February 18, 2018: Colossians 3:12-17 (Doyle Burnside)

Colossians 3:12-17 English Standard Version (ESV)

12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

February 11, 2018: 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 (Rich Merkouris)

Flee Sexual Immorality

12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.13 “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.14 And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!16 Or do you not know that he who is joined[a] to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.”17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin[b] a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

February 4, 2018: (Rich Merkouris)

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Luke 15:1-10 Parable of the Lost Sheep

  • 1:44 When you start helping others, sometimes you begin to realize how unhealthy we are.
  • 3:30 What's coming out every single day when you are interacting with others? 
  • 4:03 What does it mean to be healthy?
    • It doesn't mean perfection
  • 5:30 God elevates humanity different than other created things. We are a reflection of him.
  • 8:55 To be healthy, is to love God with our whole being.
  • 10:44 Two things rob us of our health
    • At some point in your life, you are hurt by someone or something. We end up having bitterness. This leads to separation from others and God as we know it does not match with God. However, at the heart of the Lord's prayer is forgiveness.
    • Many of struggle with never dealing with our grief. Often we just try to replace it with something else.
  • 22:47 How do we pursue health?
    • Meditation - To meditate is to reflect and remember the Word of God. Do you know the promises? Remember the truth.
    • Confession - The purpose of confession - It's to be reminded of what he has done. 
      • When is the last time you confessed a sin to someone else?
      • We confess to remind us that Jesus forgives you
    • Celebration - Christians have more to celebrate than anyone else. Christians are horrible at this. We have to celebrate more. When we do not celebrate, we tell God this is not enough.
    • Which habit do you need to begin with?
  • 37:00 Are you willing to start some new habits? Are you willing to improve your health?

January 28, 2018: Luke 15:1-10 (Rich Merkouris)

Luke 15:1-10 Parable of the Lost Sheep

1 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

3 So he told them this parable: 4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

The Parable of the Lost Coin

8 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins,[a] if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? 9 And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

  • 3:09 Most of us don't want to be reckless, but God is asking us to be reckless with the ones in our path
  • 5:11 God pursues the lost. God is a reckless lover of people
  • 6:50 God likens the Shepard to be reckless in pursuing the one over the 99
  • 7:50 God celebrates the one who recklessly chases the one who is doing the work of Christ
  • 9:19 the "Lost" is separated from God
  • 14:24 What do I do when I notice the one? You can listen to last weeks message for more information.
    • Pray for an opportunity
    • Engage with people around you
      • How can I pray for you?
      • What is your stress level this week?
    • Followup. This isn't a one and done deal
  • 19:30 Stories of someone engaging the one
  • 25:10 Take the time to ask the question with those around you

January 21, 2018: Mark 5:1-20 (Rich Merkouris)

Mark 5:1-20 Jesus Heals a Man with a Demon

5 They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes.[a] 2 And when Jesus[b] had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. 3 He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, 4 for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. 6 And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. 7 And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” 8 For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9 And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” 10 And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11 Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, 12 and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” 13 So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.

14 The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. 15 And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed[c] man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 16 And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. 17 And they began to beg Jesus[d] to depart from their region. 18 As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. 19 And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.

  • 1:15 Serving is an incredibly powerful part of King of Glory 
  • 3:09 Giving Is also an integral part of King of Glory
  • 4:40 King of Glory has stayed the same size. This is a King of Glory issue. 
  • 8:35 Would anyone in Sioux Falls miss us if we disappeared? Would anyone not have heard about Jesus if we disappear?
  • 11:00 So what do we do?
  • 11:22 We need to create a new mindset. If we are going to make an impact, we need to go about doing things the Jesus way.
  • 14:45 What does it mean to do things the Jesus way?
  • 21:50 The way of Jesus is to notice the one who is in our path.
  • 23:19 Jesus goes to the place where the one is.
  • 17:10 There are 110,000 people who are not in church this morning.
    • God is not holding you accountable for the millions, he's wanting to know what you are going to do with the one in your path.
  • 28:54 We need to pray for the opportunity for God to put the one in our path. Ask them
    • How can I pray for you this week?
    • What are you celebrating this week?
  • 32:14 Identify the need. 
  • 37:14 Followup with the individual.
  • 42:13 Let's not miss the one in our path.

