Apr 24, 2022
Romans 10 “How Can They Believe If They Have Not Heard?”
  • Apr 24, 2022Romans 10 “How Can They Believe If They Have Not Heard?”
    Apr 24, 2022
    Romans 10 “How Can They Believe If They Have Not Heard?”
  • Mar 27, 2022Galatians 5:6 “The Only Thing That Counts”
    Mar 27, 2022
    Galatians 5:6 “The Only Thing That Counts”
  • Aug 22, 2021John 3:16-21 “3-Rings Evangelism: The Gospel”
    Aug 22, 2021
    John 3:16-21 “3-Rings Evangelism: The Gospel”
    Thoughts for Reflection: We’re going through a conversational, relational way to carry out Jesus’ mission for us as we go about our daily lives. The first week we talked about God’s design for our lives, which is evident from the very beginning. We reviewed how God created everything and it was all good. Mankind is the pinnacle of His creation and we were made for relationship with God and each other. God’s design is for us to “walk and talk” with Him just like Adam and Eve once did. However, Adam and Eve departed from God’s design–they wanted to do it their way instead of God’s way. The Bible calls this sin and tells us that we have all sinned and fall short of God’s perfect design. Sin leads to brokenness.  We all know how brokenness feels. It feels like broken relationships, addiction, depression, discouragement, fear, guilt and shame. We all want out of brokenness, so we try to fix it. We medicate it with drugs or numb it with alcohol. We strive to be better people, hoping that somehow, someway, our good will outweigh our bad. We look for ways to alleviate our pain. When we do that, we just get more and more broken. This feels like a bad thing, but in many ways brokenness is a good thing because it’s the way God gets our attention. When we feel broken on the inside and everything’s all messed up, we know something needs to change. This is where we get some really good news. The good news is that God made a way out of our brokenness. Questions to take home:
    1. If someone were to stop you on the street and ask you, out of the blue, “What is the Gospel?”, what would you say?  How have you prepared yourself as a Christ-follower to tell others about Him?
    2. What is repentance?  What does repentance do?  What happens after we repent of our sins and who drives us toward new life in Christ?  Is there anything in your life that you need to repent of?
    3. Think of one or two people you know that do not follow Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  Commit to praying for opportunities to turn everyday conversations into Gospel Conversations, that God would draw these people to His Son, Jesus.
  • Aug 15, 2021Genesis 3; Romans 3 “Brokenness”
    Aug 15, 2021
    Genesis 3; Romans 3 “Brokenness”
    Thoughts for Reflection: Last week we saw how God has left us with a mission to make disciples of all nations. We are to tell them the good news that God made a way for them to live the way they were designed to live. We are learning a relational, conversational way to bring them the help they need through the gospel of Jesus.  We began this conversation by acknowledging God’s supremacy as creator and designer of all things.  Yet, despite God’s perfect design, sin has led to a broken world. We’re a Humpty Dumpty nation. We’ve fallen, we’re broken and we can’t figure out how to put all the pieces back together again. And it’s not for a lack of trying. We all recognize what’s wrong in our world today. We all have a sense of brokenness, and we try our best to fix it. There are all kinds of people trying all kinds of things to put our nation back together again. Despite our best efforts, we have seen only more brokenness, division, and strife.  Fortunately for us, God has given us the solution. Questions to take home:
    1. What is the chief lie that Satan tells Eve in Genesis 3?  How do you see that lie being played out in our culture and in the greater world today?  How have you struggled with that lie in your own life?
    2. In what ways do we see people working/striving to fix their own brokenness?  How has society sought to fix the brokenness in the world?  How do these things differ from what the Bible lays out?  Where do you see these things in your own life and how can they be more Gospel-centered?
    3. Think of one or two people you know that do not follow Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  Commit to praying for opportunities to turn everyday conversations into Gospel Conversations, that God would draw these people to His Son, Jesus.
