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



Meet Your Father (Father’s Day)

2nd Look 6.21.16
Hello everyone! Welcome to this week’s 2nd look.
This will be my final 2nd look for a while as I am embarking on my sabbatical starting tomorrow!

This past Sunday we looked at who God is as our Father!

My invitation to you this week is to spend some time reading one of Jesus’ greatest illustrations on God’s love to us as a father: Luke 15:11-32. It is one of the most powerful and beautiful stories of God’s love to us as a father.

Take some time to sit with this story. Read it several times this week and let it speak to you. As you read the story ask yourself- what do you notice about the way the father loves the son?

Have a wonderful week everybody!

Pastor Ryan



What Lurks Beneath

2nd Look- March 11th, 2016

 

Bring it into the light!

 

Sunday we talked about how there is something that often lurks beneath the surface with us and this thing often drives the destructive junk that we can’t seem to leave behind. We spoke about how the best way to deal with this thing that lurks in us; is to understand what it is and then to bring it into the light!

 

What does it mean to “Bring it into the light?” It means that we need to acknowledge it before God and men. We’ve got to get known!

 

Nothing has been more healing for me and countless others who have walked the road to freedom, then this principle of getting the hidden stuff into the light. The Bible has a simple term for this process: “Confession.” If you break down the Greek word that we translate as confession- it basically means: “To say the same thing” or “to agree.” So when we confess- we are acknowledging or agreeing that something is true.

 

The scriptures tell us in 1 John 1:9 that confession before God is crucial to being forgiven and healed… in James 5:16 we see the instruction to confess to one another; and that this is crucial for healing.

 

The picture being painted here is- confession is important. We need to bring it into the light.

 

The question I’d like to invite you to consider this week: Is there something you need to bring into the light? And who might you bring it into the light with? With this second question- you don’t need to be hasty with whom you bring things into the light with. It might behoove you to be wise in whom you choose. With anything, the first step is confession to God; and then ask Him whom you might bring things into the light with. You might be surprised at how God will help you in this.

 

Have a great week everybody!

 

Pastor Ryan



Sinless Delight

2nd
Look 4.04.16

Hi folks- for this week’s second look I’d like to direct you to a passage in scripture: John 8:1-11. I want to invite you to read it this week. Try to picture the scene playing out in your mind. I love how at the end of this story there are two things Jesus says:

  • I don’t condemn you
  • Go leave your life of sin…

I love this- He doesn’t say it the other way around: “Go leave your life of sin and then I won’t condemn you…”

This is powerful to me. My process of leaving the sin in my life is to begin with the fact that I am forgiven and not condemned by God. But rather I am chosen, holy and dearly loved… When I live in this reality- I begin the long road to freedom!

I’d also like to invite you to take some time this week and listen to this song. We sang it on Sunday during communion. Have a great week everybody!!

Here’s the link to the song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HELQyZNnR-g

Here are the lyrics:

Come out of sadness… From wherever you’ve been

Come broken hearted… Let rescue begin

Come find your mercy… Oh sinner come kneel

Earth has no sorrow… That heaven can’t heal

Earth has no sorrow… That heaven can’t heal

 

So lay down your burdens… Lay down your shame

All who are broken… Lift up your face

Oh wanderer come home… You’re not too far

So lay down your hurt… Lay down your heart

Come as you are

 

There’s hope for the hopeless… And all those who’ve strayed

Come sit at the table… Come taste the grace

There’s rest for the weary… Rest that endures

Earth has no sorrow… That heaven can’t cure

 

So lay down your burdens… Lay down your shame

All who are broken… Lift up your face

Oh wanderer come home… You’re not too far

So lay down your hurt… Lay down your heart

Come as you are

 

Come as you are

Fall in his arms

Come as you are

 

There’s joy for the morning… Oh sinner be still

Earth has no sorrow… That heaven can’t heal

Earth has no sorrow… That heaven can’t heal

 

So lay down your burdens… Lay down your shame

All who are broken… Lift up your face

Oh wanderer come home… You’re not too far

So lay down your hurt… Lay down your heart

Come as you are

Come as you are

Come as you are



Barrier Busters

Overcoming The Barriers
This last weekend we looked at the 4 barriers that often stand in the way between us and accepting/following Jesus. Here they are:
1) Inflexibility
2) Misunderstanding
3) Arrogance
4) Defensiveness or other emotional reasons.