January 14, 2018: Ephesians 1:15-23 (Rich Merkouris)

Eph 1:15-23 Thanksgiving and Prayer

15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church,23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

  • 1:15 the story of the John D. Rockefeller
  • 3:31 Many people may say that the church is weak. You and I have everything, we just haven't allocated it.
  • 7:55 We need to realize that we have an amazing inheritance
  • 9:00 Everything depends on having hope. We need to have hope as humans.
  • 10:00 When there is no expectation of good, people stop taking action.
  • 13:05 We need to be aware of the power we have in God.
  • 16:30 To deny demonic activity is to deny Christ. Christ cast out demons.
  • 18:00 There is demonic activity all around us.
  • 21:09 What is the church? The church is the body of Christ (v.23)
  • 23:50 What we are requesting of the church would it be demanded by Jesus?
  • 26:43 We need to acknowledge that Jesus is the authority of all things.
    • It can be difficult sometimes for some of us who have control issues
    • When we have relationship issues in our life, acknowledge that God has authority over it
      • Our marriage
      • Our work
  • 33:05 Are you and I acknowledging, trusting and submitting to the authority of Christ
    • Who is the authority in your life?
    • Who is the authority in this church?

January 7, 2018: Ephesians 1:1-14 (Rich Merkouris)

  • Ephesians 1:1-14

    Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

    To God’s holy people in Ephesus,[a] the faithful in Christ Jesus:

    2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Praise for Spiritual Blessings in Christ

    3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he[b]predestined us for adoption to sonship[c] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he[d] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

    11 In him we were also chosen,[e] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

  • 1:45 We all have roles. take some time to jot down the roles you have in life.
    • Friend
    • Spouse
    • Father/Mother
    • Brother or Sister
    • Primary vocation
    • Coach/mentor
    • Money Manager
  • 4:00 Take some time to grade yourself. A-F. How are you doing in those roles
  • 7:05 The enemy wants you to think that some of your roles are independent of God
  • 8:45 When you made that list, we should have started that list with "As a Christian, my role is.."
  • 9:35 If you want to be a healthy person in any role, we need to approach it as a Christian.
  • 12:14 Paul opens up in Ephesians into the longest sentence known to some in the Greek language. This one sentence is a big part why we have so many denominations today. God didn't care if you understand it all and agreed with it.
  • 15:33 God is not interested in our agreement, he is interested in getting our attention. 
  • 16:30 God made a choice beforehand that he is the origin of your salvation. God chose to save us.
  • 18:24 The freedom of the highest value in our society is political freedom. But that is not the freedom in the scriptures.
  • 19:35 v 13 We heard the good news that was preached to us.
  • 20:50 Predestination does not remove us from making decisions.
  • 21:05 God is outside of Logic. 
  • 23:50 God is the source of everything. If your saved, you're in Christ.
  • 27:50 All of God's plan and blessing was through Jesus.
  • 28:08 If you 're struggling with joy this morning, rejoice in the Lord.
  • 29:08 The goal of everything is God's glory. God is the Goal. It's all about God.
  • 32:00 How does this impact today
    • We have a different perspective. It's not all about me. There's something bigger than myself going on in the world today.
    • If I want to be spiritually healthy, I need to look outside of myself. 
    • You have everything you need. In him we have attained an inheritance. When you here the lie, you need this to be happy, you need to fight back. You need to remember you have an inheritance.
  • 40:00 The question is are you going to be a "spouse, parent, worker, etc" in Christ?

December 31, 2017: Matthew 15:1-9 (Rich Merkouris)

  • Traditions and Commandments

    15 Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” 3 He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 5 But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,”[a] 6 he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word[b] of God. 7 You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:

    8 “‘This people honors me with their lips,
        but their heart is far from me;
    9 in vain do they worship me,
        teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”

    What Defiles a Person

    10 And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: 11 it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” 12 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” 13 He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up.14 Let them alone; they are blind guides.[c] And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” 15 But Peter said to him, “Explain the parable to us.” 16 And he said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled?[d] 18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.

