Life Beyond Survival

Hi folks-

It has begun!!!  Our series on The Sermon On The Mount is officially here! I cannot tell you how excited I am to study this beautiful sermon with you all.

Please remember – The Sermon On The Mount is not just some teaching by Jesus on how we can be good humans. It’s a radical re-formation of how we think and how we view life. It’s a majestic portrait of the life we have always been meant to live and yet – as humans it is simply not possible to live this on our own. We need God to develop this sermon in our minds and hearts – to change us from the inside out.

For this week’s 2nd Look – I’d like to invite you to check out this youtube link of a live version of a song many of us know well. It is an earnest prayer for God to change us from the inside out – that He would transform our characters – and the way we see things. I have been praying God would start some really exciting things at our church as a result of the changes He does in our minds and hearts as we study The Sermon On The Mount!!!  Enjoy the song everybody and may it be your prayer this week!

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



What Does God’s Voice Sound Like?

2013-9-3-2013-Hearing-The-Voice-of-God

What does God’s voice sound like? A great question. We are taught to seek God, be still and listen for Him. Is it some mystic voice in the clouds? Is it loud? Is it in english? How can I know the voice is from God and not some nefarious source?

I don’t have all of the answers on this subject, but I have been experiencing a lot of “God’s voice” in my life lately. Here is what I DO know.  God loves us and wants to communicate with us in very personal ways. First and foremost He speaks through His Word, the Bible. Second, He speaks through His Holy Spirit. Now this is where it can get a little tricky to understand. Let me give you two examples that happened to me yesterday and today:

  1. Yesterday afternoon (around 2pm) I was working at my desk, typing something and God put on my mind a person to pray for. So I stopped typing and prayed at that point – didn’t know what I was praying for, just knew who I was praying for. Then I sent that person a text to let them know that I was praying for them. Here is where it gets pretty exciting!  That person texts me back last night and says “How you knew I had a meltdown at 2pm is a God thing! … I was feeling really angry and defeated, now I can focus on what is good and true… We are so loved why do we let any of this really get to us? Our focus has to stay strong, it’s a broken world but we have been given the hope to really survive it…” NOW, how cool is that?!? God loved my friend enough to prompt me to pray at the exact time that was needed most. Now my friend is reminded of God’s personal love. And I am reminded that I can be used by God in ways that I am not even fully aware of.
  2. This morning I took a morning walk with God (something that I just started doing) and I was asking Him to use me and to prevent me from speaking when I shouldn’t, to make my words His, etc. Then, at work (again), someone came into the office to do some service on equipment. God just opened up some very deep spiritual conversations with him. They were exciting conversations about God’s love and judgement, about exercising spiritual muscles, and even about atheism – he has a friend that really needs to hear this Sunday’s message “Is God a Monster?” We spoke for about an hour. The conversation flowed smoothly & I didn’t panic that I wouldn’t be able to answer his questions. God gave me peace to let Him speak through me. NOW, here is where it gets exciting…I got an email from a faithful lady at church when I got back to my computer telling me …you have really been on my mind and heart today.  I don’t know why, but I felt you needed a prayer so I wanted you to know that I am praying for you, my friend. Hope your day and week are beautiful and that you have peace and love from unexpected places! Search for the Lord,and his strength. Always seek his presence. Ps 105:4″  How cool is that?!? I know that God had my friend pray for me exactly at the time when I was having an unplanned spiritual discussion. 

 

I trust this “voice” from God. I know that He sees me, He hears me, He loves me, He wants what is best for me and He wants to use me in unusual and exciting ways. God is real! He is quite active, it’s just so fun to be in a space where I am looking for His movement around me and through me.

How have you heard God’s voice lately? Let me know, these are discussions that need to be a part of our everyday conversations, for God’s ultimate glory and good!

 



Project Blessing – 2 Finale

We have reached the end of our 2nd Project Blessing. This was a much more difficult journey through project blessing than the first time. I was much more distracted – busy. One thing that God seemed to reinforce with me was just how deeply this movement of blessing is tied to prayer. The more distracted I became from prayer – the more out of tune I was with the movement of blessing others. I would miss opportunities; become careless or thoughtless in my actions and how I lived my life. I’m the kind of person who gets caught in ruts quite often. I like to create predictable plans for how to live each week and can actually get resentful when something interrupts my plan – and yet blessing others is something I’ve found; seems to happen outside of my carefully scripted life. It requires going the extra mile and that has proven difficult for me in this season.

