Jesus Describes the Final Chapter of It All, Mark 13:24-37

Aloha Everyone!
 
On Sunday when we looked at Mark 13 we saw a snapshot from Jesus’ teachings of how the world is going to end. It’s not bleak, as some people may fear. In fact, for us in Christ, it is Glorious and Wonderful!!!
 
I invite you this week to read Revelation 19:11-16.
As you read, ask yourself these questions:
What am I learning about Jesus from this passage?
In what ways does this picture of Jesus challenge the way I often view Him?
How is this picture of Him hopeful for me?
 
The Jesus we see in this passage can be a very different Jesus than some of us have grown accustomed to, but there is great hope here.
 
I pray for the Holy Spirit to guide and lead your heart as you consider this passage this week.
 
May God’s peace be upon all of you!
 
Pastor Ryan



Will The Real Jesus Please Step Forward?

Howdy folks,
 
For this week’s 2nd Look please check out this video! It’s another Bible project video on reading the book of Mark. Please read Mark 9:2-13 first, then watch the video. I think you’ll find it fascinating to see just how this week’s passage fits into the greater story of Mark.
 
Have a great week everyone.
 
Here is the link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGHqu9-DtXk&t=177s
 
Pastor Ryan


Kingdom Parable 1 – The Sower and the Seed, Mark 4:1-20

Hello everyone!

Yesterday we looked at the parable of ‘The Sower and the Seed.’ The parable talks about 4 different types of soil but what it really looks at is 4 different types of hearts that receive the Gospel.

 

The question we ended the sermon with was: What state is your heart in? What soil resembles your heart? Are you a hardened soil? A shallow soil? A thorny choked soil? Or a fruitful soil?

 

One question Jesus never really addresses in the parable is what do we do when we find the soil of our heart is not fruitful? What do we do if we find we have lived a shallow faith or we have things in our life that are choking our journey with God? Jesus never really goes into a discussion on that here. But perhaps I can hazard some helpful suggestions for you. I had originally planned to put this in the sermon but decided there was already enough going on in the sermon. To add this would’ve added an extra 10-15 minutes.

 

I decided to share these things with you here instead.

 

How to care for the soil of our hearts

 

Think of it like any garden you might come across…

  • We need to till the soil- We need to be willing to go deep into our hearts and turn things over, take a look, confess painful stuff; humble ourselves; turn the earth over and see what is below the surface.
  • We need to ask God to clean out the thorns and make the soil healthy.

When we find thorns or tares in the soil the first thing to do is confess those are there- to seek God’s help and the help of others to start getting these thorns out of there. This is only something that can be done with God’s empowering and leading.

  • Water the soil and the seeds regularly.

Watering comes with prayer and being in the word of God. It comes with resting in him- worship- and being with others who can encourage and love you. This is really the best thing you can do to water and feed the soil of your heart.

 

These are very common sense kinds of suggestions but sometimes the things we most desperately need to know are actually things we desperately need to remember. Sometimes the most simple and commonsensical things- are actually the most profound and helpful.

 

My invitation to you this week is to take time to consider the soil of your heart. How do you care for it? What is God showing you?

 

Take some time this week to consider these questions. May God bless you with his incomparable peace!!!

 

Pastor Ryan



Pastor Ryan’s Top 15 Christian Books And Authors

Hi friends!

If you are looking for something great to read- something to challenge, inspire, encourage, or help you, or if you’ve been wondering what books have inspired the thoughts that you hear from Sunday to Sunday -then take a look at these. Each of the books I’ve listed here has shown up in my thinking and preaching; No I didn’t come up with this stuff on my own! I would highly recommend for any and all of you to check them out. They have all been a huge blessing to me and I truly believe they’d be the same for any of you. With each book is a link that will take you directly to Amazon where you can buy it. Some of them, I’d imagine, you can get on audiobook as well. I listed them by title in alphabetical order.

Check them out.
 
 
1) Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning

A Spectacular book about being in the wondrous grace of God

2) The Bible

This is the most obvious choice of all!

3) Desiring God by John Piper

A book that woke me up to the reality that God is someone I’m meant to know and enjoy. Deeply challenged me as a young man.

4) Experiencing God by Richard Blackaby

Helped me understand how to see God moving in and around me and then to join Him! Try the workbook!

