The Highest Power

2nd
Look 3.28.16

 

Hi everyone,

Welcome to the 2nd look for this week.

Since last week was Easter, I’d like to follow this up with a wonderful scripture that we need to be reminded of. It’s power packed- full of hope. Recently, a dear friend of mine who has been battling brain cancer has seen all known possible treatments fail. He has decided to enter hospice care to manage his pain and symptoms in his final days of life. It is terribly sad; we are all grieving greatly for him and for his wife and three beautiful young girls. Please pray for them in the days ahead. The reason I bring this up is that in moments like these I am reminded of this wonderful hope we’ve been given in Christ. It sometimes is the only thing we can cling to as we grapple with this awful loss. But as we know our dear friend is in the hands of God- that he is a deeply passionate man who loves Jesus Christ- we grieve as people who have hope; that we will see him someday again. We have this hope because of verses like the one I’m about to share with you. Check it out- you can see the wonderful promise God makes to us…

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you!

Romans 8: 9-11

What wonderful hope we have today. Sunday we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus. It can be so awesome to be reminded again that this resurrection didn’t just mean something to Jesus but it ushers in; it opens the door; to a “new and living hope”… FOR US!!!!!

Have a wonderful week my dear friends and may God bless you richly with His peace.

Pastor Ryan



Palm Sunday Revisited

SNC Brothers and Sisters!
Wow what a morning we had at SNC!!! It was quite a roller coaster.
The police were seeking to apprehend someone – they had them handcuffed and the person managed to get away from them. This began a huge manhunt that resulted in 25 of us being locked inside the church – while many of you were locked out. It was quite an adventurous morning.
But alas – the adventure ended around 10:50am on Palm Sunday morning and we were able to go ahead and have a church service at 11. Many of you were able to participate. For those of you who may be new – this is not a normal occurrence. In fact everything is fine and we will be ready to go for Easter Sunday.
Who can you invite to church this Easter? Pray about it – see who the Lord may lead you to. Pick up your invitations in the church office this week. Easter Sunday will be an awesome time of worship together! We are looking forward to it!

If I can give you one final suggestion – take some time this week to read Mark 11-16. This is the story of the “Passion Week” for Jesus. Take some time this week to consider Jesus’ road to the cross – so that we can be FREED!!!!

Have a wonderful week everybody.
Pastor Ryan



Raised To Hope

Romans 5:1-11

This is a passage that I strongly considered using in the sermon – but it just didn’t make it in there. It talks about hope found in the resurrection of Christ – but it also talks about how hope grows out of suffering. Very interesting. Please let me invite you this week – to take a look at this passage. Maybe during a lunch break; or before you go to bed at night. Consider the words in this passage and let the Holy Spirit speak to you through the words there.  

Have a great week everybody and may God fill you with the hope that can only be found

IN THE RISEN KING OF KINGS, JESUS CHRIST!!!

Pastor Ryan



Empty Tomb

Hello SNC friends and family!
Here’s my encouragement for you this week: What does the empty tomb mean to you? What did it mean to the disciples? They went from men afraid and locked up in a house – huddled in self protection – when they encountered the risen Christ. Next thing you know – they are preaching in the temple – the place being managed by the men that had Jesus killed. Something changed. The empty tomb was not a “so what” moment. It was a life-changing earth shaking cataclysmic moment. What is it to you guys?

I’m not asking this question to shame you. God is not a fan of shame. But He is a fan of truth. Perhaps you are at a place in your life where the empty tomb means nothing to you. Or perhaps it is something that blows your mind and inspires you to follow Jesus. Either way – the only place we can start is an honest place. What does the empty tomb mean to you? I’d also like to ask you to pray that God would open your mind and heart to all the empty tomb can mean for you. 

The truth is – when the disciples encountered the empty tomb it began a radically new vision of life – a radically new direction in life – for them. I think this can be true for us as well.

What direction might the Lord be desiring to take you on? Are you open to it? What holds you back? These are all great questions to reflect on, then offer to the Lord for His guidance.

I truly hope you had a blessed Easter. This next Sunday we will begin a new series I am very excited about. Life Beyond Survival: A Study Of The Sermon On The Mount!

You wont want to miss it!!
God bless you this week my friends!