  • Aug 8, 2021Genesis 1:24-2:3; Psalm 139:13-18 “3-Rings Evangelism: God’s Design”
    Aug 8, 2021
    Genesis 1:24-2:3; Psalm 139:13-18 “3-Rings Evangelism: God’s Design”
    Thoughts for Reflection: All believers are called to be faithful Gospel witnesses to the places we live, work, and play.  This isn’t just for the professionals.  We are Christ’s ambassadors; our homes are Kingdom outposts.  Our jobs, schools, neighborhoods, parks, and grocery stores are mission fields to which we are called.  Christ’s call to all believers as He returned to Heaven was to “Preach the Gospel” and “Make Disciples”.  The Good News (GOSPEL) of Jesus Christ, God making a way for people to be right with Him, is something we need to share. In our last message on “Effective Evangelism,” we talked about the ART of Sharing.  This involves sharing our story, our experience with Christ, and how we have been changed by the Gospel message.  It also involves us sharing the Gospel message with others.  Over the next three weeks, we are going to talk specifically and practically about sharing that very message in a conversational and relational way.  It all starts with God’s design. Questions to take home:
    1. How does the Genesis account of creation color your understanding of God?  Read Psalm 139.  How does this passage add to the creation narrative?  What does it mean to be “created in God’s image”?
    2. Today we celebrate the Lord’s supper, a picture of our restored relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  How does this sacrament remind you of God’s design for our relationship with Him?  How does it show us the pathway to that restored relationship?
    3. Think of one or two people you know that do not follow Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  Commit to praying for opportunities to turn everyday conversations into Gospel Conversations, that God would draw these people to His Son, Jesus.
  • Jul 18, 20211 John 1:1-4 “The ART of Sharing”
    Jul 18, 2021
    1 John 1:1-4 “The ART of Sharing”
    Thoughts for Reflection (A club for your “Evangelism Golf Bag”): “From now on, we no longer regard anyone from a worldly point of view.”  2 Corinthians 5:16 As we close out this sermon series on Effective Evangelism, we’ve talked about several “tools” that we have to effectively build relationships with other people that can lead to faith and/or spiritual conversations.  Ultimately, though, evangelism does boil down to actively sharing the Gospel Message.  Many Christ-followers fear this because of the discomfort it may bring or due to the perception that they would not “present it right.”   The Bible, though, is replete with examples of sharing the Gospel message and a choice few of them come in “presentation form.”  Even Jesus, after healing people, simply told them “go and tell others what the Lord has done for you.  The reality is that most people aren’t actually interested in a presentation.  We don’t need to try to “sell Jesus” to people, the invitation that we are given is to tell others what we have experienced in our own lives, what God means to us and has done for us. Something to take home (Practice using the club):
    1. Read 1 Peter 3:13-16.  What is your story?  Have you taken the time to write it down and/or share it with someone?  If someone asked you today why you are “different” or about your “hope” what would you say?
    2. Set aside some time (15-30 minutes) in the next two days to reflect on this question: “What has knowing God added to my life?”  Journal your thoughts or make a list of why God has been worth knowing and spend time praising Him for each reason.
    3. Pray and look for an opportunity to share one of the reasons on your list with an unbelieving friend this week.  Don’t force it; pray and watch for God to open up an opportunity.
  • Jul 11, 20211 Thessalonians 1:2-10 “The ART of Serving Together”
    Jul 11, 2021
    1 Thessalonians 1:2-10 “The ART of Serving Together”
    Scripture Passages: 1 Thessalonians 1:2-10 Message Title: The ART of Serving Together Thoughts for Reflection: Some of the most transformative experiences of my life have been while serving on mission trips.  There is something about the experience of solving problems and meeting needs in Jesus’ Name that brings you closer to both God and to those you are working with.  It doesn’t just have to be mission trips, though.  Helping a neighbor, serving in the community, or even assisting a random person while out running errands are all ways we can communicate the love of God through our actions. Serving together with others has an even greater impact.  It opens up opportunities to experience the love of God being shown to another.  This is a non-verbal and yet very tangible and practical way of communicating God’s love, mercy, and concern for others.  Engaging in service for someone with another person softens hearts and can open up opportunities for deeper spiritual conversations.  People rarely care how much you know until they know how much you care. Questions to take home:
    1. Think of a time when you worked together with friends on a service project.  What impact did it have on you personally?  What impact did it have on the relationships with your friends?
