No Place Like Home!

Jesus, the one who loves us most, used his last breath and his last words to address our deepest needs.

Message Notes

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.
Luke 23:44-49

Home has less to do with a location than with who is there. Jesus was going home to where his Father was.

His words to the Father show us:

Intimacy

Trust

Victory

Comfort

Confidence

Example

You never have to worry about anything you have committed to God.

Give all your worries, cares, and anxiety to God because he cares for you.
I Peter 5:7

That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return.
II Timothy 1:12

Bottom Line:

You can trust God with everything.

Next Steps:

  1. Follow Jesus in everything. Make sure your life is totally entrusted to His care.

  2. Think of someone you know who needs to know this wonderful Savior. Invite them to church Sunday to sit with you.

Victory Cry!

Jesus, the one who loves us most, used his last breath and his last words to address our deepest needs.

The sixth statement from Jesus on the cross, "It is finished," is the greatest battle cry ever spoken. Christ is declaring victory over sin and death - then, now and always. I can live in victory because of what he accomplished.


Message Notes

Tetelestai!

“It is finished!”

Tetelestai!

The perfect Lamb of God has finished the work the Father has sent him to do.
The debt has been paid in full.
It is finished and forever done.

What was the effect?

God the Father could have a relationship with sinful man.

There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus.He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone.
I Timothy2:5

The prophets and angels were amazed.

This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you. They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward. They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.
I Peter 1:10-12

Death and Hell were defeated.

I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.
Revelation 1:18

Jesus wants you to get to say, “Tetelestai!”

You still have some unfinished business.
As long as you are alive, God still has plans for you.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11

Take care of your issues.

I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God.
Revelation 3:1-2

Take care of the tasks God has given you.

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
Acts 20:24

Commit to finishing strong.

Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you saying, “This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.”
Luke 14:28-30

Execute.

Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving.
II Corinthians 8:11

Never give up.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
Philippians 1:6

Bottom Line

I can live in the victory of Jesus.

Next Steps:

  1. Step across the line and receive Christ’s finished work for you.

  2. Do an inventory of what is unfinished in your life, make a plan, commit, and get going on it.


Water, Water Everywhere, and Not a Drop to Drink

Jesus, the one who loves us most, used his last breath and his last words to address our deepest needs.

Jesus was the God-man. He was the Living Water, but he willingly put aside his power to pay our debt. He understands our situations.

Message Notes

Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” John 19:38

All things were accomplished—the Water of Life was drained dry.

He neglected his own needs until he was certain the battle was won.

God was very careful to identify His Son as the promised Savior.

Mistaken identity is tragic.

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:16

There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12

Jesus wants to share his victory with you.

Jesus was fully human and understands everything I go through.
But he is also fully God and will carry anything I give to him.
He is interceding for me.

This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. Hebrews 4:15

Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who hadthe power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. Hebrews 2:14-15

I will never experience anything that Jesus does not understand and have the ability to help me through.

Turn to the power of Jesus in your pain instead of false comforters.

Bottom Line

No one understands like Jesus. He can handle me.

Next Steps

1) Honestly evaluate where you are not allowing Jesus to be enough.

2) For the next 30 days, go to him first with every issue.


The Sounds of Silence

Jesus, the one who loves us most, used his last breath and his last words to address our deepest needs.

In the middle of great pain,I can’t see the whole story. But God is with me, doing things I don’t understand now. He will go to any lengths to have a relationship with me. The suffering of Jesus shows the extent of the Father’s love.

Message Notes

At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock.Then at three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lemasabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
Mark 15:33-34

The suffering of Jesus shows how far God will go to have a relationship with us.

We were not sick—we were DEAD in our sins.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our fleshand following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
Ephesians 2:1-5

Jesus paid a debt no one else could pay.

He took on every single sin.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
II Corinthians 5:21

He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.
I Peter 2:24

Whoever comes to me I will never drive away.
John 6:37

Our sins separated him from his Father. This is what hell looks like.

They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.
II Thessalonians 1:9

You and I are the reason he endured the cross.

Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2

He not only gave us forgiveness for our sins, he showed us how to face our own darkest days:

The Scripture we hide in our hearts gives us traction when the climb is hard.