Pastor Ryan

 


Easter Week

Hello everyone,
Welcome to 2nd Look. My prayer for you is that you would have a wonderful week and be reminded often of the great love Christ has for us – that He would lay down His life for us. I’d like to invite you to look up some verses in your Bible that talk about how Jesus’ love motivates Him to die for you – and the great hope we have found because He rose again from the dead! Take time this week to meditate or think deeply on this truth. Friday night at 7pm is our Good Friday Service we do with our brethren over at the Hub Church. We will have the service here at SNC. I truly hope you can join us – for both Good Friday and Easter Sunday!

As I close this 2nd Look – I want to give you three quick blurbs that describe where we are heading with our Sunday morning sermons for the remainder of this year. I am very excited about what we will be exploring and can’t wait to get started.

Before I give you the three blurbs, I want to share the main theme with you for the rest of the year. It is two words:  Beyond Survival

I am passionate about living a life that goes beyond living paycheck to paycheck – weekend to weekend – pleasurable experience to pleasurable experience. I want to dare to dream that our lives can be marked by growth, purpose; joy; transformation; redemption; and even victory in being a force of change in this world. That is a life that goes Beyond Survival: A life that is exciting to live and, I believe, a life truly better than anything this world has to offer. That is a life that goes “Beyond Survival!”
So what are the studies we have?

  1. “Life Beyond Survival: A Study of The Sermon On The Mount:” We will take several months to study one of the greatest, most influential, powerful and impactful speeches the world has ever seen. If you are not a Christian – your life would still be transformed by trying to live this sermon – although you will likely find it near impossible. As Christians – we are meant to live this sermon in the transforming power and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the things Jesus talks about here – can literally transform you. The truths Jesus mentions in this sermon have saved marriages; freed people from blindness and bondage to stress and anxiety; they have literally changed the course of history. You will not want to miss a Sunday during this series – it’s going to be A-MAY-ZING!!! But let me warn you – the more you live this sermon – the more your life will change. You will never be the same – so if you are a person who doesn’t like transformation – change – purpose or joy – this may not be the sermon series for you – but if you are; then make sure to join us starting the very first week after Easter Sunday and running throughout the summer.
  2. “Church Beyond Survival: A Study Of The Book Of Ephesians:” I’m very excited about this study. Ephesians is a manual on Christian living and life in the church. It is a book packed with amazing theology and a brilliant look at the church that moves in the power of the Holy Spirit. In this book are incredible studies on our identity in Christ, marriage and relationships; life in the Spirit, the church; and even the armor of God. It’s going to be powerful as we consider what God intends for us as His church! Ephesians is probably my favorite New Testament letter. I am more than thrilled to be studying this book with all of you. We will begin studying this book at the end of August and will likely be in it into next year.
  3. “Beyond Surviving The Holidays:” This is our advent series this year. We will take a break from Ephesians to do a little topical series on going beyond hanging on for dear life during the holidays. How do we get the most out of the holidays emotionally and spiritually – even when we are so busy buying and wrapping gifts – running from one holiday party to the next; one Christmas turkey to the next? It can be overwhelming. Well I’d like to discuss with you a recipe for peace and joy during the holidays!

So I hope you are as excited as I am. Please be in prayer that God would open our hearts as individuals and as a church to what He has ahead for us.
Have a wonderful week everybody
Pastor Ryan



Holy Week

I meant to post this earlier-but we have this epidemic of stomach flu in our home which has curtailed our plans of getting out of town and kept us here.  Which I have to say, was not what I had planned.  I had all these hopes in my heart of laying on the sand of a lakeshore listening to the sounds of my two babes playing in the water…being unplugged and away.  But my plans didn’t happen.

The past few days have challenged me to my selfish core.  I can be as nurturing and caring as I need to be, but once the chaos of the day goes to sleep, I’m left with laundry, dishes, disinfectant wipes and the reality of my reality.  That no matter what I have planned-there are things unseen that trump the plan.  It’s inconvenient.  This inconvenience reveals a heart that is selfish, tired, and even prideful and angry.

I wonder if this is what the disciples felt at all…even just a little, as this week was occuring.  They had all of these plans.  They were with the Savior.  They were the chosen men. I wonder if they were walking tall.  Have you ever taken this weeks account from their perspective?   Jesus had been trying to show them all along how they needed to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow him.  The next few days will challenge their plans to their core.  Yet we get to see the other side of the story-we get the retrospective view that even in their selfish and cowardly states, Jesus still called them chosen and used them to build His kingdom.  Praise the Lord for His amazing sacrifice of giving us His Son to save us from ourselves.