These are not easy barriers to overcome and the reality is – we do a great disservice to simply tell someone: “Get over it.” Each one of these issues has no easy fix. Let me expand this a little bit. In the issue of “inflexibility”: We not only have to realize we are being inflexible (which takes a long time for me… 🙂 ), but we also then need to become willing to flex; and then understand how to flex; and then actually choose to flex… There are alot of steps to overcoming inflexibility and this is not just unique to this barrier. Each of them have challenges. So how do we overcome barriers?
I’m going to give you three crucial barrier busters… This doesn’t guarantee breaking barriers will be easy – but I’ve seen these be very effective in doing so… Here they are:

3 Barrier Busters
— Prayer:
David prays: “Search me oh God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts; see if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in your way everlasting.” I recently read an article about prayer where the author gave a super helpful metaphor. They wrote that often times we view prayer like a boat a hundred yards off shore. The boat is lashed to shore by a rope tied to a tree on land. Prayer; the way we often view it; is like us being in the boat, pulling on the rope forcing the land to come to us. But of course that is silly and incorrect. When we pray we don’t force the land to us but rather the pull the rope and the boat comes closer to shore. Prayer doesn’t bring God closer to our heart and desires; rather it brings us closer to God’s heart and desires.
There is a temptation to view prayer as a game, or some kind of optional thing in the Christian life – when in reality it is absolutely essential to us as Christians. The barriers in our hearts are often unremovable without prayer. The broken things are unfixable. It may all begin with David’s prayer. “Oh Lord search me for those barriers and lead me in your way everlasting!!!”

— Look For The Next Step:
Sometimes when we think of our journey with God – we think of a huge treasure map. God leads us to different destinations and each turn in the road leads us to who we ultimately become. This is true… BUT… God rarely if ever gives us the map. He only tends to give us the next step to take. When we come across a barrier in our life with God – we need only look to the next step. We don’t have all the answers or resurces to defeat this thing right now – we only have the next step to take. Maybe the next step is simply to admit we don’t have things all figured out – or to admit we need help – or to admit that this behavior is destructive. Maybe the next step is a specific behavior – or a course direction change in our life… God rarely gives us the whole game plan. He usually only gives us the next step.

— Get Grounded, In God’s…..
The biggest challenge for me, when it comes to following God beyond my barriers – has been repeatedly; I mistrust Him. Deep down, I don’t think He actually knows or wants what is best for me. I still trust myself more than Him. For some of us we need to get grounded in God’s wisdom; or His love for us; or His power. We need to be reminded that no matter what happens, His way is best for us. That requires that we are grounded in what the Word of God has told us about Him. When I feel uncomfortable in life; like God has abandoned me; I need to be reminded of Jesus’ words to His disciples that say: “Lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age…” When I am feeling shame; I need to be reminded of God’s great love for me. When it seems that God is calling me to humble myself; I need to be reminded of 1 Peter 5:5-6 that says:
“In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Sometimes the greatest barriers in our life – can be overcome simply by being strengthened by the promises and truth of God in our lives…

As we, as Christians, journey with God; we will encounter barriers; hindrances; walls that push us away from Him and His leading in our lives. I pray God will bless you this week and if you encounter one of these barriers; I pray these three barrier busters will help you mightily.

May God bless you all.
Pastor Ryan



To Judge or Not to Judge?

Hello everyone,
After this last Sunday’s sermon – one of you felt it was important to re-assert with me that while we are called to not be judgmental – that sometimes this is taken too far leaving us at a place where we don’t feel we can say anything is wrong because we are afraid of “judging others.” I think this is an extremely valid point, and I’m grateful to this person for sharing their thought with me. What Jesus is really addressing here is not whether we can say something is wrong – but if we are being hypocritical as we make judgments of others.

