Joy

Greetings everyone, and welcome to week 3 of our advent series: “The Arrival.”

 

This week we looked at the idea that “When Jesus arrives He opens the door to Christian joy.”

But what is Christian joy? This is how we defined it:

   Christian joy is a good feeling…

         …of well being.

              …built on great standing.

                 …in a glorious Savior.

 

This week reflect upon this wonderful truth and then also going before the Lord and asking the Lord to give you this joy. This will be our final week of entries as next Sunday will be Christmas EVE!! I hope you all have a blessed week!

 

Monday December 18, 2017

Time to give ourselves some gifts!!!

So often we hear that Christmas is a time about giving gifts to others. Which is very true. But I say we also need to give some gifts to ourselves. Gifts of joy!!! How do we do this? Starting today, and going through every day this week, find something you enjoy. It can be a small thing, something you enjoy for 30 seconds or a minute longer than you might otherwise. If you enjoy hugging your spouse, hug them for a minute longer. Take time to slow down and simply enjoy it. If you enjoy Christmas decorations, slow down and look at them for a little longer. There are all kinds of things. So often we move too fast, we don’t get the time to slow down and enjoy life. It’s like this scene I saw in a movie where a young man was devouring food at an incredibly fast pace and an older man who was sitting with him said, “Hey, be careful. If you slow down you might actually taste something.” Do we miss out on joy that could be had simply because we are moving too fast to enjoy it?

I invite you today to take something you know you enjoy. Maybe something that you are thankful to God for, and intentionally choose to enjoy it for a little bit longer. As you do, really try to turn your mind towards enjoying it, being grateful for it. These are little Christmas presents we can give to ourselves every day and many times they can be absolutely free of charge!

 

Tuesday December 19, 2017

Read this Christmas story in Luke 2:1-20.

As you read look for signs of joy. What do you notice in this story? So often for me, I don’t read this story and come up with new, novel or profound revelations, but rather I read it and simply enjoy the story. My invitation for you today is to do the same!

 

Wednesday December 20, 2017

Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice…

How do we keep Christ at the forefront of our thoughts? We rejoice in Him! Take some time today to think about the awesomeness of Jesus. You can think about the awesomeness of who He is, what He has done, and what He will continue to do. You can think about the promises He has made, or the wonder of what He has taught us. Let’s take some time today and simply enjoy Jesus!


Thursday December 21, 2017

God’s fruit of the Spirit is love, JOY, peace patience kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Joy is actually a fruit of walking in step and connection with the Holy Spirit. What does this mean?  It means you cannot produce joy on your own. Just like we couldn’t produce the baby Jesus on our own. Only God can do that! When Jesus arrives, joy arrives with Him because of how great, wonderful and marvelous God’s gift to us is in Christ!!! Today, my invitation to you is to consider your journey with the Holy Spirit. Perhaps it’s time for you to ask the Spirit to develop more joy in you as you walk with Him. Ask the Holy Spirit to develop His gifts in your life and also to show you if there are any ways you are not walking in step with Him. If He reveals something to you, then simply ask him to lead you in His way, to correct your course. Walking in step with the Spirit is literally the most life changing, life-transforming thing we can do.

 

Friday December 22, 2017

Blow the lid off the joy.

If you are daring, listen to this song and then look for a way to express joy in a way you wouldn’t normally. Maybe it’s dancing. Maybe it’s simply yelling or proclaiming out loud that Jesus is awesome. Maybe it’s banging on a drum, or doing jumping jacks, or singing with reckless abandon. What would it look like to blow the lid off our joy? Give it a shot today!!!!

 

Go Tell It On the Mountain by Little Big Town

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBF5kMjzMis

 

Saturday December 23, 2017

Soak it in…

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. Take some time today to soak in the Christmas love! Enjoy the season. Enjoy the lights, enjoy the music, and enjoy the smells of Christmas. Take some time to do something intentional to enjoy Christmas. The season is almost over!!!!

 

May God bless you and your family this Christmas!

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 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



Jesus’ Kingdom Parable Part 2: , Mark 4:21-34

“God is always more profoundly moving than we think He is; even when it seems like He is doing nothing at all.”

 

This is perhaps the center point of the sermon from this past weekend. When we realize this, we come to see that our task is to find where He is at work- to find what He is doing and then to join Him in the harvest!

 

I closed the sermon on Sunday talking about how this idea was true in the life of Joseph. But he wasn’t the only biblical character where this was true. God was working in Moses’ story even when it seemed He wasn’t. God was working in the story of the Israelites even at those moments when He seemed silent. God was active behind the scenes in the story of Esther. God was a force-moving incognito at times in the story of David. The list goes on and on.

