November 26, 2017: Be Excited about Jesus

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Preached by Evan Stewart (00:25)

Each year, Black Friday shopping events bring amazing deals that create excitement for shoppers. During the holiday season we get excited about stuff and events, but do you get excited about Jesus?

There were a few people that saw the birth of Jesus like some of us might see the ultimate Black Friday deal. The shepherds, Simeon, and Anna; they were the Black Friday shopper’s for Jesus. The shepherd’s spontaneously went into Bethlehem when they heard the ad for the best deal in town. Simeon came to the temple for the door buster deal. Anna camped inside the store for the once in a lifetime event. The tragedy is that they didn’t have to push and squirm through a crowd. They were the only ones.

We can become so wrapped up in everyday life that we can be like the other people at the temple that day who had no idea or care who that little baby was. The Creator of everything was in the temple and only two people noticed.

As you prepare for Christmas, listen as Evan encourages us to find ways to be excited about Jesus.  Jesus’ coming should excite you.

Scripture references: Luke 2:8-38; 2 Corinthians 5:14-21

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July 23, 2017: Waiting on God on the Edge of the Cliff

Preached by Evan Stewart (00:42)

We are often told in the Scriptures to “wait on the Lord”, but what does that mean?  What does that look like?  King David wrote many psalms that reflect a lifestyle of waiting on God.  Also, the famous story of Job provides deep insight into an attitude of waiting.

The story of Job is often used as an explanation that bad things happen to good people under God’s supervision and control.  But his story also teaches the why it is important to always wait on the Lord.  Although Job never cursed God to his face, as Satan wagered he would, Job did stand on the edge of the cliff of despair.

Job experienced a turning point in his faith that each of us will come to.  Under the weight of affliction Job cried out that God was good to him yesterday, but today he is not. He reached the point where he began to believe that God had stopped being good to him.

Maybe you’ve stood on that same cliff.  If you haven’t, know that even the smallest of trials can take you there.

What God wants us to know is that while times are good we must dwell on the truth that he is good, loving, faithful and strong so that when times are bad we can cling to that same truth.  Waiting on God means learning to be still in order to see the goodness of God around you.

Scripture Reference: Psalm 27, Job 29:2-6, 30:9-10 and 19, 38, 40:4-5 and 42:1-6

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April 23, 2017: Compassion like Jesus will Move Us to Action Now

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Preached by Evan Stewart (01:00)

Do you find that your compassion for people many times makes you feel sorry for a person in need rather than the kind that compels you to loving action to help or pursue that person in need?  Not just a compassion for people who might go to Hell, but compassion for the broken and needy alive today in this community?

Jesus certainly came to save us from Hell but it’s easy to forget that he also came to bring completeness to our broken situations while we are on earth.  Compassion isn’t just about street evangelism and getting someone to make a decision for Jesus.  This too is so important but we cannot forget that a compassionate heart responds to the brokenness all around us.

Evan takes us on an overview of compassion throughout the life of Jesus.  Four ideas gained from the overview are:

  1. Jesus was moved into action by Compassion
  2. Compassion is not weak tears but God’s strong love shown through a variety of ways
  3. Compassion compels us to cross cultural camps
  4. Pray for compassion and watch as your eyes are opened to the harvest around you

Scripture Reference: Matthew 9:35-36; Matthew 14:13-14; John 8:1-12; Luke 9:49-56; John 2:13-17; John 11:32-44; John 19:10-11; Luke 7:36-50; Luke 10:2; Matthew 11; 2 Corinthians 5:14-6:1

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Related sermon: Defining Your Mission

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March 19, 2017 – The Only Two Rules You Need

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Preached by Evan Stewart (00:30)

When we become a Christian one of the first questions we ask is, “what am I supposed to do now?”  You ask an older, more experienced Christian help you figure out what to do; to tell you the rules of the game.  So, an older Christian comes along and says, “Well, that’s easy.  Here’s what I’ve learned during my life.  Do this, don’t do that, do a lot of this, and be sure to stay away from that.”

Within a short period of time, well-intended advice can become a wrong standard of salvation.  More mature believers might sometimes unknowingly take good advice and turn it into a roadblock pointing people away from Jesus.  We all want the rules of the game, but it’s a fine balance to keep advice from turning to performance based rules.

This is what the older Jewish Christians did for the new Gentile Christians in Acts 15.  The new Christian men asked, “What now?”  The older, more experienced men of God said, “That’s easy.  For starters, get circumcised. This has been the practice of God-honoring men since the days of Abraham.  It worked for my father and my sons. It is the law God gave us. So, come on, let’s make an appointment down at the clinic.”  Then they took it further and added, “And if you don’t, then God won’t accept you.”