We overcome despair by rushing to God in the middle of it.

Look at the cross to understand God’s love. He is for you, not against you.

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Romans 8:32

There is no Plan B.

How shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?
Hebrews 2:3

Bottom Line

God will go to any lengths to have a relationship with me.

Next Steps:
1.) Accept the forgiveness and life offered by Jesus,
2.) Give my WHY to my Father.
3.) Run to God in my pain.

Honor, Faithfulness, and Discipleship

Jesus, the one who loves us most, used his last breath and his last words to address our deepest needs.

Jesus honored all of his relationships to the very last. He called his own mother to discipleship.

Message Notes

Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene.When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.”And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.”And from then on this disciple took her into his home.
John 19:25-27

John shows us

  • You can start again after failure—the quicker, the better.

  • Nothing is more powerful than presence.

  • Faithfulness is a long obedience in the same direction.

Jesus Shows us

  • Honor is obedience when you are young; respect and care when you are an adult.

Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise.
Ephesians 6:1-2

Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart.
Luke 2:51

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
I Timothy 5:8

  • Honor is most often a boomerang of blessing.

  • Honor is different than just love. It is a commitment to the finish.

Mary shows us

  • Character makes you a candidate to be used greatly by God.

  • If you are used greatly, you will also suffer greatly.

Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against,so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
Luke 2:34-35

There is no special pass, position, or privilege when it comes to salvation.

Mary shows us

  • Character makes you a candidate to be used greatly by God.

  • If you are used greatly, you will also suffer greatly.

    Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against,so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” Luke 2:34-35

  • There is no special pass, position, or privilege when it comes to salvation.

Bottom Line:
Jesus cherishes relationships and discipleship.

Next Steps

  1. Commit to honor and faithfulness in my relationships.

  2. Live the priority of discipleship.

Last Call

Jesus, the one who loves us most, used his last breath and his last words to address our deepest needs.

Jesus died while hanging between two criminals. In his dying moments one recognized Jesus as the King with a Kingdom, and asked to be remembered. Jesus made a surprising and powerful promise of heavento those who believe in who he is.  

Message Notes

Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with him.When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified—one on his right and one on his left.

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.

The crowd watched and the leaders scoffed. “He saved others,” they said, “let him save himself if he is really God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”The soldiers mocked him, too, by offering him a drink of sour wine.They called out to him, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”A sign was fastened above him with these words: “This is the King of the Jews.”

One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!”But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die?We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.”
Luke 23:32-43

The two criminals were very alike.

Both were very evil and foolish with their lives.

Both were at the end of a long road of bad choices.

Both were given their last call, a last opportunity by Jesus.

The two criminals were very different.

The first thief saw Jesus as a possible way of escape, nothing else. He had no brokenness, sorrow, or repentance.

The second thief saw Jesus as the King to be followed.

He focused on Jesus.

He feared God.

He admitted his sin and accepted justice.

He believed that Jesus is exactly who He said he was, a good and mighty King.

The second thief prayed, “When you get to your Kingdom, remember me.”

Jesus said, “Today, in Paradise.”

Heaven is real, immediate, with Jesus.

Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
II Corinthians 5:6-8

Jesus is the Way.

Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.And you know the way to where I am going.”

“No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”
John 14:1-6

Bottom Line

Life hinges on Who you believe Jesus is. Jesus is the key to heaven.

Next Steps

  1. Ask God to help you be sure of who Jesus is.

  2. Commit to daily prayer and an invitation to Easter for someone who needs forgiveness.



Our Greatest Need

Jesus, the one who loves us most, used his last breath and his last words to address our deepest needs.

In the middle of his own agony on the cross, Jesus prayed for and offered forgiveness, our greatest need.

Message Notes

Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed.When they came to the place called The Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Luke 23:32-35

Sin is our greatest problem. Forgiveness is our greatest need.

All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God's paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.
Isaiah 53:6

God treats us like Jesus deserves, because God treated Jesus like we deserve.

God‘s grace is to flow through us to others. Focusing on others is the key to suffering victoriously.

