This blog is inspired and a focus of the message
 by Pastor Bradley Speer.
Click here to watch & listen to his message.

There is a question that every Christian needs to know how to answer; that question is Why does the church gather? Through God’s word we find that His people are to live a life that reflects our worship and adoration of God through the life of Jesus Christ. Secondly we edify each other by building up and encouraging each other to take steps of action that rely on our faith in Jesus Christ. And lastly we should live a life that is so compelling it brings other people to be together because of God’s word and love for us. 

In the weeks to come Pastor Brad will dig deeper into these different aspects of church. This last weekend Pastor Brad focused on the church being mindful of reaching other people. 

Jesus said Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters (Matthew 12:30). The argument could be made that people do not make decisions that are focused on pulling people into the church. This perspective solidifies that if you do not care to bring people in, you are content with leaving people scattered far from God’s word and love, that He wants to express to people. 

Read 1 Timothy 2:4
Do you approach people with the joy of God wanting them to accept His love & His word?

To see people though God’s eyes we have to be willing to conform to His Word and call on our life to reach people. 

Read Romans 12:2
Our willingness to change our lifestyle is for the purpose of making the gospel accessible to more people. We change to grow in maturity for Christ. 
What is one thing you can change that will bring the gospel to someone else? (We are changed by conforming to His word.) 

In the interaction between Zaccheus and Jesus, Jesus said that He came to seek those who were lost and needed a doctor. One key element of being rescued, is that people always acknowledge need of needing to be rescued. The same goes for us as we come to follow Jesus and conform to His word; we accept and know we needed a doctor or Savior to rescue us. 

As we, the church, experience people accept God’s calling; we tend to forget one huge element. That element is relying on the Spirit. In that same passage of Jesus setting the standard for being with Him, He said therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy, will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven (Matthew 12:31). If we are not mindful enough to know and trust the Spirit of God to move though the church to allow us to move in unity for the cause of His gospel, we need to check if our foundation is in Jesus at all. 

As we accept this process of God using people buy listening to His Word and the Spirit, we will have the trust and ability of the Spirit to show the faults that are in us and also the world. 

Read John 16:8
Where is limits of us holding each other accountable and needing the Spirit to convict and initiate change in us and the world? 

Identifying this line should not give off the impression to stand by idly, while people live out the passions of their flesh, but strengthen us to be a witness and example to the world

Read John 14:26-27
Who is hearing the gospel because of you?

Storybook Christmas - Week 3

This blog is inspired and a focus of the message
Storybook Christmas Part 3
of Pastor Bradley Speer.
Click here to watch & listen to his message.    

As we celebrate Christmas, it seems that each year there’s a new element introduced as we grow to know more people, and experience more people coming to know Christ in our churches. But there’s a celebration that still fathoms our minds, and it’s picturing the birth of Christ in Luke chapter two. Besides the wisemen following a star which brought them to Jesus, there were thousands of angels praising God in unison saying “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased”. 

Moments like these are usually described in visions seen in heaven; both John and Isaiah described a host singing “holy, holy, holy is the Lord.” The celebration of Jesus on earth was so extravagant, our attention could be lead to wonder what it will be like in Heaven. 

We have a very limited perspective to imagine heaven, since we can only use what we have seen and experienced. But one thing we know is it will be a place that will be prepared in advance. 

John 14:2-3

The best moments that we tend to experience on earth are moments that were prepared for us. For example, when we walk into our reserved hotel room for a vacation, or a selected room of a relative that knew we were coming, we can’t help but feel the thought and care as we know we are not just accepted, but wanted. John describes the preparations of heaven as a bride preparing to be presented to her husband. 

As a husband myself, I will never forget the emotion and view of seeing my bride for the first time, as she prepared to let me be her husband. 

John declares that the gates will be made of an individual pearl, and that the streets will be made of gold (Revelation 21:21). 

The best thing about heaven is that Jesus proclaims to the disciples that they “know the way.” (John 14:4). There wasn’t a fiscal dollar amount to be paid, a particular blood line to be a part of, or life long tasks of rituals you had to complete in order to be told the way. It is simply the belief that Jesus is who He says He is; the source of true joy, peace and love. 

John 14:1-6

As we prepare our hearts to trust in Jesus for the first time or for bigger steps of faith, we will find ourselves with a contagious perspective of life. That perspective is to know that Christmas is not a slogan (Merry Christmas), but a lifestyle to live as though Christmas is always tomorrow for those who know Jesus. 

Click here for the passages from Storybook Christmas Part 3

Storybook Christmas - Week 2

This blog is inspired and a focus of the message
Storybook Christmas Part 2
 of Pastor Bradley Speer.
Click here to watch & listen to his message. 

Like all stories that that do more than just keep our attention; we remember something that just keeps drawing us back to a story; or even reading it all over again. The gospel of John, brings attention to those type of qualities found in the gospel of Jesus that constantly keep us craving more knowledge anda desire to experience of who Jesus is. Probably the most compelling reason that we have is the humility of Jesus that is expressed in the first chapter of John. 