  • 1:30 Story of moving pallets of Mountain Dew
  • 4:50 How does it feel when you think God tells you that your work on Earth is vain.
    • In the scripture Jesus tells tells the Pharisees that their work was in vain
  • 8:00 What would Jesus say to you?
  • 8:30 So why was the activity of the Pharisees in vain? Because their traditions and activities did not deliver the promise of God
  • 15:49 They were going through the motions of religious tradition. Going through the motions of traditional is not bad, it is going through the motions where the motions do not flow from your heart is in vain.
  • 16:15 So what's the role of tradition?
  • 17:00 What pastor tradition has become to today
  • 22:37 Jesus gauges worship by the engagement of your heart.
  • 24:00 Today are you going through the motions without your heart?
  • 25:00 There will always be motions if your heart is engaging.
  • 31:17 Today, God want from you is no meaningless activity, God wants your heart.
  • 31:45 Would you make it your New Years resolution to pursue a healthy heart? By not looking inward, but by looking outward to Jesus Christ.

December 24, 2017 (4:00PM): Matthew 1:18-25 (Rich Merkouris)

  • The Birth of Jesus Christ

    18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ[e] took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed[f] to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

    23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
        and they shall call his name Immanuel”

    (which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

  • 2:00 We have always been afraid of something.

  • 3:00 Fear often freezes us from speaking truth. And fear can lead to illogical behavior

    • We want people to like us, so we do weird stuff to get people to like us.

  • 3:26 However, there is one common phrase in the Christmas story. Fear Not!

    • From the angel speaking to Joseph 

    • From the angels speaking to the Shepards 

  • 7:13 The angels also tell the Shepards "fear not, behold..." The angels are trying to showcase where our attention should be.

  • 8:40 When the angel tells Joseph do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife as it was from God.

  • 10:26 We have God on our team. So often we think "well, I don't know maybe I can do somethings" Are you kidding, you have God on your side.

  • 11:50 What is the number one fear in life... death. Because it is final.

  • 12:20 We have nothing to fear, because in Jesus Christ we have Savior that has conquered death.

  • 13:13 However, if we are outside of God, we have everything to fear. Things can be taken away from you.

  • 14:35 But if you are with Christ, every if they take away your possessions, family, etc we will always have Christ. All they can do is bring temporary pain. In Christ we have a Savior.

  • 17:24 If you do not have Christ, you have everything to fear, but if you have Christ, you have nothing to fear.

December 17, 2017: Philippians 2:1-18 (Rich Merkouris)

  • 1:33 Philippians 2: 1-18

    • So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

      Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

      14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise, you also should be glad and rejoice with me.

  • 1:27 Why does God do what God does?

  • 3:00 Jesus had a primary focus on this earth, the cross. 
  • 4:45 We need to remember that the cross was something horrible. It was meant to kill.
  • 6:00 Jesus came to the cross for the Glory of God. He is obsessed with His own Glory.
  • 8:00 Why does God have mercy on us? It's for his own Glory.
  • 9:00 It's a good thing God wants his own Glory. He is a perfect God.
  • 10:39 Romans 11:36 "For from him and to him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen."
  • 12:11 Everytime God works through some of his people, it is for the Glory of God.
  • 15:00 Rev 21:22-23 "And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.
  • 16:31 Does the purpose of my life reflect the purpose of God? Is it in alignment?
  • 18:13 Are you going to take am for God's glory or are you going to take aim for your own Glory?
  • 18:50 God-centered Christianity is everything revolves around the Glory of God.
  • 19:45 Everyone loves Christmas. It provides that moment of bliss. But for many, it is a season of discouragement. It reminds you of things that are wrong.
  • 21:22 If it's a God-centered Christmas is more than a moment of bliss. It is a reminder of what God has done in the flesh.
    • Christmas is about the Gory of God
  • 23:00 Are we seeking to honor God in the mundane? 
    • Playing with our kids
    • With your friends
    • with your work
  • 24:00 Are you honoring God with your money?
  • 25:00 Take a reflection over the past year and asked have you honored God with my firstfruits.
  • 26:20 Are you stepping out in faith and then praising God if it came to pass. Setting goals beyond your capability.
  • 28:31 Where are you taking a step of faith today?

