Sunday, June 30, 2013


Message Title: Followers
Sunday, June 30, 2013

➢Jesus says: “Follow me
Matthew 16:24 (NIV)
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

Matthew 16:24 (Message)

24-26 Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?

Premise: Following Jesus is really a pursuit of Jesus and is only possible via the aid of the Holy Spirit

➢Jesus also says: “If you don’t follow me...”
Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Matthew 10:38
And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.Luke 14:27
Following Christ:

Go: Move behind in the same direction
Observe: Monitor 
Apply oneself to a practice of calling
Accept: The followed Hitler...accept as a guide...give allegience
Conform: Follow orders. Follow advice.
Copy: They follow the latest fads and styles
Succeed: Come next after inherit rank or title (endure); turn out well; favorable result.

Probably originally a compound, *full-gan with a sense of "full-going;" the sense then shifting to "serve, go with as an attendant" (cf. fulfill). Related: Followed; following. To follow one's nose "go straight on" first attested 1590s. "The full phrase is, 'Follow your nose, and you are sure to go straight.' " [Farmer].

  1. Matthew 4:19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”
  2. Matthew 8:22 But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
  3. Matthew 9:9 [ The Calling of Matthew ] As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
  4. Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
  5. Matthew 19:21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

  1. John 21:19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

  1. John 21:22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”

Challenge/Next Steps:
  • Who or what you pursue determines your measurement of success
  • Those who don’t follow Christ or are not followers of Christ
  • God’s word is our GPS and points us to Jesus. We need a navigation system
  • The Holy Spirit is our fuel for pursuing Jesus
  • The only way that God is really with us if we follow...He cannot come any closer!!!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Adventure-less Spirituality & Spiritless Adventures (June 23 2013)

Message Title: Adventure-less Spirituality & Spiritless Adventures

There is an arrogance in our Western rugged thinking that enables us to believe more highly of ourselves than we should...

  • We know that life is a miracle...i.e. conception, birth, development, intelligence, communication, reproduction, etc....
    • Yet we believe that we determine our own destiny...
      • The options are ours
      • The choice is ours
      • The outcome are ours
      • The repercussions are ours...
      • However, destiny, is Divine and not within our human reach.
        • We didn't design it
        • We can’t obtain it without God’s help

When we have no subjugation to God we assume a pinnaclized position in life...

Everyone else is beneath us, therefore our

What makes God God is that God has the ability to love, develop and even covenant with His subjects, because He is Love.

We actually begin to think that our own wealth, intellect, ingenuity, networks, hard-work, faith or people skills has gotten us success!

When we get to a place where we don’t need God or His people...we’ve become fairly pathetic and very dangerous.

[Rich man built barns...didn’t think he had an obligation to the needy among him, i.e Lazarus]

**We are bought with a price and are no longer our own:

To some this is absurd and they resent God telling them about some “mission

The truth is that we’re a created being...
  • We have talent, etc., however, we are empowered by forces other than our own will.
    • Good or Evil

**God doesn’t call us to merely be His puppets
  • God calls us to be His partner
    • An Adventure!

The Adventure... Living in community and bringing godly order and respect to the world!

Luke 7
1-10: The faith of the Centurion

11-17: Jesus raises the widow’s son

  • Jesus was walking with a large crowd
  • Funeral procession comes (mother would have led it)
  • Jesus stops the procession 
  • Jesus feels and addresses the pain of the mother
    • Jesus talks to the mother (don’t cry)
    • Jesus talks to the pallbearers (put the casket down)
    • Jesus talks to they boy (wake up)

→Jesus didn’t take the boy on the road with him
→Jesus didn’t exploit him as his own poster boy
→Jesus gave the boy to his mother...her inheritance**

...For Christ’s miracles were miracles of mercy, and a great act of mercy this was to this widow; ...

18-23 John’s disciples question Jesus for John
  • Are you One?
  • Jesus tells them... “Show John the evidence...he’ll know.”
  • Lame/Blind/Sick/etc.......
  • The poor have the gospel preached to them....
Luke 7:24-50 Jesus At the Dinner Party
  • Jesus is invited to a religious leader’s party
  • Jesus lounges to eat
  • A woman of ill-repute walks up behind him and starts to cry...
  • The Religious leader is appalled (Is 65 “Holier than thou”)
  • Jesus starts to teach while she sobs, and kisses and wipes

  • Jesus talks to Simon
    • This woman is showing her gratitude
    • You show no gratitude
    • She’s been transformed
    • You’re the same...hence worse than who she was

  • “The ones who are forgiven much, love a whole lot!”
  • Jesus talks to the women:
    • Your sins are forgiven...
    • Your faith has saved you.

Matthew 5:20 (CEV)
20 You must obey God’s commands better than the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law obey them. If you don’t, I promise you that you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.
Challenge/Next Steps:
  • What derailed your adventure?
  • Who told you it wasn’t spiritual enough
  • Talk to God, who defends the defenseless, about your role in this adventure
  • Our treatment of the poor & disenfranchised shows how we see God and ourselves.
  • Our protection of others ensures us of protection from God
  • This is the measurement of our faith

Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world. James 1:27 (MSG)

What's That In Your Hand?

What’s In Your Hand?
Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?” Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” A staff,” he replied. The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.” Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. Exodus 4.1-3 NIV

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
    when it is in your power to act.
Do not say to your neighbor,
    “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”— when you already have it with you. (Prov 3.27, 28)


  • Jerusalem was in disarray
  • Nehemiah was in an interesting position (leadership, gov’t, educated)
  • Nehemiah was in touch with the concerns of society. He asked about the community and its residents.(Still had connections)
  • The news broke his heart and he wept. (He knew it broke God’s heart, too)
    • He prayed
    • He fasted
  • He began to talk with God about the problem and reminded God about His promise to Israel.
  • He got a vision for the next steps (talk with King) & asked God for favor with the king
  • The King asked why does you face look sad when you are not ill (Nehemiah 2)
  • He was afraid because this was risky to talk about personal matters to the King

Moses: Exodus 2.11
  • Moses went to his homeland and witnessed the conditions of his Hebrew brothers
    • Brutality
    • Hard labor

  • Moses murdered an Egyptian who was beating a defenseless Hebrew slave
  • The next day Moses saw two Hebrews fighting each other & challenged them
  • They challenged Moses and in essence called him a murderer
  • Moses fled and Pharaoh tried to kill him

Jesus, The Christ: (Luke 9)
  • Sent the disciples out
  • Taught them about the Kingdom
  • They asked to have the crowds sent away to get food...Jesus was moved with compassion and instructed the disciples to feed the people
  • Jesus blessed the bread and fish and asked the disciples to distribute.

God, Our Father: (John 3)
  • For God so loved the world...that He did something about it.

Giving to the Needy
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Sample Template for Changing The World:
  • What breaks God’s heart?
  • What’s your story? (Where has pain taken you in life?)
  • What has broken your heart?
  • Where does your broken heart and God’s broken heart intersect?
  • What is the need? (Researching, interviewing, observing)
  • What does God want you to do about that need? (Discovered via prayer)
  • What’s within your power do you? (Formal/informal assessment of abilities)
  • What mentoring or training do you need to balance experience, power and character?
  • Who will aid you in this endeavor?
  • Who will help you develop a good strategy?
  • Who are you accountable to?
  • How will you measure you success?
  • How will you keep God’s vision pure? How will you continually offer the project back to God?