Great Exchange
Jesus is expressed as being the light of the world (John 1:5), but when He came to the world, people did not comprehend Him; except for those who believed the testimony of Him which was told by John the Baptist. This testimony is the titled by C.S. Lewis as the Great Exchange”. This exchange is referring to the debt, not payment, but a debt that is owed for our sins and transgressions. 

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
                                                                                   Isaiah 53:5        

You can’t help, but see the humility of Christ as you realize He came not just to “His own” (John 1:11), but to those whom He created (Colossians 1:16). If that wasn’t enough, realizing He did not come down lording Himself over those who were subject to Him, but being a servant as He taught in Mark 10:43 and as Peter reminded leaders of in 1 Peter 5:3.  

Inside this exchange, there is a process that we experience which is a transformation of an old life to a new life, which will only come by us choosing to know and accept His word so we may know His will (Romans 12:2). 

Great Act of Love
As we learn and experience this great exchange, we’re moved to action and back to Jesus because His life is seen as the greatest act of Love. Jesus said that there is no great love than someone laying down his life for his friends (John 15:13). 

The reason for digging more into this exchange is to have more than the knowledge of an event or story of a person, but compelled to act. It is a heart breaking reality to think and know that churches may be in a spot where this love does not move them to act.

Click here to read the scripture references from the message. 

Storybook Christmas - Week 1

CLICK HERE for Bible Verses for this post.

Every single one of us have a Christmas experience that helps express who we are. Around the holidays the natural flow of conversation usually hits around the question “What are you doing for Christmas?” Like most conversation starters, we share our experiences and expectations. When we answer this question we first we express what we identify as the focus of our Christmas story, and secondly we are hopefully being an encouragement for someone else to share or start their Christmas story. So before we express that we’re just going to spend time with family, we should probably know what our story is. 

What is Your Story
To identify what your Christmas story is, you need to understand what you’re eyes are focused on. In the garden of Eden, Eve did not start to be enticed to consume the forbid fruit, until she started looking at it. There is something about what we see that influences our actions and desires to obtain something. If we are not focused on Jesus by knowing His word and who He is, all that is left, is to live in sin. 

Who is Jesus? Read Colossians 1:15-20

Whether your starting a new life with Jesus or re-focusing on Him we must first realize that sin requires a payment. We love and rejoice in the fact that we don’t have to make that payment, but when we understand the sacrifice of God as we read John 3:16  we see God’s love expressed by choice, not a dictated action. Love can only be equated out of actions that stems from a choice. Actions of love that our driven by the gospel cause us to focus on people. While we’re focused on people we hope to get the possibility to share our story. 

Share Your Story
When we’re given the opportunity to share what we do with our families and friends for Christmas, we give people a birds eye view of our life and hopefully intrigue them to question of “why”. As we answer this question we should not lead someone to think that we’ve earned some good things and just want share them a little, but that we understand we were truly enemies of God despite the few kind actions we may have done for people. Because all the actions that God has done has be focused on people. 

All of God’s actions are focused on people. Read Romans 5:8

It’s not that the Christmas time of the story of our lives should hint around sharing with others; but that our lives are driven around believing and acting that we can help others see the need for Jesus, before they know they need Jesus. 

God is the ultimate writer of the story of our lives, but through people who believe and focus on Him, He allows outsiders, unbelievers and broken people to be impacted by His story of Christmas. 

Perspective to be Thankful

When you experience a something new, whether it be from God, church or even a company; we tend to make a judgement call on how we feel after the experience now. We forget the feeling of something being new, which tends to allow blinds to be experienced in some manner. In order to keep a perspective of thankfulness we have to talk about two things. The first being our experience of something new and developing blinders, and the second being our lack of effort to hold on to truth that helps us keep our perspective. 

With a product our blinders could keep us from realizing what a product does not do. We focus on the fact that our life is or was better with initial interaction. But after a while the newness is lost, and we tend to want to be settled with how our needs were met with familiarity. Newness starts to get to get lost with complaining. When we do this with God, we are reminded of the Israelites complaints in the wilderness that displeased God, which is found in Numbers 11:1-6. 

What area of your life are you still looking at with blinders?

When we get caught up in this moment of things we may want but do not need, we’ve lost a certain perspective on being thankful; which is rooted in a lock of truth in our life. We are easily distracted by what we do not have and someone else has around us, which causes us to miss God’s provision. Just as the Israelites grew tiered of eating manna for forty years, they lost sight that God had miraculously filled a need for them to be able to continue to live. The forgot that they were being fed and desired to focus on the product rather than the person of God. 

This perspective of God is crucial to maintain life that pleases God. Two things that God’s provision do is show Him to faithful and trust-worthy. 

God is the only one who can prove Himself to be faithful to do what He promises to do. He saves us from ourselves and leads us to experience the truth of who He is. This takes patience and effort on our part which will end up giving us the opportunity to call Him to trust-worthy. In other words, He has earned the right to be trusted as faithful. 

This path of accepting Him as faithful and trust-worthy will allow us to keep our focus on the person of Christ and not the product of which He gives. 

Matthew Henry’s truthful experience of being robbed was rooted in him being…

  • thankful he was not robbed by the same man before
  • thankful he was still alive
  • thankful he wasn’t the on who robbed