December 10, 2017: Philippians 2:1-18 (Rich Merkouris)

  • 1:33 Philippians 2: 1-18

    • So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

      Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

      14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.

  • 4:00 how did you prepare fo mom coming home?

    • Throw away the candy wrappers

    • Turn off the TV

  • 5:30 Are you ready for Jesus? Are you ready to celebrate Jesus

  • 6:30 We can celebrate the birth of Jesus, but culturally it is a little bit weird to celebrate the second coming of Jesus Christ.

  • 8:30 When Jesus returns it will be a massive event.

  • 10:20 Our hope is the second coming of Jesus Christ.

    • Some of us are apathetic to this

    • Some of us are just uncertain as to how will this unfold

    • And some of us become hysterical about the return of Jesus Christ

  • 12:00 We all just need to know that Jesus will return and we do not know when that will come

  • 13:50 However we have gotten really comfortable.

    • We don't need Jesus

    • Retirement account is there

    • we got presents under the tree

  • But we need to remember that most of the Christians in the world do not have this comfort

  • 16:00 When you think about the return of Jesus Christ, look with anticipation.

  • 18:00 Let all of the political events should not encourage us to speculate, it should drive us to our knees to pray for our fellow believers.

  • 20:00 in v12 God is saying keep on being obedient to God

  • 21:00 Sadly though, many times we use the Judgment seat to drive obedience for Christ. 

  • 22:00 We need to remember to be ourselves as Christians

  • 22:45 v15 As Christians we should be the last people to be surprised by evil. We just need to remember that God asks us to be a light in the world.

  • 26:29 How do we prepare for Christ as Children of God?

    • "Shine as lights in the world"

    • Understanding the scripture as the foundation for decisions in the world

    • We cling to the scriptures. Thought them we know the purpose and ways of God

  • 31:00 Do you have a steady diet of the Word of God?

  • 32:00 Who or what is shaping your life the most? Is it the Word of God?

December 3, 2017: Philippians 2:1-18 (Rich Merkouris)

 

  • 1:00 The current culture is Toxic

  • 2:42 So how do we live in a toxic culture? How do we live in the midst of this?

    • Many will say, just shut the doors and do not let them in

    • Some Christians will say we need to have an open mind. 

  • 4:21 Unfortunately, these extremes force the middle to become an extreme.

  • 5:00 How does the Christmas story influence how we live right now

    • Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
        Serve the Lord with gladness!
          Come into his presence with singing!

  • 6:20 Philippians 2:1-18

    • So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

      Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

      14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.

  • 9:00 When we hear Christmas, we should hear "God is for us" in light of Philippians 2

  • 9:45 There's only one character in the Christmas Story that can do somehting for you and that's Jesus.

  • 11:27 Jesus's birth was God coming alongside humanity

  • 12:12 The reason why we get excited about the baby in the manger is that is God coming alongside us.

  • 15:19 Why did God lay aside his power to become man?

    • It was the mindset of Jesus Christ

    • Because he considered you more important than his power or privilege

  • 17:50 Christ came because you are significant.

    • We have a big problem with self-esteem in our culture. We have a major challenge about how we think of ourselves.

    • We have the highest suicide rate

  • 21:00 You need to know you are significant. However, do the people around you know they're significant?

  • 22:31 The true spirit of Christmas is humility. I'm going to put the interest of someone else before someone else.

  • 23:20 the reason why you can put others before yourself is because you now that you are already significant in God's eyes.

  • 27:15 However, we are not in the mindset of deference, we need to be in the mindset of actually preferring what the other wants.

  • 28:11 Imagine what would happen if we would actually prefer each others goals and mindsets.

