Regular posts will resume the week of May 21, 2017
Beginning this week, Pastor Dave's blogs will be posted under "The Story" tab on the "Pastor's Weekly Devo" page. You can access it by clicking HERE.
Regular posts will resume the week of May 21, 2017
If you think Genesis is just a band from the ‘80’s . . .
If you think it was Dr. Dolittle who took two of each animal into a big boat . . .
If you think an epistle is a woman married to an apostle . . .
. . . you may need to know more of The Story.
You may be a bit intimidated by the Bible. You’re not alone; many people are. And no wonder, its pages mention odd names like Jehoshaphat and Nebuchadnezzar. It contains accounts from places you probably never heard of, like Sinai and Samaria. And it seems to be made up of a lot of different, seemingly unrelated stories. But it really is one big, exciting story.
You can see it easily if you open your Bible to the beginning and then flip all the way to the end. The first words found in Genesis 1:1 read: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Then, if you turn all the way to the back of the book, Revelation 21:1, you find, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away . . .”
In the beginning God is creating the heavens and the earth. At the end He is creating a new heaven and a new earth. So the big question is this: “What on earth happened between the beginning and the end of the Bible?” If you can answer that question you will have uncovered the one seamless story of God.
Why not read God’s story with your family this year? Studies indicate if the extent of your child’s exposure to things of the faith consists only of a weekly visit to church or Sunday School, the likelihood is very great that when they graduate and leave your home their relationship with the Lord will turn cold.
However, if you as a parent engage your children in the experience of reading and discussing the Bible, chances go up astronomically that they will remain strong in their faith after leaving home. You don’t have to be an expert or have all the answers. You just have to be willing to experience it with them.
Get involved in The Story of God. It will forever transform your life and your family’s life. Every day God is seeking to guide you, forming sentences that flow into paragraphs that over time write the chapter of your life––a life committed to knowing Him better.
Will you choose today to take your life chapter and make it a part of the Big Story of what God is
doing on earth?
This Sunday (October 9th) we will be kicking off our new preaching series called "The Story". We will be working through the Bible and taking time through our Children's Sunday School Classes as well as our adult Rooted Groups and Youth Group to really focus our study on God's Word and how we can find our place in His story.
I'm excited to see what happens when an entire church is reading God's word intentionally together from beginning to end.
This last Sunday we began a new preaching series entitled, "Seriously Ridiculous" and we started out talking about some of the core beliefs that we have as Christians that the rest of the world would think is seriously ridiculous, like "God came to earth as a man, to live among us."
How is it possible for God to step into human history and take on flesh and blood that He would live a perfect sinless life, that He would be the pure and ultimate manifestation of love and that we would respond to him with hatred, cruelty, and violence?
How is it possible that the creator of the universe who is the seriously ridiculous of all that is good, true, and beautiful, walk among us and it would be said, “that we saw no beauty or majesty in him to attract us to him.”
Is it possible that God is all around us, all the proof of Him is everywhere?
"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14 (NIV)
John is telling us that God walked among us in all of His glory, in His entire splendor, in all of His power and all of His beauty. We can remain blind to Him, and it is possible to not recognize the beauty of God, if you choose not to open your eyes and see the powerful and beautiful.
I believe that it was through a seriously ridiculous moment of tragedy that God allows us to recognize His power and beauty, that could only come through the cross, the death and then the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
God wants to take your life, and out of all the pain, all the confusion, all the disappointment, all the tragedy, He wants to create something powerful and beautiful in you, if you would simply trust Him with your life.
Take a moment today, and spend it in prayer, thanking God for Who He is in your life. Perhaps you need to reaffirm your faith and your trust in God and allow Him to empower your life once again.
It's so easy for us to take scripture out of context and use it to make ourselves look better than others, or to try to convince God that our will is better than His.
This week we are going to be looking at Matthew 7:1-2, which is a passage of scripture that is most often misused by non-Christians and often taken out of context by Christians as well. "Do not judge, or you too will be judged." I like how the Message states this verse, "Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging."
