The Power of Listen | Part 2

Message Notes

And when Jesus got into the boar, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him.
Mark 5:18

Jesus did not let Him, but said, “Go home to your own People and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.
Mark 5:19

So the man went away and began to tell his story in the Decopolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.
Mark 5:20

I know of no one with such an inspiring story of transformation who received it as the result of having someone prove Jesus’ power to them. Every inspiring story I have heard happened when someone listened to the voice of God and respond in faith.

The Power of Listen | Part 1

Message Notes

I Choose

POWER AND MAJESTY CHAOS
Perfectly suited “I am too…”
Contagious Leaping Living as a victim
Move in God’s purpose “Just the way I am”
Attitude of service “I don’t have enough”
Decisions based on truth Decisions based on an answer I like

Take This Job and Love It!

Having a great attitude toward our job is necessary no matter who we are—
White collar, blue collar, no collar.
Executives, homemakers, retirees, and students. 

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.
Colossians 3:23-24

Message Notes

Having a great attitude toward our jobs applies to everyone—white collar, blue collar, no collar, executives, homemakers, retired, and students. 

What I Have Learned from the Jobs I Have Had:

  • If you’re willing to do anything - that’s not immoral or illegal - you’ll always have a job.

  • Jobs don’t initially come looking for you. You have to go looking for them.

  • Success requires submitting to authority, even if you have a bad boss.

  • When no one will hire you, you can hire yourself.

  • If you care about people, there will be something in every job that makes it worthwhile.

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.Colossians 3:23-24

What We Can Learn From Paul:

  • WHO you are is more important than WHAT you do.

  • Expecting appreciation from people will lead to frustration.

  • Change the environment by changing your perspective.

  • Doing what you do well brings honor to God.

Hashtags | #RadicalDude

These days most everyone is familiar with social media hashtags. These are the pound signs followed by a phrase that allows easy identification of a theme or message. If Jesus used hashtags, how would he label his messages concerning our resource management?

Jesus taught about true wisdom in handling our resources, and what he said seemed so radical it shocked his disciples. What if instead of being radical, it is actually the most reasonable way to live?

Message Notes

#RADICALDUDE

Jesus taught about true wisdom in handling our resources, and what he said seemed so radical it shocked his disciples. What if instead of being radical, it is actually the most reasonable way to live?

Matthew 6:21-34
Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. 

What’s your overall goal for your resources?


To set the right goal, you have to understand how God views your resources.

Your money, your stuff, your time.

I Chronicles 29:10-14
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength. O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name! But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us!

Everything belongs to God.

Everything comes from God.

Everything is distributed by God…unequally.

My main objective: To honor God with my resources, to prioritize his Kingdom. 

How? This calls for surrender. It’s not an add-on. It’s essential.

God invites me to test him in this:

Malachi 3:9-12
“You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me.  Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from the devourer. Your grapes will not fall from the vine before they are ripe,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.  “Then all nations will call you blessed, for your land will be such a delight,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 

Hashtags | #GreedVSGenerosity

These days most everyone is familiar with social media hashtags. These are the pound signs followed by a phrase that allows easy identification of a theme or message. If Jesus used hashtags, how would he label his messages concerning our resource management?

Most people have a deep misunderstanding of two very familiar words. What does Jesus say qualifies as greed? What is true generosity?

Message Notes

Generosity is not simply giving.

Generosity is “freely giving more than is necessary, expected, often at sacrifice.” 

It is the “virtue of being unattached to material possessions, willing to give them for the sake of others.”

Greed is “the desire to get and retain more than is needed.”

Generosity and greed are defined practically by what we do with our “extra.”

We all have extra, but we don’t believe it. That’s because “extra” will never be satisfied.

Jesus defined greed as the assumption that my extras are for my consumption. 

Luke 12:13-21; 33-34

Then someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.”

Jesus replied, “Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?” Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”

Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’

“But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’

“Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”

“Sell your possessions and give to those in need. NOT ALL>>>>EXTRA. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
  1. If you assume the extra is all for you, you need to make a correction.
  2. Planning your giving in advance with a percentage is the way to keep your heart in check. 
  3. You need to be rich toward God. 

 

Hashtags | #BacktoBasics

These days most everyone is familiar with social media hashtags. These are the pound signs followed by a phrase that allows easy identification of a theme or message. If Jesus used hashtags, how would he label his messages concerning our resource management?