    2. What are some of the barriers in your life to serving others (time, knowledge, confidence, etc.)?  What are some of the barriers that keep you from asking others to serve with you?  How can you begin to address these barriers this week?
    3. Identify a need in your own community, neighborhood, or workplace and ask someone you know there if they would help you meet that need.
  • Jun 27, 2021John 1:35-42a “The ART of Facilitating”
    Jun 27, 2021
    John 1:35-42a “The ART of Facilitating”
  • Jun 20, 2021Luke 15:1-7 “The ART of Welcoming”
    Jun 20, 2021
    Luke 15:1-7 “The ART of Welcoming”
    Scripture Passages: Luke 15:1-7 Message Title: “The ART of Welcoming” Thoughts for Reflection (A club for your “Evangelism Golf Bag”): “From now on, we no longer regard anyone from a worldly point of view.”  2 Corinthians 5:16 Have you ever had an experience where you felt an abundance of welcome and hospitality?  There are so many things that can help create this feeling.  Whether it is the physical space, the people that are hosting, or simply the overall feel of the event, welcoming people in any capacity takes some manner of thought, intentionality and effort.   Our Scripture today opens with Jesus spending time with some of society’s most disliked and rejected people.  They were drawn to Jesus because of His welcoming nature, much like the father of the prodigal son (a story later in Luke 15).  We often read this story and resonate with the run-away son; afterall, we are all sinful.  Have you ever put yourself in the place of the father though?  The man lost half of his possessions to his loser son, and yet welcomes him home again with open arms and a party!  Or… are we more like the older brother? Something to take home (Practice using the club):
    1. How was your preconceived understanding of hospitality confirmed or challenged through our Scripture and Message today?  What is God calling you to enact or adjust in your life in response to this?
    2. This week, practice welcoming at least one time in each of the three aspects of welcoming - in your face, in your space, and in your place.
    3. Do a personal assessment of the Five Barriers to Welcoming.  Pick one or two that are your weakest and begin working on removing them this week.
    4. Pray specifically that God would reveal to you a person or couple that you know don’t know the Lord and with whom you could begin to develop a stronger relationship - welcoming them into your life.
  • Jun 13, 20211 John 4:7-21 “The ART of Loving”
    Jun 13, 2021
    1 John 4:7-21 “The ART of Loving”
    Scripture Passages: 1 John 4:7-21 Message Title: The ART of Loving Thoughts for Reflection (A club for your “Evangelism Golf Bag”): “From now on, we no longer regard anyone from a worldly point of view.”  2 Corinthians 5:16 Love.  It is one of the most important words in all of Scripture.  We are reminded that God is love and that the very definition of love is found in God and is seen in His action toward us.  The Bible tells us that, even while we were still God’s enemies, He sent His Son Jesus to die so that our relationship with Him could be restored.  Regardless of the ways culture tries to co-opt or redefine the word, God’s love and purpose stands FOREVER marked as His constant work to draw humanity back into relationship with Himself. Knowing that God loves us isn’t the end of the story though.  As we have been talking about, we are Christ’s ambassadors, modeling Him with our lives.  God’s radical love for us is one that we are called to emulate in our relationships with others.  Just as God has freely offered His love to us, so too we love others unconditionally, setting ourselves (opinions, assumptions, feelings, etc.) aside for the sake of Christ. Something to take home (Practice using the club):
    1. How would you describe the way God sees you and loves you?  Make a list.  How does this list clarify the way we are called to show God’s love to other people?
    2. What does it mean to show God’s love to a stranger?  What are some practical ways you can bless those around you this week and shower them with God’s love? 
    3. Read Luke 6:27-36.  Who is in your life today that fits this category.  Pray for them right now.  How is God prompting you to reconcile with this person?  How can you show them God’s love?