This is really timely for where we are at as a country and all that is happening within our own state. People are so quick to judge and make wrong judgments, or perhaps they are right judgments, but just shouldn't be said, and when we do this, it only creates more division and broken relationships. I want to encourage you, if you can, to be here Sunday as we look at this crucial topic and let's allow God to teach us, challenge us and encourage us through His word as we strive to become living examples of who HE is.
"Lord, help us be willing to die to self today, so that YOU may live through me. Let my words and actions be a reflection of your grace, mercy and forgiveness."
"To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps." 1 Peter 2:21 (NIV)
We answer many calls in our lives. Calls to mealtimes, the call to military service, the call to jury duty, or the call to compassionate ministry.
As Christ-followers, we are all called to live out our lives as an example to others, so that they may walk as we walk, and talk as we talk. We will either make them a disciple of ourselves, or, if we truly are being imitators of God, Eph. 5:1-2, then we will be making Christ-like disciples.
As you do life, as you go to work, school, hang out at the gym, at the pizza place, bowling alley, around a camp fire, as you do life, make disciples.
As parents we are called to disciple our children and teach them and show them what it means to live a life that is a reflection of Christ. "Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church." (Eph. 5:25)
As we enter into the month of June, we are going to spend some a few weeks taking a look at the life of Samson, one of the "tough guys" of the bible, and seeing how we can learn from Him, some "do's and don'ts" of being men and women of character and courage.
I am looking forward to this weekend as we begin a new month and new preaching series, "Samson".
We are all called to care for those around us and have compassion for those in need. "To say that we care, but to not act, is to really not care at all."
Remember, compassion interrupts. Are you willing to allow God to interrupt your life in order to fulfill His plan?
A friend of mine from college, Jeff Suntken, is a truck driver and just yesterday morning he posted this on Facebook:
So...3:00 a.m , rest area just north of Cincinnati. When I parked the truck at11p.m the only spot open was a parallel park n squeeze right in front. Back to 3 a.m....I wake to a familiar sound, an engine trying to start but its just not happening. Its what we call a "starts and dies". I lay there a while and listen to see if they get it started and move on. Nope!...it continues. I get up and peek out the window and listen, they notice me and now they probably think I'm a creeper. Haha...I go back to bed. People that know me, know that I just can't go to sleep in this situation, I am not built that way. I get up, dress, and grab my tools. I ALWAYS have tools! I do my usual " Hi, I'm Jeff, blah blah blah blah....Im gonna fix your car ...blah blah blah...and your gonna drive away with a smile. " speech. I had already diagnosed it anyway, while laying in bed 20 ft away.
It goes as I figured. A little look around, a few tap tests, and then a kick to the fuel tank to give the fuel pump a wake up call. Presto! Car is running and they think I am a miracle worker. What they don't know is that the blessing was all mine. I love it when God uses me this way...even though I didn't want to get out of bed , for selfish reasons. It allowed me the chance to be a witness and share with them in just a few seconds that I was a Christian. The real obstacle was not the broken down car...that's easy! It was the battle within me to set my selfishness aside and be willing to be used, when all I really wanted to do was honestly lay there and grumble to myself that I parked in the only available spot and it just happened to be where someone wakes me with car trouble. The more I think about it, the more it sinks in...its no coincidence at all.
Are you willing to allow God to interrupt your life for His purposes? When we do, we get to experience what God's blessings really are all about. Because when it all comes down to it, this life really isn't about us at all, it's about us fulfilling what God created us to be and do for His glory. And that leads us to living a life that is overflowing with His HOPE. May you splash that HOPE onto someone else this week.
Today is May 5th, also known as Cinco de Mayo. It's the National Day of Prayer, and it is also Ascension Day. This is the 40th day of Easter when we recognize the day that Jesus ascended into Heaven. You can read about this event in Acts 1:1-11.
