This Is Us | Being a Great Parent

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

Foolish | Letting Go When You Want To Hang On

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.

 

 

Foolish | When You Love Your Fool

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.

 

Sometimes the fool is our spouse, child, sibling, or parent. How difficult is that? Except when we are very angry, we make excuses for that person. We can’t consider labeling them a fool. We spend lifetimes trying to make them look better. It is hard to admit that it will never work. We have to do something different. You can give up the strategies that will never work and always leave you defeated. You can put away childish things. You can speak the truth in love. You can untangle from the dysfunction. You can overcome evil with good.

Message Notes

A love relationship with a fool is generally characterized by childish behavior on both sides.

When I was a child, I used to speak as a child; when I became a man, I put away childish things.
I Corinthians 13:11

Man means adult, mature person

 

How do children speak?

They say whatever they think, whenever they think it, to whomever they wish, without considering the effect.

An adult has awareness than his or her words have power, and carefully controls their speech.

Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips.
Psalm 141:3

How do children think and reason?

They think about themselves and what they can get for themselves.

An adult is willing to consider others’ needs and other ways.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way.
I Corinthians 13:4
What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?  You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.  
James 4:1-2

A new strategy for the old battle:

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.
James 3:17-18

The goal of seeking wisdom is not to change the other person, but for you to become a holy, healthy, happy functioning person.

Turn away from evil.

Turn away from evil…
Psalm 34:14


Overcome evil with good

.…and do good.
Psalm 34:14
Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.
Romans 12:19-21

Detach

I do not spend time with liars or go along with hypocrites. I hate the gatherings of those who do evil, and I refuse to join in with the wicked.
Psalm 26:4-5

Speak the truth

So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.
Ephesians 4:25-27

Pray

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.
Romans 8:26-27

If you are ready to follow, God will lead you.

 

Foolish | If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them

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.

Unfortunately, this is the most common reaction to life with a fool. You get so entangled with the fool that your own mind becomes muddied. You are so affected by the fool’s behavior you behave foolishly, too. How can you peel your eyes off your fool to live a life of wisdom?

Message Notes

Two Mistakes With a Fool:

1. Repeated rescues

Hot-tempered people must pay the penalty. If you rescue them once, you will have to do it again.
Proverbs 19:19

2. Refusal to disentangle.

Don’t befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul.  
Proverbs 22:24-25

Foolish Strategies to Deal with a Fool:

Pampering

Pouting

Passivity

Protecting

Pleading

Pleasing

Prodding

Attempting to relate with a fool is exhausting, because a fool will “give you no rest.”
Proverbs 29:9
If you try to change a fool, you will fail. “The discipline of fools is folly (irrational).”
Proverbs 16:22

You must choose to seek wisdom. Abigail - I Samuel 25

1.      She knew the facts.

2.      She faced the facts.

3.      She knew what to do.

4.      She did it.

Face your fears.

Face the facts.

Choose truth over the lies.

Ask God for wisdom, and then courage to do what wisdom says.

Foolish | Foolish is as Foolish Does

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.

How can you recognize a fool? Proverbs details at least a dozen characteristics that describe a fool. When you learn to recognize them, you can learn what to do. But your goal cannot be to change your fool; your goal must be personal freedom to be the person God intends, no matter what choices your fool makes.

Message Notes

At its core, foolish thinking is always selfish.

A fool is always “right.”

Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.
Proverbs 12:15
Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
Proverbs 1:7

A fool puts unqualified confidence in himself.

Those who trust their own insight are foolish, but anyone who walks in wisdom is safe.
Proverbs 28:26

A fool is deceitful.

The prudent understand where they are going, but fools deceive themselves.
Proverbs 14:8

A fool is self-satisfied.

For simpletons turn away from wisdom—to death. Fools are destroyed by their own complacency.
Proverbs 1:32

A fool protects his own interest at all costs.

The wise are cautious[a] and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence.
Proverbs 14:16

A fool is his own judge and jury, and sees no reason to repent or make amends.