5) Healing Care; Healing Prayer by Terry Wardle

Super impactful book for people who are looking to help others get healing and freedom. This book is one I try to read over and over again

6) Hiding From Love by John Townsend

This is perhaps one of the top three most impactful books to my life. The opening illustration; to me; was worth the buying the book alone. This book has powerfully blessed me.

7) Letters From a Skeptic by Gregory Boyd

In my early twenties I deeply wrestled with my faith. I never saw myself as a deep philosophical thinker- and reading the really deep books was difficult for me. This book was so readable and yet addressed major questions that I often wrestled with. I loved this book. I don’t currently have any because I keep giving them away.
 

8) Life of the Beloved by Henri Nouwen

A short little book about being God’s beloved. Awesome!
 

9) Men’s Secret Wars by Patrick Means

This has been one of the most important books that has helped me understand the fight with addiction and getting free!
 

10) Mere Christianity by CS Lewis

Huge book… just huge!
 
 
Dr. Fee really challenged me to see the Holy Spirit in a powerful new way!
 

12) Practicing His Presence by Brother Lawrence and Frank Laubach

I came across this book in college and years later it still profoundly impacts my life. It really opens our eyes to the importance on living life WITH God!
 

13) The Search for Significance By Robert McGee

You hear me talk about knowing the gospel? Yea- It’s this book’s fault! A wonderful book about finding our identity in Christ.
 

14) Strengthsfinder 2.0 by Tom Rath

I highly suggest you take the test and read this book! Everybody!!!! I don’t suggest you buy it used. Then you cannot take the test.
 

15) Wild at Heart by John Eldredge

Very important book for me, on manhood.



A Call to Provide

Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s second look.

For this week I’d like to invite you to read the story of Joseph in Matthew 1:18-25. Maybe read it several times this week. Close your eyes and picture the scene in your mind, or even try to put yourself in Joseph’s shoes. What thoughts, emotions do you feel in this passage? What things to do you notice or observe? On Sunday we will get into this story and my hope is for you to spend some time with it this week!

I pray for God’s peace and blessing to be upon you and your loved ones in this Christmas season!!!!

Pastor Ryan



Thank You SNC

SNC friends and Family!

I want to take a minute to thank all of you for such an amazing event last night. We had many people from our neighborhood come through and you all were friendly- inviting and welcoming. It was such a fun evening watching you all minister to our neighbors.

Thank you to those who donated candy. We had enough candy this year and didn’t even need to make runs to the grocery store. That was because of your generosity.
This was such a great evening and I, as your pastor, was very proud to see you all in action! You are awesome!

Celebrating you all in my heart today.
Thanks again and have a great rest of the week!

– Pastor Ryan


I’m Back!

Hello SNC Brothers and Sisters,

this is Pastor Ryan!

I am back from my sabbatical!
 
            I want to say “thank you” to God; our SNC elders; Duke Winser and all of you for the great gift of this sabbatical. I don’t have enough space to go into all that happened during this time. I can honestly say it was everything I hoped it would be and more. Most of all, I find it was something I deeply needed in ways I didn’t fully understand when I began. God is truly good! Thank you for your support in this!

 

            It will be good to see all of you in worship in these upcoming Sundays and I’m really looking forward to getting back in the pulpit to open the Scriptures with you and to enjoy God.

 

            That has actually been a big phrase for me during this sabbatical. “Ryan, enjoy God enjoying you!” I’ve come to deeply believe and receive this phrase in my life. I truly hope we, as a church will come to believe it as well. Let’s enjoy God and His enjoyment of us. Wow, God enjoys us! That’s kind of a crazy thought…

 

            Anyway, I also want to let you know that my counselors have given me advice to be wise in how I transition back into my role here. It was suggested to build up my hours and pace myself as I re-enter ministry. This Sunday we will be beginning an 11-week series on worship. We will be talking about all things Worship! I’m very excited for this series. However, with this transition period, we felt it was best to let Gerard begin this series for our church. I will definitely be here, and will be leading in many ways, but for the next two weeks I will have Gerard open our series. This will also give me time to prepare for next year’s direction as far as Sunday mornings go.

 

            Thank you again for all your support and encouragement. You have truly been missed. You are our brothers and sisters; our church family… Our home. Aly and I are grateful to be back with all of you.

 

See you soon!

