Living It Out – Aug 21

from Pastor Andrew

This summer our fellowship and the Bee family have been reading through Joshua and the book of Acts. As a fellowship we read Acts first and then Joshua as a family we did the reverse. As a family we were also reading a bit more slowly so we just finished the book of Acts. The story ends with Paul in Rome having two years when the Gospel is spread to a variety of people unhindered. He was able to live out what he wrote to the Romans in chapter 8 verse 15.

“For you did not receive the Spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba Father!’

This is a wonderful passage, one of my favorites. But this is not just a New Testament idea. Paul is bringing a Old Testament theme forward in a new way.

Psalm 94 tell us that no matter how bad things look around us there is one thing that always remains constant… God our heavenly Abba Father.  God is for us a stronghold and refuge. The psalmist calls us to not lose heart but to praise God in the midst of Lament. Praise revives our spirit and reminds us we have not received a Spirit of slavery and fear but the Spirit of adoption.

Here’s three points to ponder.

  • Verses 8-11 reminds us God sees and hears everything and his ways are far above the ways of man. How can you turn that truth into a prayer of praise to the Lord.
  • Verse 14-15 reminds us God will come through for His people. Where are you doubting that? Where are you believing that?
  • Verse 22 reminds us God is our stronghold and refuge. How can you encourage yourself or someone else with this truth?


Living It Out – Aug 7

from Pastor Andrew

In Psalm 91, we see four names of God used.

The first name, the Most High, is the Hebrew word Elyon. It suggests a Supreme monarch, one who is elevated above all things. The name signifies God’s majesty, sovereignty, and pre-eminence. 
 
The second name, the Almighty, is translated from the word Shaddai. Shaddai has many meanings, but it primarily suggests a mighty, powerful God who is strong beyond our imagination and is more than capable to supply our every need. 
 
The third name, the LORD, is the personal name for God, revealed to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 6:2). The significance of this name is that it represents a relatable God who desire that we know Him on a deep, personal level. 
 
The fourth name, my God, comes from the Hebrew Elohim. It means the one who is first, or the creator.

Psalm 91 encourages us to draw near to God and trust him in everything. In light of who God is, we can trust him to take care of us. 

Consider these names of God ask yourself these questions.

  • What do these names of God make you think or feel?
  • How do these truths of God shape the way you look at the struggles of life.
  • How can these truths of God shape your prayer life this week?
  • What do these truths of God encourage you to do differently this week?


Living It Out – July 17

from Pastor Andrew

Pause…

Seriously. Stop what you are doing, it will keep for a moment. Just pause and take a deep breath. Just one moment and ask these questions of this moment.

  • Where is your focus?
  • Are your thoughts and affections on God?
  • What’s your identity?
  • Are you living out of your new birth in Jesus Christ?
  • How are you to worship today?
  • Is your energy for today flowing out of your relationship with Christ and the joy of your salvation?

Spend a moment in prayer with the God who loves you.

 


Living It Out – July 10

from Pastor Andrew

I find it comforting that the people of God messed up a lot. Not that it’s an excuse or justification for my sin or yours, but it tells me I am not alone and it reveals God’s merciful, steadfast love. Over and over God points his people in a new direction and gives them a fresh start. That is a picture of the victorious Christian life; realizing our sin, returning to God and beginning again. 

Psalm 85 is a prayer of the people as they once again make a fresh start. It gives us a good pattern to follow.

  1. Reflect on the goodness of God. God has not changed, he is faithful and he is always working in our world. It doesn’t take much to see the goodness of God. A fresh start begins with a fresh perspective that God is good.
  2. Request his mercy. God is willing to be merciful when we turn from our sin and ask for his mercy. His mercy flows when we acknowledge our sin and ask for forgiveness and mercy. This is call repentance.
  3. Resolve to fear the Lord and not turn back to folly. This is a practical step of putting things in place that will help us to continue on with this fresh start. Ask someone to hold you accountable. Get rid of the thing that makes you stumble. Memorize scriptures that will point you to God and away from sin.
  4. Receive the goodness of God and walk in it. God has brought this about and offers us a fresh start and a new life through the person and work of Jesus Christ.
 
The victorious Christian life is a series of fresh starts. Is it time to for a fresh start for you today?  God is waiting and willing.
 


Living It Out – July 3

from Pastor Andrew

It is 4th of July weekend. We celebrate independence and freedom and remember things which took place to secure those things for our country. As we celebrate our national freedom, I hope we will reflect on our spiritual freedom and remember all that was done to secure that for us.

