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 Doesn’t Do It Right, Mark 2:18-22

Hi folks-

Welcome to this week’s 2ndLook!

If you remember, this past Sunday we talked about how Jesus is joyful and so is his Kingdom. We often get this picture of God that He is an austere, overly serious, unhappy, and opposed to joy. Because we think God is all of these things we begin to think we must be these things as well. I have had multiple conversations with people through the years who think it’s actually inappropriate to get excited in church- to be loud, to jump around, to dance. I think in reality Heaven is going to be all of these things and more. We are going to celebrate for the rest of eternity.

 

Think of something you enjoy in life. I don’t know about you but I’ve often caught myself thinking- I enjoy this thing but I’m pretty sure God either feels nothing about the fact that I enjoy this thing or He actually is unhappy that I enjoy this thing. Maybe He thinks I enjoy it too much? But I would rarely think God is actually enjoying the fact that I’m enjoying this.

 

I used to go to the beach to play and ride waves. If you were to ask me if I thought God loved the fact that I enjoyed this I’d probably say that I didn’t think God felt one way or the other about it. But as the years have gone by I’ve begun to realize that God is a heavenly Father who loves His kids and loves to give good gifts to His children. Sure He disciplines us at times but He does this because He delights in us.  I have begun to realize that my enjoyment of His creation is an opportunity to celebrate with Him. Hey, even God saw what He created and said: “It is good!

 

Now one person might say: “What if what you are enjoying is sinful? God wouldn’t possibly enjoy that we are sinning would He?” I don’t think God enjoys us becoming enslaved to things. Certainly, He will call us away from things that are bad or enslave us. And that is where discipline comes in. But so often I’ve found myself thinking God may not even enjoy my laughter or the fact that I’m having fun. No, God only enjoys when we are beating ourselves up, denying ourselves something, reading our Bible and being super Christians doing spiritual disciplines.

 

We hear the phrase “spiritual disciplines” and it freaks us out because we can’t possibly imagine how the disciplines could be a joyful experience. The word “discipline” is such a heavy word. But even the disciplines can be acts of joy.

 

I think we need to add the word “delight” to the list of spiritual disciplines. What would it look like for us to intentionally delight in things and let our delight turn us towards God in gratitude and celebration? If you see a great sunset; delight in it, drink it in, and then proclaim with God that His creation is good. We get a great hug from our spouse, or kiss… delight in it! God made this to be a wonderful thing to us. Delight in it and thank God for it. We eat a great meal; delight in it, celebrate the great gifts God gives us in a simple meal.

 

Everyday there are reasons to be grateful and celebrate all around us. My invitation to you: Let’s delight and celebrate something every day this week. Your celebration can simply be to enjoy and then turn to God with a simple prayer of gratitude. Today I had a great lunch with a friend and during this lunch we spoke about real things close to our hearts. What a sweet time of discussion and being real with one another. I just sat back and enjoyed great food, good laughter, being vulnerable and thanked God for these moments because I think He was very much enjoying that conversation too.

 

The bible tells us that every good and perfect gift comes from our Father above. Let’s enjoy Him enjoying us this week!

 

Have a great week everyone!

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.



Jesus the Compassionate

Hi friends,

This week I want to invite you to spend some time looking at a teaching on compassion and what it means to be a neighbor. Last Sunday we talked about what Kingdom Compassion (KC) looks like. Jesus teaches on this in Luke 10:25-37.

Here’s a question to consider while you read this: What ways is this man showing compassion to his neighbor? What makes it so difficult to show compassion in this way?

Enjoy this teaching and may God grant you his wondrous peace this week!

Pastor Ryan



Choose Life

Hello everyone!
     Bear Grylls, the host of the TV show “Man vs. Wild” and “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” was asked once what were some motivational ideas he lived by. One of Bear’s responses was: “One step more.” Be willing to push yourself one step further beyond where you would normally or comfortably go. Be willing to push yourself one step further than most people. He said this short phrase motivated him and pushed him throughout his life and is a big reason for the success he has enjoyed.

     I remember reading that and finding it to be inspiring. From there, the idea of developing something called a “Next Step” group began to grow in my mind. What are the next steps we can take in life? How can we push further, deeper and so on.

      This past Sunday we talked about making intentional choices to do life-giving things with our minds and lives. We looked at Paul’s instruction to think about noble, pure, excellent, true, praiseworthy and admirable things. Then I asked the question what it might look like to make intentional choices with our minds to think about these things. This week I want to invite you on an experiment.

     Take some time this week to go one step further with your mind, to do something new. To try something that might develop your mind; deepen it; train it. Maybe it involves taking some time to read a book or article on some kind of spiritual topic. Maybe it’s choosing to listen to music this week that uplifts you and challenges you to think about wonderful things. Maybe you choose to watch a YouTube sermon or a podcast this week. There is a variety- but my invitation to you is to take some time this week to intentionally choose to do something enriching with your mind.

     Give it a shot. If you need suggestions shoot me, or one of our Elders an email- we’d be happy to discuss them with you!

 

Ok have a great week everybody!

Next week is our last sermon in the Be@Peace series!

Pastor Ryan



Jesus’ Refueling Station

Howdy SNC Friends and Family,
This is our weekly 2nd look!

As we talked on Sunday about the importance of us having personal prayer time with God, I knew I was addressing a specific question that might arise for some of us.

Ok Pastor Ryan, you are saying that we need to be in prayer, that this is something Jesus prioritized and we really must as well; but how do I do this? I’m not very good at this prayer thing…”

That’s a great question. Let me give you a few quick suggestions.

1) Prayer is conversation with God.

This is plain and simple. You talk. You listen. You share your heart. You listen for God to share His. You enjoy time with God, and He enjoys time with you.