Below is the week’s events through Mark’s Gospel.  Each day read a chapter below.  Sunday, although it’s late, should be Mark 11.

Monday – Mark 12

Tuesday – Mark 13

Wednesday – Mark 14:1-26

Thursday – Mark 14:26-72

Friday -Mark 15

When you read these passages this week, these are some pretty huge chunks of Scripture.  If there is one section of the chapter that stands out to you, let that piece of the Word remain and dwell with you during the day and at night, if you don’t know how to end your day, journal about that piece of Scripture that stood out to you.  Talk to the Lord about it.  What was it about that particular piece that was difficult, meaningful, touching, or noteworthy?  After your conversation and journal time with the Lord, end your night with the Lord’s prayer.

Peace to you this week.  I pray Mark’s gospel brings you into a clear view of what makes this Holy Week.



Lent Days 27-32

  • We are 1/2 way into the Lent season. For those of you who gave something up, how has it been? Has the longing for the object/activity you gave up drawn you towards Christ and prayer? I have to say honestly that some days for me, yes-yes it has. And other days, no, I’ve just sort of gone on with my day. I gave up nighttime television. I have found that at times I’ve replaced it with working on the computer. However, the grace of the Lord has moved me towards Him as I’ve been on the computer. Just a little nudge to say, “remember why you gave up TV?” It’s not that I’ve needed to be in solitude and prayer every night once the kiddos go down for bed. But, even in light of the sermon this past Sunday on Spiritual Warfare, I am very reminded of how even the little things like pinterest (yikes, that’s addicting!) can replace what I’ve given up to move towards the Lord in prayer.

     

    What better way to re-introduce prayer to our life than entering into the Lord’s prayer. This week read in the morning and in the evening the Lord’s prayer. Read it once. Then take a moment-30 seconds…a minute… and re-read it again. Allow the words of Christ to slowly take over the space in your mind that is occupied by lists, homework, groceries, laundry (can you tell what’s on my list?!?). Don’t rush the re-reading time. Especially if you have time, you can slowly enter into the prayer and really soak it up. Let the words and the pace guide your time. Re-read it about three times. As you read it each time think about a word or phrase of the prayer that comes to mind or stand out to you. Don’t over think that word or phrase. Even write it down in your journal or on a note next to you. Then, return to the prayer.

     

    Once you have read it a few times, go back to the word or phrase that stood out to you. Read and re-read that phrase. Don’t over think that either. Just repeat that word or phrase. Spend about a minute or so here. If you have a lot of time, you can spend a while in each step. This time isn’t to examine why that particular word or phrase came up-it’s just to sit quietly with the Lord and allow his Word to occupy the space in your mind that is usually occupied by the things of your day. This meditation of Scripture is to slow your pace down and to practice just being with the Lord.

     

    Now that you have your word or phrase sufficiently repeated and occupying your mind, now you can go to the Lord and ask gently, “why was it that this particular word or phrase stood out? What would You like me to learn from this? Or what would You like to say to me through Your prayer, word or phrase of the prayer?” Just journal, sit and dialogue with the Lord. Perhaps the word or phrase that came up is something you already know you needed to talk to Him about-or perhaps is a new conversation with Him-where ever it leads, go to the Lord with it.

     

    Lastly-pray that the Lord would throughout your day today, remind you of that word or phrase that came up. In the moments that you are drawn to the thing you gave up for Lent, ask Him to use this word or phrase in that moment to recall to your mind the conversations and prayers you had together about this very thing. Conclude your time by praying the prayer again.

     

    As each day goes on, a new word or phrase may come up. Repeat this practice of praying through Scripture each day and see what the Lord brings up for you. Read the prayer in a different version (you can go to biblegateway.com for all different versions of scripture).

     

    May the Lord bring grace and peace to you as you meditate on his Word.

     

    The Lord’s Prayer. NIV Version.

     

    9 “This, then, is how you should pray:

    “‘Our Father in heaven,

    hallowed be your name,

    10 your kingdom come,

    your will be done,

    on earth as it is in heaven.

    11 Give us today our daily bread.

    12 And forgive us our debts,

    as we also have forgiven our debtors.