Fools make fun of guilt, but the godly acknowledge it and seek reconciliation.
Proverbs 14:9

A fool is angry.

Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.
Proverbs 18:2
If a wise person takes a fool to court, there will be ranting and ridicule but no satisfaction.
Proverbs 29:9

A fool creates chaos and strife.

Fools’ words get them into constant quarrels; they are asking for a beating.
The mouths of fools are their ruin; they trap themselves with their lips.
Proverbs 18:6-7

A fool destroys.

Pride leads to conflict; those who take advice are wise.
Proverbs 13:20

A fool spreads slander.

Hiding hatred makes you a liar; slandering others makes you a fool.
 Proverbs 10:18

A fool is exhausting.

A stone is heavy and sand is weighty, but the resentment caused by a fool is even heavier.
Proverbs 27:3

A fool enjoys his foolishness.

Doing wrong is fun for a fool, but living wisely brings pleasure to the sensible.
Proverbs 10:23

Where’s The Hope?

Go to God for wisdom.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.
James 1:5

Determine that your fool is God’s to deal with.

“There are two kinds of people; those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your way.’”
C.S. Lewis

Concentrate on what YOU can do.

Practice self-selection.

Seek the Lord with your whole heart.

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. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:11-13

Foolish | Relational Intelegence

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.

 

God has made it clear: we have to have relational intelligence if we are to live the life he has planned. Learning to recognize and deal with foolish people is central. The Book of Proverbs tells us there are three kinds of people—WISE PEOPLE, SIMPLE FOOLS, and EVIL FOOLS. Simple fools are naïve and without insight, while evil fools have a character problem. Evil Fools are close-minded, spiritually lacking, and hardened.  Breaking free is difficult, because these fools can be very loving…and cunning; engaging…and threatening. How can you act like Jesus, but not be pulled into the emotional undertow?

Message Notes

God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore.
I Kings 4:29

God’s word and life show us there are Three Basic Categories of people:

1.  Evil  People

They enjoy conflict, bring chaos, and inflict pain.

If people are causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with them. For people like that have turned away from the truth, and their own sins condemn them.
Titus 3:10-11
The sensible see danger and take cover; the foolish keep going and are punished.
Proverbs 27:12

2. Wise People

When truth presents itself, the wise person takes it in and makes the adjustment.

Correct a wise person and he will become wiser still.
Proverbs 9:9
An ear that listens to life-giving rebukes will be at home among the wise.
Proverbs 15:31

3.      Fools

When the truth presents itself they expect the world and the truth to adjust to them.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Romans 12:14-18
Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.
Proverbs 12:15

A Lot Can Happen In Seven Days | Easter Sunday

We assign the seconds, minutes, and hours over the course of our seven days. Some weeks it goes just as we plan; other weeks we wonder why we even made a plan in the first place! But there was one week unlike any other in all of human history. Only one person anticipated the events that took place - and yet, all of human history changed in an instant...You know, a lot can happen in seven days.

Message Notes

Monday-Thursday
The ordinary days…the days when life has its normal flow.

Thursday & Friday
The hardest days of your life…when you experience betrayal, disappointment, and heartbreak.

Since Jesus went through suffering and temptation, he knows what it is like when we suffer and are tempted, and he is able to help us.
Hebrews 2:18

Reach out to your friends and to your Heavenly Father.

Jesus fell face down on the ground and prayed that if possible, he would not have to suffer the pain ahead of him.  He prayed, “Abba! Father! I know you can do all things.  And I don’t want to have to drink this cup of suffering.  Nevertheless, I want your will, not mine, to be done.”
Mark 14:35-36

Saturday
The most confusing days of your life…when you experience loss, grief, doubt, and fear.

Then Jesus told them, “Before the night’s over, you’re going to fall to pieces because of what happens to me.”
Matthew 26:31
At that point, all the disciples abandoned Jesus and ran away.
Matthew 26:56

Remember the promises of God.