    • Imagine would would happen with our marriages

    • our kids

    • the workplace

  • 30:00 It's all about looking to help others with their spiritual, emotional, financial, etc... good

  • 30:50 Will you look this Christmas to help others.

  • 32:40 So where do you need to say " I need to exhibit the mindset of Christ?"

    • Marriage

    • Kids

    • Workplace

  • 33:30 What would happen in a culture that is toxic when people would start to say "you're significant!"

November 26, 2017: Psalm 100 (Rich Merkouris)

  • 0:00 Psalm 100
    • Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
      2     Serve the Lord with gladness!
          Come into his presence with singing!

      3 Know that the Lord, he is God!
          It is he who made us, and we are his;[a]
          we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

      4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
          and his courts with praise!
          Give thanks to him; bless his name!

      5 For the Lord is good;
          his steadfast love endures forever,
          and his faithfulness to all generations.

  • 2:35 Things found in the Lost and Found at the New York Metro station

    • 3 Oddest things

      • X Rays

      • VHS tapes

      • Airconditioners 

  • 4:24 You and I are quite forgetful

  • 5:30 How do we continue in a season of thanksgiving?

  • 6:00 In Psalm 100 the Psalmist is reminding us that we should be thankful.

    • Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
        Serve the Lord with gladness!
          Come into his presence with singing!

  • 8:50 Many of look at serving the Lord as frustrating. We should look towards serving one another with joyfulness.

  • 11:25 We know we are not God, but we have not transitioned to the positive.

    • Know that the Lord, he is God!
          It is he who made us, and we are his;
          we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

    • There's a difference between knowing that you are not God and acknowledging that you belong to God.

  • 14:12 the foundation of Christian behavior is not "do this so that you get that." The foundation of Christian behavior is "this is who you are, so do this."

  • 17:47 "We are the people of His pasture." The Psalmist is reminding the audience that without God we cannot exist.

  • 18:00 God does not need us to exist. We need God to exist. Therefore, do you belong to God?

  • 20:16 God comes to us to establish a relationship so that we would say to Him, "you are my God!"

  • 21:32 Is He your God? Have you acknowledged He is your God?

  • 21:45 This season remember that the Lord is your God.

  • 22:40 Do Three things

    • Thank God. Get in the habit of thanking God.

    • Ask. Ask God for wisdom. Are you asking God for wisdom?

    • Follow through. If it's clear, just do it.

November 19, 2017: Heaven

  • 0:00 What are the challenges or struggles you are facing.
  • 1:00 The Bible doesn't have answers to all of these challenges.
  • 1:23 However, Jesus says at the end of John 16 "Take heart."
  • 2:00 Take heart because of Heaven.
  • 3:00 Jesus gives us an everlasting promise of Heaven
  • 4:18 Why should we have hope?
    • Philippians 3:20-21 - But our citizenship is in heaven...
      • Advent is actually about the second coming of Christ
    • Acts 3:21 "whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago."
    • Revelation 21 and 22 Is a message of hope. It is a message of hope to persecuted Christians.
    • Rev 21:4 - "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
  • 11:17 The amazing thing is that in Heaven God will be fully present.
  • 12:17 So what happens now if I die today if our hope is still down the road?
    • Philippians 1:21 - If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Which I shall choose I cannot tell.
  • 14:38 Our loved ones are not in their eternal dwelling today. They are in a temporary dwelling of sorts as they are in the presence of God, but the ultimate hope has not happened yet. The temporary holding place is to be in the presence of God.
  • 17:00 So can our dead loved ones understand what is going here on earth?
  • 18:00 Based on the fact the saints are in the presence of God, they are ruling with God here on earth.
  • 19:00 However, realize that none of our loved ones have come back as angels or spirits.
  • 22:00 So what about purgatory?
  • 22:41 Understand that you will be sinners until you die. Purgatory is meant to bring you into sainthood. It acts as like a safe zone. This is not in line with what the Bible says.
  • 25:00 So What will Heaven look like?
    • Revelation 21 - A new earth
    • God's going to put it back to the way God created the world
    • Our bodies will be transformed like Christ. A brand new body.
    • Heaven is a place where you will work. Work is a good thing.
  • 30:23 Will our pets going to be in heaven?
    • There's nothing really in the Bible to suggest they will be
  • 32:00 1 Thessalonians 4:13 
    • But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.
  • 35:00 So what does this mean for today?
    • Everything we are going through now is temporary.
    • Or priorities and perspectives should change
      • If this is true, the priority should be reaching others
  • 36:50 Do your priorities, and your perspectives reflect the promise of Heaven?
  • 37:00 So how do you get to Heaven?
    • John 14:6 "Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
    • Trust in Jesus Christ
  • 40:00 When we claim the name of Jesus, we have hope for eternity.
  • 41:00 Do not feel overcome that you feel sadness during a loss.
    • Your pain and loss are real
    • Heaven is meant to be something to look forward to
  • 42:25 Death is cold, final and empty. Therefore the question remains, is Heaven your hope?