How do I manage my money instead of letting my money manage me?

Message Notes

The Starting Point: Honor God

 So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. I Corinthians 10:31

 

The Struggle:  Discontent

Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. I Timothy 6:6-10

 

The Choice: God, not Stuff

But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. I Timothy 6:6-11
No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.  Matthew 6:24

 

You can only do Five Basic Things with money:

Spend it.

Repay debt.

Pay taxes.

Save it.

Give it.

 

Two things determine the percentage and order:

Priorities—the direction of my money determines the direction of my heart.

Self-control—is my life a “me-first” proposition, controlled by my desires?

 

To manage my money well:

  1. Set a clear objective.
  2. Flip the list.
  3. Make constant course corrections.

Hashtags | #GiveandServe

These days most everyone is familiar with social media hashtags. These are the pound signs followed by a phrase that allows easy identification of a theme or message. If Jesus used hashtags, how would he label his messages concerning our resource management?

If you made a hashtag of Jesus’ formula for a powerfully impacting life it would read #giveandserve.

Message Notes

If you made a hashtag of Jesus’ formula for a powerfully impacting life, it would read #giveandserve.

We were made for #giveandserve.

John 6 | Matthew 14

#giveandserve allows us to discover what we can do.  

#giveandserve allows us to experience miracles.

#giveandserve keeps us close to Jesus.

#giveandserve helps us discover satisfaction and significance.

#giveandserve puts us on powerful teams.

#giveandserve increases our faith.

Summer School | Three Big Spiritual Skills

When it’s summer, no one wants to go to school. But actually, summer school can help you catch up to speed pretty quickly on some absolutely essential lessons you may have missed. There are some lessons you just can’t skip because no one enters adulthood and receives a handbook complete with all the lessons you missed. Somehow you’re just supposed to know that you should have more money coming in than going out, to change your oil every six months, and not to wear your spring break souvenir t-shirt to a professional job interview! This three week message series is a pretty good time to catch up on what you might have missed. God knows the answers for every test you will face!

God’s best for you comes as you learn to develop your communication with God, develop your spiritual gifts, and focus on the eternal, not the temporary.

Message Notes

We are spiritual creations, having a physical experience, not physical creations having a spiritual experience. 

 

Develop your relationship with God. 

Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  II Peter 3:18

Talking with God

Listening to God

Becoming friends with God’s family

 

Develop your spiritual gifts. 

 This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you. II Timothy 1:16

                  Your gifts can make your life an adventure.

                  A man's gift makes room for him and brings him before great men. Proverbs 16:16

                  Your gifts are your way to fulfill God’s plan. 

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good thing he  planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10
 

Focus on the eternal, not the temporary.

So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. II Corinthians 4:18

Only two things will last forever: the word of God and people. 

But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live! II Peter 3:18                  

Summer School | Three Big Personal Skills

When it’s summer, no one wants to go to school. But actually, summer school can help you catch up to speed pretty quickly on some absolutely essential lessons you may have missed. There are some lessons you just can’t skip because no one enters adulthood and receives a handbook complete with all the lessons you missed. Somehow you’re just supposed to know that you should have more money coming in than going out, to change your oil every six months, and not to wear your spring break souvenir t-shirt to a professional job interview! This three week message series is a pretty good time to catch up on what you might have missed. God knows the answers for every test you will face!

You will stunt and sabotage your own future if you don’t learn how to manage your time, manage your desires, and humbly ask for help/graciously give help when needed.

Message Notes


These skills will help you avoid stunting or sabotaging your future.

Manage your TIME.

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

Assume Responsibility.

Rely on God’s Wisdom.

Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the
Lord wants you to do. Ephesians 5:16-17


Manage your DESIRES.

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Psalm 37:4-5

Mismanaged desires - relationally, physically, financially, spiritually - will always destroy.

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. James 1:13-15


Manage your THOUGHTS first.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

Practice contentment.