For ALL the promises of God find their “Yes” in Jesus Christ
II Corinthians 1:20
When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you.  When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up—the flames will not consume you! For I am the Lord, your God and Savior!
Isaiah 43:2-3

Sunday
And then, the day of resurrection and joy…when you discover life is still good and you have a future.

Rely on the power of Jesus.

Jesus said, “I AM the resurrection and the life! Whoever believes in me, even though they die, will live again.  I give them eternal life for believing in me and they will never perish!
 John 11:25-26
I pray that you will begin to understand how incredibly great his power is to help those who believe him.  It is that same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead.
Ephesians 1:19-20

A Lot Can Happen In Seven Days | Palm Sunday

We assign the seconds, minutes, and hours over the course of our seven days. Some weeks it goes just as we plan; other weeks we wonder why we even made a plan in the first place! But there was one week unlike any other in all of human history. Only one person anticipated the events that took place - and yet, all of human history changed in an instant...You know, a lot can happen in seven days.

Message Notes

Palm Sunday was full of excitement for people and applause for Jesus. But it didn’t last long. In that week he served, he taught, his authority was questioned, and on Thursday night, everything was different. Soldiers took him from the Garden of Gethsemane. He was rejected, betrayed, beaten, and on Friday experienced the most intensely overwhelming day anyone has ever known.
A lot can happen in a few days.

Jesus knows the way through the darkest of Fridays and knows how to make them Good Fridays.
He shows us how to do it when our week includes things we never dreamed or wished for.
 

Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 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 12:1-2
Forgive everyone who is hurting you.
Luke 23:34
Help others strugglers.
Luke 23:43
Take care of the people God gave you.
John 19:26-27
Take your questions to God.
Matthew 27:26
Admit your needs.
John 19:28
Believe in your purpose.
John 19:30
Surrender your day to God—Let it go!
Luke 23:46

Remember, there’s always more to the week, and more to the story!

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
Romans 5:3-5

Take Courage | Week 3

Don't do life alone.
You are seen. You are heard.
You are more loved and valued than you can imagine.
You matter more than you know.
There is a place for you.
Take Courage.

A move of the Spirit is happening in our church.
March 4-18 we're dedicating all services at both campuses to learning, inspiring, battling, praying, seeking, and surrendering to ignite a breakthrough - a revival - for the Next Generation.

In the Name of Jesus, we rebuke the evil one and cancel his plans to kill, steal, and destroy the lives of the next generation! We declare that he will not cheat them out of the rich and satisfying life that you purposed for them! We believe that you will restore to them the joy of your salvation!

There's a place for you in this world.
There's a role for you in this revolution.
Take Courage.

Message Notes

We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one.
I John 5:19

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

An incident in the life of Jesus shows how this reality still plays out in our world.
Mark 5:1-20

Blame, isolation, shame, and self-hatred are powerful tools of our Enemy.

Jesus has the power to deliver, and works through relationships for healing.

People still want Jesus to go away. But he is where lasting hope is found.

Healed people are God’s greatest tool for healing.

And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life.
I John 5:19-20

We need to act. We need to pray.

Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.
I John 5:19-21

Take Courage | Week 2

Don't do life alone.
You are seen. You are heard.
You are more loved and valued than you can imagine.
You matter more than you know.
There is a place for you.
Take Courage.

A move of the Spirit is happening in our church.
March 4-18 we're dedicating all services at both campuses to learning, inspiring, battling, praying, seeking, and surrendering to ignite a breakthrough - a revival - for the Next Generation.

In the Name of Jesus, we rebuke the evil one and cancel his plans to kill, steal, and destroy the lives of the next generation! We declare that he will not cheat them out of the rich and satisfying life that you purposed for them! We believe that you will restore to them the joy of your salvation!

There's a place for you in this world.
There's a role for you in this revolution.
Take Courage.

Message Notes

About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”

Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me. But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.

What sorrow awaits the world, because it tempts people to sin. Temptations are inevitable, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting…Beware that you don’t look down on any of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father.”

Matthew 18:1-7, 10

 

Where do the darkness and despair come from?

Physical Problems

Spiritual Oppression

Adverse Childhood Experiences

How do we “welcome” the children?

In the family

Outside the family

Break the cocoon syndrome

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

Take Courage | Week 1

Don't do life alone.
You are seen. You are heard.
You are more loved and valued than you can imagine.
You matter more than you know.
There is a place for you.
Take Courage.

A move of the Spirit is happening in our church.
March 4-18 we're dedicating all services at both campuses to learning, inspiring, battling, praying, seeking, and surrendering to ignite a breakthrough - a revival - for the Next Generation.

In the Name of Jesus, we rebuke the evil one and cancel his plans to kill, steal, and destroy the lives of the next generation! We declare that he will not cheat them out of the rich and satisfying life that you purposed for them! We believe that you will restore to them the joy of your salvation!

There's a place for you in this world.
There's a role for you in this revolution.
Take Courage.

Message Notes

After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil.
Matthew 3:16-4:1

You belong.

You are loved.

Someone is proud of you.

A Prayer for the Next Generation

Many have asked for the powerful prayer offered by Rachel Carpenter during the services at our Portage Lakes Campus last Sunday. The transcript of "A Prayer for the Next Generation" can be found below and video from the live service is posted here as well. As we head into the weekend, and our special "Take Courage" series, please join us in praying for our families, children, youth, communities, and church as we humbly follow the direction Jesus leads.

Dear Father God,
You remind us over and over in your Word that you are always with us. You tell us not to fear and you draw us close into your Presence. You’re the only place we find refuge in the storms that surround us right now, Lord. You’re the only place we can find peace and strength. So we ask you for your words of truth and power to strengthen us. Thank you for your goodness, thank you that you know our personal circumstances and you have a plan. We look to you today, our Lord and Savior, it’s your face we seek.
Lord, we come before you with a heavy heart for our communities, families, and youth. We are struggling so much right now with the things happening around us, with our children. We know you can be their greatest comfort. We know you can step in and make a difference. Show us how we can best help them. Give us the words and actions that will help keep them from taking desperate steps, Lord. Let them see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that things like self-harm, violence, alcohol, drugs, and suicide are not the route to take. Lord, let your presence be felt in the lives of our young people and let your comfort meet all their needs.
In the Name of Jesus, we rebuke the evil one and cancel his plans to kill, steal, and destroy the lives of the next generation. We declare that he will not cheat them out of the rich and satisfying life that you purposed for them. We believe that you will restore to them the joy of your salvation.
Holy Spirit, shine the light of the Father’s love into the broken hearts of our young people. Remind them that He loves them so much He gave His one and only Son so that those who believe in Him will not perish but have eternal life. Enlighten their perspective and help them to lift their eyes above their past hurts and present disappointments. Teach them until they are fully convinced that nothing can ever separate them from the Father’s love. Give us, the Body of Christ, a heart like the Father’s so that we will always be sensitive to one another’s needs and show genuine compassion. Give us wisdom to know how to reach these precious young ones. Warn their family members, co-workers, teachers, coaches, and close friends so that they do not miss critical moments of intervention. Show us how we can better connect with like-minded organizations within our community to form a strong alliance against the social, economic, spiritual, and psychological contributors to addiction, violence, and suicide.
We pray for this new generation, the young men and women of today. Shine your truth into their hearts. May they hear you in music, see you in art, and experience you through the love and care of family, friends, teachers, and the church. May their hearts recognize you as they encounter the power of nature, the majesty of the oceans, and the beauty in creation. Come sow your thoughts into their minds. May they discover wisdom as they read their bibles, discuss deeper issues of life, and encounter hardships and difficulties. Come weave your love into their dreams. May they find vision in their interests, opportunities for their talents, and aspirations for their abilities.
You are the hope of everyone on earth. Build your hope into their lives. May they sense this hope rising above their disappointment, desperation, and despair. These are temporary – your hope is eternal.
Magnificent Lord, You are our Savior. May this next generation of your men and women know you. And may we, the Church of Jesus Christ, lead the way.
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

(Written by Rachel Carpenter, contributing sources: Prayers in Tragedy, Prayers for the Next Generation, Prayers for Suicide)

Brand | Irresistable Influence

“Christian” is a loaded word, bringing to mind the best or the worst images.
Where did that word come from? Who coined the term? What is it supposed to mean?
Over the course of several weeks, we will re-examine the “Christian” brand -
and discover what it must mean if we claim it.

