Hope

Over the next 3 weeks I will be giving you some scripture, to reflect on some beautiful things that arrive with Jesus. This week we looked at Hope. When Jesus is born, it’s not just a baby being born in a stable but rather it is the moment when the door swings wide open to HOPE. Here’s the thing though. This isn’t just your standard run of the mill, “Geez I really hope this happens for me” wishful thinking kind of Hope. This is the, “God promised it; God will make it happen so I will expect it with confidence” kind of Hope. When Jesus is born true Hope explodes into reality for anyone throughout the history of mankind. This Hope is ever present for us, it is life transforming and it is ETERNAL!

 

This week, my invitation is for you to, on a daily basis, take some time to reflect on the amazing and wonderful Hope God has given us in Jesus Christ! Below is a list of scriptures and exercises to do every day to help you really dive into this concept of Hope!

 

Monday Day #1: He Shall Reign Forevermore by Chris Tomlin

Listen to this song by Chris Tomlin that proclaims this great and glorious hope we have in Jesus!

Really try to give this song a listen every day!

        

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2NzLqpod0I&list=RDJ2NzLqpod0I

 

Tuesday Day #2: An excerpt from the Jesus storybook Bible

Back at the beginning of time- all had been lost when Adam and Eve rebelled against God, but even back then God made His promises to us. This excerpt is taken from a beautifully illustrated children’s Bible. Take some time to read this passage and consider the hope its words…

 

Before they left the garden, God whispered a promise to Adam and Eve: “It will not always be so! I will come to rescue you! And when I do, I’m going to do battle against the snake. I’ll get rid of the sin and the dark and the sadness you let in here. I’m coming back for you!” And he would. One day, God himself would come.

THE JESUS STORYBOOK BIBLE

 

Wednesday Day #3: Isaiah 9:5-7

Take some time today to read and reflect on this scripture written below.

For unto me a child is born, unto me a son is given;
   and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called

   Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 

Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end,
   on the throne of David and over his kingdom,

to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness
  from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

 

Can you think of several hopeful statements in this passage?

 

Thursday Day #4: Words of reflection

Today we are going to reflect on a poem by Emily Dickinson, and then afterwards, I invite you to consider words that describe the hope God has given you and write them down on a notecard for you to tape or put somewhere you can see it. They don’t have to be anything super deep or philosophical. It could be a simple word or phrase. But it needs to make sense to you.

 

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all….

~Emily Dickinson

 

Friday Day #5: John 1:9-14

Let’s reflect upon another great scripture passage filled with Hope.

 

Saturday Day #6: Colossians 1:26-27

With arrival of Jesus a new Hope has exploded into reality. God has come to us, to dwell in our hearts. Look at this amazing hope in this passage! What do you notice??

 

This is a brief list of verse and exercises for you this week as you reflect on advent! May the Lord bless you my brothers and sisters!

 

Pastor Ryan



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



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?


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



A Call to Prepare

Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s 2nd look.

For this week I’d like to invite you to read the story of Mary in Luke 1:26-38. Try to read it several times this week. Close your eyes and picture the scene in your mind, or even try to put yourself in Mary’s shoes. What thoughts, emotions do you feel in this passage? What things to do notice or observe. On Sunday we will get into this story and my hope is for you to spend some time with it this week!

I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas season!!!!

Pastor Ryan


Tithing As Worship

2nd Look 11.15.16

 

Hi folks,

Welcome to this week’s second look.

For this week I’d simply like to invite you to take time each day to read and reflect on 2 Corinthians 9:1-15. As the week progresses what seems to emerge to you from this passage? This passage has been a great comfort and encouragement to me this past week as I was preparing for Sunday’s sermon. I truly hope it will encourage you as well.

 

Have a great week everyone and may the peace of God be upon you all!

Pastor Ryan



Worshipping Together

2nd Look 11.08.16

Hi folks and welcome to the 2nd Look for this week.

 

I want to simply invite you to consider this question this week:

Who is spurring me on towards love and good deeds?

Who am I spurring on?

These are 2 great questions for us to wrestle with? My hope is that each of us would be able to answer this question when asked because I truly believe this will enrich your life with God. We are meant to worship Him with our lives and we are meant to do that with others!

Take some time this week and consider these simple questions. You may want to write down the names that come to mind. If you cannot think of someone, take some time to pray about this and ask God whom He might want you to move towards; so that this can be a part of your life.

I truly believe one of the greatest gifts God gives us, is actually the relationships we have with each other. It’s not always easy- sometimes it just flat out goes haywire- but the potential involved in this may actually be worth the risk. I can look back over my life and it is relationships that were and are deeply significant to me that have changed my life for the better. I pray they will do the same for you!

May God remind you of his love for you this week!

Pastor Ryan



Gut Check: Where Worship Begins

2nd Look- 10.04.16 Living Worship

Hi everyone,

Welcome to the 2nd look.

This week I’d like to invite you to read Psalm 8 multiple times, if not daily. Really let it sit with you and consider what David is saying about God’s greatness and who we are as humans. This is a beautiful psalm that seems to capture the heart of what we are talking about right now with worship.

Have a blessed week everyone and may God grant you his incomparable peace as you walk with Him!

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



Your Fruits Depend On Your Roots

Hello SNC Friends!

For this week’s second look I’d like to remind you of our sermons major statement.

 

“Your Fruits Depend On Your Roots”

 

This week I want to invite you to ask these questions with me. Take at least 5 minutes a day and simply sit with these questions. There’s no need to force things or come up with some huge epiphany – simply sit in the quiet with God – ask these questions and see what comes up. Let me warn you though – these are some very powerful questions that can be quite life altering. Here they are:

 

Lord – what’s going on between us?

 

Is there anything in my life that pulls me from you – that puts a wall up between us?

 

Is there something you’re trying to teach me?

 

Is there something that hinders me from hearing you and being closer to you?

 

May God bless you guys- have a great week!

 

Pastor Ryan