Jesus is painting a picture of a community in which people are helping each other remove the specs and planks from each others’ eyes all the while doing this with truth, humility and mercy. All the while this requires God’s leading with which we continue to ask God for in prayer trusting He is a good father and will provide it.

So Jesus is calling us to be a community marked by truth, humility and mercy; rather than judgmental, “Holier than thou,” kind of living. I pray we will be that. Sometimes this means we need to take an extra effort to give someone the benefit of a doubt and get to the truth with them. Sometimes this means we need to admit that we are not perfect either and that sometimes this person hurt us and we are partly to blame as well…Sometimes it means we need to admit we have labeled someone as a lost cause when in reality God loves them and doesn’t see them that way at all…the question is: Lord – how do you want me to see this person? Lord how do you see them? Do I have a right to see them otherwise?

This week – ask the Holy Spirit if there is someone you have judged without truth, humility and mercy. If so – ask God to help you look at this person and fight for these three things…God is faithful we can trust He will provide! Remember – Jesus looks at you with truth and mercy. Does this reality overflow from us to others? You live in a state of His grace and there is a song by Matt Redman where he says: Freely I’ve received now freely to give. Here it is.

Have a wonderful week everybody!
Pastor Ryan



That’s so…God!

“Yup that’s totally Him”.

Have you ever heard someone say that?  “That’s totally something they would say”  or “that sounds like them to do that” or “Man that doesn’t sound like Him/her at all.”  What does it assume? The person who says this about someone assumes some level of knowledge about this person; that they know this person well enough; that they have seen them in enough settings to know if this person would say something or do something specific. It assumes a level of knowledge. I’ve said this before but I truly believe we can get to a place where we can say that about God. As a matter of fact, I not only believe we can get to that place – but it would be great if we did; that we need to.
Why do I believe this is important? The more we know God’s leading in our lives – the more we can follow Him. The more we know God’s presence in our lives, the better able we can discern His voice; His teaching; His instruction; His feelings about us; and His leading. This can lead to powerful living as we move walking “In Step” with God’s Spirit.
And how do we get this discernment? Relationship with God over a long enough period of time. We need to build a relationship with Him and over time we will learn to more easily discern His movement in our lives. On Sunday we talked about how as Christians we are entered into a relationship with God and a relationship with His Church; and that we need to take this seriously; that because we can have a relationship with God – let’s go for it!!
So how do we do this?  How do we have a relationship with God? Well how do we have a relationship with anybody? On Sunday I gave you several ideas for how to deepen your relationship with God and they were very similar to how you would deepen your relationship with someone else:
1) Spend time with them
That could be done in a variety of ways. I think of all the ways i’ve spent time with my wife or my best guy friend Dan. We’ve worked together; laughed together; played together; had moments of emotional vulnerability. With my wife there have been wonderful moments of intimacy where i’ve felt deeply safe just being held and holding her. But in all of these things – spending time with someone is crucial in getting to know them. This is true with God as well. Do we spend time with Him?  It doesn’t always have to involve a Bible or have to be in a church. I’ve had wonderful times with God hiking in the mountains – and doing ministry with others. The reality is; we need to spend time with God. How often do you spend time with God? Do you have certain places where it seems a greater joy- or more powerful to you to spend time with God?
2) Get to know them
We need to get to know our friends. For us men; this can be challenging. We can be very recreational with each other – go fishing; watch football and yet never really get to the real stuff with each other. But if you want to have deep friends; this is an important movement; you’ve got to get to know the person. The same is true for God. How do we get to know Him?  Reading His Word; prayer; worship; relationship with others in His church and watching what He is doing in their lives. I want to get to a point where i’ve gotten to know God deeply, and intimately; to know His leading because I’ve seen and learned how He leads from my times of getting to know Him. How well would you say you know God? If God were moving in your life; would you know it? How would you know?
3) Talk with them
I would say this hint at deepening with God could be fit into the previous two categories – but I felt it was so essential to mention on its own.  My wife and I make it a very regular practice to have conversation time where we are talking about our day – our feelings and thoughts. We work hard to make this a daily occurrence. This needs to be true for us with God. We talk to Him – listen to Him – share our feelings and concerns. We have a daily conversation with a God who is there. How often do we talk to God? Is He someone we come to as a last ditch; last resort; or is He where we turn to first?
4) Avoid things that would hurt them or your relationship with them
This is where sin is so destructive. It builds a wall of rebellion between us and God and can deeply mess things up. I might choose to wage war against sin in my life not because it dooms me – No Jesus has saved me; I choose to wage war against sin because it hurts my relationship with God and in the end; He is better than all the sugar sweet sin this world has to offer; that ultimately leads to nothing but illness. Are there any behaviors that are hurting your relationship with God? Dietrich Bonhoeffer said this about impurity and lust: “If the eye is full of impurity – how can one see God.”  Man isn’t that profound? If we fill our heart; our minds and our eyes with impure things; is it any wonder we cannot see or experience God? Are there any behaviors or thought patterns that keep us from Him?
These are 4 hints for deepening in your relationship with God.  My hope is that while these questions asked in each category are a bit difficult and may lead us to feel guilty – that you would read them in light of God’s amazing forgiveness and grace to you. I’m convinced God wants more for us than we are wanting for ourselves. We are happy to settle – and yet He wants more because He loves us and wants to give us much more. May we be willing to keep walking with Him and to grow in our relationship…
Be blessed this week my friends,
Ryan


Know the Gospel

Welcome to 2nd Look.
This past Sunday we talked about the importance of knowing the Gospel and how we need to come to think more and more like Jesus does. We need to see the world the way He does and that this is a central part of following Jesus. You may remember I said: “I don’t know much; but I know we are supposed to make disciples.” Jesus commands us to do this – to go into all the world and make disciples. Part of this process involves us knowing the gospel and helping others do the same.
So the follow up question is: Ok – but how do I do this? How do I deepen in knowing the gospel? How do I grow to think more and more like Jesus? Let me give you several ideas:

1. Studymemorizelearn from God’s Word

Psalm 119:11 – the psalmist says: “thy word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against thee…” A big part of coming to deeply KNOW the gospel – is to learn the teachings of the Bible and to let it invade your life. There is no book out there that has invaded my life like the Bible has. I’m a serial reader of books. I read them like they are a mission – once I complete the book, I’ve completed the mission. Very few books get a second read from me. Novels almost never get a second read. Some non fiction works will get a second go around – even fewer get a third. The Bible is the only book, I’ve read over and over again; and in that process, the teachings found within its pages have begun to invade my mind and heart in a way no other book has.
As Christians we need to study God’s Word. We need it because without it we really don’t grow to think like Jesus. We will be stunted in our growth – if we grow at all and we run the risk of making grave errors in our understanding of who God is and His will for our lives.
One other thing I’d like to say about this – memorization is not necessarily a weakness for me – but it requires effort so I wouldn’t say it’s a huge strength either. But memorization has powerfully impacted my life with God. I know some of us out there think there is no way we could memorize Scripture. Please consider that your mind is capable of doing amazing things – and then you add to that God’s empowering of your mind? Memorization is possible. Consider trying it – but before you do – please free yourself from the idea that you have to memorize entire books of Scripture. I think many of us are capable of this – but seriously – just start with a verse or two. Write a verse on a notecard and tape it to your mirror or on your dash console where you will see it often (But do this safely!!) Read the verse again and again; reflect on it – memorize it.
If you are just starting out with the Bible – there are all kinds of suggestions for how to read the Scriptures. Please check our church website in the days ahead – we will be posting some helpful hints on living from our values and more specifically – reading and learning from the Bible.