The Jesus brand is challenging and irresistible. When Jesus came, he was irresistible because he was not balanced. He was ALL grace and ALL truth. That’s where we are to be. Challenging. But we need it and the world needs it. What will it require of me to embrace the tension of living like Jesus in this way?

Message Notes

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

Jesus said our brand is to love the way he loved.

So where’s the list?

If you want to know what Jesus meant, watch what Jesus did.
Andy Stanley

Jesus was 100% grace AND 100% truth.

Jesus called sin, sin. Truth.

Jesus knew sin was so destructive that only he could pay for it—and he did. Grace.

And now we are his imitators, stamped with his love brand. Full of grace and truth.

A grace-starved, truth-starved world needs Jesus, full of grace and truth.
Randy Alcorn

Brand | Strategic Influence

“Christian” is a loaded word, bringing to mind the best or the worst images.
Where did that word come from? Who coined the term? What is it supposed to mean?
Over the course of several weeks, we will re-examine the “Christian” brand -
and discover what it must mean if we claim it.

Under the Jesus brand, the strategic influence piece is deceptively simple: Show up and love!

The first followers of Jesus embraced this plan with utter seriousness and ended up changing the world. What would happen if we did that?

Message Notes

Through what lens do you view life?

Appointed or accidental?

Esther 4:6-14, NIV

Every aspect of life—both the awesome and the awful—is appointed.

“I am not the point of an appointed life. You are.”

You have no idea what—or who—hangs in the balance of your decision to live life on purpose.

Esther 8:15-17, NIV

Brand | Here Comes the Judge!

“Christian” is a loaded word, bringing to mind the best or the worst images.
Where did that word come from? Who coined the term? What is it supposed to mean?
Over the course of several weeks, we will re-examine the “Christian” brand -
and discover what it must mean if we claim it.

“Judgmental” is an ugly word, but people who criticize Christians often use it, saying we set ourselves up as the judges of the world. But, our brand is supposed to be different than that. There’s a significant difference in our responsibility to each other as believers in Christ, and our responsibility to the world. It’s really important that we don’t get the two confused!

Message Notes

Jesus spent three years of ministry teaching his followers that their brand was the way they loved.

They won their culture; they didn’t conquer it.

Research done among non-Christian twenty-somethings shows that nearly 9/10 young people view Christians as "judgmental.”

Judgmental /Condemning

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.
Luke 6:37

Judging/Discerning

A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit.  A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thorn bushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes.  A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.
Luke 6:43-45

I Corinthians 5

Love each other inside the church by helping each other be accountable to live like Jesus.
Love others outside the church without judgment.

Where did we go wrong? How can we get it right?

  • Remember we are who we are by grace.
  • Let God do his job.
  • Stop judging non-Christians. Love them.
  • Empathize with them.
  • Enjoy them, spend time with them.
  • Pray for people specifically.
  • Live out your faith authentically.

Brand | What If?

“Christian” is a loaded word, bringing to mind the best or the worst images.
Where did that word come from? Who coined the term? What is it supposed to mean?
Over the course of several weeks, we will re-examine the “Christian” brand -
and discover what it must mean if we claim it.

Christianity is a loaded word. Where did it come from? What did it originally mean? The words used to describe Christians today often bear no resemblance to the one word Jesus wanted his followers to be known for. What would it look like if we got it right? What if we, as Christians, embodied this one word? What if our behavior was so consistent with this word that folks around us were drawn to us - and to God?