 

This week, I invite you to pray with me. “Father, give me eyes to see some of the ways your Holy Spirit is working around me, or in me. Father, give me the courage to join you when you reveal to me what you are doing.”

 

Don’t be surprised if He shows you something this week.

Have a great week everybody! May God grant you his peace beyond all understanding!

 

Pastor Ryan



Strength For Dad’s: 5 Things That Strengthen Us For the Journey

Hello Dads!

I truly hope you had a wonderful Father’s Day. I want to give you the list of the power-ups for dads I shared in yesterday’s sermon. Anyone can be blessed to have these things in their lives, and as you look at the list- I invite you to pray and ask the Lord: “Father what would be your invitation to me with these power-ups?”

I truly believe in the restorative, inspiring, strengthening power of each of these things. Check them out and let them be a matter of prayer and conversation between you and God.
Here they are:

 

5 Power-Ups for Dads!

  • Regularly celebrating that first and foremost: I AM God’s Son

This can be a wonderfully freeing, and hopeful truth we so often forget but desperately need to have at the forefront of our minds.

  • The presence of true brothers in my life

A true brother is like-minded with you; walks alongside of you; wants to see you become the best version of who God created you to be; celebrates truth with you; has your back and supports you.

  • The gift of a haven

A haven is a place of refuge, restoration, and rejuvenation. We all need a haven… or several!

  • Embracing the fact that I am human, and so is everyone else

Dads are human beings. We need to embrace the fact hat we are human. This can show up in different ways. For some of us it means we need to give ourselves some grace- yeah we are human and we make mistakes. For some of us as Dads it means that we are only human and therefore we will always have things we can learn. We haven’t arrived. For some of us as dads embracing humanity means we can give grace to our kids or our own parents. Embracing humanity is a huge idea!

  • Holy Spirit empowering

Finally we need to be empowered by the Holy Spirit. Real transformation as dads doesn’t happen through our own sheer grit and determination- it happens through holding tightly to Jesus- walking with him- enjoying him and then letting God transform us!

 

As this week progresses, let these power-ups be present with you. Let me invite you to simply put these before God and see what He might say to you. What might he have you know or understand? Is there an invitation he is giving you in all of this?

 

Have a great week everybody!

 

Pastor Ryan



Jesus Has Authority to Forgive Sin, Mark 2:1-12

Hello SNC brothers and sisters!

For the second look this week let’s focus on a phrase from a verse within the story we looked at on Sunday.

Here is the phrase: “When Jesus saw their faith.”

This is a very interesting phrase that I didn’t have time to dig into during the sermon. What do you think about it? Take some time this week to sit with this phrase. How does it fit within the overall story? What do you notice from this phrase?

It’s amazing how God can so often speak to us from the bible with merely a simple phrase like this. I truly hope God will bless you this week as you consider these words.

Pastor Ryan!



Mary’s Song: A Mother’s Song of Hope and Joy

Hello SNC brothers and sisters and welcome to this week’s 2nd look.
 
I truly hope you had a wonderful holiday with friends and loved ones.
I want to invite you to consider this scripture this week:

“He has shown thee, oh man, what is good and what the Lord requires of thee. But to do justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God” Micah 6:8

Think about the three things Micah lists here:

  • To do justly.
  • To love mercy.
  • To walk humbly with God.

Take some time this week to consider what these three things are. Obviously one of our big points on Sunday was about walking in humility with God. What do these things mean to you; and how does it intersect with your life?

Have a great week everyone!

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.



Relax… He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands

 
Here are a few questions to ponder this week as you try to live in God’s peace.

1. On Sunday, DeRon said that “thanksgiving is a big key in God’s peace.” Take some time this week to think about some of the good things God has done in your life.

2. What do you think of the lighthouse picture DeRon brought, and the example that Jesus wants to be your lighthouse?

3. What changes can you make in your life that might help you to live in God’s peace?


Let’s Give Peace a Chance

Hello SNC Brothers and Sisters!

This past summer we played a song for you called “Faithful One.” I received feedback from some of you that you really enjoyed this song. As I said then: this song has ministered to me during some of the most challenging seasons of my life, and I was really glad to hear some of you felt this was a beautiful song.

I invite you to listen to this song during your times with The Lord this week. Below I have attached a link to it. I’ve been listening to this version of the song since my days in college. I truly pray it will give you encouragement and moments of peace this week!

I love you my church! Have a wonderful week!

Pastor Ryan

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwYaDqBNBI0