Sermon
Guides

Each week we'll have updated content for our
Adult sermon guides. 

May 26th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Jonathan Lunceford
Series: 
A Long Obedience in the Same Direction
Title: 
Where My Help Comes From
Text: 
Psalm 121
Campus: 
Rivermont
 
The Psalms of Ascent help us make the long journey home - Psalm 121 speaks to the longing of the human heart for safety and protection of home while on the long journey of obediance.

There is an apparent tension that arises for the believer along the journey when peril arises, this is a psalm for when we find ourselves in need of help.
 
I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.  He will not allow your foot to slip; your Protector will not slumber. Indeed, the Protector of Israel does not slumber or sleep.  The Lord protects you; the Lord is a shelter right by your side.  The sun will not strike you by day or the moon by night.  The Lord will protect you from all harm; He will protect your life.  The Lord will protect your coming and going both now and forever.
Psalms 121:1-8 CSB
 
Along the journey of obedience we will find ourselves in need of help, our help comes from the all-sufficient Lord who created everything. (v1-2)
 
The Lord is constantly attentive to our needs along the journey, we are not required to earn His attention, He will not neglect us. (v3-4)
 
The Lord is intimately present with us every step of the way, protecting us from anything that may threaten to overwhelm us. (v5-6)
 
The Lord’s protection extends to every area of our lives. (v7-8)
 
“The promise of the psalm - and both Hebrews and Christians have always read it this way - is not that we shall never stub our toes but that no injury, no illness, no accident, no distress will ever have evil power over us, that is, will be able to separate us from God’s purposes in us.”
~ Euguene Peterson
 
In the midst of difficulty we can find help in the Lord our protector who stands by our side and will not allow any evil to separate us from His perfect love.
 
The mistake that Psalm 121 prevents us from making is thinking that God’s interest and involvement in our lives is determined by our spiritual condition and obedience.
 
The ultimate destination of long obedience is reunion with Christ in our forever home but Christ is not waiting for us to make it to Him. He has come to us and is walking along with us every step of the way supporting us with His perfect love and presence.
 
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39 CSB
 
Questions to consider:
  1. When trouble arises where do you turn to first for help?
  2. Are you guilty of treating God as a last resort when you can’t “fix it” or reserving Him for only the significant problems?
  3. How can you invite the God who created the heavens and the earth into the “mundane” parts of your life this week?
 
Prayer Prompt:
May God increase our awareness of His presence as our constant shelter and support throughout the entire journey of obedience.
_______________________________________________________
 
Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series: 
A Long Obedience in the Same Direction
Title: 
Long Obedience
Text: 
Psalm 120
Campus:
College Hill
 
In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me.
“Lord, rescue me from lying lips and a deceitful tongue.”
What will he give you, and what will he do to you, you deceitful tongue?
A warrior’s sharp arrows with burning charcoal!
What misery that I have stayed in Meshech, that I have lived among the tents of Kedar!
I have dwelt too long with those who hate peace.
I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war.

Psalm 120 (CSB)
 
“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
~ C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

The Psalms (Songs) of Ascent create a longing for home; they create a longing for change and inspire the pilgrim to make the journey home.

Psalm 120 - home looks like “peace.”
 
Psalm 120 addresses the issue of authenticity and the importance of truth.


In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me.
“Lord, rescue me from lying lips and a deceitful tongue.”
What will he give you, and what will he do to you, you deceitful tongue?
A warrior’s sharp arrows with burning charcoal!
What misery that I have stayed in Meshech, that I have lived among the tents of Kedar!
I have dwelt too long with those who hate peace.
I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war.

Psalm 120 (CSB)

1. A note of confidence and a complaint (vv. 1-2)
2. The unfaithful and the deceivers will be held accountable (vv. 3-4)
3. The craving for home and authentic community (vv. 5-6)
4. Contrasting ways of being (v. 7)
 
“We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
~ C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

The sincerity, fidelity, and constancy that we long for is found in Christ. 
_________________________________________________________

May 19th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series: 
A Long Obedience in the Same Direction
Pentecost Sunday
Text: 
Psalm 120
Campus:
Rivermont

In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me.
“Lord, rescue me from lying lips and a deceitful tongue.”
What will he give you, and what will he do to you, you deceitful tongue?
A warrior’s sharp arrows with burning charcoal! 
What misery that I have stayed in Meshech, that I have lived among the tents of Kedar!
I have dwelt too long with those who hate peace.
I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war.

Psalm 120 (CSB)

Christianity is not intended to be an extra thing in our busy lives;
it’s intended to be the operating system for our lives. 

 
“The essential thing ‘in heaven and earth’ is … that there should be long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living.”
~ Fredrich Nietzche

The Psalms of Ascent help us make the long journey home.

The Psalms of Ascent are a reminder that we’re not home yet, and they’re intended to stir a longing for home in the context of community.
 
Psalm 120 addresses the issue and the importance of truth (authenticity).


In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me.
“Lord, rescue me from lying lips and a deceitful tongue.”
What will he give you, and what will he do to you, you deceitful tongue?
A warrior’s sharp arrows with burning charcoal! 
What misery that I have stayed in Meshech, that I have lived among the tents of Kedar!
I have dwelt too long with those who hate peace.
I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war.

Psalm 120 (CSB)

1.  A note of confidence and a complain (vv. 1-2)
2.  The unfaithful and the deceivers will be held accountable (vv. 3-4)
3.  The craving for home and authentic community (vv. 5-6)
4.  Contrasting ways of being (v. 7)

How can we begin to respond to this Psalm?
  • Be honest about who we are, and the challenges that we face living in a world that is fundamentally broken.
  • We must come to our senses and be willing to make a change; to go on a journey toward truth, repentance, and renewal that is found in Christ. 
_______________________________________________________

Sermon Notes: Jeff Boyer and Zach Foster
Series:
A Long Obedience in the Same Direction
Title:
The Power of God’s Presence
Text:
Acts 2:1-4
Campus:
College Hill

When the day of Pentecost had arrived, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like that of a violent rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were staying. They saw tongues like flames of fire that separated and rested on each one of them. Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them.
Acts 2:1-4

Meanwhile, Moses was shepherding the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. Then the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire within a bush. As Moses looked, he saw that the bush was on fire but was not consumed. So Moses thought, “I must go over and look at this remarkable sight. Why isn’t the bush burning up?”
When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called out to him from the bush, “Moses, Moses!” 
“Here I am,” he answered. 
“Do not come closer,” he said. “Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he continued, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” 
Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God.

Exodus 3:1-6

But Moses asked God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and that I should bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
He answered, “I will certainly be with you, and this will be the sign to you that I am the one who sent you: when you bring the people out of Egypt, you will all worship God at this mountain.”

Exodus 3:11-12
 
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and the rivers will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, and the flame will not burn you.
Isaiah 43:2

You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to him. Now if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then he who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through his Spirit who lives in you.
Romans 8:9-11

When Simon saw that the Spirit was given when the apostles laid their hands on people, he offered them money to buy this power. “Let me have this power, too,” he exclaimed, “so that when I lay my hands on people, they will receive the Holy Spirit!”
But Peter replied, “May your money be destroyed with you for thinking God’s gift can be bought! You can have no part in this, for your heart is not right with God. Repent of your wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive your evil thoughts, for I can see that you are full of bitter jealousy and are held captive by sin.”

Acts of the Apostles 8:18-23

But now I am going away to him who sent me, and not one of you asks me, “Where are you going?” Yet, because I have spoken these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I am telling you the truth. It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send him to you. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth. For he will not speak on his own, but he will speak whatever he hears. He will also declare to you what is to come.
John 16:5-7, 13

Reflection Questions:
  • What in your life needs to be burned away by the refining fire of God?
  • Where can you testify of the power of God’s presence in your life?
  • Like embers on the wind, where is God calling you to ignite a fire around you or even far away?
__________________________________________________

Happy Mother's Day 2024

We will have Family Dedications at both campuses today.
You can see them online at gospelcc.org/locations
Mother's Day image, click here

May 5th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Kirk Rowland
Series:
Margin for Mission
Title:
Give for Margin for Mission
Text:
Acts 4:32-34, Mark 6
Campus: Rivermont

Click here to see image: Kirk and Family

Now the entire group of those who believed were of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but instead they held everything in common.  With great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was on all of them. For there was not a needy person among them because all those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the proceeds of what was sold,  and laid them at the apostles’ feet. This was then distributed to each person as any had need.
Acts 4:32-35

A Gospel Community Church Value
SACRIFICIAL GENEROSITY
Moved by the heart of God, we are present to the needs of others and determined to become generous in all things. With our time, talent, and treasure we will meet the needs of others, resist consumerism, and remain committed to giving all we have for the glory of God and the good of others. We are those who have found our lives by laying them down for the sake of others.
Scripture: Proverbs 11:24-26, Matthew 6, Matthew 23:23, Luke 12:13-21, Galatians 2:10, 1 Timothy 6:3-10, Hebrews 13:1-6, Philippians 4:10-20, 2 Corinthians 8:1-15, James 1:17
 
The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest for a while.” For many people were coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.
 So they went away in the boat by themselves to a remote place, but many saw them leaving and recognized them, and they ran on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them.
 When he went ashore, he saw a large crowd and had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Then he began to teach them many things.
 When it grew late, his disciples approached him and said, “This place is deserted, and it is already late.  Send them away so that they can go into the surrounding countryside and villages to buy themselves something to eat.”
“You give them something to eat,” he responded.
They said to him, “Should we go and buy two hundred denarii[b] worth of bread and give them something to eat?”
He asked them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.”
When they found out they said, “Five, and two fish.”  Then he instructed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass.  So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties.  He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he blessed and broke the loaves. He kept giving them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all.  Everyone ate and was satisfied.  They picked up twelve baskets full of pieces of bread and fish.  Now those who had eaten the loaves were five thousand men.

Mark 6:30-44

  • The Disciples were commissioned by Jesus to go throughout the villages and countryside. Through the power of Jesus they gave themselves to the intensity of ministry.
  • When the Disciples returned to Jesus, they were met with more ministry need. It was a continued flurry of activity.
  • Even as the Disciples were called away to be with Jesus, their location was found out and more people came. The people were in need and Jesus had compassion on them.
  • The Disciples ask Jesus to send the people away. They were worn out, tired & hungry.
  • Jesus asks the impossible of an exhausted leadership team. The Disciples were asked to feed the many. Mark 6:37 “Jesus replied, “You give them something to eat.”
  • Matthew 14:18  Jesus asked his disciples to bring the food to him

Some points to Ponder:
1. Jesus never did life outside of the direction of the Father.
2. In the midst of sacrificial giving, Jesus taught the Disciples to “bring it to me”.
3. God’s economy: God's way of managing resources defies human understanding.

Reflection Questions:
1 .How is God inviting you to give space for sacrificial giving? What is he prompting you to give of share?
2. How can we foster a way of life that truly embodies giving sacrificially?
____________________________________________________________________
Sermon Notes: Zachary Foster
Series:
Margin for Mission
Title:
Giving for Margin on Mission
Text:
Acts 4:32-35 and Matt. 6:19-21
Campus:
College Hill
 
Now the entire group of those who believed were of one heart and mind, and no one claimed
that any of his possessions was his own, but instead they held everything in common. With
great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great
grace was on all of them. For there was not a needy person among them because all those who
owned lands or houses sold them, brought the proceeds of what was sold, and laid them at the
apostles’ feet. This was then distributed to each person as any had need.

Acts 4:32-35

Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where
thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth
nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there
your heart will be also.

Matthew 6:19-21
 
United in Belief—They were of one heart and mind.
 
Now the entire group of those who believed were of one heart and mind, and no one claimed
that any of his possessions was his own, but instead they held everything in common.

Acts 4:32

The local church at Jerusalem was united in the belief that God was the true owner of their
possessions.


“When we know it all belongs to God, we manage it according to what HIS desires are.
Christians who experience the renewal of God through Christ are empowered by the Holy Spirit
to hold loosely to their earthly possessions and to hold tightly to their Savior.”
~ A. Moroz

United in Purpose

With great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and
great grace was on all of them.

Acts 4:33

The Lord takes his place in court and presents his case against his people. The Lord comes
forward to pronounce judgment on the elders and rulers of his people: “You have ruined Israel,
my vineyard. Your houses are filled with things stolen from the poor. How dare you crush my
people, grinding the faces of the poor into the dust?” demands the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s
Armies.

Isaiah 3:13-15 NLT

When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look. Though you offer many prayers, I will not
listen, for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims. Wash yourselves and be
clean! Get your sins out of my sight. Give up your evil ways. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help
the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.

Isaiah 1:15-17 NLT

Epistle to Diognetus
They display to us their wonderful and confessedly striking method of life. They dwell in their
own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others, and
yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and
every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry, as do all [others]; they beget
children; but they do not destroy their offspring. They have a common table, but not a
common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on
earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time
surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men, and are persecuted by all. They are unknown
and condemned; they are put to death, and restored to life. They are poor, yet make many
rich; they are in lack of all things, and yet abound in all.

United in Generosity
 
For there was not a needy person among them because all those who owned lands or houses
sold them, brought the proceeds of what was sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet. This was
then distributed to each person as any had need.

Acts 4:34-35

SACRIFICIAL GENEROSITY
 
Moved by the heart of God, we are present to the needs of others and determined to become
generous in all things. With our time, talent, and treasure we will meet the needs of others,
resist consumerism, and remain committed to giving all we have for the glory of God and the
good of others. We are those who have found our lives by laying them down for the sake of
others.


● What are the needs within the church?
● What are the needs within the community?
● How can I use my finances to spread the gospel around the world?

“Giving away means not keeping for yourself. Which will always change your life. But it also
changes your heart!
You know that Jesus is precious to you when nothing else is.”
— C.H. Spurgeon

Praise the Lord! How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying his commands.
Their children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be
blessed. They themselves will be wealthy, and their good deeds will last forever. Light shines in
the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous. Good comes to
those who lend money generously and conduct their business fairly. Such people will not be
overcome by evil. Those who are righteous will be long remembered. They do not fear bad
news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can
face their foes triumphantly. They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good
deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor. The wicked will see this
and be infuriated. They will grind their teeth in anger; they will slink away, their hopes
thwarted.

Psalms 112:1-10 NLT

And the Lord said to Moses, “Is the Lord’s hand shortened? Now you shall see whether my
word will come true for you or not.”

Numbers 11:23

Come and see what our God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
Ps. 66:5 NLT

Reflection Questions:
● Do you believe that the hand of God is too short?
● Where do you feel yourself being pulled in generosity?
● Where do you need to “come and see what our God has done”?
__________________________________________________________________________

April 28th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series: 
Margin for Mission
Title: 
Living with Margin for Mission
Text: 
1 Timothy 6:6-19
Campus:
Rivermont
 
No one can serve two masters, since you will either hate the one and love the other, be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Mammon.
Matthew 6:24
 
Mammon (money) is transactional and creates disconnection.
“The more time we spend in the world that money makes, the more we are conformed to its image”
~ Andy Crouch
 
Their idols are silver and gold, made by human hands.
They have mouths but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see.
They have ears but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell.
They have hands but cannot feel, feet, but cannot walk.
They cannot make a sound with their throats.
Those who make them are just like them, as are all who trust in them.

Psalm 115:4-8
 
Having more money won’t make us more generous, happier, more at peace. Having more of something like money only makes us more of what we already are and are becoming.
 
“Money seduces us with this promise: Abundance without dependence”
~ Andy Crouch
 
But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and  we can take nothing out.
1 Timothy 6:6-7

Live with margin for mission.

If we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
1 Timothy 6:8-10
 
But you, man of God, flee from these things, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of eternal life to which you were called and about which you have made a good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
1 Timothy 6:11-12
 
In the presence of God, who gives life to all, and of Christ Jesus, who gave a good confession before Pontius Pilate, I charge you to keep this command without fault or failure until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. God will bring this about in his own time. He is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords,  who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see, to him be honor and eternal power. Amen.
1 Timothy 6:13-16
 
Live modestly, stay free of debt. Be generous, develop a financial strategy for your future, and be wary of those who try to buy your favor. (Gordon MacDonald, The View From 80)
 
Instruct those who are rich in the present age not to be arrogant or to set their hope on the uncertainty of wealth, but on God, who richly provides us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do what is good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and willing to share, storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of what is truly life.
1 Timothy 6:17-19

Does the way I live my life form my heart for love of God and love of neighbor?
 
Is the way I am using and thinking about money forming my heart for love of God and love of neighbor or not?


Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.
Ephesians 6:18
_______________________________________________________
Sermon Notes: Kirk Rowland
Series:
Margin for Mission
Title:
Live With Margin for Mission
Text:
1 Timothy 6:6-19
Campus:
College Hill

Click here to see image: Kirk and family

Don’t let anyone despise your youth, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.
1 Timothy 4:12

But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out.  If we have food and clothing, we will be content with these.  But those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
But you, man of God, flee from these things, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.

1 Timothy 6:6-11

Gospel Community Church Value:  BEING BEFORE DOING
We seek to order our days with a way of life that brings beneath-the-surface transformation and forms us into people who know how to abide in Jesus. We slow down our pace of life to be with Jesus, ourselves, and others.
We embrace ancient, Biblical practices of prayer, Scripture, silence, solitude, and sabbath in order for the Holy Spirit to recover our humanity in the image of Jesus and heal our souls in our hurried and exhausted world.

Scripture: John 15, Psalm 37:7, Psalm 131, Mark 6:31-32, Luke 10:38-42, Matthew 4:1-11, Acts 4:13, Romans 12:1-2, Colossians 3:1-17

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all that they had done and taught.  He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest for a while.” For many people were coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.
So they went away in the boat by themselves to a remote place, but many saw them leaving and recognized them, and they ran on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them.
When he went ashore, he saw a large crowd and had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Then he began to teach them many things.
When it grew late, his disciples approached him and said, “This place is deserted, and it is already late.  Send them away so that they can go into the surrounding countryside and villages to buy themselves something to eat.”
“You give them something to eat,” he responded.
They said to him, “Should we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?”

He asked them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.”
When they found out they said, “Five, and two fish.”  Then he instructed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass.  So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he blessed and broke the loaves. He kept giving them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. Everyone ate and was satisfied.  They picked up twelve baskets full of pieces of bread and fish. Now those who had eaten the loaves were five thousand men.

Mark 6:30-44

  • The Disciples were commissioned by Jesus to go throughout the villages and countryside. Through the power of Jesus they experienced the intensity of ministry.
  • When the Disciples returned to Jesus, they were met with more ministry need. It was a continued flurry of activity.
  • Even as the Disciples were called away to be with Jesus, they’re location was found out and more people came. They were in need and Jesus had compassion on them.
  • The Disciples ask Jesus to send the people away. They were worn out, tired & hungry.
  • Jesus asks the impossible of an exhausted group. The Disciples were asked to feed the many. Mark 6:37 “Jesus replied, “You give them something to eat.”
  • Matthew 14:18  Jesus asked his disciples to bring the food to him,

Some points to Ponder:
  • Jesus never did life outside of the strength of the Father
  • Jesus taught the Disciples to “bring it to me”.
  • God’s economy: God's way of managing resources defies human understanding.

Reflection Questions:
  • How is God inviting us to live with margin by His strength and not ours?
  • How can we foster a way of life that truly embodies the mindset of having more than enough?
_______________________________________________________

April 21st Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes
Series:
Global Focus
Title:
GO
Text:
Romans 10: 9-17; Revelation 7:9-12
Campus:
Rivermont
 
Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always.

God, would you do whatever you want in my heart this morning? 
I want to give you my full yes in whatever you ask of me, and please help me if I’m not there yet.

After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands.  And they cried out in a loud voice: Salvation belongs to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!  All the angels stood around the throne, and along with the elders and the four living creatures they fell facedown before the throne and worshiped God,  saying, Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength be to our God forever and ever. Amen.
Revelation 7:9-12

People Group:
distinct ethnic group with their own culture, language, barriers, and history

click here to see image 

Where are we headed?
We will be together in heaven, with people from every people group, praising Jesus in the greatest multicultural worship gathering of all time.

Where are we now?
40% of people in the world have no access to the Gospel today.

Click here to see image

Unreached people groups: 
people groups who have not been reached with the good news of Jesus.

Click here to see image 

Click here to see image 

This is the message of faith that we proclaim:  If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.  For the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on him will not be put to shame,  since there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, because the same Lord of all richly blesses all who call on him.  For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
How, then, can they call on him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about him? And how can they hear without a preacher? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.  But not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our message?  So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.
Romans 10: 9-17

How do we get to our heaven song in Revelation? 
God calls His church to raise up and send people to the ends of the earth.  He does this by calling some to Go and everyone to Send.

 I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum [modern day croatia/slovenia].  My aim is to preach the gospel where Christ has not been named, so that I will not build on someone else’s foundation,  but, as it is written, Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.  That is why I have been prevented many times from coming to you.  But now I no longer have any work to do in these regions,  and I have strongly desired for many years to come to you  whenever I travel to Spain. For I hope to see you when I pass through and to be assisted by you for my journey there, once I have first enjoyed your company for a while.
Romans 15:19b-24

We need people to GO take the Gospel to the unreached people groups of the world, because this is God’s plan for reaching the ends of the earth. We need people to SEND workers to the field, because cross-cultural missions is difficult and requires spiritual, financial, and emotional support.

Will you give God your “yes” in whatever part He wants you to play in reaching the nations?

Click here to see image: QR Code the intirety of the Q&A time
_______________________________________________________
 
Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series: 
Global Focus
Title: 
SEND
Text: 
Acts 2:41-47, Acts 13:1-5
Campus: 
College Hill

Gospel Community Church  is committed to the glory of God by making disciples who love God, grow in community, and reach out to others with the love of Christ.
 
To be a Christian, and to be a member of GCC, means that we collectively embrace God’s mission, and we actively contribute to God’s mission.
 

So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand people were added to them.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.
Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles.  Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as any had need.  Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts,  praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

Acts 2:42-47 (CSB)
 
Generosity is a mark of a healthy Christian and a healthy church. 
 
Christians who experience the renewal of God through Christ are empowered by the Holy Spirit to hold loosely to their earthly possessions and to hold tightly to their Savior. 
 
Generosity is the fruit of renewal and revival – it blesses the church and the city, and it fuels the mission.

A renewed and missional church is a generous and multiplying church.
 
 
Now those who had been scattered as a result of the persecution that started because of Stephen made their way as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. But there were some of them, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who came to Antioch and began speaking to the Greeks[a] also, proclaiming the good news about the Lord Jesus.  The Lord’s hand was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord.
Acts 11:19-21 CSB

Four distinctives of the Church in Antioch:
1) Generosity
(Acts 11:27-30)
In those days some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them, named Agabus, stood up and predicted by the Spirit that there would be a severe famine throughout the Roman world. This took place during the reign of Claudius.  Each of the disciples, according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brothers and sisters who lived in Judea.  They did this, sending it to the elders by means of Barnabas and Saul.
 
2) Diversity (Acts 13:1)
Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, a close friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
 
3) Dependence (Acts 13:2)
As they were worshiping[a] the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
 
4) Multiplication (Acts 13:3)
Then after they had fasted, prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them off.

Generosity and multiplication are fruits of renewal.
 
Reflection questions: 

-How is God inviting us to respond to his mission?
-How can we cultivate a more generous life that reflects the generosity of God the Father, Son, and Spirit?
_________________________________________________________

April 14th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series: 
Global Focus 2024
Title: 
Sent Ones
Text: 
Acts 1:8, John 20:19-22
Campus:
Rivermont

“Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.”
~ Charles Spurgeon’s Sermon: A Sermon and a Reminiscence, 1873
 
A renewed church is a fruitful, generous, & multiplying church. 
 
When it was evening on that first day of the week, the disciples were gathered together with the doors locked because they feared the Jews. Jesus came, stood among them, and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
Having said this, he showed them his hands and his side. So the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, I also send you.”  After saying this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

John 20:19-22
After he had suffered, he also presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.
 While he was[a] with them, he commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father’s promise. “Which,” he said, “you have heard me speak about;  for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit in a few days.”
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?”
He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Acts 1:3-8
Reader: This is God’s Word
Congregation: Thanks be to God
 
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, I also send you.”  After saying this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
John 20:21-21

Followers of Jesus go, like Jesus, into the world laying our lives down in sacrificial love.
 
 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Acts 1:8
 
To be a witness of Jesus means to go and tell what you’ve seen and heard. And this begins with come and see.
 
“We delight to praise that which we love.”
~ C.S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms
 
 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Acts 1:8
 
Jerusalem: Comfort Zone
 
Judea: Like the suburb of Jerusalem, uncomfortable
 
Samaria: Complex. We feel anxious, and out of place

 
The end of the Earth: The nations
 
Population: 8.00 Billion
Population in Unreached: 3.40 Billion
% of Population in Unreached: 42.4%

Click here to see image
 
Unreached Peoples:
defined as those without access to the gospel, unless someone goes out of their way to go and tell them what they have seen and heard.

joshuaproject.net
 
God, where are you sending me?
 
Is God sending me to the unreached people of the world?
_______________________________________________________
 
Sermon Notes
Series: 
Global Focus 2024
Title: 
Go
Text: 
Romans 10:13-15, 15:14-22; Revelation 7:9-12
Campus: 
College Hill
 
Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always.
 
After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands.  And they cried out in a loud voice: Salvation belongs to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!  All the angels stood around the throne, and along with the elders and the four living creatures they fell facedown before the throne and worshiped God,  saying, Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength be to our God forever and ever. Amen.
Revelation 7:9-12
 
So who will be at this gathering in heaven for eternity? People from every nation, tribe, people group, and language.
 
People Group: 

distinct ethnic group with their own culture, language, barriers, and history
 
Click here to see image  
 
What will we be doing? Worshipping our Savior with one voice in the greatest multicultural gathering of all time.
 
But who can sing this song today? 40% of people have no access to the Gospel in the world today.
 
Click here to see image
 
Unreached people groups: 
people groups who have not been reached with the good news of Jesus.
 
Click here to see image

Click here to see image
 
This is the message of faith that we proclaim:  If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on him will not be put to shame, since there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, because the same Lord of all richly blesses all who call on him.  For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
Romans 10: 9-13

How, then, can they call on him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about him? And how can they hear without a preacher? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news. But not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our message? So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.
Romans 10:14-17
 
God invites us to obey Him, join Him on His mission, and take the Gospel to the ends of the earth, no matter the cost. He does this by calling some to Go and everyone to Send.
 
I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum [modern day croatia/slovenia].  My aim is to preach the gospel where Christ has not been named, so that I will not build on someone else’s foundation,  but, as it is written, Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.  That is why I have been prevented many times from coming to you.  But now I no longer have any work to do in these regions,  and I have strongly desired for many years to come to you  whenever I travel to Spain. For I hope to see you when I pass through and to be assisted by you for my journey there, once I have first enjoyed your company for a while.
Romans 15:19b-24
 
We need people to GO take the Gospel to the unreached people groups of the world, because this is God’s plan for reaching the ends of the earth. We need people to SEND workers to the field, because cross-cultural missions is difficult and requires spiritual, financial, and emotional support.
 
Would you just simply ask God if He wants you to go?

________________________________________________

April 7th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series: 
Global Focus
Title: 
Our Great Commission
Text: 
Matthew 28:16-20
Campus:
Rivermont
 
 Click here to see video
 
A renewed church is a fruitful, generous, & multiplying church. 
 
The eleven disciples traveled to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped, but some doubted. Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:16-20
Reader: This is God’s Word
Congregation: Thanks be to God
 
Go from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.
I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, I will curse anyone who treats you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you

Genesis 12:1-3
 
Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20
 
Make disciples of all nations: Practice the way of Jesus and invite others along, keeping the whole world in mind.

For followers of Jesus, baptism was a public declaration of allegiance to Jesus and his Kingdom.

Teaching the way of Jesus: Be with Jesus, do what he did, become like him.

Have we settled for knowing about Jesus rather than knowing Jesus personally?


The eleven disciples traveled to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped, but some doubted.
Matthew 28:16-17
 
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me…and surely, I am with you always until the end.
Matthew 28:18, 20
 
When the anxious energy of doubt is converted into a hunger and thirst for the Living God, then we are poised for a work of renewal, worship, and delight.
 
In commanding us to glorify him, God is inviting us to enjoy him.
_______________________________________________________
 
Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series: 
Global Focus
Title: 
The Great Commission
Text: 
Matthew 28:18-20
Campus:
College Hill
 
The resurrection story isn’t meant simply to be celebrated; it’s intended to be shared with others.

The eleven disciples traveled to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped, but some doubted. Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.  Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:16-20 CSB

The Command:
“Go and make disciples.”

Where do we make disciples?
ALL NATIONS.

How do we make disciples?
1) Baptizing in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 
2) Teaching the way of Jesus.


Locally rooted and globally engaged.
“We are a sacrificial and risk-taking community fiercely committed to the Great Commission of Jesus to go and make disciples of all nations in our homes, communities, and world. Sharing the good news about Jesus starts with our neighbors and extends to the nations, and drives our impulse to multiply disciples, leaders, and churches.”


Barriers to embracing and embodying the Great Commission:
1. Lack of understanding or urgency
2. Fear
3. Lack of confidence or training
4. Prioritization of other activities

        
Overcoming barriers to the Great Commission:
1. Intimacy with God
2. Training and practice
3. Learning to do mission “along the way”
4. Equipping and supporting full-time workers


Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.  Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20 CSB
 

How can we begin to embody the Great Commission?
__________________________________________________

March 31st - Resurrection Sunday
Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series:
Resurrection Sunday 2024
Title: Hope is Our Story
Text: Luke 24
Campus: Rivermont

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life (Proverbs 13:12).
 
Hopelessness is the condition of being certain that a future good is not possible and will never come.


On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the tomb, bringing the spices they had prepared.  They found the stone rolled away from the tomb. They went in but did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men stood by them in dazzling clothes. So the women were terrified and bowed down to the ground.
“Why are you looking for the living among the dead?” asked the men. “He is not here, but he has risen! Remember how he spoke to you when he was still in Galilee, saying, ‘It is necessary that the Son of Man be betrayed into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and rise on the third day’?”  And they remembered his words.
Luke 24:1-8
 
Returning from the tomb, they reported all these things to the Eleven and to all the rest. Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them were telling the apostles these things.  But these words seemed like nonsense to them, and they did not believe the women.
Luke 24:9-11
 
Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. When he stooped to look in, he saw only the linen cloths. So he went away, amazed at what had happened.
Luke 24:12
 
Now that same day two of them were on their way to a village called Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem.  Together they were discussing everything that had taken place. And while they were discussing and arguing, Jesus himself came near and began to walk along with them.  But they were prevented from recognizing him. Then he asked them, “What is this dispute that you’re having[e] with each other as you are walking?” And they stopped walking and looked discouraged.
The one named Cleopas answered him, “Are you the only visitor in Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that happened there in these days?”

“What things?” he asked them.
So they said to him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet powerful in
action and speech before God and all the people,  and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him.  But we were hoping that he was the one who was about to redeem Israel. Besides all this, it’s the third day since these things happened.  Moreover, some women from our group astounded us. They arrived early at the tomb,  and when they didn’t find his body, they came and reported that they had seen a vision of angels who said he was alive.  Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they didn’t see him.”
He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!  Wasn’t it necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and enter into his glory?”  Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted for them the things concerning himself in all the Scriptures.
They came near the village where they were going, and he gave the impression that he was going farther.  But they urged him, “Stay with us, because it’s almost evening, and now the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

It was as he reclined at the table with them that he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.  Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight.  They said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts burning within us while he was talking with us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us?”  That very hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem. They found the Eleven and those with them gathered together, who said, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” Then they began to describe what had happened on the road and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
Luke 24:13-25
 
Wasn’t it necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted for them the things concerning himself in all the Scriptures.
Luke 24:26-27
 
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, for I have overcome the world.
John 16:33
 
It was as he reclined at the table with them that he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight.  They said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts burning within us while he was talking with us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us?”
Luke 24:30-32
 
 That very hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem. They found the Eleven and those with them gathered together,  who said, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” Then they began to describe what had happened on the road and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
As they were saying these things, he himself stood in their midst. He said to them, “Peace to you!”  But they were startled and terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost.  “Why are you troubled?” he asked them. “And why do doubts arise in your hearts?

Luke 24:33-38
 
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me;
 
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind but now I see.


Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself! Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” 40 Having said this, he showed them his hands and feet. But while they still were amazed and in disbelief because of their joy, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 So they gave him a piece of a broiled fish,[g] 43 and he took it and ate in their presence.
He told them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”  Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. He also said to them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead the third day, and repentance for[i] forgiveness of sins will be proclaimed in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.  And look, I am sending you what my Father promised. As for you, stay in the city until you are empowered from on high.”
Luke 24:39-49
 
Then he led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them.  And while he was blessing them, he left them and was carried up into heaven.  After worshiping him, they returned to Jerusalem with great joy.  And they were continually in the temple praising God.
Luke 24:50-53
 
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead…
Ephesians 1:18-20
_______________________________________________________
 
Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Title: 
Resurrection Sunday 2024
Campus:
College Hill

Resurrection Sunday means that God is writing a new story through Jesus.
In God’s story, suffering has a purpose – and death is not the end.
After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other
Mary went to view the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, because an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and approached the tomb. He rolled back the stone and was sitting on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards were so shaken by fear of him that they became like dead men.
The angel told the women, “Don’t be afraid, because I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified.  He is not here. For he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.
Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has risen from the dead and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see him there.’ Listen, I have told you.”
So, departing quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, they ran to tell his disciples the news. Just then  Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” They came up, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus told them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.”

Matthew 28:1-10 (CSB)

Returning from the tomb, they reported all these things to the Eleven and to all the rest. Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them were telling the apostles these things.  But these words seemed like nonsense to them, and they did not believe the women.
Luke 24:9-11 (CSB)

As they were saying these things, he himself stood in their midst. He said to them, “Peace to you!”  But they were startled and terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost.  “Why are you troubled?” he asked them. “And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself! Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.”  Having said this, he showed them his hands and feet.  But while they still were amazed and in disbelief because of their joy, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?”  So they gave him a piece of a broiled fish,  and he took it and ate in their presence.
He told them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.  He also said to them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead the third day, and repentance for forgiveness of sins will be proclaimed in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And look, I am sending you what my Father promised. As for you, stay in the city until you are empowered from on high.”
Luke 24:36-49 (CSB)
 
God doesn’t force faith on us, but in Christ – he invites us to come close.

Do you want to experience Jesus?
1) be honest about the way sin has affected your life, name your need for God.
2) name your desire to know God and to receive the forgiveness that is offered through Jesus Christ.
_____________________________________________________

March 24th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series: 
Into the Wilderness
Title: 
Renewal as a Way of Life
Text: John 19:16-30
Campus: 
Rivermont
 
Lent is intended to help us follow in the footsteps of Jesus.


HOLY WEEK:
John 12: Palm Sunday.
John 13: Maundy Thursday.

John 18: 
trial before the Jewish high priest.
John 19: Good Friday.
John 20: Easter Sunday.

 
Goal: We’re going to consider how Christ’s finished work on the cross shapes a way of life where we’re free and constantly renewed by the gospel.
 
The finished work of Christ shapes a way of life where the love of God is constantly renewing us.


Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers also twisted together a crown of thorns, put it on his head, and clothed him in a purple robe. And they kept coming up to him and saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” and were slapping his face.
Pilate went outside again and said to them, “Look, I’m bringing him out to you to let you know I find no grounds for charging him.”  Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”
When the chief priests and the temple servants[a] saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”
Pilate responded, “Take him and crucify him yourselves, since I find no grounds for charging him.”
“We have a law,” the Jews replied to him, “and according to that law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.”
When Pilate heard this statement, he was more afraid than ever. He went back into the headquarters and asked Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus did not give him an answer. So Pilate said to him, “Do you refuse to speak to me? Don’t you know that I have the authority to release you and the authority to crucify you?”
“You would have no authority over me at all,” Jesus answered him, “if it hadn’t been given you from above. This is why the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.”
 From that moment Pilate kept trying[b] to release him. But the Jews shouted, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Anyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar!”
When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside. He sat down on the judge’s seat in a place called the Stone Pavement (but in Aramaic,[c] Gabbatha).  It was the preparation day for the Passover, and it was about noon.[d] Then he told the Jews, “Here is your king!”
They shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”
Pilate said to them, “Should I crucify your king?”
“We have no king but Caesar!” the chief priests answered.
Then he handed him over to be crucified.
The Crucifixion
Then they took Jesus away.  Carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called Place of the Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha.  There they crucified him and two others with him, one on either side, with Jesus in the middle.  Pilate also had a sign made and put on the cross. It said: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.  Many of the Jews read this sign, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, Latin, and Greek.  So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Don’t write, ‘The king of the Jews,’ but that he said, ‘I am the king of the Jews.’”
Pilate replied, “What I have written, I have written.”
When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, a part for each soldier. They also took the tunic, which was seamless, woven in one piece from the top.  So they said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it, to see who gets it.” This happened that the Scripture might be fulfilled that says: They divided my clothes among themselves, and they cast lots for my clothing.  This is what the soldiers did.
 Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing there, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.”  Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
After this, when Jesus knew that everything was now finished that the Scripture might be fulfilled, he said, “I’m thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was sitting there; so they fixed a sponge full of sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it up to his mouth.
When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then bowing his head, he gave up his spirit.

John 19:1-30 (CSB)

Perfectly loving and perfectly righteous, God paid the penalty for our sins.

Jesus wasn’t willing to “opt out” of this wilderness.

God will never waste our wilderness experiences.

 
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing there, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.”  Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
John 19:25-27 (CSB)

After this, when Jesus knew that everything was now finished that the Scripture might be fulfilled, he said, “I’m thirsty.”  A jar full of sour wine was sitting there; so they fixed a sponge full of sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it up to his mouth.
When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then bowing his head, he gave up his spirit.

John 19:28-30 (CSB)

“tetelestai” – “It is finished.”
  • in the original Greek, "tetelestai" is the perfect tense of the verb "teleo," which means "to bring to an end," "to complete," or "to accomplish."
  • the perfect tense indicates that an action has been completed in the past with ongoing results into the present.

“He had done all that he came to do; he had fought the battle, and won it; he had finished the transgression, made an end of sin, and brought in everlasting righteousness."
~ C. Spurgeon

What is finished, and what is complete?
1) Prophecy has been fulfilled.
2) Jesus’ mission was complete. 
3) God’s plan of salvation and victory over sin and death has been secured. 
4) Jesus initiated a new covenant. 

 
Lent is a season to reflect on our lives, to confess sin, and turn back to God, knowing that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

There is no death that we will face on this side of eternity that hasn’t already been defeated by the victory of Jesus Christ.

 
Then the one seated on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new.” He also said, “Write, because these words are faithful and true.”   Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will freely give to the thirsty from the spring of the water of life.  The one who conquers will inherit these things, and I will be his God, and he will be my son.  But the cowards, faithless,  detestable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars—their share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
Revelation  21:5-8 (CSB)
_____________________________________________________
 
Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series: 
Into the Wilderness
Title: 
Renewal as a Way of Life
Text: 
John 19:16-30
Campus: 
College Hill

The Wilderness is a furnace of transformational encounters with God. Here, access to our usual means of comfort, distraction, or meaning are limited for a time and we learn to depend on the presence of God for our every need, every day.

 
The cry for personal renewal is
“Holy Spirit, give us eyes to see Jesus.”

 
Click here to see image: Mind’s Eye
Click here to see image: Enlightened Eye

The Wilderness is a furnace of transformational encounters with God, but it’s also a place of temptation and encounters with the Devil
 
The cry of the heart for household renewal is “God, consecrate my household as an altar for your presence.”
 
“Jesus, you are wanted in our church. Purify and renew your church and send us out as witness to Jesus, empowered by the Spirit.” 

 
Travailing prayer is staying with God in prayer until our hearts are first surrendered to God what God wants, then until we want what God wants, and ultimately until our hearts break for what breaks God’s heart.
 
The cry of the heart for renewal in the city is “Father, give us your heart for the city. Your kingdom come, your will be done in Lynchburg as it is in heaven.”


All:
Almighty God, in You are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Pour out on us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation that the eyes of our hearts would be enlightened to see the face of Jesus, that we might say, ‘surely our hearts burn within us’ as you speak to us now.
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.

 
Then he handed him over to be crucified.
Then they took Jesus away.  Carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called Place of the Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha.  There they crucified him and two others with him, one on either side, with Jesus in the middle.  Pilate also had a sign made and put on the cross. It said: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.  Many of the Jews read this sign, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, Latin, and Greek.  So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Don’t write, ‘The king of the Jews,’ but that he said, ‘I am the king of the Jews.’”
Pilate replied, “What I have written, I have written.”
When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, a part for each soldier. They also took the tunic, which was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. So they said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it, to see who gets it.” This happened that the Scripture might be fulfilled that says: They divided my clothes among themselves, and they cast lots for my clothing. This is what the soldiers did.
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing there, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
After this, when Jesus knew that everything was now finished that the Scripture might be fulfilled, he said, “I’m thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was sitting there; so they fixed a sponge full of sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it up to his mouth.
When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then bowing his head, he gave up his spirit.

John 19:16-30
Reader: This is God’s Word
Congregation: Thanks be to God

While God’s work of transformation in us is ongoing and unfinished, God’s work for us is finished.

To follow Jesus is to continually be renewed by the love of God manifested in the finished work of Christ on the cross.


For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge,  knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness,  godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
2 Peter 1:5-7

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
1 Thessalonians 5:23-34

Then he handed him over to be crucified.
Then they took Jesus away. Carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called Place of the Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha.  There they crucified him and two others with him, one on either side, with Jesus in the middle.

John 19:16-18

Jesus
Break my heart for what breaks yours
And give it a voice now in prayer.

________________________________________________________________

March 17th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series:
Into the Wilderness
Title:  
City Renewal
Text:
Matthew 26:36-46; Luke 11:1, 5-13, Romans 8:22-27
Campus: Rivermont

All:
Almighty God, in You are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Pour out on us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation that the eyes of our hearts would be enlightened to see the face of Jesus, that we might say, ‘surely our hearts burn within us’ as you speak to us now.
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.

 
For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now. Not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits—we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24 Now in this hope we were saved, but hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees? Now if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience.
In the same way the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because he intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Romans 8:22-27
Reader: This is God’s Word
Congregation: Thanks be to God
 
Click here to see image: Charlotte

Click here to see image: William

Click here to see image: Theodore

Travailing & Groaning as in labor in the Bible:
  • Waiting on Christ’s return to make all things new, all Creation groans in the pains of childbirth for redemption. (Romans 8:22, Matthew 24:4-8)
  • Human beings groan with Creation as we, too, long for Jesus to do something, to finish what he started on the cross and resurrection. (Romans 8:23)
  • God the Holy Spirit groans on our behalf as he intercedes for us in prayer. As we cry out to God in our distress, the Spirit sees our hearts and groans in prayer for what we really need, even when we don’t know what to ask for. God’s heart aches for us. God travails for us. (Romans 8:26-27)

My children, I am again suffering as if in labor pains (travailing) for you until Christ is formed in you.
Galatians 4:19
 
He was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John also taught his disciples.”
Luke 11:1

What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish?  Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?
Luke 11:11-13
 
The wilderness is not only a furnace of transformational encounters with God, is it also a place of travailing in prayer, waiting for God to birth something new in us that we cannot manufacture on our own.