November 12, 2017: Celebration Sunday (Rich Merkouris)

  • 0:00 Rich Merkouris and the story of Craig Lawerence and Rich interested in politics
  • 6:36 Two questions to think about.
    • What is God capable of doing through us?
    • What are you aiming at?
  • 8:00 What God has done in Jonathan and Megan Serisi
    • Pursuing adoption
    • Pursuing a family 
  • 14:00 Tim Reyer
    • Pursuing Adoption
    • Challenges that we had to overcome
  • 21:00 David Clayton God working through me
    • God's blessings in Liberia
    • If not me then who
    • Carrying each others burdens
  • 29:00  Philippians 1
    • Having a big view of what Christ can do
  • 33:20 What if we aimed for God's glory alone? What's it going to take?
  • 38:12 We need to take aim
    • I'm going to be honoring God in the mundane
      • How can I orient my life around God
    • Giving first fruits giving.
      • We're giving x from the top
      • Does your giving reflect that God is enough?
    • Step out in faith
  • 42:03 What if we took aim? Are you ready to take aim?
  • 43:00 We make much of God when we take a step of faith. Take a step of faith.

October 29, 2017: Luke 9:18-27 (Rich Merkouris)

  • 0:00 Forbes Magazine - Are you being true to your values?
  • 2:13 Who do you say Jesus is? The biggest question you will ever answer.
  • 2:42 Is this for the fame and claim of Jesus Christ? 
    • Jesus directs our calendars. Many of our holidays come from Jesus
    • There has been more bloodshed over the name of Jesus than any other leader.
  • 5:00 It's also for the claim that Jesus made that no one comes to the father except through me.
  • 6:30 We need to answer the question as our reality intersects with Jesus. We cannot sustain ourselves.
    • Science takes us to a point, but everyone dies.
    • Jesus states that he has the poser to solve man's greatest dilema
  • 8:28 Luke 9
    • Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ

      18 Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” 19 And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” 20 Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”

      Jesus Foretells His Death

      21 And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, 22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”

      Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus

      23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27 But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”

  • 11:30 Jesus actually has a 90% approval rating right now in our country. 

  • 13:29 C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity states we either need to take Jesus at his word or run away from him completely.

  • 14:30 Realize that Jesus Christ is not a first and last name. Christ means Messiah.

  • 15:10 This coming week start thinking of Jesus as the Messiah. The one who is going to make everything right.

  • 17:41 God sent the Messiah to overcome death and sin, not to overthrow the government which was the predominant view in Jesus's day.
  • 18:40 Jesus came to give life not to destroy life.
  • 19:42 So this begs the question, who or what is your Messiah?
    • For some of you it's your career
    • Or could it be your outward appearance
    • Everyone's got a messiah, someone or something giving them purpose
  • 21:15 Know that what ever your messiah/currency outside of Jesus Christ cannot be cashed in or it will run out during your life.
  • 22:53 So what does it mean for you if Jesus is your Messiah?
  • 25:04 If Jesus is your Messiah it's not about you, it's about Jesus.
  • 25:30 It's not about your comfort, it's about your Glory.
  • 26:55 Jesus is saying, lay yourself down. It's about me.
  • 27:36 If Jesus is your Messiah, it's not about you.
    • It may mean that you will have to give up something of comfort 
    • You may have to set aside the good thing to focus on the God thing
  • 29:34 There is some bad news. v 26
    • For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 
    • There's a stern warning of reality of what happens if Jesus is not our Messiah?
  • 30:40 Will you confess that Jesus is your Messiah?