Throughout the month of July we are remembering the 1980s, a decade that some would say made a big difference in our country. We will be hearing stories about how God made a difference in people’s lives in the 80s. And we’ll learn from a “decade” of Psalms which can made a big difference in our lives today.

We started with Psalm 84. The other Sundays in July will be Psalm 85, 87, 88, and 89. Psalm  89 challenges us to praise the Lord no matter what. The praise Psalms of Korah, give us instruction in order to fulfill this challenge. This past Sunday Psalm 84 invited us to remember the past goodness of God. This coming Sunday, Psalm 85 inspires us to believe God is at work today. Then Psalm 87 will invite us to take time reflecting on the word of God. And finally Psalm 88 inspires us to nurture our friendship with God through prayer, especially in times of trouble.

God invites and inspires his people with these things over and over throughout scripture. As we celebrate the wonderful freedom we have in our country, let’s also reflect on and celebrate the wonderful freedom we have in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.



Living It Out – June 19

from Pastor Andrew

Christian faith boils down to relationship. Our relationship with God, as His special creation, was broken by sin. Relationship is restored through faith in Jesus Christ, secured by the Spirit, and will be enjoyed in its fullness forever in heaven. Relationship informs everything about our spiritual journey. It even informs the concept of the Fear of the Lord.  

The fear of the Lord is one of those spiritual concepts that is hard to fully grasp and even harder to live out. Maybe these three ideas will help.

  1. The fear of the Lord should cause us to recall the work and character of the Lord. God has done great and mighty things. But his work is not in a vacuum. He is not an isolated supreme being that cannot be connected with. His work and character clearly point to His desire for relationship with His people. The fear of the Lord should draw us closer to Him. 

  2. When you read and think about the fear of the Lord, substitute a phrase such as “awe before God,”
    “reverence for God,” “submission to God,” or “obedience to God. 
    This will help you focus on the attitudes and actions of the fear of the Lord. The concept of the fear of the Lord may leave us undone but it should never leave us unaffected.
  3. Your response to the fear of the Lord reveals our
    relationship with Him.
    When you have a good relationship with those in authority, their work and character, even when authoritative or startling, brings a sense of awe and comfort. But when the relationship is not good, there comes a sense of guilt, fear and trepidation. 

Psalm 76 is a song for war and it will stir in us either a sense of awe that we are on the winning side or fear that the mighty one is coming in wrath. This week consider if you are more often in awe or fear before the Lord.



Living It Out – June 12

from Pastor Andrew

Bruce J. Schulman in his 2001 work The Seventies: The Great Shift in American Culture, Society, and Politics contends that personal liberation and rebellion against authority became key themes of the 1970s, as Americans sought individualism through new outlooks on religion, popular culture, and sexuality. These themes had profound and lasting impact on the direction of America that we still see today.

I would contend we can see these themes way before the 1970s and the impact has affected the whole human race. We could use Schulman’s conclusions as a good definition of sin and how humans tend to relate to God. Psalm 73 encourages one action in light of the impact of sin in the world; draw near to God.

The encouragement to draw near to God is all throughout scripture. Here are four truths from Hebrews 10 and an example that may help as you draw near to God.

  1. Remember God sees you as perfect already. In Christ, you who are being sanctified by the Spirit, are now, already, before God perfected.
  2. Sin will keep you from God. Whether sin from your past or present; confess it, repent of it, kill it, and believe that God “remembers our sins and lawless deeds no more”.
  3. Be intentional and reverent. You’re drawing near to God, don’t come flippantly or carelessly.
  4. We have a new way, not the old one. Our nearness to God is not based on ritual and sacrifice, but on relationship with Jesus Christ.

The example: John Owen was a great Puritan writer and preacher. In a letter he said to a friend, “Christ is our best friend, and ere long will be our only friend. I pray God with all my heart that I may be weary of everything else but converse and communion with Him.” Owen was also intentional about his communion with God. He said, “Friendship is most maintained and kept up by visits; and these, the more free and less occasioned by urgent business . . .” In other words, in the midst of all his day-to-day activities and responsibilities, he made many visits to God. These visits were not simply to make requests but primarily to build relationship. Finally, Owen concluded there were two things that kept him near to God. “I must now say, that, after all my searching and reading, prayer and assiduous meditation have been my only resort, and by far the most useful means of light and assistance. By these have my thoughts been freed from many an entanglement.”