Message Notes

Anyone can call themselves a Christian.

A disciple is very different.

Jesus said it is not rules and religion—it is a relationship with God and others.

To the world, he said to love God.

To his own disciples, he said to love others.

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.
John 13:34-35

What if we took our brand seriously?

What does this look like?

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Galatians 5:22-23
 I Corinthians 13
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
Galatians 5:6

How well you love is the critical issue.
It’s our brand.

Stones | Living Stones

The ancient stories of God and His people are full of wanderings and repentance, God’s miraculous interventions, commitment and victories, and the Promised Land. All along the way stones were used to mark defining moments of their travels and experiences.
Did you know there are figurative stone markers we need in our journey with God still today? Spend the first month of 2018 collecting your stones and defining your path to a fulfilling future.

Message Notest

You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor. And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple.
I Peter2:4-5

When Jesus came, there was a new Covenant and an even better way. God was building a new building.

  • Jesus is the cornerstone.
  • We are the living stones.
    • Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
    • I Peter 3:15
  • Together we are the church/the temple God is building. We are his giant Cairn, his witness to the world.

The Church, the Cairn, living and teaching Jesus Christ is the Hope of the World.

Stones | Boundary Stones

The ancient stories of God and His people are full of wanderings and repentance, God’s miraculous interventions, commitment and victories, and the Promised Land. All along the way stones were used to mark defining moments of their travels and experiences.
Did you know there are figurative stone markers we need in our journey with God still today? Spend the first month of 2018 collecting your stones and defining your path to a fulfilling future.

Message Notes

'See this pile of stones,’ Laban continued, ‘and see this monument I have set between us. They stand between us as witnesses of our vows. I will never pass this pile of stones to harm you, and you must never pass these stones or this monument to harm me. I call on the God of our ancestors—the God of your grandfather Abraham and the God of my grandfather Nahor—to serve as a judge between us.’ So Jacob took an oath before the fearsome God of his father, Isaac, to respect the boundary line
Genesis 31:51-53

Moving the boundary stone was a grave offense.

(Proverbs 22:28, Proverbs 23:10)

When boundaries were disregarded, someone was harmed.

Boundaries define my soul and my convictions - then help me to maintain it.
Boundaries define me. They show me what is me and what is not me.
Boundaries define what I am responsible for and what I am NOT responsible for.
Boundaries help me keep the good in and the bad out.

Boundaries are rooted in God himself.

Basic Boundary Stones with others: “This far and no more.”

Skin (Mark 9:42-50)
Words (Matthew 5:7, 18:15-20)
Distance –geographical, time, emotional (Matthew18:17-18, I Corinthians 5:11-13)
Consequences (II Thessalonians 3:10, Galatians 6:7-8)

Basic Boundary Stones with me: “This far and no more.”

Where God has specifically spoken to everyone
Where God has specifically spoken to me
Where wisdom speaks

Why do we move the Boundary Stones?

Fear of criticism
Fear of rejection
Fear of loss
Lack of discipline

The Big Red Flags:

Resentment
Anger
Anxiety
Shame

Stones | Commitment Stones

The ancient stories of God and His people are full of wanderings and repentance, God’s miraculous interventions, commitment and victories, and the Promised Land. All along the way stones were used to mark defining moments of their travels and experiences.
Did you know there are figurative stone markers we need in our journey with God still today? Spend the first month of 2018 collecting your stones and defining your path to a fulfilling future.

Message Notes

During the night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two servant wives, and his eleven sons and crossed the Jabbok River with them. 23 After taking them to the other side, he sent over all his possessions. This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break. When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket. Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
“What is your name?” the man asked. He replied, “Jacob.” “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.”
“Please tell me your name,” Jacob said.“Why do you want to know my name?” the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there. Jacob named the place Peniel (which means “face of God”), for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.” The sun was rising as Jacob left Peniel, and he was limping because of the injury to his hip.
Genesis 32

Be alone with God

Be authentic with God

Be transformed by God

Where are your stones?