I know both 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 4:12

Summer School | Three Big People Skills

When it’s summer, no one wants to go to school. But actually, summer school can help you catch up to speed pretty quickly on some absolutely essential lessons you may have missed. There are some lessons you just can’t skip because no one enters adulthood and receives a handbook complete with all the lessons you missed. Somehow you’re just supposed to know that you should have more money coming in than going out, to change your oil every six months, and not to wear your spring break souvenir t-shirt to a professional job interview! This three week message series is a pretty good time to catch up on what you might have missed. God knows the answers for every test you will face!

Every relationship you have will suffer if you don’t give and accept feedback gracefully, apologize sincerely, say “no” respectfully. How in the world do you do that?

Message Notes

Our success in life is inextricably tied to our relational skills.

Life will never be most satisfying than your relationships.
Life will never be healthier than the health of your relationships.

Three skills that make or break you that rarely get taught are:
 

1) Accept feedback gracefully.

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid. Proverbs 12:1

In Exodus 18, Moses got feedback from his father-in-law, and it raised his level of leadership.

Three skills that make or break you that rarely get taught are:
 

2) Apologize sincerely.

So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has
something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come
and offer your sacrifice to God. Matthew 5:23-24

An apology is NOT:

A lie
An excuse
Defensive

An apology is:

An honest acknowledgement of my failure
Asking forgiveness
Initiating change

Three skills that make or break you that rarely get taught are:

3) Say “No”…

Respectfully.

Show proper respect to everyone. I Peter 2:17

Prayerfully

Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong. 2 Corinthians 13:7.

Lovingly

Instead, speaking the truth in love. Ephesians 4:32

Gently

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

Firmly

All you need to say is simply “Yes” or “No;” anything beyond this comes from the evil one. Matthew 5:37

The Greatest Letter Written | Signing Off with the Best News Ever

Have you ever received a letter that changed your life?  An acceptance letter?  A love letter?  A “Dear John”  letter?  A termination letter?  You know that the contents and the author are always key in the measure of impact. The letter to the Romans is unusually eloquent and truly life-changing. Paul wrote it, but it is apparent the contents come straight from God’s heart. When you get the letter and absorb what he has said, you will agree—this is the greatest letter ever written! Your confidence, your hope, your capacity will soar!

You can overflow with confident hope! God will soon crush Satan under his feet, and he is able to make you strong!  All glory to the only wise God through Jesus Christ, forever. Amen.

Message Notes

The entire letter has been good news!

And now, always remember this. Life is hard, but God is good:

You can overflow with confident hope!

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you
will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

God will soon crush Satan under his feet!

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. Romans 16:20

God is able to make you strong!

Now all glory to God who is able to make you strong, just as the Good News says. Romans 16:25
All glory to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, forever. Amen. Romans 16:27

Bottom Line

You can overflow with hope and confidence and live a life of honor!

Action Step

  1. List the people worthy of honor in your life.

  2. Contact them and honor them with your words—letter or face to face.

  3. Teach someone else that God will soon crust Satan under his feet, and they can have a significant life because of Jesus.

The Greatest Letter Ever Written | And Now Some Practical Pointers For Life

Have you ever received a letter that changed your life?  An acceptance letter?  A love letter?  A “Dear John”  letter?  A termination letter?  You know that the contents and the author are always key in the measure of impact. The letter to the Romans is unusually eloquent and truly life-changing. Paul wrote it, but it is apparent the contents come straight from God’s heart. When you get the letter and absorb what he has said, you will agree—this is the greatest letter ever written! Your confidence, your hope, your capacity will soar!

The Good News does more than preparing us for heaven—it gives us the path and the power for the best life possible here. You are gifted. You can serve God and people in mutually satisfying ways. Living in the light of day is a great adventure!

Message Notes

The Good news does more than prepare us for heaven—it gives us the path and the power for the best life possible
here.

I can quit sinning—I am no longer a slave to sin!
Romans 6:1-2, 6, 11-18, 22-23
I have the power to live in the Spirit!
Romans 7:4-25

This is what that looks like…

Action Step

  1. If you don’t know your spiritual gifts, take a gift test.
  2. Meet with our MP leaders to find a place to serve within the church, Get creative and think of ways to serve outside the church.
  3. Get in an active small group.

The Greatest Letter Ever Written | Our Future Is Bright

Have you ever received a letter that changed your life?  An acceptance letter?  A love letter?  A “Dear John”  letter?  A termination letter?  You know that the contents and the author are always key in the measure of impact. The letter to the Romans is unusually eloquent and truly life-changing. Paul wrote it, but it is apparent the contents come straight from God’s heart. When you get the letter and absorb what he has said, you will agree—this is the greatest letter ever written! Your confidence, your hope, your capacity will soar!