And May the peace of God be with you today!  

Pastor Ryan



Sabbatical Letter

To my dear SNC brothers and sisters,
 
If you were not able to join us for the worship service last Sunday then it is possible you have not heard that I will be taking a sabbatical this summer. This is something the elders and I have been deliberating and praying over for the last few months, although the process it has taken to simply even arrive at considering a sabbatical has taken almost a year. God has been working and leading in this.
 
What is a sabbatical? Perhaps this is a new word for you. Well, to put it as simply as I can, a sabbatical is a set period of time for a pastor to step away from their ministry duties in order to draw near to the Lord for a variety of different reasons. The major reasons tend to be: rest; prayer and fresh learning/vision.
 
Sabbaticals are becoming more and more common for pastors nowadays. They are commonly seen as one of those factors that aid pastors in combating what is becoming more and more common in this profession: burnout. Sabbaticals also are a good time to step away, to perhaps learn some things they wouldn’t really be freed up to learn had they stayed in the every day grind of ministry.
 
As this year has progressed, it has become more and more apparent to me that God is doing some very deep work in me. He is working at the heart of some things that will impact who I am as a minister and as a man. It has not been easy. As I’ve met with mentors, doctors, my therapist, my spiritual director, the elders of our church and other people I respect, a sabbatical has been recommended to me and affirmed repeatedly and when this happens it gets hard to deny this seems to be the leading of God.
 
One thing I’m grateful for is a great team of men who have arisen to preach and lead in my absence. Obviously our elders will still be here and each of these men has my respect. I would feel no concern in recommending you to meet with any of them should you have needs for prayer or counsel as they are very wise and godly men. We will have great preaching for our Sunday morning worship services, and we have wonderful team leaders who will resume their leadership in my absence as well.
 
Our church is in a good place and that is a major reason why I also feel freed to step away for this short season.
 
Some final details:
– My sabbatical will officially begin on Tuesday June 21st. I am hoping to return in September, as our original plan for sabbatical is 3 months. The standard amount of time for sabbaticals tends to range from 3-6 months although many of them are closer to 3 months.
– During the time of my sabbatical, should you have needs, please feel free to contact Amber, our admin assistant and she can connect you with an elder or team leader. I will not be actively pursuing my emails during this time- so please feel free to email her and she will get you where you need to go. Please do not feel hurt if I do not email you back, as I will likely not be checking my work email address.
 
A few weeks ago I met with my spiritual director and he said to me: “Ryan you need to remember that this sabbatical is a gift to you from God.” I am aware of what kind of gift this is and am so grateful to the SNC elders and to you for your support in this time. The Lord is truly at work and while it has not been easy, I can see that it is good. May God bless you all and we’ll see you on Sundays over these next few weeks!
 
May you experience the great and wonderful peace of God today,
Pastor Ryan


Happy New Year!

Hello Everybody.

This week’s 2nd look is blissfully and blessedly short. I’d like to invite you to take some time to reflect on How God has been good to you this year, and how you might want to respond to Him. I want to invite you to think about something you might want to try this year that would help you grow closer to God. What is that thing? How will you know when you’ve done this thing? Who can help you do this thing?

Think about this thing, pray about it and ask God to reveal this to you. Remember we do this thing – not to make God love us more – He already could not love us more than He does – but God does want to see us grow and thrive as Christians. What is one way we can grow?

Have a great week!

Pastor Ryan



Advent Week 2

Hi everybody.

This is the beginning of week 2 of advent.

Here is what we’ve looked at so far:

Miracle #1: When Jesus Appears Nobody Becomes Somebody.

Miracle #2: When Jesus Appears Nowhere Becomes Somewhere.

If you remember from the sermon- we talked about how Jesus chose to make himself a kid from the wrong side of the tracks because he chose to be a servant; and because he chose to be planted in the middle of darkness to bring the light of God. This week as we continue looking forward to the birthday of our savior- I’d like to invite you to consider these verses that talk about these issues. Please remember to give yourself a five minute space of time to read a verse and simply reflect and pray on it. What truth is it teaching you? Have a great week everybody!

Monday– John 1:1-13

Tuesday– Matthew 20:28

Wednesday– Philippians 2:5-11

Thursday– John 8:12

Friday– 2 Corinthians 4:6

Saturday– Ephesians 5:8