October 22, 2017: Luke 15:1-10 (Rich Merkouris)

  • 0:00 story of the fear of the loose mouse in the house
  • 1:00 All of us have lost something in our life
  • 1:20 Luke 15 Pursuing someone or something.
    • In this passage, the grumbling religious leaders are pursuing Jesus
    • Jesus is trying to make the point to these leaders that he is pursuing people that are lost
  • 5:30 God has a passion to pursue people who are lost
  • 6:00 God celebrates when one comes back to God
  • 6:40 Jesus makes it clear that he throws a party when one comes to Christ
  • 8:50 The question this morning is does our passion align with God's passion?
  • 10:00 This next week, saturate yourself with the vision of God.
    • Return to a Bible verse of John 3:16. Don't complicate the meaning
  • 11:34 The second thing is that does your/our giving reflect the heart of God?
  • 13:18 Does your checkbook reflect that it supports evangelism. Pray about it
  • 13:57 Pray for the laborers to share the message

October 15, 2017: Ask Anything Sunday

  • 00:20 If someone who has never heard of Jesus dies, do they receive the same punishment as someone who has rejected Christ?
    • 00:50: It is good to remember the Bible is truth but it does not make every aspect of God known to us. There will be no one at the resurrection for eternity (or heaven) that does not claim the name of Jesus Christ. There are some that teach about a place of death where there is going to be an opportunity to proclaim the name of Christ when you ask for mercy and see that you are not perfect. Bottom line: If you're concerned about it, do something about it. Give money, go yourself, share the name of Christ.
  • 6:09 How do we speak God's truth in love?
    • 6:27 The relationship does not depend on that person's response to the conversation.  We are bad at this in our culture but we should be confident enough to remain in a relationship despite the other person's negative response to our difficult conversation. Practical tip: Do not use absolutes about you or the other person (ex: you always, I never). The only absolute is the message you are sharing (ex: God says lying is wrong).
  • 9:30 How do we set up healthy boundaries while still showing the love of Christ?
    • 9:50 In the midst of helping someone, that person may become dependent upon us. Our goal is to have them dependent on God, not on us. When helping someone, get out of an individualistic mindset, think in a team approach.  Think in threes. It takes three families to help on other family. Also consider, what are your boundaries? Your perceived boundaries may be different than the boundaries laid out in God's Word. Your boundaries should be truly God-honoring and to maintain your health and not just to maintain your comfort.
  • 13:00 Are we experiencing the birth-pains of the coming of Christ? (ex: hurricanes, fires, etc)
    • 13:15 Pastor Rich's understanding: Since the day Jesus ascended into heaven, there has been hurricanes, fires, etc. It isn't any worse today than it was 50 years ago when you consider the whole kingdom of God, not just in America. We should not be surprised if Jesus returns tomorrow, in ten years, etc. Nor should we have been surprised if He had returned 70 years ago. 
    • 15:00 Another understanding: Technology has created a global environment that we have never experienced before which may be referenced in Revelation. The message of Jesus has reached much further in the last 50 years. These things point to the conclusion that His return is imminent.
  • 16:16 Why is it so hard to get people to listen to how great Jesus is?
    • 16:25 It is our own sin that blinds us to the greatness of Jesus. Another thing to consider, it seems like we have it pretty great without Him and being a part of a church appears messy and unattractive from the outside. In our culture, we have created a god that allows everyone to enter heaven so then we believe we don't need Jesus. Jesus becomes a good option when we want more religion instead of our Atoning Sacrifice for an eternity in heaven. It is the Holy Spirit that penetrates through this sin and hardness to reach hearts. 
  • 19:34 Why does it seem like some non-believers face difficulties in their lives better than some Christians? Is this a false hope?
    • 20:06 Christians have a hard time facing difficulty when they are undisciplined in their spiritual habits (i.e. reading the Bible, building community and relationships with other Christians). Non-believers may have deeper friendships to support them through the difficulty and do not struggle with doubt, frustration and disappointment in God which may be a struggle for Christians. From Matthew 7: Following the ways of God does not remove the storm,  rather it protects you in the midst of the storm. The reality is that Christians will have more difficulties than non-Christians because we deal with the general brokenness of the world (like all of mankind) but we also have promised persecution from Satan and other people.
  • 25:15 How do I accept a family member who is living a homosexual lifestyle? 
    • 25:30 You're not supposed to accept them, God wants you to love them. There's a big difference. No matter what you do, this is very hard. You will be perceived as unloving and unaccepting. We are just as guilty as any active homosexual in our community. My greed, my lust is not better than their inclination to act on the feelings that they have. The difference is: by the grace of God, I acknowledge the struggle, and I seek to turn from it rather than live in it. Set aside: love the sinner, hate the sin. To a homosexual, there is no separation from who they are and their sexual identity. They see themselves as a homosexual. 
    • 29:45 Be crystal clear. If you have a family member or friend actively engaged a homosexual lifestyle, be crystal clear with them in the right setting and the right place. You are not my enemy. If you are thirsty, I will bring you water. But I will not support anything that encourages your homosexual behaviors.  And this is where it will get muddy, murky and difficult. 
    • Discern what the issue truly is - it may be that their heart is lacking the regeneration that comes through an active relationship with Jesus. Love on them. Be consistent in your Christian walk. Attend church even when others choose not to.
  • 34: 35 Every question involves difficulty and uncertainty. There is a lot that has not been made clear in the Bible. Try worrying less about all that isn't clear and practice the things that are clear. 