This past Sunday, Pastor Jim challenged us to have Eye's to See the mission that God has called us to be about. In this passage from Acts, Jesus puts this mission in front of His disciples yet again, just prior to Him ascending into Heaven. He said to them in vs. 8, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
If you are an eye witness to something, it is something that you have experienced yourself. You have first hand knowledge of what took place, and how it affected you. That affect needs to effect those around you, as you share with them how God has changed your life. That is the mission that we are called to be about. To be His witnesses in the Brainerd Lakes Area and in all of Minnesota and the United States and to the ends of the earth.
Look for an opportunity to share with someone today, how God has changed your life. On this Ascension Day, let's have eyes to see the mission (the people) around us who need to be encouraged by our story of transformation, and be His witnesses.
I'm looking forward to seeing you on Sunday!
Thank you Brainerd Naz Family!
Thank you church for coming out last night (5/2) to Pizza Ranch and supporting the Haiti Food Project. It was great to see so many come and support our efforts in helping feed the kids in Haiti. As of last night, you had raised $1,800. That's enough for 3 weeks of food for the kids.
As was stated on Sunday, the orphanage where many from the church have gone to be a part of a missions trip to share life with the children and staff, is close to no longer being. It is with your help in feeding these kids, and the help of others on the ground in Haiti, that we together can make it possible to get most of these kids back into their homes with their families, and the others moved to other orphanages.
I am looking forward to watching how God works through you, not just in feeding these kids now, but how this will impact their lives in the future for Kingdom purposes.
Thank you for your generosity and faithfulness to God's work in and through your life.
Suppose we went to Mexico City, or Tokyo-the two largest cities in the world. We go downtown. It's rush hour, and there are thousands of busy people in the streets. What is our first impression likely to be? We will probably just see a great mass of faces that all look alike.
If we were to stay awhile in one of those cities and came to know and love certain people there, and understood their culture, they would no longer all look the same to us. We would see them as individuals and begin to see their individual needs.
The more you know about any subject, the less you think in general terms and the more you think in individual terms. God knows everything about every one of us. He is the source of all knowledge and truth. He does not see us as just a sea of God has been challenging me with that quite a bit just this week. He sees us and loves us as individuals.
Jesus saw Bartimaeus and cared about the poor beggar's blindness. He called for Bartimaeus to come to Him and Bartimaeus responded in excitement. He threw off his cloak and came to Jesus. "What would you ask of me?" Jesus asked him. "Restore my sight," begged Bartimaeus. And Jesus answered, "Your faith has healed you."
Our faith can heal those of us who are sitting by the side of the road today. Would you eagerly "throw off your cloak" and come to Jesus? Can you believe that the God of this huge universe cares about your needs and will see you through whatever crisis you are dealing with? There is healing in faith like this.
When Jesus wanted to illustrate the love of the Father, he pointed to a tiny sparrow and asked, "Are you not of more value than they?" We are of infinite value to the Father, and we need to be reminded that He cares about us as individuals. All that we need to do is open our eyes and see Him as He works in and through us. (Read Mark 10:46-52)
God always wants more for us than we want for ourselves.
Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." John 14:12 (NIV)
If we believe Jesus is who He says He is, and we take Him at His word, why shouldn’t we expect to see the things that happened in Scripture happen in our time? Why wouldn’t we believe God can start and grow a movement like the church the same way He did in the book of Acts? What’s stopping us from asking God to transform entire communities, like the Brainerd Lakes Area? Why can’t we believe God will perform modern day miracles?
Most of the time, our biggest obstacle is us. Maybe we’ve stopped SEEING Jesus for who He is because of our own fears. Or, maybe we’re refusing to SEE what God wants to do through us because we fear that God’s reputation might be at stake. God’s reputation is fine. It’s our reputation that we fear taking a hit.
Fight the urge to maintain the status quo. Instead, do everything possible to advance the cause God placed in your heart. Stay focused on what could be, rather than trapped in a fear that keeps you blinded to what God created you to be about.
I am looking forward to what God has in store for us on Sunday as we allow Him once again to open our eyes so we can see His light as He leads us.