2. Make and execute an intentional plan to develop our minds

The key word here is “intentional.” How often are we intentional with the way we do things? This is especially hard for those of us who are  fly by the seat of our pants people. I’m one of them – but I’ve found there is great power to making intentional choices to grow. The mind is something that doesn’t just grow. It’s not like we put our brains in sunlight – add a little water then Voila! You have a larger mind! No, this takes an intentional choice on our part.  I’d like to invite you to think about this and maybe ask yourself some questions:

1) What are some ways I can help myself grow to think more and more like Jesus?

2) Are there thought patterns in my life that are like Jesus’? What are they? Are there thought patterns that are not? What are they?

There are tons of resources on the web that are available to help you grow and be challenged to know the gospel. If you are a reader there are a ton of books out and articles out there. Might I make a few suggestions?

-“The Search For Significance” by Robert McGee

-“Hiding From Love” by John Townsend

-“Christ Empowered Living” by Selwyn Hughes

If you are someone who likes to listen and watch videos – we have a great resource called: Rightnowmedia.org. Check it out – through it you have access to hundreds of hours of sermons; Bible studies and training.
The big thing is – to make an intentional choice; then an intentional plan – to grow your mind. It also means we might need to release some things in our lives that hurt our ability to grow to think more and more like Jesus…

3. Replace our errant ways of thinking with Christ’sways.

One thing I’ve found through the years I’ve known Jesus – is that He is in the business of changing me from the inside out. I’m finding I’m often wrestling with seeing the world the way Jesus does and how I so frequently find the way Jesus sees things is the opposite of how I naturally do. I’m often having to be reminded that this thought is not of Christ and it is in those moments; I am praying and asking God once again to take this truth and re-form my thoughts with it. Sometimes we need to take our errant misguided thinking and remind ourselves again and again what Jesus’ way of seeing things is – then we need to live as if Jesus’ way is actually the truth. This is not an overnight process. Let me give you an example:
So I see a guy on the street and my initial thought is – I want to stay away from him – to not invest in him because judging by the way he looks – he isn’t open to Christ and he’s beyond saving. But the Bible teaches us that nobody is beyond saving or beyond the love of God. So I need to remind myself of this and accept this truth – but then also maybe I need to live as if this truth is actually true. So I talk to this guy – all the while asking God to lead me because I am trusting that this guy is not beyond His love and ability to save.
Do you see what I’m talking about? We confront the errant ways we think – we replace them with Christ’s true ways and we live accordingly.
These three things will help us know the gospel. The question always comes back to: How far are you willing to go? How deeply do you want your mind to be like Jesus’? I promise you – this movement will rock your life and while some of it may be difficult – you won’t regret.

Have a wonderful week everybody,
Pastor Ryan



Thanks for the Info, now what?

Hello SNC friends!
Can you believe it? We finished our series on Tough Questions – Solid Answers. I had a great time discussion these things with you. This is a major area of passion for me although I would admit I am nowhere near as nuanced a philosopher and scientist as many of those who contribute to this discussion are. I’m a novice – but have deeply enjoyed this pursuit over the years. It was truly wonderful bringing this material to our Sunday mornings and really having this dialogue. My hope is that you can use it, return to it if you are wrestlying – or maybe ministering to a friend who has difficult questions. I’d like to take some time to share my answer to someone who asks me to explain why in the world I’ve decided to lose my mind and be a Christian! Here is my (hopefully short and clear) answer:

“Joe, thanks for asking me that question. I know it might seem crazy to you, but I have really thought about this and wrestled with it through the years. If you’ve got a few minutes, I’d love to share with you several reasons why I have decided to place my faith in Jesus Christ.

As I begin I’d like to say is that I am going to share multiple pieces of evidence that could point to the existence of a God and that Jesus is Him – but each piece may not be enough to prove God’s existence on its own – but when you line them up together it begins to look more and more compelling to me that Christianity is true. Now I just want to share these reasons with you and then we can discuss questions you may have for the reasons I gave.