October 8, 2017: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 (Rich Merkouris)

Outline of the Message

 

  • 2:30 It is not well with the world.
  • 3:00 In the midst of this people will cling to interesting things. Hollywood will increase as a result of tragedy as it allows us to numb ourselves.
  • 5:00 the problem is as Christians we cannot just turn to specific pages for every single event.
  • 6:10 What we need to realize is that “In light of what God has revealed how does that direct how I respond.
  • 7:00 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
  • 9:29 the life of Jesus is a big deal because God was with us. God’s accomplishes his grand purpose with humanity.
  • 12:00 The story of Lazarus is a great example of Jesus going through grief with the shortest verse anywhere “Jesus Wept”
  • 12:49 Here is the most perfect being in the universe crying. The life of Jesus is God with us showcasing that God wept for us and wept with us.
  • 13:00 Do you have someone that you can weep with? God accomplishes his purpose today through us with us impacting others.
  • 16:00 We need to be present in people’s lives. It’s the ministry of presence.
  • 16:50 Set a reminder to help someone and show up in their life.
  • 18:00 Christianity always includes the cross. We have a God who has experienced suffering.
  • 22:05 Have you expressed your honest thoughts as to what you are feeling in what you are praying? It can be a good representation of how open you are with god based on observing if you are doing this.
  • 24:03 So you might be asking then where is God at? God has been familiar with suffering and is ready to interact with those are dealing with it.
  • 25:30 The resurrection of Jesus Christ gives us a guarantee of our eternal future.
  • 27:50 So today are you captured by the amazing restoration of the resurrection?
  • 29:30 So when you have a loss in your life, you can have a resurrection promise of what is to come. Claim a resurrection promise every single loss.
  • 31:10 The message of Christianity changes everything.
  • 31:30 The thing is that we could go through the message
  • 32:00 As Christians we should be able to say the world is not well, but it is well with my soul.
  • 34:00 the story of the song “It is Well with My Soul”
  • 36:00 We know that tomorrow it will not be well with the world, but with Christ, we can know that it is well with our soul.