The two essential practices for nearness to God; prayer and careful, persistent meditation. 

Spend time today investing in your relationship with God. It is good to be near God.



Living It Out – June 5

Psalm 71:18 says… So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.

It should be our continual prayer and desire to have the opportunity and ability to proclaim the might, power and goodness of God to the coming generations. To join God’s mission of kingdom multiplication, we have envisioned and begun a 3 year process to catch and ride God’s wave. God has and continues to multiply disciples, leaders, groups and gatherings and we desire to join Him in his mission.

To ride God’s wave we have to get in shape. Year 1 of Catch the Wave is about getting healthy. We want healthier relationships with God and with one another. We want healthy church systems of discipleship, assimilation, membership and groups. We want healthy and fruitful ministries. Health will result in deeper relationships, clear steps to connection, and greater fruitfulness with less burn out. As we get healthy, we can step into the water and begin developing wave riding skills.

Year 2 of Catch the Wave is about momentum.In this phase we will begin seeing more and more engagement and fruit in the areas of disciple making, leadership development, groups working together and generous hearts giving to help people KNOW, LOVE and BECOME like Jesus Christ. This will result in changed lives and greater joy throughout our fellowship. As we grow in our skills we begin riding bigger and bigger waves and seeing God do bigger and bigger things.

Year 3 of Catch the Wave is about gatherings. It is still a wonderful mystery what God will ultimately do through our little fellowship; but if we are healthy, ready and faithfully gaining momentum, I believe God is going to use our fellowship to do bigger things than we can imagine. We can be used to proclaim God’s might, power and goodness to another generation and beyond. Let’s Catch the Wave!



Living It Out – May 29

 

from Andrew Bee

Bridges link roads together. Bridges connect places that would not normally be connected. Bridges make new destinations possible. But you don’t want to stop on a bridge. If you stop on a bridge things clog up fast.

This week was a bridge Sunday. Some things come to a close and other things are about to begin, so we pray.  But please don’t stop on the bridge. Keep going so we can all reach the destination. 

  • Sunday, June 4th, we’ll begin our 9:30am summer service schedule. Don’t stop on the bridge, make the change and keep coming. We’ll have some fun and continue to grow together as a fellowship throughout the summer.
  • Cruise Night is in full swing, and there is a place for you to serve. Don’t stop on the bridge, be intentional and sign up for a Friday or two this summer. It is going to be a great Cruise season.
  • Your small group has been great, and they CAN continue through the summer. Don’t stop on the bridge, keep meeting. Keep making time together a priority. Keep stirring one another up to love and good works. Keep going.
  • Your neighbors will be out in the yard more, because it’s getting nice. Be wise in the way you act toward them; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you have an answer for everyone. Don’t stop on the bridge, keep engaging them with love and the good news of Jesus Christ.

God is leading us over a bridge to some pretty amazing places. Don’t stop on the bridge, keep going. Keep praying! Keep gathering! Keep multiplying!

 


Living It Out – May 8

from Pastor Andrew

Getting dressed is something I do every day. Be thankful! My guess is, you get dressed every day too. It is what we do and it is a good thing. Paul uses the idea of being clothed, or getting dressed quite often. The simple act of getting dressed can be a tangible and daily reminder of resurrection realities.

In Colossians 3,  Paul instructs us to “put on”, get dressed in, or clothe yourselves in compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, and above all, in love.  Before I get dressed, I think through my day. What meetings do I have, who will I be around, what situations will I be in. This motivates and informs what I put on. The same is true for these spiritual clothes. Paul begins with three terms that should motivate and inform our “getting dressed”

Paul says, we are God’s chosen ones. This is a favorite term for the people of God through the Old and New Testament. It should remind us that we have been included in God’s historical work of salvation and gathered together as part of His people for His purposes.

God has chosen you.There are two qualifying words. We are not simply chosen, we are Holy and Dearly Loved. The result of God’s choice of us is that we are HOLY, we are special and set apart. It is a done deal and a growing reality. God’s great love is the basis for all of this, His choosing and willing work to make us holy, all flows out of His love for us. 

Here’s my challenge. This week, every morning. Take a moment to reflect on the resurrection reality that you have been chosen and made holy all because God loves you with a great love. Then, with your heart and mind set on these heavenly realities, through prayer, put on compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, and above all love. Make note if you notice a difference in your home, on the job, and in your own heart.