None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
I Corinthians 2:8

"Friends, I realize that what you and your leaders did to Jesus was done in ignorance.”
Acts 3:17

Forgiveness must be accepted.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
I John 1:9

Prayer is the lifeline through pain.

as was his custom… Luke 22:39

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7


Fulfill Your Purposes in Me

Missional prayers align us with God’s purposes. They are risky and fulfilling. They position us to be used by God in any way possible. Accepting God’s assignments and purposes must be rooted in a profound experience with Jesus. When we pray the risky prayer, he will show us how even our personal problems, pressures, and pain can be used to fulfill his big purposes.

Message Notes

Usually when we pray we are asking, “God, will you do this for me?”

What if we changed it and asked, “God, what can I do for you?”

God always wants to use people. He invites us to do something great with him.

David prayed, “I cry out to God who fulfills his purpose for me.” Psalm 57:2

When God calls us, we can answer in several ways:

Jonah said, “No way.”

The word of the Lordcame to Jonah son of Amittai:“Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me. “But Jonah ran away from the Lord…” Jonah 1:1-3

Moses said, “Get someone else.”

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” Exodus 3:11

Mary said, “Anything you say, God.”

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Luke 1:38

Isaiah said, “Here I am. Send me.”

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8

How can you get your heart to answer like Isaiah and Mary?

You have a genuine encounter with the presence of God.

You have a genuine awareness of your own sinfulness and his grace.

You give up your need to know the details.

You daily declare, “I am yours.”

Next Steps:

1) Ask yourself, “Can I really say, ‘Let it be to me as you said?’ (Luke 2:38) Am I brave enough to pray from my heart, ‘Send me!’” (Isaiah 6:8)

2) Pray these risky prayers and wait to hear what he says. Adventure is ahead!

Bottom Line

Personal fulfillment is the result of fulfilling God’s purposes for me.

Teach Me to Number My Days

Transformational prayers allow God to give us insights that shape and mold us.
As he was aging, Billy Graham said, “The greatest surprise to me is the brevity of life.” The older we get, the shorter life seems. Moses and King David both expressed shock and wonder about how short and precious life is. They both took the leap and invited God to impress on them the brevity of life, and transform them by showing them how to invest their days wisely. Are you brave enough and wise enough to do that?

Message Notes

You only live once - but if you get it right, once is enough.

Moses and David both prayed to get it right:

Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered—
how fleeting my life is.
You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
at best, each of us is but a breath. Psalm 39:4-5

Teach us to realize the brevity of life,
so that we may grow in wisdom. Psalm 90:12

What is God’s wisdom?

Life goes really fast.

For they are like a breath of air;
their days are like a passing shadow. Psalm 144:10

Our days are numbered. They are not infinite here.

How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. James 4:14

Make the best use of the days we are given. Make them count.

So be very careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Ephesians 5:15

Live for what lasts.

Let us, your servants, see you work again;
let our children see your glory.
And may the Lord our God show us his approval
and make our efforts successful.
Yes, make our efforts successful! Psalm 90:16-17

For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body. II Corinthians 5:10

Next Steps:

1) Be brave enough to ask God to show you how brief and uncertain life is.

2) Take inventory of your life investments, determine what ones need to change, and make a new plan.


Examine Me and Know My Heart

Risky prayers. Can prayer really be risky? Is it supposed to be? Any conversation we have with an Almighty and holy God should never be business as usual. An encounter with God should be life-altering and soul-shaping. Most of the time our prayers are fairly casual and safe. “Help me.” “Bless me.” Protect me.” “Give me…”

Risky prayers have consequences. They stretch me and grow me. They change me and change my life. They align me with God’s purposes and bring the adventure, fullness, and results in my life thatGod intends for me. If you really pray these risky prayers, you and everyone your life touches will be impacted because you personally have taken the risky challenge and opportunity to meet with God.

Message Notes

Prayer is risky business.

Risky prayers have consequences.

Three Kinds of Risky Prayers:

  1. Confessional Prayers allow God to breathe into your life and reveal what is hindering your growth and usefulness.

  2. Transformational Prayers allow God to give us insights that shape and mold us.

  3. Missional Prayers align us with God’s purposes.

David prayed a risky, confessional prayer:

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Psalm 139:23-24

Search my heart. Show me what is not right.

Pray it. Listen for God to speak. God will draw near and will show you things that are not right—not to condemn you, but to draw you close.