Okay, first thing I’d like to point to is science. I know this is disputed but it seems to me that science has not disproven God’s existence, but rather it may actually point us to a creator. I see the vast scope of a universe that seems to have a design behind it – I see the brilliant design of a human being and find it hard to explain how we just got here on our own. To me, I look around me and am in awe of it all. To me – I’ve read and throughout a lot about this – it just seems to me the explanation of a God behind it all is just as compelling if not more than the explanation  of God’s non existence.

Secondly, I think Christianity gives us the best explanation as to why we can define what evil is – and the best explanation for why it exists and it gives us the best hope for us in the midst of this evil.

Third, I see the Bible as an historically and archaeologically accurate and philosophically strong book that changes lives. I know the Bible has been scoffed at but every attack I’ve seen brought against it seems to fail. This lends credence to the words within it.

Fourth, I find Christianity to be the most compelling religion (atheism included), philosophically; morally; archaeologically; and to be honest – I find it to be the most hope and life-giving of all religions out there.

Fifth, the evidence for the existence, the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus Christ is very powerful and compelling to me. Jesus was either raised from the dead – or He wasn’t. If He wasn’t then He is just a man and Christianity is just another religious system – but if He was raised from the dead – then Christianity is something else entirely.

Sixth, I’ve seen how my relationship with Jesus has changed my life and the lives of millions throughout history who claim they have not only had a relationship with God but they have seen Him move in powerful ways. To me – all these testimonies together is very powerful.

So these are my six major reasons for belief in God and in Jesus Christ.”

How would you describe why you believe in Jesus? You don’t have to use big philosophical words or concepts – but can you explain why you believe what you do? In 1 Peter 3:15 we are encouraged to always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks for a reason for the hope that is in you . . . My hope was to help you arrive at your reasons and be prepared at all times to share that if asked. So let me ask you – this week pull out a piece of paper and a pencil. And write down these questions:

  1. What do I find to be most convincing about the Christian faith?
  2. Why is it most convincing?
  3. How would I communicate this to others?

Have you ever thought about this? I have confessed that sometimes when I’m on long drives I pretend I’m in a discussion with a non-christian, and I try to answer questions that would be asked to me. I think about how I would answer questions: what I’d say and how I’d deliver it. As we move forward in our mission to make disciples, I can guarantee: you will be questioned. My hope is that you will be ready and it’s awesome because so many times, I find there will be points in the conversation where I’m not ready and yet God powerfully moves through me. These are very exciting tines because I’m reminded it’s not my intellect or persuasiveness that wins the day – but God’s Holy Spirit speaking to a heart and moving someone. May God bless you richly in your mission with Him!

Pastor Ryan



Merry Christmas!

Hello everyone!!!

For this week’s 2nd look I want to share a song that has been haunting me this Christmas season. Below are the lyrics and the link for the song.
My truest hope for all of you is that this Christmas would not merely be a time of festivities – but also a time of reflection.  May God bless you and have a merry, MERRY Christmas!!!
What Kind of Child
By Evan wickham
In the stillness of this night
all my fears have got me frozen
In this darkness shine your light
I’m not seeing, where i’m going
Then your love broke through like an angel fire
And you burned this heart alive
And I heard your truth, I saw the sign
My hope is born tonight
What kind of child is this, what kind of child is this
even the angels praise him
What kind of child is this; what kind of child is this
In the desert I will rise
As you call me to follow the star
I’ll be looking to the skies
with your promise deep in my heart

 

What kind of child is this, what kind of child is this
even the Stars shine for him
What kind of child is this; what kind of child is this

 

Emmanuel, emmanuel
the night is done, the light is come
Emmanuel
Now he is the prince of peace
He is conquering the darkness with His light
And He is the risen King
He is leading me from death and into the life
What kind of power is this, what kind of power is this
That even owns the grave
what kind of power is this, what kind of power is this
Emmanuel, emmanuel
Hallelujah
emmanuel, emmanuel
The light is come, the night is done
Emmanuel
you’ll need to scroll down the page to find the song…  merry christmas everyone!!!
Pastor Ryan