Because of Jesus, we have been adopted as God’s children.  Nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. He will bring something positive from our worst seasons. He is preparing us to live forever. History will climax with God’s perfect plan coming together.

Message Notes

Romans 8:18-30

Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are… But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been
groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We,too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new
bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes
everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

Paul asks Five Rhetorical WOW Questions:
 

1) With God on my side, how can I lose?
 

What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?
Romans 8:31
 

2) If he gave up his only son for me, is he likely to withhold anything else?
 

Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?
Romans 8:32
 

3) If God does not accuse me, who can dare?
 

Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing
with himself. Romans 8:33
 

4) If God is my judge, and Jesus my defense, how can any accusations against me stick?
 

Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in
the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. Romans 8:34
 

5) Can anyone ever drive a wedge between me and God’s love?
 

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. Romans 8:35

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be
able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
 

In his eyes, we are flawless.

Bottom Line

As God’s children, we have no condemnation and no separation, and he is preparing us to live forever with him as his perfect plan comes together.

Action Step

  1. Contemplate your future with God.
  2. Thank him for his great plan that is coming together.

The Greatest Letter Ever Written | We Are Free

Have you ever received a letter that changed your life?  An acceptance letter?  A love letter?  A “Dear John”  letter?  A termination letter?  You know that the contents and the author are always key in the measure of impact. The letter to the Romans is unusually eloquent and truly life-changing. Paul wrote it, but it is apparent the contents come straight from God’s heart. When you get the letter and absorb what he has said, you will agree—this is the greatest letter ever written! Your confidence, your hope, your capacity will soar!

Sin has ruled us. No matter how hard we tried, we messed up over and over again. We say things like, “The Devil made me do it” or “I couldn’t help myself.” No doubt, our sinful natures are powerful. But because of Jesus, we are FREE! Free from sin’s bondage, free from the law, free from a guilty conscience and condemnation, and free to live and love, give and serve.

Message Notes

Free from Sin’s bondage.

Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace?  Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?
Romans 6:1-2
 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. 
Romans 6:6
So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus. Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.
Romans 6:11-14
When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:20-23

Free from the Law.

So, my dear brothers and sisters, this is the point: You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ. And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God. When we were controlled by our old nature, sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death. But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit.
Romans 7:4-6

But…the struggle is real!

The purpose of the law is to show me my sin.

It was the law that showed me my sin.
Romans 7:4

Sin uses God’s commands for evil.

So we can see how terrible sin really is. It uses God’s good commands for its own evil purposes.
Romans 7:13

There is a war within.

And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?
Romans 7:18-24

Because of Jesus, we’re free to live in the Spirit.

Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord! So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.  For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.
Romans 7:25-8:15

Bottom Line

Because of the gospel, we are free FROM sin and free TO love, give, and serve.

Action Step

  1. Identify areas of life where I have not taken advantage of the freedom available to me,
  2. Identify a plan to consistently access your freedom.

The Greatest Letter Ever Written | Everything Is New

Have you ever received a letter that changed your life?  An acceptance letter?  A love letter?  A “Dear John”  letter?  A termination letter?  You know that the contents and the author are always key in the measure of impact. The letter to the Romans is unusually eloquent and truly life-changing. Paul wrote it, but it is apparent the contents come straight from God’s heart. When you get the letter and absorb what he has said, you will agree—this is the greatest letter ever written! Your confidence, your hope, your capacity will soar!

When Jesus came he made everything new! We have a new way to God, a new relationship with God, new hope, new peace, new power, and new perspective.

Message Notes

Bottom Line
My new transformed life, a gift through faith in Jesus, makes everything new.

Action Step

  1. List everything that is new in my life because of Jesus.
  2. Thank Jesus for all he has made new.

The Greatest Letter Ever Written | Dear Friend, Good News!

Have you ever received a letter that changed your life?  An acceptance letter?  A love letter?  A “Dear John”  letter?  A termination letter?  You know that the contents and the author are always key in the measure of impact. The letter to the Romans is unusually eloquent and truly life-changing. Paul wrote it, but it is apparent the contents come straight from God’s heart. When you get the letter and absorb what he has said, you will agree—this is the greatest letter ever written! Your confidence, your hope, your capacity will soar!