Uncover my fears.

What I fear the most reveals where I trust God the least.

Expose my sins.

Show me anything that is inconsistent with your truth.

What have others been trying to tell me?

What have I rationalized for some time?

Where am I most defensive?

Lead me in the way of everlasting life.

A life that pleases you, builds others, gives me treasure that will not decay, and no regrets.

Bottom Line

The truth sets me free. My heart protects and deceives me; God tells the truth.

Next Steps:

  1. Find a quiet time to spend with God and pray this prayer. Write down what God says.

Dear God,

Examine me. I want to see in me what You see in me.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Psalm 139:23-24

I need your grace. Help me find my identity in you.
Amen
— Risky Business Prayers - Examine Me

2. Acknowledge and confess the wrong things he shows you.

3. Ask the Holy Spirit to convict you immediately when you drift away so you can live a lifestyle of repentance.

Dark's Got Game but Light is Winning

Message Notes

For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory…"
2 Corinthians 4:6

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us.

2 Corinthians 4:7

We are hard pressed on every side but not crushed

2 Corinthians 4:8

We are perplexed but not in despair,

We are persecuted, but not abandoned.

2 Corinthians 4:9

We are struck down, but not destroyed.

Therefore we do not lose heart, though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

2 Corinthians 4:16

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us a glorious eternity that far outweighs them all.

2 Corinthians 4:17

Okay…but how?

So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:18

Snapshots of the Church

We > Me. It sounds counterintuitive. After all, this is the age of the maverick, the startup, and the brand called YOU.  But the greatest, most fulfilled people know it’s never about you. It is always about the mission that is bigger than you. The trouble with always searching to find yourself, work on what makes you happy, and communicate your ideas and abilities is that you spend too much time looking in the mirror rather than at the world. True, Jesus-style fulfillment requires you to flip that logic on its head. We > merevolves around teamwork to serve the world for which Jesus came. WE > Me--it’s who WE are.

Throughout the ages, the DNA of the church continues to shine through. WE > ME. We, God’s people, have been and continue to be the agents of change. Wherever WE go, hope goes. Culture gets better. It’s still our calling.

Message Notes

Does the church still matter?

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common.They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Acts 2:42-47

Devoted = adhere to

They devoted themselves to:

God’s Word TOGETHER

Fellowship

Breaking bread together

Prayer

Giving and Serving

Their first priority was God’s Word.
Their second priority was each other.

Let us not give up meeting together. Let us encourage each other.
Hebrews 11

Two compelling reasons for the Church that will never go away:

1) You don’t ATTEND church. You ARE the Church.

2) We attend a Sunday morning gathering of the Church for the sake of those who don’t yet have a seat at the table.

Next Steps

1) Thank God for the WE who went before you.

2) Devote yourself to God and being WE, his Church.

3) Stop church shopping. Commit to the long haul as an active part of WE.

Why The Church Still Matters

We > Me. It sounds counterintuitive. After all, this is the age of the maverick, the startup, and the brand called YOU.  But the greatest, most fulfilled people know it’s never about you. It is always about the mission that is bigger than you. The trouble with always searching to find yourself, work on what makes you happy, and communicate your ideas and abilities is that you spend too much time looking in the mirror rather than at the world. True, Jesus-style fulfillment requires you to flip that logic on its head. We > merevolves around teamwork to serve the world for which Jesus came. WE > Me--it’s who WE are.

They take pride in feeling they have “graduated” from a need for “church”, though they heartily affirm their relationship with Jesus. Actually, Jesus said the Church was his Bride, and would always matter. 

Message Notes

Do we really need to attend church?

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer…All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Acts 2:42, 44-45

Devoted: To adhere to; to stick to closely.

They devoted themselves to God’s Word.

They devoted themselves to fellowship.

They devoted themselves to breaking bread together, doing life together.

They devoted themselves to prayer.

They devoted themselves to giving and serving.

So why attend church?

Two compelling reasons that will never go away:

You don’t attend church—you are the Church.

We attend a Sunday morning gathering of the Church for the sake of those who don’t yet have a seat at the table, a place in God’s house.