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he told the disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”  Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled.  He said to them, “I am deeply grieved to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake with me.”
Matthew 26:36-38
 
Going a little farther, he fell facedown and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Matthew 26:39
 
Travailing prayer is staying with God in prayer until we can surrender to what God wants.
 
Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. He asked Peter, “So, couldn’t you stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray, so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Matthew 26:40-41
 
Travailing prayer is staying with God in prayer until we want what he wants. 
 
Again, a second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” And he came again and found them sleeping, because they could not keep their eyes open.
Matthew 26:42-43
 
Travailing prayer is staying with God in prayer until our hearts break for what breaks the heart of God.

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, enduring in prayer.
Romans 12:11-12
 
After leaving them, he went away again and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? See, the time is near. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.  Get up; let’s go. See, my betrayer is near.”
Matthew 26:44-46
 
“Intercessory prayer is being in the presence of God on behalf of another.”
~ Ruth Haley Barton
 
Those who sow in tears will reap in joy.
Psalm 126:5
_______________________________________________________

Sermon Notes: Austin Whiteheart
Series: 
Into the Wilderness
Title: 
Jesus in the Garden (Travailing Prayer); City Renewal
Text: 
Mark 14:32-42
Campus: College Hill
 
How do we set the table for God to bring renewal to our city and world?

Renewal is the intensification of the ordinary operations of the Holy Spirit.


Travail: a painful, laborous effort
Travailing prayer: Desperate, dependent, contending, fervent, laboring prayer

As Jesus makes His way to the wilderness of the cross, He first stops in a garden to travail in prayer with the Father.

“Then they came to a place named Gethsemane, and he told his disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’
He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. He said to them, ‘I am deeply grieved to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake.’
He went a little farther, fell to the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, ‘Abba, Father! All things are possible for you. Take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, not what I will, but what you will.’
An angel from heaven appeared to him, strengthening him. Being in anguish, he prayed more fervently, and his sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground. 
Then he came and found them sleeping. He said to Peter, ‘Simon, are you sleeping? Couldn’t you stay awake one hour? 38 Stay awake and pray so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’
Once again he went away and prayed, saying the same thing.  And again he came and found them sleeping, because they could not keep their eyes open and were exhausted from their grief. They did not know what to say to him.  Then he came a third time and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The time has come. See, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up; let’s go. See, my betrayer is near.’”
(Mark 14:32-42, Luke 22:43-44 in italics)

How does Jesus Pray?

He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. He said to them, “I am deeply grieved to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake.”  He went a little farther, fell to the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.  
Mark 14:33-35

Jesus prays honestly. Jesus prays desperately. Jesus prays fervently and often. We can follow His example and pray honestly to our father, desperate for Him to work in our home/community/world, coming to Him passionately and often.

What temptation’s face us?

Then they came to a place named Gethsemane, and he told his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”
He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. He said to them, “I am deeply grieved to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake.”
After praying for a while  he came and found them sleeping. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Couldn’t you stay awake one hour?  Stay awake and pray so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  
Once again he went away and prayed, saying the same thing.  And again he came and found them sleeping, because they could not keep their eyes open and were exhausted from their grief. They did not know what to say to him.  Then he came a third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The time has come. 

Mark 14:33-41

Our constant temptation: Distraction from God’s work
 
What distractions is God asking you to let go of in order to spend more time with Him?
 
What does Jesus pray?


He went a little farther, fell to the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.  And he said, “Abba, Father! All things are possible for you. Take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, not what I will, but what you will.”
Mark 14:35-36

Abba, Father:
God is our good, perfect, father, whom we can cry out to.

All things are possible for you:
God is all powerful, with no limitations, we can trust Him with any request.

Take this cup away from me:
Make your desires known. Be honest. If Jesus can be honest with the Father about this, you too can be honest with Him about anything.

Nevertheless, Not my will, but Your will be done:
Prayer is not just about God doing what we want, it also leads to our transformation, our surrender, our increasing in trust and dependence on God.

The reason we do not lose hope in travailing: Jesus’ love for us

Keep knocking. Keep asking. Keep travailing in prayer, and invite others into it.


“I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in me through their word.  May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us, so that the world may believe you sent me.  I have given them the glory you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one.  I am in them and you are in me, so that they may be made completely one, that the world may know you have sent me and have loved them as you have loved me.
John 17:20-23
 
“May they be made completely one, so that the world may know you have sent me”
 
If you don’t know the love of God, you can receive it freely from Jesus. Ask Him to bring you from death to life. Surrender to Jesus as Lord.

 
If you’re in the wilderness, would you keep knocking, keep asking, keep travailing? Pray for personal renewal.

Pray for unity in Christ at GCC and the church of lynchburg, that it would overflow into city renewal. 

________________________________________________________________________

March 10th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Preston Burling
Series:
Into the Wilderness
Title:
Church Renewal
Text:
Mark 6:30-52; Matthew 5:13-16 (CSB)
Campus:
Rivermont
 
Goals:
  1. Why the Church needs the wilderness for renewal (Mark 6:30-52)
  2. What are some of the fruits of renewal and the temptations that will accompany them? (Matthew 5:13-16)

Digital Babylon:
Characterized by rapid technological advancement, interconnectedness through digital communication networks, and the proliferation of information and entertainment online. The term draws a parallel between the ancient city of Babylon, known for its cultural diversity, technological achievements, and societal complexity, and the contemporary digital landscape, which similarly encompasses a wide range of cultures, ideas, and innovations.

Primarily, the world won’t experience deep impact apart from the church experiencing deep impact with God.

He summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs and gave them authority over unclean spirits.  He instructed them to take nothing for the road except a staff—no bread, no traveling bag, no money in their belts,  but to wear sandals and not put on an extra shirt.  He said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that place.  If any place does not welcome you or listen to you, when you leave there, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”
 So they went out and preached that people should repent.  They drove out many demons, anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

Mark 6:7-13 
 
 
The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest for a while.” For many people were coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.
Mark 6:30-31

“God’s whispers to you will be heard at the depth of your soul, and the deceiver’s whisper will appeal to the shallow places of your ego.”
~ Tyler Staton
 
The enemy of our soul wins if you are willing to do many great things for God, as long as it serves your own ego and keeps you from resting in the rhythms of the wilderness where your soul is cared for.
 
The urgency of the kingdom manifests itself in an “upside-down” way:
This urgency is found in the long & slow rhythms of wilderness withdrawal, nurturing our souls to renewal, catching fire in our churches, and branches out into renewal in our homes, our cities, and our world.

It’s in the wilderness experience that the church will be counter formed from the world behind us and be formed for the world ahead of us.

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty?  It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:13-16 
 
Context:
You are blessed when they insult you and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of me.  Be glad and rejoice because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:11-12

1st Metaphor:
Salt

1st Temptation:
To respond harshly / defensively (fight)

2nd Metaphor:
Light
 
2nd Temptation:
To hide / remain hidden (flight)

Renewal for the church in the wilderness is about being reminded that you already are “salt” and “light”

Questions to consider:
  1. Which temptation are you more likely to succumb to as exiles in our world today: Fight or Flight?
  2. Are the whispers you listen to serving the surface level of your ego or are they speaking deeply to your soul?
 
Prayer Prompt:
May we slow down to the pace and rhythms of the wilderness
_______________________________________________________

Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series:
Into the Wilderness
Title:
Church Renewal
Text:
Mark 6:30-36, 45-46; Matthew 26:26-29 (CSB)
Campus:
College Hill

God meets us in the wilderness.
 
What if Lent was a season where old patterns of being were broken, and new patterns of being were established?
What if your faith came alive and you began to experience the abundant life that Jesus promised?

 
We will not be successful in reaching people if we haven’t encountered the glory of God.
 
But the news about him spread even more, and large crowds would come together to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses.  Yet he often withdrew to deserted places and prayed.
Luke 5:15-16 
 
We will miss the source of our renewal, and the power for our mission, if we don’t slow down to be with Jesus.
 
Yet he often withdrew to deserted places and prayed.
Luke 5:16
 
Jesus models a way of being for us.

It’s difficult to cultivate intimacy with God and each other when our lives are full of noise and busyness. 

 
The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all that they had done and taught.  He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest for a while.” For many people were coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.
So they went away in the boat by themselves to a remote place,  but many saw them leaving and recognized them, and they ran on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them.

Mark 6:30-33 
 
Our bodies and souls are not designed to be constantly in motion.
 
Taking time to slow down doesn’t make our ministries less effective, it makes our ministry even more effective – and it keeps our hearts tender. 


When he went ashore, he saw a large crowd and had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Then he began to teach them many things.
When it grew late, his disciples approached him and said, “This place is deserted, and it is already late. Send them away so that they can go into the surrounding countryside and villages to buy themselves something to eat.”

Mark 6:34-36 
 
Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.  After he said good-bye to them, he went away to the mountain to pray.
Mark 6:45-46 
 
We can be caught up in the busyness of ministry and religious activity, but miss the intimacy and renewal of God.

The church experiences renewal as a community for the sake of mission.
 
What would it look like for our faith to come alive and to experience the abundant life Jesus promised?

            
As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take and eat it; this is my body.”  Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks, he gave it to them and said, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.  But I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
Matthew 26:26-29
______________________________________________

March 3rd Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series: 
Into the Wilderness
Title: 
Household Renewal
Text: 
Matthew 3:16-4:11
Campus: 
Rivermont
 
All:
Almighty God, in You are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Pour out on us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation that the eyes of our hearts would be enlightened to see the face of Jesus, that we might say, ‘surely our hearts burn within us’ as you speak to us now.
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.

 
 When Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water. The heavens suddenly opened for him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on him.  And a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased.”
4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  After he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. Then the tempter approached him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. 
Then the devil took him to the holy city, had him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written:
He will give his angels orders concerning you, and they will support you with their hands
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone
.”
Jesus told him, “It is also written: Do not test the Lord your God.”
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. And he said to him, “I will give you all these things if you will fall down and worship me.”
Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.”
Then the devil left him, and angels came and began to serve him.

Matthew 3:16-4:11
Reader: This is God’s Word
All: Thanks be to God
 
The Wilderness is a furnace of transformational encounters with God. Here, access to our usual means of comfort, distraction, or meaning are limited for a time and we learn to depend on the presence of God for our every need, every day.
 
The World, the Flesh, and the Devil are the forces of Evil that conspire together to keep human beings from seeing ourselves, God, or others rightly.

 
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins  in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit now working in the disobedient.  We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh…
Ephesians 2:1-3
 
The god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
2 Corinthians 4:4

 When Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water. The heavens suddenly opened for him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on him.  And a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased.”
4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. Then the tempter approached him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Matthew 3:16-4:3
 
The household is one of the most contested spaces in our time. By household, I mean both the actual place and the people, as well as our most intimate thoughts and relationships. From this place, the rest of our life emerges. 

Click here to see image: Faith for Exiles

Then the tempter approached him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” 

Matthew 4:3-4

There is only one God - we will listen to Him.
 
Holy Spirit, give us eyes to see Jesus - the one who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. 

 
Then the devil took him to the holy city, had him stand on the pinnacle of the temple,6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written:
He will give his angels orders concerning you, and they will support you with their hands
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

Jesus told him, “It is also written: Do not test the Lord your God.” 

Matthew 4:5-7
 
There is only one God - we will trust Him. 
 
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.  And he said to him, “I will give you all these things if you will fall down and worship me.”
Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.
Then the devil left him, and angels came and began to serve him.

Matthew 4:8-11
 
There is only one God - we will love him with all we’ve got. 
 
Delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37

The cry of the heart for household renewal: God, make my household an altar for your presence.
 
There is only one God - we will listen to him.
There is only one God - we will trust him.
There is only one God - we will love him with all we’ve got. 

 
I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to you, O Lord, I will make music. I will contemplate the way of integrity. Oh, God, when will you come to me? I will walk with integrity of heart within my household; I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I reject the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. A perverse heart will be far from me; I will know nothing of evil…
Psalm 101:1-4

Jesus, take back the contested ground of our most intimate thoughts and relationships. Make our homes holy ground.
_______________________________________________________
 
Sermon Notes: Zachary Foster
Series: 
Into the Wilderness
Title: 
Household Renewal
Text: 
Matthew 4:1-11
Campus: 
College Hill

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. Then the tempter approached him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Then the devil took him to the holy city, had him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: He will give his angels orders concerning you, and they will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” Jesus told him, “It is also written: Do not test the Lord your God.” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. And he said to him, “I will give you all these things if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.” Then the devil left him, and angels came and began to serve him.“
Matthew 4:1-11

 Click here to see image

  1. The War
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. John tried to prevent him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?”
Jesus said to him in reply, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed him. When Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water. The heavens suddenly opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased.”

Matthew 3:13-17

We are all sinners in desperate need of a Savior!!!

But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. How much more then, since we have now been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from wrath. For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his son, then how much more, having been reconciled will we be saved by his life.
Romans 5:8-10

  1. The Enemy
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil.
 Matt. 4:1

Your primary enemy as a follower of Jesus is The Devil
 
You are of your father the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because HE IS A LIAR AND THE FATHER OF LIES.
John 8:44

The devil is a liar!
 
If Satan tried to get Jesus to doubt his position with God, you can be sure he will do the same with you.

Satan would love for you to doubt your
secure attachment with God, driving a wedge of lies between you and your Heavenly Father.
 
  1. The Front
For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” “I will gather you who mourn for the appointed festivals; you will be disgraced no more. And I will deal severely with all who have oppressed you. I will save the weak and helpless ones; I will bring together those who were chased away. I will give glory and fame to my former exiles, wherever they have been mocked and shamed. On that day I will gather you together and bring you home again. I will give you a good name, a name of distinction, among all the nations of the earth, as I restore your fortunes before their very eyes. I, the Lord, have spoken!”
Zephaniah 3:17-20 NLT
 
  1. The Armor
Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens.
Ephesians 6:10-12
 
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. After he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
Matthew 4:1-2
 
We need the Spirit of God to illuminate the Word of God.

“Christian fasting, at its root, is the hunger of a homesickness for God. Christian fasting is not only the spontaneous effect of superior satisfaction in God, it is also a chosen weapon against every force in the world that would take that satisfaction away. “
~ John Piper

  1. The Victory
I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.
John 16:33

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:37-39

Reflection
  1. Where do you find yourself in this war? 
  2. Are you in need of a Savior?
  3. Where is Satan attacking your household?
__________________________________________________

February 25th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series:
Into the Wilderness
Title:
Personal Renewal
Text:
Isaiah 6:1-8, 2 Corinthians 4:1-18
Campus:
Rivermont
 
All: Almighty God, in You are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Pour out on us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation that the eyes of our hearts would be enlightened to see the face of Jesus, that we might say, ‘surely our hearts burn within us’ as you speak to us now.
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.

 
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphim were standing above him; they each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Armies; his glory fills the whole earth.”
The foundations of the doorways shook at the sound of their voices, and the temple was filled with smoke. Then I said:
“Woe is me for I am ruined because I am a man of unclean lips and live among a people of unclean lips, and because my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Armies.”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, and in his hand was a glowing coal that he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said:
“Now that this has touched your lips, your iniquity is removed and your sin is atoned for.”
Then I heard the voice of the Lord asking:
“Who will I send?
Who will go for us?”
I said:
“Here I am. Send me.”

Isaiah 6:1-8
 
Therefore, since we have this ministry because we were shown mercy, we do not give up.  Instead, we have renounced secret and shameful things, not acting deceitfully or distorting the word of God, but commending ourselves before God to everyone’s conscience by an open display of the truth.  But if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.  In their case, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  For we are not proclaiming ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’s sake. For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.
Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair;  we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed.  We always carry the death of Jesus in our body, so that the life of Jesus may also be displayed in our body.  For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’s sake, so that Jesus’s life may also be displayed in our mortal flesh.  So then, death is at work in us, but life in you.  And since
we have the same spirit of faith in keeping with what is written, I believed, therefore I spoke, we also believe, and therefore speak. For we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you.  Indeed, everything is for your benefit so that, as grace extends through more and more people, it may cause thanksgiving to increase to the glory of God.
Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day.  For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory.  So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:1-18
Reader: This is God’s Word
All: Thanks be to God
 
Augustine: God is closer to us than we are to ourselves.
 
The Wilderness is a furnace of transformational encounters with God. Here, access to our usual means of comfort, distraction, or meaning are limited for a time and we learn to depend on the presence of God for our every need, every day.

 
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphim were standing above him; they each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Armies; his glory fills the whole earth.”
The foundations of the doorways shook at the sound of their voices, and the temple was filled with smoke.

Isaiah 6:1-4
 
Then I said:
“Woe is me for I am ruined because I am a man of unclean lips and live among a people of unclean lips, and because my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Armies.”

Isaiah 6:5
 
An encounter with God will often lead to a confrontation with our sin.

1. In the light of God’s presence, I can more clearly see my sin and deep need.
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, and in his hand was a glowing coal that he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said:
“Now that this has touched your lips, your iniquity is removed and your sin is atoned for.”

Isaiah 6:6-7
 
2. In the light of God’s presence, I can more clearly see his grace and deep love.
Then I heard the voice of the Lord asking:
“Who will I send? Who will go for us?”
I said:
“Here I am. Send me.”

Isaiah 6:8
 
Therefore, since we have this ministry because we were shown mercy, we do not give up. Instead, we have renounced secret and shameful things, not acting deceitfully or distorting the word of God, but commending ourselves before God to everyone’s conscience by an open display of the truth.
2 Corinthians 4:1-2
 
But if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.  In their case, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  For we are not proclaiming ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’s sake.
2 Corinthians 4:3-5
 
For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:6

 Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us.
2 Corinthians 4:7
 
Click here to see image: Mind’s Eye: Blinded

In their case, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 
2 Corinthians 4:4
 
For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:6
 
Click here to see image: Eyes of the Heart Enlightened by Jesus
 
Click here to see image: Life in the Spirit
 
Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us.  We are afflicted in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed.  We always carry the death of Jesus in our body, so that the life of Jesus may also be displayed in our body. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’s sake, so that Jesus’s life may also be displayed in our mortal flesh.  So then, death is at work in us, but life in you.  And since we have the same spirit of faith in keeping with what is written, I believed, therefore I spoke, we also believe, and therefore speak.  For we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you.  Indeed, everything is for your benefit so that, as grace extends through more and more people, it may cause thanksgiving to increase to the glory of God.
2 Corinthians 4:7-15

 From now on, then, we do not know anyone from a worldly perspective. Even if we have known Christ from a worldly perspective, yet now we no longer know him in this way. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come! Everything is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:16-18
_______________________________________________________
 
Sermon Notes: Preston Burling
Series: 
Into the Wilderness
Title: 
Personal Renewal
Text: 
Isaiah 6:1-8
Campus: 
College Hill
 
If Christ is not our most cherished treasure in all of life’s pursuits, then personal renewal is what we need.

 
Click here to see image: St. Benedict of Nursia
 
“The wilderness is a place that can keep you from losing your soul to babylon.”
~ John Mark Comer
 
Invitation:
Show up, Be curious, Be willing
 
Renewal will be accompanied by an encounter with God’s glory
 
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, and the hem of his robe filled the temple.  Seraphim were standing above him; they each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew.  And one called to another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Armies; his glory fills the whole earth.”
The foundations of the doorways shook at the sound of their voices, and the temple was filled with smoke. Then I said:
“Woe is me for I am ruined because I am a man of unclean lips and live among a people of unclean lips, and because my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Armies.”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, and in his hand was a glowing coal that he had taken from the altar with tongs.  He touched my mouth with it and said:
“Now that this has touched your lips, your iniquity is removed and your sin is atoned for.”
Then I heard the voice of the Lord asking:
“Who will I send? Who will go for us?”
I said:
“Here I am. Send me.”

Isaiah 6:1-8 (CSB)
 
Holiness:
  1. The transcendent “otherliness” of God
  2. Purity, Personal righteousness, wholly perfect
 
the invitation to personal renewal is followed by the disruptive presence of God
 
Being willing to show up with God opens the door for your hurts, pains and sins to be exposed, and for you to be made whole again.
 
Isaiah had become refined by Holy fire.
Isaiah was experiencing the furnace of transformation.

 
Roadmap for personal renewal:
Wilderness → Encounter with God → Furnace of Transformation → Renewed & Abundant life
 
Pattern of God in scripture:
God appears, the people quake in terror, God forgives, heals & transforms, and then God sends.
 
Some of us are in the business of manufacturing the abundant life by sidestepping the furnace of transformation.
 
Abundance is found on the other side of Holy fire
 
Apart from the furnace, the abundance you think you are pursuing is just a distraction that is keeping you from a life of wholeness in Christ.

 
The good news:
God is inviting you into the furnace: It’s an invitation to the work that will cleanse you and prepare you for a renewed and abundant life.
_____________________________________________________

February 18th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series:
Into the Wilderness
Title:
God-Centered Life (Show Us Your Glory)
Text:
Exodus 33:12-23, 2 Corinthians 3:7-18 (CSB)
Campus:
Rivermont
 
All:
Almighty God, in You are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Pour out on us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation that the eyes of our hearts would be enlightened to see the face of Jesus, that we might say, ‘surely our hearts burn within us’ as you speak to us now.
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.

 
Moses said to the Lord, “Look, you have told me, ‘Lead this people up,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor with me.’  Now if I have indeed found favor with you, please teach me your ways, and I will know you, so that I may find favor with you. Now consider that this nation is your people.”
And he replied, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
“If your presence does not go,” Moses responded to him, “don’t make us go up from here. How will it be known that I and your people have found favor with you unless you go with us? I and your people will be distinguished by this from all the other people on the face of the earth.”
The Lord answered Moses, “I will do this very thing you have asked, for you have found favor with me, and I know you by name.”
Then Moses said, “Please, let me see your glory.”
He said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim the name ‘the Lord’ before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” But he added, “You cannot see my face, for humans cannot see me and live.” The Lord said, “Here is a place near me. You are to stand on the rock, and when my glory passes by, I will put you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.  Then I will take my hand away, and you will see my back, but my face will not be seen.”

Exodus 33:12-23
As Moses descended from Mount Sinai—with the two tablets of the testimony in his hands as he descended the mountain—he did not realize that the skin of his face shone as a result of his speaking with the Lord.  When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, the skin of his face shone! They were afraid to come near him.  But Moses called out to them, so Aaron and all the leaders of the community returned to him, and Moses spoke to them.  Afterward all the Israelites came near, and he commanded them to do everything the Lord had told him on Mount Sinai.  When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face.  But whenever Moses went before the Lord to speak with him, he would remove the veil until he came out. After he came out, he would tell the Israelites what he had been commanded, and the Israelites would see that Moses’s face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil over his face again until he went to speak with the Lord.
Exodus 34:29-35
Now if the ministry that brought death, chiseled in letters on stones, came with glory, so that the Israelites were not able to gaze steadily at Moses’s face because of its glory, which was set aside,  how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?  For if the ministry that brought condemnation had glory, the ministry that brings righteousness overflows with even more glory.  In fact, what had been glorious is not glorious now by comparison because of the glory that surpasses it.  For if what was set aside was glorious, what endures will be even more glorious.
Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness. We are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from gazing steadily until the end[a] of the glory of what was being set aside,  but their minds were hardened. For to this day, at the reading of the old covenant, the same veil remains; it is not lifted, because it is set aside only in Christ. Yet still today, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts, but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.  Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at[b] the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 3:7-18
 
“The whole life of a good Christian is a holy desire for God.”
~ Augustine of Hippo
 
“The glory of God is at least the full magnitude of all that God is on display.”
~ Tim Keller
 
Taste and see that the Lord is good. 
Psalm 34:8. 
 
The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
2 Corinthians 3:17

“These people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me.”
Mark 7:6-7
 
We tend to do what we want to do (desire)
 
Our habits direct our hunger.
 
God, show us Your glory.
 
God had gotten his people out of Egypt, but he took them into the wilderness to get Egypt out of them.

The wilderness was the place where God’s people would learn to depend solely on the presence of God for their every need, every day.

Desert Mothers & Fathers: The Wilderness is a furnace of transformation.

 
“If your presence does not go,” Moses responded to him, “don’t make us go up from here.  How will it be known that I and your people have found favor with you unless you go with us? I and your people will be distinguished by this from all the other people on the face of the earth.”
The Lord answered Moses, “I will do this very thing you have asked, for you have found favor with me, and I know you by name.”
Then Moses said, “Please, let me see your glory.”

Exodus 33:15-18
 
The wilderness experience reveals and renews our desires.

Show us your glory.

 
For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
2 Corinthians 3:6

Now if the ministry that brought death, chiseled in letters on stones, came with glory, so that the Israelites were not able to gaze steadily at Moses’s face because of its glory, which was set aside,  how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?  For if the ministry that brought condemnation had glory, the ministry that brings righteousness overflows with even more glory.  In fact, what had been glorious is not glorious now by comparison because of the glory that surpasses it.  For if what was set aside was glorious, what endures will be even more glorious.
Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness.

2 Corinthians 3:7-12
 
We are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from gazing steadily until the end of the glory of what was being set aside,  but their minds were hardened. For to this day, at the reading of the old covenant, the same veil remains; it is not lifted, because it is set aside only in Christ.  Yet still today, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts,  but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.  Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at[e] the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:13-18
 
Beholding the glory of God in Christ requires attention. Lent is an invitation to slow down, reduce busy-ness, and make space for God to do something new in us. Lent is about renewal.
_______________________________________________________
 
Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Title:
Into the Wilderness: Part 1
Text:
Exodus 33 (CSB)
Campus:
College Hill

The wilderness can be a furnace of transformation.

Lent comes from lencten “spring or springtime” and from the West Germanic langitinaz “long-days or lengthening of the day."

“Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.”
Isaiah 43:19
 
The wilderness can be a place where we discover the satisfying and sustaining presence of God.

To successfully navigate the wilderness, we can’t take a single step without God.

 
The Lord spoke to Moses: “Go up from here, you and the people you brought up from the land of Egypt, to the land I promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying: I will give it to your offspring.  I will send an angel ahead of you and will drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hethites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites.  Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go up with you because you are a stiff-necked people; otherwise, I might destroy you on the way.” When the people heard this bad news, they mourned and didn’t put on their jewelry.
Exodus 33:1-4 (CSB)

Moses said to the Lord, “Look, you have told me, ‘Lead this people up,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor with me.’ Now if I have indeed found favor with you, please teach me your ways, and I will know you, so that I may find favor with you. Now consider that this nation is your people.”
Exodus 33:12-13
 
Whatever we want, no matter how good it is, will fail to satisfy us if we aren’t satisfied by God.

And he replied, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Exodus  33:14

God loves to bless his people with his presence.

We desperately need God’s peace; we deeply desire true and lasting rest.


“If your presence does not go,” Moses responded to him, “don’t make us go up from here. How will it be known that I and your people have found favor with you unless you go with us? I and your people will be distinguished by this from all the other people on the face of the earth.”
The Lord answered Moses, “I will do this very thing you have asked, for you have found favor with me, and I know you by name.”
Then Moses said, “Please, let me see your glory.”

Exodus  33:15-18

God’s presence affirms his favor and it sets us apart.

the glory of God – the fullness of all that God (his radiant splendor, greatness, and the perfection of His character and attributes).
 
Christ is the revealed glory of God.
The Holy Spirit reveals Jesus to us and transforms our hearts and lives to reflect the glory of God.


7 Now if the ministry that brought death, chiseled in letters on stones, came with glory, so that the Israelites were not able to gaze steadily at Moses’s face because of its glory, which was set aside, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.
4 Therefore, since we have this ministry because we were shown mercy, we do not give up.  Instead, we have renounced secret and shameful things, not acting deceitfully or distorting the word of God, but commending ourselves before God to everyone’s conscience by an open display of the truth.  But if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.  In their case, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  For we are not proclaiming ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’s sake. For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians  3:7-8, 17-18, 4:1-6 (CSB)

Where can we simplify, reduce busy-ness and noise in our lives, in order to let God create something new?
_____________________________________________________

February 11th
Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman and Carley Marcouillier
Series: 
The Good Life
Title: 
Rule of Life
Text: 
Galatians 5:16-26, John 15:1-5, 9-12 (Mark 12:28-34)  (CSB)
Campus:
Rivermont
 
Click here to see image: Slow Train Coming
 
You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You might be a socialite with a long string of pearls
But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the Devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody
 

Yeah, you're gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the Devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody


“Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are turning this central thing either into a heavenly creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God and with its fellow-creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other.”
~ C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
 
I say, then, walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh.  For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity,  idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions,  envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I am warning you about these things—as I warned you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Galatians 5:16-26
 
Jesus’ vision of The Good Life is a call to holiness, which means practicing a way of life designed to form the heart to give and receive love from God and others.

Click here to see image: Framework of Spiritual Formation

Rule of Life.

What is a Rule of Life
(and what is it NOT?)
Why do we need a Rule of Life?
How do we build a Rule of Life?
 
Click here to see image: Rule of Life
 
An embodied rhythm for receiving love which anchors our affection and attention to God daily, weekly, and seasonally. 

". . . The starting point and foundation of any Rule is a desire to be with God and to love him”
~ Peter Scazzero
 
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  Every branch in me that does not produce fruit he removes, and he prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.  Remain in me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me.
John  15:1-5
 
As the Father has loved me, I have also loved you. Remain in my love.  If you keep my commands you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.
This is my command: Love one another as I have loved you.

John 15:9-12

“In Christ, all of life is a response to grace.”
~ Dr. Carl Ellis Jr.

“Grace is not opposed to effort, grace is opposed to earning.”
~ Dallas Willard

 I say, then, walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want.
Galatians 5:16-17
 
The Great Enemies of God and Humanity:
the World, the Flesh, & the Devil
 
Practicing an intentional Rule of Life is how we contend with the Spirit against the World, the Flesh, and the Devil.
 
Practicing an intentional Rule of Life keeps us in the story even when we haven’t the eyes to see it.


Spiritual formation is counter-formation. And intentional Rule of Life is how we embody the Gospel Story and counter the schemes of our modern disenchanted age.
 
We are all unique but our goal is the same: union with God, transformation into his image, and freeing our hearts from anything that stands in the way of Christ living in and through us. 

Click here to see image: Practices

Reminders: 
  • Start Small 
  • Be Specific 
  • Consider Season of Life 
  • It is a Working Document 
  • Practice in Community
 
Tool: Rule of Life Builder
https://www.practicingtheway.org/ruleoflifebuilder

Click here to see image: Spiritual Disciplines Survey
 
Click here to see image: Lent Prayer Days
 
Click here to see image: Ash Wednesday 
 
Hunger & Hospitality
_______________________________________________________
 
Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series: 
The Good Life
Title: 
Rule of Life
Text: 
Galatians 5
Campus: 
College Hill

Lent is a 40-day season of prayer and reflection leading into Easter Sunday.

Love was the foundational command when God established his family.


Spiritual practices keep us deeply rooted in God, and the Holy Spirit forms our hearts to love God and others when we stay in step with him. 

For freedom, Christ set us free. Stand firm, then, and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery. Take note! I, Paul, am telling you that if you get yourselves circumcised, Christ will not benefit you at all.  Again I testify to every man who gets himself circumcised that he is obligated to do the entire law.  You who are trying to be justified by the law are alienated from Christ; you have fallen from grace.  For we eagerly await through the Spirit, by faith, the hope of righteousness.
Galatians 5:1-5  (CSB)

 “...what matters is faith working through love.” (Gal. 5:6b)
 
For you were called to be free, brothers and sisters; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love.  For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement: Love your neighbor as yourself.
Galatians 5:13-14 (CSB)

The Good Life is about a loving union with God, which leads to an outpouring of love toward others.

I say, then, walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh.  For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want.
Galatians 5:16-17 (CSB)

How do you operate when your life isn’t conformed to the Spirit of God? 

Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions,  envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I am warning you about these things—as I warned you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:19-21 (CSB)

If you and I choose to satisfy our hunger apart from God, we will miss the satisfaction and fulfillment of God. 
 
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things.  Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Galatians 5:22-26 (CSB)

Keep in step with the Spirit, and you will bear the fruit of the Spirit.

Spiritual practices keep us deeply rooted in God, and the Holy Spirit forms our hearts to love God and others when we stay in step with him.

A Rule of Life is an intentional support structure that helps us grow up and abide in Christ.
 
 
Click here to see image: Love of God

How can we structure our days and weeks in order for there to be a trellis that helps us grow?

The Holy Spirit forms our hearts to love God and others when we stay in step with him.

 
“…what matters is faith working through love.”  (Gal. 5:6)
____________________________________________________

February 4th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series: 
The Good Life
Title: 
Worship & Scripture: Encountering God
Text: 
John 5:31-47 (Exodus 20:1-7) (CSB)
Campus: 
Rivermont
 
“The glory of God is the human being fully alive.”
~ Irenaeus
 
Jesus answered, “The most important is Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is, Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.”
Mark 12:29-31
 
Jesus’ vision of The Good Life is a call to holiness, which means practicing a way of life designed to form the heart to give and receive love from God and others.
 
Click here to see image: Framework for Spiritual Formation
 
 Habits orient our hunger.
 
The Holy Spirit is essential to our spiritual formation because we cannot love that which we do not know, and we cannot know that which we do not continually encounter. 
 
Then God spoke all these words:
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery.
Do not have other gods besides me.
Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. Do not bow in worship to them, and do not serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, bringing the consequences of the fathers’ iniquity on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, but showing faithful love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commands.

Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God, because the Lord will not leave anyone unpunished who misuses his name.”
Exodus 20:1-7
 
“If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true.  There is another who testifies about me, and I know that the testimony he gives about me is true.  You sent messengers to John, and he testified to the truth.  I don’t receive human testimony, but I say these things so that you may be saved. John was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.
“But I have a greater testimony than John’s because of the works that the Father has given me to accomplish. These very works I am doing testify about me that the Father has sent me. The Father who sent me has himself testified about me. You have not heard his voice at any time, and you haven’t seen his form.  You don’t have his word residing in you, because you don’t believe the one he sent.  You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, and yet they testify about me.  But you are not willing to come to me so that you may have life.
“I do not accept glory from people,  but I know you—that you have no love for God within you.  I have come in my Father’s name, and yet you don’t accept me. If someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him.  How can you believe, since you accept glory from one another but don’t seek the glory that comes from the only God?  Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope.  For if you believed Moses, you would believe me, because he wrote about me.  But if you don’t believe what he wrote, how will you believe my words?”
John 5:31-47

Click here to see image: Scripture reading

Click here to see image: Sunday worship 

The Father who sent me has himself testified about me. You have not heard his voice at any time, and you haven’t seen his form.  You don’t have his word residing in you, because you don’t believe the one he sent. You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, and yet they testify about me.  But you are not willing to come to me so that you may have life.
46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me, because he wrote about me.

John 5:37-40, 46

Worship is about encounters with God that are divinely initiated, oftentimes through God’s Word first.
 
1. The Bible is a unified, cohesive story told through a collection of books from various authors over thousands of years - and it’s all about Jesus.

 
 
Click here to see image: Heart & Soul

2.  The key lens (hermeneutic) to help us understand the Bible is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Or, The Gospel of the Kingdom of God. (Key: The Sermon on the Mount).
 
3. The purpose of reading, studying, preaching, teaching, & learning the Scriptures is to encounter God and to be formed as people of love.
 
The Heart of worship is a response to Divinely initiated glory and love.


The Practice of worship is about the habits and forms that focus our attention on God’s glory and love.
 
To practice worship is to put ourselves in the position to be continually renewed in regular encounters with God.
 
“To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God.”
~ Bishop William Temple, Quoted by Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline
 
The practice of worship is about setting the sails and waiting for the wind of the Spirit to move us.

To practice worship is to plant the seeds, cultivate the soil, and wait for the Spirit to pour out like rain.


To practice worship is to stack the wood, soak it with fuel, and wait for the Spirit to fall like fire.

"At home, in my own house, there is no warmth or vigor in me, but in the church when the multitude is gathered together, a fire is kindled in my heart and it breaks its way through.”
~ Martin Luther

“A quickening Presence pervades us, breaking down some part of the special privacy and isolation of our individual lives and blending our spirits within a superindividual Life and Power. An objective, dynamic Presence enfolds us all, nourishes our souls, speaks glad and unutterable comfort within, and quickens us in depths that had before been slumbering.”
~ Thomas Kelly, Prayer & Worship.
 
Shift: Prepare for each Worship gathering.

“Prepare for worship by cultivating holy dependency. Holy dependency means that you are utterly and completely dependent upon God for anything significant to happen. There is an inward travail (labor) that evil will weaken and the good will rise up. You look forward to God acting and moving and teaching and wooing and winning. The work is God’s and not yours.”
~ Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline
 
Two Postures: Hunger & Hospitality.
 
To prepare for worship by cultivating postures of Hunger and Hospitality means:  To practice Worship with hearts and eyes expectant and open to God and others, awaiting fresh revelation in both personal devotion and corporate worship. The consistent practice of these things over time forms us - body, mind, heart, and soul - as people of God’s presence, word, and love.

 It is the Spirit that gives life (quickens), the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.
John 6:63
_______________________________________________________
 
Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series: 
The Good Life
Title: 
Scripture and Worship
Text: 
John 5:31-47 (Exodus 20:1-7) (CSB)
Campus: 
College Hill

Communion. “Today we’re going to learn about cultivating a fresh vision for God, and how personal encounters w/ God through scripture and worship form our hearts for love.
Jesus said that to love God w/ our whole being and to love our fellow human beings are the two most important commandments in all of scripture.
But He didn’t just teach about love and command us to love, he demonstrated his love. First, in the way that he related to the Father. Second, in the way he treated people – especially the outcasts (women, children, and the sick).
His greatest demonstration of love was the cross.”
 
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have also obtained access through him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we boast in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance,  endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope.  This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
For while we were still helpless, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly.

Romans 5:1-6 (CSB)
 
“The kingdom that Jesus established is sealed by his sacrifice.
The table – is a reminder of the gospel and an invitation.
Come…all are welcome. Come to encounter Christ, remember his sacrifice, his resurrection, and the new family of God that you are a part of. Local/global.
You can come as you are, come courageously. But also come humbly, bring your burdens, sins, and needs. Let the love of Christ wash over you.”
 
At GCC we’re operating w/ the understanding that spiritual formation is a critical part of Christian discipleship.
We don’t become more like Jesus Christ unintentionally.
Richard Lovelace talks about the entropy in human nature which guarantees that the vigor of our spiritual lives will constantly run down unless it’s renewed.
 
Click here to see image: Truth, Practices, Community

In our paradigm of spiritual formation, we believe that the agent of our renewal is the Holy Spirit … God himself transforms us, as we commit our lives to him.
And we also believe that God uses his truth, spiritual rhythms, and the support and accountability of the Christian community to reorient our lives.

Click here to see image: Reading Scripture

Click here to see image: Sunday Worship

The spiritual practices of scripture reading and corporate worship create space in our lives for fresh encounters with God.
 
For we did not follow cleverly contrived myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; instead, we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.  For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased!”  We ourselves heard this voice when it came from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain. We also have the prophetic word strongly confirmed, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you know this: No prophecy of Scripture comes from the prophet’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
2 Peter 1:16-21 (CSB)
 
3 reasons why we should value Scripture. 
1) The Bible is our primary source for understanding Jesus and his gospel story (vv. 16-18).

“Nero fastened the guilt…on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of…Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome…”
~ Tacitus
 
3 reasons why we should value Scripture.
2) The Bible is the primary way that God communicates with his people (vv. 20-21).
 
Or was it from you that the word of God came? Or are you the only ones it has reached? If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord.
1 Corinthians 14:36-37

The strongest argument for the divine inspiration of the Bible is the testimony of Jesus.

3 reasons why we should value Scripture.
3) The Bible helps us to navigate our complex lives, allowing Jesus to illuminate our hearts (v. 19)

Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, since he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider one another in order to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching.
Hebrews 10:23-25 (CSB)

The practices of scripture reading and corporate worship are intended to help us experience fresh encounters with God and to grow in our love for God, each other, and those who are far from him.
 
Could a renewed commitment to reading scripture and corporate worship be one of the best investments in your life and spiritual renewal?
___________________________________________________

January 28th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series: 
The Good Life
Title: 
Prayer & Fasting: Cultivating Hunger
Text: 
Matthew 6:5-18
Campus: 
Rivermont

“Whenever you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward.  But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.  When you pray, don’t babble like the Gentiles, since they imagine they’ll be heard for their many words. Don’t be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask him.
 “Therefore, you should pray like this:
Our Father in heaven,
your name be honored as holy.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us into[c] temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one. 
 “For if you forgive others their offenses, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. 1But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your offenses.
“Whenever you fast, don’t be gloomy like the hypocrites. For they disfigure their faces so that their fasting is obvious to people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward.  But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,  so that your fasting isn’t obvious to others but to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Matthew 6:5-18
 
After he had gone into the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
And he told them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer.”

Mark 9:28-29
 
Fasting: Abstaining from food for spiritual purposes.
 
Fasting is both a regular rhythm for God’s people (twice weekly), and also a response to an urgent and desperate need for God to move (i.e. Esther 4, Joel 2, Exodus 34, 1 Kings 19, Nehemiah 1:4, etc).
 
 Whenever you fast, don’t be gloomy like the hypocrites. For they disfigure their faces so that their fasting is obvious to people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward.  But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,  so that your fasting isn’t obvious to others but to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Matthew 6:16-18
 
There is an order to human love that can make or break us. And when we love the wrong things, or the right things in the wrong order, we shrivel up inside, and we start to malfunction.
 
Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart.
Deuteronomy 6:4-6
 
One of the scribes approached. When he heard them debating and saw that Jesus answered them well, he asked him, “Which command is the most important of all?”
Jesus answered, “The most important is Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.  The second is, Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.”

Mark 12:28-31

1. What we do does something to us.

2. We tend to do what we want to do.
 
This is what a relationship with Jesus does: it changes our wants, so that we can actually practice the way of Jesus from the heart.

Jesus gives new life but also a new way of life.

What we do does something to us, and we tend to do what we want to do.

Whenever you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward.  But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.  When you pray, don’t babble like the Gentiles, since they imagine they’ll be heard for their many words.  Don’t be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask him.
Matthew 6:5-8
 
Whenever you fast, don’t be gloomy like the hypocrites. For they disfigure their faces so that their fasting is obvious to people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward.  But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,  so that your fasting isn’t obvious to others but to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Matthew  6:16-18
 
Spiritual Formation:  The process of being formed into the image of Jesus for the sake of others.
 
Prayer & Fasting Give us 3 Experiences:
1. God as the best Good
 
Prayer & Fasting is less about suffering and more about savoring.

God is the primary focus of fasting, so worship is the purpose & prayer is the practice.
 
Christ alone is sufficient for what is deficient in us.

All spiritual formation is counter-formation - reordering our loves.
 
2. God as our Provider
 
What we really need, only Jesus has.

After he had gone into the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
And he told them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer.

Mark 9:28-29
 
Any time there is a move of God, God first moves his people to pray.
 
3. God as our Sustainer
 
“It will certainly prove humiliating to us, as it reveals to us how much our peace depends upon the pleasures of eating. It may also bring to mind how we are using food pleasure to assuage the discomforts caused in our bodies by faithless and unwise living and attitudes—lack of self-worth, meaningless work, purposeless existence, or lack of rest or exercise. If nothing else, though, it will certainly demonstrate how powerful and clever our body is in getting its own way against our strongest resolves...fasting confirms our utter dependence on God.”
~ Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines, p. 166.

There is no formation without resistance.

 “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”
 
Gospelcc.org/TheGoodLife
 
Am I facing an impossible thing for which I desperately need God’s loving intervention? 

Challenge: Contend in prayer. (Mark 9:28-29)

Our Father in heaven,
your name be honored as holy.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.

Matthew 6:9-13 CSB
_______________________________________________________

Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz and Christiana Boyer
Series:
The Good Life
Title:
Prayers and Fasting
Text:
Matthew 6:5-18 (CSB)
Campus:
College Hill

Jesus answered, “The most important is Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.  The second is, Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.”
Mark 12:29-31 (CSB)
 
Human flourishing doesn’t come from working harder or filling our lives with more religious activity, it comes from knowing and loving God with all of our being and loving our neighbors. 
 
Jesus invites us into a life of holiness and love.
 
Spiritual disciplines (practices) help us to meet with God and grow in love. 
 
Sabbath: A 24-hour period of time set apart for rest and spiritual renewal every week.
 
Prayer and fasting cultivate a hunger for God, which leads to intimacy with God.
Prayer is spiritual communication between you and God.
Fasting is abstaining from food for spiritual purposes.

Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live.
Isaiah 55:1-3
 
Prayer is spiritual communication between you and God.

Fasting is abstaining from food for spiritual purposes.

Whenever you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward. But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.  When you pray, don’t babble like the Gentiles, since they imagine they’ll be heard for their many words.  Don’t be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask him.
Matthew 6:5-18

Intimacy with the Father is birthed in the private places of your life. Anything public should be an overflow of the private, intimate spaces with God not the substance of your spiritual life.
 
Join in imitating me, brothers and sisters, and pay careful attention to those who live according to the example you have in us. For I have often told you, and now say again with tears, that many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction; their god is their stomach; their glory is in their shame; and they are focused on earthly things.  Our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly wait for a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.  He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of his glorious body, by the power that enables him to subject everything to himself.
Philippians 3:17-21

The spiritual practice/discipline of prayer creates space in our life to encounter and experience the real and active presence of God in supernatural ways.
 
9 “Therefore, you should pray like this:
Our Father in heaven,
your name be honored as holy.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And do not bring us into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one."

We Fast to:
Seek and draw near to the Lord 
(Matthew 4:4)
Intercession, mourning, grieving, cry out or pour out (Nehemiah 1:4)
Hear from the Lord (Acts 13:2)
Set something apart for the Lord/consecrate (Acts 14:23)
Be in the presence of the Lord/ receive (Exodus 34:28)  

Even now—this is the Lord’s declaration—turn to me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning.
Tear your hearts, not just your clothes, and return to the Lord your God. For he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in faithful love, and he relents from sending disaster.
Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave a blessing behind him, so you can offer a grain offering and a drink offering to the Lord your God.

Blow the ram’s horn in Zion! Announce a sacred fast; proclaim a solemn assembly.
Gather the people; sanctify the congregation; assemble the aged; gather the infants, even babies nursing at the breast. Let the groom leave his bedroom, and the bride her honeymoon chamber.
Let the priests, the Lord’s ministers, weep between the portico and the altar. Let them say, “Have pity on your people, Lord, and do not make your inheritance a disgrace, an object of scorn among the nations. Why should it be said among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”
Then the Lord became jealous for his land and spared his people.

Joel 2:12-18
 
REFLECT
  1. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest), how would you rate your hunger for God in this season of your life?
RESPOND 
  1. How might you need to create space in your life (prepare) right now to engage more intentionally in the disciplines of prayer and fasting?
  2. If you are already regularly practicing the spiritual disciplines of prayer and fasting, are there ways you sense the Spirit inviting you to renew, refocus, and refresh these practices? Is there anything you need to increase or decrease in this season?
LOOKING AHEAD
  1. Will you consider joining the church body of GCC in corporate prayer and fasting in the upcoming season of Lent? Consider your why. Consider how to prepare your heart now.
_________________________________________________________

January 21st Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman, Eric & Amber Blais
Series: 
The Good Life
Title: 
Sabbath: Rhythms of Rest and Work
Text: 
Mark 2:23-28 (CSB) (Exodus 20:8, Deuteronomy 5:15)
Campus:
Rivermont
 
[Pause in Silent Prayer]
 
On the Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and his disciples began to make their way, picking some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”
He said to them, “Have you never read what David and those who were with him did when he was in need and hungry — how he entered the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest and ate the bread of the Presence —which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests —and also gave some to his companions?” Then he told them, “The Sabbath was made for  man and not man for the Sabbath. So then, the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

Mark 2:23-28
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy
Exodus 20:8
Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out of there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. That is why the Lord your God has commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.
Deuteronomy 5:15
Reader: This is the Word of God.
Congregation: Thanks be to God.

 
Do you ever feel pulled in a thousand directions?

The practice of Sabbath is aimed at bringing our scattered selves and attention into wholeheartedness in the presence of God and others.

 
 Jesus answered … “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is, Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.”
Mark 12:30-31

Jesus’ vision of The Good Life is a call to holiness, which means practicing a way of life designed to form the heart to give and receive love from God and others.

Click here to see image: Framework of Spiritual Formation (Sabbath Practice) 

What is Sabbath? 
A 24-hour period of time set apart for rest and spiritual renewal every week.

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy
Exodus 20:8

“We rest on the Sabbath so that God will rest on us.”
~ Glen Packiam
 
Sabbath is a sign of salvation to a watching world and an experience of new creation in our lives. (Exodus 20:8)
 
Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out of there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. That is why the Lord your God has commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.
Deuteronomy 5:15
 
They worked the Israelites ruthlessly and made their lives bitter with difficult labor in brick and mortar and in all kinds of fieldwork. They ruthlessly imposed all this work on them.
Exodus 1:13-14

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30
 
To practice Sabbath is to join God in the liberation of the world and our formation as people of wholehearted love, peace, and joy in a world of suffering and sin.  
 
On the Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and his disciples began to make their way, picking some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”
He said to them, “Have you never read what David and those who were with him did when he was in need and hungry — how he entered the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest and ate the bread of the Presence —which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests —and also gave some to his companions?” Then he told them, “The Sabbath was made for  man and not man for the Sabbath. So then, the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

Mark 2:23-28
 
We practice sabbath so that we might experience spiritual renewal in the presence of God.


STOP: Bring all work, paid and upaid, to an end for 24 hours.
REST: Intentional practices that bring renewal to our heart, soul, mind, and body.
DELIGHT: Feed the soul with beauty and goodness.
WORSHIP: Attend to the presence of God and practice gratitude.

“Spiritual Formation: The process of being formed into the image of Jesus for the sake of others. “
~Robert Mulholland Jr.

PracticingTheWay.org/Sabbath (you can find via gospelcc.org/thegoodlife)
_______________________________________________________
 
Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz and Zach Foster
Series: 
The Good Life
Title: 
Sabbath: Rhythms of Rest and Work
Text: 
Mark 12:29-31; Genesis 2:1-3; Deuteronomy 5:12-15
Campus:
College Hill

Spiritual Disciplines Survey.
 
Jesus gives us a clear vision of God’s design for human flourishing 
(Mark 12:29-31).

 Jesus answered, “The most important is Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.  The second is, Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.”
Mark 12:29-31 (CSB)
 
Jesus is inviting us to live a life of holiness and love.
 
Holiness in the life of a Christian is about living a life of love – with our whole being: heart, mind, soul, and strength.
 
Spiritual disciplines (practices) help us to abide in Christ and grow in love.

 
Click here to see image: Framework of Spiritual Formation
 
What is Sabbath?
A 24-hour period of time set apart for rest and spiritual renewal every week.
 
The practice of Sabbath is aimed at bringing our scattered selves and attention into wholeheartedness in the presence of God and others.
 
 
Sabbath as Rest
So the heavens and the earth and everything in them were completed. On the seventh day God had completed his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventy day from all his work that he had done. God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, for on it he rested from all his work of creation.
Genesis 2:1–3

Sabbath as resistance
Be careful
 to remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy as the Lord your God has commanded you. You are to labor six days and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. Do not do any work— you, your son, or daughter, your male or female slave, your ox or donkey, any of your livestock or the resident alien who lives within your city gates, so that your male and female slaves may rest as you do. Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and the Lord your God brought you out of there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. That is why the Lord your God has commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.
Deuteronomy 5:12-15

“Sabbath is first and foremost a day of stopping. To stop is built into the literal meaning of the Hebrew word Sabbath. Yet most of us can’t stop until we are finished with whatever it is we think we need to do. We need to complete our projects and term papers, answer our emails, return all phone messages, complete the balancing of our checkbooks to pay our bills, finish cleaning the house. There’s always one more goal to be reached before stopping.”
~ P. Scazzero

Sabbath as Trust
The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath
Mark 2:27
 
Four Pitfalls:
  1. Legalism
  2. Escape
  3. List of Do’s and Don’ts
  4. Taking a Break

How can I make room in my life for the Sabbath?

As we grow in intimacy with God, it allows us to be more sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit and to the needs around us.

 
Resources:
  • Practicingtheway.org/sabbath
  • Gospelcc.org/thegoodlife
 _______________________________________________

January 14th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series:
 The Good Life
Title: 
Holiness: Building a Life for Love
Text: 
Mark 12:28-34 (CSB) (Matthew 5:8, Hebrews 12:14)
Campus: Rivermont

Prayer: Come Holy Spirit
One of the scribes approached. When he heard them debating and saw that Jesus answered them well, he asked him, “Which command is the most important of all?”
Jesus answered, “The most important is Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is, Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.”
Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, teacher. You have correctly said that he is one, and there is no one else except him. And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself, is far more important than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
And no one dared to question him any longer.
Mark 12:28-34
 
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Matthew 5:8
 
Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness—without it no one will see the Lord.
Hebrews 12:14
Reader: This is God’s Word.
Congregation: Thanks be to God.

 
“The Glory of God is a human being fully alive.”
~  Irenaeus (2nd Century AD)
 
Jesus’ vision of The Good Life is a call to holiness, which means practicing a way of life designed to form the heart to give and receive love from God and others.

Jesus answered, “The most important is Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. 31 The second is, Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.”
Mark 12:29-31
 
You are not far from the kingdom of God.
Mark 12:34
 
Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
Deuteronomy 6:4-5

Holiness: a way of life that forms the heart for love of God and neighbor.

Biblical Love is unconditional, sacrificial devotion and desire.


Spiritual Formation: The process of being formed into the image of Jesus for the sake of others. ~ Invitation to a Journey by Robert Mulholland Jr.
 
Holiness: a way of life that forms the heart for love of God and neighbor.

 
"God has designed human beings to be heart, soul, mind, and strength beings made for love."
~ Andy Crouch, The Life You’re Looking For
 
Click here to see image: Formed for Love 

Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship.
Romans 12:1
 
“Psychology is the care of souls. The care of souls was once the province of the church, but the church no longer provides that care.”
~ Renovated by Jim Wilder
 
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Ecclesiastes 3:11
 
Click here to see image: Beneath the Surface

Everything we do does something to us.

Q: Who am I becoming?


We tend to do what we want to do.
 
Q: Where is my attention?

 
Click here to see image: Framework of Spiritual Formation
 
“All of the Christian life is a response to grace”
~ Carl Ellis Jr.

“Grace is not opposed to effort, grace is opposed to earning.”
~ Dallas Willard
_______________________________________________________
 
Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series: 
The Good Life
Title: 
Holiness: Building a Life for Love
Text: 
Mark 12:28-34 (CSB) (Matthew 5:8, Hebrews 12:14)
Campus:
College Hill

The Kingdom of God isn’t just a future hope, it’s a present reality.

We experience the Kingdom of God now as we journey deeper into a transformational relationship with Jesus Christ.

Jesus gives us a clear vision of God’s design for human flourishing.


One of the scribes approached. When he heard them debating and saw that Jesus answered them well, he asked him, “Which command is the most important of all?”
Jesus answered, “The most important is Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.  The second is, Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.”
Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, teacher. You have correctly said that he is one, and there is no one else except him.  And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself, is far more important than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
And no one dared to question him any longer.

Mark 12:28-34

Christian discipleship is the process of following Jesus and inviting others to know and follow Jesus.

Jesus’ vision of The Good Life is a call to holiness, which means practicing a way of life designed to form the heart to give and receive love from God and others.


This is the command—the statutes and ordinances—the Lord your God has commanded me to teach you, so that you may follow them in the land you are about to enter and possess.  Do this so that you may fear the Lord your God all the days of your life by keeping all his statutes and commands I am giving you, your son, and your grandson, and so that you may have a long life.  Listen, Israel, and be careful to follow them, so that you may prosper and multiply greatly, because the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has promised you a land flowing with milk and honey.
Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.  These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart.  Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead.  Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.

Deuteronomy 6:1-9 (CSB)

God made himself known to his people, and he invited his people to live a life of love.

How do we step into the Kingdom reality now and benefit from the Good Life that God has for us in Christ?

The goal of our faith isn’t more information or more discipline in our religious practices, our goal is love.

Holiness in the life of a Christian is about living a life of love – love of God and love of neighbor.

Spiritual practices help us to abide in Christ and grow in love.


"Discipleship is a process of spiritual formation wherein we are “formed into the image of Jesus for the sake of others” by the power of the Holy Spirit."
~ Robert Mullholland Jr.
 
Click here to see image: Framework of Spiritual Formation

Jesus’ vision of The Good Life is a call to holiness, which means practicing a way of life designed to form the heart to give and receive love from God and others.

Click here to see image: Formed for Love 

Reflection Questions:
  • Are you being intentional with your formation (who you’re becoming)?
  • Are you being shaped for a life of love?
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Testimony Sunday 2024


At GCC we love to begin every new year by dedicating our services to reflect on the past year and share publicly what God has done and will continue to do in our lives!
Below are some questions that will help guide us as we reflect on the past year and prepare our hearts for this Sunday.
  • As I look back on 2023 where did I experience joy and flourishing? What was good about this past year?
  • As I look back on 2023 where did I experience discouragement and sadness. What was hard about this past year?
  • Reflecting on the highs and lows of the year where can I now see God’s presence and power at work in my life?
  • What story do I need to tell myself and possibly others about God’s movement in my life in 2023?
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Christmas Eve Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series: 
The Wonder of Advent
Title: 
The Wonder of Christ
Text: 
Matthew 1:18-2:12
Campus:
Rivermont

The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant from the Holy Spirit. So her husband, Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly.
But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
“See, the virgin will become pregnant
and give birth to a son,
and they will name him Immanuel,”
which is translated “God is with us.”
When Joseph woke up, he did as the Lord’s angel had commanded him. He married her but did not have sexual relations with her until she gave birth to a son. And he named him Jesus.
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star at its rising and have come to worship him.”
When King Herod heard this, he was deeply disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. So he assembled all the chief priests and scribes of the people and asked them where the Messiah would be born.
“In Bethlehem of Judea,” they told him, “because this is what was written by the prophet:
“And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah:
Because out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.”
Then Herod secretly summoned the wise men and asked them the exact time the star appeared.  He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you find him, report back to me so that I too can go and worship him.”
After hearing the king, they went on their way. And there it was—the star they had seen at its rising. It led them until it came and stopped above the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overwhelmed with joy. Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their own country by another route.

Matthew 1:18-2:12
Reader: This is God’s Word
Congregation
: Thanks be to God.
 
I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Psalm 139:14
 
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

God wants to be known.

Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
"See, the virgin will become pregnant
and give birth to a son,
and they will name him Immanuel, "

which is translated “God is with us.”

Matthew 1:22-23

Then the Lord spoke again to Ahaz: “Ask for a sign from the Lord your God—it can be as deep as Sheol or as high as heaven.”
But Ahaz replied, “I will not ask. I will not test the Lord.”
Isaiah said, “Listen, house of David! Is it not enough for you to try the patience of men? Will you also try the patience of my God? Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: See, the virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel. 

Isaiah 7:10-14

God is closer than you think.

I wait for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning – more than watchmen for the morning.
Psalm 130:6
______________________________________________________
 
Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series: 
Advent
Title: 
Christ, Our Savior
Text: 
Luke 2:10-11, John 8:12, Matthew 5:14-16 (CSB)
Campus:
College Hill

But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people:  Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord.
Luke 2:10-11
 
1. Be brave.
2. I've got great news.
3. Someone bigger (than all bad things) has been born!
 
What if we don't have to be afraid? What if we could be brave? 

 
1. Be brave.
 
2. I've got great news.
 
3. One bigger 
(than all bad things) has been born.
 
Jesus spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12
 
You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:14-16
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

December 17th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series: 
Advent
Title: 
The Wonder of Love
Text: 
Luke 10:30-37
Campus: 
Rivermont

We are deeply loved by God, and love is the primary calling of every follower of Jesus Christ.

 
Jesus took up the question and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him, beat him up, and fled, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down that road. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  In the same way, a Levite, when he arrived at the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan on his journey came up to him, and when he saw the man, he had compassion. He went over to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on olive oil and wine. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  The next day[a] he took out two denarii,[b] gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him. When I come back I’ll reimburse you for whatever extra you spend.’
“Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?”
“The one who showed mercy to him,” he said.
Then Jesus told him, “Go and do the same.”

Luke 10:30-37 (CSB)

What the story of the Good Samaritan teaches us about the love of God:
  1. The love of God is counter-cultural (v. 33)

“Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”
Romans 5:7-8 (NLT)
 
2) The love of God is often costly and inconvenient (v. 34)

“I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is my command: Love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.”
John 15:11-14 (CSB)
 
3) The love of God is not optional (v. 37)

We are deeply loved by God, and our primary calling is love.
 
The Advent of Jesus is a promise that love wins.


How can we respond today?
1) Receive his love.
2) Pay attention to opportunities to display God’s love.
3) Follow through.
_______________________________________________________
 
Sermon Notes: Zach Foster
Series: 
Advent
Title: 
The Wonder of Love
Text: 
Luke 10:25-37
Campus:
College Hill

Then an expert in the law stood up to test him, saying, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the law?” he asked him. “How do you read it?” He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,” and “your neighbor as yourself.” “You’ve answered correctly,” he told him. “Do this and you will live.” But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus took up the question and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him, beat him up, and fled, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down that road. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side. In the same way, a Levite, when he arrived at the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan on his journey came up to him, and when he saw the man, he had compassion. He went over to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on olive oil and wine. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him. When I come back I’ll reimburse you for whatever extra you spend.’ “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” “The one who showed mercy to him,” he said. Then Jesus told him, “Go and do the same.”
Luke 10:25-37

“In the fullness of time, Christ will return to make all things new. And in the meantime, we are not alone or without God in the world. The experience of God in the waiting produces an enduring hope, an inexplicable peace, and a durable joy. All of this forms us into people who can give and receive the love for which we are made. This is the wonder of Advent”
~ GCC Advent Guide

Part One: Receiving the love of God
 
The story of the Good Samaritan shows what it is to receive the love of God and give the love of God.

 
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit now working in the disobedient. We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! He also raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might display the immeasurable riches of his grace through his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift —  not from works, so that no one can boast.

Ephesians 2:1-9

But a Samaritan on his journey came up to him, and when he saw the man, he had compassion.
Luke 10:33

The Lord passed in front of him and proclaimed: The Lord  — the Lord is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth, maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin.
Exodus 34:6-7a

We will never be able to fully love one another until we have fully received the love of God
 
Part 2: Loving like Jesus

But a Samaritan on his journey came up to him, and when he saw the man, he had compassion. He went over to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on olive oil and wine. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him
Luke 10:33-34

Jesus is saying that when you look around, everyone you see is your neighbor.

“He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr.

But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. How much more then, since we have now been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from wrath. For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life.
Romans 5:8-10

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”
~ C.S. Lewis

When they arrived at the place called The Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals, one on the right and one on the left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided his clothes and cast lots.
Luke 23:33-34

Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” “The one who showed mercy to him,” he said. Then Jesus told him, “Go and do the same.”
Luke 10:36-37

“No one learns to love by trying. Before love is something you give, it is someone you receive. You learn to love by first experiencing love and passing it on.”
~ Tim Keller
 
Call to response:
  • Have you seen yourself in need of God’s saving love and fully received that love?
  • How is the Holy Spirit calling you to love those around you?
____________________________________________________________________

December 10th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Austin Whiteheart
Series: Advent
Title: The Wonder of Joy
Text: Philippians 4
Campus: Rivermont

Joy in scripture is both a felt emotion and a chosen state of being that the Holy Spirit leads us into.

We often express joy when we experience the goodness of that which we love.


All people can experience joy, but only those who follow Jesus can experience the unending joy that satisfies us.
 
Joy is both the sustaining contentment and the high-spirited celebration that comes from knowing and being in relationship with God and dwelling on His good and gracious gifts.


What are the pathways to experiencing the unending joy that Jesus offers us?

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.  Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7

I rejoiced in the Lord greatly because once again you renewed your care for me. You were, in fact, concerned about me but lacked the opportunity to show it.  I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself.  I know how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need.
Philippians 4:10-12

Pathway 1 : Spirit-filled community

Pathway 2: Worship

Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Philippians 4:6

Pathway 3: Resurrection

Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work for me; and I don’t know which one I should choose.  I am torn between the two. I long to depart and be with Christ—which is far better—but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.
Philippians 1:22-24

Pathway 4: Emmanuel, God with us

True Joy is experienced when we are present to the glory of God around us. He is emmanuel; God with us. He has shown us His glory in being present with us through blessing us with creation, in worship, in community with others, by His very Holy Spirit indwelling our hearts.

_______________________________________________________

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series: 
The Wonder of Advent
Title: The Wonder of Joy
Text: Psalm 31
Campus: College Hill

Prayer: Come Holy Spirit
Lord, I seek refuge in you;
let me never be disgraced.
Save me by your righteousness.
Listen closely to me; rescue me quickly.
Be a rock of refuge for me,
a mountain fortress to save me.

For you are my rock and my fortress;
you lead and guide me
for your name’s sake.
You will free me from the net
that is secretly set for me,
for you are my refuge.
Into your hand I entrust my spirit;
you have redeemed me, Lord, God of truth.
I hate those who are devoted to worthless idols,
but I trust in the Lord.
I will rejoice and be glad in your faithful love
because you have seen my affliction.
You know the troubles of my soul
and have not handed me over to the enemy.
You have set my feet in a spacious place.

Be gracious to me, Lord,
because I am in distress;
my eyes are worn out from frustration—
my whole being as well.
Indeed, my life is consumed with grief
and my years with groaning;
my strength has failed
because of my iniquity,
and my bones waste away.
I am ridiculed by all my adversaries
and even by my neighbors.
I am dreaded by my acquaintances;
those who see me in the street run from me.

I am forgotten: gone from memory
like a dead person—like broken pottery.
I have heard the gossip of many;
terror is on every side.
When they conspired against me,
they plotted to take my life.
But I trust in you, Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
The course of my life is in your power;
rescue me from the power of my enemies
and from my persecutors.
Make your face shine on your servant;
save me by your faithful love.

Lord, do not let me be disgraced when I call on you.
Let the wicked be disgraced;
let them be quiet in Sheol.
Let lying lips
that arrogantly speak against the righteous
in proud contempt be silenced.
How great is your goodness,
which you have stored up for those who fear you.
In the presence of everyone[g] you have acted
for those who take refuge in you.
You hide them in the protection of your presence;
you conceal them in a shelter

from human schemes,
from quarrelsome tongues.
Blessed be the Lord,
for he has wondrously shown his faithful love to me
in a city under siege.
In my alarm I said,
“I am cut off from your sight.”
But you heard the sound of my pleading
when I cried to you for help.
Love the Lord, all his faithful ones.
The Lord protects the loyal,
but fully repays the arrogant.
Be strong, and let your heart be courageous,
all you who put your hope in the Lord.

Psalm 31
Reader: This is God’s Word
Congregation: Thanks be to God.

“Those who are close to their tears are close to their joy.”
~ Frederick Beuchner

If we want to increase our capacity for joy, then we must learn to grieve well.

Grief is a gift.

Two ways we tend to avoid grieving losses:
  1. Bypass
  2. Avoidance

“As long as you do not own your pain—that is, integrate your pain into your way of being in the world—the danger exists that you will use the other to seek healing for yourself. When you speak to others about your pain without fully owning it, you expect something from them that they cannot give. As a result, you will feel frustrated, and those you wanted to help will feel confused, disappointed, or even further burdened.”
~ Henri Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love

What to do with our losses?
We must mourn our losses. We cannot talk or act them away, but we can shed tears over them and allow ourselves to grieve deeply. To grieve is to allow our losses to tear apart feelings of security and safety and lead us to the painful truth of our brokenness. Our grief makes us experience the abyss of our own life in which nothing is settled, clear, or obvious, but everything is constantly shifting and changing…But in the midst of all this pain, there is a strange, shocking, yet very surprising voice. It is the voice of the One who says: “Blessed are those who mourn; they shall be comforted.” That’s the unexpected news: there is a blessing hidden in our grief. Not those who comfort are blessed, but those who mourn! Somehow, in the midst of our tears, a gift is hidden. Somehow, in the midst of our mourning, the first steps of the dance take place. Somehow, the cries that well up from our losses belong to our songs of gratitude.


Psalm 31:1-8. - Grieving Prayer (& what to expect)
Lord, I seek refuge in you; let me never be disgraced. Save me by your righteousness.
Psalm 31:1

Listen closely to me; rescue me quickly. Be a rock of refuge for me, a mountain fortress to save me.
Psalm 31:2

For you are my rock and my fortress; you lead and guide me for your name’s sake.
You will free me from the net that is secretly set for me, for you are my refuge.
Into your hand I entrust my spirit; you have redeemed me, Lord, God of truth.

Psalm 31:3-5

I hate those who are devoted to worthless idols, but I trust in the Lord.
Psalm 31:6

I will rejoice and be glad in your faithful love because you have seen my affliction.
You know the troubles of my soul  and have not handed me over to the enemy. You have set my feet in a spacious place.

Psalm 31:7-8

Psalm 31:9-13, 17-18. - Naming Our Losses
Be gracious to me, Lord, because I am in distress; my eyes are worn out from frustration—my whole being as well.
Psalm 31:9

Indeed, my life is consumed with grief and my years with groaning; my strength has failed because of my iniquity,  and my bones waste away.
Psalm 31:10

I am ridiculed by all my adversaries and even by my neighbors. I am dreaded by my acquaintances; those who see me in the street run from me.
I am forgotten: gone from memory like a dead person—like broken pottery.
I have heard the gossip of many; terror is on every side. When they conspired against me,

they plotted to take my life.
Psalm 31:11-13

Click here to see image (1)

Click here to see image (2)  

Lord, do not let me be disgraced when I call on you. Let the wicked be disgraced; let them be quiet in Sheol.
Let lying lips that arrogantly speak against the righteous in proud contempt be silenced.

Psalm 31:17-18

Psalm 31:14-16, 19-22. - The Act of Defiant Worship
But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God.”
The course of my life is in your power; rescue me from the power of my enemies and from my persecutors.
19 How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you. In the presence of everyone you have acted for those who take refuge in you.
You hide them in the protection of your presence; you conceal them in a shelter from human schemes, from quarrelsome tongues.
Blessed be the Lord, for he has wondrously shown his faithful love to me in a city under siege.
In my alarm I said, “I am cut off from your sight.” But you heard the sound of my pleading when I cried to you for help.

Psalm 31:14-15, 19-22

Make your face shine on your servant; save me by your faithful love.
Psalm 31:16

Psalm 31:23-24. - Wisdom from those who have walked the Valley
Love the Lord, all his faithful ones. The Lord protects the loyal, but fully repays the arrogant.
Be strong, and let your heart be courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord.

Psalm 31:23-24

Grief Prayer Practice:

What losses might I need to grieve? (List out the moments of pain that come to mind, and name the loss you experienced. Carry this to God in prayer.)

Make your face shine on your servant; save me by your faithful love. 
Psalm 31:16
___________________________________________

December 3rd Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series:
Advent
Title:
The Wonder of Peace
Text:
Psalm 94
Campus:
Rivermont
 
Pray: Come, Holy Spirit.

Lord, God of vengeance—
God of vengeance, shine!
Rise up, Judge of the earth;
repay the proud what they deserve.
Lord, how long will the wicked—
how long will the wicked celebrate?
They pour out arrogant words;
all the evildoers boast.
Lord, they crush your people;
they oppress your heritage.
They kill the widow and the resident alien
and murder the fatherless.
They say, “The Lord doesn’t see it.
The God of Jacob doesn’t pay attention.”
Pay attention, you stupid people!
Fools, when will you be wise?
Can the one who shaped the ear not hear,
the one who formed the eye not see?
The one who instructs nations,
the one who teaches mankind knowledge—
does he not discipline?
The Lord knows the thoughts of mankind;
they are futile.
Lord, how happy is anyone you discipline
and teach from your law
to give him relief from troubled times
until a pit is dug for the wicked.
The Lord will not leave his people
or abandon his heritage,
for the administration of justice will again be righteous,
and all the upright in heart will follow[a] it.
Who stands up for me against the wicked?
Who takes a stand for me against evildoers?
If the Lord had not been my helper,
I would soon rest in the silence of death.
If I say, “My foot is slipping,”
your faithful love will support me, Lord.
When I am filled with cares,
your comfort brings me joy.
Can a corrupt throne be your ally,
a throne that makes evil laws?
They band together against the life of the righteous
and condemn the innocent to death.
But the Lord is my refuge;
my God is the rock of my protection.
He will pay them back for their sins
and destroy them for their evil.
The Lord our God will destroy them.

Psalm 94
Reader: This is God’s Word.
Congregation: Thanks be to God.
 
Advent reminds us that we are in a war between Good and Evil and the battleground is the sacred space of our heart. 
 
We ignore both the heart and the need for peace
 
We aim our warfare at the wrong enemy
(God or other human beings)
 
"Fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms. "
~ C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
 
We try to fight this battle for peace on our own, without God & according to the strategies of the world
 
We overestimate our capacity to achieve peace on our own


Lord, God of vengeance—God of vengeance, shine!
Rise up, Judge of the earth; repay the proud what they deserve.
Lord, how long will the wicked—how long will the wicked celebrate?

Psalm 94:1-3
 
JUST WAR THEORY | AUGUSTINE (4th Century) & AQUINAS (13th Century)
 
They will beat their swords into plows and their spears into pruning knives. Nation will not take up sword against nation, and they will never again train for war.
Isaiah 2:4
 
They pour out arrogant words; all the evildoers boast.
Lord, they crush your people; they oppress your heritage.
They kill the widow and the resident alien and murder the fatherless.
They say, “The Lord doesn’t see it. The God of Jacob doesn’t pay attention.”

Psalm 94:4-7
 
Pay attention, you stupid people! Fools, when will you be wise?
Can the one who shaped the ear not hear, the one who formed the eye not see?
The one who instructs nations, the one who teaches mankind knowledge—does he not discipline?
The Lord knows the thoughts of mankind; they are futile.

Psalm 94:8-11
 
Lord, how happy is anyone you discipline and teach from your law to give him relief from troubled times until a pit is dug for the wicked.
The Lord will not leave his people or abandon his heritage, for the administration of justice will again be righteous, and all the upright in heart will follow it.

Psalm 94:12-15
 
In order for us to be peacemakers in the Kingdom of God, we must first let the God of peace invade our hearts and minds so that we can be agents of the very peace we’ve received.
 
There is no soundness in my body because of your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin.
For my iniquities have flooded over my head; they are a burden too heavy for me to bear.
My wounds are foul and festering because of my foolishness.
I am bent over and brought very low; all day long I go around in mourning.
For my insides are full of burning pain, and there is no soundness in my body.
I am faint and severely crushed; I groan because of the anguish of my heart.
Lord, my every desire is in front of you; my sighing is not hidden from you.
My heart races, my strength leaves me, and even the light of my eyes has faded

Psalm 38:3-10
 
Who stands up for me against the wicked?
Who takes a stand for me against evildoers?
If the Lord had not been my helper, I would soon rest in the silence of death.
If I say, “My foot is slipping,” your faithful love will support me, Lord.
19 When I am filled with cares, your comfort brings me joy.
22 But the Lord is my refuge; my God is the rock of my protection.

Psalm 94:16-19, 22 
(v. 19 translation: “When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, your comfort delights my soul.”)
 
Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens. For this reason take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.  Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace.  In every situation take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit—which is the word of God.  Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.
Ephesians 6:10-18
 
He is also the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything.
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile
everything to himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross

Colossians 1:18-20
 
When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, your comfort delights my soul.
Psalm 94:19
 
  • Where is God calling us to deeper encounters with him and into a slower or more intentional pace of life with him?
  • Where do we need the peace of God amidst our own anxieties?
_______________________________________________________
 
Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series: Advent
Title: The Wonder of Peace
Text: Micah 5:4-5a, Philippians 4:2-9 (CSB)
Campus: College Hill

breath prayers: short, six-to-eight-syllable prayers that fit  into one inhale and exhale.
“Lord God, help me to rest.”
“Holy Father, still my heart.”
“Fill me, Spirit, with your love.”
“Father, Let me know your peace.”
“Jesus, be my peace.”
“Holy Spirit, give me your peace.”


If we’re looking for peace in perfect, stress-free, circumstances, then we miss the point of the Christian gospel.

The gift that God gives to us is not necessarily a change of circumstances, but the gift is his presence in all circumstances.

Peace is not a state of being – it’s Emmanuel, God with us.

He will stand and shepherd them in the strength of the Lord, in the majestic name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will extend to the ends of the earth. He will be their peace.
Micah 5:4-5a

But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace…
Ephesians 2:13-14a

How do we experience the peace of Christ?

I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I also ask you, true partner, to help these women who have contended for the gospel at my side, along with Clement and the rest of my coworkers whose names are in the book of life. Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things. Do what you have learned and received and heard from me, and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:2-9 (CSB)

1) If we want to experience the peace of Christ, we must continually bring our circumstances and worries to God through prayer (v. 6)
2) If we want to experience the peace of Christ, we must practice thanksgiving (v. 6) 
3) If we want to experience the peace of Christ, we must focus our mind on what is true, beautiful, and good (v.  8)
 
Jesus is alive and he is near.


Cultivating Advent Peace: 
  • Prayer (personal)
  • Thanksgiving (corporate)
  • Setting our mind on Christ (truth, beauty, goodness)
___________________

November 26 Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series:
The Wonder of Advent
Title:
The Wonder of Hope
Text:
Romans 8:18-25
Campus:
Rivermont

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.  For the creation eagerly waits with anticipation for God’s sons to be revealed.  For the creation was subjected to futility—not willingly, but because of him who subjected it—in the hope  that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage to decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now. Not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits—we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.  Now in this hope we were saved, but hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees?  Now if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience.
Romans 8:18-25

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
Proverbs 13:12 
 
Come Thou long expected Jesus / Born to set Thy people free / From my fears and sins, release us / Let us find our rest in Thee
Israel's strength and consolation / Hope of all the Earth Thou art / Dear desire of every nation / Joy of every longing heart

 
“Of all the seasons of the church year, Advent most closely mirrors the daily lives of Christians and of the church, asks the most important ethical questions, presents the most accurate picture of the human condition, and above all, orients us to the future of the God who will come again.” 
~ Fleming Rutledge (Advent: The Once & Future Coming of Jesus Christ )
 
“Nothing can save us that is possible.”
~ W.H. Auden (A Christmas Oratio)
 
I am deeply depressed; therefore I remember You…
Psalm 46:6

And not only that, but we also boast in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Romans 5:3-5
 
This is Advent - a season of hopeful longing. Of wonder and waiting.

Because there’s beauty in the world, even in the most unlikely places, there is hope. Beauty is the residue of the presence of God.


For the creation eagerly waits with anticipation for God’s sons to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to futility—not willingly, but because of him who subjected it—in the hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage to decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children.  For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now.
Romans 8:19-22

Not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits—we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.
Romans 8:23

Now in this hope we were saved, but hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees?  Now if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience.
Romans 8:24-25

As a deer longs for flowing streams, so I long for you, God.
I thirst for God, the living God.When can I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food day and night, while all day long people say to me, “Where is your God?”
I remember this as I pour out my heart: how I walked with many, leading the festive procession to the house of God, with joyful and thankful shouts.
Why, my soul, are you so dejected? Why are you in such turmoil? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise him, my Savior and my God.
I am deeply depressed; therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your billows have swept over me.
The Lord will send his faithful love by day; his song will be with me in the night—a prayer to the God of my life.
I will say to God, my rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about in sorrow because of the enemy’s oppression?”
My adversaries taunt me, as if crushing my bones, while all day long they say to me, “Where is your God?”
Why, my soul, are you so dejected? Why are you in such turmoil? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise him, my Savior and my God.

Psalm 42:1-11
_________________________________________________________________________
 
Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series: 
The Wonder of Advent
Title:
The Wonder of Hope
Text: I
saiah 11:1-9 (CSB)
Campus:
College Hill
 
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the expanse proclaims the work of his hands. Day after day they pour out speech; night after night they communicate knowledge. There is no speech; there are no words; their voice is not heard.
Psalm 19:1-3

Then their eyes were opened…They said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts burning within us while he was talking with us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us?”
Luke 24:31-32

Hope provides us with motivation for life, resilience in the face of challenges, and a sense of purpose.
 
Hope is a stabilizing force and its fuel for flourishing.


Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13 (CSB)

Christian hope is not based on our abilities or circumstances, it’s based on the person and promises of God.

Three reasons Christians anchor their hope in Jesus:
1) Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promises (Rom. 15:8).
2) Jesus is a servant leader who heals the divisions that our world exploits (Rom. 15:8-9).
“Long lay the world in sin and error pining. Till he appear’d and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope the weary soul rejoices. For  yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!”
“Truly He taught us to love one another. His law is love and His gospel is peace. Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother. And in His name all oppression shall cease. Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we. Let all within us praise His holy name”
~ O Holy Night
3) God is not finished establishing his perfect kingdom through Christ (Rom. 15:12, Isa. 11:1-9).  

Then a shoot will grow from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—a Spirit of wisdom and understanding, a Spirit of counsel and strength, a Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.
His delight will be in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, he will not execute justice by what he hears with his ears, but he will judge the poor righteously and execute justice for the oppressed of the land.
He will strike the land with a scepter from his mouth, and he will kill the wicked with a command from his lips.
Righteousness will be a belt around his hips; faithfulness will be a belt around his waist.
The wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the goat.
The calf, the young lion, and the fattened calf will be together, and a child will lead them.
The cow and the bear will graze, their young ones will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like cattle.
An infant will play beside the cobra’s pit, and a toddler will put his hand into a snake’s den.
They will not harm or destroy each other on my entire holy mountain, for the land will be as full of the knowledge of the Lord as the sea is filled with water.

Isaiah 11:1-9 (CSB)

Reflection Questions
  • Where are you lacking hope?
  • How can you slow down to encounter God during this Advent season?
  • What are some ways that we can be ambassadors of his hope and his kingdom this Advent season?
_______________________________________________________________________

November 19th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Preston Burling
Series: 
Christ, The Servant King
Title: 
The Farmer, The Vineyard & The Benevolent Owner
Text: 
Mark 11:27-12:12
Campus: Rivermont
 
They came again to Jerusalem. As he was walking in the temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came  and asked him, “By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority to do these things?”
Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; then answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was John’s baptism from heaven or of human origin? Answer me.”
They discussed it among themselves: “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’  But if we say, ‘Of human origin’”—they were afraid of the crowd, because everyone thought that John was truly a prophet. So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug out a pit for a winepress, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and went away. At harvest time he sent a servant to the farmers to collect some of the fruit of the vineyard from them. But they took him, beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent another servant to them, and they hit him on the head and treated him shamefully. Then he sent another, and they killed that one. He also sent many others; some they beat, and others they killed. He still had one to send, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenant farmers said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they seized him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill the farmers and give the vineyard to others. Haven’t you read this Scripture:
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
This came about from the Lord
and is wonderful in our eyes?”
 They were looking for a way to arrest him but feared the crowd because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. So they left him and went away.

 Mark 11:27-12:12 (CSB)
   
 Click here to see image 
   
 Questioning authority demands that we willingly become equally transparent, honest and forthcoming about our own lives.
 
 They came again to Jerusalem. As he was walking in the temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came and asked him, “By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority to do these things?”
 Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; then answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was John’s baptism from heaven or of human origin? Answer me.”
 They discussed it among themselves: “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin’”—they were afraid of the crowd, because everyone thought that John was truly a prophet. So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
 And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

 Mark 11:27-33
 
 Two Missteps by the Religious Authorities:
1. They viewed Jesus through the lens of earthly authority & earthly powers.
 
Are there incongruencies in my own life where I fail to recognize & ascribe heavenly authority?
   
 So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
 Colossians 3:1-2
   
  Two Missteps by the Religious Authorities:

 1. They viewed Jesus through the lens of earthly authority & earthly powers.
 2. They approached Jesus unwilling to ever consider their own spiritual blindness. 
   
 For the vineyard of the Lord of Armies is the house of Israel.
Isaiah 5:7a
 
Parable Points:
  1. The religious authorities were poor stewards.
 
 How are we using our time, our resources, and our talents that are meant to be cultivating the fruits of God’s vineyard?
 
 Parable Points:
  1. The religious authorities were poor stewards.
  2. It’s easier to recognize the sins of those who have come before us.
 
 We tend to always point out the spiritual blindness of those who have come before us - our forefathers, but fail to recognize our own spiritual blindness.
 
Parable Points:

  1. The religious authorities were poor stewards.
  2. It’s easier to recognize the sins of those who have come before us.
  1. The Son (Christ) is God’s last word and final hope for mankind
 
Parable Points:
1. The religious authorities were poor stewards.
2. It’s easier to recognize the sins of those who have come before us.
3. The Son (Christ) is God’s last word and final hope for mankind
4. God’s love is incomprehensible (Insanity)
 
 Which farmer are you now? 
  _______________________________________________________

Sermon Notes: Austin Whiteheart
Series: 
The Gospel of Mark
Text: 
Mark 11:27-12:12
Campus
: College Hill

Jesus has authority over all.  
 
Jesus invites us to surrender to His authority and partner with Him.

 
They came again to Jerusalem. As he was walking in the temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came and asked him, “By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority to do these things?
Mark 11:27-28
 
What authority do you have? And who gave you this authority?
 
God often exposes the selfish nature of our hearts when we are confronted by an authority that removes us from control and the outcomes we desire.

 
Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; then answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was John’s baptism from heaven or of human origin? Answer me.”
Mark 11:29-30
 
They discussed it among themselves: “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin’”—they were afraid of the crowd, because everyone thought that John was truly a prophet. So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
Mark 11:31-33
 
“And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
 
 Jesus is capable of defending His own authority
 
He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug out a pit for a winepress, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and went away. At harvest time he sent a servant to the farmers to collect some of the fruit of the vineyard from them. But they took him, beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent another servant to them, and they hit him on the head and treated him shamefully. Then he sent another, and they killed that one. He also sent many others; some they beat, and others they killed. He still had one to send, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenant farmers said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they seized him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill the farmers and give the vineyard to others.
Mark 12:1-9

What does the parable mean at this moment in the story of Mark?
What does it mean for us today?

 
I will sing about the one I love, a song about my loved one’s vineyard: The one I love had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He broke up the soil, cleared it of stones, and planted it with the finest vines. He built a tower in the middle of it and even dug out a winepress there.
 
Vineyard = God’s people / the Kingdom 
 
Owner = God 
 
Tenants = the priests and spiritual leaders
 
Servants = God’s prophets and messengers  
 
Son = Jesus 
 
The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This came about from the Lord and is wonderful in our eyes?”
They were looking for a way to arrest him but feared the crowd because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. So they left him and went away.

 

God’s plan has always been for His people to make His name know to all the peoples of the earth.
 
Fruit
= The Good News and the Good Works God has given us to do
 
We can only steward the Gospel and good works to the capacity that we surrender under the authority of Jesus.
 
When we humble ourselves before Jesus and have a heart posture that says, “I’ll do anything and go anywhere for you”, Jesus will take our fruit and extend it far beyond what we thought possible.

 
Jesus uses His authority to lead us as our good shepherd
 
The Lord is my shepherd; I have what I need. He lets me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quiet waters. He renews my life; he leads me along the right paths  for his name’s sake. Even when I go through the darkest valley,  I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord as long as I live.
 
In what area of my life do I need to surrender to Jesus’ authority?
 
How do I need to use the fruit He has given me to invite others into the vineyard?

____________________________________________

November 12th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Family and Vision Sunday
Campus
: Rivermont

Click here to see video

His mother and his brothers came, and standing outside, they sent word to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him and told him, “Look, your mother, your brothers, and your sisters are outside asking for you.”
He replied to them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?”  Looking at those sitting in a circle around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!  Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

Mark 3:31-35
 
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus said, “there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for my sake and for the sake of the gospel,  who will not receive a hundred times more, now at this time —houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions —and eternal life in the age to come.
Mark 10:29-30

 “This is the command—the statutes and ordinances—the Lord your God has commanded me to teach you, so that you may follow them in the land you are about to enter and possess. Do this so that you may fear the Lord your God all the days of your life by keeping all his statutes and commands I am giving you, your son, and your grandson, and so that you may have a long life.  Listen, Israel, and be careful to follow them, so that you may prosper and multiply greatly, because the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has promised you a land flowing with milk and honey.
“Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol[b] on your forehead.  Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.

Deuteronomy 6:1-9
 
Family Dedication
Leader: Do you give your allegiance to Jesus, and do you commit to follow Him all the days of your life, wherever he leads, no matter the cost?
Parents: We do.
Leader: Will you lead your family as an extension of the spiritual family, the universal and local church, to which you belong in Christ Jesus?
Parents: We will.
Leader: Do you commit to learning how to steward your household so as to host both the presence of God as well friends, neighbors, and strangers?
Parents: We do.
Leader: Will you practice the way of Jesus with your children, both modeling and imparting the gospel of the Kingdom of God?
Parents: We will.
Leader: Finally, raising the next generation is not possible on our own. Each child is their own unique reminder of our own need for the grace of God in our lives. Parents, we don’t lead from our strength, but from our weakness. We are living examples of God’s grace for our kids.
So do you receive again the grace of God, which is sufficient for you in all things, among which is this beautiful responsibility of raising these children along with your brothers and sisters in Christ?
Parents: We do.
Leader: Church family, raising a generation of Christ-followers is our collective responsibility. Church, will you commit to playing your role in supporting these parents, and to play the role of spiritual mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, aunties and uncles, cousins, and brothers and sisters, in order to declare the glory of God from this generation to the next?
Church: we will.
 
The church, let us pray for these families.
 
He also said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,  because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I don’t have anything to offer him.’  Then he will answer from inside and say, ‘Don’t bother me! The door is already locked, and my children and I have gone to bed. I can’t get up to give you anything.’  I tell you, even though he won’t get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his friend’s shameless boldness,[b] he will get up and give him as much as he needs.
“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish?  Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?

Luke 11:5-12
 
Come, Holy Spirit
_______________________________________________________
 
Sermon Notes: Zachary and Amy Foster
Title:  
God’s Family is an Expanding Family
Text: 
Isaiah 54:1-6
Campus: 
College Hill

“Rejoice, childless one, who did not give birth; burst into song and shout, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of the married woman,” says the Lord. “Enlarge the site of your tent, and let your tent curtains be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your ropes, and drive your pegs deep. For you will spread out to the right and to the left, and your descendants will dispossess nations and inhabit the desolate cities. “Do not be afraid, for you will not be put to shame; don’t be humiliated, for you will not be disgraced. For you will forget the shame of your youth, and you will no longer remember the disgrace of your widowhood. Indeed, your husband is your Maker  — his name is the Lord of Armies — and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of the whole earth. For the Lord has called you, like a wife deserted and wounded in spirit, a wife of one’s youth when she is rejected,” says your God.
Isaiah 54:1-6 CSB

God’s Family is an Expanding Family.
 
The good news of the gospel is that God longs to bring us back into RIGHT relationship with HIM and with each other!
“Rejoice, childless one, who did not give birth; burst into song and shout, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of the married woman,” says the Lord. “Enlarge the site of your tent, and let your tent curtains be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your ropes, and drive your pegs deep. For you will spread out to the right and to the left, and your descendants will dispossess nations and inhabit the desolate cities. “Do not be afraid, for you will not be put to shame; don’t be humiliated, for you will not be disgraced. For you will forget the shame of your youth, and you will no longer remember the disgrace of your widowhood. Indeed, your husband is your Maker  — his name is the Lord of Armies — and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of the whole earth. For the Lord has called you, like a wife deserted and wounded in spirit, a wife of one’s youth when she is rejected,” says your God.

Isaiah 54:1-6 CSB

“Isn’t this the fast I choose: To break the chains of wickedness, to untie the ropes of the yoke, to set the oppressed free, and to tear off every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, to bring the poor and homeless into your house, to clothe the naked when you see him, and not to ignore your own flesh and blood? Then your light will appear like the dawn, and your recovery will come quickly. Your righteousness will go before you, and the Lord’s glory will be your rear guard. At that time, when you call, the Lord will answer; when you cry out, he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you get rid of the yoke among you, the finger-pointing and malicious speaking, and if you offer yourself to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted one, then your light will shine in the darkness, and your night will be like noonday. The Lord will always lead you, satisfy you in a parched land, and strengthen your bones. You will be like a watered garden and like a spring whose water never runs dry. Some of you will rebuild the ancient ruins; you will restore the foundations laid long ago; you will be called the repairer of broken walls, the restorer of streets where people live.”
Isaiah 58:6-12

Learn to do what is good. Pursue justice. Correct the oppressor. Defend the rights of the fatherless. Plead the widow’s cause.
Isaiah 1:17 CSB

KNOWING & BEING KNOWN
We are committed to category-defying relationships that bridge racial, social, religious, political, and gender barriers in the name of Jesus. We will practice radical & intentional hospitality as we love strangers like they are our own family, thus becoming the new kind of family that Jesus promised to create. Being and making disciples of Jesus cross-culturally is at the heart of how we envision and practice community.

How is this possible?
  1. Power
  2. Proximity
  3. Prayer

Power:
I am the Lord. I have called you for a righteous purpose, and I will hold you by your hand. I will watch over you, and I will appoint you to be a covenant for the people and a light to the nations, in order to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon, and those sitting in darkness from the prison house.
Isaiah 42:6-7 CSB

Proximity:
Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. ‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me; I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and take you in, or without clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick, or in prison, and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
Matthew 25:34-40 CSB

"Justice CANNOT be done from a distance"
~ Tyler Staton

Prayer:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Phil. 4:6
Pray and then go about my day trying to recognize the face of Jesus in my neighbors. THAT IS MY STRATEGY

~ Mother Teresa

Click here to see image 1

Click here to see image 2
 
Call to Respond:
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
James 1:27 ESV

Where is God calling you to visit the “least of these”?
____________________________________________

November 5th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Leahman
Series:
Christ, The Servant King
Title:
Jesusology
Text:
Mark 11:12-25
Congregation:
Rivermont
 
Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit.
The next day when they went out from Bethany, he was hungry.  Seeing in the distance a fig tree with leaves, he went to find out if there was anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for it was not the season for figs. He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And his disciples heard it.
They came to Jerusalem, and he went into the temple and began to throw out those buying and selling. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves,  and would not permit anyone to carry goods through the temple.  He was teaching them: “Is it not written, My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a den of thieves!”
The chief priests and the scribes heard it and started looking for a way to kill him. For they were afraid of him because the whole crowd was astonished by his teaching.
Whenever evening came, they would go out of the city.
Early in the morning, as they were passing by, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up.  Then Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.”
Jesus replied to them, “Have faith in God.  Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.  Therefore I tell you, everything you pray and ask for—believe that you have received it and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your wrongdoing.”

Mark 11:12-25
Reader: This is God’s Word
Congregation: Thanks be to God.
 
He went into Jerusalem and into the temple. After looking around at everything, since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.
Mark 11:11
 
The next day when they went out from Bethany, he was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree with leaves, he went to find out if there was anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for it was not the season for figs.  He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And his disciples heard it.
Mark 11:12-14
 
They came to Jerusalem, and he went into the temple and began to throw out those buying and selling. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, and would not permit anyone to carry goods through the temple.

Mark 11:15-16
 
He was teaching them: “Is it not written, My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations?[a] But you have made it a den of thieves!”
The chief priests and the scribes heard it and started looking for a way to kill him. For they were afraid of him because the whole crowd was astonished by his teaching.
Whenever evening came, they would go out of the city.

Mark 11:17-19
 
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Ephesians 2:19- 22

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who dwells in you?”
1 Corinthians 6:9
 
The Kingdom of God is about radical inclusion.

 
 “If anyone wants to follow after me, let them deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses their life because of me and the gospel will save it.”
Mark 8:34-35

The Kingdom of God is about radical holiness.
 
Holiness: A way of life that forms the heart for love of God and neighbor.
 
The extent to which we have experienced the love of God in Christ is the extent to which we will be able to give it to others.
 
The Kingdom of God is about both radical inclusion and radical holiness.


Early in the morning, as they were passing by, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up. Then Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.”
Jesus replied to them, “Have faith in God. Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, everything you pray and ask for—believe that you have received it and it will be yours.  And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your wrongdoing.”

Mark 11:20-25
 
“Praying most often doesn’t get us what we want but what God wants, something quite at variance with what we conceive to be in our best interests.” 
~ Eugene Peterson
 
“Prayer is not what is done by us, but rather what is done by the Holy Spirit in us.” 
~ Henri Nouwen
 
 “I am deeply convinced that the necessity of prayer, and to pray unceasingly, is not as much based on our desire for God as on God’s desire for us. It is God’s passionate pursuit of us that calls us to prayer…God wants to find us more than we want to find him.”
~ Henri Nouwen 
 
The son of Man came to seek and save that which is lost.
Luke 19:10

This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.
John 3:16 (The Message)

God, how precious your thoughts are to me; how vast their sum is!
If I counted them, they would outnumber the grains of sand;
when I wake up, I am still with you.

Psalm 139:17-18
 
Who am I that you are mindful of me? What is a human being that you would look after him?
Psalm 8:4
 
God you are my God; passionately I seek you. I thirst for you; my body faints for you in a land that is dry and desolate, and without water. So I gaze on you in the sanctuary to see your strength and your glory. My lips with glorify you because your faithful love is better than life.
Psalm 63:1-3 
 
If you are weary, pray.
If you are hurting, pray.
If you are doubting, pray.
If you are without hope, pray.
If you are grieving, pray. (Nouwen: I have come to see that much of praying is grieving.)
If you are healing, pray.
If you are sick, pray.
If you are rejoicing, pray.
If you are hungry, pray.
If there is any impulse or fleeting desire to pray, for any reason, pray.

Prayer is determining to live by faith that God is good, that he is here, that he has not abandoned us, and that his love is more immense than we could ever imagine.

______________________________________________________________
 
Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series:
The Gospel of Mark
Text:
Mark 11:12-25
Congregation:
College Hill

The next day when they went out from Bethany, he was hungry.  Seeing in the distance a fig tree with leaves, he went to find out if there was anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for it was not the season for figs. He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And his disciples heard it.
They came to Jerusalem, and he went into the temple and began to throw out those buying and selling. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves,  and would not permit anyone to carry goods through the temple.  He was teaching them: “Is it not written, My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a den of thieves!” 
The chief priests and the scribes heard it and started looking for a way to kill him. For they were afraid of him because the whole crowd was astonished by his teaching.
Whenever evening came, they would go out of the city.
Early in the morning, as they were passing by, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up.  Then Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.”
Jesus replied to them, “Have faith in God.  Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.  Therefore I tell you, everything you pray and ask for—believe that you have received it and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your wrongdoing.”

Mark 11:12-25 (CSB)

God is doing a new thing, and he’s doing it through Jesus.

Our faith in Jesus is intended to be vibrant and fruitful and point people to a living God who can move mountains.

 
Seeing in the distance a fig tree with leaves, he went to find out if there was anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for it was not the season for figs.  He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And his disciples heard it.
Mark 11:13-14

They came to Jerusalem, and he went into the temple and began to throw out those buying and selling. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, and would not permit anyone to carry goods through the temple. He was teaching them: “Is it not written, My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a den of thieves!
Read vv. 15-17.

1) The vendors were hindering people who were far from God from encountering him.
 
2) Genuine, heartfelt, worship was overshadowed by business transactions.


Jesus replied to them, “Have faith in God. Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.  Therefore I tell you, everything you pray and ask for—believe that you have received it and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your wrongdoing.”
Read vv. 22-26

Genuine faith in God had more power than the religious system that was in place – or the ruling authorities.

Our faith in Jesus is intended to be vibrant and fruitful and point people to a living God who can move mountains.

-Are our lives and hearts yielded to God? Is our church yielded to God and practicing a fruitful faith?
-Do we believe in a God who can move mountains? Do we make him known to our neighbors and among the nations?
-Is there anything hindering our relationship with God? Are there barriers to our faith?

____________________________________________________________________________

October 29th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series:
Christ, The Servant King
Title:
God is Closer Than You Think
Text:
Mark 11:1-11
Campus:
Rivermont
 
Click here to see image: Calvary

When they approached Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and told them, “Go into the village ahead of you. As soon as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here right away.’”

Mark 11:1-3
 
Calling the crowd along with the disciples he said to them, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let them deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow me.”
Mark 8:34

So they went and found a colt outside in the street, tied by a door. They untied it, and some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They answered them just as Jesus had said; so they let them go.
They brought the colt to Jesus and threw their clothes on it, and he sat on it. Many people spread their clothes on the road, and others spread leafy branches cut from the fields.  Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted:

Mark 11:4-7

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout in triumph, Daughter Jerusalem! Look, your King is coming to you; he is righteous and victorious, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Zechariah 9:9

The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his. He will tether his donkey to a vine, his colt to the choicest branch; he will wash his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes.

Genesis 49:10-11

Each man quickly took his garment and put it under Jehu on the bare steps. They blew the ram’s horn and proclaimed, “Jehu is king!”

2 Kings 9:13
 
 
“Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
He went into Jerusalem and into the temple. After looking around at everything, since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

Mark 11:9-11

Lord, save us!
Lord, please grant us success!
He who comes in the name of the Lord is blessed.
From the house of the Lord we bless you.
The Lord is God and has given us light.
Bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.
You are my God, and I will give you thanks.
You are my God; I will exalt you. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his faithful love endures forever.

Psalm 118:25-29
 
 
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Mark 10:45

Click here to see image: Entry of Christ into Jerusalem, a 1617 oil painting by Flemish Baroque painter Anthony van Dyck

Click here to see image: James Ensor’s Entry of Christ to Brussels (19th Century Eurpoe) political, cultural commentary. 
 
“It is not God who leaves home, it is us who tend to wander. We are being called home from the noise that is around us to the joys that are with God in silence. Why do we rush about looking for who knows what when God is here, at home with us? What else is there to do then but to draw a little nearer to the God who is already so close?”
~ St. Augustine, 4th Century A.D.
_______________________________________________________
 
Sermon Notes: Preston Burling
Series: 
The Gospel of Mark
Title: 
“Hosanna”
Text: 
Mark 11:1-11
Campus:
College Hill
 
When they approached Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples  and told them, “Go into the village ahead of you. As soon as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. 3 If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here right away.’”
So they went and found a colt outside in the street, tied by a door. They untied it,  and some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?”  They answered them just as Jesus had said; so they let them go.
They brought the colt to Jesus and threw their clothes on it, and he sat on it.  Many people spread their clothes on the road, and others spread leafy branches cut from the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted:
“Hosanna!
Blessed is he who comes
in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the coming kingdom
of our father David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
He went into Jerusalem and into the temple. After looking around at everything, since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

Mark 11:1-11 (CSB)
 
 
  • Why was this a Triumphant entry?
  • What does this mean for me today?
 
Therefore, many of the Jews who came to Mary and saw what he did believed in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.
So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and were saying, “What are we going to do since this man is doing many signs? If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans Will come and take away both our place and our nation.”
One of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all! You’re not considering that it is to your advantage that one man should die for the people rather than the whole nation perish.”
He did not say this on his own, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to unite the scattered children of God.So from that day on they plotted to kill him.
Jesus therefore no longer walked openly among the Jews but departed from there to the countryside near the wilderness, to a town called Ephraim, and he stayed there with the disciples.
Now the Jewish Passover was near, and many went up to Jerusalem from the country to purify themselves before the Passover. They were looking for Jesus and asking one another as they stood in the temple, “What do you think? He won’t come to the festival, will he?”
The chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where he was, he should report it so that they could arrest him.

John 11: 45-57 (CSB)

Then a large crowd of the Jews learned he was there. They came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, the one he had raised from the dead.  But the chief priests had decided to kill Lazarus also,  because he was the reason many of the Jews were deserting them and believing in Jesus.
John 12:9-11 (CSB)

Click here to see image
 
A typical “Triumphal” entry:
  1. Conqueror/ruler is escorted into the city by the citizenry or the army of the conqueror
  2. The procession is accompanied by hymns of victory
  3. Various elements in the procession symbolically depict the authority of the ruler - plunder, captives…etc.
  4. The entrance is followed by a ritual of appropriation such as a sacrifice, which would take place in the temple
 
Jesus’ Triumphal entry:
  1. Jesus is escorted by his followers, not an army.
  2. The psalm does not include any type of celebration of conquest or victory.
  3. Elements of the procession certainly depict Jesus’ authority - the colt, branches and cloaks, but there was no plunder, no gold or silver and things that would attribute “glory.”
  4. Jesus was the captive
  5. The Triumphal entry never culminated in a sacrifice - at least for now.
 
Significance of the Triumphal entry:
  1. Fulfillment of Prophecy:

Significance of the Triumphal entry:
  1. Fulfillment of Prophecy:
  2. Jesus’ First Public Recognition as the Messiah:

Significance of the Triumphal entry:
  1. Fulfillment of Prophecy
  2. Jesus’ First Public Recognition as the Messiah
  3. Confrontation with Religious Authorities
 
Significance of the Triumphal entry:
  1. Fulfillment of Prophecy
  2. Jesus’ First Public Recognition as the Messiah
  3. Confrontation with Religious Authorities
  4. Passover & Sacrifice

Significance of the Triumphal entry:
  1. Fulfillment of Prophecy
  2. Jesus’ First Public Recognition as the Messiah
  3. Confrontation with Religious Authorities
  4. Passover & Sacrifice
  5. Theological 
 
“May our prayer for salvation be heard in the heavens. This was not a cry of praise to Jesus, it was a cry to God to break in and save his people now that the Messiah had come.”
~ William Barclay
 
What in our environment is a perceived threat to our flourishment?

What is so triumphant about this entry?
 
Jesus comes delivering salvation to our souls

____________________________________________

October 22nd Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Zach Foster
Series: 
Christ, The Servant King
Title: 
Seeing the Heart of God
Text: 
Mark 10:46-52
Campus: 
Rivermont

They came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a large crowd, Bartimaeus (the son of Timaeus), a blind beggar, was sitting by the road. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many warned him to keep quiet, but he was crying out all the more, “Have mercy on me, Son of David!” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man and said to him, “Have courage! Get up; he’s calling for you.” He threw off his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus. Then Jesus answered him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Rabboni,” the blind man said to him, “I want to see.” Jesus said to him, “Go, your faith has saved you.” Immediately he could see and began to follow Jesus on the road.”
Mark 10:46-52

The mission of Jesus was pursuing people’s hearts

The need
They came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a large crowd, Bartimaeus (the son of Timaeus), a blind beggar, was sitting by the road.
Mark 10:46
 
Are we taking our greatest needs to the one who says “Come to me”?

The call
- The call of Bartimaeus

When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 
Many warned him to keep quiet, but he was crying out all the more, “Have mercy on me, Son of David!”
Mark 10:47-48

He came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. As usual, he entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him, and unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. And the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on him. He began by saying to them, “Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled.”
Luke 4:16-21
 
Bartimaeus not only saw Jesus for who HE was, Bartimaeus saw himself for who he really was


Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.”

Exodus 33:18-19
 
The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness”
Exodus 34:6

- Jesus’ Call
Many warned him to keep quiet, but he was crying out all the more, “Have mercy on me, Son of David!”
Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” 
So they called the blind man and said to him, “Have courage! Get up; he’s calling for you.”

Mark 10:48-49

Sometimes the interruption IS the mission

The response
- Bartimaeus Responds

He threw off his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus. Then Jesus answered him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Rabboni,” the blind man said to him, “I want to see.”
Mark 10:50-51
 
It’s one thing to know your need, it’s another to act on it.

“Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well there is such a thing as water. IF I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
~ C.S. Lewis

- Jesus responds
Jesus said to him, “Go, your faith has saved you.”
Immediately he could see and began to follow Jesus on the road.

Mark 10:52

- Bartimaeus responds again
Jesus said to him, “Go, your faith has saved you.”
Immediately he could see and began to follow Jesus on the road.

Mark 10:52

Call to respond:
What do you Need?
_______________________________________________________
 
Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series: 
The Gospel of Mark
Text: 
Mark 10:45-52
Campus: 
College Hill

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
They came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a large crowd, Bartimaeus (the son of Timaeus), a blind beggar, was sitting by the road.  When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 
Many warned him to keep quiet, but he was crying out all the more, “Have mercy on me, Son of David!”
Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called the blind man and said to him, “Have courage! Get up; he’s calling for you.” 
He threw off his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.
Then Jesus answered him, “What do you want me to do for you?”
“Rabboni,” the blind man said to him, “I want to see.”
Jesus said to him, “Go, your faith has saved you.” 
Immediately he could see and began to follow Jesus on the road.

Mark 10:45-52 (CSB).

In God’s kingdom, we are always seen, and our pain is never wasted.

1) Bartimaeus – tender-hearted sufferer (vv.46-48, 51).
Bartimaeus exercises faith, amid his disability, and before he was healed.

2) Jesus – compassionate savior (vv. 49-52).
There is a connection between the disability and pain, and the inner healing that needed to occur in Bartimaeus’ life.

3) Us – will we be curious and courageous or frustrated and resentful?
We need a source of strength and encouragement that’s resilient enough to guard us, and keep our hearts tender, when we don’t get the answers we want.

What about when God doesn’t heal? 
-we can trust that God still loves us and sees us.
-we can trust that God can redeem our pain and disappointment.
-we can trust that it won’t always be this way; God’s people have an ultimate future that is more glorious than our present victories or defeats.

In God’s kingdom, we are always seen and our pain is never wasted.

What do you want Jesus to do for you?
Are you willing to fully trust God with your hopes and desires? 

_________________________

October 15th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series: Christ the Servant KIng
Text: Mark 10:32-45
Campus: Rivermont

What do we do with power?
 
Authority: Capacity for meaningful action.
 
Vulnerability: exposure to meaningful risk.


They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. The disciples were astonished, but those who followed him were afraid. Taking the Twelve aside again, he began to tell them the things that would happen to him. “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death. Then they will hand him over to the Gentiles, and they will mock him, spit on him, flog him, and kill him, and he will rise after three days.”
Mark 10:32-34

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached him and said, “Teacher, we want you to do whatever we ask you.”

Mark 10:35
 
“What do you want me to do for you?” he asked them.
They answered him, “Allow us to sit at your right and at your left in your glory.

Mark 10:36-37
 
Jesus said to them, “You don’t know what you’re asking. Are you able to drink the cup I drink or to be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”
“We are able,” they told him.
Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink, and you will be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with. But to sit at my right or left is not mine to give; instead, it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

Mark 10:38-40
 
The Christian answer to “what do we do with power?” is, “We use it for the good of others. We steward whatever authority we have so that others can flourish, not for our own comfort or ambitions.” 
 
When the ten disciples heard this, they began to be indignant with James and John.  Jesus called them over and said to them, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions act as tyrants over them. 
Mark 10:41-42
 
But it is not so among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you will be a slave to all.
Mark 10:43-44
 
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Mark 10:45
 
The heart of the gospel message is Jesus, God in the flesh coming for us, and instead of lording his glory over us until we all repent in fear, he lays his life down in a perfect love that casts out all fear.
 
According to Jesus, this is where the good life & human flourishing are found: in giving your life away in service to others.

_______________________________________________________________

Sermon Notes: B. G. Stumberg
Series: 
The Gospel of Mark
Title: 
Will You be His Servant?
Text: 
Mark 10:32-45
Campus:
College Hill

 They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. The disciples were astonished, but those who followed him were afraid. Taking the Twelve aside again, he began to tell them the things that would happen to him.  “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death. Then they will hand him over to the Gentiles, and they will mock him, spit on him, flog him, and kill him, and he will rise after three days.
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached him and said, “Teacher, we want you to do whatever we ask you.”
“What do you want me to do for you?” he asked them.
They answered him, “Allow us to sit at your right and at your left in your glory.”
Jesus said to them, “You don’t know what you’re asking. Are you able to drink the cup I drink or to be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”
“We are able,” they told him.
Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink, and you will be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with. But to sit at my right or left is not mine to give; instead, it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”
When the ten disciples heard this, they began to be indignant with James and John. Jesus called them over and said to them, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions act as tyrants over them.  But it is not so among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you will be a slave to all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” 

Mark 10:32-45

Jesus’ use of regular repetitive revelation of His coming death and resurrection (vs.32-34)
 They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. The disciples were astonished, but those who followed him were afraid. Taking the Twelve aside again, he began to tell them the things that would happen to him.  “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death. Then they will hand him over to the Gentiles, and they will mock him, spit on him, flog him, and kill him, and he will rise after three days.
Mark 10:32-34

Jesus went out with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the road he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?”
They answered him, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, one of the prophets.”
“But you,” he asked them, “who do you say that I am?”
Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.”  And he strictly warned them to tell no one about him.
Then he began to teach them that it was necessary for the Son of Man to suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and rise after three days.  He spoke openly about this.

Mark 8:27-32a

Then they left that place and made their way through Galilee, but he did not want anyone to know it. For he was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after he is killed, he will rise three days later.”  But they did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask him.
Mark 9:30-32

Disciple’s requested requirements of Jesus (vs. 35-37)
 James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached him and said, “Teacher, we want you to do whatever we ask you.”
“What do you want me to do for you?” he asked them.
They answered him, “Allow us to sit at your right and at your left in your glory.”

Mark 10:35-37

They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they were silent, because on the way they had been arguing with one another about who was the greatest.  Sitting down, he called the Twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last and servant of all.”
Mark 9:33-35

Recognizing their immaturity, Jesus responds with further revelation (vs. 38-40)
Jesus said to them, “You don’t know what you’re asking. Are you able to drink the cup I drink or to be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”
“We are able,” they told him.
Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink, and you will be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with. But to sit at my right or left is not mine to give; instead, it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

Mark 10:38-40

The rule for kingdom rulership: Service  (vs. 41-45)
When the ten disciples heard this, they began to be indignant with James and John. Jesus called them over and said to them, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions act as tyrants over them.  But it is not so among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you will be a slave to all.  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Mark 10:41-45
____________________________________________

October 8th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series:
Christ, the Servant King
Title:
Radicals
Text:
Mark 10:17-31
Campus: 
Rivermont
 
Congregation: Come, Holy Spirit *Pause*
Reader:
Mark 10:17-31
As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “No one is good except God alone.  You know the commandments: Do not murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not bear false witness; do not defraud; honor your father and mother.”
He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these from my youth.”
Looking at him, Jesus loved him and said to him, “You lack one thing: Go, sell all you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come,[b] follow me.”  But he was dismayed by this demand, and he went away grieving, because he had many possessions.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”
The disciples were astonished at his words. Again Jesus said to them, “Children, how hard it is[c] to enter the kingdom of God!  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
They were even more astonished, saying to one another, “Then who can be saved?”
Looking at them, Jesus said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God, because all things are possible with God.”
Peter began to tell him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.”
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus said, “there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father[d] or children or fields for my sake and for the sake of the gospel,  who will not receive a hundred times more, now at this time —houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions —and eternal life in the age to come.  But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

Reader: This is God’s Word
Congregation: Thanks be to God.
 
 As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Mark 10:17
 
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “No one is good except God alone.
Mark 10:18
 
You know the commandments: Do not murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not bear false witness; do not defraud; honor your father and mother.”
He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these from my youth.”

Mark 10:19-22
 
 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”
The disciples were astonished at his words. Again Jesus said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

Mark 10:23-25
 
Others are like seed sown among thorns; these are the ones who hear the word, but the worries of this age, the deceitfulness[a] of wealth, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. And those like seed sown on good ground hear the word, welcome it, and produce fruit thirty, sixty, and a hundred times what was sown.”
He also said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket or under a bed? Isn’t it to be put on a lampstand?  For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and nothing concealed that will not be brought to light.  If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen.”  And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear. By the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and more will be added to you.  For whoever has, more will be given to him, and whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”
“The kingdom of God is like this,” he said. “A man scatters seed on the ground.  He sleeps and rises night and day; the seed sprouts and grows, although he doesn’t know how. The soil produces a crop by itself—first the blade, then the head, and then the full grain on the head.  As soon as the crop is ready, he sends for the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

Mark 4:18-29

The entire narrative of the Bible is trying to get us to see: Every desire, every love, every thing we want with everything we are, that is NOT God, is really all about God.
 
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
1 Timothy 6:10
 
They were even more astonished, saying to one another, “Then who can be saved?”
Looking at them, Jesus said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God, because all things are possible with God.”

Mark 10:26-27
 
Peter began to tell him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.”
Mark 10:28
 
 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said, “there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father[a] or children or fields for my sake and for the sake of the gospel, who will not receive a hundred times more, now at this time —houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions —and eternal life in the age to come.  But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Mark 10:29-31
 
The outcome of the most radical expression of the way of Jesus is always going to  be sacrificial love.
 
 “I am the bread of life. No one who comes to me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in me will ever be thirsty again.”
John 6:35
___________________________________________________________________
 
Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series: 
The Gospel of Mark
Text: 
Mark 10:17-31
Campus: 
Rivermont

In Christ, God has given himself completely to us.


As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “No one is good except God alone.  You know the commandments: Do not murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not bear false witness; do not defraud; honor your father and mother.”
He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these from my youth.”
Looking at him, Jesus loved him and said to him, “You lack one thing: Go, sell all you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come,[b] follow me.”  But he was dismayed by this demand, and he went away grieving, because he had many possessions.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”
The disciples were astonished at his words. Again Jesus said to them, “Children, how hard it is[c] to enter the kingdom of God!  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
They were even more astonished, saying to one another, “Then who can be saved?”
Looking at them, Jesus said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God, because all things are possible with God.”
Peter began to tell him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.”
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus said, “there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father[d] or children or fields for my sake and for the sake of the gospel,  who will not receive a hundred times more, now at this time —houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions —and eternal life in the age to come.  But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

Mark 10:17-31 (CSB)

God’s kingdom reverses the values of the world.
 
Whatever we give our hearts to, will consume us; it will shape who we are and who we become.
 
In wealth or in poverty the Bible invites us to cultivate contentment and to trust God with all that we have.

 
1) What must I do to inherit eternal life? (v. 17),
2) Who can be saved? (v. 26)

You know the commandments: Do not murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not bear false witness; do not defraud; honor your father and mother.
Mark 10:19
 
Christian faith is about our hearts and what God has already done for us.
 
Looking at him, Jesus loved him and said to him, “You lack one thing: Go, sell all you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Mark 10:21
 
It’s not about the money, it’s about the heart. Each one of us has different things that our hearts are distracted by.
But he was dismayed by this demand, and he went away grieving, because he had many possessions.

Mark 10:22

Wealth is not condemned by Jesus, but it can be a great barrier to faith.
 
 1) What must I do to inherit eternal life? (v. 17)
2) Who can be saved? (v. 26)

 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said, “there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father[a] or children or fields for my sake and for the sake of the gospel, who will not receive a hundred times more, now at this time —houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions —and eternal life in the age to come.
Mark 10:29-30

Our sacrifices to follow Jesus are nothing compared to the blessings we will receive. 

Conclusion:
How do we “follow” Jesus?
1) Identify and lay down our idols.
2) Accept God’s goodness and sufficiency.
3) Commit to Christ’s leadership and Lordship in every area of our lives.
____________________________________________________________________________

October 1st Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series: Christ, The Servant King
Text: Mark 10:1-16
Campus: Rivermont

He set out from there and went to the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Then crowds converged on him again, and as was his custom he taught them again.
Some Pharisees came to test him, asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”
He replied to them, “What did Moses command you?”
They said, “Moses permitted us to write divorce papers and send her away.”
But Jesus told them, “He wrote this command for you because of the hardness of your hearts. But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female.  For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and the two will become one flesh.  So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
When they were in the house again, the disciples questioned him about this matter. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. Also, if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them.  When Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me. Don’t stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”  After taking them in his arms, he laid his hands on them and blessed them.

Mark 10:1-16 (CSB)

God wants your heart, and he wants to renew your heart and change the way we live.

Sitting down, he called the Twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last and servant of all.”
Mark 9:35 (CSB).

In the kingdom of God, significance is not found in status.
 
God is after our hearts.


1) The hearts of the Pharisees.

2) Heart of God.


God’s intention for marriage is oneness.
 
Christian marriage reflects God’s covenant love.


“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”
Jeremiah 31:3

“I hate divorce.”
Mal. 2:16

3) The role of the heart in marriage and divorce.

“But if an unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved.”
1 Corinthians 7:15

Marriage is not the highest ideal, union with God is.

Perfect love casts out fear.

_______________________________________________________
 
Sermon Notes: Zachary Foster
Series:
The Gospel of Mark
Title: Jesus is After Your Heart
Text: Mark 10:1-16
Campus: College Hill

He set out from there and went to the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Then crowds converged on him again, and as was his custom he taught them again. Some Pharisees came to test him, asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He replied to them, “What did Moses command you?”
They said, “Moses permitted us to write divorce papers and send her away.” 
But Jesus told them, “He wrote this command for you because of the hardness of your hearts. But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” 
When they were in the house again, the disciples questioned him about this matter. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. Also, if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” 
People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me. Don’t stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 
After taking them in his arms, he laid his hands on them and blessed them.

Mark 10:1-16

  1. It’s a heart issue
  2. What Jesus said about marriage
  3. What Jesus said about divorce
  4. Even with kids, it’s about the heart

It’s a heart issue

Some Pharisees came to test him, asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He replied to them, “What did Moses command you?”
They said, “Moses permitted us to write divorce papers and send her away.” 
But Jesus told them, “He wrote this command for you because of the hardness of your hearts.”

Mark 10:2-5

If a man marries a woman, but she becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, he may write her a divorce certificate, hand it to her, and send her away from his house. If after leaving his house she goes and becomes another man’s wife, and the second man hates her, writes her a divorce certificate, hands it to her, and sends her away from his house or if he dies, the first husband who sent her away may not marry her again after she has been defiled, because that would be detestable to the Lord. You must not bring guilt on the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.
Deuteronomy 24:1-4

What Jesus said about Marriage
But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female. and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.
Mark 10:6, 8-9

“Are you one-anothering your one and only?”
~ Matt Bradner

“Love is a willing self-sacrifice for the good of another that does not require reciprocation or that the person being loved is deserving.”
~ Keith Simon

"God’s main purpose in marriage is not to make you happy by uniting you with a perfect person, but holy by teaching you to love like him."
~ Gary Thomas

Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive. Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body, rule your hearts. And be thankful.
Colossians 3:12-15

What Jesus said about Divorce
He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. Also, if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
Mark 10:11-12

Provision for divorce does not mean prescription for divorce.
 
For those who have gone through a divorce, God gives love and grace, not condemnation
 
Even with kids, it’s about the heart

People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me. Don’t stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
After taking them in his arms, he laid his hands on them and blessed them.

Mark 10:13-16

Look, I am making ALL things new
Revelation 21:5
____________________________________________

September 24th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series: 
Christ, The Servant King
Text: Mark 9:33-50
Campus:
Rivermont

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit
John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him because he wasn’t following us.”
“Don’t stop him,” said Jesus, “because there is no one who will perform a miracle in my name who can soon afterward speak evil of me.  For whoever is not against us is for us.  And whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you belong to Christ —truly I tell you, he will never lose his reward.
“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to fall away —it would be better for him if a heavy millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.
“And if your hand causes you to fall away, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and go to hell, the unquenchable fire.  And if your foot causes you to fall away, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and be thrown into hell.  And if your eye causes you to fall away, gouge it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell,  where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.  For everyone will be salted with fire.  Salt is good, but if the salt should lose its flavor, how can you season it? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”

Mark 9:33-50 (CSB)
Reader: This is God’s Word
Congregation: Thanks be to God.
 
Click here to see image: Mark
 
Click here to see image: Worship
 
Click her to see image: Prototype
 
Click here to see image: Imagination
 
The Call of Discipleship: Three Movements
Click here to see image

Movement I (Mark 1:16-20):
IDENTITY.  “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Reorientation of identity & vocation.
Click here to see image
 
Movement II (Mark 3:13-19):
INTIMACY. 
Click here to see image
 
Movement III (Mark 6:7-13):
INITIATION. Do what Jesus did, the way that he did it.
Click here to see image
 
The Call to Discipleship: 
  • Be with Jesus
  • Become like Jesus
  • Do what Jesus did
 
Then he began to teach them that it was necessary for the Son of Man to suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and rise after three days. 3He spoke openly about this. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.  But turning around and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are not thinking about God’s concerns[a] but human concerns.”
Mark 8:31-33
 
Calling the crowd along with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me and the gospel will save it.  For what does it benefit someone to gain the whole world and yet lose his life?  What can anyone give in exchange for his life?
Mark 8:34-37
 
 “I do believe; Help my unbelief!”
Mark 9:24

 “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer.”
Mark 9:29
 
The way of Jesus is not the way of self-sufficiency, but of radical dependence on Jesus for everything.

 Then they left that place and made their way through Galilee, but he did not want anyone to know it.  For he was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed[a] into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after he is killed, he will rise three days later.” But they did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask him.

Mark 9:30-32
 
They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they were silent, because on the way they had been arguing with one another about who was the greatest.
Mark 9:33-34
 
Sitting down, he called the Twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last and servant of all.”  He took a child, had him stand among them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them,  “Whoever welcomes[a] one little child such as this in my name welcomes me. And whoever welcomes me does not welcome me, but him who sent me.”
Mark 9:35-37

John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone[a] driving out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him because he wasn’t following us.”
 “Don’t stop him,” said Jesus, “because there is no one who will perform a miracle in my name who can soon afterward speak evil of me.  For whoever is not against us is for us.  And whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you belong to Christ —truly I tell you, he will never lose his reward.

Mark 9:38-41
 
“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to fall away —it would be better for him if a heavy millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.
Mark 9:42
 
“And if your hand causes you to fall away, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and go to hell, the unquenchable fire.  And if your foot causes you to fall away, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and be thrown into hell.   And if your eye causes you to fall away, gouge it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell,  where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.
Mark 9:43-48
 
For everyone will be salted with fire.
Mark 9:49
 
Salt is good, but if the salt should lose its flavor, how can you season it? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
Mark 9:50
 
Where is my faith wavering and in need of renewal?
Where is my heart hardened toward God and in need of surrender?
What fire of suffering am I facing now, and how might I carry that need to the Lord, so that it might be purifying even in the difficulty?

_______________________________________________________
 
Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series: 
The Gospel of Mark
Text: 
Mark 9:33-50
Campus: College Hill
 
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near: Repent and believe the good news!” 
Mark 1:15
 
Jesus is preparing his disciples and, eventually the church, to live kingdom lives and to share the kingdom message.
 
In the kingdom of God, the power is found in God himself and we access that power through faith and prayer. 

 
In the kingdom of God…
  • The way up is down.
  • Significance is not found in status.
  • Evil is held accountable.
  • Restoration comes through peace.
 
John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him because he wasn’t following us.”
“Don’t stop him,” said Jesus, “because there is no one who will perform a miracle in my name who can soon afterward speak evil of me.  For whoever is not against us is for us.  And whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you belong to Christ —truly I tell you, he will never lose his reward.
“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to fall away —it would be better for him if a heavy millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.
“And if your hand causes you to fall away, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and go to hell, the unquenchable fire.  And if your foot causes you to fall away, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and be thrown into hell.  And if your eye causes you to fall away, gouge it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell,  where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.  For everyone will be salted with fire.  Salt is good, but if the salt should lose its flavor, how can you season it? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”

Mark 9:33-50 (CSB)
 
1) In the kingdom of God: The way up is down.
2) In the kingdom of God: Significance is not found in status.
3) In the kingdom of God: Evil is held accountable.
4) In the kingdom of God: Restoration comes through peace.


 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”
Matthew 5:9

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
Romans 12:18

The kingdom of God is not far, it’s here and it’s accessible.

Is there anywhere in my life that God is inviting me to be a servant?
Where, and how, can I honor individuals who are usually neglected or abused?
How can I be a woman or man of peace in a broken/restless world? Good salt? 

____________________________________________

September 17th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series: 
Knowing and Being Known
Title: 
Welcome & Forgive One Another
Text: 
Romans 15:7, Colossians 3:12-13
Campus: 
Rivermont
 
Come, Holy Spirit
Now we who are strong have an obligation to bear the weaknesses of those without strength, and not to please ourselves. Each one of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.  For even Christ did not please himself. On the contrary, as it is written, The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.  For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and through the encouragement from the Scriptures.  Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, according to Christ Jesus, so that you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with one mind and one voice.
Therefore welcome one another, just as Christ also welcomed you, to the glory of God.

Romans 15:1-7
Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive.
Colossians 3:12-13
Leader: This is God’s Word.
Congregation: Thanks be to God.
 
Knowing & Being Known:
We are committed to category-defying relationships that bridge racial, social, religious, political, and gender barriers in the name of Jesus. We will practice radical & intentional hospitality as we love strangers like they are our own family, thus becoming the new kind of family that Jesus promised to create. Being and making disciples of Jesus cross-culturally is at the heart of how we envision and practice community.
 
Click here to see image: 59 One Anothers of the New Testament
 
Welcome anyone who is weak in faith, but don’t argue about disputed matters. 
Romans 14:1

 let us pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another.
Romans 14:19

Therefore, welcome one another just as God in Christ has welcomed you to the glory of God.
Romans 15:7

Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality.
Romans 12:13
 
Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,  bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive.
Colossians 3:12-13
 
The Bible points to two things that make forgiveness seem impossible:
First, the tendency to underestimate God’s love, &
Second, the tendency to overestimate our own goodness relative to the badness of others.

Forgiveness requires a dual reckoning:
Reckoning 1: 
Come to grips with the real damage done by the offender. Name it, process it, grieve it - with God in prayer and with others.
Reckoning 2: 
Come to grips with the reality that forgiveness is necessary, for my own heart and for the good of others.

Forgiveness:
“A moral virtue. Being good to those who aren’t good to you. Without excusing or forgetting. Forgiveness does not demand reconciliation or justice as a prerequisite.” 
~ Dr. Robert Enright. 
 
Three Dimensions of Forgiveness:
ONE: 
Experience God’s undeserved and overwhelming love (vertical)

Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,  bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive.
Colossians 3:12-13
 
And be kind & compssionate to one another, forgiving one another as God in Christ also forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32
 
Therefore I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; that’s why she loved much. But the one who is forgiven little, loves little.”  Then he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
Luke 7:47-48
 
He became sin who knew no sin so that we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21
 
TWO:
Transformation of the heart through lament, grief, and processing anger and pain in prayer with God. (Internal)

THREE:
Willingness to act for the good of those who have wronged us, even when they don’t deserve it. (Horizontal)
_________________________________________________________________________________

Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series: 
Knowing and Being Known (week 2)
Text: 
Colossians 3
Campus
: College Hill

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, and Timothy our brother:
To the saints in Christ at Colossae, who are faithful brothers and sisters.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

Colossians 1:1-2 (CSB)
 
The Kingdom of God is the operating system for our earthly lives. 

 
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,
Colossians 1:3
 
So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective. Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life.
The Message, Colossians 3:1-3

Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,  bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive.  Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.  And let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body, rule your hearts. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:12-17
 
As God’s people, we live, and we love, this way because this is how God loves us.
 
Jesus doesn’t just give us self-awareness to identify sin in our lives, he died for our sin – and his resurrection is the power behind our renewal.
 
God’s grace helps us to respond to each other with:
  1. Compassion
  2. Kindness 
  3. Humility
  4. Gentleness (meekness)
  5. Patience

Forgive:  
based on the root word for “grace”; it carries the idea of free, undeserved, and unconditional forgiveness.

“Forgiveness means giving up the right to revenge, the right to repayment from the one who harmed you…forgiveness is a form of voluntary suffering.”
~Tim Keller

Our relationship with Jesus should change the way we see, and treat, people.
 
Have you received God’s love and forgiveness?
Are you applying God’s love within your relationships, especially in the church? 

________________________________________________________
 

September 10th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series: 
Knowing & Being Known
Title: Bear One Another’s Burdens
Text: 
Galatians 6:1-2
Campus: 
Rivermont

Brothers and sisters, if someone is overtaken in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual, restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so that you also won’t be tempted. Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:1-2 (CSB)
Reader: This is the Word of the Lord.
Congregation: Thanks be to God.
 
Come, Holy Spirit.
 
Glorify God by making disciples who love God, grow in community, and reach out with the love of Christ.

 
Values: The language and behaviors that shape our culture
 
Six Core Values:
  • Being Before Doing
  • Joyful Orthodoxy
  • Knowing & Being Known
  • Sacrificial Generosity
  • Dependance on the Holy Spirit
  • Locally Rooted & Globally Engaged
*(gospel.org/values)
 
Knowing & Being Known:
We are committed to category-defying relationships that bridge racial, social, religious, political, and gender barriers in the name of Jesus. We will practice radical & intentional hospitality as we love strangers like they are our own family, thus becoming the new kind of family that Jesus promised to create. Being and making disciples of Jesus cross-culturally is at the heart of how we envision and practice community.
 
Click here to see image; One Anothers of the New Testament
 
Brothers and sisters, if someone is overtaken in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual, restore such a person with a gentle spirit] watching out for yourselves so that you also won’t be tempted.
Galatians 6:1
 
Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2
 
Click here to see image: Rebuilding Equipping Group
 
Wisdom for bearing one another’s burdens from Galatians 6:1-2:
  • Start with your own neediness and bring that to Jesus and to others.
  • Ask questions, stay curious before jumping to conclusion or offering advice.
  • Each one must bear their own burdens. Don’t overfunction, and try to do for others what they can and should do for themselves. 
  • Flood the system with grace. It’s the kindness of God that leads to repentance, and the goal is restoration.
 
Click here to see image: Japanese Tea Bowl
 
Click here to see image:Restoring the bowl  
 
Click here to see image: The Kintsugi bowl 

Artist Mako Fujimura: “The Kintsugi bowl is more valuable than it was before it was broken.”
_________________________________________________________________________________

Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series: 
Knowing & Being Known (week 1)
Title: 
Carry One Another’s Burdens 
Text: 
Galatians 6:1-2
Campus: 
College Hill

GCC exists: to glorify God by making disciples who love God, grow in community, and reach out to others w/ the love of Christ.

 
Knowing and being known:
We are committed to category-defying relationships that bridge racial, social, religious, political, and gender barriers in the name of Jesus.

The Bible invites us into a counter-cultural approach to relationships. 

Brothers and sisters, if someone is overtaken in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual, restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so that you also won’t be tempted. Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:1-2 (CSB)

The church is the new family of God – it’s intended to be a safe place for brokenness to be exposed and for burdens to be lifted.

Christians are encouraged to approach sinful individuals with gentleness, humility, and caution.


Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2

We want GCC to be a people who always support each other through life’s challenges and difficulties, people who demonstrate love and empathy.
         
The church is intended to be a safe place for brokenness to be exposed and for burdens to be lifted.

 
 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things.  Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-25

Grace never expires.
________________________________________________________________

August 27th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman + Interview with Marissa Wilterink
Series: 
Gospel Community Life
Title: 
Reach Out with the Love of Christ
Text: Luke 10:25-37, Colossians 3:1-4, 9-10
Campus:
Rivermont
 
Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. 
Then an expert in the law stood up to test him, saying, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the law?” he asked him. “How do you read it?”
He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,” and “your neighbor as yourself.” 
“You’ve answered correctly,” he told him. “Do this and you will live.”
But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus took up the question and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him, beat him up, and fled, leaving him half dead.  A priest happened to be going down that road. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side. In the same way, a Levite, when he arrived at the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan on his journey came up to him, and when he saw the man, he had compassion.  He went over to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on olive oil and wine. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him. When I come back I’ll reimburse you for whatever extra you spend.’”
“Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?”
“The one who showed mercy to him,” he said.
Luke 10:25-37
So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Colossians 3:1-4
Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self. You are being renewed in knowledge according to the image of your Creator.

Colossians 3:9-10
Reader: This is the Word of the Lord
Congregation: Thanks be to God.

 
Our mission is about what we do, where we are going, etc. But it’s also about who we are and who we are becoming.
 
Our mission is to glorify God by making disciples who love God, grow in community, and reach out with the love of Christ.

So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Colossians 3:1-3
 
Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old self with its practices  and have put on the new self. You are being renewed in knowledge according to the image of your[a] Creator.
Colossians 3:9-10

Then an expert in the law stood up to test him, saying, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the law?” he asked him. “How do you read it?”
He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,” and “your neighbor as yourself.”
“You’ve answered correctly,” he told him. “Do this and you will live.”

Luke 10:25-28
 
But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Luke 10:29
 
“Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?”
“The one who showed mercy to him,” he said.
Then Jesus told him, “Go and do the same.”

Luke 10:36-37
 
“The purpose of the local church is not primarily to be one's church home or extended family, though it can be at times. And it is not to survive by obtaining more people for its support base. Its purpose is to invite people to be part of the true mission of the church. Reception into the church is only a threshold to involvement in its mission. The task of the church is not to accumulate attendees. The church is a school for developing agents of the new creation from among those who are the beneficiaries of God's grace.”
~ Peter Steinke
 
“The movement from hostility to hospitality is hard and full of difficulties. Our society seems to be increasingly full of fearful, defensive, aggressive people anxiously clinging to their property and inclined to look at their surrounding world with suspicion, always expecting an enemy to suddenly appear, intrude and do harm. But still - that is our vocation: to convert the [stranger] to [family], the enemy into a guest, and then create the free and fearless space where brotherhood and sisterhood can be formed and fully experienced.”
~ Henri Nouwen, Reaching Out
 
Intentional Mission: 
Bearing witness to the Jesus where we live, work, and play.
 
Strategic Mission: 

Going out of our way to demonstrate and declare the gospel in specific ways according to our gifts and resources.
________________________________________

Sermon Notes: Preston Burling
Series: 
Gospel Community Life
Title: 
Reaching Out with the Love of Christ
Text: 
John 13:35; Hebrews 13:2
Campus:
College Hill
 
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 13:35

Don’t neglect to show hospitality, for by doing this some have welcomed angels as guests without knowing it.
Hebrews 13:2

Our Mission:
“ To Glorify God by making disciples who love God, grow in community and reach out to others with the love of Christ.”
 
Mindset shift: From Independence to Interdependence
 
Click here to see image: Pivots

Porches:
The space in which you call home (literally your porch, your dining room table, your family’s home)

Pathways: Places in which you frequent the most while on the move (coffee shops, grocery stores, neighborhood walks)
 
Pivots: These are places in which you frequent often where other people gather (Block parties, Connecting Point, Community gatherings)
______________________________________________________

August 20th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman & Tim Geisland
Series:
Gospel Community Life
Title:
Grow in Community
Text:
Mark 12:29-30, John 13:34-35, Acts 2:41-47
Campus:
Rivermont
 
Come Holy, Spirit
Jesus answered, “The most important[a] is Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.”
Mark 12:29-30
“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 13:34-35
So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand people were added to them.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles.  Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as any had need.  Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts,  praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Every day the Lord added to their number[a] those who were being saved.

Acts 2:41-47
Reader: This is the Word of the Lord
Congregation: Thanks be to God.
 
Our mission is about what we do, where we are going, etc. But it’s also about who we are and who we are becoming.
 
Our mission is to glorify God by making disciples who love God, grow in community and reach out with the love of Christ.

 
[God] has put a sense of past and future in their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from beginning to end.
Ecclesiastes 3:11.

 “We are the most in-debt, obese, addicted, and medicated adult cohort in U.S. history”
~ Brene Brown

Click here to image: Epidemic

The most important is, “Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no other command greater than these.
Mark 12:29-30

The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.
Proverbs 20:5
 
Greater love has no one than this: to lay one’s life down for one’s friends.
John 15:13
 
Love one another as I have loved you.
John 15:12
 
Click here to see image: 4 Spaces of Belonging
___________________________________________________________________________

Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series: 
Gospel Community Life
Title: 
Grow in Community
Text:
Hebrews 10:19-25
Campus: 
College Hill

We exist to glorify God by making disciples who love God, grow in community, and reach out to others with the love of Christ.

1) God exists in community, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit 
(Gen. 1:26; Matt. 28:19; John 10:30; 2 Cor. 13:14)
2) God created companionship and community for our good (Gen. 2:18a)
3) Jesus lived in community (Luke 5:1-11; John 17:22)
4) The early church functioned in community (Acts 2:46-47, 4:32-35)

Click here to see image: 4 Spaces of Belonging
 
Community groups are long-term groups who commit to love God, grow in community, and reach out with the love of Christ together.

DNA groups: 
·       Discover Jesus in Scripture (Head)
·       Nurture the truth of the Gospel in our hearts (Heart)
·       Act by the leading of the Holy Spirit (Hands)

The public space is a good place to worship and learn, but the intimate and personal spaces are where genuine love and true transformation is cultivated. 

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have boldness to enter the sanctuary through the blood of Jesus—he has inaugurated for us a new and living way through the curtain (that is, through his flesh)—and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, since he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider one another in order to provoke love and good works,  not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching.
Hebrews 10:19-25 (CSB)

Motivate one another to acts of love and good works (v. 24)
____________________________________________________________________________

August 13th Sermon Guides

Speaker: Brenton Lehman
Series:
Gospel Community Life
Title:
Love God
Text:
I John 4:7-21, Hebrews 12:14, Matthew 5:8
Campus: Rivermont
 
Come, Holy Spirit.
 
Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. God’s love was revealed among us[a] in this way: God sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him.  Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another.  No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and his love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.  And we have seen and we testify that the Father has sent his Son as the world’s Savior. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God—God remains in him and he in God. And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us.
God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him.  In this, love is made complete with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because as he is, so also are we in this world.  There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears is not complete in love. We love because he first loved us.  If anyone says, “I love God,” and yet hates his brother or sister, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother or sister whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.  And we have this command from him: The one who loves God must also love his brother and sister.

I John 4:7-21
Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness—without it no one will see the Lord.
Hebrews 12:14
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Matthew 5:8.
Reader: This is the Word of the Lord.
Congregation: Thanks be to God.

 
Our mission is about what we do, where we are going, etc. But it’s also about who we are and who we are becoming.
 
Click here: Emotionally Healthy Spirituality

Click here: 01: Discover

Click here: 02: Belong

Click here: Worship Night

Our mission is to glorify God by making disciples who love God, grow in community and reach out with the love of Christ.
 
Click here: 4 Spaces of Belonging 
 
Recap: Week I - Glorify God by making disciples.
 
The glory of God is about the transforming presence of God

 
The glory of God is at least the full magnitude of all that God is on display.
~ Tim Keller
 
To glorify God, then, is to give & bring attention to God, or in the language of the Bible, to behold him, and to be transformed in his presence. And to glorify God by making disciples in part means to declare the glory of God in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus from one generation to the next among our neighbors and the nations.
 
 The most important is, 
"Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength." And the second is like it: "Love your neighbor as yourself." There is no other command greater than these.
Mark 12:29-30

The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him. Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning
I John 4:8-10
 
This is how we have come to know love: He laid down his life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
I John 3:16
 
We love because he first loved us.
I John 4:19
 
An encounter with the love from God overflows in love for God and love for others.

 If anyone says, “I love God,” and yet hates his brother or sister, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother or sister whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
I John 4:20
 
- “Pursue holiness, without which no one will see the Lord." 
Hebrews 12:14.
 
+ "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” 
Matthew 5:8
 
 ALTAR
 
Altars in the Bible are about the presence of God.
 
 
Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship.
Romans 12:1
 
 
HOLINESS - a way of life that forms the heart for love of God and neighbor in the presence of God.
 
PRAYER
 
Creating Altars of our hearts, homes, churches, and region. (Jon Tyson)
 
Pay attention:
 
What stokes the fire of love for God and others?
What dims my faith, and dulls my heart toward God and others?
_____________________________________________________
 
Speaker: Tim Geisland
Series: 
Gospel Community Life
Title: Love God
Text: 1 John 4:7-21
Campus: College Hill
 
The mission of Gospel Community Church is to glorify God by making disciples who love God, grow in community, and reach out with the love of Christ.

 
Love God
There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears is not complete in love.  We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:18-19
 
God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him.  Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.
1 John 4:9-10
 
“Atoning sacrifice” = “punishment - absorbing sacrifice”
 
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23
 
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us…
Galatians 3:13a
 
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.
Romans 8:1-2
 
The love of God in Christ drives out fear, freeing us to love God and others!
 
Click here to see image: 4 Spaces of Belonging
 
Sunday Gatherings (Public Space)

Gospel Community Church has services every Sunday to be a visible witness of God’s Family.  It’s where Jesus’ church gathers regularly for collective worship, teaching of God’s Word, sharing in communion, baptism, and the public proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus.
 
Mid-size Events (Social Space)

These events provide a place for people to connect and build friendships with the larger Gospel Community body.  They also include common missional opportunities where groups work together to reach out with the love of Christ.
 
Equipping Group (Social Space)

An Equipping Group is a short-term group that meets for the purpose of Biblical instruction and training for life.  They typically meet at the church building on Sundays, but not always, and their size varies.
 
Community Group (Personal Space)
A Community Group is a long-term group of about 10 to 20 people who commit to Love God, Grow in community, and Reach Out with the love of Christ together.  More than a weekly meeting, it’s a diverse family of Jesus followers doing life and mission together deeply.
 
DNA Group (Intimate Space)
Often formed within the context of a Community Group, but not always, a DNA Group is a micro group of 3 to 4 people of the same gender who commit to meet regularly to be known deeply and study the Bible in a way that helps us grow in Christ together.
 
Why do we call it a DNA Group?
D.N.A. is an acronym that helps us remember 3 important aspects of spiritual formation:
1.Discover Jesus in the Scripture (HEAD)
2.Nurture the truths of the Gospel in our hearts (HEART)
3.Act by the leading of the Holy Spirit (HANDS)
___________________________________________

August 6th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series: 
Gospel Community Life: Mission Series
Title: 
Glorify God & Make Disciples
Text: 
Psalm 145
Campus: 
Rivermont

I exalt you, my God the King, and bless your name forever and ever. I will bless you every day; I will praise your name forever and ever.
The Lord is great and is highly praised; his greatness is unsearchable. One generation will declare your works to the next and will proclaim your mighty acts. I will speak of your splendor and glorious majesty and your wondrous works. They will proclaim the power of your awe-inspiring acts, and I will declare your greatness.  They will give a testimony of your great goodness and will joyfully sing of your righteousness.
The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and great in faithful love. The Lord is good to everyone; his compassion rests on all he has made. All you have made will thank you, Lord; the faithful will bless you. They will speak of the glory of your kingdom and will declare your might, informing all people of your mighty acts and of the glorious splendor of your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; your rule is for all generations. The Lord is faithful in all his words and gracious in all his actions.
The Lord helps all who fall; he raises up all who are oppressed. All eyes look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all his acts. The Lord is near all who call out to him, all who call out to him with integrity. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry for help and saves them. The Lord guards all those who love him, but he destroys all the wicked. My mouth will declare the Lord’s praise; let every living thing bless his holy name forever and ever.

Psalm 145
Come, Holy Spirit. 
 
“All of the Christian’s life is a response to grace.”
~ Carl Ellis Jr.
 
A mission is about what we do, where we are going, etc. But it’s also about who we are and who we are becoming.

I exalt you, my God the King, and bless your name forever and ever.
I will bless you every day; I will praise your name forever and ever.
The Lord is great and is highly praised; his greatness is unsearchable.

Psalm 145:1-3
I will speak of your splendor and glorious majesty and your wondrous works.
They will proclaim the power of your awe-inspiring acts, and I will declare your greatness.
They will give a testimony of your great goodness and will joyfully sing of your righteousness.

Psalm 145:5-7
They will speak of the glory of your kingdom and will declare your might,  informing all people of your mighty acts and of the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Psalm 145: 11-12
 
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the water covers the sea.
Habakkuk 2:14
 
God’s Glory: “It is at least the combined magnitude of all God’s character and nature put together.”
~ Tim Keller
 
The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and great in faithful love. The Lord is good to everyone; his compassion rests on all he has made.
Psalm 145:8-9
 
The Lord helps all who fall; he raises up all who are oppressed.
All eyes look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time.
You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all his acts.
The Lord is near all who call out to him, all who call out to him with integrity.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry for help and saves them.

Psalm 145:14-19
 
We all, with unveiled faces, are beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.
II Corinthians 3:18

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Acts 1:8

The Church is a new humanity that bears witness to a new creation. 
 
One generation will declare your works to the next and will proclaim your mighty acts.
Psalm 145:4
informing all people of your mighty acts and of the glorious splendor of your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; your rule is for all generations. The Lord is faithful in all his words and gracious in all his actions
Psalm 145: 12-13
 
10/40 window - the region of the world most resistant to the message of Jesus. 
 
10/14 window (GenAlpha), which is not about the nations, but about the next generation, among the least Christian generation in Western culture.

The work of the church is to cultivate communities of safety for the next generation to encounter the living God.


Q: Am I coming to know Jesus, or have I settled for what I think I know about him?
 
Click here to see image: 

A Christian vision of discipleship: As we behold the glory of God together in prayer, worship, community, and our way of being, we are transformed into a new humanity that bears witness to new creation from one generation to the next.

Pray for:
  • GenZ (13-25)
  • Gen Alpha (13 and younger)
  • Parents and primary caregivers
  • Teachers & NextGen Leaders
  • Churches
_____________________________________________________

Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series:
Gospel Community Life: Mission Series
Title:
Glorify God by Making Disciples of All (Gener)NATIONS
Text: Psalm 145
Campus:
College Hill

GCC exists: to glorify God by making disciples who love God, grow in community, and reach out to others w/ the love of Christ.
 
Knowing and being known:
We are committed to category-defying relationships that bridge racial, social, religious, political, and gender barriers in the name of Jesus.
 
God’s love and affection for us fuels our worship and energizes our mission.
 
I exalt you, my God the King, and bless your name forever and ever. I will bless you every day; I will praise your name forever and ever.
The Lord is great and is highly praised; his greatness is unsearchable. One generation will declare your works to the next and will proclaim your mighty acts. I will speak of your splendor and glorious majesty and your wondrous works. They will proclaim the power of your awe-inspiring acts, and I will declare your greatness.  They will give a testimony of your great goodness and will joyfully sing of your righteousness.
The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and great in faithful love. The Lord is good to everyone; his compassion rests on all he has made. All you have made will thank you, Lord; the faithful will bless you. They will speak of the glory of your kingdom and will declare your might, informing all people of your mighty acts and of the glorious splendor of your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; your rule is for all generations. The Lord is faithful in all his words and gracious in all his actions.
The Lord helps all who fall; he raises up all who are oppressed. All eyes look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all his acts. The Lord is near all who call out to him, all who call out to him with integrity. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry for help and saves them. The Lord guards all those who love him, but he destroys all the wicked. My mouth will declare the Lord’s praise; let every living thing bless his holy name forever and ever.

Psalm 145 (CSB)
 
Our first and primary commitment as a church is to glorify God and to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
 
glorifying God - giving honor, praise, and recognition to God for who he is.

Our lives can bring glory to God when we live a life that reflects his character and the teachings of Jesus.

 
The Lord helps all who fall; he raises up all who are oppressed.
All eyes look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time.
You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.

Psalm 145:14-16 
 
One generation will declare your works to the next and will proclaim your mighty acts.
I will speak of your splendor and glorious majesty and your wondrous works.
They will proclaim the power of your awe-inspiring acts, and I will declare your greatness.
They will give a testimony of your great goodness and will joyfully sing of your righteousness.

Psalm 145:4-7 
 
There’s a desire to share God’s glory with the coming generation and for that generation to give glory to God.
 
Christian discipleship is about knowing the God of the universe and making him known.

 
My mouth will declare the Lord’s praise; let every living thing bless his holy name forever and ever.
Psalm 145:21

The church is a healing community for people to encounter and worship God.

When people encounter our church do they encounter a community that exists for the glory of God?
Is this a place, and are we a people, who boldly testify about God’s presence in our lives and world? 
Are we creating a safe space for the next generation to encounter God?

 
Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

“As the Father has sent me, so also I am sending you.”
John 20:21

“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Acts 1:8

Two practical ways to impact the generations: block party and family ministry (Kid City/GSM).
__________________________________________________

July 23rd Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series:
Christ the Servant King
Text:
Mark 9:14-32
Campus: Rivermont

When they came to the disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and scribes disputing with them. When the whole crowd saw him, they were amazed and ran to greet him. He asked them, “What are you arguing with them about?”
Someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you. He has a spirit that makes him unable to speak. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they couldn’t.”
He replied to them, “You unbelieving generation, how long will I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him to me.” So they brought the boy to him. When the spirit saw him, it immediately threw the boy into convulsions. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.  “How long has this been happening to him?” Jesus asked his father.
“From childhood,” he said.  “And many times it has thrown him into fire or water to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’? Everything is possible for the one who believes.”
Immediately the father of the boy cried out, “I do believe; help my unbelief!”
 When Jesus saw that a crowd was quickly gathering, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you: Come out of him and never enter him again.”
Then it came out, shrieking and throwing him into terrible convulsions. The boy became like a corpse, so that many said, “He’s dead.”  But Jesus, taking him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up.
After he had gone into the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
 And he told them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer.”
Then they left that place and made their way through Galilee, but he did not want anyone to know it.  For he was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after he is killed, he will rise three days later.” But they did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask him.

Mark 9:14-32 (CSB)
 
We have a God who loves us and a Savior who meets us where we are.
 
 Jesus emphasizes the role of faith and prayer as a channel of God’s power, healing, and grace.


When they came to the disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and scribes disputing with them.
Mark 9:14

Someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you. He has a spirit that makes him unable to speak. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they couldn’t.”
Mark 9:17-18
 
Why couldn’t the disciples heal the boy?
The first problem was: Lack of faith (v. 19)
The second problem was: Lack of prayer (v. 29)
We never outgrow our need for God and our need for the renewal of God.

Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’? Everything is possible for the one who believes.”
Mark 9:23
 
Immediately the father of the boy cried out, “I do believe; help my unbelief!”
Mark 9:24

We’ll never be able to experience the healing, and the power, of God if we don’t surrender to Jesus in faith.
 
How should we address unbelief in our lives? 
1) Be honest about your unbelief.  

How should we address unbelief in our lives?
2) Bring your unbelief to Jesus: allow him to confront and comfort.
 
How should we address unbelief in our lives?
3) Address your unbelief with prayer and through the power of the resurrection.

Where do you need God to strengthen your faith, help your unbelief, and to display his power?
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Sermon Notes: Dr. Leo Percer
Series:
The Gospel of Mark (week 20)
Title:
Jesus Helps Our Unbelief
Text:
Mark 9:14-32
Campus:
Rivermont

Jesus helps us move from unbelief to faithful living in three ways:
1) Discipline,
2) Display, and
3) Discipleship
 
When they came to the disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and scribes disputing with them. When the whole crowd saw him, they were amazed and ran to greet him. He asked them, “What are you arguing with them about?”
Someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you. He has a spirit that makes him unable to speak. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they couldn’t.”
He replied to them, “You unbelieving generation, how long will I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him to me.”

Mark 9:14-19

Jesus helps our unbelief by Discipline.
He helps us move from unbelief to faithful living by addressing our weaknesses and needs.

“Mature disciples were supposed to be able to carry on in their teacher’s absence; sometimes a teacher would delegate lectures to his advanced pupils. The matter at hand requires a different sort of preparation than lectures did” (9:29)
~ Craig Keener

So they brought the boy to him. When the spirit saw him, it immediately threw the boy into convulsions. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.  “How long has this been happening to him?” Jesus asked his father.
“From childhood,” he said.  “And many times it has thrown him into fire or water to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’?[a] Everything is possible for the one who believes.”
Immediately the father of the boy cried out, “I do believe; help my unbelief!”
When Jesus saw that a crowd was quickly gathering, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you: Come out of him and never enter him again.”
Then it came out, shrieking and throwing him into terrible convulsions. The boy became like a corpse, so that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus, taking him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up.

Mark 9:20-27

Jesus helps our unbelief by a Display of his power.
He helps us move from unbelief to faithful living by demonstrating his power EVEN when we walk in unbelief.

“Belief in God does not exempt us from feelings of abandonment by God. Praising God does not inoculate us from doubts about God.”
~ Eugene Peterson

After he had gone into the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
And he told them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer.” 
Then they left that place and made their way through Galilee, but he did not want anyone to know it. For he was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed[c] into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after he is killed, he will rise three days later.” But they did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask him.

Mark 9:28-32
 
Jesus helps our unbelief by Discipleship.
He helps us move from unbelief to faithful living by teaching us to focus on him.

“Faith and prayer make a powerful combination. Faith is not just an inner comfort; it changes human reality.”
~ David Garland

How should we respond to these things?
_________________________________________________________________________

July 16th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Jeff Boyer
Sermon Series: 
Christ, the Servant King
Text:
Mark 9:2-13
Campus:
Rivermont

Then he said to them, “Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God come in power.”
After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain by themselves to be alone. He was transfigured in front of them,  and his clothes became dazzling—extremely white as no launderer on earth could whiten them. 4 Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. 5 Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it’s good for us to be here. Let’s set up three shelters: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—because he did not know what to say, since they were terrified.
A cloud appeared, overshadowing them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my beloved Son; listen to him!”
Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.
As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.  They kept this word to themselves, questioning what “rising from the dead” meant.
Then they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?”
“Elijah does come first and restores all things,” he replied. “Why then is it written that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be treated with contempt?  But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did whatever they pleased to him, just as it is written about him.”

Mark 9:1-13 (CSB)

  • Jesus’ Identity is Confirmed
  • God is Always Intentional
  • A Life Lived Close to Jesus is a Life Filled with Power
 
Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God come in power.
The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!

Mark 1:15

Heal the sick who are there, and tell them, "The kingdom of God has come near you.”
Luke 10:9

The kingdom of God is in the midst of you.
Luke 17:21

The Kingdom of God is Marked by:

-the Spirit (see Acts 1:8, Gal. 5:22-23, Romans 14:17)
-Authority and Influence (see Matt. 5:13-16, John 16:13, 1 Peter 2:2, 2 Tim. 3:16-17)
-Power over Sin (see Rom. 6:14, Rom. 8:2, 1 John 4:4)
-Miraculous Power and Spiritual Gifts (see 1 Cor. 12:7-11, Acts 14:3, Rom. 15:18- 19)

“he was transfigured in front of them, and his clothes became dazzling–extremely white as no launderer on earth could whiten them

Metamorphosis - “change of physical form, structure, or substance especially by supernatural means.”

"The Transfiguration is a sort of a heavenly clue, a vision that says, 'This Jesus is not just another guy in our long list of Jewish prophets. This Jesus is the glorious divine king who stands at the center of God's purposes in the world.'"
~ Tim Mackie

God is Always Intentional
Thanks to the perspective we glean through the Bible and historical records, we are able to see a more complete picture of God’s intentionality and His plans to restore our communion and the physical earth back to what he had intended in the garden of eden.

“The disciples of Jesus Christ are being exposed, in a real and tangible way, to the glorious and beautiful Kingdom of God”.  
 
We can see throughout all of Bible that God’s intentionality doesn’t save us from pain and sorrow- but that his intentionality is always meant for His purposes and our Good.

 “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”  

 
For this is what the Lord says: “When seventy years for Babylon are complete, I will attend to you and will confirm my promise concerning you to restore you to this place.  For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.  You will call to me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart. I will be found by you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and places where I banished you”—this is the Lord’s declaration. “I will restore you to the place from which I deported you.” (CSB)
Jeremiah 29: 10-14

Life lived close to Jesus is a Life filled with Power.
The power that unfolded during the transfiguration happens while the disciples spent time with Jesus in PRAYER on the mountain...while they were in close proximity to Jesus.

“The power of a Christian is not in their own strength, but in their surrendered dependence on God’s strength”

”God’s power in your life will always be in proportion to your personal relationship with Him”.
~ Tim Keller

Expecting to have God’s power manifest in your life apart from him… is like expecting to have your lamps turn on without being plugged in.

Holy Spirit, what do you want to speak to me about the truths in this passage?
(listen)
Is there anything that you want me to know about you? About myself?
(listen)
_____________________________________________________________________
Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series: The Gospel of Mark
Text: Mark 9:1-13
Campus: College Hill

The disciples of Jesus Christ are exposed in a real, and tangible, way to the glorious and beautiful Kingdom of God.
Then he said to them, “Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God come in power.”
After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain by themselves to be alone. He was transfigured in front of them,  and his clothes became dazzling—extremely white as no launderer on earth could whiten them. 4 Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. 5 Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it’s good for us to be here. Let’s set up three shelters: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—because he did not know what to say, since they were terrified.
A cloud appeared, overshadowing them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my beloved Son; listen to him!”
Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.
As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.  They kept this word to themselves, questioning what “rising from the dead” meant.
Then they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?”
“Elijah does come first and restores all things,” he replied. “Why then is it written that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be treated with contempt?  But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did whatever they pleased to him, just as it is written about him.”

Mark 9:1-13 (CSB) 
 
This event in Jesus’ life emphasizes his glory and power and gives us a window into the Kingdom of God.
 
What is the Kingdom of God?
“It is God reigning. It’s present wherever what God wants done is done. It is the range of God’s effective will. The news that makes lovely feet is: ‘Your God reigns.’ (Isaiah 52:7).”
~D. Willard

Sin has disrupted God’s beautiful creation and limits our ability to fully live out the reality of God’s Kingdom.
1) The transfiguration of Jesus.
2) The presence of Moses and Elijah.
3) The voice from heaven.

“transfiguration” comes from the Latin, “transfiguratio” which means, “a change in shape.”


2) The presence of Moses and Elijah.
The presence of Moses and Elijah during this encounter points to the fulfillment of God’s Word and God’s promises.

3) The voice from heaven.
God himself is establishing the authority of Jesus, while giving us and the disciples a future, new-creation, reality of his Kingdom.

What does all this mean for us?
  • “The Transfiguration teaches us that moments of extraordinary beauty & divine revelation are possible even in the midst of our ordinary lives.”  ~ Richard Rohr
  • The Transfiguration is evidence of the Kingdom that is already here, but also of the Kingdom to come.
  • The Transfiguration invites us to pursue transformation.

Where is God inviting you to pursue transformation?
Where is God inviting you to experience him and his Kingdom, and to share that Kingdom w/ others?

______________________________________________________________________

July 9th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Preston Burling
Series: Christ, The Servant King
Title:
Messiah: The Suffering Servant
Text: Mark 8:27-38
Campus: Rivermont
 
Who is Jesus to you
 
1st half of Mark: Displaying Messianic authority & power
2nd half of Mark: Jesus’ authority to be tested through suffering.
 
Key Theme: Jesus the Suffering Servant


Jesus went out with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the road he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?”
They answered him, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, one of the prophets.”
“But you,” he asked them, “who do you say that I am?”
Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” And he strictly warned them to tell no one about him.
Then he began to teach them that it was necessary for the Son of Man to suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and rise after three days.  He spoke openly about this. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.  But turning around and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are not thinking about God’s concerns but human concerns.”
Calling the crowd along with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me and the gospel will save it. For what does it benefit someone to gain the whole world and yet lose his life?  What can anyone give in exchange for his life?  For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Mark 8:27-38 (CSB)
 
Then he began to teach them that it was necessary for the Son of Man to suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes,be killed, and rise after three days.  He spoke openly about this. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.  But turning around and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are not thinking about God’s concerns  but human concerns.”
Mark 8:31-33 (CSB)

Mark shares three identities of Jesus:
Jesus as mere man (The Masses / The World)
Jesus, the Son of God a part from the story of the cross (Peter & Disciples)
Jesus, the Son of God as Suffering Servant (True Messiah)
 
Each failure to grasp the significance of Jesus’ death proves that a “wrong view of the Messiah leads to a wrong view of discipleship.”
 
Calling the crowd along with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me and the gospel will save it.  For what does it benefit someone to gain the whole world and yet lose his life?  What can anyone give in exchange for his life?  For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Mark 8:34-38 (CSB)
 
Jesus’ model of suffering will prove to serve as one of the greatest signs of his deity
 
The Disciples model of this suffering is essential for discipleship & human flourishing
 
 “The first Christ-suffering which every human being must experience is the call to abandon the attachments of the world.”
~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
 
Your greatest weapon is the story of the cross
 
The resurrection extinguishes the power of death that was once held in the cross.
 
To identify with Jesus is to endure the cross
To endure the cross is to release the power of the resurrection in & through your life.
 
Intimacy with one another is a silver lining to this suffering

__________________________________________________________________________
 
Sermon Notes: Austin Whiteheart 
Series: The Gospel of Mark (week 18)
Text: Mark 8:27-9:1
Campus: College Hill

Why uproot my life for Jesus?
 
How do I live this way?
 
Is it worth it?
 
He tells us that it’s not just a knowledge of who He is that makes us His disciples, it’s a commitment to follow Him no matter the cost.

 
Jesus went out with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the road he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?”  They answered him, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, one of the prophets.”  “But you,” he asked them, “who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” And he strictly warned them to tell no one about him.
Mark 8:27-30
 
Then he began to teach them that it was necessary for the Son of Man to suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and rise after three days.  He spoke openly about this.  

Mark 8:31-32
 
Why live my life for Jesus?
Because on our own, we are far worse off than we can imagine, but with Jesus, God’s grace, love, mercy, and plans for us are far greater than we can imagine. 
 
Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
 
But turning around and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are not thinking about God’s concerns but human concerns.”
Mark 8:33
 
How? We shift our perspective to look at life with an eternal lens instead of a temporary one.
 
Calling the crowd along with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”
Mark 8:
 
So what does it mean to deny ourselves and take up our cross?
 
“What God says and what God wants is better than what I say and what I want.”
~ Matt Chandler
 
When Jesus invites us to carry our cross, He invites to share in His suffering, pain, rejection, opposition, shame, and even death that He endured.  
 
For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me and the gospel will save it. For what does it benefit someone to gain the whole world and yet lose his life?  What can anyone give in exchange for his life?  For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Mark 8:35-38
 
Jesus offers us life that is timeless over life that is temporary. (v. 35)
The temporary wealth/comfort/praise of the world isn’t worth your soul. (vv. 36-37)
Earthly rejection is far better than eternal rejection. (v. 38)
 
In Peter’s story we that Jesus never expects us to do it perfectly, His grace is far bigger than we can imagine, and that He works through our weakness.
 
“Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God come in power.”
 
Trust Him that He is who He says and shows He is, that the best life for you comes through denying yourself, taking up your cross, and following Him, and that the life we gain from Him makes it all worth it.

_________________________________________________________________________ 

June 25th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Matt Willmington
Series: 
Christ, The Servant King
Title: 
The God of Outcasts and Outer Courts
Text: 
Mark 7:24-37
Campus:
Rivermont

He got up and departed from there to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it, but he could not escape notice. Instead, immediately after hearing about him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she was asking him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, because it isn’t right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” But she replied to him, “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Then he told her, “Because of this reply, you may go. The demon has left your daughter.” When she went back to her home, she found her child lying on the bed, and the demon was gone.
Mark 7:24-30

Again, leaving the region of Tyre, he went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, through the region of the Decapolis. They brought to him a deaf man who had difficulty speaking and begged Jesus to lay his hand on him. So he took him away from the crowd in private. After putting his fingers in the man’s ears and spitting, he touched his tongue. Looking up to heaven, he sighed deeply and said to him, “Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”). Immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was loosened, and he began to speak clearly. He ordered them to tell no one, but the more he ordered them, the more they proclaimed it.
Mark 7:31-36

  1. He includes outcasts and outer court people.
  2. He heals in the private spaces.
  3. He is personal, He is powerful.
  4. He responds to selfless faith.
  5. He responds to bold humility.

They were extremely astonished and said, “He has done everything well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
Mark 7:37
_________________________________________________________________________________

Sermon Notes: Keith Hoekman
Series:
The Gospel of Mark
Text: Mark 7:24-37
Campus:
College Hill

And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden. But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet.
Mark 7:24-25

Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.”
Mark 7:26-27

But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs.” And he said to her, “For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.” 30 And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.
Mark 7:28-30

Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him.  And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue.
Mark 7:31-33

And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.
Mark 7:34-35

And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
Mark 7:36-37

“God has always cared more about heart transformation than behavior modification.”
~ Andrew Moroz

For the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7

“Behavior modification doesn’t necessarily change your heart; it doesn’t conform your heart to God’s heart and desires.”
-Andrew Moroz

The two steps of the Christian walk are repentance and faith, repentance and faith, repentance and faith

 And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.”
Mark 7:27

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9

6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 6:6,8

And what if he did this to make known the riches of his glory on objects of mercy that he prepared beforehand for glory—on us, the ones he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?
As it also says in Hosea,
I will call Not My People, My People,
and she who is Unloved, Beloved.
And it will be in the place where they were told,
you are not my people,
there they will be called sons of the living God.

Romans 9:23-26
_______________________________________________________________________________

June 18th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Father’s Day 2023
Text: 
1 Corinthians 4:14-21
Campus: 
Rivermont
 
I’m not writing this to shame you, but to warn you as my dear children.  For you may have countless instructors in Christ, but you don’t have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me.  This is why I have sent Timothy to you. He is my dearly loved and faithful child in the Lord. He will remind you about my ways in Christ Jesus, just as I teach everywhere in every church.
Now some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you.  But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk, but the power of those who are arrogant.  For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.  What do you want? Should I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?

1 Corinthians 4:14-21
Reader: This is the word of the Lord.
Congregation: Thanks be to God.

 

 
Click here to see image: The Intentional Father, Jon Tyson
 
5 Kinds of Dads:
  • Irresponsible: Come in, get out, do nothing.
  • Ignorant: Don’t know what they’re doing and do damage.
  • Inconsistent: Torn by their own ambitions, often absent.
  • Involved: Our culture’s version of a great dad.
  • Intentional: Carries out a vision to build children into godly adults via a pathway that works for each child. 
(The Intentional Father, Jon Tyson)

For you may have countless (lit. ‘ten thousand’) instructors (or ‘teachers’) in Christ, but you don’t have many fathers (lit. father or parents).
1 Corinthians 4:15
 
Although we could have been a burden to you as Christ’s apostles, we were gentle among you like a nursing mother with her own children. We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.
1 Thessalonians 2:7-8
 
As you know, like a father with his own children, we encouraged, comforted, and implored each one of you to live worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
1 Thessalonians 2:11-12
 
In our cultural moment, it’s easier to find a teacher that agrees with you than a spiritual mother or father that knows & loves you. Therefore, we are knowledge-rich, but often wisdom-poor.

Dr. Dan Allender said, “Every male (boy or man), who is not actively being fathered is actively being wounded.”

(Citation: Allender Center Podcast).

Pain that is not transformed is transmitted from relationship to relationship and from generation to generation.
 
Hurt people hurt people.


The LORD—the LORD is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth, maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin.
Exodus 34:6-7
 
The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and great in faithful love.
The LORD is good to everyone; his compassion rests on all he has made.

Psalm 145:8-9

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18

El Roi - The God Who Sees Me.
 
[Hagar] gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, ”I have now seen the One who sees me.”
Genesis 16:13
 
Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:4-5
 
By kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ has forgiven you.”
Ephesians 4:32

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
John 6:63 (ESV)
 
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is alive in you, then he who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through his Spirit who lives in you.
Romans 8:11
 
Our pain is transformed in the loving eyes of the Father, by the healing wounds of the Son, and the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.

For you may have countless (lit. ‘ten thousand’) instructors (or ‘teachers’) in Christ, but you don’t have many fathers (lit. father or parents).
1 Corinthians 4:15
_________________________________________________________________________________

Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Father’s Day 2023
Text: 
1 John 1:1-4, 2:15-28 (CSB)
Campus: College Hill
 
What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have observed and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—that life was revealed, and we have seen it and we testify and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us—what we have seen and heard we also declare to you, so that you may also have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
1 John 1:1-4 (CSB)
 
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s possessions—is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does the will of God remains forever.
Children, it is the last hour. And as you have heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. By this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. However, they went out so that it might be made clear that none of them belongs to us.
But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.  I have not written to you because you don’t know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie comes from the truth.  Who is the liar, if not the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This one is the antichrist: the one who denies the Father and the Son.  No one who denies the Son has the Father; he who confesses the Son has the Father as well.
What you have heard from the beginning is to remain in you. If what you have heard from the beginning remains in you, then you will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he himself made to us: eternal life.
I have written these things to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you.  As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you don’t need anyone to teach you. Instead, his anointing teaches you about all things and is true and is not a lie; just as it has taught you, remain in him.
So now, little children, remain in him so that when he appears we may have confidence and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

1 John 2:15-28 (CSB)

“Joyful Orthodoxy” – listening to Jesus and following him wherever he leads. 
We want to reclaim the beauty of the historic Christian gospel by teaching and obeying the Bible.
 
Meno - (verb) “to stay, to abide, to continue.”

John wants to help protect and enhance: our fellowship with God and each other, and our joy.
 
John’s warning in chapter two is intended to equip us to live a joyful and fruitful life which is deeply rooted in Jesus.
 
Three different threats to our faith (our fellowship and our joy): 
  • Distraction,
  • Discouragement, and
  • Deception.

Threat # 1: Distraction (vv. 15-17)
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s possessions—is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does the will of God remains forever.
1 John 2:15-17
 
What we love most, and what we give our hearts to, will define our lives.
 
We are created to be filled and fulfilled by God, and to be satisfied in Him alone.
 
Threat # 2: Discouragement (v. 19)
They went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. However, they went out so that it might be made clear that none of them belongs to us.
I John 2:19
 
There is room in the Christian faith for humble doubt.

But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.
I John 2:20
 
Threat # 3: Deception (vv. 18-23)
Children, it is the last hour. And as you have heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. By this we know that it is the last hour.
But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. I have not written to you because you don’t know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie comes from the truth.  Who is the liar, if not the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This one is the antichrist: the one who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; he who confesses the Son has the Father as well.

I John 2:18, 20-23
 
The best way to identify a false Christ, is to spend time with the real Christ.
 
What you have heard from the beginning is to remain in you. If what you have heard from the beginning remains in you, then you will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he himself made to us: eternal life.
I have written these things to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you don’t need anyone to teach you. Instead, his anointing teaches you about all things and is true and is not a lie; just as it has taught you, remain in him.
So now, little children, remain in him so that when he appears we may have confidence and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

I John 2:24-28
 
How do we “abide”?
  • Undistracted time in Scripture
  • Spiritual practices of silence, solitude, and prayer
  • Intimate communion with brothers and sisters in the faith
___________________________________________________________________________

June 11th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series: 
Christ, The Servant King
Title: 
The Heart of the Matter
Text: 
Mark 7:1-23
Campus:
Rivermont
 
The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him. They observed that some of his disciples were eating bread with unclean—that is, unwashed—hands.  (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, keeping the tradition of the elders.  When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they have washed. And there are many other customs they have received and keep, like the washing of cups, pitchers, kettles, and dining couches.)  So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders, instead of eating bread with ceremonially unclean hands?”
He answered them, “Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites, as it is written:
This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
They worship me in vain, teaching as doctrines human commands.
Abandoning the command of God, you hold on to human tradition.”   He also said to them, “You have a fine way of invalidating God’s command in order to set up your tradition!  For Moses said: Honor your father and your mother;  and Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death.  But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or mother: Whatever benefit you might have received from me is corban’” (that is, an offering devoted to God),  “you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother.  You nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many other similar things.”
Summoning the crowd again, he told them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: Nothing that goes into a person from outside can defile him but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.”
When he went into the house away from the crowd, his disciples asked him about the parable.  He said to them, “Are you also as lacking in understanding? Don’t you realize that nothing going into a person from the outside can defile him?  For it doesn’t go into his heart but into the stomach and is eliminated” (thus he declared all foods clean).  And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him.  For from within, out of people’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immoralities, thefts, murders,  adulteries, greed, evil actions, deceit, self-indulgence, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness.  All these evil things come from within and defile a person.”

Mark 7:1-23
Reader: This is the Word of the Lord.
Congregation: Thank be to God.
 
 “Be holy as I am holy.” (Leviticus 11:44–45; 19:2; 20:7, 1 Peter 1:15-16)

 “Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness—without it no one will see the Lord.”
Hebrews 12:14
 
Holiness is about the presence of God.
 
Holiness is about the presence of God.
 
Holiness | forming the heart for love in the presence of God.
 
 
The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him. 
Mark 7:1
 
They observed that some of his disciples were eating bread with unclean—that is, unwashed—hands.  (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, keeping the tradition of the elders.  When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they have washed. And there are many other customs they have received and keep, like the washing of cups, pitchers, kettles, and dining couches.)  So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders, instead of eating bread with ceremonially unclean hands?”
Mark 7:2-5
 
Law v. Traditions

He answered them, “Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites, as it is written:
This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
They worship me in vain, teaching as doctrines human commands.

Abandoning the command of God, you hold on to human tradition.”  

Mark 7:6-8
 
Holiness v. Religion
 
Holiness | forming the heart for love in the presence of God.
 
He also said to them, “You have a fine way of invalidating God’s command in order to set up your tradition!  For Moses said: Honor your father and your mother;  and Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death.  But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or mother: Whatever benefit you might have received from me is corban’” (that is, an offering devoted to God),  “you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother.  You nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many other similar things.”
7:9-13
 
Summoning the crowd again, he told them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: Nothing that goes into a person from outside can defile him but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.”
When he went into the house away from the crowd, his disciples asked him about the parable.  He said to them, “Are you also as lacking in understanding? Don’t you realize that nothing going into a person from the outside can defile him?  For it doesn’t go into his heart but into the stomach and is eliminated” (thus he declared all foods clean).  And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him.  For from within, out of people’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immoralities, thefts, murders,  adulteries, greed, evil actions, deceit, self-indulgence, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness.  All these evil things come from within and defile a person.”

Mark 7:14-23
 
Holiness v. Self-Righeousness

Holiness is not about being separated from the world, it is about being set apart for the presence of God in and for the world. 


Holiness | forming the heart for love in the presence of God.

 
Do you not know that your bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought wiat a price. So glorify God with your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Is my way of life forming me into a more (or less) loving person?
 
Our spiritual practices (absitance or activism) do not make us good or whole (that’s religion). The extent to which our hearts are prone to love = wholeness/holiness. Our spiritual practices are about calibrating our hearts to God and others in love.
Are there areas of my life or heart that need to be made alive again by the transforming presence of God?
 
Is there sin that needs to be confessed, forgiveness that needs to be received, or healing that needs to take place?
 
Are there people I have refused to love in the name of holiness?

_________________________________________________________________________________

Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series: 
The Gospel of Mark
Text: 
Mark 7:1-23 (CSB)
Campus: 
College Hill
 
Holiness – to be set apart for God.

God’s presence and love in our lives is what leads to inward transformation and outward obedience.

 
Then Samuel said: “Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord?
Look: to obey is better than sacrifice,
to pay attention is better than the fat of rams.”
1 Samuel 15:22

Doing what is righteous and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
Proverbs 21:3
 
For I desire faithful love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
Hosea 6:6
 
The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him. They observed that some of his disciples were eating bread with unclean—that is, unwashed—hands.  (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, keeping the tradition of the elders.  When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they have washed. And there are many other customs they have received and keep, like the washing of cups, pitchers, kettles, and dining couches.)  So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders, instead of eating bread with ceremonially unclean hands?”
Mark  7:1-5
 
Jesus exposes the self-righteousness of the Jewish religious leaders and addresses the heart of the matter – the heart.

He answered them, “Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites, as it is written:
This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
They worship me in vain, teaching as doctrines human commands.
Abandoning the command of God, you hold on to human tradition.”  
Mark 7:6-8

Behavior modification doesn’t necessarily change your heart; it doesn’t conform your heart to God’s heart and desires.  
 
 He also said to them, “You have a fine way of invalidating God’s command in order to set up your tradition!  For Moses said: Honor your father and your mother;  and Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death.  But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or mother: Whatever benefit you might have received from me is corban’” (that is, an offering devoted to God),  “you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother.  You nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many other similar things.”
Mark 7:9-13

Corban comes from the Hebrew word for “offering.”

God has always cared more about heart transformation than behavior modification.


Summoning the crowd again, he told them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: Nothing that goes into a person from outside can defile him but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.”
When he went into the house away from the crowd, his disciples asked him about the parable.  He said to them, “Are you also as lacking in understanding? Don’t you realize that nothing going into a person from the outside can defile him?  For it doesn’t go into his heart but into the stomach and is eliminated” (thus he declared all foods clean).  And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him.  For from within, out of people’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immoralities, thefts, murders,  adulteries, greed, evil actions, deceit, self-indulgence, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness.  All these evil things come from within and defile a person.”

Mark 7:14-23

Jesus taught that it is inner impurity that defiles the outside.

True holiness is not achieved, it is revealed.

Mark 7 exposes two groups of people:
  1. More rules - Am I doing enough?
  2. Make up their own rules - Is this good enough?
 
God’s presence and love that leads to inward transformation and outward obedience.

Is my heart yielded to God and washed by his love?


 I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord who has strengthened me, because he considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry—even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an arrogant man. But I received mercy because I acted out of ignorance in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them.  But I received mercy for this reason, so that in me, the worst of them, Christ Jesus might demonstrate his extraordinary patience as an example to those who would believe in him for eternal life.
1 Timothy 1:12-16 (CSB)
 _____________________________________________________________________________

June 4th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Sermon Series: 
Christ, the Servant King
Title: 
How Faith is Formed
Text: 
Mark 6:45-56
Campus: 
Rivermont
 
Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.  After he said good-bye to them, he went away to the mountain to pray.  Well into the night, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and he was alone on the land.  He saw them straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Very early in the morning he came toward them walking on the sea and wanted to pass by them. When they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke with them and said, “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”  Then he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. They were completely astounded,  because they had not understood about the loaves. Instead, their hearts were hardened.
When they had crossed over, they came to shore at Gennesaret and anchored there.
As they got out of the boat, people immediately recognized him.  They hurried throughout that region and began to carry the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. Wherever he went, into villages, towns, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch just the end of his robe. And everyone who touched it was healed.

Mark 6:45-56
Reader: This is the Word of the Lord
Congregation: Thanks be to God

 
How Faith is Formed 
Click here to see picture 
 
Disciple: mathetes (μαθητής): follower + learner = apprenticeship. Discipleship is relational and formational.  

The Call of Discipleship: Three Movements
Click here to see slide 

Movement I (Mark 1:16-20):
Click here to see slide   
IDENTITY.  “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Reorientation of identity & vocation.  

Movement II (Mark 3:13-19):
Click here to see slide  
INTIMACY. “He appointed the twelve…to be with him…and to be sent out…” Be with me and learn to do what I do.  

Movement III (Mark 6:7-13):
Click here to see slide 
INITIATION. “He summoned the twelve and began to send them out…” Do what I do, the way that I do it.  
   
The Call to Discipleship:  
  • Be with Jesus
  • Become like Jesus
  • Do what Jesus did 
 
Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 
Mark 6:45
 
Immediately: A word in Mark’s Gospel that signals a significant event that will have long-range consequences which the characters in the story cannot yet comprehend.   
 
After he said good-bye to them, he went away to the mountain to pray.
6:46
 
The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest for a while.” For many people were coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.
6:30-31
 
 Well into the night, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and he was alone on the land. He saw them straining at the oars,[a] because the wind was against them. Very early in the morning[b] he came toward them walking on the sea and wanted to pass by them.  When they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out,  because they all saw him and were terrified.   
6:47-50a
 
Immediately he spoke with them and said, “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”  Then he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. They were completely astounded,  because they had not understood about the loaves. Instead, their hearts were hardened.  
6:50b-52
 
When they had crossed over, they came to shore at Gennesaret and anchored there.
As they got out of the boat, people immediately recognized him.  They hurried throughout that region and began to carry the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was.  Wherever he went, into villages, towns, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch just the end of his robe. And everyone who touched it was healed. 

6:53-56
 
This is a continuum of how faith is formed: 
 
Crisis ←—-→ Encounter  
          (Practice) 

 ______________________________________________________________________

Sermon Notes: Zachary Foster
Series: 
The Gospel of Mark
Title: 
The Reason for the Storm
Text: 
Mark 6:45-56
Campus: 
College Hill

Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After he said good-bye to them, he went away to the mountain to pray. Well into the night, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and he was alone on the land. He saw them straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Very early in the morning he came toward them walking on the sea and wanted to pass by them. When they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified.
Immediately he spoke with them and said, “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Then he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. They were completely astounded, because they had not understood about the loaves. Instead, their hearts were hardened. When they had crossed over, they came to shore at Gennesaret and anchored there. As they got out of the boat, people immediately recognized him. They hurried throughout that region and began to carry the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. Wherever he went, into villages, towns, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch just the end of his robe. And everyone who touched it was healed.

Mark 6:45-56

Jesus put them in the boat
 
Jesus saw them in the storm

“I pray for them. I am not praying for the world but for those you have given me, because they are yours. Everything I have is yours, and everything you have is mine, and I am glorified in them. I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by your name that you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one.”
John 17:9-11

Jesus came to them in the storm
 
“The only storm that can really destroy— the storm of divine justice and judgment on sin and evil— will never come upon you. Jesus bowed his head into that ultimate storm, willingly, for you. He died, receiving the punishment for sin we deserve, so we can be pardoned when we trust in him. When you see him doing that for you, it certainly does not answer all the questions you have about your suffering. But it proves that, despite it all, he still loves you. Because he was thrown into that storm for you, you can be sure that there’s love at the heart of this storm for you.”
~ Tim Keller

Your way went through the sea and your path through the vast water, but your footprints were unseen.
Psalms 77:19

The Lord answered Moses, “I will do this very thing you have asked, for you have found favor with me, and I know you by name.”
Then Moses said, “Please, let me see your glory.”
He said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim the name ‘the Lord’ before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” But he added, “You cannot see my face, for humans cannot see me and live.” The Lord said, “Here is a place near me. You are to stand on the rock, and when my glory passes by, I will put you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take my hand away, and you will see my back, but my face will not be seen.”

Exodus 33:17-23

“He intended to be seen! He intended to be revealed! He intended to be disclosed in the most marvelous and glorious way as the very God who “passed by” Moses in Exodus and was made known as the one true God, the great and majestic Creator of all mankind!”
~Sam Storms

Jesus is always after your heart.
 
The disciples thought they needed rescue from the waves. Jesus knew they needed salvation for their souls!

 
“God will either give us what we ask or give us what we would have asked if we knew everything he knows.”
~ Tim Keller

There’s always the other side

Click here to see image 1

Click here to see image 2 

Time of response:
Where do I need to take courage?
Where has God been faithful in my past to give me hope for the future?
Who in my life can I invite into the boat with me during the storm?
__________________________________________________________________

May 21st Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series: 
The Gospel of Mark
Text: 
Mark 6:1-30
Campus
: Rivermont
 
Mark 6:1-30 – three distinct parts:
  1. Jesus visits Nazareth.
  2. The disciples personally experience the authority of Jesus Christ and share in his mission.
  3. Mark tells the story of the death of John the Baptist.

For those who hold nothing back, there is pain in following Jesus and there is great joy.

He left there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him.  When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. “Where did this man get these things?” they said. “What is this wisdom that has been given to him, and how are these miracles performed by his hands? 3 Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And aren’t his sisters here with us?”
So they were offended by him.
Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown, among his relatives, and in his household.”
He was not able to do a miracle there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he was amazed at their unbelief. He was going around the villages teaching.

Mark 6:1-6 (CSB)

A hard heart is the greatest obstacle to God’s presence and power in our lives.

He summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs and gave them authority over unclean spirits.  He instructed them to take nothing for the road except a staff—no bread, no traveling bag, no money in their belts, but to wear sandals and not put on an extra shirt. He said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that place.  If any place does not welcome you or listen to you, when you leave there, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”
 So they went out and preached that people should repent.  They drove out many demons, anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.
 King Herod heard about it, because Jesus’s name had become well known. Some said, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that’s why miraculous powers are at work in him.” But others said, “He’s Elijah.” Still others said, “He’s a prophet, like one of the prophets from long ago.”
 When Herod heard of it, he said, “John, the one I beheaded, has been raised!”
 For Herod himself had given orders to arrest John and to chain him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because he had married her.  John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” So Herodias held a grudge against him and wanted to kill him. But she could not,  because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing he was a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard him he would be very perplexed, and yet he liked to listen to him.
An opportune time came on his birthday, when Herod gave a banquet for his nobles, military commanders, and the leading men of Galilee.2 When Herodias’s own daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask me whatever you want, and I’ll give it to you.”  He promised her with an oath: “Whatever you ask me I will give you, up to half my kingdom.”
She went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?”
“John the Baptist’s head,” she said.
At once she hurried to the king and said, “I want you to give me John the Baptist’s head on a platter immediately.”
Although the king was deeply distressed, because of his oaths and the guests he did not want to refuse her.  The king immediately sent for an executioner and commanded him to bring John’s head. So he went and beheaded him in prison,  brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother.  When John’s disciples heard about it, they came and removed his corpse and placed it in a tomb.
The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all that they had done and taught.

Mark 6:7-30

The fulfillment of God’s mission on earth doesn’t depend on our knowledge or perfection, but rather his power.

Stop making excuses and trust God to use your limits for his glory.

Mark highlights the painful cost of following Jesus in a broken and unjust world.


“Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist.”
Matthew 11:11a

There’s a cost to following Jesus.

For those who hold nothing back, there is pain in following Jesus and there is great joy.

It is a joy to live a life where the presence of Jesus is not limited, where the power of Jesus is evident, and where the provision of Jesus is abundant.

_____________________________________________________________________

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series: 
The Gospel of Mark
Title:  
Carry the Name
Text: 
Mark 6:1-29
Campus: 
Rivermont
 
He left there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him.  When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. “Where did this man get these things?” they said. “What is this wisdom that has been given to him, and how are these miracles performed by his hands?  Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And aren’t his sisters here with us?” So they were offended by him.
Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown, among his relatives, and in his household.” He was not able to do a miracle there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them.  And he was amazed at their unbelief. He was going around the villages teaching.
He summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs and gave them authority over unclean spirits. He instructed them to take nothing for the road except a staff—no bread, no traveling bag, no money in their belts,  but to wear sandals and not put on an extra shirt. He said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that place.  If any place does not welcome you or listen to you, when you leave there, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”
So they went out and preached that people should repent.  They drove out many demons, anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.
 King Herod heard about it, because Jesus’s name had become well known. Some said, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that’s why miraculous powers are at work in him.” But others said, “He’s Elijah.” Still others said, “He’s a prophet, like one of the prophets from long ago.”
When Herod heard of it, he said, “John, the one I beheaded, has been raised!”
For Herod himself had given orders to arrest John and to chain him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because he had married her.  John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”  So Herodias held a grudge against him and wanted to kill him. But she could not,  because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing he was a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard him he would be very perplexed,  and yet he liked to listen to him.
 An opportune time came on his birthday, when Herod gave a banquet for his nobles, military commanders, and the leading men of Galilee.  When Herodias’s own daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask me whatever you want, and I’ll give it to you.”  He promised her with an oath: “Whatever you ask me I will give you, up to half my kingdom.”
She went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?”
“John the Baptist’s head,” she said.
At once she hurried to the king and said, “I want you to give me John the Baptist’s head on a platter immediately.”
Although the king was deeply distressed, because of his oaths and the guests he did not want to refuse her.  The king immediately sent for an executioner and commanded him to bring John’s head. So he went and beheaded him in prison,  brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother.  When John’s disciples heard about it, they came and removed his corpse and placed it in a tomb.

Mark 6:1-29
Reader: This is the word of the Lord.
Congregation: Thanks be to God.
 
The call of Discipleship to Jesus is to carry the good news of Jesus in word and deed wherever we go, no matter the cost
 
Disciple: 
mathetes (μαθητής): follower or apprentice. Discipleship is like apprenticeship. It’s relational and formational

The Call to Discipleship in Mark’s Gospel:
 
The call to discipleship is set against the backdrop of the OT.
 
The call of discipleship that Mark is describing is to for people in a Roman context.

 
The Call of Discipleship: Three Movements
Movement I
(Mark 1:16-20):
“Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.”
Reorientation of identity & vocation.
Movement II (Mark 3:13-19):
“He appointed the twelve…to be with him…and to be sent out…”
Be with me and learn to do what I do.
Movement III (Mark 6:7-13):
“He summoned the twelve and began to send them out…”
Do what I do, the way that I do it.
 
The Call to Discipleship: 
  • Be with Jesus
  • Do what Jesus did
  • Become like Jesus
 
He left there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him.  When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. “Where did this man get these things?” they said. “What is this wisdom that has been given to him, and how are these miracles performed by his hands? Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And aren’t his sisters here with us?” So they were offended by him.
 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown, among his relatives, and in his household.”
He was not able to do a miracle there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he was amazed at their unbelief. He was going around the villages teaching.

Mark 6:1-6
 
He summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs and gave them authority over unclean spirits.  He instructed them to take nothing for the road except a staff—no bread, no traveling bag, no money in their belts, but to wear sandals and not put on an extra shirt.  He said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that place. If any place does not welcome you or listen to you, when you leave there, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”
So they went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons, anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

Mark 6:7-13
 
Tracing themes of discipleship and the Kingdom of God:
  • Generoisty
  • Hospitality
  • Simplicity
  • Faith
  • Humble Dependance

King Herod heard about it, because Jesus’s name had become well known. Some said, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that’s why miraculous powers are at work in him.”  But others said, “He’s Elijah.” Still others said, “He’s a prophet, like one of the prophets from long ago.”
 When Herod heard of it, he said, “John, the one I beheaded, has been raised!”

Mark 6:14-16

For Herod himself had given orders to arrest John and to chain him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because he had married her.  John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”  So Herodias held a grudge against him and wanted to kill him. But she could not,  because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing he was a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard him he would be very perplexed,  and yet he liked to listen to him.
 An opportune time came on his birthday, when Herod gave a banquet for his nobles, military commanders, and the leading men of Galilee.  When Herodias’s own daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask me whatever you want, and I’ll give it to you.”  He promised her with an oath: “Whatever you ask me I will give you, up to half my kingdom.”
She went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?”
“John the Baptist’s head,” she said.
At once she hurried to the king and said, “I want you to give me John the Baptist’s head on a platter immediately.”
Although the king was deeply distressed, because of his oaths and the guests he did not want to refuse her.  The king immediately sent for an executioner and commanded him to bring John’s head. So he went and beheaded him in prison,  brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother.  When John’s disciples heard about it, they came and removed his corpse and placed it in a tomb.

Mark 6:17-29

Opulence
Exclusion
Accumulation
Control
Moral Decay
 
The Good Life is the life that is given away in love for others in Jesus’ name. 

________________________________________________________________________

May 14th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Campus:
College Hill

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you except to fear the Lord your God by walking in all his ways, to love him, and to worship the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul?  Keep the Lord’s commands and statutes I am giving you today, for your own good.  The heavens, indeed the highest heavens, belong to the Lord your God, as does the earth and everything in it.  Yet the Lord had his heart set on your ancestors and loved them. He chose their descendants after them—he chose you out of all the peoples, as it is today.  Therefore, circumcise your hearts and don’t be stiff-necked any longer.  For the Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, mighty, and awe-inspiring God, showing no partiality and taking no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the resident alien, giving him food and clothing. You are also to love the resident alien, since you were resident aliens in the land of Egypt.  You are to fear the Lord your God and worship him. Remain faithful  to him and take oaths in his name.  He is your praise and he is your God, who has done for you these great and awe-inspiring works your eyes have seen.  Your ancestors went down to Egypt, seventy people in all, and now the Lord your God has made you numerous, like the stars of the sky.
Deuteronomy 10:12-22 (CSB)

Sing to God! Sing praises to his name.
Exalt him who rides on the clouds—
his name is the Lord—and celebrate before him.
God in his holy dwelling is a father of the fatherless and a champion of widows.
God provides homes for those who are deserted. He leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious live in a scorched land.

Psalm 68:4-6 (CSB)

Hallelujah! My soul, praise the Lord.
I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing to my God as long as I live.
Do not trust in nobles, in a son of man,  who cannot save.
When his breath[b] leaves him, he returns to the ground; on that day his plans die.
Happy is the one whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them.
He remains faithful forever, executing justice for the exploited and giving food to the hungry. The Lord frees prisoners.
The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord raises up those who are oppressed. The Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord protects resident aliens and helps the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
The Lord reigns forever; Zion, your God reigns for all generations. Hallelujah!

Psalm 146 (CSB)

My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger,  for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.  Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like someone looking at his own face in a mirror.  For he looks at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of person he was.  But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who works—this person will be blessed in what he does.
If anyone thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, his religion is useless and he deceives himself.  Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

James 1:19-27 (CSB)

April 30th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Preston Burling & Emily Woody
Series
: Christ, The Servant King
Title: Restored Daughter’s (Part 1)
Text: Mark 5:21-42
Campus: Rivermont

When Jesus had crossed over again by boat[c] to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the sea.  One of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet and begged him earnestly, “My little daughter is dying. Come and lay your hands on her so that she can get well and live.”  So, Jesus went with him, and a large crowd was following and pressing against him.
Now a woman suffering from bleeding for twelve years had endured much under many doctors. She had spent everything she had and was not helped at all. On the contrary, she became worse.  Having heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his clothing.  For she said, “If I just touch his clothes, I’ll be made well.”  Instantly her flow of blood ceased, and she sensed in her body that she was healed of her affliction.
Immediately Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?”
His disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing against you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’”
But he was looking around to see who had done this.  The woman, with fear and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. “Daughter,” he said to her, “your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be healed from your affliction.”
 While he was still speaking, people came from the synagogue leader’s house and said, “Your daughter is dead. Why bother the teacher anymore?”
When Jesus overheard what was said, he told the synagogue leader, “Don’t be afraid. Only believe.”  He did not let anyone accompany him except Peter, James, and John, James’s brother.  They came to the leader’s house, and he saw a commotion—people weeping and wailing loudly.  He went in and said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.”  They laughed at him, but he put them all outside. He took the child’s father, mother, and those who were with him, and entered the place where the child was.  Then he took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum” (which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, get up”).  Immediately the girl got up and began to walk. (She was twelve years old.) At this they were utterly astounded. Then he gave them strict orders that no one should know about this and told them to give her something to eat.

Mark 5:21-42 (CSB)
_________________________________________________________________________________

Sermon Notes: Austin Whiteheart
Series:
The Gospel of Mark
Text:
Mark 5:21-42
Campus:
College Hill

“[These Stories show us that] there is no physical or spiritual force that is more powerful than Jesus. The God who stilled the storm, and healed the demoniac, can still our anxious hearts and prevail over the chaos in our lives.
 
While Jesus demonstrates his power over the physical body, life and death, in these stories, we also see a forshadow to the Spiritual healing that Jesus offers when we respond in faith.


When Jesus had crossed over again by boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the sea.
Mark 5:21
 
One of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet and begged him earnestly, “My little daughter is dying. Come and lay your hands on her so that she can get well and live.”
Mark 5:22-23
 
So Jesus went with him, and a large crowd was following and pressing against him.)  
Mark 5:24
 
There’s no better place for us to go in crisis than running to the feet of Jesus.
 
Now a woman suffering from bleeding for twelve years had endured much under many doctors. She had spent everything she had and was not helped at all. On the contrary, she became worse.
Mark 5:25-26
 
Having heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his clothing. For she said, “If I just touch his clothes, I’ll be made well.” Instantly her flow of blood ceased, and she sensed in her body that she was healed of her affliction.
Mark 5:27-29
 
Immediately Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes? “His disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing against you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” But he was looking around to see who had done this.
Mark 5:30-32
 
And so  The woman, with fear and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before him, and told him the whole truth.

Mark 5:33
 
“Daughter,” he said to her, “your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be healed from your affliction.”
Mark 5:34
 
Jesus delights in bold, courageous, determined faith.  As a child shamelessly runs to their parent when they are in need, Jesus invites us to do the same.
 
While he was still speaking, people came from the synagogue leader’s house and said, “Your daughter is dead. Why bother the teacher anymore?”

Mark 5:35
 
When Jesus overheard what was said, he told the synagogue leader, “Don’t be afraid. Only believe.”
Mark 5:36
 
Jesus is asking Jairus what He asks of us: Just trust me.
 
He did not let anyone accompany him except Peter, James, and John, James’s brother. They came to the leader’s house, and he saw a commotion—people weeping and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.” They laughed at him, but he put them all outside.
Mark 5:37-40
 
He took the child’s father, mother, and those who were with him, and entered the place where the child was.  Then he took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum” (which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, get up”).  Immediately the girl got up and began to walk. (She was twelve years old.) At this they were utterly astounded.  Then he gave them strict orders that no one should know about this and told them to give her something to eat.
Mark 5:40-43
 
Jesus is not merely just some great teacher or holy man with gifts of healing, He is God in the flesh, the only one who could ever have command over the powers of life and death.
 
Following Jesus is always worth the risk
 
“Don’t be afraid, only believe”.
_______________________________________________________________________________________ 

April 23rd Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series:
Christ, The Servant King
Title:
Keep Calm & Exorcise Demons
Text:
Mark 4:35-5:20
Campus:
Rivermont

On that day, when evening had come, he told them, “Let’s cross over to the other side of the sea.”
 So they left the crowd and took him along since he was in the boat. And other boats were with him.  A great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking over the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped.  He was in the stern, sleeping on the cushion. So they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher! Don’t you care that we’re going to die?”
He got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Silence! Be still!”
The wind ceased, and there was a great calm.  Then he said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
 And they were terrified and asked one another, “Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey him!”
They came to the other side of the sea, to the region of the Gerasenes.  As soon as he got out of the boat, a man with an unclean spirit came out of the tombs and met him.3 He lived in the tombs, and no one was able to restrain him anymore—not even with a chain—because he often had been bound with
shackles and chains but had torn the chains apart and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him.  Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains, he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones.
 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and knelt down before him.  And he cried out with a loud voice, “What do you have to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you before God, don’t torment me!”  For he had told him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!”
 “What is your name?” he asked him.
“My name is Legion,” he answered him, “because we are many.”  And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the region.
 A large herd of pigs was there, feeding on the hillside. The demons  begged him, “Send us to the pigs, so that we may enter them.”
 So he gave them permission, and the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs. The herd of about two thousand rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned there.
The men who tended them ran off and reported it in the town and the countryside, and people went to see what had happened.  They came to Jesus and saw the man who had been demon-possessed, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and told about the pigs.  Then they began to beg him to leave their region.
As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged him earnestly that he might remain with him.  Jesus did not let him but told him, “Go home to your own people, and report to them how much the Lord has done for you and how he has had mercy on you.”
So he went out and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and they were all amazed.

Mark 4:35-5:20 (CSB)
Reader: This is the Word of the Lord
Congregation: Thanks be to God.
 
“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the Prophet Isaiah:” (Mark 1:1)
 
Precreation: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now, the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.” (Genesis 1:1-2)
 
Creation: “The God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and and there was light.” (Genesis 1:4)
“And he saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:3)  
“God saw all that he had made and it was very good indeed.” (Genesis 1:31)
 
Decreation

Recreation

 
“the Kingdom of God has come near”
(Mark 1:15).
 
the miracle stories in the Gospel of Mark are about the reversal of sin and its effects (curse) on Creation and the restoration of human beings into relationship with God, themselves, and the rest of creation.
 
A great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking over the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. He was in the stern, sleeping on the cushion. So they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher! Don’t you care that we’re going to die?”
Mark 4:37-38
 
He got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Silence! Be still!” The wind ceased, and there was a great calm. Then he said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
Mark 4:39-40
 
Faith (Gk: pistis): convictional courage to act, not on knowledge but on trust.
 
Click here to see image: 100 Foot Wave 

Others went to sea in ships,
conducting trade on the vast water.
They saw the Lord’s works,
his wondrous works in the deep.
He spoke and raised a stormy wind
that stirred up the waves of the sea.[a]
Rising up to the sky, sinking down to the depths,
their courage melting away in anguish,
they reeled and staggered like a drunkard,

Psalm 107:23-27
 
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and he brought them out of their distress.
He stilled the storm to a whisper,
and the waves of the sea were hushed.
They rejoiced when the waves grew quiet.
Then he guided them to the harbor they longed for.

Psalm 107:28-30
 
 “Teacher! Don’t you care that we are going to die?” (Mark 4:38)

Click here to see image: Perception 

Click here to see image: Reality    
 
Click here to see image: Surrender – Control  

And they were terrified and asked one another, “Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey him!”
Mark 4:41
 
Surrender: A choice to live by faith based on a relationship with Jesus rather than to live to control my circumstances to achieve my desired outcomes.
 
The presence of God is everything, not the absence of chaos. 
 
They came to the other side of the sea, to the region of the Gerasenes.  As soon as he got out of the boat, a man with an unclean spirit came out of the tombs and met him. He lived in the tombs, and no one was able to restrain him anymore—not even with a chain—because he often had been bound with shackles and chains, but had torn the chains apart and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains, he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones.
Mark 5:1-5
 
 “Sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; And they were afraid.” 
Mark 4:15
 
As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged him earnestly that he might remain with him. Jesus did not let him but told him, “Go home to your own people, and report to them how much the Lord has done for you and how he has had mercy on you.”
So he went out and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and they were all amazed.

Mark 5:18-20
 
Who is this Jesus (to me)?
 
What would surrender look like in my life?

__________________________________________________________________________

Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series: 
The Gospel of Mark
Text: 
Mark 4:35-5:20
Campus: 
College Hill

The goal of both stories in Mark 4:35-5:20:
1) to make a connection between Jesus and the God of the Old Testament,
2) to help scared and hurting people find comfort in Jesus,
3) to challenge us to consider our commitment to Jesus.

 On that day, when evening had come, he told them, “Let’s cross over to the other side of the sea.”
 So they left the crowd and took him along since he was in the boat. And other boats were with him.  A great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking over the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped.  He was in the stern, sleeping on the cushion. So they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher! Don’t you care that we’re going to die?”
He got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Silence! Be still!”
The wind ceased, and there was a great calm.  Then he said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
 And they were terrified and asked one another, “Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey him!”
They came to the other side of the sea, to the region of the Gerasenes.  As soon as he got out of the boat, a man with an unclean spirit came out of the tombs and met him.3 He lived in the tombs, and no one was able to restrain him anymore—not even with a chain—because he often had been bound with shackles and chains but had torn the chains apart and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him.  Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains, he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones.
 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and knelt down before him.  And he cried out with a loud voice, “What do you have to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you before God, don’t torment me!”  For he had told him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!”
 “What is your name?” he asked him.

“My name is Legion,” he answered him, “because we are many.”  And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the region.
 A large herd of pigs was there, feeding on the hillside. The demons  begged him, “Send us to the pigs, so that we may enter them.”
 So he gave them permission, and the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs. The herd of about two thousand rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned there.
The men who tended them ran off and reported it in the town and the countryside, and people went to see what had happened.  They came to Jesus and saw the man who had been demon-possessed, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and told about the pigs.  Then they began to beg him to leave their region.
As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged him earnestly that he might remain with him.  Jesus did not let him but told him, “Go home to your own people, and report to them how much the Lord has done for you and how he has had mercy on you.”
So he went out and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and they were all amazed.

Mark 4:35-5:20 (CSB)

The God who stilled the storm, and healed the demoniac, can still our anxious hearts and prevail over the chaos in our lives.
 

The power of Jesus Christ prevails over chaos and destruction.


“violent storm.” (Matthew 8:24)

God didn’t lead the disciples into this storm to destroy them but to reveal himself to them.
 
Jesus displays the power of God.

Jesus is alive – he can still our anxious hearts and prevail over the chaos in our lives.

There is no physical or spiritual force that is more powerful than Jesus.


Satan’s goal is to control people and to distort God’s beautiful image in our lives.
Jesus’ goal is to release people from bondage, to restore the image of God in our lives.

As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged him earnestly that he might remain with him.  Jesus did not let him but told him, “Go home to your own people, and report to them how much the Lord has done for you and how he has had mercy on you.”
So he went out and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and they were all amazed.

Mark  5: 18-20 (CSB)

The God who stilled the storm, and healed the demoniac, can still our anxious hearts and prevail over the chaos in our lives.

God does some of his best work in some of the darkest circumstances.
 
Fear and suffering can draw us closer to God or it can lead us to reject God.
 
If you have encountered God and been transformed, share what God has done with others.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Easter Sermon Notes

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Title: 
Encountering the Resurrected Jesus
Text: 
John 20:1-29
Campus:
Rivermont

Scripture Reading
On the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark. She saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2 So she went running to Simon Peter and to the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said to them, “They’ve taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they’ve put him!”
At that, Peter and the other disciple went out, heading for the tomb.  The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and got to the tomb first. Stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in.  Then, following him, Simon Peter also came. He entered the tomb and saw the linen cloths lying there.  The wrapping that had been on his head was not lying with the linen cloths but was folded up in a separate place by itself. The other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, then also went in, saw, and believed. For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to the place where they were staying
 But Mary stood outside the tomb, crying. As she was crying, she stooped to look into the tomb.  She saw two angels in white sitting where Jesus’s body had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet.  They said to her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“Because they’ve taken away my Lord,” she told them, “and I don’t know where they’ve put him.”
Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know it was Jesus.  “Woman,” Jesus said to her, “why are you crying? Who is it that you’re seeking?”
Supposing he was the gardener, she replied, “Sir, if you’ve carried him away, tell me where you’ve put him, and I will take him away.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
Turning around, she said to him in Aramaic,[a] “Rabboni!”—which means “Teacher.”
“Don’t cling to me,” Jesus told her, “since I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them that I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”
 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them what[b] he had said to her.
When it was evening on that first day of the week, the disciples were gathered together with the doors locked because they feared the Jews. Jesus came, stood among them, and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
Having said this, he showed them his hands and his side. So the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, I also send you.” After saying this, he breathed on them and said,[c] “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
But Thomas (called “Twin”), one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples were telling him, “We’ve seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “If I don’t see the mark of the nails in his hands, put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
A week later his disciples were indoors again, and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and look at my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Don’t be faithless, but believe.”
Thomas responded to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said, “Because you have seen me, you have believed.[e] Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

John 20:1-22
Reader: This is the Word of the Lord.
All: Thanks be to God.
 
 If Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation is empty, and so is your faith.
1 Corinthians 15:14

And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless and you are still in your sins.
1 Corinthians 15:17

If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone.
1 Corinthians 15:19

Why are we in danger every hour? I Face death every day, as surely as I may boast about you, brothers and sisters, in Christ Jesus our Lord. If I fought wild beasts at Ephesus as a mere man, what good did that do me? If the dead are not raised, ‘let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.
1 Corinthians 15:30-32

The eleven disciples traveled to Galilee to the mountain where Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped, but some doubted.
Matthew 28:16-17
 
“doubted” = (Grk: distadzo): waver, to be of two minds.

Now that same day two of them were on their way to a village called Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. Together they were discussing everything that had taken place. And while they were discussing and arguing, Jesus himself came near and began to walk along with them. But they did not recognize him.
Luke 24:13-16
 
They said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts burning within us while he was talking with us on the road?”
Luke 24:32

 The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching.
“I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus answered him. “I have always taught in the synagogue and in the temple, where all the Jews gather, and I haven’t spoken anything in secret.”

John 18:19-20
 
“saw” = (Grk. eidon): encounter, to be taken by what you see so that you now see reality differently.

A week later his disciples were indoors again, and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and look at my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Don’t be faithless, but believe.”
Thomas responded to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said, “Because you have seen me, you have believed.[e] Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

John 20:26-29

Click here to see image 1
Click here to see image 2
Click here to see image 3
Click here to see image 4
Click here to see image 5

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Matthew 11:28-30, The Message
________________________________________________________________________
 
Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Title: 
Easter Sunday
Text: 
Romans 8:29-39
Campus: 
College Hill

Jesus is a humble King.

 
Jesus is a holy King.
 
Jesus is a wise King.
 
Jesus is a servant King.
 
Jesus is a suffering King.
 
Jesus is a risen and living King.

 
The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is so important in the Christian faith because it gives us evidence of God’s love and power.
 
Jesus died and rose again – there’s nothing working against us that hasn’t already been faced and defeated by Jesus. 


We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.  For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.  And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified.
What, then, are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?  He did not even spare his own Son but gave him up for us all. 
How will he not also with him grant us everything? Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies.  Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the one who died, but even more, has been raised; he also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us. Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  As it is written:
Because of you
we are being put to death all day long;
we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:28-39 (CSB)
 
Jesus gives us the courage to approach every circumstance with courage and curiosity.
 
Q1: If God is for us, who is against us? (v. 31)
Q2: Who (or what) can separate us from the love of God? (v. 35)
God is FOR us (vv. 31-34).
NOTHING can separate us from the love of Christ (vv. 35-39).  
 
We are not condemned b/c:
Christ died for us and paid the full penalty for our sin.
Christ was raised, displaying his power over sin and death.
Christ is triumphant and reigning with the Father.
Christ intercedes for his people based on his sacrifice.
(v. 34)
 
Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
Romans 8:35
 
Is there anything, in all of creation, more powerful than God's love?
 
No matter what we face on this side of eternity, we are more than conquerors (v. 37).
Nothing in all of Creation (seen or unseen) can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
 
God can take the darkest and most difficult things in our lives, and our world, and transform them into good (Rom. 8:28).
 
Jesus died and rose again – there’s nothing working against us that hasn’t already been faced and defeated by Jesus.

_________________________________________________________________________________

April 2nd Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series:
Christ, The Servant King
Title: Little is Much
Text: Mark 4:21-23
Campus: Rivermont

He also said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket or under a bed? Isn’t it to be put on a lampstand?  For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and nothing concealed that will not be brought to light.  If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen.”  And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear. By the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and more will be added to you. For whoever has, more will be given to him, and whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”
 “The kingdom of God is like this,” he said. “A man scatters seed on the ground.  He sleeps and rises night and day; the seed sprouts and grows, although he doesn’t know how. The soil produces a crop by itself—first the blade, then the head, and then the full grain on the head.  As soon as the crop is ready, he sends for the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use to describe it?  It’s like a mustard seed that, when sown upon the soil, is the smallest of all the seeds on the ground.  And when sown, it comes up and grows taller than all the garden plants, and produces large branches, so that the birds of the sky can nest in its shade.”
He was speaking the word to them with many parables like these, as they were able to understand. He did not speak to them without a parable. Privately, however, he explained everything to his own disciples. - Mark 4:21-34
Reader: This is the Word of the Lord.
Congregation: Thanks be to God.
 
 
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.” 
Jesus, Matthew 5:6

  1. Pay Attention to what stirs our heart for him
  2. Keep showing up, and trust God with the results.
  3. Remember: A little goes a long way in the Kingdom of God. 

He also said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket or under a bed? Isn’t it to be put on a lampstand?”
Mark 4:21
 
Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.
Psalm 119:105

Click here to see image: lamp
 
“Logos” (Gk. “word”) = Divine revelation of mystery.
 
In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God.
John 1:1
 
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and nothing concealed that will not be brought to light.
Mark 4:22
 
He was speaking the word to them with many parables like these, as they were able to understand.  He did not speak to them without a parable. Privately, however, he explained everything to his own disciples.
Mark 4:33-34
 
Jesus spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12
 
“If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen.”
Mark 4:23
 
And he said to them, “pay attention to what you hear
Mark 4:24a

By the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and more will be added to you.  For whoever has, more will be given to him, and whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.

Mark 4:24b.-25

beholding the face of God in Christ, we are transformed from one degree of glory to the next.
2 Corinthians 3:18
 
 “The kingdom of God is like this,” he said. “A man scatters seed on the ground.  He sleeps and rises night and day; the seed sprouts and grows, although he doesn’t know how. The soil produces a crop by itself—first the blade, then the head, and then the full grain on the head. 2As soon as the crop is ready, he sends for the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
Mark 4:26-29
 
 Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.
James 4:8

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4

He sleeps and rises night and day; the seed sprouts and grows, although he doesn’t know how.
Mark 4:27

And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use to describe it?  It’s like a mustard seed that, when sown upon the soil, is the smallest of all the seeds on the ground. And when sown, it comes up and grows taller than all the garden plants, and produces large branches, so that the birds of the sky can nest in its shade.”
Mark 4:30-32
 
What seems irrelevant, insignificant, and small to some, can be far more meaningful and beautiful than imagined.