    13 And lead us not into temptation,[a]

    but deliver us from the evil one.[b]'



Lent Days 23-26

Good morning.

The next few days as we move towards the cross, this reading from “Letters to Marc about Jesus” from Henri Houwen and the passages we were reading this week really have ministered to me as well as this song, which is always amazing. I pray it ministers to you and brings you a longing towards moving forward to the always forgiving, inexhaustible love of Christ that was given to us on the cross.

 

 

Jesus challenges us to move in a totally new direction. He asks for conversion-that is to say, a complete interior turn-around, a transformation…Everything within us seems set against this way. And yet-every time we take a few steps along it, we become aware that something new is happening within us and experience a desire to try yet another step forward. And so, step by step, we come closer to the heart of God, which is the heart of an undiscriminating, always-forgiving, inexhaustible love.

 

How can you take steps forward towards Christ-away from your manner of life-your way of doing things-and towards His path for you?

 

What keeps you from moving forward? Have you talked to him about this? Go to God with these concerns…

 

Ask the Lord for grace as you move towards him if there is resistance.

 

If there isn’t resistance, ask him for the grace to see what needs to be surrendered in order to continue the steps towards his Love.

 

Lead me to the Cross – Brooke Fraser

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StW6ZKHRCFo&safety_mode=true&persist_safety_mode=1&safe=active



Lent Days 20-23

  • We are half way through the Lenten season today. In just 20 more days we will walk a road with Jesus that is full of triumph and then the weight of defeat, despair, humiliation…then victory and freedom! 

    This week let’s begin to journey to the cross with Christ. This journey begins with a passage back from the Old Testament that is a foreshadowing of Easter through Abraham and Issac. Here is the passage. Read this passage for the next few days. Enter into the passage-who are you in the scene? Is it hard for you to be in the scene? What emotions come up for you as you read and re-read the passage each day? Are you angry? Scared? Anxious? Anticipatory? Relieved? Rejoicing?…Take each emotion that comes up in you as you read the passage each day and go to God with it. Talk to him about it and journal your responses, your reactions and prayers.

     

    Then close the day by reading this Psalm. It’s a hard Psalm to read and pray about, trust me-I’ve often avoided it! But as you read Genesis 22, begin to see how this is just a picture of what the next 20 days will be in the life of our Savior-and what God sent His Son to do on our behalf…I honestly am left stunned…amazing…humbled…I can feel my defenses coming down…walls being removed…a desire to go to my Lord-my Lord who bore the weight of my sin and conquered it and to trust Him to search my heart. When I think about that-then this Psalm doesn’t feel so daunting, it’s an invitation to trust…surrender…obey.

    Read more…



Ash Wednesday

Hi everyone – one quick note.  Today is Ash Wednesday- the beginning of Lent.  What is Lent?  Isn’t that a Catholic thing?  Well yes; many Catholics do practice Lent- but so do many Protestants.  So what is it?  This is a great question.  About.com gives us a good definition.  You can check out this link here:
 
 
Basically put- Lent is a way to prepare yourself on a different level for Easter.  It is a sobering time.  A time to devote yourself to prayer.  For me- Lent involves fasting something.  What is fasting?  It is the process of setting something aside in your life- for a prescribed amount of time and using the time you would use to do that thing- to devote yourself to prayer- or to be reminded of something about God.  For Lent, many people will give up something during the forty days as an act of fasting.  Some might give up TV; or soda; or fast food; or all food; or sex; or smoking; or cursing; or something else..  From there when they are tempted to use these things; they use that as a time to pray; or to be reminded of Christ’s great sacrifice for them.  So the fasting serves as a conduit for prayer and to be brought back to God.  
Lent has been a powerful season for me in my journey as a Christian.  It serves to bring me back to the incredible sacrifice Jesus made for me!  It adds dimension to this Easter season- and reminds me of the power of the fact that Jesus was resurrected!!! Hallelujah, He is Risen indeed! 
So I’d like to invite you to consider joining me and my wife for this season of Lent.  Below is some suggestions to families for how to celebrate lent as a family; and a few other web resources to help you understand this ancient practice more clearly.
 
 
The biggest hope is that you see Jesus more clearly during this time of celebration because Jesus is Alive- and we have hope eternal!
 
Have a blessed week everyone!
Pastor Ryan