Next Steps

  1. Devote yourself to God and being WE, his church.

  2. Stop church shopping. Commit for the long haul as an active part of WE.

A Vision Bigger Than Me

We > Me. It sounds counterintuitive. After all, this is the age of the maverick, the startup, and the brand called YOU.  But the greatest, most fulfilled people know it’s never about you. It is always about the mission that is bigger than you. The trouble with always searching to find yourself, work on what makes you happy, and communicate your ideas and abilities is that you spend too much time looking in the mirror rather than at the world. True, Jesus-style fulfillment requires you to flip that logic on its head. We > merevolves around teamwork to serve the world for which Jesus came. WE > Me--it’s who WE are.

Cornerstone Church is our tribe, our team. We are part of the CHURCH, and God has honored us by seeing us as the hope of the world. In 2019, our first and finest efforts will be to work together with each other and him for the fulfillment of his purpose. Pastor Brenda will share by video (12 mins.) with both campuses and our online congregation, then our Campus Pastors will personalize the specifics of the vision for each campus. In another 12-15 minutes.

WE >ME

We > Me. It sounds counterintuitive. After all, this is the age of the maverick, the startup, and the brand called YOU.  But the greatest, most fulfilled people know it’s never about you. It is always about the mission that is bigger than you. The trouble with always searching to find yourself, work on what makes you happy, and communicate your ideas and abilities is that you spend too much time looking in the mirror rather than at the world. True, Jesus-style fulfillment requires you to flip that logic on its head. We > merevolves around teamwork to serve the world for which Jesus came. WE > Me--it’s who WE are.


We say things like “I’ll handle it.” “I’ll make it work.” We love to feel like we’re the hero, the hinge on which things move. Truth be told, God never planned for us to “handle it”, or to “work it out.”  He wants us to work with him. He is committed to our future, and WE is definitely greater than ME. He has given us a mission—and it will never be accomplished by a solitary hero. It is a joint mission of monumental proportions. We—so much greater than ME--the only way for fulfillment. 

Message Notes

Since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others.
Romand 12:5b

I need others to walk with me.

Just as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him...
Colossians 2:6-7

It is not good for man to be alone.
Genesis 2:18

Let us not give up the habit of meeting together…Instead, let us encourage one another.
Hebrews 10:25

It is safer, supportive, and smarter.

WE > ME because it is God’s answer to loneliness.

I need others to work with me.

God made us to do good works, which He planned in advance for us to live our lives doing.
Ephesians 2:10

Two people are better than one, because they get more done by working together.
Ecclesiastes 4:9

Every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.
Galatians 6:10

WE > ME because it is God’s answer to fatigue.

I need others to watch out for me.

Look out for one another's interests, not just for your own.
Philippians 2:4

Keep being concerned about each other as the Lord's followers should.
Hebrews 13:1

If one person falls, another can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble.
Ecclesiastes 4:10

WE > ME because it is God’s answer to defeat.

I need others to wait and weep with me.

You should be like one big family, full of sympathy toward each other...
I Peter 3:8a

If one member suffers, all suffer together.
I Corinthians 12:26

Be happy with those who are happy, weep with those who weep.
Romans 12:15

Encourage each other and strengthen one another.
I Thessalonians 5:11

WE > ME because it is God’s answer to despair.

I need others to witness with me.

Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.
John 13:35

The Holy Spirit doesn’t want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them.
II Timothy 1:7

...You are working together and struggling side by side to get others to believe the Good News.
Philippians 1:27b

WE > ME because it is God’s answer to fear.


Goodwill Towards Men | Goodwill When I am Seeking for Hope

These men had been searching for hope for years. They studied all the ancient writings, they studied the stars; they were looking for someone who could bring hope to their weary world.

God showed his goodwill toward them by using a star to direct them to Bethlehem where a child had been born. When they found him, they fell to their knees in worship because hope ignited in their hearts.

Message Notes

The Wise Men were seeking for hope in a weary world.

Matthew 2:1-12

They had studied the scriptures and knew hope was always the best option.

The thought of my suffering and homelessnessis bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time,as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hopewhen I remember this.
Lamentations 3:19-21

They believed in a faithful, loving, merciful God.

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!His mercies never cease.
Lamentations 3:22

They knew God’s new day would bring exactly what they needed.