Just like the well-intended Pharisee Christians in the first church, we too will mistake rules for relationship with God.  We must be watchful to avoid creating rules that Jesus never provided.   If you want a rule to live by, then live by the two rules Jesus lived by.

Let these two rules be your standard: Will your action or thought show love to God?  Will it help your neighbor feel love or experience God’s love?  If yes, then do it freely.  If not, don’t do it.  These are the rules of the game, you don’t need any others.

Scripture Reference: Acts 15:1-5; Romans 12:9-21; Matthew 7:1-5, 22:37-40

Related Sermon: Conform to Jesus Not a List of Rules

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September 11, 2016 – You want Peace? Turn Up The Praise

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Preached by Evan Stewart and Cortney Kluver (00:37)

In uncertain times, do you sometimes feel like you’re on the fight?  Fighting for your job, your family, your community, or country?  It’s tiring, frustrating, and disheartening.  You want to do something, but you don’t know what you can do to solve any of these problems.  God says to praise Him to overcome fear and worry, but what good is it for anyone of us to hear that praise is the weapon of our fight?

King Jehoshaphat learned the purpose of praise when Jerusalem was surrounded by a vast army.  Outnumbered, outflanked, and out of time, he turned to God and praised God before he took action.  God told the army to get battle ready and head to the front line, but to wait and watch for Him to move first.  They marched to the battle field, praising God as they went, and when they arrived the battle was already over and won.  Through praise, the King and his people were reminded that God is on the throne and he is for them not against them.

Praise puts God back on the throne in our hearts and minds.  The outcome of any problem may not be the one we envisioned, but through praise we set our minds back on the real prize; God.  Through praise the peace of God fills us.  Do you want peace in troubled times?  Then turn up the praise.

Scripture References: 2 Chronicles 20:1-30

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May 8, 2016 – Mom, You are Honorable

Preached by Evan Stewart (00:29)

On Mother’s Day, Evan reminded us that God said moms are honorable.  In the Ten Commandments honoring mom makes the top five – and it’s the first commandment with a positive promise.  Jesus references it when he teaches the rich young ruler, as found in Matthew 10, and Paul quotes it again in Ephesians 6.  God takes the honor of motherhood so seriously, that he warns us in Proverbs 30:17, “the eye that mocks a father and despises a mother’s instructions will be plucked out by ravens of the valley and eaten by vultures.”

Honoring mom is easy to say, but not always easy to do.  God commands us to honor our moms and he holds motherhood in a place of great honor.

Moms, from day one your identity has been one of honor.  You may not feel like that today and you’ve certainly have had days when you would passionately disagree, but God declared it.  With all the things you want to improve, with all the comparisons and perfect pictures of motherhood you see in other women or on Facebook or Pintrest, with all the reasons why you know you should not be given a place of honor, God says you are honorable.  You forever hold a place of honor in the sight of God and he will defend that honor.

Scripture References: Exodus 20:12

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November 29, 2015 – Truth and Unity: Finding the Balance

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Preached by Evan Stewart (00:30)

Before Jesus was crucified he prayed that all of his disciples (then and now) would be sanctified in truth and perfected in unity.  He wanted his disciples to be known for truth and be united as a loving family.  The combination of truth and perfect unity would show the world that Jesus is the Son of God.  Yet, truth and unity is a difficult achieve and can be hard to balance.  In the well intended search for truth Christian churches may easily divide by demanding that the everyone must believe in a long list biblical facts in order to maintain Jesus’ desire for truth.  On the other hand, through the well intended pursuit of unity a church may water down biblical truth to the point of vague morals in order to avoid disagreements amongst the group.  So how can we seek the truth without causing division and how can we stay unified without abandoning truth?

In Romans 12, the Apostle Paul encourages Christians to practice godly principles in all situations: to love enthusiastically, to hate evil but love good, not to think too highly of yourself, to practice hospitality, and pray often.  We are to remember that Christians are members of the body of Christ and therefore “individually members of one another”.  Christians are a real family and we need to act like it no matter where we are from and no matter the situation.  Paul taught that the we are to practice this behavior because of God’s truth and such behavior is the only reasonable way to worship God because of the mercy he has bestowed on us.  As we are transformed in the way we think and act by the truth of the gospel, we will act in a way that will create an attitude of unity, but it takes practice and requires patience.  To balance truth and unity we must learn to love God with a passion and forgive often.

Scripture references: John 17:11, 14-23 and Romans 12:1-21

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December 7, 2014 – Freedom in Fellowship

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Preached by Evan Stewart (00:27).  Main scripture reference 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.

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