    4. Who has God put on your heart today?  How does He want to use your unique love and care to impact this person’s life?
  • Jun 7, 2021Genesis 3:1-13 “The ART of Asking Questions”
    Jun 7, 2021
    Genesis 3:1-13 “The ART of Asking Questions”
    Thoughts for Reflection: “From now on, we no longer regard anyone from a worldly point of view.”  2 Corinthians 5:16 “Daddy, why…”  “Daddy, what...” “Daddy, how…” There is a near constant chorus of question-asking in my household.  My children, ages 5, 3, and 1, are all in various stages of discovering things about the world that they are living in.  They are explorers, ever-curious about the things that have happened, are happening, and will happen.  Apart from observation (noticing & listening), asking questions is how they (and we) learn about why things are the way they are. Today we move into a new phase of our “Effective Evangelism” series as we talk about asking questions.  God, in the midst of the brokenness that was unfolding in the world He created, begins the work of rebuilding a connection with Adam and Eve by asking them questions.  He didn’t lead with criticism, condemnation, or an “I told you so.”  We too can build connections by asking good questions, trusting God to open the doors to a deeper understanding of those we are called to in this community. Questions to take home:
    1. Think of a time when you felt genuinely loved and cared for because someone was engaging you with good questions.  Think of a time where someone was asking you questions that seemed to only fit their own agenda.  What made those moments good or bad?
    2. What makes a good question?  Read Luke 10:25-37 & Mark 8:27-38.  How does Jesus model good question asking in these narratives?
    3. How does attitude and heart play into good question asking?  Read Philippians 2:3-5.  How does this alter or confirm your earlier answer?  What might you need to do this week to align your heart and attitude with this Scripture passage?
  • May 30, 2021Mark 10:46-52 “The ART of Listening”
    May 30, 2021
    Mark 10:46-52 “The ART of Listening”
    Thoughts for Reflection (A club for your “Evangelism Golf Bag”): “From now on, we no longer regard anyone from a worldly point of view.”  2 Corinthians 5:16 We live in a world that is filled to the brim with noise and busyness, living our lives on the run from this thing to that with our raidos on or our headphones in.  We HEAR so much on a normal day, but how much we actually LISTEN is a subject for much debate.  Sadly, this norm has translated into our relationships as well.  We are a part of conversations that we are not even listening to; we are there but not present. Scripture calls us to something deeper, though, and as always we look to Jesus as our model.  Whether it was children running to Him, a sick woman, or a blind man calling out for Him, Jesus never ignores; His attention is never divided.  He hears them and then draws them in so He can listen to them.  In giving them His time and His ear, He shows them that they are important to Him and that He loves them.  As we practice the ART of Spiritual Conversations, we are called to model the same, truly listening both to God and to those He places in our lives. Something to take home (Practice using the club):
    1. What is the difference between listening and hearing?  What do you think causes us to practice hearing more than listening?  How can you intentionally adjust your hearing habits toward active listening?
    2. Practice listening to someone this week without offering any advice or trying to fix things.  Ask good questions and just listen.  (Suggestion: start with your spouse and/or children)
    3. Ask an unchurched friend, neighbor, or acquaintance this question: “I’ve been wondering if you’ve ever met anyone or experienced anything that made God seem real to you?”  Listen intently to their response, reflect back to them what you heard them say, and invite them to clarify anything you may have misunderstood.  Don’t interrupt or offer your own opinions - just listen well, and pray.
  • May 16, 20211 John 5:13-14; Matthew 9:35-38 “The ART of Praying”
    May 16, 2021
    1 John 5:13-14; Matthew 9:35-38 “The ART of Praying”
    Last week, Pastor Jon shared a message on the “Art of Noticing”. Today Pastor Jim follows up with a second crucial tool – the “Art of Praying”.
    Nineteenth-century evangelist George Muller was a godly man known for his tenacious practice of purposeful prayer. It was his belief that prayer could influence people toward true faith in Christ, and his life evidenced this conviction. He prayed faithfully, he prayed daily, and he prayed by name for unbelievers he personally knew.
    In his book George Muller: Man of Faith and Miracles, author Basil Miller recounts the evangelist’s experience praying for five not-yet Christians in his life:
    In November 1844, I began to pray for the conversion of 5 individuals. I prayed every day, whether sick or in well, on land or sea. Eighteen months elapsed before the first of the 5 was converted. I thanked God and prayed on for the others. Five years later, the second was converted. I thanked God for the second and prayed on for the other three. Day by day I continued to pray for them, and 6 years passed before the third was converted. I thanked God for the 3 and went on praying for the other two.