Great is his faithfulness;his mercies begin afresh each morning.I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;therefore, I will hope in him!”
Lamentations 3:23-24

They knew that waiting, depending, and searching would lead to what and Who they were seeking.

The Lord is good to those who depend on him,to those who search for him.So it is good to wait quietlyfor salvation from the Lord.
Lamentations 3:25-26

Their hope led to worship.

When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Matthew 2:10-11

In our weary world, we can have a thrill of hope and rejoice! Hold on to hope for a new day with Jesus!

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.
Hebrews 10:23

The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. Romans 13:11-12

Bottom Line

In a weary world, Christ is the hope.

Action Steps

  1. Really worship this weekend. Give Christ all your worries, and remember He is our Hope.

  2. Share the hope of Jesus with at least one person before Christmas Day.

Good Will Towards Men | Goodwill When I am Afraid of Where I Stand with God

The angels announced it: “Peace on earth and goodwill toward men!”

Goodwill means favor and kindness, and the Infant in the manger was the bridge of favor and kindness between God and man. The Christ Child grew to truly be the Savior of the world, the tangible and literal expression of God’s favor to us.

In the moments we feel most insecure, confused, or needy, through Jesus we can experience the kindness of God. In our moments of joy, he rejoices with us. He is God’s Goodwill toward men.

Shepherds stayed out on the hillside and spent much of their lives away from the most respectable people. Though their work was honest enough, it was humble, dirty, and disrespected. They were lowly and unable to fulfill the religious rules of the day, so they were rejected by the religious leaders. Everything and everyone seemed better, cleaner, moreworthy than them. They felt continually inadequate. If they didn’t measure up to ordinary people, how could they ever measure up to a holy God’s standards?

Ever feel that way? Ever compare yourself to others and come up continually lacking? If so, you probably have some concerns about where you stand with God, too. You need to understand how goodwill works for you.

Message Notes

In honest moments, we all consider where we stand with God.

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified,but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!”
Luke 2:8-11

The shepherds where afraid of where they stood with God because they felt unworthy.

The shepherds were afraid of where they stood with God because they felt inadequate.

The shepherds were afraid of where they stood with God because they felt alone, even unloved.

Religion will always make us feel that way.

Relationship is why Jesus came.

We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.
Romans 3:22-24

Religion says do. Relationship says done.

Bottom Line

Everyone needs a savior.

Action Steps

  1. If Jesus is not your Savior yet, commit to him today.

  2. Look for a “shepherd” who doesn’t know where they stand with God to invite to church next weekend. Make it an invitation they can’t resist.

Good Will Towards Men | Goodwill When I am Afraid of What People Think

The angels announced it: “Peace on earth and goodwill toward men!”

Goodwill means favor and kindness, and the Infant in the manger was the bridge of favor and kindness between God and man. The Christ Child grew to truly be the Savior of the world, the tangible and literal expression of God’s favor to us.

In the moments we feel most insecure, confused, or needy, through Jesus we can experience the kindness of God. In our moments of joy, he rejoices with us. He is God’s Goodwill toward men.

Joseph had lived his life with integrity and care. Everyone knew he wasone of the good guys.

But then he got a curve ball thrown hard—his fiancée told him she was pregnant, and he knew it wasn’t his child. She made the most unbelievable claim about the paternity, then an angel showed up and affirmed everything Mary said.

What would people think? His reputation was shattered if he didn’tbreak their engagement. But he discovered that actually God’s opinion of him was what mattered most, and God’s thoughts towards him were all goodwill!

Message Notes

The reality is that it is very easy to become obsessed with what people think about us.

This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit.Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagementquietly.As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
Matthew 1:18-21

Being obsessed with what other people think about you is the quickest way to forget what God thinks about you.

Being obsessed with what God thinks about you is the quickest way to forget what people think about you.

Extraordinary acts of God often start with ordinary acts of obedience.

You always have a choice to make: will I do what is easy, or what is right? Will I care about God’s opinion or people’s opinion?

When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. Matthew 1:24

You have no idea what a single act of obedience might set in motion.

Fear of man will prove to be a snare,but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. Proverbs 29:25

Bottom Line

Being obsessed with what God thinks of me is the quickest way to not be obsessed with what people think of me.