Did you know that the word “gospel” means good news? Paul starts his amazing letter with the good news that the Gospel changes lives every where it goes! He explains how much we need the good news of Jesus Christ, and that it’s for every single person who ever breathed.

Message Notes

This book is the groundbreaking manual of Christian theology, written by Paul in about AD 57—60’s.

 
This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News.
— Romans 1:1
 

Jesus’ coming led to a cosmic change!

 
But now God has shown us a way to be right with him…
— Romans 3:21
 

The Gospel means GOOD NEWS. The Good News is all about Jesus. Romans 2:1-5

 
God promised this Good News long ago through his prophets in the holy Scriptures. The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord.
— Romans 1:2-4
 

The Good news of transformation is through faith, and for everyone! Romans 1:16-17

 
For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.
— Romans 1:16-17
 

Everyone is a sinner and separated from God! His kindness is intended to turn us to him. Romans 2:1-4

 
You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse!...Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?
— Romans 2:1-4
 

We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ.  Romans 3:21-28

 
But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. 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. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life...for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.
— Romans 3:23-28
 

“BUT NOW….” is really good news! We get to share it with everyone!

Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name.
— Romans 1:5

Bottom Line

The transforming good news is for everyone.

Action Step

  1. Accept the good news of the gospel for yourself if you have not yet, and share your story with someone.
  2. Share the name of someone for whom you are praying who needs the good news. Begin to plan to share with them at an appropriate time.

This Is Us | Bringing Out the Best in Your Family

A parent’s responsibility is to help each child become the best unique fulfillment of God’s plan possible.

This Is Us | Future Family

Your children and grandchildren may forget what you say, but they will never forget what you do.

This Is Us | Being a Great Parent

Parenting is a huge challenge, but God makes us able.

Letting Go When You Want To Hang On | Foolish

The world is filled with difficult people. It is impossible to avoid them. You try everything – confrontation, or compromise, or being passive, or even straight ignoring it. Too often these people drag you into their issues and your best attempts at making peace fail. You want to handle your relationships in a way that honors God and preserves your sanity – but is it even possible?

Difficult people in our lives are often who the Bible refers to as "fools." Dealing with fools requires a special kind of wisdom. Insights from the biblical book of Proverbs will help us with the foolish people in your life—even that fool is you.

The only hope for you AND your fool is for you to give up the role of savior. There is ONE Savior, and it is not you. Releasing your fool into God’s care is so hard because most of the time it feels wrong. The fool is angry and accusatory, and we feel guilty. But release is the ultimate surrender. You can get so entangled with your fool that you forget he or she has a Heavenly Father who cares more than you do. He promises that if you will get out of the way, he will get involved and make all things work together for your good.

Message Notes

God has a goal for a fool: Daniel 4:27-35

What would you be willing for your fool to endure in order to leave behind his foolishness and know God truly?

What would you be willing to release to God for your fool to be changed?

Savior: One who brings salvation from danger or destruction.

You didn’t cause it, you can’t cure it, you can’t even control it. There is one Savior, and it is not you.

When You Let Go

  • You are making a positive step toward freeing yourself from binding chaos and complications.
  • You are releasing your fool to the natural consequences of his/her behavior.
  • You will step out of denial into reality where only God can work.
  • You remove yourself from the fool’s realm of influence and you give up responsibility for your fool.
  • It is a conscious effort on your part, and an act of faith.
I am going to trust God and look to him alone to be my source and resource. I will keep my focus on him.

The Foolish Son and the Wise Father show us what that looks like.

Luke 15:11-32

  • The very best thing you can do for a prodigal is let them go.
  • God can use the consequences of their choices to bring them to their senses and home.
  • Real repentance and change makes no demands.

Letting go is the right surrender, but it can feel very wrong.

You and your fool both have a very great need, and only God can meet it.
If you don’t let him, YOU are a fool.

Fool-proofing your life is a serious journey, but not a hopeless one:

  • Become responsible for yourself.
  • Submit yourself to the God who made you.
  • Release your beloved fool into the Savior’s hands.
  • Access the power and protection of the God who loves you both.