One thing that was impressed upon me was the power of praying for God to use me as a force of blessing: today. I often found that God would open doors for me to bless others often – it was a matter of being willing and open to His leading and it was interesting where the blessing opportunities came from. For me this time through; they were often in small conversations with unlikely people in unlikely places: community meals; grocery stores… Sure I worked to bless the usual suspects; people in my family and friends network – but the cool moments were when God opened doors for me to bless others unexpectedly – usually with conversations . . .

So the big lesson I learned? Prayer is key for blessing. It’s amazing how God brings me back to this truth over and over again – how essential prayer is.



Project Blessing

Hi everyone:

Project Blessing ends July 21st. I would like to ask you to begin reflecting on this past three months. Here are some questions I’d like to ask you:

  • What ways has God used you to bless others? How did He lead you to bless these people?
  • What have you learned from God in regards to how to bless other people?
  • What ways has God blessed you in this process?

Please be thinking of these three questions. We’d like to invite you to share with us about your experience; not to celebrate your own “awesomeness” but to celebrate God in this process. As a church we often need to be reminded of the the things God is doing in and through us. Otherwise, we lose sight of His work and leading. Your comments will be super helpful.

Thanks again, and may you be blessed this week as you seek to bless others!

Pastor Ryan



Bless You!

Hi everyone.

For this week, I thought I’d bless you!
How would I do that?
Follow the steps listed below

Find a place you can be quiet and alone for five minutes.
Read this letter below:

Dear _(Your name here)_____
In the middle of your busy life, I wanted to take a moment to send you a letter.
I know the pressures you carry; the expectations; the fears even.
I know them better than you because
I know you better than you know yourself, and I want you to be reminded
I love and accept you where you are; as you are right now.
Sitting here reading this; please know you’ve done nothing to earn my love for you;
I freely gave it before you took your first breath.
This love I have has led me to go to great lengths.
Some would say they are foolish lengths because of how dearly I have suffered for you.
But you are worth it.  You are worth it because I say you are.
I sacrificed dearly to be with you; and there is no price I wouldn’t pay;
But to be with you is not my only purpose.
No, I want to transform you, make you more alive than you could imagine.
I want to give you deep lasting peace, joy in the midst of even the hardest times; real hope and true love.
How have I planned to transform you?
By giving you myself.  You are never alone.
and that means, because you have me; you have peace; joy; love and hope
You’re Never apart from this love I have freely given you.
I have not given up on you and I will not.
Where you are sitting right now, please know today that you live in peace with me
no matter what you’ve done; if you’re trapped in something; hurting; angry; or hopeless.
I love you.
I always will

Jesus

No matter what your day has been like.  My hope is that you can take a moment to realize you are at peace with God.  He is happy with you; pleased with what He sees and at work to transform you.  You are safe in His grace no matter what happens.  I hope this information blesses you this week.
Pastor Ryan



Project Blessing – Garden Project

Hi everyone
I want to take a moment to remind us all of the Mt. Gleason project.  This is very exciting for us.  Mt. Gleason is a junior high school in the area and they have a large garden area they would love to use for educational purposes as well as just blessing our teachers and students.  We have some amazing gardeners here at this church.  Then we also have people like me who can shovel dirt with the best of them… 🙂  Regardless of what person you are like – I’d like to invite you to join us – even if it is for an hour.  Come on out; bring your kids help us bless this school that works with so many junior highers in our area.
Be blessed this week as you bless others!
Pastor Ryan


How is God Using You?

It's exciting to see how God is moving all around us.  Just heard a testimony last week about how one small act of kindness, helped bring two people together who would never have met otherwise.  How will God use this relationship? Will one lead the other to salvation in Jesus? Will one help the other in ways they didn't even know they needed help?  That's the point – isn't it?  We don't know what impact God has in mind when He prompts us to do one small thing.



Hi Project Blessers

Just a quick note to encourage you. We are about a month into our project. Last week was hard for me to figure out what I was going to do. Life is moving on and staying with the task of blessing is getting more and more difficult to remember to prioritize. But please let me encourage you to stay with it – to not grow weary in this. If you’re anything like me – then it is about this time in the project that you need to lean on your accountability partner for encouragement and that extra little kick in the pants. 🙂 May God bless you as this week progresses – and make it clear whom you can bless this week.

Pastor Ryan