    Shortly after the death of George Muller in 1898, the two men for whom he had prayed over half a century finally turned to Jesus. It is hard to overemphasize the power of praying intentionally for specific individuals.
    WRITE DOWN the names of 2 or 3 people you have NOTICED in the last
    week – or maybe the name (s) of someone God has brought to your mind
    just this morning.
    1. ______________________________
    2. ______________________________
    3. ______________________________
    Commit to pray specifically for them this week – for a set amount of time each day.
    Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and eyes to know HOW and WHAT to pray.
    Choose a prayer partner and join together at least once this week (more, if possible) to pray for those on each of your lists – ‘praying in agreement' with each other. If it’s not feasible to do
    this in person, you could also do this together over the phone.
  • May 9, 2021Matthew 9:35-38; Luke 8:43-48 “The ART of Noticing”
    May 9, 2021
    Matthew 9:35-38; Luke 8:43-48 “The ART of Noticing”
    Thoughts for Reflection (A club for your “Evangelism Golf Bag”):
    “From now on, we no longer regard anyone from a worldly point of view.” 2 Corinthians 5:16 Throughout Jesus’ ministry, we see Him interacting with every person he encounters. Whether it was the “unclean” Samaritan woman, a blind man, Zacchaeus, the woman just brushes his cloak or the crowds around him. All of this begins with noticing. Jesus was aware of the people around Him; He was willing to see them.
    The notion of “Evangelism” is uncomfortable for many Christians because we wrongly think of it as pounding down the doors of unknown strangers with our Bibles, trying to cram Jesus down their throats. For Jesus, however, we see that the first step for Him in building a relationship with people is simply noticing them. To see people through the eyes of Jesus, it means that we must first be willing to open our eyes, to put our tasks aside, and intentionally look at those around us.
    Something to take home (Practice using the club):
    Noticing is a relational act of kindness that anyone can do. It doesn’t take any courage, but it just requires that you do it. What can you do this week to be more intentionally aware of the people around you in your everyday life?
    Noticing people can move us to compassion and action as people become real to us, in need of a real Savior. Pray this week that God would help you to see people the way Jesus saw the crowds. Noticing is the first step to bringing someone the good news about Jesus.
    Noticing is a precursor to knowing. How will you create space in your life to intentionally notice those around you? As you start to see people, pray for them and for the work God is doing in their lives as well.
  • May 2, 20212 Corinthians 5:16-6:2 “Effective Evangelism”
    May 2, 2021
    2 Corinthians 5:16-6:2 “Effective Evangelism”
    Thoughts for Reflection: My golf bag contains approximately 16 golf clubs, 50+ golf balls (mostly ones I’ve found), and hundreds of tees, amongst other things.  On average, I probably use 5-6 different clubs in a round of golf… when I actually play.  Every club has a purpose, so I am told and is useful for different situations.  Truthfully, I carry clubs in my bag that I have no idea how, and therefore no intention to use.  I’ve tried some of these “less-used” clubs at times; it is amusing, at best, to everyone around me. The Christian life is kind of like my golf bag.  We have lots of “clubs” and Scripture tells us that they are all useful.  There are things like discipleship, different kinds of prayer, worship, devotions, and evangelism.  Most of us are pretty comfortable using a few of the clubs in our bag but tend to avoid most of the others…  Over the next several weeks we’re going to look at some of the so-called “clubs” in our Christian bag and how we can use them to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those around us. Questions to take home:
    1. What do you think of when you hear the term “evangelism”?  How do you react to that term?  Why do you think you respond that way?
    2. Paul writes that we are “Christ’s ambassadors as though God was making His appeal through us.”  Take a minute to think about that.  How does it settle with you?  How are you being an ambassador for Christ in your life?
    3. One of our Mission Metrics states: I actively seek opportunities to share the Gospel with people.  On a scale of 1 to 10, where would you say you land on this?  Remember that number; we’ll ask this question again in August.