”  Ask questions like:

  • What happened next
  • What did you think when that happened?
  • What did you want to do next?
  • Tell me more about this….
  • How did you feel when that happened?
  • What did you think about that?
  • What do you think God is doing in your life right now?
  • What have you been thinking about lately?
  • What do you think God wants you to think about that?  Why do you think that?

The person you disciple needs you to listen way more than they need you to share your wisdom with them..

5)   Be Discipled and don’t be afraid to get help.  It’s ok if you say: “You know what I don’t know the answer to that- can I get back to you with that?  Asking for help is key in this process.  Again, you are not Jesus.  You’re job is to point others to Him- but that isn’t always easy..  Ask for help.  In addition to this- it’s crucial you are being discipled as well.  the best mentors and disciplers out there are men and women who are learning and take their own growth seriously.  Having mentors is a very healthy and necessary movement in the life of a discipler.

6)   No matter what- point them to Jesus: Don’t be afraid to ask people this question:  “What is Jesus doing in your life right now?  What do you think God is trying to show you in this?”  The main goal of your efforts is that the person you are discipling grows in their relationship with God.  Nothing must get in the way of this.  Which brings up another great point: where is the best place to find truth about Jesus?  The bible.  We should point people back to the bible- walk through it with them; talk about it- study it- savor it- pray through it.  This is a key work of the discipler

7)   Set limits- don’t disciple a person forever.  Take eight-12 week chunks of time then reevaluate.  The point is to help someone grow closer to Jesus- you are not Jesus for them.

8)   Pray with your disciple– The person you are discipling needs to learn how to pray.  This is just the way it is.  You are a person to help them learn and the best way to teach prayer is to do it.  Ideally they will become someone who loves to pray and helps others do the same.

9)   Teach your disciple that someday they will disciple others– this is a big one.  Anytime we disciple someone and this isn’t part of the process then we have left a crucial part out of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.  I’ve seen many people disciple others and those disciples go on expecting people to always feed them and help them- they don’t see that what they’ve received is for someone else’s benefit.  I cannot stress this enough- I think we do a great disservice when we don’t help our disciple see that we are preparing them to disciple someone else…

10)                   Pray– This is the most important thing and that is why it gets two line items!!!  You must pray!  End of story!


The unfortunate thing with the word “Disciple” is that often we make this mean that the person we are discipling acts just like us- and I’d like us to move away from that- the person we are discipling is someone we are pointing to Jesus as their great shepherd and discipler.  We are simply people who walk alongside of them and help them grow in Christ.  My hope is that these ten truths will serve you well in the days ahead as you walk with others.  May God bless you as you make disciples!!!!


Pastor Ryan

Pastor Ryan’s favorite books & articles on Defending the Faith

Lee Strobel: The Case For A Creator
Lee Strobel: The Case For Faith
Lee Strobel: The Case For Christ
Lee Strobel: The Case For The Real Jesus
Paul Copan: Is God a Moral Monster
Paul Copan: How Do You Know You’re Not Wrong
Paul Copan: When God Goes To Starbucks
John Lennox: Gunning For God- Why The New Atheists Are Missing The Mark
John Lennox: God And Stephen Hawking
John Lennox: God’s Undertaker- Has Science Buried God
Gary Habermas: The Case For The Resurrection Of Christ
Gregory Boyd: letter From A Skeptic
C. Stephen Layman: Letters To Doubting Thomas
William Lane Craig: Hard Questions Real Answers
Dr. Steve Kumar: Christianity For Skeptics
Tim Keller: The Reason For God
There are many, many more- I truly hope this can be helpful to you in the days ahead as we take a deeper look at the defense of Christianity!

Anchor – Song for Tough Questions Solid Answers Series

Anchor by Hillsong is the song that Pastor Ryan is using as the anthem for our Tough Questions Solid Answers series. Click here to listen to it.

What are you listening to today?

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality

On Sunday, Pastor Ryan referenced Peter Scazzaro’s book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. Click on the book title to get a link to the book on Amazon.

I have read this book and it has enhanced my relationship with God. I love how the focus is on building that relationship with Him, over the mechanics of specific actions within the Christian life. I can highly recommend this book and/or the Small Group study to anyone interested in deepening their walk with God.   –Debbi Fullington


On July 21st we learned a new/old song: Magnificent by Matt Redman

If you would like to learn it, here is a link to the song.

Church? Why?…?

Click here to watch an interesting sermon by Tom Mercer of High Desert Church on his understanding of the purpose of the church.