Revival or Renewal:
the acceleration of the ordinary work of God over time, in a moment.
___________________________________________________________________________

Sermon Notes: Tim Geisland
Series: 
The Gospel of Mark (week 9)
Text: 
Mark 21-34
Campus: 
College Hill
 
He also said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket or under a bed? Isn’t it to be put on a lampstand?  For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and nothing concealed that will not be brought to light.  If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen.”  And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear. By the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and more will be added to you. For whoever has, more will be given to him, and whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”
 “The kingdom of God is like this,” he said. “A man scatters seed on the ground.  He sleeps and rises night and day; the seed sprouts and grows, although he doesn’t know how. The soil produces a crop by itself—first the blade, then the head, and then the full grain on the head.  As soon as the crop is ready, he sends for the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use to describe it?  It’s like a mustard seed that, when sown upon the soil, is the smallest of all the seeds on the ground.  And when sown, it comes up and grows taller than all the garden plants, and produces large branches, so that the birds of the sky can nest in its shade.”
He was speaking the word to them with many parables like these, as they were able to understand. He did not speak to them without a parable. Privately, however, he explained everything to his own disciples.

Mark 4:21-34

Jesus isn’t just a miracle worker, He’s a messenger and He’s The Message.

“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
Mark 1:15

There was a battle raging: a battle for self identity. People were trying to find themselves.

“The moment you have a self at all, there is a possibility of putting yourself first—wanting to be the center—wanting to be God, in fact. That was the sin of Satan: and that was the sin he taught the human race. What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could ‘be like gods’—could set up on their own as if they had created themselves—be their own masters—invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”
~ C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“We don’t have a soul, we are a soul. We have a body.”
~ Author unknown

By saying “the kingdom of God has come”, Jesus was offering something better, something spiritual, something heavenly.

He also said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket or under a bed? Isn’t it to be put on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and nothing concealed that will not be brought to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen.”
Mark 4:21-23

What does Jesus want to teach us about the kingdom of God?
  1. God is in control and He cares
  2. The core principle of His kingdom
  3. How we can live according to this principle
 
“The kingdom of God is like this,” he said. “A man scatters seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day; the seed sprouts and grows, although he doesn’t know how. The soil produces a crop by itself — first the blade, then the head, and then the full grain on the head. As soon as the crop is ready, he sends for the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
Mark 4:26-29
 
And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use to describe it? It’s like a mustard seed that, when sown upon the soil, is the smallest of all the seeds on the ground. And when sown, it comes up and grows taller than all the garden plants, and produces large branches, so that the birds of the sky can nest in its shade.”
Mark 4:30-32

It seems that the most important things can’t be fully understood by a stated definition, they need to be lived out.  

 
And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear. By the measure you use, it will be measured to you — and more will be added to you. For whoever has, more will be given to him, and whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”
Mark 4:24-25
 
The core principle of His kingdom: the way to fullness is to empty yourself and be filled by Him
 
And whoever doesn’t take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Anyone who finds his life will lose it, and anyone who loses his life because of me will find it.
 Matthew 10:38-39
 
The core principle of His kingdom: the way to fullness is to empty yourself and be filled by Him If you give in order to get, you’re not giving at all.

“The kingdom of God is the world turned upside down.”
~ Richard Hays

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the humble, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Matthew 5:3-6
 
So don’t worry, saying, “What will we eat?”  or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.
Matthew 6:31-33

The core principle of His kingdom: the way to fullness is to empty yourself and be filled by Him
 
How can we live according to this principle?
  1. Take a deep look at Jesus - Who is God?
  2. Ask, what has He done?
  3. Then ask yourself, Who am I?
 
“Shallow Christian identities explain why professing Christians can be racists and greedy materialists, addicted to beauty and pleasure, or filled with anxiety and prone to overwork. All this comes because it is not Christ’s love but the world's power, approval, comfort, and control that are the real roots of our self-identity.”
~ Tim Keller
 
He was speaking the word to them with many parables like these, as they were able to understand. He did not speak to them without a parable. Privately, however, he explained everything to his own disciples.
Mark 4:33-34
 
Are you “his own”?
____________________________________________________________________________

March 26th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series:
Christ, The Servant King
Title:
The Genius of Jesus
Text:
Mark 4:1-20
Campus:
Rivermont

Click here to see image: Hair and Heart on Fire

Again he began to teach by the sea, and a very large crowd gathered around him. So he got into a boat on the sea and sat down, while the whole crowd was by the sea on the shore.  He taught them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them, “Listen! Consider the sower who went out to sow. As he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it.  Other seed fell on rocky ground where it didn’t have much soil, and it grew up quickly, since the soil wasn’t deep.  When the sun came up, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away.  Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it didn’t produce fruit.  Still other seed fell on good ground and it grew up, producing fruit that increased thirty, sixty, and a hundred times.” Then he said, “Let anyone who has ears to hear listen.
When he was alone, those around him with the Twelve asked him about the parables. He answered them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to those outside, everything comes in parables so that they may indeed look, and yet not perceive; they may indeed listen, and yet not understand; otherwise, they might turn back and be forgiven.”

Mark 4:1-12
 
Click here to see image: method
 
Click here to see image: message

When he was alone, those around him with the Twelve asked him about the parables.  He answered them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to those outside, everything comes in parables so that they may indeed look, and yet not perceive; they may indeed listen, and yet not understand; otherwise, they might turn back and be forgiven.”
Mark 4:10-12
 
Logos (Gk. “word”): Divine revelation of mystery.
 
Jesus is the word and wisdom of God.
 
Then he said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand all of the parables? The sower sows the word.  Some are like the word sown on the path. When they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word sown in them.  And others are like seed sown on rocky ground. When they hear the word, immediately they receive it with joy.  But they have no root; they are short-lived. When distress or persecution comes because of the word, they immediately fall away. Others are like seed sown among thorns; these are the ones who hear the word,  but the worries of this age, the deceitfulness[d] of wealth, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.  And those like seed sown on good ground hear the word, welcome it, and produce fruit thirty, sixty, and a hundred times what was sown.”
Mark 4:13-20
 
Click here to see image: typological meaning

What kind of ground am I?
_________________________________________________________________________________

Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series: 
The Gospel of Mark (week 8)
Text:
Mark 4:1-20
Campus: 
College Hill

Jesus isn’t just a miracle worker, He’s a messenger and He’s The Message.

Did you come to listen or to hear?

The gospel will always bear fruit when it is planted in good soil and fully embraced.

 
Again he began to teach by the sea, and a very large crowd gathered around him. So he got into a boat on the sea and sat down, while the whole crowd was by the sea on the shore. 2He taught them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them, “Listen! Consider the sower who went out to sow. As he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground where it didn’t have much soil, and it grew up quickly, since the soil wasn’t deep. When the sun came up, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it didn’t produce fruit. Still other seed fell on good ground and it grew up, producing fruit that increased thirty, sixty, and a hundred times.” Then he said, “Let anyone who has ears to hear listen.”
When he was alone, those around him with the Twelve asked him about the parables.  He answered them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to those outside, everything comes in parables so that they may indeed look, and yet not perceive; they may indeed listen, and yet not understand; otherwise, they might turn back and be forgiven.”
Then he said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand all of the parables? The sower sows the word.  Some are like the word sown on the path. When they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word sown in them.  And others are like seed sown on rocky ground. When they hear the word, immediately they receive it with joy. But they have no root; they are short-lived. When distress or persecution comes because of the word, they immediately fall away. Others are like seed sown among thorns; these are the ones who hear the word,  but the worries of this age, the deceitfulness of wealth, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. And those like seed sown on good ground hear the word, welcome it, and produce fruit thirty, sixty, and a hundred times what was sown.”

Mark 4:1-20 (CSB)
 
 
Listening to hear - listening to welcome God’s word and work in our lives - produces gospel fruit.

A “parable” is something that is placed alongside something else for the purpose of clarification.

 
Why in parables? Vv. 10-12
 
The Kingdom is available:
  • to anyone who is willing to hear.
  • to those who are aware of the threats to faith and who are willing to eliminate the threats
  • to anyone who welcomes the gospel into their lives
 
The seeds represent the Word of God (the gospel).
 
Four different types of soil:
  • The path: people who hear but fail to listen–deceived by Satan.
  • The rocky soil: people who hear but don’t allow the gospel to take deep roots­–when they experience trouble, they abandon the faith.
  • The thorny ground: people who hear but become distracted by worldly desires–their faith fails to bear fruit.
  • The good soil: people truly listen to the gospel and fully embrace it–and the gospel bear’s fruit. 
 
Cultivating good soil:
  • Are you listening to hear?
  • Are you aware of the threats to your faith and working to eliminate them? (Satan, trials, temptation)
  • Are you “welcoming” the gospel into your life?

Jesus is the gospel - the messenger and The Message that everyone can be saved.

“Shallow Christian identities explain why professing Christians can be racists and greedy materialists, addicted to beauty and pleasure, or filled with anxiety and prone to overwork. All this comes because it is not Christ’s love but the world's power, approval, comfort, and control that are the real roots of our self-identity.”
~ Tim Keller
______________________________________________________________________________________

March 19th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series: 
Christ, The Servant King
Title: 
The Holy Spirit & New Family of Jesus
Text: 
Mark 3:20-35
Campus: Rivermont

Jesus entered a house, and the crowd gathered again so that they were not even able to eat. When his family heard this, they set out to restrain him, because they said, “He’s out of his mind.”
The scribes who had come down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and, “He drives out demons by the ruler of the demons.”
So he summoned them and spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan?  If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand but is finished.  But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can plunder his house.
“Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for all sins and whatever blasphemies they utter. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”—because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
His mother and his brothers came, and standing outside, they sent word to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him and told him, “Look, your mother, your brothers, and your sisters are outside asking for you.”
He replied to them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?”
Looking at those sitting in a circle around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

Mark 3:20-35
 
Jesus entered a house, and the crowd gathered again so that they were not even able to eat.
His mother and his brothers came, and standing outside, they sent word to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him and told him, “Look, your mother, your brothers, and your sisters are outside asking for you.”
He replied to them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?”  Looking at those sitting in a circle around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!  Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

Mark 3:20, 31-35
 
Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.
Mark 3:35

Knowing & Being Known:
We are committed to category-defying relationships that bridge racial, social, religious, political, and gender barriers in the name of Jesus. We will practice radical & intentional hospitality as we love strangers like they are our own family, thus becoming the new kind of family that Jesus promised to create.
Being and making disciples of Jesus cross-culturally is at the heart of how we envision and practice community.

Scripture: Ephesians 2, Ephesians 4:1-4, John 17, Acts 2:41-46, Acts 4:32-37, 1 Timothy 3:15, John 13:33-35, 1 John 2:1-11, 1 John 3:14, 1 John 4:7-21
 
Click here to see image: Sources of Community 

Click here to see image: Source 1

Click here to see image: Source 2

Click here to see image: Source 3

Click here to see image: Layers 

There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female; since you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:28
 
“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

John 13:34-35:

Growing together by practicing the way of Jesus has to be the foundation of our vision for community.

The scribes who had come down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and, “He drives out demons by the ruler of the demons.”
So he summoned them and spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.  If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.  And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand but is finished.  But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can plunder his house.
“Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for all sins and whatever blasphemies they utter.

Mark 3:22-28
 
So he summoned them and spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan?  If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.  If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand but is finished.  But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can plunder his house.
Mark 3:23-27

What territory in the landscape of your life is dominated by Evil?
Is there ground that Satan has stolen that only Jesus can take back?

 
“Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for all sins and whatever blasphemies they utter.  But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
Mark 3:28-30

What territory in the landscape of your life is dominated by Evil?
Is there ground that Satan has stolen that only Jesus can take back?

 
Confession:
All: Gracious God, the sins of our heart and world are too heavy to carry, too real to hide, and too deep to undo.
All: Forgive what our lips tremble to name, what our hearts can no longer bear, and what has become for us a consuming fire of guilt and shame.

Leader: Holy Spirit, Search us and know our every anxious thought. We open the door of our hearts and keep no part of us from You. Reveal any sin that needs confession or wound that needs healing.
All: Come, Holy Spirit.
All: Set us free from a past that we cannot change; open us to a future of liberating mercy, and grace as we are transformed from one degree of glory to the next as we behold the face of Jesus Christ, The Liberating King. Amen.
All: Come, Holy Spirit.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Sermon Notes: Austin Whiteheart
Series: 
The Gospel of Mark
Title: 
Family: Know & Be Known
Text:
Mark 3:20-25
Campus: 
College Hill

Jesus redefines what it means to be a family.

 
Mark 3:20-35 shows us 3 different responses to Jesus.
 
Jesus entered a house, and the crowd gathered again so that they were not even able to eat.  

Mark 3:20
 
When his family heard this, they set out to restrain him, because they said, “He’s out of his mind.”
Mark 3:21
 
Jesus knows and understands what it’s like to be rejected by family
 
1st Response: fearful and/or uninformed rejection.

How does Jesus respond to this kind of rejection? With patience, truth, gentleness, and grace.
 
How do I respond to those who reject Jesus in fear and/or ignorance?

 
The scribes who had come down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and, “He drives out demons by the ruler of the demons.”
Mark 3:22
 
So he summoned them and spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan?  If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.  If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.  And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand but is finished.  But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can plunder his house.”
Mark 3:23-27
 
“Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for all sins and whatever blasphemies they utter. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”—because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
Mark 3:28-30
 
 
2nd Response: Knowledge and experience of the Holy Spirit, but still working in opposition to the movement of God.
 
Jesus’ warning is aimed at those who are actively working against the ministry of the Holy Spirit and the saving power of Jesus. It is not for those who are seeking to follow Jesus.

 
His mother and his brothers came, and standing outside, they sent word to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him and told him, “Look, your mother, your brothers, and your sisters are outside asking for you.”
Mark 3:31-32
 
He replied to them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?”  Looking at those sitting in a circle around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
Mark 3:33-35
 
3rd Response: Sit at the feet of Jesus and follow Him.
 
We are now in a family that goes beyond all earthly barriers. We are the family of Jesus.
 
What could Joy restored look like in my life and in the life of our church?.

 
Now the entire group of those who believed were of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but instead they held everything in common. With great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was on all of them. For there was not a needy person among them because all those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the proceeds of what was sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet. This was then distributed to each person as any had need.
Mark 3:32-35
He also said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I don’t have anything to offer him.’  Then he will answer from inside and say, ‘Don’t bother me! The door is already locked, and my children and I have gone to bed. I can’t get up to give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he won’t get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his friend’s shameless boldness, he will get up and give him as much as he needs.
“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”

Luke 11:5-13
 
God promises to give more of His power and presence through the Holy Spirit to those who ask.

Come Holy Spirit. 

Forgive us for choosing lesser loves. 
Make us more like Jesus. 
Make us into the family that only you can.
_________________________________________________________________________________
 

March 12th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Preston Burling
Series:
Christ, The Servant King
Title:
Jesus People
Text:
Mark 3:17-19
Campus:
Rivermont

Lent is a Holy Spirit disruption that, if surrendered to, will lead to a renewed and inspired direction for your life.

Click here to see image

Jesus departed with his disciples to the sea, and a large crowd followed from Galilee, and a large crowd followed from Judea,  Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond the Jordan, and around Tyre and Sidon. The large crowd came to him because they heard about everything he was doing. Then he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, so that the crowd wouldn’t crush him. Since he had healed many, all who had diseases were pressing toward him to touch him. Whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God!”  And he would strongly warn them not to make him known.
Mark 3:7-12 (CSB)

Click here to see image: map

Jesus is not a means to an ulterior good, but He, Himself is the final good.
 
The encounter itself isn’t enough, because apart from transformation, a God - inspired disruption will often be squandered revealing an aimless direction of our lives.

Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those he wanted, and they came to him.  He appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, to send them out to preach,  and to have authority to drive out demons.  He appointed the Twelve: To Simon, he gave the name Peter;  and to James the son of Zebedee, and to his brother John, he gave the name “Boanerges” (that is, “Sons of Thunder”);  Andrew; Philipand Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot,  and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.
Mark 3:13-19 (CSB)

Jesus will minister to the multitudes, but ultimately, He is calling you out of the masses (out of the crowds) and into a deep and abiding allegiance to Himself.

 1) Followers of Jesus are called to live on mission
 2) Followers of Jesus are called to live on mission together
 3) Followers of Jesus can identify the people that they will follow Jesus alongside.
 
 Have you followed Jesus’ call to live on mission alongside a community of faith?
 
 God-inspired Disruption will bring new direction to your life.
  
 As you encounter disruption during this lent season, are you prepared to follow, in obedience, to whatever it is Jesus is calling you to?

  _________________________________________________________________________________
 
Sermon Notes: Jonathan Ignacio
Series: 
The Gospel of Mark
Text: 
Mark 3:7-19
Campus: 
College Hill

 Jesus departed with his disciples to the sea, and a large crowd followed from Galilee, and a large crowd followed from Judea,  Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond
the Jordan, and around Tyre and Sidon. The large crowd came to him because they heard about everything he was doing.  Then he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, so that the crowd wouldn’t crush him.  Since he had healed many, all who had diseases were pressing toward him to touch him.  Whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God!” 12 And he would strongly warn them not to make him known.
Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those he wanted, and they came to him.  He appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, to send them out to preach,  and to have authority to drive out demons.  He appointed the Twelve: To Simon, he gave the name Peter;  and to James the son of Zebedee, and to his brother John, he gave the name “Boanerges” (that is, “Sons of Thunder”);  Andrew; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, 19 and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.
Mark 3:7-19
 
Jesus departed with his disciples to the sea, and a large crowd followed from Galilee, and a large crowd followed from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond the Jordan, and around Tyre and Sidon. The large crowd came to him because they heard about everything he was doing.
Mark 3:7-8

Then he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, so that the crowd wouldn’t crush him.
Mark 3:9
 
3 Reasons Why Jesus Healed
  1. To demonstrate His power and authority
  2. To show the kingdom of God is breaking through
  3. To demonstrate His divine compassion

Since he had healed many, all who had diseases were pressing toward him to touch him. 11 Whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God!”  And he would strongly warn them not to make him known.
Mark 3:10-12
 
If I speak human or angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.
 1 Corinthians  13:1-2

Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those he wanted, and they came to him. 14 He appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, to send them out to preach,  and to have authority to drive out demons.
Mark 3:13-15
 
He appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, to send them. 
Mark 3:14
 
Discipleship is a matter of relationship before it is a task. It’s being before doing.

Being an apprentice and follower of Jesus is not necessarily what we can do for Jesus as much as it is what Jesus can “make” of His disciples.

_________________________________________________________________________________

March 5th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series: 
Christ, The Servant King
Title: 
Resting & Healing
Text: Mark 2:23-3:6
Campus: Rivermont
 
Click here to see image: what Mark is doing
 
New wine requires fresh wineskins.
Mark 2:22
 
So, What structures or rhythms in my life do I need to be willing to disrupt in order to make room for a fresh encounter with God? (Mark 2:18-22)
 
Always respond to every impulse to pray. 
 
On the Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and his disciples began to make their way, picking some heads of grain.  The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”
He said to them, “Have you never read what David and those who were with him did when he was in need and hungry — how he entered the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest and ate the bread of the Presence —which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests —and also gave some to his companions?”
Then he told them, “The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. 28 So then, the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

Mark 2:23-28
 
In what ways does my religious life – the things I do that are connected to my faith – come from a heart that wants to control outcomes vs. a heart that just wants more Christ & his Kingdom?

Being before doing.

We seek to order our days with a way of life that brings
beneath-the-surface transformation and forms us into people who know how to abide in Jesus. We slow down our pace of life to be with Jesus, ourselves, and others. 
 
We embrace ancient, Biblical practices of prayer, Scripture, silence, solitude, and sabbath in order for the Holy Spirit to recover our humanity in the image of Jesus and heal our souls in our hurried and exhausted world.
 
It is possible to engage in religious practice and not want God at all.
If we want God, then we will get what we want.
If we don’t want God, then we will get what we want.


You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:13

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
James 4:8
 
So I say to you: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Luke 11:9, 13
 
Jesus entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a shriveled hand. In order to accuse him, they were watching him closely to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath. He told the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand before us.”
Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath or to do evil, to save life or to kill?”
But they were silent.  After looking around at them with anger, he was grieved at the hardness of their hearts and told the man, “Stretch out your hand.”
So he stretched it out, and his hand was restored.  Immediately the Pharisees went out and started plotting with the Herodians against him, how they might kill him.

Mark 3:1-6

What we want from God will influence our response to an encounter with God.
 
Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent.
Mark 3:4
 
After looking around at them with anger, he was grieved at the hardness of their hearts and told the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out, and his hand was restored.
Mark 3:5

What is in need of restoration and healing in our life? If we are willing to reveal it before God, he will heal it. But if we would rather keep hiding, whatever is left concealed remains unhealed. 

Confession: 
All: Gracious God, the sins of our heart and world are too heavy to carry, too real to hide, and too deep to undo.
All: Forgive what our lips tremble to name, what our hearts can no longer bear, and what has become for us a consuming fire of guilt and shame.

Leader: Holy Spirit, Search me and know my every anxious thought. I open the door of my heart and keep no part of me from You. Reveal any sin that needs confession or wound that needs healing. 
All: Come, Holy Spirit.
All: Set us free from a past that we cannot change; open us to a future of liberating mercy, and grace as we are transformed from one degree of glory to the next as we behold the face of Jesus Christ, The Liberating King. 

Amen. 
_____________________________________________________________________________
 
Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series: 
The Gospel of Mark
Text: 
Mark 2:23-3:6
Campus: College Hill

 
On the Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and his disciples began to make their way, picking some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”
He said to them, “Have you never read what David and those who were with him did when he was in need and hungry — how he entered the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest and ate the bread of the Presence —which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests —and also gave some to his companions?”
Then he told them, “The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.  So then, the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
3 Jesus entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a shriveled hand.  In order to accuse him, they were watching him closely to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath. He told the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand before us.”
Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath or to do evil, to save life or to kill?”
But they were silent.  After looking around at them with anger, he was grieved at the hardness of their hearts and told the man, “Stretch out your hand.”
So he stretched it out, and his hand was restored.  Immediately the Pharisees went out and started plotting with the Herodians against him, how they might kill him.

Mark 2:23-3:6
 
God is doing a new work through Jesus Christ.

You can have more information than anyone else around you about God but fail to experience the transforming presence of God.

Jesus invites us into rest and into renewal.

If your heart was hard – how would you know it?
 

Possible indicators of a hard heart:
1) you are rigid in your religion – more concerned about keeping rules than why those rules exist in the first place (2:23-27)
2) you seek God (Jesus) for the wrong motives (or with wrong motives) (3:2)
3) you lack compassion for those in need (3:2-4)
4) you lack clarity around good and evil (3:4, 6)
 
Jesus is angry and grieved when hearts are hard.  
 
Steps toward Christ-centered rest and renewal:
1) show up – eager and open to whatever God wants to do (3:1)
2) stand up – pay attention and respond to the Savior (3:3)
3) stretch out – reveal what is broken and concealed (3:5)
 
God’s forgiveness and healing isn’t something that we earn; it’s something that Jesus extends toward us based on God’s love and on Christ’s sacrifice.
 
 Jesus invites us into rest and into renewal.
 
_________________________________________________________________________________

February 26th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series:
Christ, The Servant King
Title:
Fasting, Fabric, & Wine (A New Thing)
Text:  
Mark 2:18-22
Campus
: Rivermont

“We have never seen anything like this!”
Mark 2:12
 
There are times when God does a brand new thing, in order to make way for a renewed encounter, with the God who has always been true.
 
When God is make way for a renewed encounter with him, it will always bring disruption to every sphere of life, and often requires brand new rhythms.

 
Click here to see image: The Great Emergence

“The process of wrenching, deconstructing, liberating, anxiety-producing, world-rending change as it works its way, straight as the proverbial arrow, from one regimen for ordering life to a new and unprecedented one.”
~ Phyllis Tickle on the Great Reformation of the 15th & 16th Century. From “Emergence Christianity”
 

The time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God has come near. Return, and believe the Good News!
Mark 1:14-15
 
 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees[a] were fasting. People came and asked him, “Why do John’s disciples and the Pharisees’ disciples fast, but your disciples do not fast?”
Mark 2:18
 
Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot fast while the groom is with them, can they? As long as they have the groom with them, they cannot fast.  But the time will come when the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day.
Mark 2:19-20
 
No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new patch pulls away from the old cloth, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost as well as the skins. No, new wine is put into fresh wineskins.”
Mark 2:21-22
 
Unshrunk Fabric & New Wine represent the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.
 
When God is make way for a renewed encounter with him, it will always bring disruption to every sphere of life, and often requires brand new rhythms.
Behold, I am doing a new thing. Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness & rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43:19
 
Revival (“new wine”) is the acceleration of the normal work of the Spirit over time.

Click here to see image: life as you know it

Click here to see image: crisis point
 
Click here to see image: Deconstruction

Click here to see image: Encounter, Renewal and Hope
 
Click here to see image: Reorientation
 
The old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God who, In Christ, was bringing the world back to himself…
2 Corinthians 5:17-18
 
Click here to see image: Spiritual Formation

  • Hunger for a move of God in our hearts.
  • Hunger for a move of God in our homes.
  • Hunger for a move of God in our church.
  • Hunger for a move of God in our city & region.
____________________________________________________________________________

Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series: 
The Gospel of Mark
Text: Mark 2:18-22
Campus: College Hill

If God was doing a “new thing” how would you recognize it?
 
  • What is God doing now?
  • What is God calling us into now? 
  • Where have we grown comfortable and complacent? 
 
Jesus is God’s new work in our world and he’s constantly doing a new work.
 
The Bible trains us to recognize God and invites us to respond to him, not on our terms – but on his. 

 
Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. People came and asked him, “Why do John’s disciples and the Pharisees’ disciples fast, but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot fast while the groom is with them, can they? As long as they have the groom with them, they cannot fast. 20 But the time will come when the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day. No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new patch pulls away from the old cloth, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost as well as the skins. No, new wine is put into fresh wineskins.”

Mark 2:18-22 (CSB)

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
  • What’s the best wedding you have ever attended? Why?
  • How open are you to change? Does your answer change if God is the one inviting you into something new? 
  • Maybe invite someone to pray: God speak to us. Help us see Jesus. Give us courage to respond to you. 
 
Jesus is God’s new work in our world and he’s constantly doing a new work. 
 
Pharisees: “separated ones” or “holy ones.”

The Pharisees failed to recognize that their religious regulations didn’t bring people closer to God, but actually created a distance between people and God.
 
The Pharisees missed the new thing that God was doing through Jesus. 
 
The new patch and new wine are not compatible with the old clothing and the old wineskins.

Jesus is the new patch and new wine
- he’s not an attachment to the status quo; he cannot simply be integrated into the old thing or contained by the pre-existing cultural or religious structures.

Are you willing to set aside everything that you know – the stability and the comfort of the old thing – to fully experience Jesus?
 
Where do you need to surrender the old and familiar to experience the new way of Jesus?

___________________________________________________________________

February 19th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series:
The Gospel of Mark
Text: Mark 2:13-17 (CSB)
Campus: Rivermont

…the Kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news.
Mark 1:15
 
Good news: we don’t have to run and hide from God.

Christianity isn’t primarily about attending church meetings or growing intellectually; it’s about faithfully following Jesus, recognizing his presence in our world, being transformed by him, and reflecting him to others.

 
Jesus went out again beside the sea. The whole crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them.  Then, passing by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, “Follow me,” and he got up and followed him.
While he was reclining at the table in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating[a] with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who were following him.  When the scribes who were Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
When Jesus heard this, he told them, “It is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who are sick. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.

Mark 2:13-17 (CSB)
 
As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, “Follow me,” and he got up and followed him.

While he was reclining at the table in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came to eat with Jesus and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
Now when he heard this, he said, “It is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Matthew 9:9-13

What Jesus models for us is just as important as what he teaches.
 
Matthew is a tax collector = bad man. Corrupt. Criminal. Outsider. 
1) if you’re the man or woman that everyone else avoids (an outsider) – Jesus still wants you. Jesus sees you and he wants you.
2) if you seem to have your life together and typically avoid people like Matthew – you may have to re-think your approach.
 
No one is beyond the grace of God.


Reflective question:
Have you ever felt like Levi?
Who are the people in our world and lives that we typically avoid?
Are there people that we have a hard time believing God cares about…people that we’re not sure will ever change?  
 
Jesus simply invites us to follow him - to learn from him and to be renewed by him. 

 
To follow Jesus, Levi had to give up some things: corruption, comfort, self-preservation - he had to stop oppressing others and living in opposition to God.
Are you willing to surrender whatever you have built your identity around to embrace God’s good gifts for you in Christ?
Are you willing for Jesus to re-order your world and reorient your love?


Following Jesus means joining his mission.

While he was reclining at the table in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who were following him.
Mark 2:15
 
Everyone needs Jesus and everyone is welcome.

Application

  • Religious people - we need to examine our judgements and prejudices and we need to make time for sinners like Matthew.
  • non-Christians - examine your judgements and prejudices.
________________________________________________________________________
 
Sermon Notes: Preston Burling
Series: The Gospel of Mark
Title: Scandalous Grace
Text: Mark 2:13-17 (CSB)
Campus: College Hill

Click here to see image: first century harbor town
 
Three Groups:
  • Recipients
  • Ambassadors
  • Enemies
 
Jesus went out again beside the sea. The whole crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. Then, passing by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, “Follow me,” and he got up and followed him.
While he was reclining at the table in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who were following him. When the scribes who were Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
When Jesus heard this, he told them, “It is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who are sick. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Mark 2:13-17
 
Recipient: Tax Collector (Representing non-disciples)
Ambassador: Disciples & soon to be Matthew
Enemy: Pharisees
 
Jesus went out again beside the sea. The whole crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them.
Mark 2:13
 
Then, passing by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, “Follow me,” and he got up and followed him.
Mark 2:14
 
Matthew literally left EVERYTHING behind to follow Jesus, with no inclination or possibility to return
 
While he was reclining at the table in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating[a] with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who were following him.
Mark 2:15
 
We must trust God with the risks that come with advancing his kingdom
 
 “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:38-39
 
When the scribes who were Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
Mark 2:16
 
We cannot follow Jesus and maintain allegiance to ourselves
 
Legalism:
Newborn: Born to resist the idea of grace, because of what it says about us. Holds belief we can earn or we deserve abundant life.
Pharisee: Same fears of grace, but will coat insecurities of grace in knowledge, morality & religion. Holds the belief that they are more accepted to God than others.

Allowing the sin in our lives to be exposed is the opportunity to be astounded by the grace of God.

The Pharisee can quickly become the Christian who has not allowed for “beneath the surface” transformation to occur in their life.

 
3 Dangerous D’s:
  1. Distancing
  2. Deflection
  3. Denial
 
These “Dangerous D’s” cultivate the soil for the Pharisee.
 
“I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me.”
John 15:5
 
When Jesus heard this, he told them, “It is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who are sick. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Mark 2:17
 
Resonate with the tax collector? Jesus is asking to dine with you
Resonate with the Pharisee? Jesus came to heal the sick
The invitation is repentance: For both the unbeliever and the Pharisee
__________________________________________________________________________________

February 12th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series: Christ the Servant-King
Title: Four Friends & the Cost of Forgiveness
Text:  Mark 2:1-12
Campus: Rivermont

Click here to see image: Emmnauel Nine

When he entered Capernaum again after some days, it was reported that he was at home. So many people gathered together that there was no more room, not even in the doorway, and he was speaking the word to them. 
Mark 2:1-2

They came to him bringing a paralytic, carried by four of them. Since they were not able to bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and after digging through it, they lowered the mat on which the paralytic was lying
Mark 2:3-4

Seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Mark 2:5
 
But some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts: “Why does he speak like this? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Right away Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were thinking like this within themselves and said to them, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts?”

Mark 2:6-8

Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Get up, take your mat, and walk”? 
Mark 2:9

But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins—he told the paralytic—“I tell you: get up, take your mat, and go home.”
Immediately he got up, took the mat, and went out in front of everyone. As a result, they were all astounded and gave glory to God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

Mark 2:10-12
 
Seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Mark 2:5
 
So that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins – he told the paralytic, ”I tell you: get up, take your mat, and go home.”

Mark 2:10

“I realized something
when I woke up this morning
what I'm overwhelmed by
is exactly what I wanted.”
~ Jonathan McReynolds “Adulting”
 
Click here to see image Seven Ancient Wonders

So we do not set our hearts on the things that are see, but rather on the things that are unseen. For that which is seen is temporary and that which is unseen endures forever.
2 Corinthians 4:18
 
There is more meaning in the details of your life than you can fathom. Everything is spiritual.
_________________________________________________________________
 
Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series:
The Gospel of Mark
Text:
Mark 2:1-12
Campus:
College Hill

Each of the gospels tells the story of Jesus Christ from a unique perspective and each had a different original audience.

“After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee proclaiming the good news of God: The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news.”
Mark 1:14-15

When he entered Capernaum again after some days, it was reported that he was at home. So many people gathered together that there was no more room, not even in the doorway, and he was speaking the word to them. They came to him bringing a paralytic, carried by four of them. Since they were not able to bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and after digging through it, they lowered the mat on which the paralytic was lying. Seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
But some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts: “Why does he speak like this? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Right away Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were thinking like this within themselves and said to them, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts?
Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Get up, take your mat, and walk”?
But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he told the paralytic—“I tell you: get up, take your mat, and go home.”
Immediately he got up, took the mat, and went out in front of everyone. As a result, they were all astounded and gave glory to God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

Mark 2:1-12 (CSB)

This first story is all about the heart – the heart of God and our hearts (Mark 2:1-12).

Jesus exposes our hearts and, if we are willing and we have faith, he has the authority and capacity to make us whole again.
Mark uses the expression - the word - to describe the message of good news that Jesus was sharing
 (Mark 1:14-15).

Get some friends who are willing to do anything to bring you to Jesus.
 
Be the type of friend who is willing to do anything to bring others to Jesus.  
By addressing the sins of this man Jesus is exposing everyone to a dual reality – there’s a physical reality and a spiritual reality.
 
Jesus can forgive sins because He himself will pay the price for this man’s sin and for the sins of the world.

Jesus can make us whole again.
 
The invitation of the gospel: Come to Jesus.

________________________________________________________________

February 5th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series: The Gospel of Mark
Title: The Way of Jesus, The Servant KIng
Text:  Mark 1:1-45
Campus: Rivermont

“This is why I have come.”
Mark 1:38

Click here to see  image: what is  the gospel of mark is

Click here to see image:worship, prototype, imagination 
“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”
Mark 1:1

Click here to see  image: worship 
Click here to see  image:  prototype.
Click here to see image: imagination
 
 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet
See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;
he will prepare your way.
A voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
Prepare the way for the Lord;
make his paths straight!

Mark 1:1-3

John came baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. John wore a camel-hair garment with a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey.
He proclaimed, “One who is more powerful than I am is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the strap of his sandals.  I baptize you with[g] water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Mark 1:4-7

 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. As soon as he came up out of the water, he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.  And a voice came from heaven: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well-pleased.”
Mark 1:9-11

Immediately the Spirit drove him into the wilderness.  He was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and the angels were serving him.
Mark 1:12-13

 After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee, proclaiming the good news[h][i] of God: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
Mark 1:14-15

As he passed alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew, Simon’s brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen.  “Follow me,” Jesus told them, “and I will make you fish for people.”
Immediately they left their nets and followed him. Going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat putting their nets in order.  Immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.

Mark 1:16-20

They went into Capernaum, and right away he entered the synagogue on the Sabbath and began to teach. They were astonished at his teaching because he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not like the scribes.
Just then a man with an unclean spirit was in their synagogue. He cried out,  “What do you have to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
Jesus rebuked him saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!”  And the unclean spirit threw him into convulsions, shouted with a loud voice, and came out of him.
They were all amazed, and so they began to ask each other, “What is this? A new teaching with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.”
At once the news about him spread throughout the entire vicinity of Galilee.

Mark 1:21-28

As soon as they left the synagogue, they went into Simon and Andrew’s house with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law was lying in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once.  So he went to her, took her by the hand, and raised her up. The fever left her,[l] and she began to serve them.
When evening came, after the sun had set, they brought to him all those who were sick and demon-possessed.  The whole town was assembled at the door,  and he healed many who were sick with various diseases and drove out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he got up, went out, and made his way to a deserted place; and there he was praying.
Simon and his companions searched for him,  and when they found him they said, “Everyone is looking for you.”
And he said to them, “Let’s go on to the neighboring villages so that I may preach there too. This is why I have come.”

Mark 1:29-38

He went into all of Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
Mark 1:39

Then a man with leprosy came to him and, on his knees, begged him, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Mark 1:40

Moved with compassion,[o] Jesus reached out his hand and touched him. “I am willing,” he told him. “Be made clean.”
Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.

Mark 1:41-42

Then he sternly warned him and sent him away at once, telling him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go and show yourself to the priest, and offer what Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”
Yet he went out and began to proclaim it widely and to spread the news, with the result that Jesus could no longer enter a town openly. But he was out in deserted places, and they came to him from everywhere.

Mark 1:43-45
______________________________________________________________________

Sermon Notes: Austin Whiteheart
Series:
The Gospel of Mark
Title: The Way of Jesus, the Servant-King
Text:  Mark 1:1-45
Campus: College Hill

Gospel:
Good News

“The” Gospel: The Good News of Jesus’ ministry, life, death, resurrection, and the forgiveness of sins for those who believe in Him

The four gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – are the four written accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry on earth.

Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the true and perfect King.

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way.   A voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
Prepare the way for the Lord; make his paths straight!  John came baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.  John wore a camel-hair garment with a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey.  
He proclaimed, “One who is more powerful than I am is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the strap of his sandals. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Mark 1:1-8

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. As soon as he came up out of the water, he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.  And a voice came from heaven: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well-pleased.” 
Mark 1:9-11

Immediately the Spirit drove him into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and the angels were serving him. 
Mark 1:12-13

 The Kingdom of God has come.

After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” 
Mark 1:14-15

What Kind of King is Jesus?
A King who invites people to join Him 
(vv. 16-20)

As he passed alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew, Simon’s brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen.  
“Follow me,” Jesus told them, “and I will make you fish for people.”
Immediately they left their nets and followed him. Going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat putting their nets in order.  Immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.

Mark 1:16-20

Jesus is a king who invites us to join Him in building His kingdom. 

What Kind of King is Jesus? 
A King who invites people to join Him (vv. 16-20)
A King with authority (vv. 21-28)

They went into Capernaum, and right away he entered the synagogue on the Sabbath and began to teach. They were astonished at his teaching because he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not like the scribes.  Just then a man with an unclean spirit was in their synagogue.
He cried out, “What do you have to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”  
Jesus rebuked him saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!”
And the unclean spirit threw him into convulsions, shouted with a loud voice, and came out of him. They were all amazed, and so they began to ask each other, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.”
At once the news about him spread throughout the entire vicinity of Galilee.

Mark 1:21-28

 Jesus shows us His perfect wisdom and authority; He is a King over all the heavens and the earth.

What Kind of King is Jesus? 
A King who invites people to join Him (vv. 16-20)
A King with authority (vv. 21-28)
A King who heals (vv. 29-34)

 As soon as they left the synagogue, they went into Simon and Andrew’s house with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law was lying in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once.  So he went to her, took her by the hand, and raised her up. The fever left her, and she began to serve them.
 When evening came, after the sun had set, they brought to him all those who were sick and demon-possessed. The whole town was assembled at the door,  and he healed many who were sick with various diseases and drove out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.

Mark 1:29-24

Jesus shows us that He’s the King who can heal our deepest needs. 

 What Kind of King is Jesus? 
A King who invites people to join Him (vv. 16-20)
A King with authority (vv. 21-28)
A King who heals (vv. 29-34)
A King on a mission (vv. 35-38)

 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he got up, went out, and made his way to a deserted place; and there he was praying.  Simon and his companions searched for him,  and when they found him they said, “Everyone is looking for you.”
And he said to them, “Let’s go on to the neighboring villages so that I may preach there too. This is why I have come.”

Mark 1:35-38

Jesus models for us a rhythm of rest with God and service for the Kingdom, and He reminds us that we are on a mission. 

What Kind of King is Jesus? 

A King who invites people to join Him (vv. 16-20)
A King with authority (vv. 21-28)
A King who heals (vv. 29-34)
A King on a mission (vv. 35-38)
A King who is near to us (39-45)

 He went into all of Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.  Then a man with leprosy came to him and, on his knees, begged him, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched him.
 “I am willing,” he told him. “Be made clean.”
 Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 

Mark 1:39-42

 Jesus, in all his power, wisdom, and authority, is a king who has compassion on us and comes near to us in our brokenness.

 Which aspect of Jesus shown in Mark one do you need Him to meet you in today?
 
A King who invites you to join Him
A King with authority
A King who heals
A King on a mission
A King who is near to us
_________________________________________________________________________

January 15th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series: 
Values 2023
Title: 
Locally Rooted, Globally Engaged
Text:  
Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8
Campus:
Rivermont

Click here to see image

“I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”
~ (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image. Let them rule over the fish in the seas and the birds in the sky. Let them rule over the livestock and all the wild animals. And let them rule over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
So God created human beings in his own image.
He created them to be like himself.
He created them as male and female.

Genesis 1:26-27

We are the people of God, rescued by the Son, and empowered by the Spirit to live on mission in our homes, communities, and world.
We strive to love God, grow in community, and reach out with the love of Christ.


We value…
Being before doing.
Joyful orthodoxy.
Knowing & being known.
Sacrificial generosity.
Dependence on the Holy Spirit.
Locally rooted & globally engaged.  

Values give language and behaviors that shape a culture over time.

We are a sacrificial and risk-taking community fiercely committed to the Great Commission of Jesus to go and make disciples of all nations in our homes, communities, and world. Sharing the good news about Jesus starts with our neighbors and extends to the nations, and drives our impulse to multiply disciples, leaders, and churches.
Scripture: Genesis 1:26-27, Matthew 6:9-13, Matthew 28:18-20, John 20:21, Acts 1:8, Ephesians 2:10, Revelation 7:9-10

Therefore, you should pray like this:
Our Father in heaven,
your name be honored as holy.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.

Matthew 6:9-10

Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, I also send you.”
John 20:21

And you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Acts 1:8

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10

After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God,
who is seated on the throne,
and to the Lamb!”

Revelation 7:9-10
 
 
God is forming for himself a family from among our neighbors and the nations. 
First, being a church that is locally rooted and globally engaged means that we are a church for the city and for the world. Not just another church for Christians who are looking for something new or different.


What does it mean to be “locally rooted”?
  1. Listen to the story of your place (don’t despise it). (Ecclesiastes 3:11, Genesis 1:26-27).
  1. Notice & name the needs of our place (the physical, relational, & cultural symptoms of gospel-lessness)
  2. Locate the hearts of the people (discern the spiritual climate).
_____________________________________________________________________
 
Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series: Values 2023
Title:  
Locally Rooted & Globally Engaged
Campus: 
College Hill

Our mission: to glorify God by making disciples who love God, grow in community, and reach out with the love of God.