Throughout my life, I’ve often felt as if I was missing a grand secret about prayer; or that I was simply not trying hard enough. Jesus made prayer very simple for his disciples. I think He did this because He didn’t want them to be confused, and because God approaches prayer very simply. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect, or high and mighty- or theologians. He wants us to be ourselves; to approach him authentically; honestly; and simply. I truly believe God is happy when we simply show up to prayer. If you have had trouble with prayer; feeling like you stink at this and wishing you were anywhere else but in prayer; please know that we all stink at it. God is so perfect, so amazingly brilliantly holy; that anything we bring to him is dirty and soiled compared to his glory. But his great love for us moves beyond all that. Be at peace my friend. He’s happy you are here! Prayer is first and foremost a conversation with God. What does that conversation look like?

2) Jesus teaches us to pray.

In Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus teaches us how to pray. We get so used to reciting it. Many Christians have read and re-read this prayer so often that we may lose the gravity of what is really here. THIS IS JESUS TEACHING US HOW TO PRAY! If you ever wonder if you are doing this thing wrong- you don’t know how to pray- then simply follow what Jesus teaches us. Let me break it down for you quickly:

  • Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name
  • Start your prayer acknowledging God’s greatness. Basically we start praying by lifting God up in praise. Praise him for His awesome power- His incredible love- His inspiring goodness- His never-ending grace- His powerful provision- His infinite wisdom. Thank Him for how good he has been to you. These are some examples of how to start prayer through praising him.

 

  • Thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
  • We plead with God that his kingdom would come. When we begin prayer acknowledging God’s greatness, it seems only natural that out of that we would understand that it is best for everyone in this world that God’s kingdom would come and His will be done. This part of the prayer is an earnest pleading for God’s kingdom to come. We are truly asking God’s will to be done in our lives and in the lives of our church and community. We want to see God’s kingdom infiltrate our hearts and the hearts of those around us. There is nothing more needed or essential than this. God’s kingdom is the greatest of them all. Do we believe that? Jesus calls us to prayer for this to happen.

 

  • Give us this day our daily bread
  • We pray for God to meet our needs. The purpose of this section of prayer has a couple different facets to it. First, it is us asking God to meet our needs. We come to God honestly and ask for him to be the great provider we know He is. I love the fact that we have been encouraged multiple times to pray and ask God for things. We are encouraged by Paul to let our requests be made known. We are encouraged by Peter to cast our cares upon Him for he cares for us. Jesus taught us that God would meet our needs because He is a good father and we can rest in this truth. Jesus calls us to ask God to meet our needs. A 2nd facet of this is that we need to be reminded that God is capable and faithful to meet our needs- but he’s not always required to meet our desires. Sometimes our desires are not truly what we need. This is a prayer of request but also a prayer of submission. Oh lord I think I need this- but in the end I’m trusting you to know better than I what I truly need. Oh father, give me this day, what I need.

 

  • And forgive us our debts as we forgive those who are indebted to us
  • Confession is major part of prayer. We often view confession as us bringing some hidden secret to light before God that he didn’t already know. God knows all the junk in our trunk. He knows it all. Confession is us acknowledging that we sin. It’s us admitting we aren’t perfect before God and we desperately need him. I still need the cleansing blood of Jesus today even though I’ve been a Christian for nearly 30 years. I’m still a messed up guy who is in a battle with sin in my life. I need to confess this. It can be wonderfully healing to bring our brokenness before God and lay it as his feet once again. Also important though is the second half of this verse. We need to be regularly searching to see if we are harboring grudges or bitterness against someone else. We the forgiven are to be forgivers: and this not just for those who hurt or wronged us but also for ourselves.

 

  • Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
  • This is a prayer for protection. Jesus is telling the disciples to pray for God’s empowering and leading when we are tempted or put in trials. Some may say Jesus is also telling the disciples to ask for God to not permit this trial or temptation. We know from James that God cannot and does not lead us into temptation; but he may permit it for our own deepening. We can ask God to strengthen us and deliver us from this evil. What’s interesting is how this verse is followed up with a further teaching Jesus makes on forgiveness. One could possibly see a connection with the temptation and evil Jesus is asking God to deliver us from the temptation to be bitter and do evil to another person. In either case, Jesus is asking God to deliver us strengthen us and even go out of his way to prevent this temptation.

 

As you look at these things, you can pray along these lines. In your own words you can pray these different areas and you would go a long way towards developing a wonderful and powerful life of prayer. Take some time this week and pray through this- over time this prayer will bless you.

Have a great week everybody!!!

Pastor Ryan



Jesus the Healer

Hi everyone,

I want to give you a simple question to consider this week:

“What do I really think about the kingdom of God?”

Some of us don’t think about it at all. Some of us are aware that the kingdom of God is here but we really don’t grasp what it is. Some of us believe the kingdom of God is powerfully present in us and yet we don’t really live as if this truth touches our lives.

“What do I really think about the kingdom of God?”

Take some time this week and simply let yourself sit with this question. Let it be a matter of prayer for you. The apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 4:20: “for the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” It was clear to Paul that the kingdom was something much more than fuzzy, happy words; a very real, very present powerful thing.

“What do I really think about the kingdom of God?”

May God grant you peace this week as you wrestle with this question!

Pastor Ryan



A World Shattering Truth

Hi folks-

I want to give you a simple question for this week’s 2nd look:

What does it mean to me that God’s kingdom is near and I am part of it?

Take some time this week to pray and consider this question.This is something Jesus urged us to be aware of; and to re-order our lives with. What does the kingdom of God mean to us? I pray God might speak to your heart this week as you consider this question. May God’s kingdom come and His will be done in us this week!

Pastor Ryan