Action Steps

  1. Consider where I am too worried about what people think. Is there somewhere I haven’t yet obeyed God because of my fear of people?

  2. Pray every morning: “God, help me remember you are listening and watching, and to make that matter most. Help me live for your approval today.”

Goodwill Towards Men | Good Will When I Am Afraid of What God is Asking Me to Do

The angels announced it: “Peace on earth and goodwill toward men!”

Goodwill means favor and kindness, and the Infant in the manger was the bridge of favor and kindness between God and man. The Christ Child grew to truly be the Savior of the world, the tangible and literal expression of God’s favor to us.

In the moments we feel most insecure, confused, or needy, through Jesus we can experience the kindness of God. In our moments of joy, he rejoices with us. He is God’s Goodwill toward men.

An angel interrupted a teenage girl named Mary’s world to tell her God had a job for her. The job was so big and incredible that Mary was dazed and confused. She was afraid. But as she decided to respond in obedience despite her fear, she discovered that God was looking on her with favor. The interruption was actually God’s invitation to experience his goodwill. Out of this came significance she never could have imagined.

Message Notes

Why are we so often afraid of God’s plans?

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
II Timothy 1:7

Because his interruptions are often inconvenient.

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David.Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you” Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.“Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God!”
Luke 1:26-29

Because his purpose is often so different than our plans.

You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israelforever; his Kingdom will never end!
Luke 1:31-33

“But how can this happen?”

Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”

The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month.For the word of God will never fail.”

God says. “Outcome is my responsibility. Obedience is your responsibility.”

Mary chose faith over fear.

Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”
Luke 1:38

God is going to interrupt you with an invitation for an inconvenient opportunity to be a part of a really big plan and purpose.

God takes full responsibility for a life completely surrendered to him.

Bottom Line

Outcome is God’s responsibility. Obedience is mine.

Action Step

  1. Identify an area of opportunity/invitation that looks frightening to you.

  2. Pray and ask God for insight on how this is actually his goodwill and to you.

Finding Freedom | Living Free

No one was born to be a slave. Yet slavery takes many forms, and oppression has many flavors. We all have experienced it. It can take only a moment to set a slave free from a slave owner, but years to get the slavery out of the person. Turns out, freedom is a long term work, and it comes from the inside out. Jesus has created a way for us to be truly free. Outside and in. You can find freedom from all that enslaves you.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

Living Free is both an event and a process.
The Israelites took courage and left Egypt, but they had to keep fighting so that “Egypt” didn’t get back into them. Living free requires me to do the maintenance work of freedom.

Message Notes

Freedom is not “one and done.”
It is both event and process.

Today, please listen;
don’t turn a deaf ear as in “the bitter uprising,”
that time of wilderness testing!
Even though they watched me at work for forty years,
your ancestors refused to let me do it my way;
over and over they tried my patience.
And I was provoked, oh, so provoked!
I said, “They’ll never keep their minds on God;
they refuse to walk down my road.”
Exasperated, I vowed,
“They’ll never get where they’re going,
never be able to sit down and rest.”
Hebrew 3:7-1

Slavery is a slippery slope.

I must organize myself to stay free.

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.
I Corinthians 16:13

So how do you fulfill that strategy for success?

You organize yourself to do it.

Get and stay connected.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see The Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:24-25

Stay in training.

Train yourself to be godly. I Timothy 4:8

Live with open hands.

God said to Moses, “I’m going to rain bread down from the skies for you. The people will go out and gather each day’s ration. I’m going to test them to see if they’ll live according to my teaching or not.”Exodus 16:4-5

Keep the Sabbath.

Observe the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Work six days and do everything you need to do. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to God,your God. Don’t do any work—not you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your servant, nor your maid, nor your animals, not even the foreign guest visiting in your town. For in six days Godmade Heaven, Earth, and sea, and everything in them; he rested on the seventh day. Therefore, Godblessed the Sabbath day; he set it apart as a holy day.
Exodus 20:8-11

Share freedom. You are not just saved FROM something but FOR something.

But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God's very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
I Peter 2:9

Bottom Line

Living free is both and event and a process.

Action Step

  1. Get a FIC appointment if you have areas of need.

  2. Set up your own personal plan for maintain your freedom and continuing to the Promised Land.