Our commissioning: 
we are the people of God, saved by the Son and empowered by the Spirit, to live on mission in our homes, community, and world…
 
Mission describes something you will or will not do.
Vision describes where you could or should be, or where you are going.
Values address the principles that guide us as we strive to accomplish our mission.

We value…
Being before doing.
Joyful orthodoxy.
Knowing & being known.
Sacrificial generosity.
Dependence on the Holy Spirit.
Locally rooted & globally engaged.   
 
Locally rooted and globally engaged.
 
“We are a sacrificial and risk-taking community fiercely committed to the Great Commission of Jesus to go and make disciples of all nations in our homes, communities, and world.
 
Sharing the good news about Jesus starts with our neighbors and extends to the nations, and drives our impulse to multiply disciples, leaders, and churches.” 

 
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.”
So God created man in his own image;
he created him in the image of God;
he created them male and female.

Genesis 1:26-27 (CSB)

In the beginning human beings are engaged in a global stewardship, but they are placed in a location.
 
So the Lord God sent him away from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken.  He drove the man out and stationed the cherubim and the flaming, whirling sword east of the garden of Eden to guard the way to the tree of life.
Genesis 3:23-24

The Lord said to Abram:
Go from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.
I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, I will curse anyone who treats you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you. 

Genesis 12:1-3 (CSB)

God loves people so much and cares so deeply about his promise to Abraham that he physically comes to earth.
 
Jesus invites each one of us to join his mission. 

 
 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, I also send you.”
John 20:21 (CSB)

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always,  to the end of the age.
Matthew 28:19-20 (CSB)

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Acts 1:8 (CSB)
 
All around us there are lost people and there are desolate places that need to be connected to Jesus.
 
After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
Salvation belongs to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!

Revelation 7:9-10 (CSB)

How does God want me and my family to be involved in his global mission?
________________________________________________________________________

New Year's Day 2023

Scripture Reading
This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the remaining exiled elders, the priests, the prophets, and all the people Nebuchadnezzar had deported from Jerusalem to Babylon. This was after King Jeconiah, the queen mother, the court officials, the officials of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the metalsmiths had left Jerusalem.  He sent the letter with Elasah son of Shaphan and Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to Babylon to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The letter stated:
This is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the exiles I deported from Jerusalem to Babylon:  “Build houses and live in them. Plant gardens and eat their produce. Find wives for yourselves, and have sons and daughters. Find wives for your sons and give your daughters to men in marriage so that they may bear sons and daughters. Multiply there; do not decrease.  Pursue the well-being of the city I have deported you to. Pray to the Lord on its behalf, for when it thrives, you will thrive.”
For this is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Don’t let your prophets who are among you and your diviners deceive you, and don’t listen to the dreams you elicit from them, for they are prophesying falsely to you in my name. I have not sent them.” This is the Lord’s declaration.
For this is what the Lord says: “When seventy years for Babylon are complete, I will attend to you and will confirm my promise concerning you to restore you to this place. For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will call to me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.  I will be found by you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and places where I banished you”—this is the Lord’s declaration. “I will restore you to the place from which I deported you.”

Jeremiah 29:1-14
_______________________________________________________________________

Christmas Day

December 25, 2022
Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman and Andrew Moroz
Title:  
Advent
Text: 
Hebrews 1:1-3a
Campus
: Online

Long ago God spoke to our ancestors by the prophets at different times and in different ways. In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son. God has appointed him heir of all things and made the universe through him. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of his nature, sustaining all things by his powerful word.
Hebrews 1:1-3 CSB

For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. His kingdom will be vast, and its flourishing will be endless. He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now on and forever. God in his passion will accomplish this.
Isaiah 9:6-7

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

In him was life, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.
John 1:4-5

Eternal God,
in the stillness of the night
you sent your almighty Word
to pierce the world's darkness with the light of life:
give to the earth the peace that we long for
and fill our hearts with the joy of Your Kingdom
through our Saviour, Jesus Christ - the Light of the World.
Amen.

________________________________________________________________________

SCRIPTURE READINGS FOR CHRISTMAS EVE (CHRIST)

December 24th, 2022
READING #1: 
Selections from Isaiah 9:1-7 (ESV)
Context
: awaiting the promised light, amidst this present darkness. Lamenting the sin, violence, and death in this world, while persevering in hope for the Light of the World. This was the posture of the people of God before Christ’s first advent and ours as we await his second advent.

1 But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time, he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time, he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.
2 The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
    on them has light shone.
4 For the yoke of their burden,
    and the staff for their shoulder,
    the rod of the oppressor,
     have been broken as on the day of Midian.
5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
    and every garment rolled in blood
    will be burned as fuel for the fire.
6 For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon[d] his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called[e]
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 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.
Selections from


Psalm 27 (CSB)
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation;
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
    of whom shall I be afraid?
 
4 One thing have I asked of the Lord,
    that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
    and to inquire in his temple.
 
7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud;
    be gracious to me and answer me!
8 You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
    “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”
9 Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger,
    O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
    O God of my salvation!
10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
    but the Lord will take me in.

13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living!
14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the Lord!


So we wait in confident expectation for the light in the darkness, Jesus of Nazareth, the Liberating King. And in the meantime, we seek his face, walk in the light of his presence, and call to mind again and again that we are not alone. Christ has come and he is coming again.
 
*Light the Christ Candle*

READING #2:
Context:
This is who Jesus is. Go and be/do likewise.
Lead into the lighting of our candles off of the Christ Candle.
Selections from the Gospel of John (CSB)
1:1 In the beginning, was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.


8:12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
 
Matthew 5:14-16
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
 
2 Corinthians 4:6-7
6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

____________________________________________________________________

December 18th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series: 
Advent
Title:
 Love
Text: 
Isaiah 7:14, Psalm 80, Matthew 1:18-end, Romans 1:1-7
Campus: 
Rivermont
 
TEXTURES: New ways of seeing old, familiar things.
 
The more we behold something truly beautiful, the richer our encounter with it becomes.

 
Therefore, the LORD himself will give you a sign: See, the virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel.
 Isaiah 7:14

The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After his mother Mary had been engaged[a] to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant from the Holy Spirit. So her husband, Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly.
But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name him Immanuel,
which is translated “God is with us.”
When Joseph woke up, he did as the Lord’s angel had commanded him. He married her but did not have sexual relations with her until she gave birth to a son. And he named him Jesus.

Matthew 1:18-25
 
Love is what nurtures and nourishes life.

“We are all looking for someone looking for us, and we remain in this mode of searching for the rest of our lives.”
~ Dr. Curt Thomspon, Neuroscientist

We love because God first loved us.
1 John 4:19
 
God is love
1 John 4:8
 
Listen, Shepherd of Israel, who leads Joseph like a flock; you who sit enthroned between the
cherubim, shine on Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh. Rally your power and come to save us.

Psalm 80:1-2
 
Lord God of Armies, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers? You fed them the bread of tears and gave them a full measure of tears to drink. You put us at odds with our neighbors; our enemies mock us.
Psalm 80:4-6
 
Restore us, God of Armies; make your face shine on us, so that we may be saved.

Psalm 80:7
 
When the face of God shines on us, it will be the face of love.
 
“Justice that is only justice soon degenerates into something less than justice. Justice must be rescued by something grander & deeper than itself, namely love.”

 
Click here to see image: Rafael’s depiction on the Sistine Chapel
 
See what profound love God has lavished on us that we should be made sons and daughters - and that’s what we are!
1 John 3:1

This is how we have come know what love is: Jesus laid his life down for us.
1 John 3:16a
 
The Advent of Jesus announces the good news that there is more love to be known in this world than our hearts can stand.

 
This is how we have come know what love is: Jesus laid his life down for us. In the same way, we also ought to lay down our lives for for our brothers and sisters.
1 John 3:16

"As long as “being the Beloved” is little more than a beautiful thought or a lofty idea that hangs above my life to keep me from becoming depressed, nothing really changes. What is required is to become the Beloved in the commonplaces of my daily existence, and bit by bit to close the gap that exists between what I know myself to be and the countless realities of everyday life. Becoming the Beloved is pulling the truth revealed to me from above down into the ordinariness of what I am thinking of, talking about, and doing from hour to hour."
~ Henri Nouwen, “Life of the Beloved”

Prayer: Restore us, O God. Make your face shine on us, so that we may be saved (healed).
____________________________________________________________________________
 
Sermon Notes: Zachary Foster
Series:
Advent
Title:  You are Loved
Text: Psalm 80
Campus: College Hill

"Human beings are not good at loving people. You can’t give people what you don’t have. The reason we are not good at loving people is that we are not good at being loved. My biggest most glaring pathology is that I’m so resistant to being loved.”
~ Curt Thompson

Listen, Shepherd of Israel, who leads Joseph like a flock; you who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine on Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh. Rally your power and come to save us. Restore us, God; make your face shine on us, so that we may be saved. Lord God of Armies, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers? You fed them the bread of tears and gave them a full measure of tears to drink. You put us at odds with our neighbors; our enemies mock us. Restore us, God of Armies; make your face shine on us, so that we may be saved. You dug up a vine from Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it. You cleared a place for it; it took root and filled the land. The mountains were covered by its shade, and the mighty cedars with its branches. It sent out sprouts toward the Sea and shoots toward the River. Why have you broken down its walls so that all who pass by pick its fruit? Boars from the forest tear at it and creatures of the field feed on it. Return, God of Armies. Look down from heaven and see; take care of this vine, the root your right hand planted, the son that you made strong for yourself. It was cut down and burned; they perish at the rebuke of your countenance. Let your hand be with the man at your right hand, with the son of man you have made strong for yourself. Then we will not turn away from you; revive us, and we will call on your name. Restore us, Lord, God of Armies; make your face shine on us, so that we may be saved.
Psalms 80:1-19 CSB

“Restore us, Lord God, make your face shine on us, so that we may be saved.”
 
"We are all looking for someone looking for us and we remain in this mode of searching for the rest of our lives."
~ Curt Thompson

Advent is the prime example that God has turned toward us and shown us what love is: by sending His Son to be with us and to die for us.

For while we were still helpless, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. For rarely will someone die for a just person — though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:6-8 CSB

They seized him, led him away, and brought him into the high priest’s house. Meanwhile Peter was following at a distance. They lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, and Peter sat among them. When a servant saw him sitting in the light, and looked closely at him, she said, “This man was with him too.”
But he denied it: “Woman, I don’t know him.”
After a little while, someone else saw him and said, “You’re one of them too.”
“Man, I am not!” Peter said.
About an hour later, another kept insisting, “This man was certainly with him, since he’s also a Galilean.”
But Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. Then the Lord turned and looked at Peter. So Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.

Luke 22:54-62 CSB

God’s love is nothing short of relentless in His pursuit of those He loves.
 
But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there. I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope. She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young, when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt.
Hosea 2:14-15 NLT

When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side; they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he told them. “You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they put him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see him there just as he told you.’”
Mark 16:5-7 CSB

God won’t settle with leaving you where He finds you!
 
What, then, are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He did not even spare his own Son but gave him up for us all. How will he not also with him grant us everything? Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies. Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the one who died, but even more, has been raised; he also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us. Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: Because of you we are being put to death all day long; we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:31-39 CSB

“As long as “being the Beloved” is little more than a beautiful thought or a lofty idea that hangs above my life to keep me from becoming depressed, nothing really changes. What is required is to become the Beloved in the commonplaces of my daily existence, and bit by bit to close the gap that exists between what I know myself to be and the countless realities of everyday life. Becoming the Beloved is pulling the truth revealed to me from above down into the ordinariness of what I am thinking of, talking about, and doing from hour to hour.”
~ Henri Nouwen

Takeaway 1:
Remind yourself who God is:

Takeaway 2: 
Remind yourself of who you are:

Takeaway 3:
Keep in step with the Spirit
____________________________________________________________________

December 11th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Jonathan Ignacio
Series:
Advent
Title: Joy of the Redeemed
Scripture: Isaiah 35:1-10
Campus: Rivermont
 
“Joy is not the mere sensation of pleasure — it is a pervasive, constant, and unending sense of well-being that flows from vision, peace, righteousness, and hope. True joy is robust — even including outright hilarity! We can experience the joy of being in God’s kingdom even in the midst of suffering and loss.”
~ Dallas Willard
 
Through the Messiah, He’s going to bring final and cosmic renewal and restoration to all creation. Holistic redemption will come to all creation and the redeemed will worship, free from worry, distraction, and anxiety forever in eternal joy with Jesus.

The wilderness and the dry land will be glad; the desert will rejoice and blossom like a wildflower.
It will blossom abundantly and will also rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon.
They will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God.
Strengthen the weak hands, steady the shaking knees!
Say to the cowardly: “Be strong; do not fear! Here is your God; vengeance is coming. God’s retribution is coming; he will save you.”
Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will sing for joy, for water will gush in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the parched ground will become a pool, and the thirsty land, springs.
In the haunt of jackals, in their lairs, there will be grass, reeds, and papyrus.
A road will be there and a way; it will be called the Holy Way.
The unclean will not travel on it, but it will be for the one who walks the path.
Fools will not wander on it.
There will be no lion there, and no vicious beast will go up on it; they will not be found there. But the redeemed will walk on it,and the ransomed of the Lord will return
and come to Zion with singing, crowned with unending joy. Joy and gladness will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee.

Isaiah 35

The wilderness and the dry land will be glad; the desert will rejoice and blossom like a wildflower.  It will blossom abundantly and will also rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God.
Isaiah 35:1-2

Strengthen the weak hands, steady the shaking knees! Say to the cowardly: “Be strong; do not fear! Here is your God; vengeance is coming. God’s retribution is coming; he will save you.”
Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped.  Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will sing for JOY, for water will gush in the wilderness, and streams in the desert;

Isaiah 35:3-6

The physical expressions of joy and gladness will be a reflection of the health of our inner life. All of our mental and physical faculties will gloriously be integrated and harmonized to worship and enjoy Him forever.
 
For I will create new heavens and a new earth; the past events will not be remembered or come to mind. Then be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I will create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people to be a delight.
Isaiah 65:17-18
 
And let us consider one another in order to provoke love and good works,  not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching.
Hebrews 10:24-25

Now when John heard in prison what the Christ was doing, he sent a message through his disciples  and asked him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”
Jesus replied to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor are told the good news.”

Matthew 11:2-5

Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will sing for JOY, for water will gush in the wilderness, and streams in the desert;  the parched ground will become a pool, and the thirsty land, springs. In the haunt of jackals, in their lairs, there will be grass, reeds, and papyrus.
A road will be there and a way; it will be called the Holy Way. The unclean will not travel on it, but it will be for the one who walks the path. Fools will not wander on it. There will be no lion there, and no vicious beast will go up on it; they will not be found there. But the redeemed will walk on it, and the ransomed of the Lord will return and come to Zion with singing, crowned with unending JOY. JOY and gladness will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee.

Isaiah 35:6-10

Our God given potential for joy has yet to be fully experienced. The experiences and moments of joy during this time on earth are an incredible gift of grace but they are only a shadow of what we will fully experience when Isaiah 35 becomes a reality.
 
Israel’s story in Isaiah becomes our story through faith in Jesus. At the heart of Advent season each year is “Encourage the weak! Be Strong! Do not fear! Here is your God! He will save you!” Advent is an opportunity to embody the joy of Christ because of what He has done and will do for us.
 
This ultimately is the end goal of Christmas. To bring us home to eternity with Jesus. The battle with sin will end. The final outcome of the birth of our Savior is entering into the joy of His salvation, forever being with Him in a Garden-City more glorious and beautiful than the first garden.

_________________________________________________________________________

Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series
: Advent
Title: Joy
Scripture: Isaiah 35:1-10
Campus: College Hill

“Joy is not the mere sensation of pleasure — it is a pervasive, constant, and unending sense of well-being that flows from vision, peace, righteousness, and hope. True joy is robust — even including outright hilarity! We can experience the joy of being in God’s kingdom even in the midst of suffering and loss.”
~ Dallas Willard

“Perhaps this is the most distinguishing characteristic of the joy that Christ offers; it extends beyond the boundaries of our circumstances. This joy is undeniably different from the emotional experience of happiness.”
“It’s merely a small piece of the joy that is available to us as those who have put our trust in Jesus.”
“Joy is not a denial of sadness. Celebration leaves room for lament as we remember and grieve the loss of something or someone significant and precious to us. Celebration doesn’t pretend that pain doesn’t hurt. No, celebrating in the midst of our pain means that we allow the sorrowful stories to break our hearts. We let hurt in someone else’s story interrupt our own reality. And we celebrate that those stories of pain will not be the last stories told.”
~ Nicole Zasowski, What if It’s Wonderful?

Hope in Jesus and his eternal future is the fuel of unending Christian joy.

The wilderness and the dry land will be glad; the desert will rejoice and blossom like a wildflower.
It will blossom abundantly and will also rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon.
They will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God.
Strengthen the weak hands, steady the shaking knees!
Say to the cowardly: “Be strong; do not fear! Here is your God; vengeance is coming. God’s retribution is coming; he will save you.”
Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will sing for joy, for water will gush in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the parched ground will become a pool, and the thirsty land, springs.
In the haunt of jackals, in their lairs, there will be grass, reeds, and papyrus.
A road will be there and a way; it will be called the Holy Way.
The unclean will not travel on it, but it will be for the one who walks the path.
Fools will not wander on it.
There will be no lion there, and no vicious beast will go up on it; they will not be found there. But the redeemed will walk on it, and the ransomed of the Lord will return
and come to Zion with singing, crowned with unending joy. Joy and gladness will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee.

Isaiah 35 (CSB)
 
Three things about our future reality with Jesus: 
All of nature is renewed and the land is fertile (vv. 1-2)
Physical and emotional limitations are removed and human bodies will be fully restored (vv. 3-6)
Zion, the city of God, is full of unending joy (v. 10)

1) All of nature is renewed and the land is fertile (vv. 1-2)

The ground is cursed because of you. You will eat from it by means of painful labor all the days of your life.
Genesis 3:17b

You will eat bread by the sweat of your brow until you return to the ground, sin you were taken from it. For you are dust, and you will return to dust.
Genesis 3:19

No longer will there be a curse upon anything.
Revelation 22:3a

2) Physical and emotional limitations are removed and human bodies will be fully restored (vv. 3-6)
3) Zion, the city of God, is full of unending joy (v. 10)

Jesus came. He is present in our world right now. He’s coming back to finish the work that he started.
 
The fuel of unending Christian joy: we can be right with God, his Kingdom is present in our lives right now, and our eternal future is beautiful and secure.


What, then, are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He did not even spare his own Son but gave him up for us all. How will he not also with him grant us everything?  Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies.  Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the one who died, but even more, has been raised; he also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us.

Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  As it is written:
Because of you
we are being put to death all day long;
we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered 

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus

Romans 8:31-39 (CSB)
______________________________________________________________________

December 4th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Sermon Series:
Advent
Title: Peace
Text: Romans 15:4-13 (Isaiah 11:1-2, 6,9,10. Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19. Matthew 3:1-2, 11)
Campus: Rivermont

 For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and through the encouragement from the Scriptures. Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, according to Christ Jesus,  so that you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with one mind and one voice.
Glorifying God Together
Therefore welcome one another, just as Christ also welcomed you, to the glory of God. For I say that Christ became a servant of the circumcised on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises to the fathers, and so that Gentiles may glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,
Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles,
and I will sing praise to your name.
Again it says, Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people!  And again,
Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles;
let all the peoples praise him!
 And again, Isaiah says,
The root of Jesse will appear,
the one who rises to rule the Gentiles;
the Gentiles will hope in him.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:4-13

Question: What do I tend to do when I’m feeling something I don’t want to feel?
 
Shalom: peace, flourishing, all is as it should be.
 
Dissociation: “a widespread survival strategy, the avoidance or elimination of painful knowledge from conscious awareness”
(Psychologists, Watkins & Shulman)

“The glory of God is the human being fully alive.”
St. Irenaeus, 185AD (Against Heresies)

Christ makes peace, and makes us whole—body, mind, heart, & soul.

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.
Ephesians 2:14

The peace of Christ transgresses every boundary that disintegrates our relationships.
 
Peace is not the absence of stress or conflict. Peace is the presence of Christ.
 
The experience of Christ as our peace moves us from hostility to hospitality (Henri Nouwen).
 
Where is there conflict or hostility in my life? (With God, myself, or with others?)
 
How might God be inviting me away from my normal distractions and coping mechanisms and instead into the experience of peace in his presence?

_____________________________________________________________________________

Sermon Notes:  Andrew Moroz
Sermon Series:
Advent
Title: Peace
Text: Romans 15:4-13
Campus: College Hill

Advent is an opportunity for us to look back at Christ’s first coming many years ago – and to think forward to his future return.

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13 (CSB)

What we believe – the object of our faith – is more important than our outward circumstances.

For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and through the encouragement from the Scriptures. 
 Read Romans 15:4

The Scriptures are intended to fill us with hope.
 
Endurance and encouragement enables us to live in hope.


Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, according to Christ Jesus, so that you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with one mind and one voice.
Romans 15:5-6

Paul is going to say three important things about Jesus:
1) Jesus came to serve the Jews.
2) Jesus was a fulfillment of Old Testament promises.
3) Jesus confirmed that the family of God is open to everyone.

Therefore welcome one another, just as Christ also welcomed you, to the glory of God. For I say that Christ became a servant of the circumcised on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises to the fathers, and so that Gentiles may glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and I will sing praise to your name.
Romans 15:7-9

Jesus came as a servant to the Jews, but as a Savior to everyone.
 
For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

Shalom is more than a state of mind or a state of affairs – shalom comes from the root word “shalam” meaning safe, complete, or whole.

We don’t need the things that others so desperately pursue in order to be loved and to belong.


and so that Gentiles may glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,
Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles,
and I will sing praise to your name.
Again it says, Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people![f] And again,
Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles;
let all the peoples praise him!
And again, Isaiah says,
The root of Jesse will appear,
the one who rises to rule the Gentiles;
the Gentiles will hope in him.

Romans 15:9-12

What if the painful feelings surrounding the broken things in our world are actually God trying to get our attention?
 
“God of hope, fill us with all joy and peace as we believe, so that we may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

___________________________________________________________________

November 27th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Zach Foster
Title:
 Advent: Hope
Text: Isaiah 2:1-5 CSB
Campus: Rivermont

“Hope is called the anchor of the soul because it gives stability to the Christian life…it is that which latches on to the certainty of the promises of the future that God has made.”
~ RC Sproul

The vision that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem: In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s house will be established at the top of the mountains and will be raised above the hills. All nations will stream to it, and many peoples will come and say, “Come, let’s go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us about his ways so that we may walk in his paths.” For instruction will go out of Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will settle disputes among the nations and provide arbitration for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plows and their spears into pruning knives. Nation will not take up the sword against nation, and they will never again train for war. House of Jacob, come and let’s walk in the Lord’s light.
Isaiah 2:1-5 CSB

True Hope does not depend on us, does not disappoint and will ultimately deliver.

 
Living in anticipation, in a period of waiting, can often lead to doubt, disappointment and fear. Fear that what has been promised will not take place.

For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would inherit the world was not through the law, but through the righteousness that comes by faith… He believed, hoping against hope, so that he became the father of many nations according to what had been spoken: So will your descendants be. He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body to be already dead (since he was about a hundred years old) and also the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver in unbelief at God’s promise but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, because he was fully convinced that what God had promised, he was also able to do.
Romans 4:13, 18-21 CSB

There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, looking forward to Israel’s consolation, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he saw the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, he entered the temple. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him up in his arms, praised God, and said, Now, Master, you can dismiss your servant in peace, as you promised. For my eyes have seen your salvation. You have prepared it in the presence of all peoples — a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory to your people Israel.
Luke 2:25-32 CSB

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:1-5, 14 CSB
 
The incarnation of Jesus helps bring into focus that we are spiritual beings found in physical bodies. 
 
But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the Lord their God. He made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. He keeps every promise forever. He gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry. The Lord frees the prisoners. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down. The Lord loves the godly. The Lord protects the foreigners among us. He cares for the orphans and widows, but he frustrates the plans of the wicked. The Lord will reign forever. He will be your God, O Jerusalem, throughout the generations. Praise the Lord!
Psalms 146:5-10 NLT

Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: See, the virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel.
Isaiah 7:14 CSB

“While optimism makes us live as if someday soon things will soon go better for us, hope frees us from the need to predict the future and allows us to live in the present, with the deep trust that God will never leave us alone but will fulfill the deepest desires of our heart... Joy in this perspective is the fruit of hope.”
~ Henri Nouwen

The incarnation of Jesus reveals to us a God that delivers on His Promises.
 
There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!
Romans 5:3-5 MSG
________________________________________________________________

November 20th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Title:
Vision for Family Discipleship
Text:  Deuteronomy 6, Matthew 18:1-7, 19:13-15, 1 Corinthians 4:14-16
Campus: Rivermont

Part 1: Toward a Biblical Vision for Family
 
This is the command—the statutes and ordinances—the Lord your God has commanded me to teach you, so that you may follow them in the land you are about to enter and possess. Do this so that you may fear the Lord your God all the days of your life by keeping all his statutes and commands I am giving you, your son, and your grandson, and so that you may have a long life. Listen, Israel, and be careful to follow them, so that you may prosper and multiply greatly, because the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has promised you a land flowing with milk and honey.
“Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.  These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead.  Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.”

Deuteronomy 6:1-9

Shema =  listen
pay attention, and live accordingly.


Foundation #1: Spiritual Formation involves the whole person and the whole community. Everyone plays a part, and it isn’t possible alone.
 
Click here to see Image: Discipleship Continuum
 
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “So who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”  He called a small child and had him stand among them.  “Truly I tell you,” he said, “unless you turn and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child—this one is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one child like this in my name welcomes me.
“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to fall away—it would be better for him if a heavy millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depths of the sea.  Woe to the world because of offenses. For offenses will inevitably come, but woe to that person by whom the offense comes.

Matthew 18:1-7
 
Foundation #2:
Children are whole persons made in the image of God, worthy of dignity, value, and belonging. And their flourishing is the responsibility of all followers of the Jesus.

 
Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Leave the little children alone, and don’t try to keep them from coming to me, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” After placing his hands on them, he went on from there. 
Matthew 19:13-15

Making disciples of Jesus, forming the next generation in his image, this is the sacred privilege of every follower of Jesus.
Matthew 19:28-30.

“I’m not writing this to shame you, but to warn you as my dear children. For you may have countless instructors in Christ, but you don’t have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me.”
1 Corinthians 4:14-16.

 In order to raise up a generation of resilient, passionate, followers of Jesus, we must also raise up spiritual mothers and fathers who are committed to taking responsibility for the spiritual vitality of the next generation.

Click here to see Image: Trends

Click here to see Image: Practices

Click here to see Image: Realities

Part 2: Practice 

Greg
Dale
Phil
Michael
Christian
Nate
Jim
Brian
Donnie
Chuck

Part 3: Prayer
Prayer for our Stories
Prayer for Parents and Children
Prayer for Ministry Volunteers
_____________________________________________________________________

Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Family Ministry Sunday at GCCH
Campus: College Hill

We – the Church – have a collective responsibility to shepherd the kids and teens that are a part of our family.
 
If you’re a mature (or maturing) follower of Jesus Christ, you have an opportunity and responsibility to help the kids and teens around you come to Christ.
 
Kids and teens you matter to God and you matter to us; you’re deeply loved and God has a plan for you.
 

Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them.  Jesus said, “Leave the little children alone, and don’t try to keep them from coming to me, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”  After placing his hands on them, he went on from there.
Matthew 19:13-15 (CSB)
 
"Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me."
Matthew 18:5

"See that you do not despise one of these little ones."
Matthew 18:10

"Your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish."
Matthew 18:14

Matt. 19, v. 14 Jesus says, “Let the children come to me and do not hinder them…”

Mark 10:14, it says Jesus was “indignant.”

Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.
Luke 18:17

He took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
Mark 10:16

1)     Kids and teens are important to Jesus.
2)     Adults are responsible for helping kids and teens come, unhindered, to Jesus.

 
We – the Church – have a collective responsibility to shepherd the kids and teens that are a part of our family.
 
When we invest in our kids and teens, we invest in the future of the church and the generations to come.
What will be your part of that investment?
 
___________________________________________________________________

November 13th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Preston Burling & Emily Woody
Title:
The Beauty of Scripture
Text: John 1 & Hebrews 4:12-16
Campus: Rivermont
 
How does this Scripture interpret me? 
 
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created.  In him was life,[a] and that life was the light of men.
14 The Word became flesh and dwelt[h] among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son[i] from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1: 1-4; 14. (CSB)
 
B.R.E.A.D.
Be: Be still/quiet
Read: Read the text slowly, twice - what stood out to you?
Encounter: Take what stood out to you to the Lord in prayer, what is God saying to you?
Apply: How might you live outwardly this encounter with God?
Devote: Write a short prayer committing and devoting yourself to God in this.
 
For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. No creature is hidden from him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give an account.
Hebrews 4:12-13
 
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens—Jesus the Son of God—let us hold fast to our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.
Hebrews 4:14-16
 
Proverbs 3:1-12 (CSB)
My son, don’t forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commands;
for they will bring you many days, a full life,[a] and well-being.
Never let loyalty and faithfulness leave you. Tie them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will find favor and high regard with God and people.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding;
in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight.
Don’t be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
This will be healing for your body and strengthening for your bones.
Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest;
then your barns will be completely filled, and your vats will overflow with new wine.
Do not despise the Lord’s instruction, my son, and do not loathe his discipline;
for the Lord disciplines the one he loves, just as a father disciplines the son in whom he delights.

 
Proverbs 3:1-12 (ESV)
My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments,
for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.
Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck;    write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce;
then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.
My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof,
for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.

________________________________________________________________________

Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Title
:  Psalm 16 Lectio
Text: Psalm 16
Campus: College Hill

“The Scriptures, read and prayed, are our primary and normative access to God as He reveals Himself to us. The Scriptures are our listening post for learning the language of the soul, the ways God speaks to us; they also provide the vocabulary and grammar that are appropriate for us as we in our turn speak to God.”
~Eugene H. Peterson

Lectio Divina (divine reading) is an ancient way of reading scripture in order to listen for a particular word from God.

Lectio Divina (Divine Reading).

1) Silence (silencio): preparation
2) Read (lectio): read slowly, pay attention t
3) Meditate (meditatio): read again, listen for any invitation that God is extending
4) Dialogue (oratio): read third time; dialogue with God
5) Contemplate (contemplatio): rest, pick something from the text to take with you

Step 1: silencio – silence and preparation.

Step 2: lectio - reading and listening.
Read Psalm 16 (CSB).
Protect me, God, for I take refuge in you.
I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have nothing good besides you.”
As for the holy people who are in the land, they are the noble ones. All my delight is in them.
The sorrows of those who take another god for themselves will multiply; I will not pour out their drink offerings of blood, and I will not speak their names with my lips.
Lord, you are my portion and my cup of blessing; you hold my future.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
I will bless the Lord who counsels me—even at night when my thoughts trouble me.
I always let the Lord guide me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my whole being rejoices; my body also rests securely.
For you will not abandon me to Sheol; you will not allow your faithful one to see decay.
You reveal the path of life to me; in your presence is abundant joy; at your right hand are eternal pleasures.


Step 3: meditatio - meditate.
How does this text relate to your life?
How does this text impact your thoughts and desires?
Read Psalm 16 (CSB).
Protect me, God, for I take refuge in you.
I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have nothing good besides you.”
As for the holy people who are in the land, they are the noble ones. All my delight is in them.
The sorrows of those who take another god for themselves will multiply; I will not pour out their drink offerings of blood, and I will not speak their names with my lips.
Lord, you are my portion and my cup of blessing; you hold my future.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
I will bless the Lord who counsels me—even at night when my thoughts trouble me.
I always let the Lord guide me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my whole being rejoices; my body also rests securely.
For you will not abandon me to Sheol; you will not allow your faithful one to see decay.
You reveal the path of life to me; in your presence is abundant joy; at your right hand are eternal pleasures.


Read 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, broke it, and said,[a] “This is my body, which is[b] for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.


The Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father in heaven, Holy is your name.
Your kingdom come, Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us;
and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For your is the Kingdom and the power and the glory, forever.
Amen.


Step 4: oratio - respond and dialogue.
What feelings has the text aroused in you?
Where are you feeling resistance to something in the text?
Read Psalm 16 (CSB).
Protect me, God, for I take refuge in you.
I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have nothing good besides you.”
As for the holy people who are in the land, they are the noble ones. All my delight is in them.
The sorrows of those who take another god for themselves will multiply; I will not pour out their drink offerings of blood, and I will not speak their names with my lips.
Lord, you are my portion and my cup of blessing; you hold my future.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
I will bless the Lord who counsels me—even at night when my thoughts trouble me.
I always let the Lord guide me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my whole being rejoices; my body also rests securely.
For you will not abandon me to Sheol; you will not allow your faithful one to see decay.
You reveal the path of life to me; in your presence is abundant joy; at your right hand are eternal pleasures.


Step 5: contemplatio - rest and contemplate.
__________________________________________________________________________

November 6th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Title: 
Lectio Divina
Text: Psalm 23
Campus: Rivermont

“The Scriptures, read and prayed, are our primary and normative access to God as He reveals Himself to us. The Scriptures are our listening post for learning the language of the soul, the ways God speaks to us; they also provide the vocabulary and grammar that are appropriate for us as we in our turn speak to God.”
~ E. Peterson

Lectio Divina (Divine Reading)
  1.  Silence (silencio): preparation
  2.  Read (lectio): read slowly, pay attention
  3.  Meditate (meditatio): read again, listen for any invitation that God is extending
  4.  Dialogue (oratio): read third time; dialogue with God
  5.  Contemplate (contemplatio): rest, pick something from the text to take with you
 
Step 1: silencio – silence and preparation.
 
Step 2: lectio - reading and listening.
 
The Lord is my shepherd; I have what I need.
He lets me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quiet waters.
He renews my life; he leads me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord as long as I live.

Psalm 23 (CSB)
 
Step 3: meditatio - meditate.
 
How does this text relate to your life?
How does this text impact through thoughts and desires? 

 
The Lord is my shepherd; I have what I need.
He lets me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quiet waters.
He renews my life; he leads me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord as long as I live.

Psalm 23 (CSB)

As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take and eat it; this is my body.”
Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks, he gave it to them and said, “Drink from it, all of you.  For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.  But I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

Matthew 26:26-29 CSB
 
Lord’s Prayer
Our Father in heaven, Holy is your name.
Your kingdom come, Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us;
and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For your is the Kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.
 
Step 4: oratio - respond and dialogue.
 
The Lord is my shepherd; I have what I need.
He lets me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quiet waters.
He renews my life; he leads me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord as long as I live.

Psalm 23 (CSB)
 
Step 5: contemplatio - rest and contemplate.
___________________________________________________________________________

Sermon Notes: Austin Whiteheart
Text: 1 Peter 4:1-11
Campus: College Hill
 
Following Jesus requires sacrifice.
Following Jesus is worth it.  
 
1 Peter reminds us that we are primarily citizens of heaven and it encourages us to pursue Jesus despite the suffering we may endure along the way.

 
Therefore, since Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same understanding—because the one who suffers in the flesh is finished with sin—in order to live the remaining time in the flesh no longer for human desires, but for God’s will.
1 Peter 4:1-2
 
-Christ is our example.
 
For there has already been enough time spent in doing what the Gentiles choose to do: carrying on in unrestrained behavior, evil desires, drunkenness, orgies, carousing, and lawless idolatry.
They are surprised that you don’t join them in the same flood of wild living—and they slander you.

1 Peter 4:3-4
 
- Christ is our authority.
 
They will give an account to the one who stands ready to judge the living and the dead. For this reason the gospel was also preached to those who are now dead, so that, although they might be judged in the flesh according to human standards, they might live in the spirit according to God’s standards.
1 Peter 4:5-6
 
- Am I living for the approval of man, or the approval of God?
 
The end of all things is near; therefore, be alert and sober-minded for prayer.
 Above all, maintain constant love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. 
Be hospitable to one another without complaining. 10 Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God.

1 Peter 4:7-9
 
What if, in the same way the world is surprised by the truths that we hold to, they were also surprised at our love for one another, the hospitality we show, and the selfless service that we are marked by?
 
If anyone speaks, let it be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, let it be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 4:11
 
-Christ empowers us
 
What is the Spirit asking you to sacrifice? 
 
How is God asking me to grow in love, hospitality, and service? 
 
Following Jesus requires sacrifice. 
Following Jesus is worth it.  

_______________________________________________________________________

October 30th Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series: Leader:Shift
Title:  Practices: Resting & Digesting
Text: 2 Corinthians 1:8-11
Campus: Rivermont

Pay attention to what has our attention.
 
We aren’t meant to try to hold everything all at once. We’re meant to have the one who fills eternity hold our whole attention.


We don’t want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of our affliction that took place in Asia. We were completely overwhelmed—beyond our strength—so that we even despaired of life itself.
2 Corinthians 1:8
 
“Fragmented attention is an enemy of engagement…” 
~ Adam Grant
 
Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death, so that we would not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.  He has delivered us from such a terrible death, and he will deliver us. We have put our hope in him that he will deliver us again while you join in helping us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our[a] behalf for the gift that came to us through the prayers of many.
2 Corinthians 1:9-11
 
Practices of Attention in the Peaks & Valleys: Resting & Digesting
  • example: yawning
  • breathing
  • playing
  • beauty
Philippians 4:8 (MSG) - Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.
  • physical movement
  • grieving (sometimes weeping)
  • giving
Proverbs 11:25 - A generous person will be enriched, and the one who gives a drink of water will receive water.
Matthew 16:25 - For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will find it.
  • Sabbath
  • relational connection (laughing, sharing, listening
  • praying
 
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.  So the Lord God called out to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”
And he said, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.”
Then he asked, “Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
The man replied, “The woman you gave to be with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate.”
 So the Lord God asked the woman, “What have you done?”
And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Genesis 3:8-13

GENESIS EXAMEN
Question: Where are you?
  • Soul 
  • Mind 
  • Body 
  • Emotions & Feelings
  • Relationships
Question: Who Told You?
Question: What do you want

_______________________________________________________________

Sermon Guides: Andrew Moroz
Series: 
Leader:Shift
Title:
Languishing to Flourishing
Scripture:
1 Peter 1:3-9
Campus:
College Hill

We need to draw from a well that never runs dry – we need to be equipped to navigate the complexities of life with endurance and joy.


I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly.
John 10:10

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.  You are being guarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  You rejoice in this,[a] even though now for a short time, if necessary, you suffer grief in various trials  so that the proven character of your faith—more valuable than gold which, though perishable, is refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him; though not seeing him now, you believe in him, and you rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:3-9 (CSB)

Faith in Jesus sustains us through our toughest days; it comforts us in our grief and fuels our gratitude and praise.

Grief and gratitude are two practices that help us to cope with loss and equip us to move from languishing to flourishing.

God’s people always have a steadfast hope and a reason to worship and rejoice.


1) We always have something to be grateful for because Jesus is alive and our salvation is assured (vv. 3-5)
2) Our best days are ahead with Jesus (vv. 4-5)
3) We can rejoice because our suffering is temporary and it’s never in vain (vv. 6-9)

What’s the role that trials play in our faith?
  • They prove the character of your faith (v. 7)
  • They refine our faith
  • They provide an opportunity for God to be glorified and for the gospel to advance as Jesus sustains us and strengthens us

Grieving well:
  • pay attention to how grief may be affecting you
  • don’t grieve alone; find relational support and maybe professional help
  • share your sadness, confusion, and grief with Jesus
  • look for opportunities to express gratitude and praise

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thess. 5:16-18
 
Exercise:
1) Where am I experiencing loss, pain, and grief?
2) What am I thankful for? What can I praise God for? 
 
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13
________________________________________________________________________

October 23rd Sermon Guides

Sermon Notes: Brenton Lehman
Series: Leader:Shift
Title: Shift 4: From Languishing to Flourishing
Text: Ephesians 4:1-16
Campus: Rivermont

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.  Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called;  one Lord, one faith, one baptism;  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it[a] says:
“When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.”
(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions[c]? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)  So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,  to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up  until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Ephesians 4:1-16

Instructions for living a life:
  • Pay attention. 
  • Be astonished.
  • Tell about it.
~ Mary Oliver, “Sometimes”
 
“Fragmented attention is an enemy of engagement…”
~ Adam Grant
 
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.  Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism;  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Ephesians 4:1-6
 
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,  to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up  until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.  From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Ephesians 4:11-16
 
Pay attention to what has our attention.
 
Click here to see Image: Everything, Everywhere, All at Once
 
So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Colossians 3:1

We aren’t meant to try to hold everything all at once. We’re meant to have the one who fills eternity hold our whole attention.
 

Keep me safe, my God,
for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.”
I say of the holy people who are in the land,
“They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”

Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
or take up their names on my lips.
Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful[b] one see decay.
You make known to me the path of life;
 you will fill me with joy in your presence,
 with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Psalm 16
____________________________________________________________________________
Sermon Notes: Andrew Moroz
Series: Leader:Shift
Title: From Languishing to Flourishing
Text: Ephesians 4:13-16
Campus: College Hill

First shift: from doing to being.
Second shift: from doing to equipping.
Third shift: from an “either/or” mindset to a “both/and” mindset.

The church is not primarily a community where superior Christians instruct inferior Christians.
 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into him who is the head—Christ.  From him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building itself up in love by the proper working of each individual part.

Ephesians 4:13-16

The fourth shift: from languishing to flourishing.
 
Languishing:
to be or become feeble or weak; to be or live in a state of depression or decreasing vitality.

Flourishing:
growing, thriving, and prospering.

Resilient faith is honest, and it’s rooted in the hope of the gospel.

 
We don’t want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of our affliction that took place in Asia. We were completely overwhelmed—beyond our strength—so that we even despaired of life itself.  Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death, so that we would not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.  He has delivered us from such a terrible death, and he will deliver us. We have put our hope in him that he will deliver us again  while you join in helping us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gift that came to us through the prayers of many.
2 Corinthians 1:8-11 (CSB)

  • Despair drives us to dependence (v. 9). 
  • Dependance leads us to delivery (v. 10). 
  • Delivery comes through prayer (v. 11).

Whether we have little or much, our flourishing comes from the Lord.

Consecration means to set apart or to make holy.


College Hill Prayer Prompts
Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.
Joshua 3:5
Consecrate = to set apart, to make holy, to dedicate to The Lord
  • Pray for this building and space to be consecrated to the Lord.
    • For the efforts of the construction project to be an offering to the Lord
    • For the future purposes of this space to be dedicated to the Lord
    • For God’s presence to fill this place
  • Pray that we would be consecrated as a people for the Lord’s purposes.
    • That we would be ready to receive from the Lord and ready to do His work
    • That our hearts would be prepared and unified around what God is doing in the College Hill Community, both in our church and in our neighborhood
    • That we would be marked by His presence and filled with His Spirit
  • Pray for protection.
    • From spiritual attack, evil, harm, or distraction
    • From physical attack, evil, harm, or distraction
    • For our hearts and minds to be set on the Spirit (Rom. 8:6)
  • Thank and praise God for His faithfulness and provision.
    • He has blessed us with two buildings to steward for His glory (College Hill and Rivermont)
    • He has continued to lead and guide us through all things
    • He is giving us fresh vision
__________________________________________________________________________